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He's Not Mine

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Stiles shifted his Jeep down to second gear as he hit the dirt road leading to the Hale house. He was going as fast as he could over the pot holes without breaking an axle. 10 minutes ago he had been sitting at his desk in the apartment he shared with Scott studying ahead for his Deviant Behaviors class when he got a text from Derek that sent him into crisis mode.

911. Get here now.

Derek didn’t text him for much so Stiles knew it must be something serious. He had rushed out of his room, barely throwing his sneakers on before he was hauling ass toward the Hale house. He pulled up in front of the recently renovated house and slammed the Jeep into park. The second he got out he heard the sound of wailing. What the hell?

Racing up to the porch and bursting through the front door he found the entire pack standing awkwardly around a box that was screaming bloody murder. The eyes of the werewolves standing around the box were met his as he stepped into the room. They were all shifty and uncomfortable.

“Oh thank God,” Erica said moving towards him. “We thought you’d never get here.”

Stiles stepped forward to the box cautiously. “What the hell is that? Is that a baby?! In a box?!”

He was closer now and could see the flailing arms of the child. When he got even closer he saw the pointed ears and wrinkled forehead as well.

“Oh my GOD!” He yelled. “That is a werewolf baby! There is a werewolf baby in a box!”

Stiles pointed an accusatory finger at Derek. “What did you do?”

Derek who had remained unsurprisingly silent as this revelation occurred, finally stepped in, “We know, Stiles and I didn’t do anything. It won’t stop crying. You have to make it stop crying.”

Stiles gave Derek an incredulous look. “Dude are you serious? You called ME to take care of a werebaby? You’re a werewolf! Where did it even come from anyways?”

Stiles sent Derek another suspicious look.

“Just make it stop, Stiles,” Derek ground out impatiently. “I can’t take the screaming anymore.”

Stiles saw a little hint of red around Derek’s eyes and realized that all the wolves were taking an offensive stance around the screaming box. Boyd looked like he was ready to run and Isaac just had a frightened yet disgusted look on his face.

With a huff Stiles looked back at the wailing bundle. “Okay, okay. Have you tried feeding it? Changing its diaper?”

He looked from Isaac, to Boyd, to Derek and then finally to Erica. Each of them had this guilty look on their faces and Erica even shrugged her shoulders.

“Seriously guys? Seriously?!” Stiles said in exasperation.

He leaned down over the box and carefully wrapped the flailing arms into the yellow blanket, taking care to not get scratched by the tiny claws, before picking the baby up from the box. He immediately held the infant close to his chest, resting the fluffy little head in the crook of his neck, thanking God the thing didn’t appear to have teeth yet.

The baby continued to cry so Stiles shifted it a little further down so that this time the baby’s face rested in the hollow of his throat and began murmuring softly to it. The baby nuzzled his face in Stiles’ neck for a moment before settling in. A few seconds later the crying had lulled to a small whimper, the baby’s forehead smoothing out and the ears returning to a more human shape.

Looking around accusatorily from wolf to wolf, Stiles whispered angrily, “Somebody better start telling me what the hell is going on.”

To say Derek looked relieved would be an overstatement for sure, but the tense lines between his thick eyebrows smoothed out and he did look a little less anxious. He walked over the table next to the box and picked up a crumpled brown piece of paper.

“I came home from a run and I found the box with the baby inside and this note attached,” he began. “But it doesn’t make any sense.”

“What does the letter say?” Stiles prompted.

“Alpha, by the time you read this I’ll probably be dead,” Derek began to read. “I’m sorry to do this but hunters have been following me for over a month. I was shot two days ago with a bullet laced with wolfsbane and I’m afraid I won’t last much longer.” After this Derek paused, his brow wrinkling again. “I’ve heard your mate is powerful and I hope that she will raise my son as her own. I’m sorry.”

Derek folded back up the paper at looked up at Stiles, confusion written all over his face. “The mother didn’t leave a name. Or what pack she was from. I scoured the woods but her scent fades at the road.”

Stiles had started swaying back and forth in a comforting motion and the whimpers had stopped completely. He pondered the letter for a moment before commenting.

“You don’t have a mate. I mean, unless you have something to tell us?”

“No,” Derek ground out.

“So she obviously has the wrong Alpha. I mean seriously, who in their right mind would leave a helpless baby with you? It had to be a mistake.”

Erica let out a small laugh and Derek’s eyes narrowed at her to shut up. He let out a low growl.

“Yes, Stiles. I managed to figure that one out on my own.”

“So what do we do with him?” Stiles asked as he continued to sway back and forth.

The baby had completely fallen asleep in his arms, with his face buried in Stiles’ neck. Poor little guy must have been exhausted from all that crying. Now that he had stopped crying, Isaac had come closer to examine the werebaby a little better, peering over Stiles’ shoulder in curiosity.

“I don’t know,” Derek said with a sigh. “I’ll need to start tracking down the contact information for the Alphas near here to see if they are missing any pack members. Maybe I can talk to Deaton and see if he can help.”

“Yeah, but what if she was an Omega? What if she didn’t have a pack?” Stiles pondered. He had to slap Isaac’s finger away from trying to poke at the baby. He gave him a glare. “It would explain the hunters going after her.”

Derek ran a hand through his hair and sighed in the universal sign for “I have no idea.”

“Okay, okay,” Stiles said thinking aloud. “There isn’t much we can do right now about finding where he came from, so we’re stuck with him for now.”
Stiles had gone from swaying to full on pacing. You could see the wheels turning in his mind.

“Isaac, go to the kitchen and get me a pen and paper,” he directed and Isaac turned around and fetched it for him.

Shifting the baby a little bit so Stiles could use his right hand, he started making a list on the paper Isaac had brought him. Isaac was invading his personal space, per usual, standing close and watching him and reading as he wrote.

“Formula? Diapers? Pacifier?”

“Yep,” Stiles said as he continued to write awkwardly while balancing the boy. “We are going to need supplies if we are going to take care of this baby.”

They group looked nervously up at their Alpha, hoping for some input, but Derek’s face remained blank and didn’t give away any hint as to what his official stance was on this decision. Stiles finished writing out the long list of baby supplies they were going to need and handed it to Erica.

“Erica, get the pack credit card and take Isaac to the store and get the stuff on the list. And anything else you think we might need,” he directed. “Boyd, we are going to need a crib of some kind because we obviously can’t keep him in a box like an abandoned puppy. Trying going to the local second hand store and see if they have anything nice and cheap. He won’t be staying long with us.”

Derek’s brow furrowed again. He was really going to have to stop that or else he was looking at some major wrinkles in his future.

“I have something that might do.”

Stiles paused for a second looking at Derek curiously, but went with it. “Okay, then Boyd I need you to go to my house and grab my laptop. We’re going to need to do some serious research,” Stiles said with a sigh. “Because I don’t know anything about babies.”
~
With the pack off on their errands, Derek had disappeared off into an odd corner of the house leaving Stiles alone with the baby.
The child was still sleeping peaceful and it gave Stiles a chance to really look at him.

Sitting on the edge of the couch he pulled the baby boy off his chest a little and examined his round little face. His skin was an olive tone, not pale like Stiles’ but not quite as tan as Scott’s. His little pink lips puckered together with a large cupid’s bow curving into his top lip and his mouth formed an adorable “o” through which he was breathing. He had a thick head of dark, curly hair which combined with the olive skin led Stiles to believe he might be Italian or something similar. He carefully traced the curve of the infant’s cheek with his finger and slowly outlined the baby’s mouth. When the child felt Stiles finger at the corner of his mouth, he turned toward it and tried to start sucking on it.

“You’re probably hungry, huh little dude?” Stiles whispered.” I know that feeling my man. I feel like that all the time. You gotta hold on a little bit longer though. Dinner is on its way.”

The baby’s brow furrowed a little bit in his sleep and then turned his head back.

“I’m sorry it’s been a rough day for you, but we are going to take good care of you. Uncle Stiles is right here and nothing bad is going to happen to you, I promise,” Stiles finished the sentence by placing a soft kiss on the child’s forehead.

Stiles hadn’t heard Derek come into the room and didn’t know he had been standing there watching the whole interaction. He also missed the look of complete and utter hopelessness that crossed Derek’s face when Stiles made his promise. As an Alpha, he knew exactly how hard it was to keep promises like that.
Finally Derek moved in closer, letting his presence be known and Stiles looked up from the child and stared at him. Derek had a glower to his face that made Stiles instinctively pull the baby even closer to him. When Derek saw this protective gesture he blinked and let his expression change into his usual blank look.

“Come on. I have something to show you.”

Derek led Stiles up the stairs to the second level and hung a left. Stiles hadn’t been up here since the remodel and he was impressed with the work Derek had done. The whole half of the house had been restored back to what Stiles imagined the original house had looked like. Mahogany floors shone beneath their feet and the walls were painted a light brown. Derek had even invested in some quality furnishings and paintings that decorated the hallway and billowy drapes in a cream color framed the big windows.

They came to the end of the hallway and Derek paused, turning a brass key in the door and opening it, gesturing for Stiles to enter. Stiles stepped into the dark room still cradling the baby and Derek flipped a light switch behind him.

Stiles could immediately tell that this was Derek’s bedroom. The whole room was decorated in masculine blacks, reds and tans. The huge king sized four poster bed stood predominantly in the middle, made with a deep red bed spread that contrasted with his black pillows.

The only thing that stood out was the cherry wood crib that was placed in the far corner of the room. Stiles walked towards it and saw some scorch marks at the base of two of the legs, but otherwise it looked sound.

“It was my cousin’s,” Derek said from behind him. Stiles turned and looked at him.

“He was two when…” Derek let the sentence die off but Stiles knew how it ended. When Kate burned them all alive.

Stiles tried to alleviate the heaviness. “Hey man, that’ll be great. We’ll just throw a blanket down and he’ll be good to go.”

Derek nodded absently. “I put it in here because I remember how my aunt and uncle had to get up every few hours when my cousin was born. I figured it would be easier if it was in here because he would be closer. Maybe you could stay a few nights, just until I figure this whole thing out?”

Stiles stood stunned. He had pretty much assumed when he was the first person to even think about picking up the baby that he was going to be caring for the infant on his own. It hadn’t even occurred to him that Derek would step up and take responsibility as both the adult and the Alpha in this situation. Yet here he was standing 3 feet away from a crib and talking about taking turns with Stiles during the night. Stiles could tell that this was hard for Derek by the way Derek’s eyes kept shifting between the baby and Stiles, looking questioningly.

“Yeah that sounds great,” Stiles affirmed looking again at the crib and back to Derek, hoping to make it seem like it was no big deal.

But it was a big deal. In that moment Stiles saw the first true glimpse of potential from the Alpha.

Chapter Text

“Derek,” Stiles mumbled into his pillow. “Derek, get up.”

The Alpha let out a low growl from the other side of the bed.

“Dude, it’s your turn,” Stiles harassed.

Stiles rolled over and pushed the sleeping body next to him, getting no response. He sighed and grabbed one of the stray pillows off the bed then reached back and thwapped the sleeping werewolf on the head.

“Get up, the baby is crying.”

They were going on Day 3 of having their precious sleep interrupted by a screaming baby. The first night hadn’t been too bad. After the betas had come back with the supplies, Stiles had sat down and learned everything he possibly could about babies while bottle feeding the bundled up boy in his non-computer hand. Then for good measure he had researched the rearing of pups.

Stiles had fed him, burped him, changed his diaper, put some pajamas on him and then popped him in the crib for the night. The baby had fussed a little bit at first, but thankfully had quickly fallen back asleep. Derek had watched Stiles perform all these tasks, his werewolf eyes taking in every minute detail.

The second day the little guy had been downright unruly. Stiles had searched frantically through pages and pages of baby development sites and message boards for new moms trying to figure out what was wrong, but nothing was working. Meanwhile, the baby screamed and screamed. He didn’t want a bottle, the diaper was clean and there wasn’t any gas to burp out of him.

Frustrated, Derek shrugged on his coat and left to see Deaton. The problem with Deaton’s advice though is it is always just the bare minimum of what you need to know to get by. The only thing Deaton had suggested was to scent the baby as much as possible so he would learn their scents and not be as frightened.

When Derek came back he had looked at Stiles holding the wailing baby with a look of grim determination. He shucked his black leather jacket and walked into the bathroom. A few minutes later he walked back out, freshly shaven (looking seriously handsome if you asked Stiles), and took the baby from him.

Carefully Derek had leaned down and started rubbing his nose and cheek around the baby’s face. At first the baby had gotten even louder, throwing its arms and smacking Derek in the face. But after a moment, he started to quiet down. Derek gave a big huff against its head and the baby went completely silent, his eyes looking up at Derek solemnly.

Stiles had stood watching this whole exchange with his heart dying of adorableness. The big bad Sour Wolf scenting an infant. He had even shaved his scruff off as to not cause any beard irritation on the little guy’s sensitive skin. Derek’s whole posture had changed even. His arms cradled the boy, his shoulder’s relaxed and the usual menace he exuded was gone.

Stiles let out a small contented sigh that caused Derek’s head to snap up. The spell was broken.

Now it was the night of Day 3 and it was definitely Derek’s turn because Stiles had gotten up the last time.

“Dude, get up!” Stiles went to smack him with a pillow again but Derek’s arm stopped the pillow from making contact with his face.

“Hit me in the face with that pillow one more time Stiles, and I will rip your throat out. With my teeth,” Derek threatened.

“Yeah well at least when I’m dead I’ll be able to sleep,” Stiles retorted stupidly.

They were both a little bit on edge. Derek had wanted the whole pack to be in on the baby taking care of business, but Deaton had warned that too many pack members too quickly would cause the baby distress, and they definitely did not need the little dude to be in any more distress. So it had just been a Stiles and Derek tag team for the past 3 days and it was seriously starting to wear on them.

Stiles wasn’t sure what was going to happened come Monday. He had classes Monday through Thursday which meant that Derek was going to be babysitting by himself all day while Stiles was in class. The thought frightened him. Not that Derek wasn’t capable per se, just that he had a short set of patience and that could lead to all kinds of catastrophic events if not properly supervised.

Not to mention the fact that Scott would be coming back from his vacation with Allison soon so he would have to explain the whole bunking up with Derek thing. Oh, and Sheriff Stilinksi’s and Stiles weekly lunch dates…

Things were definitely starting to get stressful.

The search for the missing mother’s pack was coming up with zilch as well. Derek had tracked down most of the contact information for the Northern California packs, but none of them were missing a woman or a baby and none of them were willing to take in a pup. Stiles couldn't believe that not a single one of them was willing to take in an orphaned werebaby but Derek explained that not all packs were as well off financially as his and there are many legal ramifications that can be difficult to finagle.

When Derek had been talking to Deaton and showed him the note, asking if he knew anything about the mate part, Deaton had been his usual evasive self. It made Derek wish he could tie him to a chair and beat the information out of him again, but he thankfully restrained himself.

It still was a big looming question mark though. Why had the woman thought that Derek had a powerful mate when it was so far from the truth?

The crying had finally stopped and Derek crawled back into bed next to Stiles. Stiles let out a sigh of relief and let sleep take over again.

~

When the light broke through the curtains on Day 6, Stiles woke up much more rested than he had the previous five days.

Between going to classes, studying and baby duty he was exhausted. He knew it was just going to get worse too. Stiles had to go back to work. The days he called in sick this week were already starting to stack up and he had to pay his half of the rent somehow. Even if it looked like he wasn’t going to be able to actually sleep there any time soon because there was no way Derek could start taking care of the baby on his own yet.

This morning was also the first time he had woken up on his own and not because of the baby crying. But, Stiles found as he had gone to stretch, there was something significantly different about this morning.

Derek’s arm was looped around his waist and Stiles found that he was currently curled into Derek’s stomach small spoon style. He could feel the soft, warm breath of the Alpha on the back of his neck and the heaviness of the arm draped over his hip. What?

Stiles had noticed that the pack was a little more touchy-feely than a normal group of humans, especially when it came to the guys. Normal human guys have a huge personal space bubble, but not the werewolves. They touched and bumped into each other all the time, sat closer to each other than most would and even laid on each other with no problem during movies. But besides Isaac, none of them had ever gotten this close to Stiles. Now he was being spooned by the Alpha like it was no big deal.

But it was a big deal. And it was weirding Stiles out.

Stiles tried to slowly wiggle his way from under Derek’s arm, trying really hard not to wake him up so neither of them would have to face the awkwardness, but Derek felt him trying to move away and unconsciously tightened his grip on Stiles’ waist and pulled him even closer, nuzzling down into Stiles’ ear.

Stiles bit back a groan but there was nothing he could do about the half-hard morning wood that suddenly became a full on problem. And he could tell he wasn’t the only one. Derek was definitely contributing to the morning lumber yard. Stiles could feel it pressed against his ass.

Part of him was panicking, the other part of him wanted to slowly grind back against it. Heat rushed his face at the thought of it. Yep, there wasn’t any way in which this wasn’t going to end up in some sort of awkwardness or possibly even some bloodshed.

That’s when he heard a whimper coming from the crib. Oh thank God, Stiles thought as the whimper started building into a small cry. Never in his life had he been happier to hear a baby cry.

Derek started waking up to that and Stiles could tell the moment he woke up enough to realize exactly what was going on because Derek’s whole body stiffened. Rigidly Derek removed his arm from around Stiles’ waist and Stiles wasted no time in popping up out of bed and racing to the crib.

“Good morning, handsome!” He crooned at the werebaby. “Are you ready for some breakfast?”

Stiles enfolded the baby in his arms, rubbing his nose and cheek against the baby’s cheek just like he had seen Derek do. The baby laughed and cooed, happy to see Stiles and Stiles smacked a big wet kiss on the baby’s forehead before fleeing to the kitchen to make a bottle, without once even looking at Derek.

Derek hadn’t moved at all. He was still lying in the same position he had been in when he woke up. The only difference now was the massive look of confusion directed at his tented pajamas.

~

The kitchen was completely empty when Stiles brought Luca down for breakfast. Yes, he had named the little guy. He hadn’t told anybody else just yet though because he knew exactly what Derek would say about giving a name to a stray pup. But he couldn’t help it. He had fallen head over heels for the green eyed little werebaby.

Stiles set him in the baby carrier that sat on top of the counter and started making a bottle. While it heated, Stiles played peekaboo with Luca. The baby adored him and was rolling with little baby giggles.

“Where’s Luca?” Stiles asked from behind his hands. “There he is!”

“What did you just call him?” rumbled a deep voice.

Stiles cringed and Luca thought the face was hilarious and squealed even louder. Stiles cautiously turned around and saw Derek standing there absolutely seething. He was still in his pajama bottoms and a vivid picture of how they had woken up flashed before Stiles’ eyes.

He coughed and brought himself back to the moment.

“Luca,” Stiles started. “I mean, he has to have a name, right? We can’t just keep calling him ‘the baby.’”

Derek clenched his jaw and his brows furrowed, “You can’t name the baby, Stiles.”

“Why not?” Stiles hedged. “Everyone needs a name and since we don’t know his…”

“When you name something you get attached to it,” Derek returned.

“He isn’t an “it”, Derek! He’s a person. A little person who needs a name!” Stiles continued to argue.

“You cannot name this pup, Stiles.”

It was clear this conversation wasn’t going anywhere so Stiles changed his method of attack. “Okay then how about you name him? It doesn’t have to be Luca. It could be whatever you want! Although, I think he looks like a Luca...”

Derek nostrils flared in agitation.

“But like I said,” Stiles rejoined, “You can name him anything.”

Derek clenched his jaw and let out an angry huff through his nose. He looked at Stiles for a moment, then at the baby who was still giggling and playing with Stiles' fingers. He rolled his eyes and pushed past Stiles to get to the fridge.

“Luca’s fine,” he mumbled as he opened up the fridge door for the milk.

Stiles pumped his fist into the air behind Derek’s back. He turned to the baby, “There’s Luca!”

Luca just giggled at him with his green eyes shining.

Chapter Text

Derek finally called a pack meeting on Day 9. He didn’t have another choice.

Scott had gotten back to an empty apartment with rotting food in the fridge and for a moment thought Stiles had actually died. He had frantically called Stiles 6 times in succession (Stiles was in class) before calling Isaac and getting the story. When he found out that Stiles had been sleeping at Derek’s and taking care of a baby, he really lost his shit.

“You can’t!” Scott shouted. “Let Derek deal with it. He shouldn’t have even called you!”

“Scott,” Stiles reasoned, “Derek had no idea what he was doing. Luca would’ve died if I hadn’t helped. Trust me.”

“He is the Alpha, it is his fucking problem,” Scott reiterated. “He has his own pack and you aren’t a part of it. You’re mine!”

That last sentence struck a strange chord with Stiles and he thought about it for a second before realizing what was really going. Scott wasn’t actually mad about Stiles helping with the baby; he was on some stupid werewolf shit and was being territorial over Stiles. Ugh, seriously? They haven't had this problem since the Alpha pack left town two years ago.

“Is this about me staying at Derek’s house?” he asked Scott while managing not to roll his eyes.

“No! I don’t – I don’t know.” The frustration and confusion etched into Scott’s face. “But you smell like him and you’re taking care of his baby and it makes me want to kill something!”

Stiles stepped forward quickly and put his hand on his best friend’s shoulder. “Dude, Luca is not his baby. I’m just helping him out until he can handle this on his own. It’s not about Derek, okay? It’s about the baby. I haven’t decided to switch packs and start playing Pack Mom.”

Well, okay, technically he was. Not the switching packs part, but definitely the whole Pack Mom thing. Stiles didn’t really see it happening at first, but things had gotten real domestic, real quick. Derek and Stiles found themselves in a routine that allowed them both to do the things they needed to do while taking care of Luca. What really made Stiles really uncomfortable was the sentences like, “Will you pick up some more milk on your way home?” that had slipped out of his mouth on more than one occasion.

But the routine was perfect. Stiles would wake up and get Luca changed before making breakfast for the three of them. Derek wasn’t much of a morning person but with a little extra sleep and some coffee in him he was able to take over with Luca while Stiles went to class and work.

During the day Derek worked to find Luca’s pack and when Stiles would come back, he would make dinner for them all before Derek and Stiles would switch off. After dinner, Stiles would usually study with the baby while Derek went out and did whatever nefarious wolf business he had going on.

They either took turns or worked together on giving Luca a bath and putting him to sleep. Then they would crawl into Derek’s huge bed and pass out. Sleep was definitely a commodity considering how Luca still woke up about every 4 hours.

It had also been routine to wake up tangled in each other’s limbs which was a curious thing, considering how they both fell asleep at opposite ends of the king size bed. They formed a silent pact to never speak of it though, so when the morning rolled around they would both just pretend like they weren’t peeling off of each other and go about their business.

Stiles knew deep down that they were going to have to have a conversation about it sometime, especially considering the amount of awkward morning boners that had been going on. But he liked living in denial and had too much other shit to deal with to even think about that potential Big Gay Crisis.

Like now, when Isaac, Boyd, Erica, Scott and Allison were all sitting on the black leather couches in the Hale house living room staring uncomfortably at Stiles while he held Luca on his lap. Derek was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago and the tension in the room was palpable. Scott was fuming and looked like he was actually vibrating with anger while Allison calmly kept his hand clasped in hers.

Luca was lying in Stiles’ arms looking up at him with those big inquisitive eyes. Stiles thought it was so cute how Luca would just stare at his face like he was the most fascinating person in the world. It also led to a lot of embarrassing cooing and baby talk coming from Stiles’ mouth, so he was purposely trying not to look down and get lost in the baby’s gaze while he waited for Derek to arrive.

Stiles heard the front door swing open and Scott jumped to his feet in anticipation. Derek came in and dropped his black messenger bag on the floor near the couch, completely ignoring Scott and his aggressive stance, before he walked up to Stiles and placed a hand on the back of Luca’s head in greeting. Derek’s other hand had settled on Stiles’ shoulder as he leaned in. It was an innocuous gesture, but that mixed with the deliberate disregard shown at Derek’s entry set Scott off.

“What the hell, Derek? How could you involve Stiles in this?” he shouted.

Derek let out a sigh and Stiles swore he could see him roll his eyes before he slid the hand off of Luca and turned to face him.

“Welcome back, Scott. Have you met Luca?” Derek drawled.

“I don’t care about the stupid baby, Derek!” Scott continued to shout. “You had no right to involve Stiles like that. He isn’t in your pack. You need to handle your own shit!”

Luca had gotten increasingly agitated at the yelling and finally screwed up his face and let out a loud wail as tufts of fur popped up on his face and his ears pointed. Stiles held him closer and started whispering soothing words but it didn’t seem to be doing any good so he tried standing up and pacing. He glared at Scott.

“Keep your voice down,” He hissed. “You’re going to get him all upset. And watch your language. Little ears, dude. Little ears.”

A small look of betrayal read across Scott’s face and he opened his mouth to continue his diatribe when Derek took a step forward and let out a low growl.

“Stop yelling. I didn’t make Stiles do anything,” Derek began quietly but forcefully. “You seem to think that I’ve encroached on your pack somehow but you forget, you aren’t an alpha.”

The words hung heavily in the air. Stiles wanted to call bullshit, at least on the whole “I didn’t make Stiles do anything” because uh, yeah, that definitely wasn’t the full truth, but he kept quiet for once and let it play out.

And of all the ways that this situation could’ve played out, not a single person, werewolf or human, in that room could’ve expected what happened next. Just as it looked like Scott was going to forego words and start throwing down, the front door swung open and from foyer they heard, “Honey, I’m home.”

Every head swiveled to the entry of the living room and there stood Peter Hale, arms held wide open with the usual shit eating grin on his face.

“How’s my little pack doing? Oh Stiles, what a cute baby. He has your smile.”

Stiles wished Derek had installed cameras into the Hale house when he was renovating because later, when this stopped being awful and started being funny, he wanted to be able to pause and zoom in on each face in that living room and then die laughing. Especially Isaac. That guy made the best expressions.

But they weren’t at the funny part yet.

Nope, still definitely in the awful.

Derek was the first to regain his composure and asked, “What the fuck are you doing here?”

Peter moved into the living room and occupied the empty arm chair that was supposed to be for Derek. He crossed his legs and made himself comfortable before answering.

“Well, after the whole Alpha Pack fiasco a couple years ago I decided to get out of Dodge and start traveling, as you know. And I’ve made some very interesting friends and heard some very interesting stories.”

Derek glared at him and made the “move on” hand gesture.

“A few months ago I started making my way back to the West Coast and as I did the stories got even more interesting,” Peter paused for dramatic effect and made steady eye contact with Derek. “They were about you and your mate.”

Derek’s face read of pure shock. Quickly he got it back under control and ground out, “I don’t have a mate.”

“Precisely!” Peter chortled. “Which is why they were so interesting. I traveled from Arizona up to Washington State and even into Canada to find people who could tell me more. And let me tell you, they are some fantastic stories.”

Stiles had stopped his pacing when Peter made his grand entrance and was standing motionless (well, as motionless as Stiles could be) still holding Luca. Luca had calmed down from the yelling earlier. He was now bored and decided to use his chubby little hand to pull on Stiles’ ear lobes.

“What were they saying?” Stiles questioned.

Luca saw Stiles’ lips moving and thought they looked fun so he decided to let go of his ear lobe and cram his fingers into Stiles mouth instead.

“Da ba ba,” Luca babbled.

Stiles was momentarily distracted by this and pretended to eat Luca’s fingers, much to the enjoyment of the baby, before remembering he was supposed to be having a serious adult conversation. ADHD. What can you do?

He pulled Luca’s hand out of his mouth and redirected his gaze to Peter. “Well?”

Peter quirked his lips. “Oh, that is a story for another time I’m afraid. What we need to talk about is the baby you’re holding.”

“What do you know about Luca?” Stiles asked eagerly.

“Luca?” Peter’s eyebrows quirked. “Is that what you named him?”

Scott’s eyes got really big. Yeah, Stiles hadn’t exactly mentioned the whole “We didn’t know his name so I named him” part. He kind of just let him think that Luca was already the baby’s name. Well, this should turn out great.

“Do you know where he came from?” Derek demanded.

“Ahhh, no,” Peter exhaled. “But there is some stories circulating up in the Pacific Northwest that sound like they could pertain to the little pup you have here.”

Scott had sat through enough of Uncle Bad Touch’s show and wasn’t interested in listening to stories about Derek and his “mate” or about the baby. He just wanted to get out of there and take Allison as far away from Peter as possible.

“That’s enough,” he said as he got back up off the love seat. “I don’t care about hearing your stupid stories or any of your other lies. I came here to tell Derek to leave Stiles alone and that is what I’m doing.”

Scott pulled Allison up to her feet as well and gestured towards Stiles and Luca.

“Figure out what you need to do so that Stiles doesn’t have to help you anymore,” Scott commanded. “And leave my friends out of your shit, Derek.”

“Scott, I told you-“ Stiles started to explain.

“No, that’s fine.” Derek interrupted. “I talked with Deaton today and he said the baby is ready to meet the other members of the pack so Erica, Isaac and Boyd can start helping me. I don’t need you anymore.”

Bam. It was like Derek had just placed a punch directly to his solar plexus. I don’t need you anymore. Stiles knew that trying to hide his anxiety at these words would be next to useless because the second the words registered in Stiles’ brain his heart had started beating a mile a minute.

They couldn’t do this. They couldn’t just take care of Luca without him. He and the little dude had a thing now. When Luca was fussy and wouldn’t quit crying it was always Stiles who could calm him down. And Stiles had grown attached to him too. After sitting in his ridiculously easy intro classes and shelving books at the library, coming home was his favorite thing in the world now that he got greeted by baby giggles, nonstop babbling and bright green eyes. Not to mention how close he and Derek had gotten. Or thought they had gotten?

Well damn.

Stiles shifted Luca on his hip and looked at Derek long and hard. Derek met his eyes and right then Stiles knew he wasn’t crazy. There was something going on between them and it was written all over the look they shared.

“The betas can help now, Stiles,” Derek said lowly, looking away. “You can go home.”

Chapter Text

Stiles absentmindedly fiddled with the remote control. He tried balancing it on his stomach only to watch it fall then started rolling it around on his stomach.

Three days. Three incredibly long days. That is how long it had been since Derek pulled the “I don’t need you anymore” line and sent Stiles packing. He hadn’t cried, okay. He hadn’t. He wasn’t some girl who went goo-goo eyed over a baby and then started planning it’s future and what kindergarten they were going to send it too and how Luca was going to grow up to be the Director of FBI.

Nope.

But he did miss the little dude. A lot.

Stiles pulled the blanket up over his head and groaned. Derek hadn’t even sent him so much as an update text since he had taken Luca from his arms and watched as Scott dragged him and Allison out of the Hale house. That image was burned in Stiles’ brain though - Derek standing tall with a small wrinkle creasing his forehead, serious set eyes with Luca cradled in the crook of his arm.

He didn’t sleep at all that night then the majority of the next day was spent talking himself out of driving over there and telling them to all go fuck themselves because he wants to take care of Luca because of reasons so there. Stiles would jump up, grab his keys and then sit in the Jeep for 20 minutes arguing with himself out loud only to go back inside again. An hour later the same thing would happen. And again. And again.

UGH. Stiles was killing himself. He needed to stop this. He needed to get off the couch. He hadn’t really even moved in two days. Well, with the exception of dinner with his Dad.

Friday night was a bi-monthly weekend dinner with his Dad. A weekly lunch wasn’t enough for Papa Stilinksi so there were also bi-weekly dinners and football Sunday pizza. Stiles didn’t mind at all though. He worried about his Dad being all alone in that house, especially after having Stiles around to do the cooking and laundry for the past 8 years.

They were sitting at a table in the local Olive Garden and Stiles had been unusually quiet all evening as his father had talked about the silly cases he had been on this week. Mrs. McGregor seriously thought the mailman was stealing her begonias, the old coot.

“Stiles, what’s wrong?”

“What?” Stiles jerked from the faraway place his mind had wandered to.

“You seem a little bit distracted, son. Is everything okay?” Sheriff Stilinski asked again.

“Oh,” Stiles breathed. “Actually, I have a legal question.”

“Ah hell, what did you do now?” His dad asked exasperated.

“No, no, no!” Stiles was quick to remediate. “It was just something I’m curious about. What happens when someone finds a baby? Like, legally speaking?”

Sheriff Stilinksi’s eyebrows shot up. Stiles had asked him some weird things over the years, some very weird things. But this one was way out of left field.

“Well, I suppose DCF, eh Department of Child and Family Services, would place the baby in a foster home while they search for next of kin.”

Stiles chewed his lip. “Do they have to take him, um, I mean the baby? Do they have to take the baby into foster care? What if they can’t find any relatives?”

“It isn’t “finders keepers” when it comes to abandoned children,” Sheriff Stilinkski reasoned. “DCF would have to put the baby into a legal foster home while they searched for the family. If they couldn’t find the family then the child would probably stay in foster care until it either gets adopted or turns 18.”

“So technically you could adopt the baby? Like after you found it and turned it in. You could go through the proper channels?” Stiles was leaning forward over the table, only half in his seat. “How long do you think that’d take?”

“Adoptions can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 years depending on the circumstances. And it isn’t a for sure thing. They could look into a potential adopter and decide they aren’t a suitable home. Why are you asking me about this, Stiles?” A look of suspicion drew across the Sheriff’s face. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Stiles leaned back and tried to take a more relax posture while his heart fell out of the bottom of his chest. “It’s just something that popped up in one of my classes.”

There was no way Luca could go into foster care, especially not when he had the tendency to burst into a furry little werebaby with pointy ears when he got upset. And it wasn’t like Stiles could adopt him anyway. Getting your A.S. in Criminal Behavioral Science at the local community college while stacking books part time at the library wasn’t exactly ideal home material.

His next thought had been Derek, but there was no way in hell Derek would even consider adopting Luca. Shoot, the Alpha could barely take care of himself and manage the small pack he had.

There really wasn’t any options.

After dinner Stiles had crawled back onto the couch with his blanket and vegetated. He had studied some, but he could get A’s in his classes without even going so it wasn’t like he had a whole lot to worry about. Stupid reality shows played in marathon on television and he watched, his mind numbing.

As he was sitting there contemplating getting up and turning on the Xbox, his phone started vibrating on the coffee table. He jumped up and grabbed it eagerly. The screen read: “Catwoman”.

“Erica?”

“Stiles,” a voice on the other end whispered. “Get here. Now.”

Then it abruptly hung up.

He stared at the phone for a moment in confusion before throwing himself in a fumbling of limbs for the door.

~

“Why the f-u-c-k didn’t you call me?!” Stiles spelled at Derek angrily.

Derek was fuming. Stiles had gotten to the Hale house and found it in complete disorder. When he walked in he saw Erica and Boyd on the couch, Boyd sitting up stiffly and unmoving with his gaze off into space like he had found his happy place and was blocking everything else out. Erica was cuddled up next to him with her face hidden in his shoulder. When she heard him come in, Erica looked up at him like he really was Batman, here to save the day.

Stiles hopped around the baby toys strew across the floor and ran past them to the kitchen where he found Derek with his head in his hands and Luca wailing from his carrier on the floor. Isaac was also on the kitchen floor, huddled up against the wall in a corner. He saw Stiles and ran to him for a hug.

Derek lifted his head and Stiles saw the red eyes glaring back at him.

“What are you doing here?” Derek growled.

“Erica called me,” Stiles said and let go of Isaac. Luca was in the carrier on the floor making grabby hands up at Stiles while continuing to wail so Stiles picked him up out of the carrier and started rubbing his face against the screaming werebaby’s furry face. “How long has he been like this?”

“I told them not to call you.” Was all he got in reply.

Stiles murmured soft things to Luca as he rubbed his nose against his cheek. The poor little guy was all red and hoarse from screaming for so long. Stiles noticed that the onesie Luca was wearing was stained and smelled weird, and not in the poopy diaper way either. It smelled like rancid formula, two day old baby food and had flecks of rice cereal stuck to parts of the fabric. Poor baby.

Luca stuck his little face right into Stiles’ chest, his sobs quieting into whimpers.

“He knows your heartbeat,” Isaac murmured incredulously.

“Isaac, go run a bath upstairs will you? And pull out a clean change of clothes?” Stiles asked.

He didn’t really need Isaac to do that for him but he wanted to get Derek alone so he didn’t have to tear Derek’s ass a new one in front of his beta.

“Why the f-u-c-k didn’t you call me?” He asked Derek tersely when Isaac had left the kitchen. “I seriously cannot believe you.”

He wasn’t really expecting a reply but the silence still made Stiles seethed. “How could you do this to Luca? There is no excuse, Derek. None. What the hell is wrong with you?”

The red in Derek’s eyes was receding and Stiles could finally see the tiredness etched into his face. There was also something else there, something he hadn’t seen in a while. Hopelessness mixed with self-loathing and desperation. God, Stiles couldn’t believe himself but he was really starting to feel just as sorry for Derek as he was for Luca.

Stiles sighed. There really was no point in berating Derek at this point because obviously Derek was doing that enough for the both of them internally, and frankly he didn’t have the heart. He readjusted Luca in his arms and left Derek alone in the kitchen, heading upstairs. Erica and Boyd had left which Stiles didn’t blame them for. Erica was going to catch hell later for defying Derek’s orders not to call him. Stiles made a mental note to take her to dinner or something when this all died down.

At the top of the stairs he saw Isaac standing anxiously waiting for him.

“Come with me and tell me what happened,” Stiles ordered and Isaac followed him dutifully into the master bathroom.

Stiles put Luca in the warm bath. Usually Luca loved bath time and would splash around with the rubber ducky Stiles had bought him, but this time he just sat in his bathtub seat and quietly watched as Stiles brought the washcloth up and started cleaning the dried baby food off his face and arms.

“Start talking,” Stiles demanded.

Isaac started telling him what happened. Everything had been fine at first. Derek had introduced each member of the pack to Luca individually, first scenting the beta so that his scent mixed with theirs and then each beta in turn scented Luca. Luca had been fine, according to Isaac, and even grabbed a handful of Erica’s long hair and given it a sharp tug as he giggled.

Derek had then put him to bed with no problem. It was the next morning when he walked up to Luca’s crib that Luca had gotten irate and started screaming. It had pretty much been downhill since then. Isaac said that Derek lost his patience after about 7 hours of the first day.

“All Luca did was wake up, scream and go back to sleep. Then repeat,” Isaac explained. He had reached his hand into the tub and was pushing the rubber ducky around the water in front of Luca. Luca watched him warily but didn’t make any moves to grab at the toy.

“We tried to feed him, gave him his favorite toys… Erica even put on some classical music to try and sooth him, but nothing helped.” The helpless that Isaac felt crept into his voice and Stiles leaned into him in a soothing gesture. Isaac let out a long breath.

“By this afternoon Erica couldn’t take it anymore. He had spit up all over Erica’s favorite shirt, scratched the hell out of Boyd, and I almost lost an eye. Again.” Isaac lamented. “Derek and Peter had gone somewhere and left us alone with the baby so we were just about to call you when he got back. The little guy wouldn’t even let anyone near him without screaming louder. But Derek said no, that we weren’t allowed to call you. Then he just put Luca in that carrier and left him on the floor. He had been crying on the floor for like two hours before you came.”

Stiles wanted to break shit. He couldn’t believe how stupid he had been. Luca clearly had abandonment issues and Stiles just went and made it ten times worse. Of course he would be upset when he woke up and Stiles wasn’t there to make him breakfast like he had every day for the past week and a half.

And Derek. Of all the stubborn, stupid, arrogant shit Derek had pulled the past few years this topped it by far.

Like he had been speaking of the Devil, Derek appeared at the bathroom door.

“Go Isaac,” he commanded.

Isaac pulled his hand out of the tub and stood up, dropping his dry hand to the back of Stiles’ neck before stepping around him and making his way out of the bathroom. Stiles deliberately didn’t look at Derek as he picked Luca up out of his bathtub seat and wrapped him in a towel. He pushed past Derek into the bedroom and headed towards the changing table.

“Stiles,” Derek started.

“No.” Stiles kept one hand on Luca as he turned from the changing table to look at Derek. “No. I’m not... I can’t.”

They held each other’s gaze for a moment. Stiles wanted to say something, he really did. But there was too much going on in his head and he hadn’t taken his medication today. Thoughts weren’t forming, they were just buzzing angrily around his mind so that he couldn’t grab them and Stiles didn’t want to go into this conversation half-cocked.

Stiles turned back to putting pajamas on Luca. He loved these pajamas. They were white with brown spots all over and the feet looked like little puppy dog faces. Stiles thought it was very fitting for a werebaby. After they were buttoned up Stiles bent into Luca’s stomach and pretended to eat his belly while letting out little growls and tickling him with his long fingers, much to Luca’s enjoyment.

When he was done making a snack out of Luca’s tummy, he picked him up and turned towards Derek’s bed. Derek had stood in silence the whole time, waiting for Stiles to be ready to talk and definitely dying at the affection Stiles showed.

But talking wasn’t going to happen. Making a little barrier with the pillows in the middle of the bed, Stiles set Luca in the center of the pillows and crawled into bed next to him.

“Hit the lights on your way out,” Stiles dismissed Derek, turning his head so that he could watch Luca fall asleep.

Derek let out a huff but didn’t say anything. He walked toward the door and turned off the lights on his way out.

Chapter Text

“Come on Luca! Come get Rupert!”

Stiles was sitting on the living room floor in the Hale house teasing Luca with a stuffed giraffe he had named Rupert. Luca was sitting up and desperately trying reaching for it but Stiles kept just outside his reach.

“Come on little man! I know you can do it!”

With a small yell of frustration, Luca bent forward so he could prop himself on his hands, pulling his legs under him so that he was kneeling. Stiles had seen him do this earlier and quickly grabbed his phone and opened the camera app, switching from camera to video.

“Luca! Get Rupert!”

Luca lifted one hand up off the beige carpet and put it forward unsteadily and Stiles excitedly started the video recording. Carefully, Luca pushed forward his leg to balance himself and then seeing that he wasn’t falling on his face like he did the last time, moved his other limbs accordingly.

“OH MY GOD! Look at you!” Stiles said excitedly. “You’re crawling!!”

Stiles wiggled the yellow plush toy again. “You can get him, dude! Just a little ways more.”

Luca crawled forward some more until he was just in front of where Stiles had propped his back against the leather couch. He reached out and grabbed Rupert from Stiles with a giggle then plopped himself back into a sitting position, letting out a victory shriek.

Stiles was beside himself. He stopped the recording and picked the baby up, swinging both him and the giraffe he was gripping in his little chubby hands.

“I am so proud of you!” Stiles proclaimed, pulling Luca in for a little hug. “You are the coolest baby I have ever met. Seriously, I say that with 100% sincerity. You are awesome.”

Luca just smiled at him, his green eyes dancing in the light of Stiles’ happiness.

“And just so you know, the next time Sour Wolf and Uncle Scott decide to do their stupid werewolf s-h-i-t, I’m going to tell them to go do bad things to themselves and then possibly to each other, because you and me, we are going to stick together, my man.”

On an intellectual level Stiles knew that Luca had no idea what Stiles was telling him right now, but he felt like he needed to apologize to the little guy anyway.

This morning when Stiles woke up he found himself still alone in Derek’s bed with his body curling around Luca’s sleeping figure. He didn’t remember having to get up during the night at all, which was weird. After watching Luca sleep for a little bit (he made the cutest faces while he dreamed), he woke him up and headed downstairs for breakfast only to find the whole house vacant. He did wonder where Derek had gone off too, but was actually super glad that he didn’t run into Peter, because seriously, the guy still made him real uncomfortable.

After breakfast he put Luca in the living room for some tummy time while he sat on the floor next to him using his laptop to search more on the raising of wolf pups. Honestly, Stiles was grasping at straws. Luca hadn’t let him put him down all morning until just now but even still he’d catch Luca looking over at him sometimes to check and make sure he was still there. It broke Stiles’ heart a little bit but he couldn’t carry the little guy around for the rest of his infancy. So he was trying to figure out if that was actually normally or not.

And it is why he felt it necessary to reassure Luca of his intent to never leave him again, even though he knew Luca had no idea what he was saying.

Just as Stiles had finished his little proclamation to Luca, he heard the front door open and there was Sour Wolf. Seriously, the whole “Speak of the Devil” thing was getting creepy accurate.

Derek was carrying something in his hand. It was a car seat.

Stiles’ heart beat a little bit faster and Luca, who had turned to watch Derek walk in, swiveled his head back to Stiles. Derek clearly had heard the upbeat of Stiles’ heart too because he held out a placating hand.

“We need to go see Deaton,” Derek said slowly, like he was trying to soothe a frightened animal. “I figured you wouldn’t want to get stopped by your Dad for having an unrestrained infant in the vehicle.”

Stiles let out the breath he didn’t even know he was holding. It was actually a thoughtful gesture. Technically, in the event of a car accident, Stiles would probably be more damaged than the werebaby, but they didn’t need to take any chances. Not that Stiles was going to say thank you to Derek or anything. He was still supposed to be mad.

A short (and silent) car ride later they walked into the veterinary clinic.

“Hey Dr. D!” shouted Stiles, the bell over the door chiming their arrival.

Stiles opened up the front partition and walked to the back, Derek following closely behind. To the left there was a small fenced in circle full of lab puppies yipping and playing with each other.

“Look Luca,” he pointed. “Puppies!”

Deaton walked in while Stiles was leaning over the fencing to show the puppies to Luca.

“Ah Stiles, Derek, hello,” he greeted. “And hello to you, little Luca. I guess it’s time we had a talk. Stiles, why don’t you put Luca down and we can go to the back.”

Stiles looked at him confused. “Put him where?”

Deaton smiled a small smile. “With the rest of the puppies, of course.”

Stiles first thought was, are you shitting me? But he instead went with, “Uhhh?”

“Don’t worry, he’ll be fine,” Deaton reassured. “I imagine he’ll enjoy a little play time.”

Stiles looked into the fenced in area again. Yeah, there was no way he was leaving a baby in a metal fence with newspaper covering the floor and no other supervision besides 4 rambunctious puppies. He looked up at Derek, hoping for a little input, but Derek remained stone faced as always.

“Yeah, I think I’d rather just hold him,” he hedged.

“May I?” Deaton asked as he plucked Luca from Stiles’ arms. Stiles started to protest but Deaton carefully dropped him into the puppy pit. Stiles panicked for a solid moment then paused as he saw the look of pure joy on Luca’s face.

Luca let one of the puppies lick him full in the face, clapping his hands in glee. He replied in kind by licking the puppy back on the nose and flopping onto his tummy so that he could crawl around with them.

Stiles cringed. “Oh God, that just isn’t sanitary.”

Another smile broke across Deaton’s face. “He’ll be fine. Shall we?”

After all three of them were seated in Deaton’s office Deaton began.

“So, I see you have managed to take very good care of the werebaby. He looks healthy.”

“Yeah,” Stiles replied, shooting a glare at Derek. “There’s been some challenges but Luca seems to be doing okay.”

“I understand he has grown quite attached to you, Stiles,” Deaton smiled.

Derek shifted uncomfortably but didn’t say anything and Deaton looked between the two, his ever present smile still etched on his face. But it did grow a little bit stonier the longer the silence dragged on. Stiles didn’t really want to start that fight right now and Derek was being equally as forthcoming. (Read: not forthcoming at all.)

“Well, I see the two of you have managed to keep the same level of communication you’ve always had, if the silence and angry glares are any indication,” Deaton chided. “But we don’t really have time for that right now. According to the information Derek told me this morning, Peter has returned and shared with him some things that unfortunately coincide directly with rumors I’ve been hearing.”

Stiles finally perked up, “Really? What did he say? Does it have to do with Luca’s family?”

“Not exactly. I know there are some things we’ve never really talked about before,” Deaton edged. “But I’m afraid the time has come.”

Stiles’ whole body went rigid. He knew what Deaton was talking about, but he really, really, really, didn’t want to talk about this. Ever.

“No. ” Stiles dropped his head into his hands and let his fingers comb through his hair.

“Stiles, it's okay,” Derek soothed. He could hear Stiles’ heart race and actually smell the anxiety rolling of the guy.

“The letter that Derek found attached to Luca mentioned a mate,” Deaton started, clearly deciding that Stiles’ approval wasn’t necessary for the conversation to happen. “A very powerful mate.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Stiles demanded. He had dropped his hands and was now angrily glaring at Deaton. “Obviously it was a mistake. Derek doesn’t have a mate. The woman was probably out of her mind.”

“No,” Deaton interjected. “She wasn’t crazy, just a little misinformed.”

Derek has gotten up at this point and started pacing. Smelling the anxiety and fear roll off of Stiles in waves was driving him crazy. He was just as upset about the whole thing as anybody else, but the fact that Stiles was in such obvious agony when there wasn’t anything he could do to comfort him was setting his teeth on edge.

“Just tell him, Deaton,” Derek gritted out.

Deaton gave Derek a measured look, but continued. “When the Alpha pack came to Beacon Hills they came here to test Derek and his pack. They did a series of things that were seemingly senseless, but really weren’t. They were taking a measure of the power and capabilities of the pack.”

“I know, Deaton. I was there,” replied Stiles sarcastically.

“Yes, and the story of their time here didn’t go untold,” Deaton continued. “It has been broadcast all over the Western side of the country. Unfortunately, sometimes as a story is told, it can lose some details while having others exaggerated.”

Stiles wasn’t an idiot. He knew exactly where this was going, but God did he wish it wasn’t.

“They think I’m his mate,” Stiles stated.

“I’m afraid so,” Deaton said apologetically. “The reason why Luca’s mother thought that Derek’s pack would be a safe place for her son is because she had heard the story of a mate with untold magical skill. One that had killed Alphas, defeated an Alpha pack and bent the forces of nature to his will. There are actually quite a lot of other rumors going around about you as well. Talks of you stripping werewolves of their abilities and forcing a change against a werewolf’s will. There are even stories of you turning humans without a bite.”

Deaton obviously enjoyed these stories if the small chuckle he let out was any indication. Stiles didn’t think it was funny though.

“But what does that have anything to do with anything?!” Stiles shouted. He was coming to the edge of his patience. “That was two years ago! I haven’t even thought about doing magic since then.”

“Ah, but that is the beauty of legends, Stiles,” Deaton grinned wider. “They become a creature in and of themselves. Have you ever wondered why? Why there hasn’t been a single other magical creature to come within a 50 mile radius of Beacon Hills in the past 2 years? You dealt with a rabid werewolf, a kanima, crusading hunters and an Alpha pack all within 2 short years. But after that? Nothing.”

Stiles just stared silently at Deaton.

“They were afraid, Stiles,” Deaton said, answering his own question. “They were afraid of you.”

Derek and Stiles shared a long gaze. Stiles didn’t want to hear his voice right now. He had taken his medication today and all his thoughts were slamming together in his head like tumblers in a lock. Stiles knew that Derek had gone off with Peter yesterday and that instead of coming to Stiles with this, had gone home and let Luca wail on the floor while he brooded and tried his best to shut Stiles out. Like it was Stiles’ fault that everyone thought they were mates due to some seriously fucked up game of telephone.

“And now we need you again,” Derek interrupted. “Luca’s pack contacted me.”

KABOOOOM. Derek dropped that bomb in his usual succinct, finesseless way that had Stiles jumping up off the worn couch in Deaton’s office and lunging directly for the Alpha. He slammed his fists into Derek’s chest, shoving him hard.

“When were you going to fucking tell me you asshole?!”

“It just happened yesterday,” Derek responded tersely.

Stiles shoved Derek hard again and the Alpha didn’t try to stop him. Standing there and taking Stiles’ aggression actually felt better than watching Stiles sit on the couch alone in his misery.

“Why didn’t you tell me? Who are they? Where are they?”

Stiles had stopped shoving Derek but was now standing in the middle of Deaton’s office taking loud, deep breathes and clenching and unclenching his fists.

“Why didn’t they try and find Luca?”

“They are a small pack outside Portland,” Derek began. “They’ve been trying to find the mother and baby for months but they are suffering from limited resources as well as having to fight another pack. They’ve been at war with a larger pack that’s been encroaching on their territory for the past 8 months. The mate of Luca’s mom was killed in a fight with the other pack. She went rogue a little while later and took Luca with her.”

There aren’t many times in Stiles’ life when words have completely escaped him. Sarcasm and wit were pretty much his whole life, so when he just stood there completely silent, it made Derek a little uncomfortable. But he did his best to let Stiles have a moment to absorb everything he had just put out there.

Stiles wasn’t absorbing though. Oh no, he was far beyond absorbing. Stiles had already formulated 6 possible plans for how the future could play out now that he had this information. The problem? Not one of them was a particularly winning solution. No matter which way he thought it out, somebody was either going to get their feelings hurt or die.

And more than likely, Stiles was going to end up both.

“So we’re going to help the other pack, right? Luca’s pack?” Stiles asked finally.

“Yes,” Derek conceded.

“Why do you need me then? This should be pretty simple: You go up, intimidate them with your angry posturing and with the threat of your “all powerful mate,” and it’s over with, right?”

Shifting his eyes downward, Derek clenched his jaw. This was the part he was least happy about, the part that was going to cost him the most.

“The other pack is bigger and their Alpha is a lot older than me.” The pain of the statement ripped into Derek’s words.

Oh, Stiles thought. So there it was. That is why they needed him. He stepped backwards until his legs hit the edge of the couch and Stiles sunk down.

“You want me to use magic again.”

The words hung heavy in the air with no one willing to touch them. They all knew what it meant, what it meant for Stiles to use magic again. The instincts in Derek were fighting hard against it, just wanting to grab Stiles and hide him away. But there was no other way.

“It’s the only way to ensure that Luca can be returned to a safe home,” Derek said softly.

Anger started boiling in Stiles’ blood.

“NO! Don’t you fucking dare, Derek Hale!” he shouted. “You don’t get to use Luca as leverage to make me do what you want!”

“Stiles, no that isn’t-“ Derek tried but Stiles interrupted him.

“You don’t get to make me the bad guy here. You don’t get to make it seem like if I don’t help I’m basically killing Luca myself!”

“Stiles, please,” Derek tried again.

“I can’t do it! I can’t do that again! I ALMOST DIED last time and now you’re asking me to do it again?”

The anger dried up and panic took its place. Stiles started choking, not enough air was flowing into his lungs and he was getting really hot. He needed to breathe but it felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room.

He tried to remember the last time he had a panic attack but at the moment, trying to think about anything but getting air into his lungs was impossible.
Suddenly he found himself wrapped in Derek’s arms and his face buried into the Alpha’s shoulder. He let the sobs wrack his body and took comfort in the heat from Derek’s hand that was rubbing large soothing circles into his back.

As he struggled to breathe he gripped Derek tightly with his arms, using him as an anchor before letting himself fall apart.

Chapter Text

When the tears finally stopped and his lungs were properly filled with air he let his arms fall back to his sides and took a step back. Deaton was ready with a box of tissues held out, a calm look to his face.

“Be sure you tell him,” Deaton said and walked out of the room.

Stiles was confused for a minute before he realized that Deaton had actually been talking to Derek.

“Tell me what? What else could there possibly be left to say?” Stiles mouthed off, sarcasm dripping.

“We’ll talk about it later,” Derek said brushing it off. “I need to know now, Stiles. I need to know if you’re okay with doing this.”

Derek seemed legitimately contrite. It was part of the reason why Stiles knew that he was going to do this.

“I just can’t think of any other way.”

“We could keep him,” Stiles pleaded, grasping. “I could drop out of school for a while and take care of him until he is old enough to control his shift so we can send him to a day care. We don’t have to give him back. We don’t have to fight.”

Derek reached forward and took Stiles’ face in his hand. He brushed his thumb against his cheek and took in the broken brown eyes. Derek didn’t fail to notice how Stiles changed the “I” to “we” and it made his heart clench. But he had to at least try to give Luca back to his pack, even if that meant watching Stiles’ heart break.

“We can’t keep him Stiles. He deserves to be with his pack.”

Stiles knew that. As much as it pained him he knew that there was no way that he wouldn’t give Luca every opportunity to be with his family. To grow up with people who could tell him stories about his mom and dad and be around people who smelled like home. Stiles was ready to fight to make sure Luca could grow up with those people in a safe environment. Stiles also knew that doing this would probably kill him.

Literally.

“I’ll do it.”

~

“Derek, this doesn’t seem like a good idea.”

Isaac was trying to be a good beta and come about this from around the side instead of taking his Alpha head on.

“Let us come with you just in case.”

But seriously, this was a pretty frickin’ terrible idea.

“We’ll be fine Isaac. We might not even have to fight with Stiles there,” Derek responded, stuffing his duffel bag into the trunk of the Camaro.

“Yeah, that just seems like another massively bad idea. I mean, the last time Stiles used magic – “

“Don’t,” Derek cut him off. The last thing Derek needed was anybody talking about it more and giving Stiles even more reason to be anxious.

“Everything will be fine. We’ll be back as soon as we can. Don’t burn down the house while I’m gone,” Derek said light heartedly while pulling Isaac in for a hug and rubbing his face against Isaac’s cheek.

“Yep, that still weirds me out, dudes,” Stiles announced.

He was carrying Luca on one hip while trying to drag a car seat, a diaper bag and a huge suitcase along with him and was failing miserably. Isaac stepped over and mercifully took the suitcase from him to load into the back of the Camaro.

“You’d think after three years you’d be used to it,” Isaac quickly leaned in and rubbed his face into Stiles cheek, ducking the swat that Stiles made at him with his now free hand.

“Hey, you keep that werewolf s-h-i-t to yourself. I don’t want any part of that shenanigans.”

Pretending to be wounded Isaac replied, “You never said no to cuddling with Scott. He told me about your guys’ sleep overs in high school.”

A grimace covered Stiles face. “First of all, we didn’t cuddle. We were sharing a twin bed. I didn’t get to upgrade to a bigger bed until I moved out. And secondly, the dude is like my brother, so it wasn’t werewolfy at all.”

“Uh huh,” Isaac huffed.

After Stiles had gotten Luca strapped into the car seat in the back of the Camaro he turned to face Isaac again. He let the smile he had been holding in during their banter finally break loose and Isaac smiled back at him.

“Ahhhh, how can I resist those puppy eyes?” Stiles exclaimed, taking Isaac into a hug.

Isaac let his hand come up to clap Stiles in the shoulder before running it across his back. Stiles rolled his eyes but didn't say anything. Werewolves and their not so sneaky scenting...

“Call us if you need us to come up there,” Isaac pleaded. “You know how bullheaded our Alpha can be.”

"I heard that!"

Stiles snorted with derision. “Yeah, don’t I know it. Take care of Scott for me? I have a feeling like he’s going to need a little bro time.”

Isaac nodded and Derek and Stiles finished up packing their things into the Camaro. Stiles waved out the window to Isaac as the Hale house faded away into the distance.

They had a full 10 hour drive in front of them. Stiles had thought that they would leave the next day considering that it was almost 4pm before he had gotten back from Dr. Deaton’s and his little talk with Scott. But Derek was adamant that they start now. Neither of them had ever traveled with a baby before, but Stiles was pretty sure you couldn’t just drive all night with one in the back seat, so Derek had promised to stop at a hotel.

It was nice to not have to be mad at Derek anymore. They had formed a silent truce in Deaton’s office this morning and now their relationship had returned to a more comfortable place. Even Luca and Derek seemed to be on better terms.

When they walked out of Deaton’s office they found Luca with the puppies fast asleep. He had fallen asleep on his back with the yellow labs flanking both sides and one up by his head. They were all asleep, letting out little snores and jerking with the occasional paw twitch.

“They must have worn him out,” Derek bent over and gently scooped Luca up from among the lab pups.

Stiles had been waiting for Luca to realize that he was being held by Derek and start screaming, but instead Luca snuffled against Derek’s chest and then buried his face in the crook of his arm. Stiles was gob smacked.

“I smell like you again,” Derek explained.

He wasn’t expecting that phrase to hit him the way it did. But he was running high on emotions right now. At least that was his excuse and he was sticking to it god dammit.

Derek’s words wound hot in Stiles’ belly. I smell like you. There was this fantastic mix of senses moving in him right now. His eyes were taking in the beautiful man standing in front of him holding a sleeping infant, his ears were ringing with the quietly spoken words and all of this was coming together to pool warmly in the bottom of his stomach and pull strings that were connected to somewhere lower.

Stiles wasn’t even sure how he made it out of Deaton’s clinic without becoming a big melty puddle on the floor. Actually, he better stop thinking about it now because there was already a red flush creeping up Stiles’ neck and he was becoming increasingly aware of the werewolf sitting a few inches from him.

I can do this, he mantra’d, only – nine and a half - more hours.

He was going to die.

“You didn’t tell me what Scott said,” Stiles jumped at the sound of Derek’s voice crashing into his reverie.

“Oh,” coughed Stiles. “Yeah, he wasn’t a happy camper.”

Understatement of the year.

He had actually gotten so mad he started to shift out of anger for the first time in a long time. Stiles had explained the whole legendary status thing with the consequential fighting with Luca’s pack thing and the whole possibly using magic again thing.

Looking back on it, Stiles probably should’ve given Scott a little time to adjust in between each knowledge bomb because by the end he was so wound up he look like he was about to explode. Which he kind of did, just in the furry, fangy way.

After a lot of shouting and wild gesturing and having a portion of their apartment destroyed, Scott was finally able to shift back and properly talk to Stiles.

“Stiles, don’t do this. Last time you almost died. I can’t lose you man,” Scott pleaded with his big brown puppy eyes.

“Look, we don’t even know that I’m going to have to break out the magic again,” Stiles reasoned. “And even if I do, I definitely won’t have to use a tenth of the power I used with the Alpha pack. Plus, I am way stronger now than I ever was before.”

Scott looked at him curiously. They hadn’t ever talked about this. After the Alpha pack they were so busy making sure Stiles didn’t die that nobody had time to. Then when Stiles recovered, everyone could tell he didn’t want to talk about it so everyone was afraid to even bring it up.

But Scott had always wanted to ask Stiles about the magic. Was it just gone because Stiles wanted it to? Or was it still there, lying dormant until he needed it again? How much power did he have? Scott had actually seen Stiles force an Alpha to change out of his beta form and back into human form once. What else could he do?

“I can control it better this time.”

“How do you know?” Scott demanded.

“Because I can feel it.”

So Scott had his answer to at least one of the questions. It made him wonder though how Stiles could’ve had all of this magic right at his finger tips and never used it once in the past few years.

“I’m still fucking mad Derek.”

“Dude, don’t blame Derek. This isn’t his fault. It is 100% my choice to help out Luca and his pack,” Stiles continued like he hadn’t just admitted to his best friend that he was humming with untold magical force.

“No,” Scott got mad instantly. “I don’t accept that. It was Derek who caused you to go all destroyer of worlds on the Alphas last time and it is his fault that you’re involved with this baby business. He promised, Stiles. He promised after last time to leave you out of it. It’s his fault you almost died!”

“I am a grown ass man, Scott!” Stiles started turning red. “I don’t blame Derek for what happened then and I don’t now. Truthfully, if I could keep Luca I would totally go Daddy!Stiles on the situation. But I can’t. He’s not mine. But just because he was dropped off at Derek’s doorstep doesn’t mean that I am not responsible.”

“How are you responsible?” Scott made a face like he was trying to reason with a crazy person. “You aren’t even part of his pack!”

“Because he’s innocent, dude,” Stiles replied using the same words Scott had all those years ago. “It is within my power to help him and I’m going to. He’s just a kid man. He didn’t ask for his parents to be killed and his family taken away.”

Scott still looked mad and opened his mouth like he was going to argue so more so Stiles finally decided to lay it out to him straight.

“Look man, I love you like a brother, you know that. But you have got to stop with this bullshit pack stuff. I’m not trying to hurt your feelings or anything, but you aren’t my Alpha.”

Scott’s eyes went wide.

“I’m not saying Derek is either,” Stiles immediately amended. “But I’m not in anyone’s pack. God, I will have your back to the end of days, but I’m not your werewolf, man. I’m me and if I want to do something then damn it, I’m going to do it.”

Stiles was having a hard time looking at Scott now because Scott had this look like someone had just run over his dog.

“But werewolf shit aside, we will always be brothers,” Stiles finished.

“So yeah, pretty much that’s what happened,” Stiles told Derek.

Derek had kept his eyes on the road and let Stiles go off into a monologue, not interrupting. He found that was often best when dealing with Stiles’ ADD mind because interrupting with questions sometimes led to interesting and terribly unreasonable places.

There was actually a lot of Stiles and Scott’s conversation that he wanted to question, but decided it’d be best to ask later, when they weren’t crammed into the car with a baby. Just in case it turned edgy and someone needed to run or something.

“And your Dad?”

“OH SHIT. I forgot about my Dad!” A look of horror broke out across his face.

Derek whipped his head to look at Stiles, “What?! Stiles how could you forget??”

“Man I am getting good at lying to werewolves. Didn’t even have to use magic.” Stiles started cracking up.

Derek looked back at the road, pissed that Stiles had gotten the better of him.

“I told him I was offered a page job at a huge conference for private investigators in San Francisco and that I wanted to go for networking. I said something about my professors going and that I’d be gone the rest of the half of next week. So as long as he doesn’t try to find me on Monday or Tuesday we’re good.”

“You think he bought it? And what about classes?”

“He better have bought it or I am going to be in deep shit, and if I end up in deep shit, I’m pulling you right down with me,” Stiles teased. “And I can pass my classes with my eyes closed. I’ll tell them I’m sick and submit all my work electronically. I’m probably going to have to find a new job though…”

Derek stiffened. “I’m sorry. If there was any other way-“

“Nah,” Stiles waved him off. “I didn’t like working at the library anyway.”

Stiles adjusted his butt in the leather seat.

“So, now that all that is settled, how should we spend the next 9 hours?” Stiles grinned mischievously. “20 questions or 99 bottles of beer on the wall?”

Derek just gave him a glare.

~

Derek kept sneaking glances over at Stiles’ sleeping figure. About an hour ago he had fallen asleep and now he was slumped against the side window with his head propped up on this hand. He looked so incredibly peaceful. It reminded Derek of the mornings when he’d wake up to Stiles snuggled into his chest, his soft breath tickling the inside of his bicep.

He didn’t know what he was going to do. Before this baby showed up Stiles had never shown any obvious interest in Derek, at least he was pretty sure he hadn’t. Stiles never reacted to things like he should and it was confusing as all hell sometimes. But he felt like something had been growing between them. Something more than just friendship or pack bonds, and he was terrified.

Watching Stiles from afar and secretly desiring him while covering it up with growls and angry sarcasm was one thing. Being up close and personal and openly spilling his feelings was a whole other thing. Derek had known for years that his wolf wanted Stiles as a mate but it wasn’t ever in the realm of possibility so he kept squashing it down. Stiles was always too young and too in love with Lydia to ever be his. But now Stiles wasn’t young and he wasn’t in love with Lydia.

That didn’t change the fact that Derek didn’t think he could ever be good enough, be whole enough, to deserve Stiles. As much as he wanted him, there was still a big, self-loathing part of Derek that didn’t believe Stiles could ever love someone as broken as he was and that he deserved better. Even though it felt like Stiles was giving off the “more than friendship” vibes and in the past years hadn’t made Derek feel like he was anything less, he thought Stiles still deserved more.

But like he said earlier, Stiles never reacted to things properly, so Derek had no fucking clue what was really going on.

Derek eased onto the break to turn off the cruise control and took the exit for the hotel he had booked. He absolutely loathed hotels, but Stiles had insisted and Derek was too happy he was back to talking to him again to argue. So he had gone online and researched the newest hotel to open up on their route to Portland. He found one that was less than a year old about 7 hours away and figured that would be the best place to stop for the night.

When he had booked it he had specifically requested the room in the hotel that had been booked the least and ended up paying a pretty penny for one of the executive suites. But it was worth it. Trying to stay in a hotel as a werewolf was absolute torture. The smells of every person and every place they had been combined with the reek of bleach and industrial strength laundry detergent created a stench that was vomit inducing. He’d rather pay $200 extra that try and deal with that.

Stiles started to shift awake as he felt the car slow down.

“”S everything ‘kay?”

“Yeah,” Derek said softly. “Just pulling into the hotel. I’ll be right back.”

Derek hopped out of the Camaro and went inside. Stiles rubbed his eyes blearily and looked back to the back seat. Luca was sleeping peacefully, snuggled up next to Rupert.

Stiles was exhausted. Today had been a long day and he felt like the rest of the week was going to be just as long. He was hoping tonight could just be chill and that he could sleep a little. He was also anxious to see if Derek had booked a single or a double bed, considering how that would greatly influence the restfulness of the night.

Derek came back out and went to get the stuff from the trunk. Stiles turned and carefully undid the belt to Luca’s car seat and eased him out. God, the kid seriously looked like an angel when he was sleeping. Stiles was seriously going to suggest a career in baby modeling to his pack.

When they got in the elevator and Derek pushed the Penthouse button and Stiles shot him a curious look, but Derek maintained a forward posture, giving no answers to Stiles’ avid curiosity. They got out on the top floor and found that there was only a short hallway with two doors. Derek opened the one to the left with the plastic key card and motioned for Stiles to go in first.

The place was humongous. Stiles was pretty sure it was actually bigger than his and Scott’s apartment. The furnishings were all sleek and modern and as he looked around he found that there was a small kitchen, a living room with a huge flat screen tv and a huge bedroom. He walked into the bedroom he found a giant king sized bed and a blue crib set up in the corner.

“Are you freaking kidding me, dude?!” Stiles hissed at Derek, trying not to wake Luca up. “Was all this really necessary?”

“It’s part of my seduction plan,” Derek whispered back teasingly. “Is it working?”

Stiles narrowed his eyes at the obvious sarcasm. “Nope. And you don’t get to be funny, that’s my job. Your job is to be the surly Sour Wolf that makes bitch faces at my humor.”

“Little ears,” Derek mocked and looked pointedly at Luca. He stepped forward and eased Luca carefully out of Stiles’ arms and motioned to the bathroom. “Go get showered. I’ll put him to bed.”

Stiles was relieved to finally hit the shower. He let the day melt off of him, actively trying not to think about how he was about to open himself up to the very thing he swore he wasn’t going to do again. He let his fingers graze over the scars on his chest and remembered why he promised himself not to go there again.
When he got out he realized that he had left his pajama shirt out in his suitcase. For a second he thought about putting on his dirty one again but the thought of putting it on when he had just got himself clean made him cringe.

Derek was sitting on the bed untying his shoes when Stiles walked out in his pajama bottoms with the towel slung around his shoulders and the front held closed with one hand.

“Forgot my shirt,” Stiles muttered as he dug the shirt out of his bag and headed back for the bathroom.

Derek reached out to stop Stiles by snagging the shirt so that it was tugged between the two of them.

“You don’t have to hide them, Stiles,” he murmured. “Not from me.”

Derek could see Stiles shoulders sagged but since Stiles hadn’t turned, his face was still angled away and Derek missed the way Stiles shut his eyes tight against the words.

“Who says I’m hiding them from you? Maybe I’m hiding them from myself.”

Derek tugged the shirt from Stiles’ hand and dropped it to the floor before twining his fingers into Stiles’ and pulling him closer to where Derek sat on the bed. Stiles obliged and turned so that they were facing each other and Derek spread his legs a little and pulled Stiles’ hand again, making it so that Stiles was standing in between his knees.

Letting go of his hand, Derek reached both of his hands up to where the younger man was clutching the towel closed around his torso. Derek carefully loosened his grip and pushed the towel so that it slide off Stiles’ shoulders and fell to the floor.

Derek’s eyes took in the scars that covered Stiles’ skin. They were thin and silvery and created a huge tapestry of swirling shapes. Over Stiles’ left peck a triskelion was scarred into his skin, with the rest of the scars emanating from that design and twisting around Stiles’ torso then spiraled over his shoulder to his back where more scars created a twisting and coiling tattoo.

If Derek hadn’t known what it was from they would’ve been beautiful. Like a work of art done by the best tattoo artist in the world. But because he knew, because he had seen it happening, it was more horrifying than anything.

He cautiously raised a finger to the thin scars creating the triskelion and traced the branches of it lightly. Stiles blinked slowly at the sensation.
“These are my fault,” Derek whispered hoarsely. “These are all my fault.”

“No,” Stiles knocked away Derek’s finger and put a hand to his face so that he could force his chin up to look at him. “These are not your fault. They are mine. I didn’t need to use the power I used. There were other ways of saving you but I got addicted to it and overstepped my bounds. I am scarred because of my own stupidity, not because of you.”

Leaning in to Stiles’ hand, Derek nuzzled his palm and inhaled deeply.

“I remember that night,” Derek reached up and pulled Stiles closer to him, moving his knees further apart to accommodate. “I was hanging from those chains, thinking I was going to die and then I could feel the air shifting around me and taste the energy coming from you.”

Derek placed his lips right above Stiles’ bellybutton and placed a small kiss against the scarred ridges there.

“I remember seeing the huge warehouse door come flying off as you came in. I swear you were floating.”

He placed both hands on Stiles’ sides and lightly gripped, moving his face a little to the left to put another kiss to the hipbone that was poking out of Stiles’ low slung pajama pants.

“The first Alpha came at you and she didn’t even get close enough to touch you before she burst into flames. I saw the blood start seeping into your shirt and I couldn’t figure out why.”

Derek let his nose sink into the soft curly dark hair of Stiles’ happy trail and traced it upwards with the tip of his nose from where it started at the waist of Stiles’ pajama pants back up to his belly button.

“I started losing consciousness then. I was so scared that the other three Alpha’s would kill you but when I woke up you were dragging me from the warehouse and the warehouse looked like a tornado had hit it. I saw the blood. The blood was all over you and I could smell it.”

Another kiss to Stiles’ hip bone, this time the right one.

“It didn’t make sense how you were bleeding so much but still alive.”

Derek looked up and caught Stiles gazing down at him. Stiles’ eyes burned hot and his pupils were blown. Any doubt Derek had about Stiles’ feelings toward him were gone. Reaching forward, Stiles twined his fingers into Derek’s short black hair.

“I took it from them,” Stiles said hoarsely. “I went into that warehouse with my veins pumping pure magic and used it to strip each of the four Alpha’s of their power. Parting with it killed them. I absorbed their magic into myself like it was mine to have.”

Slowly bending down, Stiles planted a chaste kiss on Derek’s lips.

“But I upset the balance of nature. An Alpha’s power is meant for a werewolf, not a human. I played with something I had no business playing with so I had to pay the price.”

Stiles ran his fingers against the stubble on Derek’s jaw.

“As I took their power, it cut into my flesh. Mother Nature was punishing me for taking what wasn’t mine. She made it so I wouldn’t be able to forget and to ensure I wouldn’t ever make the same mistake twice.”

The next kiss Stiles placed on Derek was hot and wet. His lips pressed firmly and Derek’s mouth opened invitingly. Stiles licked into Derek’s open mouth and moaned as Derek’s tongue met his. But then Stiles pulled back.

“But the power is still there,” Derek’s eyes widened at his words. “Not all of it, but I can feel werewolf magic running through me. It doesn’t feel the way the Alpha power did, but it is distinctly werewolf.”

Stiles stopped a sob in his throat, “I’m scared of what that means.”

Derek couldn’t take the pained look on Stile’s face. He let out a low whine in the back of his throat before using his hands at Stiles’ waist to pull him down to the bed and flipping the covers so that they could both get down underneath them. Pulling Stiles into his chest so that they were face to face, Derek dropped a kiss to the top of Stiles’ forehead. Stiles closed his eyes and pressed his face into Derek’s chest, trying not to let himself get taken under in the panic that was gripping his chest.

“You don’t have to worry about losing control again,” Derek murmured softly. “I won’t let you. This time, I’m taking care of you.”

Chapter Text

Stiles checked the GPS on his phone for the umpteenth time. Derek wasn't using a GPS (freaky werewolf sense of direction?) so Stiles had been keeping track of their progress on his phone. They were about 45 minutes away now and he was starting to get anxious.

He was sitting in the backseat with Luca and had been reading to him from his Deviant Behaviors textbook for the majority of their ride this morning, but the little dude had fallen asleep about 15 minutes ago and now that Stiles didn’t have to concentrate to read aloud, his mind was wandering all over the place.

What was making it worse was how Stiles would catch Derek’s eyes looking back at him in the rear view mirror every once in a while. They hadn’t talked about last night at all and Stiles really really wanted to talk about it. Preferably before he made a complete and utter fool of himself and especially after this morning.

Stiles had already been up this morning and feeding Luca at the dining table in their suite when Derek finally emerged from the bedroom trudged into the kitchen in search of coffee.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Stiles greeted him ready with a cup of coffee from the complimentary Keurig machine in the kitchenette. “You should see the spread they brought up! I’ve already eaten like 3 waffles and Luca is totally digging this strawberry yogurt.”

Luca was sitting in front of Stiles on the small table and had his mouth smeared with yogurt.

When he saw Derek he waved his spoon around in the air and babbled, “Ya ya di di.”

Derek was not a particularly happy person in the morning and Stiles hadn’t really expected any kind of reply or thank you. He was low key shocked when Derek had taken the cup of coffee from him, bending to place a kiss at his temple as he snagged the mug from Stiles’ hand, then straightened and took a contemplative sip of his coffee while putting his free and to the back of Luca’s head.

“Geeeee!” Luca gurgled and half spit out strawberry yogurt all down the front of his Mickey Mouse bib.

Derek grunted at him in sort of agreement before meandering his way back into the bedroom where Stiles could hear the shower turn on. It was possibly the most social Stiles had ever seen him in the morning. And Stiles was pretty sure that was his first good morning kiss from anybody ever.

So yeah, Stiles had honestly no idea how to handle today. Part of the way he managed his ADD was through routine - always doing things the same way, at the same time every day, or in the same order. Variances caused disruptions and disruptions caused panic. This morning was a variance.

And sitting in the backseat right now on his way to meet Luca’s pack with Derek sitting in the front sneaking glances through the rearview mirror was a complete disruption, so basically the whole day was destroying the fuck out of his calm.

He saw Derek move over into the right lane and start to get off at a seemingly deserted exit. Looking out the window all Stiles could see was deep green trees and the dark gray sky so he wasn’t sure why they were stopping. They were still a good half hour away.

Derek maneuvered the Camaro into an abandoned gas station and put it into park. Stiles saw the broken glass of the station’s store and the ghosts of the old gas pumps, rusting in the wet climate that was typical for the Pacific Northwest. Mixed with the dreary weather, Stiles was wondering if this is where Derek was finally going to kill him and make a meat suit out of him.

“What are we-“

“Out,” Derek interrupted.

Stiles flipped the front seat down with a grumble. Apparently the Sour Wolf was back. Well, at least that was something he knew how to deal with. He scrambled out of the back seat (do you have any idea how hard it is to get out of the backseat of a Camaro? Seriously.) and carefully closed the door behind him to keep the cold from seeping into the car.

“Dude, it’s colder than balls out hrph-“

Derek cut him off again. Although, Stiles couldn’t really be mad this time because he found himself shoved into the Alpha’s chest with his arms wrapping around him like steel bands. Stiles could be completely okay with this becoming the normal actually. Derek smelled amazing and felt amazing and the second he put his arms around him Stiles felt safe.

But he didn’t get to bask in it for very long. Taking a step back, Derek let go of him and Stiles wanted to whine at the loss of contact.

“You have to stop freaking out,” Derek said gruffly. “Every time you start freaking out I can smell it and it drives my wolf crazy.”

I’d like to do some other kinds of things to drive your wolf crazy.

“Come on,” defended Stiles. “It’s not like I’m doing this on purpose. I mean, do you even have a plan? How are we going to play this?”

Derek crossed his arms and had leaned a little bit back as to not get hit with one of Stiles’ flailing limbs. He wondered if it was actually impossible for Stiles to talk without gesturing wildly.

“The plan is to go in, give Luca back, work towards a peace agreement with the other pack and go home,” Derek spoke slowly like Stiles was 5-years-old.

Stiles rolled his eyes. “Yeah thanks, that is super detailed and informative. Why was I freaking out so much before? Obviously you have this all planned out and everything is going to be just fine.”

Derek narrowed his eyes at him. Stiles always picked the worst possible time for his snark.

“What exactly are you freaking out about, Stiles?” he asked with a rude calm.

“What am I freaking out about?! How about the fact that all those people waiting for us think I’m your mate. YOUR MATE. How do you plan on explaining that one? And what if the peace talks don’t work? Or if we have to fight the other pack and lose? What happens to us then? To Luca?”

Stiles was working himself into a panic. He tried really hard not to do this but they were about to get into some serious shit where he was probably going to have to use magic and he was just freaking out, okay? He was allowed to freak out about this. And Derek had totally given him massive butterflies last night with the kisses and the spooning and then the cute morning grump. How was he supposed to handle all that?

He also might have said those last things out loud on accident because Derek was pulling him into his chest again.

“We are going to be fine,” Derek turning his face into Stiles’ neck. “We’ll just see how things go and work with what we got. And we can talk about all those other things later.”

“I think we should talk about some of it now,” Stiles argued weakly.

“We’ll be fine.”

~

They were so not going to be fine.

“You don’t smell like Mate,” the Alpha said with hesitation.

Nope. Definitely not fine.

Neither Stiles nor Derek reacted to the accusation right away. See, he had told Derek this would come up. But noooooo. Derek wanted to be all Zen and shit about this and just play it by ear. And now they were standing in the driveway with all of Luca’s pack staring at them and a suspicious Alpha questioning them.

Simeon Moretti was probably 6 or 7 years older than Derek. He lived in a modest sized, dark gray house in a heavily forested area with the nearest neighbor almost a mile away. He was short with sandy blonde hair and Stiles could tell from just the way he held himself that he was just as ripped and powerful as a man twice his size. But Stiles could also tell that the guy was tired. However, as an Alpha with another Alpha standing a few yards away from him, he was trying his best to show dominance and dominion over his territory, but the slight sag to his shoulders told Stiles that the man was beat.

Stiles and Derek were standing on the concrete driveway with Luca in between them in his car seat. Derek hadn’t mentioned how many people were in Luca’s pack, so when 15 odd werewolves had filtered out the door when they heard the Camaro pull up to the residence Stiles barely kept his eyes from bugging out .

The pack was easily 5 times the size of Derek’s and Stiles was really confused as to how Derek could’ve called this a “small pack” back in Deaton’s office. How were the two of them supposed to help all these people?

Though while they were standing there and doing that werewolf posturing, Stiles was more worried about how freezing it was and how the rain was misting down on them. He was already starting to get chilled and really wished he could put a blanket over Luca. He didn’t though because he didn’t want to take his eyes off the pack in front of him.

“You don’t smell like Mate.”

Simeon was replying to the introduction Derek had done just moments before.

“I’m Derek Hale, Alpha of the Beacon Hills pack, and this is my mate, Stiles. He has been taking care of the werechild that I contacted you about.”

Simeon had then cast a curious glance over at Stiles and taken a deep whiff, making his observation about Stiles’ obvious lack of matehood known.

Stiles wasn’t sure what he was going to do but he knew that it was important to keep the legend alive. The last thing he wanted was for people to start questioning the rumors and find out that Derek’s pack was a total of 3 people and that Derek didn’t in fact have a mate. He was really happy with Beacon Hills not being a hell mouth anymore and he’d be damned if it was going to be his fault for making it into one again.

Then Stiles knew what he had to do.

“Mate ties are pack magic,” Stiles said simply, then with careful thought, he brought his hands to his mouth and cupped them, breathing slowly into his palms.

I smell like Derek’s mate.

Stiles let the thought flow through his lungs and breathed it into his cupped fingers before dropping his hands from his mouth and slowly letting his arms fall to his sides, palms facing out.

He could tell when the wolves caught the new scent. Derek stiffened by his side and as the scent was carried to the others, their careful eyes that had been fixed on him widened a little. Good, they were getting the idea.

“And I control magic,” he said aloud, making a decision on what he was going to do next.

He closed his eyes and when he opened them again he could see thin black threads were strung from wolf to wolf. It was a huge tangled mess in front of him and Stiles could barely determine where one started and the other one ended. He pushed his mind a little bit farther and the pack ties fell away until all that remained were the bright red strings. He could see a red one stretching from a pair of wolves in the back of the pack as well as the one stretching from Simeon to a female on his right.

Out of the corner of his eye he also saw something else. A thin purple thread that was tied to his left wrist and then traced to Derek. He was curious about it, especially considering that he was only looking for Mate ties right now, but he knew that he had business to attend to so he left it alone and instead focused on the thread connecting Simeon to his mate.

Stiles reached out in his mind and tugged the red Mate tie lightly, not wanting to damage it, just disturb it a little.

Simeon stepped forward towards Stiles in confusion as the effect of Stiles’ tug took hold, but his mate next to him shot out a hand and grasped him in a bone crushing grip so that he couldn’t move any closer to Stiles. She let out a loud growl and her eyes burned a deep green. Stiles could tell that her wolf was getting territorial but was too disoriented to choose the proper course of action. That didn’t stop her from turning her gaze to Stiles and letting out another growl, this time with invitation to throw down.

Stiles knew he shouldn’t have done what he was doing. His scent had changed from smelling like Derek's mate to now smelling like Simeon’s mate. Every wolf was becoming confused at the duplication of the smell, even though each of them knew that Simeon’s mate was actually standing right next to him. Then there was Simeon's mate who was mad as hell that Stiles was messing with what was hers.

Playing around like this was dangerous. Confusion and werewolves didn’t mix, but he couldn’t help it. He wanted every werewolf in attendance to know just what he was capable of. To leave no question in their minds about his power.

What he wasn’t expecting though was the high pitched whine that rolled from the back of Derek’s throat. It sounded like he was in extreme pain and Stiles was swiftly brought back to reality. Quickly he clenched his hands into tight fists, breaking the spell, and turned to Derek to see what had happened. Looking at Derek’s eyes he saw that they had turned bright red and were full of sorrow and confusion.

Realizing what he had done to Derek's wolf, Stiles took a step around Luca’s car seat so that he could get in front of Derek and lean his head to the side, giving the Alpha full access to his neck. Derek let out another whine and dropped his face down to Stiles’ shoulder to lick a hot strip from the base of Stiles’ neck to behind his ear, biting softly.

“Mine.”

Tucking his head remorsefully under Derek’s chin, Stiles slowly nodded. He could be so fucking stupid sometimes. They were on foreign pack territory and he was changing his scent to match their pack, leaving Derek's wolf to feel completely abandoned and alone. Smooth move, Stilinksi.

After he was sure he had placated the Alpha, he backed up and seeking Derek’s hand, twined his fingers into his. Stiles stared back at Simeon who had watched the whole exchange.

“I acknowledge you as mate,” Simeon nodded in acquiescence. “I didn’t mean to test your authority. I’m sorry.”

Stiles could still tell that Simeon was confused, but wasn’t interested in confronting him anymore after he realized what Stiles could do. That was enough for Stiles though, he didn’t need people to believe him, just fear him.

“Accepted, Alpha Moretti,” Stiles nodded. “We’re on the same side and I shouldn’t have done that. I apologize to you and your mate.”

Simeon tilted his head in acknowledgement but his mate just continued to give him a green eyed glare. Yep, he was going to have to work on that one.

Luca had started to get upset with the rain hitting his face so Stiles bent down to pick him up. He used a hand to wipe the moisture off Luca’s face while Luca fussed a little bit more. The outfit Stiles had picked out this morning was starting to get sodden and stick to him as well.

Inwardly Stiles groaned. He had spent 20 minutes picking an outfit out this morning. He wanted to make sure Luca’s pack knew that he had been taking care of him and that he wasn’t some dumb 20-year-old who had just thrown Cheerios at him and hoped for the best.

He thought the little red button down shirt and black pants made him look like adorable. Stiles had zero fashion sense, unless you count skinny jeans and graphic tees, so when he had seen this picture on tumblr of a toddler with a little flat cap on, he decided that kid’s parents knew what was up and searched online for an outfit practically identical, even down to the baby wing-tipped shoes.

Derek had stopped him when he put the suspenders and bow tie on though.

“We’re going to meet his pack, not to church,” Derek had grumbled.

“Come on! How can you say no? Look how handsome he is!” Stiles pushed. But Derek wouldn’t budge so Stiles had huffed and put them back into the suitcase.

Not like it mattered now that the rain was making the cloth stick to the little man. A little man who was getting increasingly agitated in spite of Stiles’ soothing.

“I know he’s a werebaby and all, but I’d appreciate it if we could move this inside so he wasn’t out in the cold,” Stiles said pointedly.

Simeon nodded and gestured to the house.

“Please forgive my lack of hospitality. You’re more than welcome to come inside. I’ll have some of my betas bring in your bags if that is okay with you?” Simeon looked back and forth between Stiles and Derek as he asked that.

Stiles thought it must be hard for Simeon. In normal werewolf situations, the Alpha was the only person addressed and hardly ever were the other members of his pack even acknowledge. But with Stiles there, there was an obvious imbalance of power and it was throwing the Alpha for a loop.

“That won’t be necessary,” Derek un-twined his fingers from Stiles' and put them instead to Stiles’ lower back, asserting proper dominance. “We have reserved a room in a hotel nearby.”

A look of disgust registered on Simeon’s face.

“We have a small cottage in the back for visitors. Please don’t feel like you have to subject yourself to a hotel on our account.”

Subject themselves? Stiles wondered. What was so wrong with a hotel?

“There is a spot in the cottage for the pup?” Derek asked.

A small whimper broke out in the back. Stiles wasn’t sure who it came from or why, but he saw Simeon cast a warning glance to the back and felt the small wave of Alpha power go with it.

“Of course,” Simeon returned his attention back to them. “You and your mate will be quite comfortable there.”

Derek nodded his head and threw his keys to the beta standing on Simeon’s left.

“Inside then,” Derek nudged Stiles a little with the hand at his back. “My mate is getting cold.”

Chapter Text

They were ushered into the house and Stiles looked around while balancing Luca on his hip. The house was decorated in earthy colors with a minimalist design. The floor was patterned flagstone in a slate color that contrasted with the light maple furniture. They had interesting wrought iron art hanging on their walls and at first Stiles couldn’t tell what it was, but then he realized it was conceptualized installations of different constellations.

As they walked further in they were directed to the dining room and Stiles saw the massive maple table set elaborately with the middle being taken up mostly by a huge roast of some kind.

“Let me do a better job at being polite,” Simeon bowed a little. “I am Simeon Moretti, Alpha of the Estaca pack. This is my mate, Emilia."

The green eyed woman Stiles had pissed off earlier came forward carrying a basket of white flowers. She was even shorter than Simeon, but where her mate had blonde hair she had raven black hair, cut into a short bob. Emilia was honestly very beautiful, even though was still wearing a mistrusting look as she addressed Stiles.

“I’m sorry, we weren’t expecting Alpha Hale’s mate to be a man,” Emilia carefully handed the basket of flowers to Stiles. “I hope you won’t consider it a disrespect to receive this as a Mate gift.”

Stiles reached out his free hand and accepted the basket of what he identified as Moonflowers. He had read about how werewolves exchange gifts in one of the books he found in Derek’s house but he couldn’t remember the exact etiquette. He just remembered getting horrified at how one of the gifts an Alpha was given was the carcasses of 15 dead animals and the prettiest beta the pack had. Or maybe that had been a mating thing? Whatever, either way he was just really glad to get flowers and hoped he wasn’t about to screw this up.

Stiles decided to play it safe and kept it to a simple, “Thank you. They’re beautiful.”

Luca seemed to think they were pretty too because he leaned forward in Stiles’ arms to try and grab at the white petals, half falling out of Stiles’ grip. Emilia’s eyes fell to where Luca was struggling to reach the flowers and she leaned forward to pluck one out of the basket, handing it to him. She smiled a small smile as he took it with a shrill squeal.

“He looks so much like his father,” she said softly.

Stiles stared at the woman in mute wonder, a million questions pushing each other out of the way to try and make it to the front of his tongue first, but he didn’t get a chance to let them spill out because Simeon started talking again.

“Alpha Hale, this buck was brought down by one of our most skilled hunters and cooked for you and your mate’s arrival,” Simeon gestured to the huge roast in the center of the long table.

Derek nodded in approval. “Thank you. It will feed us well.”

Stiles was starting to get weirded out by the formality of it all. You would think that being werewolves it would be some like wild and bloody meeting with everyone wolfing out and acting like wild animals, but actually the civility of it stemmed down from thousands of years of werewolf lore. There was no sniffing of butts or growling here. Derek was playing a role that was deeply ingrained in werewolf history and it kind of awed Stiles to see him in this element.

They were directed to take their seats and Stiles gaped for a second as Derek pulled out a chair and gestured for him to sit. He caught himself quickly though when Derek widened his eyes a bit as if to say, “We’re mates remember, stupid?”

He sat down hastily and adjusted Luca so that he was facing toward the table before putting the napkin over both of them. When he and Derek were seated the other members of the pack started filtering and taking seats at the long table until the entire room was filled with hungry werewolves.

Dinner started by Simeon standing up and carving some of the roast off, offering it to Derek. Derek held out his plate and after the meat was placed on it, he put it back down and stood up himself. At first Stiles was confused, thinking maybe he had missed something and they were leaving, but instead he watched as Simeon handed Derek the carving knife and Derek began to carve up the roast. Turning towards Stiles he lifted an eyebrow.

Stiles just kind of stared at him for a second before he realized that Derek was waiting to serve him. Another werewolf custom Stiles must have missed in Alpha Mate 101.

Stiles held up his plate for Derek to put the meat on and couldn’t help it when he said, “Thanks, honey.”

Derek gave him a tight smile, but after he had handed back the knife to Simeon so that he could continue serving, Derek sat back down and dropped his hand below the table. He let it slide down Stiles’ thigh until he stopped at his knee and gave it a bone crushing warning squeeze. Stiles covered his small yelp with a rough cough.

Asshole.

The rest of dinner Stiles tried to juggle passing the dishes of food while trying to keep Luca from sticking his little fingers into every single dish that passed in front of him.

“My man, keep your fingers out of the food,” Stiles chided as he tried to spoon some mashed potatoes into Luca’s mouth.

He was aware of all the furtive glances being made toward him at the dinner table. A flush had already crept up his neck but he was trying to ignore it and pretend like it didn’t bother him, but he felt like he was under a microscope. And from many historical instances in the past, Stiles knew that the more they stared, the more nervous he was going to get and then something catastrophic was going to follow shortly.

The silence was finally broken by Emilia.

“So Stiles, what do you do?”

Stiles wiped his mouth with the edge of the napkin before replying. “I’m a student at the local community college and I’m about to graduate with my A.S. in Criminal Behavioral Science.”

“He was accepted to Berkley but decided to wait and get his prereqs out of the way a little closer to home,” Derek butted in. “He will be enrolling there next year.”
Stiles wanted to roll his eyes. Elitist much? And Stiles hadn’t even decided if he was going to go to Berkley or not yet.

“That’s interesting,” Emilia said with a tone that eluded to how much she really didn’t think it was. “It was nice of you to stick so close to your Alpha for school. Probably helped eased his mind a little bit, especially considering how young you are. How long have you been mated? If you don’t mind me asking?”

Oh man. Stiles was going to throw a big huge I TOLD YOU SO right in Derek’s face the first opportunity he got.

“2 years,” Derek answered for him. “We waited until he was of age.”

Emilia gave a small smile directed towards Stiles. “It’s rare to have such surety at such a young age. Most human boys can barely decide what shirt to wear at 18, let alone decide on a mate.”

Stiles could read the subtext to this conversation and he really didn’t appreciate what Emilia was insinuating. This woman didn’t know shit about him.

“Yeah well I guess I grew up a little faster than the average human boy,” Stiles said with an edge. “Especially after watching 4 lunatics try to kill my friends and having to call upon the powers of the Earth to kill them all one by one.”

Derek choked on a bite he had just taken, reaching for his glass to take a huge swig of water before turning his wide eyes towards Stiles.

This was the exact sort of catastrophic thing Stiles was worried about happening. The tension in the room suddenly increased tenfold and he could actually feel the atmosphere shift. Every wolf was now on edge and Emilia had gone from being smug and comfortable to defensive. Stiles started to shift Luca in his lap in case he had to get up and put somebody in their place.

“That’s enough,” Derek broke through tension angrily. He turned to face Simeon and growled, “We came here to help you, after taking in one of your young, and this is how we are treated?”

Simeon loosened his grip on the edge of the table bowed his head a little in deference, “I apologize again, Alpha Hale. You’ll have to excuse my mate. We have been through so much these past few months and it hasn’t been easy. As I mentioned in our correspondence, we have lost a large number of our pack and we are still grieving.”

Derek let the tension eek away a little. He knew exactly what it was like to feel the burden of so many lost love ones.

“Please understand that we are immensely grateful for you coming up here to help us. And to you Stiles,” Simeon addressed him directly, “for offering your support and taking care of our Oliver. Sarah, uh, his mother, couldn’t have found a better place for him.”

Oliver. Stiles looked down at the baby smashing his fingers into the plate of mashed potatoes in front of him. His name was Oliver.

It seemed wrong. Stiles had been calling him Luca for so long and it just felt wrong to think of him as any other name. But the longer Stiles thought about it the more he realized that he was the wrong part of this situation. Luca, no Oliver, wasn’t his. Oliver belonged to these people and they weren’t the disruption, Stiles was.

“I’m sorry for what I implied,” Emilia broke through his revelation. She was sitting really rigid and it was obvious that the last thing she wanted to do was apologize to Stiles, but the look Simeon was giving her could wilt a rose bush in full bloom.

Stiles didn’t bother to acknowledge her half-assed apology. He was so over this shit.

“Yeah, I need to change Lu-, uh, the baby and put him down for a nap,” Stiles started getting up from the table. “I’ll just go out to the cottage if you don’t mind.”
One of the betas at the end of the table let out a small cough that had some kind of obvious meaning to it. Simeon nodded and said, “Absolutely. Damian will show you out.”

Stiles looked down the length of the table and watched as a dark haired beta stood up and walked towards him. Holy shit.

Damian looked like he just walked off the set of that new hit movie that every teenage girl with his poster on her wall is raving about. He was tall, built like a brick house and moved with what Stiles begrudgingly could only classify as swagger. And his face. Oh God, his face.

All of a sudden Stiles desperately needed a drink of water.

“I’m Damian,” tall, dark and so off limits said with a head tilt.

Stiles went to extend his hand but then quickly stopped himself. Werewolves don’t shake hands, they do that weird head thing. Keep it together, Stilinksi. Stiles inclined his head in response and managed to choke out a, “Nice to meet you.”

“Damian is Oliver’s uncle,” Simeon interrupted. “He is who will be taking custody of Oliver when you leave.”

Stiles eyes snapped back to better analyze the man. This is the guy Luca was going to see as a father figure one day. The man he was going to learn how to be a werewolf from and would go to with girlfriend problems. This was who was going to take Luca from Stiles.

Stiles wanted to hate the guy, but it is hard to hate someone when they’re stupidly good looking.

Fingers traced around his right wrist and Stiles turned to see Derek tugging him backward a little, pulling him closer to where Derek still sat at the dinner table.
“Don’t be long,” Derek placed a kiss to the back of Stiles’ hand before turning his wrist so he could rub Stiles’ palm against his cheek.

Stiles felt the rough stubble against the sensitive skin of his palm and looked down in Derek’s eyes.

He was so fucked.

~

“So I’m really bad at beating around the bush.”

Stiles had Luca up on the changing table in the two bedroom cottage at the back of the pack’s property. He had followed Damian outside and they walked in silence through the misting rain, both of them clearly not sure where to start.

But Stiles couldn’t take the silence anymore so he guessed he would start now, while he was elbows deep in a naked, flailing werebaby.

“I mean, like, really really bad,” Stiles prefaced apologetically.

Damian let out a huff of laughter. “Yeah, I’ve noticed. Go for it.”

Stiles wrapped the soiled diaper up and threw it into the trash bin in the corner of the room.

“So you’re Luc- I mean Oliver’s uncle. Paternal or maternal?”

Damian grabbed the talcum powder from a cabinet below the changing table and handed it to Stiles.

“Oliver’s father was my brother. His name was Nikolas, but we all called him Niko.”

Stiles finished putting on the diaper and gave Luca the growly tummy fingers he always did when changing him. You couldn’t just have a fat little baby belly hanging out there and not try to eat it. Luca giggled loudly.

“Aahhja! Ahhhja! Daaabaaa!”

As Damian watched Luca, his eyes softened and a look of longing fell over his face.

“I can’t believe how big he’s gotten,” Damian whispered.

Stiles snapped the closures on the bottom of the onesie he had changed him into for a nap.

“I’m still not 100 on what went down. Derek has told me pieces, but I feel like I’m still in the dark,” Stiles walked them into the little cottage kitchen and started filling a bottle with formula. “I want to know what happened.”

They ended up sitting in the living room facing each other. Stiles was seated in the rocking chair holding Luca while he sucked down a bottle and Damian took a seat on the couch across from him.

“Mount Hood is part of a chain of mountainous forests that run pretty much from the top of California all the way through Washington to Canada,” Damian began. “Our pack’s territory has been from Mount Hood down to Willamette for hundreds of years. And it’s never been a problem before. We are pretty much the only pack in Oregon and definitely the largest.

Damian’s head dropped into his hands and he started rubbing his short cropped hair. Stiles knew that gesture well.

“Then out of nowhere comes this pack and they are huge. I mean like 50 plus wolves strong,” Damian gestures with his hands. “They started out in Seattle, near the Mt. Baker/Wenatchee area and then they just spread out like a fucking disease.”

Damian looked up at Stiles again and caught his eyes, “They took over the territory of two smaller packs, just swallowed them up. And now they’re here, trying to take what we have peacefully kept for 250 years.”

The haunting look in Damian’s eyes was holding Stiles’ spellbound. They looked like the impending doom that brought even the strongest of men to their knees and Stiles wasn’t a stranger to the feeling.

“We’ve had small skirmishes with them for the past 7 months. I feel like they are toying with us, waiting til we go for runs on full moons to attack and dwindle our numbers slowly,” anger was starting to replace the sorrow in Damian’s voice. “Niko was killed 4 moons ago. We were out enjoying the energy of the full moon and they just attacked us out of nowhere. There was 10 of us out that night and we were out numbered 2 to 1. We managed to take quite a number of them though because even though there was more of them, we are better fighters.”

A feral smile lifted at the edges of Damian’s mouth.

“Niko and I worked together like we always did. We were only two years apart growing up, so we learned to fight as a team. We killed at least 4 wolves that night and were tag teaming this one bitch when her mate came in from the left and bit right into Niko’s throat. He didn’t even stand a chance,” Damian’s eyes hardened. “I watched Niko die right in front of me. The rage I felt consumed me. I couldn’t see anything but blood. The next thing I knew I was ripping the head off of the bitch’s mate. I heard her howl in grief and I stole that howl straight from her throat. I was covered in blood.”

This was getting a little graphic for Stiles. He knew what war looked like, hell, his entire sophomore and junior year were spent fighting. But it didn’t mean he wanted to live through that shit again. He really hoped Damian was getting close to the end.

“Then I had to come home and tell Sarah,” he got quiet again. “I watched her heart break right in front of me and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I hate being helpless, Stiles. I hate it more than anything.”

Stiles nodded in agreement. He looked down into his arms and saw Luca wasn’t feeding anymore. He had popped the nipple out of his mouth and fallen asleep, his mouth hanging open in a cute little “O”. Stiles put the bottle down but continued to sit there and rock him.

“I know what you mean. Probably more than anybody,” he sympathized. “It’s even worse when you’re a human caught up in supernatural problems, trust me.”

“That’s why I’m so glad you’re here,” Damian said quietly. “I am tired of standing here and watching as my pack gets torn apart piece by piece. With you we at least stand a chance.“

Damian leaned forward and put a hand on top of Stiles’ thigh, his eyes catching in the soft light from the lamp.

“At first I didn’t believe the rumors. But after tonight, I know you’re the one who is going to save us.”

Stiles slowed the rocker to a stop. He could feel the heat from Damian’s hand spreading across his thigh and that flush was creeping up his neck again.

That would be the exact moment Derek decided to walk through the front door.

Chapter Text

Derek chose that moment out of all the moments to walk through the front door.

Stiles just let his mouth drop open. It went well with his wide eyes.

Derek’s gaze traveled from Stiles’ expression down to where Damian’s hand was placed on his thigh. Stiles could actually see as the wolf took over, red bleeding over the normally green-blue eyes.

“Derek,” Stiles popped up out of the rocking chair, knocking Damian’s hand off. Luca let out a whimper at being jostled but then snuggled closer into Stiles’ chest, thankfully not waking up at the movement.

Stiles knew that he had to do something quick or there was going to be blood all over the place. He took a couple small steps forward but Derek’s eyes stayed locked on Damian.

“I just got Luca to sleep,” he whispered as he stopped before Derek, leaning in to brush his nose a little on Derek’s jaw before tilting his head to the right.

Stiles had purposely got into Derek’s line of vision, cutting off the death glare he was giving Damian, and had purposely used wolf behavior to pull his attention away. Derek’s eyes shifted focus and saw the long expanse of neck Stiles opened up for him. Taking the sign of submission, Derek grabbed roughly at Stiles’ waist and brought him as close as he could without squishing Luca before running his tongue up the side of Stiles neck.

Stiles felt the Alpha’s anger abate some and thanked the good God above. Nobody was going to die. At least not right now.

“Get the fuck out,” Derek growled at Damian over Stiles’ shoulder.

He didn’t dare to look, but Stiles heard the front door close softly a moment later. Derek’s hands stayed on his hips and used them to pull Stiles back. He carefully looked into Derek’s eyes, noting the red that still glowed there.

“Go put Luca down. Now.”

Normally Stiles would throw some snotty comment back at the command, maybe about how Derek could go order around someone who was actually in his pack, but Derek had used his Alpha influence in that command. Stiles had felt as the wave of Derek’s order hit him in the chest. Obviously he wasn’t affected by it like a wolf would be, but just the fact that Derek was so pissed off that he would try was enough of a reason for Stiles not to argue.

He hustled to the room where they had set up the crib and gently laid Luca down. He ran a gentle hand over the sleeping baby’s head, smoothing down his fuzzy curls. He wished he could stand there and admire the cuteness a little bit longer, but he had an angry Alpha to get back to.

Stiles found Derek in the master bedroom. Getting naked.

“Take off your clothes,” Derek growled. He already had his shirt off and was pulling his jeans off the ends of his feet.

“What? I don’t think-“

Derek had apparently decided that Stiles wasn’t obeying fast enough and that words were overrated. Taking the situation into his own hands, he grabbed the hem of Stiles’ shirt, tugging it up and over Stiles’ head in a quick and succinct motion. Chucking it to the side, Derek’s fingers fell to the buckle of Stiles’ belt.

“Okay, okay!” Stiles swatted Derek’s hands away and started unbuckling it himself. “I can do it myself.”

Under any other circumstances, Derek undressing Stiles would have basically caused Stiles to go into some kind of desire induced cardiac arrest. But this was definitely not normal circumstances. Stiles let himself use a little bit of his sight to look at Derek.

The wolf was pacing, his tail low and whipping side to side. As the wolf paced back and forth he would snap his jaw and snarl angrily.

Stiles knew what that meant. Derek was stressed the fuck out and mad as hell.

He let his jeans hit the floor and Stiles meekly looked at Derek. Derek was standing in his black boxer briefs and barely waited for Stiles to kick his pants off to the side before Derek was all over him. He pressed Stiles firmly to his body and let his hands roam everywhere desperately.

Stiles passively let him invade his personal space, trying not to think about how there was only a couple pairs of boxer shorts separating him from being completely buck ass naked with Derek fucking Hale.

Derek was nipping and a licking at Stiles jaw, his strong thigh pressed in between Stiles’ legs.

“Uh, do you, um, want to talk about it?” Stiles asked roughly. This was getting to be a little much.

All Stiles got in response though was a rumbly growl. Apparently Derek wasn’t capable of words yet. Okay. He could wait.

Derek flipped Stiles around, barely breaking contact so that now Stiles’ back was pressed up against Derek’s chest. Hands roamed over Stiles’ bare chest and the sensation of the pads of Derek’s fingers running over his scars gave Stiles’ goose bumps. Or it could’ve been Derek’s hot mouth behind his ear giving Stiles the goose bumps. It was anyone’s guess.

“Okay, that’s enough,” Stiles shivered as a tongue licked another strip up his neck. “I’m sure you’ve done a superb job of scenting me. No werewolf in a 10 mile radius is going to second guess who I’m supposed to belong to. Well done.”

Derek let Stiles break out of his embrace. Derek looked fucking wrecked.

“Don’t let anyone fucking touch you again,” Derek snarled.

“Whoa, gear down there big shifter. We aren’t actual mates, remember? It’s just an act.”

“No!” Derek got into Stiles’ space again. “This is not an act. Being here is not an act, Stiles. It’s survival. You can’t just go around acting however you fucking want like this is a game!”

That pissed Stiles off. He was so done trying to be all passive to calm Derek down.

“I know this isn’t a game, you asshole! I tried to make a plan with you! I asked how I was supposed to do this and you blew me off with your “play it by ear” bullshit!” Stiles was saying all this in a whisper yell. Even though he was pissed, the last thing he wanted to do was wake Luca up and deal with two angry babies. “So you don’t get to be all growly and angry with me!”

“Well that was before I knew you’d take on the scent of another Alpha’s mate then threaten her at her own dinner table only to follow that up by letting another wolf feel you up. All within 3 hours of us getting here!” Derek shot back.

“I didn’t threaten anyone,” Stiles deftly deflected the “feeling up” part.

Derek let out a mean laugh. “You didn’t even realize you were doing it, did you? Every single wolf at that table was vibrating with the tension of your threat and you sat there completely oblivious.”

Suddenly the memory of Emilia’s rude comment and his response popped into his mind. She thought he was threatening her?

“I didn’t mean it as a threat,” Stiles explained. “But you were there and you heard what she was insinuating. I wasn’t about to just sit there and take that shit! It’s not like you were jumping to my defense or anything.”

“Coming to your defense?” Derek roared. “You mean like I was about to do when that asshole had his hands on you and instead of letting me handle it you appealed to my wolf?”

Stiles was over this conversation. He started looking for his clothes to put on and found his pants first.

“You always think you know best,” Derek continued as Stiles jerkily pulled on his jeans. “Like no one else could possibly be as smart as you. Then you go and do impulsive shit and wonder why things happen to you. Like those scars!”

Everything came to a quiet stand still. Stiles stopped halfway through buckling his belt and just stared at Derek.

“Wow dude,” he broke the silence with a whisper. “Low blow.”

There was kind of this absurdity to their situation that came to Stiles in this moment. Derek was standing in his underwear arguing with Stiles about his impulsiveness while a baby that wasn’t even theirs slept in the room next to them. They were in the middle of trying to figure out their relationship while also preparing for battle hundreds of miles away from their territory. Completely fucking nuts.

Derek let out a rumble of frustration and rolled his shoulders to ease the tension in his body.

“I shouldn’t have gone there. I didn’t mean to,” Derek apologized. “You just make me so frustrated sometimes. I’m not stupid Stiles. I know what I’m doing. Why can’t you just trust me?”

Stiles felt the anger trickle out of him. He knew Derek was speaking the truth, as much as he hated to admit it. He wasn’t too proud to recognize when he’s wrong.

“You know what would help with the whole trust thing? Not keeping things from me. I can’t just fly blind, Derek. It’s not how I’m wired.”

Derek gave a curt nod. “Fine. Let’s talk.”

Stiles relaxed a little. “Fine. But could you put some clothes on first? You’re giving me a complex.”

~

“So if you’re about to tell me I need to walk 5 steps behind you, I’m going to stop you right now. Because that ain’t gonna happen.”

The only proper response to that was rolling his eyes, which Derek promptly did. He didn’t snap or say something about how Stiles needed to stop joking and take this seriously, though. Derek knew that the way Stiles dealt with things was to make awful jokes about it.

“Shut up, we only have another hour before I’m supposed to go meet Simeon,” Derek grumbled.

Waving his hand in the “get on with it” motion, Stiles gestured for him to continue.

“First thing you need to know is that if you ever use magic like you did this afternoon with the Mate bond, I’ll kill you,” Derek stated factually.

It was Stiles’ turn to roll his eyes.

“Don’t ever take on the scent of another wolf’s mate again,” he reinforced vehemently. “My wolf almost went berserk, Stiles.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Stiles huffed. “I didn’t really think that one through.”

“Yeah, second thing? Start thinking before you act. Wolves are all about behavior and when a wolf starts acting out of line is when fights happen.”

“No one is going to start a fight with me,” Stiles said with confidence. “They saw what I am capable of. No one with half a brain is going to mess with me.”

Derek was starting to get frustrated again. “You aren’t listening, Stiles! When you started smelling like Simeon’s mate I almost challenged him. It was like he had taken you from me.”

Stiles’ eyes got wide with understanding.

“Yeah, exactly.” Derek was satisfied that Stiles was starting to get it.

“You and I eat first. We’re a visiting Alpha pair so after Simeon and Emilia start to eat, we start to eat. I always get food before you which is why I’m always going to be at your right at the table. We pass in a clockwise direction so I’m going to be the one passing the food to you.”

“Nice,” snorted Stiles. “Way to make me a bitch.”

“It’s not like that,” Derek threw a hand through his hair. “You eat second, but I’m feeding you. It’s just as much deference to you as it is an ego thing for me.”

“So you mean it’s kind of like you’re taking care of me?” Stiles reasoned.

“Exactly. It’s just formality. Normally it wouldn’t matter, but since there is a visiting Alpha everything is done traditionally.”

“Got it. Let’s move on to the whole touching thing,” Stiles prompted.

This turn in the conversation clearly made Derek a little uncomfortable. He got up from the couch and started pacing.

“I don’t know where to start,” admitted Derek reluctantly. “It’s complicated.”

“How about you start with why you constantly scent me,” Stiles offered.

“You’re supposed to be my mate. If this was real, you’d smell like Mate, but since obviously we aren’t a mated pair, you just smell like you. But for this to work you need to at least carry my scent.”

“Which I’m sure I do since I’ve been living with you and sleeping in your bed for the past few weeks,” Stiles interrupted. “So what was with the crazy eyes when Damian was touching me?”

An angry huff escaped Derek’s mouth. “He was coming on to you.”

“What? No he wasn’t!” Stiles denied. “We were just talking! And don’t’ pretend like you wouldn’t have smelled it if any funny business was going on. I wouldn’t be able to calm your wolf if there had been.”

Stiles realized what he said two seconds later and winced as Derek’s eyes got big.

“I knew you did that on purpose,” Derek accused. “You don’t even try to understand the meaning of “fighting fair” do you?”

“Dude, this,” Stiles gestured up and down at his body. “147 pounds of pale skin and bones. You? Werewolf. We aren’t even playing the same game so don’t talk to me about playing fair.”

Derek looked at him irritated.

“Just don’t let other people touch you,” he repeated. “It’ll make things easier.”

“Yeah, that still doesn’t make much sense. What aren’t you telling me?”

He stopped pacing and let out a huff. Stiles obviously wasn’t going to let this go.

“Every time another wolf gets close, my wolf gets defensive because he thinks they are trying to take you from me,” Derek said reluctantly.

“Oh,” Stiles mulled that over. “But we are supposed to be mates which means for life, so you’re just going to have to talk your wolf down while we’re here.”

“No.”

“Really?” Stiles accused. “That’s super mature Derek.”

“I mean no, werewolves don’t mate for life,” he clarified roughly.

Stiles jaw dropped. “Wahhhh?!”

“At least not at first,” Derek clarified. “It doesn’t become permanent until they’ve become a true mated pair.”

Stiles was getting baffled here.

“And you don’t become a true mated pair until you’ve had young,” Derek finished.

“So how does that work with same sex pairs?” Derek never opened up about werewolf business and Stiles usually had to pry it out of him, so he was going to milk this for all it was worth.

“Adoption, surrogacy… the usual. If both of them accept the child as their offspring, it’s done. Like you said earlier, bonds are magic, and you know better than anyone how fluid magic is.”

Stiles’ brain was screaming. Too much information to deal with.

“But Damian’s a lower ranking wolf anyway. Leaving an Alpha to mate with a beta is unheard of,” Derek scoffed.

“Damian isn’t a beta,” Stiles responded without really paying attention. “He’s an Alpha. Well, I mean he could be if he wanted.”

“How do you know that,” Derek looked taken aback.

“I could just tell.”

Stiles still wasn’t paying attention to the conversation. If he had he probably would’ve noticed how stiff Derek got all of a sudden. But Stiles was too busy thinking about the whole mating thing. Why did he see that purple string from him to Derek when he was looking for mate ties? What did it mean?

“By the way, what’s on the agenda for tonight?” Stiles asked offhandedly.

“Tonight I’m running the perimeter with the pack to check things out.”

“Is that a good idea?” Stiles worried. "You'll be all alone with their pack."

“We’ll be fine. Plus I need to know their territory a little bit better for the hunt tomorrow.”

“What hunt?” questioned Stiles. Yet another thing Mr. Grumpy Pants didn’t mention.

“It’s customary for the host Alpha to throw a hunt. It builds camaraderie among the wolves. We basically just go out and run around, letting the wolf run free.”

Stiles thought it sounded like a great way for someone to wind up dead.

“Do you think that’s safe? Damian was saying that the other pack ambushed them when they were out like that.”

“We’ll be fine, Stiles,” Derek smiled. He liked the idea of Stiles worried for him.

“Fine,” Stiles gave up. “But if you die, I’m keeping the Camaro.”

~

Stiles had been trying to sleep for hours. He kept shifting and turning so that now the sheets were tangled up in his legs. Derek had left shortly after sunset with the other pack and after trying to make small talk with the others left behind, Stiles just gave up and came back to the cottage with Luca.

It was super awkward trying to talk to the members of the other pack. At first he had tried to go into the living room and sit down with the guys watching basketball. The cheering and name calling had stopped the second he walked in with Luca and after 10 minutes of dead silence and increasingly tense atmosphere, Stiles gave up and went to find the women.

Stereotypically he found them in the kitchen making a meal for when the wolves that were out came back. They were laughing and talking, giving one of the younger females hell about some boy when he tried to ease into the room and sit at the stool at the end of the marble island counter. But the conversation died much in the same way it had died in the living room.

He was hoping having Luca there would act as kind of a bridge, but even though the women looked at Luca wistfully they didn’t say anything or try to approach them.

Finally he had given up and went back to the cottage to watch Netflix with Luca. When Luca had passed out Stiles had watched another movie then decided to give up and try to sleep some too.

It wasn’t going well. He flopped onto his back and let out a frustrated sigh. He was worried about Derek. Yeah, fine, he said it. Whatever. He was also really confused about what he and Derek even were. Even though they had talked earlier, it hadn’t been nearly the conversation Stiles was hoping for. And he was still puzzled about that damn purple tie.

He heard the front door creak open and then close. Glancing up at the clock he read 2:46am. They had been gone for almost 7 hours.

Stiles kept still as he heard Derek come into the room and listened as he dug around in the suitcase for something. Belatedly he realized that Derek was searching for underwear as they had been running in full wolf form.

Derek pulled back the comforter and slid into the bed next to Stiles. He was so warm, almost uncomfortably so, and he smelled like outside. A hand snuck around his waist and pulled him closer.

“You better have taken a shower,” Stiles mumbled into his pillow. “Because if I wake up covered in dirt and werewolf sweat I’m going to be pissed.”

Derek snuffled into the back of Stile’s ear. “Ran through river.”

Stiles could hear the wolf in Derek’s voice still; it was kind of a rumble at the back of his throat and the clipped sentences were a definite indicator that Derek wasn't fully in control right now. Derek probably needed this run since it had been a while since he wolfed out and let himself be free. He was probably exhausted.

“Did you have fun?” Stiles yawned as he snuggled back against Derek’s chest.

That’s when Stiles realized that Derek wasn’t tired like he had though at all. Now that he was closer he could feel the pressing of a hard erection against his ass.
Derek’s lips moved from behind his ear and slowly trailed kisses down Stiles’ neck, his hands running across Stiles’ chest.

Oh.

Stiles all of a sudden wasn’t that tired either.

He rolled around in Derek’s arms so that they were facing each other and pressed his lips to Derek’s, the wolf taking them with pleasure. Their kiss depend and Stiles ran his hands over Derek’s back, feeling the taunt muscles below the smooth, hot skin.

Sweet Jesus. Stiles wasn’t going to last very much longer if Derek didn’t stop doing that thing with his tongue and he hadn't even touched himself yet. It had been a while, a long while, for Stiles and he didn’t want to ruin this by having it end embarrassingly early.

He dropped his hand from Derek’s chest and slowly made his way down Derek’s rock solid abs until he met the top of Derek’s boxer briefs. Lightly he palmed over Derek’s erection and rubbed him through the fabric. Derek rolled his hips forward into Stiles hand and nipped his lower lip with a whine.

Taking that as permission, Stiles pushed Derek over until he was on his back and then broke the kiss so that he could start trailing kisses down the same path his hand had taken. Derek’s hands pushed through Stiles’ hair as Stiles’ lips made it to the outside of his briefs, mouthing Derek’s erection.

Pulling at the fabric, Stiles freed Derek from his underwear then wasted no time in slipping the head of his cock into his mouth. Stiles heard a growl and he looked up, mouth still on Derek and saw red eyes staring down at him.

He shouldn’t be turned on by this. Really, he shouldn’t. But he couldn’t deny the way his dick jumped when he looked up into the red gaze.

Focusing his attention back to the task at hand (pun definitely intended) he started licking up and down the shaft, swirling his tongue at the head and then repeating, getting it as far back in his throat as he could without choking.

Stiles tasted the bitter bite of precum on his tongue when he placed a hand to Derek’s balls to carefully massage them while he continued to suck. He didn’t really remember getting this turned on while giving head before. Usually it was kind of just something he did begrudgingly, not really enjoying. This time was different. Much different.

Derek was making these fantastic whining noises at the back of his throat. They were primal and undeniably sexy. Stiles reached a hand down to rub himself while still blowing Derek.

“Fuck,” Stiles groaned, taking a long swipe with his tongue up Derek’s cock.

Stiles felt himself being pulled up by Derek’s strong arms until he was laying on top of Derek, their mouths clashing together. Quickly, Derek rolled him over until they switched positions. Keeping his mouth firmly locked to Stiles, Derek propped himself up with one arm and snuck the other arm between them, grasping both their cocks firmly together in one hand.

“Holy shit,” Stiles saw stars.

Derek was setting a hard pace, rutting against Stiles, their cocks rubbing together with delicious friction. Stiles brain shorted out, he was vaguely aware of Derek groaning loudly and feeling a warmth spread over his stomach but he was too caught up in chasing his own release. Stiles came with a shout, his whole body tensing and then relaxing.

Having collapsed onto Stiles after his own orgasm, Derek’s hot breath burned into Stiles’ neck with every labored breath. Then the hot breath turned to licks as Derek started licking and nipping at his shoulder. He was crushing Stiles below him, but Stiles was too blissed out to even care at the moment.

After a few minutes Derek separated from him, giving him a kiss before getting up and padding softly across the room to the bathroom. Stiles felt him come back and take a wet wash cloth to his torso, cleaning up the mess they had made.

When Derek got back into bed with him, Stiles sidled up next to him shamelessly and just out of curiosity he opened his sight up. The black lines that connected them together had almost tripled in number and this time he didn’t even have to try to see the purple tie. It stuck out now that it had gotten thicker than the other ties.

And it had started to vibrate.

Chapter Text

In a weird twist of fate, Stiles found himself following Damian through the solid oak front door into his house alone with Luca balanced on his hip. Sounds outrageous right? Stiles thought so too. It hadn’t exactly been on his agenda when he woke up this morning.

Although waking up this morning was 10 kinds of awesome. Stiles eyes fluttered open slowly and he looked down to see Derek sleeping on his chest. He loved mornings like this. It had only happened twice before and Stiles relished the fact that Derek was comfortable enough with him to relax and not have to play the role of dominant Alpha all the time. Sometimes it was nice to have a guy fall asleep listening to your heartbeat, as cheesy as that sounds.

Another thing that had been 10 kinds of awesome is how Derek woke up and didn’t even try to pretend like last night didn’t happen. Stiles kept expecting a Big Gay Crisis to come raining down on their parade, but Derek seemed really chill about waking up completely naked in bed with another dude and his head on said dude's chest. It led Stiles to wonder if maybe it had something to do with that purple tie. Was it a wolf thing that made the transition from seemingly heterosexual to definitely not heterosexual? Or was it an inclination of Derek’s all along that he never shared?

Stiles wasn’t going to question it either way he decided as he walked into to get Luca from his crib. Luca grinned when he saw Stiles and made grabby hands up at him.

“Whoa, little dude,” Stiles half gagged. “Somebody needs a diaper change.”

A diaper change and some breakfast later, Stiles and Luca were sitting on the floor for some tummy time with Sid the Science kid playing on Stiles’ laptop. Stiles was using Luca’s stuffed giraffe to dance and sing along with the characters on the screen.

“I’m looking for my friends! I’m looking for you! Hey there’s Rupert!” Stiles sang off key while dancing Rupert in front of Luca.

Luca was engaged in the toy and watching Stiles hop it along to the intro song of the episode. Stiles leaned Rupert forward and bopped Luca on the nose with the giraffe’s nose before hopping it back. Luca narrowed his eyes and let out a tiny growl.

Stiles stopped mid dance and stared opened mouthed.

“Did you just growl?!”

He popped Luca on the nose against with Rupert and this time Luca swatted at it with a little clawed hand in addition to his miniature growl.

“Oh my God!”

Derek had taken that moment to walk into the room and Stiles jumped up excitedly, swinging Luca up into his arms to show him off to Derek.

“Dude, he just growled and took a swing at Rupert!”

Still with his morning grump, Derek sleepily walked over to them and leaned in to where Stiles held Luca. He let his eyes go red and his teeth lengthen, a low rumble escaping his throat.

Stiles was about to ask what the hell he thought he was doing but stopped when he saw Luca lean in a little to Derek’s glare and let out a little growl of his own.

Open mouthed, Stiles watched Derek let out a huff as his teeth retracted and he leaned in to nuzzle Luca’s face. Luca cooed back as Derek’s nose pressed into his little cheek.

Yep, Stiles thought, that one is going in the Werewolf Book of Weird, chapter entitled “Baby/Alpha Affection.”

And, if Stiles thought the morning couldn’t get any cuter than that, after they were all showered, dressed and ready to face the rest of the pack, Derek stopped Stiles before he went out the front door. Taking Luca from him, Derek leaned in and captured Stiles’ lips with his own, his hand running across the bottom of Stiles’ jaw before dropping.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he whispered against Stiles’ lips.

Stiles was momentarily dumbstruck so he just nodded and turned to walk out the open door. As he faced to leave, Derek used his free hand to lay a strong slap to Stiles’ ass.

“Hey!” yelped Stiles in mild outrage.

Derek gave him a pointed look.

“Nothing stupid. Now go,” he gestured towards the big house.

Stiles stomped off toward the house trying really hard not think about how much that turned him on.

If any of the other pack thought it was strange to see Derek holding the baby and not Stiles, not a single one of them said anything. One of the woman asked if they would like some breakfast but Derek declined, saying they had already eaten.

Stiles was actually hoping to not have to sit at that dinner table ever again and was super relieved to find the cottage’s fridge stocked with all kinds of delicious things. He had to give points to whoever it was in Simeon’s pack who thought to stock the pantry with two boxes of Confetti Cupcake PopTarts. There was no better way to start the day, in Stiles’ opinion.

They were shown in to what looked like Simeon’s study and found Simeon sitting at the end of a long maple table with various members of his pack milling around him. He stood as they walked in.

“Good morning. I trust you both slept well,” Simeon greeted. “Sorry for keeping your mate out so long last night, Stiles.”

Stiles didn’t feel like a response was really necessary so he just smiled.

“I was thinking today would be a good day for you to see where Oliver will live. To better assure you that he will be safe and well looked after,” Simeon motioned and Damian stepped forward. “Damian will be his guardian and can show you where he will be staying.”

Sweet Jesus, Stiles needed another drink of water. He also braced himself for the reaction, knowing there was no way in hell Derek was going to agree to this and knowing that there was definitely going to be some kind of fight.

Sigh. And they had been having such a lovely morning.

“That sounds like a good idea,” Derek agreed. “I know Stiles would feel better seeing it for himself and in the meantime we can start discussing the other purpose of this visit.”

He was going to punch Derek right in his stupid werewolf face. No seriously, right in his damn face. Derek was totally cashing in on this opportunity to make battle plans without Stiles and totally trying to keep Stiles out of the loop. He was going to kill him.

But the thought of Derek’s swat to his ass this morning came back in his mind and he decided to play nice. For now.

Stiles pasted a half smile on his face in front of Simeon and Damian but his eyes flared out when he turned to Derek to take Luca from him. Derek had a stupid smug smile on his face when he handed Luca over to Stiles, a little flash of warning glinting in his eyes.

“Yeah, sounds great,” Stiles said tightly. “I’m sure Damian and I will have a fantastic afternoon.”

You had to give it to the werewolf. Derek’s face never cracked revealing a single thing he was actually thinking and it almost disappointed Stiles that he didn’t rise to the bait Stiles had thrown out.

“Damian is one of our best fighters,” Simeon reassured unnecessarily. “Stiles will be looked after well.”

It was a miracle that Stiles didn’t roll his eyes. Seriously, destroyer of worlds over here. But he continued to do his best at playing nice and thanked the Alpha before turning to follow Damian out.

Derek reached out a hand and wrapped it around Stiles’ wrist before he could get too far. He used it to pull Stiles in and placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

“Call me if you need anything,” he said seriously.

Stiles lifted an eyebrow. “Of course, sugar,” he replied with sarcastic affection, letting the wolf know he still wasn’t pleased with the situation.

Derek’s lips quirked a little before letting him go, watching as Stiles left with Luca.

And that is how Stiles ended up at Damian’s house. Alone.

“Nice place,” Stiles breathed as he stepped into the house.

He wasn’t just being nice either. Where Simeon’s house was earthy and simplistic, Damian’s was a pure energy. As they walked throughout the house the rooms were made their own space by the different colors of bright paint on the walls. Paintings and various artworks were everywhere; even the furniture looked less like normal household fixings and more like artistic creations.

“What is it that you do?” Stiles questioned.

Damian pulled his sweater over his head and tossed it onto the couch. A bit of his shirt rode up along with the sweater exposing dark hair below his belly button. Stiles tried to avert his eyes but wasn’t very successful.

“I work as an art liaison. Basically I go to auctions and bid on behalf of really rich people who can’t be bothered to leave their houses or interrupt their socialite gatherings just to go bid on extremely important pieces of culture,” Damian joked. “It sounds boring, but it’s actually pretty exciting. And even though I travel a lot, it is usually for only a couple days at a time and the pack has agreed to watch Luca for me when I have to go.”

Stiles let that roll around in his mind while he wandered from art piece to art piece on Damian’s wall checking out the paintings and keeping Luca from touching them.

“No it actually sounds pretty awesome. I bet you don’t lose a lot,” Stiles mused. “One flash of those werewolf eyes and I bet people practically hand it to you.”

“I promise I only use my powers for good,” Damian laughed. “Okay so let me show you the house.”

Stiles’ followed Damian around his house, checking out how clean and nice everything looked. He was also pleasantly surprised to find that Damian was a gamer and had a huge flat screen tv mounted on the wall with and Xbox 360 attached.

“It’s a guilty pleasure of mine,” Damian explained shyly.

They went down a flight of stairs to the basement and instead of being full of scary boxes and junk like Stiles’ basement, it opened up into a workshop. Tools neatly lined one wall and large pieces of wood and metal sheets were here and there, some in shapes and some lying flat, waiting to be turned into something beautiful.

“Okay so I know this isn’t the safest place for a baby,” Damian began. “But I figured that when I work I can either drop him off at Simeon’s house for someone to babysit or maybe I’ll just work at night when Oliver’s already asleep?”

Damian started back upstairs to continue his tour.

“I’m thinking that I need to get a play pen too. So when I’m working on stuff I don’t have to worry about him roaming around. And baby gates, I’m going to get a ton of baby gates for the rooms and for the stairs.”

They headed upstairs and into a light green nursery.

“Here is the nursery. I put in that door over there so that it joins to my bedroom. I figured that once he gets old enough I can just move him into the room that’s my office now and turn this into my office. Until then I’ll just keep the door open. I know he doesn’t have a lot of toys right now but I was hoping maybe you could help me pick some stuff out? I haven’t seen him in months so all the toys we got out of Niko and Sarah’s apartment aren’t really up to his level anymore. And also, I know I’ve mentioned dropping him off with the pack a lot, but really it will only be every once and a while. And I mean, it takes a village to raise a baby, right?”

Damian cracked a nervous smile.

Stiles had never met someone who talked as much as him. It was obvious that Damian was nervous and was pretty much rattling off the top of his brain. It made Stiles smile.

“Damian you’ve done awesome,” Stiles interrupted. “I’m sure Lu-eh-Oliver will be in great hands. It’s really nice of you to take him in.”

“I wasn’t really planning on being a father at 25,” Damian sighed with relief. “But he’s family and family comes first.”

“He’s a good baby,” Stiles looked down at Luca who was sucking away on a pacifier. “Let’s go shopping for some supplies and I’ll tell you all about him.”

~

“No! The guy on your left!” Stiles shouted. “MF-ing, d-bag!”

“Turn around! He’s right behind you!” Damian shouted back.

They were on the big red couch playing Damian’s guilty pleasure while Luca was keeping Rupert company in his brand new playpen. Luca had a lot of new toys now, courtesy of the three hour shopping trip they had taken this afternoon.

“Seriously, dude, you have got to be kidding me! S-h-i-t!” Stiles threw his controller down as the screen in front of them went black.

A peal of laughter came from Damian. “Did you just spell shit?”

“Little ears dude!” Stiles laughed back, pointing to Luca.

“Ahhh I get it. Another round?”

They started playing another mission, the language was decidedly cleaner even though a couple curse words slipped through. Stiles was having a great time and Damian seemed to be too. The only thing was that Stiles kept feeling Damian look over at him surreptitiously in between the fighting on the screen. Stiles figured he'd just wait it out.

“Can I ask you something?” Damian finally got up the balls to ask.

“Sure man. What’s up?”

Damian tried to be nonchalant about it, continuing to play the game.

“So Derek… You’ve never actually called him your mate. I mean, he’s called you it, but you’ve never said it. And you don’t smell like his mate….” They both continued to play.

“Yeah, Derek and I- CRAP!” Stiles interrupted himself. “Kill that guy over to the right. He is seriously getting on my nerves. Um, but yeah, Derek and my relationship is a little… different.”

“I didn’t mean to pry,” Damian tried to regroup. “I just-“

“No, it’s cool,” Stiles affirmed. “I could see how it would be confusing.”

Stiles took a second to feel. He couldn’t smell emotions like werewolves, but everything gave off a vibe if you knew how to feel for it. Damian felt red. Yeah, Stiles knew you couldn’t feel a color, but it was the only way he could describe it. It was like the red of his hoodie or the red of his favorite sneakers. It was a warm red. He knew he could trust Damian.

“Honestly, Derek and I aren’t what you traditionally would call mates,” Stiles started again. “The rumors slightly exaggerated that part.”

“Oh,” was all Damian came back with. "That's cool."

They played the game for a little while longer before Stiles finally called it quits. It was getting close to dinner time and he figured he better be getting back before Derek decided to lose his mind. Also, they had the hunt going on tonight and while Stiles wasn't 100 on what exactly that meant, he knew Damian probably was going to be taking part in it and didn’t want to infringe on his prep time.

“I should probably be getting back,” Stiles bent down to pick up Luca.

Luca looked at him funny for a moment. Then he puked up all over Stiles’ shirt.

“Oh my God, Luca. Seriously? Seriously right now? You couldn’t do that two seconds before I picked you up?” Stiles whined.

Damian let out a laugh and told him he’d be right back. A second later he appeared with a deep blue v-neck and handed it to Stiles.

“Here, you can borrow this,” Damian offered.

Stiles exchanged the shirt for Luca, realizing halfway through the exchange that this was the first time Damian had held Luca since his sister-in-law disappeared two months ago.

He watched Damian almost reverently take the baby into his arms. He canted a hip to balance him on and touched a finger to Luca’s chubby cheek. Luca looked at him confused for a second, his face reading who the heck are you and why are you touching me? But Damian let out a keening noise and the look on Luca’s face changed completely. He reached out a hand and touched Damian’s mouth, his little fingers curling over his bottom lip and they both smiled at each other.

Stiles was trying to cry out of pure joy. Okay, and a little jealousy, but seeing the look on Luca’s face hit him right in the feels.

“Is there something wrong with the shirt?” Damian returned his attention to Stiles.

“Ah, nope, just give me a second here…” Stiles looked around for a bathroom for half a second before he just gave up.

He turned his back a little so he was facing away and pulled the dirty t-shirt over his head before quickly scrambling the other shirt on, but he wasn’t fast enough.

“Jesus are those scars?!”

Damian’s hand shot out and lifted up the hem of the t-shirt up so he could see better. Stiles shied away, the hem dropping again.

“Ehhhhmm, yeah,” Stiles said awkwardly. “While the stories of Derek and my relationship may be a little exaggerated, the tales of my magic are not.”

Suddenly the hand Damian had stretched out fell and he took a step back.

“I’m so sorry, Stiles. I didn’t mean any harm,” Damian said a little cautiously.

“No dude, stop,” Stiles interrupted. “Seriously it’s okay. I know they can be a little overwhelming. I’m not going to get all Lord Voldemort on you for asking me, okay? It’s fine.”

With Luca still on his hip, Damian took a step closer and let his gaze fall to Stiles’ face. He took another step closer.

“Can I see them?” He whispered.

Not very many people knew about Stiles scars. Scott had seen them, Derek obviously, but other than the pack and Deaton nobody else had. He had even managed to keep them hidden from his dad, a feat he was pretty damn proud of thank you very much.

But the look in Damian’s eyes made Stiles want to share all his secrets with him. He curled his fingers at the end of the shirt and slowly lifted it up to his chin.

Damian’s eyes moved rapidly, taking in all the swirls and ridges. Finally his eyes rested on the triskelion etched into Stiles’ left pec. Hesitantly he reached out his index finger and traced the line from the center of the symbol to the end of one of the lines.

The memory of Derek doing something strikingly similar caused Stiles to drop his shirt and take a step back, the movement causing Damian to wrench out of some kind of trance.

“I should get you back,” Damian coughed.

"Yeah," Stiles agreed taking Luca from him without making eye contact.

Damian started for the door and Stiles followed behind him, shutting the door quietly on the way out.

Chapter Text

“Okay, handsome. We are just going to sneak in here and do a quick wardrobe change,” Stiles whispered to Luca as he crept into the cottage. “And hope that Uncle Sour Wolf is otherwise engaged so he doesn’t smell another werewolf all over Surrogate Daddy Stiles and rip my throat out with his teeth.”

After Damian had parked in front of the house, Stiles had bid him an awkward good bye and then made a beeline for the cottage. They had been fighting a lot lately and the last thing Stiles wanted was to come back and piss Derek some more. All he needed to do was put Luca down and strip out of this shirt and nobody would be any of the wiser. Or try to kill him.

The cottage was empty and quiet when Stiles snuck in. He went straight to the room with Luca’s crib to put him down so he could go change.

“Right, why don’t you just take a little nap right here,” He set Luca down in the crib. “And I’m going to – shit!”

Stiles turned to leave the nursery for the master bedroom and ran straight into a solid brick wall. A werewolfy brick wall.

He let out a shrill yelp as a big hand grasped the back of his shirt and dragged him into the tiny living room. He stumbled a few steps forward as the hand released him with a shove and tried to get back as many man points as he could by standing up quickly and putting his angriest face on.

“Shut up,” Derek growled when Stiles started to open his mouth. “I told you not to let anyone touch you, did I not?”

“See what had happened was-“

“DID I NOT?” Derek boomed.

“Yes,” Stiles said begrudgingly. He couldn’t wait to make Derek feel stupid about this in two minutes when he finally got a chance to explain.

“So instead of letting him touch you, you come back with his goddamn shirt on like you are his to scent!” Derek hadn’t even tried to stay human for this conversation. His eyes were glowing red and his nails had already elongated.

“Luca threw up all over me! I didn’t have anything else to change in to!” Stiles protested. He wasn’t even about to mention the fact that technically he had also let Damian touch him. Nope, that was definitely not something he should share right now. He was going to save that for later. Much later.

“Then you come back in a dirty shirt, Stiles! We are werewolves, nobody cares about some baby puke on a shirt. You coming back smelling like you rolled around in another fucking wolf is a bigger damn issue than a little vomit. How do you think this makes me look?” He snarled.

Stiles could tell he was losing ground fast and was scrambling to make up for it.

“First of all, this would’ve never happened if you didn’t jump at the first opportunity to get rid of me so you could make battle plans without me. And secondly, nobody saw me!”

Derek rolled his eyes facetiously. “You’re in a house full of werewolves you idiot! We could smell it the minute you stepped out of the car! And if you think I’m going to apologize for letting you go with him to ease your mind about Luca, you’re fucking wrong. I knew you were worried about leaving him here and I was trying to help. The only thing I’m sorry about is trusting you to act like I’m actually important to you.”

Oh shit.

He knew deep down that Derek had gotten past the whole physical abuse part of his aggression years ago, but Stiles wouldn’t put it past him to start it again now. Actually, now would be an understandable point to start throwing Stiles into walls.

“I got to stand awkwardly as everyone in the house smelled him on you. Smelled my mate reeking of another wolf. To top it off, everyone knew you hadn’t called or texted to check in. I knew exactly what they were all thinking,” Derek let out a pained laugh. “I’m an Alpha who can’t even keep his mate in check.”

Stiles didn’t have anything to say to that. He realized with crushing certainty that how it looked wasn’t actually the issue here. He had hurt Derek. Derek had asked something simple of him, something extremely easy, to help him with his wolf and Stiles had fucked it up. He knew he could’ve thought this one through a little better and it made him mad. He was supposed to be a damn magical genius and he couldn’t even stop himself from hurting someone he cared about.

“I’m sorry. Seriously, I am,” Stiles apologized and tilted his head a little in submission. “I didn’t think. You’re right, I could’ve handled that situation better.”

“Don’t fucking placate me,” Derek exploded angrily. “I’m not going to let you plea to my wolf again, goddamn it.”

“I’m not!” he protested. “I’m serious, Derek. I understand the tactical error I made. We are on a foreign pack’s territory and we are supposed to be a united front. I shouldn’t be fucking around like that.”

Stiles cringed and held out his hands. “I didn’t mean it like that. Don’t kill me. I didn’t fuck him, I swear.”

Derek snarled.

“Or you know, the other way around. Nobody fucked anybody,” Stiles really needed to stop talking.

Hesitantly looking into the Alpha’s eyes, Stiles saw that Derek’s eyes and nails had turned back to normal. He still had a disgusted look to his face that put a knot in Stiles’ stomach, but considering how much worse this conversation could be going he could live with that.

Stiles took a couple steps towards Derek but Derek recoiled in disgust. Stiles heart stuttered in his chest at the rejection. Derek had never looked at him like that before, had never denied him.

“Derek,” he pleaded.

“Go take a shower. You fucking reek,” Derek ordered. “And hurry up. We have reservations.”

~

The reservations turned out to be for a small, quaint looking restaurant in the heart of Portland’s Alberta’s Art District. Simeon had gifted them a date night, saying that they must not have gotten many in the past few weeks because of the baby. Stiles had reluctantly parted with Luca and got into the Camaro, not saying a single snarky thing about Derek opening and closing the car door for him.

The restaurant was really adorable. It was cozy and warm with each booth being separated from the others by silky drapes that were entwined with twinkling fairy lights. Stiles was trying to be on his best behavior after their fight earlier but he couldn’t stop the jitters in his hands and legs. This was after all their first actual date.

He was nervous that he was going to get all jumbled up and say something stupid, something that would make everything worse, so he just stuck to being quiet.
While they sat in silence and stared at the menu deciding what to get, Stiles took the chance to check Derek out. He looked seriously hot. Not that he didn’t always, but he noticed now that Derek had shaved and put on a new pair of jeans. He looked downright delicious in his Henley and the leather jacket he had shrugged off when they walked inside the restaurant. Stiles couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed before. But he had been a little bit preoccupied with not dying earlier so…

Derek glanced up with an eyebrow raised at the sound of Stiles heart rate increasing. Stiles tried to put on a shy smile, in hopes of breaking a little bit of the tension between them but Derek just dropped his eyes back to his menu.

Stiles took the plunge.

“Okay look, I know that I fucked today. Like, a lot. And that you’re mad about it, which is completely understandable, because I acted like a complete and utter jackass. But you have to remember that I am 20-years-old. Not saying that age is some kind of excuse or anything, but let’s be real here, most guys my age are doing keg stands at frat parties right now. Not trying to pretend to be a werewolf’s mate while working to negotiate peace between two packs so the baby they’ve been taking care of for almost three weeks, and are totally in love with, can have a safe place to call home. It’s a lot to handle, Derek. I’m trying. I mean, I could try a little harder and I swear that I will, but I am trying.”

Stiles sucked in a huge breathe after the last word left his mouth. He’d said the whole thing in a single breathe because he was afraid that if he stopped he would’ve lost his nerve and he knew that he wouldn’t have ever said what he needed to say.

Derek stared at him for a few moments before rolling his eyes in irritation and letting out a huff.

“You don’t have to remind me that right now you’d be at Berkley if it wasn’t for me. Trust me Stiles, I think about that every day.”

Stiles couldn’t believe that that was what Derek pulled from the whole thing.

“Really? You actually think I blame you for that? Listen, even if I hadn’t been in the hospital recovering from the fight with the Alphas I probably still wouldn’t have gone to Berkley. I have my dad and I have Scott who both need me right where I am.”

“You had a full scholarship, Stiles,” Derek looked at him incredulously. “You could’ve done anything you wanted with your life!”

“Who says I’m not?” Stiles retorted. “Who says that saving my family and friends and getting to hang out with them every day isn’t exactly what I want? I don’t need to be someone famous or rich, Derek. I’m perfectly happy just being surrounded by the people I love.”

Derek pursed his lips into a thin line at that statement. There was an underlying message in it and it didn’t look like either of them were going to touch it.
Stiles finally broke down and reached a hand across the table to grab Derek’s.

“Can we just stop with all of this fighting? Please? I never thought I’d actually get to go on a date with you and now I’m finally on one and you’re mad at me and we’re arguing. Can we please forget about it for just a little bit and have a nice first date? You can yell at me more later, just, just not right now.”

There was no way Derek could look at Stiles being so sincere and not give in. Stiles had this big brown eyes with thick dark lashes that could melt the frozen heart of any man. Derek sighed again but agreed with a nod and took secret pleasure in the way the smile broke across Stiles’ face.

They were able to finally slip into a more comfortable place and enjoy themselves. Their dinner mainly consisted of Stiles talking animatedly about this thing he read or that movie that he couldn’t believe Derek hadn’t seen yet while Derek just nodded or grunted ever now and then.

Not that Derek minded. He actually loved listening to Stiles talk, engaged in the topic and going off on tangents that had nothing to do with the actual subject. It was one of the things Derek really liked about them together, Stiles never expected Derek to be anybody than who he was. He didn’t expect him to make small talk or to tell stories like other people did. All he had to do was listen.

Most people ignored Stiles, thinking that he talked too much and didn’t actually have anything to say. But it was actually the exact opposite. Derek was astounded by how much knowledge Stiles had and how he could remember insanely small details about the most obscure things. Like now when he was discussing the chemical formula for making wolfsbane an anesthetic.

“I could totally make it so that the pain from a wound, even an Alpha delivered one, is completely dulled. But every time I try to get Scott to try it out for me he runs,” Stiles said dejectedly.

“Maybe because he doesn’t want you to poison him with wolfsbane,” Derek laughed.

“It’s not poison! With the aniseed counteracting the toxic parts of the wolfsbane it is completely safe!”

Their conversational topics bounced around. Stiles asked about Derek’s time in New York and if the pizza was really as good as everyone says (yes) and what he majored in in college (Economics) and what he wanted to do with it (bonds trading).

“I’ve actually been working for a financial company based in London for the past year,” Derek said.

“Dude what?” Stiles had a mouthful of ravioli and spit a little onto the table.

“It’s nothing big. I manage different portfolios for clients in a couple different countries electronically. I give them advice on investments and stuff,” Derek said nonchalantly.

This started a whole other line of questioning from Stiles who had no idea that Derek even had a job.

The dinner started winding down and when the waitress came back to ask if they want dessert and they both declined. They were both smiling at each like idiots over the table and despite the rock start, the date had definitely been a success.

“So, I don’t usually do this on a first date,” Stiles ran his foot up Derek’s leg under the table. “But if you want, you’re welcome to come over to my place.”

Derek caught Stiles leg in his hand and held it in between his thighs, using his other hand to run up Stiles’ calf beneath his jeans, massaging the muscle gently.

“Don’t usually? How many times have you?” Derek teased.

“Well actually, my relationships have been more of a strictly sexual kind of thing. So the “don’t usually” should really refer to the date and not the coming home with me part.”

Derek’s hand tightened around Stiles ankle.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Don’t break my ankle!”

The hand loosened a little. “I should break it. Might make you a little less able to go chasing after things you shouldn’t.”

They got up and Derek went to pay, only to find the bill and tip had already been covered by Simeon. Pulling up his jacket collar, Stiles braced for the cold wind and mist as Derek opened the door for him to leave. As they walked the short distance back to where Derek had parked the Camaro, Stiles was really tempted to slip his hand into Derek’s but he wasn’t sure if they were ready for that or not.

Stiles hadn’t actually been kidding before when he said his relationships had been strictly sexual. He had figured out by the end of his sophomore year that he was definitely bisexual. Hell, the abs that helped him realize his sexuality swung back and forth like a trapeze artist were Derek’s.

After he realized it, he freaked out went to the school’s token gay guy, Danny, who begrudgingly had become his gay Yoda.

At first he struck out with the guys at Jungle the same way he had with girls his entire life. But after growing out his hair over the summer and gaining a little muscle from making first line he ended up becoming what Danny affectionately called “gay bait.” (Something Scott teased him endlessly for.)

By senior year had admittedly become a little bit of a slut. It wasn’t something he was particularly proud of, but as the nerdy kid who was invisible his whole life fell away, he couldn’t help but take some enjoyment in suddenly getting hit on by all these hot guys.

But the beginning of senior year is when the shit with the Alpha pack started getting real. They stopped being annoying and started trying to kill people so after that Stiles had been too busy and later too broken to really think about being in a relationship. He had asked a couple people on dates over the past two years but it never really amount to anything. Every time things got a little bit serious Stiles would think about having to get naked in front of them and then would completely destroy the relationship out of fear.

Which is why he had no idea if it was okay to reach out and hold Derek’s hand. He was in uncharted territory with this. He could do the sex stuff no problem, but the relationship stuff was completely new and slightly terrifying. They hadn’t even agreed that this was a relationship.

They got to the car before Stiles could make a decision either way. Derek walked forward and opened up the passenger side door for Stiles to get in.

“Dude, you know I’m not the girl in this relationship, right? This isn’t like that,” Stiles teased, half serious.

“Said last night’s bottom,” Derek quipped as he shut the door.

The door was completely closed but Derek could still hear Stiles yell from inside, “I WAS NOT!”

~

Derek pulled the Camaro into the driveway and put it into park. He got out and went around to open Stiles’ door for him and Stiles let him without complaint now that they were back to the house. He was more determined than ever to put his game face on for real this time and do what he was supposed to be doing. He never wanted Derek to look at him again the way he did before.

Stiles got out and waited as Derek finished closing the door before he pulled the other man to him. Their bodies collided together and Stiles wrapped his arms up around Derek’s neck. Derek smiled down at him in surprise.

“Thanks for the dinner,” Stiles murmured. “It was fun. Well, not the beginning so much, but that was my own fault. The rest was pretty fantastic though.”

“You’re welcome, sweetheart,” Derek said with a dirty grin.

In retribution, Stiles leaned in and bit Derek’s bottom lip then placed an open mouth kiss over it. Derek didn’t seem to mind and responded in kind. Soon Stiles was pressed up against the Camaro with Derek’s tongue lapping at the inside of his mouth. Stiles ran his fingers over the short hair at the back of Derek’s head and slanted his mouth against his. Later he would deny with everything he was, but he definitely was thrusting a little against Derek. Derek slid his hands into the back pockets of Stiles’ jeans and grabbed a handful of ass.

Stiles broke off with a laugh.

“Okay Mister Handsy, that’s enough for you. I’m not going to stand here and let you grope me while every window is full of peeping werewolves,” he teased.

“Mine,” Derek said with another squeeze that made Stiles squirm even closer.

“Yeah,” he said against Derek’s lips. “Yours. Now unhand me you cad. An upstanding lady like me demands respect.”

Derek’s lips twisted into a small smirk and placed another kiss on him before letting him go. This time Stiles slid his hand into Derek’s without even thinking about it and they walked hand in hand into the house.

An hours later the Sun had set and the wolves that were going on the hunt, about 8 of them, had gathered in the back of the house. Stiles stood on a porch step with Derek a step below him. He was at the perfect height for Stiles to wrap his arms around Derek’s chest and rest his chin in his shoulder. Derek seemed to like this display of affection and leaned a little bit back into Stiles’ chest.

“So tonight we are going for a hunt. No aggression to other wolves will be tolerated. We are going in full wolf form only, no beta forms and if you kill it you have to bring it back. No exceptions,” Simeon laid out the rules. “Everyone needs to be back in an hour regardless since there isn’t very many of us going and we could be vulnerable to attack.”

Stiles stiffened at that. Derek had mentioned that they weren’t sure where the rogue pack was hiding. It could be here or a couple hundred miles from here. Stiles had already thought up a couple ideas for how he could figure that out, it was just a matter of getting Derek to let him do it.

“Let’s go.”

With those words Simeon started to get undressed and the pack followed him in getting naked. He started shifting even before his shirt hit the ground and Stiles thought it was actually pretty cool to see the Alpha shift into a full wolf. Stiles hadn’t ever seen it done before as only born werewolves could shift into full wolf form and Derek always chose to stay in beta form so he could talk with his pack.

Stiles never thought he’d be comfortable standing fully clothed around a group full of naked people, but he found himself pretty at ease as the pack got undressed and started to shift, their bodies glimmering with magic as they took another form.

The wolves themselves were huge, probably two or three times the size of a normal wolf and weighing easily a couple hundred pounds. Stiles would not like to run into them in a the forest at night.

Derek pulled out of Stiles’ arms and turned to face him, leaning in for a kiss that gave Stiles goose bumps.

“I’ll be careful,” he promised.

“I know you will. Now go have fun terrifying those rabbits, babe,” Stiles smiled. The affection this time was more to make Derek roll his eyes than piss him off like Stiles played at before.

Derek did roll his eyes, much to the satisfaction of Stiles, before stripping naked himself. Derek didn’t shift like Simeon. He waited until after he had neatly folded his clothes and placed them on the bottom step before giving Stiles a wink and turning to run after the pack, shifting into the wolf seamlessly mid stride as he hit the tree line.

“Show off,” Stiles muttered under his breath. Truth be told, he couldn’t wait to climb that like a tree later tonight. God why did Derek have to be so flippin’ ripped? And the way his ass had bounced as he walked away… UGH.

Stiles was heading towards the house to find out where Luca was when Damian came out onto the back porch caring the baby.

“We didn’t want to miss out on all the fun,” he said as he came down the steps to where Stiles stood.

Luca let out a shout and started babbling, throwing out his arms at Stiles so that he’d hold him. Stiles obliged, taking him from Damian.

“Missed you at dinner,” Damian said quietly.

Stiles wasn’t really sure how to respond to that but Damian didn’t appear to need a response as he started pulling his shirt up over his head.

“I’m going to have to work to catch up. Good thing I’m fast,” he said and dropped his pants.

Stiles turned to look away but before he could Damian was already naked and shifting. He tore off into the woods after the pack with a howl, not once looking back.

Fucking werewolves, man.

Chapter Text

With Derek gone, he had less than 60 minutes to do what he needed to do.

“All right, Luca,” he muttered to the baby. “Let’s go make friends.”

Stiles went in through the screen door and walked into the kitchen, following the sounds of soft talking. When he entered the sleek and modern kitchen everyone got really quiet and stared at him warily like he was all of a sudden going to go on a killing spree. This was not going to be easy.

“Uhh, okay. So I have this idea that I want to try and if it works I can find the location of the other pack. I know they are kind of on the lam right now but if I do this and it works we can be better prepared because we’ll know where they are,” everyone remained stock still. “Right, so I can’t do this alone because I need a werewolf and obviously, I’m not one, so I was wondering if someone wouldn’t mind helping me. It, um, it involves magic.”

Panic immediately registered across half the faces of the werewolves present. Some shifted back into a defensive stance and others continued to remain still, almost in the “if I don’t move maybe he won’t know I’m here” kind of way.

Stiles sighed. They were wasting time he didn’t have.

“Look, it’s not going to hurt, I promise. My Alpha is out there too you know, the same as your wolves, and it would make me feel a whole lot better knowing where this other pack is. Wouldn’t that ease your minds? To know that they aren’t running straight into an ambush or something?”

Everyone continued to be silent and Stiles desperately wanted to roll his eyes at them. So much for working together. He was about to give up and turn away to leave when a female stepped forward. She was the same dark haired girl from the other night, the one being teased in the kitchen by the older women about a guy. She had this light purple feel to her that reminded Stiles of Easter - like chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts.

“I’ll help you,” she said boldly. “What do you need?”

Stiles could’ve cried with relief. He motioned for her to follow him and he walked them in to Simeon’s study. Earlier this morning Stiles had noticed the maps hanging on the wall. They were the typical kind of road maps except they were about 3 times the usual size, perfect for what he had in mind.

Stiles went and grabbed the one that showed the Pacific Northwest, from Vancouver all the way down to the top of California, the whole of Washington State and Oregon included.

He handed Luca off to the girl and spread the map out over the conference table. Luca didn’t seem to mind as he was half asleep and was doing his sleepy time gesture which was pulling on his earlobes while taking short suck bursts on his pacifier.

“Thanks so much for helping me,” Stiles said to her. “I promise this is not going to hurt. What’s your name?”

“Stephanie,” she answered. “And I’m not afraid. You’re here to help us, not hurt us. Plus, I’m kind of interested in seeing what kind of Harry Potter shenanigans you’re going to pull.”

“Great use of the word shenanigans,” he laughed. “How old are you anyway?”

Stephanie looked affronted. “Seventeen, but I turn eighteen in like a couple months.”

“Cool, I was just curious,” he placated. “Okay so basically I’m going to scry. Or at least I’m going to try.”

“You mean like on Charmed?”

“Yeah! Exactly! I’ve never done it before but to do what I want to do I think I need a little bit of werewolf blood,” Stiles said tentatively. “Would you mind being my donor?”

For a moment Stephanie looked apprehensive but then Stiles recognized the “fuck it” look as it spread across her face and she nodded her head. Stiles dug out the pocket blade his dad had given to him for his 16th birthday. It wasn’t much, just a three inch blade in a black casing, but it was sharp and fit in his hand perfectly.

He flipped it open and looked cautiously at Stephanie.

“I’m just going to cut open a strip on your forearm and let the blood get on the map. With your werewolfy healing powers you should be healed in no time,” Stiles explained.

“Hah. And you said this wouldn’t hurt,” she countered. “Liar.”

But she shifted Luca to the hip, careful not to wake him up, and stuck out her arm bravely. Stiles gently took a hold of her wrist and position her arm so it was directly over the map. He lifted the blade to her skin but right before he was about to cut her, he looked up to make sure she wasn’t freaking out.

“Just do it already, gosh,” she said anxiously with an eye roll.

Stiles let out a nervous laugh at her insistence, then his face got somber. He let the blade sink in to her tan skin and the blood welled up to the surface. He tilted her arm a little as he continued to pull the blade across her skin and the blood ran off her arm in a rivulet. When he had a decent sized puddle on the map he let her go, the slice on her arm already starting to heal.

“See no big deal,” he reassured her. “I bet that didn’t even hurt.”

Stephanie shook her head in agreement. “All right Merlin, let’s see the magic.”

He stood over the map and spread his hands out wide, closing his eyes tight. He let his mind open and allowed it to be filled with the pull of the moon, the dirt of the Earth and the energy of life. He let them course through him, pulling and twisting the energy in his mind, asking them to help him with this task.

A small gasp made his eyes flick open and he looked down and saw what Stephanie was seeing.

The droplets of blood were splitting apart and rearranging themselves over the map. Some congregated in larger pools over specific locations while others broke apart until they were barely visible red dots on the paper. Stephanie and Stiles both watched in awe as the droplets moved around and arranged themselves until suddenly everything came to a standstill.

“Fucking awesome,” Stephanie breathed.

“Yeah,” Stiles was just as shocked as she was that it worked.

They stared at the map a little while longer, still mind blown that it worked.

“We are here,” Stephanie finally moved to point to a small congregation of the blood outside Portland. “And the other two packs in Oregon are here and here.”

She pointed out respectively.

“I don’t know about all the packs, Simeon would, but you see this massive puddle here? There shouldn’t be anyone in the middle of the mountains like that. I mean, unless they are doing some kind of survival thing but I don’t know why there would be such a huge number of them.”

Stephanie was pointing to a green part of the map outside Seattle.

“I’m actually more worried about this,” Stiles gestured to a small grouping a little ways away from where Stephanie had identified as their current location. “I bet you anything that is some kind of raiding party, probably the ones that have been attacking you.”

He jumped up from the map and grabbed a ruler. Using it to measure the distance from their dots on the map to the other, he estimated the distance.

“That is less than a hundred miles from here,” he said starting to panic.

“No but like, they just did a run last night, there is no way they would’ve missed them,” Stephanie tried to reason. “They would’ve like, seen them.”

“They could’ve moved into your pack’s territory at any time today,” Stiles negated.

Stiles was thinking through as many of the possible scenarios as he could as fast as his mind could process.

“Okay, how long have they been gone on the hunt?”

“Almost 40 minutes,” Stephanie answered. “They should start coming back any time now.”

“Shit! I need to clean this up before they get back,” Stiles ran to put the ruler back in Simeon’s desk where he found it and came back to the map. “Um, if you could keep this our little secret I’d really appreciate it.”

Stephanie looked at him side eyed with a dumb expression. “Stiles, every werewolf in the house has like been listening to what we’ve been doing. Like the whole time.”

Fucking werewolves, man.

His head dropped to his chest and he closed his eyes tight. “If every werewolf who can hear me right now could listen up for a second, I would take it as a personal favor if you could keep this to yourself for the night and let me tell Derek myself. Please.”

Stephanie tilted her head in a look very reminiscent of a dog. “They agreed. Also, Samantha was wondering why your mate can’t feel it through your bond.”

All of a sudden Stephanie’s eyes got wide,” Ooops. I wasn’t supposed to say that.”

“Our bond is different,” Stiles tried to work around a lie. “But no time to explain, I need to get this cleaned up.”

Stephanie left with Luca still asleep on her shoulder and came back a moment later carrying a wet rag. Stiles took it from her but first put his hands out and called the molecules to him. The blood gathered from around the map and formed into a puddle in front of him.

“So flippin’ cool,” Stephanie shook her head in awe.

Letting himself show off a little bit, Stiles pulled the molecules up into the air, the pool of blood dripped upwards until it combined to form a large round orb of dark red blood. He reached out with the rag and let go of the molecules, they fell splashing in the rag.

He pulled a grin at Stephanie who shook her head again incredulously.

Stiles stopped monkeying around and pulled the map off the table. He was putting it back when he saw Stephanie tilt her head again. She was such a cute puppy.
“They’re back.”

Stiles finished cleaning up quickly and took Luca from her arms before following her out to the back porch. When he got outside he could already see that a few of the wolves had trickled in. Some were carrying rabbits and another one had what looked like a small deer. Stiles looked around for Derek, nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other, but didn’t see him.

After a couple more minutes Derek came out of the woods. He was a pitch black wolf save for a light silver streak down his chest and his eyes shown a bright blue against the darkness of his coat. Even in wolf form he was breath taking. His wolf was a little bit larger than the other wolves, but not as big as Simeon’s dark brown wolf. Still he stood at least five and a half feet tall.

In his mouth he was pulling a huge deer with him. Stiles stepped off the steps to greet him and the wolf dropped the deer in front of him.

“Awww is that for me? Thanks honey, you shouldn’t have.”

Stiles wasn’t even joking. Well, he was a little bit, but the bigger part of him was flattered. The other wolves came back with small game and here his man was bringing him a prize. It was like at the fair and other guys were winning their dates a little stuffed toy while Derek was giving him the life sized teddy bear.

“You are one hell of a hunter, Alpha Hale,” Stiles continued his praise.

He reached out and ran a hand through the thick coat of Derek’s fur, the wolf pushed gently into his hand, preening at the affection. Derek’s head was almost as tall as Stiles’ and he didn’t even have to look down to meet his gaze. He smiled at him mischievously and wondered if later he could convince Derek to let him ride on his back.

Their moment was broken though when the last wolf came into the clearing.

It was a light grey color and it was dragging with it a huge stag which was actually bigger than the one Derek had brought him. Careful of the sharp antlers, the other wolf dragged it forward, stopping in front of where Stiles stood with Luca, letting go of the neck and dropping the buck at his feet.

Stiles just stared for a moment confused. Was this another one of those gift things from the pack? But why was this wolf giving it to him instead of Simeon who was standing over on the left?

Then it hit him. The wolf was Damian and this wasn’t just a gift, it was an offer.

Ohshitohshitohshitohshitohshit.

His eyes zoomed to where Derek was standing with his hackles raised. Stiles was waiting for Derek to start a fight but instead Derek was just standing there quietly, his gaze locked with Stiles’. He was waiting. He was giving Stiles an option, an out, waiting to see who Stiles would choose.

Stiles looked down at where Luca was sleeping in his arms. If he stayed with Damian he wouldn’t have to lose Luca. He could stay here and help raise him, be there to see him walk and talk. Be Papa Stiles. He thought about Luca’s first day of kindergarten and his first middle school soccer game. About what he would look like as a freshman in high school or the look on his face when he got his first car at sixteen.

He could be there for that. He could stay here with Damian and live in the vibrant house with a gorgeous, smiling man who loved video games as much as he did. One who didn’t scowl at him and who could actually articulate his feelings.

He entertained that thought for a moment and then shoved it from his mind. No, he wasn’t Papa Stiles and he couldn’t stay here with Luca because Luca wasn’t his. Derek was his and while their relationship was still new and he wasn’t ready to put a ring on it right this second, he knew he couldn’t just give it all up.
Stiles actually adored Derek’s scowl because now that he knew the man better, he knew that half of the time the scowl was just a front. That underneath he wasn’t really an angry Sour Wolf anymore. He knew that he could make Derek smile and that there was a soft side to Derek who needed to be loved and damn it, Stiles was the man for the job. Derek may not be able to tell Stiles how he felt all the time, but Stiles knew in the way Derek took care of him, always trying to protect and provide, was how he expressed how he felt for Stiles.

Stiles broke out of his thoughts looked around him and everyone was staring at him, waiting in anticipation for his decision.

“Not cool, man,” he stuck a finger at Damian. “This is crossing so many lines. I can’t even begin to deal.”

Everyone was still staring at him. Apparently that wasn’t enough of a declaration. Fine.

“I don’t accept your gift or your offer. You’re an awesome guy and I had fun hanging out today, but I’m Derek’s and Derek is mine. End of story.”

That appeared to be an acceptable answer.

Derek broke out in a loud howl at the declaration, a few of the other wolves joining him. After they stopped there was this moment of dead silence then, without any warning, Derek lunged at Damian. Derek clamped his teeth into Damian’s side and Damian let out a snarl, rolling over to throw Derek off of him and then backed up to take a better defensive stance.

They paced around each other for a minute before Derek struck again. Stiles couldn’t tell where the grey wolf began and the black wolf ended. They rolled together, teeth snapping, claws ripping and blood dripping over everywhere. When they broke apart again most of Damian’s right ear was bitten off and Derek was limping from a gash on his back leg.

Damian was snarling aggressively while Derek silently stalked. Stiles remembered Simeon mentioning how Damian was the pack’s best fighter and from the way Damian moved, striking quick and hard, it was clear this was going to be an even match.

The next time they broke apart there was even more damages inflicted on both wolves. Stiles couldn’t take it anymore. It was obvious nobody else was even about to try to get into the middle of them.

“Enough!” He shouted. “There is no reason to fight about this. Let’s use our words.”

It was like he was yelling at the wall. Damian jumped forward, trying to land another hit to where Derek was already injured but Derek turned at the last second and tore open Damian’s shoulder with his teeth. There must have been an artery or something near where Derek had injured him because blood was pouring out of the wound. Plus Derek was an Alpha, which means none of the damage he was inflicting was going to heal in any kind of a timely manner.

Stiles knew he had to do something or they were going to kill each other. He looked around until he spotted Stephanie and strode over to her, placing a still knocked out Luca in her arms. (Seriously, the kid had been waking them up every night for the past 3 weeks and now he doesn’t wake up?)

He walked back to the fighting wolves and tried to get into the middle of them.

“Derek! Damian! Stop fighting!”

When he was ignored again, the wolves tangling up in another attack, he decided to play dirty.

“Stop,” Stiles let Alpha seep into his voice.

The word was softly spoken yet both wolves flew backward like an invisible hand had separated them. They stood like two chained dogs snapping and growling at each other across the distance that now separated them, but neither could move forward even an inch.

Stiles had gotten what he wanted, but he paid the price for it. After the words left his mouth he felt a white hot flame burn in a spiral on his chest. He dropped to his knees and placed a hand to where it hurt the most, but the pain didn’t stop. It burned down and curled around his navel like someone was carving into him with a hot knife. He let out a shout of pain.

His yell distracted Derek from snarling at Damian, his eyes whipping to Stiles to see what had happened. It was the moment Damian needed.

He bounded across the small expanse separating the two and clamped down firmly on Derek’s throat. Derek bellowed in rage and slashed his claws into Damian’s stomach, forcing the other wolf to let him go. Blood matted Derek’s coat around his neck and some of Damian’s intestines were starting to fall out of the large gash in his side.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Stiles stood back up to his feet.

The pain was still burning in his chest but it had subsided enough for him to function again, and had made him just pissed enough that he was ready to throw down.

He stretched out his hand and felt for the gravity around where Damian was standing. Bending it, he forced the gravity against the wolf, slamming Damian into a tree and holding him there with the force of concentrated gravity. The fallen leaves around the base of the tree started to float slowly upward from the sudden shift of gravity.

Stiles stalked over to the tree, his steps feeling lighter as he got up in front of the wolf and faced him eye to eye. It was weird looking into the face of the wolf and seeing the human beneath, but either way Stiles knew he had Damian’s attention so it didn’t much matter what form the man was in.

“I have no doubt in my mind my Alpha could rip you limb from limb and right now I almost think you deserve it. Seriously? Trying to homewreck my shit then attacking someone when they’re not paying attention? What kind of dick move is that?”

Damian’s breath was getting labored from the excess pressure against his chest. Stiles would have to let him go soon or he was going to kill him.

“But you have a baby to take care of now, something you need to fucking remember and take into consideration before you start picking fights with a damn Alpha. It’s not just you anymore, Damian.”

Stiles then turned to where everyone in the other pack was watching.

“The rest of you, keep this in mind. I know Derek and my relationship is hard for you to understand and I’m seriously not trying to be an asshole, but if any of you come between me and mine again I will fuck shit up.”

Satisfied that his warning had been heard, Stiles stepped back and flicked his wrist, the gravity straightening out and returning to normal. Damian dropped to the ground with a grunt and started gasping for air, his tongue lolling out to the side. The leaves slowly started dropping, floating their way back to the earth and getting caught in the gasping werewolf's matted fur.

Shaking his head, Stiles walked back to Derek. He saw that Derek was in the process of changing back to human and hoped that the first use of his human voice wouldn’t be used to tear Stiles a new one for using magic.

It wasn’t. In fact, Derek didn’t say anything. He just strode up to Stiles, grabbed him at the hips and raised him up and over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. He seriously didn’t even break stride as he hauled Stiles over him caveman style, making tracks towards the cottage.

If Stiles hadn’t been completely mind fucked at the turn of events from this evening he probably would’ve laughed at being carried over the shoulder of a butt naked Neanderthal werewolf. But he was actually really tired so he didn’t even try to protest as Derek hauled him away.

As a second thought he yelled out, “Take care of Oliver for me, Stephanie!” before Derek took him into the cottage and slammed the door behind them.

Derek didn’t set him down until they were in the master bedroom and then he threw Stiles onto the bed. Stiles bounced a couple of times before Derek caught him by pressing the full length of his naked body against him.

“So hey, that was weird,” Stiles stammered nervously.

Derek didn’t even seem to hear him, he was too busy using a claw to rip through Stiles’ shirt. The weirdest thing about Derek ripping off his clothes wasn’t even that he was ripping off his clothes. It was that while Derek appeared to be human and completely under control, he definitely wasn’t. When Stiles looked at him he couldn’t see anything but the wolf staring back at him. No red eyes but not even a hint of humanity either.

The nail that tore his shirt in two retracted and Derek pulled the rest of the cloth away, immediately dropping his eyes to Stiles’ torso. Stiles looked down as well to assess the damage. One of the designs on his torso was red, almost like he had taken a red Sharpie and followed the swirl down and around his belly button, but other than that everything looked normal. The pain had lessened as well and was down to a low throb.

Lowering his head down to Stiles’ navel, Derek lightly traced his tongue along the red ridge, rewetting his tongue once or twice on the way back up to the top of the spiral on Stiles’ pec. He continued to trace the line over and over again with his tongue until he reached some level of satisfaction. Stiles on the other hand had totally blissed out three licks ago.

Derek’s hands dropped to the belt on Stiles jeans and started to tug. This brought Stiles out of his haze and he brought his hands up to stop Derek, or well, Derek’s wolf.

“Hey, I don’t think we should.”

Those words went unheard and Derek yanked down Stiles’ jeans and boxers in a single movement. Stiles stupidly let out a yelp and used his hands to cover up his junk.

“Derek, no man. Look we’ve been through a lot today and as much as I can believe I’m saying this, I’m not really in the mood tonight. Maybe we could just cuddle.”

Still no response from Derek. Unless you consider running his nose down around the V of Stiles’ hips a response. Stiles tried to wiggle away but two strong hands clamped against and the slight pin pricks of sharp nails dug into his back.

“Earth to Derek. No means no, dude.”

The worst part of all of this was that Stiles was getting rock hard. He was saying no, but his body was definitely saying HELL YES. Could you really blame him though? Stiles had been fantasizing about Derek for years and here he was, naked as the day he was born and licking strips up Stiles’ cock. Oh my god.

“All right, no,” Stiles grabbed both sides of Derek’s face and yanked it up so that they were looking eye to eye. “Hey wolf, I want Derek back. Now.”

At first he got nothing, then Stiles watched as the wolf finally retreated back and let Derek come to the surface. When he was content that it was Derek who was running the show he leaned forward and placed a kiss to his lips.

“Welcome back.”

“Sorry,” Derek said roughly as he pulled back. “It was just…”

Stiles waited, running a hand slowly up and down Derek’s back in encouragement.

“My wolf saw you standing there with the child in your arms and he wanted you so bad,” Derek finally choked out. “Then the other wolf came up and offered you his hunt and I was worried I was going to lose you. But you chose me. You could’ve stayed here with Luca but you chose me. My wolf has wanted you for so long…"

Derek shut his eyes tight like the words were physically hurting him.

"You called me your Alpha."

Stiles for once remained quiet and didn’t push Derek to talk either. Instead he leaned up again and instigated a kiss. They languidly exchanged kisses, hot mouths slanted against each other wetly and slowly they started grinding against each other. Derek was the one to break them apart again.

He pulled off from laying on top of Stiles and rolled over, pulling Stiles’ back against his chest and intertwining their legs before reaching over and doing the same with their fingers.

“It’s not just my wolf,” Derek whispered as he licked and nibbled on Stile’s neck. “I want you too.”

Stiles pushed back and got comfortable in Derek’s embrace, tightening his fingers around Derek’s and closing his eyes. He let the small smile spread across his lips, relishing in the fact that he had made the right decision.

“I know.”

Chapter Text

It was the first time in a while he didn’t have to wake up to get Luca, but that didn’t stop Stiles from waking up at the ass crack of dawn anyway. He was pretty content to stay just where he was though. During the night they had shifted around so that Derek was sleeping on his stomach with his arm stretched out and Stiles sidled firmly into the warm smooth skin of his side.

Stiles could lay here and watch Derek sleep all morning. Derek’s face was so relaxed and innocent looking while he slept, not a single tension crease in his forehead and his lips were plump instead of the straight angry lines Stiles was so used to. He was really tempted to reach out and run a finger over Derek’s dark eyebrows.

“You’re being a creep,” Derek mumbled out of nowhere, catching Stiles completely off guard.

His whole body jumped in fear and Derek let out a small laugh at the girly squeal Stiles involuntary let out.

“I am not you jerk!” Stiles poked him in the ribs as retribution and tried to get up in a fake huff.

Derek wouldn’t let him though. He rolled over with his eyes still closed and wrapped an arm around Stiles, bringing him back into the bed and pressing Stiles’ face into his neck.

“Too early. Go back to sleep,” he hushed.

“Nope. We have to get up,” Stiles lips were pressed against Derek’s skin so it came out less intelligible than he had hoped. “We have some strategizing to do.”

“Can wait,” Derek murmured into his hair.

“No it can’t. The other pack is less than 100 miles away. We need to plan.”

Derek pulled Stiles back a little in his arms and peeked open a single eye to look down, assessing him.

“How do you know that?” Derek inquired suspiciously.

“Uhhh yeah, about that,” Stiles tried to wiggle away but Derek tightened his arms around him, locking him into place. “I may or may not have engaged in a little bit of witchcraft while you were away chasing small woodland creatures.”

Stiles put his best “Don’t kill me” smile on his face.

Derek let him go and rolled onto his back, using his knuckles to rub the sleep from his eyes wearily. “Of course you did.”

Deciding not to push his luck, Stiles got up and headed to the shower. When he got out and was in the process of getting dressed, a knock tapped from the front door. He shot Derek a questioning gaze, the werewolf still lying where he was before Stiles had gotten in the shower.

“It’s that girl from last night,” Derek mumbled grumpily.

Stiles finished pulling on his jeans and threw one of Derek’s discarded shirts on over him, the bagginess hiding his scars but not the blatant and obvious hickey Derek had left on his neck last night.

“Hey Stephanie!” Stiles greeted as he swung open the door.

“Shut up! Last night you were straight up legit,” Stephanie barged through the front door with Luca squealing on her hip. “Also, take this monster. He didn’t stop crying all night long. Kill me.”

Stephanie went straight to fridge and started pulling out stuff to make breakfast.

“I’m surprised you’re not limping today,” Stephanie said with a salacious grin. “The way Alpha Hale was carrying you out last night I almost didn’t want to come down here this morning. But I had to, I don’t know how you dealing with that thing screaming without wanting to smother yourself.”

“Hey!” Stiles protested. “Oliver is a good baby. And no input about my sex life from the underage breeder!”

“Whatever. I couldn’t believe last night! First Damian was way out of line. I couldn’t believe he tried to court you while your mate was like 5 feet away. What a dumbass,” She started stirring the entire dozen eggs together with some milk. “Did you start brewing coffee? Never mind, I’ll get it.”

Stiles had forgotten what it was like to be around a teenage girl.

“Then the way you got all Alpha on their asses was CRAY, Stiles. Are you okay by the way? You looked hurt for a second. You seem fine. Then like you were throwing Damian up against that tree with like nothing but your magic and was all like, “I’ll fuck your shit up” and everything. God, so cool. I heard Emilia talking to Simeon about it and let me tell you, she has like taken a 180 turn from when you first got here. Damian is so stupid,” she started sizzling bacon in another skillet. “But don’t tell anyone I said that because he’s like Simeon’s right hand man and I’m supposed to respect my elders or whatever.”

After Luca was securely in his high chair (the werebaby was a wiley creature), Stiles graciously accepted the cup of coffee Stephanie was holding out to him.

“So now everyone is like Team Stiles, which I totally take credit for. I mean, I’ve been totally defending you in the pack meetings since day one. Even before you cut me and used my blood for that thing last night. Which by the way is still the coolest thing ever,” Stephanie started scooping eggs and bacon onto three plates and popped the toast up so she could butter it.

“You cut her and used her blood?” A not so happy voice came from behind them.

Stephanie obviously hadn’t heard Derek come up because she jumped a little at the voice. When she turned she had a plate of food in one hand and her neck tilted in submission at Derek.

Smart puppy, Stiles thought.

Derek took the plate from her, acknowledging the sign of deference with a head tilt and sat down at the table in the small kitchen, displeasure reading across his face.

“Good morning Alpha Hale,” she said with respect before turning and mouthing “Sorry!” at Stiles.

“Morning,” Derek said gruffly.

Stiles looked at him pointedly and made a face, his eyes going back and forth between the plate of food and Derek. Derek’s already displeased faced got even broodier as he narrowed his eyes in fake annoyance.

“Uh, thanks for the eggs,” Derek grumbled.

Stiles shot him a smile and focused his attention back to Luca who was more interested in playing with the eggs than actually eating them.

“Yeah no problem,” Stephanie sat down at the table with her own plate of food, decidedly closer to Stiles than to Derek.

“So anyways Simeon had Sam and Cliff put Damian in the basement, which is like totes unfair because when I got mad and accidentally wolfed out and hit Janine on the soccer pitch that one time I got like way worse.”

Stiles looked up alarmed. “What do you mean he got put in the basement?”

Stephanie looked like she was about to respond when her eyes darted towards Derek and she shut her jaw closed with a click. Derek had stiffed for a moment but then started to eat his eggs again, not looking up even though he felt Stiles’ glare on him.

“Right well I’ve got to get to school even though I’m like totally exhausted from dealing with that screaming weremonster all night. Seriously? Best form of birth control ever. Thanks for that Stiles,” Stephanie got up and put her amazingly clean plate in the sink. Stiles couldn’t even remember seeing her eat anything.

“Bye!”

The door shut and the whirlwind of teenage girl died down. They both reveled in the sudden silence before Luca got upset with Stiles for not supplying him with eggs to put his fingers in and let out an agitated scream.

“So the basement...” Stiles starts feeding Luca bits of egg from his plate.

“No,” Derek ends the conversation.

“It’s cute that you think that’s going to cut it,” Stiles returned sarcastically.

Derek put his fork down and his Alpha bitch face on.

“He’s lucky to be alive, Stiles. Last night it was well within my rights to kill him. He tried to court my mate and then fight me for you.”

“Wait,” Stiles interrupted. “You started that fight.”

“No,” Derek explained patiently. “I may have made the first move but he knew when he offered you the buck he was starting a fight. We all did.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Stiles said outraged.

Derek shrugged his shoulders, “We’re werewolves, Stiles. That’s how it works. But now it’s Simeon’s problem. He stepped way out of line when he tried to court you and I told you how werewolves feel about behavior and decorum.”

“So now he gets to be tortured in the basement,” Stiles intelligently left off like Kate did to you.

“Not tortured, punished. Simeon could have killed him for what he started last night,” Derek said pointedly. “Do you know what would’ve happened if he had tried that shit with any other Alpha? That girl was telling the truth when she said he’s getting off easy. It’s probably because he’s Simeon’s second.”

Stiles chewed heavily over this as they finished breakfast and got dressed. He couldn’t help feeling like this was his fault, like he had led Damian on unknowingly. Was it even unknowingly? He was ridiculously attracted to him and he did kind of tell him that Derek and his relationship was different. Had he been coming on to him?

The thought followed him as the trio went to the main house to meet with Simeon. Simeon had heard from his pack what Stiles had done the night before and much to the chagrin of Derek, was pleased with the outcome. It led them to hours of discussion on tactic and strategic planning. But no matter how they hashed it out, there was no favorable outcome.

“They’ve been using the element of surprise on you for months,” Stiles shifted Luca in his arms so he could gesture better. “You need a face off. One where everything is out in the open so they can’t pull sneaky shit on you again.”

Stiles had tried to put Luca down several times because trying to make a point about the best way to attack and kill another pack of werewolves while holding a baby was way Machiavellian, but every time he’d try to set him down or hand him off to someone else Luca would start wailing. The little dude was just not having it this morning. Finally Stiles had just given up and was resigned to juggle the baby around while he strategized and had even changed a dirty diaper right on Simeon’s conference table.

If anyone had any qualms about the way Stiles handled his business they were smart enough to keep it quiet because nobody had said so much as a word to him about, even when he had Luca sat up on Simeon’s table and was playing blocks with him while simultaneously looking over ancient treaty documents and lore books.

Simeon’s pack had done a great job of keeping history over the past few hundred years. They even had documents written up and signed with hunters from over a 150 years ago, something Derek told him was practically unheard of. But no allies could be found to call on. Most of the documents dealt with “leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone” rather than working together type gigs.

Eventually though it was time for lunch. Stiles managed to get a full bottle and some pureed vegetables into a very fussy Luca before the baby settled down against Stiles’ chest in the rocking chair upstairs. Luca was staring up into Stiles’ face and had a hand holding on to Stiles’ earlobe.

As Stiles’ rocked and he watched Luca’s face and drank in the cuteness of the sleepy baby. He knew he wasn’t going to have many more chances to watch him fall asleep and wanted to remember everything.

“You didn’t get any sleep at all last night did you, handsome?” Stiles murmured as he rocked. “I’m sorry. Uncle Sour Wolf and I had some things to work through. I know its scary being around all these strange people, but they’re your pack, bud. You have to get used to them.”

Luca finally fell asleep and Stiles was able to lay the werebaby in the crib set up in the upstairs bedroom and walk back in to Simeon’s office.

Derek and Simeon were still at it, discussing things with the occasional input from the other wolves present. They had finally introduced themselves this morning, last night creating some weird bridge Stiles couldn’t even begin to fathom. Sam was the medium built red head and Cliff was the token black guy in the pack. They seemed to be of equal standing in the pack and the other two present were Jonathon and Ty. They were lower ranking but still high enough up to be in on this morning’s conversation.

Interrupting the discussion that was still going nowhere, Stiles walked in and pushed Derek’s chair back a smidge so he could climb his way into the werewolf’s lap. It was kind of ridiculous considering how close in height they were and considering that they were two grown men, but Stiles didn’t care.

“I’m sorry Simeon,” Stiles directed to the other Alpha, ignoring Derek’s wide eyes, “but I’m going to have to call a 2 hour recess. I just got the baby down and this big guy right here is going to take me into town and buy me lunch, then follow me around while I do a little shopping.”

Simeon let out a laugh at Stiles’ eccentricity, obviously finding the interruption well within understandable limits.

“Ah yes, I think that would be a great idea. I remember what it was like the first few years of being mated to Emilia, even two minutes apart was too long and she had me wrapped around her little finger since day one. I can see you similarly have your hands full, Alpha Hale,” Simeon said with mirth.

“Does he ever,” Stiles agreed, popping a kiss to Derek’s reddening cheek. “And before we go, I was wondering if you could tell me if there was a good magic shop near here? I need to pick up a few things.”

~

They ended up at another small restaurant for lunch, this time with a view of the Willamette River. Stiles was surprised he convinced Derek to try out Ethiopian food seeing how unadventurous Derek usually was with his eating and seriously, the look on his face when he realized they were going to be eating with their hands was priceless.

After lunch they walked around downtown Portland a bit, Stiles boldly taking Derek’s hand in his. Derek took it in stride, thankfully not making a big deal about it. Every so often he would do little werewolfy things like bend a nose into Stiles’ neck while they were stopped to look at something or let out a little growl when a passerby would bump into him. It made Stiles’ insides flip-flop.

Stiles had lied a little bit about wanting to go shopping. He wasn’t really a shopping kind of guy, even though he was well versed in it thanks to Lydia. What he really wanted was to spend some time with Derek, away from the pack and away from Luca. Everything between them had happened so fast and was so new yet oddly comfortable and it worried Stiles a little bit. He hadn’t ever felt this certain and this relaxed in a relationship like this before and he wanted a chance to feel it out better without all the outside pressures.

They walked into an indie book and record shop off of 2nd Avenue and Stiles wove his way between stacks of LPs, pulling Derek back to the comic books.

“Oh hey they have the new Platinum Avenger comic out!” Stiles pounced on the graphic novel excitedly. “I was just talking about how they left this stupid massive cliff hanger at the end with Dam-“

Stiles choked on the name and let the sentence drop off awkwardly. He would bring up a conversation about comic books he had with the dude who tried to court him the night before in front of his boyfriend. Yep, that is exactly what he’d do.

Derek didn’t get mad though. He stiffened a little bit but that was it. Stiles hastily went to put the comic book back on the rack but Derek grabbed his wrist and stopped him.

“Stiles, get the comic book if you want it. Its okay.”

He looked to where Derek’s fingers were curled around his wrists and then back up into the blue/green eyes.

“Yeah, see that? That is what I don’t get. Why are you so cool with everything? Why aren’t you freaking out about this?” Stiles gestured with his hand between them. “There hasn’t been anything! No Big Gay Crisis, no throwing me into walls, hell you even talked to me about your feelings last night!”

Stiles voice had gotten increasingly louder with his last sentence ending in a half yell. A hipster girl in thick black glasses and Doc Marten boots looked over at them curiously. Derek dropped his wrist and let Stiles put the comic book back.

“Why is this so easy for you?” Stiles asked quietly this time, perplexion seeping into his whisper.

Studying him carefully for a second, Derek simply responded, “Why does it have to be hard?”

Okay, the question made a lot of sense. Why did everything have to be hard for Stiles? Wasn’t being happy just enough? Clearly not.

“Because nothing has ever been easy between us,” he answered. “It’s always been fights and growls and angry threats and now its kisses and hand holding and jokes about who was last night’s bottom and it is freaking me the fuck out. And the thing is too, I don’t know if I’m more freaked out about how well you’re taking this or if I’m more freaked out about how fast and hard I seem to have fallen for you.”

Stiles was starting to breathe in gasps rather than regular breathes from pure anxiety. He was trying to keep it together but was failing miserably. Derek took mercy on him, shaking his head like he was dealing with the most ridiculous person in the world (he was) he put a hand to Stiles’ face so he could rub his thumb against his cheek in effort to soothe him.

“I told you that my wolf has wanted you for a long time,” Derek reminded him. “He saw something in you long before I as a man recognized how attracted I was to you. But you were in high school then and were so young, I couldn’t ask something like that of you. Then after the stuff with the Alpha pack you were so adamant about being done with everything supernatural , I thought you’d never want me.”

A smile whispered across Derek’s lips. “Then all of a sudden here you were, kissing me and holding my hand and letting me make jokes about you being last night’s bottom and I was finally happy. I’ve been unhappy for so long, why would I fight it?”

Derek leaned in and kissed him deeply. Oh lord yes. Stiles moved forward to press himself as closely as he could to the other man and put his hands on Derek’s hips, gripping tightly. Both of Derek’s hands were now cupping Stiles’ face and he was worshipping at his mouth, licking his way inside hotly.

Stiles could feel Derek’s erection pressing against his and he knew that if he didn’t break this up soon he was going to beg Derek to take him right in the middle of the book store, up against the Batman comics. And while that was a particular fantasy of his, this was definitely not the time.

“Whoa,” Stiles breathed against Derek’s lips before pulling away. “I think we just made it to that hipster girl’s Instagram.”

Derek turned around to where the girl was tapping away at her phone and sneaking not so sneaky glances at the couple. She saw him staring at her and froze like a deer in headlights. Derek raised an eyebrow at her and she squeaked before turning tail and running to hide among the stacks.

“Now, now Sour Wolf,” Stiles chided. “There’s no reason to go scaring the locals.”

Eventually they found themselves standing in front of the magic store Stiles had asked Simeon about. It was pretty nondescript, a simple red brick building that was common to the older parts of Portland and half dead ivy was climbing up the walls and around a big picture window in front. There wasn’t even a sign on the building.

The bell over the door chimed as Derek opened it and Stiles followed him in to see a typical and cliché “magic” shop. Funky smelling incense was burning out of a Buddha shaped burner and there was all kinds of statues of various deities placed around on shelves lined with velvet. A turnable stand was in the middle and had necklaces with various symbols made into charms at the end of black hemp.

A thin Asian lady came from behind a curtain and smiled at them. She had long black hair streaked with highlights of white and was wearing a long skirt and tight black shirt, her jade and silver bracelets clanged against each other as she walked.

“Ah, Mr. Stilinski and Alpha Hale, it’s nice to finally meet you,” she greeted.

Derek looked at her a little bit warier and Stiles could see him get temse. He obviously didn’t like her knowing who they were.

“Simeon called you then?” Stiles hedged, hoping to put Derek at ease.

The lady smiled again politely, “No dear, Alpha Moretti didn’t need to call me. I saw you coming a long time ago.”

She came forward and put a small kiss to Stiles cheek and Stiles felt a familiar bump of energy at her nearness. Derek let out a snarl behind him and a clawed hand wrap around Stiles’ upper arm ready to pull him out of harm’s way.

“It’s okay Alpha Hale,” the woman sent a push of calm over to the werewolf. “I am not a threat to your mate.”

Stiles watched as the calm hit Derek in the chest and spread over his body, his muscles relaxing and the claws around Stiles’ arm retracted then the hand dropped away entirely. Derek looked completely at ease and the semi-permanent crease between his brows smoothed out.

Turning his head back to the witch, Stiles looked at her with awe.

“You have got to show me how to do that.”

Chapter Text

As it turned out, the little Asian witch knew a lot of things that she shouldn’t otherwise know about Stiles, Derek, and their situation.

“I was hoping you would bring the child with you when you came,” she said over her shoulder while leading them to the back through the curtain she had previously made her entrance from. She had a slight accent that lilted her speech. Stiles thought it sounded awesome.

The back opened up to exactly what Stiles’ imagination had been dreaming of when he thought “magic shop.” Weird things were in glass jars with yellowing labels taped to the outside and written in what appeared to be Chinese. Bundles of herbs were hanging from the ceiling and one entire wall was bookcases filled with old, tattered looking books. It was like heaven.

“This is awesome,” he breathed, taking in everything.

“Ah yes, your Dr. Deaton told me of your intense curiosity of all things magical,” the woman laughed. “But as I understand it, Dr. Deaton is not of the Folk. This must be like a candy shop for you.”

Stiles had no idea what “the Folk” was but he nodded absentmindedly as he as he surveyed the bottles and containers on a shelf. Derek was hovering behind him and as Stiles moved he could feel Derek’s breathe on the back of his neck. Personal space much? Stiles raised his hand to dust off a flagon to see inside better only to have Derek slap it away before he could touch it.

“Don’t touch anything,” he hissed lowly.

Stiles turned and rolled his eyes at him but recognized the sense that made and didn’t try and touch anything else.

“So you know who we are, but you haven’t said who you are,” Stiles addressed the witch.

“You can call me Lumi,” she smiled. “I, like you, prefer to keep my given name silent.”

“Is it as weird as mine?” Stiles asked before he realized how rude it sounded.

“No,” Lumi shook her head. “Well, maybe for English speakers it can be difficult to pronounce, but in our world a name holds power. Using a person’s full name is one of the most ancient forms of control, which is why people like us keep these things a secret.”

Stiles nodded in understanding. “Like when you’re in trouble and your mom calls you by your full name and you can feel it in your bones.”

Lumi let out a laugh. “Yes, exactly.”

She motioned for them to take a seat at a small round table off to the left of the room. It was covered in a simple brown table cloth and was scattered with books and various sprigs of plants. Derek made it to the table before Stiles and pulled out a chair for him. Acting like mates in front of a woman like Lumi seemed ridiculous to Stiles, but he remembered what she said to Derek early about not harming his mate and decided to go with it. He smiled up at Derek and sat down, even letting the Alpha push the chair in for him.

They were going to have to have the "Stiles is not a girl" talk again.

Lumi sat in the chair opposite Stiles and started cleaning up the books on the table. As usual Stiles had about, oh, six BILLION questions he wanted to ask but also per usual, he had no idea where to start.

“Start wherever you like,” Lumi said.

Stiles could swear he didn’t say that out loud. He did have a problem with muttering things out on accident, but he knew this wasn’t one of those times. He looked at her suspiciously and thought, “Can you read my mind?”

“If you are wondering whether or not I can read your mind, the answer is no.”

Stiles let out a meep. He didn’t believe her for a second.

“I come from a long line of empaths and you practically scream emotionally whatever you’re thinking,” she finished with a sly smile.

Derek let out small chuckle and Stiles shot him a dirty look.

“But you said you saw us coming?” he prompted.

“I do have another gift, one that lets me see things before they happen or as they are happening. Not a crystal ball,” Stiles had been thinking exactly that and continued his skeptical look, “but flashes and visions of things. I’m not as fortunate as you, Stiles, as my gifts aren’t as controllable.”

He had been sitting quietly the whole time, but now Derek decided to butt in. “You seemed perfectly capable of controlling my response earlier,” he said grudgingly.

Lumi sat back in her chair and put an apologetic look on her face.

“I’m sorry about that, Alpha Hale, but I could tell how worried you were about your mate and I was afraid you would get violent. My shop might sell cliché crap to wanna be teenage Wiccans but I couldn’t have you wrecking my wares.”

Derek let out a huff like that was the most ridiculously thing he’d ever heard. Stiles cocked an eyebrow at him and thought about all the times Derek had destroyed shit in a fit of anger like his Jeep, or the train depot , or his forehead/his Jeep.

“So can you show me how you quelled the angry werewolf?” Stiles asked. “I could really use that in my repertoire.”

Shaking her head Lumi leaned her forearms on the edge of the table and folded her hands.

“Unfortunately, no. Projecting emotions is not something your gifts can encompass outright and not to be rude, but I believe that is a good thing.”

Stiles knew she said she wasn’t trying to be rude, but he was offended all the same. He tried to open his mouth to object, but his outrage made it impossible to find words and instead he gaped at her like a fish out of water.

“Stiles, our gifts are about balancing, not controlling,” she put her hand up to stop him. “You’d do better to learn this now in your youth rather than to live a hard life fighting the very part of you that makes you special. From what I’ve seen and heard about you, that is a concept you are having difficulty with.”

He was waiting for her to end that by snapping in a Z formation because buuurrrrnnnn. Derek crossed his arms over his chest and didn’t say anything either way, but Stiles could tell whose side he was on. (Read: Lumi's.)

“I would think you’d have learned that before when you were given the scars, but I saw what happened last night,” Lumi clucked like a mother hen. “Trying to control two Alphas...”

She shook her head like Stiles was an errant child and looked at him with a blatant “what were you thinking” face. Stiles wanted to take offense and protest, but he knew when he’s been gotten. He turned his face downward sheepishly as his cheeks flared red at her reprimand and concentrated on fiddling with the string on his hoody.

“Damian is not an Alpha,” Derek surprised them both by trying to correct obstinately.

Stiles wanted to laugh at the “bitch please” face Lumi gave, not even verbally addressing Derek’s statement. The lady was sassy, he’d give her that. Truthfully though, both he and Lumi knew what lies beneath the surface with Damian, and it wasn’t a beta.

“So tell me why you are here,” she asked Stiles with an eyebrow raised. “As I have told Alpha Moretti before, I am not to intervene. Why did he send you to me?”

“I need a couple things for some ideas I’ve been working out,” Stiles fidgeted in his seat, trying desperately not to rise to the “not intervening” bait. “But now that I’m here I want to dive into your bookshelf and ask you as many questions as I can before I inevitably drive you so crazy you kick me out.”

Lumi let out another laugh. Stiles seemed to have a direct line to her funny bone and it made him flush with pride to see the older lady drop her fake smile for a real one.

“My bookshelf is more than welcome to your perusal and I’ll answer whatever questions I can. However, I believe it is best your Alpha gets back soon. There are some matters waiting for his attention at Alpha Moretti’s den,” Lumi looked at Derek pointedly.

Derek still didn’t look like he trusted the witch for anything and it was with good reason. He had grown up hearing about the Folk and knew better than to believe anything they said. In the stories he was told as a child, the Folk were meddling people who used their powers to trick others and thought themselves better than the rest.

“I’m not leaving you here,” Derek directed at Stiles.

Stiles was already staring at the bookshelf and salivating. He heard in the distance the bell over Lumi’s door ding and she got up and left for the front of the store, conveniently leaving Derek and Stiles alone.

“What? Dude I’m fine. If she says you better get back then you better go. Just come back for me later,” Stiles got up and walked over to the bookshelf, skimming over the spines and reading the titles.

“Stiles!” Derek demanded his attention. “I’m not leaving you here alone with some witch we don’t even know. It’s out of the question.”

“You seriously think I can’t take a middle aged woman?” Stiles turned to give Derek his attention but he was not about to give in to his stupid Alpha shit. Nope. Those books and him were about to make sweet, sweet love. “I will be fine. Go back and see what she’s talking about and then come get me before dinner.”

Derek wasn’t having it though. “If I have to take you out of here over my shoulder I will,” he threatened.

Stiles stalked over to him and stuck a finger in his chest. “I am a grown ass man who makes his own decisions. Just because I said you are my Alpha last night doesn’t mean you get to boss me around like one of your betas, okay?”

Leaning in to Stiles’ face, Derek let the index finger at his chest dig in to the skin even more. “If you were one of my betas we wouldn’t even be having this conversation because you’d do what I say without question.”

“Great!” Stiles removed his finger and gestured to the door. “Now that we’ve settled that you can go! Pick me up around 6? Maybe 7ish?”

They both glared at each other like petulant children, neither one of them budging. Just like old times.

“Okay, let’s compromise,” Stiles suggested. “Since I am an adult with supernatural gifts and can take care of myself, you leave me here and I promise to text you every hour to let you know I’m okay. If I forget and you have to text me first, I’ll let you come get me and take me home. If not, I get to stay here for the rest of the afternoon.”

Derek still didn’t look like he was buying it. “Every half an hour and only if you promise not to use any magic.”

“What?!” Stiles yelped. “That’s not fair!”

“No magic,” Derek reiterated. “Unless you’re in danger. Promise me or it’s not happening.”

Stiles lips tightened and he silently fumed. He wanted to tell Derek to go to hell but he couldn’t really fault the guy for caring. Plus, Stiles had been known to do some stupid stuff with magic when left to his own devices so…

“Ugghhh fine.”

Derek nodded in agreement though he was still clearly not okay with the situation. “Every half hour or I’m coming to get you,” he said sternly.

“Yes, sir!” Stiles mocked a salute as Derek turned to go. “I promise to be good and not get kidnapped or killed or blow something up accidentally with magic.”

He was halfway to the door when Derek stopped and turned around to come back. Stiles was afraid his smart mouth had caused Derek to change his mind and he was coming back to carry him out like he had said earlier, but instead Derek came up and placed a kiss against Stiles’ lips. Stiles stayed quiet out of shock.

When Derek pulled back he looked down at Stiles’ silenced lips and nodded to himself, then turned around to walk back out.

~

The alarm on Stiles’ phone went off and he groped for it while still keeping his eyes on the page so he didn’t lose his spot. He had set alarms to remind him to text Derek every 30 minutes as promised so he wouldn’t forget and have an angry Alpha barging in. Derek had responded to the first one but the subsequent ones had gone unanswered. Stiles just figured Derek didn’t feel the need to respond so he didn’t worry about it.

He finished reading the page and leaned back in his chair to stretch. His back was killing him from hunching over the texts for the past few hours.
Still not dead, he tapped into his phone and pressed send.

Derek should be there in an hour to pick him up and he wanted to get through as much of this book as he could. When he had begun his delve into Lumi’s bookshelf, he was disappointed to find that most of them were in languages he didn’t know. He had found one in Ancient Latin that he perused, but it wasn’t about anything he particularly cared about. It seemed to have something to do with Medieval cures for faery and sprite inflicted wounds.

The book he was currently reading was far more interesting. It was in English (thank God) and was about the history of what the book called the “two natured.”

Lumi was standing at a small hot plate that had a pot of something bitter smelling boiling. When Stiles had asked her about her gifts, she said she was given them to help heal.

“Is that why you can’t help Simeon?” Stiles tried to piece things together.

“Alpha Moretti and his pack are not my burden,” Lumi shrugged her thin shoulders. “They are yours.”

Burden. That was an interesting way of looking at it.

“So you said we are here to balance things but what does that even mean?” Stiles questioned her. “I mean, how is a werewolf and a human even remotely on the same level? If I didn’t have magic I would’ve been dead years ago. I’ve seen so much death at the hands of the supernatural, I don’t know how you could even try to say there is anything fair about it.”

Lumi continued to stir her pot and crush things into it. “Why do you think you were given these gifts? They don’t just come about for no reason. A human and a werewolf are not on the same level, but one of the Folk most certainly is.”

“But why are there even werewolves in the first place? Doesn’t that unbalance nature?” Stiles questioned more.

“Things weren’t always like this. There was a time when all creatures under the Sun lived in peace.”

Stiles sensed a story coming on and gave his full attention to the tiny Asian woman.

“There was a time when people worshiped the Sun as the bringer of life. The Sun gave light to people so that they could see, made their crops grow and gave warmth to Mother Earth’s children. The Sun was Mother Earth’s husband, the one that provided for her and because of this her children worshiped them both as the givers of life to humanity.

“But the Moon grew jealous of the adoration they received. The Moon wanted equal love and longed for children of his own. He tried to woo the Mother away from the Sun, but found that he had nothing to give her, so instead he attacked the Sun, trying to block his light from reaching Mother Earth. However, the Sun was too powerful and forced the Moon away, once again allowing for his rays to reach her children.

“The Moon grew angry when he was denied and instead attacked Mother Earth. He pulled on her waters and shifted the ground beneath, causing the land to split and her people to be divided. His anger boiled up from the sea and spit hot lava, creating mountains to further isolate her children.

“The fear he unleashed on Mother Earth’s children caused some of them to try and appease the Moon. They vowed their lives to him on behalf of the human race to cease the horrors he was unleashing on their Mother. He agreed and took their lives, transforming them into creatures of darkness and only allowing them to bask in his silvery light and destining them into a life of obscurity.

“The Great Mother wept at the loss of her children and pleaded with the Sun to do something. The Sun went after the Moon, engaging in an epic battle that lasted 29 days. In the end the Sun dominated the Moon and decreed that he would only be able see his children once every 29 days as punishment.”

Stiles stayed quiet to ponder this. He had read all kinds of stories like it online. Everyone seemed to have their own version of how the things that go bump in the night came to be and this one was pretty similar.

“But what about the other supernatural creatures,” he gestured to the book he was reading. “What about us and the two spirited? And whatever else there is in this world that I don’t want to know exist so I can continue to sleep at night?”

Lumi had apparently finished brewing whatever was in the pot and was now pouring it into individualized jars. As soon as she put it in the jars it went from being a brown color to a yellow color. Stiles was fascinated.

“All things evolve and some gained favor from the Mother,” she shrugged like that was a proper explanation.

It wasn’t really a proper explanation though so Stiles went back to his book hoping to find a better one. Two natured weren't controlled by the moon. They could shift whenever they wanted to but weren't creepy like skin walkers. Stiles hoped he could find a book about the Folk later to further his understanding.

About an hour later he was interrupted when Stephanie came through the curtains into the back.

“Hey Miss Lumi, how are you?” The younger girl nodded her head in respect.

The woman smiled at her and gave her a hug. “I am well child. Has Johnny hasn't asked you out yet.” It was a statement, not a question.

Stephanie ducked her head and smiled. “No, not yet. But I can tell he wants to, he’s just nervous. What are you making?”

Stephanie sniffed at the jars but Stiles noted that she had her hands placed firmly in her back pockets. He grimaced to himself. Even the 17-year-old knew better than to touch things.

“Mrs. O’Dell has been having some arthritis pain and it is hurting her during her shift,” Lumi explained as capped the jars.

“The werefox in Gresham?”

Lumi nodded in response and Stiles focused on putting back the books he had taken in proper order. There was still so many he wanted to read and wonder how he was going to convince Derek to let him come back.

“Stiles, let’s go man,” Stephanie whined. “I haven’t eaten since lunch and soccer practice was killer.”

He bid Lumi good bye and promised to come back and bother her some more, then hopped into Stephanie’s blue Camry.

“So why are you here and not my boyfriend?” Stiles buckled his seat belt just in time for Stephanie to gun the engine and take the corner out of Lumi’s shop way to fast.

“Some guy stopped by and your big scary boyfriend couldn’t get away so he sent me,” Stephanie shrugged and whipped the Camry onto the highway. Stiles gripped the OS handle for dear life as she weaved in and out of traffic.

“Please remember that we don’t all have supernatural healing powers and won’t survive a car accident at 80 miles an hour,” Stiles pleaded and Stephanie just rolled her eyes.

“Hey so I overheard them saying that Damian will be coming up in a day or two,” Stephanie said nonchalantly. “Which is still totally unfair. That’s like, less than 48 hours of punishment. I guess Simeon thought getting like, disemboweled by an Alpha in front of the pack was punishment enough. Which is complete bullshit, but don’t tell anyone I said that.”

Stiles closed his eyes and threw out a quick spell so Stephanie wouldn’t hear his heart start fluttering or the lie he said when he told her, “I don’t really care.”

Stephanie side eyed him, but she could hear the truth in her voice when he said it so she didn’t push.

“Whatever, so you will like, not believe this prank the boys’ soccer team played on us during practice today,” Stephanie started.

They finally pulled into the house and after Stephanie parked her under one of the awnings. Stiles took a second and swallowed his stomach back down his throat and pushed down the desire to kiss the ground. They entered through the side door and Stiles wasn’t sure where Derek was at so he let Stephanie lead. They ended up walking towards the front of the house where the living room was. Stiles was about to turn the corner when he heard a voice that immediately caused him to get angry.

“Well hello, Stiles,” the voice greeted as he walked into the living room. “I was wondering when you were going to get back. Find out anything interesting at the witch’s?”

Peter Hale was sitting at one of the large wing-backed chairs giving him a big toothy smile. Stiles blood got even hotter. On his lap he was holding Luca, a bottle in one hand and the infant cradled against him. The other wolves were sitting around the living room as well and Stiles wondered where the little finger sandwiches were because this was obvious a tea party.

“Peter, wasn’t expecting to see you here,” He ground out, trying to keep his composure and not snatch Luca away from him.

“Yes well I’ve known Simeon for quite a while and I couldn’t stay away when a friend is in need,” Peter practically simpered.

Breaking shit wasn’t an option, neither was standing there and vibrating with anger, but Stiles couldn’t think of a single thing that was an acceptable move at the moment. Derek saved him by standing up and wrapping an arm around his waist.

“Stiles will probably want to rest and eat a little,” Derek pulled him closer. “We’ll be out in the cottage if anyone needs us.”

He let himself be pulled outside by Derek and barely let the door shut behind him before he started fuming.

“What the hell, Derek? You couldn’t warn me?” Stiles exploded.

“What did you expect me to do? It was either come and get you and leave him alone with Simeon or stay and make sure he didn’t start anything,” Derek had his hands out in front in a soothing gesture.

Stiles slapped his hands down. “I’ve been texting you for the past four hours and you couldn’t slip it in sometime? Like “Hey Stiles, my creepy bad touch uncle is here and oh yeah, he’s got our baby in his arms right now.'”

A second of silence was all that was needed for Stiles to realize what he had just said. He let out a resigned sigh.

“Oh shit.”

Chapter Text

“What did you expect me to do? It was either come and get you and leave him alone with Simeon or stay and make sure he didn’t start anything,” Derek had his hands out in front in a soothing gesture.

Stiles slapped his hands. “I’ve been texting you for the past four hours and you couldn’t slip it in sometime? Like “Hey Stiles, my creepy bad touch uncle is here and oh yeah, he’s got our baby in his arms right now.”

Derek was stunned. Stiles had just referred to Luca as “our baby.” It seemed as though Stiles had realized the same thing though because all of a sudden his face changed into one of complete defeat and he let out a sigh.

“Oh shit.”

Carefully Derek gathered Stiles into his arms. He had tried to prevent this, tried to keep Stiles from getting so attached to the baby but obviously he had failed. Miserably. The worst part of all of it was that he himself had grown attached to the child, even more, he had grown accustomed to the sight of Stiles holding him, propped against his hip.

He thought back to the night of the hunt and how his wolf had felt when presenting his kill to Stiles while the child slept in their mate’s arms. He had preened at the affection shown and the knowledge of his ability to provide for his mate and their young. The wolf saw Luca as pack, as his own.

Derek put his hand to the back of Stiles head and held him close while his other hand made comforting circles on his back. The way Stiles acted sometimes made it hard to remember just how much he was dealing with sometimes. It made Derek want to kick himself for forgetting, but at the same time his wolf was pleased with having such a strong mate.

“We can leave right now,” Derek whispered against Stiles’ hair. “Say it and we go.”

The arms Stiles had wrapped around him tightened and Stiles dug his face further into Derek’s chest. “Don’t give me options like that. You know we can’t,” he mumbled into Derek’s shirt.

They stood their together basking in the comfort of each others embrace. Derek still couldn’t believe his luck to finally have a reason to hold Stiles like his wolf had been wanting for years. Pushing down the most instinctual part of one’s self is not an easy thing to do and finally being able to give in to his most base desire was like breathing fresh air after living in a cave.

He was scared that it was a dream.

“Yes we can,” Derek insisted. “Just tell me what you want and we will do that.”

Anything to keep you from being this unhappy, he added silently.

Stiles finally pulled back from his chest and looked at him earnestly. “What I want is for your uncle to not be holding Luca. I want this stupid war to be over with. I want Damian to be released from whatever shit hole he’s being kept in and more than anything I just want to go home.”

Derek’s heart turned cold at the mention of Damian. God how he wished he had just killed that asshole. The fact that Stiles still worried about his well-being made him want to wolf out in rage. Derek swallowed it though, the same way he swallowed it that night when Stiles overrode his given right to a fair fight. His mother used to always say, “Pick your battles.” And it was something he was continually having to remind himself as he fell deeper and harder for Stiles, who was pretty much the most argumentative, stubborn person he’s ever known.

“And what about after? What will happen to Luca?” Derek questioned further.

Derek had already come to the decision that if Stiles wanted to keep Luca he would support him. A long time ago Derek had fantasized of having a family, but it had always been with Kate as his wife and mother of his children. Which is why for the longest time he had pushed any and all thoughts of a family far from his mind. He had decided after the fire to live the rest of his life alone and thought it was a fitting punishment.

But now? Now he would do anything to see Stiles’ eyes looking up at him from a child's face.

Stiles met his gaze and his light brown eyes soften. “One step at a time, honey bunch.”

A rumbling laugh erupted from Derek’s chest. Leave it to Stiles to lighten the situation with his smart mouth and sarcasm. The smirk that played on Stiles’ lips let Derek know how pleased he was at getting a laugh out of him. Stiles was king of the shock and awe attack.

Deciding however, that two can play that game, Derek leaned in a little bit closer.

“One day soon, I’m going take my time and enjoy fucking the sass out of your mouth,” he whispered wickedly and caught Stiles’ now shocked lips in a rough kiss.

~

Derek was having the worst day he’s had since… well since the last day he had a terrible day.

It started with him getting woken up at 5am by Simeon. He had never been a morning person, ever, and tried his damndest not to schedule anything before 9am. There was just nothing good about mornings. He was a creature of the night for fuck’s sake.

But Simeon woke him up with good reason, which is why he reluctantly untangled himself from Stiles’ limbs and left his mate in their bed alone instead of telling the other Alpha to get bent. The scouts had come back and reported that more wolves had joined the others in the mountains and that they were moving closer. They were now only 30 miles away and it was obvious they were gearing up for something big.

Derek had shifted into wolf form with the others of the pack and gone out to spy on the new gathering. They were extremely close and their numbers were already at more than 30, almost double what Simeon had. It didn’t bode well.

He came back with a heavy heart and found the cottage quiet. Hours had passed while he was away and when he finally found Stiles again he could smell Damian on him. It wasn’t like Damian had touched him or anything, but his presence was definitely left on the outer layers of Stiles’ clothes. Damian had apparently come back this morning and Stiles had visited him while Derek was gone.

He had tried to be rational and mature about it, he really had. But Damian was a threat, plain and simple, and Derek wasn’t about to let Stiles get taken from him. Not now that he finally had Stiles to himself.

Derek had always been in the shadows, watching Stiles go through his slutty phase in high school and his awkward dating phase in college. He knew about every person Stiles had been with. Every. Single. One. Derek understood the innate attraction Stiles had and he wasn’t about to get caught sleeping on it. He knew what a brilliant and attractive guy Stiles was even if Stiles couldn’t recognize it for himself. Even if that meant to Stiles that he was “pulling stupid territorial Alpha shit.”

“I just went to take Luca to see him,” Stiles argued when Derek confronted him. “He’s his uncle, Derek. I can’t just keep them apart.”

“You should’ve waited until I got back so I could go with you,” Derek fumed. “You shouldn’t have gone alone.”

“Yeah, that would’ve gone great. Damian still isn’t healed all the way and the Alpha who did the damage comes in for a visit. That wouldn’t have ended in a fight or anything,” sarcasm frosted Stiles’ words.

“I don’t give a fuck about how Damian feels, Stiles. You are not to see him alone again,” Derek growled. “If you want him to see Luca then you give Luca to someone else to take him.”

Stiles let out a harsh laugh. “Did you seriously just tell me who I can and can’t see? Tell me you did not just do that.”

It had got worse from there. It ended with Stiles grabbing the diaper bag and storming out with Luca in a rage, taking the Camaro to Lumi’s. Derek had let him go, mainly because he was on the verge of giving into the wolf (which would have been really bad) and also because he knew he could send one of Simeon’s wolves after him. Which he did.

Since your watch dog is here, don’t expect any update texts.

Was the message Stiles sent him an hour later after he sent Cliff to Lumi’s to watch over Stiles and Luca. He still didn’t trust that witch and he knew that with Stiles mad at him it might lend to bad ideas being concocted in Stiles’ head. At least with Cliff watching him there was less of a chance of his mate magically murdering himself on accident due to pure spite.

Derek knew he should tell Stiles that his wolf had already accepted him as mate so that maybe Stiles could get a better understanding of where he was coming from. But he was scared and words had never been his forte.

Man up, Hale. Do what you need to do to get your man, he could hear his sister’s voice in his head. Laura always pushed him to open up or “man up” as she put it. She always told him that life wasn’t just going to open itself up to him and make it easy.

She wasn’t here now though and Derek was afraid of scaring Stiles away. Stiles had already confessed that it freaked him out how fast and hard he was falling for him and Derek was worried that trying to throw something like “lifelong commitment” out there would have him running for the hills.

Derek was perfectly happy to bask in the fairy tale he had going right now, pretending Stiles had chosen him as mate and having other wolves refer to Stiles as such.

It was bound to come crumbling down though and if this morning was any indicator, it might have already started.

Then if matters weren’t already fucked, he had to go and deal with Peter and Damian in Simeon’s office as they were all present to plan for the impending attack.
“With all due respect, Alpha Hale, I don’t think we should be planning without Stiles here as he is an integral part of our assault.”

There were pink lines on Damian’s face where he was still healing from the other night. It gave Derek a sick personal satisfaction to know that he hadn’t recovered from the injuries Derek had inflicted on him. Stiles and Lumi may think Damian was an Alpha, but he sure wasn’t healing like one. Derek also noticed a small limp. His wolf grinned.

“My mate is none of your concern. I will apprise him of the situation if and when it becomes needed,” Derek stiffly enunciated.

“If and when?” Damian countered. “We are going up against numbers double ours. You can’t seriously think we are going to win this without him.”

“That’s enough, Damian,” Simeon tried to interrupt but Derek ignored the other Alpha.

“I will tell Stiles when I decide it’s necessary. Until then I’m not going to burden him with unnecessary worries,” Derek was starting to lose his patience.

A tutting noise came from off to the side and Derek averted his gaze to where his uncle was standing with a superior look to his face. He had his fingers bowed together before him on the table and was taking in the argument.

“Oh Derek, don’t tell me you haven’t told Stiles yet,” Peter drawled with a tone of delight.

The Universe was seriously out to get him today, Derek decided. He also decided that Peter knew a lot more than he was sharing and it made Derek wonder what other information his uncle was keeping up his sleeve.

Shooting Peter a shut the fuck up look, Derek ignored his uncle and returned to his argument with Damian. Damian had a speculative look on his face and was shifting his eyes between Derek and Peter.

“Stiles said you are always keeping things from him. What else haven’t you told him this time?” confronted Damian.

Derek wanted to claw his eyes out for speaking about Stiles like they were friends. “I do what I have to in order to keep my mate safe,” he said stiffly. He was seriously on the edge of losing his shit. Today was not the day to fuck with him, yet it seemed like no matter what signs he gave off with his body, Damian was determined to push his buttons.

“Keep him safe? Like you did the night he ended up getting marked by the gods?” Damian shot back.

The room stilled.

“Oh dear,” Peter breathed dramatically.

But it was too late. Derek had already wolfed out into his beta form and was lunging across the conference table at Damian with a roar. He collided with Damian and they both fell to the floor with a crash. Immediately wolves were on them to separate them. It took three of them to get Derek’s claws from around Damian’s throat and two to separate Damian from Derek.

“That is enough!” Simeon bellowed. He got up and stalked to Damian and laid a punch firmly to the wolf’s face, Damian stumbling a few steps with the power of the blow and the two wolves on either side of him strained with the effort of holding him. “If you are going to be a part of this then you will respect the proper authority, Damian.”

Damian stopped trying to break free from the other wolves and made eye contact with Simeon. Unspoken words were exchanged via posturing and Damian slowly nodded his head. He shook the other wolves off of him and stood straighter.

“My apologies, Alpha Hale,” He spat out like the words tasted bitter. “I don’t mean to speak out of turn.”

Derek didn’t believe him for a second. His wolf was telling him just to kill the opposition and be done with it but Derek reined that part of him in, even though it was a struggle. When he had jumped on Damian he smelled the essence of Stiles which had caused him to further enrage. While he was managing to not let the wolf take over completely, his eyes were red and there wasn’t any way he could shift them back.

“Alpha Hale,” Simeon intervened. “I am not trying to take sides in this matter, but there is some credence to Damian’s words. I feel that we cannot properly continue our conversation without your mate here.”

While he thought about it, Derek clenched and unclenched his hands. He had to tell Stiles sometime and their days were getting extremely short in number. He wished it didn’t have to be today though.

“Fine,” he growled, the Alpha still thick in his voice. “I’ll get him.”

He turned on his heel and left the men standing at the table. After he had stalked out of the room he cursed under his breathe, remembering that Stiles had absconded with his Camaro this morning.

“Fuck,” he mumbled, stopping to lean against the wall to attempt to slow his breathing. If he went back into the room to ask to borrow someone’s keys now it would make his exit look totally ridiculous. He was pondering running the twentyish miles to the shop when Peter came around the corner of the hallway.
Derek’s face turned into a glare but Peter simply but his fingers over his lips and pointed to the backdoor. They walked outside and Derek followed Peter into the cottage where he and Stiles were staying.

“So you haven’t told Stiles yet,” Peter began once the door shut behind Derek.

Derek stiffened. “He had enough to deal with just coming up here. I didn’t want to overwhelm him.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “So you thought it best to lure him in under false pretenses and surprise him with the fact that the Alpha he is going up against is the mate of one of the Alphas he killed before. That is an excellent idea, nephew.”

Derek didn’t bother responding, he just kept his glare focused on his uncle. There was nothing his uncle like more than getting a reaction out of people and Derek wasn’t going to give in. He didn’t lure Stiles in under false pretenses; he told him exactly what was going on. Who the Alpha bitch was shouldn’t matter either way, so Derek didn’t understand why Deaton and Peter were making such a big deal about it.

“I need to go get Stiles,” Derek finally said. “Can I borrow your keys?”

Peter let out a huff, whether because he wasn’t getting the fight he wanted or because he was actually exasperated with Derek is anyone’s guess, but he fished his car keys out of his pocket. Derek stuck out a hand to grab them but Peter withdrew his hand quickly at the last second.

“One more thing,” Peter said with the keys dangling up from his hand. “If that wolf comes near Stiles again, you kill him.”

Derek stood agape at his uncle.

“When it comes to your mate, you make no allowances.”

Derek nodded slowly in understanding and satisfied, Peter gave him the keys.

~

So Derek wasn’t the best at talking and dealing with problems, but he had known Stiles long enough to have figured out that the best way to illicit his cooperation was by pretending he didn’t need it. That is to say, ignore Stiles until he couldn’t take you ignoring him anymore and therefore would insert himself where you needed him to be in the first place.

That is why when Derek arrived at Lumi’s, he didn’t arrive empty handed. His wolf was proud of their plan to reclaim their mates affections.

Lumi was in the front of the store talking with a younger woman when he arrived. She lifted a knowing brow at him as he walked in and he gave her a nod. Derek hated how smug she was all the time, like she knew all your secrets and was taking personal enjoyment in making you feel uncomfortable about it. It added to his distrust and dislike of the woman.

He stepped past the curtains and found Cliff sitting in a corner while Stiles sat at the brown cloth covered table and Luca playing on a blanket on the floor. Cliff stood when he came in but Stiles didn’t even glance over. Derek knew he saw him though because even while his eyes never left the book in front of him, Stiles whole body stiffened up.

Luca let out a squeal of babble and Derek nodded for Cliff to leave before walking over to greet the little man.

“Hey pup, look what I have for you,” Derek brought his secret weapon, the stuffed giraffe, up in his hand so Luca could see it.

Luca let out another shriek and started to crawl over to where Derek was. Derek stepped forward with his arm outstretched but as he reached to hand the toy to the baby he hit what he felt was a brick wall. His hand actually rebounded from the air.

Confusion knitted his brows and he saw that Luca had reached a similar blocking point at the edge of his blanket. Looking down Derek realized that a small trail of ash outlined the edge of the blanket on all four sides.

It took him a second to realize what was going on. Stiles, not having took the play pen with him in his angry rush out the door this morning, needed a way to contain the baby safely while he worked. Instead of making Cliff babysit, he had lined the blanket with mountain ash creating a safe barrier for the baby to play in. Cliff had probably been twiddling his thumbs in the icey cool silence of Stiles' anger all day. He made a mental note to thank the wolf personally next time he saw him.

Luca didn’t really understand the concept of mountain ash though because Rupert was still out of his reach and Derek wasn’t giving it to him and this made him really upset. He started to cry out of frustration.

“I’m sorry pup, I can’t give him to you,” Derek mumbled. This was not part of the plan. The plan was to come in with Rupert and play with Luca until Stiles felt the need to insert himself. If Derek had to ask Stiles to open up the ash line it would pretty much wreck his whole plan of attack.

From over at the table Stiles grumbled something under his breath that Derek couldn’t catch and flicked his wrist. A small wind whispered forth and scattered the ash in one spot. Taking advantage of the broken line, Derek reached in and was able to scoop the baby up in his arms.

The plan was back on. Derek sat on the floor with Luca and the baby quieted down, the little pointed ears turning back to normal.

“There’s a happy pup,” Derek cooed at Luca when the baby had lost all traces of wolf again. “No big deal, Rupert is right here.”

To be honest, Derek really liked the little werebaby. With the exception of that first week, living with Luca had been relatively easy. He remember when his first cousin was born and the whole house couldn’t sleep for months because of the crying. But Luca wasn’t like that. Overall he was a pretty happy little kid and really cute to boot. Derek ruffled the curly hair gently under his hand.

“When you grow up, you’re going to be a warrior, I can already tell,” Derek got down on his hands and knees in front of the baby in a playful stance. He let his eyes get red and his teeth lengthen.

Luca saw him and giggled, pushing himself out of the seated position and on to all fours like Derek. Derek let out a little grown and nudged his nose against Luca’s cheek in play. Luca looked at him sternly and let out a little baby growl of his own.

Derek huffed and pretended to take offense, pushing back on his knees so his butt was sitting on his heels and lowered his body even more. Luca crawled forward, his lips pouted out and his body stance as aggressive as a baby could be. He wasn’t grown enough to control his shift and the sight of a baby trying his hardest to be aggressive was hilariously adorable.

“Rrrraaafff,” Luca growled at him menacingly as he came forward to swing at Derek’s outstretched hand.

When Luca’s hand made contact Derek acted like he was hurt and withdrew his hand quickly, letting out a fake yip of pain. Luca could tell this was all in jest and his face broke into a smile and he giggled. The mighty Alpha came forward and bumped his forehead carefully against the werebaby’s in affection.

“Yep, you’re definitely going to grow up to be tough wolf,” Derek said as he grabbed Rupert to play with the baby. Luca crawled towards where Derek was sitting cross-legged on the floor and plopped himself in his lap, taking the giraffe and promptly sticking it in his mouth.

Derek heard a shifting at the table but didn’t look up until he caught Stiles’ figure out of the corner of his eye. He looked up right as Stiles snapped a picture of him with his phone.

“I’m still mad at you,” Stiles stated stubbornly.

Luca leaned over Derek’s thigh to grab a block but couldn’t reach it so Derek grabbed it for him. The baby righted himself between Derek’s legs and then tossed the block so that Derek would have to reach for it again. They started playing a game of fetch the block and Derek carefully kept his gaze on Luca, keeping quiet while Stiles continued to stand and make impatient twitches.

“Telling me who I can and can’t see is like, from the stalker boyfriend handbook. I am so not letting you pull an Edward Cullen on me dude.”

Erica had forced them all to watch those god awful movies during pack movie night so Derek understood the reference. After suffering through four movies they finally came to the final one and the boys were so ready for the final battle with hopes that there would finally be some decent action. When they found out that the whole fight scene was a premonition and nobody actually died, Erica lost all movie choosing privileges for a year.

Plus, didn’t that girl kiss that werewolf while she was with the vampire? Nope, Derek wouldn’t be pulling an Edward Cullen because1. Stiles would never do something so trifling and 2. Even if he did, Derek would fucking kill whoever thought it was an okay thing to kiss his mate.

Derek looked up at him so that Stiles knew he wasn’t ignoring him, but continued to not say anything and instead continued playing the game of fetch with Luca.

“And you know what, don’t think that coming in here all penitent and playing with Luca is just going to magically make this go away. I don’t care how cute you look on the floor with him in your lap. Not going to happen buddy,” Stiles slashed his hand through the air. “Nope, no way.”

Luca had started slobbering all over the block instead of throwing it. The thing was glazed with drool and Derek was watching him with morbid fascination as the baby gummed the big plastic block. Seeing Derek watching him, Luca offered up the block, holding it up next to Derek’s face and babbled at him. Derek bent his neck down and pretended to chew the block, making nom nomming noises to the delight of the baby.

Stiles let out a huff and crumpled down to the floor, using this prime position to snap more pictures of the two werewolves together.

“The Alpha of the other pack was Deucalion’s mate,” Derek said quietly.

Stiles’ bottom jaw dropped and he blinked harshly a few times. Derek could smell the anxiety begin to roll off of him and it took everything Derek had to stay still and continue to keep his gaze on Luca. He let Stiles internalize it without moving or saying anything while his wolf howled with the need to comfort their mate.

“How long have you known this,” Stiles finally asked.

Derek swallowed the thick lump in his throat. “The whole time.”

Jumping up from the floor, Stiles got to his feet and started pacing. Derek could practically taste the anger that mixed in with the emotions coming off of Stiles. This was going to be as bad as he thought it was going to be.

“I did want to tell you right away because I figured you had enough to worry about as it was,” he explained. “I was going to tell you.”

“Going to tell me?!” Stiles waved his arms around wildly as he paced. “When where you going to do that, Derek? As I’m standing face to face with the woman whose mate I killed?”

“This doesn’t change anything,” Derek got to his feet and shifting Luca to sit on his hip. “It doesn’t matter who she is. Even if I never told you we would still be facing the same opponent with the same objective.”

“No,” Stiles pointed his finger at Derek. “This isn’t even about her right now. This is about you and your constant need to keep things from me. I don’t get it, Derek. How long did we fight next to each other and you still don’t trust me? What do I have to do to prove to you that I’m not some stupid kid who can’t handle himself?”

“I know you can handle yourself, Stiles. It has nothing to do with your abilities,” Derek was back at that point where words were coming really slow to his tongue. He didn’t want to mess this up, but the way his throat closed around the words he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it out of this one.

“Then what?” Stiles demanded. “What is it that makes you feel like you have to maintain this “on need to know basis” with me?”

“I only keep things from you to protect you. You are always putting your neck out there for everyone else without ever thinking about your own safety. I just wanted one time where you didn’t have to feel like everything was your responsibility,” Derek tried to explain.

“That isn’t your choice to make. I didn’t ask you to protect me!” Stiles shot back.

“Yeah well maybe I wanted to. Did you ever think about that, Stiles?” Derek started losing his cool. Why did he always have to be so fucking stubborn with everything? “Maybe instead of telling you at the same time I unloaded a bunch of other damaging shit on you I decided to wait so you wouldn’t to have to deal with it prematurely. You can be mad at for making that decision but I’m not going to say I’m sorry.”

Stiles glared at him with a silent rage upon hearing those words.

“I am not ever going to say I’m sorry for doing whatever I can to protect you,” Derek finished. “And it is my choice to make, whether you think so or not.”

“Why? Because you’re the big bad Alpha and I’m just another beta in your pack?” Stiles mouthed off.

“No, Stiles,” Derek shook his head with sincere finality. “Because you’re my mate.”

Chapter Text

Stiles was standing really still. He was standing really still because his brain was sapping up so much of his body’s energy that the rest of him couldn’t function.

Mate. Derek just said he was his mate. And he didn’t mean it in the pretend way either. No, sir, he meant it in the until death do us part, white picket fence and little werebabies running underfoot kind of way. He meant it in the one and only for now until forever kind of way.

Stiles was trying not to pass out.

This was fucking awesome.

And terrifying. Also terrifying.

Derek was still watching him and as the moments passed he started to look a little bit worried. Stiles wasn’t sure what emotions Derek was sniffing off him but it was definitely making him uneasy. He didn’t want his scent to scream whatever stupidness was going through his head so he weaved a little magic to cover it up.

I smell normal. I smell normal.

“No,” Derek reached a hand out and cupped Stiles’ jaw. “Don’t hide from me.”

Stiles dropped the magic and leaned into Derek’s hand, meeting his eyes in a way he hoped conveyed how he was really feeling, despite whatever Derek was smelling.

Lumi took that moment to interrupt their little interlude. Derek unconsciously took a step back and dropped his hand from Stiles’ face. Stiles wanted to cry at the loss.

Luca, who had apparently taken an affinity for the witch, let out a little shriek of happiness at seeing her.

“Iiiiiiiidaadaadaa!” Luca greeted and half fell out of Derek’s arms as he tried to reach for the woman.

The little witch smiled and walked over to him, leaning in and whispered something in Cantonese then kissed Luca on the cheek, but didn’t take him out of Derek’s arms.

“You must be going,” Lumi straightened and said the two men. She had an air of seriousness that made Derek shift forward in interest. “I have seen Alicia’s pack and they are coming for you two days from now, just as the day breaks.”

Stiles jaw dropped.

“You will meet in a clearing where water flows nearby and the rock juts up tall on one side. This is all I can help you with,” Lumi stated clearly. “Now go.”

Stiles had to work to tear his eyes away from the witch but a moment later Derek and Stiles scrambled to get their stuff together so they could go. Well, Stiles scrambled, he didn’t think Derek had ever scrambled for anything in his life, but he was definitely making an effort to do things as quickly as possible.

“Take this,” Lumi handed a book to Stiles that she had taken off the table. It was old and bound in a thick leather with different symbols stamped into the top and spine. When Stiles touched it he could feel the bump of magic coming off it in a way that a normal book wouldn’t.

“And remember,” Lumi said. “Balance, not dominate.”

Stiles took the book from her hands and pulled the women into a big Stilinksi hug. He was forever indebted to her and her knowledge and hope that he’d get to live and see her again. She appeared to have sensed his sentiment because when he pulled back from the hug her eyes were crinkled from the smile she had across her face. She nodded to him and pushed him gently towards the door.

~

When Stiles opened up the door to the cottage to put Luca’s diaper bag down and grab some food, he found Peter sitting in one of the plush armchairs in a corner.

“Oh fu-,” Stiles startled and dropped the bags in his hands. Luckily he managed to only jostle Luca as he juggled the other things in his hands instead of dropping the baby as well. “What are you doing in here you effing creep?!”

“Ah, I see you are as well-spoken as always, Stiles,” Peter greeted smarmily from his throne.

“State your business,” Stiles returned stonily as he walked to the kitchen table to properly put his things down.

Luca was in dire need of a nap. He had been fussy ever since they’d left Lumi’s and the car ride over hadn’t quelled his want to whine and whimper. The moment Stiles buckled him into his car seat he had wolfbaby-ed out and almost tore through the straps of the car seat on the way over. What the baby needed was a diaper change, a bottle, and a solid nap.

When no answer was given as to why he was here, Stiles decided to ignore Peter and went in to the kitchen to get the bottle ready. He pulled out a clean bottle and turned to get the formula only to find Peter standing next to him with his hands offered up.

“Why don’t I change his diaper while you do that?” Peter asked, open palms waiting for the baby.

Stiles was wary. He seemed genuine and as much as Stiles didn’t like him, he was offering up a free diaper change. Stiles was always down to get out of diaper duty. He thought it over then reluctantly passed Luca over. Peter took Luca and disappeared down the hallway to the baby’s room.

While Peter was changing Luca, Stiles finished preparing the bottle. His mind idly wandered to the fact that in two days all hell was going to break loose. He was going to have to use his magic, really use his magic, for the first time since the Alphas. He had sworn to never use his magic again, but now that he had spent time at Lumi’s reading in her books and listening to her answer questions, he took a different view.

Something that had been bothering him though was the thought that maybe it wouldn’t be as easy as last time. He had started to wonder if he could even control his magic like he used to. Was it something he needed constant practice for or was it going to be like riding a bike?

He snorted to himself at the thought. With the magic he felt humming beneath his skin it would be more like riding a motorcycle.

Stiles measured the formula into the bottle and started shaking it up. He watched the powder dissolve into the water and was about to put it in the microwave when he got an idea. He set the bottle down on the cream colored counter top and rubbed his hands together, imagining in his mind that the molecules of formula were rubbing together.

A second later the liquid starting boiling.

“Shit,” he said as some of the formula bubbled over the top of the bottle. He didn’t think it’d happen so fast.

He spread his hands a little and the formula stopped boiling. He waited a second then reached out and stuck his finger in slowly to test the milk. Surprising, he found it to be the perfect temperature.

“I’m a fucking boss,” Stiles whispered to himself in a sing song as he put the nipple on the bottle and headed down the carpeted hallway toward Luca’s room.

Peter met him in the small hallway before he even made it to the room and with his body, ushered Stiles back to the living room. “Luca is asleep,” he explained as he plucked the bottle out of Stiles’ hands. “Seems he had a long day.”

Stiles didn’t like the look Peter had in his eyes nor did he like how close to werewolf was coming to him, invading his personal bubble. Normally Peter kept a respectable distance, but he wasn’t now and it was make the hairs on Stiles’ neck stand up. He needed to get out. “Well, I should go see if Derek-“

“Actually, I was hoping we could have a little chat,” Peter said calmly as he backed Stiles down onto the couch. Peter was way too close for comfort, so close that Stiles could even smell the fabric softener Peter used on his clothes. Stiles sad down on the couch just to put a little distance between them.

Stiles sat down rigidly and tried to remind himself that he was kickass with magic and if all else failed he could scream for Derek like a little girl. But even though he was kickass with magic and shouldn’t be afraid of someone like Peter, there was just something about him that made Stiles feel like he was a scared 16-years-old again. Something that still put him on edge and caused a tight fist to clench his gut.

“What am I, Stiles?” Peter drawled from the chair opposite of Stiles he had inhabited.

“An absolute lunatic with questionable morals and a taste for theatrics?” Stiles replied saucily.

Peter let out a little chuckle.

“Well yes, but I was more thinking along the lines of what I or Derek or your cute little Luca are?” Peter continued his creeper smile.

Stiles stared at him confused. What had Peter been smoking now?

Oh Jesus, I hope he hasn’t lost his damn mind again.

“Um, werewolves?” Stiles answered questioningly.

“Yes!” Peter replied happily. “That is precisely what we are!”

Yeah, this guy was seriously off his nut. Stiles knew that Peter wasn’t 100 in the brain, but this was ridiculous. “Yeah, thanks Peter. This was a great talk. We should do it again sometime never,” Stiles moved to get up from the couch.

In a flash Peter was in front of him with his hand placed firmly against Stiles’ chest. Peter’s eyes had taken a bright blue glow to them. “I was just curious if you had forgotten because it seems that as of late, you have forgotten that we are in fact, werewolves, and as such we have certain codes and customs we adhere to.”
Narrowing his eyes, Stiles stayed firmly rooted in his spot, not giving in to the pressure Peter was applying to his chest to force him to sit down again. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

“What I’m talking about is my nephew, the werewolf, who is chasing around after you like a love sick puppy trying to comfort your little feelings instead of focusing on the impending battle with a pack not only bigger, but stronger and older than anything he has ever faced,” Peter’s finger nails elongated into claws where they still grasped Stiles’ shirt. “I am talking about you running around like a foolish child, wreaking political havoc with no regard to my nephew’s feelings or well-being and generally acting like an idiot.”

Of all the things Stiles thought Peter could be discussing with him, this was not even remotely on the list. And to tell the truth, this was hitting too close to home for Stiles liking. It pissed him off and not because he couldn’t handle the truth, but the truth was disgustingly bitter when it came from Peter’s mouth. There was something really wrong with Peter being able to put into a simple paragraph something Stiles hadn’t even begun to realize himself.

“It’s nice to know you care,” Stiles spat back. Not his finest comeback, but Stiles was internalizing what Peter was saying and couldn’t really come up with anything better.

Peter let out another low chuckle and released the grip he had on the front of Stiles’ shirt. His nails sunk back in and his eyes turned back to their normal color.
“I know you think I’m a lunatic with questionable morals and a taste for theatrics, Stiles. But Derek is the last family I have left on this Earth and believe it or not, I care about him,” Peter’s eyes got soft for a moment. “Which is why I’m here reminding you that you aren’t standing among a household of humans, you are standing among a household of werewolves. This is not your game, so stop trying to play it by your rules. Preferably before you get my nephew killed.”

Stiles stared at him with an open mouth that had no words in it.

Having said his piece, Peter left for the door, not even bothering to wait for Stiles to come up with something to say. He turned the handle and took a step to leave, then stopped.

“He cares about you Stiles, more than anything. But a man can only bend so much before he breaks,” Peter looked Stiles dead in the eye. “Don’t break him.”

Then he left.

~

He slammed the leather bound book down on Simeon’s long conference table. The wolves milling about turned curiously and gave the human their full attention.

“Okay, so I have some ideas for how we can crush these assholes,” Stiles stood tall and confidently at the end of the table. “They are so not going to know what hit them.”

The book he had slapped on the table was the one Lumi had given him. It was a grimoire, and it didn’t just have spells and incantations, it also had runes. Runes were ancient symbols that had magical properties that tied directly to the power of the Earth, which was right up Stiles’ magical alley. Using them he could inscribe his magic into anything organic and not have to always to hold things with his mind. His magic could now be endless.

Well, theoretically.

Stiles took a mental roll of who was in the study. Damian was here as well as Stiles’ babysitter Cliff and his best bud Sam. Ryan, Mark, Emily and Jason were also standing about, but Simeon and Derek weren’t there.

“Where’s Derek and Simeon?” he questioned the others.

Damian, who had been taking Stiles in quietly came forward slowly. “They’re speaking alone. They should be back soon though. What do you have?” He fingered the edge of the book as he came around the table to stand next to Stiles.

Stiles wanted to slap his hand away but he didn’t. The “political” comment Peter had said was fresh in his mind and he wanted to deal with this diplomatically.
“Then we should wait until my mate and your Alpha get back,” He said walking away like he needed to get something from Simeon’s desk and totally skipping over Damian’s question. It was hard for Stiles to be outright rude like this, but he was doing what he needed to do.

“Okay,” Damian shrugged nonchalantly, his hand still on the grimoire. Suddenly the book glowed and Damian let out a howl of rage.

He jumped back from the table, holding his hand protectively, and wolfed out, snarling at the book like it was an offending enemy. The rest of the wolves around the room took a defensive stance, looking around predatorily trying to figure out where the threat was coming from.

Simeon then burst into the room followed shortly by Derek who sought out Stiles immediately. He rushed to where Stiles was standing at Simeon’s desk and grabbed him into a protective hug.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Derek pushed Stiles back to search him for any scrapes or bruises. It made Stiles smile, despite the rough handling.
He couldn’t wait until they actually had a chance to talk about what had happened in Lumi’s. Actually, he couldn’t wait to get Derek alone and get some naked rough handling, if you know what I mean.

“Hey babe, I’m good. Damian just got a little too close to something that didn’t belong to him and suffered the consequences,” Stiles put a quick kiss to Derek’s confused face and didn’t even try to hide the arousal he got at Derek’s touch. “You ready to plan? Because I have some great ideas.”

Derek still was a little bit confused, but was more than pleased with the fact that Damian was 1. On the other side of the room and 2. In obvious pain. So he didn’t really question it.

“First we need to figure out where they’re going to be meeting us,” Stiles twined his fingers into Derek’s as he rounded the desk and pulled Derek along behind him to go back to his book. “Tell Simeon what she said.”

As Derek recited what Lumi had seen in her vision, Stiles was flipping through the pages in the grimoire. He wished he could do that super cool thing where he just put his hands over the book and it flipped to the page he needed it to but unfortunately, he wasn’t that cool.

Grimoires tended to serve their witch/warlock only and while it had done a great show of solidarity by electrocuting the hell out of Damian, Stiles knew that was more of a professional courtesy rather than a show of servitude. No, this book and him were going to have to build up a relationship of trust and respect before he could demand anything.

“It sounds like Pilgrims Peak,” Simeon nodded as Derek finished. “That isn’t very far from here. It is a decently protected clearing with a tall rock cliff and has thick trees in several miles either way.”

Stiles finally found the page he was looking for. “Lumi said there’s some kind of water?”

Simeon nodded in assent. “Yes, there is a river not far from there to the north.”

“Excellent,” Stiles pumped his fist. “What are the chances of the other pack having to cross it?”

Taking his seat at the top of the table, Simeon steepled his fingers in thought. “They would have to cross it to meet us there unless they wanted to go much farther north to avoid it.”

“Wolves don’t swim well,” Damian interjected. “If they come ready for a fight they would come in wolf form, but if they had to cross a river as wide as the one out by Pilgrim’s Peak they might come in human form and have to shift after the crossing.”

“They wouldn’t do that,” Derek rebutted. “If they know there are encroaching enemies they’d come in Beta form so they can communicate better. In human form they aren’t as powerful and in wolf form they don’t have nearly the communicative power which makes them weak.”

“Or maybe they’d be in a mix of forms,” Peter spoke as he made his grand entrance into the study.

Stiles had been listening carefully to the exchange and was practically dancing at the news. No matter what form they came in it would still work out perfectly. “Oh my god this is awesome. Listen, I need someone to go and pick out about six rocks from that river ASAP. It doesn’t have to be from the exact spot or anything, just from the same river.”

More credit should be given to Simeon, Stiles thought, for his ability to roll with the crazy. He didn’t even question why Stiles would need something so obscure, he simply pointed to two of his Betas and flicked his hand towards the door.

He turned his attention back to Stiles. “What else do you need?”

~

Stiles was exhausted. They had hashed out as much as they could and all he wanted now was to sink into his bed with Derek warming the sheets up for him. He had been standing for close to seven hours straight planning and magicking. Burning the runes into different organic matter and bundling up pouches of herbs wasn’t easy. It had sapped a lot of his strength and he was practically falling asleep on his feet.

“Hey, I’ve got you,” he felt warm hands grip his waist from behind and wearily Stiles slumped back against the hard chest at his back.

Something felt weird though. He didn’t feel the normal brush of the warm dark blue that always emanated from Derek. At first he thought it was because he had tapped his magic, but then he looked down and the fingers around his hips were definitely not Derek’s.

Stiles pushed off and turned to see Damian standing there. “Are you fucking kidding me, dude?” He was too tired for this shit tonight.

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” Damian put his hands up in the international sign for ‘it wasn’t me’. “You just looked like you were about to fall were you stood and I didn’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Stiles sighed. “Man, you can’t keep coming around me like this. I thought I made it perfectly clear the other night that I am with Derek. Remember the whole “fuck shit up” thing?”

Wearily Stiles sat back against the bench he had been working at. After he hashed out the details with the two Alphas he had taken to garage to mix his pouches. He was using a lot of wolfsbane and didn’t want to aggravate the wolves with his concoctions. Stiles had just finished putting everything into the huge wooden box he had fashioned out of pieces of mountain ash he had gotten on the way back from Lumi’s when Damian interrupted him. Now he wished he had left one or two out.

“We can’t even be friends?” Damian asked sadly. “I know you’re with Derek, but I just thought maybe we could hang out like we did that day?”

Stiles was shaking his head and looking away. He didn’t want to have this conversation.

“I’m scared, Stiles,” Damian half whispered. “I can barely take care of myself and in a few days you’ll be gone and I will have a baby to raise. I don’t even know the first thing about babies.”

Stiles turned his head up to look at Damian in the soft glow coming from the overhead garage light. Damian still had that red feel to him that he had that day when they were playing video games at his house, but there was a dark edge around the outside of it. Stiles did want to be friends with him, he really did, and right now, even after all the stupid shit Damian had done and all the fights he caused for Stiles and Derek, Stiles still wanted to pull him into a big hug and comfort him.

But more than Stiles wanted to comfort Damian, he wanted to respect Derek.

“You have a pack,” Stiles said tiredly. “You won’t ever be alone, Damian. And nobody is every really ready for a child. You will do just fine and you will raise Luca to be an amazing man and wolf.”

Stiles pushed off the bench slowly and grabbed the grimoire off the top of it. “But I can’t help you and I can’t be your friend. I’m Derek’s first and foremost and you fucked whatever chance you had of us ever being able to be friends when you tried to court me in front of him.”

He had stopped himself before he said, “I’m sorry.” Damian didn’t get to have an “I’m sorry” from Stiles. It was kind of a knee jerk thing for him though, always apologizing in emotionally tense situations, and while he was sorry that things had to go like this for them, he wasn’t about to tell Damian that.

Damian stood and watched as Stiles turned to leave the garage. They‘re conversation seemed like it was over but Damian said one more thing before Stiles made it out the door.

“Can you blame me for trying?”

~

Stumbling through the door, Stiles dropped the grimoire on the table and stripped his shirt off as he went to the master bedroom. He felt grimy, like today had lasted longer than any day had ever lasted before. Derek was sitting in bed reading something that Stiles was too tired to notice.

He tripped his way into the bathroom and turned on the shower before slumping down on top of the closed toilet seat so he could get his shoes and pants off. He was in the process of pulling of a particularly devious sock that would not get off when Derek appeared at the door.

“If you’re about to be pissed at me because I smell like Damian I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him, fuck off.”

Stiles finally shucked the last sock and stood up slowly to get in the shower. He opened the Plexiglas door and lifted a leg to step in but hit his toes on the edge and almost face planted into the opposite wall of the shower.

As he saw his short and pitiful life flash before his eyes, two strong hands gripped his shoulders and he was pulled up and against a chiseled and very naked torso. Aaahhhh, the familiar dark blue bumped against Stiles and he pressed his face against it, relishing the comfort.

Derek stepped into the spray, still holding Stiles up like a child and adjusted the water so it wouldn’t be so scalding.

“I can stand, Derek,” Stiles protested weakly. “You can put me down.”

Derek put him down, but he didn’t let go of Stiles and Stiles was completely okay with that. In fact, if naked Derek wanted to hold him naked in the shower for the rest of his life Stiles would completely agree to those terms and conditions right now.

Stiles was standing with his eyes closed, just enjoying the heat of the water as it washed away the day and the feel of his man’s hands on him as Derek lathered up his hair with the Herbal Essences shampoo he usually teased Stiles for endlessly. Whatever, the shit smelled good.

And yeah, he did just call Derek his man because damn it, he had earned the right. The word mate still stuck a little bit on Stiles’ tongue though, not because he rejected it but because it scared him.

Not your game, not your rules.

Peter’s words came back to him like an annoying fly buzzing around his bed.

“I can’t deal with this shit right now,” Stiles unintentionally mumbled his thoughts out loud.

The strong hands that were scrubbing soap into his chest stilled.

“No, not you,” Stiles put his hands over Derek’s hands and urged them to continue. “Don’t stop. Please. Ever.”

Stiles was pretty sure he had fallen asleep standing up in the shower because the next thing he knew Derek was drying him off with one of the gray fluffy towels and carry him to bed.

He wanted to say thank you to Derek for taking care of him but when he opened his mouth all that came out was, “Love you.”

Chapter Text

Derek knew that he was being a creep but he couldn’t stop watching Stiles sleep. It was early in the morning, much earlier than Stiles even got up and Derek was lying in bed as long as he could before having to get up and train with Simeon’s pack.

He was still on a high from last night. Stiles had come in last night practically dead to the world and for the first time in his life let Derek take care of him. It was amazing to have Stiles completely boneless at his fingertips, letting Derek bath him and put him to bed. Stiles was always so strong and independent and never let anyone help him, but last night he had let Derek. The “Love you” murmured before Stiles fell asleep was also part of the reason Derek was so high this morning.

Derek wasn’t sure if Stiles had even realized he said it and he wondered if Stiles would remember it when he woke up. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be here when Stiles did. They still hadn’t talked about the whole mate thing yet and Derek was dying from waiting for Stiles’ response. Stiles telling him that he loved him went a long way in easing Derek’s mind. Now if only he knew whether or not Stiles really meant it.

It was the day before Lumi had said they were going to face the other pack and the wolves were practically vibrating with nerves. Simeon wanted to go through drills of how they would work as a pack. They had been at it for almost two hours when Derek finally smelled Stiles leaving the cottage with Luca.

Luca was going later with the humans of Simeon’s pack to wait out the fight. Stiles had wanted to spend the whole day with the baby before he had to go, but Stiles had things to finish in the garage and agreed that it wasn’t safe for Luca to be in there while he was weaving his magic.

Even though Derek was in the woods and a fair distance away from Stiles, he could smell the sadness that was emanating from his mate and it made him let out a high pitched whine. Damian stopped to look at him, turning his nose into the air to sniff out what Derek had. Derek let his eyes bleed red at the other werewolf, causing Damian to turn away casually like he hadn’t even been sniffing out Derek’s mate in the first place.

Derek wanted to choke him out.

Soon though they went back to their drills, practicing how to work in teams and watch each others back effectively. Simeon made sure that Damian and Derek stayed as far away from each other as possible, deciding instead to pair Derek with weaker wolves so that Derek could focus on instruction rather than actually sparring.

Noon came and went and it had to be closer to two by the time Simeon called it quits. The wolves were tired and hot and they all desperately needed some food.

“Go home and rest,” Simeon instructed as they finished up. “Love your mate, kiss your children and get some sleep. Tomorrow we face Alicia’s pack and we need to be in top form.”

Derek personally would’ve probably gone with something a little more encouraging. The way Simeon had made it sound was like they should go home and say their good byes. But Derek didn’t say anything because it wasn’t his place. Maybe he could get Stiles to say something tomorrow, Stiles was good at that kind of thing.

They were walking back up to the house when one of the human females came out holding Luca. Derek hadn’t ever seen her before but it wasn’t uncommon for packs to keep their humans away when other Alphas came to visit. It kept things from getting… territorial.

“Alpha Hale, we are leaving soon. I thought you and your mate would like to say good bye?” The woman held out Luca for Derek to take.

Derek currently had no idea where Stiles was, but he knew that Stiles would be upset if Derek let Luca leave without being able to say good bye.

“Do you know where my mate is?” He asked the woman. She replied with the cottage so Derek turned with Luca in his arms and headed back into the woods.

As he was coming up on the little house he heard Stiles talking through the door. He stopped abruptly when he realized Stiles was on the phone with his Dad.

Yeah I’m on my way to the conference right now.

I wish I would’ve gotten to see you before you left, kid. I feel like I haven’t seen you in a week.

Yeah I’m sorry, things with school have been really busy and stuff. I’ll be back after the weekend though.

Well be safe. And don’t let any of those PI’s lead you astray, law enforcement does a better job and with better ethics.

Don’t worry, Dad. I won’t let them convert me to heathenism.

Okay I’ll let you go. You shouldn’t be driving and talking on the phone at the same time.

Sure. Hey Dad?

Yeah?

I love you. I know we don’t say it a lot, but I just wanted to let you know that.

The sheriff paused for a second and Derek heard him take a breath over the phone.

Is everything alright, kid? You aren’t in any trouble are you?

Derek let his head drop. This was his fault. He had dragged Stiles back into this shit and was causing Stiles to have to lie to the only family he left. Luca was studying him quietly and put his little pudgy hand on the stubble of Derek’s chin. Derek rubbed his scruff gently against the baby’s hand and listened for Stiles’ response.

Yeah Dad, of course. I just wanted to say it, you know? Look I should go. Driving and all.

Derek stopped listening and continued through the door like he hadn’t been eavesdropping the whole time outside. Stiles had hung up the phone and was sitting cross legged in the middle of the small living room, scrubbing his hand across his face.

He looked up as Derek walked in and the pain in his eyes made Derek want to crumble.

“It’s time for Luca to go,” Derek shifted uncomfortably. “I thought you’d want to say good bye.”

Stiles’ face fell even more but he made grabby hands at Derek like Luca did when he wanted something. Derek walked over and gave Luca to Stiles, his heart breaking as Stiles brought Luca down to cradle him. Stiles didn’t even seem to mind as the tears that were welling up behind his eyes fell while he held Luca close to him.

Derek had never been good at this. Even before the fire talking about his feelings and dealing with the emotional breakdowns of others had been difficult. He was a fixer. He didn’t just sit while people told him their problems, he would try to figure out the problem and make it right.

But he couldn’t fix this. He couldn’t fix the situation or run from it. Stiles was crying on the floor holding a baby that he saw as his own and this was all Derek’s fault.

He walked around Stiles and sat down behind him so that he could spread his legs wide and take Stiles in between them, hugging him from behind. This Derek could do. Derek could comfort his mate.

He let his arms fall to either side of Stiles’ thighs and rested his chin on Stiles’ shoulder, watching him interact with the baby.

“I’m not going to say good bye,” Stiles said suddenly. “This isn’t good bye.”

Derek murmured soothingly but didn’t say anything. Stiles was trying really hard to keep himself from completely breaking down and Derek didn’t want to chance saying something that could set him off.

They sat like that for a while, Derek’s legs going numb from lack of circulation and his lower back stiff from sitting up and supporting Stiles weight as Stiles had leaned back against him. Stiles crying had diminished to only sniffles but he continued to sit there holding Luca with Derek holding him. Luca had passed out a long time ago in his usual post lunch nap. Derek tried to take in every detail he could, not wanting to forget the way his mate looked while holding the child.

Their moment was broken when there was a knock at the door. Derek could smell it as the same human woman from before and it signaled time to go. Derek got up and helped Stiles come up, brushing the tears that had slowly started to fall again.

“This isn’t good bye,” he reminded Stiles softly.

Stiles kissed the top of Luca’s head and nodded, handing the baby over to Derek.

“I know,” he said sniffling.

Derek left him to take Luca to the woman waiting at the door. When she had left he shut the door and saw that Stiles had left for the master bedroom. He followed in after him and saw that Stiles was washing his face with cold water in the bathroom.

Derek walked to the door jam, leaning his weight against it and watched Stiles. His eyes were red and puffy and his hands had a little tremble to them. Stiles patted his face dry with a towel and looked at Derek through the mirror.

“We never got a chance to talk about yesterday,” He said, watching for Derek’s reaction in the mirror.

Trying his best not to make an obvious reaction, Derek straightened against the door jam, keeping his eyes steadily on Stiles.

“I know. I meant what I said though.”

Stiles turned around and propped his butt against the marble counter top, throwing the towel into the laundry basket on the side. He met Derek’s gaze and let his fingers grip the edge even tighter.

“We could be dead tomorrow. Like, there is a legitimate chance of us not surviving tomorrow,” Stiles whole body was shaking. “And I can’t end help but think that I would be the biggest fucking idiot in the world to not love you for as long as I can.”

Derek’s heart clenched in his chest. He thought for a second that he had imagined the words. They were so similar to what he always dreamed of hearing that he wasn’t sure if Stiles had actually said them.

“Because I do love you. I think there’s a part of me that’s always loved you in a way, you know?” Stiles was rambling but Derek let him. He wanted to hear everything Stiles had to say. “I mean, who goes up against four crazy fucking Alphas for someone they don’t even care about, right? And seriously, on what is potentially the last day of my life, I don’t want to fight it anymore. You said I’m you’re mate and so I’m going to be your mate. For however long I can.”

He didn’t know how to say what he was feeling. He wished he could be like Stiles and just spill everything, but no matter how hard he searched for the words, he couldn’t find them. So he did what he did best and let his body say what his heart was screaming.

Derek started for Stiles and Stiles saw him and met him halfway. Their bodies collided against one another and Stiles wound his arms around Derek’s neck.

Derek’s hands gripped Stiles’ hips and their lips came together gently, deliberately.

He didn’t press his tongue into Stiles’ mouth right away, choosing instead to place small open mouth kisses against Stiles’ lips. Derek felt the long, tapered fingers of Stiles’ hands weaving into his hair and rubbing circles into the back of his neck. Derek broke the kiss to place his mouth against Stiles’ neck. Stiles let him, nuzzling against the rough stubble of Derek’s cheek while Derek nip lightly against his pale skin.

Derek broke the kiss and pulled his face back, but didn’t let go of his grip at Stiles’ hips. Stiles met his gaze and Derek let himself drink in Stiles’ face. He ran his hands up Stiles back and bent forward to bump his nose against Stiles’.

“Mate,” Derek said simply.

Stiles nodded his head gently and reached back to wind his fingers into Derek’s. “Mate.”

Then Stiles was pulling Derek’s arms from around him, but never letting go, to pull him into to bedroom. Derek stood still while Stiles undressed him, first pulling off his shirt over his head and then unbuckling and dropping his pants. Derek went to return the gesture, but Stiles pushed him onto the bed instead and quickly undressed himself.

Stiles crawled on top of him and placed his mouth over Derek’s. They exchanged slow wet kisses as Stiles spread his legs and straddled Derek’s hips. In a slow rhythm that matched their kisses, Stiles rubbed himself against Derek, their briefs adding to the ridiculously tantalizing friction against their cocks.

In a quick motion Derek grabbed Stiles’ hips and flipped them over. Derek leaned back on his haunches between Stiles’ spread legs and grabbed an ankle to pull him down to the bed to him. Stiles moaned as Derek slotted him against his legs and leaned over him, pressing Stiles further back into the pillows and continuing to kiss his way into Stiles’ mouth.

Stiles snuck his hand in between them and palmed over the bulge in Derek’s briefs. Derek broke the kiss to let out a low moan, leaning into Stiles’ hand before beginning to trace the outline of Stiles’ jaw with his lips. His lips traveled further south and it was Stiles’ turn to let out a moan as Derek placed a wet tongue against Stiles’ perked nipple, taking it into his mouth and sucking.

Derek loved the sounds Stiles was making. He loved hearing the affect he had on his mate. It pleased his wolf to see his mate so obviously turned on by him and prided itself that Derek was found worthy of such a gorgeous partner.

After a few moments, Derek’s lips continued their way down, kissing the muscles of Stiles’ abdomen and nuzzling into the trail of hair leading into his briefs. Derek knew what Stiles was thinking was going to happen next so he decided to be a little bit of a dick. As Derek moved down he only hovered over Stiles’ cloth covered bulge for a minute, letting his hot breathe sink into the cotton of the underwear, before detouring over to the inside of Stiles’ thigh and giving him a gentle bite.

“Fuck. It’s not nice to tease your mate like this,” Stiles half groaned as Derek left a hickey on the inside of his thigh.

Derek smiled and was running his hands up and down Stiles’ chest as he teased around the edge of his briefs. Right as it felt like Stiles was about to combust, Derek finally placed the flat of his tongue right below Stiles’ belly button with a lick and snagged the waistband of his briefs, pulling them down and letting Stiles’ erection pop free.

Stiles’ hand immediately went to his dick while Derek leaned back to fully pull Stiles’ underwear of his legs and gave it a couple tugs.

“No.”

When Derek leaned back in he grabbed Stiles’ hand and pressed it into the bed, holding his wrist firmly and giving him a warning glance.

“Please, Derek,” Stiles begged hoarsely, bucking his hips up and writhing underneath Derek’s chest.

Taking pity on his mate, Derek used his other hand to firmly take the base of Stiles’ dick and bent his head over it, finally taking Stiles deep into his mouth. Stiles let out a hiss as Derek ran his tongue under the bottom of his dick, tracing the vein that was bulging blue beneath the surface.

Gripping the sheets tightly in both hands, Stiles bent his head back into the pillows and gasped. Figuring that Stiles’ hands were too busy to get in his way, Derek let go in favor of reaching behind Stiles’ thighs and hauling him up so that Stiles was suddenly completely presented before him.

He was so beautiful.

Derek let his eyes roam from where Stiles head was thrown back, his long neck inviting open and down to his stomach where the tip of his cock was leaking a small amount of precum over the freckled skin there.

So fucking beautiful.

Opening his eyes, Stiles looked down and saw Derek staring back up at him, and watching his reaction, Derek started tracing a line down Stiles’ cock to behind his balls until he was slowly lapping at his hole.

“Oh my fuck shit.”

Derek loved his reaction and began to rim him like he hadn’t eaten in days.

“Oh my god, goddess and whoever else is up there, I will reign an unholy hell down on this planet if you let him stop doing what he’s doing,” Stiles breathed quietly.

Derek let out a snicker and Stiles’ eyes popped open guiltily. Apparently he hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

“Stop what?” Derek questioned. “This?”

He licked a wet tongue against his hole then slowly blew a small breath of air against Stiles’ spit slicked pucker. Stiles bucked beneath him and almost slammed his head against his own knees.

“Do that again,” Stiles whined. “Oh please.”

Derek obliged and let blew against his hole lightly, following it up with more licking.

“Okay, I can’t anymore,” Stiles threw his legs over and out from Derek’s grasp. Grabbing the pillows he had just been burying his head in, he piled them together and then flopped onto his stomach over them, his ass sticking in the air.

Derek lost his ability to think for a moment as Stiles wiggled his butt back enticingly, half to get more comfortable and half to fuck with Derek’s brain.

“Come on you big stud,” Stiles teased, his ass still waving back in forth, “I’m ready for you.”

Derek let out a huffed laugh before landing a spectacular sounding smack to one of the ass cheeks waving in front of him.

“Hey! We haven’t negotiated kinks yet so don’t get crazy,” Stiles objected unconvincingly.

He loved how playful Stiles was being. It wasn’t all fast and rough and serious like it had always been with Kate. Derek was able to take his time and enjoy being with Stiles, and Stiles seemed to want to take his time with Derek too. He really hoped they made it through tomorrow because he wanted to spend the rest of his life making Stiles laugh and come apart underneath him.

He looked back down and saw Stiles staring at him over his shoulder with a smile playing over his face. Derek ran his hands over Stiles’ ass affectionately before reaching for the lube.

“Derek?” Stiles said and Derek stilled his hand from popping the top to the little bottle to look at him. “I love you.”

He felt the thump of his heart stuttering and Derek swallowed hard at the sudden lump that was in his throat. Never in his life did he think he’d be here; with a beautiful, intelligent mate spread below him, telling him how much they loved him. Yet here he was.

Derek leaned down over Stiles’ back and placed a small kiss to the cheek Stiles had up while the rest of his face was pressed down against the sheets.

“I love you too,” he whispered hoarsely and he nuzzled against the back of Stiles’ ear.

Another smile spread across Stiles face and he took advantage of their current position to grind his ass back against Derek’s crotch. “Good, now let’s make some sweet passionate love, baby.”

Derek rolled his eyes but he couldn’t help the smile that splayed across his face as he leaned back and started what he had been doing before. He let the top pop open and squirted lube into Stiles’ ass, not bothering to warm it up at all.

“Ahhh it’s cold!” Stiles protested trying to wiggle away, but Derek had his thumb immediately pressed against his hole and was working it in before Stiles could move more than an inch.

His thumb was replaced with his forefinger and eventually other fingers followed as Derek slowly stretched him open. Derek wasn’t in a hurry and took his time, one hand opening Stiles up and the other hand running over the skin of Stiles’ back.

When he finally had gotten to a place where he felt Stiles was ready, he stilled his hand.

“Okay?” he asked tentatively.

Stiles nodded. Derek was expecting more sass from him but Stiles was too blissed out to even open his mouth, let alone come up with something witty. Derek gripped the base of his cock and lined himself up. He sunk in slowly, not wanting to hurt his mate as his dick slid into Stiles.

Derek wasn’t sure who was making more noise at this point, him or Stiles. They were both groaning as Derek glided in, inch by inch until he was fully sheathed in Stiles. Derek ran his hands over Stiles’ ass and down his legs to grip at the back of Stiles’ calves.

He start with small thrusts, letting Stiles get accustomed to him, but the noises Stiles was making was making it increasingly difficult to go slow. Derek started making longer, deeper thrusts and leaned forward over Stiles’ back so he could get better leverage by straightening out his arms in front of him.

“You’re so perfect,” Derek confessed, thrusting harder.

Stiles let out a loud moan and grabbed Derek’s arm so he could pull out from under him, causing the Alpha to fall onto Stiles back and sink even deeper into his mate. Derek grunted at the feeling of Stiles moving beneath his chest with every thrust. He pushed his arms between Stiles and the bed and wrapped his arms around Stiles chest, hugging him from behind as he pounded into him with fast shallow thrusts.

“Shit,” Stiles breathed as Derek licked a stripe up the back of his neck and growled into his ear.

Derek loved having Stiles completely engulfed underneath him. It made his wolf howl in pleasure and it was more than apparent to Derek that Stiles loved it to. Stiles craned his head back, mouth searching for Derek’s. Derek obliged him and their lips slid against each other, adding to the growing heat.

“So close,” Stiles whined out against his lips.

Derek’s hips stuttered at that and he broke from their kiss, ignoring Stiles whine at the loss of contact. He wanted to see his mate come.

Leaning back, Derek pulled out and Stiles got even more vocal at that. Ignoring him still, Derek pulled the pillows from under Stiles, throwing them off the bed and pulled at Stiles’ hip, urging him to turn over.

“I want to see you,” Derek tried to explain. “Need to see you.”

When Stiles was finally under him, this time on his back, Derek locked eyes with him. He tried to let his eyes tell Stiles all the things that Derek couldn’t verbalize. How much he loved Stiles and how he was going to love him forever, even if forever ended tomorrow.

Stiles seemed to understand because he put his face up to Derek’s and place a deliberate kiss against his lips. Derek sunk into him again and built back up into the hard, deep thrusts that Stiles seemed the like the most.

At ever thrust Stiles was letting out these small “uah” sounds that was driving Derek insane. Derek braced himself on one hand and wrapped his other hand around Stiles’ shaft, tugging in time with his thrusts until Stiles was coming all over his stomach.

“Oh god, Derek!” He yelled as his body seized with orgasm.

The clenching of Stiles’ ass around his dick sent him over the edge. His vision blurred and he felt like his whole body was sparking.

Derek fell back over Stiles' chest and laid there for a moment listening to the staccato beat of Stiles' heart in his chest. When he could finally move again, he shifted off to the side and started nuzzling and licking Stiles' neck.

"Ah post-coital licking. Just what every man loves," Stiles teased as he reached over and grabbed Derek's hand to roll him half on top of him.

"Can't help it," Derek murmured into his skin, "You smell fucking amazing. Like candy and sex and me."

Stiles laughed for a moment before growing serious. "It's different with you. I mean, when it's you. And not your wolf."

Derek stopped his tongue and titled his head a little so he could see Stiles' face better. "What do you mean?"

"That night when you came back from patrolling or whatever," Stiles shifted a little bit under Derek's gaze. "You were more... focused? More serious. Your wolf is more caveman I guess. I liked tonight though. I liked that we could have fun together and not have to be all heavy an over-emotional."

Panic flowed through Derek. He hadn't known that's how Stiles' felt about that night. If he had known that Stiles didn't like his wolf he would've stayed away until he was in better control of himself. Mentally kicking himself, Derek vowed never to touch Stiles while he was feral.

"No, stop it," Stiles turned in his arms to face him. "I can feel you misunderstanding me. I don't mean that I didn't like other night when your wolf came out to play, okay? I did! It's probably my new favorite kink. I'm just saying that... that I really liked tonight too. It felt comfortable. It felt right."

Derek let himself relax and that and went back to nuzzling Stiles' neck. He wanted to let Stiles know how much he loved tonight too, how much he loved him but he didn't know how to say it without sounding like a total idiot.

They both drifted a little bit, caught up in their cuddling. Derek was dying of hunger but he wasn't about to move for anything. He was going to hold his mate close as long as he could.

"Want to hear something weird?" Stiles asked rhetorically. "Our bond looks different from the other mate bonds."

Derek stopped tracing the scars on Stiles' chest. "Looks different? You can see mate bonds?"

"Yeah I can see ties between wolves if I want. Normal pack bonds are black but mate bonds are red," Stiles explained. He moved Derek's hand a little bit, urging him to continue his caresses.

"What does ours look like?" Derek started tracing his index finger around the triskele over Stiles' left pec.

"It started out purple then it got thicker and started to vibrate, just now I was looking at it and it's turned orange and thinned out," Stiles brow scrunched in confusion. He was playing with Derek's free hand, running the pads of his fingers over the callused skin and playing with the hair covering his knuckles.

Digging his face between Stiles' shoulder blades and running his nose along the skin there, Derek took a deep breath, letting the scent of mate and mating wash over his wolf. "Maybe it's because we haven't finished the mating ritual yet."

Stiles flipped his whole body around, throwing Derek's hand off of him and his eyes got wide with indignation. "Please don't tell me it involves running around the woods naked on a full moon or some shit like that. I am not into bestiality bro, no matter how much your Alpha eyes turn me on."

Derek let out a snort. "Where do you even get this stuff from, Stiles?"

"Hey man, the internet is a scary place sometimes," Stiles said sheepishly as he let himself calm down. "What do we have to do?"

He sat up and let his back rest against the headboard, pulling Stiles up next to him. Derek didn't like not having at least some of his mate's body touching him.

"A mark. Normally werewolves just bite each other on the neck or shoulder. It's one of the few things that mar our skin permanently and only other werewolves can see it," Derek ran his fingers down the side of Stiles neck. "I'm not sure what happens with humans though honestly. I guess I could ask."

Stiles was looking at him thoughtfully when an idea popped into his eyes. "I want to try something."

Famous last words, Derek thought ruefully.

"Oh don't look at me like that, Sourwolf." Stiles took Derek's hand and placed it over the triskele scar on his chest. "Imagine in your mind what you would intend when marking me as your mate."

Derek could see that Stiles was serious about this so he closed his eyes and imagined it. He imagined himself leaning over Stiles and kissing him on the lips then trailing his mouth down his neck to the base. He let the love he felt for Stiles fill his mind, his wolf howling in the background, and imagined biting into the soft skin at the crook of Stiles' neck, his fangs sinking in and taking hold.

The skin under Derek's hand grew warm and his eyes popped open in surprise. He saw that his hand was still on Stiles' skin, being held tightly by Stiles and that there was a glow emanating from the skin there. Stiles opened his eyes too and smiled at Derek.

When the glow died, Stiles let go of Derek hand and they both stared down at Stiles' skin. Where there had once been a silver scar there was now black lines, thick and dark filling in the triskele. It was identical to the one Derek had on his back. Derek looked up at Stiles' face in astonishment.

"There is your mark, made with the power of our tie," Stiles said proudly. "You're a part of me for the rest of my life. Right over my heart."

Chapter Text

They were so fucked.

Stiles surveyed the hoard of werewolves in front of him. There had to be like 30 of them ready to pounce and eat them alive at the word of their Alpha. Stiles’ magic had whittled down the number substantially, but there was still too many of them to go up against.

He stood by Derek’s side in the back of Simeon’s pack. Simeon and his mate were standing in front and across the clearing was Alicia, her long brown curls blowing with the slight breeze. She didn’t stand at the front of her pack like an Alpha would, she stood in the middle. The position alone piqued Stiles’ mind.

“This is Moretti Pack territory and you are trespassing. Leave now,” Simeon said boldly. He didn’t even shout, just kept his voice even and low like he was in charge.

But the Alpha bitch on the other side of the clearing just laughed.

“Come now, Simeon, I think we are past this,” She shook her head like he had told a joke. “We both know I’m not leaving and while I would say nothing has changed since the last time we spoke, I see that something has.”

Stiles shifted closer to Derek and Derek took his hand in his. He felt Derek’s dark blue bump against him and it calmed him.

“Nothing has changed,” Simeon negated. “You are still trespassing and we still do not concede.”

Alicia’s face turned into a snarl that warped her pretty features. She took several menacing steps forward and the werewolves peeled back out of the way of her path. Stiles took a better stock of her pack. As far as he could tell, there only appeared to be about ten or so werewolves who looked like they were there for business. The others had a more shifty stance, looking around in fear rather than resolution.

Stiles opened his sight.

The bonds between Alicia and her pack were weak and sickly brown in color. They were thin and drooped between the werewolves the ties themselves were pretty few in number, especially when compared to the crazy web of Simeon’s pack. A few ties were strong though, the ones going to the wolves he had picked out earlier, but even those weren’t nearly as solid as the ones connecting the pack members of Simeon’s pack.

He was super tempted to reach out and tug one to see what would happen.

“Rivers don’t suddenly become rapids on their own and my wolves don’t shift involuntarily,” she sneered at Simeon.

Stiles snapped back to the current situation. He really wished he hadn’t promised Derek that he would stay quiet because he really wanted to shout, “Yeah they do because I’M MAGIC BITCH!”

He was pretty smug about the fantasticness he had magicked up to protect the pack.

Their first line of defense was disguising their scent. He had smeared asafetida gum in three lines with his index finger on the head of every wolf, weaving a heavy cloaking spell between the lines to keep the other pack from picking up their scent. The asafetida smelled wicked awful but luckily after Stiles knit his magic in, the scent faded and so did the bitching. Werewolves were such babies when it came to their precious noses.

But yeah, this not only allowed the pack to come up on Alicia’s pack undetected, but also allowed a select few to go in and pick off some of the other pack’s wolves as the descended on Pilgrim’s Peak.

Element of disguise? Check.

If Stiles was honest, that wasn’t even his favorite part of his master plan. What he had done with the rocks was.

The day before he had taken the rocks from the river and burned into them the runes laguz and uruz, then had gone back with Stephanie and thrown them back into the river. With Stephanie’s help, he at that point picked out a couple trees that looked sturdy enough to handle his magic and carved mannaz, algiz, and gebo runes into the trees. With that done he was able to knit together a net of thin, yellow cords of magic and string them between the trees, using the runes as anchors.

What this all built up to was that as Alicia’s pack was running towards the river, they hit the nets in the trees and were pretty much forced to turn into their Alpha forms. Only the older wolves had enough power to resist the pull of Stiles’ magic and since Alicia’s pack was made up of the scraps of other defeated packs, most of the werewolves were younger, the elders having died in battle.

Then they came up on the river. La piece de resistance. Crossing a river that size should’ve been no problem, but as Damian had said earlier, wolves don’t swim well. And Stiles was a fucking genius.

The second the first werewolf put his paw into the river, it activated Stiles’ rocks. The river rose up, water rising and became a torrent, drowning several of the werewolves under its surge. Other wolves were dragged away by the flow.

On the other side of the river, the ones that actually managed to make it were half-drowned, soaking wet and mad as hell. Only on the other side could the werewolves could then shift back into their human or beta forms. But doing this took a ton of energy out of them. With the cloaking spell hiding their scents, Damian and his handpicked crew of warriors took them out one by one as the rest of the pack pushed forward, barely even noticing.

Hell fucking yeah.

Stiles had pretty much basked in the light of his fucking awesomeness while watching the events unfold from high up on Pilgrim’s Peak. Don’t get him wrong, it sucks whenever anybody had to die. But this was war and between him and his dying or them and theirs, he’d choose the latter every damn time.

But it wasn’t enough. They were still out numbered at more than 2 to 1 and even if the ties didn’t bind Alicia’s pack together as solidly as it should, they were still bound to her and claimed her as their Alpha. Stiles itched to see what havoc he could wreak with a little bit of his magic, but he thought back to what Derek had said earlier.

They had been standing at the top of Pilgrim’s Peak watching the pack come. Derek broke his gaze away from the river to grab Stiles’ face, demanding his attention.

Last night had changed things. Now when Stiles looked at Derek he didn’t even have to try to see his wolf because it was right there below the surface. Stiles could also feel their mate bond in his left hand. It was a silver cord winding between his fingers and wrapping around his wrist in an endless loop. He could feel the warm vibrations from it radiating up his arm and settling on the triskele now tattooed in black on his chest.

Stiles felt the tug on his wrist as Derek looked him in the eyes.

“I don’t want you messing with pack magic,” he said sternly and his wolf growled. “Stick to your organic magic and don’t push it.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Stiles waved his hand around. “I get it. You werewolf, me fragile human.”

“I’m serious, Stiles,” Derek tightened the grip on his chin. “I won’t be able to focus if I have to worry about you hurting yourself with magic.”

Eventually Stiles and Derek were going to have to sit down and figure this mate bond out because right now Stiles could feel waves of fear crashing down on him and they tasted like Derek so he knew it wasn’t coming from himself. It was way overwhelming.

“Don’t worry about me. We have this handy dandy mate bond now so you’ll know if I’m up to no good,” Stiles put a hand over Derek’s to loosen his grip on his chin. “If you feel me doing something naughty, just give it a tug and I’ll come to heel.”

Derek narrowed his eyes at the dog jokes but let go of Stiles’ chin in favor of wrapping it around the back of Stiles’ neck and pulling him in for a kiss.

It was sweet. So sweet it almost made Stiles want to cry.

He broke it off and leaned back so he could punch Derek in the arm.

“Don’t you fucking dare kiss me good bye you asshole,” he accused. “You don’t get to do that.”

Derek didn’t answer him and it made Stiles even angrier.

“You feel this?” Stiles pulled the neck of Derek’s Henley down and pressed two fingers into the shiny mark on the base of Derek’s neck. “This means you’re mine. That right there are my dental records in your skin meaning you are stuck with me until death do us part. And we aren’t dying any time soon, mister. So put your big werewolf panties on and get ready to fight.”

That actually got a huff of laughter from Derek which Stiles took as a good sign.

“How did I fall in love with such a ridiculous person?” Derek snagged him back in close, pulling Stiles’ body flush with his.

Stiles shrugged and laid his head on Derek’s chest. “I don’t know, honey bear. I guess you just got lucky.”

In the present, the angry yowl of the Alpha bitch echoed off the rock wall behind them.

“I know she’s here! I can’t smell her, but I know the witch is here,” Alicia shouted. “Where is she? Where is the cunt that killed my mate?”

It took Stiles a second to realize that Alicia was talking about him. Ugh. Why did everyone just assume he was a girl? As fluid as werewolf sexuality tended to be you would think their minds would be a little more open.

Stiles went to take a step forward but Derek’s hand tightened in a crushing move that caused Stiles to still. Apparently the movement didn’t escape the acute gaze of the other Alpha.

“It’s you?” Alicia’s eyes grew wide and her face blanked. “How? You’re nothing but a child. Duke was the strongest Alpha ever born. He was a god.”

Well, this woman was clearly out of her mind.

Stiles had so many things he wanted to say, like a whole Christmas list of things to say back, but he held his tongue. When this was over he better at least get some credit from Derek for the amount of control he was showing. Hell, he was so using this as leverage for sex. Guess who’s going to be topping tonight!

“Answer me!” Alicia shouted enraged. “Answer me how you could kill a god!”

Every werewolf in the clearing was staring at him. He felt the burn of their gazes on his face but he continued to stay silent. Damian was looking at him with eyebrows raised as if to say, “Now you decide to be quiet?” But Stiles’ eyes didn’t even rest on him for a second. Instead, he turned his face up to look at his Alpha.

Derek was giving his bitch face to everyone in attendance but was aware of the question in Stiles’ face. Finally, after deciding everyone had been properly glared at, he turned and looked back at Stiles. His wolf’s tail was high in the air and it stood with its head held tall and pride filtered through their bond.

Derek was outrageous pleased with the respect Stiles was showing him by obeying him. Derek met his gaze for a moment then nodded.

“First off, you need to stop eating those big bowls of crazy for breakfast,” Stiles opened up with after finally getting the go ahead. He heard Derek sigh next to him. “Maybe switch them out for some oatmeal or something because you’re seriously sounding a little bit moon crazed. Your mate wasn’t a god. Hell, he barely even gave me a good fight. What he was was psychotic.”

Growls started coming from both sides of the field; Alicia’s pack in anger and Simeon’s pack in taunting.

“Secondly, what is with everyone assuming I’m a chick? Yeah, I’m the mate of this handsome hunk of Alpha here, but come on! We all know werewolf sexuality is suspect! It’s emasculating, is what it is. But I’m getting off track,” Stiles let go of Derek’s hand and started walking forward. He didn’t go very far though because he could feel the mate bond tightening as Derek willed him to stay close. “Yeah, I killed your mate. I reached out and cut him from the Moon until all that was left was ashes. And I didn’t just do it to him. I did it to the other three psychos who tried to destroy my pack. ”

A hush fell over the clearing. There weren’t even birds or insects making noise now. Even the wind had stopped.

“I’m not saying this to hurt you, I’m saying this to warn you. I don’t want to fight but it’s you who has to make a choice right now. You can walk away and leave this pack alone, or you can meet the same fate as your mate.”

Tears had started falling down Alicia’s pale cheeks. The low tug on Stiles’ heart made him mad because he shouldn’t feel sorry for this woman, but he did. He had only been truly mated to Derek for less than 24 hours but the thought of Derek dying made it hard to breathe. He couldn’t imagine what Alicia had gone through.

Whatever sympathy he felt for Duke’s mate was gone however when the howl of attack ripped from Alicia’s throat.

It was like a symphony; every piece an individual yet moving together in perfect harmony. Derek grabbed him and shoved him back as he shifted into Beta form and ran forward. Alicia’s wolves surged forward, clashing into the wall of Simeon’s pack.

Stiles blinked slowly, taking in the poetry of the chaos. Then he heard a scream and was brought back.

Stephanie was fighting a tall black werewolf and it wasn’t going well. Her face was already sliced open and the swipe that caused her scream was to her leg. Stiles could see the bone.

He called forth his secret weapon. No seriously, he called it forth. Lumi said that calling people by their full name gave you power over them, but Stiles figured that it didn’t just have to be people. Things of great power always had names, like the Excalibur for instance, which is why he named his secret weapon too.

Chomper looked like a bat that had done steroids and spend 15 years in the penitentiary for gang related violence.

Stiles had fashioned it out of a thick piece of mountain ash and where a regular baseball bat was round, Chomper was square. He had sanded one end down to a nice size to fit in his hand and wrapped it with some sports tape, but the business end was much broader than your normal Louisville Slugger and it was heavy as all get out. Stiles had then carved some power runes into the wood and burned some wolfsbane over it.

The cherry on top was the eight iron nails he had driven into the end, two coming out of each of the four sides of the square bat. Iron was an ancient conductor of magic (the fae being particularly allergic) and it was like the lighting rod of his magic stick.

Stiles called Chomper forth and it flew out of the trees and into his hand. Stiles so wished he could’ve said, “Accio Chomper!” But unfortunately Latin wasn’t the language of his kind of magic.

He rushed over to where Stephanie was fighting the other werewolf and yelled, “Duck!” before swinging Chomper like Babe Ruth going for a home run. Luckily Stephanie responded with werewolf quick reflexes hitting the ground as the business end of Chomper slammed into the face end of the werewolf.

The wolf screamed as the nails of the bat pierced the skin of his face and his skin started to melt underneath Chomper. The wolf crumbled to the ground and started convulsing, foaming an orange froth at the mouth. Stiles saw the werewolf’s wolf choking for air before disappearing. The man slumped over dead.

“Holy shit, Stiles,” Stephanie was talking to him but her wide eyes stayed on the dead werewolf. “That was hella intense.”

Chomper made a wet, squelching sound when Stiles pried it out of the wolf’s face.

“Huh. I think I’m going to throw up,” Stiles mouth turned down and his face twisted in disgust.

But Stiles didn’t get the chance to because a movement to the left caught his eye and he looked up just in time to see a girl jump onto Derek’s back as he was fighting off another werewolf. Derek was struggling to get the wolf off his back while keeping the other one at bay.

“Not my mate, you bitch!” Stiles yelled and ran to where the three were fighting.

Derek had stopped fighting the other werewolf so he could try and get the one on his back off. She was clawing at his face and the sight of it really made Stiles hope eyeballs regenerated. The other werewolf was just about to take advantage of the distraction and attack Derek again when Stiles stuck his hand out and pulled.

The werewolf howled in pain as the skin started tearing away from his body. Stiles hadn’t even stopped to really think about what he was pulling for when he freed his magic, but as the pieces of ripped flesh started flying towards him he didn’t flinch. No one messes with his mate.

When he finally got close enough to hit the werewolf with Chomper, the werewolf looked like one of those inside-out bodies at the museum, just bloody muscle and bone. Stiles swung Chomper and hit the wolf square in the chest, the iron nails digging into the muscles of his abdomen and the runes lighting up with magic.

The wolf went down with smoke sizzling out from his decimated body before it completely melted into the grass on the ground. Stiles turned to help Derek but saw the he was making quick work of the she wolf that had been on his back.

The she wolf went down for the count and Derek stopped and stared at Stiles, his eyes darting from the melted wolf on the ground, to Chomper, and then back to Stiles.

“What the fuck is that?” he panted, perspiration dotting his forehead as his body worked to fix the gashes on his face.

“Derek, this is my secret weapon Chomper. Chomper, this is my mate Derek,” Stiles introduced.

Introductions were cut short however when howls ripped through the clearing. They both looked up to see Simeon get taken down by Alicia. Her extended claws had come down in a mighty swipe that gashed into Simeon’s chest. He fell to his knees, the blood spurting out, and even from where Stiles was standing he could hear the Alpha’s breath gurgling in his throat.

Alicia wasted no time. She let out one last howl and swiped her claws across Simeon’s throat, almost cleaving his head entirely from his shoulders. The body of the once great Alpha listed to one for a moment before collapsing entirely onto the ground.

From somewhere in the back Emilia let out a scream, completely human despite being in her Beta form.

“No,” Stiles whispered resolutely, taking in the scene.

This wasn’t going to happen. He wasn’t going to let them lose.

He felt the magic flowing hot through his veins, making his skin itch. This was how it was going to have to be. They had tried the other options and failed.

A sharp tug pulled his mind from his magic and he looked down at his wrist. The silver mate bond was humming and Stiles realized that Derek had sent the tug. Looking up, he met his mate’s eyes.

“It isn’t over yet,” Derek told him sharply. “Not yet.”

Stiles wrapped an arm around the back of Derek’s head and brought his mouth down hard to meet his. Their kiss was hot and sloppy and fully of all the love and longing they hadn’t gotten a chance to express yet. When they parted Stiles put his forehead to Derek’s and sighed.

“Then let’s go end it.”

Gripping Chomper tighter in his hand, Stiles started running toward the middle of the field where Alicia was celebrating her kill. He felt Derek fall into step next to him as he ran. A couple of wolves tried to stop them, but Stiles didn’t hesitate. He opened himself up and reached out to grab the dark cobalt ties linking them to their wolves. Gathering them all in his left hand he clenched his fist tight and yanked, pulling them as he ran.

The werewolves screamed as Stiles ripped the wolf from the man, severing their connection and the flow of energy. He dropped the broken ties and the men fell to the floor, their bodies suddenly bursting into flames as Stiles and Derek continued to run past them.

It didn’t come without a cost though. Stiles scars lit up white hot, his shirt burning away in tatters as the scars ignited with the forbidden magic. The pain seared across his brain but Stiles pushed it back. He wouldn’t give in to the darkness trying to come over his eyes until his job was done.

When they finally came to where Alicia stood, Derek pushed Stiles hard to the left, causing him to stumble and fall to the ground. Derek immediately lunged through the air and made solid contact against Alicia. As Stiles got back to his feet he saw another figure lunge into the fray.

Damian had seen them running towards Alicia and joined them. He was shifted into his full wolf form and was running around the rolling forms of Alicia and Derek, jumping in whenever he could to get a snap or a swipe in.

Derek broke away from Alicia and rolled to the side, essentially tagging Damian in. Blood was pouring from his side and his legs where Alicia had cut him open. Stiles heart slammed in his chest and he knew he had to do something. Damian and Derek were strong, but they were dealing with a feral wolf that had lost her mate.

Backing up a couple steps, Stiles spread his arms wide. There still had to be at least 15 members of Alicia’s pack still in the clearing, but not one of them made a move for him. He cleared his mind and sought out the sickly brown ties connecting her to them. Ignoring the pain getting increasing worse, he slashed at the ties, cutting each wolf from Alicia, destroying the power she pulled from them.

With each cut he felt new lines being sliced into his skin. Stiles was suddenly grateful that she held such few ties to her pack because he felt the fire of magic burning down his bare arms as he broke every tie Alicia had, weakening the Alpha and releasing her Betas from the sick servitude they had fallen into. Finally he severed the last tie connected to her and was able to give in to the pain, falling onto his hands and knees, blood gushing from the cuts in his arms.

An Alpha gains power from their pack and all of a sudden Alicia wasn’t Alpha of anyone anymore. The pain alone of wrenching her Betas away from her had caused her to miss blocking the last few blows Damian and Derek had laid to her. She was starting to weaken and fall. Derek landed a backhand to her face and she fell to ground, lying prone and spitting blood out of her mouth onto the scratchy grass below her cheek.

Damian was circling, letting out loud snarls. Derek stood over her for a moment before backing up, giving a quick nod of his head.

With one last show of force, Damian lunged for Alicia, getting his entire jaw around her throat and snapping it closed. A loud crunch echoed through the clearing and bounced off the rock wall behind them. Rearing back, Damian tore her throat out with his teeth.

This time no howls filled the air. Everyone had stopped fighting to watch anyhow so now that the fighting was done, there was no movement whatsoever.

Stiles could feel the blackness coming for him and knew that he didn’t have much time. When he opened his mouth his voice barely came out in a whisper. “Derek.”

Derek was suddenly at his side, trying to help Stiles stand up but Stiles didn’t have the strength. Blood was still flowing from both of his arms and the magic he used had completely drained him of whatever strength he would’ve had.

“Stiles, hold on. Don’t let go okay,” Derek had kneeled and put Stiles’ head in his lap. “You’re going to be okay. Just stay with me.”

Stiles peered up into Derek’s face and was saddened by the deep creases in Derek’s forehead. He tried to lift a hand to smooth the wrinkles but couldn’t. Stiles felt bad about leaving Derek behind because he knew Derek had already lost so much.

“Make sure Luca grows up to be a good man,” Stiles whispered. “And take care of my Dad for me?”

There were tears making trails down Derek’s cheeks but he didn’t try to hide them. “No. Fuck that. You do it yourself. Do you hear me? Stay with me and take care of your Dad. Raise Luca yourself. Don’t you fucking leave me like everyone else. I love you. Please don’t leave me,” Derek pleaded.

He wanted to respond, but Stiles had reached his limit. His lips worked by no sound came out. Finally, his eyelids grew too heavy and he let them close.

Chapter Text

Stiles didn’t really know where he was. People say that your life flashes before your eyes or that you see a bright white light when you die, but either they were wrong or he wasn’t dead. He definitely didn’t see anything like that. What he did see though was that he was standing in a field he had never seen before and that made him uncomfortable.

It was a huge wide open field with nothing else in sight but rolling hills of tall green grass. He knew this place wasn’t real though because there wasn’t any sound. No birds chirping, no grass rustling as it brushed up against each other in the wind. Hell, there wasn’t even wind. It was bright but he couldn’t tell where the sun was.

He looked around and was deciding which direction to start walking in when he turned back and suddenly was faced with a wolf. It was a giant, silvery wolf that stood shoulder height with him. It was out of place in this field and it had an ethereal quality to it. The light gleamed off of its shiny coat and the eyes were a light blue. In its mouth was a single white moon flower.

Stiles didn’t know why he wasn’t afraid, because a strange wolf staring him down should definitely make him afraid, but he wasn’t. He reached out a hand to rub the wolf’s massive head and the wolf nudged him with its snout.

“I don’t want the flower,” Stiles said as the wolf continued to try and push the flower into his hand. “What am I going to do with it?”

The wolf persisted, trying to nudge Stiles’ hand into taking it. Finally, with a sigh Stiles took the flower from him.

“There. Happy? I took the flower. Now what am I supposed to do with it?” He questioned the silver wolf.

Stiles looked down at the flower in his hand and saw that there wasn’t just one anymore. All of a sudden his arms were full of the flowers. The sun was setting and it was getting dark. The flowers in his arms started glowing.

“What’s going on?” he looked up from his arms to ask the wolf but the nice friendly wolf was gone and instead Stiles saw red eyes glowing back at him.

“Ah hell.”

The silver wolf let off a snarl and the flowers dropped from Stiles arms. The red eyed Alpha lunged forward with snapping jaws and Stiles thought, Oh. So this is how it ends.

“STILES!”

He jolted upright and sounds came roaring into his ears, overloading his senses. Pain was shooting up his arms and he definitely shouldn’t have sat up so fast. It felt like his brain was being pulled in a million directions all at the same time. But he was alive, if the pain he was feeling and Derek shouting at him was any indication of vitality.

“Dude, tone it down okay. My head is killing me,” Stiles complained closing his eyes.

Derek stopped shouting and instead Stiles found himself being smooshed in too tight worried Derek hug.

“I thought I had lost you,” Derek murmured into his hair, planting a kiss to his forehead.

Stiles took in the rich scent that was distinctly Derek and let the feeling of security and home calm his mind.

“Told you. You’re stuck with me,” Stiles managed to choke out without a sob.

“Dude I am so glad you’re not dead,” a female voice broke through the moment. “That would’ve like, given me some serious therapy needs.”

Opening his eyes, Stiles saw Stephanie a couple feet away from where he was on the ground. She was shifting from foot to foot and playing with her hands out of nerves. Blood was smeared all over her and she had just witnessed the death of two Alphas as well as many members of her pack yet she was blaming Stiles for her future therapy needs. Figures.

“Well, exsanguination isn’t apparently on the menu so as long as my mate doesn’t kill me for using magic, so fear not my little cupcake. Stiles Stilinksi lives to see yet another day,” he said to her from around Derek’s shoulder as Derek still hadn’t let him go.

Derek let out a wolfy grumble.

Theirs wasn’t the only drama happening though. The rest of Alicia’s pack had disappeared while Stiles was out but what was left of Simeon’s pack had created a small half circle around where Damian was standing.

“I now stand as Alpha,” Damian proclaimed. “As our laws proclaim, I have killed the Alpha who took Simeon’s life. I demand submission.”

Stiles pulled on Derek’s arm to help him up. He was interested to see what was happening. The 7 Betas that remained dropped to one knee and extended their necks in submission. Stiles saw that even Stephanie dropped down to show respect. However, one person did not.

“I will not stand here and pretend like you are my Alpha,” Emilia said angrily. “I won’t let you destroy everything Simeon worked for. We let you and your family into our pack out of kindness but you have brought nothing but trouble to this pack! You disrespected Simeon at every turn but he wouldn’t listen to me when I told him to throw you out!”

Damian look nonplussed. “Then challenge me.”

Everyone knew that meant death for Emilia. Damian was the best fighter and everyone knew it. Even with his injuries there was no way Emilia could defeat him.

“I challenge you.”

The words didn’t come from Emilia. Stiles swiveled his head around in surprise.

What the hell was he thinking?!

Peter Hale stepped out from nowhere. Stiles didn’t even remember seeing him at the battle, yet here he was, challenging Damian for the right of Alpha. Stiles was so over it.

Maybe he’ll die, he thought chagrinned.

“Oh this’ll be good,” Stephanie whispered next to him. Stiles gave her the side eye.

“You’re not even a part of this pack,” Damian looked at him with confusion. “Why would you challenge me?”

Peter started walking closer to Emilia and Stiles could finally see it then. Peter’s wolf was walking around Emilia’s. There wasn’t a any ties holding them together, but Peter’s wolf was watching her and whining.

“A very long time ago I fell in love with someone but I wasn’t careful enough and she was taken from me,” Peter stopped in front of Damian. “I don’t plan on making the same mistake twice.”`



A couple years later

Stiles opened the door quietly and walked into his house. He was exhausted. As the newbie of the Beacon Hill’s PD he still got most of the crappy night shifts where either absolutely nothing was happening and he was bored out of his mind, or something absolutely horrid would happen and he’d have to wade through the pieces of other people’s lives.

Tonight had been one of those absolutely horrid nights.

He shucked his holster and gun into the small safe he kept in the hall closet before trudging up the stairs. He couldn’t wait to take a shower and was already in the process of unbuttoning his uniform shirt by the time he reached his bedroom door. Quietly he went into the bathroom and took his shower.

When he came back out it was still dark as dawn hadn’t arrived yet. Stiles snagged a pair of clean boxers and crawled into his side of the bed. The best part about being mated to a werewolf is that you never have to crawl into a cold bed.

Stiles snuggled up against Derek’s back and let his eyes closed. He could feel Derek’s wolf relax; his wolf didn’t sleep well unless its mate was beside him. Derek shifted around so that he could throw an arm around Stiles’ hip and placed his head so they were resting forehead to forehead.

“You didn’t call,” Derek mumbled to him half asleep.

Burrowing his hands into the small space between them Stiles placed a hand to Derek’s chest and let his long fingers rest over the smooth skin.

“It was a long night and I didn’t have a chance. ‘m sorry,” Stiles murmured back.

Normally Stiles called at around 11pm to let Derek know he was okay before Derek headed to bed. It was about halfway through his shift which usually meant Stiles was bored out of his mind and had nothing better to do. Last night he had been out on a call though and was too busy.

They both fell quiet. Stiles was laying there with his eyes closed but no matter what he did he couldn’t fall asleep. He kept shifting around and trying to find new positions but no matter what he did he couldn’t get comfortable. Derek had been patient, half falling asleep only to have Stiles jostle him awake when he moved around, but he had enough when Stiles rolled around for what had to be the hundredth time.

Derek forced his leg over Stiles’ legs and wrapped them up in his, stilling them, before pulling Stiles into his chest. He sleepily opened his eyes when he demanded, “Tell me.”

Stiles sighed. He was hoping to wait until he had time to plan out what he was going to say better and then wait until the moment was perfect. He was planning on waiting a little closer to the full moon too so he could hedge his bets by appealing to the wolf’s sense of pack. But he knew from past experience that he wasn’t going to be allowed to bottle it up. On nights like this his husband would persist until Stiles spilled whatever atrocity was keeping him from sleep.

“Domestic Disturbance call around 10pm. Husband shot the wife dead,” Stiles whispered with his throat tight.

Waves of sympathy came through his mate bond and wound up his arm to his heart then was pumped throughout his body. The feeling soothed Stiles and he was able to take a few more steading deep breathes.

“There was a baby girl, about 14 months old,” Stiles cleared his throat and tried to steady his heart. “She has no immediate family willing to take her so she’s going to end up in the system.”

There he had said it. Well, actually he hadn’t said it but he knew that Derek knew exactly what he was saying. He tried to take a peek at Derek’s wolf but even his wolf wasn’t giving anything away. His heart started beating faster. Derek hadn’t said anything and it was making Stiles nervous. He thought about Luca and how much he loved having a baby around and was praying Derek would agree.

“I don’t know…” Derek finally said.

That broke the word dam for Stiles.

“I know it’s a lot to ask and I know that it would be a huge change for us but as I was holding her it was like she belonged in my arms, Derek. You know? Like we had this connection. And she is so cute. She has this crazy amount of dark black hair and blue eyes just like you! Her name is Josie and she isn’t a crier at all, she totally has this calm about her that you would love and-“

Derek shushed Stiles by placing his whole hand over his mate’s mouth. Stiles was super tempted to lick his hand.

“I don’t know,” Derek repeated. “If I am the right person you should ask. The person you should ask just woke up.”

Stiles turned a little bit in Derek’s arms so he could hear the footsteps padding up to their room. The handle turned and the door to the master bedroom swung open.

“Papa?” A sleepy voice came from the doorway.

A mess of brown curls fell over sleepy green eyes and the shirt to the Bob the Builder pajamas was missing. That was usual though, his son was a hot sleeper like his daddy.

“Hey little man,” Stiles patted the blankets. “Why don’t you come crawl into bed with us?”

Luca climbed his little body up the side of the king sized bed and forced his way in between the two men. He burrowed down into the covers and popped his thumb in his mouth. Derek placed a kiss to the top of his head, a gesture which Stiles would never stop melting over.

Stiles reached out and smoothed the frizzy curls with his hand. He had propped up his head on one elbow and was looking down at his son. He had grown from a cute baby into an adorable toddler and was crazy smart. No matter how sick it sounded, he was thankful every day that Peter had killed Damian.

Luca leaned into Stiles’ touch and when Stiles removed his hand Luca inclined his head over and rubbed his face against Stiles’. Derek had taught Stiles early on how to scent pack properly but it still gave Stiles a silent thrill when his baby boy would rub his hands or face on him.

They don’t teach that in parenting books.

“Hey pup, Papa and I have a question for you,” Derek said giving Stiles a pointed look.

Luca looked up at Stiles with his giant green eyes. Looking into Luca’s eyes always made Stiles feel invincible, like he could take on another whole pack of crazy by himself with no problem. He loved his son with his whole heart.

“Daddy and I were wondering if it would be okay with you if I brought home a baby sister for you,” Stiles said carefully. Luca had been a single child for a while now and he wasn’t sure how Luca would react. “She won’t be a wolf like you and Daddy though. She’d be human like me.”

Luca looked pensive for a moment as he sucked on his thumb. He popped it out of his mouth to answer, “You don’t like that I’m a wolf?”

“No no no!” Stiles heart clenched and he instinctively pulled Luca into a tight embrace. “I love you to the moon and back and I’m was so proud of you for learning how to control your shift. You are so smart!”

Stiles was actually really proud that Luca could control his shift so well. Derek said it would take at least another year.

“It’s just this little girl isn’t like you and Daddy so we are going to have to be really careful around her,” Stiles clarified.

Luca thought about that for another moment.

“She gonna be pwetty like Auntie Ewica?”

A chuckle rumbled in Stiles’ chest. Luca adored Erica in a way that sometimes caused Stiles to be jealous. Luca thought she was the most beautiful, coolest woman to ever walk the Earth and Erica lapped up every bit of it.

“Yes, little dude,” Stiles answered. “She’s going to be even prettier than Auntie Erica.”

Luca’s eyes narrowed a little bit and stuck out his lips as if to say, nobody is prettier than Auntie Erica but nodded a moment later. “Okay.”

Stiles eyes lit up and he looked across the bed to Derek. Derek lifted an eyebrow and smiled. They were going to have a baby girl!

“Hey pup, go wake Uncle Isaac up and have him make you some breakfast,” Derek said to the toddler. Stiles needed to sleep and Derek knew if he let Luca stay much longer Stiles would never get to sleep.

Luca was half asleep though and obviously in no mood to go bothering sleeping werewolves. The little boy shook his head stubbornly.

“No. I want Papa to make me bweakfast,” he pouted.

See, this is why Derek and Stiles’ marriage worked out so well. If it had been up to Stiles, he would’ve dragged his weary body up out of bed and made his little man some pancakes. But Derek lacked the pushover gene which is why Luca got some red eyes and a gentle push out the bed.

“You’re so mean,” Stiles teased.

Derek let out a huff and pulled Stiles closer. “I know. I’m such a sour wolf.”

Stiles laughed. “Right? What was I thinking getting mated to such a big, bad Alpha.”

“You didn’t have a choice. When a Hale uses his charm, no man can stand against it.”

Derek placed a small kiss against Stiles’ lips. Stiles melted into it and slipped a hand up to caress Derek’s stubbled cheek.

“Don’t I know it. You Hales even have the Moon on your side,” Stiles said with a smile against Derek’s soft lips.

Stiles had told him about his dream while he was bleeding out in the field. It hadn’t taken Stiles very much to realize who the wolf in the field was. The Moon had been very persuasive in convincing Stiles that he wasn’t to die that day. Derek had listened to him and never once teased him for an overactive imagination. He had simply held him tighter.

Another result of that day was the patterned scars swirling up Stiles’ arms. They matched the ones on his chest and back exactly and created a seamless design over the entire top half of his body. He was grateful that they didn’t extend up his neck though. Hiding his “body art” at work with Under Armour beneath his uniform was annoying enough, especially in the summer months. There was no way he could’ve hid his neck too.

Outside of work, Stiles had stopped trying to hide his scars. His Dad had been brought into the pack out of necessity when Stiles came back from his “conference in San Francisco” with a baby boy on his hip. Derek, Stiles and his Dad had stayed up until 6am talking about the past four years in detail. The Sheriff only threatened to shoot Derek twice which Stiles had definitely counted as a win.

With Stiles mated to Derek and the Sheriff in the know it had then been easy to get Scott to finally join Derek’s pack. Stiles knew it was a huge burden off his mate’s shoulders. Derek had always felt responsible for Scott because of what Peter had done. They still fought from time to time but what family didn’t?

“The Moon didn’t have a choice. He knew that if he didn’t bring you back to me that I would’ve gone after him,” Derek kissed Stiles again, his hand running up his mate’s scarred back.

“You would’ve fought a god for me?” Stiles joked.

“I’d fight anyone who would try and take you from me,” Derek said, this time solemnly. “Are you saying you wouldn’t do the same?”

Stiles pushed Derek over onto his back so he could climb on top of him and let his legs fall to either side of Derek’s hips. Stiles braced his arms on either side of Derek’s head and leaned over his mate. He leaned down to bite Derek’s bottom lip before quickly pulling back.

Derek growled his discontent and Stiles gave a short laugh.

“Fight a god? Probably not. I myself am much better with words,” Stiles grinded his hips down against Derek’s.

“And what would you have told the Moon to get me back?” Derek bit out.

Stiles smiled and gave a sharp tug to their mate bond. Another growl rolled out of the back of Derek’s throat but it broke off into a half whine. Derek’s hands came up to grip Stiles’ undulating hips so he could grind back up against them.

“I’d say, ‘Hey Moon! Give me my mate back. He’s not yours, he’s mine.’”

Derek threw his weight over in a quick motion and flipped Stiles over, trapping him underneath him. He started licking and biting up Stiles’ neck, leaving small bruises and teeth marks behind. Every time Stiles referred to him as his mate it made Derek’s wolf crazy and Derek couldn’t help but mark up his mate. Derek finished by licking the black triskele over Stiles’ left pec.

“That’s it?” He licked a curved spiral on Stiles’ chest. “That’s all you’d say to get me back?”

Stiles grabbed Derek’s face and pulled him up so he could place a dirty open mouth kiss on him.

“The Moon would know better than to mess with me and mine.”