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Trees are always a relief after dealing with people (except when they aren't)

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Stiles is furious. Stiles is inconsolable, angry, infuriated, enraged, spitting mad.

“Dude, you are turning green. Are you alright?” Scott asks concerned, pausing the game.

“I am not alright, I am aflame with anger, red with rage!” Stiles spits out.

“No, I mean you are literally turning green. And I think your wings are starting to come out?” Scott says. He's trying to get a look at his back, where sure enough his wings try to flicker into existence.

Stiles tries to get himself under control, because he likes this T-shirt, but it's no use. With a loud ripping sound his stupid girly fairy wings appear and tear through it. This is just the icing on that particular cake. He lets out a scream, but with him nearly fully transformed, it sounds more like a bird call mixed with the sound of leaves rustling.

He gets a grip into his now slightly longer hair and tugs. “I can't even have one manly shout about this and I'm going to have to shave my hair again, this is officially the worst day, the worst of all the possible days!”

“What happened dude?” Scott asks, “One minute you were fine and suddenly your eyes started glowing and you transformed.”

“Werewolf.” he hisses.

“What? There aren't even any werewolves in this game, what –” Scott turns to him.

“Not plural, a werewolf, here in Beacon Hills, in my territory.” Stiles really can't believe it, but the feeling is unmistakable, the way the forest is singing about a predator, about something wild and primal, finally returning to it.

“Wait a second, werewolves are real?” There is a look of unholy glee on Scott's face, “Oh my god, that's awesome, why did you not tell me about that before! Do they look like in that movie you showed me? Who is it?”

“I don't know Scott, probably someone who is new in this town and it isn't cool at all.” Stiles is still seething a bit, but he can't really keep up the same level of anger with Scott's excited face in front of him.

“How can you say that?” Scott cries, “especially because just last week, you totally held a 30-minute presentation on why werewolves are better than vampires. There were pictures!”

“Ok, first of all, that was totally different. It was about how, clearly, werewolves are the superior species in a fight,” because they are, Team Jacob all the way, “but that doesn't mean I want one here.” Just the thought of it makes him uncomfortable. Werewolves may be awesome in theory, but they are also dangerous. Having one around, in the vicinity of Scott, of his dad, makes shivers run down his spine.

Scott looks at him, “Is it like a home turf thing?”.

“Kind of. But it's more than that. It's… I don't know, ‘home turf’ makes it seem so trivial.” And it's really not.

“Is it like that time in second grade when that one kid asked to be my partner for that project and you started hiding all his stuff?” Scott is idly playing with his cell phone, looking at pictures of Allison, no doubt.

Bless Scott and his moments of insight. He remembers that incident and though it sounds like two different things, the wrongness, that sense of mine, mine you don't belong here is exactly the same. He feels as if he could go out of his skin, high strung and exhausted at the same time.

“Yes, it's a bit like that.” He has calmed down enough that he could transform back, but he doesn't feel like it; the energy is just bursting out of him. Though judging by the way the tree in front of Scott's room is trying to crawl its way inside, he really does need to dial it back a bit.

His control, or rather lack of control, had been the cause for one of the many lectures he had gotten from his mom on not abusing his powers. He feels her absence the most in these moments, when his nymph side starts acting up and he has no idea what to do. He can only guess at what feels right, but he is on his own now.

“So what are you going to do?” Scott asks.

“Do?” Stiles stares at him.

“I mean, you hid that kids shoes and then you started to play pranks on him” – oh yes, Stiles remembers; some of those pranks were golden – “till your mom told you to stop it and took us on that bonding camping trip.” That memory hurts, but he's starting to finally be able to look at those times with a bit of fondness mixed in.

“So the question is, what are you going to do with this werewolf?” Scott is looking at him with wide eyes, and Stiles has the best best friend in the world. Not completely alone after all.

After everything happened, Derek just… leaves. He is well and truly alone now; with Laura and now Peter dead and gone, and New York as well as his childhood home in Oregon only full of bad memories, he just doesn't care to try anymore.

His family has a property in a little town called Beacon Hills. He visited it once when he was small, and it's perfect for his purposes. The community is small enough to be sleepy, and large enough that no one is going to care about him. The house is in the middle of the forest that his family… that Derek owns, so he won’t be disturbed – or at least he can call the police if he is.

He is not even 25 yet, and he's going to become a hermit. Derek is totally fine with that. Clearly he has done enough, destroyed enough, fallen in love, gotten his heart broken, survived everyone in his family. Now it is time to hunker down and move as little as possible so his bad karma doesn't infect anyone else.

To this end, he even sent in an official request to the Alpha Council that they let him live out his days in peace. The Hale Tragedy must have still been reverberating there, because it didn't take long at all to get it approved, as long as he promised not to turn anyone.

He is also totally fine with that. He doesn't need a new pack, a new family to make everything complicated.

In some way he knows that Laura would hate it – she always tried to keep him from shutting himself away from the world – but Laura isn't here anymore. The only thing that is here is an old house with nearly no memories, himself and a sleepy town that smells peculiar but unthreatening.

The house is a mess, to put it bluntly. It's still standing, but it's clear that nobody’s looked after it in the past six years. Derek had completely forgotten about it; Laura had handled all their assets, and it seems like she forgot as well.

It doesn't matter so much. There are still enough rooms that are fine, and he doesn't mind having a project while he's getting settled. He'll have enough time to do nothing after he finishes with it.

He better get some tools, though. He’s never done home repair, but really how hard can it be? He'll get the right materials, figure it out from there and if he messes up, he'll just start over. Not like anyone will die horribly if he screws up the wiring. Or at least no one aside from himself.

He's just left the house with vague plans to get some plumbing equipment when he hears it. It's subtle, if he wasn't always slightly on edge he probably wouldn't even have noticed, but the rustling of leaves around his house does not correspond to the way wind is blowing.

He has just enough time to get a whiff of something smelling like water, pine and honey before he is suddenly encased in a cocoon made out of wood, leaves and branches. It happens so fast, he only just gets his claws out, but it's no use; thorny branches appear out of nowhere and bind them behind his back so tightly they draw blood.

It takes less than 20 seconds and he is fully enclosed, only his mouth and nose being left free. He uses all his strength to try and twist free, snapping his teeth, because he will not be made helpless, not again. This prison made out of wood may have surprised him, but it's not going to hold him forever.

“Stop squirming, I only came to talk, furball.” The voice comes from his left and it startles him into stillness. It isn't harmonious, not like something made to enchant, but it makes the hair on Derek’s arms stand up. It's a human's voice, but the sound of birds and rushing water and the distinct echo of the forest are mixed with it, making it sound alien. It's not beautiful, not like a song, but soothing in some strange way, like sitting in a clearing in the middle of the woods on a sunny day.

Get a grip, this isn't the time to think about the merits of some weirdos voice. He renews his struggles, spitting out. “Is that how you start all your conversations?”

“Not usually, but normally my conversation partners are a bit less fangy.” The voice is in front of him now, sending a wave of that same odd smell at him, breaking his concentration once again. “My, my, what big teeth you have.”

“Little Red Riding Hood, really?” Derek doesn't care what part of other worldly power is in front of him; that was just lame.

“Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't aware I had such a discerning audience. You'd rather I started with a Twilight reference?” Derek can hear the wide smile in the comment, what a little shit.

“How about, no references, you just tell me who and especially what you are, seeing as you’ve obviously already worked out what I am. Then you can tell me what you came here to say and then you leave me alone.” He sags in his bonds. He really doesn't have the nerves for this type of crap, he moved into the middle of the forest so he wouldn't get any trouble, wasn't that far away for the world?

“So you are the ‘all work, no play’ type? Works for me, I guess.” Derek imagines the shrug that goes along with it, because whoever this guy is, he seems like the type of person given to emphasize everything with his body even if no one is there to see it.

“My name is Stiles; I'm half human, part wood nymph, part pixie, part some other crap, I'm not giving you my whole pedigree, because the important part is, this town is my territory and you are in it.” All the teasing is gone from his voice and Derek doesn't think he imagines the way his wood prison tightens around him.

“I don't like it, I don't like some strange werewolf just moving into my town and I'm here to find out just exactly what you think you are doing here.”

Silence. Dead silence. And after what Stiles is proud to say was a pretty awesome speech. But the werewolf guy is just quiet, though at least he has put away his rather… impressive teeth, which make Stiles extremely glad that the forest is on his side enough to have let him execute his sneak attack, because he has actually no desire to get all close and personal with them.

This is getting ridiculous, it's been like, at least 5 minutes, isn't he going to say anything?

“Cat got your tongue?” Damn it, he wanted his captive to crack first, but Stiles has never been that good with charged silences.“Or whatever the canine equivalent is.”

The guy just shifts. Testing to see if he can get out?

“And you can just stop with the escape plans,“ because the hell is that overgrown mutt getting away until he tells Stiles everything.

“How about just cooperating with me so we can both just go about our respective ways, because I have all day to keep you in there.” Which is a bit of a lie; his dad is expecting him for dinner, but it's not like the guy knows that.

“From the way your heartbeat picked up just now, I'd say that is a lie,” the guy huffs out and damn it, what they say about werewolf hearing seems to be true, “but I don't actually want any trouble, so fine, what do you need to know so you'll let me out of this.”

He lets out a small sigh of relief, because finally they are getting somewhere,“Let's start with something easy like your name.”

“Derek,” he answers.

“Just Derek?” Stiles asks skeptically.

“You don't need to know more, it doesn't make any difference anyway.” One step forward and two steps back with this guy, but whatever, Derek is right after all; he can't actually do too much with his name, and if he actually plans to live here and not just squat in a cave town gossip is going to take care of finding out that bit of information anyway.

“Fine. What are you doing here, Just Derek?”

“I'm being held captive and interrogated by a supernatural crossbreed,” Derek snipes back.

“Real cute, Lassie,” Stiles chuckles out, and is that the barest hint of a smirk on those actually quite attractive lips now that they aren't obscured by the massive fangs? Concentrate, Stilinski. “I mean, what are you doing here in Beacon Hills, what is your purpose here? Especially alone, shouldn't you be living in a huge werewolf commune?’

And just like that all the humor that’s been softening Derek's face slightly is gone.

“This house belongs to me. I came to live here, which is entirely my right. I'm not out to make any trouble, so you don't have to worry about your territory, but I don't owe you an explanation for my actions.” Derek's voice is a monotone and Stiles isn't sure what he did, but he feels oddly guilty all of a sudden.

He shakes it off, because it doesn't matter what he just said wrong, what matters is making sure his people are safe.

“Maybe you don't owe me one, but I'm still going to demand it. Because I may not know everything there is to know about werewolves,” though that is going to change and fast. It's Friday, he'll have the whole weekend to research, “but I'll be damned if I'm going to let you endanger anyone here.”

And this seems to be the day where he unintentionally steps in it, because he definitely doesn't image the slight wince and the way Derek sags a bit into the trees holding him, radiating misery and defeat.

“I promise you, I'm no danger.” Derek says, “No, that's wrong.", he tries to shake his head, “I am, you are right to be wary. But I'm not here to start a territory war or stake the place out for a pack or hunt humans or whatever else you may have come up with.” Man, the guy is good, because Stiles did think of all of those scenarios and his possible counter strategies on the way up here.

“I just want…” Derek breaks off, seems to gather himself, “I just want to live here in my house.” He sounds so sad and kind of lost that Stiles involuntarily loosens his hold on him.

Which Derek apparently notices instantly, because not only does he renew his struggles, but he actually gets one clawed hand out of the encasement before Stiles can tighten the branches around him again.

“What now, just Let. Me. Out,” Derek growls, actually growls, at him.

“Well, I was just doing that before you decided to go ballistic again, which doesn't really help me believe your claim that you are just here to enjoy the forest air.” Stiles is breathing hard, because damn, that scared him, Derek is fast.

“I told you everything you wanted to know, I can't make you believe me, so what, you are going to keep me in here forever? You can't force me out of this town, I'm stronger than you,” Derek says arrogantly.

Stiles hesitates, because Derek is right, he will have to decide what to do now, if he can take him at his word. Whatever Derek might think about his physical prowess, Stiles can make his stay very uncomfortable. Trees and nature listen to him, most of the time anyway; this is his forest and as long as they’re here, Derek can't touch him.

But if he's honest with himself, he does believe Derek. Something in his voice when he said that he just wants to live here was so raw and hurt, it just didn’t sound like a lie.

“Say I believe you, I'd still need…” Stiles breaks off.

“Need what?” And oh the growl is back, and man, he didn’t think a fully human throat could even produce a sound like that. It's weirdly…sexy?

“A promise,” Stiles says, “I'll need a promise that you won’t hurt anyone in this town, that you accept the fact that this is my territory, meaning any problem around here is my problem and gets reported to me.”

“What does my word mean to you?” Derek sneers, “you don't know me, you can't trust me to actually keep it, even if I give you this promise.”

“That's true,” Stiles concedes, “but I have just about as much reason to trust you as not to trust you and so I'm going with my instincts on this one. If you break your promise, I'll know your word isn't worth anything and I can make you get out of here without a guilty conscience.”

“That's stupid. You are stupid.” Derek snaps.

What!? “What the hell man, that's not the way to get yourself out of this situation, you do realize this,” Stiles says.

Derek visibly grinds his teeth, but can't seem to stop himself. “You can't just trust the word of a stranger on the off chance he'll keep it; that's not how you keep your people safe, in what type of dreamland are you living?”

“Wow, it looks like I found the topic that you can't keep yourself from talking about, I'm a genius.” Stiles is still stunned by the very unexpected reaction, but he can't keep himself from smiling, because this shouldn't be charming, but it kind of is.

“Shut up,” Derek says, and is he sulking?

“Are you sulking?” Stiles talks right over the shouted No.

“You are totally sulking, man,” Stiles crows happily.

Derek clamps his lips together and his nostrils flare slightly.

“Oh, now don't go back to giving me the silent treatment,” Stiles says. “Anyway, your little performance helped me make up my mind.”

“So what, you are going to lock me up, is that it,” Derek says with a resigned air and oh my god he's ridiculous. After all this is over Stiles totally needs to invite him to a coffee or something, because Stiles reckons Derek will probably manage to be world-weary and tragic over coffee and it's going to be hilarious.

“No, you are going to give me that promise, and then I'll let you get back to whatever you were doing before. Which I hope was renovating, by the way, because your house doesn't look structurally sound at all,” Stiles says happily.

“What?” Derek asks incredulously. His voice is really high when he does that. Stiles notices these things, because he is a Noticer of Things. Not because it's cute. Nope. Stiles is just Observant.

“Well, anybody who is actually so bad at tactics that they start playing devil's advocate to the supernatural entity holding him inside a woody prison, just when he was about to be let go… let's just say I don't expect an elaborate trap from you,” Stiles chuckles. “I think if you decided to go against your word, I'd have plenty of warning.”

“I could be playing you,” Derek says. “Maybe this is all a ruse to make you trust me.”

“There you go again!” Stiles cries. “Do you actually want to be stuck here?”

Silence answers him.

“Didn't think so. Now, oh tactical genius,” Stiles says with a small mocking bow, that he makes sure Derek can see by shifting a few of the branches in front of one of his eyes, “do you promise?”

Derek glares at him, and says through gritted teeth, “I promise.”

“Cross your heart and hope to die?” Stiles asks impishly, because man Derek's one visibly eye actually glints, how does he do that.

“Stiles.” It's said with exasperation, but Stiles likes to think he doesn't image the small glint of humor in Derek's eye and voice, which is just as it should be, because Stiles is hilarious.

“Alright, alright.” Stiles says agreeably while he loosens his hold, making the trees vanish back into the earth.

Now to get a good look at my new supernatural buddy, he straightens up and stops short

Damn. It.

Derek doesn't know what he expected Stiles to look like. But it certainly wasn't that.

Through the tiny hole he could squint through at the end, he did notice that Stiles appeared to be green, but he still didn’t think he'd be quite so green. The moles that are scattered all over his face make the color seem even more pronounced.

It fits into the forest surprisingly well, which explains why he was able to hide from Derek so effectively. But it's still inhuman and it throws him. Are those wings poking out of his T-shirt? The pointy ears he was kind of expecting, but wings, fairy wings?

At least he's not the only one staring, because for some reason Stiles has finally fallen silent, mouth open and he's just staring at Derek’s chest. Gives me time to pull myself together, Derek thinks. It would not do to have this interloper see him rattled.

“What?” he asks. He may be thankful Stiles gave him some time to pull himself together for whatever reason, but that doesn't mean Stiles has to know that.

“I – that is I –” Stiles stutters.

“Speechless suddenly, Tinkerbell?” Derek throws back with a satisfied smirk. Whatever threw Stiles, please let it continue. He feels on safer ground already, gaining back the upper hand. Good. He stretches his arms over his head, now that he can move them freely again. “That doesn't seem like you at all. But then I should probably be thankful I got as many coherent sentences out of kid as I did. What are you, twelve?” Because after getting a closer look, Stiles really looks ageless at the same time as painfully young.

Stiles flushes, tearing his eyes away from him, and his wings slowly go see through and vanish, his skin color changing into a more human color.

“Don't even start with the fairy jokes, you ass. I've heard them all and they aren't that funny,” Stiles bites out, “And for your information, I'm 18. Nice and legal.” And for some reason that's the moment he looks up again, though his flush only gets worse, more pronounced by his lighter tint.

Derek snorts, “Maybe that, but you are still stupid. Putting your mystical powers away before you are out of reach?” He looks into Stiles' big, open eyes. “What's to keep me from just tearing out your throat here and now, just so I don't have to deal with you anymore?” he challenges. Because Stiles can say what he wants, he's still young, where it counts.

Stiles swallows, but he makes himself stand straighter and looks at him levelly. “Just try it. You don't know half of what I'm capable of.”

The wind is carrying Stiles' scent over to him and it's nearly human now, just the faintest traces of the strange mix from before, still detectable though that Derek knows what to look for. What it doesn't contain is fear, only a grim determination to protect, to fight and… arousal? Teenage boys, Derek thinks with amusement.

“Whatever.” Derek shakes his head. He's going to stop arguing, it's not his responsibility to prepare this barely grown up for the real world, for the way people and things are always out to hurt you if you don't stop them. “Actually, now that you mention it, how am I to know I'll be left alone in my house, since as you so aptly put it, this is your forest.”

“Psh, don't worry about it. As long as you keep your nose clean I promise I wont pry.” Stiles says distractedly. “I'm not saying I won’t be around, but I won’t come into your house or anything.”

“Trust you?” Derek thinks the skepticism comes through loud and clear, but just for extra emphasis he raises his eyebrows, because what's with this guy, was he raised in a Disney movie?

Or maybe he's just a bit slow, because it takes another few seconds till he answers with slightly glazed over eyes, “I guess you don't have choice, now do you?”

Derek crosses his arms, because that may be true but he doesn't have to like it. And for some reason Stiles still isn't leaving, seemingly content to just stand around and gape some more. Is his mouth always open?

“Is there something else you wanted?” Derek asks impatiently. Normally he would just leave, but he doesn't trust Stiles enough to show him his back, let alone let him out of his sight around his house, “Because otherwise, I still have things to do today.” Hopefully this is enough of a hint.

“Oh,” Stiles exclaims, and the flush is back, “Right, go home, I should probably do that, I'll do that then…” he trails off, seemingly spellbound by something again, but then he physically shakes his head, walking backwards while shouting out, “Just don't forget our promise, Derek No-Last-Name.” And with a wink and an impish grin, he steps behind a tree and vanishes.

How does he do that?! Derek had never personally run into either a nymph or a pixie, let alone a weird mix of both with human. His mother used to tell some stories of them that he's now desperately trying to remember. Because of course he choose the one town where he has to deal with someone like that.

And he does need to know about him, because Stiles was right, damn it, he has no idea what Stiles can do. And this last parting shot has certainly proven that in these woods he'd never see him coming. He hates the feeling that someone could just show up behind him at any time without him noticing.

Which means he’d better get caught up on what Stiles is likely to be able to do and, more importantly, how to keep him out. He just can’t get a read on him. At first he threatened Derek in a way that made him expect someone much older, someone more jaded, someone who knew how the world worked.

But then he went through with that ridiculous promise farce. Derek wasn't going to do anything to the people of Beacon Hills, but Stiles couldn't know that, not for sure. That he still seems content to take his word for it… Derek just doesn't know what to make of it. Because that seems more like the actions of the naive teenager he looks like.

Still, he will need to find out what he can about Stiles' possible capabilities. But for that he'll need to look through the laptop Peter left him, and for that he needs electricity. Which the house doesn't have.

Though the way he's feeling, it's probably not a good idea to call the power provider now. For good reason, Laura was the one who handled all the service-related phone calls, because Derek gets impatient, and when he gets impatient he gets snappy, and when he gets snappy he gets hung up on.

To the hardware store it is. They should have some generators, and he wants to pick up some materials for renovating anyway. How hard can that be, after all.


As it turns out, it is very hard. He's standing in front of rows and rows of tools and materials that all look exactly the same to him, proclaiming to be the best at what they do, whatever that is. At least he found the generator he needed, as well as a camping grill.

The employee of the section looks ready to pounce at any second – probably the way he's been standing in front of the same row of… are those screwdrivers? – tipped her off that he may need help.

He's just reaching for something – it looks like a torture device, what is it – when she seems to lose patience, walking up to him with a wide smile on her face saying: “Hello my name is Allison, can I help you with anything?”

“No,” he answers brusquely, because her name stops him short for a second, It may have been years, but… Kate had a niece called Allison that she sometimes talked about.

“Allison” doesn't seem to be offended though, because her smile never falters when she says, “Are you sure? Because I don't want to be rude, but you have been wandering around for 30 minutes and you seemed a bit lost. We are here to help after all. You should take advantage of it.”

“It's fine.” Derek says, decisively picking up another… whatever it is in front of him. He'll be damned if the first gossip about him in this town is going to be about his utter incompetence at knowing simple home improvement tools.

He knows that gleam in her and the eyes of the other employees that miraculously have found things to work on in his general vicinity while he was trying to find anything that looked familiar. There will be gossip. And now it will probably be about how he's unsocial, but that is a) true and b) it will keep people away from his house. They don't know his name, but Beacon Hills is small enough that they will probably connect the guy moving into the Hale house with him.

“Oh,” Allison says, looking slightly taken aback and finally losing a bit of her wide service-industry smile. He suddenly feels a bit bad, because it's not her fault exactly, and she is being paid to be helpful. He hates feeling guilty about those things, but her slightly downtrodden expression forces him to say:

“If you could tell me where the power drills are, that would help, I guess,” he growls out. Her face lights up with an even wider smile, and with a wave she calls over another employee who walks behind them – what is it with people always wanting to walk behind him – while chattering away about something, her family or pets or possibly her boyfriend.

He's distracted – having someone at his back where he can't see them is making him uneasy –when she asks: “What about you?” and Derek is stumped, trying to remember what the last thing she said was, something about where she lives in Beacon Hills?

“The old house in the woods,” he says, taking the risk of appearing mentally challenged if that has nothing to do with anything, great way to make an impression, but by the look in her eyes it actually was the right answer. He exhales in relief, when he realizes that not only did he give her personal information – forget connecting the dots, he might as well have put an ad into the paper now – he gave her a conversational in, and not answering her question of “Oh wow, that thing is falling apart, what made you move there?” would be extremely rude.

“It's a family heirloom,” he says in a way he hopes will shut down any further questions. There must be something in his face, because she just makes a small noise in the back of her throat, before stopping in front of a corridor.

“Here we are. I really hope you'll like it in Beacon Hills,” she says, “Oh and a tip? I've seen the Hale house a few months ago, you might want to invest in some plywood, a saw and lots of nails.” She seems to be suppressing a smile. Well so much for looking like he knows what he's doing.

He waits for her to leave, glares at the other employee so she leaves him alone, before grabbing a few random things from all over the store, including plywood and a saw, but he'll be damned if he gets blankets here. Thankfully the store delivers the bigger stuff, because he doesn't actually know how to transport the wood otherwise.

But he got what he needs most of all right now, which is a generator. Time to get out the laptop and research. He doesn't know what or how much he'll find or how it will apply to Stiles, but if there is anything he’s learned in the last few years is that it's always, always better to be prepared and that you can never be prepared enough.

Stiles is floating. Well, not literally – he checks just to be sure, because outing himself on the way to Scott's place would be a very bad idea – but he might as well be! The world is a beautiful, amazing place and he needs to share those news with his bestest friend.

He lets himself into the house – during the romantic tragicomedy that was their freshman year, with Scott sometimes refusing to come out of his room for days because Allison wouldn't speak with him, Stiles had made himself a key, just so he could bug Scott into moving at all – and walks up the stairs, too happy and involved in thinking up ideas to even be embarrassed by the fact that he's chirping a bit.

He throws open the door and is greeted with the sight of Scott, surrounded by bandages, antiseptic, a pot of tea, chocolate, a stress ball and a whole bunch of pillows. He thinks he even spies some of Scott's handmade pb&j sandwiches – Stiles go-to comfort and stress relief food since Scott made it for him every day of sixth grade.

Basically, Scott has apparently prepared himself and his room for any type of werewolf-inspired meltdown and Stiles didn't think he could feel better, but he's suddenly bursting with affection for Scott, who just never fails to have his back in the best and most unexpected ways.

He throws himself at Scott bodily, because he's just the greatest friend to have and he'll be cushioned by a lot of pillows anyway. He hugs him tightly and then says: “I'm in love!”

He feels Scott stiffen slightly and stop patting his back in what was surely supposed to be a consoling motion but actually just felt very weird, because his wings have been trying to take corporal form since he left the forest. Scott takes him by his shoulders, shoving him back a bit and says “What?” with this befuddled look on his face that always makes Stiles think of a puppy.

“Well, in lust-like. Like-lust. But I can already feel it morph into something else,” Stiles proclaims, because it's true, he can feel it in his bones.

“How did that happen while seeing a werewolf? How was he? Was he an actual wolf?” Scott asks

“No he wasn't, he was growly, extremely paranoid, witty and the best looking guy I have ever seen in real life and how do you think?” Stiles shoots back. He's twitchy, but he can't help himself, he needs to move, he needs to plan. He tries to get off the floor, but Scott's arm holds him back.

“Wait, so the guy you are in love with is that werewolf?” Scott asks, “You can't have been talking to him that long. How did that happen?” He suddenly gets a horrified look on his face. “Did he magic you? With his mystical moon powers? Do you need to, like, detox?” Scott shakes him with a bit of a maniacal look on his face as if that could get rid of an enchantment.

“Mystical moon powers?” Stiles asks skeptically, untangling himself from Scott. “Have you been watching Sailor Moon again? Why would he have something like that?”

“Because werewolves and the moon, they’re like a thing!” Scott says, “If you aren't being controlled, what is going on?”

“What is going on is that the most fascinating, drop-dead gorgeous supernatural creature has moved into our boring backwater town and you have to help me woo him.” Because if he got anything out of that conversation, than that it wouldn't be easy to get close to Derek, but he just knows he has to try.

“Uh oh,” Scott says, seemingly having an epiphany, “Is that like a Lydia thing?” He gets up suddenly, pushing Stiles aside, and starts rooting through his drawers.

“This is nothing like the Lydia thing. Also there is and never was a ‘Lydia thing;’ I had a crush, it wasn't a thing. Also, what I feel for Derek is totally absolutely different, I am meant to put my hands all over his body, I'm calling dibs by the way, because I'm not confident if you and Allison see him you wont want to invite him for a threesome and – what are you looking for?” Because Scott hasn't stopped tearing through his room.

He finally comes up with some crumpled pieces of paper and a little “ha” of triumph. He looks at Stiles apologetically and says: “This sounds a lot like the Lydia thing – which was totally a thing. And you gave me this for exactly such an occasion.”

It’s a list, written in Stiles’ handwriting, with the certain type of messiness that means he was spectacularly drunk while writing it. Which is also supported by the fact that he doesn't remember writing it at all. He tries to get it away from Scott, but he's moving away from him, frowning down at it in concentration.

“You gave me this after Lydia rejected you –”

“I thought we agreed never to speak of the day, that day shall not be mentioned ever, ever again.” Stiles shudders. He still has the mental scars from that day.

“Yeah, anyway, you gave me this so I would stop you from ever developing an unhealthy and crushing fixation on another person again,” Scott reads off the paper. Past-Stiles had surprisingly good grammar for being as drunk as he must have been.

“Well, this doesn't apply to this situation in any way, so you don't have to stop me, what you have to do is be a good bro and wingman and help me figure out how to bag a guy that is about six years older than me and also hotter than the sun,” Stiles says. He may like a challenge, but this is probably going to be one for the record books.

“It says here: I will probably try to convince you that the situation that has made you pull out this is nothing like what happened with Lydia. For this contingency I have prepared a handy list of question you will ask me to ascertain wether or not my new crush is anything to worry about.” Past-Stiles is a shitty smartass. No wonder he doesn't have more friends.

“We are not doing this! I will not be questioned by a drunk sixteen year old!” Stiles says.

“Well, I'm not helping you until we do this. You were very clear,” Scott says. His jaw has locked down in that particular way he has, when he decides to be stubborn. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is nigh impossible to convince him of something else. Stiles groans and throws himself down on one of the cushions, because he may not have a choice, but that doesn't mean he's going to like it.

“Ask away,” he says, waving a hand magnanimously. He grabs one of the sandwiches though, because those have gotten him through times much worse than this.

“Ok, first question.” Scott says, getting settled into a cushion across from him. His face is gullible and soft again, as if he'd never dream of forcing his best friend to confront the totally legitimate and not at all obsessive feelings he has developed on a werewolf an hour ago. Traitor.


An hour of sometimes painfully embarrassing questions later – he must be a masochist for having written some of these down, he still can't decide which one was worse, how many sex scenarios did you plan out? (seven, it's only been an hour, ok?) or Have you already decided on a retirement location, how many kids you want to have, what method you'd want to use if the new crush is a guy, and what color scheme their bedroom should have (Florida, two or three, probably a surrogate but if Derek would want to adopt he'd also be fine with that, and either blue or green) – they aren't much further than when they started.

Scott is still convinced it's like Lydia all over again, but Stiles knows it isn't. His control questions may make it seem like it, but there is just something about Derek that calls to Stiles in a way similar, but at the same time not at all. Derek is lonely, Stiles can feel that, but whereas Lydia hasn't ever needed someone to help her with her loneliness, something about Derek's eyes says he does.

And it's different than the Lydia-thing for another reason. There had always been the possibility that even if she'd wanted him, she maybe wouldn't have been able to want all of him. Or that she wouldn't have been able to understand. But Derek. Derek is also more and at the same time less than human. Just like Stiles. This is the first time since his mom died that someone else who isn't normal has lived in Beacon Hills, and it makes the forest sing.

He can still hear it, can still feel it; half of his restlessness comes from the fact that the plants, the very earth is chattering, excited, thrilled, sweeping its mood outwards from that lonely house in the forest, and it makes Stiles want to laugh, to dance.

Scott has stopped talking and is looking at him oddly. “Dude, do you realize you are making a kind of chirping, cawing sound? Also, your smile is starting to creep me out.” Stiles tries to tamp it down, but just then he gets another wave of that same feral energy from the direction of the Hale house and he can't.

Scott gets this resigned look on his face, slumping deeper into his cushion.

“You really wanna do this?” he asks

“I do.” he does. He does. Maybe past-him is right and he's fallen into the same trap that had made him moon over Lydia from third grade onwards. It had been the first math class of the year and she'd made the teacher leave the classroom in tears and Stiles had been entranced. He couldn't stop looking at her, at the way she moved, the way she talked, the way she seemed confident, but also desperately, achingly alone.

He went home that day and told his mom all about her, about the house they'd have together, what their children would be named. She smiled at him and asked all the right questions at the right times. And when his dad looked slightly concerned when he blithely told them that he'd met Lydia for the first time today and no they hadn't talked (yet, his eight-year-old self had loudly proclaimed), she told him it was fine: “We feel things differently. We just know who'd fit us.”

Though she did take him aside later and had a talk with him. He remembered four things that had been a mantra for him, probably the reason he was finally able to let Lydia go: 1) You may know, but to the other person you are a stranger, so don't let their initial indifference hurt you. 2) Never under any circumstances make someone like you 3) Try with everything you have and don't give up. 4) But if they decide against being with you, you have to accept it.

She explained that it wasn't a destined or sure thing. It was like full humans, meeting someone they click with and then things not working out. The difference was that he could look at someone, meet someone and instantly know that there was a potential for forever.

He enjoyed speaking with Derek, who clearly hid a dry wit under all those ripped muscles. But when he finally looked him in the eyes he knew, knew as he knew every tree surrounding his house that here he’s met someone who he could potentially have that forever with.

“Maybe it's like with Lydia, but don't you see Scott? He's not Lydia,” Stiles says. He can't think of another way to say it, to make Scott understand.

Though something in his face or in his eyes must be enough, because Scott sighs and says: “You probably already have a plan, so what is it you need me to do?” Stiles shoots up and grins. Best. Friend. Ever.



The laptop proves to be surprisingly unhelpful. Derek has spend two hours looking up anything he can on nymphs, pixies, human-supernatural creature hybrids. It's not that there isn’t enough information; there is, but most of it doesn't make sense with what he has seen of Stiles and a lot of it is conflicting. Some sources seem to be convinced that nymph and pixie powers should not even be able to coexist in the same body.

The only thing most sources seem to agree on is that those beings are especially talented in enchantment, manipulation, tricking the senses, are mischievous by nature, enjoy playing pranks and that a wood nymph in its center of power is frightfully strong.

What that tells him is that he’s managed to basically piss off a master manipulator and prankster while living where he is nigh impossible to beat. He sighs and imagines Laura laughing at him. She'd find the whole situation hilarious, telling him that see that's why you try to be polite to people when you first meet them.

Though he doesn't know how he could have. Stiles attacked without warning, after all. While he understands the caution, how was he expected to react instead of defensive? Stiles entrapped him, confused him, and now that Derek has caught his scent it won’t leave him alone; it seems to be everywhere in this little town.

He didn’t notice it driving to the hardware store that much; he was still too shaken, and inside the smell of paint overpowered everything. But after that, he just couldn't get away from it. In the grocery store, walking through the park nearest it, the court house, it was everywhere, the subtlest note of spring water where there shouldn't be any, a honey sweetness carried by the wind in the middle of a busy street.

It's driving him to distraction, and with the additional information he has learned he can't even know for certain it's not supposed to do that. The only good thing is that lining his entrances and windows with iron should keep Stiles out, or at least make it very difficult for him to get in without Derek noticing.

Which means he needs to go into the hardware store again, probably looking like a total weirdo for buying iron dust (if that even exists). So he should probably get started on those renovations, just so he doesn't have to go again if he finds out he needs more nails or a different saw or something.

Why are there so many different types of saws anyway. He steps out of the door, deep in thought when he suddenly stops short. He tries to move closer to the circle of colorful trees lining his house. But he can't, and a growl starts in his chest, because he recognizes the feel of mountain ash, if not that variety. There is only one person who could have accomplished this in the short period of time Derek was inside the house.

His suspicions are proven correct by the piece of paper taped to one of the trees. He gets as close as he is able and can just make out a drawing of what he guesses is Stiles next to a speech bubble that says “Call me” and a phone number underneath. He stomps back into the house, and he's almost certain now that the reason Stiles scent is fucking everywhere in the town and especially the forest is so Derek won’t be able to notice Stiles coming at him.

He grabs his phone, storming outside, types in the number, vowing to get a whole truck of iron first thing when the person on the other side picks up with an excited sounding “Hello?

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Stiles? I thought we had an agreement.” Derek is surprised by how mad he is, but he had thought… with all of Stiles' talk of trust that he wouldn't move against him. Which makes Derek even angrier, because he thought he knew better by now.

“Hi Derek, did you get my - wait what?” Stiles sounds confused and out of his depth and that just takes the cake. “What does anything have to do with our agreement?”

“Don't play dumb, you can't tell me to trust you and then trap me in my own house a few hours later,” he shoots back.

“Trap you? I didn't trap you, those trees are spaced far enough for anyone to walk through,” Stiles says. And oh, Derek is not buying this.

“Mountain ash, you can't tell me you don't know what that does,” he grinds his teeth, hates having to ask, but, “Get rid of it, it's not funny, no matter what you think, Mr. Trickster.”

“Mountain Ash? What about Mountain ash?"  Stiles says back, sounding bewildered.


"I'm a Werewolf, I can't get through them, now Get. Here!" Derek is grinding his teeth, he can't believe that Stiles made him actually admit a weakness to him that he now can exploit, on the off-chance that the trees really weren't deliberately planted.


Silence on the other end of the line makes Derek let out a wordless growl, which finally prompts Stiles into rapidly saying, "I, of course, ehm, I'll have to drive over so it could be half an hour, I'm sorry. It wasn't – I'll be right over, De –” Derek hangs up, stomping back into the house. There must be some iron still around, no way is he going into that confrontation without some kind of defense at his disposal.

He gets up when he hears a car and just as he's suspected, if he didn't know Stiles was here, he would not notice the slight rise in intensity of his scent. Which is proving to be more than inconvenient as shown by the trees trapping him currently in his own house.

He sees the trees vanishing into the earth when he gets out and looks around until he spots Stiles, who is already losing his green color and returning to a more natural skin tone.

“How do you do that?” Derek demands, because the books had been uniformly unhelpful and judging by the guilty look on Stiles' face he has leverage for asking questions and actually getting some answers.

“What?” Stiles asks

“How do you look normal?” he qualifies.

“Oh that,” Stiles runs a hand over his head, “Well remember how I said I'm half-human? It means I'm less powerful, but on the other hand I can blend in better. This” he gestures at his body, “is my natural form just like my nymph look is. Like, I guess just like when you go all wolfman.” He's smiling a bit nervously, as if he doesn't know what mood Derek is in and it makes him unsure. Which is good. It doesn't make Derek want to say something so he'll snark at him again. It doesn't.

“Mhm.” he crosses his arms and tries another question, while Stiles seems eager to answer. “What did you think you could accomplish by trapping me here.”

“I wasn't trying to trap you! Honestly! I had no idea rowan would have that effect on you,” Stiles says, and he's reeking of distress. Which is weird. Because even if that's true, what does he care what Derek thinks of him?

“Well, what were you trying to do then?” Derek asks.

“I, I was just,” Stiles looks like he's trying to find an appropriate escape route, “trying to add some color! Because, clearly you need some,” he finally blurts out. Huh.

“You are lying.” he says with a bit of wonder in his voice, because Stiles is. It's comforting to know that at least he can still smell that, but it begs the question of why.

“I am not!” Stiles cries, flailing his arms “I would never, is this the face of someone who would lie about something like that?” he asks, making his eyes go bigger and jutting out his lower lip.

“You are.” he snorts, because Stiles is ridiculous, “Tell me why you did that or I'm going to assume you really were trying to trap me again.” He's not really, because now that he knows he can smell Stiles lying to him, he also knows that he wasn't before. But he's curious, and additionally it's fun messing with Stiles who is now practically squirming.

“I – I was just,” he looks down and Derek can see his neck turning red, “I thought they looked nice and you would like them,” he finally mumbles at the ground. He looks uncomfortable, but he also smells sincere, and for some reason that makes Derek feel strange, like he should apologize or like blushing himself.

I have nothing to apologize for. But Stiles just looks so forlorn, standing there, practically wringing his hands, looking up through his lashes at him, and it prompts him to say “Ok. I – ok,” and now Stiles is starting to look hopeful “They were pretty, I guess,” falls out of his mouth and he's distracted from being horrified at himself by the way Stiles is suddenly smiling at him like the sun.

“Really? You liked them?” he asks eagerly, his eyes shining, excitement making him stand up straighter and Derek just wants to touch that smile to see if it burns.

He shakes his head, telling himself to get a grip, because what the hell. But instead of replying with something cutting like he should have, he says sardonically, “Well, my enjoyment of them was sadly limited, seeing as I couldn't actually move closer or even around them.”

Stiles laughs at that, delighted, throwing his head back and showing off his long jawline. “Got'cha, next time I wont pick the trees that magically imprison you, promise.” He smiles with all his teeth, confidently moving closer to Derek and he needs Stiles to leave right now, because he doesn't know what he's going to do next, he doesn't.

So he takes a step back, closer to his entrance and says: “Well, I guess. I have things to do now, so if that was all,” ignoring the way Stiles' smile falls a bit, refusing to feel guilty at the way his shoulders slump slightly.

“Oh, yeah of course. I'll let you get back to your renovating.” he says. “If you need any help or anything, or like a guide through the wonders that are Beacon Hills, you have my phone number.” He sounds imploring, and almost against his will Derek replies, “Yeah, I do.”

At least he waits until he can't hear tires anymore to beat his head against the door frame, because what the hell is wrong with him?

Stiles is in a relatively good mood when he drives to school the next day. His first idea may have been not as much of a hit as he'd hoped for, but it wasn't a total failure. First of all, he has Derek's phone number now and second Derek had actually seemed amused in the middle. His Epic Seduction Plan That Will Lead To Marriage is going pretty well, in his opinion.

He's trying to think of ways to make Derek smile, really smile, because he'll look amazing, Stiles can already tell. He distracts himself from that train of thought replaying the way Derek's arms looked like in the tank top he was wearing yesterday and also his ass – he may have already done that last night and this morning in the shower, but that body deserves fantasizing about 24/7 – when Scott and Allison sit down at his lunch table.

Normally he wouldn't be torn out of his thoughts by that – ignoring Scott and Allison's daily performance for the international cutest couple award has been a specialty of his since junior year, when those two didn't share any classes and as a result could only really speak with each other at lunch – but he tunes in when he hears Allison say: “It was the new guy, who moved into that house in the woods.”

“Hold up, what about Derek?” Stiles asks

“Derek?” Allison and Scott say in unison, though with very different inflections. For some reason Scott has decided to preemptively hate Derek, because apparently someone needed to be wary of him, if Stiles wasn't.

“The guy who moved into the Hale house. Six feet, dark hair, green-grey-hazel eyes, underwear model hot, ringing any bells?” He's excited now; the information he was able to dig up on Derek was severely lacking. He needs to procure more, how is he supposed to tailor the perfect attack strategy without knowing everything after all. He'd seen how that had turned out with the rowan.

“Oh, I didn't know his name was Derek. Hale, you say?” She's frowning a bit, looking uncomfortable.

“What is it? Come on, Allison you have to tell me, my future happiness depends on it!” he says.

“Well, I was just telling Scott how we had this guy at the store. He seemed to want to get stuff to renovate his house with, but he bought pool equipment and other stuff he shouldn't need for that.” She shakes her head fondly, “The others think he's an artist or planning to totally rebuild, but from what I saw? I think he just has absolutely no idea what he is doing.”

“What else?” Stiles asks excitedly. Because this is good, this is very good – he's putting research home improvement and do-it-yourself type home renovation books on his mental list, but he knows there is more.

“Nothing else.” she says, but she's nervous. When they met, she seemed much more inscrutable, but nowadays Stiles can read her like a book. The only explanation he can come up with is that Scott's inability to lie is somehow contagious. Or that all the cuteness has rotted her brain.

“Come on, Allison. I saw you frown when you heard the name ‘Hale,’ that was totally an I-know-more-about-this-frown,” he says. He knows he is needling, but this whole endeavor is already going miles better than eight years of trying to impress Lydia. Derek joked with him yesterday, and he doesn't seem the type to do that with anyone. Stiles is getting somewhere, he can feel it, but to succeed he needs to be better prepared.

“It's just that, I overheard my parents talking about that name once. When they were talking about –” Now she's looking really uncomfortable, “my aunt.” That shuts Stiles up. Jesus Christ. Allison had told them about her aunt half a year ago. Or it would be more accurate saying that she broke down crying New Years eve, too much alcohol making the rather innocent question of why their family moved to Beacon Hills bring back bad memories.

Her parents shielded her from most of it, but apparently her favorite aunt Kate turned crazy and decided to burn a whole family alive. It didn't come out until years later, when she kidnapped one of the last survivors. The woman escaped, but was mortally wounded. But because of it, everything Kate had done came to light and she got arrested and convincted of arson and multiple counts of murder.

Allison's parents wanted her out of the crossfire, which is why they moved to Beacon Hills. Allison was so scared they wouldn't want to be friends with her if they knew. She told them that she just didn't understand how someone who comforted her through her first unrequited crush could sit at her own trial and say things like “Those monsters deserved it. I was doing the world a favor.”

Stiles suppresses a shiver. What if the family Kate killed was Derek's, and the reason she did it was because she knew about him being a werewolf. It would also explain why he moved here alone. Everything Stiles had read about wolves told him that they always lived in packs, that they were social animals with an ingrained need to group together.

Derek's refusal to get involved with anyone in town – Stiles had his ears to the ground and the deputies made the best source for gossip – and his easy acceptance of Stiles' condition that nobody would get turned and that no other werwolves would be allowed had made no sense, but now? If it's true that Derek's whole family got killed by a psychotic murderer? Stiles can understand why he would rather be alone.

It's not right, though. Forget his plan for a second, even if that didn't work out, Derek still needed to meet more people. A family wasn't only blood after all, so a pack shouldn't only be about werewolves, but about togetherness. About belonging. Derek is part of Beacon Hills now; he’s made a fresh start, he can belong here. And if he won’t try, then Stiles will make him.

Adding Force Derek out of the woods to his mental list, he nods decisively. He turns back to Allison, who is looking at him uncertainly. He smiles and says, “I'm sure it's fine, don't worry. What you must be wondering is why I even care about Derek ‘I-make-stubble-look-classy’ Hale.” He waits for her amused nod, ignores Scott's quiet groan and starts gleefully: “You see, with him I have met the love of my life, a romance for the ages –”


Stiles gets home, his mind coming up and discarding new wooing ideas – Allison had some great suggestions and he'd even gotten Danny annoyed enough to give him some tips on the good type of lube – when he nearly walks right into his dad, swerves out of the way and brains himself on the door frame instead.

“Whoa, Dad, I thought you are still at work,” he says, rubbing his head, because ow.

“I took a later shift.” And that doesn't sound ominous at all. Stiles tries to move past him to the stairs, mumbling something about having a lot of homework, when his dad says the dreaded words.

“Son, we need to talk.” Shit. Stiles is trying to frantically remember what he may have done so he can come up with an excuse for it while following his dad into the kitchen. Where he has made tea. His dad hates tea; he only makes it when he plans to have a difficult conversation with Stiles, because Stiles loves tea and has been trying to make his dad switch from coffee for years now.

They sit down and Stiles is not going to start, he's not. Normally his dad's tactic is waiting until Stiles gets nervous enough to confess, but now he really has no idea what he has done to warrant tea. So he picks up his cup, takes a sip, plays a bit with his sweater, taps his foot, anything to distract him from the way his dad is looking exasperated and worried at the same time.

Finally his dad sighs and says: “I see you’ve found a new Lydia.” making Stiles sputter into his cup, because what?

“Don't think I'm stupid and haven't noticed, Stiles. The way our garden seems to have decided to bloom out of season would have tipped me off, even if you hadn't been manifesting your wings more than usual and warbling in the way that means you are preening.” his dad says.

Damn him for not only seeing Stiles at his Lydia-induced worst, but actually marrying a nymph. Of course he knows all the signs. Stiles slumps lower in his chair and asks: “Why do we have the need for this conversation, if you've already figured everything out, oh wise one.”

“Don't you snark at me.” he says, “Isn't it obvious?”

Stiles looks at him, uncomprehending. “You wanted to embarrass me?” he tries.

“No. What I want is to meet whoever it is.” he says.

Stiles shoots up: “No way! You can't. It isn't – we aren't – I just met him, I can't bring him to meet the parents.”

“Fair enough. A name then,” his dad says with a raised eyebrow and shit, that was his angle all along. Pixies being the master of manipulation, as if! But he can't tell him, he can't.

“Ah, but dear father, what is in a name –” Stiles starts.

He cuts him off. “It's Derek Hale, isn't it?”

For the second time in this conversation, Stiles is speechless, how does he know that? “How do you know that!” he says, pointing a finger and the wry smile on his dad's face tells him, if he didn't before he certainly does now.

“Well, your behavior started pretty much the day he moved here.” He holds up a hand, “And before you ask, I knew he would move here, because he needs to register with the office, remember?” Stiles deflates and buries his head in his arms. “Also, you told me you just met him and I think you've met anyone already living here at least once and I can't think of anyone else you would think you'd need to hide from me.”

In moments like these he realizes what a good sheriff his dad is. Only too bad he can't appreciate it, because it's used against him. He raises his head again, trying to ascertain what mood he's in.

“Are you mad?” he finally asks.

“I'm not mad, kid. I'm just concerned. Derek is…” His dad sighs. “Derek has had a hard life. I just hope you know what you’re getting yourself into.”

Stiles waits for something more, but when his dad just calmly sips his tea – making a face, seriously, he's like a kid with his vegetables – he says: “That's it? No threats, no dire warnings to stay away from the bad boy with the leather jackets, no mention of the age difference?”

“Don't remind me,” his dad mutters, but then he looks straight at Stiles and continues: “You are an adult, it's not like I could forbid you from going after him. But more importantly,” he reaches out and ruffles Stiles' head, “I know better than to stand between you and someone you want. You are your mother's son, after all.”

He sounds so wistful and proud at the same time and Stiles is just so glad that they are finally starting to talk about her again and that his dad understands without Stiles having to explain why he needs to do this, that there is an itch under his skin urging him on, that the forest is whispering to him, every minute he isn't formulating plans, every time he tries to think of something other than Derek.

He gets up and hugs his dad, saying thank you into his shoulder, leaves making his voice sound uneven and his dad just holds him tighter and says “Just be careful, son.”

Derek is at the end of his rope. It's been two months since he moved to Beacon Hills and he's about ready to give up. Or move to Canada. Though he's not entirely certain that would help at all.

It's been a siege, nearly every day. Every time he turns around, Stiles is there. While the iron actually worked he had gotten rid of it the first time Stiles accidentally touched it and suffered foul smelling burns.

At first he at least had excuses for coming over – though not very good ones – but about two weeks into their acquaintance when Derek asked him what he was doing there he replied with “Hanging out with you.”

Derek tried to disabuse him of the notion that that was in any way ok, but then Stiles told him that Scott was busy with his girlfriend and he just wanted to be around a friend. Derek was ready to tell him off, but then Stiles looked at him with this vulnerable light in his eyes, saying “We are friends, aren't we?” his voice trembling a bit and almost against his will Derek said “Of course we are.”

That was a mistake. It was such a big mistake that it’s made his top ten list of terrible life decisions. Because that was apparently all the permission Stiles needed to be around constantly. Talking about his day, asking Derek questions, telling him about the latest book he read, being beautiful and funny and distracting and fascinating. It was torture.

Even when he isn’t physically around, he doesn’t let Derek forget about him. Flowers decorating his doors. Wildlife parading on his front lawn. Fucking birds serenading him.

And he still doesn't get why he does it. Derek likes to think he is honest about himself and he really isn't the most desirable of companies. Stiles' friends even agree with that assessment. He likes to drag them over, but it doesn't really work out that well in Derek's opinion. Scott looks at him with either thinly-veiled suspicion, honest bewilderment or passive-aggressive posturing. Allison is just uncomfortable around him, he can tell by her scent, even if her wide smile never betrays her.

Danny seems to only tolerate Stiles on good days and as far as Derek can tell only comes over when he's working on the house. He should like Lydia the most – she's sharp tongued, clever and not as naive as the rest the idiot brigade, but something about her sets his teeth on edge.

And he isn't even that great to Stiles. For example, he cut down the tree that appeared in front of his bedroom window overnight to use for fire wood; if Stiles insists on playing pranks on him, he can at least use it effectively after all.

Stiles was shocked still, before starting on a screaming rant: “You bastard, you utter bastard. You really don't appreciate anything anyone does for you. If you don't want someone to do something nice for you, maybe next time tell me that when you’re complaining about the light coming into your bedroom window, what you actually mean is this is a suffering that I am happy to bear.” Before he ran off, he said “Also, even if you don't want something, it doesn't mean you have to destroy it,” his voice crackling like burning wood and the familiar, clear watery scent suddenly turning salty.

Derek didn't know what to do, so he did nothing. After two days of Stiles not coming around, he was so antsy that he went to the police station with a bag of sandwiches awkwardly asking if the sheriff could give it to Stiles. He got a hard stare that he only just managed to endure without squirming.

It was the only thing he could think of, but it seemed to work because Stiles showed up the same evening, exuding wonder and happiness, laughing delightedly and saying: “You made me pb&j sandwiches.” Derek could only shrug. Stiles had certainly told him enough about the therapeutic value of them, and he was out of any other ideas.

Stiles made them share, saying that Derek could use any and all amounts of happiness he could find. He'd just eaten them and pretended that the way he felt like he could unwind for the first time in days had to do with the sandwich he was eating and nothing with the person sitting next to him on the couch.

And it continued in that way, Derek not sure enough to really embrace Stiles' presence in his life, but too weak to make him leave. Sometimes he comforts himself with the thought that he wouldn't even know how to make Stiles leave, but it's not true. He could stop listening, he could stop engaging him in conversations, he could stop pulling on a tank top when he hears him pull up or stop working shirtless. But he can't deny it anymore: he just doesn't want Stiles to vanish from his life.

Stiles pulls up and from the sound of it he's alone, which is good for several reasons. He had another fight with Stiles about the full moon just last week, and Scott is still giving him the stink eye over it. He just cannot deal with that today. And maybe, if it's just the two of them, Derek can finally ask the question that had been burning on his tongue for nearly two weeks.

“Hey-ho, Derek!” Stiles calls out, walking in with his hands full of...books?

“What is that?” Derek asks.

“Well, I have decided that I can't watch the misery that is you renovating on your own any longer.” He sets the tower of books down on the floor. “I have tried to be nice, Derek, gentle, but it's been two months and the house isn't much more livable than it was before.”

Derek makes a disagreeing sound, but before he can make an objection, Stiles is already wagging a finger at him with a sparkle in his eyes. “Yes, I know, you have electricity now and even the warm water works, but don't pretend that would be the case if I hadn't forced you to take care of that.”

Which...may be true; he just doesn't get what those people on the service hotlines want from him.

“I was being magnanimous, but I guess Allison's first impression was right: you are totally incompetent when it comes to home repair.” and that stings, because ok it's not really his metier, but he's been getting better, “So I brought us books, with helpful illustrations, because let's face it you need all the help you can get for this place.”

“I don't need help,” he hears himself saying.

“Sure you do,” Stiles shoots back, but he must have heard the tone of aggression in his voice, because he's narrowing his eyes. His skin starts taking on a distinct green hue and Derek can see the outline of his wings appearing and reappearing.

“I'm managing fine on my own. I don't need books to tell me how to put a nail into the wall. Just because you couldn't manage to do that, doesn't mean we’re all incapable.” Derek feels his mouth forming into a sneer, “Stop projecting.”

Stiles' eyes flash and it's accompanied by the sound of a shirt ripping. Sometimes Derek thinks he makes Stiles mad, antagonizes him, just so he can see him in his other form. He normally has impeccably control over it, so Derek is used to seeing only glimpses when he asks Stiles to let something grow, or convince a tree to look into another direction. He treasures those glimpses, but there is something about being able to really look at Stiles in his full glory that makes having to go through those fights nearly worth it.

I'm projecting?! Me? Well, look whose talking,” Stiles spits back, wings quivering behind him, and Derek is nearly distracted from what he's saying by the uncontrollable surge of wanting to find out if they feel as soft as they look, “Just because you have emotional issues the size of Mount Everest doesn't mean you have the right to take them out on me! I'm so sick of this,” he says, throwing his hands up and shoving past Derek.

He stops halfway to his Jeep, breathing fast, form shifting back into human. “I just, I don't even know why I bother half the time, it's not like you actually want me here.” He straightens his shoulders and turns around.

“I wish you would tell me that though,” he says, and the mixture of desperation and determination that suddenly combines with his scent is making Derek stop in his tracks. “I wish you would tell me anything.” He runs his fingers over his longer hair, looking at Derek expectantly, but… he can't. Even though here is the perfect opportunity, one way or the other, to deal with this… he can't.

So he just stands there impotently as Stiles sighs, turns around and leaves. God job Derek.


He's sitting in his living room later that evening reading through Create the space you deserve: An artistic journey to expressing yourself through your home when he hears the Jeep pull up. He waits, indecisive, because if something is wrong he should go outside, but Stiles heartbeat doesn't sound distressed. If he's still angry it's always better to wait for him, because a) at least that way their fight is inside and they won’t get drenched (Stiles got a cold from that the last time, which made Derek feel guilty enough that he cooked him the Hale Chicken Soup) and b) Stiles once told him that he enjoys the Storming Walk of the Wronged.

So he waits, and sure enough Stiles storms into the room, color high on his cheeks. He's just about to speak, when he catches sight of what Derek is holding. All the air goes out of him and he throws himself next to Derek on the sofa.

“Why do you have to make everything harder?” he moans. “If you know I'm right and if you were gonna read them anyway, why start a fight with me?”

Derek doesn't really have an answer for that. He just acts out of instinct around Stiles most of the time, all his feelings never as uncontrollable as when around him. Even he doesn't know what he's about to do or say next. That is also the reason he starts fights with Stiles sometimes; anger and hurt, he understands. And it's so often easier to deal with that than with anything else—than with how he feels like a open nerve around Stiles, raw and vulnerable.

But he can't tell Stiles that, so he just shrugs. But apparently that isn't enough for Stiles today: “Oh no, you are not getting away with that today. I have the whole night. You and I are going to sit here and you are going to tell me what your deal is.”

“What about your dad?” Derek asks, because no. No.

Stiles waves that away, “I told him I'd stay at Scott's and Scott knows well enough to cover for me, stop deflecting.” He turns in his seat, curling his feet under him and looking at Derek expectantly, “I don't want to bring out the psychology lingo that I learned in my teenage years, but I will if you make me.”

He looks serious and Derek knows this is it, but he can't. Stiles doesn't understand, this is important. He has let Stiles become important, become integral and he can't risk loosing that. He told Stiles two weeks ago that he thinks of Beacon Hills as home now. Stiles gave him one of his helpless smiles, the ones he can't keep in, and taken him for ice cream with the “gang” to celebrate.

It was fun, unexpectedly; he felt included in a way he hadn't felt since his family died. But he wasn’t being entirely truthful. Because Beacon Hills wasn’t home. Stiles was. He was woven through it in the most basic way, his scent permeating every corner of the sleepy community.

Stiles is the one who made him live again, who forced him to go and meet people, who signed him up with a book club and a jazz band, who didn't let him become the hermit he wanted to be, but made his life better in every way.

And he knows that Stiles finds him attractive, the bursts of arousal coming through clear, but that's not enough, that's not what he wants. What he wants is scary and huge and hard to comprehend. (Forever). But he'd rather keep what he has now and never get more than have nothing of Stiles at all.

He's astonished Stiles has managed to stay still as long as he has, because normally he can count on him to crack first when he doesn't know how to start a conversation. But it looks like he has learned some techniques – probably from his father, the sheriff has nerves of steel – and he just looks back at Derek evenly.

Derek sighs, opens his mouth and surprises himself with the question that comes out: “Why do you always look like that?” Now that it's out, he finds he really wants to know, but by the sour expression on Stiles' face, he didn't understand.

“I'm sorry if my face is too handsome for this living room, Cujo –” Stiles starts to say, but Derek interrupts: “That's not –” He takes a deep breath. “That's not what I meant. I meant, why aren't you ever all green and stuff when you are here? You know I don't mind and nobody is going to see you and I'd hear anyone approaching early enough for you to change back. So why don't you?”

Stiles looks stunned for a second, until his face kind of folds in on itself. He's curling on himself a bit, smiling unconvincingly. “Don't lie, you don't want to see me flitting about looking strange all the time. Also, we’re talking about you now, seriously, stop trying to derail this conversation.”

“I don't think it looks strange at all.” Derek says, ignoring the second part of the statement. “I think it looks beautiful.” It really does. The way the light shines through his wings, the way the green is so perfectly fitting, making him part and not part of the forest around him, the way his eyes shine gold, the way he moves more gracefully, almost like he's dancing.

Stiles looks shocked, his face suddenly open in a way that makes him seem younger. His eyes are searching Derek's face and then he slumps further down and says into the hands he puts on his face. “That! That is exactly what I wanted to talk about with you. You can't just say things like that. What does that mean?”

His scent is a mixture of resignation, arousal, humor and some sweeter, lighter emotion. When he looks up again, Derek can't tear his gaze away from the way those feelings are perfectly mirrored on his face. And there is something else in his eyes, something that is always there when he looks at Derek and not at anybody else, fondness and exasperation and –

Derek isn't aware of either of them moving, when suddenly they’re kissing.

Stiles isn't really sure how they got here, but he doesn't really care, because making out with Derek is awesome. He doesn't know how long they've been at it, but it's clearly not long enough, he wants to do this forever, which is why he lets out a mournful note when Derek moves back a bit.

They've somehow gotten themselves vertical lying side by side. Stiles has one hand in Derek's hair while the other is finally getting to explore Derek's body, which he doesn't stop doing, because why would he ever want to stop touching Derek? It makes no sense to him and his hand seems to agree.

They are trying to get their breath back, when Derek's hand on his hip twitches and he starts moving away. No. Fucking. Way. Stiles tightens his grip in Derek's hair and moves his other one to his back, pulling them flush together.

“No,” he says still panting a bit, “No, you don't get to kiss me like that and then try to run away.”

“I wasn't – I –” Derek seems to lose his train of thought for a bit fixating on his bottom lip and oh that is validating. He visibly pulls himself together and says: “I just thought we should maybe talk about this first.”

Derek wanting to talk, that's a first, “Then talk.” He tightens his hold again. “I don't see why we can't talk like this. Because I don't know about you, but I've been wanting to touch you since I first peeled you out of that tree prison and I'm going to take full advantage of every minute of it.”

He can see Derek's face going blank, his body becoming stiff and unyielding. “Oh no, you don't. I will not let you fall into that little angst spiral you are so fond of, so let me be clear.” He takes a deep breath, because this is it, this is the confession he had been dreading. But he's just so tired of waiting and now that he had a taste, he just doesn't think he could bear not being able to touch Derek again.

“I like you. I may even love you. I want to be with you and your smoking hot body doesn't hurt things, but it's not the reason.” He closes his eyes, because this is the moment where it still could go terribly wrong, because maybe Derek just wanted a hook-up, maybe he doesn't want all these feelings, especially not from him...

But the body in his arms relaxes slightly. He opens an eye and is greeted by Derek looking stunned and open, trying to form words, finally whispering: “What is the reason, then,” and he needs to kiss him again, so he does, feather light at first, a kiss to his mouth, another on his cheek, his eyelids, anywhere he can reach, coming back to his mouth again after Derek lets out a pitiful whine that he swallows up.

When they come up for air, Derek looks more settled, so Stiles feels comfortable saying, “Oh no, mister; I will not stroke your ego in that way, certainly not before you ‘fess up. What are your intentions towards me then, Young Master Hale?” and he's trying for levity, but he thinks Derek hears the nervousness in his voice or maybe he smells it, because his face softens slightly.

He lifts his hand from Stiles' hip, stroking the side of his face. “I think your nymph form is beautiful. Will you show me?” He said it before, and it doesn't actually answer the question, but Stiles is choking up a bit anyway, because somehow Derek found the perfect thing to say. He swallows, because Derek was right, this is hard for him; hiding the way he looks has been second nature to him since he was born, and he's always had the nagging fear that no one would want him if they knew just how unnatural he really is.

But it's different with Derek, Derek is different, so he moves on top of him, takes off his shirt and lets go of his control. The reaction is instantaneous, Derek sucks in a breath, his pupils dilate and Stiles can actually feel him getting harder under him.

He laughs, delighted, and teases, “My, my, maybe I should worry about you only wanting me to satisfy your nymph fetish.” But Derek looks up at him seriously, carefully touching his skin and says, “It's not about that, it's… I'm the only one who gets to see you like this.” Which makes the laughter stick in his throat by the wave of heat suddenly coursing through his body.

“Off, your shirt it needs to be off. Now.” he says reaching for the hem of it. Derek raises himself up, stripping off the offending shirt and getting Stiles more comfortably seated on his lap. Stiles is distracted again, because he can't believe those abdominal muscles are even real.

He dives for Derek's mouth again – sweet, two hands to explore – and he's really liking the way this is going down. Derek's hands are sliding over his body, but before he can warn him, he's touching his wings carefully. Stiles tears his mouth away, gasping. Derek seems to be fascinated by this reaction, asking “Sensitive?” with a smirk while Stiles can't do anything but hang over him, limp with pleasure, while Derek doesn't stop exploring, doesn't stop touching.

His release hits him out of nowhere, when Derek decides to up his game and actually digs his fingers into the base of his wings. He has to physically take Derek's hands away from his wings – well, ok, he flails until Derek gets the idea, he does not have the coordination for anything more complicated right now – because they’re too sensitive.

He catches his breath while Derek absently touches him. “Are you playing connect the dots with my moles?” he asks. The hands on him stop and Derek says “No,” like he's never even thought of doing anything as childish as that, but Stiles is onto him. “S'fine I still do that, when I'm bored” he says, snuggling into Derek's neck.

The hands stay still for a bit longer, until they cautiously start to move again.

Stiles chuckles, because seriously, under all that scary werewolf exterior, Derek is just adorable. He tries moving his arms again, and score, his coordination seems to be back. He turns them slightly and then shoves Derek on his back.

“Wha –” Derek huffs out.

“Don't think I haven't noticed that you are still quite hard, so let me take care of that,” Stiles says, shuffling down when Derek's hand stops him. “Except if you don't want me to, which is also totally fine, I mean –” and he's getting flustered again. Derek obviously can say no if he wants to, but it would really, really suck.

“No, just. You don't have to.” Derek says, looking anywhere but at Stiles, “I know this is your first time, and I don't want you to feel –”

Stiles cuts him off with a short barked laugh,”Listen pal, I have been wanting to climb you like a tree for months. I'm not saying I'm planning to ride you, but I'm going to be severely disappointed if my first sexual encounter doesn't involve at least one naked dick.”

With that he gets back to wrestling with Derek's trousers, while Derek seems to have decided to just go with it, if the stunned and pleased look on his face is anything to go by. Stiles thinks he's setting an awesome precedent for the rest of their sex lives, and then he isn't capable of thinking anything, because Derek's cock is right in front of him and those idiots at school were right after all – if it's this one, then his mouth is made for sucking dick.

He must have looked too long, because Derek lets out a groan that is already starting to edge into that delightful whine from before. “I'm going to suck your dick now, if you have any objections, speak now or forever hold your peace,” Stiles says, looking back down at it, transfixed.

Stiles,” Derek groans and he really sounds desperate now.

“I felt like I should warn you, but seeing as you yourself brought up my relative inexperience, I think you only have yourself to blame.” Stiles can't wait any longer and goes down on him. He tries to remember what Danny told him about a good blow job, but it gets lost in his own discovery. He can't fit all of it into his mouth, so he slowly jacks him with his hand, while his mouth goes exploring.

Derek seems to like it a bit firmer than he does. Though sucking hard at the head gets him an nearly agonized shout, tonguing the foreskin seems to work better, judging by the groan, as is taking as much as he can and hollowing his cheeks while rapidly jerking him off. He's so engrossed in it – touching with your hand it doesn't feel much different from his own, but the feeling of the silky skin under his tongue may be something he can get addicted to – that at first he doesn't notice the way the groans above him turn louder, turn into desperate repetitions of his name, until Derek drags him up by the arm, kissing him and moaning into his mouth as he comes on both of them.

Stiles settles down on top of him until he remembers the mess that are his jeans and how uncomfortable that is going to be in a short amount of time. He looks at both of their bodies and makes an executive decision.

“Shower, we need a shower.” he says, reluctantly getting up. He looks down at himself and decides to fuck it and strip himself of his dirty jeans. Derek looks like he's still in post orgasmic bliss, so Stiles decides to take off his clothes as well. If he gets in an extra grope, well, he's allowed now after all.

When he tries to get Derek to get up, he's yanked down and Derek’s tucking him under him, nearly squashing the wings Stiles remembers to get rid of at the last second. Derek tucks his face into Stiles' neck and breathes deeply, cuddling even closer.

“Oh, ok then I guess. Cuddle time now, shower later.” Derek makes an assenting noise, and him getting non-verbal after sex really shouldn't be as cute as it is. “You know, you are lucky I find your tendency to resort to cave man noises charming instead of irritating,” he observes idly.

“Shut up,” Derek mumbles into his neck, making Stiles smile.

“Really, that's what you are going with. Is that how you treat your boyfriend?” and the little squeeze Derek gives tells him it's fine to use that word now. “And didn't you want to talk before? Didn't you tell me we should talk? Well, here I am all willing and –” There is a hand on his mouth and Derek has finally raised his head looking grumpy and disheveled.

Stiles pries the fingers away from his mouth to say with barely-concealed glee “Well, I sure hope you can learn better manners overnight, because my dad told me, and I quote, “You better bring ‘Scott’ over for breakfast tomorrow.” The hand falls away from his face, slack, and Derek looks horrified. Stiles hides his face in Derek's hair, so he can't see his shit-eating grin.

They still have a long way ahead of them but right now he's just feeling so unbelievably happy, shaking with laughter in his boyfriend’s arms, and the whole forest around them singing with joy.