Stiles is running with the wolves. He can feel Derek close by in his true form, the rest of the pack following them, and there are at least ten real wolves with them.
They are trying to find someone precious, and they have very little time. There are hunters in this territory, and Derek has no ground here, has no rights here, and they are trespassing big time.
It doesn’t matter that they were asked to do this. It’s even worse because the one who asked them is at war with the werewolves who rule this land.
The wolves are howling around them, telling Derek that they’re going in the right direction, still on the right path.
Stiles has learned over the years to ignore the weaknesses of his body and concentrate on the strengths. He’s good at running because Derek trained them all, made them strong, finally took his place as the Alpha and not just the kid who tried to fill his sister’s shoes. He stopped being arrogant and started listening to the instincts that run deep in an Alpha werewolf.
They are a hive mind, even the humans in Derek’s pack can feel his intentions, his needs, his commands, and they are reacting as one.
The pack has Stiles surrounded because no matter how quick his mind is he’s still the softest of them all. He feels Scott close by, senses Jackson on his left, but he concentrates on the uneven ground of the forest. They need to get out of here as soon as possible.
Then Derek lets out a howl that means they’re close. Stiles stops running and starts walking, carefully taking his backpack into his hands. The wolves are gathered around an opening of a cave, growling softly, and when Stiles takes a step closer to the cave, Derek touches his hand with his snout. It’s a gesture of be careful, and Stiles nods.
The cave is dark, but Stiles has a flashlight. He hopes he doesn’t need it, though, because this might be easier without it.
He strains his ears, trying to concentrate on any other sounds but the gravel crunching under his feet. Then he hears it: deep, deep tiny growls, and he knows it’s there. He follows the sounds, keeping his heartbeats as normal as he can after running that long, then stops because the sounds are coming right in front of him.
Stiles digs out the shirt from his backpack and holds it out, then says quietly, “I’m here to take you home.”
The tiny growls move closer, and Stiles hopes he doesn’t have to try to capture the cub; he’ll be full of scratches and bite marks, and Derek won’t be happy. “That’s right,” he whispers. “I’ll keep you safe.”
He feels fur against the back of his hand, then a small tongue licking his fingers. Stiles might smell like strange pack, but he’s not a strange wolf, and he doesn’t smell threatening. Cubs are not supposed to approach strange wolves. Their instincts tell them that, and that’s why Stiles is safer. He doesn’t smell like mere human either because he’s spent so much time with werewolves. Stiles is a strange mix, and the cub is curious even in this state of mind.
Stiles pets the cub’s head, and what he gets in return sounds like a giggle, a high little bark with happy whiny sounds. He wants to take the cub in his arms, but he’s not supposed to touch it much. He can’t scent mark a cub in the same way a werewolf can, but still, he’s not supposed to.
Instead he helps the cub into the backpack, and it goes willingly, all the familiar smells making it feel safe. Stiles lifts the bag, closes it almost all the way, and gets up, ready to leave. “Comfortable?” he asks the cub, but gets no answer. He tries to listen to its breathing, but can’t hear a thing through his own beating heart and the blood rushing in his ears. He has to get out of the cave, back to Derek and his pack.
Once he’s outside, it’s clear the pack has gotten even more restless than they were while running. Waiting is not the strong suit of the pack. “All’s fine,” he says to Derek. “We can go.”
They run in a different direction from which they came, one or two of them leaving the formation every once in awhile to distract anyone who might be tracking them.
Derek runs next to Stiles, and it’s a familiar feeling having him there. His personal guard dog, and that thought nearly makes him snort out loud. He’s feeling slightly hysterical, and it’s not a good thing because it can affect the cub. “Should I be afraid?” he asks Derek. “Are they close?”
Derek gives him nothing at first, and then he looks up and nods.
That means they might have to fight. He has two gun holsters wrapped around his thighs, and he flips them open, making it easier for him to access the guns. “Hunters?”
Derek barks twice which means no.
He takes the gun that has wolfsbane bullets.
They run for a long while, now heading back to their cars, even Stiles recognizing this place now. He hopes the cars were hidden well enough, and that nobody has found them yet.
They come to a sudden halt because Derek stops, and Stiles pants through his panic, trying to keep himself steady. He may be good at taking care of himself, but he’s never gotten over the fear. Derek has told him many times that knowing fear is a good thing. He can still function with the fear and that makes him a fighter.
Stiles crouches the moment Derek stops because shit is about to hit the fan, and he needs to protect the cub. They don’t wait for the attack to happen; they go where the threat is and the fighting starts immediately.
Jackson and Boyd disappear into the woods while Scott and Isaac fend off the two attackers who are trying to reach Stiles. Derek doesn’t stay beside him, but Erica does, knowing that Derek expects her to protect Stiles with her life. That’s something Stiles will never get used to because one life is not more important than another, but it’s also the reason why Stiles is determined to be able to handle himself. He never wants it to come to the point where one of his pack mates has to lay down their own life for him.
One wolf gets past the lines and jumps at them, but Stiles is ready. He falls on his side, getting out of the way and shoots before Erica can do anything. The wolf whines, dropping to the ground. It was a clean shot, and it will kill the wolf in mere minutes. Stiles is not sorry. These bastards have killed kids.
The fight is over in ten minutes, and they are running again, not stopping to see how hurt they are. The cars are close now, and Stiles feels the relief wash over him even though he doesn’t want to. There are still hunters on their tail, and that was just a part of the pack that’s after them.
Isaac and Erica clear the debris off the cars, and then they are all jumping in. Stiles gets into the back seat of the car Isaac is driving, and Derek pulls the door closed after them. Then they are already driving, not waiting for the other car.
Stiles realizes distantly that there are gunshots, something breaking the back window, but nothing hits them, and that’s probably partly because Derek has pushed him down on the back seat.
They get away because there are no cars following them. Stiles hopes the others got away too. Isaac is already making the call, but Derek is nodding, letting Stiles know that they are all at least still alive.
“Rendezvous point, Erica,” Isaac says to the phone, and Stiles finally lets go of the breath he’s been holding. He sits up, pushing Derek out of the way.
“The baby,” Stiles says, hoping he managed to jostle it to a right angle before Derek pushed him down. He checks, and there’s a very disgruntled face looking at him from the backpack, but the cub is fine. Stiles coos at it, and Derek just looks at him like he’s lost his mind. “What? It’s a baby.”
“It’s not. It’s older than you think.”
“I don’t care. It licked my hand, and it looks like a baby so it’s a baby.”
Derek snorts, then turns to look at Isaac in the rearview mirror. “Take us there as fast as you can without making anyone interested in us.”
Isaac nods, knowing perfectly well what is expected of him, but he’s a good Beta. He won’t point out self-evident things to his Alpha when said Alpha is feeling this anxious.
Stiles puts his hand on Derek’s shoulder, and it helps a little, makes him relax ever so slightly, and Isaac relaxes in return. Boyd on the front seat sits quietly, staring ahead, and Stiles thinks that the reason might be the cub. They haven’t had to deal with werewolf cubs before, and it’s strange to them all. Derek might be the only one who has some knowledge of cubs because he was born a werewolf.
“It’s so cute,” Stiles says, cooing to the bag again, and Derek hides behind his hands, groaning. “It is,” Stiles insists, and Derek groans even more loudly. “It’s fluffy and white and it looks just like a puppy.”
“Shut up, Stiles.”
They reach the motel before the others do, and Lydia and Allison are there waiting for them - Allison seven months pregnant and Lydia a little too hurt still from the blast she got from a witch last week.
“Anyone hurt?” Allison asks.
Stiles is about to say no when Derek interrupts him, “Stiles is.”
“What? No, I’m... oh...” There’s an actual branch sticking out of his side. “How did...?”
“You’re careless,” Derek says, and that hurts. Stiles is never careless, not anymore. He knows how fragile his bones are.
“I had to protect the puppy,” he all but shouts, and the room falls silent.
Derek doesn’t even look at him, his eyes on Lydia and Allison. “Fix him, please.”
Stiles wants to bite Derek’s head off, but the adrenaline is slowly leaving his veins, and he’s starting to feel the pain. Also, the puppy needs caring for.
“And he’s not a puppy,” Derek says, sitting in one of the armchairs, switching the TV on.
Oh, fuck him. Stiles doesn’t need this shit. “Do you have something to eat?” he asks Allison instead and gets a bag of beef jerky. He hoists the pack off his shoulder and opens the zipper. “You alright there?” He’s surprised to see a very dirty human face staring up at him the moment the backpack is open enough for the child to fit out of it.
The child crawls out of the bag and gets on his feet. Then he notices Boyd who’s still standing, and he steps behind Stiles’ leg, holding onto it with little clawed hands. “Tall,” the child says.
“Really tall,” Stiles agrees, then twists from the waist to look at the child. “What’s your name?”
“Marlon,” the boy says, staring fixedly at Boyd.
“How old are you?”
He shows Stiles four fingers, then says very quietly, “I’m hungry.”
Stiles hands Marlon a few pieces of beef jerky, and the kid stuffs them into his mouth quickly.
“Let me get that out of you,” Allison says, sitting next to Stiles, directing light at the branch sticking out of Stiles’ side.
“Whoa,” the boy says, moving closer to Allison to see what she’s doing.
“That’s not supposed to be there,” Allison says to Marlon, then makes sure Stiles is prepared for the pain that pulling the branch out of him causes.
Somewhere in the background Derek growls at the TV.
“Where are the others?” Allison asks after a while, and Stiles realizes he should’ve said something about Scott right away.
“They are coming. We’re all fine.”
Allison nods, and clearly she knew already that nobody got hurt but still, the reassurance makes her stiff body relax a little.
The wound gets cleaned and bandaged, and then Stiles can sit down. He feels exhausted, but he can’t really show that because the boy is depending on his strength, needing him.
Marlon sits at his feet, staring at everyone with suspicious little eyes.
“We’re taking you home,” Stiles says softly, brushing his hand through the boy’s hair. He’s not supposed to touch him much, but he needs to do something. He’s just a child.
The door opens, and Erica and the rest of their pack tumbles in, closing the door quickly behind them. “Oh my god, is that him?” Erica asks, crouching down. “Adorable.”
Marlon looks at Stiles. “She smells funny.”
Erica wrinkles her nose. “No, I don’t.”
“It’s our pack,” Stiles says. “We smell different. But don’t worry. They won’t touch you.”
Scott takes Allison to the furthest corner of the room, hugging and kissing her, and everyone else greets Derek with lingering touches. For some reason, even Stiles gets a bit more of those touchy-feely werewolf paws against his bare skin. Maybe because he’s hurt, and they smell that on him. Or maybe because he’s taking care of the cub.
Marlon stands, taking a tentative step towards Derek. The boy turns to look at Stiles. “He won’t touch me?”
Stiles shakes his head.
Those little determined feet take the boy to Derek, and Derek just looks at him. Then the boy climbs partly on the arm of the chair, his feet dangling freely. “Al-p-ha.” The boy tilts his head.
Stiles can’t help but be entirely transfixed by the scene in front of him. He’s never seen Derek with a kid of his own kind.
Derek growls softly, and the cub falls on his tush, shifting back into a furry little puppy and scrambling back to Stiles.
“Hey, don’t be mean.”
“He can’t get attached to me. It’s already bad that he likes you.”
Stiles frowns. “When are we meeting with his pack then?”
How wonderful. They’ll have to share sleeping quarters, and werewolves are pile sleepers if they get the chance. He’ll be having Boyd’s feet in his mouth again.
Stiles doesn’t get why they even took this mission. They knew nothing about the cub, about his location, about anything. Everything could’ve gone terribly wrong, still could. This is not how they usually work. Usually Lydia won’t let them go anywhere without a perfect plan. This time, they were practically blind.
“Want to get clean?” Stiles asks the cub, and it yips happily, and they head for the bathroom.
When Stiles passes Derek’s chair Derek grabs his wrist for a second, holding it, pressing his thumb against Stiles’ pulse point. “Try to avoid touching him.”
“He’s a scared child,” Stiles says, staring at Derek, willing him to look at him, but Derek is stubborn. Stiles can feel the anxious air around Derek and he lets go of some of his natural resistance, sighing. “I’ll do my best.”
The cub turns into a little boy again once they are in the safety of the bathroom. There’s a bathtub, and Stiles puts a small towel on the bottom before lifting Marlon into the tub. He sits on it while Stiles washes him with warm water.
“Do you want to bathe too?”
Marlon hesitates for a few seconds, then nods, and Stiles fills the tub with water, but only as far as the boy’s neck.
“What’s that?” Marlon asks, pointing at Stiles’ wrist.
He’s rolled his sleeves out of the way so the pack bracelet is showing. He moves his hand closer to Marlon, letting him touch the leather and metal band that’s seen worse than soap water. “It’s the pack bracelet. There are three humans in Derek’s pack, and we all have it. It has our Alpha’s hair bound in it so we’ll smell more like pack to strange wolves. They’ll know we’re protected.”
Tiny fingers touch the bracelet everywhere, brushing Stiles’ wrist every once in awhile too. He remembers what Derek said, but it’s hard to deny this child anything right now.
“Mom’s not here,” the boy says suddenly, and without thinking, Stiles grabs the side of the boy’s head and holds onto him. Marlon’s face distorts even though he clearly tries to hold it back. A boy this small shouldn’t even think about holding back tears, but he’s had to be quiet for too long.
“You can let it out. You’re safe.”
The howl of sadness Marlon lets out breaks Stiles’ heart, and when the child reaches out with his hands, all Stiles can do is hug him; rules be damned. Marlon soaks Stiles’ shirt in mere seconds, but he doesn’t care.
The door to the bathroom opens, Derek standing in the frame. His eyes are not accusing because he sees how the child is sobbing against Stiles’ chest. Derek comes in quietly and sits on the toilet bowl, staring at Stiles the whole time.
He’s closed the door, not letting the pack in.
“How am I doing?” Stiles asks because he’s never done this before. He knows nothing about kids. He doesn’t have extended family. He’s never taken care of the neighborhood kids.
Derek smiles tiredly. “Better than most people. The Monterey pack is not going to like this though.” Before Stiles can argue Derek continues, “I know. You had to.”
Marlon raises his head, his arms chokingly tight around Stiles’ neck. Then slowly, he pulls back, lets go of Stiles, and moves to the end of the tub that is closer to Derek. He holds onto the edge, staring.
“Why is he so fascinated by you?” Stiles all but whispers.
Derek stares back at the cub, his hands on his knees, his back rigid. “Because I’m in charge. Every wolf has a built in need to submit to the Alpha - especially when the pack is established and everyone is recognizing the hierarchy. When we’re this strong we’re appealing, even to the smallest of us.”
Marlon has his tiny chin resting against the backs of his hands, and because Derek is giving him attention, the boy beams.
Stiles has never in his life seen anything so cute. “How can you resist him?” Stiles asks, wanting to wrap his arms around Marlon again to give him the sense of security he needs.
“Do you want children of your own one day?” Stiles asks, and that there is a pure accident. He blushes, scratching his neck.
“I don’t know. The idea of losing someone like that... They’re so vulnerable.” Derek holds out his hand, his forefinger long while the rest of his fingers are curled close to his palm, and the little boy tries to grab at him, grinning. Derek stays far enough away for it to be only a game. “I know statistically most of us survive to the later years, but statistics don’t mean anything with the things we face.”
There’s no real sadness in Derek’s voice; he’s just being practical, but Stiles knows where it all comes from. When Derek learned to be a proper Alpha he also learned to let them in. His pack knows him.
Stiles rests his arm against the side of the tub, sprawling on the floor, totally tired all of a sudden. “I need to hit the hay. I’m a sack of bones and nothing more at the moment.”
“Yeah... Let’s go to bed.”
“Who’s taking the first watch?” Stiles asks as he pulls the plug out of the drain and starts washing all the soap water off the child. Marlon is ticklish and giggling, and Stiles soon has a very squirmy little boy in his hands.
Derek just watches them for a while, then answers when Stiles has already forgotten about the question: “Boyd with Erica. Scott needs to be with Allison as much as he can, and Isaac and Jackson are tired.”
So Derek will be with him. Stiles swallows the happiness that leaks out of his heart. He may not appreciate all the touchy-feely werewolf pawing, but he loves having Derek around. Every one of them does. It feels like home, almost as good as when his mother was still alive. “Thanks,” he says while drying Marlon with a huge white towel.
“You know... For staying.”
Derek reaches out, touches Stiles' cheek with his knuckles, then pulls away like he’s a little shocked how affectionate that was. Derek still sometimes forgets that he has their love and trust.
They go back to the bedroom where the pack has settled, everyone lazing around, only Boyd and Erica missing. Lydia is watching TV with Jackson, his head in her lap as they lie in one of the beds. There are three beds, and Scott and Allison have taken the one furthest from the door. Isaac is lying on the middle one, and Stiles heads for that one. He’s dressed Marlon in pants and a long-sleeved T-shirt which they got from the Monterey pack, and he looks like he’s ready for bed.
Marlon is rubbing his dark brown eyes, his hair sticking out every which way, and Stiles thinks he’s missing a plushie. He needs to get Marlon one before they take him to his pack.
Stiles helps him up on the bed, and Isaac gives them room, an uncertain smile on his face. Stiles will always feel the need to make the world a little bit better for Isaac. It’s ridiculous how these people affect him; how much he wants their happiness, how little he cares about the things that didn’t feel normal way back in the beginning. Now, he sees Isaac looking at someone innocent, and there’s longing on his face, and it makes Stiles ache.
Isaac moves out of the way even more when Derek climbs into the bed with them. It’s big enough for all of them, but once they’ve settled Stiles feels them all moving closer to each other.
“Are you an Alpha, too?” Marlon asks after they’ve been lying there for awhile, Derek between Stiles and Isaac, Stiles’ back to him, and Marlon on the edge of the bed, staring at Stiles with huge eyes.
Derek snorts, but Stiles ignores him. “I’m a little unique, not a Beta and not an Alpha. I’m between those two.”
Stiles wonders how much the child senses of their pack hierarchy. “Usually a pack is led by an Alpha or an Alpha pair. We don’t have an Alpha pair, but... they come to me when they need something, all of them.”
Marlon looks serious. “Grandma leads with an iron fist,” he says, and Stiles has to bite his lip so he won’t laugh. That is so someone else’s words in the boy’s mouth. “She’d never ask help from you.”
She did, while out of her mind worried over missing children. She had asked Stiles specifically to help because he was the only one who could.
“She’s old-fashioned, is she?”
Marlon makes a face. “She likes anise candy.”
“Vile,” Stiles says and gets a giggle out of Marlon.
Stiles feels Derek moving behind him, turning on his side and leaning over Stiles. He’s so close, but not quite touching. Stiles resists the urge to lean back.
“My grandma,” Derek says, his hand resting against Stiles’ hip, “had them in a bowl on top of the TV, and she’d give us one after every meal. Yuck.”
Marlon grins, and Stiles tries not to let his heart swell too much. This is fleeting, gone in a second. He can’t get attached. But when Marlon touches Stiles’ mouth, asking, “Are you sad?” all he can do is take that hand and kiss those fingers. “Just tired,” he says softly, knowing that both werewolves can hear the change in his heartbeats.
Only Derek can interpret the change correctly, though.
Derek stays still for awhile, then moves his hand, circling his arm around Stiles’ waist, pulling him closer. It’s comfort, and he takes it, letting Derek hold him.
They fall asleep like that, and nothing wakes them up during the night. The Betas take care of the watch changes, and Derek stays with Stiles.
When Stiles wakes up in the morning he’s feeling hot because Derek is still pressed against his back, and Marlon has wiggled himself close to Stiles, his arms between their bodies, his open mouth against Stiles’ neck.
“Good morning,” Derek whispers close to his ear, and it startles Stiles, makes him stiffen. Derek rubs his face against Stiles’ neck, spreading his own scent all over Stiles’ skin. He hasn’t done it in a long while because they are secure now, knowing who they are and what they do together. Derek knows Stiles is part of the pack, an important part, and he doesn’t have to do this.
“That tickles, man,” Stiles says, trying to protect his neck with his shoulder, but Derek has none of that. He buries his face right there where Stiles’ neck meets his shoulder and bites down. That stops Stiles’ heart for a second and his stiff body wakes Marlon up. Marlon rubs himself against Stiles too, and that’s just too much of werewolf scent-marking. He can’t do this.
He tries to sit up, but Derek is not letting go, and Marlon’s hands are tight fists against his shirt. Two clingy werewolves holding him down is enough to keep him there. Stiles groans.
“Mine,” Marlon says, and Stiles feels rather than hears the low growl Derek lets out.
“Awwww... Look at that,” Lydia says. “Our Alpha is fighting with a four-year-old.” She pats Stiles’ head. “You’re popular.”
“Shut up and get me out of here.” Stiles reaches out with his hand, but Lydia doesn’t take it.
“You deal with your own mess. He told you not to get too touchy-feely with the baby-wolf.”
Stiles bites his lower lip so he won’t say what he thinks of certain redheads. Jackson walks by his bed, flipping the finger, and Stiles wants to swat him with a newspaper. “I hate you all,” he mutters while Marlon moves even closer, curling his small body.
The breakfast sounds make Stiles’ stomach growl, and that’s just it, no more. He twists his body, grabs at Derek’s hair, and pulls. Derek bites hard, but when Stiles won’t give in he lets go reluctantly, licking the abused skin. “You made your point,” Stiles says, turning his head enough to look at Derek. “I’m yours.”
Marlon’s claws rip Stiles’ shirt.
“It’s okay,” he says to the child, petting his hair with his free hand. “We’ll take you home today. Your mom is waiting for you. And we’ll keep in touch. I promise.”
“They took us from home,” the boy says after a long silence. “Not safe.”
“Your pack is moving. Derek is granting them the right to stay at Beacon Hills until they find a suitable land for themselves. You’ll be safe. We’ll make sure of that.”
Derek rests his chin on Stiles’ shoulder, looking over it at the boy. “You’re under my protection now.”
The boy looks at Derek with huge eyes. “Really?”
“I’m not giving you Stiles though.”
Stiles pokes at Derek with his elbow. “Don’t listen to him. He’s an oaf.”
Derek leans closer to the boy over Stiles’ body. “I’d be lost without him so you can’t have him.”
The boy just stares, then says, “O-okay.”
“You can borrow him though.”
The bright smile on Marlon’s face makes Stiles smile in return. He can’t help it.
“Just return him in one piece.”
Marlon solemnly nods, and that’s it. Peace has returned.
After breakfast, they leave the motel, Stiles holding Marlon’s hand, and the pack keeping their eyes open, ready to fight any given second. Stiles can’t relax during the drive to meet the Monterey pack even though there are no cars chasing them and nothing seems out of the ordinary.
He can’t stop thinking about what could have happened if they hadn’t found the boy in time. The rest of the kids were being rescued through negotiations, but the lost one, he was fair game.
They’re meeting the pack at a diner close to the highway to Beacon Hills. When they walk in Marlon lets go of Stiles’ hand and runs to his mother. Stiles puts his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. It’s such a hollow ache he doesn’t know what to do with it.
The pack is one grateful ragtag team that’s been nearly butchered to death. They’re giving up their land, their home, to wolves who stole their children. That was the one last blow that broke the Alpha’s resolve.
Now that Stiles is looking at the old woman with her grandchild he’s not surprised that she asked for their help when one of the kidnapped children went missing. She’s a hard woman, but the pale children of the pack are her heart. Stiles can respect that.
“You can travel in the middle,” Derek says, and the old Alpha nods.
The pack has three campers and two normal cars for transporting themselves and all their belongings to Beacon Hills. Erica takes the front, Jackson the middle, and Isaac the rear. They are not taking any chances. The rivalling pack has promised a safe exit, but one never knows with wolves like these.
Stiles stares out of the window the whole way because there’s nothing he wants to say. He knows it’s troubling to the rest of the pack, and he can see how his silence affects Isaac, Boyd, and Derek, but he can’t change the way he feels right now.
And they’d know if he tried to pretend.
At some point Derek grabs his neck, squeezes, then lets go, but it’s enough to make him feel the connection. He gives Derek a tired smile.
When they get home after leaving the Monterey pack in a nice motel under the watchful eyes of the Sheriff’s few good men, they disappear to their own rooms, needing space and alone time. The old Hale house is a pack house now, full of life and heartbeats and fights and love, and Stiles knows it’s bittersweet to Derek.
They sit at the kitchen table, not talking, not even acknowledging each other. Stiles doesn’t want to talk about this, and Derek never tries to make him talk. Maybe because he always talks when he’s ready.
After one cleaned cupboard, a filled dishwasher, and a meal that consists of chicken and mushrooms, Stiles finally says, “Scott’s having a baby.”
Derek puts his book down but says nothing.
Stiles sighs. “I want that someday too.”
“You’ll get it. You’re lovable.” Derek smiles.
That makes Stiles snort. “Don’t mock me.”
“I’m not mocking you,” Derek says quietly. “That kid was scared, but he trusted you instantly, instinctively. You’ll do great.”
Stiles tries to hide the frustration he feels over the vagueness of those words. “You’re just... impossible,” he says anyway because it’s all Derek’s fault. He’s so fucking dense. Stiles pushes his chair back, stands and stares at Derek, then storms out of the kitchen.
He doesn’t know why he’s so upset all of a sudden. It’s always been confusing with Derek. It’s always been more than he thought and less than he’d like. And he just doesn’t know what to make of it. He’s pack. He’s important. He’s more. But it’s never going anywhere, and even now Derek is just saying that something will happen someday with someone. Never anything specific.
Stiles wants more.
He sits down on the porch steps, knowing that Derek will follow him. They don’t fight often anymore, and even small things like this make them feel too uncomfortable to let it be.
“What did I do?” Derek asks when he sits next to Stiles.
“Are you just that blind? Really?” He doesn’t want to look at Derek. He doesn’t want to see when Derek finally realizes what’s going on.
“Blind?” Derek sounds desperate. “Talk to me.”
“I don’t want things with just anyone...” Stiles hides his face in his hands. “It’s stupid. Marlon just made it more vivid. Sorry.”
Derek strokes the side of Stiles’ head, touches his ear and neck. “Are you...”
“Yes, I’m talking about you. I can’t do this anymore. You’re so close all the time.”
“What? I’m... What?” Derek’s hand stills, stays close to Stiles’ ear, his fingers warm.
“I want the whole shebang with you. Everything. Kids. Pack. Home. Life. Ninety years of happiness. All of it.” Stiles is red from ear to ear, he knows it. He’s never said any of it out loud, not even to Scott.
“Family?” Derek’s voice cracks, and he sounds so fragile Stiles has to look at him. Derek looks vulnerable to the core, like he can’t hide anything right now, and Stiles hopes he hasn’t said anything wrong because this is the Derek he never wants to hurt in any way. He’d rather die than let anything happen to this person who lost everything.
“Yeah,” Stiles whispers because he doesn’t dare to hope.
Derek nods, his hand still touching Stiles’ face.
“Because everything I share with you becomes better.”
“I don’t... God, Stiles, you dropped a bomb.” Derek pulls back, leans against his hands, and stares out at the yard. “I don’t know what to say, what to feel... God.”
“I’m not expecting anything,” Stiles hears himself say, and those stupid words hurt. “I just can’t hold it in anymore. We’re pack. You’re always near. Hell, you’re inside my head. I can’t...”
Derek touches his shoulder, and Stiles falls silent because Derek is using his Alpha powers, showing him that he’s not dissatisfied, just confused and shocked. It makes Stiles relax. Whatever happens he knows he wants to be part of this pack forever. He doesn’t want to mess things up so badly there’s no return.
“Thanks,” Stiles says quietly, leaning into the touch a little.
“You know I love you?”
Stiles doesn’t hesitate, just nods.
“You’ve always been fascinating to me. A challenge to the wolf and a challenge to the man.”
Stiles grins. Yeah, he can be a pain in the ass.
“I don’t know how to separate the Alpha from the man.”
“Please don’t even try.” He wants Derek, every single part of him, all the hollow points, all the hard edges, all that strength. He wants it all.
There’s a sudden change in the air, and when Stiles turns to look at Derek he’s wolfed out but still mostly human. Stiles doesn’t know if it’s meant to scare him, but he just reaches out and touches Derek’s pointy ears. “I like all sides of you. This side has kept us safe many times.”
Derek growls, his red eyes staring at Stiles.
“If you want me to submit I can do it, but you know you already have me.” He lies down anyway, pulling his shirt up to reveal his stomach.
“You smell so weird.”
“Willing. I smell willing, not weird.” He’s holding his breath now because Derek isn’t doing anything, but he feels the tense air around them.
“You with that child...” Derek sniffs the air, puts one clawed hand over Stiles’ stomach.
“Why are you doing this? Why would you want me?”
Stiles breathes out, parting his lips. “Because you make me feel like I belong here, like I have a home, like I’m needed. Because I... love you.”
Derek scratches Stiles stomach, opens his skin with one claw, and Stiles gasps, tries to hold it in but can’t. The wound on his side starts to throb too because of the new one, and it leaves him breathless. Derek leans down, licks the blood away, and Stiles spreads his legs, moaning. “Please.”
“You can’t mean this,” Derek says against his skin. “You can’t smell like this. You’ve been close to me for years. Can’t be real...” Derek kisses Stiles’ navel, his breath coming out in hot puffs.
Stiles takes hold of Derek’s hair, pulls because he wants Derek to look at him, and when he does Stiles says, “Do you like me back?”
Derek looks like he’s been caught red handed, but Stiles says nothing, staying still, waiting. He doesn’t want to affect this; Derek’s answer, their future, any of it. He wants honesty.
“Stiles...” Derek is quiet for a while, his expression strange, then he asks, “What’s your real name?”
“Siberio,” he says before he can stop himself, and then he hides his face behind his arm. “Weak moment. You used it. Fuck you.”
Derek’s laughter is soft and amused, somehow private. “I like that.”
“Answer me, please.”
Derek pulls Stiles’ arm out of the way and leans over him. “Yes to everything. Too soon, too fast, but yes.”
Stiles beams and doesn’t care one bit that Derek is holding his wrists, trapping him.
“Family too. God, you drove me crazy with Marlon. The wolf wanted to make you a home, a safe place. Keep them safe. Protect... I can’t stand being that much of an animal.”
“I promise to take care of myself,” Stiles whispers because Derek looks like he’s breaking down. “I promise.”
Derek lowers his head so close their foreheads are touching. “I can’t do this.”
“I’ll be here anyway. You might as well try.”
“I won’t survive losing you. I’ll die.”
Stiles tilts his chin up, kisses the side of Derek’s mouth. “I’ll love you. You’ll have me. Those will be great memories, better than anything, better than never having them at all.”
Derek lets out a pained sound, then presses his whole body against Stiles. “Run with me, please.”
When Derek moves out of the way Stiles sits up, staring at Derek.
Stiles is glad he didn’t take off his shoes because he can just get up and step down the stairs. He turns his back to Derek and runs before he can think of why.
He reaches the trees even though Derek could’ve caught him before he even took off. He remembers yesterday, running with the pack, feeling Derek beside him in his true form. Now, Derek is behind him, lurking, approaching silently, and it feels like freedom. He wants to be caught. He wants Derek to capture him, pin him to the ground and never let him go. He wants to get lost in this feeling.
When Derek rams into him Stiles is breathless, and he goes down easily. Derek is on him, rutting against his back, biting him, and that there could be too weird but it isn’t. Weird ceased to exist when Scott was turned, and Stiles learned all about werewolves.
He pushes his hands against the ground, holds himself on his hands and knees, spreads his legs a little wider, and laughs.
Derek lets out a satisfied sound, and Stiles knows this will last, this insane thing they have.
Their clothes get torn, Derek’s claws out, but he’s less wolf and more human now, gentle all of a sudden, making Stiles shiver in the warm spring air. Derek’s hands sliding against his back feel too good, and he whimpers, biting his lips.
Derek turns him around, watches him with his human eyes, then touches Stiles’ lips. “Shhhh...”
Stiles nods, and Derek pulls their pants open, gets his hand on Stiles, makes him writhe right there, under his stare, under his complete focus.
Derek jerks them both off, his hand big and warm around them, and Stiles rocks into Derek’s fist, shameless in his need. He holds Derek’s gaze when he comes, not breathing at all, and Derek groans, leaning close, sniffing and biting Stiles' skin anywhere he can reach.
When Derek goes still, warm wetness coating Stiles’ stomach, it’s pure joy to Stiles. He’s never seen Derek this open.
Derek looks at him, half-smiling, spreading his scent all over Stiles, his fingers sticky, and Stiles lets him do it, laughing. After Derek is satisfied with the way Stiles’ stomach is covered in spunk, he presses his sticky fingers against Stiles’ lips, tracing them too, pushing in gently.
Stiles hesitates for a second, then licks the fingers , watching as Derek’s eyes turn red.
“Yeah, I want it all,” Derek says, fucking Stiles’ mouth with his fingers. “I want to build things with you, make things, have things. I want you.”
It’s just too good, and Stiles smiles around the fingers, arching his back, inviting.
“Just... Live with me. Don’t leave me alone.”
Stiles grabs Derek’s wrist, pulls his hand out of the way, and crushes himself against Derek. They fall down because Derek loses his balance, but Stiles doesn’t care. He gets Derek close, wraps his legs around him, holds him there as hard as he can. There’s nothing he can say so he makes his body talk.
Derek hugs him back with equal desperation that, after a while, melts into warmth. It spreads around them, makes their hearts beat slower, and Stiles grins against Derek’s neck. “I want a computer lab.” When Derek doesn’t say anything he continues, “for science and mad research. We need to renovate.”
“And a nursery...” It’s for Scott and Allison, for now.
“And a design studio for Lydia.”
“And a master bedroom.” Stiles swallows.
Stiles’ heart feels like it’s cracking open. “Okay, you win. You’re the best.”
Derek breathes in, pressing his face as close to Stiles as he can. “Mine.”
Pretty much forever.