Stiles wakes up in a bedroom not his own. He jolts upright and stares at his surroundings. He’s in a room that looks like it was taken directly out of a home décor magazine. Everything’s in light colors—tan wood, pale blue walls, blue and white linens. There’s a fucking quilt on the bed. There’s also absolutely nothing personal about the room, nothing to tell him whose room he’s in or, more importantly, why he’s there. It wasn’t sex, that’s for sure. The last person—the only person—he’s slept with was… better not thought about.
He crawls out of bed, his thoughts straying for a moment to the fact that the sheets and mattress feel nicer than his own bed at home, and is glad to find his shoes lined up neatly on the floor. He toes into them and quickly ties the laces—he usually doesn’t bother untying them at all so that’s clue number two that something weird is going on.
The first door he tries is actually a private bathroom. The second is a closet. The third actually opens out into a short hall which he follows into a large open living room, dining room, and kitchen. He blinks and stares at Erica—the same Erica who’s been missing for two months after she presumably left Beacon Hills forever—who’s on the couch eating chips out of the bag. Her bare feet are propped up on the coffee table and she’s watching some kind of soap opera with a woman with dark skin. There’s a bald guy standing at the kitchen island polishing off the remains of a sandwich.
“What the hell?” Stiles demands.
Erica waves a hand in his direction. “Hey.” Neither of the two strangers even glance in his direction.
“What? No. ‘Hey’ is not an appropriate answer. What the hell is going on?”
Erica shushes him. Actually shushes him, like he’s a child or something.
His voice rises with growing indignation. He’s been fucking kidnapped and no one seems to give a shit. “I’m sorry, am I interrupting?” His voice actually breaks on the last word. It hasn’t done that since puberty. “You,” he points at the bald guy, “stop eating and you two,” he waves at the women, “tear your eyes away from trashy daytime television and someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”
Erica ignores him. The other two look at him, then each other, and fucking shrug and go back to what they were doing. Stiles literally shrieks with frustration. He doesn’t have his phone or his car keys but fuck this shit.
“That’s it. I’m leaving. Goodbye.”
He makes it three steps towards what he presumes is the door out of here before a cultured British voice says “I’m sorry but I can’t let you do that.”
Stiles turns. The door next to the kitchen is open. He’d assumed it was a pantry but he can see what looks like a small office inside, though most of the view is blocked by an older blonde man in sunglasses. The guy’s actually pretty handsome in a ‘I’d let you fuck me if you hadn’t just kidnapped me’ kind of way. He’s the kind of guy Stiles would totally let grind against him at Jungle.
Sue him, he has a type. Well, a guy type. His girl type is just Lydia, end of conversation, but that’s not happening after the whole ‘my love for Jackson brought him back to life’ thing. What is it with Stiles and poor life choices in romantic partners?
Stiles realizes that he’s just been staring so he forces his mouth to work. It doesn’t need much prompting to start spewing words. “Why? Where am I and what am I doing here? Why’d you kidnap me? Where’s my phone? You better not have done anything to my dad. Or my Jeep.”
Where had he been before he’d been kidnapped? He’s sixty percent certain he’d been on his way to the school to meet Scott for extra lacrosse practice. He’d stopped for coffee. That’s the last thing he remembers.
“Both your father and your vehicle remain unharmed.” The man gestures toward the dining table. “Shall we sit? Ennis, be a dear and get our guest some water.” The bald guy turns to grab a glass from one of the cabinets. “Are you hungry Stiles? I can have Ennis prepare you something. Despite his rougher looks, he does have excellent cooking skills.”
“I’ll pass.” There is no way Stiles is accepting food from strangers, even if his stomach is protesting. What time was it? The British man gropes for a chair and sits at the head of the table. Stiles hesitantly takes a seat halfway down the table, out of reach of the strange man. Ennis sets a glass of water on the table, which Stiles only accepts because he’d watched the man pour it straight from the faucet.
The British man tilts his head in Stiles’s direction. “You don’t have to be so wary. We have no intention of harming you.”
Definitely a werewolf, Stiles thinks. “You kidnapped me.”
“A necessary means to an end, I’m afraid.”
Stiles frowns. He takes a long drink of water. He is actually pretty thirsty. He never got his coffee this morning. “What end is that?”
The man smiles. “The question of who should be Alpha of Beacon Hills.”
Stiles’s frown deepens. He’s pretty sure his forehead is doing that wrinkly thing. “I thought Derek was the Alpha.”
“Derek currently holds the power of an Alpha. Whether he is worthy of the position remains to be seen.”
“And who exactly are you to determine who gets to be Alpha? And where were you when Peter was going all batshit?” Something inside of him twinges as he says Peter’s name. He resolutely ignores it.
“My name is Deucalion. I am the leader of what is called the Alpha Pack. It is our job to ensure that only those worthy of the position hold Alphaship of a territory.” Deucalion spreads his hands in a sort of what-can-you-do gesture. “Unfortunately, we were in South America when Peter Hale took the position from his niece Laura, otherwise the situation would not have ended quite so… messy.”
Stiles snorts. “Messy is putting it nicely.” He glances over at Erica. She’s still watching TV with the as-yet-unnamed woman. “Is that why Erica’s here? Are you testing Derek?” His eyes narrow. He may not agree with Derek most of the time, but he didn’t spend the last couple months repeatedly saving Derek’s ass to have some bigshot Brit come in and ruin all of Stiles’s hard work. “Are you going to kill him? Because I have a problem with that.”
Deucalion’s smile never falters. “No killing will be necessary. There are a few tests involved, nothing harmful, that will tell us whether Derek is Alpha material.”
“Oookay.” Stiles draws out the word while he thinks over Deucalion’s words. “So why am I here and not, say, Boyd or Isaac?”
“Boyd is also our guest for the moment, but he’s currently out with the twins, Aiden and Ethan, running errands. You will also meet the long-lost Cora Hale when she returns this evening.”
Stiles looks over at Erica again. He has to say she looks pretty good. She’s relaxed in a way he’s never seen before, not like when she went all super-bitch in the high school cafeteria but truly relaxed, like she’s finally comfortable in her own skin. She definitely hasn’t been mistreated so that leads him to believe Deucalion does have a benevolent mission. That still doesn’t answer his question.
“Why me? I’m not a werewolf. I’m not part of Derek’s pack.”
“Damn right,” Erica says from the couch. Stiles glares at the back of her head.
“Derek is not the only potential Alpha in Beacon Hills,” Deucalion says.
That makes Stiles pause for a moment. If Erica’s here because of Derek, then who’s he here for? “Scott?” The name comes out hesitantly, like even Stiles can’t believe he’s suggesting it. He’s been trying to talk Scott into joining Derek’s pack, not the other way around.
Deucalion’s lips quirk with just a hint of mischief. It reminds Stiles all too much of a certain Hale. He doesn’t like it. “Scott McCall is one possibility. He has certainly managed to form more of a truce with the Argents than all previous attempts.”
One. Not the only. Who else is there? He asks exactly that.
“Why, Peter, of course. You are familiar with him, are you not?”
Stiles blinks. “Peter?” He stands so fast his chair topples over. The water in the glass almost splashes out as Stiles’s palms slap the table. “I’m here because of Peter?” What the fuck?
Deucalion outright grins. “You are the most logical choice. Two candidates in one package. Scott McCall’s best friend and the bearer of Peter Hale’s child.”
Erica’s shriek of “What?” nearly overrides Stiles’s own. Nearly.
Deucalion doesn’t even wince, though Ennis and the other woman do. Stiles is acutely aware of the press of wood against his palms. It’s possibly the only thing keeping him upright.
“It’s quite an interesting genetic quirk,” Deucalion says. “I wouldn’t have known had I not paid a visit to your house the other day. I would wager that there’s some nymph in your family background. Mother’s side, most likely.”
The room starts to spin. “You were in my house?” Had he been home at the time? Had his dad? How could they not have known?
“Not in. I prefer not to enter another’s home unless invited. Merely around. The scent was quite noticeable if one knows where to look.”
He’s pregnant? How the hell is he pregnant? His mind is full of questions but what comes out of his mouth instead is “I’m going to be sick.”
He takes one step away from the table and promptly faints.
When Stiles wakes the second time, he’s back in the same bed but he’s not alone. He sits up with a pounding head and stares at the strange woman sitting cross-legged at the foot of the bed. She’s watching him, possibly has been watching him the whole time he’s been asleep and that’s a level of creepy that instantly screams Hale.
She speaks before he can. “So you’re Uncle Peter’s baby-momma.”
Stiles splutters. “What? No. I’m not a girl. I’m not…” God, he can’t even say the word. His hands fist in the sheets as his face goes red.
The girl waves her hand. “Semantics.” What had Deucalion called her? Cora? He vaguely remembers that name from the arson report. “You’ve got a little Hale in you. And you fucked Peter.” Her grin turns sharp. “Wow.”
Stiles pulls his legs up to his chest. He feels like he needs a little extra protection right now. His hands go to his belly and he presses against the flat skin. He doesn’t feel pregnant, but at the same time he doesn’t think that’s the kind of thing the werewolves would joke about just to mess with his head. He wants to know how that’s even possible, but at the same time he also wants to run screaming off a cliff.
Cora tilts her head. “You’re nothing like the guys Peter fucked in college. I may have been young at the time, but Laura showed me pictures. Never thought he’d settle down though. Peter just never seemed the relationship type. How long’s he been banging you?”
Stiles’s face burns in shame and he stares down at his knees. He doesn’t know what to say. Apparently saying nothing is as good as saying something.
Cora gasps. “Wait. You’re not with him?”
Stiles shakes his head. “We just… it was one night.”
“Damn.” Silence falls between them as Cora digests the new information. “Uncle P’s got some super sperm. Does he know?”
Stiles dares to look. Cora doesn’t look judgmental like he’d feared, just curious. He’s okay with curious. It gives him courage to bare a little bit more of his personal shame. “I haven’t seen him since.”
Cora whistles and leans back slight. Not too far, or she’d fall off the end of the bed. She stares at the ceiling for a moment and then looks straight at Stiles. “Want me to hit him for you? I can totally hit him for you.”
Stiles snorts. “I can hit him on my own, thanks.”
“Fair.” Cora grins suddenly. “I like you.” She leans forward, elbows on her knees. “So, are you going to keep it?”
Stiles blinks. “Keep what?”
She waves her hand in his direction. “The baby.”
“Yes.” The word’s out of his mouth before he can even think about it. He’s never really thought much about the whole pro-life/pro-abortion debate. He’s a guy and was a virgin. Not his business. But he thinks about the potential life inside of him and he doesn’t want to give it up. Even if it’s a constant reminder of his hopeless crush on Peter and their one-night stand.
“Cool,” Cora says. “I claim best aunt.”
Stiles snorts. “Not much competition in that area.” He can list all the women in his life on one hand. He can list all of the women who haven’t tried to kill him or his friends with one finger, and Mrs. McCall feels more like a surrogate grandmother than aunt to his potential child.
It says something about his life that he’s just met Cora and she’s already ranked above people he’s known most of his life.
There’s a knock on the door, then a slight pause before it opens. A boy around Stiles and Cora’s age peeks in. “Dinner’s ready.”
Cora tumbles off the bed in a move that’s both graceful and silly. She grins and holds a hand out to Stiles. He doesn’t bother with his shoes this time. Deucalion’s likely not going to let him leave and Cora’s not wearing any.
When they step out into the common area, the dining table is laden with food. His stomach growls loud enough that all of the werewolves at the table—which he suddenly realizes is everyone but him—look at him with an array of smirks, like they know his body better than he does. They probably do with all of those chemosignals and hearing his heartbeat and all that. There are two seats open at the table, between Deucalion and Erica. Cora guides him over with a hand on the small of his back and nudges him into the seat next to Deucalion.
“I trust you’re feeling better, Stiles?”
“He can’t see you,” Cora says. Stiles raises an eyebrow and glances between Deucalion and Cora. “He’s blind.”
“What?” Stiles has never heard of a blind werewolf before. He would have thought the werewolf healing powers would have taken care of that, but maybe not. Maybe he was born that way.
That thought dies as Deucalion briefly lowers his sunglasses. Deucalion’s eyes are white and there’s some nasty scaring around his eyes that suggests it was not a matter of birth. “A gift from Gerard Argent.”
“That’s one person I’m not against you killing. Have fun with that. Take your time.”
Deucalion chuckles softly. “I see you are not a fan either.”
“Very much no.”
Stiles is introduced to the twins over dinner. Ethan and Aidan. Aidan comes off as a bit of a dick, but Ethan tries to temper him. Boyd’s there for dinner and he doesn’t seem at all surprised to find Stiles at the table with him. Apparently Ennis and Kali—the dark-skinned woman who hadn’t introduced herself earlier—have been taking Boyd and Erica, respectively, under their wing and teaching them what being a werewolf is really about. Stiles wonders if he could get these guys to stick around long enough to give Isaac and Scott the same training course.
It’s a nice dinner, but Stiles can’t help but worry about how much his dad is going to freak out when Stiles isn’t home by midnight. At least it’s summer vacation, so he doesn’t have to worry about missing school. He wonders how many days it’s going to take before Scott even knows he’s gone. There’s a chance that his no-show at the school this morning would have pinged Scott’s radar but Isaac was also going so there’s a strong chance that Scott didn’t even realize Stiles had skipped.
Would Derek help look for him? Would Peter?
He didn’t have to wait long for that answer. They were just finishing up when the front door burst open. Deucalion was the first one up, grabbing Stiles by the arm and pulling Stiles behind Deucalion to avoid the flying wood. A loud growl sounded from near the door. It seemed familiar though Stiles had no idea which of the many werewolves he’s associated with it might belong to.
Deucalion turns and Stiles uses the moment to peek around Deucalion’s shoulder. He blinks, stares, and then steps away from Deucalion. “Peter?”
Peter’s blue eyes lock onto Stiles and for a moment it feels like something electric runs from Peter to Stiles. The Alpha Pack step to the side, pulling Erica and Boyd with them, leaving the way clear for Peter to bee-line straight for Stiles. Stiles isn’t sure what he expected—certainly not for anyone to find him this fast—but he definitely is not expecting Peter to pull him into a tight hug and shove his face against Stiles’s neck.
It’s everything Stiles wants and doesn’t want at the same time. He’s not sure whether to lean into the embrace or push Peter away. The choice is taken away from him as three more sets of footsteps come pounding down the hall. Peter pulls away to growl again, this time directly at Deucalion. Stiles glances at Scott, Isaac, and Derek as they pile through the doorway before turning his attention back to Deucalion.
“That was faster than we anticipated,” Deucalion says, his face stretched into a wide grin.
Derek seems poleaxed, staring first at his missing betas and then his missing sister. Scott and Isaac both look confused.
“You took him,” Peter spits, the words coming out sharper around his fangs.
Deucalion leans against the chair he’d previously been sitting in, seeming for the moment relaxed and confident. “You didn’t appear concerned before.”
Peter’s hands clench and Stiles winces as he sees blood drop to the floor, no doubt from Peter’s claws digging into his palms. “I didn’t know.” The last word comes out like a pained whine. Stiles puts a hand on Peter’s back without thinking about his, his first instinct being to comfort in any small way he can.
Deucalion hums. Stiles isn’t sure whether that’s a sound of thoughtfulness or agreement. “And the others? Did they bring you or did you bring them?”
Derek choses that moment to speak up. “No one brought anyone. You kidnapped Stiles. Did you really think we wouldn’t want him back?”
Kali’s smile is sharp as she leans over the back of a chair. “But not Erica and Boyd? Not Cora?”
Derek looks like someone stabbed him. “They left. I…” His voice drops to a low whisper. “I didn’t know.”
Scott, bless him, raises a hand.
Deucalion turns and Stiles really wants to know how he does that. Is it a sound thing or a cue from the other Alphas? “Yes, Mr. McCall?”
“Not to be rude, but what’s going on?”
“A test,” Deucalion says, each word precisely clipped. “A test that young Derek has failed and you and Peter have passed.” Deucalion takes off his sunglasses and both Isaac and Scott startle. Stiles’s hand grips the back of Peter’s henley. Deucalion’s eyes are blood red. “Do you know who we are, Derek?”
“The Alpha Pack,” Derek says. “You left your symbol on my door.”
Kali snorts. “Perhaps you shouldn’t squat in ruins.”
Isaac opens his mouth to say something but Derek’s hand snaps out to grip Isaac’s arm tight in warning. “Why are you here?” Derek grits out.
Deucalion steps past Peter and walks up to stand toe-to-toe with Derek. “Because you are not worthy.”
Before anyone can react, Deucalion’s claws lash out, piercing deep into the back of Derek’s neck. Derek gives a startled cry and fall to his knees. Erica and Boyd start forward, looks of horror on their faces, but Kali and Ennis hold them back. Ethan and Aidan successfully block Scott and Isaac. Peter doesn’t even flinch. Then Deucalion steps away, his claws wet with blood and a satisfied smirk on his face.
Where Derek looks back up, his eyes glow blue.
“Now, the question remains who holds claim to Beacon Hills.” Deucalion looks at Scott, who doesn’t strain against the hold Aidan has on his arm. “The child with True Alpha potential…” His red eyes turn to Peter and Stiles. “…or the Hale with something to protect.”
“What?” Scott asks, but Stiles shakes his head. He doesn’t know what a True Alpha is, but now is not the time for questions.
Deucalion moves to stand in front of Peter. “I’ve always thought Beacon Hills did best with a Hale watching over it. Do you accept, Peter Hale?”
Peter hesitates. That alone is cause for concern. Then he turns, staring at Stiles with troubled eyes.
“Could you protect instead of harm this time?” Deucalion asks. “Could you keep your child safe?”
Peter’s knuckles brush against Stiles’s cheek. It feels like a promise. “Not just my child,” Peter says, his eyes holding Stiles’s gaze. Then Peter turns and kneels, baring the back of his neck.
Once more, Deucalion’s claws pierce flesh. Peter shivers and gasps and when it’s all done, his eyes are red but there’s no hint of madness there like the first time around.
“Did you just…” Isaac points between Derek and Peter.
Derek’s rubbing the back of his neck but he makes no move to intervene. “It’s a ritual. The Alpha Pack polices Alphas. Determines who’s worthy.”
“Wait, what?” Scott jerks his arm out of Aidan’s loose grip. “Then where were-“
Stiles waves him off. “Already covered. Fill you in later.”
Scott stares at Stiles. “Child?”
Stiles flushes. “Can we cover that later too?”
Peter turns to face Stiles, his eyes still red. “I’d rather not.”
“You all have questions,” Deucalion says. “Sit. We can discuss this like civilized adults.” Deucalion moves to resume his seat at head of the table. “Kali, would you clear the table, please? Ennis, tea?”
Peter pulls Stiles down into a chair with him, his arms wrapping around Stiles’s waist and trapping him on Peter’s lap. Isaac and Scott’s eyes go wide. Derek gags. Cora chuckles. Ethan, Aidan, Erica, and Boyd wander off to watch TV.
“So…” Stiles says. “This happened.” He waves a hand between him and Peter. “And now I’m pregnant.”
Scott and Isaac sound a lot like Erica did earlier in the day. Derek frowns but the look on his face says he knew, somehow. Probably smelled it the same way Peter had, likely when they’d gone looking for Stiles.
The group has questions. Deucalion answers as best he can while sipping at his tea like a true Brit. Stiles can feel questions burning inside of him and he can’t keep himself from pitching his voice low, knowing the werewolves can still hear him but feeling the need for at least a show of privacy as he asks Peter “Does this mean… are we… together?”
Peter’s eyes flash red again and he looks at Stiles like he did during their night together, like he wanted to eat Stiles alive. “If you’ll have me.”
It’s another question that Stiles doesn’t need to think about the answer for. “Yeah. Yeah, I think I will.”