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Being a Better Alpha Takes Work

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Everyone else was dealing with their own issues after Peter killed Kate. Stiles knew that Derek needed someone even though he would never admit it.  He knew that Derek no longer cared for the woman but he also knew that it brought back all of the memories of losing his family.  The loft door was surprisingly open when he walked up to it.  Derek was standing at his window looking out over their very small town when he walked in.

He knocked even though he knew Derek’s wolfy senses knew he was there. “Just came to check on you.”  He said from the doorway. 

Derek’s posture radiated sadness and pain. “’M fine Stiles.”

Derek couldn’t see the young man nod as he took a tentative step into the loft. “You going to throw a couch at me if I come in?”  Stiles tried to make it sound playful but he knew it didn’t.

Derek’s left shoulder popped up slightly in a shrug. “Sounds like you’re already in here.  And I like my couch too much to ruin it.”

Stiles closed the heavy door and walked over to Derek’s sofa with a pizza box and a bag of Chinese food. “I know you could probably go out and catch a deer or whatever but I thought I’d…that maybe you’d…I brought food.  You need to eat.”

Derek stayed where he was for a moment longer looking out the window. He thought of his family and how a night like this would’ve had them running the preserve together.  He thought of how Kate Argent and his stupidity took all of that away.

He sighed as he sniffed the air, Stiles had brought his favorite food even though he’d never tell him it was. “You didn’t have to do that.  I’m sure you and the rest of the pack have things you’d rather be doing.”

There was no other place he’d rather be than with their Alpha. “Everyone is doing what they need to do after this mess.  I already talked to my dad.”  The and now I’m doing what else I need to do part was implied, he hoped.

Derek finally turned around to look at the young man waiting by his sofa. “And this is what you need to do?  Bring me pizza?”  He saw the bag too.  “And Chinese food?”  He raised an eyebrow.

Stiles shrugged as he grabbed plates and napkins out of the bag. “I’m not good for much else.”  He waved his hand around.  “You know, being a lowly human and all.”

He heard a distinctive growl coming from Derek’s direction. “Don’t do that Stiles.”  He also heard the man, their pack leader, make his way to the kitchen.  “I hate when you put yourself down like that.  You have done a hell of a lot for the pack.  Your brain….”

Stiles scoffed as he stuffed his mouth with the end of a slice and talked around it. “Yeah.  I know.  It’s weird and…”  He flapped his hand again.  “I drive everyone crazy with all of my questions.”

Derek grabbed his hand. “Stiles stop.”  He kept Stiles’ hand in his as he said.  “Your brain is amazing.  All these years of watching your dad.  You have an incredibly investigative mind.”

Stiles blushed as he pulled free and looked at Derek like he’d never seen him before. “Ok Sourwolf.”  He laughed nervously.  “Eat, drink, I’ll be merry-ish and you’ll watch Breaking Bad with me.”

Derek had never understood Stiles’ affinity for the show but he needed a distraction so he agreed. He wandered over to his TV and set everything up before passing Stiles the remote.  “Whatever you want.”  He went to the kitchen and got drinks for them.  “Why are you really here Stiles?”

Stiles broke out of his Netflix distraction and looked over to Derek as he walked back in. “Someone needs to look after you.”  He nodded towards the pizza and said. “Now hush and eat.”

Derek couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped. “Thank you.”

They sat in silence for a while watching a few episodes of Breaking Bad. Stiles got up in between episodes to refill their drinks and to throw away the box after they polished off the pizza.  After a few hours he says quietly.  “I guess I’ll head out now.”

Derek wasn’t ready to be alone just yet. “You don’t have to.”  He said then nervously followed it up with.  “I mean…if you want…to stay…you can.”

“Yeah sure.” Stiles smiled a little on the inside.  “Sure.  I can stay.”  He got comfortable on the sofa again and started up another show. 

Derek moved a little closer when Stiles sat back down. “Thank you.”

Stiles found a movie they both could agree on. “No problem.  I’d say that’s what friends do for each other but I know you don’t like me very much so…”

“That’s not true you know?” Derek said quietly.

Stiles was sure he didn’t hear correctly. “What?”

Derek sighed and rolled his eyes. “You heard me Stiles.”

The young man hid his smile.   “You’re not too bad either Der.”

 They watched movie after movie, only breaking the silence when discussing the best or worst parts.  Derek’s sofa was big enough for both of them to stretch out on, their legs overlapping a little. 

“Are you going to stay around?” Stiles asked quietly from his end.

Derek had a fleeting thought of leaving Beacon Hills but it was home and he was needed. “I’m the Alpha now.  I can’t really leave.  Besides, this is my home.”

Stiles nodded as he listened. “That’s good.”  He was quiet for a few seconds.  “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Derek said as he raised his head so he could see Stiles.

He knew he was taking a chance of ruining the peacefulness they’d been basking in the last few hours but he was curious. “What was your family like?”

Derek hadn’t been expecting that. He settled back in his spot.  “My mom was…she was an Alpha, my dad was a Beta.  Most people would probably think it would be the other way around.  Dad was bitten not born.  My sister Laura was the oldest then me.   She was the next Alpha in line.  The house was always full of family.  My younger sisters Cora, Ellie, and Rebecca and then my younger brothers Elijah and Cole.  Peter had a wife, she was a Beta and she was pregnant.  We lost humans and weres.”

Stiles didn’t say anything about the hitch in Derek’s voice as he talked. “I’m so sorry Derek.”  He squeezed his leg.

“’S ok.” He said quietly.  “What was your mom like?”

Stiles’ heart seized for a few seconds as he thought about her. “I don’t really remember much about her.  I was only 10.”  He swallowed hard as he thought of what else to say.  “I get flashes of her from time to time in my dreams.”

Derek could only imagine what it must feel like. He had many memories of his mother and it made his chest feel hollow when he thought about her and the others.  “I’m sorry Stiles.  I can’t even imagine.”

Stiles wiped his eyes and turned back to the TV. “Do you want to watch another movie?”

“Sure.” Derek turned back over and Stiles found a good horror movie for them to watch.

Both men fell asleep and for each it was the best sleep they’d had in weeks. Derek woke before Stiles so he started a pot of coffee before taking a shower.  When he came out Stiles was sitting up on the sofa and he looked slightly stressed. 

“I’m sorry.” He jumped up and tripped over his own feet as he tried to move away from the sofa.

Lucky for him Derek was fast and made it the few feet catching him before he crashed. “Hey!”  He righted him.  “Are you ok?”

Stiles was mentally freaking out and flailing a little. “Umm.  Uhh….yeah.  I’m sorry I fell asleep.”

Derek smiled a little. “It’s ok. That was kind of the plan remember?”

Stiles gave himself a few seconds to get his brain back on line then nodded. “Yeah.”  He laughed at himself.  “I just…”

Derek squeezed his shoulder. “It’s ok Stiles.”  He tried to smile reassuringly.  “It was a rough night.”  Stiles nodded in agreement.  “You wanna go get some breakfast?  I apparently don’t have any real food.”

Even after hanging out with Derek all night and into the next day he was surprised at the invitation. Happy but surprised.  “Sure.  If you want.”

“Great.” Derek clapped him gently on the back.  “Let’s go.”

Twenty minutes later they were in a booth in the back of Stiles’ favorite diner, they had the best curly fries in Beacon Hills. Their waitress had been by to take their order and now they were just waiting.  Stiles sipping on his Coke and Derek drinking orange soda of all things.

Stiles scoffed and chewed on his straw as he said. “I can’t believe you’re drinking that stuff.”

“I don’t usually.” He took a small sip and wiped his hands nervously, which surprised Stiles.  “Have any plans for today?”

Stiles wobbled his head back and forth as he drained his glass. “I guess I’ll go check on Scott and my dad.  Maybe Lydia too.  She acts tough but all of this supernatural stuff is freaking her out a little.”

Derek nodded as he listened. “You have a thing for her too so that would give you an excuse to go see her.”

Stiles blushed as he nearly fell out of the booth looking around for their server. “I…uhh..what?  No I don’t.”

Derek reached out and kept Stiles from falling again. “How the hell are you still alive?”

Stiles pulled away and blushed. “I manage.”

“I’m sorry.” He gripped his glass with both hands.  “You do great Stiles.”  He could smell the embarrassment coming from the young man across from him.  “We couldn’t solve a lot of the things we face if it weren’t for you.”  Stiles started to argue but Derek cut him off.  “I mean it.  So shut up and take the compliment.”

“Well since you put it so nicely.” Stiles said sarcastically as their server dropped off their food and his refill of Coke.  “And I no longer have a thing for Lydia.”  He rolled his eyes at Derek’s skeptical look.  “I don’t.  I’ve known her since we were 4 even though she had no idea who I was until this last year.”  He waved one of his fries around as he continued to talk, almost like Derek wasn’t even there.  “Besides she’s out of my league.”

Derek almost choked on his burger. “What the hell does that mean?”

Stiles looked up confused. “Which part?”

“That she’s out of your league.” Derek said as he practically threw his burger down.  “I told you I don’t like it when you say stuff like that.”

 He shrunk back a little as he shrugged.  “But it’s true.  I mean, you have seen Lydia right?”

 Derek let out a very frustrated growl.  “Yes Stiles.  I have seen her and you know what?”  Stiles shrugged.  “She’s nothing special.  Sure, she’s pretty but you…you’re a smart, funny, slightly spastic but good looking guy Stiles and anyone…”  They both noticed but neither commented on the fact that he didn’t say a gender.  “…would be lucky to be you.”

Stiles couldn’t do anything but stare at the usually emotionally constipated werewolf across from him. “Did you just compliment me?”  Derek rolled his eyes and dove back into his burger.  “You did!”  Stiles said it so loudly that half of the diner turned to look at them.  He blushed but didn’t care, Derek freaking Hale gave him a compliment.

“Shut up.” Derek rumbled as he covered his embarrassment with a mouthful of food.  After a few minutes passed Derek said.  “So if it’s not Lydia is there someone else?”  

“What’s going on with you dude? Since when have you ever cared about what’s going on with any of us?”  He tried to keep his voice steady but failed a little.

Derek sighed and shrugged. “I’m trying to be a better Alpha.”  He leaned on the table and looked out the window.  “I was never good with words or feelings.”  Stiles scoffed and Derek glared.  Stiles felt bad so he motioned for him to continue.  “After what happened with Kate and my family I decided it would be easier to just never let anyone in.”  He looked back to Stiles with sincerity in his eyes.  “I never hated you.  You’re just so full of energy and life that I didn’t know how to deal with you.”  He laughed a little.  “So tell me.”  Stiles looked confused.  “Is there someone else?”

Stiles swallowed around the lump in his throat. “Maybe.”  Derek raised an eyebrow.  “Ok yes but they’re also out of….”  Derek growled and Stiles stuttered.  “…very unavailable.”

Derek looked so far beyond frustrated. “Have you told her?”  When Stiles blushed Derek listened to his heart beat.  “Or him?”

Stiles blushed horribly at that question. “No.  I haven’t told him.”

“I didn’t know you were….bi.” Derek said carefully.

“Well because until very recently I’m pretty sure you hated me and you have been willing to rip my throat out…with your teeth.” Stiles said with a shiver.  “You’ve never asked nor did it seem like you cared.  I’ve never been shy about my sexuality.”

Derek nodded and pursed his lips. He could and would never admit how jealous he was of whoever had caught Stiles’ eye.  “You should tell him.  You never know what could happen.”  Stiles scoffed.  “Seriously.  You won’t know until you tell him.”

Stiles was so confused and flustered over everything that had happened the last 24 hours he just blurted out. “It’s you Sourwolf!”  He threw down his fries and jumped up.  “It’s you Derek.  Ok?”

Derek stared open mouth for several seconds. “Stiles…” 

Stiles scoffed as he yanked money out of his pocket, counted out enough to cover his meal and a tip. “I told you.”  He threw the money on the table.  “I gotta go.  I’m sorry I….”  He waved his hand around.  “I’m just sorry.”

He was out the door and screeching out of the parking lot before it really hit Derek. “Oh god.”  He said quietly to himself.  “Stiles.”  He threw money down to cover his food and ran out the door.

Stiles called his dad to see if he was free for a visit. He was at the gun range so Stiles drove over there to join him.  His dad knew immediately that something was wrong.  “You ok son?”

There was no way he was going to tell his father what he’d said to Derek so he lied. “Yeah Pop.  I just had breakfast and I think I ate too much.”  He watched his father hit the mark on the target.  “Looks like you’re still a perfect shot.”

His dad chuckled as he reloaded. “You weren’t really doubting that were you?”

Stiles laughed and shook his head. “No dad.  I wasn’t.”

The sheriff finished up and Stiles followed him to the station. They talked for a little while then Stiles went to Deaton’s to see Scott.  His best friend was still getting used to his wolfy powers but even he could smell something was wrong.  “Is your dad ok?”

Stiles looked absolutely confused at this question. “Yeah of course.  Why?”

Scott sniffed the air again and flapped his hand. “Because you…smell…like…like something is wrong.”

Stiles groaned. “Damn werewolves.”  He jumped up onto an exam table.  “I had breakfast with Derek this morning.”  Scott shrugged because he already knew about that.  “Who do you know that has absolutely zero control of their mouth?”  Scott raised an eyebrow and pointed at Stiles.  “Yeah so I kind of told Derek that I like him.”

Scott’s mouth fell open in shock. “You didn’t?”  Stiles swung his feet back and forth as he nodded.  “And what happened?”

“Are you kidding me Scott?” He screeched and some of the dogs in the back started barking.  “What the hell do you think happened?”

His best friend held his hands up in apology. “Sorry dude.  I’m guessing by your reaction that it didn’t go well.”

“You’re an idiot.” He said as looked up at the ceiling and blew out a breath.  “Derek fucking Hale is so far out of my league that he passes Lydia with smirk and a snarky remark on his way to his out of my league spot.”

Scott hated it when Stiles did this and has told him on more than one occasion. “Stiles.”

He cut his hand through the air. “I don’t want to hear it buddy.  I know what you’re going to say and you’re wrong.  Just plain wrong.  Now can we please talk about something besides me?”

Scott nodded and waved towards the back. “Sure man.  Want to help me with Mrs. Jenkins’s dog?  He’s not a fan of shots.”

“Sure.” Stiles would do pretty much anything to take his mind off of the utter embarrassment from that morning.

He hung around the clinic for a couple more hours before heading home and starting dinner for his dad. A couple of days passed before he saw Derek again.  He was leaving for school when he opened his front door and ran right into a brick wall otherwise known as Derek “Sourwolf” Hale.

“What are you doing here?” It came out a little angry and Stiles felt a little bad about it especially because of the look Derek had on his face.

He was taken aback by Stiles’ tone. Although he probably shouldn’t be considering what had happened at the diner.  “Good morning to you too.”

Stiles sighed as he hefted his backpack up onto his shoulder more. “Seriously Derek.  I’m on my way to school.”

“I umm…I…” Apparently he had reverted back to his inability to communicate.  “I just…I wanted to tell you that I was leaving.”  Stiles paled and swayed and Derek realized he’d said it wrong. 

Stiles did everything he could to keep from dropping to the ground. “Leaving?”  He swallowed hard.  “If this is about…”

Derek held his hand up. “No this isn’t about the other morning.  I’ll be back in a few days.”  He sighed when Stiles expression went from a death glare to confusion.  “We need to talk about the other morning.”

“Nope.” He shook his head so hard he was dizzy.  “No we don’t.”  He walked around Derek to his Jeep.  “I know my place Derek.  I won’t bother you anymore ok?  I get it.”  He climbed in the driver’s seat and started it up.  “Have a safe trip.”

Derek roared when Stiles left him standing in the driveway. He didn’t have time to chase after the very frustrating idiotic driver of the Jeep.  He had important business with a pack that his family had had an alliance with since before he was born.  It was time sensitive so he’d have to deal with Stiles when he got back.

Stiles watched Derek in his rearview as he drove away. He even jumped at the growl that shook his windows.  He was going to get over Derek Hale and move on.  He’d done it with Lydia so it shouldn’t be that hard.   At least that’s what he told himself about a hundred times a day.