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Satellite to Satellite

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Officially John Stilinski was on a mandatory twenty-four hour rest because he had been on shift since noon the day before, and it was approaching ten the next morning. He had only been scheduled to be on shift until midnight, which is when curfew was imposed for minors in light of the recent spate of murders. They had expected the night to have a few underage drinkers trying to prolong their fun after the dance, and each of the officers were going to take a drive by the known make-out points to catch anyone participating in public indecency. The night was not supposed to involve another animal attack and the disappearance of his son, which led to him embarking on a manhunt that lasted the entire night.

So he was on a mandatory rest, but this didn’t stop him from sitting outside in his car looking through the packet of papers Deputy Remy had handed him before he had left.

John liked Remy, and had since he had stopped Stiles from raising hell in the station by handing him a lock pick kit and telling him to go play. Not the most orthodox approach to be sure, but it had endeared Stiles to him and that was all that mattered in the end.

The packet contained the phone logs for Stiles and his little group: Scott, Allison, Lydia, Jackson, and Danny, hoping there would be something for them to find. But there was a problem. There was only one page for each phone, and most of those pages were empty of actual phone records. The only differences were Lydia’s, which showed she had called Allison at 4:30 pm yesterday, and Stiles', which had two calls to Danny (one at 1:00 pm and one at 6:45 pm) and one call from Scott (at 4:34 pm).

John rubbed the bridge of his nose, his tired mind trying to put everything together. The data made no sense – least of all in backing up Stiles’ story that Derek had called him – because... because there was no record of that. No record of much of anything, but even if they were all frantically deleting their phone records – Danny’s doing, no doubt – Stiles’ phone hadn’t been wiped in the last twenty four hours and yet still there was no trace of Derek which meant –

Well, if nothing else it meant that Stiles had lied to him. That didn’t sit well with John at all.

He folded up the papers and stuffed them in his jacket, not knowing how he was going to handle this. He climbed out of his car and headed to the door, letting out a huge breath as he threw open the front door, looking for signs that Stiles was home like he was supposed to be.

“Stiles, get your ass down here!” he called the moment he spotted Stiles’ shoes. His mind was racing, going over everything he needed to talk about. First: the lying. Second: the talk about Stiles not scaring the shit out of him. Third: Stiles’ need to call the cops when the situation called for it, which probably meant John would have to explain what situations counted as something the cops needed to be involved with.

Hint! If you feel the need to wipe your phone it’s probably something the cops should know about, John thought viciously.

It was going to be a long talk.

He went about putting on a pot of coffee, debating on making it Irish because he was exhausted and he was about to interrogate his son. It was too early for this.

The smell of coffee filled the kitchen and John took a deep breath. He wouldn’t add any alcohol to his coffee. Stiles probably had a completely reasonable excuse for his actions; after all, he was just a kid. A reckless kid who had a habit of making stupid decisions, but deep down he was good. He didn’t go out of his way to get in trouble, and there was probably a perfectly good explanation for what had happened last night. For why he did whatever it was he had done.

Now if only Stiles would come downstairs. John looked up the stairs, waiting for noise that indicated Stiles was coming, but there wasn’t any. He sighed. “Stiles! I am not in the mood for your dawdling!”

John heard laughing and then the door opening and closing. He didn’t know what was so funny and so he just grabbed a mug and filled it with some coffee, taking a large sip even though it burned.

“Hey, dad,” Stiles’ voice trailed off as he came down the stairs, stopping at the door of the kitchen.

John pointed to a chair at the table. “Take a seat.”

He watched as Stiles tensed and then forced himself to relax, face determined. “Okay.” John could feel Stiles watching him as he took a seat and John sat across from him. “What’s up?”

“I think we both know what’s up.” Stiles’ face stayed impassive, though John saw his fingers clench just a little. John took a deep breath and changed tactics. He wouldn’t start off with accusations. He would ease into the phone records, taking his time. “Stiles, do you remember the talk we had when you were eleven?”

Stiles looked taken back by the change in tune and that’s what John wanted. Stiles was smart, and he was hiding something. If John wanted to know what that something was he would have to play dirty to get to it. “We had a lot of talks, dad.”

“This one was specific. It was about civil responsibility, and what that meant.”

Stiles huffed. “Dad, I know I should have called you about Derek, but I was just so relieved to hear from him. I’d been driving myself mad—“

“You didn’t get a call from Derek,” he snapped.

He wanted to regret it, thinking he had shown his hand too soon, but Stiles just stared at him in shock, eyes looking frantically around, before John took pity on him and pulled out the phone logs.

“You pulled my phone records.”

“You were missing, Stiles. Of course I pulled your phone records. And Scott’s, and Danny’s, and Lydia’s, and Allison’s. Hell, I even pulled Jackson Whittemore’s phone records, just to try and find you. Great help that was, since every single one of you had your phone records wiped. And you want to know what’s funny about that?”

Stiles’ face was closed off and John hated it, he did, but this was too much. All his frustration was coming out in this moment and he couldn’t hold it back. His son had been missing for ten hours, and there hadn’t been a trace of him.

“What? When you pulled Derek’s phone it was the same.”

John resisted the urge to slam his fist on the table, trying to pull it back. “Exactly. Now tell me, Derek Hale didn’t call you last night, so how did you know where to find him?”

He was worried for a moment, now that it was out there, now that he had called Stiles on his lie, that he had pushed too far. There was always that possibility, and he definitely hadn’t played this the way he had wanted to initially. Whatever he was going to say to change tacks was stopped though by Derek Hale appearing in the doorway of the kitchen.

John almost knocked over his coffee as Stiles turned around slowly, face looking a mix of relieved and annoyed.

“What the hell is he doing here?” John asked.

Stiles winced. “I invited him over?”

John was sure his face didn’t look impressed. “Why?”

“Because he just got out of being kidnapped by a crazy lady and I figured he shouldn’t be alone? Because his apartment was ransacked by the police and I didn’t think he’d want to see that?” Stiles asked, but John wasn’t really paying attention to him. Not when Derek Hale, who had been missing for two weeks, was taking a step into the kitchen, and then sitting down at the table with them.

“Stiles is lying to protect me. I wanted to come and tell him it’s okay to tell you.” Derek gave Stiles a look, and John watched as Stiles returned it with one of disbelief.

John stared at them before Stiles finally let out a loud huff and shifted in his seat, returning his gaze to John. He didn’t speak for a moment, and John had to stop himself from making a go on gesture.

“I knew he was there,” Stiles said, posture changing suddenly, and it could only be Derek that gave him that confidence. “I’d known for a few days.”

John nodded, because that much had been obvious. “Why didn’t you go to the police?”

“Because the reason Kate Argent had me locked up wasn’t something the police could deal with,” Derek said. He looked uncomfortable, and John could only begin to imagine what Derek was involved with.

“You both are aware that the police exist specifically to deal with things that you don’t think they can deal with? The mob? We deal with that. Terrorists? We deal with that. Drug dealing? We deal with that. Am I going to have to make a flowchart for you? One of those ‘does it look like something is dangerous, yes or no’ type of things. Because I will. Trust me, I’ve thought about. And all the answers will lead to call me, because the police deal with it.”

Derek and Stiles both shifted in their seats and John watched them exchange looks again. He had known they hung out, but now he was wondering if their friendship ran deeper than he had imagined. These were the sort of looks that Stiles would exchange with Scott when they were younger. It was at that level of silent communication.

Stiles finally spoke. “You can’t tell anyone, dad.”

“I’ll make the decision on that,” John said.

Stiles sighed, but it was Derek who spoke. “Kate attacked me because,” he laughed, as if he couldn’t believe he was going to say this, “because I’m a werewolf and she’s a werewolf hunter.”

John blinked. Once. Twice, and then a third time, slowly, just for effect. “What?”

Derek huffed. “I’m a werewolf. Most of my family was. The Argents are werewolf hunters. All the attacks that have been happening in the past couple months, those were all werewolf related.” John raised an eyebrow and Derek continued quickly, probably guessing where his mind was going. “Not me. A different werewolf. Don’t worry, we took care of him.”

John looked at Stiles. “You knew this?”

Stiles fidgeted for a moment and then nodded. “And that’s not all. I’m also a werewolf.”

“You’re not a werewolf, Stiles,” John said.

Stiles looked personally offended. “I totally am! I am a vicious creature of the night!”

“Not dressed like that you aren’t,” John said, pointing at the pajamas Stiles was wearing. He then looked at Derek. “Now Derek, him I could believe. If werewolves were real.”

And just as he finished that statement Stiles’ face had twisted into something awful, reminiscent of something off of that supernatural show Stiles and his mother used to watch together. Except if memory served those things had been vampires, and Stiles had said he was a werewolf.

“You,” he started and then Derek’s face had shifted as well.

John’s chaired squeaked as it scraped against the floor when he pushed it back, getting up to add some Bailey's to his coffee. “This isn’t real,” he muttered.

When he turned back around he could almost believe it had all been a joke because Stiles and Derek’s faces were back to normal. But from the tense posture of both of them he knew it wasn’t that way.

John sat back down heavily, putting his coffee down. “This is real.” Stiles nodded slowly, sharing a look with Derek. “You two, werewolves are real?”

“We are, but we don't – a lot of the lore is wrong. Like I said, my family were werewolves, going back generations, but not everyone was actually a wolf. Instead of biting everyone, we can pass it on genetically, but it ends up being like brown eyes. Some people get the gene, and it’s the dominant gene, but not everyone gets it. Sometimes someone can be blue eyed or green eyed. That’s not in the lore,” Derek said.

“I’m going to be honest with you, Derek, I don’t know a lot about mythology. That was always...” he trailed off for a moment, before collecting himself. “That was always something I wasn’t interested in.”

Derek shrugged. “The point is, werewolves aren’t what movies make us out to be. We aren’t blood thirsty creatures, and we can blend in well. My family lived in Beacon Hills for years and no one ever knew.”

“Someone found out though,” John said, putting it together quickly. “The Argents?”

Derek paused, but then nodded. “Kate. It was just her. She didn’t light the fuse, but…” he trailed off.

John rubbed his chin. “No, it was two of the guys who died in the animal – the werewolf attacks. Another werewolf.”

“My uncle,” Derek said.

John looked at Stiles. “Explain it all to me, from the beginning.”

Stiles took a deep breath and then launched into his story. He and Derek told it together, filling in when the other one would drop off. It started before Christmas, and while Stiles didn’t give the exact day he had been bit John could suss it out. He remembered Melissa telling him about how Scott had gotten lost the night they had found Laura’s body, and he hadn’t thought anything of it at the time, but now - well, it was the only time that made sense. Stiles out in the woods, not by himself initially, but eventually getting separated, and then attacked.

The two of them didn’t mention all the murders that had happened - and they were all murders, not animal attacks - and John knew from Stiles’ shifty eyes that it was intentional, that there was more to the story than what they were saying. He wondered what else he was missing, what he hadn’t been able to put together yet.

He knew Derek’s history with the Argents was deeper than he mentioned, and John’s mind kept replaying the lie Derek had fed them at the hospital. Involved he had said, but it hadn’t been the same way he said that she had burned his house down. It was easy to connect the dots when he thought about it. Derek was only sixteen, Kate Argent in her early twenties. He was the logical target if you wanted to get an in.

The two of them didn’t need to say everything explicitly, and John knew they weren’t, because he could connect the dots. He had enough for now. More than enough. He was almost overwhelmed, especially when Stiles caught up to last night, and how “the Alpha took over, he just ravaged everything, killed Kate Argent, killed the other hunters, and if we hadn’t - if Derek hadn’t...,” Stiles trailed off, tucking in on himself.

John rubbed his face in frustration because that was something messy he didn’t want to think about. “So let me get this straight. The Cliffnotes version: Stiles was bit by your uncle, a werewolf, after he killed your sister for her alpha powers.” John made sure to air quote that part. “But he’s dead now, and so you have the-“ he made a hand gesture – “magic powers. And there are werewolf hunters who want you dead.”

“But we have an alliance with them now,” Stiles said helpfully.

“Of course,” John said, “an alliance. But before that you didn’t, and so one of these hunters kidnapped Derek with the intention of killing him. So Stiles joined up with your uncle to rescue you.”

“And when Stiles and my uncle rescued me, my uncle killed Kate,” Derek said, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Yeah, there’s also that. But even though that happened the other hunters still approved an alliance? Is this a thing that normally happens?”

“As long as we don’t go around turning everyone, or killing people,” Derek said.

“Are you going to turn anyone else?” John asked.

“We have to,” Stiles said. “At least two more if Lydia doesn’t heal. The pack needs three other werewolves besides Derek. Derek has me, but I’m not enough.”

“So, what? Your other friends?”

Derek shook his head. “Allison and Danny already rejected my offer.”

“What about Scott and Jackson?”

Stiles laughed. “Can you imagine either of them as a werewolf? We’re building our pack to be strong. We want it to last. Scott doesn’t want to be a werewolf; he likes his humanity. And Jackson’s not pack.”

“So you’ll just take someone new in?”

“We’re going to choose carefully,” Derek said.

“And the hunters, the Argents? They are okay with this?”

Derek shrugged. “It was part of our agreement. We need to build a pack. Chris understood, and accepted the terms.”

“Okay,” John said, finally taking a drink of his coffee. There was too much Bailey's in it, and he had to stop himself from coughing it back up.

They fell into a lull. John could see Stiles fidgeting across from him and that was always a sign that he wanted to say something. He had found it was better to let people come to you with their thoughts, and it was obvious Stiles was having some.

John was proven right when Stiles leaned forward, hands clasped in front of him. “So am I not grounded anymore?” John quirked an eyebrow, waiting for an explanation. “It’s just, I wanted to go see Lydia. Later today. I kinda told Allison and Scott I would take over for them at noon.”

“Take over?” John asked. “What, are you keeping watch on her? Stiles, we have a police detail on her, and her parents have been called in.”

Derek shook his head. “The pack needs to keep an eye on her. Just in case she heals, and just in case...” he trailed off but John heard the unspoken worry.

He heaved a sigh. “Don’t get in the officers' way, but I guess if it’s some pack thing.” Stiles lit up and John couldn’t believe this was his life now. His son was a werewolf. The guy who he had hoped was going to be a positive influence on his son was another werewolf.

Beyond all of that there was danger that he couldn’t protect his son from. Hunters, other werewolves, the options were endless at this point. If werewolves were real, anything could be. John looked at Stiles again, and gave him a faint smile. “I’m going out. I’m sure you’re both house broken enough not to mark your territory.”

“Ew, dad,” Stiles said even as Derek snorted.

John still needed time to process all of this, but it didn’t stop him from heading outside, getting into his car and driving to the Argent house. Mandatory rest was stupid anyway.

***

The doorbell rang just as Victoria was serving pancakes to the gathered hunters. Chris was working out how to explain that a new Alpha meant new rules, and welcomed the chance to get away from the oppressive feeling of the kitchen. The others didn’t know what had happened; they hadn’t even broken the news about Kate yet. They had agreed not to until her body was found.

He stood up and headed to the door, opening it with a cordial smile on his face, prepared for a range of people, from his neighbor who liked to trade recipes with Victoria, to Melissa McCall looking for her son. He was even prepared for the police, though it still surprised him when he came face to face with the sheriff, John Stilinski. Stiles’ father, his mind reminded him.

They had only met face to face once, the night after the kids were attacked at the school, and it hit him then that so much more must have gone on that night than he had been expecting. The Alpha had definitely been there, and Allison had probably seen him. It hit him like a punch in the gut to be reminded of it, and he tried to keep the smile on his face. “Yes?”

“Mr. Argent?” John smiled tiredly as he flipped his badge. “I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“Anything for Beacon Hills' boys in blue,” Chris said, trying to seem relaxed.

John smiled briefly, looking down at himself. “Boys in tan seems to be more accurate.”

“You’re absolutely right,” Chris allowed. “But still, what can I do for you?”

John glanced over Chris’ shoulder. “Could you step outside? So we can speak in private?”

He looked at John, really looked at him. He was exhausted, that much was obvious. He had probably been up since yesterday, but it was more than that. John was here on a mission it seemed, and Chris had to wonder what it was. He nodded and stepped onto the porch, shutting the door behind him. He turned back to John, raising his eyebrows expectantly. He wasn’t going to repeat himself.

“Let me cut the crap,” John said simply, voice dropping. “Your life mission is hunting werewolves. My son is a werewolf. Now according to him, you and Derek and him have a deal, but I just want you to know that if you lay a finger on him – or Hale – or any of their pack, I will personally make sure that at minimum a hard drive worth of child pornography will be found on your computer. And-“

Chris glared, cutting John off. “Are you threatening me?” He was thrown off guard. Of all the things he was expecting, someone – the sheriff especially – coming out swinging about werewolves was not it. Obviously he had been told, and Chris almost had to admire Stiles for making that move.

“No, I’m just telling you the truth.”

“I honor my bargains, Sheriff,” Chris said, because he did. He was keeping his mouth shut about Stiles, hadn’t even told Victoria yet that there was another beta. “I can’t make promises for any other hunters though.”

“Well, you better figure out a way,” John said. “You hunt monsters, and that’s fine. I can even respect that, I guess, but my son and Hale aren’t that. They have done nothing but survive.”

Chris bit his tongue, because it would be so easy to ruin everything, to let it slip, your son is a murderer. He is one of those monsters. He and Hale killed people in cold blood last night, and they had human teenagers help. But he didn’t. He understood John and his motives, could see them plainly. John was a father – a fiercely protective father who was only looking out for his son. Even if he might think his own son was a monster as well, Chris could see that it didn’t matter. John had chosen Stiles’ side, as he should.

Chris nodded sharply. “I’ll see what I can do.”

John made a sound of agreement, and Chris started speaking again. “Kate is buried about 200 yards east of the Hale house.” John looked up in surprise. “It would be best you let her body rot for a while. Her death is going to cause – issues within the community.”

There, that was his olive branch.

“Derek says he was found out by route 32. So we have no reason to search by the Hale house. And I’ll tell them to keep their heads down.” John gave him a faint smile, accepting the olive branch.

Chris snorted. “They’re surprisingly good at that.”

John shrugged. “Derek did just escape from being a prisoner of one of your hunters. Obviously he wasn’t that good.”

Chris couldn’t stop himself from wincing. John said it so plainly, but Chris could still detect the anger. “Kate is an outlier. Not the norm at all.”

“But there will be backlash,” John said.

Chris couldn’t argue it. “Derek is a known werewolf to us now. Soon the others will figure out Stiles is as well, especially when they start building their pack. Packs are easy to spot, once you know werewolf dynamics.”

“We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. But as long as they don’t do anything you keep to yourselves. Are we clear?” John shifted as Chris reached for the door handle, adopting the serious stance he’d been in when Chris had opened the door.

“Crystal, Sheriff,” Chris said, giving him a strained smile.

“If we find anything else out about your sister, you’ll be the first to find out. Thank you for your time, and have a wonderful day,” John said, holding out his hand.

Chris took it, since that was all he could do. “Thank you. You, too.”

John walked away, back to his car, and Chris watched him go. He stepped back inside and immediately saw Victoria standing by the door leading to the kitchen, looking concerned.

“The police are looking for Kate.”

Victoria’s eyes went wide. “Already?”

“It seems like they got to Derek. She’s a suspect because they had a history or something.”

“What did you tell them?”

Chris shrugged. “Told them I hadn’t seen her since last night, when she left for the party.”

“This is bad,” Victoria said, face tense.

“It is, but we should wait it out. See when they find her body.” He grabbed her shoulder, trying to comfort her. “For now all we can do is wait.”

Victoria nodded. “Agreed. Once Gerard gets here, he’ll know what to do.”

Chris winced, knowing that wouldn’t be the best idea, but he didn’t know how to say it. So he kept his mouth shut. Already he was lying for the pack, but he had a reason. There were repercussions if he didn’t. He had to do what he could to keep his family safe.

***

The hospital was still bustling with activity when Stiles walked in at 11:30 He had taken time to shower and have a quickie with Derek after his dad had left. It was good to relax before his shift at the hospital. His plan had been to bring Derek along, but he understood Derek when he said it wouldn’t be a good idea. Lie low, that was the objective.

Scott was asleep on Allison’s shoulder, dead to the world even as the cops on duty gave their lunch orders to the rookie, Deputy Benson. Allison looked up when Stiles dropped into the seat next to her, handing her a cup of tea. She smiled in thanks, and rested her head against his shoulder.

“Any changes?” Stiles asked as he watched the officers disperse on a shift change.

Allison shook her head. Stiles had already guessed there weren’t, but it didn’t hurt asking. “Her parents got here about an hour ago. Took them a grand total of fifteen minutes to get into a fight,” Allison sighed. “Her mom left.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Stiles said. “We’re here.”

“Yeah, well, we can’t make medical decisions for her. So it does matter that her parents are fighting.”

Stiles wrapped his free arm around Allison. It was nice that she didn’t freeze, didn’t seem to be second guessing him, or the pack. “As long as they have her best interests in mind that’s all that matters. Now, I’m here to relieve you guys.”

Allison smiled faintly up at him. “Scott’s mom gets off at noon. She’s driving us home. I’ll probably be back after I sleep.”

“Danny and Jackson are coming back at 8.” Stiles pulled her closer, careful not to jostle Scott too much, so he could chew on his thumbnail.

Allison smacked his chest weakly. “That’s gross,” she muttered. “So what are we going to do about overnight shifts? Is Derek going to take those?”

Stiles shrugged. “Derek and me probably. And he’ll watch her during the day when he have to go back to school.”

Allison groaned. “Don’t remind me. But, uh, we should at least take turns on overnights, cause what are you gonna tell your dad?”

Stiles made a face, guilty. Derek and he had been so strict about the secret keeping, and of course they were the first ones to spill the beans. Allison’s dad didn’t count, since he already knew about werewolves. “Well, he already knows this is kinda pack business.”

Allison shot up, and Stiles winced as he heard Scott topple over. Allison grimaced, slowly turning to look at Scott, who was blinking sleepily on the floor, holding his head. Stiles touched his own forehead in sympathy.

“Sorry, babe,” Allison said.

Scott opened his eyes slowly. “No problem. You know me, I love being on the floor.” He stood up with the help of Stiles and Allison and settled back into his seat. “So do I get to find out why I was tossed on the ground or are you guys not gonna tell me about the kiss you just shared?” He smiled self-deprecatingly, and Stiles couldn’t keep the return smile off of his face.

“No worries on that front, buddy.”

Allison laughed. “Yeah, you’re a much better kisser.” She kissed him on the cheek, causing Scott to beam.

Stiles didn’t bother to argue, figuring it was pointless to try and distract them from what he had said, when he knew he couldn’t avoid the rest of the pack knowing about his dad. He cleared his throat, stopping Allison from cuddling up to Scott. Allison’s expression cleared and she went from smiling to frowning, waiting for him to confirm what she had inferred. Stiles coughed, looking around to make sure no one was paying attention to them, and then spoke quickly, ripping it off like a band-aid. “I told my dad I was a werewolf.”

Scott’s eyes went wide, and then he moved, switching seats so he was on the other side of Stiles. “Holy shit! Did he ground you?”

The worst part was he looked so earnest, like he truly believed that was the worst that could happen with that kind of confession, that Stiles couldn’t even make fun of it. A glance at Allison showed that she couldn’t either, and so instead Stiles let out a big breath and shook his head. “No. He uh, he didn’t believe me at first, but he does now, so that’s something? We have the police on our side at least.”

“You think it will give us leverage against the hunters?” Allison asked. “Cause if so I will rub it in my dad’s face the moment I get home.”

Stiles knew she would, too. He smiled, wrapping one arm around her shoulder, burying his face in her hair. This was pack and he could, after all. “I don’t know. I doubt he’ll defend us if we do anything first-“

Scott cut him off. “But you don’t plan on doing anything first! Do you?” He sounded unsure, and when Stiles looked at him he couldn’t help but wrap his other arm around Scott, so he had two members of his pack near him.

“No, we don’t, but it depends on how the law sees us. For now let’s not mention it to your dad, Allison. We’ll cross that bridge if he pushes it.”

“It’ll be our trump card,” Scott supplied helpfully.

Stiles grinned and switched from Allison to Scott, breathing in his scent as well. They were all starting to smell the same, and Stiles was looking forward to the time when they formed one cohesive pack scent.

“I’m glad your dad took it well,” Scott said, hugging Stiles back.

“Me, too,” Stiles said. He felt both of them relax against him, and he leaned back, letting the feeling of pack wash over him. He knew they would be expanding soon, and once he got back to school he would be on the hunt. The list he had made was only the start, and he was going to pick the best pack possible if he had his say.

They stayed like that, Scott and Allison drifting off to sleep curled up against him until Melissa McCall came up to them, putting on her coat. She looked fondly at the three of them as Stiles shook them both awake gently.

“I’ll be back,” Allison promised as she yawned, putting on her own jacket. Scott nodded in agreement, latching onto her hand as he followed his mom out of the hospital.

Stiles watched them go and then pulled out his DS; he needed something to entertain him, and there was something special about Japanese games telling him he sucked even when he perfected a level.

***

Allison woke up from drifting off again to Ms. McCall shaking her awake. “You’re home,” she said, pointing awkwardly to the house.

Allison untangled herself from where she was wrapped around Scott, half-embarrassed because wow, she hadn’t meant to fall asleep. It was only a ten minute ride from the hospital to her house, after all. Scott startled awake when she pulled away, but went back to sleep relatively quickly when she patted his head, whispering a quick, “bye Scott.”

Allison climbed out of the car and headed into her house, waving tiredly at Ms. McCall. She opened her front door, trying to be as quiet as possible. She didn’t know if her dad had already called other hunters over, and if he did she wanted to at least hear what they were saying, even if she was exhausted.

It didn’t matter how quiet she was though, because the front door still squeaked as she tried to shut it, and her mom and dad appeared, both looking frantic.

“Hey,” she said, waving tiredly.

They were on her, both hugging her tightly and Allison was taken aback. Especially by her dad, who knew she was okay, had seen her. That didn’t seem to stop him from muttering along with her mom that they were glad she was okay, and she must have been so scared, and poor Lydia and that animal attack.

That made Allison pull out of their hug, looking at her mom, who had said that, and her dad, who was trying to look so earnest. “I’m fine,” she said, just to say something.

Her mother clucked, finally seeming to look at more than her face. “And your dress is ruined. You must have run out to the football field.” She was eyeing Allison’s dress, and now that Allison was finally aware, she had to admit she looked pretty beat up. Her dress had dirt on it, but it luckily hadn’t torn too much during the trek though the woods.

“Yeah,” Allison said slowly, glancing at her dad. He must not have told her, she realized. Mom doesn’t know I know about anything. “I was one of the first to find Lydia after, after the attack.” She put on a brave face, because if that was how they were playing it then she would play her role perfectly. She reached down, taking her mom’s hands and squeezing. “Hey, I’m so exhausted. I’ve been in the hospital all night, and I want to take a nap.”

Her mom nodded, smiling fondly at her as she cupped her cheek. “Of course, dear. We have a little company, but they’ll be gone soon.”

Allison returned the smile. “Sure.” She looked around, deciding to go all out with her role. “Uh, where is Aunt Kate?”

And like magic her mom’s face fell, obviously not prepared for that. “Well,” she finally said, “we don’t know. Looks like she didn't come home last night.”

Allison looked at her dad, whose face had darkened now that he realized what she was doing. He didn’t answer though, staying quiet. Allison spoke. “Well, I saw her talking to our Economics teacher last night, so who knows, right?” She tried to make her smile sunny, but she knew it didn’t come out like that.

It was too weird, having a conversation where everyone was trying to hide something. Allison squeezed her mother’s hands one last time, and then broke away from them, heading up to her room with a final goodbye. It didn’t surprise her though that her dad followed her upstairs, and Allison left her door open so he could follow her inside, shutting the door himself.

“You didn’t tell mom?” She asked.

“I didn’t tell your mother that you knew,” he acknowledged.

Allison sat down at the edge of her bed. She would need to change and shower, but not yet. “Why?”

Her dad took a deep breath, and she could see how tired he was. “It would have caused too many problems. Contrary to what you seem to think, I don’t want to eradicate all werewolves.”

Allison snorted. “Oh yeah? That’s why you shot Stiles?”

She waited for her dad to snap, to defend himself, but instead he just stayed quiet for a moment, obviously collecting his thoughts. “He had just killed my sister—“

“She’d kept Derek trapped in the basement for two weeks, torturing him,” Allison said, standing up. “Derek didn’t do anything! Derek is always trying to protect us. Both of them are!”

“Allison this stuff isn’t as black and white as you seem to think it is,” her dad tried, but Allison didn’t want to hear it.

“Kate was wrong,” Allison said.

“That didn’t mean she had to die!” Her dad was trying not to shout, she could see.

“And neither do werewolves. The pack isn’t bothering anyone. We were actually trying to protect people.”

“I know that!” He took a deep breath. “I’m on your side, Allison. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.” Allison waited. “I want you safe. Above everything, I want you and your mother safe. If lying and going against what I was taught will keep you safe, then I’ll do it. Every time.” Her father took a step closer, and Allison didn’t back up. She wasn’t afraid.

“You’ll leave our pack alone? You won’t interfere?” It was burning in the back of her mind that they had the police on their side. Stiles’ dad knew, and so that was something to use against the hunters.

“I can’t promise that, Allison. I can’t protect you from everyone.”

“We don’t need your protection, dad,” Allison said, allowing him to grab her by the wrist. “We are strong together.”

“That’s what scares me,” her dad admitted. “I’m supposed to protect you.”

“I protect me. And I protect the pack.”

She felt her dad squeeze her wrist. “I know.” He took a deep breath and dropped his hand. “I’m going to let you get out of that dress, and shower. You deserve the rest.”

Allison watched as her dad left her room, shutting the door as he went. He was trying, she couldn’t deny that, even if it went against his instincts. She grabbed her towel and a change of pajamas, and headed towards the bathroom. She could hear people leaving, and she knew her dad was kicking the other hunters out. She wanted to trust him, wanted to believe him, but she couldn’t. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But it was okay, she had made her choice and she was okay with that.

***

It was odd living in the Stilinski house now that Stiles’ dad was aware that he was there. Derek had helped John (because that is what Stiles’ dad insisted he called him) clean out the third bedroom, that had become a storage room over the years. By Monday he was supposed to be sleeping in that room, and Derek was seriously debating the merits on dropping hints that Stiles and he were more than friends. The cons were obviously winning in that battle, because from where Derek was standing there were no pros, but it was still something he thought about.

As it was Derek woke up every morning in the third bedroom after sneaking back in sometime in the middle of the night. He went downstairs with Stiles, who had to go back to school, and helped make coffee and breakfast. Now that Stiles didn’t have to hide the fact that he didn’t need as much sleep, he wasn’t. It had caused John to look at both of them oddly when he came downstairs Monday morning, but Stiles had just waved his hand saying, “werewolf side effect,” before serving up the whole wheat pancakes Derek had helped him cook.

At least cooking had endeared Derek minutely to John. He still could feel the weird looks John was sending him, no doubt trying to figure out if Derek had another angle he was working. Since Derek knew he didn’t there was no point in worrying what John thought.

John would leave for work, and out of politeness Derek would leave with him. Wouldn’t do to have John know he was used to being in the house alone. The first thing he did on Monday was at the suggestion of John, and that was find the “motel” he was held at and leave a paper trail.

The paper trail had taken the help of Danny to accomplish, and while Derek wasn’t a forensics expert, he was assured by John that it was completely plausible that after he escaped one of the accomplices went back and cleaned out the hotel so when the housekeepers went through they didn’t notice anything suspicious.

Once he had laid the paper trail, which didn’t take too long in the first shitty motel he found that accepted cash, Derek visited the hospital during the day, keeping an eye on Lydia’s vitals. He never went inside the hospital of course, not wanting to draw attention, especially when he spied a few of the lesser hunters creeping around, no doubt also checking in to see if the bite had taken yet.

Derek thought about going to visit Chris and telling him what was going on, but thought better of it. He did mention it to Allison, though, Tuesday afternoon, when he realized it might become a pattern.

“Well, that’s why we are taking shifts,” she said from where she was sitting on the couch. The Stilinski house had become the unofficial, official, pack meeting place. “So when Lydia does turn we will get to her first, not them.” She chewed on the end of her pen as she looked over her pen. “But I’ll mention it to my dad if it doesn’t stop. Maybe if we show good behaviour he will, too.”

Stiles snorted. “Train them like small children?”

“Well, that’s what they are right?” Allison asked sweetly, even as her eyes darkened in annoyance.

Derek thought it was good that the pack was getting along. They would need to, not only to ensure the development of the pack, but also because of the upcoming danger.

Derek didn’t know much about the Alpha Pack that was coming, just that they would come and judge him. He needed a functioning and steady pack by that point, or else there would be no point. So the mission was recruiting, which Stiles was going to be doing.

“It’ll look less suspicious if I’m approaching teens rather than you, Mr. Leather Jacket,” Stiles said from his computer chair later that afternoon, after Allison and Jackson had left for their shift at the hospital.

It would look less suspicious to the hunters if they weren’t seen in the same pairs. If the hunters noticed a pattern they would jump to conclusions too quickly, about who was and wasn’t pack.

“How are you gonna ask these people?” Scott asked from where he was sitting on the floor. “And what happens if they go running for the hills? Like ahhhh werewolves!” He waved his hands around like a lunatic, trying to show how people would overreact.

Derek snorted. “If Stiles doesn’t screw up we won’t get that.”

“I won’t screw up, don’t worry,” he said, smiling at Derek as he kicked his shin gently.

Derek ignored him. “And we won’t be throwing out the offer first thing. The plan is to integrate the new members of the pack, because we already have a pack. Don’t forget that.” He shot a look at Stiles, who nodded.

“Exactly. We just need betas. I figure you humans are gammas or whatever.”

“We don’t have a specific name for human members, Stiles,” Derek said, taking a seat on the bed. It smelled like Stiles and him, and he liked it.

“Well, we should,” Stiles said, as if it were that simple. “And I have decided on gamma.” He turned back to his computer where he had a spreadsheet of the various people he had picked out. He seemed to be cross referencing potential picks with how they reacted to the news of Lydia, because according to Stiles, caring about pack was in the top five most important things they needed in another beta.

Derek wasn’t so sure he agreed one hundred percent with that, but he understood where Stiles was coming from. Pack was important, and they had started their pack through hardship, so it might be difficult for new members to fit in. It would take a thirsty type of person, who wasn’t afraid to wade into a close-knit group.

Pack was for life.

Scott leaned over Derek, distracting him from his thoughts. “So are you gonna get a new apartment?” Derek arched an eyebrow. “Just, you know, not sure how Stiles’ dad will feel about pack meetings being held here. And you know, secrecy and all.”

Derek snorted. “We can always trudge out to the woods if you’re so concerned about secrecy.”

Scott’s nose scrunched up and he shook his head. Stiles had told Derek all about their treks through the woods when they were looking for him, and it seemed like those memories lingered with Scott. “Nope, I’m good.”

“As long as my dad is cool with it there’s no reason Derek should leave,” Stiles said, not looking up from his computer.

“But won’t hunters get suspicious?”

Derek shrugged. “Argent knows who is in the pack.”

“Yeah, but Allison says he’s not telling anyone,” Scott reminded them.

“Doesn’t matter. He already probably spread it around to his other hunter friends that I was a werewolf, and since Stiles rescued me everyone in town will know soon that we are friends. Humans may be able to think it’s just a case of a teen having good luck and a ridiculous crush on me, but hunters will see it differently.”

Scott frowned. “So Stiles isn’t really that safe?”

“I’ll be fine, Scott,” Stiles said, actually looking up from his computer. Derek glanced at him, and he could see that Stiles really wanted Scott to not worry. “We rode out my secret as long as we could. I’m head beta of the pack. If hunters want to mess with Derek they will have to deal with me. You gammas though, you guys can stay anonymous.”

Derek groaned. “Stiles, you are not going to make gamma stick.”

“Watch me, buddy,” Stiles shot back. “When Lydia wakes up she’ll help me.”

“I like it,” Scott offered, and Derek just groaned again.

“When Lydia wakes up she’s going to tear you apart for picking something that makes no sense,” Danny said as he came back in the room holding a plate of Hot Pockets.

It wasn’t the most healthy snack, but Scott and Stiles didn’t seem to care as they dove onto the plate, each grabbing two and happily munching on them.

Danny shared a look with Derek, who shook his head. He wasn’t in the mood for food, still running over plans in his head.

Find betas. Find a new meeting place. If he felt truly safe he would rebuild the house, but with the danger of the Alpha Pack, he didn’t want to risk it. He didn’t want something permanent like that to call his own just to have it taken away again.

“Are you at least going to get a new car?” Danny asked, obviously having guessed part of their conversation.

“John is working on the paper work to get my car out of impound, so I can start fixing it up,” Derek said, ignoring the look Stiles got on his face when he called his dad by his name. Stiles had issues apparently.

Danny grimaced. “Have you seen the car yet? It was pretty beat up from what I remember.”

Derek shrugged. “The car means a lot to me. My cousin from Jersey gave it to me when he moved. I want to at least fix it back up.”

“You know how to fix cars?” Scott asked, and like that the topic was changed.

Derek could feel Stiles watching them all from the computer chair, and he knew that he was feeling smug. They may not have the betas yet, but they were a pack, not just people who planned and fought together. They could have conversations away from that, and while Derek wouldn’t say they were friends, it was something.

***

The animal attack on Lydia Martin was all anyone could talk about for the next week. Isaac Lahey hadn’t been at the dance, because he hadn’t had anyone to go with, and he didn’t really talk with anyone at school, but he still heard all about it. He knew everyone at the school was going to visit Beacon Hills Hospital, but he waited until Wednesday. The news had already died down by then, something Isaac thought just showed how uncaring the masses were, and so there wasn’t anyone else there to see him when he came in holding a balloon and a fresh bouquet of pansies. He had been assured by the florist that these were a good choice for a “get well soon” message, and that they would stand out amidst a bunch of well-wishers.

Isaac didn’t think there would be a lot of flowers still remaining. Flowers didn’t stay fresh long, so unless Jackson, or Allison, were watering them constantly, they were likely wilting by now. Which was fine with Isaac, because he just wanted Lydia to have healthy flowers, no matter how long it took her to wake up.

The hallways were quiet, and when Isaac turned down towards Lydia’s room, he wasn’t surprised that there were only two people waiting, though who it was did surprise him.

Danny was seated right across from Lydia’s room, reading a textbook. Lounging over two chairs was Stiles, playing a Nintendo DS. He was leaning against Danny’s side, both of them looking comfortable with one another despite the fact that the rumor mill reported they had had a messy breakup.

Danny looked up when Isaac approached, slowing down. He wasn’t embarrassed to be delivering the flowers. Everyone else had already, so what if he was late. And at least it wasn’t Jackson.

“Hey Isaac,” Danny said, smiling. “What brings you here?”

Isaac looked down at his bouquet and balloon. He hadn’t expected Danny to know his name, but they were both on the lacrosse team, even if he was a bench warmer. “I, uh, wanted to leave these for Lydia.”

Danny’s smile didn’t fade as he looked at the door. “You can leave them outside her door. When her dad gets back he’ll take them in.”

Isaac nodded, careful as he walked over and placed his bouquet down, tying the balloon around it. “Has there been any change?” He asked as he stepped away, looking at the door. “No one at school seems to have any update.”

Danny shook his head, smile disappearing for the first time. “No. Same old, same old. She’s in a coma, and the longer she’s under the less of a chance the doctors give her. Not that we believe them!” He was quick to say, glancing down at Stiles who was still tapping away at his game. Isaac couldn’t tell if he was being rude on purpose, or honestly didn’t register his presence.

“I really hope she gets better,” Isaac said, because he had to get that off his chest. He knew he probably looked like every other person in school, stopping by and giving their well wishes, but he wasn’t. He may not have been friends with Lydia, and she definitely didn’t know he existed, but it didn’t stop him from knowing she didn’t deserve this.

Danny smiled again, settling back into the uncomfortable looking hospital seats. “You and us all.”

Isaac had so many questions he wanted to ask. He wanted to know if Danny spent all his time here, or if he traded off. Isaac had noticed that Lydia’s group – her true group – was small, just Jackson, Danny, Allison, Stiles, and Scott. He wanted to know if they all came by. He figured they would. If he had friends he knew he would. He would do anything for his friends. Even though it made him ache with longing it still felt good to know that some people had that.

“I’ll, uh, probably be back some time next week if she doesn’t wake up.”

“No offense, but I hope you don’t come back,” Stiles said, and it made Isaac jump because he had forgotten that he was even there. He watched as Danny smacked the back of Stiles’ head, frowning at him. Stiles made a face back. “What? I’m saying I want her to wake up.”

Isaac watched as Danny’s face softened, and he really wanted to know what the story behind this relationship was, because where he was standing it seemed like they were still together. Danny broke eye contact with Stiles to look at Isaac. “You don’t need to wait that long to come back if you want. We won’t mind if other people sit with us.”

Isaac didn’t want to ask who we were. He figured it must have been the rest of their group, because it didn’t look like anyone else was stopping by. They probably had better things to do on the weekend.

“Maybe,” he said, not wanting to commit. Not wanting to show much he wanted to just sit down next to them and feel like he was a part of something. “I work late, so you know. Maybe.”

Danny just continued to smile. “Well, don’t hesitate if you ever want to. Having someone to talk to would be better than having someone who is just obsessed with his video games.” That last part was directed straight at Stiles, and Isaac watched as he just snorted, tapping away at his DS.

“Maybe,” he said again, raising his hand to wave.

Danny waved in return, and Isaac felt him watch as he walked away. He tried not to think about it too much, but when he was halfway down the hall he looked back, and saw Danny leaning over Stiles whispering. It was just paranoia that made him think they were talking about him. They had no reason for them to be, after all. And Isaac didn’t really care if they were talking about him, because he had dropped off his gift for Lydia, and that was all that mattered.

He saw Allison and Scott coming up the walkway to the entrance as he left, and he held the door for them. Allison smiled at him, though he doubted she recognized him. Scott did however, grinning.

“Thanks, Isaac!”

“No problem.”

Scott lingered in the doorway. “Are you skipping practice too?”

Isaac gave him a look, because he thought it was pretty obvious that he was, since he was here and not at the school. “Yeah. I wanted to give Lydia some flowers.” It was embarrassing to say it out loud like that, but Scott didn’t seem to judge him.

“That’s good, really good. A lot of the flowers already started dying, so we’ve been throwing them out.” He looked sheepish as he said that, and glanced at Allison. Isaac risked looking at her as well, and saw her looking fondly exasperated, and when Scott followed his gaze his eyes suddenly went wide and he whipped back around to look at Isaac. “We aren’t going to throw out your flowers! I mean that would be super rude! We would never!”

Isaac couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up. “It’s fine. I actually came today because I figured a lot of the flowers would be thrown out by now, and she would need new ones. But if they start dying feel free to throw mine out, too.”

Scott’s face relaxed from the panicked state and he seemed to realize Isaac wasn’t offended by what he had said. “No problem.”

“But keep the balloon! It shouldn’t deflate for awhile.”

Scott’s eyes crinkled and he nodded. “Of course not. I wouldn’t even know how to throw out a balloon. I mean, except release it into the wild or something.”

At that Allison actually coughed around her own laugh. “Scott. We aren’t releasing balloons into the wild. I’m pretty sure that counts as pollution and is against county regulations.”

“Allison is probably right,” Isaac supplied helpfully, feeling awkward when he realized he was talking with people. That wasn’t supposed to happen. No one ever talked with him. No one laughed with him. Not even the other loner kids. He saw Scott open his mouth to say something else, and Isaac quickly raised his hands. “Sorry, I really have to get going home. I have work in a couple hours,” he hesitated, “and my dad likes me home before dinner.”

Scott turned back to him, that friendly smile still on his face. “Okay. I’ll see you in school tomorrow, maybe?”

Isaac nodded in agreement, knowing that was technically true, but he wouldn’t hold his breath. Once they got back in school Scott would probably have forgotten about this whole conversation. “Yeah. Sure.”

Allison waved to him as she pulled Scott into the hospital, and Isaac watched them walk away until an orderly pushed by him, reminding him he needed to head home.

***

Stiles had barely noticed Isaac walking away when Danny was leaning over him, getting in the way of Stiles’ view of his DS screen and the robots he had to fuel up.

“What?” Stiles asked, annoyed that he could no longer see. He was on a roll, and he was doing this blind, since he didn’t have headphones, and had the sound off. It was difficult!

“What about Isaac?” Danny asked, and it took Stiles a moment to register what he meant. When he did he sighed.

This had become normal over the past three days. Someone would come in, bringing flowers and well wishes, and not always, but sometimes, they would somehow do something to catch Danny’s eye and he would want to know if Stiles thought they would be a good member of the pack. Isaac was an option, checking off the box that Stiles had for the new member being disposable, but that was it.

Stiles didn’t know anything about him besides that.

“I don’t know, wasn’t really paying attention,” Stiles muttered, but he shut his DS because he knew Danny wasn’t going to let this go. He didn’t the last four times, and only one other of those people had even been on Stiles’ initial list. He knew he shouldn’t have shown Danny that.

“Bullshit,” Danny snapped, half-playful. “He seemed concerned about her, and he waited to come when he thought no one would see. He wasn’t doing it for status, like other people.”

“So he’s a nice person, Danny. A lot of people are nice.”

“Yeah, but not a lot of people were on your list. And so far the only people from your list who have stopped by were Isaac and Melanie. And you crossed Melanie off after you saw her flirting with Scott.”

Stiles shrugged. It had been more than that. Melanie had brought her little sister with her, and Stiles couldn’t do that to someone, risking breaking up a family. Their new betas would need to be only children, or at least estranged from their siblings.

“Isaac doesn’t have anyone. It’s just him and his dad. He works at the cemetery. He’s not the smartest kid in school, but that doesn’t seem to be so much because he’s dumb. I think there’s probably more going on with him. He can take a hit on the field, so I know he’s tough.”

“Oh my god, Danny, have you been stalking potential people?” Stiles asked.

Danny just gave him a look. “Of course I have. I may have said no, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the pack to have the best. I vetted everyone on your list and I have arguments prepared for every single person I think we need.”

Stiles bit back the question that was rattling in his head, why didn’t you just take the bite? He knew why Allison didn’t, but not Danny. It would be so much easier if Danny was a werewolf with him, because then they could share the deeper understanding of pack, the thing that said in his gut Isaac wasn’t the best choice. Sure, he was a good choice. Stiles could easily see him smelling like pack, but he wouldn’t be perfect.

Stiles wanted perfection, and if Danny was planning on recruiting with him then it would help if he saw things the way Stiles did.

Before Stiles could continue talking, Scott flopped into the seat besides Stiles’ feet, looking excited. Stiles glanced at him, confused by his excited heart beat, and then looked at Danny. It clicked.

“You’ve been having Scott help you vet people?”

Danny just looked proud of himself as Scott beamed. “I like Isaac. He’s good people. A little shy, but I bet we can work him out of it.”

Allison gave all three of them a look. “Wait, are we recruiting new people already?”

Stiles heard his, “no,” get overpowered by Scott and Danny’s, “yes,” and he sighed.

“Maybe,” he admitted. “Isaac was on my initial list, and I guess he made it onto Danny’s list. But I don’t want to make any rash choices.”

“He should sit at lunch with us tomorrow!” Scott said excitedly. “To see if he fits, right?” He looked at Stiles earnestly. “That’s how we all became pack, isn’t it?”

Stiles gave Scott a weird look, because in the simplest of terms, yes, that was how it had happened. He had sat down at lunch with Danny, Jackson, and Lydia. At first there had been other people sitting with them, hanging around because of Jackson, or Lydia. But slowly those people had left. They had realized they didn’t fit and so it had become the six of them.

Applying that to a new person might work. Or they might scare someone away. Stiles wasn’t sure he wanted someone who would scare away though, so maybe this was the best course of action.

“Fine,” he said. “We’ll invite him to lunch tomorrow! Will that make everyone happy?”

Danny and Scott both beamed at him, and Allison gave her own faint smile. “I think that sounds like a good idea,” she said. “The first one will be the hardest to recruit. Once we do that, though, we should be fine for the second one right?”

Stiles sighed, feeling that he was defeated in this argument. He sat up straight, pulling his DS back out, intent on aggressively beating this level because he apparently couldn’t win a simple argument about werewolves against his human friends.

He listened as Scott, Allison, and Danny fell into a comfortable conversation. In an hour he and Danny would be off duty, but he would come back at ten, when Jackson was doing a short shift, and stay until the morning. Convincing his dad that being a werewolf meant he didn’t need as much sleep had been as simple as being up bright and bushy tailed at 5:00 am for the past three days.

Though he wasn’t sure if this was just his dad’s way of testing to see if he was full of shit, and waiting patiently for Stiles to crash. It wouldn’t happen, of course.

Derek was waiting at home when Stiles got back, and he didn’t look that uncomfortable, despite the fact that he was sitting at the dinner table with Stiles’ dad. Both of them looked up when Stiles came in, and it only took Stiles a moment to realize his dad was reading one of his favorite books from the Hale collection about werewolf mythology. It included detailed accounts from members of the Hale family dating back a few generations, both human members and werewolf.

“How was your shift?” His dad asked.

Stiles shrugged. “Same old. I noticed you’ve called off your own patrol. Not even the rookies were there today.”

His dad snorted. “They are combing the woods, looking for signs of Kate and her accomplices. Tomorrow we’re going to be expanding the search to just brush the edge of the old Hale property.”

Stiles sat down heavily. “So by Friday you guys will find the body?”

“We should, yes. And then we’ll be paying an official visit to the Argents, Mr. Argent has already assured me he’ll cooperate completely.”

Stiles looked up sharply, and he saw Derek doing the same from the corner of his eye. “When did you talk to Mr. Argent?”

His dad gave him a look, and Stiles knew it for what it was. He had managed to pull one over on Stiles, and he was pleased with himself. “Saturday morning. Unofficially, of course. Just to check out a few leads. I went back on Monday with Remy to take an official statement when he reported her officially missing.”

“You went and threatened the hunters?!” Stiles asked.

“I wouldn’t call it threatening. We just talked, and got on the same page.”

Stiles couldn’t believe it. His dad had approached the Argents without him asking. And it had to have gone well, if Stiles was guessing correctly. He had to have been, because Allison hadn’t reported anything suspicious at her house, and Stiles sure hadn’t seen anything. He had been checking too.

Derek looked from Stiles to his dad. “Will you need another statement from me when you find the body?”

“No, I don’t think so. You were locked up, after all. You don’t know anything.”

“Did you guys ever find that motel, by the way?” Stiles asked, because he knew that had been a worry. Derek had said on Monday that he had taken care of laying the groundwork for it, but Stiles hadn’t heard any more since then.

His dad nodded. “We had two of the boys go look into motels yesterday. They found the right one, but the room was clean. Such a shame.”

“And you don’t think that will come back to haunt anyone?” Stiles asked.

“The Argents would have to be the ones to bring it up, and they won’t,” Derek said, sounding confident.

Stiles could see that logic. His dad shut the book he was reading, and stood up. “I’m meeting a few of the guys for a brain storming session over take out.”

“Order healthy!” Stiles said, smiling as his dad just shook his head.

“Don’t burn the house down while you guys plan whatever it is you plan,” his dad said, waving at them as he grabbed his coat.

Stiles waved back, his grin fading as his dad left. He turned and looked at Derek. “Did you know Danny and Scott have their own list of betas picked out?”

It didn’t annoy him as much as he thought it would to see Derek shrug in response. “They should get a say. Why? Did they pick someone you don’t agree with?”

Stiles shook his head. “No, they picked someone I had already thought about. But, it’s just weird. Accepting more people in. Everyone else already had a connection. It was you and me, and with me came Scott. And then Danny, and Allison came along because of Scott, and Lydia and Jackson were because of Danny. But that’s as far as we extend. Lydia doesn’t have anyone else she is super close with, neither does Danny, or Scott. So this will be a completely new person, and that,” he took a deep breath. “What if we make the wrong choice?”

Derek stood up and walked up to Stiles, dropping down so he could press his forehead against Stiles'. “We aren’t going to make the wrong choice. You aren’t going to make the wrong choice. We are going to be fine.”

Stiles licked his lips, staring at Derek’s eyes. “How can you be sure?”

“Because we’re awesome, Stiles. Don’t you remember?”

Stiles closed his eyes and nodded, dropping his head so he was nuzzling into Derek’s neck. “Yeah. I remember. I just thought this would be easier. I would be able to smell the right person and it would click.”

“Like you and me?” Derek asked. Stiles nodded, and Derek laughed, pulling Stiles out of his hiding place and kissing him. They had done this every night since Derek had been back, and in every moment they could get alone, but it still felt new. Stiles loved the feeling of Derek cupping his cheek, teasing him with soft kisses before deepening the kiss.

He moaned as they broke the kiss, and Derek pressed his forehead back against his. “Upstairs?” Stiles asked, breath coming in short pants.

Derek nodded, standing up, holding Stiles’ hand as he did. Stiles followed him up the stairs and into his room. He made sure to shut the door as he did, because even if they could hear people coming the illusion of privacy was something he still liked.

His dad had been really good about accepting werewolves. It was too much to ask him to accept him being with Derek, and what that entailed.

Stiles moved in front of Derek, pulling him on top of him on the bed, and back into a kiss. Derek slid in between his legs, grinding his hips down and making Stiles whimper into his mouth.

It didn’t take them long to get rid of their clothes, because Stiles got impatient the longer he felt Derek’s cock rubbing against his own through their jeans.

“We should probably look into you getting your own place just so that way we’ll get more privacy,” Stiles said when Derek pulled away to grab the bottle of lube from his bed-side table.

Derek snorted. “Perfectly reasonable.” He nudged Stiles’ inner thigh to get him to spread wider, and Stiles happily obliged him.

The first finger Derek pressed into him had Stiles wriggling. He was getting used to the pressure, as well as the stretch. It didn’t hurt that much now, though he knew if they started to have sex less that would change. But for now, with regular sex, he was able to enjoy this from the beginning instead of having a few moments of discomfort.

Derek added a second finger, and Stiles moaned for more, rocking his hips happily back against the two fingers inside him. Derek was taking his time though, curling and scissoring his fingers like he enjoyed watching Stiles beg for more.

He probably does, Stiles thought.

Derek took his time, pausing every so often to lean down and kiss Stiles, even as he continued to work him up. Stiles whimpered in his mouth, trying to get him to go faster, to replace his fingers with his cock. Anything to get Stiles closer to the edge.

His cock was so hard he could feel it throbbing as it rubbed against Derek’s stomach. He needed to come, but with the way Derek was playing him it didn’t seem possible.

“I love seeing you like this,” Derek muttered, nipping at his shoulder where there were already bruises from yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that.

Derek liked biting him, but it was okay, because Stiles liked returning the bites. He gave Derek’s earlobe a sharp tug with his teeth. “Less talking, more fucking.”

Derek chuckled, and finally, finally removed his fingers. Stiles moaned when he felt the blunt head of Derek’s cock press against his opening, and he wrapped his thighs around Derek’s waist, trying to push him to go faster.

And then Derek was inside him, and Stiles was wrapping himself around Derek, arms and legs, so Derek’s face was pressed into the side of his neck. He loved this moment, when they first became connected and all of Derek’s warmth was being transferred to him.

Then Derek started to move, and it just got better from there. Stiles rode out the fucking Derek was giving him, clinging even as Derek tried to pull away to get a deeper angle.

It felt so good, and Stiles had to hold back from dropping his hand to his own cock. Not yet, not yet, he kept thinking to himself as Derek’s pace picked up.

He could feel the beginnings of Derek’s knot start to swell, and he finally wrapped his hand around his cock, pumping once, twice, three times until his come was splattering on his and Derek’s stomach. Derek came a few moments later, his hips stuttering as his knot filled and he tied himself with Stiles.

Stiles moaned in pleasure, not bothered by the weight of Derek just yet. He knew in a few minutes he would be, and it would make him regret allowing Derek to do missionary. Being on his hands and knees at least allowed him to breathe when Derek rested his weight on him. But for now this was alright.

Derek was kissing and licking up and down his neck, getting his scent all over him, and Stiles started returning the feeling soon enough, hands traveling up and down Derek’s back.

“Feel better?” Derek asked.

Stiles hummed in reply, mind pleasantly blank for the time being. He couldn’t even remember what he was supposed to be stressed about, and it didn’t come back to him until Derek was pulling out of him half an hour later.

“Oh god, we’re gonna have to tell any new guys about werewolf dicks,” Stiles said in horror.

Derek shoved the shirt he was giving Stiles to clean himself up with in his face. “Shut up, Stiles.”

 


Stiles shared two classes with Isaac: Chemistry followed by Home Economics. Luckily everyone else in the pack was in Chemistry as well, which made it the easier class to approach him in, instead of waiting until lunch to ambush him. It also allowed for him to have Scott for backup, instead of going into this alone.

Scott put pretty much everyone at ease.

So Stiles made a bee-line straight for the table he knew Isaac sat at everyday, and sat down right next to him. Scott pulled up a stool and took the seat on the other side of Isaac, even if they weren’t technically supposed to sit three to a side.

Isaac’s eyes went wide in surprise, even though he tried to hide it.

“Hey Isaac!” Scott said, taking out his notebook.

“Sup,” Stiles said, as he did the same.

Isaac looked between the two of them, and then even more in surprise as Allison, Danny, and Jackson sat at the table right in front of them. Allison and Danny both made a point to wave to him, but Jackson didn’t. Not that Stiles was surprised. That would have been a little too freaky for anyone to handle.

“What are you guys doing?” Isaac asked, voice low.

Scott was the one who took over, because he was better at this whole talking thing. “I told you we’d see you again today, didn’t I?”

Isaac looked between the two of them, and then shrugged. “I guess?”

Stiles could see Allison’s shoulder sag as she sighed, and then she turned around, smiling gently. “We wanted to know if you wanted to sit with us at lunch today.”

That got a reaction out of Isaac. His eyes went wide in shock and he really looked at all of them. “What?”

Jackson finally turned around, rolling his eyes. “God, it’s not like we’re asking for your virginity. I’m already outnumbered by freaks right now because Lydia’s in the hospital, so you aren’t going to change anything.” He grunted. “You’ve got a wicked throw when Coach actually gives you a chance, and you’re not bad at defense. Since I’m benched for the rest of season I want to know at least some people will be competent in my absence.” And with that Jackson turned back around, crossing his arms over her chest, and huffing.

Stiles couldn’t keep the smile off his face as Isaac continued to stare at Jackson. His smile got even bigger when Danny leaned over and whispered “thank you” to Jackson.

Chemistry class went along just fine, now that Isaac seemed to have passed their first test. He hadn’t gone running and screaming! That was a good thing. Stiles stuck close to him as they went to Home Ec together, even though he could tell how much it was unnerving Isaac. Stiles couldn’t blame him. The pack had never shown interest in expanding before, which meant they had never really spoken to anyone else before. Stiles wasn’t sure how it went in lacrosse practice, but when he had still been on the team he and Scott hadn’t paid attention to Isaac.

This was really weird, no doubt, but Isaac seemed to be taking to it like a champ.

Still, he was being extra careful around Stiles, in a way he hadn’t acted with Scott, or Danny, or Allison, or, hell, even Jackson. Stiles was beginning to worry that Isaac could sense his inherent-wolfiness, because he couldn’t begin to fathom why Isaac would be so weird around him.

But besides being wary, Isaac was looking to be a good choice for the Bite. He was smart, though he did get nervous when he thought he was going to mess up, but that was how a lot of people were. When he was left alone, he was able to get his sewing machine set up perfectly, a lot faster than Stiles did. He had hidden talents, Stiles could tell, and the pack could bring those out of him.

He cocked his head to the side, admiring Isaac working. Yeah. Danny had maybe been right about this one. If Isaac got through the next couple weeks with them, maybe Derek and he would offer the Bite.

Isaac looked at him nervously, probably not used to the attention, and Stiles turned away quickly. He didn’t want to make Isaac any more uncomfortable than he already was.

So he was surprised when Isaac took the initiative and leaned over into Stiles’ workspace. “I just want you to know that I’m not interested in you like that,” he said, before quickly pulling away.

Stiles blinked, and turned slowly to look at Isaac. “What?”

Isaac still looked nervous, like he was waiting for something bad to happen to him. “I heard you and Danny broke up, and I just want you to know, I’m not interested in you.”

Stiles’ mouth opened and closed over and over again, before he finally got the words to speak. “Listen, Isaac.” Stiles looked around to make sure no one else in class was paying attention to them, and was pleased to see they weren’t. “I’m sure you’re a great guy, but I’ve already got someone.” Stiles pulled down the collar of his shirt, hoping that the bites Derek had left on his shoulder had healed over enough not to make them look as bad as they had actually been. “And he’s kind of my life? So no. I’m not talking to you because of that. I promise. I just want to be friends.”

Isaac couldn’t take his eyes away from Stiles’ shoulder, even after he covered it back up. He just nodded dumbly. “As long as we’re clear, I guess?” He asked, voice weak.

Stiles grinned. “Exactly! Now help me figure out how to work this sewing machine, would you?”

***

Allison was the only one allowed to sit in Lydia’s hospital room. The boys had to always wait outside, and since Allison was rarely on shift by herself that meant she didn’t get to actually see Lydia that much. But tonight she was on shift by herself, at least until eleven when Stiles and Derek would come by to watch her.

Lydia looked pale, and she was already starting to lose weight after being on feeding tubes for nine days. The nurses wiped her down every other day, when they turned her to make sure she didn’t start getting bed sores, or so Ms. McCall told Allison when she came in to check on the two of them.

Allison knew Lydia would be annoyed to hear about what she was being fed, and how she was being treated. Sure, it was what needed to be done, but Allison felt like if Lydia knew she would wake up, just to make everyone stop. Especially her parents. Allison hadn’t seen Lydia’s mom since the morning Lydia had been brought in, though the nurses’ talked amongst themselves that she came by. Usually it was her dad though. He was the one to make the rule that only Allison could sit beside Lydia unsupervised.

Allison reached for Lydia’s hand, trying to ignore the fact that it was limp. She knew eventually it would grip her back. She just needed to heal from whatever had happened.

Things were getting rough, and they needed Lydia back. First, they had finally found Kate’s body, and her funeral was going to be in a few days. Allison wasn’t looking forward to it, but she would play along with what her dad wanted. Second, Isaac was looking like he would join the pack. Allison was happy with that, but she knew Stiles didn’t want to make the decision until they had everyone’s consent. He didn’t want anyone to feel like they were being replaced.

Lydia would be able to reassure everyone on both counts. As much as Allison loved the pack, and they supported her, Lydia was her best friend. She had a way with words that would make Allison feel so much better about how her family situation was going. And Lydia would make the pack feel more balanced. It would feel like Isaac was a replacement. Isaac would be the addition they needed.

She squeezed Lydia’s fingertips, intent on picking up the book she had brought with her to read, when she felt it. It was small, but Allison swore she felt Lydia squeeze back.

She dropped her book and leaned over Lydia.

“Lydia?” She whispered, gripping her arm.

Lydia shifted, she actually moved, and the monitors were going crazy as her vitals changed. Allison lit up, but she didn’t reach for her phone just yet. No doubt Stiles and Derek would hear her vitals change and they’d be on their way soon, but she just needed to see Lydia wake up.

“Lydia, come on. Wake up. Please. We’re so worried about you.” Allison felt silly for saying it like that, but she needed to do something up until Lydia’s eyes finally fluttered open.

Allison couldn’t stop herself from letting out a happy sob. She hadn’t give up yet, not on her best friend, of course not. But it still was such a relief for her to be alright.

She knew the moment Lydia’s eyes focused on her, because her lips parted and she tried to speak. No words came out, her mouth parched.

Allison reached for the jug of water on Lydia’s bedside table, pouring her a glass. She helped Lydia drink as much as she needed, not even worried if that was the right thing to do or not.

“Is the pack alright?”

Those were the first words she spoke, and Allison let out another sob as she nodded. “Just you, only you were hurt. All of us, we’re fine. Peter he—“

Lydia nodded, eyes dark. “I remember.”

Allison entwined their fingers and squeezed her hand, just to feel her squeeze back. “I’m going to get the nurses.”

Lydia looked down at her side, where it was still bandaged under her dressing gown. “Has it?”

Allison shook her head, but she reached over Lydia with shaking hands just to see. Maybe it had finally healed and that was why she had woken up. Allison lifted the bandage up, and winced as she saw it had healed, but only a small amount. Normal healing speed. When she looked at Lydia’s face she only saw disappointment.

“I’m going to get a nurse,” Allison repeated, putting the bandage back on. “Stiles and Derek will be here soon.

Lydia just nodded slowly, lying back. Allison knew what she was thinking. She’d somehow survived the Bite. But she hadn’t turned. Allison had no idea what that meant. For now she was just happy it had happened.