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Scott Just Doesn't Get Batman

Chapter Text

Stiles breezed through the back door of Deaton's clinic, a wide grin on his face. "Hey guys, I-"

"What are you doing here, Stiles?" Scott demanded.

Stiles stopped, confused, and looked around the room at the assembled pack and Deaton. Everyone had gotten there before him. Scott and Isaac arrived together, but Isaac had immediately gravitated over to where Allison stood by Lydia. The twins, Aiden and Ethan, sat next to each other in folding chairs Deaton thoughtfully provided, boredom written on their faces. Peter leaned against a wall, keeping his motivations shady. Ignoring Scott's accusing glare, Derek motioned Stiles closer to the table where they'd set up.

"I'm here for the Emissary meeting."

"No, you can't be here." Scott shook his head. "The Emissary is coming to interview the pack. Only the pack. We need to make a good impression."

Stiles stilled, pain clawing at his heart. He sent a questioning look to Derek who was scowling at the True Alpha. Stricken, he turned back to his best friend. "You don't think I'm pack?"

"Of course you're pack." Lydia sent a death glare Scott's way. "Why are you saying he's not?"

"Stiles, you know I love you, man, but you're not a wolf, or a Banshee and can't defend yourself against the Supernatural." Scott crossed his arms over his chest and addressed the rest of the pack, "He's going to get himself killed. If not him, then one of us because we're more focused on protecting him than defeating our enemies."

"Stiles is pack," Derek spoke for the first time since Stiles arrived. "He's always been pack."

Scott shook his head stubbornly. "We've indulged Stiles long enough. How many times do we need to go over this?"

Stiles turned to Derek. "You've talked about kicking me out of the pack?"

Derek tore his eyes away from Scott, his glower softening into sympathy as he took in Stiles' hurt expression. "Scott talks about it. I didn't tell you because I kept thinking he'd pull his head out of his ass."

Scott let out a frustrated sigh. "Stiles, come on, we need this Emissary. They're supposed to be really strong. Deaton has been helping us until now, but he's planning on retiring in a few years. Without an Emissary, we won't be able to protect the territory as well. If another pack comes to Beacon Hills with their own magic like the Alpha Pack did, and we don't have our own... people could die."

Stiles looked over to where Deaton stood, impassive. "You're just closing up shop? Planning on turning everything over to the new guy?"

Deaton gave a serene shrug. "Everything except the clinic. I imagine my replacement will consider a different career path. Of course, that is if they elect to take the role of emissary to the Hale-McCall pack. After this interview, they may decide this particular pack, such as it is, might not be a good fit."

"That's what I'm talking about." Determination set in the True Alpha's uneven jawline. "The interview is already going to be tense since we're a pack with two Alphas. Having humans in the pack is going to make us look weak."

"What? I'm human." Allison glared at her ex-boyfriend.

Scott flushed. "You're a trained hunter."

"And I'm just poor, defenseless Stiles, huh?" Stiles said bitterly, his eyes burning.

"You're not defenseless," Derek insisted to Scott's dismay. "You've saved all of our lives before."

"Stiles, you're my best friend, and I love you, but you're not a wolf. You don't possess the strength or the instincts that comes with being a werewolf."

Peter snorted. "You're an idiot."

Scott glowered at him.

The older wolf sighed as if the True Alpha's very existence was symptomatic of all that was wrong in the universe. "My second biggest regret in life, after Laura's death, is biting the wrong kid in the woods that night. You may be a True Alpha - an aberration I blame more on your stubbornness than your strength or morality - but you have no instincts."

"No one asked you," Scott snapped.

"A failing I was willing to overlook." Peter's words were serious but his face told a different story. He looked like a man who'd been told Christmas had come early and every present under the tree was for him. "Without Stiles, you'd have been dead the first week. Chris Argent would have killed you if Stiles hadn't helped you learn control."

"I learned control when I figured out Allison is my anchor. All Stiles did is hit me with Lacrosse balls."

"Way to minimize my contributions, Scott."

"Scott has a point," Aiden said. "Stiles isn't a wolf."

"Even though he's a nice guy-" Ethan started, then paused. "Well, no. You're kind of an asshole."

Stiles grinned. "Okay, valid. But then, so are you guys."

"We like to play to our strengths," Aiden conceded.

"So say we all," Stiles agreed.

Scott growled at the interruption. "I'm trying to do what's best for the pack and for Stiles. He can't win against a werewolf."

"That's a lie." Stiles jab his finger at Scott. "When you wolfed out and attacked me in the locker room, I stopped you. And I've faced everything, same as you, only I did it without the benefit of wolfy super powers." Stiles stopped, a grin suddenly spreading across his face. He turned that bright smile on Derek. "Dude, I'm Batman."

Derek chuffed. "Moron."

"Pssh," Stiles waved off the insult. "You know you love me."

Derek stiffened, then shrugged.

Stiles stared at him, everyone else momentarily forgotten. "Really?"

"Can we talk about it later?" Derek lowered his voice, obviously uncomfortable with their audience.

"Ye..yeah. We'll talk. Later. With the talking. And.." Stiles trailed off, then shook himself back to reality. "Where was I? Oh, yeah, I'm Batman."

"You're not Batman," Scott yelled. "Nobody is Batman."

"Certainly no one with that attitude," Stiles grumbled. "You know what? I'm tired of talking about this. If you don't want me in your pack, fine with me. Good luck with the not dying."

Stiles gave everyone a tight smile, and started walking toward the door. He stopped, turning back when he heard Derek say, "I'm out, too. I can't co-Alpha a pack with you, Scott. I was willing to try for Stiles' sake, but now I don't need to put up with you."

"Finally," Lydia said happily. She picked up her designer purse. "I'm only in this pack because of Stiles."

At Derek's suspicious look, she sighed. "I have no designs on your boyfriend, not that you've DTR'd yet. I'm going to be in the Hale Pack. Stiles is my friend and I trust you to be a better Alpha than McCall."

"Lydia!" Scott protested. "We're your friends."

Lydia leveled him with an unimpressed look. "No, Stiles is my friend, which makes you the friend of my friend. Although, I think you've successfully changed that to the ex-friend of my friend."

Derek gave her a nod. "I would be delighted to count you as pack, Lydia."

"Of course you would." She lifted her chin regally, but gifted him with a grateful smile.

"Can I come, too?" Everyone turned to where Isaac shifted uncomfortably, shoulders hunched in. "I mean, we haven't always gotten along, but-"

"Never think you aren't welcome, Isaac." Derek appeared surprised but pleased. "You're family."

Isaac brightened, flushing pink.

"This is crazy," Scott shook his head, then turned a wounded expression on Isaac. "Do you seriously want to leave with Derek? Derek? The guy who kicked you out?"

Isaac looked at Derek and nodded. "Stiles told me Derek did that because he thought the Alpha pack would view me as less of a target if I didn't live with him. He said Derek always tries to do the right thing, but sometimes he's bad at the execution."

Derek raised an eyebrow at Stiles, who gave a nervous laugh. "Not wrong, dude."

"Don't call me dude," Derek muttered.

"Sourwolf."

"That's better," Derek said fondly. "You're right, I wasn't always the best Alpha."

"There was a rather steep learning curve," Stiles reminded him. "Crazy Alpha Peter, Kanimas, Re-Peter the Undead Zombie Wolf-"

"Rude," Peter scoffed.

"- Alpha Packs, Scott."

Ignoring Scott's outraged sputtering, Stiles beamed at the Hale Alpha. "But now, I'm here to help you with all of this." He threw his arms out expansively.

"Are those jazz hands?" Isaac whispered to Peter.

"Unfortunately," he said with a grimace.

Stiles stopped waving his hands and tucked them behind his back. "Jazz hands. No. I don't know what you're talking about."

"Let's go." Derek shook his head at Stiles' antics.

Isaac held a hand out to his conspicuously silent girlfriend. "Allison?"

She bit her lip, looking from her boyfriend to Scott. "I'm sorry." She took a step back. "There's just been so much history between my family and the Hale Pack. The Argents hold no grudges against the pack, and we'd be willing to sign a treaty, but I... I just can't."

Isaac dropped his hand. "Goodbye, Allison."

"Wait, you can't just break up with her because she doesn't want to switch packs," Scott said angrily.

"It's not that. I'm not the one she wants."

"I'm sorry." Allison sniffled, avoiding his eyes.

Stiles hated the pain he could feel coming from the heartbroken Isaac. True, he'd considered it unhealthy for an abuse survivor like Isaac to date a girl who'd stabbed him repeatedly in a fit of rage. But, that didn't lessen the hurt now. Later, after he'd had a chance to comfort his packmate, he might talk to him about boundaries and not falling into an abusive cycle. He'd have to tread carefully. Make sure Isaac knew he was loved and not being attacked. Hmm. He'd do some research. Maybe ask his Dad. As Sheriff, he had experience with the psychology of domestic abuse victims.

"This will hardly come as a surprise to anyone, my allegiance is with the Hale Pack," Peter said smoothly. "Not only do I consider my nephew the better alpha, and Stiles' brains and cunning a welcome addition to the pack, but I would rather pinch myself until I bleed than spend another five minutes with you as my alpha, Scott."

"Nice burn." Isaac bumped his shoulder in appreciation. The older wolf blinked in surprise, then nudged him back.

"There's no sense in hanging around here," Derek said over the sound of Stiles' amusement.

Stiles stopped giggling and looked around the room uncertainly."What about the emissary?"

"Let the McCall Pack take the interview." Derek turned to the Druid. "If the emissary declines the position, would you see if they're willing to consider the Hale Pack?"

Deaton, who'd silently observed the break-up of the Hale-McCall pack, inclined his head. "Of course."

"Like an emissary is going to turn down a True Alpha, strong wolves and a Hunter," Scott said with a sneer. "Especially for the Hale FailPack. Granted, you've got Isaac and a Banshee, but you also have a bad Alpha, crazy Peter and the human Stiles problem."

Derek gave an unconcerned shrug. "The original Hale Pack had several humans. They were important members of the pack. They made us better, kept us human. If the emissary has a problem with humans, then they're not right for our pack. I'd rather have Stiles and Lydia at my back any day."

"You're a keeper," Stiles purred, then laughed when the alpha's ears turned red. Spinning around to speak to Deaton, he nearly lost his footing, and was saved from falling by Derek's steady hands. He flushed pink, ducking his head shyly. "Ahem. Thanks for everything, Deaton. This has been - like every other time I ever came here - educational."

"Any time, Stiles." Deaton's lip curved, "I'm glad everything worked out for you."

"Thanks." Stiles smiled, took the hand Derek offered, and slipped out the door with his pack.

Silence reigned inside the veterinary clinic for a few moments. Deaton moved to his desk to deal with some paperwork. Allison tried to sooth the visibly upset Scott, stroking his arm reassuringly while he leaned against her. "It'll be okay," he told them. "Once we convince the emissary to go with us, Isaac and Lydia will see they've made a mistake. We'll take them back."

"What about Derek and Peter?" Ethan asked.

Scott frowned. "I'm not sure about them. I don't know if I can ever truly trust either of them again."

"And Stiles?" Allison asked.

Scott sighed. "He's been my best friend for years. I don't want to lose him over this." He thought for a moment, then brightened. "We can tell him he's pack-adjacent. Make him feel included. We'll even let him do research for us. You know how much he loves research. He's always asking Deaton about stuff, right?"

"Hmm." was all Deaton said.

"Great. Now that we've gotten that figured out, we just need to get through this interview." Scott paused and checked the time on his phone. "This emissary is running late. How long did you say the interview will take?"

Deaton looked up from where he was looking over the notes he'd taken on a cat he'd treated for a skin condition that afternoon. "Well,-" he cut off when his phone dinged. Pulling up the message, he scanned the contents. "The emissary has declined the position with the McCall pack."

"But the interview hasn't even started," Scott sputtered.

"Actually, it just ended. The emissary thanks you for your time, but has decided to go with the Hale Pack," Deaton read from the text.

"What?!" Scott stated at him in disbelief. "They didn't even talk to us."

The phone dinged again. Deaton smiled briefly at the contents. "He feels he can't be in a pack with someone who 'doesn't accept his inherent Batman-ness.'"

Scott felt like the air had gone out of the room. "Stiles? The emissary was Stiles?"

Deaton nodded. "Stiles began training as my replacement last year."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Tradition dictates the student learns in secret until they are deemed ready to serve a pack. That way the student can learn in peace without having to worry about being courted by prospective packs."

"He could have said something when he came in. If I'd known he could do magic, none of this would have happened." Scott looked lost. "Why didn't he say something?"

Deaton sighed. All this drama was giving him a headache. "I imagine he hoped his alpha would want him for himself and not for what he could do for them."

With that, he turned off his desk lamp and made shooing motions at the door. "If you don't mind, I would like to close up now."

"Huh?" Scott said, still in a daze.

"Supernatural airs tonight. I hear Chuck is going to appear in the episode." He ignored Scott's shocked expression. "I love that character. The regular guy everyone underestimates, but is secretly more powerful than anyone imagines. Too bad there aren't more people like that in real life, right? Ah, well. Off you go."

Chapter Text

Upon leaving Deaton's, Derek immediately asked Isaac to move back in with him. "Unless you don't want to," he said, uncomfortable with his beta living with another Alpha, but determined to give Isaac the choice. He wanted the Hale Pack to succeed, which meant he needed to quit making the same mistakes. This time, he'd trust his betas. He'd still need to keep an eye on Peter, but that was a given. He wanted to be better, not stupid.

"No, I do. Want to move back in with you, that is," Isaac had agreed in a rush.

Because everyone agreed they wanted to forestall any further confrontations with Scott or his pack, Derek took Isaac to collect his belongings from the McCall house while Scott was otherwise occupied. The remaining pack members drove their respective cars to Sal's Diner so they could grab a table.

Sal's, a decades old town monument to all things greasy, was beyond crowded on a Friday night. The diner was the perfect meeting spot, in part because the ambient noise would cover their conversation and also due to Stiles' insistence that they had the best curly fries in town. Upon entering the establishment, Derek and Isaac zeroed in on the u-shaped booth in the back corner where their packmates waited - Lydia sitting between Stiles and Peter, seemingly unconcerned about the beta who'd once terrorized her.

"You get all your stuff?" Stiles asked the younger wolf when they approached.

"Yeah. Most of my belongings fit in a duffel bag, so it only took a few minutes." Isaac slid into the opposite side of the booth beside Peter, while Derek took the spot next to Stiles. If Derek sat a little closer than usual, no one said anything. And if Stiles reached for his hand under the table, that didn't draw comment, either.

"I hope you like salads, Nephew, because Stiles hijacked the waitress and ordered one for everyone to go with our meals," Peter said dryly, flipping through his menu. "And not the iceberg kind. No, he requested the spinach salad. Something about keeping us healthy."

"Even werewolves need to eat leafy greens," Stiles said. "You guys might be ridiculously in shape, but you still need to eat right."

After the server arrived with salads a moment later and the pack placed their orders, Isaac dug into his spinach with relish. Ever so often, the youngest werewolf sneaked a glance at Stiles to make sure the other boy was watching. At Stiles' approving look, Isaac shifted happily in his seat and speared another piece of salad with his fork. Derek watched in bemusement at how effortlessly Stiles wrapped the beta around his little finger. Indeed, the entire table ate their salads without protest, himself included. Their inner wolves preened at being so lovingly cared for.

McCall had no idea of what he'd given up. How could the True Alpha have not seen what a treasure he had? To throw away someone as loving as Stiles for an emissary he didn't even know? Derek was glad to be rid of the idiot. The Hale Pack appreciated Stiles and would make sure he knew it.

"What's going on in that head of yours?" Stiles asked, nudging him out of his thoughts.

"I was just thinking we're lucky to have you," he said, pleased to see the surprised delight spread across Stiles' features. "While I hate what Scott did, I'm grateful to be sitting here in this booth with the four of you as my pack."

The whole table perked up at their Alpha's approval. Stiles leaned over and gave the Alpha a kiss on the cheek. "Sweetiewolf."

"No." Derek fixed him with a firm look as the pack erupted in laughter. "That is not becoming a thing. You are not sticking the word 'wolf' behind every random descriptor that pops into your head."

"What about Sourwolf?" Stiles pouted. "It's traditional."

The Alpha heaved a put-upon sigh. "You can keep that one."

Across the table Isaac let out a low growl. At the confused looks of the pack, he explained, "Scott is a dick. He treated Stiles horribly and I hate that he's probably going to get an emissary. He doesn't deserve an emissary. He doesn't deserve anything, except maybe an STI."

Stiles snorted into his soda.

Derek gave him a sidelong glance, but addressed Isaac. "You're right, Scott will likely procure the emissary for his pack. I'll check in with Deaton in the morning just to be sure."

"No need," Stiles said with a smirk. "I have it on good authority that Scott tanked the interview."

The table went silent as everyone looked up from their food to stare at him. Stiles paused, mischief lighting his features. He craned his neck, looking around to make sure no one was paying any attention to them. Given that their booth was in the back corner, and he was faced away from the other patrons, he deemed it safe to continue.

Taking a deep breath, he held one palm upturned where everyone at the table could see. With the other, he withdrew from his jeans pocket a small pouch. Pouring what looked like mountain ash into his palm, he smiled. The pack gasped as the mountain ash began to move, swirling around until it coalesced into the shape of a... fox? The tiny fox stood, turning around on Stiles' palm to look at each individual at the table.

"Stiles," Derek said his name in awe. "You?"

The teenager nodded. "Me."

There was a moment of shocked silence as the pack stared at him before Peter started laughing. Stiles turned red and the mountain ash fox crumbled back to inert dust. He hastily returning the powder to the pouch, refusing to meet anyone's eyes. Isaac and Lydia glared at the older wolf and Derek growled. "Peter."

"No, Stiles, I'm not laughing at your expense. You're incredible," Peter managed between wheezes. "Scott. I wish I could see the look on his face when he learned he kicked the emissary out of his pack... so he could impress the emissary."

Everyone eyed him warily for a moment, never having seen Peter laugh so hard about something that wasn't going to end in their bloody deaths. Derek marveled at the return, for just a moment, of the man Peter had been before the fire. Then, Isaac started snickering, followed by Lydia and soon Derek found himself chuckling along with his pack.

"Oh, he impressed me alright," Stiles said darkly, which set Peter off on fresh peal of laughter. He bit his lip, looking to Derek. "I already told Deaton I chose the Hale pack. Assuming you're okay with me being your emissary."

Derek itched to kiss him, but he held back. He didn't want their first kiss to be in front of the pack. No, he had plans for that kiss. "You're perfect for us," he said fervently. "For me."

"Aww," Lydia cooed, then narrowed her eyes at Stiles. "How on earth did you manage to keep emissary training a secret? That had to take time."

"About a year," Stile said. "Luckily, I'm a quick study."

"You kept a secret that big from werewolves for a year?" Peter asked, eyebrows raised.

"I can be stealthy," Stiles protested. "Remember the time I hid a fugitive from the law in my bedroom, even though the law lives in my house?"

Derek glared at him. "And whose fault was it that I was a fugitive?"

"Scott."

"Scott." Derek said with a low growl.

"You were wasted on McCall," Peter said, disgust emphasizing the True Alpha's name.

"Since he was bitten, Scott has made everything about him and what he wanted at the moment. I tried to make it work, though." Stiles leaned into Derek when the Alpha put a comforting arm around his shoulder. "So many times, I tried."

 

"I know you did," Derek said softly, his eyes flashing red at the thought of the way Scott dismissed Stiles. "Your loyalty is one of your best qualities. I promise I'll do my best to make sure that the Hale Pack - that I am - worth it."

"You're a good Alpha. You can see all the shades of gray Scott can't," Stiles sighed sadly, thinking of all the time he wasted trying to be good enough for his ex-best friend. "I should have realized we were never going to be friends forever. Ideologically, we're too different. I mean, Scott just doesn't get Batman."

"Certainly not," Isaac said with a scowl. "You're our Batman."

"Thanks, buddy."

They ate for a moment in silence before Isaac started eyeing Derek. "If Stiles is Batman, then who's Derek? Wolverine?"

Lydia shook her head. "I'm not sure cross DC/Marvel romances are allowed."

"So, who then?" Stiles asked. "Superman?"

"The Man of Steel's optimistic outlook is a bit at odds with our Alpha's personality," Peter mused.

The Banshee studied the harassed looking Alpha. "I could see him in tights."

"Not going do happen." Derek glared at the suddenly intrigued Stiles. "No. Bad Stiles, no costumes."

"I'll get him to dress up for Halloween," Stiles said as if the Alpha hadn't spoken. "Maybe do Clark Kent thing with the glasses.Ooooh!"

Derek pinched the bridge of his nose. "You're having librarian fantasies right now, aren't you?"

"Maybe." Stiles went a little shifty-eyed.

"We'll talk about it later."

 

An hour later, Derek stood with Stiles next to his Jeep and watched the taillights as the rest of the pack drove out of the diner parking lot. He sincerely hoped he wouldn't regret handing the keys to the Camaro to Isaac. If the puppy put one scratch on the car, he'd be running the territory perimeter every night for the next week.

"Relax, he's not going to hurt your precious Camaro," Stiles assured him. "Give the guy a little trust."

"I didn't hear you offering to let him drive the Jeep," Derek pointed out.

"Nobody drives Roscoe but me." Stiles smirked, leaning against his vehicle. "So..."

Derek raised an eyebrow, angling his body towards the teen. "So."

"Now that I've been absolved of my Scott-wrangling duties, I'll have a lot of free time on my hands." Stiles ran his fingertips up the arm of Derek's jacket, tilting his head playfully. "Whatever should I do with all those hours?"

"Scott-wrangling took hours?" Derek slid an arm around Stiles' waist, pulling him closer.

"He gets into a lot of ridiculous situations."

Leaning forward, Derek rubbed his scruff against the younger man's cheek. "I'm sure we can think of something."

Stiles' breath hitched. "So we're going to do this? Boyfriends?"

"Boyfriends," Derek tried the word out and decided he liked the sound. "Definitely."

Warmth shone in Stiles' eyes. "Despite the train wreck of a pack meeting earlier, this has turned into the best night ever."

"For me, too." Derek ran a thumb along Stiles' jawline. "I'll do my best to ensure you never have cause to regret being either my boyfriend or my emissary."

Stiles stilled, wariness entering his expression. "Um. I think my first act as your emissary should be to tell you that I may have skirted an ethical line in regards to Peter." He swallowed nervously. "Maybe."

Derek gave him a flat look. "What did you do?"

Stiles scratched at his neck and gave a weak chuckle. "I might have put a spell on him that will cause him to loudly sing show tunes if he ever thinks of betraying the pack. Just until he gives up the idea. I don't know, my memory is a little hazy on the subject."

Derek blinked at him. Then blinked again. "That's downright diabolical."

"Um."

"That's not skirting an ethical line. I'm pretty sure you crossed the Neutral Zone, overthrew Ethical, and set up your own dictatorship of Stileslandia." The Alpha crowded him up against the Jeep, pressing his nose into Stiles' neck, nuzzling at the skin. He breathed in the intoxicating scent of Stiles, rumbling contentedly when his boyfriend's breath hitched and arousal spiked. He drew back, a wicked grin on his face. "And the best part is, Peter will never know unless he tries to plot against us."

Having the Alpha up close with his personal made Stiles happy. He slid his arms under Derek's jacket, tugging him closer. "Does my tendency towards underhanded boundary crossing turn you on?"

Derek hmmed against his skin. Over the sound of Stiles' needy whine, Derek caught the sound of the diner door opening and patrons spilling out into the parking lot. He allowed himself another whiff of Stiles' neck before taking a regretful step back. "Come on."

"What?" Stiles missed the warm press of Derek's body against his. He wanted his cuddly werewolf back. "Where?"

"We're going to see your Dad." Derek opened the driver's side door for Stiles and waited patiently. When the teen just stood there staring at him in confusion, he huffed. "If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right. No sneaking around."

"You're going to tell my Dad we're dating?" Something warm spread through Stiles at the thought of his boyfriend not asking him to lie to his father. The lies he'd told in trying to keep his Dad away from the supernatural had come close to fracturing their relationship beyond repair. And now Derek wanted tell his Dad they were dating - risking the Sheriff's wrath - because he knows how important his father is to Stiles? Best boyfriend ever. "But what if he says no?"

Derek's eyes softened and he placed a feather light kiss on Stiles' brow. "If I have to wait until you're eighteen to take you on a proper date, then that is what I will do. There is nothing in this world, other than you telling me you don't want me, that will prevent me from being with you... eventually."

There was no other way for Stiles to respond to such a declaration other than to kiss the werewolf senseless.

****

The Sheriff stared for a long moment at the two young men sitting in the chairs in front of his desk. Part of him wished he could say he was surprised when his son breezed into his office to inform him that he was now dating the Alpha werewolf, but he wasn't. He'd seen the way the two of them looked at each other when they thought the other wasn't paying attention. The only surprising part of this situation was that they were seeking his permission. Somehow, he had the feeling that had been Derek's idea, rather than his son's.

"I can't say that I'm entirely comfortable with the age difference," he said, rubbing a weary hand across his face. "But, the fact that two of you came to me instead of sneaking around is somewhat of a relief. So here is how this works. No sex until Stiles is eighteen. After he's eighteen, I don't want to know. Unless lives are on the line, he will be home by ten o'clock on school nights, midnight on Friday and Saturday. There will be no sleepovers-"

"Daaaad!"

"-without my knowledge. Those will be exceedingly rare and involve the need to protect my only child from a significant supernatural threat. When these occasions arise, Derek will sleep in the guest room, on the couch in the living room, or in your room - with the door open. Am I understood?"

"Yes, sir." Derek looked like he was committing the rules to memory.

"And if I hear that you are pressuring him into anything he isn't ready for, there will be consequences."

"I would never coerce Stiles into a sexual relationship. I-" Derek stopped, visibly distressed at the thought.

"That's good to hear, son," the Sheriff said gently, then smirked. "But, I was actually talking to that delinquent over there."

"Hey!" Stiles sputtered.

The Sheriff pinned his son with a look. "It's not just you that can get hurt here, Stiles. I want you to think about that before you try to finagle your way around the rules. Derek has put a lot of faith in you, especially by coming here like this. I get the feeling he doesn't trust many people, so you'd damn well better make sure his faith is justified."

Stiles sobered, reaching for Derek's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. "I will." He sighed, counting the days until his eighteenth birthday, then brightened. "I'll just burn through my frustration experimenting in the kitchen. I've been scouring the Internet for healthy recipes."

"No tofu," his Dad said quickly. Best to shut down that idea, knowing his son's devious nature. "In fact, that is another relationship rule. There is to be no tofu. Ever. And Derek's coming over for a family dinner at least once a week. The occasional steak would not go unappreciated."

"Steak?!" Stiles squawked. "Your cholesterol-"

"Stiles, he didn't say steak every week," Derek interrupted him. "Once in a while won't kill him."

"Betrayer," Stiles gasped.

Derek rolled his eyes. "Try to remember how accommodating your Dad is being about our relationship."

"Well played, old man," Stiles grumbled.

"So there we have it," the Sheriff said, his mood brightening at the future promise of red meat. "As long as the two of you are respectful of each other and don't do anything that would cause me to have to arrest someone, this relationship can continue."

He bit back a chuckle at the twin expressions of relief on the faces in front of him. He motioned to the door, "Now, I have work to do."

He waited until they were nearly to the door. "And Derek?"

The Alpha turned back, wariness in his eyes. "Yes?"

"I expect you'll be using the front door from now on instead of my son's window?"

Derek reddened. "Yes, sir."

As they moved down the hall, he heard Stiles say, "Don't worry, Sourwolf, I'll show you how the doorbell works."

Chapter Text

"Hey." Isaac dropped down next to Stiles on the picnic table bench. He scanned the nearly empty city park for threats before turning his attention back to his friend. "What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to figure out how to reality hop to a parallel Earth where Firefly aired for ten years so I can buy the DVDs." Stiles carefully wrapped the old book he'd been studying in a protective cloth and eased it into his backpack.

Isaac gaped at him. "Is that even possible?"

"No," Stiles said with a snort. He pulled a to-go iced coffee out of a biodegradable drink carrier and handed it to the other boy. "The attempt alone would kill me. Even if I could pull it off, there's no way I would take a chance on getting trapped on another Earth with no way of getting home. Not even for Firefly. Sorry, pup, you're stuck with me."

The younger wolf bit back a sigh of relief, taking a sip of his latte. He smiled softly, tasting the hazelnut and honey - just the way he liked it. His wolf rumbled happily as he sat next to his packmate and enjoyed the midday sun in the relative peace of the park. When Stiles called that morning to ask if he wanted to meet him and Lydia at the park for coffee, Isaac jumped at the chance. Derek and Peter both had plans for the afternoon, but intended to meet up with them later for dinner and maybe the new Marvel movie.

"Good, Derek would freak," Isaac said, holding back a shudder at the thought of his Alpha's reaction. "So, what were you really doing?"

"Allison mentioned a treaty with the Argents." Stiles took a sip of his black coffee. "Thought I should read up on the subject. Derek lent me a book, which survived the fire, that outlines previous treaties and the benefits and limitations they placed on the pack. I want to avoid signing anything benefiting the Argents more than our pack."

The werewolf frowned a little at the mention of his ex-girlfriend's name. "Do you think they'd try to trick us?"

"More like try to stack the deck in their favor," Stiles said with a shrug. "Can't say as I blame them since we'll be doing the same thing. Negotiations exist for a reason."

"Derek will probably-" Isaac cut off, bristling as he sniffed the air. He shot to his feet. "Scott."

Stiles sighed, cutting his eyes in the direction of the treeline Isaac was glaring toward. "Damn, I'd hoped to put this off."

Isaac narrowed his eyes at the True Alpha walking toward them. He didn't like having another Alpha approaching his human packmate. And he especially loathed the idea of McCall ambushing Stiles when he knew Derek wasn't around. Coward. His instincts told him to howl for his Alpha, but discretion told him to send a quick text instead. No sense in alerting the whole town to their presence. He didn't realize he was growling until he felt Stiles' hand on his arm.

"He's not going to hurt me."

As far as Isaac was concerned, Scott had already hurt Stiles far too often. He gave a brusque nod, settling for hovering over Stiles while glowering at Scott.

"We need to talk," Scott said.

"You said more than enough last night."

"Everything got out of hand during the meeting." Scott ran a hand through his hair. "Things were taken out of context."

"You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means," Stiles said in a bored voice, retrieving his bag and standing up.

"I love that movie," Isaac snickered.

"What?" Scott's brow furrowed in confusion.

"There's actually no way what you said could be taken out of context," Stiles said with a roll of his eyes. "We were in the middle of the context. Those SAT words aren't working for you, are they?"

"I'm sorry about last night." Scott didn't so much appear sorry to Isaac's eye as he did frustrated. "If I'd known you were the emissary...'

"So, as long as I'm useful, you want me in your pack?" Stiles scoffed.

"I was trying to protect you." Scott insisted. "I wanted you to have a normal life."

"That is controlling bullshit. You don't get to decide what I do with my life. No one gets to do that but me." Stiles took several deep breaths, trying to calm himself down. "Derek respected me enough to want me in his pack."

"All Derek has ever cared about is power! He's using you! Pretending he thinks you're pack so he can have an emissary."

"We were pack before he learned about my magic."

"You can't really believe that." Scott gave a disbelieving snort.

Stiles and Isaac exchanged confused looks. "What are you on about, McCall?" Isaac took a threatening step towards Scott, but stopped when Stiles shook his head.

"Come on, it's obvious," Scott insisted.

"Why don't you explain it, McCall?" Lydia snapped, marching over the grass toward them with a fierce look on her face.

Scott eyed the Banshee warily. "I don't know how, but somehow Derek and Peter found out about Stiles training to be an emissary," the True Alpha said. "Then they cooked up this whole business about Derek being attracted to Stiles in order to manipulate him."

Stiles looked like he'd been blindsided. "What? How can you even believe that?" he asked over the outraged gasps of his packmates.

Scott shifted uncomfortably, but his mulish expression remained. "Come on, Stiles," he said, adopting what he no doubt thought was a reasonable tone. "What's more believable, that Derek is actually interested in you or that he's up to something? Even I can see he's way out of your league."

Fury bubbled through Isaac's veins. The only thing stopping Isaac back from attacking the smug bastard was that he had to hold an infuriated Lydia back. "Go to hell, Scott," Lydia spat at the Alpha. "You don't know what you're talking about."

"Like you ever thought he was worth dating," Scott said angrily. "I'm not blind. People don't see Stiles that way. After years of no one ever showing the slightest interest in dating him, how can you possibly not think Derek's sudden interest is anything but suspicious?"

The scent of anguish radiating off Stiles had Isaac pressing himself against the human's side, trying to offer what comfort he could. Lydia slid to his other side and wrapped her arms around the both of them. "Go away." Isaac flashed his eyes at Scott.

Eyes on Stiles, Scott's expression softened a little. "I'm not saying this to hurt you, Stiles. I love you too much to let you be taken advantage of this way."

"No, Scott." Stiles studied his ex-friend with sad eyes. "No one who loves me would ever say these things. You should go now."

"Stiles-"

Whatever Scott had been about to say got cut off when he suddenly found himself airborne. He soared twenty feet through the air until a tree abruptly interrupted his flight. Isaac took brutal pleasure at the loud thwacking sound the True Alpha made when he hit. He hoped it hurt like a bitch. He shifted his gaze to where an enraged Derek stood in the place where Scott had been, positioning himself between his pack and the other Alpha.

"Stay away from my pack, McCall."

Scott pushed himself up, revulsion twisting his features as he faced the Hale Alpha. Isaac couldn't decide whether stupidity or arrogance made Scott think getting up in Derek's face was a good idea. Then again, Isaac supposed that thinking wasn't Scott's strong suit. He'd always had Stiles to do that for him.

"You're not going to get away with this, Derek," Scott said with a snarl.

Derek arched a brow at him. "What is it you think I'm getting away with? Having a pack that respects each other? That doesn't betray the pack whenever things don't go their way? Or on their girlfriend's whim?"

"You leave Allison out of this," Scott yelled.

"How can I when she's all you ever see?" Derek asked, his disgust with Scott evident. "Time and again, you've ignored Stiles in favor of spending time with a hunter's daughter. He always tries to help you; why aren't you ever there for him?"

"I'm there for him," Scott protested, then had the temerity to look surprised when Isaac let out a disbelieving snort. "What?"

"It took you two hours to show up when Stiles and Derek were stuck in the pool. You hung up on him when he called you for help," Isaac accused. "You let Gerard kidnap him and beat him so you could pull off your so-called brilliant plan."

"The plan worked!" Scott shook his head stubbornly. Isaac didn't think Scott would ever understand how thoroughly he'd betrayed his friends. "And I didn't know he'd taken Stiles."

"You didn't bother to find out," Stiles said, his voice shaky. "You never asked about my bruises, either. Because you were too busy trying to figure out if Allison was breaking up with you."

"Even though you abandoned Stiles when he needed you, he still stepped into a puddle of gasoline to keep you from killing yourself," Lydia continued to hug her friend as she addressed Scott.

"Remember when he jumped into a collapsing root cellar - armed only with a baseball bat - to save your parents?" Isaac shook his head at Scott. "Without Stiles, your mother would be dead. You'd be living with your Dad. You know what, that's a good idea. You should go live with your Dad. Away from Beacon Hills."

"My Dad is a dick," Scott said flatly.

Isaac gave an unconcerned shrug. "So you'll be a matched set."

Stiles huffed out a laugh, rubbing his cheek against Isaac's. Lydia reached a hand around Stiles' neck to pet Isaac's curls. The werewolf leaned into the touch, drawing as much comfort from his packmates as he gave.

"Do you see how they are with him, Scott? If one is under attack, the rest of the pack offers protection and comfort." The look of approval on his Alpha's face warmed the Beta. "This is how a pack is supposed to work."

"I'm not attacking Stiles," Scott said with a growl. "I'm trying to protect him. From you!"

"I don't need you to protect me." Stiles pulled away from Isaac and Lydia and moved to stand next to his boyfriend. Isaac smiled at the way the Alpha automatically took the teen's hand in his. "I can take care of myself. And, if I can't, I have my pack."

"He'll hurt you," Scott insisted.

"Go home, Scott." Isaac was glad he wasn't on the receiving end of the dark look Stiles fixed on his former friend.

Scott gave him a sad look. "I'll find a way to save you, Stiles."

"Don't." Stiles turned his back on McCall, pulling the angry Hale Alpha over to his pack.

Isaac allowed his Alpha to draw him into a group hug, but kept a wary eye on Scott until the other teen stalked off. He privately vowed to do everything in his power to keep Scott away from his pack. How could Scott not see how he was hurting Stiles? Never again. They didn't need Scott; he doubted they ever did.

 

Derek canceled whatever plans he'd had for the afternoon and herded them back to the loft, where Peter waited for them. The Alpha had tucked his boyfriend into the Camaro and Isaac rode with Lydia so he could call the older wolf and recount what happened with Scott. He didn't want to make Stiles live through the retelling. To say that Peter had been pissed was a bit of an understatement. Messing with Peter's favorite was a big mistake on Scott's part. The instant they walked in the door, the older werewolf took one look at Stiles and crossed the room to wrap himself around the startled human.

Peter sniffed at Stiles' neck, his eyes flashing blue. "Do I need to disappear Scott?"

"No!" Stiles squeaked. "No disappearing!"

"Fine." Peter pouted as he let go of the teen. "A little light maiming."

Isaac's heart broke as Stiles attempted to laugh but let out a small sob instead. Derek chivvied the teen over to the large sectional sofa Stiles badgered him into buying the week before. He settled the sniffling teen into his lap, holding him steady in strong arms. Stiles wrapped his arms around the Alpha's neck, burying his nose against Derek's neck as he wept. The Alpha hummed in appreciation as the rest of the pack joined them, pressing against their emissary.

The pack held him, soothing him with light touches and murmured assurances. Isaac itched to do something more, to take his friend's pain as Stiles cried for a friendship that had died. No, he thought grimly, his friendship with Scott didn't die; Scott killed it. He'd destroyed their relationship through a systematic disregard of the man he'd claimed was his brother. Last night, combined with what occurred in the park, was just the death knell.

After a while, Stiles' sobs lessened, though he still clung to Derek like a limpet. They stayed like that, in a sort of pack huddle for a long time until Derek finally spoke, "You know all that stuff Scott said - the stuff about me using you - is total crap, right?"

Stiles tilted his head to look up at him. "You aren't using me."

Derek sighed, relief etched across his features. "For the record, everything else that came out of his mouth was rubbish, too. If anything, you're out of my league."

Stiles pressed a light kiss to his jawline. "Keep this up, and I won't be able to call you Sourwolf anymore."

Derek nuzzled against his neck. "I'm hoping you'll call me that for a long time."

Seeing the two of them kiss was a lot like watching your parents, Isaac thought, torn between cooing and being grossed out. He was glad the two of them had each other. They balanced each other out, Derek a calming influence on the excitable human and Stiles smoothing away the Alpha's rough edges. Together they made sense, no matter what Scott said.

Lydia turned a sharp gaze on her Alpha. "How's this going to work? Two packs in one town?"

Derek and Peter exchanged uneasy looks. "It usually doesn't," Derek admitted. "One pack always moves, gets absorbed by the other pack, or killed."

Stiles lifted his head, a stricken expression on his face. "Killed?"

"I don't want to hurt Scott or his pack," Derek assured him. "I agreed to try a co-Alpha the pack with him since you loved him and because I wanted to avoid bloodshed. That is still the goal. As long as Scott leaves the our pack alone, we will take no action against the McCall Pack."

"This has always been Hale land." Peter's eyes flashed blue for a second.

"It's still Hale land," Derek insisted, rubbing a hand absently over Stiles' back. "The land is tied to us. Generations of Hales have lived and died to protect this territory. The magic running through this town will respond to us - to our emissary - in a way that it never will for Scott."

Stiles sat up a little straighter, a familiar gleam in his eyes. Isaac snorted out a laugh. "He's about to go into research mode."

Derek tightened his arms around his boyfriend. "Not now. Tonight we're going to stay in, order absurd amounts of Thai food and watch a movie on that television you harassed me into buying."

"The Notebook?"

"No sad movies," Stiles said to the strawberry blonde, much to Isaac's relief. "I need egomaniacal villain monologues, improbably survivable violence, and ridiculously attractive people in superhero costumes."

"Fine," Lydia said with a huff. "If you're going to use your emotional distress to get your way-"

"I am," Stiles said firmly.

"Good." Lydia snuggled closer to him. "You're learning."

Peter chuckled, pulling out his phone. "What does everyone want?"

A little while later, just after the food arrived and they'd started the movie, there was a knock on the door. As Derek paused the movie, Isaac sniffed to see who was outside the loft. There was no way they were going to let Scott have another shot at upsetting Stiles that night. He relaxed somewhat when he recognized the Sheriff's scent.

"Dad?" Stiles stood up, confused by his father's arrival. "Is everything okay?"

"Scott came by to see me a few minutes ago." The Sheriff eyes his son grimly. "Seems he wanted me to know Derek Hale was taking advantage of my underage son."

"What?!" Stiles shouted. "Of all the- Now he's trying to tattle on me? To my Dad?!"

Isaac shot to his feet, along with the rest of the pack. He bit back a growl because he didn't want to create a bad impression with the Sheriff, but the urge to slash at something with his claws was almost overwhelming. He glanced over at his packmates and saw his fury reflected in their eyes.

"After listening to his frankly insulting views on both Derek's motives and your naivety - ha!-, I explained that the two of you had already come to me about your relationship. And that you had my full backing."

A collective sigh of relief was heard from the pack. Going to the Sheriff had been a low blow. What if Scott had turned Stiles' father against Derek and the pack? Forcing Stiles to choose between his father and Derek?

"Scott did not appreciate my thoughts on his recent behavior," the Sheriff said humorlessly. "He especially didn't enjoy the part of the conversation where I got his mother on the speaker phone to discuss said behavior. She was less than pleased. Demanded he come straight home so she could have a few words with him herself."

Isaac was in awe at the level of support the Sheriff gave his son. Witnessing their bond made him miss the man his father had once been. He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to find Peter watching him with a concerned gaze. He smiled sadly at the older man before turning his attention back to the father and son before him.

"Thanks, Dad," Stiles said, hugging his father tight.

The Sheriff returned the hug, then addressed Derek, "I know my son. Everything Scott said today is going to eat at him-"

"I don't believe him," Stiles said quickly.

"Not right now," his father agreed. "But, later tonight, when you're by yourself, you'll start questioning. You internalize so much and I don't want this to be one of those things."

He turned back to Derek. "I think that if you're going to take the venom out of Scott's fangs, you might want to go ahead and give Stiles the birthday present you told me about."

"What?" Stiles looked confused. "Present? For me? That's months away."

Isaac watched as Derek shared some sort of silent communication with the Sheriff. "I'll go get it," the Alpha said with a decisive nod.

As Derek disappeared upstairs, the Sheriff explained, "About a month ago, after everything with the Alpha Pack and that crazy Darach settled down, Derek approached me about a gift he wanted to give you for your birthday. He had an opportunity to acquire the gift, but had to act quickly before it become unavailable. Even so, he wanted to run it by me first. I think, once you've seen it, you'll agree that man adores you and would do anything for you."

Now Isaac could hardly contain his excitement, wondering what Derek could possibly have gotten for Stiles. Expecting a large box, he was a bit surprised when Derek returned with a simple envelope. The Alpha came to a stop in front of his boyfriend, nervousness flooding his scent.

"Happy way early Birthday," he said softly, holding the envelope out to Stiles.

The teen took the envelope and, with shaking fingers, opened the flap so he could peer inside. The boy stilled for a moment before looking up. Stunned was the only word Isaac could think of to describe Stiles at that moment. "No way. Is this what I think it is?"

"Two tickets to Comic-Con?" Derek ducked his head shyly. "I'd hoped you'd want me to go with you, but I figured you could take Scott if you didn't."

Isaac saw the Sheriff and Peter exchange amused glances, full of exasperation at their respective family members. "Trust me, son, there was never any danger of Scott going to Comic-Con instead of you," the Sheriff said wryly to the Alpha. "Not with an offer of a weekend with you on the table."

Derek blushed, but appeared pleased.

"I want to go. With you, I mean. But-" Stiles squared his shoulders looking like he'd rather shoot himself in the face than say whatever was coming next, "Are you sure you're okay with this? What about the noise and your sensitive hearing? I don't want to go if you'll be in pain or be miserable."

And that right there was why Derek loved him so much, Isaac mused.

"I'll be fine, I promise," Derek assured him. "I'll be with you."

"We're going to Comic-Con!" Stiles nearly squealed as he threw himself at his boyfriend. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! Best boyfriend ever!"

Laughing, Derek caught him and sat back down on the sofa, positioning Stiles in his lap. "Come on, let's watch this movie. Sheriff, you're welcome to stay. We have plenty of food."

"I think I will," Stiles' Dad sat down on next to Issac and eyed the feast in front of him. "And call me Noah."

"Make sure to get some of the vegetable curry," Stiles said quickly. "Isaac, move the egg rolls away from my Dad. Better yet, throw them out the window. He won't go all the way downstairs to get them."

Isaac gulped as the Sheriff turned his stern cop-face towards him. "Isaac," he said in a voice that turned Isaac's blood cold. "Do I need to remind you that I now not only carry wolfsbane bullets, but also possess the keys to the jail cell?"

"That is a complete abuse of office!" Stiles gasped. "You can't intimidate him like that!"

Isaac looked from father to son and then very carefully reached into the egg roll box and handed one to the Sheriff. "Sir."

Derek smothered Stiles' outraged squawking with a kiss while the Sheriff gave Isaac a polite nod. Lydia chose that moment to restart the movie, effectively diverting the attention away from the Sheriff's illicit fried foods.

Stiles settled against his boyfriend for a moment before he drew in a sharp breath. He turned toward Derek, vibrating with excitement. "Oooh, you could totally walk around Comic-Con wolfed out and people would think it was a costume!"

"Aww, damn it!" the Sheriff cursed. Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a twenty and deposited it into a very pleased Peter's waiting hand.

 

A week later, Scott's motorcycle was found deep in the preserve, cradled in the uppermost branches of the tallest tree. Nobody admitted to anything, but Peter sported a smug expression. Both Derek and the Sheriff chose not to ask any questions. If a plate of the double chocolate chip espresso cookies Peter loved showed up at the next pack movie night, well, Stiles maintained those cookies baked themselves

Chapter Text

Stiles drifted in the warm, floaty place just before the final drop into sleep. An enjoyable evening of watching old episodes of Buffy (For research purposes, Derek! Who knows when vampires or a fear demon will come to town!) on the Stilinski’s couch, cuddled against a warm werewolf left him sleepy. Judging from the low rumble of contentment coming from his boyfriend, Derek agreed with Stiles’ brilliant nap time idea.

The sound of ‘London Calling’ erupting from his phone jerked Stiles awake. “Why?!” he moaned fumbling for the mobile. He exchanged a concerned look with Derek who was now wide awake. “Jackson?”

The former Kanima didn’t waste any time getting to the point. “Why am I getting calls from McCall demanding I come back to Beacon Hills to help him save you and Lydia from Derek Hale?”

“I can’t believe he’s still being an asshat about this.” Stiles made a shushing sound at the low snarl of the listening Alpha. “Stop that, you’re going to freak him out.”

“Scott,” Derek said the name like a curse word.

Jackson snorted. “What is going on? Why does he think Derek is dangerous? And why the hell does McCall think he can order me to do anything?”

“This True Alpha business has gone to Scott’s head. He decided I shouldn’t be part of the pack anymore because I’m human. Actually, I don’t believe he ever thought I was pack.”

And with that statement, Jackson joined the outraged growling a hemisphere away. “What the fuck?”

Stiles quickly gave him a quick rundown of the events of the last couple of weeks, including Scott’s reaction to his relationship with Derek. The former Kanima let out a few creative curses regarding Scott’s behavior that had Stiles cackling.

“And he calls himself your best friend,” Jackson said darkly. “I know I’ve had my jerk moments, but I would never treat Danny that way. And, if I did, Danny wouldn’t be friends with me anymore.”

“The Hale Pack mostly tries to avoid him in school. Lydia is still friends with Allison, and she’s dating Scott’s beta, Aiden, but she’s made it clear to both of them that she wants nothing to do with Scott. So far, they’ve been honoring her wishes.”

“Lydia told me about Aiden. She called me when she realized it was serious with him,” Jackson said. “She was nervous about how I’d react, but I told her I just wanted her to be happy. Is she? Happy?”

“She seems to be,” Stiles said cautiously. “Are you really okay with that? Do you want to talk about it?”

“No, I’m good.” Miraculously, Jackson sounded it. “But…”

Stiles and Derek exchanged concerned looks. “What is it?” Derek asked, knowing Jackson could hear him.

“My school term ended a week ago and I’m eighteen now,” Jackson said in a rush, like he feared not getting the words out. “If it’s okay, Derek, I’d like to come back to Beacon Hills for my senior year. England’s not bad, but I want… I want my pack, my Alpha… if you’ll have me.”

Derek and Stiles exchanged surprised looks. Derek held his hand out for the phone, hitting the speaker button so Stiles could hear the whole conversation. His boyfriend practically vibrated in his excitement over the prospect of Jackson returning to the pack. Despite maintaining his composure, Derek felt like he wasn’t far behind.

“Jackson, you’ll always have a place in the Hale Pack,” Derek assured him. “Tell me when you’re ready to fly home and I’ll have a plane ticket waiting for you.”

“Thank you, Alpha,” Jackson said, the relief evident in his voice.

And just like that, Stiles felt the pack bond fall into place. A bright smile bloomed across his face as he saw his excitement and satisfaction reflected in the Alpha’s eyes.

After they hung up, Stiles paced around the living room, alternating between elation over Jackson coming home and ranting about Scott. The Sheriff walked into the house mid-rant and caught the gist of what was going on. “Scott is still on his anti-Derek crusade?”

“He’s not going to stop,” Stiles said bitterly, kicking at the couch and wishing it were Scott. “Ow. He’s such an asshole.”

“Language,” the Sheriff said sternly.

“Dad, studies have shown that cursing actually increases a person’s tolerance for pain. It’s science. I’m calling Scott an asshole for my health.” Stiles pointed to his stubbed toe.

Both the Sheriff and Derek snorted and exchanged looks of fond exasperation at the antics of the teen they both loved. “Do I need to pull your pain from such a grievous injury?” Derek teased.

Stiles waved this away. “No, calling Scott an asshole seemed to cure it.”

The Sheriff sighed, giving up on trying to reign in his only child’s profanity. “And Jackson is coming home? Does he need somewhere to stay? We can fix up the guest room for him.”

Stiles gave his father a hug for being so supportive as Derek said, “He can stay here or at the loft, whichever he’d like. Thank you for the offer, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it as much as I do.”

He turned to the overexcited teen. “Let’s go to The Jungle. You’re too excited for sleepy cuddles right now.” The Alpha expected the teen to enthusiastically agree, but Stiles bit his lip uncertainly, not meeting his eyes. “Are you sure? The Jungle is pretty public. We usually hang out here or the loft.”

Derek stilled. “Do you not want to be seen with me in public?”

Stiles looked startled. “No!” he yelped. Seeing Derek’s flinch, he hurried to add, “No, that isn’t what I meant. I’d love to go out dancing with you.”

“Yet, you hesitate.”

“Only because I thought maybe you might be nervous to be seen with me. Because I’m not yet eighteen, and this town is full of gossipy old people.”

The Sheriff huffed out a laugh. “Kid, I’ve been hearing about my son and Derek Hale for ages. Half the town is invested in your relationship. I think Mrs. Jacobi even started a blog about it.”

“Mrs. Jacobi, the eighty-three year old widow who lives next door?” Stiles sounded scandalized, then thoughtful. “I’m going to need the address of that blog.”

“Are we going to The Jungle?” Derek asked, ignoring Mrs. Jacobi and her blog.

“Give me ten minutes to change,” Stiles shrieked as he dashed for the stairs. “I can’t be seen trying to woo a Sourwolf in this outfit.”

“I’ve already been wooed,” Derek called up the stairs after him. “There’s no need to change.”

Stiles’ head appeared around the top of the stairs. “Derek,” he said with a stern expression, “I have to look my best for our first official outing. Mrs. Jacobi’s blog depends upon it.”

“I blame his mother. He gets that ridiculousness from her side of the family,” the Sheriff said, then yawned. “I’m going to bed. Have him home by curfew and try not to let him injure anyone while he’s flailing around the dance floor.”

“I heard that!” Stiles shouted down the stairs.

“I’ll do my best, Sir,” Derek said, then felt secure enough in his relationship with the Sheriff to add, “But this is Stiles we’re talking about.”

The Sheriff laughed and clapped him on the shoulders as he went upstairs in search of his bed.


Nineteen hours later…

Jackson entered the baggage claim area to find the entire pack waiting for him. He huffed, seeing the giant sign Stiles was holding up. Simply labeled “Everyone’s Type” with a goofy drawing of a giant lizard attacking Big Ben, it was the most ridiculous welcome sign he’d ever seen. He schooled his features into a scowl and tried to pretend he wasn’t already planning to get it framed. “A lizard, really?”

“Too soon?” Stiles gave him a cheeky smile.

“Moron.” Funny how this time the insult was said with affection instead of with the disdain of the past. He switched his attention to Derek, tilting his head to bare his neck. “Alpha.”

Derek gave him a pleased smiled. The quick, affectionate glide of his Alpha’s hand down the back of his head to gently squeeze his neck had the tension draining out of Jackson.
As soon as the Alpha stepped back, Lydia launched herself forward, hugging her friend with enthusiasm. “I’m so glad you’re back. Danny made me promise to tell you that he expects you to show up to sit with us at lunch tomorrow.”

“Yes, he left me a few voicemails on the subject.” Jackson was eager to see his best friend.

Next came hugs from a grinning Isaac and, surprisingly, Peter. Gone was the insane Alpha that Jackson had helped kill during sophomore year. While Jackson had no doubt that this version of Peter - hell, any version of Peter - was crafty and dangerous, he did not exude the savage menace that had been the hallmark of his murder spree.

They gathered his things from the baggage carousel and headed for the parking lot. He frowned when Derek remote unlocked an unfamiliar black Soccer Mom minivan. Derek rolled his eyes at Jackson’s dumbfounded expression. “What? We can’t all fit in the Camaro or Stiles’ death trap.”

“Hey!” Stiles pouted, then got distracted as they were stowing Jackson’s bags in the back.

Jackson settled into his seat, closing his eyes as he listened to Stiles ramble on about his and Derek’s awesome date at The Jungle (”Stiles, you injured three people.” “It could happen to anyone!” “You tripped on the way to the bathroom and accidentally smashed that poor guy’s nuts into the barstool when you tried to stop yourself from falling.” “That was a really high sound he made.”) and something about a blog. Jackson didn’t know, he was tired.

“Can we stop at Sal’s on the way for a burger?” Jackson asked, interrupting. “Plane food is shit.”

“Sure,” Derek said.

Stiles stopped his rambling for few seconds, long enough for Jackson to open his eyes to see an unsettlingly stern look on the other teen’s face. “A burger?”

To Jackson’s surprise, the entire car snickered. “Fair warning, Jackson,” Peter drawled. “There are going to be a lot of salads in your future.”

“Whatever.” Jackson shrugged. “As long as he doesn’t try to replace my burger with a veggie burger, I can eat a few salads.”

“Why would you give him that idea?” Isaac gave a distressed whine, too low for Stiles to hear.

Stiles got a contemplative look in his eye.

“No.” Derek glowered at his boyfriend before turning his eyes back to the road. “Just, no.”

“Fine.” Stiles sounded like he was dying.

Jackson closed his eyes again and drifted off until he felt the vehicle come to a stop. Blinking himself awake, he saw Sal’s for the first time in a year. He’d missed the place something fierce while he was in London. It wasn’t London’s fault, nowhere could match Sal’s burgers.

They emerged from the car and were halfway across the parking lot when Isaac let out an annoyed groan. “Not again.”

Jackson followed his gaze to see an irate Scott McCall storming out the door of the restaurant and aiming for the Hale Pack. There was a self-righteous fury on his face that made Jackson want to punch him, and McCall hadn’t even spoken yet.

“Jackson!”

And there it was. McCall had insisted upon speaking. Jackson didn’t want to deal with the True Idiot, he just wanted a burger. Was that too much to ask?

“What are you doing with them?” Scott demanded. “I told you how dangerous Derek is. He’s unstable. And Peter is worse.”

“I do try,” Peter murmured, his expression one of boredom.

Scott ignored him.

“They’ve got Stiles all messed up and have somehow fooled our parents into thinking that they’re good guys.”

“You’re an idiot, McCall,” Jackson said in disgust. “I heard about what happened at Deaton’s. You know, all you had to do was apologize, and mean it, but instead you just keep making things worse for yourself.”

Scott had the temerity to look offended. “Stiles won’t listen to reason. I’m his Alpha, he should listen to me.”

“Scott,” Derek growled at him, keeping an arm around Stiles’ waist. “You aren’t his Alpha and you only have yourself to blame for that.”

“Me? Stiles started all of this. If he hadn’t dragged me into the woods that night, neither of us would be werewolves. He’s the reason Jackson and I were bitten! And then he just abandoned me.”

“Dragged you? Were you forced into the woods kicking and screaming?” Stiles scoffed, so done with Scott’s bullshit. “It might have been my idea, but you could have said no. Take responsibility for your own actions for once in your life.”

“From what I understand, Jackson wouldn’t have known about werewolves if you’d listened to Derek and Stiles about not playing lacrosse,” Isaac said.

“Maybe not, but I’m still the one who went looking for the Bite for all the wrong reasons. Me, no one else,” Jackson said firmly. “I went looking for power without any clue as to the cost or what it meant to be pack.”

Lydia gave his arm a comforting squeeze, concern written across her face. Jackson raised his other arm to give her hand a pat while keeping his gaze on Scott.

“And now you want to be part of Derek’s pack?” Scott said in disbelief. “He would have killed you if I hadn’t stopped him.”

“You mean when you stood around moralizing that it was wrong to kill the Kanima while people were dying? And then betrayed Derek’s trust? Yes, you wouldn’t let Derek kill me, but how many people died in my place?” Jackson knew he was wasting his breath. Scott would never understand what he’d done wrong. “You’re good at the grand gestures, Scott, but where were you after I turned into a werewolf? Did you come by my house to check on me? Did you spend hours convincing me that I wasn’t responsible for Matt and Gerard using the Kanima to kill? Did you call and text me practically every day while I was in England? Derek and Stiles did all of those things.”

“No, but you’ve hated us since grade school,” Scott tried to defend his inaction. “I didn’t think you’d want anything to do with us.”

“Or maybe you were too wrapped up in trying to be a ‘better Scott’ to focus on anyone else for five minutes,” Lydia said. “Nearly anyone could have told you that you don’t become a better person by focusing solely on yourself, that only happens when you stop thinking of yourself first.”

“I’m done with this. I just want to get a burger and a salad -,” Jackson said, cutting Stiles’ protest off before he could get started. “And then go to bed for like a- a-.”

He trailed off, transfixed by something behind Scott. The pack looked to see what had the blond teen so dumbfounded, only to see the Alpha twins coming out of the diner and heading their way.

“What is that?” Jackson managed.

Stiles tried to contain himself but couldn’t keep the glee out of his voice. “That is Ethan.”

Jackson drew his gaze away from the sight before him to look at Stiles. “As in Ethan and Aiden?”

“Yep.”

Jackson nodded, then turned his attention back to the approaching twins.

Ethan’s attention was riveted on Jackson as they approached, an easy smile gracing his lips. “Hi. I’m Ethan, that’s my brother Aiden. We’re in the McCall Pack.”

To Jackson’s ear, Ethan didn’t sound too happy with his pack affiliation. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Derek exchange looks with his boyfriend and uncle. Damn, Stiles was right about Derek communicating via eyebrow.

“Jackson, Hale Pack.”

“Are you-”

“We’re leaving,” Scott cut Ethan off. “Jackson, we’ll talk about this later.”

“No, we really won’t,” Jackson said, giving the twins a friendly if somewhat lingering smile before heading for the door to Sal’s.

As he held the door for his pack, he heard Peter say, “Thank you, Scott.”

“What?” Scott sounded pissed.

“I was merely thanking you for our new packmate.” Peter hadn’t quite managed to keep the smug out of his voice. “After all, without your interference, Jackson would still be in London. But now he’s back, a fully-fledged member of the Hale Pack, and planning on spending his Senior year at BHHS. Finstock will be ecstatic to have him back on the Lacrosse team.”

Peter paused. “I wonder if he’ll make Jackson Captain again. A thought for another day, perhaps.”

Damn, but Peter was cold. Jackson could only be glad the former Alpha was on their side. Peter gave him a small smile as he walked through the door Jackson still held, something slightly feral about it. Jackson gulped. Very glad.

Chapter Text

Saturday nights were devoted to Hale Pack Bonding and Puppy Pile Night (”That’s not what it’s called, Stiles.”) and the entire pack was deeply invested in a game of Cards Against Humanity. Peter and Stiles seemed to be in a close competition for who could be the worst person, with Isaac surprisingly not being far behind. The game had unleashed a viciously snarky side the adorably sweet beta had been hiding. Derek was both proud and a little disturbed by this revelation.

“You are a terrible person,” Jackson informed Stiles as he passed the latest white card Stiles submitted back to him.

“Yeah, I know,” Stiles said with a gleeful smirk, placing the card in his “win” pile. “It keeps my Dad awake at night.”

“He can sleep through almost anything,” Isaac commented. “It’s kind of amazing, really.”

After agonizing over whether to stay with Derek or the Stilinski’s because he didn’t want to insult either by picking the other, Jackson finally came up with the perfect solution. Both Jackson and Isaac had taken to spending about half their nights at the loft and half at the Stilinski house. As long as Derek and the Sheriff knew where the boys were supposed to be, they were fine with this arrangement.

“He can sleep through what he calls ‘Stiles noises’ but anything truly unusual will wake him up,” Stiles corrects. “Scott set the microwave on fire once by trying to make his own microwave popcorn bag using a twist tie. Dad was downstairs with the fire extinguisher before the smoke alarm went off.”

“A twist tie? Really?” Lydia was definitely judging.

“To be fair,” Stiles felt compelled to say in defense of the small boy who had been his friend, “he was eight.”

“Perhaps the good Sheriff can’t sleep through Scott noises,” Peter observed dryly.

They all snickered as Scott jokes had become more than a little popular amongst the pack. Jackson opened his mouth to say something no doubt withering about the True Alpha’s intelligence but stopped, his head whipping around to stare at the door instead.

Derek was halfway to the door before the knock even sounded. Sliding open the door, he stared at the sight of Allison and Aiden holding up a battered Ethan. Both twins looked uncertain of their welcome, but Derek stood back to let them in.

Allison and Aiden guided Ethan to the couch, easing him down on it with care. Aiden sat down next to his brother to begin pulling his pain and Jackson rushed over to take the other side to help.

The young huntress straightened up, turning to Derek. “Thanks for letting us in. The boys were attacked by a group of hunters, and this is the safest place for them.”

“What happened?” Derek asked.

“Scott,” Aiden said, bitterness in his tone.

“Scott did this?” Stiles asked, appalled.

“He sent us a text about a pack meeting but didn’t tell us what it was about,” Ethan managed get out. Now that he was safe, with his brother and Jackson pulling his pain, he was starting to heal. “When we got there, we were ambushed by hunters.”

“Scott set hunters on his own pack?” Even Peter looked puzzled. “Why?”

Allison sighed, her misery showing. “He didn’t mean to. Apparently, he somehow contacted a group of hunters from out of state to come rid Beacon Hills of his Hale problem.”

The Hale Pack exploded in curses. Peter growled low threats about places he knew he could hide a body. Derek was almost tempted to agree but drew back his fury when he saw Stiles quivering with rage, tears flowing down his face.

He pulled Stiles against him, letting the teen cry out his rage against his chest. Looking over to Allison, he asked, “Where is Scott?”

She hesitated.

“This can’t go on.” Derek looked pointedly to where Aiden and Jackson were fussing over Ethan.

“I know.” Allison visibly fought back tears. “I kept hoping he’d snap out of it, but whenever I tried to talk reason to him, it just made him worse.”

Lydia approached her friend and drew her in for a hug. Allison let out a shuddering sob, then took a deep breath to steady herself. She turned her face toward Derek but stayed against her friend for support. “I didn’t know he’d called in hunters. I don’t think he realized those hunters didn’t follow the Code. Scott has a tendency to believe most hunters are like Dad instead of like Kate and Gerard. When I found out what he’d done, I only had a few seconds to contact my dad before all hell broke loose. I would have told you as soon as I found out if there had been time.”

“I believe you.” And he did, her heart hadn’t skipped a beat.

Isaac slipped up quietly and handed Ethan and Aiden a couple of bottles of water, then passed one to Allison. “Are you hurt?” he asked, looking her over for injuries.

She stepped back from Lydia and took the bottle gratefully. “Just a few bruises, nothing serious. Dad got there in time to rescue us.”

“Where is your father?” Peter asked.

“He told us we’d be safe here with you and said he was going to dump Scott off with Melissa before he joined us. He said Melissa would patch Scott up.”

Lydia and Isaac, corralled Allison over to a loveseat, encouraging her to sit down. “What about the hunters?” Lydia asked, taking a seat by her side.

“They were all young, barely in their twenties, so Dad secured them and then called the heads of their families. They are in a lot of trouble,” Allison gave a little laugh. “Dad was a total badass.”

“Hmm. I wish I could have seen it,” Peter murmured. He received a number of odd looks, but his audience put it down to Peter being, as Stiles called him, a Creeperwolf.

Stiles, ever the caretaker, brought Allison and the twins some of the pizza they’d ordered earlier and ordered them to eat. “You need to keep up your strength,” he said, his worry and need to do something evident.

None of the trio argued with him. Everyone knew it was better to just let Stiles fret over you in situations like this.

A few minutes later, the wolves heard the familiar sound of Chris’ SUV and Peter went to the door to let him in. The hunter eyes Allison and the twins, checking to see if they were okay. They were, and no one commented on the fact that Jackson was still plastered against Ethan, as he continued his attempts to draw pain that had long since passed.

“Melissa is looking after Scott,” Chris informed them. “When I left, she was patching him up and giving him a tongue lashing at the same time. She’s a formidable woman.”

“Yes, I remember that about her,” Peter said fondly.

Chris narrowed his eyes at the blue-eyed beta, rolled his eyes, then ignored Peter to address Derek, “I’ve tried to stay out of pack business, but this needs to stop. Scott is a danger to everyone around him.”

“He’s right,” Aiden said. He exchanged a look with his brother and continued, “We’ve been watching you guys. You’re a real pack, Scott doesn’t have any idea of what that means. We wanted to leave his pack, but we were afraid he’d become unstable if he lost his whole pack.”

“But he’s unstable anyway,” Ethan finished for him. The twins rose from the couch to come to stand in front of Derek. “Alpha Hale, we’d like to join the Hale Pack, if you will let us.”

Derek and Stiles had discussed this eventuality between them, and then with the rest of the Hale Pack in case the twins ever wanted to join. They’d examined, in depth, their feelings about the twins and their culpability in Boyd’s death. After considerable soul searching, they’d all agreed on a solution.

“On one condition.” Derek studied the twins carefully. “You’d have to give up your Alpha sparks. Scott has proved too many alphas are not good for a pack or a territory.”

Ethan and Aiden looked at each other, then Ethan said, “We thought you might say that, and we agree. We want a good pack more than we want to be alphas.”

“We were never really interested in being alphas, just in getting away from our former pack. Deucalion promised us a family, but he lied. The Alpha Pack wasn’t any better than our old pack.”

They took turns transferring their Alpha spark to Derek, who then squeezed them each on the neck and welcomed them to the Hale Pack. They all felt the pack bonds snap into place and the entire pack erupted in a happy cheer.

The newest pack members returned to the couch, this time bracketed by Lydia and Jackson. Derek let them all have a happy moment before getting back to the problem at hand.

“I don’t understand why Scott would go to the trouble of finding out of state hunters rather than asking you for help, Chris.” Derek frowned. “Why didn’t he come to you?”

Chris turned pink and Peter let out a snicker. “I can answer that one for you, Nephew,” the beta said cheerfully. “He did go to see Chris.”

Chris glared at Peter. “It’s not funny.”

“Yes, it is,” Peter disagreed.

“Scott came over to see me last week. I’d thought the kids were at a movie, and so didn’t realize they’d come to the house. Scott walked into my office without knocking-,” Here Chris turned even redder. “And I wasn’t alone.”

“Or dressed,” Peter added.

“Yes, Peter, the kids absolutely needed to know that,” Chris snapped as Allison gave a little gasp.

“Is that why he suddenly decided we had to go for ice cream?” Allison asked, shock on her face. “He didn’t tell me. I didn’t even know you were seeing someone.”

Derek had a bad feeling about this. “And I’m guessing that someone was-”

“Me,” Peter said proudly at the same time Chris said, “Peter.”

Pandemonium erupted for a few moments.

Allison was stunned, “Peter?”

Derek gave his uncle an exasperated look. “Peter.”

For his part, a giddy Stiles exclaimed, “Oh, this is the best thing ever. Except for getting together with you, Sourwolf. That was better.”

“Really, Stiles?” Allison glowered at him.

“Hey, better your dad than mine,” he said, then paled as an unholy light appeared in Peter’s eyes. “No, Peter. No.”

“But the uniform-” Peter began.

“I will curse you,” Stiles warned.

“Fine, spoil all my fun,” Peter said with a pout before giving Chris a leer that left everyone in the room vaguely queasy. “Well, not all of it.”

“Peter, try to remember my vast supply of wolfsbane.”

“Kinky.” Peter gave an unrepentant shrug. “Anyway, Scott got an eyeful of Chris’ ass and my glorious everything, shrieked, and ran away. He must have been too traumatized by the experience to come back to enlist Chris’ help.”

“I wish he had come to me. I don’t know how he managed to find those hunters.” Chris shook his head.

“What are we going to do about him?” Isaac asked.

“I’d like to avoid killing him,” Derek said, “Melissa doesn’t deserve to lose her son over his idiocy. He will never agree to give up his alpha spark and join a pack, and we can’t banish him. He’d just come back, and if he didn’t, then he’d become someone else’s problem.”

“If we can get him to go live with his father, I know of an Alpha in San Francisco who has a solid history of rehabbing problematic wolves,” Chris said. “Could you take his Alpha spark like you did for the twins?”

Derek shook his head. “If I tried to take it by force, there’s the possibility his instability could infect me, too.”

Chris sighed with disappointment. “Then we’ve got to find another way,”

After a minute, Stiles ventured, “I have an idea.”

 

Scott woke up, feeling groggy and weak. The last thing he remembered was his mother giving him another lecture about trying to get hunters to help him rescue Stiles from the Hale Pack. One second, she’d been going on about respecting Stiles’ choices and nearly getting his own pack killed, and then the front door opened, and then… nothing.

“Scott, honey, open your eyes,” his mother’s voice implored him. ‘Wake up.”

He blinked his eyes open to see her concerned face hovering over him, and a bright blue sky beyond her. He groaned and sat up, surprised to find that he was lying on the side of a road. Ten feet away, his father stood next to a sedan, watching them.

“What the hell?” Scott looked at his mom. “What is Dad doing here?”

“He’s come to take you to San Francisco. You’re going to stay with him for a while.”

He jerked away from her. “What? No, I’m not.”

“You don’t have a choice, Scott,” Melissa said, a hint of steel in her voice. “You can’t stay in Beacon Hills.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You’ve been banished from Beacon Hills by the Hale Pack.”

“They can’t do that!” He got to his feet, then caught the scent of other wolves. He turned to find the Hale Pack, the Sheriff, the Argents, and the twins standing ten feet behind Scott and his mom.

“Get away from my pack, Derek,” he ordered.

“They’re not your pack anymore, Scott.” Despite the situation, Derek spoke and stood with calm determination. It made Scott want to bury his claws in him. “And you’re not an Alpha anymore.”

Scott stared at him in shock. He’d noticed he felt weaker, but thought it was because of whatever they’d used to knock him out. “You stole my Spark? Did you give it to Peter so you could start your own Alpha Pack? I won’t let you.”

In response, the pack flashed their eyes at them. Derek was the only one with red eyes.

He looked to the twins. “He stole your Alpha sparks, too?”

“No,” Ethan said.

Aiden nodded his agreement. “We gave them up. We’re happier this way, in the pack without having to lead it.”

“Well, I didn’t give up my Spark.” Scott glared at Derek. “You stole it.”

“I’m the one who did that.” Stiles moved protectively closer to Derek, like he didn’t want the Alpha to be blamed for something he did. “You could barely control yourself as a Beta. You weren’t ready and the Alpha spark was slowly driving you crazy, Scott.”

“So, you just gave my Spark to Derek? I told you he was power-hungry.”

“Giving your Spark to Derek could have driven him insane, too,” Stiles said. “After I removed your corrupted Alpha spark, I cleansed it, and gave it to the Nemeton to help it heal.”

“They didn’t do this to steal your power,” the Sheriff spoke for the first time. “They did it so you could live.”

Scott was unable to understand how Derek had managed to turn everyone against him. He growled at the Alpha, “You did this!”

Scott launched himself at Derek, wanting to make him hurt as much as Scott did. To his shock, Scott hit an invisible barrier and bounced off. He looked down but saw no mountain ash. “What is this?” he asked, pressing his palm against the rigid barrier.

“It’s a spell,” Stiles said, moving closer to the invisible line so he could talk face to face with his former friend. “I’ve warded the entire Hale territory against you. You can’t cross the wards.”

“You have no right! Beacon Hills is my home!” Scott shouted.

“It can be again,” Stiles informed him. “The day you can cross that barrier without holding any grudge or resentment toward any member of the Hale Pack, or the Hale Pack as a whole, you’ll be able to cross it. The barrier is only as permanent as you make it.”

“Fine, to hell with Beacon Hills,” Scott said. “We’ll start over. I did it once, and I’m sure I can find a way to regain my Alpha spark. We’ll build a better pack.”

There was a short moment of silence, then Chris spoke, “We?”

“Allison and I,” Scott explained. “There’s nothing we can’t do together.”

“I’m going to spend the summer in France, learning how to be a good hunter, learning what it really means to follow the Code. I’ll come back, but not for you,” Allison looked at him with sadness, “You’re not good for me, Scott, I think… I think, maybe, we’re not good for each other.”

“That’s not true,” Scott protested. “I love you! You’re my anchor!”

“Why Scott? You’d barely met me when you chose me as your anchor. Your anchor should have been your mom, Stiles, and the Sheriff. It shouldn’t be me. And just because you decided I’m your anchor, that doesn’t mean I should have to stay with you. I’m worth more than that.”

Scott stared at her in stunned disbelief. “Allison.”

“Goodbye, Scott.” Allison said, then allowed her father the lead her to their vehicle.

Scott blinked back tears as he watched the SUV drive away. Shoulders slumping, he said, “Fine, let’s just go.”

The Hale Pack watched Scott get into the sedan with his parents and start the drive toward San Francisco. Once they were out of sight, Stiles slid a look at Peter. “Thank you.”

Peter raised an eyebrow. “For what?”

“For being kind and resisting the urge to needle him,” the Sheriff said, understanding what his son meant. “For not making the situation worse.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Peter scoffed. “I simply had nothing to say.”

“Right,” Derek rolled his eyes.

“Will his parents be okay alone in the car with him?” Isaac asked, worry etched over his brow. “He was pretty upset.”

“Without the Alpha spark driving him crazy, he should be fine,” Stiles assured him, pulling the sensitive beta into a sideways hug. “But, just in case, I gave both Melissa and his dad some of the knock-out powder I used before.”

“Good idea.” Isaac took the affection happily.

“Melissa will call us when they get there, and then give us a full report when she comes back in a couple of days. Derek gave her the name and phone number of a supernaturally-aware therapist, so she’s going to get some appointments set up for Scott after they meet with Alpha Rigby.” The Sheriff reached out and shook his hand through Isaac’s curls before herding the kids toward the car. He was getting used to the werewolf need for constant physical affection. “Come on, you miscreants.”

They all climbed into their various cars and made their way back to the loft, where Chris and Allison were waiting. Once upstairs, Derek pulled Stiles down on the couch with him, with the Sheriff taking his son’s other side, and Isaac claiming Derek’s other side. The others took spots around the living area, holding quiet conversations.

After an hour of comforting an unusually quiet Stiles, the Sheriff decided to pull his son out of his funk. Stiles didn’t react when his dad pulled out his phone, but his loud shriek when he realized his dad was trying to order twenty-five meat-lover’s pizzas to be delivered went down in pack history. Stiles grabbed the phone and proceeded to change the order to contain several veggie pizzas and a number of salads. That done, he handed the phone to Peter so he could give them a credit card number. He paced around the room, lecturing about his father’s heart and diet. There was much flailing of the arms.

An amused and tolerant pack and father allowed this until Stiles ran out of steam and plunked back down on the couch between Derek and the Sheriff. “I want to watch Ghostbusters, the original one.”

No one argued. The pizzas arrived as Spengler warned the others to never cross the streams. The Sheriff dutifully accepted a large bowl of salad along with his veggie pizza, and Stiles pretended not to notice Derek slipping the man a piece of contraband meat-lover’s. Around the time the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster found each other, Peter and Chris quietly disappeared upstairs.

“I hope they didn’t think they were being stealthy,” Stiles commented, never taking his eyes off the screen.

“You’ve got to admit,” Lydia said, “The two of them… it’s kind of hot.”

There was a chorus of agreement amongst the teens, except for Allison, who looked a little green. “Please don’t make me think about the two of them together.”

“Seconded.” Derek flashed his red eyes. He was not above using the Alpha power to avoid thinking about what his uncle was doing up there. He raised the volume on the television and quietly vowed to himself to look into soundproofing the bedrooms.

Sheriff Stilinski looked amused, but without werewolf powers, he didn’t have to hear or smell anything. He just ate his pizza, watched the movie, and tried not to think too much about the salad.

Three weeks later, Beacon Hills was peaceful, and Melissa was back home. They hadn’t heard from Scott, but no one thought they would for a very long time. And nothing was trying to kill them. So, Derek was a bit surprised when his boyfriend came slumping into the apartment, dropped his bag, and fell dramatically face-first onto the couch.

“What happened?” Derek asked from the kitchen area, looking over to where Jackson and Isaac were rolling their eyes at Stiles.

“He’s being a big baby,” Jackson muttered.

“It’s terrible.” Stiles made a sound roughly akin to a dying moose.

“What happened?” Derek rounded the counter and approached the couch.

“Danny asked me out,” Isaac reported, happily.

Derek frowned. He thought everyone liked Danny. “And this is a problem because?”

“I was really looking forward to giving Isaac’s next significant other the shovel talk, but it’s Danny.” Stiles rolled over and glared at the ceiling, put out by the injustice. “Who could possibly give the shovel talk to Danny?”