Chapter 1: Stiles goes home
Stiles gets a phone call and starts packing. Destination Beacon Hills.
Stiles started packing his things when he got the call from his dad one rainy Sunday morning. The call was a short one – they’d already video chatted during the week, but apparently his dad had had some sort of epiphany afterwards or something – and the main point of it was simple. Stiles’ dad was getting married.
”You’ve been holding out on me, dad”, Stiles had said when the older Stilinski had finally managed to get the actual words out of his mouth, digesting the news and feeling extremely happy for his old man. ”Wow, I can hardly believe it. My dad’s finally grown up and about to leave the nest. I’m so proud!”
”Very funny, ha ha. You get your wise-ass down here to Beacon Hills and I’ll give you a beating that’s long overdue. Sarah’s a gentle woman but she always liked me better anyways so she won’t mind.”
”Well, she should like you better. That’s kind of the whole point. Otherwise she’d be walking down the aisle to see the little old me in a fancy penguin getup.” Stiles had no intention to marry any time soon himself, but maybe he could walk his dad down the aisle or something. Or maybe not. Might look a little weird. ”And about that beating my ass thing. You know it’s considered illegal to beat your kids, right? You’d end up having to arrest yourself by the end of the day.”
”Yeah, well it’d be worth it. You’re coming, though, aren’t you?”
”Dad, of course I’m coming. Actually, there’s nothing you could do to make me stay away, even if Sarah turned out to be some mythical siren intending to end the great Stilinski line to get her hands on our many, many assets. That we have many. Yeah. So I’m coming, alright?”
”Yeah.” Noah was silent for a while. ”So… are sirens really a thing? I mean, there’s no such thing. Is there?”
Stiles had to bite his cheek to keep himself from laughing. Sometimes it was just too easy to be the one who actually knew something about things. Okay, the Hales knew stuff too, but only the boring general stuff, like how to control your enhanced senses and such. But he knew all the good stuff.
”Well, there might be. I remember reading about one, and then there’s that whole Odysseus thing-”
”Relax, dad. I’m just joking. Sarah’s okay. Perfectly normal. Humanwise at least. And as far as we can tell without some psychotic Hale uncle biting her head off in hopes of waking up another one of those old, sleeping talents anyone nowadays seems to possess without knowing about them beforehand. I asked Scott to check when she moved in.”
”You asked Scott to… Stiles, that’s so not okay!”
”Well, I had to be sure. Besides, he only took a sniff, stalked her for a few days ect.”
There were certains tests they were able to do with mountain ash, misteltoe, salt, silver and such, but there were also these things his dad didn’t necessarily need to know about and those helpful and (mostly) harmless little tests fell into that category.
”Okay. Right. Well, remind me to thank him later. Christ, you children…”
”Dad, I’m happy for you both. You know that, right?”
”Thanks, Stiles. I know. How’s your leg, by the way?”
”Better, I think. Miko’s getting fed up with me, though. You should see the way he looks at me when we’re in the woods and I can’t keep up. So impatient.”
”Yes, I can imagine. Give him a kiss for me, will ya?” His dad really, really liked his puppy dog. ”And bring him with you when you come. I need someone to talk to when Sarah’s at work and you’re running around town with Scott and the pups. Maybe we could make him part of the ceremony. Do you think you could teach him to hold the rings?”
”Hey, I once taught Derek how to use the Internet. There’s nothing I can’t do.”
”Here we go again”, Stiles said to himself, looking at the house looming before him through the windscreen of his car, Jeep Jr. It was already dark outside so the house was as lit as it could be and he could see some dark shapes on the porch that looked like bulging little creatures intent on guarding the front door but were actually just Sarah’s idea of a flower arrangement. Sarah really liked her flowers. She just wasn’t that organised when it came to placing or arranging them. Or keeping them alive, for that matter.
Still, dark, flowery monsters notwithstanding, the house looked like it always had, even if Stiles hadn’t acctually lived there for years. It still looked like home.
Miko’s nose touched his bare arm, cold and wet and so suprising in its suddenness that Stiles jumped on his seat.
”Jeez, you scared the shit out me”, he said. ”Do you have to keep doing that? Honestly, it really feels like you’re doing stuff like this on purpose. Makes me wonder if you're actually a dog at all and not some japanese weredoggie.”
Miko just whined, impatient as ever. He could probably tell where they were and wanted to get out already.
Stiles threw his jacket on and stepped outside. Miko jumped down after him and started on jogging towards the house, tail wagging furiously. Stiles couldn’t help but smile at the sight. It was always nice, coming back home.
Later on that same night Stiles was sitting on his bed, back against the headboard and a lap full of dozing dog. He’d been browsing the news on his phone when it started to ring.
Scotty-boy was missing him.
He smirked and answered the call.
”Hello, there stranger. Now I don’t know what’s the matter with the weather around here, but where I come from, it was still summer. Late summer, maybe, but summer nonetheless.”
Scott laughed. ”Winter is coming, buddy, no matter how much you whine about it.”
”Did you just- no, don’t say anything. I don’t want you to ruin this by telling me it was just a coinsidence.”
”What was a coinsidence?”
Yeah, it was too good to be true anyway.
”Never mind, you already ruined it.”
”So you got home okay?”
”Yeah, it was a long and boring ride but here I am. Dad had to go back to the station to get some papers but we’re gonna have pizza when he gets back. So, what’s been happening around here? Any new pups I should be aware of?”
”No new ones, no.” Scott said. ”And the old ones would like me to remind you that they don’t really appreciate you calling them pups or puppies or- what? No! You can’t just go around marking things like a- no, I don’t care what Derek says, it matters what I say. Okay, so anyway. Maybe don’t aggravate them so much? You know how easy it is to rile up a teen wolf.”
”I know”, Stiles said, furrowing his brows. ”I remember. But let’s backtrack a bit. Who’s gonna mark what and with what? And if we’re actually talking about what I think we’re talking about, I’d like to offer some free advice on the matter. As in don't even try. I can pee too!”
They spoke some more, mainly about the wedding but about work, too. And school and wolves and banshees that refused to attend the wedding unless someone other than Malia helped them find the perfect dress for the occasion.
The thing about speaking to Scott – or any were-anything for that matter – was that the privacy of a phone conversasion was a thing long since forgotten. Everybody could hear everything. It was like being on a speaker phone with the whole frigging pack listening in on his every word.
Which meant nothing really serious was discussed over the phone. And that’s why Stiles didn’t tell Scott about the new meds he was trying out. Or his leg, that should have healed ages ago but still ached like a bitch.
And Scott… well, who knew what was really going on with him. His friend could find trouble from the bottom of his tootbrush when he really put his mind to it. Stiles didn’t even have to help anymore, that’s how well he’d trained Scott. Or not. Who knew. Maybe the alpha was just born with it. Or maybe it was a wolf thing.
”You didn’t invite Scott to eat?” Noah asked later when they were all in the sitting room with pizza, cokes and Netflix.
Sarah had come home too, and as much as Miko liked Stiles’ dad, he liked Sarah even better (Stiles was still his favorite but Sarah came as a close second) especially when there was food on the table. He was too well trained to actually beg, but with Sarah he didn’t even have to. One sad, ham-loving look and she was done for.
At the moment that sadly successfull, ham-loving look was directed at the woman from behind the coffee table. Stiles thought it was adorable. He just hoped the dog wouldn’t do the same if some random burglar should come to his house armed with sausages. Miko would probably not only let him steal all the goodies but do it with a wag of furry tale, too.
”He’s staying at the Loft with the pack”, Stiles said, mouth full of pizza. ”Too much hustle and bustle to get him here without the pups raising a hellstorm to get him to stay.”
”Isn’t Derek in town, though?” Noah asked. ”From what I’ve seen, he’s got them pretty well handled.”
”Mmh, when he wants to get them to do something, sure. But from what I’ve heard, he leaves the leading stuff pretty much to Scott and Malia. I’m not even sure if he’s actually part of the pack on a daily basis or an ”on call freelancer” like me and Danny.”
”It’s funny”, Sarah said to Noah over her hamless slice of pizza. ”You and I are much older than these younsters, but have you noticed that their lives are much more complicated and interesting than ours?”
”I guess you and I are a bit boring, yeah.”
”Hey, as long as boring means pizza and soda and happy people I’m fine with boring”, Stiles declared, making the other two laugh.
It was nice to see them laugh, of course it was. Neither of them had had it that easy with the supernatural side of the world making a mess of their lives in one form or the other. Good or bad, change was a change. But he hadn’t actually been joking or making a jest or anything.
He thought about his leg and the experimental new meds he was on that always made him a bit groggy at first and he thought about his mom.
Yeah, sometimes boring really didn’t sound that bad.
I like to imagine Scott here as the bird from the movie Rio. The one with many children. If you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Pups in this fic are mainly just a new generation teen wolves, though, not actual pack pups, if you get my drift.
Chapter 2: Long time no see
Derek meets Miko.
”What is that?
Stiles turned around, the red cap of a marker he’d been using pinched between his teeth, and saw none other than his good friend Derek standing there by the door, having a stand off (of shorts) with Miko. Who just looked interested in the newcomer. His good friend Derek looked like someone had released a skunk in his living room and from the looks of it that someone in his modest opinion was of course Stiles.
No surprises there.
”That’s Miko”, Stiles said. Or tried to, at least. With the cap still in his mouth, the sentence came out more like ”hath’s iko”, than anything else but, oh well. ”Eashe, on’t eat im.”
Derek gave him that wild, wide eyed look he remember so well from their earlier years and snarled: ”That’s a dog.”
Stiles could not help but raise his eyebrows at that. The dude acted like the very idea of a dog in his house was an insult to his very person. Honestly. At least Stiles hadn’t brought a cat with him. He spat the cap out of his mouth and said: ”I applaud your observational skills, Derek, I really do.”
Miko was tilting his head now and tried to even wag his tail a bit, but Derek wasn’t so easily won over. Stiles returned to face the board he’d been studying before the other’s sudden appearance.
This wasn’t akward at all, no sir.
He hadn’t really wanted to just bumb into Derek like this. He wouldn’t go as far as to say he’d been actively avoiding the man in question, but he’d come to the Loft namely cause it’d been werewolf free zone at the time, Scott had said so.
To hell with you, too, Scott. Derek was precisely not supposed to be here!
The thing was… he’d kind of missed the beta during the last two times he’d visited Beacon Hills. He only came during the holidays - two, three times a year - and that had always felt like enough. He texted Scott almost everyday and he and his dad called each other regularly but with Derek the only time they really talked any more was during his visits and during the last two they hadn’t even seen each other.
It was weird and it was akward and the more time had passed the more Stiles had started to dread the inevitable reunion.
He hadn’t said anything about it to Scott, who probably hadn’t even noticed anything amiss – unless Derek had said something, but for some reason Stiles really doubted he had – but at some point during their phone conversasions he’d started this trend of let’s-ask-how-or-what-Derek-thinks-about-this-or-that in the hopes of getting the man himself in the phone to bark at him or something and break the ice that way but… yeah, hadn’t really worked.
And, well. Here we are. He just hoped his scent wouldn't give away how horribly uncomfortable he felt about the whole situation.
”And why is there a dog in my apartment?”
Stiles huffed, thanking whatever gods that were in the mood to lend an ear in his direction that Miko was there to take the worst brunt of Derek’s attention.
”Don’t get your panties in twist bud, we’re leaving in a minute. I just stopped by to drop some books Scott had asked for but then I saw this”, he gestured at the colorful crime board before him and shook his head.
”Who’s behind this thing anyway? It’s so messed up I can’t for the life of me figure out what the thing was you were even solving. I mean seriously, these marker pens are here for a reason and these pink little hearts here”, he tapped the side of the board with his knuckles, ”these are not the reason.”
”Well I didn’t draw them”, Derek said, maneuvered himself carefully around Miko - who was wisfully tracking his every movement with his eyes but was too nice to actually follow him to get a frienfly little sniff - and came to stand beside him.
Stiles rubbed his neck - a quick, nervous little movement that hopefully didn’t draw too much attention - and stepped aside to give the older man more room.
”What?” he asked, when Derek just looked at him.
”Nothing”, Derek said, after a moment. ”Why are you being so weird?”
So much for not drawing attention.
”You’re being weird”, Stiles muttered and oh, had he actually forgotten how high those coal black eyebrows could climb? ”So what is with this board anyway? What were you looking for?”
”I believe”, Derek stated, slowly, ”that Lydia used this board to teach the twins where to find the best shopping places for clothes and coffee. Hence the hearts. She used them as a rating method.”
Stiles opened his mouth but nothing came out.
”We have a new set of twins”, Derek offered as an explanation. ”Girls.”
”Yeah”, Stiles said weakly, wincing at the word new. ”I’ve met them.”
He’d been meaning to start a rant about the perplexing misuse of important investigating instruments because complaining about things was talking and talking calmed him down and helped him clear his head but the sudden mention of the original twins felt like a knife to the gut.
He thought about Aiden (how could he not? How could he not?) and that made him think about poor Alisson and that of course brought up a whole new set of old, never quite forgotten sins to feel guilty about and fuck, was he ever going to get past this?
They were gone!
No amount of guilt or shame would bring them back. There was nothing he could do.
I did offer you the sword, little one. Or don’t you remember?
”Stiles, calm down.”
Oh, yeah. Derek was there.
Just, fucking great.
Stiles raised his hands in mock surrender – falling back on your old habit of joking things off was easy when you never grew out of it to begin with – and grunted something about being just fine and before Derek could say another word on the matter, Stiles had already turned his back on him and started for the door, Miko following close on his heels.
”See you later, I guess”, he said over his shoulder. A quick glance at Derek’s blank impression was enough to make him feel bad for a whole new reason.
”You’re coming to the wedding right? I don’t know if dad remembered the invitation or not but you are definetly on the list. So, ah, just show up, will ya? Don’t blow him off or anything. That would be so uncool even your reputation would suffer - what you have left of it anyway. Okay, but hey, don’t go MIA on me again, you got that?”
He took off as fast as he possibly could without actually starting to run and god, did he feel stupid. That could not have gone worse and since when had he started having these panic attacks again, anyway?
Sure, that hadn’t been even close to a really big one, but he hadn’t choked up this bad in years. Not after leaving Beacon Hills behind for good.
Was it that then? Was it just being back here that was making it so difficult to breath? Memories of childhood behind every corner, running through the town like springtime floods painted in red. It’s not the red of your eyes, though, Scotty-boy, but that of blood. And blood is... black in he moonlight.
That still didn’t add up. He’d been back multiple times after leaving and nothing like this had ever happened. The only difference now – besides that catastrophic meeting with Derek – was the wedding, but how could that have anything to do with anything? He still hadn’t even-
His pocket suddenly made a sound that almost made him yelp. Or at least grunt with a very manly surprise. Take a chill pill, Stiles, it’s just your own frigging phone, he thought and started fishing for the thing from his pockets. After finally fnding the right pocket and the phone in it he checked to see who’d been texting him. Maybe Scott had-
Unknown number : You smell funny.
Say what now?
Stiles : You did not text me just to say that!!!
Unknown number : You walk funny too.
Unknown number : What happened to your leg?
”How can you even…”
Unknown number : I can still see you from the balcony.
Stiles turned around on his heels with an actual yelp this time and oh yes, there he was. Leaning on the balcony railing like the coolest frigging dude in the galaxy. ”You creep”, he muttered, astonished. How come Derek even had his number? He was pretty sure he at least hadn't given it. The phone peeped again and he looked down.
Unknown number : I can also hear you.
Oh, for the love of-
Stiles : GOODBYE Derek.
There, that should do it.
Without further ado he thrust the phone back into his pocket – totally ignoring the newest little answering peep - and started walking again, the grip on Miko’s leash not nearly as tight as it had been a mere minute ago.
No one called him or texted him after that, so he had no reason to look at his phone again for a very long time. Until later in the evening when his curiosity finally won over stubbornes.
And sitting on the porch steps watching Miko sniff at the same damn tree for 10 minutes and counting wasn’t exactly keeping him that entertained, so… yeah.
He might as well check what Derek had written.
Unknown number : What happened to your leg?
Stiles sighed and rubbed his eyes with the back off his hand. Oh, what the hell. He started texting back.
I was writing this and my laptop went kaput. Guess they didn't like the music.
Chapter 3: Before the wedding
That's pretty much it. The day before the wedding.
The mornings were harder than they used to be when Stiles was young. Well, younger. He wasn’t excatly about to start collecting his pension as it was (unless his leg really decided not to man up and heal properly) but there were days when he just felt… old.
Like he’d already seen what there was to see and that’s it.
There was always the supernatural, but even that side of his world was slowly loosing the shine it once held. Nothing really surprised him anymore. And Stiles had seen all kinds of amazing things. Amazing, unbelievably beautiful things - that almost always led to bloodshed and tears.
He’d left Beacon Hills (and Scott) behind for several reasons. To finish his training with the FBI, yes, that was the one he used when asked. Only his dad really knew about his need for redemption, how the incident with Donovan was weighing on his mind. The need to get away from the pack and everything that came with it was the one reason he would never speak of to anyone.
But deep, deep, down, he’d just been tired of getting hurt.
Mornings like the one Stiles was waking up to now, were a testament to the fact that irony was a goddamn bitch. He survived the supernatural part of his life with flying colors (more or less) but managed to maim himself on the job the minute he tried to start living the way ”normal” people did.
First he lost his frigging toe – you can laugh about it all you want, Derek, doesn’t change the fact that I’m one Penny Rou short - then he wrecked the rest of the same leg eight months ago in a stupid stunt involving a very impromptu car chase and a very, very badly placed tree.
The leg had healed just fine. It had just developed an attitude that tended to raise its head during mornings, when it was too cold, when it was too warm, when it rained, when he stumbled on one of Miko’s toys etc.
”Good morning to you, too”, Stiles muttered into his pillow when the limb decided to make itself known by being an aching, annoying little shit. He was used to it, though. It was kind of his thing. Go Team Human.
His stomach growled, urching him to wake up and do something to fix the situation. He reached out to grab his wrist watch from the night table and checked the time. 7:38. Huh. Had he actually slept that long?
Curiouser and curiouser.
Sarah was eating breakfast in the kitchen when Stiles deemed himself ready to join the civilization. His dad was there too, doing something by the oven.
”Morning, Stiles”, Sarah said.
She was loading her toast with tomatoes and cucumbers. Yummy. The smell of burnt eggs was apparenlty his dad’s handywork, then. Hmh. Maybe he should go and get some curly fries for himself.
Noah much must have guessed what was going on in his head ’cause the minute he tried for the door the man spun around and called him on it.
”I was just going to let Miko out for a bit”, Stiles mumbled and sat down next to Sarah.
”Already did that”, Noah said, approaching the table with a hot frying pan. Stiles leaned back and pushed his plate further from himself for his dad to drop some brownish yellow lumps of wanna-be-eggs to, grimacing a bit when the smell truly hit him.
”Wow, dad. You really went all out on these, didn’t you?”
”What? They're perfect, nice and crispy.”
”That’s why I sticked with the tomatoes”, Sarah said.
A childish little ”he he” escaped Stiles' mouth at that. Noah just smiled and ruffled his hair. He was in a good mood. Sratch that, he was happy like a hippy and that was awesome.
”So”, Stiles started, poking the eggs on his plate with his fork, ”tomorrow’s the big day, huh? What’s the plan here then? Me and Miko, we can evacuate to Scott’s if you want to have some alone time or something.”
Stiles would have loved to throw his dad a bachelor party, but apparently the older man was too cool for school - ”Once was enough, thank you very much” - and just wanted to stay home and have a nice, relaxing day.
”Nothing like that”, Noah said. ”Me and Sarah were thinking of a little party, actually. Well, not a party. A gathering, really. Nothing big, mind you, just our closest friends. We invited the pack, too, if that’s okay.”
”The whole pack?”
Stiles loved Scott to death but the pups were annoying at best and unbearable at worst. Liam was okay. Stiles had helped with him, though, so that was only natural. But the rest? No way jose.
Stiles: Teenagers, man. How did you ever put up with us???”
”It was an open invitation kind of thing”, Noah said. ”Who comes, comes, and that’s that. Put the phone away and start eating your eggs, Stiles, jeez.”
”You’re playing with them. There’s a difference.”
The eggs weren’s as bas as he’d thought. Actually, they were pretty good.
”How long has Miko been out anyway?” Stiles asked after a minute of careful chewing.
”Ten minutes or so”, Sarah said, starting to clear her place. ”Want me to get him?”
”Just open the door and call for him. He’ll come.”
Sarah had seemed much calmer about the upcoming event compared to his dad, but when she got up and walked away, there was an easily detectable bounce in her step too. Stiles looked at his dad sitting opposite him, staring after her with soft, wondering eyes.
Noah blinked, gave his head a little shake and turned to look at him, smiling sheepishly. ”Yeah”, he said. ”Very much so, I’m afraid.”
”Don’t be”, Stiles said and returned to his crisply black, surprisingly good eggs. ”It’s a good thing.” When his phone started vibrating on the table next to his hand, he moved as to pick it up but stopped and glanced at his dad with raised eyebrows. Noah just rolled his eyes and gestured at him to do whatever he wanted, basically.
”Much obliged”, Stiles said and grabbed the phone.
Derek: I didn’t.
Hah, true enough.
”Is it Scott?” Noah asked.
”Ask him if someone of his is allergic to something or is on some weird diet again and can only eat popcorn or tuna or something. We’re going grocery shopping and I want to get everything on one go.”
Stiles looked up. ”What? Oh, yeah, I’ll ask him. Or we could just get pizza or something, you know.”
”Bah. Boring. Besides, we just had pizza.”
Stiles: Just asking.
Stiles: You coming to eat later?
Had he ever seen Derek eat pizza? Come to think of it, had he ever seen him eat anything at all? He might have once seen him eat a banana.
Derek: Babysitting Peter.
Derek: He says hi.
Stiles: Not saying it back.
Derek: That was Peter.
Miko was suddenly nosing at his arm, making him jump in surprise. Once again.
”Dude!” He moaned and tugged at the dog’s ears playfully. ”I’ve told you not to do that.”
Miko whined and wagged his tail and Stiles crouched down on his seat and buried his nose in the dog's thick neck fur. It was cold and dry and it smelled of canine and fresh morning air. He hummed contently and wrapped the dog in a hug. Just having him close made him feel better in general. Happier.
”I’ll come with you and Sarah to buy the groceries, okay?” He said to his dad who just nodded and continued eating.
In the end, Scott didn’t bring the whole frigging pack in his tow. Just Liam and a couple of his human friends, one of the twins and Simone and Dean. Lydia also turned up and Danny, both of them fashionably late. Malia, of course and Melissa and Chris Argent. So yeah. There were still a lot of them.
It was… okay.
The spotlight was of course on the happy-couple-to-be so that at least took some of the edge off from Stiles, but still, there were so many people, so many old friends and even more acquaintances that he hadn’t really wanted to meet yet and… yeah.
Scott must have picked up some of what was going on his head. They’d been sitting on the couch with Lydia (Malia was getting more food) watching tv and chatting. Some of the pups had already left, some had gone and come back to tell something to Scott and then left again. Noah was in the kitchen with Sarah, Melissa and Chris.
Stiles had actually been texting Derek – or possibly Peter - when he’d noticed Scott stealing glances at him, trying to be very subtle about it, too.
”What is it?” He finally asked. The feeling of being scrutinized not sitting well with him. ”What did I miss?”
”Nothing”, Scott said. ”I was just trying to get a read on you.”
”You were- what? Why?”
”Very smooth”, Lydia muttered from Scott’s other side.
Scott just shrugged, ignoring her output. ”No reason. Just wanted to see how you’re doing, I guess. But all I smell is, well, Miko.”
Stiles put his phone away and sighed. ”Okay, tell you what”, he started and shooed the dog in question away from his lap so that he could turn and face his friends properly. ”How about you stop with the sniffing and just ask me. You know? Like humans do.”
”Uh, yes. Sorry.” Scott scratched his head. ”You spend so much time around the pack you kind of forget how to act like, well, like humans do. It’s just...are you okay with all this? With the wedding I mean. And being back, I guess. I never got around to ask.”
”Am I okay with my dad getting married again?” Stiles clarified and Scott nodded, looking embarrassed he’d even asked. ”Hey, as long as his happy, I’m happy. Sarah’s awesome. And, okay, yes, I don’t know her that well but you do and that’s enough.”
”Yeah, she’s cool. She-”
”Who’s cool?” Malia asked and stepped over the backrest of the couch to sit between Stiles and Scott, balancing a plate full of grilled chicken legs on her lap. ”Who are we talking about?”
”Sarah”, Stiles said. ”Sarah is cool.”
”Well, yes, she better be. Your dad deserves the best, Stiles. She passed all the tests we designed for her and passed with clean papers.” Malia gave him the thumbs up. ”She’s a good catch, very well proportioned. Your father has an excellent taste.”
”Okay, that’s- yeah, no.” Stiles cleared his throat. ”Let’s talk about something else. Anything else. Scott, Lydia, anything to add here?”
”There’s been some movement in the woods lately”, Scott said after a while. Stiles did not like the sound of that, but he wasn’t very surprised. There was always something going on in Beacon Hills. ”We don’t know who or what it is, but we’re keeping our eyes open.”
”Nothing serious, then?”
”No”, Scott said and looked at Lydia. ”Not yet, at least.”
”I haven’t sensed anything”, Lydia assured them, not noticing how Scott tensed at her words. But Stiles did. He knew the look on his friends face and he knew Lydia was propably lying her ass off.
Welcome back to Beacon Hills, folks. Around here we don't even know the meaning of boring. You wanna have a party? Well, worry not. We here in Beacon Hills will take care of the entertainment part for you.
Stiles, really, really just wanted to bury his head in the sand somewhere and not come out before the whole wedding spectacle was over and done with. There was no way it was going to go without a hitch. No way, not here. He should have known not to expect anyhting else.
"You don't suppose dad would be willing to just elope or something?"
And Big Tom Bumble.
I didn't even know that there are these kinds of names for ones toes. Ha! You learn something new every day.
Chapter 4: When the banshee cries
The wedding and Lydia's warning.
Stiles had actually never been to a wedding before. All the adults in his life had already been on their way out of it, so to speak, rather than just jumping in like his dad now with Sarah. The situation with his dad was of course different than say, with Scott’s parents, seeing as his marriage had ended when Stiles’ mom died and not because they didn’t get along anymore.
Scott had once said he wished his own dad was dead like Stiles’ mom so that thinking about him wouldn’t hurt so much. Stiles hadn’t taken it very well. At the time, he would have given anything for his mom to just be back. Anything. Even if she’d really hated him.
”It’s not her that’s talking Stiles. It’s the illness. Never forget that. Your mom loves you.”
That had been years ago, but Stiles hadn’t forgotten.
Is it better to love the memory you have or hate the reality you live in? He never really found the answer. Plus there was the fact that Scott’s dad – the jerk of the month 12 times a year – had returned to Beacon Hills and actually taught himself how to behave again. There was no reunion marriage-wise, but there was peace. Understanding.
Scott had a dad again.
Stiles’ mom would not be coming back.
Still, when he stood by the altar beside his dad and saw the way he was looking at Sarah when she finally appeared...yeah. He just knew his mom would be happy for them both. She would want his dad to be happy again.
The ceremony was short and simple – sadly, Miko was not involved in it in any way ’cause the pastor had allergies (oh, if only he knew) – and nothing even remotely peculiar happened. Other than Derek sneaking in in the middle of the ceremony, silent as a ghost if not as inconspicuous.
Might be it was just Stiles who noticed him, seeing as he was the only one up there not looking at the pastor at that precise moment. Derek did this weird little dance step when he realized he’d been detected. It almost looked like he’d suddenly decided to flee but then just as suddenly decided not to.
”Now repeat after me”, the pastor said. ”I, Noah John Stilinski..”
So, instead of leaving or, like, sitting down, Derek just stood there, frozen in place.
”..take you Sarah Rhea Tucker, for my wedded wife..”
Stiles had no idea what was going on in the man’s head, but there was something weird about the way the he was staring at him now.
”..to love and cherish..”
It was Sarah’s turn.
”..for better or worse..”
Stiles tried to keep his eyes on her, but Derek still hadn’t moved, he was still looking at Stiles and Stiles couldn’t help glancing at his way.
”..for richer or poorer..”
Something cold ran down his spine.
”..in sickness and in health..”
And there was something in Derek’s eyes, flash of anger unlike he’d ever seen on the man’s face. Directed at Stiles himself.
”..till death do us part.”
Stiles blinked and looked again, but whatever he’d just seen was gone now. Derek gave him a quick nod and joined the people standing up from their seats, applauding the newlywed couple.
There was one person who didn’t manage to stand quite as effortlessly as everyone else, though Stiles was too busy hugging his dad to take notice. Lydia was standing now, clapping her hands together in overly faked excitement that did nothing to cover up her deathly pale face.
When the ceremony was over and done with, everyone headed back to the place of the actual party, where all the lovely food was. It was convenient to have such a good relationship with Chris Argent (thank you, Melissa) that he’d so willingly given his newish downtown house and its big front yard for their use.
Stiles thought there might be some sort of age-crisis going on there, but what did he know?
”I can’t believe your dad got married again”, Scott told him after dinner and a few glasses of champagne. ”We used to think it’d be cool if he’d married my mom. Remember?”
”Yeah”, Stiles said, leaning back on his lawn chair, balancing on its two legs and drinking his soda with quick little gulps. ”I can’t believe you just waltzed with Derek Hale.”
Scott buried his head in his arms and let out a loud, miserable whine that made Miko raise his head and look up at him with perked ears. The dog had been lying on the grass between their chairs, licking his paws with admirable concentration, only now and then looking around if someone had accidentally dropped something eatable in his direction. Now he was looking intently at Scott and gave a little ruff.
Stiles started to laugh. ”It’s okay, Miko.” He said, scratching the dog’s ear. ”Scott’s just having a little moment with himself and his lost and gone dignity.”
”I can’t believe I waltzed with Derek Hale in your dad’s wedding!” Scott muttered, voice muffled and hard to understand.
”If you can call that dancing”, Lydia said, playing with her own untouched drink. She had been sitting with them for a while, but hadn’t really said much until now. ”Derek was fine, sure, but you my dear alpha had two left feet. I’m surprised you didn’t step on his toes.”
”More than you did”, Stiles joined in and clinked glasses with the smirking girl. Scott sighed and straightened on his chair.
”Doing the girl’s part was harder than I thought”, he said. ”At least it’ll all pay out in the end. Though I’m pretty sure Dean knew how to do it already, he just wanted to make me miserable. Since when has he wanted to dance with guys anyway? I thought he and Polly were still a thing.”
”They are, but Polly’s been thinking of a major life style change as of late and Dean’s just trying to be supportive. It’s adorable.”
”Oh yeah?” Scott asked. Stiles was pretty sure he didn’t really get what Lydia was hinting at either, if the confused head scratching was anything to go by. ”Not as adorable as Derek laughing at me behind my back, that’s for sure.”
”Nah, Derek doesn’t do that”, Stiles said. ”He doesn’t do that whole back stabbing thing. He’d laugh straight at your face.”
”Well, he did that, too.”
”That was a smirk, if anything.” Lydia said. ”We could all see he was proud of you for stepping up like that for your beta, even if it wasn’t so easy for you to do it.”
”It would have been easier if Derek had let me lead. Hmph, proud my ass. He made me look like an idiot.”
”There’s Malia now hunting for a new dance partner”, Lydia was looking over Scott’s shoulder and waving her hand. ”Go and show them you actually can dance, then, if it bothers you so much.”
”You know what?” Scott stood up, face in a determinate frown. ”I’m gonna do just that. I’ll dance Derek off the floor if it kills me. Or him. Preferably him.”
”Go get ’em wolf boy”, Stiles shouted encouragingly after him. It was okay to shout. Everyone in the party was more or less on with the whole supernatural thing, Sarah’s folk included. ”That’s mah boy!”
”He’ll be disappointed when he realizes that Derek’s not dancing anymore.”
”What? He Who Walks Behind the Rows took off already?” Stiles asked, trying for nonchalant. He hadn’t really thought about what had happened during the vows and he wasn’t going to start now, thank you very much.
Lydia thought for a minute. ”Children of the corn?” She asked.
”That’s mah girl.”
It had taken some time and effort but he had actually managed to get Lydia to watch some movies with him, once upon a time in Beacon Hills. Even if she didn’t always stay awake all the way through, that was beside the point. As was the fact that she didn’t care enough to ask where the comparation came from, now.
”Did Derek actually leave?”
Stiles kind of hoped that he had. Would save the akward follow-up conversation for phones only. If there even had been anything weird to speak about. Nothing had really happened, after all. Derek might not have even noticed. And that look he’d given him...Stiles could have imagined it.
”What? No, I just meant that he’s not dancing”, Lydia said, rolling her eyes. ”That thing with Scott was for the boys, I think. I for one didn’t even know he could dance, let alone that well.” She downed her drink on one go – Stiles could almost feel his eyes bulge out of his head when he saw this - and carried on. ”But that’s just Derek, right? Perfect at everything, as usual.”
”Uh...you okay there, Lydia?”
”I’m fine. I just…” Lydia was silent for a long while and when she finally looked at Stiles again her eyes were sad, terrifyingly so. ”Do you know someone called Hunter?”
”When the time comes, look upon the autumn sky, Mieczyslaw. You’ll know what to do, then.”
”Do I know-? No. Why, who is he?”
”No one. I think”, Lydia licked her lips. ”Are you sure you don’t- because I got this feeling the other day. This- you know, feeling. The day you came back to Beacon Hills. And I heard a voice.”
Stiles put his own empty glass down on the table and returned his chair to its proper position, all four legs on the grass.
”What did it say?”
”Something about angels”, Lydia said and Stiles tilted his head, honestly confused.
”Angels”, he repeated, not really knowing what to think. ”Are we supposed to be worried about angels, now?”
Lydia was shaking her head, frantically. ”No”, she said. ”Yes. I don’t know. He’s telling me to watch out for the angels. Maybe it’s metaphor or something, but whatever it is, it all started when you came back. So, no, I don’t think it’s about that thing in the woods, if that’s what you’re going to suggest now. It started with you, Stiles and what ever it is...it’s bad.”
It was Stiles’ turn to have minute of silent thinking. He didn’t want to tell Lydia about Hunter, and seeing as some frigging angels didn’t even have anything to with him, Stiles didn’t even feel he should. But why would she even know the name, then? It didn’t make any sense. Hunter had nothing to do with Beacon Hills.
Then again, it could be something else, entirely. Like that thing in the woods, whatever it was. Yes, Lydia, I did go there, sue me. He’d heard even Peter was wary of actually looking for it.
But then again, that was Peter. He wouldn’t go running after something potentially dangerous unless there was something to gain from it and so far there really wasn’t.
”Have you talked to anyone else about this?” Stiles finally asked. He noticed he was biting his fingertips and forced himself to stop, tugging the hands under his armpits. The sun was still high up in the sky and it was a warm day, but he felt cold. He hated being cold. He hated it.
Yet. Funny little word, that one. Haven’t told, but will tell soon, just you wait, little one. Damn, had his head started to hurt.
”Don’t say anything to my dad.” Stiles wanted to have this one little thing, at least. ”Not today. Not until...not until you really have to. If you have to.”
”We’ll figure it out”, Stiles grabbed her hand, gently, wrapping their fingers together. He felt like a parasite feasting on the warmth her body offered through that one little touch. ”Like we always do. You, me, Scott. We’ll figure it out.”
Lydia didn’t look so sure - the opposite, really - but finally, finally she nodded in agreement, clasping his hand tightly between both of her own. She wouldn’t say anything to others either, she would let him do it himself, when he was ready.
He just had to leave before that happened.
As we came down the old boreen,
Rose and I – Rose and I,
At vesper time on Sunday e’en,
We heard a banshee cry!
-Alice Guerin Crist
Chapter 5: The wolf in my house
Derek picks Stiles up from the hospital and stuff happens.
”I’m beginning to think the doctors in my life are in some sort of secret alliance against me and my supposed privacy that apparently doesn’t even exist or at least isn’t covered by the doctor-patient confidentiality”, Stiles said when Scott’s mom started preparing the syringe for the injection - destination Stiles’ forearm.
Hip hip hurray.
Melissa just gave him a look that basically told him to stop with the whining and man up. ”I was just asking out of curiosity”, she said and pressed the needle agains his arm. Stiles hardly even felt it when it broke the skin. ”Frank is a good friend of mine, you know. And he just happened to mention that when you last came to see him you looked a little pale.”
”He said that?”
Stiles had always thought his doctor was an european version of doctor House more than anything else, and was having a hard time picturing the man saying anything as mild as ”he looked a little pale”.
”To me he said I looked like something that crawled out of a sheep’s bottom. And smelled like it too.”
That was also the last time Stiles ditched shower before going to see him. Or any doctor for that matter. Thanks to Frank’s (doctor Cotillard’s) foul mouth, Scott’s mom had the pleasure of getting to drug a freshly showered and carefully preened Stiles straight into oblivion.
Or at least something pretty close to it. Drug one out of ones feet didn’t really have that nice poetic vibe to it, though.
”I might have been sensoring a bit”, Melissa admitted. ”And no, I’m not going to repeat what he said just to amuse you. Now, this should do it for the time being.” She patted his hand and rolled backwards with her saddle chair. ”Everything okay?”
”And you’ll call me if something starts to feel weird?”
”Good. Your dad’ll pick you up, right?”
”Are you going to answer yeah to everything I ask?”
Stiles smirked. ”Yeah.” If he’d learned anything from his increasing dealings with the hospital folk, it was to say as little as possible and always agree with the one holding the needle. Especially after one of these shots. Made things less complicated.
”Are you going to be a good boy and start sleeping some more?”
Melissa smiled at her little victory and Stiles, admitting his own defeat with admirable grace, hopped down from the examining table. He was gathering his things and preparing to leave when Melissa did something that both surprised and delighted him. She kissed his cheek.
”You be good now”, she said and there was something in her eyes that made Stiles think that maybe, maybe he’d been more transparent than he’d meant to be. Might have been a mom thing too, of course. One of those sixth senses kind of things they seemed to posess that allowed them to sense a troubled mind more often than not.
It was nice, but it wasn’t what Stiles needed right now. They said their goodbyes and Stiles left.
After waiting for his dad for half an hour he was beginning to think the man wasn’t going to show up but was feeling too lazy to really do anything about it.
His dad was late. Nothing new there. He was the sheriff and in Beacon Hills that meant his job really didn’t follow any afore planned schedules and Stiles was used to that.
But it was inconvenient.
Stiles’ car wasn’t here. He wasn’t even in condition to drive it, had he had it. He was a responsible adult now for fuck’s sake. Responsible, somewhat sleepy adult.
It wouldn’t be...that bad to just sleep on the waiting lounce bench, now, would it? There were other people sleeping there too. Or there had been a moment ago. Huh. The pretty new nurse had probably called the old guy dozing off a couple of chairs away from him to the examining room.
Her name was Carol, Stiles recalled suddenly. The pretty new nurse was called Carol. Hadn’t looked like a Carol though. More like Cheryl. Or Bonnie. Heh. That was a funny name.
And that dude staring at him from the other side of the room looked a lot like Derek.
Stiles straightened on his seat – or tried to, at least.
His legs either ignored or totally missed the memo and kind of just slipped on the floor and instead of having them push him up he just crashed that much lower on his seat.
”I thought you said the shots made you a little tired.” That was Melissa crouching next to his chair. Where had she come from, anyway? And when? Stiles surely hadn’t noticed.
”I’m okay”, he said when she helped him to sit properly ”Watch the leg, lady.”
Melissa glanced down, frowning. ”Does it still hurt?” She asked. ”You didn’t say anything about that.”
”It has an attitude”, Stiles said, gently carressing the limb in question. ”What is Derek doing here?”
”He’s here to take you home.”
”Uh...what?” Surely he’d heard that wrong. Why would Derek be taking him home? He’s dad was supposed to- oh, yeah, he was late. Probably for a good reason. ”Where’s my dad? Did something happen?”
”He got caught up in something and asked if Scott could come pick you up.”
”No!” Okay, that came out more like a whine than he’d intended, but whatever. ”I told you, Scott doesn’t even know and I don’t want him to know like this. Why would you call him without asking me first?”
”I’m sorry, but there really was no one else”, Melissa said, not sounding sorry at all. ”But it wasn’t even Scott who picked up, it was Derek and when I told him you needed a lift he offered to come himself, no questions asked.”
”Well, duh”, Stiles muttered, closing his eyes as Derek moved closer. Derek didn’t need to ask questions. He would just know. And wasn’t that just peachy.
Still, it was better than having Scott here. And Derek wouldn’t tell. If Stiles just asked, Derek would not tell. It was... reassuring to begin to know the guy again. If only a little. Via spontaniously expanding amount of random text messages.
”He’s a bit out of it”, he heard Melissa say, gentle flow of words reaching his ears from what seemed like far, far away. ”If you just get him home and into bed, he should be fine.”
”Did Scott say when he’ll be coming home?”
Stiles wondered about that. What was Scott doing? Nothing too dangerous, at least, otherwise Derek wouldn’t be here, he’d be with the pack. And his dad was late which meant something had happended. But something not that bad, ’cause - again - Derek would not be here. He blinked his eyes open when the man said something to him.
”What?” he asked.
Derek didn’t like repeating himself and that was a known fact - not that he usually had to. He might not have been the alpha anymore, but when he talked, people listened. Even Stiles. Most of the time.
”I asked if you were too stoned to stand.”
”I am not stoned”, Stiles said, proving his point by standing up. See? Easy peasy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. ”Do you like lemons, Derek?” He asked when the man just stared at him for his efforts, the ever so wide eyes as unimpressed as ever. ”You sure look like you like to eat them.”
”And you look like someone who doesn’t want to walk his ass home because he couldn’t keep his stupid mouth shut”, Derek said, grabbed Stiles’ bag from the floor and started for the front door.
When Stiles didn’t immediately follow, he stopped and turned around. ”You coming or not?”
Stiles pursed his lips. He was tired and he was annoyed and Derek was being even extra Derekish today. And yes, this was Stiles’ way of saying the wolf man was being a huge dick. ”You were much nicer on the phone”, he muttered. And he meant it too. He genuinely enjoyed their conversations.
”So were you”, Derek said and resumed walking again, not waiting for Stiles to catch up. There was a point being thrown at him there, Stiles was aware of that, thank you very much, but he wasn’t too keen to examine it any further.
The ride home was silent. Derek wasn’t a great talker to beging with – like just, no, he really was not – and Stiles for once couldn’t come up with anything to say. Yeah, that did happen from time to time. It was weird to be the one on the passenger seat, though, and not behind the wheel like so many times before.
He had always been the one to drive Derek around town in his old Jeep, Stiles that is. The designated driver. He supposed he was lucky most of his friends couldn’t really get drunk anymore, oh no, that was just for him. Or had been. Stupid meds.
Derek’s hand moved suddenly, catching Stiles’ attention. The dude had very long fingers, he thought absentmindedly (spiders, they looked like pale spiders) and watched as they reached out to set the heating higher.
Well now, wasn’t that interesting.
Stiles turned his head to look at Derek properly, one eyebrow raised in a questioning arc.
”You’re cold and it’s annoying the shit out of me”, was the explanation offered.
”How can you even tell?” Stiles asked.
It’s not like he’d been shivering or anything. He’d been very careful about that, careful to stay still, unnoticeable. It can’t see you if you don’t move. Might be he was confucing Derek with a T-Rex, there.
There’s no way Derek would have eaten that poor goat. Then again the dude was known for eating an occational rabbit when in the mood so there really was no telling what he would do with a goat. Okay, no taking Derek to a petting zoo, then.
”You with me?”
Stiles closed his eyes and swallowed. ”I’m- yeah. Sorry, I zoned out.”
”So how could you tell? Can you actually smell it on me?”
”I could hear the hair on your arms stand up.”
Stiles perked up at that. ”What, really?” That’d be like - SUPER cool. Like seriously.
The way this was said made it pretty clear that Derek thought he was an idiot. Hmph. Stiles could live with that. He’d been doing it for years all ready. People dumber than you tended to think you were the stupid one when, in fact, they just failed to keep up.
”So, where’s the mutt?” Derek asked after a good while of silent driving and soundless brooding.
Stiles, who’d been metodiously pinching his arms to keep himself focused and present didn’t really appreaciate the way Derek talked of his dog on a daily basis - he was crude and he was rude and what the frigging fuck did he have against dogs anyway? - but he let it go.
Derek only needed to wait. He only needed to wait and Stiles’d be gone, Miko on tow.
”Home”, he finally said.
Derek nodded. ”And Sarah?”
”And sheriff’s away too.”
”So there’s no one to watch you won’t choke on your tongue during the night”.
”Are you trying to invite yourself over?” Stiles asked. Had it been Scott asking these things it would have been a joke but with Derek there Stiles just felt honest confusion. The fact that his head wasn’t quite as invested in the game as he would have liked it to be just made things worse. ”Because that’s what it sounds like.”
Derek stopped the car and turned off the engine. Stiles hadn’t even noticed they’d been this close to his house.
”Dude, seriously, I’ll be fine”, he said when the other man stepped out of the car, motioning for him to follow.
He didn’t, not at first. He was trying to remember what Melissa had said at the hospital, if she’d perhaps given Derek some instructions other than to get him to bed, which in itself was already a bit humiliating. He didn’t remember. Might be because he hadn’t really been listening, but still.
”Oh, yes, you’re perfectly fine”, Derek’s voice came suddenly from much, much closer and he was reaching to unbuckle Stiles’ seat belt, having at some point rounded the car and opened the passenger side door.
Stiles, annoyed at the sudden intrusion of his personal space, leaned back to avoid any unnecessary beard contact. Whas there even a term for that? It was called moonlanding when it was about ass-cheeks, that much he could remember from locker rooms alone, but he couldn’t think of any for accidental face contact.
For a second there he thought about biting the man’s ear, but managed to rein himself in. Derek might actually bite back. Stiles wanted to keep his head intact, thank you very much.
Beeing dragged out of the car like a little kid didn’t do wonders for his mood, almost falling over his own feet and ending up lying on Derek’s arms even less so. Yeah, didn’t really do wonders for either of them.
”Oh, for heaven’s sake-”
Derek was strong, Stiles had always known that. Scott had become like that too after the bite (before he’d been able to move a couch from one side of the room to the other, if only barely) but Derek was like super strong.
It shouldn’t surprise Stiles so much that the man was able to heave him on his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and act like he was carrying a frigging pillow.
”Oh, my-” god would have been the last word on that sentence, had Derek not heaved him a bit higher, jolting the word out of his surprised mouth. ”Jerk”, he muttered, trying to find some balance by getting his hands on the man’s lower back; swinging back and fort was making him dizzy and he didn’t like it.
”Man up”, Derek said and – and!!! - bounced him again, just for the hell of it this time, it would seem.
Stiles hated him. So. Much. This whole manhandling thing – not his idea of fun. But it didn’t end there, oh no, Derek had the gall to actually jump on the porch like the damn monkey man he was and give Stiles a heart attack while at it, the brat!
This reminded Stiles of something, something Peter had once said.
Peter was full of shit and unreliable on a good day, but Stiles seemed to recall Cora being there too. They’d been laughing and it had had something to do with Derek and Stiles. He just couldn’t for the life of him remember what.
”Give me the keys”, Derek said.
Stiles could hear Miko scratching the door from the other side, the presence of a werewolf probably making him antsy. And yes, the dog could tell the were-people from ordinary people, he had checked.
”Give me the keys or I’ll break the door down.”
”Wow”, Stiles said in defeat, angling his hand backwards, trying to get to his pockets before Derek would volunteer to search from there himself. ”You and your threats. So good to be home.”
”The keys, Stiles.”
The keys changed owners, the door was opened and Miko, the brave guard dog that he was, immediately recognized Derek as the more dominant presence in the room and let him pass by, only jumping a bit to try and lick Stiles’ fingers.
”You’re useless”, Stiles told the dog. ”Utterly useless. Go relieve yourself or something.” Miko, it seemed, was more interested in Derek’s backside, aiming to get a better sniff and Stiles pretty much lost it. ”Oh, my god, no!” He yelped, shooing the dog away. ”Out Miko, out!”
Derek, fortunately, hadn’t seen or noticed anything.
”You can put me down now”, Stiles said. His face was heating up and he wasn’t even sure why. ”Please?”
Derek said nothing, just kept on walking.
Towards the stairs.
”Derek? Hey, you don’t have to- okay, fine, stairs it is. Great. Uh, Miko just went out, you know? I can’t just-”
”I’ll get him when his done.”
”When he’s...okay, huh, gonna stick around then, aren’t you. We having a pajama party or what? ’Cause if that’s the case we should really call Scott and invite him, too. Or Lydia. Or Malia. You get along with Malia, don’t you?”
Derek acted like Stiles wasnt’t even there. Rude, considering he was pretty damn there, all over the man’s back, in fact.
At least he was warm.
Houston, we have a problem. That can’t be the silver lining here. Stiles refused to be so lame.
And seeing as he wasn’t that lame, he didn’t mind Derek dropping him on the bed and backing away.
Not at all.
”Just go to sleep, Stiles”, Derek said, positioning himself by the window, legs apart and hands folded against his chest. Staring at Stiles like the world’s biggest bat, eyes glimmering, the faint bluish hue a whisper of an echo of what they could be when wolfed up.
”Ah...with you staring at me like that? I’m tired but not that tired!”
Derek made a point of turning his back to him, like this made all the change in the world. Sometimes Stiles wondered if the man was actually as human as he claimed to be, his understanding of normal human customs at least tended to fall a bit short.
Or perhaps he was just fucking with him, which was very possible, too.
”Your dog is burying something in the rose bush”, Derek was kind enough to inform him.
”Probably the last shreds of my dignity”, Stiles muttered, rubbing his face in frustration. He wanted to go to sleep, he really did. But not with Derek there. It wasn’t even about feeling safe with the guy, no, that was not the issue. He just had his principles.
No sleeping with random dudes in the room was one of them. Or random Dereks, in this case.
”Why did you answer Scott’s phone?”
If Derek wasn’t going to leave he might just as well answer some questions.
”He dropped something in the river when we were hunting that thing in the woods. He was knee deep in it when you called.”
”Oh. What did he drop?”
That was, naturally, the logical question to be asked next. Whatever they were after (the thing that Lydia refused to worry about) was either too quick for them to even get a good look at or just too smart to get caught. No need therefore to inquire about that.
”He didn’t say.”
”Ah.” Probably some jewelry then. He’d had something awfully shiny hanging around his neck the other day and if Stiles knew his friend at all it was most likely something given to him by Malia. Anything other he would have just given up as a lost cause. ”And you just, what, decided to play the Good Samaritan and come pick me up?”
”Actually I thought I was helping out a friend”, Derek said and oh, my god, wasn’t that like a slap in the face. This wasn’t what Stiles wanted. This was the last thing he wanted! Derek lookig at him like he was just another person in his life turning their back on him, which was just..no.
”Hey..” Stiles tried to stand up from the bed, wanting to reach out, to comfort, something, but his leg – his stupid, unforgiving leg that obviously held a grudge against him – decided to give up under him just then and before he knew it, Derek was there holding him upright again, cursing him under his breath.
He grabbed Stiles by the waist with both hands and then proceeded to actually fucking lift him from the floor and slam him back on the bed.
”Just- stay put”, Derek hissed, eyes flaring blue.
Stiles was too hyped up to really say anything. Derek was suddenly too close, way too close, practically lying on top of him and his teeth – his fangs, his frigging fangs – were hovering over Stiles’ jugular as the man breathed in his scent in huge, wavering gulps.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out something was off, though the self-proclaimed genius that he was, Stiles really should have known better than to do what he did next. Which was to lean his head backwards, possibly to get some distance between them or something.
It was a reflex more than anything, just...not the right one.
Stiles was too stunned to even scream when Derek suddenly bit deep into his shoulder.
A girl walking in the moonlit night
Was interrupted by howling fright
A man so smitten
As if wolf bitten
Sometimes to turn you don't need a bite
Chapter 6: Of soap and vampires
Stiles tries to keep up with what's going on. Derek isn't helping.
Okay, confession time. I haven’t watched teen wolf after Stiles left, so there will be and probably already is things I’m getting wrong about lore and such. In this chapter at least.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
”Hey. Dude. Earth to Sourwolf.”
Stiles was beginning to get worried. He was sitting on the bed on his knees, one hand on his bleeding shoulder while the other was used to joggle Derek out of the panicked trance he’d apparently fallen into. Like he was the one who’d suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly been turned into a werewolf’s chew toy and not the one doing the actual chewing.
”Come on man, you’re freaking me out here! This is so not you.”
And it really wasn’t.
Derek was the strong one. The moody one too, maybe. The brooding one, yes, absolutely. But he didn’t do the whole panicing thing, had never been one to panic. At least Stiles hadn’t been there to witness it before. Now the man was just sitting there, hand clamped over his mouth, face bleeding from the wounds his claws made when pressed into the skin of his cheeks.
Then he said something into his hand, voice muffled and incomprehensible. Stiles stilled to listen.
”What?” he asked, unsure if he’d heard correctly.
All shit aside, he was still suffering the side effects of the shot and allthough the sudden bite and the sharp, lingering pain of it helped keep his mind focused, he couldn’t say he was 100% present, as it was. He felt all weird, hot and cold at the same time, dizzy yet alert, almost unbearably so.
And the blood staining the front of his shirt looked too dark to be real, too dark compared to the blood sliding down Derek’s wrist.
Derek closed his eyes. Normal, pale blue eyes. Well, what could be seen of them had been pale, anyway - the dude had the pupils the size of a small coin.
It’s the biting, Stiles thought. Must be. Even Scott likes it, gets excited because of it. He said so when he- no, but that was with Alisson. But if it was a wolf thing it probably didn’t even matter when it happened, and with Derek it hadn’t even been intentional.
Derek put his hands down – noticed the blood, he just now noticed the blood – and clenched it into a fist. ”I’m sorry”, he said. ”I don’t know- I’m- I’m sorry.”
He wouldn’t look at him but the guilt in his voice was unmistakable, the shame in it. Almost like- Stiles choked down a sudden burst of laughter, but it was too late. Derek turned to stare at him, ingredulous and (hurt?) like the very fact that Stiles was laughing at him in a situation like this was something he couldn’t even comprehend.
”I’m sorry I just-”, Stiles tried to get his face in control, he tried, he really, really did.”You’re like Miko when he was little and got caught chewing the living room rug.”
Derek’s eyes bulged. ”Oh, my god, Stiles!” Had he just heard Derek yelp? Stiles was pretty sure he had. ”You did not just- god, do not compare me to your frigging dog!”
”Then don’t act like him.”
Derek buried his head in his hands. ”Just kill me now”, he whined. ”Please, somebody, just kill me. This is too much.”
Stiles, congratulating himself for a job well done after having calmed the older man down - so to speak - sat back on his heels and tried to get a better look at the bite on his shoulder. The angle was all wrong for him to really see anything, though. He looked at his hands and at Derek’s shoulder and finally at the bed in general. Shit. It looked like a frigging murder scene.
”Hey, not to interrupt your stint in the self pity land but I’m leaking like a faucet here. Just ah, friendly reminder. My dad’s gonna skin you if he finds out you let me die of blood loss in my own bed.”
Derek sighed and straightened up again. ”You’re not gonna die”, he said, turning to assess the situation himself. Stiles let him, even turned his head back to make it easier for him to look, Derek didn’t seem to appreciate his efforts though, if the uncomfortable fidgeting was anything to go by.
”There’s too much blood”, he muttered, looking around, searching for something to use to wipe it off. Stiles was going for one of his own pillowcases when Derek was like - fuck it - and started to wipe his shoulder with the sleeve of his own shirt.
First of all – fuck that hurt!
Secondly – ew!
”Shut up”, Derek said, guessing his thoughts. ”At least I know where my sleeves have been. Who knows when your sheets have even been washed. Or with what.” He did something funny with his nose, like a little bunny. This time Stiles decided to keep his thoughts to himself. ”That Sarah has to get over her obsession with flowers. The detergent she uses…”
”Hey, as long as it removes the stains and keeps the colors bright.”
”Nothing is worth that stench”, Derek retorted, frowning. ”It’s not just her, it’s all of you. With your perfumes and after shaves and scented soaps.” The last one seemed to offend him the most.
Stiles was only really guilty for one of the three himself, but that didn’t mean he got nothing to say in defence of the other two.
”Lydia sometimes uses this pome blossom scented hand soap”, he said offhandedly. ”I think it smells nice.” Derek’s fingers stilled on his shoulder, just for a minute. ”The perfumes are a bit much, sometimes. Depends on her mood really. Malia is different, more like you I guess. She likes showering and the smell of clean skin but she rarely uses products in her hair. Makes her nose itch, she says.”
Their eyes made contact and Stiles smirked. ”It’s all right for you were-munchkins to keep things all natural but the rest of us mortals, we’d rather smell of something other than sweat, you know.”
”Even if you drowned yourself in that god awful shower geel you like I could still smell your sweat underneath it.”
”And on that note”. Stiles pushed Derek off him and stood up. He was done talking about bodily odour with Mr. Supernose, thank you very much. ”I’m going to take a shower now, if you don’t mind”, he said, heading for the bathroom, pretending he had not seen Derek tasting the tip of his fingers.
Which he had.
He stopped and turned around.
”You did not just do what I think I saw you do”, he said, accusingly.
Derek looked at him, licking his lips. ”And what’s that?”
Stiles gestured with his hands at him. ”You”, he said. ”licking the blood from your fingers. My blood. What are you, a vampire?”
”There hasn’t been vampires in Beacon Hills for decades.”
”Oh, yeah, cos that’s gonna- wait”, Stiles wasn’t overly proud of how easy it was to distract him, it usually made him look like a fool. ”Vampires are real?”
”As far as I know”, Derek said, clearly enjoying himself now. Well, at least someone’s back to their normal self. ”Haven’t seen one myself, of course. Might be they’ve already been hunted down to extinction.”
”Where do they-”
”Come on, Stiles. Use that big brain of yours. Why do you think the stories are always set on Transylvania?”
Well that made sense.
”But what do they- no! No, never mind, Shower and me, we have a meeting”, Stiles pointed at Derek. ”You! If you have to be here then make yourself usefull and go let Miko back in. I’m gonna get a shower and change the sheets and I’m going to do that whole shower geel bath thing, so, yeah. Just so you know.”
He was out of the room, finally, on his way to the bathroom and- damn.
”Derek!” He bellowed, knowing full well the man could hear him just fine without him having to raise his voice, but did so anyway. ”Do something about your face. You look like Ronald McDonald.”
”That’s the clown, right?” Derek asked.
Stiles literaly bounced from surprise – he did that so much nowadays he might just as well change his Facebook status from single to a kangaroo – and turned around. Derek had followed behind him all the way to the bathroom door and was now standing right there, offering him his bloody T-Shirt like a guy offering his girl a bouquet of flowers.
To be honest, Stiles would have much rather taken the flowers.
”You can wash this with your own clothes”, Derek said, pushing the piece of clothing into Stiles’ hands and sauntered off, half naked and way too proud of it.
Stiles wondered, and not for the first time, if the mood swings were a werewolf thing or just a Derek thing.
Well at least he wasn’t obsessing over the bite anymore, so there was that.
Stiles, on the other hand, was still very aware of the teeth marks decorating his body. Derek’s teeth marks.
They’d made a joke about it - okay, Stiles had – but it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t normal. Had Derek still been an alpha they’d both be in a heap of trouble. Mostly Derek, cos Stiles’ dad would have killed him, wonderful healing abilities or not.
But he wasn't an alpha anymore and Stiles wasn’t going to turn.
But had he tried to turn him?
That was the question.
Being a beta, that wasn’t something Derek was able to do. Turning someone, that is. But he had been able to, once. Had done it too, multiple times. So he knew how to do it. How it felt to do it.
So had he tried to turn Stiles just now? Not Derek himself, not necessarily, but the wolf in him. For Derek hadn’t been quite himself when he did it, he hadn’t been in control. Even Stiles could tell that much.
Maybe that’s why Derek had been so scared afterwards. A werewolf losing control was bad, but this was Derek they were talking about. To him, having control of his own body was more than sacred, it was absolute. He was aware of the damage he was able to do and he’d been raised to respect it. To have it taken away like that must have scared the shit out of him.
This time around it hadn’t even been someone else forcing him (the one thing Scott had done that Derek had never forgiven him for), just Derek himself. And Stiles, by proxy.
”You sure can’t catch a break with us”, Stiles mumbled, eyeing his shoulder in dismay. That was going to leave a scar. ”Neither can I apparently.”
Stiles showered, changed his sheets, put his clothes (and Derek’s yucky shirt) in the washer and Derek was still there, waiting for him in his room. Miko was there too, keeping his careful distance from Derek. Though it might have been that he was just laying there by the door and Derek was keeping his careful distance from him, but the results were still the same.
They ended up watching animal documentaries on Stiles’ laptop while laying on Stiles’ bed. Okay, Stiles was laying. He wasn’t tired per se, but he was feeling weary and damned if he wasn’t going to relax in his own house. Derek was sitting beside him, leaning against the propped up pillows and judging him silently with his eyes.
”Watch the laptop, don’t watch me”, Stiles mumbled, balancing the thing on his stomach. ”You’re missing stuff. That crocodile has even you beat with his teeth.”
”How come you’re so calm about me biting you?” Derek asked.
He wasn’t angry and the guilt hadn’t made its comeback either, but Stiles was pretty sure that there was at least some amount of annoyment there for a change. It was a frigging rolled coaster with this guy, honestly.
”Why would I not be? You’re a god damn werewolf, about time you started acting like one.” Instead of a grumpy teen wolf with a stick up his ass like he used to be when they first met. ”And like I said before, your not an alpha anymore. It won’t do anything. Other than give me one helluva thing to explain when my dad spots it.”
Then again, if his dad and Sarah left on that carefully planned honey moon trip of theirs when they were supposed to, Stiles might just get away without having to explain anything to anyone.
”That’s not the point.”
”It is cos I say it is and I’m the one who gets to decide this, right? My shoulder, my rules.”
”It’s not that simple”, Derek muttered, sounding resigned.
”It can be”, Stiles said, reaching to pat the man’s leg, He still wasn’t wearing a shirt – "no fit" fiasco had had its short reprise but that was over and done with for now – but at least he still had his jeans on. ”We just have to make it that simple.”
Derek mused on this for quite a bit. ”You’re a moron”, he finally said, like this was some sort of big revelation. Stiles hummed in agreement, like one shold do with an insane person, and patted the leg again. ”And we’re going to talk about this later when you're not all drugged up.”
”Whatever you say.”
”I mean it, Stiles, you can’t just- is that a hippo?”
Stiles looked up from the laptop, where there was indeed a young hippo having a little afternoon swim. ”Yes, why? You scared of them too?”
”Not me, but Peter said he once- what do you mean too?”
”Forget it”, Stiles moved the laptop to rest on Derek’s legs and positioned himself a bit better in his little nest of blankets and pillows. He had lots of pillows, and if his dad’s bed was missing some it was his problem. Stiles could always place the blame on Miko. ”Tell me more about Transylvania?”
”Stiles has a boy in his room”, Sarah told Noah later in the evening. They'd both just come home and she’d gone to check if Stiles wanted anything to eat after having practically slept the whole day through, but having seen who was in the room with him, she’d tip toed her way back downstairs (ninja style) thinking of how to tell the news to her husband.
She’d landed on the Simple the Better -approach.
Noah streched his hands over hid head and yawned. ”It’s okay, Scott does that sometimes when he forgets to actually leave. Stiles is the same. Me and Melissa have had this co-parenting thing going on with them since they were kiddies.”
Apparently her Simpler the Better- approach had proved itself a bit too simple.
”No, but it’s not- it’s Derek.”
”What?” Noah looked at her like she was suddenly speaking in languages. ”What is Derek doing there? Has somebody framed him for murder again? ”
”Wha-? I don’t know!”
”What were they doing?” Noah started for the stairs. ”I swear, if that boy has my boy patching him up again I’m going to do something very drastic. Don’t know what yet, but give me time. I’ll figure it out.”
”Okay, but don’t wake them up”, Sarah called after him. She listened for a bit and then, yes, then Noah’s steps couldn’t be heard anymore. His voice was barely audible, but she managed to hear it nonetheless.
”Wake them up?”
I wait my whole life to bite the right one
Then you come along and that freaks me out
So I'm frightened
Ooh, Dracula's wedding
-Dracula's Wedding, OutKast