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I don't like the way she's looking at you (I'm starting to think you want her too)

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Stiles is pressed front to front against Derek, his left leg hooked around Derek's thighs and his right in Derek's grasp halfway off the floor, halfway on it as Derek attempts to lift him while simultaneously sucking the darkest hickey onto Stiles' exposed collarbone and also remove his own pants.

In a few seconds, maybe a minute, Derek is going to realize that sheer force of will isn't going make his pants disappear when their both pairs of hands are, at the moment, occupado; Stiles' gripping Derek's neck, the other raking through Derek's hair, Derek's clenched at Stiles' exposed thigh attempting to lift him of the ground and the other curled fantastically around Stiles' cock.

Derek is grunting against his neck a few moments later in what Stiles is sure is frustration due to the fact that Stiles is still in an awkward sort of limbo between standing on the floor and having both his legs wrapped snugly around Derek's waist in a way that would give them both the friction they so badly desire.

Derek growls again and Stiles laughs then gasps, shudders and sighs into Derek's hair when Derek runs his thumb slowly over his slit in retaliation. After which, Stiles laughs again.

He loves that Derek sometimes gets so engrossed in the task of pleasuring him that his attention seems to narrow down to that one point at the crook of Stiles' neck, or inner thigh, or lower back and all other secondary tasks become impossible to perform by way of too little of Derek's brain cells deeming it as important as putting his mouth and tongue and hands on Stiles' body and eliciting sweet moans.

Derek swears against the curve of his neck once, twice then pulls his face away completely. He drags the hand on Stiles' thigh down to the curve of his knee before releasing its clutch on his waist and setting Stiles' leg on the floor. Stiles frowns. A smile tugs on Derek's lips and he kisses Stiles shortly.

"The pack is here," Derek says by way of explanation.

"No they're not, the rune would be-"

Derek jerks his head in the direction of Stiles' collarbone, where his tattoos are glowing faintly below a bright red bruise that Derek looks awfully proud of. It says a lot about the great moment the pack has just ruined that he didn't even feel the tell-tale thrum under his skin where his tattoos are the second the pack crossed the rune which activates it at the boarders of the Hale property.

Stiles' frown deepens. He reaches out in an attempt to pull Derek back to him and hopes he doesn't look too much like a petulant child making grabby hands. "They'll leave if we get far enough into sex. Remember? Erica promised not to barge in if she hears blowjob noises and I'm not one to brag," Stiles whispers conspiratorially, "but if you just let me baby, I can make it so much more explicit than just blowjobs in here before they even make it to the front porch."

Derek smirks, pulls Stiles in close to him by the waist and helps him zip and button up his pants. He kisses Stiles' jaw and speaks directly into his ear, "Cora says to 'keep your dick in your pants, Stilinski,' Erica says she never made any legally binding agreements and Lydia says to open the door."

Stiles huffs, smacks Derek's hands away and buckles his belt on his own. "You do it. I'm not opening the door for a bunch of cockblockers. And this had better be fucking good. Someone better be incapacitated and dying because I literally hung out with all of you all day yesterday," Stiles says as Derek opens the door and in bounds the entire pack, cool as ever, so Stiles knows there's no immediate threat. He's instantly that much more irritated at being disturbed, especially when it seems the entire pack has planned some sort of impromptu hangout at Derek's house just for the sake of pack bonding.

"Don't get me wrong, guys. Pack bonding is great and all but come on, isn't this practically standard protocol now? The days after pack meetings, Derek and I christen the house."

Erica's the last one in. She walks straight to him, kisses him condescendingly in that way only Erica can, then pats the red mark of lipstick now staining his left cheek. As she goes to stand where the others are forming a very conspicuous semicircle in Derek's living room, Erica says with a blindingly saccharine smile, "You do know the word 'christen' is connotative of newness. That is to say, Derek's been living here since last year and we all have vivid and traumatizing memories of the actual christening of this place."

Cora grimaces and it's almost audible. Stiles will never cease to find that amazing.

"But, you see," Stiles smirks in her direction, "we always find something that hasn't been christened yet." Erica narrows her eyes at him, but she's still smiling. "There are lots of flat surfaces in this house, Erica."

Erica scoffs, "Oh yeah? Well-"

She doesn't get a chance to give a snarky reply, the curt clicking of Lydia's heels as she steps forward cutting the blond off before her and Stiles' non-argument can reach to the point of comparing each others boyfriend's dick sizes. The pack already know way too much about Derek and Boyd's bodies as it is.

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Lydia says in the most unapologetic tone, "but I have pertinent and urgent matters to discuss."

"Is it that pertinent and urgent that it couldn't wait until tomorrow, Lyds?" Stiles complains. Scott rubs his back consolingly.

"I think you'll find that it is, Stiles," Lydia states with a presidential nod, then smiles at him in a way that spikes fear deep in Stiles' soul. Whatever the topic of discussion tonight, Stiles immediately knows he isn't going to like it. Stiles doesn't dare speak a word in response and Lydia's small toothless smile grows minutely, clearly pleased by his silent compliance.

Once the room is silent, Lydia begins. "The pack is down three members more often than not whenever myself, Stiles and Allison leave for university. We've learned the hard way that despite our individual strengths, we're more vulnerable as a unit at these times and as such we're targeted much more frequently, whether by hostile, visiting packs or other supernaturals."

Next to Stiles, Scott rubs the scar along his forearm from a particularly vicious berserker attack two years ago. They were - understandably - at their most vulnerable then, all feeling a bout of separation anxiety, it being their first time away from each other what with Stiles leaving for Princeton, Allison for NYU and Lydia for Birmingham U in England. The berserkers saw a golden opportunity and made full use of it.

Stiles gives Scott a comforting nudge on the shoulder and gets a smile in return.

"But we've also learned that in such times that we are outnumbered, allies will lend as many men as we need to the cause. I don't think I need to remind you all how fortunate we were that not only did Derek remember his mother's affiliation with the Newman pack but that they so willingly agreed to help us last year, even though Talia is long gone. But, quite obviously, we can't keep relying on one ally all the time."

"Especially not with the frequency we keep getting hit by stuff," Cora laments.

"Exactly. We're a powerful pack despite our age and there are people and creatures out there who will target us just as a show of authority or sometimes even to capture individuals for our unique powers. We can't keep asking Alpha Newman to leave his pack defenseless and travel here from Ohio every time we're in danger," Lydia explains, and Stiles can get that. Not only does their asking for backup from Alpha Newman's pack make his own pack more susceptible to attack in his absence, but their battles often result in tremendous injury, even for the werewolves. The last thing they would want to do is wear out Alpha Newman's kindness by asking for too much too often. It's an issue, yes, but Stiles still doesn't see why it couldn't wait until after he'd rode Derek to completion on the couch. Instead of saying just that and having to face Cora's judgement, Stiles rephrases.

"So we're reaching out?" Stiles prompts. "Getting other packs to ally with us?"

Lydia nods. "Except it's not nearly that simple, Stiles. After Alpha Newman's last visit, Derek asked me to compile a list of potential allies. As we've been liaising with the Tennyson pack for the past six months, given Derek's permission, I reached out to them first. In the past they've been generous in supplying us with information and resources whenever it was needed, even sometimes when it wasn't. Sadly though, their generosity doesn't exactly reflect their willingness to create a formal alliance with us."

"They rejected us? Shit," Isaac mutters.

"And they're the best hope we have, right?" Allison speaks up. "I mean the only other interaction we've had with other packs was that one time Stiles got Alpha Barrington's boy's number at that fraternity rave."

"And Lydia still texts Julius sometimes," Erica reveals.

"You're kidding. The alpha from Fresno who proposed to you?" Boyd asks. This is news to most of the pack as well who all turn to look at Lydia.

She shrugs. "I knew it might come in handy some day, but that's not the point. Traditional packs like the Tennysons are family oriented. They're generations and generations of close knit blood relatives which is why when a pack-mate becomes interested in someone, they usually form immediate alliances with the other packs as a way to allow for peaceful communication between the enamored, but also to get to know the future in laws."

"If this is going where I think this is going, it may get messy pretty fast seeing as we're a little devoid of eligible bachelors in this pack," Isaac says. On either side of him Boyd and Cora nod decisively, telling Lydia all she needs to know about their willingness to pretend to love anyone other than Erica and Isaac respectively.

"I'm engaged," Scott says next with a grin, grabbing up Allison's hand to display her ring. Allison doesn't blink an eye and Stiles realizes that this probably isn't the first time today that Scott's done that.

Lydia smiles, "Actually, the choices were narrowed down quite extensively once I found out that the only unwed family member of age is Tessa. She's twenty and an emissary in training-"

"She likes long walks on the beach, her favorite movie is A Walk To Remember and she loves the colour purple," Stiles can't help but interrupt in his best game-show host voice which isn't very good at all and the moment Lydia's smile turns vicious is the moment Stiles realizes he's screwed up big time. His inability to keep his goddamned mouth shut is going to get him married off to some girl that he's sure he'll be miserable with if only because she isn't Derek.

"Well, I don't know about that Stiles," Lydia starts again, and Stiles braces himself. "But, she does have a type."

Stiles cringes. "Is it pale, awkward looking and extremely apologetic brunettes?"

"No. It's actually tall, dark, muscular and bearded."

No. God no. It's even worse than he thought.

"So, Boyd?" Stiles asks, tentatively. Boyd doesn't have a beard but he'd once read a tumblr quote that said that if you wish hard enough for something, you can make it come true.

"It's Derek, idiot," Erica cackles, and yeah, Stiles totally deserves that.

Stiles glances over to Derek and the dummy has a look on his face like he's already made up his mind to do whatever he has to for the good of the pack. Stiles is approximately forty seconds away from crying.

"And it works out just fabulously too," Lydia expounds.

"How so, Lydia?" Erica asks with a grin. Stiles may have to reevaluate his and Erica's friendship. He had thought what they did was a companionable sort of banter, each having an underlying mutual pack-love for one another, but he may have been terribly wrong. Erica may actually hate him.

"You see, in one way or another I've mentioned to Alpha Tennyson that the majority of the pack are and have been in relationships among one another since high school."

"When would that have even come up in conversation?" Stiles whines in question, knowing exactly where she was taking this.

"He asked, and a quote," - of course she quotes - "'How does a group of teenagers manage to get along so well and create such a strong unit despite you all being so different?' to which I replied 'Well, we all care about one another. We're all great friends and a few of us are actually dating. Isaac and Cora, Boyd and Erica, Scott and Allison.' And well, you should all know already why I didn't tell him about Stiles and Derek."

Erica actually raises her hand and when Lydia points to her, she says, "It's because Stiles is always getting kidnapped since bad guys can usually figure out how much he means to the alpha, so we decided not to go advertising to the world that they're screwing."

"What have I ever done to you, Erica?" Stiles all but sobs because this is just cruel. She must have a vendetta.

"That's exactly right, Erica. So offering up anyone but Derek was totally out of the question. He's Tessa's type and as far as Alpha Tennyson knows, he's single. Plus, I think offering up the alpha will do away with any doubts they may have about us in regards to our loyalty," Lydia ends.

There's about a ten second lull in conversation in which Lydia and Erica just smirk at Stiles and at the end of which Stiles lets out a pained noise that surprises even himself.

Lydia laughs. "Wipe your tears, Stilinski. We're not shipping Derek off to marry the girl."

"I totally wasn't crying," Stiles says, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand and feeling even more lost now than he was before, except that now he's less lost as in helpless and miserable and more lost as in completely fucking befuddled. He tries not to show it though, tries to act for the life of him like he knew she was just messing around from the beginning. Which, of course they were. They'd never break Stiles' heart like that.

"It's the prospect of maybe one day getting married to Derek that makes an alliance with us look desirable," she explains in reply.

And see, that isn't helpful at all because there are still the words 'married' and 'to' and 'Derek' in that sentence without a 'Stiles' before them. "Okay, I'm positive I'm not getting this."

Lydia glares, "If you were in another pack and there was even the slightest possibility that you could one day be able to do the dirty with this hunking manly man of an alpha, wouldn't you form an alliance to strengthen your chances?"

"See, that's where you're losing me. I am doing the dirty with this hunking manly man of an alpha," Stiles pats Derek's chest. "Literally, you guys just caught us about to do the dirty. Like, if you guys had walked in a few seconds later than you did, this conversation would have included a lot more uncomfortable faces and judgey eyes in my direction."

"I'm going to explain this as slowly and as simply as possible to you," Lydia grits out.

"Please do because-"

"It has to look like you and Derek haven't fucked on every flat surface of this house this week alone so that Tessa sees Derek as a strong, totally available alpha that she can possibly make several babies with one day. For now Derek is only going to present himself as a friend. They'll get chummy, we'll get the alliance and once we're sure we're in, Derek can introduce Stiles as his boyfriend."

"Wouldn't we essentially be leading her on just to let her down. That's kind of cruel, isn't it?" Boyd, the voice of reason and moral fiber, asks.

"Derek won't be leading her on in any way. I'm only asking you to befriend her, Derek. What she feels as a result is her our fault. Besides, if all goes well, Tessa and Derek will just maintain a friendship even after Derek basically 'comes out' to her. But I'm asking you all to get close to her too, as well as her family members. That way if she does hold a grudge, which I highly doubt she will, we'll have an in with the rest of her family members."

"This is awfully sneaky of us," Allison expresses, but she has a smile on her face, like the whole idea of basically living a Supernatural/Friends crossover excites her.

"I sort of like it," Erica reveals which is a shock to exactly no one.

Stiles, who has been contemplating her words for several seconds then queries, "When exactly is she coming?"

"We have one month to prepare. She'll be here August third."

Stiles laughs, "Well then this plan is severely flawed. The minute she steps into this room, she'll be able to smell exactly how unavailable Derek is because we all know how long the scent of great sex takes to fade and I'm not trying to brag, but Derek and I have had some great sex in this place. This room alone must be killing some of you."

"Slowly and painfully," Cora overexaggerater Hale drawls.

Lydia smiles, eyes bright, "Well, see, that's where you're wrong. I've done some research."

Immediately, Stiles mentally admits defeat because when Lydia says she's done 'some' research, it means she proficient enough to write an award winning thesis and introductory booklet on the subject matter. He's never once won an argument against Lydia on something she researched.

"The scent can actually be removed completely if the existing layers aren't further added upon. It becomes harder and takes a longer time to remove the more layers of scent that are added."

"When you say 'layers'-"

Lydia levels him with the most nonjudgmental look she can manage. It's maybe thirty percent judgmental still, but Stiles appreciates the effort. "How many times would you say you and Derek have had sex on this couch?"

Stiles takes a moment to tally. "It actually hasn't been that many times-"

Isaac cuts him off with a large, audible sniff in the direction of the couch, grimaces and cringes with his entire body and Cora pats him on the back like he just took one for the team, which, considering what he would have just smelled, it probably was. "At least twenty to twenty-five times," Isaac answers.

"Actually Isaac, what you're smelling are the twenty to twenty-five most recent blowjobs your alpha has gotten on that couch, because if I know Stiles, and I do know Stiles, he and Derek must have broken fifty on that couch, especially given its location and proximity to their prime fucking-wall," she points, "right there beside the-"

"Okay!" Stiles interrupts, face flushed with embarrassment he'd thought he'd long gotten over given that his shame is practically nonexistent. "So Isaac was a bit off-"

"A lot off," Lydia corrects and her eyes say 'Don't you lie to me, Stilinski'.

"So Isaac was a lot off, what is the point of all of this?"

"The point is, scents linger longer the more layers are added on, so say you and Derek were to stop having sex completely-" Stiles makes a dying sort of choking sound, "-the overwhelming scent of shared bodily fluids permeating off the very foundation of this building could completely 'wear off' say, in approximately three weeks. The final week before Tessa arrives, we'll use to fill this place with 'safe for work' pack scents."

"I don't understand."

Lydia laughs gleefully, "Oh, yes you do. What you are is in denial."

"You can't possibly mean-"

Lydia clears her throat; cuts him off mid plea, "You and Derek are not allowed to partake in sexual intercourse or any sexual activities of any kind here or at your house or any place at all really, because you're both banned. I'm banning you."

"You can't do that," Stiles laughs, but it's a desperate, small sort of sound because he can see on everyone's faces that they're all for this plan. Derek is looking at him with small smile on his face, wordlessly telling Stiles that they can totally do it, that it's only for a little while then they can fuck against the wall every day until Stiles has to go back to school in late August.

"I can and I am," Lydia says with determination in her eyes. "My alpha wanted me to propose the best solution to the Tennyson's reluctance to ally with us, and I have. This is it. I can guarantee you that if Tessa were to come here in a month and smell a house full of beautiful pack love and a single, totally available alpha, she'll convince her father to form a standing bond with the Hale pack."

"This is a joke right? Someone's filming this, because this is all an elaborate ruse."

"I've taken the liberty to make a concise list of all the activities you and you," she points at Derek, "are banned from effective immediately." Lydia reaches into her bag and pulls out a stack of papers. Stiles squawks.

"That is a book, Lydia. That is not a concise list."

Lydia giggles, "That was the joke. This," she gestures at her face, then around the room at the rest of the pack, "isn't."

...

Stiles is escorted home that night by Scott and Allison after an attempt at bodily latching himself onto Derek and never letting go went horribly wrong when Derek didn't catch him as he attempted to leap into his arms. He basically just slammed into Derek's chest because Derek, for some odd reason (as he'd explained when he was apologizing profusely) thought that Stiles would be 'mature' about the whole thing and leave when asked. So not only did Derek not catch him, but he also implied that Stiles was being immature and Stiles can't even withhold sex from him in retaliation because they're fucking banned. He can't even withhold sex after the ban is lifted because he's a weak, weak man and he most definitely isn't going to be able to get off Derek's dick after an entire month of not being allowed to get on it.

So Stiles goes home that night sad and bruised, lamenting over how great the day had started; Derek making him breakfast in bed, Derek helping him choose his third year courses, Derek fucking him on the kitchen counter, Derek making cute faces of disgust while Stiles prepped the salmon for lunch, making out with Derek while the salmon baked, feeding each other lunch, showering together, watching movies together, napping on the couch together, waking Derek up with a blowjob and attempting to begin the evening portion of the sexual intercourse when everything changed with a one Lydia Martin walking through Derek's front door.

Stiles' dad comes in just as Stiles lets out a particularly loud sob. He stands in the doorway, looking like he's contemplating whether it's safe to enter, or whether he should get out while he still can.

"Are you alright, son?" he asks with a tentative step further into the house.

"No," Stiles exclaims and twists his body around dramatically in the couch, "Lydia banned me from having sex with Derek for a pack thing."

His father blinks once, twice then turns around and heads out the door. "I'm gonna go pick up some pizza," he shouts over his shoulder, "I'll only eat the mushroom kind if you don't elaborate on that statement."

"Mushrooms with no cheese, dad," Stiles wails back. "And get me pepperoni," he sniffles. "And ice-cream."

...

Stiles holds out for two more days and by that he means he's banned from even visiting Derek until Lydia deems him stable enough to control his sexual urges when in Derek's presence and as such he's sent Derek a new dick pic every two hours for the past two days.

However, things begin to look up on the third day when Lydia sends him a series of messages that make his heart soar. Stiles decides that Derek must not have told Lydia about the dick pics and that one, very inappropriate voice mail last night.

The messages say: I've reconnected your wi-fi. You're allowed to skype with Derek in an hour. I've already told him. I reset your password to staystrongstiles and I'm giving you guys exactly one hour to talk. Have fun, but not too much fun.

Stiles doesn't think once about adhering to Lydia's rules. He stands immediately, gets his equipment out of his bedside drawer, shucks off his pants and heads to the bathroom.

Derek is virtually sitting in front of him exactly an hour later once he answers Stiles' skype call and he looks just as happy to see Stiles as Stiles is to see him.

"I miss you," Derek starts with and Stiles smiles, because that's so cute. Derek is so sweet and innocent and that's so not what Stiles is here for today.

"I was going to ask if you wanted to have skex with me, that's 'skype sex' by the way, but you look so good all shirtless and ready for bed babe, and do you know what's better than skype sex, Derek? Real sex."

"Stiles-"

"Derek, I'm already prepped," Stiles shares and Derek swears. He swears again when Stiles wiggles the two fingers he used to prep himself earlier out in front of him. Derek loves his fingers. Stiles is totally and unashamedly pulling out all the stops. He's getting sex tonight if it kills him.

"Stiles," Derek tries again and it's less of a warning, more of a plea. Stiles has him now.

"If you can tell me you don't want me to come over there right now, I'll stay here and we can have a nice, innocent chat about both our days and how much we miss each other."

Apparently Derek is stronger than Stiles gives him credit for because he starts, "I don't want-" and Stiles immediately raises his hand in view once more. To the two wiggling fingers, he adds another. Derek's eyes glaze over and his hand reaches down under him, below camera view. He obviously gets the point.

Stiles smirks. "I'll be over in five."

...

"Fuck," Stiles swears in Lydia's face. She's standing in Derek's doorway when Stiles has opened Derek's front door with his personal key. He's not surprised, just disappointed he couldn't at least get the tip in before Lydia inevitably found them.

Lydia holds her hand out. Stiles drops the key in it. Lydia deposits it into her handbag.

She gently pushes him back a few steps, and joins him outside, closing the door behind her. "Hello Stiles," she says in greeting.

"How?" is all Stiles asks.

"It was a simple calculation actually, given your libido, attraction to Derek and self control.. or lack thereof," she responds and Stiles doesn't correct her because it's all true. His libido is on another level, his attraction to Derek a level higher than that and he once ate an entire cake he'd baked for Scott's birthday when he was fifteen because the frostttinnng, good God. "I figured you'd probably break somewhere around the third day."

"I have the most difficult role in this plan. Do you even know how hard it is to resist Derek? I drew the short straw, Lydia. I drew the fucking short straw!"

"Please stop shouting. You already smell like sadness and disappointment. You'll attract wild animals."

Stiles frowns and mutters, "You're not a wolf. You have no idea what I smell like."

"I'll admit you play a large part in this plan, but you're not the only one suffering. I had to come over here tonight to make sure you and Derek weren't getting sex scents all over the house. Plus, I had to endure that scarring bit of dirty talk. I can never unhear that skype call, Stiles."

"You're a monster."

Lydia smirks, "Maybe just a little."

...

The month of no sex is torture. It's easily the worst month of his life and not even for all the obvious reasons. Sure, not being able to have sex with Derek, or see Derek naked, or hear Derek's throaty, growly sex voice has been hell on earth, but not being able to kiss Derek or hug him or cuddle with him in bed made the thirty days feel like a year.

He was sad for the majority of the first week then bitter for all of the second week, but by the third he had come to terms with the fact that his compliance plays a crucial factor to the success of their plan. He could literally be the reason they lose the only viable option they have for an ally and all because he couldn't control his urges. He's a lot more sane and reasonable in the last couple days leading down to Tessa's arrival if only because of just that; the days are winding down. If he thinks about the fact that Tessa is arriving in a few days, spending a week with them, then leaving, after which Stiles is free to have his way with Derek wherever and whenever the fuck he wants, it's a lot easier to have breakfast with Derek and the pack some mornings and not make lewd gestures at Derek with phallic shaped fruits. Sure his masturbatory habits have increased by a frightening amount, but he figures the chafing will be worth the rewards he'll reap in the week proceeding Tessa's visit.

And Stiles has thought a lot about that week. He has a list of fun activities planned that he adds to every day. What Stiles hadn't speared a thought about was the week of Tessa's visit. In fact, Stiles didn't think about it at all but when Tessa pulls up at nine am, August third and steps out of the car, Stiles thinks he definitely should have thought about her. He should have mentally prepared himself for anything because at least then he wouldn't be as absolutely floored and flabbergasted by her beauty as he is now. Or even if he still was, which he probably would have because wow, she is gorgeous, at least he would have practiced a more neutral expression. As it is, he's pretty sure his jaw just hit the floor.

"Whoa," Erica whispers behind him, and Stiles wants to kill himself.

"Pick your jaw up off the ground, Stiles," Lydia whispers. "Boyd, Isaac, go help Derek take her bags out of the car."

Stiles observes in silence as Tessa thanks the driver then thanks Derek, Boyd and Isaac in that order giving them each a stunning white smile even though she definitely didn't need that much help just for three duffle bags since she is a werewolf and all. He thinks they're all introducing each other now but he can't be sure. He's not looking at his pack-mates. He's looking at Tessa.

It's like this girl walked right off a catalog cover entitled, 'Exotic Beauty' because she embodies the words. She's what Stiles imagines a modern day Egyptian Goddess would look like; skin smooth and a gorgeous shade of caramel brown like well polished, pale, ebony cider with big curly brown and gold locks framing her beautiful face. She's tall too, with a lean stature and Stiles' can't tell what her legs look like what with the flowing cotton maxi skirt she has on, but he imagines she's got supermodel legs, just to make himself feel that much worse. On her top half, she's wearing a floral crop top and now that Stiles is looking hard enough, he can see a pair of glasses drowning in her curly hair and goddammit, if that isn't endearing as fuck Stiles doesn't know what is. She looks like she stepped off Erica's 'No one should be this pretty' board on Pinterest.

Stiles doesn't even realize she's right in front of him - he's so busy marveling at all that she is - until he realizes that shit, he can see her eyes now and they're big and bright and a rich brown colour and she just got like ten times more beautiful, if that's even possible. Derek is standing right next to her, holding her bags, waiting for Stiles to move out of the doorway or probably greet Tessa like a normal person or do something other than stand there and gape like an ugly fish.

Stiles smiles at her and it physically pains him. She smiles back.

"You're Stiles?" She asks and Stiles isn't even going to start on her voice, but it's probably safe to assume that she can sing. Probably as well as Beyoncé, which doesn't seem possible, but you haven't seen this girl. She is impossible.

"Yeah," Stiles answers, shaking her hand when she offers it. "Nice to finally meet you."

She nods, smiles some more then releases his hand, "Same here."

...

Stiles manages to make it to lunch without any involuntary outbursts of him praising Tessa's beauty or demanding that she stop being so goddamned funny and relatable, or demanding that she stop making everyone fall in love with her because fuck, she's only been here for like three, maybe four hours and she already follows and is followed by the pack on all the appropriate social media websites, exchanged hair-care and styling tips with Erica, made plans for a girls' night at Allison's, had a thirty minute debate with Lydia on foreign policy without Lydia making her cry, made Boyd blush with her constant compliments to the chef, and gushed over what a perfect couple Cora and Isaac make, which, frankly makes Stiles extremely suspicious of her because how did she even know that compliments and flattery (and grilled cheese sandwiches) are the only ways to Cora's heart? She's managed to befriend the entire pack in a matter of hours.

She's been nice to Stiles a bunch too, but Stiles is trying his best not to think about that. He focuses instead on her and Derek's interactions as the day proceeds. He watches them talk and joke and tease all through lunch like they're best friends who were just reunited and not total strangers.

By two pm, once they've all managed to move their fat, stuffed asses out of the dining room and relocate into the living room, filling up every seat, Stiles figures it's safe to call their plan a success. Like, today. Exactly five and a half hours after meeting Tessa, because the pack loves her and she seems to love them as well and the main objective: Tessa and Derek getting 'chummy' has well and truly been completed. They're chummy enough to be given one of those gross couple names. Terek? No, Dessa. Fuck, that's cute. Stiles wants to throw up.

The television plays Family Feud quietly in the background as Tessa tells them about herself. She's twenty, turning twenty-one in December. She still hasn't gotten her driver's licence mainly because school and emissary training with grandmother keeps her busy, but also because her dad thinks she'd probably try to run away from home. She says she would if she could; maybe not run away, but take a car and explore the country because it's sometimes suffocating being drowned in family the way she always is. She says she'd never change it for the world, though, says she doesn't know what she would do without them. She tells them that she's admired Derek for some time now, says that he's the strongest person she's met (after her dad) for building himself back up after his entire life fell apart around him. Silence falls but she doesn't let it linger. She apologizes for making the mood somber then says that the week of freedom will be good for her and that she can't wait to spend it with all of them. She moves right along; says her favorite colour is green, says that she doesn't have a favourite band or singer but that she does listen to a lot of music. She attempts to sing something by Ariana Grande that they can't quite make out because she's horrible but it only makes them adore her more and unsurprisingly, she and Erica then bond over their mutual inability to sing. After they all make plans to go karaoke, she asks the pack to tell her more about themselves. They all chat until five pm which is when the tattoos along Stiles' collar light up and not a second later Tessa gets a text from her driver saying that he's pulling in.

"That's really fucking cool," she says to him as she's packing up her things.

"It's a weird feeling though," Stiles explains to her and she laughs.

"I think I might get a few. Imagine the look on my dad's face."

Outside, the driver beeps the car-horn twice.

Tessa rolls her eyes, hangs her purse over her shoulder. "Rude."

Lydia steps forward then and pulls her into a hug. She's allowed since it's no question that out of everyone, Tessa and Lydia hit it off the most. "Hey, don't bother hiring a driver for the rest of the week, okay? We have enough vehicles among us, and it won't be a problem for one of us to take you around whenever you need it this week. You have all our numbers, so just call and we'll be there."

Tessa combs a hand through her wild hair and smiles shyly, "It's really not a big deal, Lydia, I promise. Besides, I don't want to be a burden."

"And you won't be. We invited you here. You're our guest."

She sighs, but relents, with a "Fine," and "I'm never going to win with her, am I?" to which the pack replies Never.

"And I know you've already made hotel reservations for tonight, but you can always spend the night here whenever you want. There are four guest rooms so it won't be a problem."

Tessa smiles and Stiles doesn't miss the way her eyes glance quickly at Derek before looking away. "I'll definitely take you up on that," she says and Stiles frowns.

"Great. See you tomorrow, Tessa."

She nods, still grinning. "Mani-Pedi's bright and early. Can't wait," she says to Lydia. To the pack she waves and says, "Night guys."

They all say their goodbyes and when Tessa accepts Derek's offer to walk her out, the two leave and the door closes behind them.

Stiles can't help the way he immediately runs over to the curtains and peeps a look outside, because there's this ugly, green feeling settling in his stomach that's making him a bit impulsive, making him interested in knowing exactly what Derek and Tessa are doing beyond the curtains.

He watches on as Tessa hugs Derek goodbye, after which Derek tells her something that makes her burst out in laughter.

"Aww, her hair got caught in his mouth," Erica coos from next to him. She's spying. Stiles is merely observing. "How cute."

Stiles scoffs at Erica's words because it is absolutely not cute. It's unhygienic and corny.

When Derek comes back into the house, he's still smiling. It makes that green thing in his stomach churn, until he feels it in his chest.

"It's still early," Derek says, "any of you staying over?"

"I am," Stiles says immediately and Derek frowns the same time Lydia does.

Derek sighs and starts, "Stiles-"

"What? I won't do anything," Stiles promises. Derek smiles at him, takes him by the hand and the churning stops instantaneously. In fact all of his senses sort of become centered around that one point of contact because it's been a long time since Derek's held him and looked at him like this and he's missed it a lot.

"You won't, but maybe I will," Derek says and Cora makes a gagging sound. "It's best if we're apart this week. Just this last week." Derek leans forward and kisses Stiles chastely on the lips and Stiles doesn't even hear Lydia's noises of outrage because it's the first time in a month that he's had Derek's lips on his and Stiles is immediately one hundred percent more agreeable.

"Okay," Stiles responds even as Lydia demands they both scrub their lips thoroughly before going to bed. "One more week."

...

The kiss placates him for the next two days but the feeling in the pit of his stomach bubbles up now and again. Like on those two occasions that Stiles drops in to see Derek before heading to the station to have lunch with his father and Cora and Boyd informs him that Derek has taken Tessa out around town. It prickles in his gut too when he texts Derek 'Good Morning :)' and gets nothing in reply. It's the third day of Tessa's visit, when he figures out what the feeling is.

It's two pm and he's just walked through his front door after having lunch with his dad (he hadn't bothered to drop by Derek's place this time) when his phone lights up.

come over loser

It's Erica.

we're having a parks and rec marathon party

-who's we?

just allison, lydia, boyd and i for now

derek and tessa probably won't get back until 5/6

-get back from where?

the lake

Stiles feels his chest seize up.

she was feeling restless

so derek took her for a swim

are you coming or not?

-wildflower lake?

there's another lake?

No fucking way. There is no fucking way Derek's gone to Wildflower Lake with Tessa for a swim because she was feeling 'restless' when Stiles has been begging Derek for weeks to take him there. There is no way.

-you sure?

Stiles holds his breath.

positive

tessa sent me a pic

(incoming picture message)

And there they are, like Erica said. They're both dripping wet and posing for the picture side by side. It's clear that Tessa was laughing for the picture, her happiness feels almost tangible even in picture form and Derek is looking at her with a fondness and exasperation in his eyes. The kind that only comes with years of knowing someone.

And there it is. The feeling is back. Clawing at his insides and burning like wildfire, its flames rising into his chest and all at once he knows what it is.

He's jealous.

It's a weird feeling because in the two years that Stiles and Derek have been dating, he's never once been jealous when someone has showed interest in Derek, and you'd be surprised by how often that happens. It's never been an issue because he's never once doubted Derek's feelings towards him. And that's what this is, he realizes. This is him doubting Derek's feelings for him for the first time in their two years together because Tessa is the first genuine threat to their relationship because unlike with Derek's previous admirers, Stiles can't fight back. He's literally been taken out of the equation for a week. Lydia has basically instructed Derek to shower Tessa with his attention and who's to say Derek won't like what he sees when he does.

He breaths in and out and wills himself to stop thinking the way he is because it's thoughts like those that trigger panic attacks and he isn't going to let his first panic attack in four years be due to totally unwarranted distrust. Derek has never once given him a reason to even suspect unfaithfulness and there's no reason for him to suspect it now.

He breaths in again, out again.

This is all just his Derek-depraved mind playing mean tricks on him and he isn't going to let it make him lose his head over a non-issue. Derek loves him. It's one of the few things in this world that he's sure of and no one could ever come in the way of that. Derek and Tessa are friends and nothing more and this whole thing is going to blow over.

Stiles repeats this in his head a few more times, until he feels his lungs expand and his breathing become easy again.

...

Stiles visits Derek the next day not because he doesn't believe that Derek loves him, but right now he definitely just needs that reassurance, even if it's not another kiss. Stiles just needs to see Derek look at him the way he does, like he's overcome with affection, and he'll feel better about the whole thing. Luckily for him, Lydia hadn't put any restrictions on Derek looking at him.

So Stiles finds out from Lydia what Tessa has scheduled for the day and shows up a half hour past the time she told him Tessa would be going out to lunch with Erica.

Stiles rings the door bell and Tessa opens Derek's door.

"Stiles!" She lights up when she sees him and Stiles is pretty sure his face does the exact opposite. Tessa doesn't seem to notice.

She ushers him in with a smile all the way to Derek's office where Derek is sitting at his work desk. He's got that look of concentration of his face, the one where his eyes narrow, his eyebrows crease together and he bites his lower lip. He looks amazing and he's even wearing his glasses too. Stiles has been rimmed many a time on that very desk with Derek wearing those same glasses. It is torture being in this room with Derek without the option of seducing Derek out of his work trance so they can fuck on the desk.

"Derek, Stiles is here," Tessa announces.

"Oh, hey Stiles," Derek greets and Stiles chalks it up to Derek being super engrossed in his work that he actually seems not to have noticed Stiles' arrival until that very moment. Either that or he's a really good actor. Too fucking good, in Stiles' opinion.

Derek doesn't turn around or acknowledge his existence really, past his initial greeting so Stiles asks his burning question. "So Tessa, I thought you and Erica had a lunch date."

Tessa frowns, "We did, but she messaged me about an hour ago. Said something work related came up. We've rescheduled a dinner date instead. I came over to see if Derek couldn't entertain me until Erica comes to get me later.

"I told her I'd be boring, but she insisted," Derek speaks up, the pen in his mouth making him mumble."

Tessa scoffs, "It's not boring. You're not boring, but of course Stiles already knows that."

"I sure do," Stiles says with a pointed look at Derek because Stiles can think of at least twenty totally not boring things they've done in this room just last month. Stiles doesn't elaborate though.

"I'm actually pretty entertained," Tessa goes on to say. "It's cool that you guys have like a walking translator for an alpha."

"I'm not a walking translator."

"Six different languages isn't normal, Derek."

Please God, not banter, Stiles thinks. Make it stop.

"I was just telling him that I'm actually bi-lingual. My grandmother taught me French when I was just a girl."

On top of everything else, she's bi-lingual. As if she couldn't get any more perfect.

"Of course you're bi-lingual," Stiles mutters under his breath and Derek twists in his chair, sends him a sharp look because of course. Of course he hears that.

"Are you okay, Stiles?" Derek asks, looking at him through narrowed eyes.

"Absolutely swell," Stiles answers between gritted teeth before turning and walking out of the room.

"Wait, you're leaving?" Tessa calls after him and she actually sounds genuinely sad about it. "You just got here."

"I'm sorry, Tess. I just have to be somewhere else right now."

...

Stiles has just laid out ingredients for dinner that night on the kitchen counter when there's a knock on his front door. He's been spacey since this morning so he's not surprised he didn't feel the prickle of the tattoo at his ankle. It's not a pack member or his dad, he can tell, but there's no malicious intent either so Stiles opens the door.

It's Tessa. The absolute last person Stiles expects to be at his front door at seven pm. Stiles almost expects Derek to jump out from behind her since they're so attached at the hip lately, but it's just her. Just Tessa.

"Uh, hi Stiles," Tessa greets him and only then do his manners catch up with him.

"Shit, sorry." He moves to give her room enough to enter. "Come in," he offers and she does.

"I'm sorry for not calling earlier to tell you I was coming. Erica dropped me off," she explains. "I just thought I'd come over because we haven't really gotten to spend much time together since I've been here. Derek's always taking me some place and he tells me you're pretty occupied too, spending time with your dad at the station."

Stiles laughs because stupid, oblivious Derek must actually believe that's the reason he's been away from the house as much as he has lately. He's not 'avoiding anyone', oh no, he's just busy. Derek probably doesn't even realize he's put Stiles on the back burner of his life; how in the effort to make Tessa believe that the only relationship he has with Stiles is a platonic one, he's started to treat Stiles like he isn't even a member of the pack. Sure, they're not supposed to be all over each other, but Derek is practically pretending he doesn't exist and that hurts.

Tessa barrels right through his laughter, like she just wants to be done with this conversation, like she knows how awkward her just showing up out of nowhere could come across and so she just wants Stiles to understand why she did it and not be completely uncomfortable which is how he probably looks right now.

"I wasn't sure when next I would get the opportunity to spend one on one time with you since Lydia has me pretty much booked for the next three days, so I just thought we could hang out, maybe?" She ends, eyes flitting over his expression for any clues as to whether Stiles is going to throw her out or not.

God. She's fucking adorable.

Stiles smiles at her and finds that it's genuine and easy after seeing that display; seeing that she might actually be a real person after all.

"Sure, we can hang out," Stiles tells her and the girl beams. "I was just about to make lasagna, Stilinski family secret recipe, if you want to stay for dinner."

"I'd love to," she says, then groans, "You have no idea how small those portions were at the restaurant Erica took me to."

...

After Tessa has succeeded in making his dad fall in love with her too over dinner, Stiles gives Tessa a tour of his house. His room is the last stop.

"So, this is my room," he says with little fanfare because, well, it isn't much.

Tessa goes first to his bedside table to observe the pictures there. She did the same in the living room, complimenting his mom's beauty in that one family portrait they still keep hanging up.

"Who's this?" Tessa asks, holding up a picture of Stiles, Scott and Danny in their lacrosse gear posing for a picture after their last game before graduation. There are a few more with Danny in it as well; one of them at Niagara Falls with Erica, Boyd, Scott and Allison and another of Danny and Isaac asleep on top of one another on Derek's couch that brings a smile to his face.

"That's Danny," Stiles answers.

"He's not pack?" she asks and smiles along with him when she locates the same picture.

Stiles shakes his head. "He's human, but the guy's a genius so he managed to find out about us on his own. We dated for a while back in high school but he never wanted the pack life. He always kept his distance from it all. Like he was afraid if he got too close we'd convert him. It didn't work out and thank God it didn't because it's a lot easier to dating someone in the pack. The sex is a lot less complicated, I'll tell you that."

Stiles only notices his slip up when Tessa raises an eyebrow at him. She's smirking. Fuck. Fucking shit.

"Not-" Stiles swallows audibly, "Not that I would kno-" - no, can't lie to a werewolf- "Scott! Scott's, um, he's -he's told me stuff. About him and Allison. You know Allison? They're such a great couple, so I imagine it'd be much simpler dating pack."

Tessa laughs. "I get it," she says then she spots his xbox controllers and what proceeds is the worst whooping he's ever gotten in his life at Mario Kart. The girl is a demon and Stiles finds that this does little to make him dislike her even though his head is screaming at him to. Instead, Tessa makes way too many "That's what she said" jokes and Stiles finds that he likes her even more.

...

Erica returns for Tessa around ten, then Stiles heads over to Scott's to redeem himself after his brutal defeat after Scott texts him:

video games?

i've got cheetos dude

They're tied two for two when Scott asks, "So what do you think about Tessa? She's nice right?"

Stiles pouts. "She's amazing. Which makes this like ten times worse."

Scott pauses the game and looks at him in confusion. Scott was never great at multitasking.

"What? No dude, see, this is good. It's awesome that she's so great. This way when Derek lets her down gently or she walks in on you two having sex, which ever comes first," Scott's eyes say exactly which he thinks will come first, "she won't hold a grudge."

"You mean if Derek lets her down at all."

"What? Why wouldn't he?"

Stiles shrugs, frowns, "I don't know man," he flops backward onto Scott's bed. "It's just, they're getting along really well. I've never seen Derek take to an outsider that quickly. Plus, we're both young, you know. This thing we have isn't set in stone. Who knows, maybe given time something more will come out of his and Tessa's friendship." It's hard to say out loud what been eating him from the inside out all day, but he can't lie to Scott.

"Are you kidding?" Scott punches him on the arm. "Sorry, man," he apologizes when Stiles swears, "but you deserved it. Seriously, what are you even talking about? Where did this even come from? You know Derek would never do that. You guys are like practically married already. Stop being paranoid. And jealous."

Scott doesn't un-pause the game until Stiles agrees.

Stiles pouts, "Fine."

A couple minutes later, Scott pauses the game again. "And you're not allowed to imagine her falling off anything either."

"Spoil-sport."

...

Stiles hangs out with Scott again the next day. It's therapeutic being around him since he's pretty much always a ball of sunshine and positive energy, which Stiles definitely needs more of as of late and by the time pack training rolls around, Stiles feels like he's ready to face Derek and Tessa again without falling apart completely.

Lydia has organised the training session and it's basically centered around showing Tessa their strength as opposed to the usual sparring. It's meant to give her an impression of what they would be like in real battle or conflict, a factor that can also influence the Tennyson pack in their decision and even though Stiles doesn't see why it's necessary at all given the fact that Tessa is practically an honorary member of their pack already, he thinks it'll be good for him to go out into the preserve with his pack and let out all his pent up frustration in a constructive manner.

The day is proceeding nicely and at the moment they're all sitting cross-legged on the forest floor observing the winding down of Isaac and Erica's display. It's a lot of growling and theatrics in which Erica and Isaac throw obvious punches and kicks and scratches at one another coordinated in such a way so that Erica/Isaac would dodge them 'just in time' and the strength of the blow would be seen on whatever tree or rock or branch behind Erica/Isaac that the attack does land on. They're dramatic in that way they've always been when they're together, so there are a lot of insults that aren't really insults as much as they're comic relief thrown around and moments when they just pose around one another throwing out reasons why Tessa should 'choose' one of them over the other. Derek has to remind them constantly that Tessa isn't Ash, that they aren't Pokemon and that they may have missed the purpose of this training session completely.

Stiles is the second to last to go, Lydia being the last, and he's been working on a little trick for quite a while now that he thinks this is the perfect time to showcase.

He activates the runes disguised as tattoos along his spine all the while maintaining a steady breathing rate. It won't work if he's anxious, he has to be perfectly calm. It takes him a while, but that's what it's like for him; manipulating energy the way he does as a spark, but the pack look on patiently. The moment he feels the thrum of energy in his palms, he lets it trickle from his palms into his fingertip and he expels it out of them. They connect in a continuous stream. Some fallen leaves beneath his feet hum as the energy in such a pure state makes them vibrate to life as the stream from Stiles' hands displaces the air around them. He manipulates it over and under the leaves until a few are dancing around the pack, but once he feels his heart rate climbing, he lets them fall.

"Wow, that's amazing," Tessa declares the second Stiles' display is over and Stiles knows that her appreciation comes mostly from the fact that she was the only one there who could see the energy as it was being manipulated, her being an emissary herself. The pack applaud him, but he knows that until he explains what exactly he's done, how moving a few leaves around now can become beneficial to them all later once he's mastered this new trick, he knows they won't actually appreciate it much. He knows they appreciate him and his ability and they never hesitate to let him know it, but it's in a were's nature to be flashy; claws and fangs and muscles where he's quiet and subtle and lethal in his own regard. That doesn't mean that he doesn't wish it was autumn already; with that many fallen leaves he could've really put on a show.

Stiles thanks Tessa as she approaches him and the pack hang around and chat while Lydia prepares for her turn.

"Where does the energy come from?" she asks and looks so intrigued that Stiles can't help but invite her to sit with him in the grass and explain it to her. After all, her returning home with a new trick up her sleeve can only strengthen their chances.

"So, as you breath in, if you concentrate hard enough, as an emissary you can feel yourself being filled with energy," Stiles explains and Tessa nods, entranced. "Well that's actually basic chemistry; oxygen to energy through respiration. The trick works by you pulling a small amount of the total energy created with each breath you take and moving it along your body, down to your finger tips before they can be used up by your cells."

"That's why your heart rate sped up," Tessa exclaims once she gets it. "Your heart needs to work harder to supply your body with the energy you're depriving it." She frowns at that. "Seems dangerous."

Stiles nods in agreement, because it is. Once he's mastered it, he doesn't plan on using it unless in dire circumstances. He tells Tessa as much then nudges her shoulder with his. "Try it," he tells her because in her time here he hasn't had any opportunity to witness her skill and he's interested to know where she's at in terms of her emissary training.

Tessa claps her hands together once and nods with determination in her eyes. "Okay."

She's cautious, Stiles notes, as she closes her eyes and breathes in the way she had seen him doing, and as such she doesn't harness enough energy to do much more than roll a twig at their feet about four inches. It's still pretty good for her first try though and Stiles goes to tell her as much, but Derek beats him to it.

"Wow, that was really good, Tess," Derek interjects, appearing behind them from seemingly out of nowhere.

Tessa blushes, "It's just a twig, Derek. And it barely even moved."

Derek smiles at her, "Don't sell yourself short. You did great for your first try."

She returns the smile with a shy one of her own. "Thanks."

Stiles observes the exchange for five more seconds before the eye contact they make with each other, like they're both five seconds away from launching at each other mouths, makes the burn in his stomach unbearable. Until he can't stand the sight of them together very much longer. He knows he's being immature because Lydia worked hard to plan today's activities and he'd be leaving before they even get to the important stuff, but he can't find it in himself to care. He just wants to be as far away from Derek and Tessa as possible.

He grabs up his bags and begins to walk away.

"Stiles?" Lydia calls after him, "What's wrong? Where are you going?"

Stiles wills his voice not to crack as he shouts, over his shoulder because he doesn't want to see the looks on all their faces, "Got to get started on dinner. Just remembered my dad's gonna be home early today."

He doesn't say goodbye to anyone.

...

"I owe you an apology," Lydia says to him when she shows up on his doorstep at nine pm that same night.  "I didn't anticipate this whole thing hurting you as much as it seems to be and I should have. I should have weighed all the options because as strong as you are, you're only human and it would be difficult for anyone to see the person they love basically fawn over someone else. So, I'm sorry, Stiles. I know what must be going through your head and you shouldn't need the reassurance since you know first hand just how much Derek adores you, but I'll give it to you any way. Derek doesn't look at anyone the way he looks at you. You're it for him, Stiles and I know that because he's told me so many times. So, please don't be upset with him. If there's anyone you should be mad at, it's me and I take full responsibility."

Stiles looks at the girl standing on his doorstep and he's filled with love and admiration for her because she didn't have to come make sure he was alright. She didn't have to come and apologize because her organizing this whole "Tessa thing" was just her following Derek's instructions, but she did.

Stiles accepts her hug when she offers it and they cling tightly to one another.

"She's leaving tomorrow and then everything will go back to normal, you'll see."

"Thanks for coming, Lyds," Stiles whispers into her hair. She squeezes him tighter for a second longer then releases him.

"Did you have plans for tonight?"

Stiles gestures behind him, into the living room. "Just a tub of Ben and Jerry's."

"Well, go get it. Gone Girl is showing at the drive in."

"But you hate drive ins."

She smiles, "Yeah, but I hate seeing you upset more."

...

Stiles wakes up the morning of Sunday August ninth happier than he has been the entire week. He should feel terrible about being this excited for Tessa to leave because despite everything that's happened, she's a wonderful girl and she definitely doesn't mean any harm, but Stiles can't help it. He's ecstatic, which shows because he actually woke up before twelve pm on a Sunday. Though that did also have a lot to do with the fact that Lydia asked them all very nicely to be punctual in arriving at Derek's place to see her off. Which actually meant that they didn't have much of a choice.

He's the second to arrive at the house, Lydia's the first, and he hopes that comes across as considerate and not eager. Stiles hugs and kisses her when he sees her, doesn't tell her that he enjoyed her time here because he didn't - the past few days were some of the worst days of his life - but he does tell her that he enjoyed her company, that she's a sweet girl and that he hopes she gets home safely.

The pack roll in one by one, minutes apart after that and each of them give her their goodbyes. Once they've all sufficiently hugged and kissed and begged her to stay and reminded her to call and extended future invitations, Tessa picks up two of her three bags. Derek holds the third.

They then proceed to walk to the front door which Stiles doesn't understand because he's sure there's no car out there. Yup, his tattoos are perfectly inactive.

"Wait, Derek?" Stiles calls. "Where are you going?"

"I'm going with Tessa. I'm taking her to the airport," Derek explains to him and Stiles' head immediately fills to the brim with all those movie scenes of couples at airports, seeing each other off. Hugging and kissing and making out.

"Aren't you busy today though? Isn't there something else you have to do?" He asks because they've talked about this in the month leading up to Tessa's arrival. About spending the entire day together the second Tessa walks out the door.

"I'll only be gone two-three hours tops, whatever it is can wait."

"Oh," Stiles smiles. It's bitter and forced and sad. "Right. Totally. I- We'll see you when you get back."

Derek nods and Tessa smiles from behind him, bright and honest and so damn happy and waves at them all the way to the car until Derek finally drives away.

Stiles closes the door. When he turns around, they're all staring at him with something like pity written in their eyes. Scott looks just about ready to make excuses on Derek's behalf because he must remember too, how Derek made promise after promise during that month, that the moment Tessa is out the door, he'll hold Stiles and not let him go until he's satisfied he's made up for the lost time. Stiles doesn't want to hear it, though. He doesn't give Scott the opportunity to speak, just grabs up his hoodie and leaves with a muttered, "I'll see you guys later." There's no reason for him to think Derek would want him to be there waiting after all. He'd said it himself, whatever it is they had planned could wait.

Maybe Derek will come over tomorrow to apologize to him, maybe he'll call Stiles over to spend the night with him and Stiles will feel like an idiot for how he's been acting lately and for all the emotionally charged, dramatic exits he's made in the past five days. But there's also the very real possibility that Derek will come back home and give him news that will destroy him.

Stiles drives to the corner shop on Butler, buys two tubs of ice-cream and finishes one on his way back home.

...

He's halfway through his second tub, and three-quarter of the way through Frozen when Derek walks into his living room. He looks pissed.

Stiles' mouth is filled with whipped cream. He's pretty sure he looks pitiful right now, pouting around a mouth full of empty calories. He wants so badly to be angry at Derek, to stand up right then and give Derek a piece of his mind, but uncertainty keeps him quiet and fear makes him teary eyed. Derek doesn't say a word, just stands there and glares at him until Stiles' can't take it anymore.

He sniffles, "How did you even get in here? I locked the door."

Derek growls, low in his throat then stalks further into the room. "I do actually have a key for your house, Stiles, but I can understand why you're confused. This is actually the first time I've ever needed to use it seeing as you prefer my place, which is where you should have been right now."

Stiles feels like that's the comment that could set him off, spur him onto his feet to tell Derek exactly where he could put his opinion, but Derek doesn't give him the chance to get angry, just comes further into the house and continues. "Instead I come home, finally free," he says the word like it's a relief, a weight off his chest, "after a month of not being able to even look at you for too long let alone touch you to find Erica and Boyd making out on my couch." Derek takes a deliberate step forward and doesn't look any less pissed. "I had plans for that couch, Stiles. I haven't put my hands on you in over a month, so I had planned to take my time and do just that and so much more on that couch tonight, Stiles. Things that would gravitate to the wall, then up the stairs and then our bed, because it is our bed, Stiles, and last till morning. But that's not why I'm mad. I mean, it's likely that you just got tired of waiting and came home, except when I asked Erica where you were, she told me that you were 'probably at home watching Tangled, midway through your second tub of ice-cream and crying over dumb things that will never happen' because you somehow got it in your head that I'm going to leave you for Tessa when all I could think about every minute of every day that I was with her was how much I wish I was with you."

It's the emotional whiplash that leaves Stiles without anything else to say but "It's Frozen, not Tangled."

Derek looks at him then and there it is, Stiles thinks. There's the look on Derek's face that he'd give up anything to wake up every morning to. It's affection and adoration and insane levels of fondness and Stiles suddenly feels like a complete idiot.

Derek sighs out a short, humorless laugh. "It doesn't matter what it is, Stiles. You shouldn't be watching it. There's no reason for you to ever have to watch Disney movies and cry over me because I could never want anyone else in this world as much as I want you. Stiles, I could never love anyone else the way I love you."

Stiles knows he's about ten seconds from crying and not nearly for any of the reasons he was five minutes ago. "I'm going to look away now before I start ugly crying," he warns.

Derek smiles at him, "Do you think that could wait until after I take you to your room and make it so that even Lydia won't ever be able to get our scents out of your sheets for years?"

Stiles nods, and reaches out for him saying, "If you don't kiss me now, I think I'll die."

...

Four days later, Isaac walks into the living room wearing only his boxers after getting the mail and it's definitely not just bills by the look on Isaac's face.

"What are you so happy about?" Erica asks and Isaac holds up an envelope. It's bright red.

"Guess who it's from?" He's grinning as he flips the envelop to reveal a "From Tessa" scrawled across its front, handwritten in neat cursive.

There's about a two second pause before the pack's all shouting things like "bring it here," (Lydia) and "open it, man" (Scott) and "well, read it, stupid," (Erica) and "don't call him stupid," (Cora). Isaac breaks the seal and opens it.

"It's addressed to Derek," Isaac says and Erica groans.

"Oh no, Stiles is gonna get all pissy again, isn't he?"

Stiles narrows his eyes at her. "I will have you know that Derek has done things to me over the past three days that has completely done away with any of those thoughts. So no, Erica, I won't get all 'pissy'."

Erica grins at him, throws her leg over his and drapes herself along his side. "Good," she says as Isaac hands over the letter to Derek who is sitting at Stiles' other side on the couch. Isaac then takes a seat on the floor before the alpha like he's settling in to have a bedtime story read to him, which by the length of the letter, it just may be. The rest of the pack settle in closer as well and then Derek begins to read.

Dear Derek,

I'll start off by saying that the last seven days have been some of the best of my life. Don't get me wrong, I adore my pack but there's something exciting and new about getting to experience a day in the life of such a young pack, especially one brought together by such extenuating circumstances. But I suppose that explains it all, doesn't it? How nine people so different yet somehow so alike can come together and create this strong, unified and formidable pack that could contest even mine; a pack with four generations before us, bonded by blood, born into our roles and positions. I know my visit wasn't meant to be an 'evaluation' per se, but you have to understand my fascination with The legendary Hale pack. I couldn't help but be as (inconspicuously) nosy as possible. I swear I didn't go through any closets/drawers, but I will confess that it was a near thing.

On to the real purpose of my visit, or, well, the assumed one anyway.  Derek, you were amazing. You are strong, unabashedly loyal, fiercely protective of your own and just as handsome as everyone says (maybe even more) and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with you.  You were the perfect host especially considering how often everyone went out of their way to ensure we were paired up for Every Single Activity. Now, I know that I'm a total catch ;), but even I get annoyed by how chatty I can be sometimes (all the time). You were great though, even amidst my incessant yapping. You always kept me well entertained (I find your awkwardness quite endearing) and you never once made me feel uncomfortable or awkward when your pack basically made it your daily mission to woo me. But you should know that I was thoroughly and wholly wooed. I mean, if I wasn't totally into lady-bits (and I one hundred percent am), I would be all up on you. That day you took me on a walk through town; to the museum, the flower shop and then the bakery/ice-cream place (I liked when you fed me the last piece of your cobbler, that was a nice touch) I almost fell for you completely, but then I saw that blond chick, you know, the one that bought the chocolate ice-cream that fell down her shirt? Jesus. I thought for sure I'd given myself away, but apparently I'm getting much better at internalizing my outbursts. My point still stands though. It was great to get to know the guy behind the Calvin Klein model exterior and I'm flattered that you actually seemed to like me enough to be honest and real with me even though you must have thought I wanted nothing more than to ravish you at any given moment.

That brings me to my next topic of discussion.

Lydia, because I'm pretty sure this was Lydia's idea, you're a brilliant girl and just standing next to you sometimes made me feel like applying to a fancy university to pursue my dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon. (NB: I never wanted to be a pediatric surgeon until I met you. I don't even like kids.) I can tell that you were extremely thorough. You washed Derek's apartment clean of all incriminating scents, but was somehow able to leave all the important pack scents that should be found in any close-knit pack's home. You even managed to do the same to your pack mates' homes, the places they frequent and their clothing. That's an amazing feat that I can't even begin to comprehend the intricate mechanisms of and I bow down to you for you are queen above all.

The unfortunate thing though is that I'm a born wolf. I've grown up around mates where yourself and your pack have not (and I think Derek may not have been old enough to ever have gotten the talk himself). My mother and father, my sister and her husband, my grandfather and late grandmother were all mated so I'm familiar with the subtle looks, the small, seemingly meaningless touches and most importantly the scent of mates.

You see, when two people are mated they 'share scent'. That is to say that sometimes when Stiles would come over, if I were to use his scent alone to identify him, I could have easily mistaken him for Derek. Yup. Their scents are almost indiscernible now and since you've all seem to have gone nose-blind to it, Derek and Stiles must have been mated for a while now and the bond is pretty strong if I do say so myself. They're not my mom and dad, but they're up there. I think it's safe for me to assume that they don't know this yet, nor does the pack and while I had hoped they would find out themselves because it is a pretty intimate and private thing, I couldn't let you guys live in ignorance. The books I've sent you on everything you need to know about mates should arrive within five working days. Also, I could totally be your personal lycathropy literature provider if ever you run into anything you're unfamiliar with. Doubt that'll happen though, what with how amazingly intelligent you are. (This is me flirting, just so you know. Call me.)

So finally, thanks for an amazing time. I really am totally sorry for keeping an alpha away from his mate for as long is I must have. I hope the make up sex was phenomenal. I'll miss every single one of you, but I'll mostly the looks of envy on teenage girls' faces when Derek would take me around. You guys are a close second.

Seriously though, I'm rooting for the Hale pack. You'll always have a friend in me.

Love,

Tessa

PS: I'd literally come back any time you guys wanted me to and Lydia, I slipped my number into the glove compartment of your car.

 

Silence hasn't fallen for two seconds before Erica begins to cackle. Loudly.

"I love her," Isaac expresses and Cora doesn't even hit him. She simply nods in agreement.

Lydia's cheeks are flushed when she questions hesitantly, "What do you know about mates, Derek?" It's clear by the way her eyes are moving between Stiles and Derek that she's trying the gauge just how they've taken this news. Stiles wants to tell her not to worry, that yes it's news to him and this is probably huge and he probably hasn't even begun to comprehend the magnitude of what he's getting into, but he's not upset or even scared. If anything he's anticipatory. He's prepared to learn all he can about it, all that it means to be mated to Derek Hale if that's truly what they are because he has no plans of ever leaving Derek anyway. The thought makes his heart beat rapidly in his chest.

"I don't know much about it if I didn't even have a clue that's what Stiles and I are," Derek cringes. "I heard my mom mention it a few times. She'd say things like forever and 'the one'. I never thought it could be anything but a fairy-tale so I just never thought it was important."

Stiles listens to Derek's voice and knows this is just the sort of thing Derek will beat himself up over, is probably already beating himself up over, even though there was no possible way for him to have known. Stiles decides that his input will just have to be the determining factor then, that what he says now and how he responds to this news has the potential to either comfort Derek, or tear him down. So he takes Derek's hand in his and acts as nonchalantly as he can because even though he knows this news has to potential to change his life,  the one thing he's sure of is that mates or not Derek's it for him.

Stiles shrugs and cuddles in closer to Derek's warmth, "I guess we won't know for sure until the books come, but I gotta say, I really like the idea of forever with you."

He feels the breath of relief against his cheek and then feels Derek's smile against his lips when Derek leans over and kisses him slowly.

Beside them, Cora rolls her eyes. "You guys are so gross."

...