- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Murder
- Disturbing Imagery
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
Stiles shivered a bit with the cool breeze coming in through his window. It was fresh with the scents of pine and leaves. The tree outside whose branches often tapped the glass with a hard wind swayed gently, waiting.
Stiles chewed absently at his markers with the glass board in front of him. The board had been purchased after the mess Stiles had made of his walls and room when Void had been knocking at the door of his mind. His dad had had to buy him a new bed with the big ass hole he’d stabbed into it with his scissors.
The board was pretty sparse of information at the moment and he hated the blank space. He wanted to mess it up with his ideas, his conclusions, his connections, and he had nothing. It was an empty canvas, or like a blank page staring at him from his computer when he had an essay to do for school, waiting. An expectant abyss on stand by for information and inspiration and conclusion.
Stiles was hoping when Derek arrived he’d get some intel to add and make a picture that would eventually give up its secrets. His dad had left with the anonymous call of a body found out in the Preserve. Not anonymous to either of them, of course, and Stiles had at least started to sketch out why Brunski could have been in the Hale Vault the night before. The void of knowledge was pressing in his mind and on the clear glass.
Noah would be interviewing friends, family, and colleagues before long, so Stiles had Brunski’s name with arrows pointing to Eichen House, as well as to Kate’s name and then an arrow to the Hale Vault at the top of the board. He still wasn’t sure if they’d been working together to infiltrate the vault for more than a historical talisman to help Kate learn control. It was better to connect them with a question mark than not at this point.
It wouldn’t surprise him if Brunski had known about the supernatural and was working with Kate for some nefarious reason. The man had been someone with a vicious agenda, at least Stiles got that vibe from him when he’d been in Eichen House. The man had been too focused on him when he’d been locked up in there. He’d paid too little attention to the other residents of the facility. Always watching Stiles, and to a certain extent Malia, as well. He couldn’t rule out Brunski being partnered with Kate at this point even if it had seemed to Peter that they weren’t working together.
God, his crime board was sparse, Stiles mused biting down hard on the marker in his mouth. He didn’t like not knowing things. Four names on his board and not a damn thing else at this point. Deaton’s name was all by itself in the top right corner and anything that went under it would have to be hidden from Scott.
Stiles picked up the erasure to remove Deaton’s name thinking he’d be better just encrypting any information on his computer when the doorbell rang. Frowning at the open window, he set the erasure and marker on the board’s ledge and headed downstairs wondering who the hell was at his door. He had shit to do and a conversation to have with Sourwolf, he didn’t have time for anything else today. If it had been Scott or one of the pack they would have texted they were coming over and Scott would have used his key.
His eyes widened seeing the dark murder brows, persistent stubble, and leather-jacketed form of Derek on his doorstep.
“Are you ill?” Stiles blurted.
“What?” Derek asked, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. His hands were in the pockets of his jeans, casual as if it was completely normal for him to be at Stiles’ door.
“I had the window open and everything, dude! Why are you using the front door?” Stiles’ hands twitched as he resisted the urge to flap them at Derek. He was sure his gobsmacked expression was enough to emphasize his question.
“Your dad knows about the supernatural now, and about me, why would I need to hide coming over any more?” Derek replied, his tone was as dry as a desert.
“Oh, well, it’s an end of an era then. I’m sure I’ll miss your skulking through my window… and now it’s freezing in my bedroom because I left it open all inviting and shit for you.”
“Your ridiculous,” Derek huffed, “gonna let me in then?”
“Sorry… sorry, I’m still in shock over your manners, bud.” Stiles stepped aside and waved him in, ignoring Derek’s shaking head. Closing and locking the door, Stiles watched Derek hang up his leather jacket on the coat hooks in the hallway revealing the ubiquitous sage Henley that hugged his broad-shouldered form in all the right places. He even took off his worn brown leather low ankle boots, like an actual proper house guest. It was surreal.
Stiles shook himself. “You want anything? Drink, vittles?”
“No, I’m fine,” Derek replied, his green eyes roving over Stiles. As usual, he’d dressed in his normal layers of t-shirt, plaid, and jeans, though his feet were still bare, and a bit chilled, he realized. He felt kind of naked under Derek’s gaze with his long pale toes showing.
Stiles cleared his throat. “Okay, well let’s head upstairs. Are you okay? Kate didn’t permanently hurt you, did she?”
Derek didn’t answer just turned and headed up the stairs in front of Stiles. He tried to keep his eyes off of Derek’s physique, well his butt, since he wanted to keep his attraction to the man to himself. Though, at this point, Derek probably knew with his supper sniffer that Stiles was attracted to him. They’d spent enough time together the last year, that Stiles knew he’d probably accosted Derek with whatever pheromone-based stink his body emitted when he couldn’t keep a lid on his attraction. The man needed to learn to wear a shirt more often when he had guests in his home.
Stiles didn’t want to make Derek uncomfortable and he was a physically attractive man in the extreme. Stiles figured he had to smell a lot of arousal from all sorts of people throughout the day. It was probably part of the reason why Derek was such an introvert and kept to himself most of the time.
The rest, well, Stiles figured, trauma and losing his family would make anyone keep their distance from getting close to people. The fewer people you were close to, the less likely you’d lose them.
Stiles had lost his mom, but he’d had his dad and Scott and a second mother in Melissa to lean on in his grief. Derek and Peter had no one really and it had only been a year since Derek had lost his sister Laura, his alpha, and only a few months since losing Erica, Boyd, and the pack he’d attempted to create.
Derek was standing in front of the board, head cocked when Stiles made it into his room.
“There’s not much there at the moment. Once my dad gets going on his investigation, we’ll know more about Brunski.”
Derek stood still, eyes focused on the words. “You knew him from Eichen House?”
“Yeah, Malia and I both did.” Stiles rubbed the back of his head. “Thinking on it, he was really focused on us while we were there. I was trying to get into the basement, because of the dreams I was having, and he just seemed to know where I was all the time. The asshole knocked me out with Haldol and put me in a padded cell for a while before Malia got me out. He was a real bastard and just really… superior and condescending when he talked to me, very dominant.”
“I’m sure you were lippy with him right back.” Derek gave his shoulder a little nudge with his own.
Stile’s smile was wiry. “Yeah, I was, but that’s still no reason to be a cruel jerk to a patient.”
“True, so you don’t know much about him?”
“Not really, no. I’m sure my dad will dig up something though, he always does in the end.”
“Peter thinks he wasn’t working with Kate, but you’re right to not rule it out at the moment,” Derek said, his finger softly touched the board under the heading for the Hale Vault. “He could have wanted any number of things in the vault, there’s no way to know what he wanted.”
Stiles grabbed a notepad from his desk and a pen then took a seat in his desk chair rolling it next to Derek. He’d take the opening on the topic. It seemed Derek was going to talk for once and Stiles was going to listen and learn.
“How old’s the vault, what do you guys have stored there? Perhaps we can figure it out if we do an inventory or something.”
Derek snorted. “Yeah, no, there’s too much in there to do an inventory off the top of my head and besides, I’m sure Peter has one squirreled away somewhere. He was the family scholar and historian, along with my great grandfather.”
“Oh, cool, that’s good to know.” Stiles filed that information away for later. “But, anything in there stand out to you? You know, just pop into your head?”
“Well, there’s a lot of money in there, rare books, and magical and supernatural artifacts. The vault was built in the mid-eighteen hundreds…. How Kate or this Brunski character knew about the vault is more of a worry to me than what he wanted to take.”
“Only family would know about it?”
“As far as I know, unless Deaton knew from my mom. It should only be known to Hales, and no one in the pack would have told an outsider, at least not without a good reason. I didn’t before when Kate …,” Derek words trailed off and Stiles let that go, he knew what Derek was saying. “Also, the only way to enter is through a Hale’s claws, so how did he know Kate was going to use me to get into the vault?”
Stiles got up and took up a marker, moving Derek out of his way with a gentle hip bump. He drew a head with a question mark in it under the Hale Vault title. While he was at it, he erased Deaton’s name and wrote Hale Family in its place.
“Why was Deaton’s name there?” Derek asked the heat of him moved away to sit on the end of Stiles’ bed.
“I don’t want Scott to see it.”
Stiles turned moving back until he was seated next to Derek. The ridiculous amount of heat Derek gave off bled into Stiles’ side. It felt good, the weight of the dark void in his chest seemed to ease a bit. The constant pressure loosened making it easier to breathe.
“You think Deaton has something to do with what happened?”
“Maybe, I’ve been thinking about a lot about what happened with the Darach and the sacrifice we did to find our parents.” Stiles took in Derek’s profile. “Deaton was your mom’s emissary, right?”
“I think so, but not for sure. Why?”
“Well, wouldn’t he have known where the Nemeton was if he was her emissary and a Druid?”
Derek frowned, eyes on the board. He was still, almost statue-like sitting on Stiles’ bed. It was only a moment before Derek turned to him, concern and confusion rampant on his face.
“He definitely should have known where the Nemeton was, especially as a Druid.”
Stiles relaxed at hearing the confirmation of his idea. “Then why make Scott, Allison, and me do the sacrifice in the first place? He did tell us it would bring power back to the Nemeton. That’s what Ms. Blake was already doing, why would he want to add us into the mix? Why bring that power back?”
“Why would he want the supernatural to converge on Beacon Hills?” Derek asked though the question was more of a statement with the growl that emanated from his throat.
“Right? So something’s going on with Deaton and Scott trusts him.”
“So, we can’t tell him what we know or find out.”
“Yeah,” Stiles agreed, relieved he and Derek were on the same page. He didn’t worry about Peter telling Scott anything. Peter had little respect for most people and he viewed Scott and the alpha power he now had with complete contempt.
“Okay.” Derek waved at the board. “What else do you want to know?”
“Dude, you’re going to use your words! This is so exciting!”
The tension in the room eased with the rolling of Derek’s eyes.
Stiles fiddled with his pen and notebook pulling up his knee and sitting sideways so he could face his werewolf information source. Derek huffed and mirrored his position, facing Stiles with an open expression on his face. That was new, the openness, and Stiles was going to milk it for all he was worth. He and Derek had never truly been friends, but with Stiles’ struggle with Void and after the Alpha Pack, a small flame of friendship had started to grow between them.
“Before you start interrogating me. Why does your bed smell like Malia?”
Stiles could’ve done without the judgmental murder brow Derek was throwing at him. But, Malia was one of the many topics he wanted to pick Derek’s brain about, even if Derek’s question made heat prickle into his cheeks a bit.
“If you wondering if Malia is ‘sleeping’ with me.” Stiles scrambled to grab his pen missing it by a mile as it flew out of his hand and rolled onto the floor. Air quotes, pen in hand, and coordination weren’t his strong suit. Knocking his head on Derek’s knee as he dove for it added to the blush already dotting his cheeks. He scrambled a bit on the way up but was successful in getting his pen, notebook, and himself back up on the bed.
He sighed, glowering at the amused tilt to Derek’s mouth.
“We’re just sleeping. She comes over four to five times a week to sleep. Nothing else is going on, just so you know.”
“You’re her anchor,” Derek stated, extremely matter of fact as if he already knew. It would have been nice if he’d given Stiles the heads up about that.
“I think I am but wasn’t sure.”
“She trusts you and not having an anchor is the reason she transformed and lived as a coyote for so long.”
“It doesn’t hurt her that I’m her anchor?”
“No, she chose well, actually.”
Well, that was good, Stiles thought.
“Thanks, that means a lot coming from you.” And it did. Derek saying and believing Stiles, whose mind was all over the place on a good day with his ADHD, was a good choice for Malia’s anchor was a relief for him to hear. He’d been worried about that for a while now, once he’d realized he might be her anchor. “Is there anything I can do to help her? Scott’s been teaching her a few things. But, honestly, I know more about being a werewolf than he does and I’m not even one!”
“What has he been working on with her?” Derek asked, watching Stiles write the word, ‘Anchor’ in his notebook.
“Just controlling her shift, popping her claws when she wants to.” Stiles shrugged, sure his nonchalance was given away with his heart fluttering in his chest. His excitement at just waiting for the knowledge to come, to remove the blank space on his board and in his mind, evident to Derek. “That’s about it, and it’s not working well. She’s still popping them at school when she gets frustrated. I’ve been working with her on full moons at Lydia’s lake house. Chaining her up for it has kept her and me safe, but that’s about it. Her control is pretty much nonexistent. What can I do? As her anchor, I mean.”
Derek shook his head. “She needs to reach out to you, to her anchor. Control needs to come from within her. It’s not something that can come from an outside force. She needs to be in harmony in her mind and heart with the human part and the coyote part of her. She shouldn’t fight against her instincts and trust in the feelings of safety she should feel when she thinks of you. It takes focus, a wolf’s anchor is and should be trusted. If she trusts her anchor, she’ll be able to control her instincts and her shift.”
“That is really vague,” Stiles groaned, softly, scribbling down some bullet points for him to think about.
“From what you’ve said, she doesn’t seem to have a pack bond with you.”
“Pack bond?” Stiles asks, surprised. “Is that like a soul bond or something?”
Derek shook his head, his frustration evident, though Stiles didn’t think it was him and his questions that had Derek scowling like the usual Sourwolf he often was. Derek, as a born wolf, had probably never had to articulate anything about being a werewolf to a non-werewolf. Stiles didn’t find it surprising he was having trouble explaining things.
“I told Scott that a pack strengthens werewolves, not only the alpha but the beta’s as well. A pack bond is magic, Stiles. You should feel it here.” He softly touched Stiles’ head. “And here.” then heart. “You should be able to feel a connection to everyone in the pack. It’s like… a soft rope of light tying you together with the others. You can’t read each other’s minds, but strong emotions can be felt when needed. The presence of a pack bond will help you know if a member of the pack is in trouble. It’s a feeling of never being truly alone, always there, always safe.”
That was the most words Stiles had ever heard Derek speak. Words so reverent and aching, it made his eyes burn, the prickle of wanting to cry behind them. He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat at the pain that was evident on Derek’s whole being sitting in front of him.
“Even pack humans can feel it?” He asked, quietly.
“Oh, yes. Humans in a pack help werewolves keep the wolf instincts from overriding their human instincts. Humans are always valued in packs, for their humanity, for their protection.” Derek was speaking so earnestly, Stiles found it a bit jarring, to be honest. “Pack werewolves and humans protect each other. You’ve been doing it for Scott, for the rest of us for the last year, Stiles. You can use and control the magic of mountain ash, the Nine Herbs. Werewolves are magic and can’t use it as humans in a pack can. Wolves and Humans need each other in a pack. Without both, the pack is unstable and dangerous.”
Stiles’ voice was gruff. “And a pack without pack bonds? What does that mean?”
“If you don’t have a pack bond with Scott and if he doesn’t with the people he considers pack, then there is no pack. Scott is an Alpha without a pack, without pack bonds to keep him stable and safe from threats both magical and mundane. He’s an Omega werewolf, no different to a Beta wolf who’s an Omega, even if he is an Alpha.”
“Is it because Scott’s a bitten wolf?” Stiles thought for a moment. It didn’t sound good at all and he knew he didn’t have a pack bond with Scott. At least, he didn’t feel one at all. “Maybe he doesn’t know about pack bonds?”
“No, I told him about them, though it’s harder for bitten wolves to make bonds. It’s a learned skill to some extent, but easier to create when members of the pack are close friends. Scott doesn’t have pack bonds and possibly will never have them since he seems to both love and hate his wolf.” Derek rubbed his hands on his thighs, gazing back at Stiles’ empty crime board. “I offered to teach him. I offered a pack bond when I was trying to give him a place in my pack. He didn’t trust me, not that I blame him, so we didn’t get anywhere to the level of companionship needed to create a pack bond with each other.”
Stiles was not surprised at all that Scott hadn’t wanted a bond with Derek before or now that he was an alpha. Stiles figured there had to be trust there, at least for a bond to even be able to be formed. His pen scratched along the paper in this lap. He would have a lot to think about and sort out after Derek left later.
Frowning down at the word ‘trust’ in his notes, he asked, “Is Scott dangerous not having bonds? Like will he lose his shit and go on a rampage like Peter did or become like the wolves in the Alpha Pack?”
“No, Scott with your help has learned control. Has found an anchor of some sort,” Derek replied, then paused with a frown down at his hands. “He’s never experienced a bond, so the pain of losing it will never cause him to become feral. The danger comes from outside forces. Without the strength of pack bonds, he’s weak, not only physically but emotionally and mentally, as well.” Derek bit his lip, continuing in a thoughtful tone. “It’s more that someone like Jennifer, a Darach or similar human or supernatural creature could hurt him or influence him in some way.”
A tightening his gut squeezed for a moment and Stiles suddenly realized Derek didn’t have any pack bonds, even with Peter now and that Jennifer Blake had probably taken advantage of that to manipulate him. Stiles almost asked the question but refrained not wanting to delve too deeply into that possibility. Derek had been wounded and used enough in one lifetime and opening a wound still fresh just to slate his curiosity was unconscionable. He decided to keep his mouth shut.
Stiles allowed the silence between them though he found it hard. He could see Derek was gathering his thoughts together. The more time he allowed Derek to talk, the more information he would have to protect his dad, and friends. The whole lack of pack bonds with Scott was alarming and he knew he’d have to address it with his friend soon.
Derek hesitated, glancing into Stiles’ eyes before he seemed to decide in his own mind. “I think the Nogitsune wouldn’t have been able to possess you, at all if you’d had a pack bond with Scott.”
The last was just a murmur and with the words, something cleaved hard through Stiles’ chest. It wasn’t painful just, a trembling pressure in the dark empty space that sat in his heart. He noticed the cold in the room suddenly, and it wasn’t because his window was still open letting fresh January air in. The pen and notebook slid from Stiles’ slack hands to the floor with Derek watching them fall.
Stiles’ breath hitched when Derek took one of his hands. “Stiles? You okay? Your heart’s skipping a bit.”
He clutched at the warmth of the fingers tangled around in his own, clearing his throat. “I’m okay. Well… not really, no, but there’s not a damn thing I can do about it now.”
“A pack bond would’ve let Scott know sooner that something was wrong with you, even before you started showing symptoms of the possession if the possession could’ve taken hold in the first place.”
Stiles’ eyes closed with the words. Deaton and Void swirling in his mind. Deaton would know about pack bonds. Why didn’t he tell Scott when he’d become a werewolf in the first place how important they were? Why didn’t he tell Scott that Derek could help him even when they didn’t know who the Alpha was and were scared. Why didn’t Deaton council Laura Hale not to run from Beacon Hills without her uncle? Why didn’t Deaton help Derek when he came back to Beacon Hills looking for his sister? So much of what had happened could’ve been, maybe not avoided, but managed better if Deaton had come forward with what he knew.
Stiles could feel his breath hitching like a panic attack was in the works. He could breathe though, focused on the tangle of Derek’s fingers in his own. Who knew holding hands with Derek Hale would be so comforting after finding out the shit show that had been his life in the last year could’ve turned out better if only a person he’d trusted had been the least bit helpful.
Stiles released a satisfying breath. There was no point in wallowing about the past. They needed to go forward and they needed to find out what Deaton’s agenda was. It would be exposed, Stiles knew. The information would come and Deaton would eventually reveal his hand.
And Stiles was going to be ready for it.
In the meantime, he had a lot to learn and he had someone willing to teach him sitting right in front of him. So first things first.
“I’m not going to ask you to teach Scott,” Stiles said, opening his eyes to see Derek’s face twitch at the statement, “I know he sees you as an ally and you’ve answered his questions in the past. But, I know you don’t trust him, as far as you can throw him with the whole Gerard and the Kanima bullshit. I’m still pissed at him for doing that to you, by the way, but can you teach me and Malia and Lydia? Something’s going on and I want to get out ahead of it if we can.”
Derek squeezed his hand before slowly releasing the connection. “I can teach you what I know, but honestly, Peter is the one that knows the most about our history and the supernatural. He helped teach me better control when I was younger and at the time of… the fire I was just starting instruction with him and my great granddad.”
Stiles swallowed, his mouth was a bit dry. “Do you think he’ll help us?”
“Maybe?” Derek shook his head rubbing his hands on his face shifting like he was ready to spring up from the bed and start pacing. “He said some things this morning that makes me think he just might, but I’m not sure.”
“What did he say?” Stiles couldn’t help the eagerness that came out. He was a curious person, it was the reason he wasted so much of his time in Wikipedia spirals that ended up with essays for Coach Finstock detailing the history and procedures of male circumcision. Knowledge was his Kryptonite.
“I need to spend some time thinking about it before I tell you,” Derek said, the hesitance in his voice wasn’t at all familiar to Stiles, “Is that okay?”
Stiles’ excitement deflated a bit.
“Of course, when you’re ready, dude,” he said, enjoying the grimace Derek’s face made at the ‘dude’ that came out. Derek has been pushed enough in his life and Stiles didn’t want to ever be invasive with him, well, unless it was a life and death situation. He could wait until Derek was ready to tell him. He could, he told himself, even if his curiosity was going to drive him up the wall.
But, there was something he could share with Derek, now, with Peter being the current topic. It was probably the right time.
Stiles wasn’t sure if Scott had told Derek about Malia’s parentage, he didn’t think so. He knew Derek didn’t talk to or spent that much time with Scott. At least, outside of any supernatural crisis and Scott wasn’t all that interested in learning about werewolves even though he was one and now an alpha.
“Malia is Peter’s daughter,” Stiles blurted and wanted to slap himself for it at Derek’s devastated face. The blood leached from Derek’s cheeks and they became pale above the dark beard he seemed to be working to grow out.
“Lydia found out through your mom’s claws a few months ago in exchange for his help to get the Nogitsune out of me.”
Derek was silent for a few moments and Stiles almost started babbling when he asked, “She doesn’t know?”
“No, not yet. Scott didn’t think we should tell her but I know we need to. I’m pretty sure Peter hasn’t had enough contact with her to tell her, he’s her dad.”
“He didn’t say anything to me about it.” Derek rubbed his mouth. “I have a cousin.”
“Yeah, another Hale in the world. I think we need more of them,” Stiles said, smiling at the amazement in Derek’s voice. Derek was fighting a smile under his hand, now that Stiles was giving him a minute to process. Stiles just let his grin out. A keening noise came out and Derek reeled Stiles into his arms, hugging him so hard Stiles lost both his pen and notebook with a thump to the floor.
He wasn’t sure what to do with his hands while Derek’s uneven breaths puffed hot against his throat. Tentatively he returned the embrace rubbing in what he hoped was a soothing manner over Derek’s strong back. He let out a squeak at the additional strength of Derek squeezing him harder.
Stilinski hugs were the best but Derek Hale’s hug was right up there in the short category of one of the best things in Stiles’ world and he smelled fantastic, of green things, the clean scent of nature, and the natural musk of a virile young male.
“We need to tell her,” Derek murmured into his neck with a shuddering breath, distracting Stiles from the bliss in his nose.
“Yeah, and we probably should have Peter there too.”
Derek nodded, his stubble tickling the sensitive skin of Stile’s neck. Stiles just let him snuffle on his shoulder, the restrained patience to remain quiet and supportive went against his instincts. Stiles had blurted out a bit of a bomb though. Derek probably needed a moment, even if Stiles was having a hard time ignoring the wonderful scent and hard muscles of the man in his arms.
With a shuddering sigh, Derek released him, putting a little bit of distance back between them with a last squeeze to Stiles’ shoulders.
“You okay?” Stiles asked, watching Derek quickly swipe the wetness from his eyes. He’d never seen Derek cry, which wasn’t all that surprising since he seemed to keep all his emotions, except for anger and occasional exasperation with Stiles in check most of the time.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s… good… great news actually.”
“Okay, cool! So we’ll have to make a plan to tell her, altogether. Hopefully, she won’t go full-on feral coyote on us. If she does, I’m using you as a shield!”
Derek laughed, the sound seemed a bit rusty, like he hadn’t done it in a long time. Stiles supposed he hadn’t. It was beautiful. Derek was handsome even with the grouchy scowl usually on his face but laughing, he was just breathtaking. Stiles couldn’t help the hitch in his breath seeing that joy on Derek’s face.
He was so glad he’d put it there.