Title: Intangible, Untamed, and Wild
Author: Sibyl Moon
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: AU, Romance, Supernatural
Word Count: 50K
Warnings/Rating: NC17, Canon-Typical-Violence, Discussion-Torture, Torture, Murder, Explicit Sex
Summary: Stiles is a wild thing born of storms and lightning, he’s been the guardian of Beacon Hills since Talia Hale abandoned it with her pack a decade ago. Derek is a newly made alpha returning to Beacon Hills with only the few that chose to follow him and he’s determined to make a home for his small pack..
Author’s Note: Halestrom is a fantastic and lovely artist who created such a wonderful piece of art that inspired me so much. I just adore it.
Derek eyed his uncle as he parked the Camaro. Peter had been on edge since they’d met back at the townhouse, telling Derek that the man they’d met in the preserve had been correct. Talia had sold almost all their territory in Beacon Hills, barring a few businesses, the old house, and some of the surrounding property that it was on.
“We’ll figure it out Peter,” Derek said, reaching across the seats to clasp his shoulder. “That’s what our pack does. This isn’t what we expected and it’s not ideal, but let’s not going into this thinking the worst just yet. Boyd and I went around town and people here seem receptive to having us in the area. They have good memories of most of the family and that means something.”
“It helps that Talia didn’t return,” Peter admitted, turning to meet Derek’s eyes, but his expression softened just a touch. “I was able to make my way to some of the others I remembered from before and let them know that you were the alpha and the bare bones of what had happened.” He gave a commiserating smile at Derek’s grimace. “I didn’t go into any more detail than was necessary, just letting them know that we didn’t have any affiliation with Talia’s pack – that even our basic family ties had been cut in our world. We’ll be watched with caution, but I get the feeling we’ll be judged on our own merit here.”
“I’m also getting the feeling that Talia didn’t engender a lot of good faith in the community here before she left,” Derek frowned. He turned away, popping his door open and climbing out. He took in the innocuous office building and wondered at the choice of meeting place. “I thought that she was well loved and respected when we left – in both communities.”
“That was my belief as well,” Peter replied, snapping his door shut. “She must have done something here that soured that relationship quickly and thoroughly. This new guardian might know.” Peter rolled his shoulder in a half shrug. “Whether he’ll tell us or not-”
“Yeah.” Derek hadn’t been able to get any information around town or when they’d gone back to the house. Neither he nor Boyd had been able to trace the nemeton when they’d attempted it, and both had felt uneasy enough in the preserve that they’d given it up and headed home when the sky had darkened with the sudden storm.
“Malia wants us to find out more about the sheriffs son,” Peter said, amused as they walked up to the door, smoothly changing topics to something innocuous for the moment. “Seems they connected on the subject of shoes.”
“Shoes?” Derek frowned, cutting his uncle a look before knocking on the door that read Fletcher’s Apothecary and Mysteries. So maybe it wasn’t the office he’d thought it was. Derek checked the number at the door again and sighed when it matched what he’d been given.
“They both hate them,” Peter chuckled. “The man was in the preserve in a shirt and jeans, but completely barefoot. Malia was absolutely enchanted.”
“Of course she was,” Hisashi said as he opened the door, catching Peter’s words. “Stiles is a delight.” He smiled warmly at Peter, not offering his hand but gesturing them both in.
“You know shifter protocol,” Peter observed, eyes roving over the other man.
Derek fought not to roll his eyes. He’d recognize the signs of his uncle’s immediate interest anywhere, even if he couldn’t smell it. Irritation sizzled along his nerves, and Derek drew in a deep breath, forcing himself to relax. He trusted that his uncle wouldn’t let anything get in the way of the pack’s protection. Peter had never given Derek any reason to doubt him, and Derek wasn’t going to start now just because he was feeling on edge about this meeting.
“Of course,” Hisashi bowed his head slightly to both of them. “We may not have a pack in the area, but the Ito pack isn’t that far out of the way, and we’ve had a few dealings with them when things made it unavoidable.”
“Interesting,” Peter said, nodding as they moved into the room and Hisashi shut the door behind them. “I’m Peter Hale, by the way.”
“I know,” He replied. “You may call me Hisashi.”
He smirked at Peter and led them further into the darkened shop navigating around shelves filled with books and other assorted items. Derek could make out a bar off to one side with dozens of shelves and drawers behind it. A large mirror in the center of that backdrop reflected their shadows in the dim light from the front windows as they passed by.
“This is an honest to god apothecary set up,” Peter said with something like awe in his voice. “How do you manage in town?”
“We get by,” Hisashi said, amusement coloring his tone. “Most of the town find us amusing and we do sell a lot of bath and beauty type of products. Our sugar scrubs are very popular. Those that need us for our specialty items know what to ask for or how to ask for it.”
“Sugar scrubs.” Peter sounded almost offended now.
“He’s waiting for us back in the room we do our other work in, it’ll be more comfortable for this meeting and out of the sight of prying eyes.”
Derek felt a smirk curve his lips when Peter turned to him and mouthed ‘sugar scrubs’
“Everyone needs to pay their rent somehow,” Derek said, shrugging and following Hisashi through the passthrough behind the bar and then through a door into the back of the shop. “I’m more surprised that they’ve set up in what looks like an office block instead of someplace more commercially oriented.”
“Maybe he’ll tell you that story someday,” Hisashi said over his shoulder, holding the door open for them.
Derek blinked at the sudden light when he entered the room. Then he caught his first look at the guardian of the territory – the role his mother had all but thrown away when she’d left – then severed completely along with her connection to the land later. The man was tall, broad-shouldered, and well built. He was dressed casually in dark jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. When he turned to face them, Derek’s gaze was caught by his. Eyes that were the color of the caramels that Derek loved and seemed to hold secrets that he found himself wanting to discover.
“Alpha Hale, Beta Hale,” The man said, dipping his head in a shallow bow before he gestured to the setup of comfortable-looking chairs in front of them. “Have a seat and we’ll get started.”
“You know who we are,” Derek said after they were seated, his gaze drifting back to meet the other man’s. There was something familiar about him, but Derek couldn’t place him. He was most likely someone they’d known from before the fire, and he wondered if Peter knew him from his connections with the other community. “What should we call you?”
“I’m Stiles Stilinski,” Stiles said, smiling at them sitting back in his chair, crossing one foot over a knee. “You’re both looking better than the last time I saw you.”
“Probably shouldn’t bring that up first thing,” Hisashi murmured from where he lounged crosswise in the chair next to Stiles, legs thrown over one arm body slouched seemingly without a care, if not for the alertness of his gaze as he watched Derek and Peter.
“Hmm.” Stiles tilted his head slightly to one side, watching Derek. “I think it’s better to get it out of the way.”
“If you say so. You’re the guardian.”
Derek saw Hisashi flip a hand in Stiles’ direction out of the corner of his eye.
“When did you last see us?” Peter put in smoothly, making Derek hold back a sigh of relief. Stiles and Hisashi were obviously close, and he didn’t know how long the two would have gone on before he would haven’t gotten an answer.
“The night of the fire.” Stiles didn’t have to elaborate on which fire. There could only be one that he was referencing. “I was the one that called for help that night and then made sure that you all got out.”
“You sat with me afterwards,” Derek said quietly after a moment of stunned silence.
“You were just a kid,” Peter said. When Derek glanced over at him, his eyes were wide and assessing.
“Yes.” Stiles nodded at Derek. He leaned forward, putting both his feet on the floor, resting his elbows on his knees, and clasping his hands together. “I was fourteen though, so I guess you could have called me a kid.” He waggled his head a little, glancing over towards Peter before looking back at Derek, those brown eyes catching his once again. “But not for very much longer. When you cleared out there wasn’t anyone left that was qualified or able enough to step in and fill the role of guardian here. We weren’t about to let someone come in and take over when it became clear that Talia Hale had abandoned the territory. So here we are.” He spread his hands slightly before clasping them again.
“Here we are,” Derek said faintly. The old familiar feeling of shame crawled along his skin. “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Stiles tilted his head to one side.
“Kate was-” Derek choked on the words, just like he did every time it came up.
“Kate was not your fault,” Peter said, fierce in his denial. “Derek wasn’t at fault for Argent’s attack or Talia’s fucked response to it. Despite his need to take responsibility for it, he isn’t at fault.” Peter wasn’t yelling, but his words were firm and heavy as they echoed around the room.
“We had no intention of blaming Alpha Derek Hale for Alpha Talia Hale’s choices or her mistakes,” Stiles said simply, not even flinching at Peter’s reaction.
“I was dating Kate, she got the secrets to our pack from me and that’s why she attacked us,” Derek blurted out, wincing at the aggravated look Peter sent his way and suddenly feeling sixteen all over again. He dropped his face into his hands and just barely held back a groan. This was not how he’d wanted this meeting to go.
“Man, you know she was an Argent?”
Derek lifted his head and nodded at Stiles, glancing over at Hisashi when the other man chuckled.
“She didn’t need your secrets and I wouldn’t call what you were doing dating,” Stiles said, his lip curling in a sneer at the end of his words.
Derek barely held back a flinch, even as he felt his temper start to rise. Peter let out a growl, leaning forward in his chair.
“Fuck, man, that’s not what I meant.” Stiles sighed, running both hands through his hair. He exchanged a look with Hisashi and turned back to Derek. “Kate Argent targeted you and preyed on you. If you don’t know that, I don’t know what to tell you.” He rolled his shoulders, obviously uneasy with the turn the conversation had taken.
“We’re aware of that,” Peter replied for Derek, who was stunned at Stiles’ response. “How is it that you know this?”
“My dad is the sheriff, so his files were easy to access,” Stiles said, gesturing between Hisashi and himself before setting his hands on the arms of the chair. “And we did our own investigation into things, later on, it was important for us to know what exactly happened with the way the Talia Hale abandoned the territory.” Stiles’ hands gripped the arms of the chair tightly, and his eyes flared almost shifter-like as his scent sharpened with anger and contempt.
“We discovered that Talia attempted to destroy the nemeton with the help of her druid,” Hisashi said blandly, but his eyes were sharp when Derek turned to look at him. “Her failure to protect her pack – her son – from an attack by Kate Argent and her hunters and then her attempt to destroy the very heart of this territory, followed by her abandonment-” Hisashi shook his head.
“Talia Hale will never be accepted back into the Beacon Hills territory,” Stiles said, his hands clasped tight as he leaned forward once again, elbows rested on his knees. His eyes were intent as he spoke. “The lack of responsibility and awareness shown in the situation with Kate Argent alone would have been enough for her to be questioned, but the utter breaking of her oaths that her attack on the nemeton was-” Stiles shook his head. “No. Talia Hale will never be welcomed here. You need to know that.”
“She’s not part of our pack,” Derek replied, firmly meeting Stiles’ gaze steadily. “And none of us are part of her pack. We never will be again.”
“That’s what I’ve heard,” Stiles acknowledged. “But I had to make the situation here clear. You are not being held responsible for anything that happened before. Some of your pack members might be watched a little harder, simply because of the positions they were known to have.” He nodded in Peter’s direction. “But everyone is pretty much of the opinion that those you’ve brought with you are innocent of the crimes that Talia perpetuated here and the abandonment that she’s also guilty of.”
“None of us knew about the destruction of the nemeton. Not until after it was supposed to already have happened,” Peter said. “She was furious when they couldn’t find it. It did cause her to give a few of us lost memories back as they tried to find someone who could lead them to it.”
“The nemeton had already found another protector by that point,” Hisashi said, smirking when Derek turned to look at him. He nodded to Stiles. “The tree isn’t exactly sentient, but-”
“Close enough that I have to wonder at times,” Stiles said, nodding his head. “I don’t know why I got drafted, but I wasn’t going to let someone else come in at that point. Later on, when Talia cut off her ties to this area it was just a natural progression to take it on completely and then we pooled all our resources to buy up all the property that she put up for sale.”
“We didn’t know she’d done that,” Derek said, shaking his head, the shock, and disbelief at what she’d done still baffling him. “I don’t know what we would have done if we had known, but-”
“Your mother is an oath breaker and just this side of being a kin slayer,” Hisashi said, sitting up, his aloof mien fading away. Shadows began to almost drift off him, like a set of scarves floating in the wind. Only there was no breeze.
“Hisashi.” Stiles’ tone held a rebuke, but the being didn’t relax even as he flashed Stiles a grin. “We don’t believe – I don’t believe that you are going to repeat any of what Talia did. That said, I’m not just going to hand the territory over to you.”
Derek nodded frowning, he’d expected that. As much as he might have hoped to be able to get the territory back, he hadn’t counted on it.
“You call her oath breaker and kin slayer,” Peter said, leaning forward, even more, eyes focused on Hisashi. “But you’ve all but rolled out the welcome mat for us, even if you’re being cautious. Even if you say we’re not being held accountable for her mistakes – her crimes. All of that is still a large leap to actually allowing our pack into Beacon Hills – to establish itself here.”
“And that is what we intend to do,” Derek said, meeting Stiles’ gaze steadily once more. “We intend to stay and establish ourselves in both communities and to tie ourselves irrevocably to the territory. It might not be as easily done as we thought when we first came back, but this was our home, and we want it to be that again.”
Stiles pressed his fingers to his lips while he stared at Derek, glancing over at Peter briefly before nodding. “I think having a pack here will help immensely. Having the right pack is important and having Hales here once more will make the territory happy as a whole – so long as they’re the right Hales.” Stiles sighed. “I wouldn’t kick you out of the territory unless you were a threat, which you aren’t.”
“Okay,” Derek said, feeling disappointed and a little angry. Still, he really hadn’t expected much more, and hopefully, in time, they’d be able to discuss a more permanent tie to the territory. He pushed himself out of the chair.
Stiles huffed. “I think we can do better than that.” He stood up, meeting Derek in the middle of the seating area. “I want you to be alpha of the area here. I can’t give you the territory, its mine for a number of reasons, but there isn’t any reason that I can’t share it with you if we can work together. I believe that you and your pack will be beneficial to Beacon Hills if you give it half a chance – if you’re given half a chance.”
“What’s the catch?” Derek murmured, his gaze once again caught by Stiles’ eyes. Derek drew in a deep breath to gather his thoughts. Carnations, that unique scent of floral and spice sprinkled with rain and lightning just igniting, flowed across his senses. He felt his eyes widen as he stared at Stiles.
“No real catch,” Stiles replied, moving even closer until they were less than a foot apart. “Just what we were talking about earlier. Talia Hale isn’t welcome here and neither is her druid, Alan Deaton. Those are the only two who are directly banned from Beacon Hills. Anyone actually connected with Talia Hale’s pack won’t be run out of the area-”
“But they definitely won’t be welcome here or made to feel comfortable,” Hisashi said from where he still sat. “So, keep that in mind if you decide to have any family come to visit.”
“I don’t think that’ll be a problem,” Peter said dryly.
Derek heard him getting to his feet behind him, but he didn’t move away from Stiles. He tucked his hands into the pockets of his jacket, his hands aching to touch and mingle their scents. Derek was going to have to exam these impulses later, he hadn’t felt like this in years, and he wasn’t going to risk this alliance on what could be a fleeting attraction.
“As you say,” Hisashi said. “Stiles, you might want to tell them about the other issue now.”
“Hmm?” Stiles tilted his head slightly toward Hisashi without removing his eyes from Derek’s. “Issue?”
“Our other new inhabitants?”
“Ahh, yes, them.” Stiles grimaced, the look in his eyes going smokey and pained. “You might want to sit back down for this.” He stepped back, reluctantly it seemed to Derek, and sat back down on the edge of his chair. He gestured for Peter and Derek to do the same.
Derek exchanged a glance with Peter, nodding briefly before sitting back down. He rested his hands on his thighs, the barest hint of claw catching on his jeans. His instincts were on high alert, and he could tell that Peter’s were too.
“So, I’m just going to put this out there,” Stiles said, face set in lines that made him look far older than he was. “We got word that the Argent’s were back in the area last night-” He held up a hand at Peter’s outbreak of vicious cursing. “That was our feeling on it as well. I ran into a group of them in the preserve near my home earlier today.” He paused, biting at his lip, and Derek felt his stomach churn with a mixture of fear and protective fury when Stiles looked at him. “They found me in the small clearing where I was with members of your pack only a few moments before. Gerard Argent was with them.”
“Fucking hell,” Peter breathed out as if all the air had been sucked out of his body.
Derek knew they had both realized the same thing. Malia and Melody had both been in that group, and if the hunters had found them, Derek had no doubt about the outcome. Even if the others had passed under the radar, Gerard would have recognized Melody Hale. Derek could be dealing with a near-feral pack instead of this meeting tonight.
“The Argents have moved back to Beacon Hills?” Derek managed to keep his voice steady, even as his fury thrummed through his words. “We’re going to be sharing territory with those-” Derek couldn’t think of a word awful enough to describe them other than what they were. “Those murderers.”
“No,” Stiles stated firmly. “At least not for long. We have to protect ourselves and the communities here, but as soon as they make the slightest move towards anyone, we’re ready to pull the trigger. They trip someone on the sidewalk, and we will have cause.”
“You’re setting them up,” Peter said incredulously from next to Derek. He’d reached over and grasped Derek’s arm when Stiles had told them how close the Argents had come to Malia and the others. He hadn’t let go yet. “That’s a dangerous game to play.”
“We aren’t playing with them,” Stiles said darkly. The shadows swirled around both him and Hisashi for a moment before settling down. “I’ve been preparing for them to return since the beginning. They’ve been circling us for years now. Now with your pack in the mix.” He slid a glance over to Hisashi before looking back at Derek. “We’re pretty sure they’ll come for your pack as soon as they clock you, if they haven’t realized you’re here already.”
“You don’t think they followed us here?” Derek frowned, glancing over at Peter when his uncle removed his hand and sat back in his chair, a thoughtful expression on his face.
“I suppose they could have.” Stiles hitched a shoulder in an aborted shrug before leaning forward again to rest his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands in front of him. “But I’m inclined to think they didn’t follow anyone here, not with how close your arrivals coincided.”
“They’ve already got a house on Cherry Lane,” Hisashi added. The shadows that had been dancing around him started to drift off him like steam vapor.
Derek didn’t know what Hisashi was, but the more he saw only reinforced his initial impression of how dangerous Hisashi was. Derek would much rather have him on his side than opposing him.
“I know.” Stiles stood and moved to the corner of the room, where Derek noticed a trunk sat. He began to drag it over. “I have some information on that.”
“Let me help,” Derek said, getting up, and when Stiles didn’t object, he grabbed the other side of the trunk.
At Stiles’ direction, he helped set it down in between the four chairs and then watched Stiles leave the room through a different door than the one they’d entered through. Stiles returned quickly with a laptop tucked under his arm.
“Here is the information I got on them before tonight’s meeting,” Stiles said after he’d set up the laptop. He clicked a few keys, and files began to open. “It’s not a large contingent of them yet, but it is the main branch.” He tapped the screen. “Allison Argent, twenty six and the current matriarch. Then we have her father Christopher and her grandfather Gerard. I had the dubious pleasure of meeting him today.” Stiles grimaced at that before turning back to the screen, clicking through a few more images, pointing out the photos of those he’d met in the preserve and those that were supposed to be in town.
“So, it looks like there are a dozen Argent hunters in town right now,” Derek said, finding himself seated on the arm of Stiles’ chair as they studied the laptop.
“Unfortunately, Gerard is one of them.” Peter had moved to crouch on the other side of Stiles, and Hisashi was standing behind him, leaning over him to read the screen. “That could make things ugly, no matter what precautions you’ve taken. He was Kate’s father and he’ll be out for blood.”
“We’re aware of that,” Stiles said, leaning forward again, his arm brushing the outside of Derek’s thigh and sending a rush of heat straight to Derek’s cock.
Derek sucked in a breath and tried to turn his mind to less salacious thoughts. “What is the plan then?” He adjusted himself on the arm of the chair, hoping that no one noticed his issue. From the look Peter tipped his way, he figured he would be having an interesting conversation in the car.
“Nothing elaborate,” Stiles said, tapping his lips with two fingers. “We have to wait for them to be the aggressors, or at least for it to seem as if they are if we want to avoid outright retaliation. I just don’t want them to have the chance to do something devastating.”
“You need to maintain the highroad,” Peter mused. “Take it away from them. It’s the tactic that they and the hunters have been using for decades. You won’t have any trouble in the other community, it’s the mundane world that they move in that you’ll have to be wary of.”
“That’s where I plan to hit them first.” Stiles sat back, his arm and shoulder pressed into Derek’s side, a line of heat and scent that filled his senses.
“How so?” Derek managed to say after he got himself back on track, frowning he glanced over at his uncle. Peter was looking at him, his brow furrowed with worry. Derek hadn’t had this much trouble controlling himself around someone he was attracted to since he’d hit puberty. At least he wasn’t popping his fangs or flashing his eyes. He was just being overwhelmed with Stiles’ scent and proximity, but he also couldn’t make himself move away. So, Derek bit the inside of his cheek and forced himself to clear his head and pay attention. His cock could wait until his pack was safe before Derek figured out what was going on with it.
“I’m going to wipe out their credibility and their credit in the mundane world as soon as they sneeze in the wrong direction.” Stiles grinned.
“I think I like you Stiles,” Peter said, his voice a purr.
Twin growls echoed in the room, startling Stiles into an upright position, and he looked at Derek and then at Hisashi.
“You know how I feel Mieczysław,” Hisashi sniffed, plucking at his sleeve, not looking at any of them. “Why the little alpha is joining in, I couldn’t say.”
Derek refused to meet Peter’s eyes, even though he could practically feel them burning into his face. “I apologize.” He said roughly, clearing his throat. He shuffled himself off the arm of the chair, getting to his feet.
“Uh, no problem, man,” Stiles said, standing and meeting Derek where he’d retreated next to the door. The man seemed to know little of personal space, even if he wasn’t touching Derek. “Hisashi gets that reaction from people a lot. He’s not going to attack your uncle or anything.” Stiles paused, his mouth pursing a little as he made a disgusted look that he tossed over his shoulder at the other two. “Well, he won’t attack your uncle in anyway he’d object to.”
Derek raised his brows and looked over Stiles’ shoulder. Sure enough, Peter and Hisashi were talking in hushed tones, leaning into each other’s space even more than Stiles and Derek were. “So, you and Hisashi?”
“No.” Stiles looked back at Derek with a grin, shaking his head. “Too much like family at this point to be anything else. He’s definitely got a thing for your uncle though. I think that was him making it known.” Stiles shrugged. “I’ve learned a lot about the supernatural world, but my dad is mundane, and I spent the first part of my life pretty much in that world so I don’t get a lot of the nuance sometimes. Hisashi likes to say I’m just naturally oblivious about these kinds of things, but-” He laughed, shrugging again. “Come on, I don’t think they’re going to kill each other and watching Hisashi flirt is nauseating.”
“Watching Peter do it is the same,” Derek said, leaning to the side and letting Stiles open the door behind him. Derek soaked in the feel of Stiles’ body pressed up against his, however briefly before the other man stepped back and gestured Derek through the door. “I’ve been watching Peter do things like this as long as I can remember, though, so I’m a bit inoculated to it.”
“Doesn’t make it any enjoyable to watch.”
“No,” Derek said, walking out into the darkened shopfront once more. “But I can’t begrudge him that.” He gestured back the way they’d come.
“You’re right,” Stiles agreed, flipping on the lights behind the counter, surrounding the mirror. It wasn’t much light, but it drove off the darkness of the counter area. “I guess I don’t normally get such a front row seat to Hisashi on the prowl is all.” He tilted his head just a touch as he turned. “You want to know what he is, don’t you? What we both are?”
Stiles leaned against the counter next to one of the old-fashioned registers, crossing his arms. The way his shirt stretched across his chest and shoulders caused Derek’s mouth to go dry, and he had to swallow a few times to answer him.
“Of course we do,” Derek admitted. “But that’s yours to tell whenever you decide to. Unless it’s going to be a danger to my pack.” He grimaced at the qualifier. “We don’t have a right to force that information out of you or demand it from either one of you.”
“But that isn’t going to stop you from trying to figure it out.” Stiles smirked at him, and Derek felt a sudden urge to kiss it off the other man’s face.
“No, it isn’t,” Derek felt his lips curve into a smirk of their own. He leaned against the counter, crossing his arms, and he didn’t miss the way Stiles’ eyes slid over his body appreciatively, warming him in more ways than one. He also didn’t miss the way that Stiles’ gaze lingered at his crotch. He cleared his throat and smirked wider when Stiles’ gaze snapped back up to his. If Derek wasn’t mistaken, a faint pink flush colored his cheeks. “Just like you’ve looked into our background before this meeting, and you’ll probably check us out even more after tonight.”
“Maybe.” Stiles shrugged with one shoulder. “Hisashi is a shadow kitsune. He’s been called a void kitsune and that would probably be accurate, but he doesn’t care for the term so don’t use it around him unless you want to piss him off. His magic is chaos based, he’ll explain more if he wants to about that.”
Derek nodded. It gave them a start for their research, but even he knew with terms like that what they found would probably be biased against Hisashi. “He seems – well, I wouldn’t call him safe, but a good ally.”
“He’s my friend – my brother in all but blood,” Stiles said firmly, lips pressed together after he finished speaking.
“I’m a spark,” Stiles said. He nodded when Derek coughed in shock.
“That explains some things,” Derek said.
“There’s a bit more to it,” Stiles replied with a wry twist of his lips before he sighed and pushed off the counter and began to pull out jars and vials from the shelves and drawers. He’s buzzing with nervous energy that Derek can feel from a foot away.
“You don’t have to tell me.” Even though he wants to know everything there is to know about Stiles, he doesn’t know what to make of this jittery version of the man he’s just really coming to know. He glances back at the door leading to the room they just left, wondering how long they’d have before they were interrupted.
“Our house backed up against the preserve and my mom liked to hang the laundry outside to dry. She said it smelled like best that way, sunshine and forest,” Stiles said, laying items out on the counter and beginning to grind some herbs in a mortar. “She was a week from her due date. My dad made her promise to wait until he got home before she brought it in that day.” He paused, dumping the herbs into a bowl before pouring in some kind of fragrant oil. “A sudden storm came up, a lot like today only worse. They say it was the worst storm to hit our area in the last fifty years.” Stiles shrugged, looking up and grinning at Derek. “I don’t know how much truth there is in that, but it was a pretty brutal storm. The damage was intense. My mom didn’t know that though, she only noticed the rain coming on and her good linen out on the line.”
“I think I see where this is going.” Derek did wonder what this had to do with Stiles’ spark, though.
“Yeah.” Stiles laughed. “So heavily pregnant woman, struggling in the wind and rain with her linens. She was stubbornly determined to get it off the line and she went into labor. I was told that it came on sudden and hard, she wasn’t able to get back to the house. I was born amongst the storm at the edge of the preserve. Touched by the storm winds and rains almost before my mom’s hands. My mom said I was born glowing with my spark, the only bright thing in our yard outside the flashes of lightning and that my cries were louder than the thunder.” He titled his head slightly as he mixed herbs and oils before siphoning them into decorative glass vials. “The last bit could just be a romantic addition though. My dad arrived home at the very end and got my mom to the hospital pretty soon afterward.”
“So, you were born a spark.” Derek sucked in a sharp breath as he said it.
Sparks weren’t exactly rare. They were usually powerful in their chosen field of magic. All sparks were born with the ability, but they had their magic awakened by ritual or the unlucky by sudden supernatural trauma to access it. Sparks that were born with active magic were rare, so rare as to be practically a myth.
“Hisashi likes to call me Stormbringer.” Stiles wrinkled his nose, capping each of the vials and then beginning to clean up the counter. “I have an affinity for storms and with the wind. My mom must have had a bit of something, I don’t know. She had knowledge anyway. She taught me enough control to help me blend in and hide myself. My dad is as mundane as they come. Until I was born, he had no idea of this whole other world and he’d really rather not know about it now.” Stiles shrugged at Derek’s look. “He doesn’t hate me or anything, he just struggles with the grey area I have to traverse sometimes when it comes to certain things. He gets it, he just really doesn’t like it. He helps keep the world hidden, but it’s always best to keep him out of it when we can.” He met Derek’s eyes, face serious. “And don’t ever try to bribe him or anyone in the sheriff’s department here, that won’t go over well if it gets back to him, and it will.”
“Okay,” Derek agreed without a qualm. He knew that he would have to deal with the politics of his position in both communities, so having a sheriff in the know, even if he wasn’t thrilled about it, was helpful. At least the sheriff didn’t hate them and wasn’t hunter-affiliated. “We never knew about you.”
“No,” Stiles said. He waggled his head side to side a bit. “I might have said something when I got older, but my mom died and then the fire happened and everything went to shit, so-”
“You killed Kate!” Derek felt his eyes widen as things clicked into place.
Stiles raised his brows at Derek, “Well she was going to shoot you guys as you were leaving the house after I broke the ash line, so it seemed appropriate. I’d called the storm to quell the fire already. I have to admit that killing her was not exactly what I’d planned though. I’d meant to scare her and make her drop the gun, but I’m not exactly sorry.”
“Neither am I,” Derek reassured him. “But you know the Argents have never believed that it was an accidental death.”
“Probably because it wasn’t?”
“How would they know that though?”
“Because they’re paranoid bastards,” Peter said, coming through the door. “So, storms, chaos and a sundered pack. Beacon Hills is going to be an interesting territory for the next couple of years.”
Derek looked at his uncle and raised a brow at his swollen lips and mussed clothing and hair. Peter smirked at him and winked. Derek had to wonder if Hisashi and Peter had discussed anything after he’d left the room or if Peter had caught the end of their conversation and was just adding his two cents.
“Chaos isn’t so bad if it’s done right,” Hisashi said, coming around Peter. He trailed a hand down his arm and winked at him, a sly smile on his face. “I’ll show you later.”
“I think that’s all for tonight,” Stiles said, sighing loudly. He exchanged a look with Derek that had made Derek grin. “Let me give you my number and address.”
Derek dug his phone out of his jeans and handed it over a lot more eagerly than was probably appropriate and waited for Stiles to input his information. When he took his phone back, the text notification went off. He looked down and saw an address with Stiles’ name attached.
“I sent a text to my number,” Stiles said, waggling his phone. “That way we can keep in touch. I’m not going to ask for where you’re staying-”
“You already know,” Derek said, utterly sure of that information. It would be one of the first things he’d find out about someone coming into his territory.
“Well,” Stiles huffed, running a hand through his hair and tugging at it. “Yeah, but I wasn’t going to admit it. That wouldn’t have been polite.”
Derek laughed. ‘It’s fine. We’ll have to get together later and figure out a more concrete plan about the Argents once we have a better idea of their movements.” He took a breath and reined in his alpha a touch. “If that works with you.”
“I think that works just fine.” He smiled brightly.
“Works fine with me too, in case you were worried about my schedule,” Hisashi said before he turned and headed towards the door to the shop.
“My schedule is open as well,” Peter replied, following behind Hisashi. “I’m sure you we’re about to ask though.”
Stiles and Derek sighed in unison before looking at each other and laughing. They made their way around the counter after Stiles put away the rest of his supplies and tucked the vials of whatever he’d made.
“Your cousin? Malia,” Stiles said, looking at Derek. When he nodded, Stiles continued, “She adorable, I’m not sure if I should apologize about the shoe thing though.”
“Shoes?” Derek found himself looking down, and sure enough, Stiles’ feet were bare. A bolt of lust shot through Derek so sudden, he felt dizzy. Why the sight of Stiles’ bare feet were the sexiest thing he could ever remember seeing, he had no idea, but Derek knew he needed to go now before he threw the man down on the floor of the shop before he’d even taken him out on a date. “Oh, well she’s always hated shoes. I don’t think you made if any worse.”
“Well shoes are the worst.” Stiles lifted a foot and wiggled his toes briefly before walking again. “I’ve hated them all my life, they get between me and my connection with the earth. I don’t know whether that’s a spark thing or just a me thing, but-” He shrugged and walked through the door that Hisashi was holding open.
Derek swallowed at the sight of Stiles’ bare feet in the moonlight, trying to get the image of the pale toes and the slim foot out of his head. Trying not to think of what it would look like in the air with his leg bare, with the rest of this body laid out naked beneath Derek.
“We should get back home,” Peter said, and Derek could hear the laughter in his voice. “The others will be waiting to hear how this meeting went and we don’t want to keep them waiting any longer than necessary.”
“Right,” Stiles said, still looking at Derek. “Don’t forget to call me so we can set up a time to meet then.”
“I won’t,” Derek said. His ears were hot, and he knew they were bright red. He could only hope that it was dark enough to hide them. “It was nice meeting you. Again, I suppose.”
“Yeah.” Stiles smiled. He made an abortive gesture to offer his hand before seeming to remember that he wasn’t supposed to do that.
Derek wanted that though, he stuck his hand out before Stiles could pull back completely and grasped his hand. He marveled at Stiles’ hands and wanted to smack himself. First, the man’s feet and now his hands, but they were large and the palms lightly calloused. Derek suppressed a shiver as he imagined how they would feel.
“We’re more than allies I think, if not quite friends,” Derek said, his voice a little hoarse. He smirked when Stiles shivered, and the scent of arousal rose higher in the air. At least he knew he wasn’t alone in this attraction.
“Right, yeah,” Stiles said, a little wide-eyed for a moment before his eyes narrowed. “We’re definitely something.” He stepped into Derek’s space, not releasing his hand. He searched Derek’s face before smirking. “Definitely something.” He stepped back, releasing Derek’s hand and slowly sliding his palm and fingers away. “I’ll see you later Alpha.”
“Same to you Stiles,” Derek said, swallowing, but this time letting the heat pool in his abdomen. He flashed just a hint of red from his eyes and enjoyed the way that Stiles shivered when he did. He turned and ignored Peter’s raised eyebrows as he went to the car, unlocking it and getting in. “Not a word,” He said to Peter when his uncle got in and shut his door.
“I wasn’t go to say anything,” Peter said, sounding affronted as Derek pulled out of the lot. “Stiles is an interesting man.”
“Shut. Up.” Derek gripped the steering wheel tightly. He wasn’t angry so much as he didn’t want to pick apart his attraction to Stiles with his uncle just yet. “Or I’m going to start in on the kitsune with you.”
“Oh, we can start in on him any time you want.”
“Not tonight, Peter, please,” Derek said, glancing over at Peter.
Peter was quiet for a moment, “Really Derek?”
“Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but yeah. Let’s deal with the Argents and getting settled first.”
“Are you going to stay away from him until then?”
“Probably not, but I don’t think it’s dangerous.”
“Okay, I don’t think it’s dangerous in a way that we need to worry for the pack right now,” Derek corrected himself, pulling up in front of the townhomes.
“You might be right,” Peter agreed. “I’ll reserve my comments or interference as your advisor and council then.”
“Thank you,” Derek said sincerely.
“Ready to face the mob?”
At least they had good news concerning the territory. Even if it was tempered by the fact that the Argents were in town.
Stiles looked up from his book and frowned at the brunette that had taken the chair across from him without invitation. It had been a week since their meeting in the woods, and while he’d acquired quite a bit of information on the Argent contingent in town, they had yet to make a move that would allow him to unleash his plan to get them out of his territory.
“You’ve been spending a lot of time with Derek Hale,” Allison Argent said without preamble, flipping her hair over her shoulder.
“Your point?” Stiles didn’t bother being polite. He wasn’t in the preserve, and he didn’t have the need to hide anything anymore. He knew what backup she currently had, and they knew precisely how many Argents were in town.
“He’s a dangerous man,” She pressed, leaning forward, her chair sliding on the floor. Her gaze was intense, burning into his as if to convince him with that alone.
“Hmm.” Stiles marked his place with an old receipt and shut his book. Most of his books were electronic these days, but he enjoyed the occasional paperback now and again when he sat in the cafe for lunch before returning to the shop. He did not like being interrupted. “Well, the way he kisses makes me forget what time of day it is and I’m really looking forward to how he wields his cock, but I wouldn’t call that dangerous. We’ve had all the important relationship talks in that regards, not that it’s your business.” Stiles raised a brow as Allison turned red and spluttered, sitting back in her chair with a thump.
“You’re dating him,” She hissed as if it was dreadful news that he wanted kept secret. It probably was – to her.
“Yes, I’m dating Derek Hale,” Stiles said in a normal tone of voice, amused, despite himself.
“Good on you,” Maggie said from behind the counter as she filled a coffee order. “That boy is one fine piece of ass, nice as pie too. Helped me carry my groceries to the car the other day when I bought those bags of dog food for my Bunky.” Maggie Lawry was at least seventy and had owned the cafe as long as Stiles could remember. He was pretty sure that Bunky, her golden retriever, was his age. She bought his food in fifty-pound bags, three at a time. Then she waited until she could get someone to load them into her car for her, follow her home and unload them. It was well known around town. Nobody in town turned Maggie down.
“See,” Stiles said, gesturing to Maggie with his free hand. “Nice as pie, helping young ladies with their groceries and everything.”
“Oh, hush you,” Maggie said before turning back to her customers.
“There are things about him that you don’t know,” Allison insisted, her voice hushed as she looked around the cafe. Her shoulders relaxed when she seemed to notice that the lunch crowd was thinning out. She eyed the counter and waited until Maggie disappeared into the back before she turned back to Stiles. “You need to stay away from him.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so.” He reached over and took his cup. Finishing his coffee, he stood up. Setting his book and the table, he swung his jacket on, slipping his arms in the sleeves. He picked his book up and looked at Allison. “I would say it was nice to see you, but-” He shrugged and started for the door.
Stiles heard the chair scrape the floor and the click of her boots as she hurried after him. He sighed as he opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk. He turned to head towards the office block that held the shop. Sasha was watching the counter while he was on lunch, but she was supposed to leave at one today. He glanced at the time on his phone. That gave him fifteen minutes to get back.
“Stiles, I said wait!” Allison hurried up beside him, she wasn’t out of breath, but Stiles wouldn’t expect her to be with the training she’d no doubt undergone.
“I don’t have anything else to talk to you about Allison,” Stiles said, arching a brow at her when she grabbed his arm, stopping him from walking away. “I need to get back to my shop, please let me go.”
“I’m trying to help you,” she said. Her eyes were wide and shiny. She leaned forward, pressing into him. “I’m worried for you. Derek has a bad reputation outside of Beacon Hills. He’s done some really horrible things.” She bit her bottom lip and looked up at him from under her lashes. “I didn’t want to tell you this, but I see that keeping it from you is wrong. Stiles, he killed a man.”
“Really.” Stiles looked down at her incredulously. “So, you took lessons from Kate then.” Allison jerked back as if Stiles had struck her. “I suppose I should be grateful you’re not targeting underage boys at least.” He let out a sigh and shook her off his arm. “I’m not interested in whatever game you’re trying to play here, but I am disgusted by it and you.” He felt his lip curl as he tucked his book into the inner pocket of his jacket and brushed off the arm where she’d touched him. “You should remember that it was an Argent that tried to commit mass murder in this town, not a Hale and definitely not Derek Hale. Goodbye Allison.” He turned to leave.
“Stiles,” Allison called quietly.
Stiles looked back over his shoulder at her. The disgust he felt for her was firmly stamped on his face, he was sure.
“If you don’t stay away from Derek Hale and his-” She paused, pursing her lips. “His family, you’re going to regret it in more ways than I can say.” This time she turned to go.”
“Allison,” Stiles said and waited for her to turn around. He allowed a smile to cross his lips, aware that it was the one that Hisashi called his crocodile grin. All teeth and no humor. “I appreciate the warning, but here’s one for you. If anyone touches the Hales, a storm will rain down on them the likes of which they have never seen before and whether they survive it will be up to the gods.”
“Have a good day.” He turned back and continued to the shop. He’d probably overplayed his hand, but the Argents had been a thorn in the supernatural communities’ side for too long. They were making those in his territory too uneasy, which was bleeding over onto him. He was also becoming very intertwined with Derek, even more than just as guardian and alpha.
Stiles smirked as he rounded the corner to the office block, thinking about the last time he and Derek had been together. Derek had shoved him up against the wall and proceeded to kiss him quite senseless, with one of those wonderfully thick thighs in between his own. Stiles shivered to remember it. They’d barely managed to get their cocks out before they came all over each other. Stiles hadn’t felt this connected to anyone – he paused at the door to the shop – ever, he’d never felt like this.
“Hey Sasha,” He called out, shrugging out of his jacket, barely needed in the cool spring weather, unneeded inside the shop.
“Hey Bossman,” Sasha said, popping up from behind the counter. Stiles had met her during a night out at the Jungle years ago and later discovered that she was the only child of a Leshy and a Kikimora. She looked more or less human, if taller and thinner than most. She sported long moss green curls and a sharp-featured face. She was a good friend and a great employee. “Ready to take over? Ty’s first doctor’s appointment is today, and I don’t want to be late.”
“Of course I am, get out of here.” Stiles waved her off. Sasha’s partner was finally pregnant, and Stiles was not going to get in the way of Sasha making today’s appointment. “Have fun.”
“We will,” She called over her shoulder, grabbing her bag and making a beeline for the door.
Stiles smiled after her before walking through the shop and straightening up a few things. The Tea Cake pumpkin butter was getting low. Stiles made a note to have the minions make up a new batch over the weekend.
He still found it amusing that he ran a bath and beauty business with soaps, lotions, and perfume oils as a cover for his supernatural work and that it had taken off so well. He wasn’t going to outdo any of the top brands in the market, but he did well enough to cover the utilities and mortgage on the shop.
“Stiles?” Derek called out as he burst in, his voice edged with hints of panic. He strode across the shop to Stiles, eyes wide as he glanced around. “Erica saw Allison stop you near the shop. I know you’re okay, but-” He ran a hand down his face, growling low in his chest.
“You needed to check on me?” Stiles said both amused and touched. He was used to this kind of reaction from Hisashi, and as long as Derek didn’t try to shove him in a box or treat him like he couldn’t handle himself, he didn’t mind. “I’m fine. She wanted to warn me off of you. You’re very dangerous, apparently.” Stiles waggled his brows and licked his bottom lip. He reached out and grabbed Derek by his jacket, bringing him in for a kiss. Pressing his lips to Derek’s, he slid his hands up the other man’s chest to cup his jaw. He slid his tongue past his lips, brushing over Derek’s losing himself in the taste of the other man. He felt Derek’s hand slide around and then up the back of his shirt, a hot press of skin on skin. Stiles moaned into the kiss. Derek growled; his free hand came to cup the back of Stiles’ head, and he took control of the kiss.
Stiles pulled back for a quick breath, Derek following him, biting at his jawline and then nipping at his ear. He tilted his head back to give him better access when Derek began to suck at the juncture of his neck and shoulder.
“I can smell the hint of a hunter on you,” Derek growled, pulling Stiles in even closer and dragging the roughened skin of his jaw over Stiles’ cheek. “I fucking hate it.”
Stiles pulled back and looked at Derek. He realized at that moment that he’d do anything to wipe the conflicted and pained look off Derek’s face. He dropped his hands from where they’d migrated into Derek’s hair and set them over his heart.
“What can I do?” Stiles leaned in, brushing his lips softly over Derek’s, offering comfort rather than passion.
Derek closed his eyes and leaned his head against Stiles’. “I don’t know, it’s not like you have a shower here, and you’ve got to get back to work anyway. I’ll deal with it.” he shrugged.
“Oh, fuck that,” Stiles said. He thought for a moment, flipping through his internal calendar. He didn’t have any appointments today, and he’d lose little by closing a few hours early. There might be some gossip around town, but they knew how to get in touch with him if anyone needed him. He stepped back from Derek and moved to the counter. Leaning over, he grabbed the keys from the hook under the register. Then he headed to the door in a few quick strides, took up the chalk from the table under the coat rack, he grabbed the sign hanging on the door. He scribbled a message for anyone who came by and hung it back up. Grabbing his jacket, he looked over his shoulder at Derek, who hadn’t moved.
“Did you bring the Camaro? I had Hisashi drop me today.”
“Yeah,” Derek said cocking his head to the side for just a second before he began to walk towards Stiles. “Why?”
“I have a nice large shower at my place,” He smiled at the wide-eyed look Derek gave him as understanding began to dawn. “Unless you have other plans today, I thought you should make sure to get all of the hunter off of me.”
“Hmm.” Derek’s lips slowly curved into a smirk. The frustrated, annoyed, and unsure man of moments before disappearing as suddenly as he’d appeared. “I don’t have any plans. Let me text the pack. Are you sure it’s alright to close up the shop like this?”
Stiles shrugged, flipping off the lights, “There aren’t any clients on the schedule today and there aren’t any customers right now. Besides, now that I think more on it, I feel desperately in need of a shower after that encounter. I feel contaminated after that and since I touched you, you’ll have to take one too.”
“I suppose we should take one together to conserve water then?” Derek looked at him, his tone dry.
Stiles ushered him out of the shop laughing. “That line is so bad that I refuse to use it. If I have to resort to something like that to get you into the shower with me then it might be best if I shower alone.” He glanced over his shoulder and winked at Derek. Derek looked unimpressed except for the slightest uptick at the corner of his mouth when Stiles looked closer.
“Why do I like you so much?” Derek’s hands wrapped around Stiles’ hips as he grinned.
The question was obviously meant to be playful, but Stiles found himself pausing as he slipped the keys into his jacket. He looked up at Derek, sucking his bottom lip into his mouth, chewing on it as he thought.
“I don’t know,” Stiles said finally. “I’ve never connected with anyone like this outside of Hisashi and – well-” He laughed, scrubbing a hand into his hair before dropping it and putting his hands on Derek’s forearms. “That was not anything like this.” He gestured between them, indicating the few inches that separated them. “I don’t really care though, not unless you do. I want to see where this goes. You’re hot as fuck, yeah.” He felt Derek’s hands tighten on his hips, but he shook his head and gripped Derek’s arms. “You’re also funny as fuck, with a deadpan sense of humor that has me laughing more than I have in a long time. You’ve shown yourself to be intelligent as we’ve gone over the territory plans and your plans for your-” He glanced around them and shrugged. “Your family, so yes. I want to know where this goes. Do I wonder about why I feel so comfortable with you? Why I was not only instantly attracted to you, but wanted to take you home and feed you dinner? Sure, I do, but I’m not overly bothered by it. It doesn’t feel wrong or manipulative, so I’m going to leave it alone for now.”
“You’ve looked into it?” Derek’s ears were red, and there was a light dusting of pink spreading under the scruff he perpetually wore. “I told Peter to leave it alone.”
“If he’s anything like Hisashi, I doubt he did,” Stiles said grinning, he reached over and traced the curve of Derek’s ear with the tip of his finger, charmed all over by the man. “Hisashi put me through the paces the other night, just to make sure everything was on the up and up.” He shrugged at Derek’s look. “I didn’t say anything because everything came back clear. I knew it would, but it made him feel better. If he hasn’t already shared it with Peter, you can tell him to go talk with Hisashi.”
“I’ll do that,” Derek said. Leaning in, he pressed a kiss to Stiles’ lips before stepping back. “Now, I believe we have a shower waiting for us.”
“Indeed, we do.” Stiles said, entwining their fingers together as they headed for Derek’s car.
They entered Stiles’ house in a rush, hands divesting each other of their jackets. Derek’s boots hit the floor one after the other in quick succession, next to the front door after it was shut. The sandals that Stiles had worn that day in concession to the cafe’s rules about shoes ended up halfway between the door and the couch.
“Get this off!” Stiles jerked at Derek’s hair to get his head out of his neck so that he could get the blue henley over the man’s head. Stiles trailed his fingers over Derek’s exposed abs and up to his chest, flicking a finger over one taut nipple, grinning when Derek let out a sound somewhere between a groan and a growl. “Get your shirt the rest of the way off and we can do more.” He tugged again at where the shirt was caught just under Derek’s arms.
“You’re one to talk,” Derek said, grabbing his shirt by the back and pulling it over his head, throwing it to the side. Then he grabbed Stiles by the shirt and reeled him back in for a biting kiss, sucking his tongue into his mouth briefly before pulling back and lifting Stiles’ shirt in a silent demand.
“Sure, sure,” Stiles said, peeling his shirt off and tossing it aside. He popped the button on his jeans and backed up the stairs another couple of steps. “Are we going to make it to that shower?”
“Eventually,” Derek said, grinning, the look in his eyes pure desire and need.
“What’s your hurry?” Stiles couldn’t help but grin back, his whole body sparkling with lust. He didn’t have the same abilities as Derek, but he could practically smell the pheromones in the air.
“Someone,” Derek said, looking at Stiles pointedly. “Decided that they were going to be a cocktease in the car where I couldn’t touch them.”
“Not a tease if I planned to follow through,” Stiles said smirking, he eased the zipper of his jeans down, careful of his cock, already hard from his activities in the car and their dance up the stairs. He slid his hand into his jeans, rubbing over his cloth-covered cock. He didn’t break eye contact with Derek.
“You’re going to kill me,” Derek muttered, closing the distance between them and backing Stiles into the wall at the top of the stairs. “I’m going to enjoy every fucking minute of it, don’t get me wrong, but you are going to kill me.”
“Never,” Stiles said, both hands on Derek’s jeans scrambling to get them undone. “Are these things painted on? Get them off, for fuck’s sake. And you call me a tease.”
“Serves you right.” Derek laughed. He reached between them and popped the button, dragging the zipper down. Stepping back, he slid them down his legs and stood in front of Stiles, completely nude.
“You are ridiculously unfair,” Stiles said point at him. “I know you wear boxer briefs; you were wearing them the other night.”
“We had a date tonight after you got off work. I figured they’d just get in the way,” Derek said a little smugly before his face darkened for a moment. “Things went a little off plan, but it still seems to be working for me. I was going to take the edge off beforehand, but here we are.” He shrugged, standing there loose-limbed and gorgeous.
“You bastard,” Stiles breathed, lust spiking hard at the thought of Derek taking himself in hand, stroking his cock until he came.
“Despite what brought this about,” Derek said, eyes hot and half-lidded as he dragged them over Stiles. “I’m not objecting to the change in plans.” He met Stiles’ eyes once more. “Are you going to finish getting undressed, or am I going to have to go back to my original plans?” As he finished speaking, he reached down and wrapped a hand around his hardened cock, stroking himself without taking his eyes off Stiles.
Stiles swallowed, his gaze flicking between Derek’s face and his cock. “You’re evil.” He slipped his thumbs in the waistband of his jeans at the hips and shimmied them down his legs, kicking them away.
Derek let go of his cock, stepping into Stiles’ space, trailing a finger around the waistband of Stiles’ boxer briefs. He pulled it away from Stiles’ waist, brushing the backs of his knuckles over his stomach while his fingers gave the briefest teasing touch to Stiles’ cock.
“Fuck,” Stiles moaned, head hitting the wall with a dull thud, his nerves igniting as he fought to keep from closing his eyes. He didn’t want to take his eyes off of Derek.
“These need to go too,” Derek murmured, leaning in to nip at his ear. “C’mon Stiles.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay.” Stiles pressed a hand to Derek’s chest, moving the man back a couple of inches. He slipped the underwear off as quickly as possible, stumbling only a little when it got tangled on an ankle. “Happy now?” He tossed them over Derek’s shoulder, down the staircase. He gave a brief thought to Hisashi’s reaction when he finally came home but then quickly forgot about it.
“Ecstatic.” Derek moved back in, caging him against the wall. “Shower or bed?”
“Depends,” Stiles murmured, sliding his hands up Derek’s chest, tweaking his nipples. He leaned in and pressed an open-mouthed kiss to Derek’s neck before he thought about it and then froze. Derek groaned, his hand shoving into Stiles’ hair and pressing his head into Derek’s throat. Stiles felt his eyes go wide, and then he smirked before he sucked a kiss using teeth, tongue, and mouth. When he pulled back, he admired the mark he’d left behind even as it began to heal.
“Fucking hell,” Derek moaned, pulling Stiles’ head back. He kissed him, sucking his tongue into his mouth and pressing their bodies together.
Stiles felt Derek hot, heavy, and hard at his hip. He reached for Derek’s hips and drew the man closer, adjusting them until they were siding against each other just right.
“Fuck!” Derek dropped his head on top of Stiles’ shoulder. “Depends on what?” He gasped out between a moan and a scrambled move to grasp Stiles’ hips, stopping their movement.
“You said shower or bed depends.”
“Are we going to need lube?” Stiles tried to arch into Derek and get some of that delicious friction back.
“Eventually,” Derek said fervently. “I have plans and they include lube, as long as you’re on board.”
Stiles snapped his gaze back to Derek’s, the lust haze in his mind retreating a touch. “All the way on board. I’m hoisting the fucking anchor, let’s go.”
Derek raised a brow at that, but Stiles just grinned and grabbed his hand. He pulled him away from the stairs and down the hall to his bedroom.
Stiles woke to someone’s breath on the back of his neck. Memories of the day before crashed over him, bringing with them a heat that pooled in his abdomen and shivered through his veins.
“You smell fucking fantastic,” Derek murmured, voice rough with sleep. He pressed a kiss into Stiles’ shoulder, tightening the arm he had slung over his waist. “I’d ask how you’re feeling, but with the way you smell-”
“I feel fantastic,” Stiles said, shifting to roll over so he could look at Derek. The blankets slid down, barely clinging to his hip, and caught just under the curve of Derek’s ribs. “I don’t have your advantage, but the fact that you’re looking very smug right now tells me that the feeling is mutual.” Stiles laughed, leaning in for a quick brush of the lips.
“I definitely feel fantastic,” Derek said, smiling into the kiss. “We even managed that shower last night.”
Stiles pulled back and laughed again. “We’ll need another this morning and I’m going to have to play scavenger to find all our clothes.” He frowned, thinking. “I’m not sure but I think all of them ended up near the stairs.”
“It’ll be fine.” Derek shrugged, the blankets slipping down even more. “Worst comes to worst I can slip into wolf form, and you can drive me home.”
“That’s your only option?” Stiles gave him an incredulous look. “You could also just borrow some sweats, they might not be an exact fit, but I don’t think it would be too bad.”
“That too.” Derek shrugged again before he reached for Stiles. He rolled them until he was leaning over Stiles. “Maybe I just want to show off a little. I can do a full shift you know?”
“Can you now?” Stiles smirked up at him, impressed despite himself. A full-shift werewolf was pretty uncommon. He’d heard rumors about the Hales but had never been sure what to believe.
“Impressed?” Derek leaned down and kissed him, pulling back smiling. His eyes sparkling in the morning light, his dark hair mussed from sleep, and pillow creases on his face. He was just as gorgeous sleep soft and almost boyish teasing this morning as he’d been last night, oozing sex and confidence.
“I don’t know,” Stiles said, holding back his grin and biting his lip. He looked up at Derek from under his lashes, a move made difficult by their positions. “Are you a big wolf?”
“Am I-” Derek stared at him for a moment, seeming flatfooted by the question.
Stiles burst out laughing, his whole body shaking with it. Derek stared at him a few seconds longer before he began to laugh as well.
“That was awful,” Derek said, shoulders shaking as he chuckled. He rolled on his side, propping his head upon his hand.
“I know, but I couldn’t help it,” Stiles said, mirroring his position. “A full shift though?” At Derek’s nod, Stiles shook his head, sighing. “That’s really cool. I’ve heard that it’s almost impossible to do. Something to do with power and pack strength, right?”
“Actually, nobody knows,” Derek said, shrugging. “There are a lot of theories. It does seem to run in families. The Hale alpha is always able to do it, as far as I know. Nobody thought I would since I’m not a real Hale alpha.” He made a face at that. “But Peter did some research, and what little information he found led me to try.”
“And you did it.” Stiles smiled, reaching over and shoving his shoulder gently.
“And I did it,” Derek said smiling, pride edging his words. He gazed at Stiles for a moment before shrugging. “Our whole pack can now. Nobody else knows and we’re not precisely sure why we all have the ability, especially since half of us are bitten.”
Stiles stared at Derek, there in his bed, and felt a warmth roll over him. It took him a moment to realize what he was feeling. Stiles was happy. He was content in a way he hadn’t been, not for years. If he thought back, it had probably been since his mom died and his world upended. Stiles hadn’t been miserable all this time, of course, but there had always been a piece missing. Looking at Derek here, laughing and smiling with him. Being goofy and sincere, full of gentle and sensual touches and looks, it felt like something slotting into place. Stiles wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it, but he did know that he didn’t want to lose it.
“Stiles?” Derek sat up. The smile fell from his face. “What’s the matter.”
“I really like you,” Stiles said, his tone more accusatory than he meant it to be as he sat up, still staring at Derek. He was sure that he was wide-eyed, and he felt a little light-headed, but he reached for Derek.
“I really fucking like you.”
“I hope so.” Derek laughed softly, reeling him in. “Or dating is going to be really awkward.” He enfolded Stiles in his arms after dragging him into his lap. They were both really too big for this type of cuddling, and their legs were going to go numb soon, but Stiles clung to Derek. “I really fucking like you too, if you didn’t know that.”
“Good, that’s good,” Stiles nodded against Derek’s throat, where he’d mashed his forehead. “You should, it’s only fair.” Stiles didn’t mention that he was only a few short steps from falling in love with the other man because that was ridiculous. He’d only known Derek for a little over a week. It was too soon for that. Wasn’t it?
“It isn’t a bad thing, is it?” Derek brushed a hand over Stiles’ hair before pulling him back enough so he could see his face.
“No, not a bad thing,” Stiles said sighing, he waved his hands in the air, barely missing Derek’s face. He winced an apology. “I didn’t mind – I don’t mind how fast everything is moving between us – not really. It just-” Stiles mimed his head exploding. “All of a sudden, it hit me.”
“As long as you don’t want to stop this we won’t,” Derek said, eyes serious as he brushed the back of his fingers down the side of Stiles’ face. “I have my moments. It’s only been a little over a week. It’s been a very intense week and that-” He huffed. “I’m not always good with words, but I’ve never connected to anyone on so many levels. We definitely have sexual chemistry.” He gestured to the bed and Stiles laughed. “But we always have a lot in common when it comes to what we want with this territory for the future. At least from the discussions we’ve had. That’s the other thing, I’m not great with words but I can talk with you about anything. I to spend time with you all the time. I want you to spend time with my pack and I want you to like them. I want them to like you.” He leaned in and clasped Stiles’ hands, lifting them to his mouth, kissing the palms before bringing them to his chest and holding them there. Stiles felt his stomach swoop. “I want to give this everything Stiles. I want to fall in love with you.”
Stiles choked on a breath. “How can you just say that?”
Derek laughed softly, lifting his hands and kissing them again. Stiles felt his stomach flutter again at the gesture. “My uncle made me get a lot of therapy. I still have my own issues, but in this instance, I know what I want and I’m not going to lose out on it because I’m afraid to say it. When we first met, I had no idea what I was going to do with this instant attraction and pull I felt to you. It wasn’t like anything I’d felt before and it felt so complicated, especially with everything going on. Even with the way that night ended I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.”
“What changed your mind?” Stiles frowned, nibbling his lip. “Or I guess, what made up your mind?”
“I slept on it,” Derek said, looking directly into Stiles’ eyes. “I dreamed of your eyes and your scent all night long. When I woke up, the first thing I did was get myself off to that.” He smirked unapologetically, and Stiles shrugged. It’s not like Stiles hadn’t done the same thing the night he’s come home from the meeting. “But after that, I started thinking about watching you talk about the territory during the meeting, watching you mix those herbs and oils together while telling me about your birth. I realized I wanted to know more.” Derek shrugged, pulling Stiles in and kissing him quickly. “And that was that.”
“Alright,” Stiles murmured against Derek’s lips before pulling back. “I get it. I’m not quite so put together when it comes to that. But as I said, I’m going all in on this, which includes all of that.” He gestured a little wildly, ignoring Derek’s laughter. He got out of the bed and strode to the door of his room’s en-suite. “I’ll get better at it, I know I will, but-” Stiles glanced back over his shoulder, frowning, a little pissed at himself for bringing down the mood of the morning.
“We’ll deal with it,” Derek said, following him to the bathroom. “As great as things are, neither one of us are perfect. We just have to want to work at this though and try not to be the worst kind of assholes to each other.”
“The worst kind of assholes?” Stiles flipped on the lights before he started the shower.
“You know exactly what I mean,” Derek said, giving Stiles a tap on his ass before slipping by him to get into the shower stall.
“I suppose I do,” Stiles agreed, pouring some body wash out and beginning to lather it up. “What are your plans for today?”
“Erica wants to finish finalizing the plans for the demolition of the house.” Derek grimaced, and Stiles laid a soapy hand on his shoulder, squeezing gently. “I think Peter is getting Malia registered into the private school here today, he won’t need me for the paperwork, but he’ll want me there for the tour of the building.”
“An alpha thing?” Stiles switched positions with Derek so he could rinse off and watched Derek scrub shampoo into his hair.
“Yeah,” Derek said before they did the dance again, and Derek shoved his head under the water. “It usually isn’t a big deal with Peter, but this is about Malia so it’s a lot harder to curb those instincts. I don’t mind, but it makes for a long day today. Especially since both Cora and Isaac start work today and want me to stop in.”
“Where are they working at again?” Stiles didn’t object when Derek reached for him and began to wash his hair. Stiles wasn’t going to turn down that kind of pampering.
“Cora is working at the library in the archives, filling in at the circulation desk when the need it,” Derek said, scraping his nails gently over his scalp. “She’s pretty thrilled, I guess Beacon Hills has some historical significance and their archives are a dream.”
“Yeah, we get researchers and writers coming through every now and then,” Stiles said. His knees felt a little weak as he leaned back into Derek’s hands. “The college’s around here love to try and get us to donate our collection to them, but no dice. Librarians are vicious though man. It gets heated every couple of years.”
“Well Cora’s happy to put her degree to work anyway,” Derek laughed. “I’m sure she’ll be delighted to go to war for the library and the archives.”
“From what I’ve seen I have no doubt.” Stiles hummed. “So busy today then. I don’t even need to hear anymore to know that you probably have the day planned down to the minute to meet up with everyone.”
“Today is going to be a lot of running around,” He agreed. “Close your eyes.” Derek rinsed his hair before he slicked conditioner through it. “Isaac promised to feed me at least.”
“I thought he was working at the school?” Stiles kept his eyes closed, but he frowned, trying to remember.
“He is, but he wants me to meet him after he gets off work to go over the day. Rinsing,” Derek said, tilting Stiles back under the water, keeping his face covered. “He just needs to get out the first day anxiety one on one I think.”
“Hmm.” Stiles stood back up when Derek let him go and turned the shower off. He wiped the water off his face and slicked his hair back, watching the other man. “You’re a good alpha.”
“I don’t know about that,” Derek said over his shoulder, stepping out of the shower snagging a towel he dried off quickly before wrapping it around his waist. Grabbing another off the rack, he slung it around Stiles and pulled him in. “I’m trying to be, but it’s a work in progress. I have a good pack, so that helps.”
Stiles took the towel from Derek and dried himself off before looping it around his neck and walking back into his bedroom to get dressed. He offered Derek a pair of sweats, which the other man eyed doubtfully.
“You’re not that much bigger than I am,” Stiles said, laughing. “Your thighs might be an issue, but those should be loose enough to get you home anyway.”
Derek slid them up his legs, and they did fit – snugly – but they did fit. “I’m not sure I could go anywhere in public in these,” he said, looking down.
“They aren’t any tighter than your jeans,” Stiles replied, enjoying the view. The dark blue sweatpants cradled Derek’s thighs and ass perfectly, showing them off like the works of art they were. The material was just loose enough that around the crotch framing his cock, drawing the eye to the tantalizing bulge. “The material is just a little more – sculpting.” He finally settled on.
“I’m going to go now,” Derek said blandly, but his lips curved into a smile when he pulled Stiles in for a kiss. “I’ll grab my things on the way out. I think we managed to pile most of them up at the table last night when we got something to eat.”
“I’m pretty sure your shoes and jacket are still next to the door,” Stiles pulled his shirt on and led the way out the door and down the stairs.
Sure enough, their clothes were piled on the table. Stiles dug around until he found his phone and checked his messages.
“Looks like Hisashi stayed with your pack last night,” he said, looking over at Derek, watching the other man slip his shirt on.
“I’m not surprised. They’ve been all over each other even more than we have.” Derek picked up his jeans, eyeing them briefly before shucking the sweats off and pulling them on.
“Spoilsport.” Stiles laughed before he turned and started setting up the coffee pot.
“It would be my luck to break down on the way home and have to walk.”
“I didn’t think you’d be so modest.” Stiles turned and leaned back against the counter.
“Not modest, I just don’t think those sweats are decent on me.”
“If you say so,” Stiles said, smirking. “I think you looked hot as fuck.”
“Of course, you did,” Derek said, prowling closer, snagging Stiles by a belt loop. “Maybe I’ll wear them again for you some time.” He lifted his free hand to cradle Stiles’ face and leaned in, kissing him softly. “I’ve really got to go, but I’ll call you later?”
“I’ll be in the shop after eleven until we close at six,” Stiles said, leaning in for another kiss, hands sliding down to grip Derek’s hips. “I should be home by seven at the latest tonight.”
Derek hummed against his lips before reluctantly pulling back. “I’ll try to come by, but I don’t know if I’ll be free tonight. I’ll call you,” he said, brushing his fingers over Stiles’ cheek. “You could come over to the townhouse tonight if you want.”
“I’d like that,” Stiles said immediately. “If it’s okay with the rest of them. I’d like that.”
“You’ll have to keep it down, though,” Derek smirked, leaning in and nipping gently at Stiles’ ear.
“Asshole,” Stiles laughed, even as a shiver went down his spine. “I’m not the once that was growling last night.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Derek murmured, nibbling down Stiles’ ear to his jaw and then breathing deeply at his throat.
“You need to stop that if you’re going to leave anytime soon,” Stiles warned, but he tilted his head to give Derek better access.
Derek sighed into Stiles’ skin and pulled away. “I know. I do have to go.” He stepped away from Stiles, dragging his fingers slowly down his bare arms before letting him go. “I better go before I end up staying here all morning.”
“I wouldn’t complain,” Stiles said, grinning. “But your pack would have something to say about that.”
“Certain members especially,” Derek agreed.
“I’ll walk you out,” Stiles said. “Hopefully your jacket and shoes are where we think they are. Although I don’t think your shoes are necessary.”
“I happen to like my boots.” Derek bent to pick up one of them as they reached the hallway. He took the other when Stiles handed it to him and slipped his feet into them. Derek just tucked the laces in, planning to put on socks once he got home anyway.
“And here’s your jacket,” Stiles said, holding it up. He shook it, and they heard a muffled jingle. “Sounds like your keys are in the pocket as well.”
“Thank fuck.” Derek sighed, and he laughed at Stiles when he held out the jacket to help him into it. “I didn’t want to have to search the yard for them if I’d dropped them on the way in.”
“You were preoccupied yesterday,” Stiles said smugly, stepping back once Derek had his leather jacket on. “Preoccupied with my ass, but nobody would blame you. It’s a fantastic ass.”
“It really is and regret nothing,” Derek said, stepping out onto the porch.
“Drive safe,” Stiles said, smiling.
“I’ll let you know when I’m free,” Derek said, backing down the steps. “But you can come by the house anytime after work if you want. Nobody is going to have a problem with it.”
“I’ll call and let you know,” Stiles said. He figured Derek knew his pack. “I need to touch base with Hisashi at some point today too. If he doesn’t come by the shop, I might need to hunt him down this evening.”
“Okay.” Derek nodded; he smiled at Stiles, lifting his hand to wave, and then turned to finish the walk to his car.
Stiles grinned, looking at the Camaro parked off-center in his driveway, and was a little thankful that Hisashi hadn’t come home with the jeep last night. He wasn’t sure if there would have been room to squeeze it in next to the Camaro with the way it was parked. Stiles watched Derek pull out of the driveway before heading back inside to finish getting ready for the day.
“You are ridiculous,” Cora said, not even looking up from her computer screen. “It’s only been – what?” She paused, and Derek imagined she was reading the time off the screen. “Seven or eight hours since you last saw him?”
“Something like that,” Derek said reluctantly. “I really do need to leave though Cora.”
“I’m sure you do.” She finally looked at him over the top of her glasses. She didn’t need them, but she’d told him that she enjoyed the aesthetic. “I like him.”
“What?” He looked at her bemused. Derek moved away from the bookshelf where he’d chosen to lean since she’d taken the only chair in the immediate area.
“I like him,” She repeated, pushing back from the table, picking up the book she’d been looking through when he’d first arrived. “I didn’t know what to think of him when we met him in the preserve and when you told us that Stiles was the guardian.” She made a face, her nose wrinkling. “Well, I figured this could only end in disaster.” She pointed the book at him before moving to the bookshelf. “Especially after you started dating him. But I like him, and he seems good for you.” She slotted the book onto the shelf and turned to face him. “If we could just get the fucking Argents out of the area, I would be a lot happier about being here though.”
“You and me both,” Derek said, sighing. He stepped in and drew her into a hug, subtly scenting her. “We’re working on it. I don’t think it will be too much longer. They approached Stiles yesterday, even if it was just to warn him off.” He shrugged at her look. “It was something and more active than they’ve been since Stiles saw them in the preserve when they first arrived.”
“Yeah.” Cora sighed. She pulled another book from the shelf and went back to the table. “I’ll see you at home tonight?”
“I’ll be there,” Derek assured her. “Stiles might be there too.”
“That’s fine.” She nodded. “If things are going the way I think they are, we’ll all have to get used to each other.” She grinned at him when he huffed.
“I’ll see you later. Call if you want need anything,” he said, heading to the door. “If anything happens don’t try to tackle it on your own, please.”
“Don’t worry big brother,” She said, already tapping away at her keyboard. “I know how to pick my battles. I have no intention of go after the Argents on my own, no matter how much I’d like to.”
“Love you, see you later.”
“Love you too.”
Derek checked the time on his phone, wondering if Stiles would mind if he stopped by the shop for a few minutes before he had to go to see Isaac. He was unlocking his phone to call when it rang.
“Little alpha,” Hisashi’s voice commanded attention over the crackling line. “Do you know where Mieczysław is?”
“No, I haven’t seen him since this morning.” Derek swallowed, something heavy taking root in the pit of his stomach. “Where are you? What’s wrong?”
“Hmm. That’s unfortunate.” The line crackled again before it went silent.
“Hisashi!” Derek pulled the phone away from his ear, looking at it, only to see that the call had been dropped. He immediately tried redialing the man as he hurried towards his car. It went to voicemail. “Fuck.”
He felt fear coat his throat and tried to talk himself down from panicking. Stiles was probably at the shop. Hisashi had just had lousy reception wherever he was at. This was nothing more than a series of poorly timed coincidences.
None of that stopped Derek from throwing his car into gear and making his way to Stiles’ shop as fast as he could get away with. His phone rang again, and he managed to get it on speaker with some fumbling.
“Derek, where are you?”
“On my way to Stiles’ shop,” He said, zipping through a yellow light before turning down the street to the office complex.
“Good, I could use your help,” Peter said, voice tense. “Stiles is gone and Hisashi is furious. I’ve got Malia and Mel with me, so I can’t go running off looking for him.”
“Fuck, you think this is the Argents?”
“It smells like them.” Something crashed on Peter’s end, and the line began to crackle. “You pull that back in your fucking ass. We can’t afford to break another phone. We need to be able to contact people!” Peter was yelling as Derek swerved into the lot, something Derek had only rarely heard him resort to.
“I’m here,” Derek said, ending the call. He parked haphazardly, barely turning the car off before he was out the door and rushing up the walk and into the shop.
The damage to the shop wasn’t noticeable from outside, but as soon as Derek entered, he sucked in a breath. The shop was a wreck. Shelves were upended, products were broken and rolling over the floor. The mirror behind the counter was shattered, along with a large portion of the shelving and drawers. Almost as if someone had been flung into it.
“Derek!” Malia hit him with enough force to cut off his breath, her face pressed into his body.
“This is a fine mess,” Mel said, walking across the floor glass and debris crunching under her high heels with each step. “In more ways than one. Any idea why they’d take him?”
“Unless it’s to draw me out, no.” Derek wrapped an arm around Malia, meeting Mel’s darkly serious eyes. “Hisashi doesn’t have any ideas?”
“He’s furious and not very communicative right now,” Mel responded dryly. “Peter has him in the backroom in case someone ignores the closed sign and comes in. Now that you’re here I’m going to lock the door and pull the blinds.”
“Stiles has never pulled them in all the time I’ve been here,” Derek said, watching her move across to the doorway. “Won’t someone notice that.”
“Better they wonder about that that have them look in and see this.” She gestured at the shop. She locked the door with a set of keys she’d dug up somewhere, and then, shaking out the looped cord, she began to pull the blinds down. “I’m going to take Malia home after this.”
“Let me call Boyd and Erica,” Derek said, already fishing his phone back out of his pocket. “I don’t want anyone out alone. I’ll get him to drop Erica with Isaac and have them pick up Cora. Then he can pick you up.”
“I think that they should go to the safe-house,” Peter said from the doorway to the back room. Hisashi was nowhere in sight, and Derek hoped the other man was pulling himself together. “At least Malia and Erica, if not the rest of the pack.”
Derek felt his mouth pinch. Erica hadn’t told them yet, but both Peter and he were aware that she was in the beginning stages of pregnancy. They knew that she wouldn’t care for their coddling, but he also knew he wasn’t going to risk her on the frontline against the Argents, and he had a feeling that’s where this was going to end up.
“I don’t want to go,” Malia said, lifting her tear-streaked face to look at Derek and then over her shoulder towards her dad. “I want to stay here with you and Derek.”
“Malia,” Peter began, rubbing his forehead. Derek had a feeling he’d already had this discussion with her.
“Malia, you’re going with Mel and Boyd to the safe house,” Derek said, allowing his eyes to bleed red. He set his hands on her shoulders and put a little distance between them while still maintaining a connection. “Remember the talk we had when we first became a pack about our responsibilities as a pack and that sometimes it might be hard to do our duty?”
“Yes alpha.” She sniffled, her eyes flaring gold. “I have to be a good beta and daughter now, don’t I?”
“Oh kitten,” Peter said, crossing to her, placing his hand on her head. “You’re always a good daughter.”
“And an excellent beta,” Derek added, smiling gently at her. “But Peter and I have to do our duty as the alpha and the left-hand. To do that, we need to know that you and others are safe.”
“Like me and Erica.” She sniffled again, wiping her face with the back of her arm. She glanced over at Mel. “And Auntie Mel.”
“Yes, and Auntie Mel,” Mel agreed.
“I’ll go.” Malia sucked in a shaky breath and firmed her chin. She hugged Derek quickly before turning into her dad’s embrace. “You better be safe and get Stiles back though. I like him and he’s been teaching me how to make cool things in his shop.”
“We’re going to wait out here for Boyd, you make your phone calls and then go talk with Hisashi. Hopefully he can tell you something,” Mel said when Malia pulled away from Peter.
“One can hope,” Peter said, sighing, glancing over his shoulder. Peter leaned down and kissed the top of Malia’s head. “Be good for Aunt Mel and Erica. I love you kitten.”
“Love you too,” She said, smacking a kiss on his cheek before turning around and letting him direct her to Mel. “Love you.” She glanced at Derek before clinging to Mel.
“Love you too,” Derek said, nodding at both of them. “Both of you.”
“Don’t worry about us,” Mel said and then grimaced as if realizing what a futile thing that was to say.
Derek just nodded again and followed Peter through the mess of the shop into the back room where Hisashi was pacing with Peter’s cellphone to his ear. His shadows were whipping around him like the beginning of a storm. Or a nightmare.
“I thought he had some sort of ability to track Stiles?” Derek murmured, texting Cora and Isaac to stay where they were and wait for backup, giving them the outline of what was going on. He got a reply almost immediately after texting Boyd and felt the tension in his shoulders ease just a touch.
“He’s been blocked,” Peter said, faced set with worry. Shoulders tense. “Or at least, he says the ability is fuzzy and he can’t get a direction. He only knows that he hasn’t left the territory yet and that he’s alive.”
The room tilted for a moment at Peter’s words. Derek hadn’t even considered that Stiles was anything other than alive. He couldn’t consider it a possibility. He was reasonably sure he would lose his mind more than Hisashi was if he did.
“Fuck you Domani,” Hisashi said sighing, the shadows around him smoothed out and began to retreat. “Thank you, let the coven know to keep watch. If they know who Stiles is, they aren’t going to have a problem with going after anyone else in the community.” He glanced over at Derek and raised a brow. Guessing what he wanted, Derek nodded. “Alpha Hale is here and will be out front on this.” He listened a moment before giving a humorless chuckle. “I don’t think anyone could stop him, even if Stiles hadn’t given him probationary second in the hierarchy. Does anyone have an issue with that?” Hisashi listened again, nodding. “Well, get the word out then. I’ll be in touch.” He hung up and tossed the phone to Peter, who snatched it out of the air with a huff.
“So,” Peter said as he slipped the phone into his pocket. “What did Domani say?”
“Their scrying spells agree with what I’m getting,” Hisashi said, flipping his hair over his shoulder and leaning back against the large circular table that had taken up residence in the room since the night they’d all met. “He’s still alive and they managed to narrow it down to the preserve and Beacon Hills proper.”
“That’s still a lot of area to cover.” Derek sighed through his nose, rubbing a hand over his face. “The shop smells of Argents, but do we know that they’re responsible.”
“Yes,” Hisashi said darkly, his eyes swirling a shadowed silver briefly. Derek refused to look away even as the sight set his instincts on edge. “None of them had reason to be here and there isn’t any indication of anyone else that would have caused Stiles to react in a way that would have left that kind of damage. Plus, we have witnesses.”
Derek thought about the broken mirror and the scorched marks along the countertop, the scent of ozone under the smell of the wolfsbane, gunpowder, ash, and iron mixture unique to the Argents. “He used his abilities then?”
“He did something.” Hisashi nodded, waving a hand towards the front of the shop. “And Stiles never uses his abilities like that unless it’s a last resort. He definitely wouldn’t have brought them out for the Argents to see if he’d felt he had any other option. Something went seriously wrong here today.”
“You don’t think they went after him because of us, do you?” Peter stood next to Hisashi and tapped his finger on the table. “You think they figured something out about him.”
“I do,” Hisashi replied, closing his eyes and sighing.
“Do you think they know about Kate?”
Hisashi looked at Derek, “I think he’d already be dead if they did. I think they’ve figured out he’d not entirely human, but I don’t think they realize just who they have yet.”
“Even with what happened out there?” Peter gestured towards the front of the shop.
“Even with that,” Hisashi agreed. “A lot of what he does isn’t unusual until they start to look closer, or he gets out of control.”
“But you think they might know something more,” Derek said, watching Hisashi, or more accurately the shadows that he wasn’t doing anything to curtail as the tendrils drifted out to caress Peter’s shoulder. He immediately decided to ignore that for now unless Peter said something about it.
“Malia and Melody where here when they came in,” Hisashi replied, meeting his eyes. Derek snapped his gaze over to Peter, who just nodded at him before turning back to some papers on the table. “Melody tried to get to Stiles, but they got to him before she could do more than hide Malia in the room here. Stiles did something to keep them out, but they could hear everything.”
“It’s why Malia is so upset,” Peter said quietly. “I should have warned you, but I had my hands full here and I wasn’t sure if we could count on them staying away. She made it out in time to see them throw a powder of some kind in his face and then knock him over the head. They pretty much ignored Melody, telling her to stay out of their way or they’d come back for her.” He paused, sneering. “Or words to that effect.”
“They were in the shop?” Derek couldn’t help glancing back over his shoulder. He heard Boyd entering the shop and knew that he’d join them in a moment.
Hisashi shook his head. “Stiles managed to get out into the back lot. He went through the side door behind the bookshelves that led down to the bathrooms,” Hisashi said, answering the unasked question when Derek raised his brow at him.
“Derek.” Boyd came through the door, solid and sure as he always was. “I’ve got most of the others in the SUV.” He frowned around the room. “None of us are happy about leaving you here.”
“Until we know exactly what we’re facing with the Argents, it’s better to keep as few of us on the field as possible,” Peter said. “They didn’t go for Mel and Malia earlier, but nothing to say they won’t change that later on.”
“We’ll keep you up dated Boyd,” Derek said, clasping the larger man on the shoulder. “Keep watch, but make sure to get some rest as well. When the time comes, I have a feeling we’re going to need everyone we can get.”
“I still don’t like it,” Boyd said, but he nodded. “I take care of them. We’ll stop by the supermarket and pick Isaac and Erica up on our way to the safehouse. After that we’ll wait to hear from you.”
“Thank you,” Derek said, squeezing Boyd’s shoulder before letting the man go. “I’ll give you the full rundown as soon as they finish updating me.”
“Appreciate it.” Boyd nodded around the room before heading out. Derek heard him gathering the others to lead them out to the vehicle, and he breathed a sigh of relief that Malia and Mel would be out of public and under the protective eyes and ears of the rest of the pack.
“He’s not the next alpha,” Hisashi said suddenly, bringing Derek’s attention back to him.
“No,” Derek said, shoving his hands into his jacket. He nodded to Peter. “Uncle Peter is next in line if something were to happen.”
“Not exactly by the book,” Hisashi said, tucking his hands into the sleeves of his robes.
“We don’t exactly give a fuck,” Derek said blandly. “Now you said that Stiles made it out to the back of the building? All the damage I saw seems localized to the room out there. I wouldn’t of even noticed anything until I got into the shop if I hadn’t been able to hear and smell what was going on past the door.”
“He went through the door leading down the hall towards the bathrooms. There’s an emergency exit there. Stiles would have been making for his jeep or the preserve, wherever he thought he could get to easier,” Hisashi said, leading the way out of the backroom.
Derek kicked some of the debris out of his way as he followed Hisashi across the shop and through the archway cleverly set between two bookshelves. When they finally emerged out into the late afternoon light, Derek blinked, letting his eyes adjust from the dimly lit hallway.
“I was out here earlier when Mel called me,” Peter said from behind him. Fury and fear trembled through his scent profile in equal measure. “Hisashi tried calling you as soon as we got here and broke his phone before he got himself under control.”
Derek looked around the back lot of the office complex. Trash dumpsters sat snug up against the back doors down most of the block row. The shop’s dumpster, though, was some distance from the building and looked to be severely dented. The large circular lot was empty save for the broken dumpster and Stiles jeep.
Derek began to stride across the lot towards the jeep as soon as he registered the sight. He heard Hisashi call his name and waved him off as he took in a cautious breath to scent the area.
“The Argent’s scent is heavier out here than in the shop,” He muttered, running his tongue along his teeth. His fangs were itching in his gums, but there was nothing to fight here. “I would’ve thought that it would have dispersed more out here.”
“There were at least a dozen out here according to Mel,” Peter said. “She and Malia were dropped off by Erica down at the cafe earlier and they walked up this way. Like we said, they were in the shop when the Argents came in. Malia wanted a lotion from Stiles that wasn’t as heavily scented as his normal line, so he was showing her how to mix it. According to Mel, he shoved both of them into the backroom using magic. Then he slammed the door shut just as the hunters burst in weapons already out.”
“Not even a play at subtly on anyone’s part then,” Derek said, running his hand over the hood of the jeep, not sure what he was doing. “Are we sure they weren’t after us and just changed their target when Stiles used his magic to protect the others?” Derek frowned at the thought. From the time he’d spent with both Stiles and Hisashi, he knew Stiles didn’t use his magic in the open like that.
“He wouldn’t have used his magic facetiously,” Hisashi said, slipping up beside him. “What are you looking for here?”
“I don’t know that I’m looking for anything,” Derek said, hitting the hood of the jeep with an echoing slam. “I haven’t rushed out of here for Cherry Lane because I’m not stupid enough to think that I can take them on by myself even if they’ve taken him there. I need a place to start. I can’t – how are you so calm all of a sudden? You were destroying phones and oozing your shadows all over the place earlier.” Derek turned and sagged against the side of the jeep.
Hisashi settled next to him, “I’m furious, but I’ve had my tantrum as Peter called it and I’ll save any further outbursts for when we find Mieczysław. Whatever his original plans, they’ve forfeited their lives by taking him.”
“I wasn’t thinking that far ahead yet,” Derek admitted shrugging at the look Hisashi gave him. He looked over at Peter, who was on the phone with someone but didn’t attempt to listen in. Peter would tell him when he found something worth telling. “Don’t give me that look. I’m not going to hold back against anyone who gets in my way, but I’m not go on a vengeance spree until we have Stiles back.”
“You haven’t even considered that he might be dead before we get to him, have you?”
“He won’t be,” Derek said simply. He believed that it didn’t calm the buzz of unease under his skin, but he knew that Stiles was going to make it back to him. Derek would accept nothing else. He glanced to the side and noticed something on the ground. He leaned over, kneeling to pick it up.
“That’s his phone.” Hisashi was crouched next to him almost immediately. “It means we can’t track it.” Frustration bit at his words.
“It means they don’t have it either,” Derek said, pushing to his feet. He swiped at the screen. It lit up, prompting him to put in the numerical code. “Do you know his pin?”
“Here.” Hisashi plucked the phone out of his hand and tapped the screen before handing it back.
“Fuck,” Derek breathed, stunned as he stared at the image on the screen. “He did it.”
“He sure as fuck did,” Hisashi said from beside him as they watched the program that Stiles had told them about in detail what it had already done and what it was in the process of doing. “We need to get to his computer and make sure there isn’t another step to this. He probably has more than one failsafe for the program, but I don’t want to take the risk of this stalling out partway through.”
Derek glanced over at him and then passed him the phone. “You’ll have to take care of this part. I don’t know enough about what he’s set up to even begin to guess the next steps.” Derek quickly reevaluated his plans. “I’ll send Peter with you, and I’ll go pick up one of the others to help me with a search.”
“I thought you weren’t going to rush the Argent house,” Hisashi said, but he wasn’t really arguing. He tucked the phone away, and they began to walk towards where Peter had finished his conversations and was leaning against the brick wall of the building.
“I don’t plan on rushing anywhere, but a little scouting would be smart and might give us a better idea of where they’re keeping him.”
“I’ve contacted everyone I know, and they’ve all got their ears to the walls and their eyes wide open,” Peter said as they met up with him. “We should hear something soon. They can’t hide forever, not in Beacon Hills.”
“Not with our guardian,” Hisashi agreed, his vulpine smile spreading, showing his sharp teeth.
“Hopefully they don’t figure that part out before we get to them,” Derek said, ignoring the way his gut clenched with the thought of what Stiles was going through at the hands of the Argents. “We found Stiles’ phone. He managed to activate the program he was talking about that first night. It looks like it’s already done some damage in the time it’s been running from what I could make out. Hisashi wants to go by Stiles place and see if there is anything more that needs to be done on that end. I want you to go with him.”
Peter frowned, crossing his arms. “What about you?”
Derek narrowed his eyes but stepped around his left hand and walked back into the shop. “I’m going to call Boyd and see if Isaac or Cora want to head out for some scouting.”
Peter hummed behind him, “Take Cora, she’s slightly better at restraining herself than Isaac.”
“They’re both good scouts,” Derek said as his footsteps crunching something as he made his way to the front door of the shop. “But I’ll take Cora if you think she’ll do better for this.”
“Neither one of them have ever had reason to scout something like this, but she’ll do well enough,” Peter said as they exited the shop.
“I’ll keep in touch with you,” Derek said, turning to Peter and Hisashi. “Once we have something concrete to go on, I’ll give you a call. If you find something text me immediately.”
“Of course,” Peter said.
Hisashi nodded next to him. “We’ll take your car,” He said to Peter. “Let me lock up.” He disappeared back into the shop.”
“Be careful Peter,” Derek said, clasping his uncle on the shoulder. “They came here in the middle of the day, whether it was for Stiles, or they were following Mel and Malia, they didn’t hesitate to move.”
“They were ready to take down a magic user,” Peter pointed out. “The powder they used was meant for him.”
Derek nodded. “Then it’s even more important for you to be cautious. You’re headed to his house, and we don’t know what they want from Stiles.”
“You think someone might be there?” Peter tilted his head and nodded. “I think you might be right. I’ll talk to Hisashi about it, and we’ll go in with that in mind, but he has a point about going to the house.”
“I agree,” Derek said, sighing. “Just – be careful.”
“Always.” Peter smirked, reaching out and pulling Derek in for a hug. Derek took the subtle scenting, returning the gesture, and ended it with a flash of his eyes, which his uncle returned. “You better get going. I’ll have my phone on me. Stay in touch, stay safe or we’ll be a storming the Argent’s home, whether the guardian of the territory and my alpha want it to happen or not.”
“I’d expect nothing less.” Derek grinned at his uncle before turning to head to his car. He’d call Cora on his way to the Argent’s part of town and have her meet him there. Starting up the car, he set the phone up and began to dial as he pulled out.