Everything Matters

Title: Everything Matters
Author: Sibyl Moon
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Canon Divergent,
Relationship: Stiles/Derek
Beta: HarleyJQuin
Warnings/Rating:Canon-Typical-Violence, reference to canon deaths, Bad Friend Scott.
Word Count: 7553
Summary: When Stiles arrived to help get his dad out from under the nemeton, things didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

 

Chapter One

The squeaking and scuffing of shoes followed by the thud of the door brought Stiles fully awake. His neck and back both cracked, causing him to groan softly in relief as he straightened from his protective huddle at the side of his dad’s hospital bed.

Stiles looked at his dad’s face, taking in the bruised and battered man. Knowing there was no one around to see it, Stiles didn’t bother to hide the fear and pain he felt. He’d already promised himself he wouldn’t hide anything from his dad anymore. Now, if only the man would just wake up, so he could start keeping that promise.

“Fuck,” Stiles said, rubbing his hands over his face before cutting a quick glance at his dad, almost expecting to see the quick headshake over his language. But there was no change.

His thoughts drifted back to the other night. When, despite their substitute sacrifice and the last-minute rushing in to save the day, they’d only managed to get Melissa and Chris out before the nemeton’s cellar had collapsed. Stiles and his dad had been there for what seemed like hours before they’d been able to get out.

His Dad had been separated from him by a wall of debris and dirt, but they’d been able to communicate through it, even if they couldn’t see each other. Stiles had ended up divulging quite a lot of the last nine months while he tried to take his mind off the fact that they were buried under what felt like miles of mud and dirt.

Then his dad had suddenly gone silent.

Stiles had only known terror like that what he’d felt in that silence once before. He’d lunged for the wall of earth and debris separating them. Stiles had pulled and fought with it but had got nowhere. He’d shouted himself hoarse. The panic attack that followed had left him hovering on the edge of unconsciousness when Derek had pulled him from the earth.

He’d begged Derek to help his dad. Stiles had slapped the other man’s hands off of him and used strength he didn’t know he had as he tried to shove him back towards the cellar.

Derek had just studied him briefly and nodded, setting him down next to Isaac and Cora before he’d headed back down into the place that had to still feature somewhere in his own nightmares to dig out Stiles’ dad.

Stiles would never be able to thank the other man enough, especially when Scott had ignored him when he’d shouted for him to help Derek. Isaac hadn’t he’d gone down into that dark, dank place to help, and Cora had sat with Stiles while they waited.

Stiles hadn’t seen any of them since. That had been four days ago.

“Stiles?”

“Mrs. McCall?” Stiles turned, blinking his eyes a few times to bring her into focus as he brought his thoughts completely back to the present. “Everything okay?”

“Everything is fine,” She said; she didn’t come any closer, but her gaze flicked over his dad before returning to him. “They said that the infection from the shoulder wound is clearing up nicely. He should wake up soon.”

“Yeah.” Stiles smiled at her, but he didn’t think he was very convincing from her frown.

“You need to go home and get some rest,” She said; she held up a hand when he tried to protest. “I know you’re halfway to eighteen, but that still means you’re seventeen, Stiles, and I’m sending you home to get a few hours of sleep and something to eat. A shower and a change of clothes wouldn’t hurt either. Your dad would have a fit if he could see the state you’re in right now, and you know it.”

“I don’t want to leave him,” Stiles said, looking back at his dad and reaching over to take his hand. “What if he wakes up and needs something?”

“I’ll make sure someone calls you immediately.”

“Are you even supposed to be on shift?” Stiles turned back to look at her as the thought crossed his mind.

“I’m not, but I have my own connections here,” She said smiling. “Now get out of here and go home. I don’t want you back here until tomorrow morning.”

“What time is it anyway?” Stiles started to dig into his pocket for his phone, only to remember that it had died sometime during his trip into the preserve.

“Almost eight at night,” She said, shaking her head at him. “You’ve been here for over forty-eight hours, according to the other nurses. They all know better than to try and send you home, so they called me in.”

“Oh.” Stiles glanced behind her into the hallway. “I’m not that scary.”

“You’re fine, but they all know how close you and your dad are too. It’s just reached a point where you need to go home for a few hours.”

“And I’m more likely to listen to you than the rest of them?” He winced internally, he hadn’t meant that to sound as dismissive it did, but his point stood.

“Probably not,” She said, an amused smile on her face. “But I know to tell you that if your dad wakes up to find you looking like this he’ll be more worried and stressed than if he’s told I sent you home to get some rest.” She sighed, reaching down just outside the door and grabbing a small bag. “I brought a few things and I’ll sit with your dad until you get back.”

“What about Scott?”

“He’s going to head over to your house and stay with you,” Melissa said, finally stepping into the room fully. “He should already be there by now. He’s probably tried calling, but I’m guessing you haven’t had a chance to charge your phone yet.”

“I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest.” Stiles shrugged, finally standing up and conceding defeat. A real shower would be good; the quick wash he’d done in the bathroom sink earlier hadn’t done much. “You promise you’ll call if he wakes up, or something happens. The house phone if you can’t get me on my cell?”

“Of course, Stiles,” Melissa said; she reached out and brushed her hand over his bare arm. “I’ll make sure you’re informed if anything happens, anything at all.”

“Okay.” He nodded even as he held back a wince. He rubbed a hand over his arm after she pulled back, feeling a pained chill crawl over him, followed by the warmth of comforting compassion edged with frustration.

Ever since the cave, he’d become oversensitive to touch, almost like he could feel too much of everything else – of everyone else – when they touched him. Stiles had been ignoring it while he’d been focused on his dad. He’d been able to with the lack of visitors, the nurses and doctors didn’t go out of their way to touch Stiles, and his dad seemed to be inert in relation to whatever was going on.

“I’ll see you in the morning then,” She said, shooing him out. “You know how to get in touch with me if you need to and I’ll call the house if I can’t get through to your cell. Now, get out of here. Scott is waiting for you so you won’t be alone tonight, either one of you.”

“Alright, thanks Mrs. McCall,” Stiles said. He leaned over and kissed his dad’s forehead. “Wake-up soon, old man. You still have to yell at me for the last nine months remember? I’ll see you in a couple of hours, love you Dad.” He squeezed his dad’s hand and stepped back from the bed, picking up his jacket from the back of the chair and heading toward the door. “If you have to leave for something, please let me know. I don’t want him left alone here.” It went unspoken why Stiles refused to leave his dad alone in the hospital.

“Of course Stiles,” Melissa repeated her earlier promise. “You go home and try to get some rest even if you can’t sleep. Eat something and shower, before you come back in the morning.”

“Yeah.” Stiles nodded and lifted a hand in farewell as he left the room.

He shrugged into his jacket to avoid accidentally brushing into someone in the hall. He wasn’t going to examine this new ability he suddenly seemed to have, but his mind kept going back to it when he wasn’t obsessing over his dad. Stiles figured it had something to do with the ritual Deaton had had them do and the figurative darkness around their hearts or the way he’d died and come back. There were lots of anecdotes about people getting some sort of psychic ability or supernatural awareness after a near-death experience. Stiles guessed this was something like that and would probably fade over time, or he was just so exhausted he was half hallucinating it, which was a disturbing theory he really didn’t want to dwell on.

“Hey,” Derek said, stepping out of a side hall just as Stiles passed.

“What the fuck? Derek!” Stiles lashed out, shoving the other man back before slapping his hand to his chest. “Warn a guy. I could have hurt you.” He frowned at Derek’s eyebrows. “Fine. I could have hurt myself, but I could have wolfsbane or something one of these times, you know.”

“I didn’t want to interrupt you while you were with your dad,” Derek said, sticking his hands in his pockets. “How is he?”

“He’s going to be okay,” Stiles said, starting to walk again. “At least that’s what they tell me. He hasn’t woken up yet though. He got an infection from the stab wound Ms. Blake gave him and then the cave in down there did some damage; he broke his foot, and he’s got a head injury, but other than that it’s mostly cuts and bruises. We have to wait and see how bad the head injury is when he wakes up though. It looks okay on their machines, but…”

“Hmm.” Derek grunted and rolled his shoulders a little. “If you think he’d take it, I could offer him the bite. Unless Scott already has and you’re going to take him up on it.”

“Oh.” Stiles stopped at the emergency room doors; as Derek’s words hit him, he turned to look at the other man. “That’s – Thanks. And no, Scott hasn’t said anything about biting dad. Why would he?”

“Have you seen Scott since you got back from the preserve?” Derek reached out, pulled Stiles out of the way, and then led him out of the hospital.

“No,” Stiles said. He frowned as he thought about it. Stiles remembered catching a glimpse of him with the rest of the pack when they came out of the preserve after they were rescued, but he hadn’t had a chance to talk to anyone. He’d been more concerned about his dad at the moment anyway. “I came straight here with Dad, and I haven’t left since. I haven’t seen much of anyone until Mrs. McCall showed up about ten minutes ago.”

“So you don’t know what’s been going on or if the alpha pack is even gone then?”

“I was a little busy,” Stiles said, feeling his temper start to rise. “I assumed that things were taken care of or my dad and I would still be underground. Nobody seemed to be dragging extra alphas or darachs around when I was leaving for the hospital.”

“Where’s your jeep?”

Stiles froze, and then his gaze swept the hospital parking, his shoulders slumped.

“Probably still on the road where I crashed the other night,” He said with a heavy sigh. “I told you I haven’t left the hospital. If it hasn’t been towed, I’ll need to make arrangements. It’s probably going to cost a mint to fix too.” He hoped he wouldn’t have to dig too far into his savings for it, but he had a feeling that he’d have to use some of the money his gran had left him if it was as bad as he thought.

“I’ll drive you home and tell you what happened if you want,” Derek said, somewhere between a request and an order.

“Okay,” Stiles replied, beginning to feel a little off balance by this version of Derek, but he didn’t feel threatened by the other man, and he’d learned to pay attention to that radar. “Are you also going to tell me why you’re being so nice to me right now?”

“Do you want me to stop?” Derek raised a brow at him before taking his elbow and directing him to the car a few rows back.

“I didn’t say it was a bad thing, it’s just…” Stiles yawned and shrugged. He waved a hand in Derek’s direction. “Just fill me in on what’s been going on. I didn’t realize how out of touch I’ve been.”

“You haven’t been answering your phone.”

“It died, and I forgot to charge it,” Stiles said, leaning his head against the window and watching Derek drive. “You’d tell me if your wolfy powers sensed anything wrong with my dad, right? You aren’t offering the bite to him because there’s something you don’t want to tell me, right?”

“No Stiles, I didn’t notice anything unusual about your dad.” Derek sighed, flicking a glance his way briefly. “I offered for the reasons I told you and if your dad takes a turn or you think he warrants it because of his prognosis then…”

“Okay,” Stiles said, nodding after a moment of silence. “Okay. Well, tell me what happened then, especially if you think Scott should have offered us the bite.”

“I thought he would have at least been here to offer to officially make you pack,” Derek said, his gaze flicked back over before he snapped it back to the road.

“What?” Stiles felt like he was laid out naked under that glance and not the kind of naked that he’d prefer either. “What was that look for?”

“You don’t have a connection to his pack, that’s all.” Derek shrugged. “I expected something to carry over now that he’s an alpha, but maybe he has to affirm it in person since he came into his power differently.”

“Okay, yeah. You’re going to need to start at the beginning,” Stiles said after a few moments of staring at Derek with his mouth open. “I need to know how Scott became an alpha and who he killed to do it.”

“He didn’t kill anyone.”

“Start talking, Derek. I swear, you are the worst at this story telling thing.” Stiles lifted his hands and squeezed them together. “I might not be able to tear your throat out with my teeth, but I will start pulling hair and biting until you look like you tangled with a mountain lion for at least five minutes. Then I’m going to find out how to turn mountain ash and wolfsbane into itching powder and dump it into your clothes. I’m not even kidding.”

“Your threats could use some work,” Derek said dryly, but his ears were turning pink.

Stiles frowned, wondering if he’d actually upset Derek. He went back over what he’d said and internally sighed at himself. He hadn’t even meant the innuendo this time.

“Maybe, but you still promised to tell me everything,” Stiles said, deciding to ignore everything else. He waved Derek on. “Go on, tell me how Scott McCall, the werewolf who doesn’t want to werewolf, just became an alpha. Then tell me everything else that happened.”

So Derek did, pausing when Stiles thunked his head against the window and cursed at various points in the telling.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Stiles stared at Derek.

The car was parked in the driveway, but neither one of them had moved to go inside yet. Stiles was still absorbing the events he’d missed, and Derek was watching him.

“About which part?”

“You trusted Peter and faith healed your sister with your alpha powers which made them disappear. Then you and Scott just let Deucalion run off into the wild blue yonder because he promised to be a good boy while you made scary faces at him?”

“That wasn’t exactly what I said.”

“Scott is now some weird ass true alpha, which you say is because of some sort of strength of will.” Stiles frowned and made a face that disagreed with that. “And I guess if the powers that be are handing out alphaness because of sheer stubbornness, then sure, yeah…I’ll buy it. But really? Also your power came back when you headed out to help rescue my dad and I, which thanks for that by the way.”

Derek grunted and jerked his head in an approximation of a nod.

“You can’t just accept my thanks like a normal person can you?”

“Scott’s inside, and he’s just noticed that we’re here,” Derek said, ignoring Stiles and opening his door to get out.

“I’m going to take that as a no.” Stiles got out of the car as the front door of the house opened. “I’m guessing the alpha upgrade didn’t help with his ability to actually use his senses though.”

Stiles would probably feel bad about sniping at Scott after he’d had some rest and distance from the events of the past few weeks, but then again, maybe not. Scott hadn’t even been by the hospital when Stiles’ dad had been admitted; he hadn’t even come to check on Stiles after the rescue when he couldn’t get through on the phone.

“Stiles, get away from him,” Scott said, stomping across the yard, his eyes stuttering red and gold. “He’s an alpha again.”

“He’s been an alpha for awhile now Scott,” Stiles replied, watching him with a frown, his head tilted as he tried to parse what he was seeing.

“He lost his power saving Cora,” Scott said. He frowned at Derek, crossing his arms. “I thought you were finally getting better, but you showed your true colors. Who was it, Derek? Did you go after Deucalion after we let him go?”

“I didn’t kill anyone,” Derek said, leaning back against his car and sighing. “Believe what you will though, you always seem to.”

“Why didn’t you come by the hospital Scott?”

“I didn’t know you were still there,” Scott said; he turned from Derek and looked at Stiles. He moved to Stiles and set a hand on his shoulder. “Nobody said that you were hurt that bad, and you didn’t call.”

“Did you even call me?” Stiles fought back a shudder at the duplicity and apathy that drifted off Scott in his direction. The obsessive desire that caused bile to swim in Stiles’ stomach when Scott turned his attention, however briefly, to Allison had Stiles step back until they were no longer touching.

“Why would I?” Scott looked puzzled. “I had to make sure Allison was settled and other things were taken care of. Her dad was kidnapped and mom was upset. Deaton was still shaken up too and then this whole true alpha thing. I had a lot I had to deal with Stiles, I’m sorry I didn’t call you. I just forgot.”

“You know his dad is in the hospital and hasn’t woken up yet right?” Derek stood up, a growl rumbling under his words.

“The sheriff?” Scott glanced at Derek before looking back at Stiles. “He’s hurt, I didn’t know that.”

“Obviously,” Stiles replied, sighing; he shoved his hands in his pockets. “Why did you think your mom sent you over here anyway?”

“I just thought your dad was busy working and someone needed to keep you busy – uh – company for a while.”

“Yeah,” Stiles said, nodding. “You weren’t planning on staying, were you?”

“I mean if you need me.” The guilty shift in Scott’s gaze told Stiles another story, though. “I’m not going to leave you here with him, though.” Scott glared at Derek.

“I’ll be fine with Derek,” Stiles replied, holding back a sigh. “After all, we’re pack aren’t we.”

“Of course.” Scott’s gaze did that shifty thing again, and Stiles wished Scott would stop trying to lie to him. “Thanks, man.” He slapped a hand to Stiles’ shoulder, already heading down the sidewalk to his bike, despite his warnings about Derek and his earlier anger at the other man.

“Have a good night Scott,” Stiles said, finally deciding to just fuck it all.

Stiles was tired, he was heartsore in more ways than one, and Scott’s friendship was dangling by only a few frayed threads. They weren’t pack in any of the ways that mattered. That feeling of absolute dismissal toward him was the final nail in the coffin of their friendship. He’d been holding onto it by the edges of his fingernails for so long, all he could feel at the moment was pained relief. Stiles shook his head and put it away to think on later.

“You weren’t talking to him,” Derek said quietly from behind him.

“No,” Stiles said, watching Scott drive away. “Scott and I haven’t been in the same pack since the events of the kanima and the police station. I’m not sure which one of us was clinging harder to denial at the time, though.”

“You aren’t denying it anymore though.”

“No.” Stiles shivered as the breeze picked up. He felt a heavy fabric drop around his shoulders, and it took him a moment to realize that Derek had just draped his leather jacket over Stiles.

“Let’s go inside before you get sick.” Derek pressed a hand against his back and turned him toward the house.

“You know that’s an old wives tale, right?” He wasn’t getting anything off Derek, and he wondered if that was because of the thickness of the fabric or something to do with Derek himself.

“And werewolves are fairytales and folklore.”

“Fair, not quite the same thing, but fair point.” Stiles smirked at Derek just before he stumbled over the step up to the porch.

“Be careful. You don’t need to make that concussion any worse,” Derek said, catching Stiles by the elbow and standing him back on his feet. Derek straightened the jacket back over his shoulders before stepping back. “I should probably…” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder.

“What?” Stiles laughed and shook his head. “Just get in here unless you actually have to go.” He gestured to the door that Scott had left open. “I mean, I have a feeling that you’re just going to drive around checking up on everyone and then lurking outside our places anyway.”

“Checking on the well-being of the pack is what an alpha does,” Derek replied, but his ears were turning pink again under the porch light. “I might not be the best alpha, but I’m trying.” Derek’s mouth snapped shut as if he’d said something he hadn’t meant to.

“You aren’t the worst alpha either,” Stiles said. He reached out and snagged the man’s sleeve to pull him into the house. Derek came willingly if a little grumpily. “Right now, you’re my top pick.”

“Really?” Derek raised his brows at Stiles and crossed his arms. “I’m your top pick as alpha?”

“Sure.” Stiles kicked off his shoes but kept the jacket on.

Stiles slipped his arms into the sleeves and decided to see how long Derek would let him hold on to it. He took a deep sniff off the collar of the jacket as he adjusted it back around him, walking down the hall, enjoying the scent of leather and Derek surrounding him. Stiles decided that he wasn’t going to examine when exactly Derek became equated with safety to him and just enjoy it for now.

“Just like that?”

“Face it, Derek,” Stiles said, turning and walking backward into the kitchen. “You’re my number one alpha.” Stiles grinned and winked. “I’m going to get that on a t-shirt.”

“No, you’re not.” Derek leaned against the doorframe and sighed, watching Stiles. “Are you saying that you want to be pack?”

“I thought I already was?”

“Can you answer a question?” Derek’s voice had the precursor to a growl rumbling beneath the words.

“I don’t know, can I?” Stiles laughed and waved Derek’s frown off. It felt good to have someone safe to laugh with after the last couple of days. “You seemed to be saying that we were pack. My dad and I, that is. Was I wrong in thinking that?”

“Not exactly,” Derek replied, shifting against the doorframe and pushing himself up. He moved across the floor to Stiles. “You’ve felt like pack to me for a long time now, but I thought that you were connected through Scott, even after I couldn’t feel more than a hint of his pack bond. After he rose to alpha and his bond shattered I didn’t expect to feel a pack bond to you anymore, but you’re still there. It’s faint, but still accessible.”

“If it’s still there, then that probably means I’m not in Scott’s pack doesn’t it?”

“Probably, but not impossible,” Derek said as he shrugged. “I don’t know as much about this as I should. I wasn’t the one that was ever supposed to be the alpha, that was Laura or another one of the cousins. I was always supposed to be a beta unless…”

“There was some sort of catastrophe or special circumstance that wouldn’t happen in your peaceful pack?” Stiles reached over and laid his hand gently on Derek’s arm, squeezing slightly. “I get it. How are you going to find out what you need to then?”

“There are books and journals in our family vault that I’m trying to read when I have time, but things have been what they’ve been lately.” Derek shrugged again and stepped back a step, but not far enough to dislodge Stiles’ hand. “As for the bond, I think the reason its so faint is because we never officially brought you into our pack.”

“I guess not,” Stiles replied, thinking back. “I know less about this stuff than you do, officially that is. I just kind of came along with Scott as a two-for-one deal; that’s all I thought there was to it. Is there something else that I’m supposed to do?”

“It’s more about intent and acknowledgment, really,” Derek said; he sighed and crossed his arms again briefly before uncrossing them and putting his hands on Stiles’ shoulders. “We’ve been – I’ve been half-assing this whole thing, and it’s got to stop if I’m going to be an alpha here. If I’m going to be a Hale alpha in Hale territory trying to uphold a Hale legacy.”

“I think you had that first part right,” Stiles said, reaching up and wrapping his hands around Derek’s forearms. “We’ve been making a mess of this all by not working together and on my part, by trying to ignore some of it until it goes away – only it never goes away, it just gets worse.”

“Yeah.”

“But, I think you’re putting too much on yourself with all that Hale stuff,” Stiles continued giving Derek a little shake. “It’s great that you want to be a good alpha and live up to the Hale legacy or whatever, but you also have to remember that you’re Derek Hale and not Talia Hale or Peter Hale or fuck, Hale Hale. The Hales made mistakes and weren’t perfect, so don’t put them on a pedestal while trying to emulate what you think a perfect alpha and pack is supposed to be.” Stiles met Derek’s gaze straight on, trying to instill all of his belief in the words he was saying. “Just be Derek Hale and be willing to learn, that’s how you’ll be the best alpha, and that’s how we’ll be the best pack for this territory.”

The kitchen rang with silence as Derek stared at Stiles for a long moment, his eyes wide and lips parted as if he wanted to speak but had lost his words.

“So you’re joining my pack officially then,” Derek said, his voice hoarse, but he didn’t look away from Stiles’ gaze.

Stiles finally realized just how close the two of them were, and he felt himself flush. Unlike Derek, Stiles knew that he was pink from his neck to the top of his cheeks.

“Yes, Derek,” Stiles replied, forcing himself not to step back or dwell too much on how Derek made him feel. He’d known he was attracted to the other man since he’d first met him – that it had blossomed into something that had turned his crush on Lydia into a faint memory was a little surprising, but not by much. “I want to be in your pack and when my dad is awake I know he’ll be there with me as well.”

“Welcome to the Hale Pack, Stiles,” Derek said, flashing brilliant red eyes at him.

“Did your eyes get more intense.” Stiles leaned forward as he frowned. “I don’t remember them being quite that shade of crimson or so bright. That’s so cool.”

Stiles barely managed to get the words out of his mouth before he felt his knees buckle, and the kitchen seemed to explode in fireworks.

“Stiles!?” Derek’s voice came from a distance as Stiles felt himself start to slide away. “Stiles!”

Stiles snapped back into awareness with Derek leaning over him; what looked to be a mini lightning storm was going on around them.

“What the fuck, Derek?”

“I don’t know,” Derek said. His eyes were red, and his teeth a little sharper than usual. He gestured around them. “I felt the bond snap into place fully, and you just – and then that…”

“Fuck,” Stiles said, coughing as he struggled to sit up. Derek wrapped an arm around his waist and helped him sit up as they watched.

The sparks and mini bursts of lightning didn’t seem to be doing any damage to the room or anything in it, but the more Stiles watched, the more he became convinced that it was hunting something.

“I’m going to get you something to drink,” Derek said after they sat and watched the light show for a few moments. “I’m not sure what this is, but it doesn’t seem like it’s doing anything harmful.”

“Well, Deaton did say ‘be the spark’ I didn’t think he meant it quite so literally, but here we are,” Stiles said as he laughed. He coughed again; it felt like something was caught in his lungs. Stiles had a brief thought that he’d caught a cold under the nemeton or in the darach’s storm.

“Here,” Derek said, handing him a bottle of water.

“Thanks,” Stiles said hoarsely as the coughing fit slowed down. He cracked the top and drank. The light show seemed to be dissipating, and he felt a jolt of relief that didn’t feel entirely his own. He glanced over at Derek and realized that Derek was rubbing circles on Stiles’ back. Stiles choked on some of the water, which caused him to start coughing again.

“Jesus, Stiles,” Derek huffed, rubbing circles over his chest now.

Stiles felt his whole body heave and immediately prayed that he wouldn’t puke all over Derek’s jacket. He expelled a dark black fleck that landed in his hand with a tremendous hacking cough. He closed his hand over it immediately, even while he shivered in revulsion. The dark emotions coming off such a small thing made his vision swim for a moment.

“Derek, in my back pocket there is a plastic bag, can you grab it please,” Stiles said, even as his throat felt like he’d gargled glass.

“Sit up a bit more,” Derek said before Stiles felt him groping into the back of his jeans. “Is this mountain ash?”

“Just what’s left over from the kanima thing,” Stiles said, not really caring about anything but getting the thing in his hand away from him. “Give it here.”

“Why?”

“Trust me, please.” Stiles got the bag opened with one hand and his teeth, then he dumped the small lump into the pile of mountain ash and quickly closed the bag.

“What the fuck?” Derek peered at the bag, his eyebrows furrowing.

“I don’t know, but the fact that I coughed it up right after the events of the last week and joining your pack with that light show tells me that it can’t be a good thing,” Stiles said as he frowned at the bag. “Also it feels like sludge and evil.”

“What do you mean feels?” Derek whipped his head around to look at Stiles.

“So I might have come out of the tree or the drowning ritual a little changed,” Stiles said. He shrugged, waving it away. “We can deal with it later, I promise I’m not ignoring it.” He ignored Derek’s look of disbelief. “I’m going to need to figure out some way to control it anyway or I’m never going to be able to be around people in large groups again. But that isn’t our priority.” He held up the bag and shook it. “This is, and I think its pretty bad, not to mention that I coughed it up.”

Derek opened his mouth to say something when the sparks that had been slowly dying out around the room exploded toward the bag in Stiles’ hand. Derek threw himself over Stiles, and Stiles once again found himself flat on his back, staring up at the ceiling.

“What the fuck?”

“Are you okay?”

“I have no idea,” Stiles said, feeling exhaustion swamp him suddenly. “I think so.”

They both sat up, slowly glancing around. The kitchen was back to normal, with no light shows or any evidence of one. Stiles got to his feet and began to look for the bag with the thing he’d coughed up.

“I think this is it,” Derek said, poking something with the toe of his boot. “At least it’s got mountain ash in it.” His boot wasn’t quite touching the scorched mess on the floor. “Why did you put it in mountain ash?”

“Huh.” Stiles stared down at the oozing mess that faintly smelled of rotten eggs and ozone. He shook his head and looked back at Derek when his question registered. “It just felt right.”

“Hmm.” Derek tilted his head, gaze boring into Stiles. “We need to see about getting some training, but first we need to know what happened to you. I’ve got some contacts that I found when I went through the things in the vault and I think that Cora is still on good terms with the pack she was with before coming here. Hopefully we can get some answers soon.”

“We’ll have to tell Dad when he wakes up,” Stiles said. He shrugged at the raised brows that got. “I promised not to keep important secrets from him anymore. This seems like it would be one of those things that I should tell him.”

“You think he’s going to be okay with all of this?”

“I don’t think okay is quite the right word,” Stiles said as he moved to the cupboards and pulled out an old plastic container and lid. He grabbed the roll of paper towels and headed back to the mess on the floor. “He’ll accept it though, especially since he knows me well enough to know that I’m not going to walk away from you and the pack.”

“Will he even want to be pack or will he stay pack adjacent if he doesn’t need the bite?” Derek leaned back against the counter and watched him.

Stiles glanced up from where he knelt. “I don’t know, it could go either way. He could decide that it’s a family thing or that he wants to try and straddle the line between the two worlds.”

“Even though you definitely won’t be doing any straddling?”

Stiles sat back on his heels and looked at Derek; raising his brows, he felt his lips curve into a smirk.

“Stop, just stop,” Derek said as he held rand a hand over his face. “You know what I meant.”

“I want to say he’d be all in,” Stiles said, deciding to give Derek a break. “But with the way things went down the other night and what happened at the police station not long ago…” Stiles shrugged. “It’s been brutal in this town lately and there isn’t any indication that its going to get better, at least nothing that we can lay out for him directly. That could make him more likely to want to be a part of the pack and help or it could make him less than willing to want anything to do it the supernatural world. It’s hard to say until I can really talk with him.”

“Until we can talk with him,” Derek said. “I’m not going to leave this all on your shoulders. This is something that I should have done in the beginning when I knew that you weren’t going to let all of this go. I should have made you tell your dad, should have brought him into the pack earlier. He might have been able to protect himself better from Jennifer.”

“You couldn’t have made me do anything I wasn’t ready to do in relation to my dad, Derek,” Stiles said, wiping up the last of the mess and depositing the towels into the container before securing the lid. He didn’t want to just throw it away, it didn’t feel as bad as it had before, but he didn’t trust what was left behind after the drama of it all. “If you’d gone behind my back and told him about werewolves and everything, I might actually have shot you.” He grinned without humor in Derek’s direction as he got to his feet. “With regular bullets, but I would have done it where it would have hurt for awhile.”

“Noted,” Derek said with a grimace.

“I don’t know how it will turn out when he wakes up,” Stiles said, yawning as he turned the water on and began to wash his hands. “He seemed to be open to it, if exasperated and angry with me about how much I’d been keeping from him over the past few months. I don’t know – I just don’t know. I don’t even know what I don’t know anymore.” Stiles scrubbed wet hands through his hair before dragging them down his face. He looked at them and felt betrayed as water dripped off the end of his nose. “What the fuck is wrong with me?”

“You’re exhausted and worried about your dad,” Derek said, handing him a towel from the oven handle. “Whatever happened earlier didn’t help with any of that. The situation with Scott certainly didn’t. You need to get something to eat and some rest.”

Derek wiped the towel over Stiles’ face when he just stood there staring at Derek. Then Derek led him to one of the chairs at the table and sat him down.

“Derek?”

“I’m going to get you something to eat and then you’re going to bed.”

“What about-”

“We can deal with whatever else is left after you’ve had some sleep.” Derek began to rummage around in the cabinets and the fridge. He put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; Derek sat it on the table with a glass of milk and nodded at Stiles. “Eat.”

“Thanks, Derek,” Stiles managed as he ate the sandwich and finished the milk in record time. He just sat in the chair after, feeling too exhausted to move.

“Come on, up,” Derek said, pulling the chair out and lifting Stiles to his feet. “Time for sleep now.”

“Going to tuck me in?” Stiles smiled, amused and warmed by this version of Derek. He was brusque about it but definitely trying to take care of Stiles.

“If I have to,” Derek said; he kept his hand on Stiles’ back as they headed up the stairs.

Stiles stopped off in the bathroom to brush his teeth and take care of things before heading to his room. He was so tired he barely managed to slip out of Derek’s jacket.

“I was going to take a shower,” He said, looking down at the dirty clothes he was wearing.

“You can take one when you won’t drown standing up,” Derek replied, flinging a pair of sweats at him. “I’ll be back for you in the morning to take you to the hospital.”

“You aren’t staying?” Stiles felt his heart flip before speeding up.

Derek paused at the door and turned around. He studied Stiles, tilting his head.

“Do you want me to stay?”

“You don’t have to,” Stiles replied immediately. “I mean, I supposed you have to get back to Cora or something right?”

Derek stared at him some more before nodding and knocking a fist against the doorframe.

“Get changed, I’ll call Cora,” Derek said. “I’ll stay the night and we can go see your dad in the morning.”

Stiles watched Derek turn and leave, stunned and stupidly grateful that he wouldn’t be alone overnight.

“Number one alpha,” He whispered under his breath, giggling a little as he stripped and put on the sweats. He went to the door and called out. “Definitely my favorite alpha.”

“Go to sleep Stiles,” Derek yelled back. “Before I smother you with a pillow.

“Even your threats have less teeth to them now,” Stiles said as he flicked off his light.

He crossed to his bed and slid under the covers, feeling chilled again and hoping that he wasn’t coming down with something. At least the cough had disappeared once that thing had come up. Stiles hadn’t got a good look at it, but it had looked like some sort of fly or something. He’d definitely have to start researching that as soon as he woke up and saw his dad in the morning.

“I told you to go to sleep,” Derek said from the doorway. “I can practically hear your mind running from here.”

“I can’t just shut it off,” Stiles said, flopping on his back and staring at his ceiling through the gray shadows of his room. “I’m so fucking tired and I just can’t seem to let everything go and relax.”

Stiles heard two thumps and turned to look at Derek as he was straightening back up in the doorway. Derek crossed the room and looked down at Stiles for a moment.

“Move over,” Derek said, gesturing to him with a wave of his hand.

“What?” Stiles was already moving, though, as Derek climbed in his bed, almost fully clothed. The sounds that he’d heard had been Derek taking his boots off.

“This helps Isaac sometimes when he has trouble sleeping,” Derek said, his shoulders rolling in what Stiles assumed was a shrug. “You aren’t a wolf, but you’re pack so it should help some.”

“I suppose,” Stiles replied.

Stiles let Derek maneuver him into a position that had Derek sprawled on his back. Stiles’ face tucked into his neck and on arm and leg draped over the other man. The position felt intimate – it was intimate – but Stiles was too tired to feel anything beyond a distant simmer of arousal that was banked under the bone-deep exhaustion that began to pull him down as soon as they settled.

“Are we going to talk about this?” Stiles thumped his finger over the center of Derek’s chest a couple of times, stopping when Derek caught his hand.

“Eventually,” Derek said, acknowledging that there was something to talk about without admitting to anything. “But not tonight.”

“Okay,” Stiles said; he’d have to be okay with that. At least it wasn’t in his head, whatever was going on. Derek was right, though; there was too much that had happened tonight for him to process anymore. Especially on top of his dad in the hospital and the events of the last few days.

“Sleep Stiles,” Derek said, rubbing his hand up and down Stiles’ back. “Just sleep, I’ll stay and listen for the phone.”

“My phone,” Stiles said, trying to sit up, but stopped when Derek spoke.

“I took care of it,” Derek said; he used his free hand to point towards the desk, and when Stiles lifted his head up, he could just barely see in the dim light that his phone was plugged onto the charging cord.

“Thanks,” Stiles muttered, tucking his head back into Derek’s neck.

“Now, go to sleep,” Derek replied, tapping Stiles’ back in rhythm to each word.

“Yes, alpha,” Stiles murmured, his mind finally going foggy as he let go of the day.

Stiles would deal with it all tomorrow. He’d deal with the rest of it tomorrow. He’d deal with his new abilities and coughing up evil things tomorrow. He’d deal with his dad waking up – or not waking up – tomorrow.

And tomorrow, Stiles would have an alpha and a pack, ragged though they were at this point, with him to help deal with everything. Tomorrow wasn’t looking so horrible – for once anyway.

Tomorrow things would change, things could start to be better, and the pack would take care of everything that mattered – together.

Stiles slipped into sleep with that thought and the feeling of Derek’s hand running a slow path up and down his back, soothing him into soft dreams.

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18 Comments

  1. 💖💖💖

  2. What a lovely shift in the story. Really like it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Awesome. Thank you for sharing your gift with us

  4. I really liked this! What a creative way to deal with the Nogitsune, telling the Sheriff, and revealing Scot’s bastardry!

    Thanks for a great read, as always! I appreciate you sharing your hard work and creativity with me.
    Cheers!

  5. This is so awesome. I adore it.

  6. Thank you
    I like this Derek. He’s on a much better path.

  7. I love some good alpha Derek

  8. This was amazing, thank you so much for sharing! xxx

  9. Scott wins the worst friend award again. I loved how you worked around the Nogitsune issue and the relationship between Stiles and Derek.
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Great story, especially the unspoken thing they have to talk about – later!
    The sheriff knowing will make things easier for Stiles and, shocking thought for teenagers, he could actually help!
    I loved the idea of the strong pack bond helping Stiles to eject the Nogitsune like that, which avoids another heap of trouble. It will be interesting to see the effects of Stiles’ new abilities to sense emotion and whether there is more to it.

  11. This was so good! I really enjoyed it and I love the relationship building between Derek and Stiles. You captured their characters really well. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  12. The start of something real.

  13. That was freaking AWESOME! You win at life.

    Thank you so much for writing and posting. I didn’t know I needed this story until I read it, but I did, so thanks again.

  14. Wow! What a great way to force Stiles to acknowledge the rift between him and Scott. Destroying the nogitsune as a side effect of Stiles officially joining Derek’s pack was such a quick and clean solution. And I really love the idea that Derek gained his alpha powers back at the nemeton while acting like a good alpha should.

  15. This is just lovely and exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thanks so much for sharing

  16. This is lovely! I stumbled across the Big Moxie and your fic while looking for some 9-1-1 fics to read. So glad I clicked your link. Now I’m off to read everything else!

  17. I love this story

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