Title: Fail. Try Again. Fail Better.
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Drama, First Time, Slash, Time Travel, Slow Burn
Relationship(s): Derek Hale/Stiles Stininski
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Major Character Death, Violence – Graphic, Temporary Major Character Death On-Screen Non-Violent Abuse of Child Canon Statutory Rape/Non-Con
Author Notes: I want to thank my two lovely people who helped make this story what it is: Starkindler and ScarsLikeVelvet. Also to Sunryder who made me such an awesome piece of art for this. I love it so fucking much.
Beta: Alpha-Starkindler Beta-ScarsLikeVelvet
Word Count: 78,220
Summary: Ten years after the Hale fire, the Nemeton reaches out in a moment of desperation. It has enough power to save itself and after years of watching, it’s picked the perfect person to send back in time to do it.
Chapter 5-December 20, 2004
Stiles laughed as Isaac chased him around the lacrosse pitch on the grade school grounds. Malia was on the sidelines laughing at how stupid they were acting. It was cold enough out that Stiles was in a long-sleeved shirt as well as a coat. Malia was just in a sweater, but her higher body heat was the reason for that. Isaac was in a sweater and a coat even though the sun was warming everything up.
Isaac launched himself at Stiles, tagging him before falling down. He scrambled up to his hands and knees and then took off like a rocket away from where Stiles was. Stiles lost track of time as they played a weird game of tag that had more to do with running and dodging than anything else. Malia wasn’t allowed to play because she was too good at it and always got the boys before they could get away.
Stiles wasn’t watching where he was going, and he nearly ran into a goal, stopping as he saw two people on the other side of it. He frowned and stepped around to see that it was Danny and Jackson. Stiles had been talking to Danny when he could, and Jackson wasn’t around. The best way to Jackson was through Danny. Jackson, though had been looking at Stiles and watching him since he had tried to beat the shit out of him before Thanksgiving. School wasn’t in session, and so Stiles hadn’t seen Jackson in days. It was winter break, and Stiles was happy for it.
Biting off the first response that he wanted to make, Stiles just watched as Danny and Jackson dragged four bags over.
“Can we play?” Danny asked.
Jackson scoffed, but he looked at Stiles with a little bit of apprehension in his eyes.
“Play what?” Isaac asked. He stayed behind Stiles as he asked the question.
Stiles looked down at the bag and frowned. It looked like there was a cross hanging out of one of the bags. He crouched down and opened it up. Instead of the bag was a pile of lacrosse sticks. He opened up the other three and found that it was all gear for kids their size.
“I’ve seen you guys out here playing around with the homemade stuff and talked Jackson into raiding the gear he has in his garage. Even Malia can play.” Danny was grinning and waved at Malia.
“She’ll eat you for breakfast,” Isaac said.
“Oh, I know that she will, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be nice. Lydia is supposed to come by later to watch if we are still going when she’s done with her parents.” Danny was still smiling.
Stiles wondered what had happened to make Danny and Jackson seek him out, or him and Isaac. He wasn’t sure at all. Still, he just nodded his head. Stiles turned around and waved Malia over toward them, but she shook her head. It was taking a lot out of her to get used to how she was faster and stronger than other kids their age. So far, it was easy to pass it off as her living in the wild after being scared and seeing her family killed by a coyote. Only her father knew the truth, and he was pissed. Not at Malia but at the people who allowed a werecoyote to be put into the foster system. Stiles knew that his dad was looking into things to see about others who might be in the system, trouble kids, and the like.
“She doesn’t want to play,” Stiles said.
“That’s fine,” Jackson said quickly.
Stiles looked at Jackson, and he saw that he was looking like he was upset about something. Stiles wondered if part of what had happened to him years in the future had happened quicker with Stiles beating the shit out of him. The fight had not caused any issues, and his father had dropped it when Mister Whittemore hadn’t come sweeping into the station to talk to him about his unruly child.
The sun was starting to dip down into the trees when there was the sound of a car pulling up that pulled them out of their mock game.
“Oh, shit,” Stiles said, and Isaac hissed at the cuss word, and he tried to shush him.
“Someone in trouble?” Jackson asked, making his first remark of the day that didn’t have to do with how much Stiles sucked at lacrosse. His mood had got worse when Lydia had texted him to tell him that she wasn’t coming by.
“No?” Stiles said. He wasn’t even all that sure that he had done something that was worth getting in trouble. He did all of his magic stuff in front of his dad after dinner on the nights that he was home. The rest was learning and doing homework. Helping Malia as she was still a little behind, even her grade that she was held back in. Stiles wanted to take the summer to get here where she could be in the same grade as Isaac, Scott, and Danny. He didn’t like her being a grade below the rest of them. Stiles was still a grade above them all, but then he was okay with that.
“Hey, kids. Pack it in. Dinner at the burger joint if you get in my car in the next ten minutes!” Stiles’ dad yelled out.
“YEAH!” Isaac yelled, and he started to strip out of his gear as quickly as he could.
Stiles laughed and followed behind. Malia was there, putting the things back where they belonged as each boy got them off. They were all sweaty and probably smelled disgusting, but then Stiles knew that his dad had people who smelled worse in the back of his cruiser before.
“I can call my mother and have her come and get Danny and I, Sir,” Jackson said as the five of them got close to the cruiser.
Stiles ran over and hugged his dad before telling him that he loved him.
“No, it’s fine. You four in the back after we get the bags in the trunk, and Malia can ride up front. I can drop everyone else off after we eat dinner and then take my two rascals home.” Noah ruffled Stiles’ hair as he talked, and Stiles saw the look on Jackson’s face. He just didn’t understand it.
“Are you sure?” Danny asked.
All five heads nodded before Stiles moved around to get his bag into the trunk. Malia was getting into the front, and the two back doors were opened on the cruiser by his father as he walked around. Stiles helped Isaac get his bag into the trunk while Danny and Jackson got theirs inside with no issue. Stiles took the outside and Jackson the outside on the other side. Danny and Isaac slipped into the middle. It felt weird but good at the same time. Danny had always been on the outside of things, but before he had gone off to college, he had told Stiles that he had known about werewolves since not long after Scott had been turned. Stiles knew that the two of them had never been that quiet about it, but he had hoped that they would be invisible like they always had been at that point.
No one had ever paid attention to them.
“I have a lacrosse pitch set up in my backyard,” Jackson said when they were all settled into the backseat of the cruiser, and it was started.
Stiles looked across at Jackson, frowning. The boy wasn’t looking anywhere but at the back of Noah’s head, though, like he was making sure not to look at anyone. Even Malia turned around to look at him. She was glaring at him a little, though. Stiles figured that in a few seconds, she was going to growl.
“We can meet there, it’s closer than the school. You can bring McCall if you want.” Jackson said nothing else after that, never looking at anyone. He even looked nervous. Before high school, Jackson only had Danny. Stiles had never thought about how that would manifest when he was in high school. He knew that Jackson was angry about being adopted, and while he loved his parents, he wasn’t the happiest after it and strove for perfection. Maybe Stiles could change that. He wondered if Jackson could be changed. If he never would become the Kanima. It was Jackson’s emotional issues that had caused the issue that turned him into the Kanima.
“Really?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah. You were pretty good out there, and I think with time, you might not suck as much.”
“Language,” Stiles’ dad said.
“Sorry, Sir,” Jackson said, and he did sound like he was a little contrite.
“Food?” Stiles asked as they pulled up to the Whittemore residence. Jackson’s parents were outside and looked at the car, worried.
Isaac’s eyes were on the house that still had the For Sale sign in front of it. It had not been hard to figure out everything that had to do with Isaac’s abuse at the hands of his father. Another deputy had taken over the case since Isaac was staying with the Stilinski’s to make sure that it wasn’t going to be a road that the person defending Mister Lahey.
“Anything wrong, Officer?” Mister Whittemore asked as Noah got out of the cruiser to allow Jackson to get out of the backseat.
“Nothing wrong at all, Mister Whittemore. I’m just dropping off the lacrosse things before I take the boys and Malia out to get a bite to eat. I’ll drop Jackson off as soon as we finish eating.”
“And me!” Danny said as he slipped out of the back. He grinned at Noah and walked around and poked at the trunk. It popped open a second later.
“And Danny,” Noah said with a smile on his face.
“Ah, that’s good. Jackson, did you make friends?”
“Hello, Mister Whittemore,” Stiles said as he crawled across Isaac to slip out of the car, and he held out his hand for Mister Whittemore to shake. “I’m Stiles Stilinski, and Jackson here offered his backyard up for lacrosse practice for myself, Isaac, Malia, and my friend Scott. He wants to teach us to not suck.”
“Language,” Noah said, and when Stiles looked at him, he was pinching the bridge of his nose. He looked like he might be in pain, but Stiles wasn’t sure.
“Sorry, Daddio.” Stiles turned back to the Whittemores. “We were playing around at the high school pitch, and he offered his up after making nice with us. So we are going to go to dinner and eat before we all go home and sleep like the dead from being stuffed full of food and running around for hours.”
Mister Whittemore looked at Noah and then at Jackson with an eyebrow raised up. He then looked at Noah again, and there was a look that Stiles knew well. It was an adult commiserating with his father over the kid that he had.
“That’s fine. I’m glad that Jackson’s making friends, even if it’s over lacrosse. And sorry for calling you a deputy. I didn’t see who you were until you fully got out.”
“It’s fine. I’ve been Sheriff a lot less time than I was a deputy.”
“Let’s get the stuff put up, and then we can eat!” Stiles yelled before he ran to the trunk to grab a bag. Malia and Isaac were there next, and Isaac just followed the four of them into the garage, where the lacrosse stuff was laid out on a shelf.
“I’ll take care of it, Jackson,” Mrs. Whittemore said as she walked over to unzip the bags.
“Thanks,” Jackson said. He looked at his dad and then at his mom before he hugs his mom and then his dad.
Stiles felt the world shatter a little at that. The mom had been too shocked to do anything, but the dad was ready, and he didn’t let Jackson go until his mom was wrapped around him as well.
“We love you,” Jackson’s mom said as she ruffled his hair when Jackson pulled back.
Jackson didn’t say that he loved them back. Stiles knew that Jackson hadn’t said that he loved them since he had found out that he was adopted. Stiles knew all about it. The Miller’s had died in a wreck, but they kept the mom on life support long enough for doctors to deliver Jackson. Jackson was set to get a good bit of money when he turned eighteen. Enough to cover school wherever he wanted. This time, Stiles was going to make sure that Whittemores didn’t go to London. The only other thing that needed to happen was for Ethan and Aiden to never step foot in Beacon Hills. Stiles was already working on that. Deucalion had already been betrayed by Gerard but Stiles had enough research to figure out where Deucalion was holing up at the moment to get his things settled and start to build his Alpha pack. Kali’s Emissary was the next item that Stiles needed to figure out. He needed to make sure that Julia never became the Darach for the good of everything in the world.
Stiles thought about all of that while they drove to the diner that he and his father visited a lot. The pack had grown without Stiles really planning on it.
Stiles rolled over in bed, and his brain was spinning. He knew that he was forgetting something, and he wasn’t sure what the hell it was.
“STILES!” Isaac yelled from the top bunk. Stiles scrambled out of his bunk and looked around for the danger as Isaac jumped from the top down.
“It’s Christmas!” Isaac rushed at Stiles and hugged him tightly. He took off running to head down to look at the tree.
The paperwork was being put through the system, but Mister Lahey had his parental rights severed after his case went to trial, and Stiles’ dad was in the process of adopting Isaac legally. Stiles loved that his dad was willing to take that step. Stiles was pretty sure that it was for Stiles, though, to make sure he wasn’t as alone after his mother’s death. There was also the thing that Stiles was pretty sure his father thought it would keep Stiles out of trouble, but Isaac was all for getting into supernatural trouble. Malia wasn’t any help on that front either.
Malia was going to come by the next day for a sleepover with Stiles’ dad sleeping either on the couch or in the bottom bunk while the three kids puppy piled in the bigger bed that would smell like Stiles and his dad instead of the guest room which smelled like no one. It was better that way, and Stiles’ dad already said that he didn’t care. He fell asleep on the couch a lot anyway and had since before mom had died. Stiles hated it, but he also understood.
Stiles pulled himself out of his thoughts and took off after Isaac. He rushed down the stairs, nearly missing the last five, but he caught himself. They did not need to go to the hospital on Christmas morning. Really no one needed it at all. He stopped though when he saw the presents under the tree. There were a lot, and there were two distinct sets of papers. He crouched beside Isaac to see that his father had wrapped Stiles’ presents in one paper and Isaac’s in another. The few presents that Stiles had got for his dad was under there as well, wrapped in the Sunday cartoons that he had snagged over the last few weeks from neighbors.
It was a good Christmas, and Stiles was pretty sure that at least one of these things was the computer that he had wanted for over a year. It would make his research spirals a lot better, and he remembered enough addresses to get back into the places where he could learn more magic and not have to go through the same methods he had used the first time. He stopped when he saw that there was another box in Isaac’s paper that was the same size as the one that Stiles was sure held his computer.
Stiles got up and turned around to take in the room. It was the first Christmas with his mother, and Stiles felt sad. Today wasn’t going to be good. It was Isaac’s first without his father, and no matter how much that man hurt him, he was still his father. It was his father’s first Christmas without his mother. Today was going to suck, but they were together, and that was enough for Stiles.
“Hey, Stiles, what’s this?” Isaac called out.
Stiles looked around for him and saw him standing at the side stand that was just off of the front door. There was a present there that was wrapped in shiny gold paper. Stiles frowned and walked over to it. There was a single bow on the top, and off of one of the curls of it was a tag. Stiles flipped it over. There was more than just the To and From filled out.
To the little Spark
May this help you on your journey.
I will be back to Beacon Hills the night of the Wolf Moon. I hope to see you then.
There was nothing signed where the From was, but there was a very artistic drawing of a paw print there that was dripping blood. Stiles laughed and used a bit of magic to cut the string holding the tag off, and then he started to open it. Inside of the box was a set of books. Books on magic that were so old that the magic hovered on them that translated them into standard, current English. Stiles was fairly certain he knew who had dropped off the books, but he didn’t know how Peter had got into the house. The wolf was sneaky, but Stiles had pushed his ass to get wards up around the house that would stop werewolves from getting inside. It wasn’t quite a Mountain Ash barrier, but Stiles hadn’t brought up that part to his dad yet about replacing the wood around the baseboards or something like that with it.
Still, Peter had gotten inside. Peter had left him a set of books that were valuable and something that Stiles could use. The thing was that Derek had years before that nothing like it had ever existed in the Hale Library. Books on magic just weren’t there, so it was either from a collection that Derek knew nothing about or Peter had gone out and bought it just for Stiles. The first wasn’t that big of a thing. It was obvious that this Peter had figured out what Stiles was from just a simple meeting.
The Peter of the future had been damaged by that fire in more ways than one. He was different, and Stiles was happy that he wasn’t going to be damaged anymore.
“Those are cool,” Isaac said.
“Yeah, they are. Help me get them upstairs before Dad wakes up,” Stiles said.
“I should leave them out so that Dad can see them and wonder how or even why an adult werewolf is breaking into the house and leaving me presents? The Left Hand of the most prominent pack in the area whose son was just targeted by a Hunter who it seemed planned to set fire to their house with everyone in it?”
“You have a good point.” Isaac reached for the books, but the box stopped him from touching them. Or the books did. Stiles wasn’t exactly sure on that one. He reached in again, and they allowed him to pull them out. They were near weightless. Stiles grinned at that and held out one of them. Isaac still couldn’t touch them.
They were quiet as they made their way up the stairs with Isaac getting the door for Stiles to their bedroom. Stiles dropped them with the other books that he had on magic and then turned around to look around the room. Isaac was slowly expanding into it, not worried that Stiles was going to get upset when something of Isaac’s touched something of his. Stiles walked over to where he had stuck Peter’s card, and he debated texting Peter, but he kept that back. He didn’t want to tell him over a text that he had a daughter out there. Instead, he just put the card back and followed Isaac out of the room.
It sounded like his father was up, so Stiles rushed to the kitchen to get the coffee started for him and then get breakfast in the oven. It was a casserole that Stiles had looked up. It was easy to make and would feed the three of them today and the next day.
Stiles was watching the stairs for them when his father started to come down and greeted him with a cup of coffee in his hands.
“You two up to anything fun? Stiles got you to shake all of the presents yet, Isaac?”
“No, Sir. He’s been good so far.”
Noah laughed and reached out to pull Stiles into a hug before he did the same to Isaac. There had been a little bit of worry that Stiles was going to get jealous about sharing his father, but Stiles knew that Isaac needed them more than they needed him. Stiles wanted to protect Isaac from everything. There were a lot of things that were still going to be coming that Stiles was pretty sure wouldn’t be stopped. He needed to make sure that everything was good and that the town was as ready as it could be.
Christmas day passed in a blur of presents and too much good food. Scott and his mom came over for dinner, and it was a little stressed as Scott wasn’t doing too well with Isaac staying with Stiles. Scott kept on looking at him with a look on his face that said that Scott felt like Isaac was kicking his puppy. Stiles tried to ignore it, not wanting to get into it on Christmas day. Instead of all of that, though, Stiles just kept on throwing them together. Especially while Isaac and Stiles worked on getting the laptops, they got for Christmas set up and updated.
The computer was going to help Stiles with his research into the supernatural. He wondered how much of the computer stuff Danny was already into and promised to figure out if he could stop him from getting caught this time around. It would be worth it to have that level of hacker hidden from the world.
Stiles dropped down at the table where Lydia, Jackson, and Danny were sitting and eating lunch. Issac, Malia, and Scott followed behind. Lydia glared at Stiles, but Stiles just smiled at her. It was the first day back after winter break.
“So Lydia, what’s your favorite language?”
“Cantonese,” Lydia answered, and two seconds later, she realized what she had done, and the glare was back in even greater force.
Stiles just grinned at her. The glare on Lydia’s face turned to shock as she realized that he had done that on purpose. He hadn’t been asking to just get a rise out of her and the airhead way that she acted. He knew that she was smart. Stiles’ crush had come out of the fact that he had heard her talking to herself while working on advanced math in the third grade. It wasn’t her looks, those were just a bonus, but he had always waxed about her looks because it was what most knew about her.
“Who are you?” Lydia asked.
“Stiles Stilinski,” Stiles said even though he knew that it wasn’t what she was really asking. Lydia glared at him again. Her glare was still horrible, but at least there was no scream that could follow it and knock him onto his ass or kill him.
“Stupid is not a good look on you,” Lydia said.
“Neither is it on you. Come on, let’s see who gets out on top of the race to be the valedictorian.”
“What makes you think I care about that?”
“Oh, you care. Just like you care about the Fields Medal.”
Lydia stood up and left. Stiles got up to follow her, but Danny put his hand on his shoulder and shoved him down to the table.
“Let her go. You are the first to call her on that.”
Stiles nodded his head and looked at the door where Lydia had gone through. Jackson was in the same class as her, so when lunch was over, he took her backpack with him. He looked at Stiles, a little confused. Jackson wasn’t stupid, he was just self-absorbed. He wasn’t a horrible boy, just someone who needed to grow up to actually be someone who gave a shit about someone who wasn’t him, Danny, or Lydia. Stiles just hoped that he got that this time around. Though there was the niggle about the back of his mind that Jackson wasn’t straight. He had no clue if Jackson even had the inkling that he wasn’t. The thing with the twins and then Aiden dying and Ethan ending up with Jackson of all people had been a shock in the future. He did wonder if Danny hadn’t ended up introducing them. He had never asked that. The shock had been on Jackson being bisexual.
After school, Stiles walked to the practice field to see if Jackson and Danny were waiting on him and Isaac and Malia. They were, and Lydia was even there. She looked at Stiles with a look on her face that told him that she was watching him. Today they weren’t doing anything other than conditioning, especially for Scott, who wanted to play lacrosse when they got to high school but was afraid of his asthma stopping him.
When practice was over, Stiles flopped on the ground. Jackson had been an asshole today on pushing them all to the point of breaking. Scott had to stop when he used his inhaler, and he had watched from the sidelines.
“If I have to stop acting stupid, you do as well.”
“I’m not acting. I have ADHD, Lyds. I can’t stop myself sometimes, but I can binge a research session for days and then sleep like the dead for a day when my mind calms down.”
Lydia looked at him like she was seeing him for the first time, and Stiles wasn’t sure that he liked it.
“You take Adderall?” Lydia asked.
“Yes. I’ve recently had to change it with…mom.”
Lydia nodded but said nothing. It wasn’t a surprise that she knew about the death. Everyone in town did. Stiles still was stopped by random people to give their condolences on it. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but it was bad enough that Stiles was still shocked by it. It always put him in a foul mood. It had happened on the day of the full moon in December. Stiles had ended up growling at the woman, shocking himself and Isaac.
“Well, we can talk about things later. Go get showered and let’s go get tacos and curly fries.” Lydia waved toward the showers in the school. Jackson’s dad had secured the ability to use them after they practiced and stuff. If one of Jackson’s parents was home, they went there, but the days that they weren’t they used the school so that adults were around if one of them got hurt. Stiles understood it, and he was happy that his group of friends was growing bigger. He was still working on things for Boyd and Erica. They were the last ones. Then his pack would be set, and he would be able to watch them all.
Malia had to be talked into not showering with the guys, even though Stiles really wouldn’t mind. He didn’t look at Malia like that. He hadn’t in a while. He hadn’t been upset when Scott had moved on her in the future. They worked well together. Lydia was waiting outside with a book in her hand. It wasn’t one of the one that Stiles had seen her reading at school that day. He rushed over to read over her shoulder and found that it was one of the Physics texts from high school. Stiles read over her shoulder as she read a few pages while they wanted for the others to get out of the shower.
“You can really understand this?”
“I went on a science spiral for six months, and I think I learned everything up through what Beacon Hill High teaches at the current. I stole a few extra books from the library that are there for when someone forgets a book at home. I swapped them out each week as I learned what I wanted.”
“Do you think you could graduate school early?” Lydia asked.
“Yeah, but why would I want to? I like it. Most of the teachers leave me alone and I do what I want. I’m already enough of a freak that I don’t need to draw more attention or stress for my father with having me have to have a guardian with me in school.”
“You don’t want to leave your dad alone, do you?”
“He needs me. Yeah, it still hurts to look at me sometimes when I do something that reminds him of mom, but if I left, it wouldn’t make him feel better. I love him, and college is going to be hard enough.”
“You changed after that, and I thought, for a while, you were broken. Then you came back after Halloween, and you were different. You stopped looking at me with puppy dog eyes, and then you were looking at me like I was your best friend, and I was ignoring you.”
“I just…you make friends so easily, and I was trying to figure out how to be your friend. Scott’s great, but I just…”
“Then, you saved Isaac. Everyone is talking about it. Yeah, at first, a few of the kids were upset you messed up them being able to go to the finals and all of that with swimming, but then the word spread that Coach Lahey locked Isaac in a freezer and it all stopped. If he could do that to his own kid, what would he do to someone else?”
“It’s scary.” Stiles looked up when he heard people talking. He saw that Isaac and Scott were coming out of the showers together, and that behind them was Jackson and Danny. Malia was nowhere to be seen. Stiles started to look around for her again, but she wasn’t anywhere. Then he felt hands on his shoulders. He tipped his head up to look at her, and she gave a smirk that was so Peter that it made Stiles’ heart break a little bit.
In January, he would see about telling Peter when he came around. He wasn’t sure what it was going to do, but Peter had a right to his child, and he doubted that this Peter would take Malia away from the man who had raised her any more than the other Peter had refused to do it.
Chapter 6-January 2005
One minute, Stiles was walking down the hallway heading to lunch with Isaac beside him, and they were laughing, and then they heard Jackson yelling at someone and then the sound of flesh on flesh. Stiles looked at Isaac and took off running. He broke through the group of kids to see Jackson pushing a guy into the wall, and Danny was on the ground and touching someone. It took Stiles a few seconds to realize that it was Erica. Stiles dropped down to his knees beside her and looked at the time to at least partially time it. Danny helped Stiles roll her onto her side just in case she threw up, and they kept her neck as stable as they could. It was hard with the way she was jerking in the clonic phase.
A teacher didn’t arrive for two minutes, and they rushed to stop Jackson from killing the kid and ignored the seizing one on the ground. Stiles waited for the seizure to be over before he relaxed the part he had timed that lasted three minutes. He looked to see that Boyd was there, looking down at them. He looked shocked that anyone had helped her. Stiles had always been the one to rush over and help her, but usually, a teacher took over from him. There was only the one that was keeping Jackson from his intended victim.
“Mister Whittemore, what is going on?” the teacher asked, and Stiles couldn’t remember her name. He hadn’t had her at all in his time in school, so he never tried to remember it. His head was full of enough stupid stuff that adding things he didn’t need wasn’t something that he did.
“He was videoing Erica having a seizure and was talking about posting it on MySpace and laughing about it. I told him to stop, and he told me to make him, so I did.”
“Is that correct?” the teacher asked. The boy leaning against the wall was glaring and didn’t answer, but a few other kids chimed in that Jackson was right.
Stiles looked at Jackson like he was seeing him for the first time just as Lydia arrived. She looked down at Erica and took off her coat and draped it over her before replacing the coat that was under her head with her jacket. Stiles didn’t understand what was going on. Erica was in a phase where she was a little disoriented. Stiles would make sure that she was fine, but right now, she was coming back to herself, and Stiles didn’t think that forcing it quicker would be good.
“We’ve heard you talking to Isaac about making friends with her and Boyd,” Lydia said.
“And?” Stiles asked.
“I realized that you are right that they need friends and I was talking to Jackson about Isaac and then how Erica doesn’t have anyone, but Boyd and even then Boyd can’t be around all the time. I made sure that Jackson understood what Epilepsy is and what to do when she has an attack.”
“We are kids, we shouldn’t have to, but this whole thing just proved that this school isn’t ready to deal with her.”
Stiles looked down at Erica and pushed the hair back from where it was on her face. He remembered her like she had been just after the bite, learning how to be someone who was free. Who didn’t have to hide anymore. He wanted that for her, but there was no Alpha around to bite her. Stiles knew of the Ito pack. He knew that Satomi might do it, but Stiles needed to have a reason to have a kid bitten and then leave her not in the pack. The bond between her and Erica could be broken easily. Stiles had learned how to do that after Scott’s issues with Peter the first time around. It was painful if it was unwilling, but Satomi would probably be fine with it. Stiles could make sure of it.
Malia dropped down at Erica’s head and moved the make-shift pillow out of the way and slid her legs there. Erica made a moaning noise, probably at the warmth that Malia was putting off. He knew how warm she ran and understood why Malia was doing what she was.
There was a flurry of activity as the nurse finally arrived along with the principal, who got the whole story from a flurry of kids who talked about how Jackson hadn’t done anything but get the phone, and then the kid kept on attacking Jackson. It had seemed so very out of character that the principal wasn’t believing it right until Erica finally came out of her stupor, and Jackson dropped down to make sure that she was fine. Stiles didn’t quite believe it. Jackson had changed more in such a short time when he never had before. It was strange as hell to think that Jackson was being this way all of a sudden. Stiles wondered if that change that had come over Jackson after stopping being a Kanima because of Lydia’s love had already happened. Stiles really hoped so.
Erica was taken to the hospital to be checked out after Jackson had given the rough time where the seizure had started, and then Stiles had the time of the clonic phase. It seemed her medicines were not working. Stiles made his father take him to see her when he got out of school. Erica was alone with her parents at work, and the doctor called them to make sure that everything they did was allowed. Stiles decided that that just wasn’t going to be allowed. He looked at his father, who left to head to his shift with a promise that a deputy was going to come and pick him up with dinner for the both of them and they would eat and then Erica would stay and Stiles would get some sleep.
“How are you doing, Catwoman?” Stiles asked.
“Does that make you Batman?” Erica asked.
“Yes, yes, it does. That okay with you?” Stiles moved to settle in the large bed with her. Erica nodded her head and curled toward him. There was a sound from the door, and there was Malia and Isaac. “What are you doing here?”
“Dad brought me, and I talked him into picking up Isaac since he had that meeting with the social worker after school.” Malia shrugged and looked behind her. There was Mister Tate looking a little uncomfortable.
Stiles waved at him, and Mister Tate waved back. “One of dad’s deputies will be bringing by dinner for Erica and me before taking me home. I’ll make sure that more food is brought and that Malia is dropped off at home. We can all work on homework.”
“Okay.” Mister Tate nodded his head. He looked at Malia, and there was that little bit of happiness that she was settling into life again. It had been hard for him to adjust to the fact that a coyote hadn’t killed her but was, in fact, her. The death of his wife and other daughter was laid firmly at the feet of the person who had shot at the car. Though Stiles knew who had done that, it wasn’t like he could tell anyone. He let it all work through on his own. Though he might have to sneak some files and see if Peter knew who it was from that alone. Peter’s memories of Malia’s mother were suppressed by his sister, but there had to be something. It wasn’t a shock that Peter would have sex with someone like Corrine. Hell, they were two peas in the same pod. Only Peter did those things for his pack, and Corrine did them for money. That was two very different sides of the same coin.
The afternoon passed quickly with all of them working on homework, and even Erica got some of it done that Stiles had Isaac grab for her. It wasn’t like she had the same homework as Stiles. Stiles always wondered why Lydia had been a grade below where she should be. He had never asked. The same with Jackson. They both should have been in his grade.
The next day, Stiles was looking forward to the same thing again. Only this time, Isaac was going to be going to the hospital with him right away.
Every day was like that while the doctor’s worked on finding a new medicine that would work. Erica had a reaction to the first, and then the second was administered at a lower dose to hopefully stave off too bad of a reaction.
Erica was there a week, and every day Stiles went over with someone else besides Isaac; there was a revolving door of kids in and out, and it helped keep Erica’s spirits up.
It was a week before the Wolf Moon. Stiles was expecting Peter to just show up randomly at some point. The man was never where you expected him to be and was everywhere when you didn’t. Stiles was leaving the school, alone for once, as everyone else had something else they were doing. Isaac was meeting with the doctor he saw for his head. Lydia was going to a movie with her parents and then dinner afterward. Jackson was hanging out with Danny. Scott was with his mom since she had the afternoon off. Erica and Boyd were hanging out. All of them offered to have Stiles go with them, but Stiles had felt like he wanted to be alone. It wasn’t something that he got to do a lot of. Even Malia had asked him to come over, but Stiles had just told her he was fine.
Stiles was going to walk home, and he was enjoying that. He stopped, though, when he was at the edge of the parking lot. He saw a black SUV that he didn’t remember seeing in the school lot before. There was a new kid in Scott’s grade, which was strange for January, but Stiles hadn’t thought much about it. Now he wondered if this was them.
Then a head of dark hair bounced over to the SUV, and Stiles felt his world shake. A man got out of the driver’s side of the SUV, and even though the last time that Stiles had seen Chris Argent, he had been much older. Stiles would know him anywhere. Chris looked up and narrowed his eyes at Stiles, but Stiles just started to walk toward them.
“Hello, my name is Stiles.” Stiles held out his hand to Chris, and Chris held his out it seemed on rote as he was a little shocked when Stiles actually shook his hand.
“Chris Argent and this is my daughter-”
“Allison. Yes, I know who you are.”
“I make sure to know the threats to my town, Mister Argent.” Stiles looked at Allison, who was looking at him like she really didn’t understand.
“You didn’t give me your last name,” Chris said.
“No, no, I didn’t.”
There was the sound of a whoop from a police car, and Stiles turned around to see his father parking the car behind him. Stiles sighed. He obviously hadn’t been far enough along to trigger one of the deputies calling his father to tell him that he was on his way home.
“Can I help you, Officer?” Chris asked.
“Actually, it’s Sheriff,” Noah said as he stood up. He walked up behind Stiles and laid two hands on his shoulders. “Just checking up on my son here. Sheriff Noah Stilinski.”
Chris’ eyes looked shocked. He pulled Allison a little closer to him.
“This is Mister Chris Argent, Dad and his daughter Allison. I was just introducing myself. She’s in Scott’s grade.”
“Argent…related to Katherine Argent?”
“And you thought it was a good idea to move here? To the town where your sister did what she did to a teenage boy?”
“It’s okay, Mister Sheriff, my father told me what Aunt Kate did.”
“Did he?” Stiles asked. He looked at Chris, and he saw the look of fear that came over Chris’ eyes.
Allison took a step back from them, hiding behind her father.
“What are you?” Chris asked. He looked like he was reaching for a weapon of some kind, and it made Noah lay his hand on his gun.
“What?” Stiles asked. He looked down at his body, and he saw his hand. There were claws there but not actual physical ones but wispy black ones that reminded Stiles a little of the void of the Nogitsune. Stiles rushed over to the side mirror of the SUV, and he saw that his eyes were red. Red, just like they had been in the mirror in that little limbo place that he had been in after dying and before he was sent back in time. “What the hell did you do to me?”
“I didn’t do anything,” Chris said.
“Oh, shut up, Hunter. I wasn’t talking to you.” Stiles turned around and saw the claws were still there on his hand. He looked at his dad.
“Mister Argent, why don’t you follow my son and me home? We can answer what we feel you need to know, and you can tell me what your reason for being here is. There is nothing supernatural going crazy in the area at the moment, so there is no need for a Hunter family to move in.”
“And if you don’t follow me, expect to have an arrest on sight released. The whole damn town knows that it was my son who is the one who took a picture of what your sister was doing with Derek Hale and none of them would bat an eyelash at me wanting to make sure my son is safe from her brother.”
Stiles felt his father’s hand on his shoulder, and he looked up at him. Stiles had no clue what was happening. He had no clue what was going on.
The trip home was quick with Stiles in the front seat, strapped in looking at the claws on his hand. He knew the training bits from Scott helping Malia, and by the end of the ride, Stiles could call them out and put them back with ease. He kept his head down so that no one would see his eyes. He wasn’t sure what they looked like now. Though there were a lot of things that were falling to place in his mind. How he felt on the full moon. Why Malia wanted to be around him. It wasn’t just that he was around. It was that he was an Alpha of some kind. Red eyes were Alpha. He was a fucking human Alpha with magic claws.
“Son,” Noah said as he parked the cruiser in the spot. The SUV pulled up beside him.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll freak out when they are gone. I was just shocked to see them and then this.” Stiles held up his hand and pushed the claws out. They looked like they were more solid. They were still black, and Stiles wasn’t sure that he liked that, but he would deal. The Nemeton had been silent for nearly the entire time that he had been back, just a nudge here and there. It was good enough for now but after this…Stiles wanted to have a few words with it.
Chris was the first out of the SUV, and his gun was more open on his body this time. Stiles watched his father’s eyes narrow in on it. Stiles was the first out of the cruiser, but he didn’t shut the door and step toward the house until his father was out and waving him up.
“How did you know I was a Hunter?” Chris asked.
“I knew what your sister was. The wolfsbane smell was enough for me,” Stiles said as he opened up the front door and slipped into the house. He went to the kitchen to grab sodas for all of them.
“How can you smell it? Normal humans shouldn’t.”
“I’m no normal human. What does Allison know about your family?”
“Everything from how we first became Hunters when Jean-Marie killed her brother to now and how perverted it all became over the years.” Chris took a seat in a chair, and Allison sat on the arm. “I laid it all out.”
“The women are the leaders in the Argent family, and yet, your father never stepped down to give it to your wife when your mother died. So tell me, what are you doing now with Allison too young to take over?”
“I’m cleaning the house, and the first thing that I chose to do with that was come here to make sure that no other hunters take up here and that the Nemeton doesn’t draw too much for the town now that it’s protectors are gone. I know the Hale’s left, and that means there is no one.”
“Oh, there are more than you think. Why should I let you stay?” Stiles asked.
“How did you become an Alpha?” Chris asked.
“That’s between the Nemeton, which is what made me an Alpha, and me. I’m a human, but I’m also magical.” Stiles wasn’t sure what kind of man Chris was right now, but he had turned into someone that Stiles knew he could trust before the Alpha pack had shown up. Yeah, he had made a few stupid mistakes when it came to Gerard, but wasn’t that the way of family? This Chris, though, was mostly an unknown.
“My father told me that the Nemetons were the source of all supernatural creatures. They created them to protect them, and then humans corrupted them. I never put much stock in that, but this-” Chris trailed off and flopped his hand at Stiles. “You really got that from the Nemeton here in Beacon Hills?”
“Yes. When the Hales left.” Stiles wasn’t sure of that. He had woken up in that limbo with the eyes of an Alpha. He stopped and dropped his head down, resting his forehead on his knees; it had come from Derek. The Alpha spark. It had gone into him when Derek had died in his arms. The Nemeton had done that, made sure that Stiles was what he needed to be. Beacon Hills was his, and he had never known it.
“Alpha Stilinski, my daughter and I would like permission to live here inside of Beacon Hills. We will help to protect its people, human or supernatural from all threats no matter what they are. I will not raise my hand in anger at anyone who has not harmed another. Do we have your blessing?”
Stiles looked at Chris, seeing the way that he was looking at him. This was the same Chris who had come back to Beacon Hills after the death of Allison. This was the one who had seen the world end around him, and he was scrambling to make sense of it all.
“Yes, on one condition.”
“What is that?”
“Train me like you train Allison and anyone that I ask you to train. There are some deputies on the force that are doing well as helping, but two wolves can’t train humans to fight supernatural beings.”
“You have wolves on the force?”
“Two that were part of the Hale pack but stayed when they left. I also have a werecoyote under my protection, and until you prove to me how you are really doing with what your family has done, you will not search out any of my pack.”
The word made Stiles’ chest feel like it was swelling. Pack. They were his pack. It was a ragtag group of random kids that he really shouldn’t have control over at his age, but it worked for them. They were going to be a pack if he had to drag Jackson into it, screaming and kicking. He wasn’t going to lose any of them like he had before. Death was something that Stiles would accept when they were all old and feeble and not a moment before.
“I think that this town has nothing going on that I thought it did,” Chris said. He slumped back into the chair, and Allison leaned into him before she just slipped all the way into his lap.
Stiles swallowed. Her mother wasn’t dead like the last time, but she was as good as with the deaths that were being tacked to her name. It was impossible for her to ever get out of prison with two life sentences back to back. Kate and Gerard had gotten worse. Yet, Stiles couldn’t care about that. If they escaped, Stiles would set Peter loose on them. There were ways for Peter to kill to make sure that he was never targeted. First, though, he needed to make sure that Peter could shift into the full wolf form.
After everything was over and Beacon Hills had settled down some, Stiles had done some research into the history of the Hales, and he found out exactly what Peter had done as Talia’s left hand. It was not for the faint of heart, Stiles knew that, but he also knew that everything that had been done was needed. Peter had done what he always felt was needed, even if the reasons were insane after he had gone insane.
The Argents stayed for dinner, and while it was strange as hell after Isaac got home, Stiles kept his tongue in his cheek. Isaac sat beside Allison during the meal, and things had gone well with that. Stiles wondered if that need for Scott to be with Allison was going to be there if he wasn’t a wolf. Only time would tell on that one.
Hours later, Stiles was getting ready for bed when he saw his father in his bedroom doorway. Stiles slipped the shirt onto his body and turned around.
“I don’t think that Beacon Hills and probably the world at large is ready for you, you know that right?” Noah was leaning against the door jamb.
“They will just have to get used to it.”
“Especially this band of misfits that you are pulling in. The Argents?”
“I felt that Chris was honest when he said he came here to try and make up for what his family did. The Hales are gone, and this place is crazy. We need the help, and if Chris can help to make sure that you and your guys are trained to do what needs to be done, there will be no reason for any other Hunter to ever set foot in this town.”
“He’s coming over to the station tomorrow to talk to me about a few things and then to see about talking to Wilcox and Roberts about a few things that they have taken care of on the side for the town since The Hales have left. I don’t know that I want to know all about every single creature they go after, but as long as everyone is safe, I’m giving them a little more freedom. I paired them up as partners, and they don’t go anywhere without each other.”
“That’s good. We need all the help we can get.”
Stiles had a lot of plans to try and get things taken care of long before anything became an issue. He still wasn’t sure how to handle the Dread Doctors, but he could work on that more later. He doubted they would be coming here earlier than they had the first time. Gerard wasn’t going to get the chance to fuck with the Nemeton and start to take out Supernaturals anywhere. The fucking monsters that he could stop, he was going to. Peter would be a good use for a lot of them.
Peter already knew that Stiles was a Spark, and the deeper Stiles got into that and all of the training that went with it, the more he would feel the pull of the ley lines around the area. Stiles could work that to his advantage. He felt a little bad about using Peter that way, but Peter had the means to do it all. Stiles was still just a kid, and he, while he knew that his father and his deputies would take care of what they could. Peter had the means and opportunity to take care of a lot of things.
Stiles just had to be careful.
Stiles could feel the pull of the moon even though he was tired. Malia and Isaac were curled around each other in Stiles’ bed. Yet, Stiles couldn’t sleep, not like them. Malia had a good hold on her shift, and after two hours of playing chase with Isaac, Stiles, and Stiles’ dad in the woods, they had all been tuckered out. Stiles had fallen asleep, but he had woken up. There was nothing going on around them, so Stiles wasn’t sure what woke him up.
The moon was still high in the sky, so Stiles walked out into the backyard to look at it. He could feel the moon inside of himself, and he wondered if this was anywhere close to what Malia felt. Stiles closed his eyes, and he inhaled deeply, smelling the woods around the house as they filled his nose. There was so much in that breath that Stiles wasn’t sure he would ever be able to figure it all out. He exhaled and inhaled again, and there was something new there. It smelled like spice and earthy, but it wasn’t what he would call a normal earthy. It reminded him a little bit of that matcha tea that Kira had forced Stiles to try that one time. He looked around to see what was going on, and he saw the yellow eyes looking at him from the edge of the yard.
“Peter,” Stiles said.
“You wouldn’t believe who I saw when I came to town.”
“Chris Argent. Yes, he’s already working with Dad to make sure that the deputies in the town are supernatural aware and can take on threats against its people.”
“You are training cops to be Hunters?” Peter asked. He stepped into the light so that Stiles could actually see him all the way.
“This town has no family of wolves to make sure that it’s safe anymore. I need to make sure that my dad is safe, and that’s the best way. Chris and Allison have already sworn, using magic, that they will never raise their hand to an innocent and keep their life.”
Peter looked shocked at that. Stiles had been kind of shocked when both of them had readily done it as well.
“You are getting more and more interesting, little Spark.”
“You don’t even know the half of it, Peter. I have news for you. My father has looked into the death of half a family in the area.”
“It was a year ago. Someone shot at the car that the three females members of the Tate family were driving in. The bullet was traced back to an assassin that has been on the radar of the FBI for a good many years. The Desert Wolf. Yet no one knows why she would kill a family like that. I played around with a spell that was to help with finding family, and it was strange when the eldest daughter’s line didn’t trace to the Tate’s through biological. She was adopted, which she knew. The thing is that it showed her biological parents. A werewolf and a werecoyote, which explains where Malia’s coyote comes from.”
“And the father?”
Stiles just raised an eyebrow at him.
“You think the father is me?”
“There is enough likeness between Cora and her that I think that she is. The spell showed me it was the Hale line, and I doubt your brother-in-law would ever cheat, and she’s too old to be the younger brother’s. Have you ever had sex with the Desert Wolf?”
“Why are you telling me this?” Peter asked.
Stiles shrugged. He really didn’t want to get into that; he wanted Malia safe. Or why.
“Why would the Desert Wolf want her daughter dead?”
“There was a rumor a few years back that she was hunting her child because her child had stolen part of her power when she had been born. Which is stupid as no child takes anything from the parent. More than likely, at the same time, that she had been born, the Desert Wolf pissed off someone, and they cursed her. I had assumed that the child was younger than that. Malia is around your age, is she not?” Peter dropped down on top of the picnic table that was in the backyard and looked at Stiles. “You can bend the truth as much as you would like, Stiles, but I can tell when someone is doing that, and it has nothing to do with a heartbeat or anything like that. I know people. You know that she is my daughter and you don’t want to tell me. Just like you knew that I was a werewolf when we had never crossed paths before. You can keep those secrets, whether you are some kind of Seer as well or are protecting one. You don’t have to worry about me taking the child from the surviving parent that she has.”
Stiles didn’t say anything, but he figured that the eyebrow that he had going on would say enough from him.
“I was never the fatherly type. My nieces and nephews will tell you that. I’ll make sure that the Desert Wolf is taken care of. I will be doing my own DNA check on Miss Malia just to make sure. I’ll make sure that you have everything you need to make sure that she’s well and cared for. Her father is human, and while I assume you have told him what she is, I doubt he really understands. I’ll give you access to one of the vaults around town that humans can get into. It’s got a case that’s made to withstand a pack of wolves breaking out of it. Malia will have no issue there when she hits puberty. The first few moons after it starts can be very rough. Wearing her out by running in the woods will not be enough to sate her blood lust.”
“Thank you.” Stiles was glad of that as the only places he knew were only able to be gotten into and out of with claws, and Stiles wasn’t sure that his fake claws would work for that. He would have to check on that at some point in the future. The vault under the school held enough things inside that Stiles was sure he could have some fun. The money would not be touched. It would be good for him to just ignore the money in all ways.
A howl ripped through the woods, and Stiles turned to see that it was a pair of wolves in the beta shift form. Peter didn’t get up, but he did turn to look at them. Stiles was pretty sure that it was Wilcox and Roberts. They made loops around the town to check on everyone in their lives on their runs through on full moon nights. Stiles hadn’t been outside when they were around, so he had not seen how they moved. Wilcox was born, and Roberts was bitten. There was a movement to it all as they walked around. A difference, something that Stiles had noted between Derek and Scott after years of being around them. Malia always moved differently, but then coyotes always did.
Wilcox flashed his eyes at him, and Stiles felt his magic flare in response.
“You are the most interesting person that I have ever met in my life, Mieczyslaw Stilinski.” Peter stood up from the chair, and Stiles held out a hand when Wilcox took a step closer to him. “You have an Alpha’s eyes and the heart of an Alpha, yet you are not a wolf.”
“No, I’m not, but-” Stiles walked closer to Peter, and he attacked in the blink of an eye. He slashed at Peter’s arm, and he waited to see what Peter was going to do. Peter didn’t do anything but watch his arm bleed. It wasn’t healing like it would if Peter was cut by another Beta or even a human. “Wilcox.”
The wolf stepped closer, and Peter offered his arm. Wilcox slashed with ease, and there was blood, but it was healing.
“An Alpha in everything it seems. Let me see.” Peter held out a hand for Stiles’ hand.
Stiles kept his claws out and let Peter look at him. He touched them and pressed his own finger to them.
“I can see through them, it’s hard, but I can. They are like smoke, but yet they are here. They hurt me. What did the Nemeton do to you?”
“It made me what this town needs.”
“I can see that.” Peter looked at his arm that was still dripping blood. He smiled as he looked at the blood.
“Will you make sure that I stay the kind of Alpha this town needs?” Stiles asked.
“I can only teach you what I know. I’ll find what I need, though. I didn’t want to leave Beacon Hills. I wanted to stay. This is where the Hale’s have been since the country was filled with people. We came over to escape the terrors that were being visited on Norway. Before the British tried to settle. We found what is now California and we stayed. An insane woman who decided that seducing teenage boys to kill their families targeted us, and we ran like the cowards we are.”
“And what are you going to do about that?”
“What I am going to do is make sure that Beacon Hills stays safe. My sister might have given up, but I haven’t. I came here on a whim those months ago. I found you after following a pull on my wolf side. Why are you out here?”
“I felt the pull of the moon.” Stiles waved for Peter to go into the house, and he looked at Wilcox and Roberts. “Go home. Sleep. You both have the morning shift.”
The two wolves left the area, and Stiles waited for the sound of them to go away before he headed inside. He found Peter at the kitchen table with a towel under his arm. He was pressing into the wound with the other hand.
“I’ve been injured while training before, but never has it taken so long to heal. Even when my father made the wounds or even Talia when I was teaching her to fight better.”
“Something to do with my magic?” Stiles asked. He grabbed the first aid kit from under the sink. He knew well how to bandage his own wounds. He was spastic, and he injured himself a great deal of the time.
“We can check that when you are older. I don’t really want to experiment on a child, no matter what you are.”
“Can you become an Alpha too young?”
“I don’t know, but you have enough people around you that are older and more than willing to help. Let yourself be a child. You have more than enough time to be an Alpha when you have grown up and are at least in high school. You don’t have a bunch of wolves or coyotes around you that will be pulling you. It’s humans that you are around. Be a child and leave the horrible stuff to your father, his deputies, and me. Can you promise me that, Stiles?”
“I can try.”
Peter laughed, and he lifted up the towel from his arm. It wasn’t bleeding anymore, but it wasn’t healed all the way yet.
“I am paying out the ass for the hotel room, I might as well get a little bit of sleep.”
Stiles wrapped up Peter’s arm so that it wouldn’t bleed all over everything because Stiles knew one thing, Peter would forget about the wound and then rip it open. He knew how they all treated wounds until they healed. Derek used to never even cover them, even if they were from an Alpha.
“Have a good night, Stiles. I’ll see you again, I promise you that.”
Stiles watched him leave. His form disappeared into the night through the window as the moon started to descend into the sky. The morning was going to be rough, but Stiles could do it. He would do anything that he could to make sure that life didn’t turn to hell this time around.
He still had no idea why the hell the Nemeton had done this to him, but he really wanted to find out.
Chapter 7-June 2016
Stiles felt Beacon Hills getting closer and closer, and he felt like his world was righting itself. He had missed it while being in LA since Christmas. Spring break had been spent with the whole of the pack staying in LA to work on school work. The others would be coming in throughout the next week as they finished up classes and other things. Stiles and Lydia had graduated a year earlier than the others, and so they were the ones who were finishing up. Lydia was going on a little further but would be doing most of it long distance. Stiles was done though. Getting his degree as quickly as he could. He still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. The FBI had been his dream job before, but there was no chance that he was ever going to be able to just hang around Beacon Hills, so he was probably going to end up at the Sheriff’s station working. He would be fine with that.
Criminal justice was the degree that he had under his belt, along with so many classes that made the sum total of everything that he wanted to know. He had taken other classes, but those were all online and would do nothing that would actually get him a degree of any kind. Thanks to Peter Hale, he knew more than enough about the supernatural world around him that he could handle just about anything that came his and his pack’s way.
Just at the sign for the town, Stiles stopped and pulled off the road. His wards were telling him that someone was inside of the city that didn’t belong, but they weren’t dangerous.
“Who the hell are you?” Stiles asked as he tried to sink into his magic.
Stiles could feel them somewhere inside of the city, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to head straight to them or not. He looked at the back of the Jeep and sighed. He needed to get everything unloaded. He had his and Isaac’s stuff in there. Isaac had taken his finals days before and had been on a short trip to New York for a seminar with a group of kids in his classes. So the things that he wanted to take back to Beacon Hills for the summer had been packed before he left. It would be easier to move around town in Roscoe without it looking like it did. It wasn’t like everyone didn’t know him and his Jeep, but it at least would be less likely to be truly memorable if he didn’t look like he was moving in.
Though, he was doing that. Stiles was home, and other than going to see his pack every single weekend once school started up again, he was home. He needed to make sure that his pack was okay with everyone around. There was an Alpha who would keep an eye on them in LA, but Stiles was worried about them. He trusted that Issac and Malia would do well in their roles as his second and third, his left and right hands, but the pack needed him as well, and he knew it. There was a lot that needed to be done in Beacon Hills before the pack was there to live for the foreseeable future. Jackson and Isaac were the last that were going to be heading home from college, Jackson needing to go to law school and Isaac med school.
Between Stiles and Danny and their high school activities of making a shit ton of money in programming and apps, the pack was pretty well set on school. Stiles had funneled all of the money that he had gotten from those jobs into pack funds, and Danny had given some as well, saving some for his own education and for his siblings. Stiles had not asked him to do that, but he had, and he had done it willingly. There had been anonymous donations as well, and Stiles figured that those had come from the Whittemores and Martins and possibly even Peter, but that last he couldn’t confirm. The ladies at the bank had been more than willing to tell him how much but never who did it. It had been through phone calls, and even Danny hadn’t been able to trace that last one to anywhere except a shack in Tibet. That had made Stiles laugh, and it was why he thought it was Peter.
The Hales had not been sighted inside of Beacon Hills since they had left, except for Peter and sometimes Spencer Hale, the youngest of Derek’s siblings and the only human born to Talia. Stiles had learned that the adult humans in the pack had been Bitten by Talia after the fire. The only human in the pack anymore was Spencer. Peter was a fount of knowledge when Stiles could pin him down for a conversation. He had kept on doing what Talia wanted and checked in on everything in Beacon Hills, but he always asked for Stiles’ permission, even if it was just an email shot to him. As far as Stiles knew, Talia knew nothing of the pack that was built in Beacon Hills, and if she did, it was not from Peter.
Stiles had met Spencer Hale just once, and that had been interesting as hell because Spencer had ADHD just like Stiles and had been chattering enough that it had only taken two seconds and the way that his leg bounced for Stiles to figure that out. Stiles had just stared at him, and he understood everything then. The way that Derek had threatened Stiles with bodily harm but had never actually done anything about it. The way that Peter would look at him with a fond look and just give him something to do to keep his mind active. If there was ever someone who would be perfect for hanging with wolves, it was someone with ADHD.
Spencer and Stiles had a few other things in common, but there was one big thing that they didn’t. Spencer hated research. He hated school and learning like that. He was damned good with computers, though, and that was what he was going to be going to school for, computer sciences or graphic arts to get into video games. The last that Peter had said Spencer hadn’t decided. There was more than enough money in the Hale coffers to put him into any school that he wanted while also making sure that even if he went one route, he could change at any point in time. It wasn’t like Stiles and his crew that had to be careful that they made sure that whatever they chose, they had to stick with it.
Stiles had made a company for him and Danny as soon as he turned eighteen and they put out enough apps and programs to keep money steady, but a good chunk of that money was tied up in the house they were renting in LA for the pack to stay in since dorms were a fuck no for the whole pack. And then there was the new pack house in Beacon Hills that had finished being built two months before. It was actually three houses that were linked with walkways, but it was enough. Each house had, on average, four people that were going to be living in it. Jackson, Lydia, and Danny were in the left house. Stiles, his father, Chris, Malia, Isaac, and Allison in the middle one. The last house was for Scott, Kira, Erica, and Boyd.
The middle house was a little more crowded, but since Isaac and Allison shared a room, and so did Stiles’ father and Chris, it wasn’t that bad. Malia and Stiles had their own rooms, but many nights Malia was in the same room as Stiles, especially during the first few nights they were home. Stiles was Malia’s anchor to her humanity, and while everything was platonic, it was nice to not be alone in bed. Jackson, Danny, and Lydia were in a strange relationship where Lydia and Danny were best friends and never touched each other sexually while Jackson and Danny were in a sexual relationship, and so were Jackson and Lydia. Erica and Boyd had been together since nearly freshman year of high school while Scott had met and started a relationship with Kira the near second she had arrived in Beacon Hills. Issac and Allison had been together pretty much since Allison had moved to town. She had attached herself to him before the words boyfriend and girlfriend had entered their thoughts.
Scott had tried to become something more, but Allison had just kept on telling him no. Scott had pouted for a long time, barely doing anything with Stiles at all because he lived with Isaac. Then Scott had gotten over it, Stiles was pretty sure that Melissa had been part of that.
Life had been strange, and only a little bit full of hell during high school. There was no Peter to go on a rampage and turn Scott into a werewolf. There was no Meredith to stay beside Peter while he screamed and no deadpool to take out the supernaturals. Meredith had been taken from Eichen House to make sure that she was cared for by the correct people after Peter had got in contact with a group in New York about the horrible shit that was going down there in the supernatural ward. The Dread Doctors had been taken out as soon as they arrived before they could make a single Chimera. Theo Rankin had been found insane as a teenager after someone had seen him abusing his parents after they had moved back to Beacon Hills. There had been things that Stiles couldn’t stop, but he had easily worked on getting rid of them as quickly as he could with a group of Sheriff’s deputies that were trained as Hunters or were supernatural themselves.
Jordan Parrish had still shown up after the Nemeton had started to heal, and he had died overseas. The Hellhound had been more prepared, though, as they all knew what he was as soon as he had arrived. He was still one of the best deputies, and while few ever left Beacon Hills, deaths still happened as there were ordinary people, and no matter if one was human or supernatural, they did stupid shit like robbing a store or drunk driving. The last large batch of new ones had been two years before, and Stiles had been so stuck in school that he couldn’t remember their names. There had been one newer since, but that had been a budget expansion, and it was six months ago. Stiles hadn’t met him, and he wasn’t even sure if his father had mentioned his name. Stiles would make sure that he met him.
After unpacking Roscoe, Stiles latched onto that feeling of something wrong, and he found that it was split up into two different strands. He followed the biggest one to find that it was a house. There were three threads inside of it. The ostentatious car outside told Stiles that it was someone with a lot of money. The yard was perfect and cared for by someone who had a lot of time or the money to pay for someone else to care for it. Stiles left that one for now since he was alone and followed the single thread to a coffee shop that was near the station. He sat outside and saw that there was a cruiser and an SUV parked outside. He knew that one was his father’s. He was glad of that. Whatever was going down was not going to go well.
Stiles touched the knife that was at his belt. It was hidden with magic, thank you Harry Potter fandom for giving him the idea to try it, and it wouldn’t even tip off metal detectors. When he was sure that he was as ready as he could be, he got out of his Jeep before walking toward the door. Magic showed him the trace from the thread all the way to the deputy who was beside his father talking to ladies at one of the tables. So it was the new deputy. That wasn’t. His father had been singing his praises, and it would be hell to get his father to get rid of him. His Spark didn’t like him being in town, him, or his family that was at the house. None of the threads told him that it was kids, so it wasn’t a wife and two kids there at the house thankfully.
“Here you go,” the barista said as she handed Stiles a drink.
Stiles looked at her to see that it was the same high school kid who had been there last summer. She had a crush the size of the Nile on Stiles, and even after Stiles had told her that he was gay, she had kept on crushing on him. He was probably safe, and Stiles understood those kinds of crushes. He didn’t begrudge her that and thanked her before handing over the money for his drink as well as a good tip. The tips were shared between everyone who was on shift at that time, so he always made sure that it was a good one.
Waiting to see what was going on, Stiles realized that the new deputy was a supernatural of some kind. The way that he stood and how his head cocked and even Stiles could see the deep breath he took every single time the doorbell made noise. Checking to see who entered and exited. He was good. It might not be as bad as Stiles thought. If the guy wanted to stay, he just had to agree to join the pack. No one really knew that Beacon Hills had a pack, and Stiles had made sure to keep it that way. Now that he was home and could take that up, he would start to make sure that it was known. He hadn’t been around enough to protect the area, and as much as he trusted Wilcox, Parrish, and Roberts to protect the land, having the Alpha gone wasn’t going to sit well with anyone who tried to take the land.
Satomi Ito’s pack knew who Stiles was, and they lived in harmony. Satomi made sure that things were safe for Stiles when he left, but she wasn’t connected to the area like Stiles was. She hadn’t known that wolves moved in without Stiles knowing about it. That one of them had gone so far as to join the police force. That rankled Stiles. It was a good move for someone coming into the area before taking it over.
Stiles was going to blame the fact that he was too focused on his magic instead of the man in front of him for why he didn’t recognize him as soon as he saw him. That and the deputy outfit. He was going to blame the fact that the deputy was smiling as he turned around as to why it took a few seconds for Stiles to recognize him. It wasn’t until the deputy’s eyes had raked down Stiles’ body and up again to settle on his face that he knew him. The thing was that he wasn’t being checked for how much of a powerhouse he was. No, he was being checked out, and that was something that threw Stiles for a loop.
“Stiles!” Noah cried out, and he was across the room and hugging Stiles before Stiles’ brain rebooted from the fact that it was Derek Hale standing there in a deputy outfit. Derek Hale, who had checked him out. Stiles hugged his father by rote but watched as Derek walked outside to set his drink in the cup holder in the cruiser. It didn’t shock Stiles that Derek went for the muscle car instead of an SUV when he was out and about doing patrols.
“Hey, Pops,” Stiles said finally. He let go of his father.
“When did you get into town?” The raised eyebrow told Stiles that his father would want to know at a later point why he was three days early in arriving.
“A little while ago. I dropped off mine and Isaac’s stuff at the house and then came to find you.” Stiles looked at Derek, and he knew from the way he was kind of looking in the same direction that Stiles was but also to the side a little that he was listening in. Stiles looked around the room to see that most of the patrons didn’t know about the supernatural. “We talk outside?”
Noah looked around the room and nodded.
“Stiles, this is Derek Hale, my newest deputy. I’m sure that you remember him.”
The look of confusion on Derek’s face was priceless. He looked like a lost little puppy, and that made Stiles laugh. Stiles wasn’t shocked that Derek didn’t remember him. That day had to be the worst in his life after finding out what he had about the first person he fell in love with if he had been in love with her. Stiles had mostly stayed away from anything to do with the trial of her. He hadn’t been happy that the Hales had left, so he had not wanted a reminder of them at all.
“I do. Though the last time that I saw him, he was on the other side of a set of bars, and I fed him. You were pissed that I was in the hold cell area of the station without a guard and a surly teenager who was pissed that Kate was being arrested.”
The look of shock on Derek’s face was even more priceless. The other Derek had been more taciturn, and seeing shock on his face had been near impossible until much later.
Stiles turned to face him. “Though listening in on conversations between a son and a father is a little bit below the belt, isn’t it, Hale?”
Derek’s eyes narrowed, and he looked between the two of them. “I don’t have any listening equipment.” He looked a little smug at the words as well.
“Stiles,” Noah said. There was caution in his tone but also a little exasperation.
“No, Dad. You might be willing to let him keep on being in the supernatural closet, along with the rest of the force, but I’m not.” Stiles looked at his father and raised an eyebrow, but all that Noah did was groan.
“Fuck, Parrish won the bet.”
Stiles looked at his father in shock at the words. He could see Derek looking at both of them like they were insane.
“We had a betting pool on how long it would take for Hale to be outed by something that he did. Parrish had down that the day you entered town, you would do it. He was the only one. How does he know you better than me?”
Stiles didn’t answer that but instead looked at Derek a little more. He didn’t have the full heightened senses of a wolf, but he knew enough to know that it was three family members in that house. What three was a toss-up. Talia, it seemed, was ready to move back to Beacon Hills after being gone a decade. Stiles wasn’t going to allow it. Stiles knew from a few things that Peter had let drop that while Laura was the Alpha to be, Derek was his mother’s third and backed her up in everything. If Peter hadn’t been sent but Derek, that meant that she was freezing Peter out.
“Can someone please explain to me what is going on?” Derek demanded with a low growl in his voice. He was pissed and barely holding on, that anger inside of him just under the surface.
“Sure but not here,” Stiles said. He looked at his father. “Your office?”
“Sure. I can let Parrish know that he can collect his winnings.”
“How exactly did you have it without him knowing?”
“Email,” Noah said. He climbed into the SUV and pulled out of the parking lot.
Stiles just looked at Derek until he got into his cruiser and pulled away. Stiles took his time going the block over to the station. There were a lot of vehicles in the lot, which meant that there were few on patrol at the moment. Regular school wasn’t out yet, a few more days after the week of no electricity at one point, and therefore no clean water had kept the kids out of school, so they were going a week longer. Stiles thought that there was a day or two left. Those on duty would flood out as soon as the schools were near letting out to make sure no one sped in school zones.
Parrish was laughing in the bullpen while Derek was nowhere to be seen. There was someone else in there, though as well. One of the other Hales. Stiles wondered just who Derek had called while in his cruiser to come and back him up. If it was one of the kids, things were not going to go well.
“Stiles,” Peter said from the side of the room where he was talking to Wilcox.
Stiles looked at where Derek and his father were already in Noah’s office. He wasn’t sure what Peter was already doing there.
“I dropped off lunch for your father.”
Stiles narrowed his eyes at Peter. He knew that tone of voice, and Stiles didn’t like it.
“You know that my father has been in a steady relationship for four years, yes? Keep your hands off of him, Creeperwolf.”
The door to the office opened, and Stiles looked at his father, who was eating some kind of grilled chicken and what looked like some kind of vegetable mixture.
“I’m well aware, Stiles, and I brought the meal to him on his partner’s request.”
Stiles stopped at the word partner, Peter had not said his name. Stiles looked at his father. He had a piece of paper tucked under his food, and he moved a finger to shove it toward Stiles. Stiles took it and read over the words that Chris didn’t come into the station when Derek was on duty and didn’t know that it was him. The fact that Peter was not using Chris’ name told Stiles that it seemed the Hales had been in town longer than he thought.
Noah stepped back and shut the door to his office, and Stiles felt the little bit of magic he had pushed into the wood go active. His father made it to where Derek wouldn’t be able to hear anything said outside of the room. That also meant that Stiles couldn’t hear anything going on in the room. He was still working on that part of things.
“How long have you been in Beacon Hills, Peter?” Stiles tried to track down exactly how long ago it had been since Peter had asked to come for a visit, and it had been two years.
“You’ll find, Little Spark, that I asked to stay in Beacon Hills along with three family members. I did not ask to visit.”
Stiles narrowed his eyes at Peter and grabbed at the closest mountain ash jar that was hidden in the station. It fell to the ground, and the glass shattered. Peter reacted, but before he could, it was circling him.
“I learned a new and very neat trick last summer.” Stiles crooked a finger like he wanted Peter to walk to him, but instead of Peter walking, the mountain ash circle moved. Peter’s eyes widened in shock when he was forced forward by the barrier the ash made. “Yeah, it makes a neat little trick, doesn’t it? I’ve been home several times since that visit that I thought was a visit. So you have been what? Making sure to be out of town, all four of you every time that I came home?”
“Your schedule was easy. Cora and Spencer went home to visit their mother when you were home. Derek went some of the time, but some of the shorter visits actually went on a trip.”
“He’s lived here for over a year before becoming a deputy?” Stiles asked.
“I’ll talk about this with you as soon as you finish up your visit with my nephew. Chris has invited me over for dinner. Your father thought that you knew that we were living here and didn’t care. I kind of made him think that. I wanted to see how Derek took to living here and attached himself to people before you came home to stay.”
“You are just lucky that my wards tell me that you are not a danger.”
“I’ve been coming back to Beacon Hills for years, Stiles, and never caused any harm. Besides, I made sure that your favorite deputy got enough money for his vacation he’s taking next month.”
“I should have known that it was you who talked Parrish into that. My father is bemoaning the fact that one of his deputies knows me better than him. He should have known that it was the Creeperwolf.”
“Hey!” Parrish said.
Stiles looked over at him, but Parrish just grinned.
“It made sense after he said it,” Parrish said.
“Peter vouched for his nephew that he was under control and didn’t need to come out as it were,” Wilcox said.
“No, his control is just fine,” Stiles said. The other Derek had good control, and there was no way that this one didn’t have better. Stiles knew that Peter had shoved him into every single kind of therapy he could get away with after the thing with Kate. Even couples therapy with no one else in the relationship. That had made Stiles laugh, but he had never quite figured out why that brand of therapy to begin with. Probably just to piss off his nephew.”
“Did we fuck up?” Roberts asked.
“No. You didn’t. I just trusted this asshole a little more than I should have with his on and off-again relationship with the truth. What do they know?”
“Talia has heard whispers of a pack in the town and a very reclusive Alpha who is running it. Derek and I were sent to figure it out, and to make it look a little better, Spencer was sent with us, so he’s been in high school here. Cora bounces between taking classes at her college, which is only an hour away, and online classes there. They are supportive, but know why we are here. Spencer has been a little upset at not getting to see you, but I’ve kept him away from the majority of the pack. Derek wanted to get closer to Wilcox and Roberts, and so that was why he joined the force.”
Stiles laughed and looked at where Derek’s back was still to where they were, and his father was looking at them with a raised eyebrow.
“Like he can get shit from them.”
“Yes, that’s very true. He’s not even figured out that there are technically two Argents in town. He knows that Chris has turned a new leaf and had from the moment that his family was thrown in jail, and since Talia believes that he’s good, Derek accepts it. It helps that the last hunt that Chris went on was that family of Wendigos that would only eat kids was caught. It makes things a lot easier.”
“Are you expecting me to lie to him about everything with you?”
“No. He will find out what he finds out, and everything will come out. Talia knows that I’m unhappy with leaving Beacon Hills. I have made it plain that if we hadn’t run away, there would be no pack taking this area over. I’ve seen what the Nemeton allows you to do, Stiles. I know for a damned fact that it wants you here and not us. I can feel the wards that are everywhere.”
“Oh my God, that’s your damned car in front of the house.”
“My wards led me to the house where there were three people. I didn’t try and get inside and just followed the other thread to the person who was alone. My wards are linked to those who I don’t allow inside of the town but are not violent. I’ll adjust the wards for you to where it will stop pinging you, but the rest of your family stays the way that they are until they go home or join my pack, Peter.”
“I would never demand anything else. My nephew is getting upset, so I had the best leave. I brought him lunch as well, so it will be a good cover for why my scent is here.”
“I’ll be telling him that I am the emissary for the pack, but I refuse to tell him anything else. I’m the first and last line of defense for mine.”
“As you will, Alpha.” Peter gave a mock bow and then was slipping out the back way. An area that no one but cops should be able to get into. Stiles called on his magic, cutting his finger to give up a little blood as he followed the sound of Peter as he swiped out of an area. Stiles looked at Wilcox and Roberts. They both looked a little uncomfortable.
“Why does he have that?”
“So that he can slip out easily when his nephew shows up when he’s visiting the Sheriff.” Wilcox actually looked at Stiles like he might be stupid.
“And why would-” Stiles stopped as he knew the answer to that. If he went to his house and tracked the scents the way that he had learned how to do with his Spark, he would find a tangle of three in his father’s bed. Peter had always talked in a vague way about the fact that in a moment of rebellion when he was a teenager, he had taken up with a Hunter. There was one offhand comment that Kate was not the only Argent who had been in a relationship with a Hale, but Stiles had always thought that it was long before Gerard and had been part of why the Argents hated the Hales, but it seemed that he might have been wrong there. Stiles really didn’t want to think about his father taking up with Peter in a weird three-person relationship with Chris. Yeah, there was Danny, Lydia, and Jackson, but at least that had all started at the same time. It wasn’t like there had been a relationship between two of them, then that stopped, then there was a relationship between two different ones, and then they all three took up with each other.
Stiles pushed open the door to his father’s office and felt the soundproofing ward dropped down. He didn’t put it back up when he shut the door, either. He wanted Wilcox and Roberts to hear.
“You knew I was a werewolf?” Derek asked, looking at Noah.
Stiles mentally congratulated his father on keeping Derek in line until that moment.
“Since before you moved to town with your uncle. I know exactly why Kate Argent targeted you, Derek. I’ve known since just after. Stiles found a werecoyote child who had been hiding in her full coyote form in the woods. She changed in front of my two wolf deputies and me and I found out that Stiles had known about the werewolves in the area for a little while. I got a crash course in everything to do with that then, and I’ve been learning more and more over the years. We have a Hunter who follows his own code of helping those who cannot help themselves on the roster to train all new deputies that I get. I wanted you to be comfortable with me before you told me. I had hoped it would be before now, especially with the way that I treated Wilcox and Roberts.”
“You’ve given me the day off after a full moon, and I just…The rotation is much the same, and I just assumed that you stuck me in with them and didn’t realize why or they had asked.”
“No. The five of you who have the night of the full moon and the day after off do so for a reason.”
“But, Parrish and Childs are not wolves.”
“No, they are not. Parrish is a Hellhound, and Childs is something that I haven’t figured out. He doesn’t know either. Wilcox has been working on that with him going through the bestiary that has been made up.”
“Then I request formally that I am allowed to meet the Alpha of the pack here.” Derek glanced at Stiles as he said it, but he kept his eyes firmly on Noah.
Stiles had kept quiet, listening to the words, and just watching Derek. This man in front of him was very different from the other Derek that he knew. Stiles would have to work on not thinking of his Derek while this one was in front of him. It was a good bet that Noah would know as the Sheriff who the Alpha was given he had four of the pack on the squad, but Noah would never give that up.
“Sorry, no,” Stiles said.
“I wasn’t speaking to you,” Derek said as he looked at Stiles with a look of disdain.
“Actually, son, that kind of thing does need to go through my son,” Noah said as he stood up from his seat. He walked around the desk to lean against it, closer to Stiles than to Derek.
“Why would a human be the go-to for the pack?” Derek asked.
“Yes, why would they be? You’ve had enough education on packs to understand why that might be. So tell me, Beta Hale, why would a human be the go-to.” Stiles knew that his tone was snotty, but Derek was getting under his skin. Just like he used to back at the beginning after Scott had been turned.
“Normally, those kinds of requests go the second or third, but if they are not around, there is the emissary. Though some packs have everything go through the emissary instead of any of the actual pack.”
“Gold star for you, Beta Hale.” Stiles knew that he was probably going to be shoved into a wall at some point if he kept on calling Derek Beta Hale. He was sure that Peter hadn’t gone that far and was listening in with glee. Stiles would deal with the wolf at a later point after talking to Chris. Chris didn’t lie about anything to Stiles when it came to his relationship with his father, even if Stiles would rather that he did lie. Stiles pulled his mind back to the wolf in front of him and pulled out a few bits of sticks from his back pockets. He didn’t want to make himself bleed in front of Derek, so he sacrificed the few bits of the Rowan tree and called for a magicked gold star that affixed itself to Derek’s chest. “My Alpha doesn’t feel like it’s time for the packs to meet at all.”
“How do you know that?”
“I know my Alpha well, and the Hales have been here for two years and have hidden and used subterfuge to get what they want, which is information. There is a reason you’ve not got anything yet, and it’s going to stay that way until my Alpha chooses to meet with you or your uncle.”
Derek narrowed his eyes, and then there was the sound of a crash outside of the door. Stiles turned to look to see that it was Spencer who had literally fallen on his face as he had entered the station. He shoved himself up and looked around before settling his eyes on Stiles inside of his father’s office. Stiles opened the door before Spencer crashed into it as well. Spencer was a ball of energy, and he smacked into Stiles so hard to hug him that Stiles was pretty damned sure that he was going to have a bruise or two from knobby body parts.
“STILES!” Spencer screeched.
“SPENCER!” Stiles screeched back, making the boy laugh. Spencer didn’t let go of Stiles at all and instead just held onto him longer than he really should have. Stiles could feel the glare from Derek on the back of his head.
“When did you get back?” Spencer asked when he finally let go.
“Just today. Where is your Uncle Creeper?” Stiles looked around and saw that it was Cora that had brought him. She was standing and looking at Stiles like she was trying to figure him out from just that. He knew that Cora was going to be different. There wasn’t going to be the bond of him protecting her from the Alphas.
“Being pouty back at the house because his boyfriend isn’t responding to him. I am not sure which one as he never says, and while Derek says that he only has one smell on him, he’s pretty sure that Peter has two.”
“You don’t say?” Stiles asked as he glanced at his father to see that he was blushing a little bit. Stiles raised his eyebrow, and his father huffed before pulling out his phone and shaking his head a little. So it was Chris who was doing it. “I’m sure that he’s just busy. We all know how petulant your uncle gets when he doesn’t get what he wants. Why don’t you come over and bring your family for dinner tonight? I’ll need to meet Cora at some point and get to know your brother as someone other than Deputy Hale.”
“Oh, yeah. Hi, Derek,” Spencer said. He rubbed the back of his neck as he finally dropped all contact with Stiles’ body. “Derek, I want you to meet Stiles. Stiles, this is my grumpy older brother Derek, mom’s third.”
Stiles looked at Derek with a raised eyebrow. That meant that this was a very serious thing. Talia was looking to take over Beacon Hills. Stiles knew that Peter knew that wasn’t going to happen. The rest of the Hales were probably going to be coming back as well. Stiles was actually shocked that they let Spencer move here. It probably had to do with Peter asking it and that Spencer had been coming with his uncle a great deal.
“Stiles is the guy who helped me with my ADHD. He was diagnosed with it at a very young age.”
“You have magic and ADHD?” Derek asked.
“I have a lot more than that, but that’s all you need to know about, Beta Hale. And I meant the dinner invitation. It will just be me and my father and my step-father there at dinner. Maybe Malia.”
Stiles looked at his father, who nodded his head. “Okay. Yeah, Malia will be there.”
“Who is Malia?” Cora asked from the doorway behind Stiles.
“She’s my sister of sorts. I’ve already told Derek a little about her.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“Yeah, I did. It’s not my fault you can’t keep up. She’s the werecoyote and outside of my father and step-father, the only pack member who will be at dinner. I suggest you don’t insult me. She protects me as I was the first pack member she bonded with, ever.” Stiles left the threat hanging before he looked at Spencer. “Come on, short stack, let’s go and find something to cook for dinner tonight. You can go with me today, and I’ll give you another cooking lesson.”
“No,” Derek said.
Spencer just looked at Derek. “You are not the boss of me. Mother said I was allowed to hang with Stiles, and Peter said I could. You don’t control me.”
“He’s of another pack,” Cora said.
“And he’s been part of another pack for years. It’s not my fault that no one ever asked him about it, and I’m pretty sure that Peter knew that as well. He knows that Stiles can do magic. You butt the fuck out, Derek.”
“Language,” Noah said with a grin on his face. He ruffled Spencer’s head and gave Stiles a fond look before escorting them from the station to Stiles’ Jeep. Spencer jumped into the passenger seat. “You sure that dinner is the best time for that bomb?”
“Just like me finding out on my own that you and he have a third person in the relationship now?”
“I wasn’t sure how to explain it, and Chris agreed that in-person was better. I’m still not sure how you figured it out, but we can talk about it later. Now go before two wolves chase you down.”
“They won’t be able to track either of our scents. I’ve got that blocker on the Jeep.”
“Chris is at home and plans to stay there, so Derek’s not going to see him.” Noah looked at Spencer to see that he was watching.
Stiles knew that Spencer was smart, not nearly as smart as Stiles, but his mind was able to connect clues with ease. He wondered if Spencer could connect the dots about Chris before they got home. Probably not, he had been young, but then he had no clue what the Hales talked about when it came to the Argents and their history.
Dinner was going to be interesting as hell, but Stiles would endure, and with Peter and Chris there, he wouldn’t be the only troll, it was something to look forward to.
Chapter 8-June 2016
Stiles watched as Spencer worked on setting the table. The kid had opened up every single cabinet and learned where everything was as when he ate at Stiles’ house; his job had always been to set the table. Stiles had been happy to pass that on. Stiles had never pushed that onto Isaac as his father had made him do it. Sometimes Isaac offered if Stiles was the one cooking, but it was a chore that was mostly pushed onto Stiles.
“Are you liking living here?” Stiles asked.
“Yes. I love Beacon Hills. I had a few kids who remembered me. I’ve begged to go home every single year just after school let out. It’s part of why Uncle Peter wanted to bring me along. Though I have also been getting into a lot of fights with Mom and that’s probably why she let her human baby leave. Laura had to stay because she’s the next in line, and Cora just wanted away from her. So Uncle Peter ended up with all three of us. Robert and Josh are still Daddy’s boys, so they stayed behind. Besides, I wanted to spend more time with Malia.”
Stiles nodded his head in agreement with that. Peter kept him minimally aware of how everything in the Hale pack was going. Nothing that would make it easier for Stiles to do anything to them but enough to keep him aware of what could and might just happen that would get the Hales back to Beacon Hills quicker. Peter had something else going on with coming back to Beacon Hills and hiding from Stiles when he had been home, but he would play that out. The Nemeton was much more powerful, but that power needed to make Jarvis wasn’t something that it would ever have again, and Stiles was okay with that. The pack dying as a whole wasn’t worth that. Yet, there was enough power to make sure that outside of Malia, no Hale would ever set foot on the land again if he so wanted. So Peter could play his games all that he wanted.
“Stiles,” Chris said as he entered through the back door. He was wearing his animal hunting clothes with a hunting rifle hanging over his shoulder. His eyes darted right to Spencer with a raised eyebrow. Chris knew who he was, but they had kept Chris away from him over the times that he had been in Beacon Hills, just to be safe. “And who are you?”
Spencer’s eyes darted up, and he looked at Stiles in shock as he laid down a fork. He looked ready to bolt because of the gun that was hanging over Chris’ shoulder.
“Did you get a good deer?”
“I did. I dropped it at the butcher’s, and he’ll prepare it for us. He’ll call Noah when it’s ready.”
“Good. Good. We need more venison in the freezer. Spencer, this is my step-father, Chris. Chris, this is Spencer Hale. He’s helping me get ready to feed the horde that will be here tonight. It’ll be us, Dad, Malia, as well as Spencer’s family that is in town. His brother and sister, Derek and Cora, as well as their uncle Peter. I’m sure that you know him.” Stiles let his face do the talking, and he saw the little flash of surprise on Chris’s face. Stiles really wanted to know why anyone tried to hide anything from him.
Peter had taught him well how to read everyone around him. Peter had taught him a lot of things, but Peter had kept a lot close to the vest as well. Stiles knew that he intrigued the wolf, but other than that, he had no clue why Peter even bothered with him. Malia thought it was boredom. Stiles did wonder how he could ever be bored when his job was looking for and eliminating threats against the Hales. Though that could also be why he was keeping such a close eye on Stiles, but even Stiles’ magic didn’t feel like that was correct.
“And how would I know him?”
Stiles looked at Spencer and then back at Chris. Chris just raised an eyebrow.
“Did you ever start to respond to Peter today? Spencer said that one of his two boyfriends wasn’t responding, and Dad already told me that it wasn’t him.”
“Why did I want you home again?”
“Because my father mopes when I am not home, that’s why. Now go and get cleaned up and put the gun back in with the rest of them. No one needs wolves afraid of being shot at dinner. Though I’m sure that a good threat makes Peter’s motor run!” Stiles yelled as Chris got just out of sight.
Spencer made a gagging noise and laughed when Chris stumbled on the stairs that led up.
“How did you know?”
“Your Uncle Peter and Chris used to be a thing. I’m not sure what kind of thing but a thing. Peter had been bringing my father food. Healthy food that he doesn’t mind eating. The same kind of stuff that he taught me to make to help keep my father from having heart issues. It ran on his mother’s side of the family. He’s been teaching me recipes for years. He sends me new ones.”
“So, Chris and your dad are married?”
“No. I just call him my step-father because he’s been around for a long time before he even started something up with my father. Which I will tell you this, walking in on them on the couch making out was enough that I was scarred for life.”
“Eww. I can’t even think about walking in on Mom and Dad making out. I see them kiss but nothing too public.”
“Soundproof, even to wolves, rooms are wonderful. I have the rooms all warded instead of relying on actual soundproofing. It only works when the doors are shut, but noises that are above a certain decibel are kind of broadcast into each room. So a gun going off on the grounds would echo in each room. Someone falling on their ass would not.”
“That’s cool. I wish we had that at home. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love that the rooms are soundproofed, but mine is not. Since I’m a human and can be easily hurt. I tried to bring my girlfriend over once, and I was giving her oral, and half of the family rushed in when she moaned. It was horrifying, and she stopped dating me because of it.”
Stiles tried to figure out if he was shocked or just full of anger on Spencer’s behalf. It seemed that only the wolves had privacy in the Hale household.
“Uncle Peter made sure that my room was soundproofed but that unless I was in the middle of something like sex with someone, I was to leave the door open. Or I am jerking off. He believes in privacy, and given that he is dating two different guys, I can understand why.”
Stiles could as well, especially with one of them being an Argent. The conversation dropped off as Spencer finished setting the table, and then Stiles was finishing off the things that needed to be done. Everything just had to cook in the oven until ten minutes before dinner. That was when the rolls needed to go into the oven.
Chris came down fifteen minutes later, freshly out of the shower and dressed in a very down-home outfit, but Stiles knew that it was all designer. Argent Arms International was still doing very well for itself, an entirely legitimate business that offered guns to local law enforcement and government level as well but also helped in training LEOs to fight the supernatural at the behest of the FBI. Stiles had been shocked the first time that he had seen an FBI agent show up at the house asking to talk to Chris when Stiles had been staying over with Isaac and Malia at Allison’s house. It had been an even bigger shock when it had been Agent Aaron. Stiles hadn’t been able to help himself, and he hugged the shit out of him before the agent could even tell who he was. Part of the deal made with the FBI on Chris keeping his father’s company after ridding it of the bad elements was that he wasn’t allowed to sell to anyone that the FBI didn’t agree to, and it had been no big deal for Chris to agree to that. Chris supplied all of the weapons to the FBI and CIA that had to do with hunting supernatural elements that went rogue.
“You clean up nice,” Stiles said with a grin.
Chris came over and pulled Stiles into his body for a proper hug before ruffling his hair. Stiles stuck his tongue out at him and tried to fix his hair. Spencer just laughed, but he also looked at both of them with a little want in his eyes. Stiles wondered if he missed his family, despite having Derek and Cora with him here. Stiles pulled him in for a hug when Chris stepped away.
“So I need to go and shower. Your job is to get the rolls into the oven when the timer says that there are ten minutes left.” Stiles gave Spencer a grave look.
“Yes, Sir.” Spencer gave him a mock salute before dropping into the chair by the island where there was a book open. Stiles saw that it was one of the books on magic that Stiles had picked up recently.
Stiles texted Peter to tell him when to arrive for dinner with his two remaining sister-spawns and that he was expected to bring the wine that would work with dinner. He got back a middle finger emoji. Stiles laughed.
Malia wasn’t there by the time that Stiles got home, but that was okay. She would be before dinner. Stiles knew that she should arrive just before the rest of the horde that would be there the next day. She hated her roommate and wanted to be the hell out of there as soon as possible. She had opted for a dorm unit that year instead of the pack house in LA, but she ended up staying at the house on the weekends. Her class schedule was packed for the year, and she hadn’t wanted the extra time of a commute back and forth. She was doing the pack house the next year though, commute be damned. Her car was also not big enough to have anyone else inside of it along with her things. The bigger items were already moved to the pack house, and she was just bringing clothes for the summer back with her. The Shelby Cobra that Peter had bought her had been an indulgence choice, but Malia had taken a look at it and fallen in love. If the roads at the edges of town got a little use of her racing the car there, no one needed to know that. Peter had the same car, and Stiles had to wonder where it was because it had not been outside of the house when he had driven by it. That meant the expensive car there had to be either Derek’s or Peter’s second car.
The sound of the front door opening and shutting sounded up the stairs as Stiles was coming down them. He saw that it was his father, as well as Derek. It seemed that they got off at the same time, so Derek had just come home with him. Cora would no doubt be just behind them. Dinner was about ten minutes away from being ready. The rolls would be coming out, but the casserole that Stiles made needed cheese added to the top, and then it would go back into the oven to cook the rest of the way.
“Just in time, Pops.”
“Peter and Cora are just behind us. He had to stop and pick up wine, he said.” Noah raised an eyebrow.
“Ah, yes. Wine’s a good choice to go with the meal.” Stiles laughed at the look that he got.
“Who is here?” Derek asked.
“My step-father.” Stiles stepped into the kitchen, knowing that he would be followed. He saw that Chris was pulling the rolls out of the oven while Spencer added the cheese mixture to the casserole. Seconds later, it went back into the oven, and the rolls were coated with butter and then set enough to cool to where they could be removed from the pan. Chris was a good cook, and it was one of the things that had worked in his favor for dating Stiles’ father. The days that Stiles was at lacrosse or too tired, Chris stepped up to cook for the three of them. He would also take dinner to Noah when he worked late, so he didn’t eat as many burgers or just straight up greasy food out of lack of easy options.
Derek’s eyes were narrowed, and Stiles figured that he smelled the wolfsbane that was on him or at least the wolfsbane that was in the house. There was a safe in the living room that had nothing but ammo that would take out werewolves. There was another in the master bedroom up on the second floor. There were plenty of things all around that would take care of the supernatural.
“Come and meet him.”
There was a knock on the door, and then it opened, showing that Peter and Cora were there.
“You can’t just enter the house,” Cora said like she was talking to a child.
“I can, and I will.” Peter stepped inside and pressed a kiss to Noah’s cheek before he stalked toward the kitchen to drop off the wine that he had in his hand. Cora looked dumbfounded at what she had just seen while Derek’s eyes were still focused on the kitchen. “Come and greet Chris, Noah. He’s looking pouty!”
Noah laughed and reached out to Stiles to tug him along with him, leaving the last two Hales alone in the living room.
Stiles watched as his father gave Chris a kiss on the lips while trying to snag a bit of whatever dessert was behind him. There was the sound of hand slapping skin, and Stiles had to laugh. Chris was good for a lot of things, but the biggest was making Noah smile again, making him happy in a way that Stiles never could. Stiles loved him for that. He had been so damned worried about the Argents being in Beacon Hills, but it had worked out so well in every single way that Stiles couldn’t see his pack without them.
“Argent,” Derek hissed as he entered the kitchen.
Chris just turned to look at him and gave Derek a smile. It was the one that Stiles knew well, given to those that Chris wanted to put on edge. Chris just had to get a few bad habits from Peter, it seemed.
“Deputy Hale, I would like to introduce you to my step-father, Chris Argent. He’s lived here in Beacon Hills since 2005 and has been living with my father and me for over half of a decade.”
Derek looked at Stiles with a look of shock on his face. That meant he was at least pack-adjacent, and Derek had to know that.
“He’s also my lover, Derek, so you had better just calm down,” Peter said. His tone was dripping acid.
Spencer made a slightly wounded noise and moved to slip behind Stiles. While Stiles and Spencer were human, they didn’t need a super-sniffer to understand that things were tense. Out of everyone there, though, Spencer was the most fragile. Stiles reached into his pocket and pulled out a small baggie of Mountain Ash. He would surround Spencer with it to protect him from his family if Derek took this wrong and a fight broke out. Chris could take care of himself, and Stiles’ father was more than capable of doing what he needed to make sure that everything was good.
“You are fucking an Argent?” Derek demanded.
“I fucked this Argent long before the rest of his family tried to kill us. He always kept me apprised of where they were, and I made sure they never set foot in Beacon Hills. His sister knew that there was a leak somewhere after the last time that a family she was targeting moved before she got there, so she started to lie to everyone but her father. That’s how she got into Beacon Hills. Chris did every single thing to make sure that they were put in jail once enough evidence had been found to put Kate in jail. He had been slowly pushed out when he wanted to make sure that Allison was protected and didn’t know about the life. He didn’t realize that his entire family was lying to him, including his wife. I made sure that he didn’t have a single thing to do with anything before I let him back into my life and around Beacon Hills. Though by the time that I figured out that he was here, he was already sleeping with the Sheriff and so I stayed away. He’s done more to protect this town than the Hales have in a long time.”
“You handed Beacon Hills over to the Argents?”
“No, I didn’t. I just didn’t stop the local Alpha from taking over when we left.”
“You know who it is?”
“The Alpha has never given me a formal meeting so they could be anyone that I have met in town.”
Derek narrowed his eyes at his uncle, but before anything could be said, there was the sound of nails on the floor, and Malia came trotting in. She was in her coyote form, so that meant she had gone for a run before dinner.
“You hopefully didn’t spoil your meal with a bunny,” Stiles said as he felt her brush past his leg.
“Holy shit!” Spencer said.
Stiles turned to look around him to see that his eyes were locked on her.
“I thought that Mom said that the full transformation was a Hale thing. That no other shifter family across the world has been able to do it.” Cora looked confused as she said the words.
“You are correct, Cora. The Hales are the only ones who can do that.”
“Stiles, you might want to put a spell on dinner,” Stiles’ dad said. He was still standing beside Chris, but the two of them had moved closer to where Derek and Cora was. Cora was looking at all of them with wide eyes. Peter was closer to where Stiles, Malia, and Spencer were. It looked like dinner had been pulled from the oven while Derek and Peter had been fighting.
Stiles reached into the small bowl that was just about head height and grabbed the berries that were inside to give up for his magic. He pushed his will to the food to hold it at that temperature but wouldn’t cook anymore. The wine was already sitting out and breathing, so it would be fine.
“Then who the hell is this?” Cora asked, finally finding her voice it seemed.
“This is Malia.”
Malia huffed and moved over to Peter, brushing his legs before she looped back around to head into the living room. The room was silent after she disappeared. A minute and a half later, she entered the room again, this time dressed in a simple pair of jeans and a T-shirt of Stiles’. Stiles knew that it was the one that he had been wearing for the drive home and had just literally tossed on his bed to wear as his sleep shirt. Derek would recognize it, as well as Cora.
That was not going to go well at all.
“Are you seriously trying to trick us into thinking that we have a family member that we never knew about? I can see why this Alpha doesn’t want anyone to meet with them. They have a shit poor emissary,” Derek said.
“You know, I think that calling you dumber than a box of rocks is insulting to the rocks more than it is for you.”
Malia laughed and walked around to wrap her arms around Peter. Peter hugged her back, and there was a growl from Derek. Stiles really thought that Derek would have less anger, but he figured that he would let what happened today just go right by as he tried to figure out this new man. There were a lot of bombs to be dropped today, and Stiles only hoped that he made it out with no one new figuring out that he was the Alpha. His pack wasn’t home, and so far, this was it. The rest would be arriving with Isaac being the last to arrive.
Stiles wasn’t able to defend if the Hales arrived en masse to take the land back without doing serious damage to the city and its people, which he did not want.
Derek finally turned to focus on Stiles, but he took a step toward where Peter and Malia were.
“Okay, that’s fucking it,” Stiles said when Peter took a step toward Derek pushing Malia behind him. Stiles threw his hand down, and the ash in the bag broke free and surrounded Derek as well as Peter and Malia. They were contained. Stiles did it to Peter as well just to be safe. Derek made the first move, hitting the barrier and falling back. Peter smirked and moved, hard enough that he hit the barrier and then fell into Malia.
“Stiles!” Peter said.
“No, fucking asshole. This is my goddamned fucking house, and you two are not fucking doing this. I don’t give a shit what kind of bubble you want these two to grow up in when it comes to their mother, but I refuse to keep it going.”
Spencer darted around Stiles and rushed to Malia, hugging her while she was still in the barrier. Stiles opened the barrier a little more to allow him to be safe in there before he turned to Derek and Cora. Cora wasn’t making a move to do anything stupid, so Stiles felt it was safe to keep her outside of a barrier.
“Malia was given up for adoption directly after being born. She was given to a human family who had no idea who she was and what she could turn into. The thing was that her mother wanted her dead. She attacked, trying to kill Malia with a bullet, assuming that she wasn’t a shifter she used regular bullets. It forced her into her beta form, and she killed her mother and sister as she turned into her full transformation. She spent a year in that form before I found her, and she’s been in therapy to accept the fact of what she did when she had no one. I traced who was her mother and father, and the father killed the mother not long after I contacted him.”
“How did the father not know?” Cora asked.
“His Alpha removed all memory of finding out that the woman he was casually sleeping with was pregnant. She stole that child from him for no reason that we can fully figure out. She talked the mother into keeping the pregnancy but didn’t give the child to the father. I still have no reason for that.”
“So it’s Uncle Peter or Uncle Daniel,” Cora said.
“Peter,” Stiles said.
“Mom would never do that,” Cora said.
“And you think what? That I am lying? Listen to my fucking heart. Hell, the fact that she’s fully transitioned and you saw it. There is no magic that can force that. Ask her if you want. Call her. We can call wait.”
Derek just glared even more at Stiles, but there was something in his eyes. Stiles had seen it once before. When Derek had asked Jennifer Blake where Stiles’ father was, and she tried to sweet talk Derek into thinking that she had nothing to do with it. Derek didn’t want to believe it, but he did. Which wasn’t a good thing for the Hale pack. Peter had been half checked out of it, protecting his family as he was supposed to but not really helping in any other capacity.
“The Desert Wolf. Mother was mad at you for months and banished you from the house after you killed her. She was wanted dead or alive by the FBI at that point as well as the CIA and Interpol. It wasn’t just that you killed her, but it was the fact that you called the FBI.” Derek looked like he was slotting the pieces all together at that moment, and he didn’t like the picture that it was making for him.
“Yes,” Peter said, and he finally relaxed, realizing that Derek wasn’t going to attack his daughter.
“And she’s in this pack?” Cora asked.
“Yes, when Stiles joined, she followed. She sees Stiles like a brother, and that bond was there before I came into the picture. I made sure that she was happy at home, and she was. I made sure that she had what she needed that her father couldn’t get her due to various reasons, and I was there as an uncle of sorts while we got to know each other. Her father moved back to where his family was after she graduated high school, and she talks to him daily. They love each other, but there’s still the fact that she did kill her mother and sister.”
“It doesn’t go away, and even though my dad loves me, he can’t unknow the fact that I killed them. It took a long time for me to accept it. He loves me, and he wants me happy, but happy is not around me where he hates me a little each time that he sees me.”
“You are not to blame.” Stiles would say it every single day to her if she needed to hear it.
“I know. The blame lies at the feet of Talia Hale and the fact that I was a shifter stuck in the home of humans with a woman who wanted me dead out there.”
Derek was silent after that, and things calmed down in degrees. Especially when Spencer tugged Malia down to the table beside him while he sat right next to Stiles’ spot. Food was dished up with more than enough of it for the shifters at the table as well as Stiles with his appetite that didn’t quit when he used magic like he had throughout the day. Stiles let his father direct the discussion for all of dinner, talking about small, petty crimes that the teenagers of the town while also dropping stories of what Stiles had done that had been illegal as a teenager.
It was a hell of a lot less than he had gotten up to in the first timeline. Most of those memories had faded with time, but there were a lot of them that were not muted at all.
There was still tension in the air, but Stiles knew that not all of it had to do with the fact that the pack was being hidden from the Hales. They were all dealing with things having changed around them with a few small revelations.
“I’ll keep your relationship from mother,” Derek said when dessert was done. It was just Stiles, Peter, and Derek at the table. The rest were in the living room.
Given the check of the heartbeats in the other room as Stiles checked on them every few minutes, Spencer was asleep on Malia.
“How long has Spencer known?” Derek asked.
“When I brought him here the first time. Malia didn’t know who he was and called me father. He never knew the details just that I had found her on a trip back here one time and that she was happy where she was and didn’t want the family to know. Spencer’s good at secrets. He’s learned well how to lie to your mother when he wants.”
“This is why he came here with you.”
“No, he came because his mother smothers him. She fears what Hunters would do to him to get to her, and while she’s not wrong, there isn’t a single Hunter out there that will touch the Hales.”
“After Kate, the FBI helped hunt down every other person who has broken the code. The FBI needs the hunters to be around to help them police areas where they can’t be. There is no FBI presence here in town, just like there isn’t across many of the cities across the country. So the FBI has cracked down in the past decade and made it so that Hunters have to have a license of sorts to hunt anything. Chris is the face of that and his business after he helped to bring down his family. The Calveras in Mexico don’t even cross into the US anymore for fear of what the FBI would do to them. They stick mostly to the code, but they also feel that no one should ever be turned. So in that aspect, they have crossed a line, but they haven’t done it here, and the Mexican government hasn’t gone after them.”
“Why did she do it?” Derek asked.
“I have no clue why she did it. I really don’t, and I’ve never asked. I am happy with what I have with my daughter, and that’s enough for me.”
Stiles kept his words to himself. Peter knew precisely why she had done it, and it was that she had been afraid of the threat that Peter might become with a child of his own to protect, how she knew that he would break with the family to protect her. She had been afraid of losing her second and didn’t want to push it. It was the only thing that made sense to Stiles. He had never shared it with Talia, but as Stiles had built his pack, it had all started to make a lot of sense. Talia was passive in nearly everything that she did. There was no way that the Hales were as strong as they were without something else. So Talia was the carrot and Peter the stick. Everyone else did what Talia wanted for fear of meeting Peter.
Peter was the wolf in the dark that no one ever wanted to meet. He was doing well at training Malia for that position in Stiles’ pack, and Isaac was doing well as Stiles’ second.
“There is…” Derek trailed off as the sound of the front door opening happened.
“Stilinski, who the hell is here?” Jackson demanded as he and his two mates entered the house. Stiles could feel them pass over the wards with Boyd and Erica were on their heels. Derek and Cora were up in an instant and close together.
Lydia was the first into the kitchen, looking at Derek with a glare. Danny was right behind her and behind him, Jackson. Erica and Boyd entered the kitchen at the same time.
“You guys are home early,” Stiles said. They were nearly a day early. They shouldn’t be home until the next day.
“Allison stayed behind to pack a few more things. Scott and Kira will come with her tomorrow. A few professors let them take the exams early so that they could come home at the same time,” Danny said. He walked over and grabbed a plate of food for himself out of the second casserole that Stiles had put in the oven to bake off for lunch the next day. It seemed to be going for a late breakfast now.
Jackson sniffed the air and glared at Derek and Cora before putting himself between Danny and them. Lydia, he left, where she was. Erica and Boyd stayed at the back of the room.
“Interesting choice to leave the fragile female alone while you protect the built male,” Cora said.
“And you as a woman should learn that just because I am small doesn’t mean a damned thing, Hale.”
Derek growled, but Lydia growled back. Stiles’ dad and Chris entered the kitchen, looking worried.
“Lyds,” Stiles said with a sigh. He rubbed his hand on his face. “Derek and Cora, I would like to introduce you to Lydia Martin and her two mates, Jackson Whittemore and Danny Māhealani. Behind Lydia is Erica Reyes and Boyd. Yes, that’s the only name you are getting. I don’t feel like getting growled at by him. Betas, this is Derek and Cora Hale. They came for dinner. Found out that their Uncle Creeper has been creeping up in Dad and Chris’ bed. We are all traumatized.”
“Go, Papa S, snagging sexy wolf,” Erica said.
Jackson made a gagging noise while Danny laughed. He dished up more food for the others at the same time that Peter, Malia, and Spencer came into the room.
“This is why I made this kitchen the size of our entire kitchen and living room of the old house, Dad,” Stiles said.
“They are wolves,” Derek said.
“And points go to Beta Hale. Yes, they are, and they weren’t supposed to be here today.” Stiles glared at them, but he couldn’t be mad. It wasn’t like he was expecting to be invaded by Hales.
“Hey, Junior,” Erica said.
Spencer stuck his tongue out at Erica. He had been given that nickname by most of the pack when he had been around while Stiles helped teach him. It had just stuck, and while he professed to hate it, Stiles knew from his scent that he didn’t.
“Erica,” Spencer said. He was looking at Derek with an odd look on his face, and that made Stiles narrow in on him.
Derek was still just staring at Lydia.
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that, nephew,” Peter said as Derek took a step toward her.
Stiles covered his ears with his hands at the same time nearly everyone else in the room did, leaving Derek and Cora with them off. The scream was narrowed in at Derek, hard enough to make him stumble but not enough to slam him into anything or really hurt him.
“The one who is alone like she is, might wanna think about it before even twitching in her direction, Derek.” Stiles waved for his pack to go about eating. Danny was thankfully, already doing it. Danny could be counted on to keep drama from the group as much as possible that and keeping Jackson in line. Jackson hadn’t been nearly as much of a douche as he had been the first time around, but he was still an asshole to anyone who wasn’t pack. Or Spencer but then Spencer was very much an oddity as Jackson antagonized him like one would a little brother.
“What the hell is she, Derek?” Cora asked.
“Banshee,” Spencer whispered like no one else in the room could hear him. It made Boyd laugh, and the giant of a man pulled Spencer close for a hug, scenting him where his siblings could see. Then it was a game of pass the human as Stiles’ pack scented him.
“So when did the Hales get to town?”
“Peter’s been ducking all of us for two years with his family. Probably using information from dad to make sure that most of the pack didn’t know that he was here with three of Alpha Hale’s children.”
“Alpha’s gotta be pissed, but I can see him fucking around with Peter while waiting to see what he does,” Jackson said.
“He is an asshole like that,” Boyd said.
Spencer ended up in Erica’s lap where she was petting him like a dog, and it was pissing off Derek so much that Stiles was pretty damned sure that he was going to have to break out the Mountain Ash again.
“Okay, all of the Hales that are not fucking residents of the house need to leave.”
Derek looked at Spencer like he wanted to see if that included him.
“No one in this house had debauched your little brother, Deputy Hale.”
Peter ended up leaving with Derek, Cora, and Spencer, probably to talk about family matters. As soon as the door was shut, Stiles leaned back against it and sighed. He could feel the thrum of his magic in the walls of the house.
“How in the hell?” Lydia asked as soon as she entered the living room.
“My father is fucking with Derek. My father has been giving him the run-around. They had a bet on how long it would take for Derek to out himself to everyone there. Peter talked Parrish into betting it would last until the day I made it back into town. He swept them all by the way. It’s a giant cluster fuck that is going to bring Talia and the rest of the family down on the town.”
“How long can you hide that you are the Alpha if she arrives?” Danny asked.
“I have no clue.”
“Isaac’s staying until next month. There is a huge thing happening there, and it’s four weeks long,” Jackson said as he waved his phone.
“That’s fine. We will be fine without him. Just don’t do anything to piss off Deputy Hale. He’s just enough of a dick that I think he would haul your asses in for a ticket if he could.”
“Yes, Alpha,” most of the voices in the room called out. The other few who didn’t nodded their heads.
Stiles had been looking forward to coming home. Now he wasn’t so sure.