A/N: I developed an annoying headcanon after reading too many fics/oneshots about true mates/destined mates/whatever. Spoilers for season 3a. Takes place during "Frayed" and "Currents"... All characters belong to Jeff Davis, noMTV, and "Teen Wolf".

It wasn't that Derek was lost, he just... wasn't fully aware of where exactly it was he was going. Really, he couldn't be blamed, considering the amount of blood he lost the night before. It would make anyone delirious, werewolf or not.

He'd come to on his back, pain radiating throughout every inch of him. Groaning, he'd taken in his surroundings, mind foggy and memory fuzzy as he'd tried to figure out where he was and why.

The abandoned mall.

The fight with the Alphas.

He and Ennis falling down a story and landing on an escalator side by side.

Everything after that was black as he passed out.

Mind back with it, he'd dragged himself up, ignoring the protest of achy bones, sore muscles, and bleeding wounds. He'd deal with all that later. At that moment, his only concern had been getting the fuck outta there before an alpha found him.

He'd wandered out, half-drunk in pain, stumbling about as he tried to get... well, anywhere but where he'd been. He'd moved on automatic, staggering, limping, head heavy and eyelids barely able to remain up. He'd open them to find himself a mile or so from the last landmark he remember seeing, his body moving with him being completely unaware.

It was easy to just let instincts take over, to trust that his wolf knew where it wanted to go, that it knew the way home, to safety.

Only he didn't make it home.

He was outside Beacon Hills High.

Confusion overrode pain as he tried to figure out why he was there, why his wolf wouldn't take him back to the loft. It was pretty much the same distance, just in a different direction. Would've been a million times easier to get back to his place than deal with a thousand high schoolers and their inquisitive eyes and nauseating scents.

His mind brought up his pack, Derek realizing he was probably going to them for help. He'd turned teenagers and chances were they'd be at school at that moment.

Except the parking lot seemed nearly empty and the sun was low in the sky. School was out. Had been for a while.

"Lacrosse practice" flashed in his mind, "cross country" soon following. His foggy head was slow to figure it out, remembering that both Isaac and Boyd mentioned being on the track team now.

But he wasn't looking for them. He was stumbling about the parking lot, blinking against flashes of sparkling whiskey colored eyes, moles standing out against pale skin, full lips curved into a cheeky grin.

It wasn't there.

He had no idea what he'd been looking for.

Inside, his wolf paced about, nervous, restless, whining. It wasn't happy, couldn't find what it wanted, anxiety causing its ears to lay flat and tail to tuck between its legs.

Derek was fucked. He was gonna lose consciousness where he swayed, was gonna bleed out and die right there in the parking lot of Beacon Hills High School.

Part of him felt it was only fair, was what he deserved. He'd asked Paige to meet him there, had tricked her into being bitten, had caused her death. It only seemed fitting that he died where her own demise had begun.

The irony that Ennis had been the one who'd bitten her and the one who'd pulled Derek down off that ledge was not lost on him.

Derek's tired eyes scanned the parking lot one more time, giving in to the hope that maybe he just missed that particular vehicle the first couple times he'd looked for it.

No blue Jeep.

He wondered why he'd been searching it out.

He did, however, find a familiar face, one of slender lines and pale skin, blue eyes and long brown hair. Jennifer.

Forcing his shaky legs to work, he stumbled his way over, focusing on the destination rather than how shaky his legs were or how much he was aching. He could still feel blood soaking his shirt, dampening his fingers as he held onto the wound, more leaking out with each step. But he had to get there, had to get to safety.

His wolf protested inside his head, whining, howling, but he ignored it. Jennifer knew who he was, what he was, would help him out and take care of him. There was a reason his wolf had subconsciously taken him to the high school and he was pretty sure she was it.

A rumble and a whimper was his response. He ignored it.

Jennifer had just gotten into her car, right as Derek felt himself getting weaker. His eyes were heavier than ever, body sluggish, and he felt himself slowly giving into exhaustion as his vision started blackening around the edges.

With the last of his energy, he flung himself at her car, knocking into her driver's side window. He heard her scream, her gasped surprise of his name, before he slipped down onto the tarred ground below him and passed out.

Waking up with a female in his bed was new to Derek. He and Paige hadn't been ready to try anything beyond heated make-outs and feeling each other up through their clothes. He and Kate met at motel rooms, leaving well before the require check-out time. He hadn't been with anyone since, for good reason.

But Jennifer was different. She was kind, understanding, sweet. She'd seen him at his absolute worse, had seen him wolfed out, had seen him bleeding and near death. And yet, she took care of him, welcomed him into her body, helped him heal. Stayed the night.

It was a strange feeling, waking up with someone else in his bed. Well, someone other than his younger sister commandeering it and telling him to do the chivalrous thing and park it on the couch for the night. But even then, she was alone in it, he alone on his sofa.

Until now.

Now he was in his own bed with another warm body in it, a warm body he'd seen and touched intimately without fear or anxiety. Sure there were moments when his wolf didn't seem too happy with whatever action the human half was participating in, but he ignored in, chalked it up to his own subconscious being worried due to how disastrously his last relationship had ended.

But Jennifer wasn't Kate.

It was his new mantra, one he'd repeated several times during the night.

His wolf still wasn't convinced.

Slim arms wrapped around his waist, a bare torso pressed against his back, soft lips against his shoulder. A female voice whispered "good morning" in his ear, sounding rough from sex and sleep.

A small smile formed on his face, hand covering the ones on his stomach, lips returning the greeting. Jennifer was okay, was good, was safe.

His wolf raised its hackles and growled.

Stiles was the first one he saw later that day.

Which was strange really. Isaac actually lived with him, same with Cora. Boyd spent more time at the loft than his own house. His uncle Peter enjoyed stopping by unannounced, always pleased to be exactly where he wasn't wanted.

But it was Stiles who slammed the door open, Stiles who stomped in, Stiles who screamed at Derek for his disappearing act and for worrying everyone.

Not Cora. Not Isaac. Not Boyd. Not even Scott.


His inner wolf demanded he walk over, took pleasure in the scents the teenager gave off, all sweat, pheromones, and anger, the underlying notes of spice and sunshine and just... Stiles.

Derek remained where he stood, arms folded over his chest, narrowed eyes staring the teen down. He listened as he was laid into, rants about Scott not healing on his own and Isaac nearly beating Ethan into a bloody pulp and how he'd spent the night preventing mass werewolf suicide, which he admitted wasn't the alpha's fault but also not the point.

"Glad you're okay," he wrapped up, anger drained, voice softer as his hand ran through his hair. Longer now, the style suiting him, making him seem older than the buzzcut he'd had the entire time Derek knew him. "You are okay, right?"

He heard more than saw the nervous swallow, the change in his scent, the way his heartbeat kicked up in worry and concern.

"Yeah," Derek answered calmly, wanting to soothe Stiles, to smooth over frayed nerves and ease jittering hands. "I'm fine."

The teenager let out a long sigh and nodded, repeating "good" several times before biting his lower lip. Full lips that were usually pulled into a cheeky grin, moles standing out against pale skin, worry dimming the usual sparkle in whiskey colored eyes.

Footsteps sounded out behind Stiles, the teen turning to see Peter saunter into the apartment like he belonged there. Annoyance turned Stiles' scent into something bitter and Derek opened his mouth to tell his uncle to fuck off, only to have the action rendered useless.

Stiles announced he was leaving, demanded Derek text next time he nearly died so everyone wouldn't be so worried, quietly added that if he needed anything... then let the thought die.

Derek understood the implication and nodded.

Peter raise his eyebrows behind the teenager.

The wolf wagged its tail and let out a contented grumble.

Stiles gave Derek a small wave, a reluctant smile, turning away to leave. He ignored Peter as the werewolf acknowledged him, said it was good to see him. Derek hid his amusement at that.

The teenager now gone, the Alpha narrowed his glare at his uncle, his inner wolf growling in displeasure. It still didn't trust the elder male, wasn't happy that he made Stiles leave, wanted the two guys to switch places.

The human half couldn't blame the more canine one.

Peter sauntered down the stairs like the king he believed he was, sardonic voice commenting on how great it was to see Derek alive and well, on how unsurprising it was to see Stiles there.

Derek muttered that he had no clue what his uncle was referring to, not a lie, turning away and heading to the window. Outside was a blue Jeep, his wolf calmed by its sight, only to be roused by the teenager getting in it, starting it up, driving it away.

"You know," Peter began, voice lazy, almost bored, and Derek didn't bother telling him to save his voice, eyes fixed to the off road vehicle slowly leaving his line of sight. "It's a known fact that when a werewolf is gravely injured, he or she seeks the comfort and safety of one's mate. Your father did that once, dragged his broken, bleeding body all the way through the preserve to find your mother. They were married a month later. Had your sister soon after."

Derek closed his eyes against the other male's voice, being hit with memories of when he'd turned to Stiles for help. A request to saw off his arm before the wolfsbane completely poisoned his body. A need to be held afloat as the kanima's venom paralyzed him in the pool. Countless occurrences when he'd fallen into the teenagers bedroom through his window, bleeding from this injury and that wound.

The time he staggered across town to Beacon Hills High after a fight with the Alphas knowing Stiles was at lacrosse or cross country practice.

"Yes, one's True Mate can help heal almost any wound," Peter wrapped up, tone pointed, accusing without saying the words.

Derek refused to acknowledge him or his implications, forced himself to forget whiskey eyes, moles, and cheeky grins, to remember blue orbs, soft skin, pink lips.

Jennifer was safe.

Jennifer couldn't break his heart.

Stiles could, because he was the soul Derek had given it to without even realizing it.

His inner wolf was contented and anxious at the same time.

The human half was scared fucking shitless.