Erica looked fearfully at the Alpha as he stalked into the room where Isaac was keeping her. Something in his posture told her that Isaac was having as much trouble controlling the desire to kill her as Scott, maybe more considering Scott's legendary control. Derek on the other hand could just as well be made of ice. He knelt on the floor and glared down at her with a calculating disgust that made her stomach clench.
"What exactly did you think would happen?" Derek's head tilted to the side curiously. "That I would suddenly change my mind and hop into bed with a sixteen year old girl?" Erica gulped, but kept silent. "The pack hierarchy is there for a reason. Scott, Jackson and Stiles all have some something you lack, control."
She whimpered at the accurate measure of her failure. "What are you going to do to me?"
She flinched as if he hit her. "Nothing?" Somehow the word wasn't as reassuring as it should have been.
"I'm not going to do anything." His eyes flashed red. "But you are going to live each day knowing that if you screw up just once, you're going to find yourself facing the Argents without a pack."
"Derek!" Her eyes filled with desperate tears.
"I suggest you go make nice with Scott." He turned and left her alone in the abandoned rail car.
Stiles knew that he shouldn't be surprised when Scott flung his body through his window, but somehow he was. The Prime made it clear when they left that he wasn't leaving Derek's side until the Alpha was back from dream land. "I take it our fearless leader is awake?"
"He's my dad."
Knowing how Derek felt about sharing that information with Scott, Stiles was sure that he heard him incorrectly. "What?"
"He's my freaking father, Stiles! Derek Hale is my dad!" Scott started pacing the small space, his heart rate skipping in anxiety.
Stiles crawled out of bed and moved to the less vulnerable position on his desk chair. "Yeah, you said that." He had a feeling this discussion was going to end with bruises.
His abnormally calm voice stopped Scott short and he turned searching eyes on his oldest friend. "You aren't freaking, why aren't you freaking?"
"Should I be?" Stiles wanted to flinch at his response. Of course he should be freaking. If he hadn't already known then he would be throwing an epic panic fest.
"It's Derek!" Scott flung his arms in the air and collapsed on the bed.
Unable to come up with anything less idiotic under the circumstances, Stiles shot back a weak, "yeah."
"Did you know about this?" Scott's eyes zeroed in on his friend and he heard the blip of his heart beat. "You knew! Why didn't you tell me?" He surged to his feet, cowering over the one person whose trust he never had need to doubt.
Stiles ducked back a little and moved to the other side of the room. "Wasn't my secret to tell." It was a lame excuse, and he spent every waking moment that he was with both Scott and Derek fighting the urge to shout out the secret. Everyone knew that he couldn't keep a secret from Scott to save his life.
Thinking along the same lines, Scott zeroed in on his heart beat again. "How long?"
"Since the Kanima kicked your ass." He grimaced at the admission.
"Over a month?" Scott felt his heart squeezing in his chest again and started to wonder if he was developing panic attacks. "This is like epically important Stiles! You should have told me."
"Derek is scarier than you. He says don't tell, you don't tell." Taking in the pain in Scott's eyes, Stiles stepped to block his path to the two escape routes and put a hand on his arm. He felt as if he had been hit when Scott pulled away from him. "Derek wanted to wait until you didn't see him as the enemy, until you got along well enough that you wouldn't freak out and run away from him." Stiles sighed heavily and scrubbed at his face. "The guy's life had been one massive ball of pain and loss, I couldn't fault the logic. You would have freaked. Case in point." Stiles gestured to the trembling hands and thready breath. "Calm down."
Scott forced his body down on the bed and dug deep into his mind, finding the bonds to the pack to anchor him. He could feel a strong level of concern coming from Derek, his dad, and wondered how long it would be until he showed up at his door. He pulled his emotions back under control and gazed at his friend, tears in his eyes. "He's my dad."
Stiles nodded, relaxing into his chair when Scott looked less likely to explode. "At least he's better than Henry."
Scott growled at the reminder of his adopted father. "Definitely." He sighed and rubbed at the moisture tickling his eyelashes. "What am I supposed to do now?"
"Keep doing what you've been doing, just with your freakishly grumpy dad instead of your homicidal alpha." Scott snorted at Stiles' cheesy grin. "Does this really change that much?"
Forcing his emotions to the background, Scott thought back over the change in his relationship with Derek over the last few months. The Alpha managed to position himself in Scott's life in a role that should have been filled by Henry if he wasn't such an ass. Everything he needed showed up before he could ask, he was protected from hunters as much as possible but he was also given responsibilities in the family, in this case taking care of the pack. "He wants this doesn't he? Derek really wants to be my dad."
"From what I can tell, yes." Stiles watched the lead leak out of Scott's spine. "So, you gonna let him?"
"This is going to be weird." The words told of trepidation, but Scott's eyes shimmered with hope. The idea of having a father figure that actually cared about his welfare was something he only dreamed of during his most desperate moments of pain at wrong end of Henry's temper.
"Everything around us is weird." Stiles shrugged and grabbed his clothes. "Give me a minute and I'll give you a ride to school."
"Scott?" The lone female member of the pack stood awkwardly behind her Prime when he paused at his lunch table.
"Erica." He settled his anger, squashing it into the box reserved for Argents and Peter Hale. The rest of the pack waited with baited breath around the table, nervous to see if Erica was going to be expelled from their presence. "Did you talk to Derek?"
She flinched at the controlled fury in his voice. "Yes." Taking a shaky breath, she shifted her weight back and forth. "He told me I needed to talk to you."
"Why did you do it? You almost got killed. You practically gift wrapped Derek for the hunters." He turned and pinned her with a gaze that would be glowing with primal power if they were anywhere but at school.
"I didn't want to be invisible any more."
Scott felt like he'd been sucker punched and his anger melted away. "Why would you think that?" He lifted her chin, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"You and Stiles came in and jumped to the head of the pack and I was just waiting for you to throw me aside, to forget about the stupid epileptic girl." She turned her face away from him in shame.
Scott was relieved to see a small piece of the girl she had been before the bite returning but her pain made him growl in frustration. "You will never be invisible. You are pack, family." His hands came to rest against her cheeks and she looked up at his pained, puppy dog eyes. "I will do anything and everything to protect you from everything the Argents would throw at you, fight a hundred Kanima's but I can't fight you too. You have to believe that we want you here." He shot her an amused grin. "Besides, if I wouldn't let Jackson get himself thrown out of the pack, what makes you think I would give up on you?"
"I heard that, McCall." Jackson threw a potato chip at the Prime.
Scott laughed and threw an arm around Erica's shoulder. "It's okay to be upset that you aren't the prettiest anymore, Jackson." He guided her to sit between Isaac and his seat, before smacking Jackson in the head with a grape. He crashed into the chair, his good mood returning. He leaned over and whispered in Erica's ear, "meet me at Derek's after school and I'll help you figure out your anchor."
Erica studied his face for any hidden promise of retribution but his honest smile told her that Scott no longer harbored any ill will and she was amazed again by his ability to forgive anyone. She lifted her eyes too see Allison staring at them from across the room and was reminded that Scott wasn't completely benevolent. She started to relax and enjoy the camaraderie of her pack mates when it finally dawned on her that Scott turned his back on the love of his life for them, because Scott would have done everything for Allison, had given up the pack for her until Allison chose to hurt them. If Scott had given up that epic love story just because Allison flung a few harmless arrows at them, he wasn't about to throw Erica out with the trash.
Isaac smiled next to her when he saw the light bulb go on and knew that she finally made the connection. "Finally got it?"
"He really cares that much?"
Isaac nodded. "He was more angry that you almost got yourself and Derek killed then the fact you were doing something stupid. He's worse than Derek when he thinks he can't protect us."
"Freaking Florence Nightingale." Jackson snorted from across the table as he bit into his apple.
Isaac ignored the scout and his eyes became stern. "But don't think that any of us forgot that you were trying to manipulate Derek. Scott may have forgiven you, but Derek won't."
"He said he would throw me out of the pack if I screwed up again."
Scott snorted. "Pop's all talk."
"What?" Boyd laughed as he popped open the top on his soda.
Stiles smirked at the rest of the pack. "Turns out our fearless leader is Scott's sperm donor." Absolute silence fell over the table and everyone's head swiveled to the Prime.
"Well that actually explains a lot." Isaac tilted his head to the side and snickered at the red tinge to Scott's cheeks.
"Shut up." Scott buried his face in his arms and tried to pretend the table wasn't laughing at his embarrassment. He spent the remainder of the thirty minute lunch period enduring unending jokes at his expense.
Lydia stood next to Allison looking at Scott's table with a stunned expression. "How the mighty have fallen."
"What?" Allison tore longing eyes away from her ex-boyfriend.
"Scott I understand. His stock plummeted when you split and he cracked, but to see Jackson mingling with the outcasts is a sign of the apocalypse." She frowned, still bitter about his rebuff in the middle of the hallway. "I'm glad I got out before he had his little meltdown. It can only launch my stock to be rid of him."
Allison shot her friend a disbelieving glance. Lydia had come away from her hospitalization even more rancorous than usual. Lydia was too busy clinically evaluating Jackson laughing at something Scott said to notice her concern. "Are you okay?"
"Fine." Lydia flashed a winning smile. "I'm hungry." She twirled and flounced toward her usual table in search of a new boy toy.
Allison threw one more tortured glance at Scott and what used to be three quarters of her social circle before turning to follow Lydia. She wished Scott would let her explain. Becoming the head of the Argent Clan had been the only way to protect him from her father and grandfather, but he was too angry at the betrayal to even hear her side of the story.