Scott slumped on his bed, tossing a foam basketball in the air and catching it absentmindedly. His history textbook was sprawled open next to him, though he had long since abandoned the pretense of studying, and the paper he had been taking notes on had fallen to the ground twenty minutes earlier. His sharp senses picked up noises from the yard, and he cocked his head to the side, listening as a ladder was set up and someone quickly climbed onto the roof. He knew before his best friend half fell through the open window that it was Stiles, mostly because anyone else who would use the window (Derek) would have just leapt onto the roof. Stiles jumped to his feet, straightening his jacket and observing the scene in front of him.

"You know, the funny thing is, I think you actually absorb more information when you read the textbook," Stiles began, motioning to his friend's homework. When Scott gave no response other than to toss the ball in the air again, Stiles nodded.

"Yeah, I was surprised too, but according to recent studies, it isn't actually enough for the book to be near you." Scott sighed, but remained quiet.

"I know!" Stiles continued, gesticulating wildly as he sprawled out in Scott's desk chair. "I was just as outraged! With today's technology, and the vast improvement of historical television in the last decade, it hardly seems fair that students are expected to read about the past. It's a travesty."

Scott dropped the ball on the bed and covered his face in his hands. "Stiles…" he began, his voice muffled.

"What? Why are you so mopey? Oh, don't tell me. It's that time of the month?" Stiles grinned, flashing his fingers in a shooting gesture as Scott sat up and tossed the basketball at his head.

"That joke was old a long time ago," Scott groaned, shaking his head a little. "If you must know…"

"I must, I must," Stiles said, leaning forward.

"I was just thinking about this one time Allison and I were in the woods," he began, a small smile crossing his lips. "And we were talking about the future- our future, I mean, together, and she had just told me that she-"

"Ohhhh, okay, Scott. No. I don't want to hear this," Stiles fake gagged, and shook his head at his best friend. "Dude. You have GOT to stop pining! You guys broke up, remember? And I know you're trying to like, win her back eventually, but she's not even in town right now. Remember? That weekend trip her dad took her on?So all this reminiscence is fruitless, at least for the moment. Although while we're on the subject of Allison and reminiscence…I mean, not to be a buzzkill or anything, but…"

Scott scowled, crossing his arms across his chest. "But what, Stiles?"

"But, it was only like a week ago that she was a crossbow-wielding werewolf- hunting bitc-I mean, that she was…you know, brainwashed by Gerard, who was the real problem, definitely not Allison, she's so…sweet, but her family was full of crazies who wanted to kill you, right?!," he finished hurriedly, noting Scott's growing irritation. "I mean, all I'm saying is that…" he sighed, and looked at the ground. "Maybe it's good that you guys aren't together right now. I'm not saying forever, but I think you both should probably figure out how to get past this. That's all I'm saying," Stiles finished, putting his hands up defensively. Scott was quiet for a long moment.

"I guess you have a point. Allison never really even…like…grieved properly. For her mom," Scott mumbled, and Stiles dug his heels into the ground and spun the chair around in a circle, allowing himself a moment to grimace at the memory of exactly how it felt to get over your mother's death. It wasn't a topic they talked about often, and certainly not in an offhanded way, but that didn't mean it didn't come up (albeit tangentially) every once in a while. When he was facing Scott again, he took a deep breath and abruptly changed the topic.

"Soooo have you made up your mind about the pack?"

"Which pack?" Scott asked darkly.

Stiles smirked. "The good one. Well. The better one. The one we know." Scott remained quiet a minute too long, and Stiles drummed his fingers on the arms of the chair before continuing. "I mean, are you considering joining Derek?"

Scott slumped back against his pillow. "A couple big problems there. I mean, yeah, I don't think there's a way I can handle a group of Alphas on my own, right?"

"Well, not alone," Stiles smiled, shrugging a little. "Remember the warehouse? I was pretty badass with my jeep, right? Am I right? Practically on par with a certain group of werewolves?" Scott shook his head, a smile tugging at his lips.

"Stiles. My very human friend. There is no way that we can handle a group of Alphas. So the smartest decision would probably be to join forces. Strength in numbers and all that."

Stiles nodded slowly. "You don't sound thrilled."

"Yeah, well, I know I'd be stronger with them on my side, and they know it too. But…I told Derek he wasn't my Alpha. And I meant it- I don't want to be under his…authority, or whatever."

Stiles was uncharacteristically quiet for a moment. "I don't know if it's always about authority, in their pack. I mean, don't get me wrong, Derek can be a dick. And he's controlling and bossy and violent and could really work on his people skills. But, I think it's possible that he didn't really know what the hell he was doing when he got the whole Alpha gig. And I think he's been getting better."

"What makes you think that?" Scott asked.

Stiles sighed. "It's just the little things. Take Isaac, for example. He's like, ten times more outgoing now, than how he used to be. And with losing his dad and all- I mean, granted, his dad was an ass- but Isaac was alone until Derek came along…and Boyd! Boyd was so quiet, and he barely talked to anyone, and suddenly he's all buddy-buddy with Erica and he has a group and he's not so shy any more. And Erica- have you seen Erica- she's a total bitch, of course, but she has this confidence now and she's always trying to protect Isaac and Boyd…" he trailed off before starting again, his tone determined. "My point is that they seem like a team. Like a family, sort of. It just feels like there's more to pack dynamics than worshipping the Alpha, you know what I mean?"

Scott stared at Stiles, wondering for the thousandth time how his best friend managed to pick up on so many details that he just didn't see, or wasn't willing to look for. Stiles had always been like that- one step ahead of Scott in so many ways. Stiles grabbed a pen from the desk and began clicking it on and off in an odd sort of rhythm. When Scott stayed quiet, he continued with a sigh.

"Look, man, what do I know? I'm not a werewolf. It's just that based on what I've observed, I think you should take the pack thing seriously. And I know you don't like the idea of being a beta, but I don't think anyone expects you to be…submissive, you know?"

Scott got up and began pacing the room. "Yeah, but if I back down now, that's exactly what I'll be doing. I'd pretty much have to follow Derek's lead, and answer to him, and-"

"Dude. Bigger picture?" Stiles cut in. "What's more important, your pride or your life? Or my life? I really hope you answer this question correctly, Scott."

"It's not just about pride, Stiles. IF he even lets me join the pack, and then I make that decision, there's no going back. I'm either in the pack or I have to attack him for the right to be Alpha. Which I'm not going to do, because I have no freaking clue how to be an Alpha, and I don't exactly want to take on training other werewolves." Scott ran a hand through his hair, frustrated. Stiles leaned forward, resting his elbow on the desk and putting his head in his hand.

"What do you want, then?" Stiles asked. "And I mean, beyond being with Allison," he continued as Scott opened his mouth to respond.

Scott sat back down. "I just want to feel…safe, I guess. I'd like to wake up in the morning and not feel like my mom or my best friend is going to die because of me. I don't know if that means I should join the pack or not."

Stiles thought for a minute. "So…should we make a pro/con list?" he finally asked, inching towards sarcasm, though there was a thread of legitimacy in the question. Scott suddenly went very still, and just as quickly jumped up from the bed, racing to his window and looking down. He gripped the windowsill tightly.

"I have a feeling the choice is about to be out of our hands," he muttered. Stiles crept over to the window and looked down. Two Alphas (they had to be Alphas, Scott wouldn't be so freaked out otherwise, and what WAS it with werewolves and those damn leather jackets?) got out of a black BMW down the street from Scott's house. As they walked up a driveway, Scott zeroed in on the large sign in the yard. The sign that read, "SOLD" and might as well have read "YOU'RE SCREWED, SCOTT." He slumped to the ground.

"They're moving in," he said faintly. "Right down the street." Stiles had turned almost white. He slid to the ground next to Scott.

"We should bring them a muffin basket or something. Ease the tension," Stiles whispered, but even his attempt at deflection fell flat. There was a long moment of silence.

"So…we should talk to Derek, right?" Stiles asked, resting his chin on his knees.

"Yeah. We should talk to Derek."

A/N: So I couldn't leave Teen Wolf alone after the season finale, and I can't believe how long it'll be before it returns. This could go many different directions...please let me know what you think!