As always, thank you so much for all the comments, favorites, and follows left on this work. I am sincerely grateful for every one of them, and I am so glad you're enjoying this work.
A few answers in this chapter, and then we shall be moving on back into some delightful pack-family fluff, methinks.
Oh, and a quick announcement I am leaving on all my stories. If anyone is interested, I have signed up to be an author for the Sterek Campaign's charity auction, starting on December 13th. I have put up three commissioned 'fics of up to 25k (though, let's be honest here...THIS story was supposed to be four chapters long...anyone who bids on me is probably going to get considerably more than they pay for!). I am willing to write pretty much any content apart from hardcore PWP's and kink (sorry, loves, it's just not my wheelhouse), but other than that, it's all takers. It's a very worthy charity, and I'm really excited to be participating.
Plus which, I reeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy want someone to bid on me! ;)
Stiles lets Derek help him out of the jeep, his eyes zeroing in on Deaton as Derek wraps an arm around his shoulders. The rest of the pack tumbles out of their various vehicles, arranging themselves in a loose semi-circle behind Derek. Stiles cocks an eyebrow, sighing heavily.
"Guys, you wanna maybe stand down a little? Pretty sure if the doc was going to try and hurt any of us, he'd have done it, oh I don't know, during one of the hundred and fifty or so times we dragged one or more of you to him to patch up?" he says testily. He glances over his shoulder and sighs again at the mulish expressions currently clouding very nearly every face. Even his father is looking at the vet a little suspiciously, and in that moment, Stiles hates Anderson and her pack just a little bit more. For reducing them to this, for making his friends—his family—think they have to be suspicious of even their allies.
Damn it, they've worked so hard to get past those days of mistrust and uneasiness.
He shakes his head slightly and starts up towards the porch, Derek's arm sliding off his shoulders only to reach down and gently take Stiles' good hand in one of his. He suspects it will be a long time before Derek is comfortable with any sort of distance between them…and him being on bed rest is probably not going to help matters any.
Deaton watches them as impassively as he always does, leaning against one of the porch pillars with his hands shoved into his pockets as though this is just a social visit. Stiles' eyes narrow. He learned a long time ago that there is no such thing as social visit from the man, and if there is something he is refusing to talk about with anyone other than Stiles, Stiles is about ninety-nine percent certain that he's not going to like what the man has to say.
Scott slips up to his other side as they come to the porch steps, subtly leaning close enough that he can grab Stiles' elbow for support if he needs it. He's grateful, though, when neither Derek nor Scott try to help him up the stairs. Erica darts around them to go get the door, and Stiles smiles (tiredly and without much humor) at him, and shrugs apologetically. "What's up, doc?" he asks, because he doesn't care what any of the others says, that will never get old.
Deaton's lips twitch a bit as he straightens, seemingly willing to ignore the pack's low-level hostility. "Stiles, Derek," he says by way of greeting. His eyes grow a little warmer as he looks back to Stiles. "Good to see you back on your feet," he says sincerely. Stiles grins a bit.
"Well, for the moment. Looks like the bed and I are going to be spending even more time together," he says with a wry twist to his lips. Then he raises his chin a bit. "And much as I would love to sit around and chat about the weather next, I hear tell that you've got some information for us."
Deaton chuckles dryly, inclining his head. Stiles gestures grandly with his bandaged hand for the older man to follow them into the house. He squeezes Derek's hand reassuringly as they cross the threshold into the living room…
And promptly feels as though the air is rushing out of his lungs in one great swoop.
He gasps, his knees nearly buckling as he feels…something wrench and crack and give in his chest. He is dimly aware of Derek's arms suddenly wrapping tight around his waist, holding him up, of panicked shouts in his ear and it's so reminiscent of the night of Anderson's attack—but not really the same at all. He gasps again, his mouth falling open in shock.
It is nothing like the feeling that had enveloped him after Angela had worked whatever spell or charm she'd used. After the initial, shocking head rush, there is nothing but a soothing warmth all throughout his body…no pain in his chest, only a sense of something settling, righting itself. The warmth spreads and intensifies, until he feels like his blood is fizzing and popping like champagne, little bubbles and sparks of heat and energy. The lingering tiredness that has been plaguing him dissipates as though it was never there, and he finds his feet, straightening as much as he can.
"Fine, I'm fine," he pants, blinking hazily up at Derek. His father is beside them, terror etched plainly in the lines of his face and that's not right. The pack is gathered around them, fully transformed, pressing in close and they all look so scared. Scott and Jackson are the only ones not within arm's reach of him, and that's because they're busy trying to force Deaton out of the house, though Scott keeps throwing scared, conflicted looks between him and the vet. Deaton is trying to say something, trying to explain, and everyone looks so worried, so frightened—even Jacksonlooks like he's ready to kill anything that tries to go through him to get at Stiles—and it's not right.
"I'm fine," he says again, his voice gaining strength. "Derek, it's okay." He takes a deep breath, reaching up to wrap one arm around Derek's neck. "Put the fangs away, guys, I'm fine," he says firmly. He licks his lips, still breathless and a little dizzy, and he doesn't protest when Derek and his father start herding him over to the couch. Scott and Jackson reluctantly back away from Deaton, while Isaac disappears into the kitchen. Within seconds, he's back, pressing a glass of water into Stiles' hand. He sips at it gratefully, trying to settle his breathing, the feeling of energy buzzing just underneath his skin.
Derek declines to sit down with him, instead standing just at Stiles' knees and crossing his arms over his chest. There's no fur or claws, but Stiles doesn't even have to look to know his eyes are glowing red. "What the hell just happened?" Derek bites out, leveling a glare of such ferocity at Deaton that Stiles is somewhat surprised the man doesn't drop dead on the spot. Deaton, though, looks unaffected, merely shuffling closer to them all.
"I'm sorry, boys, I didn't think it'd affect him that strongly," he says in a soft, placating tone. Stiles sits up so that he can lean his head against Derek's hip a bit. .
"Dude," he says, "I'm almost seven months pregnant and there's six werewolves, a giant lizard, and an armed police officer who've had a real shit week standing, like, five feet away from you. Just this once, can we skip the Obi-Wan Kenobi routine and you just give us a straight answer?"
Deaton dips his head slightly, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender. Instead of speaking, though, he just quirks an eyebrow upwards and points with one finger to the wall behind the couch. Frowning, Stiles cranes his neck around to look.
And feels his breath catch in his throat.
"Oh," he says faintly, staring with wide eyes at one of the sigils that Angela had painted on their walls. It's glowing again, with a bright light like burnished gold, deeper and brighter than the light they'd shone with when she was working her hex. A quick glance around the room confirms that, yes, they're all still there, all glowing with that same rich, gleaming light. "Wow. How long, uh, how long has that been going on?"
There is a general scramble of shock as soon as Deaton points out the sigils glowing on the four walls of the living room—and Stiles resolves to tease the entire pack mercilessly about not noticing the brightly glowing symbols on their walls just as soon as he's sure they're not a precursor of some sort of doom—but Derek and, surprisingly, Stiles' father quickly restore order. They are about to start hustling everyone out of the house when Stiles finally notices something about the sigils. Granted, his memories of the night Anderson had attacked them are a little disjointed, but he's almost positive that—
"They're different," he says as his father reaches down to help him off of the couch. "Dad, wait…guys, they're different." His voice cuts through the general pandemonium and the others fall silent in surprise. Stiles' eyes fly to Deaton, who is standing calmly with his hands tucked behind his back.
"Very good," Deaton says. Derek glances between him and Stiles before heaving a put upon sigh and reaching up to rub at his temples.
"Stiles, how do you feel about just going to Hawaii until the baby's born?" he asks tightly. Stiles makes a sympathetic noise and wraps a hand around one of Derek's wrists, tugging until he sinks down onto the couch beside him.
"Sounds awesome…but no way Dr. Evers will clear me to fly," he says, patting Derek on the leg.
"All right, what you have to understand is—what the girl did is just a parlor trick," Deaton says after they've all more or less settled down into seats or on the floor by the couch. Stiles shoots another look at the glowing sigils on the walls, biting his lip nervously.
The symbols look almost the same as he remembers—etched into the walls as though they have been burned into them. According to Lydia, who had handled having the living room cleaned and the furniture repaired while Stiles was in the hospital, the sigils had vanished as soon as Derek carried Stiles out of the house…but Boyd and Erica had dragged Angela out just after them, and everyone assumed they had vanished because the caster was no longer in the vicinity. Now that he's looking at them, though, he's still positive that the symbols have been altered somehow. There's something slightly different about their shape—the harsh, straight lines he remembers softened into graceful curves. They're still glowing with that red-gold light…but there's something almost reassuring about the glow, now. Like a cozy, banked fire rather than a vicious, consuming blaze.
"Some parlor trick," Scott mutters darkly, pulling Allison down to sit in his lap on one of the armchairs. "She almost killed us."
"I didn't say it wasn't an impressive parlor trick," Deaton concedes, "but it's something that anyone with the right supplies and enough will can learn how to do. And the results are universally…unpleasant. Once something like that's been enacted, it's almost impossible to break." He turns to look at Stiles with an unnervingly intense expression. Beside him Stiles can feel Derek tensing, and on the floor in front of them, Isaac turns to shoot Stiles a confused look.
"So—how did Stiles stop it?" he asks, voicing the thought on everyone's mind. "I mean, what'd he do?
Deaton leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees and steepling his fingers. "He changed the nature of what was done," he says softly. He jerks his chin towards the bandage on Stiles' hand. "He put his own blood and his own will against the girl's…and I don't think I need to tell any of you that Stiles has a considerable amount of will. He created something new."
Stiles breathes out slowly, sitting up a little straighter. "What does that mean? What did I make?" he asks. It doesn't even occur to him to question whether or not Deaton's right. Not when he still remembers the absolute, bone-deep certainty that had coursed through him, the instinct that had made him slice his hand open on Isaac's claws and press his blood into the sigils.
"Protection," Deaton says simply. "Something tried to come in and hurt your family and you changed it into something to protect them. That's what happened when you walked into the house—you reactivated all the energy you poured into the signs. Right now, I doubt anyone who wants to hurt someone you care about could get within five feet of this room."
Stiles exchanges a startled look with Derek. Again, though, Stiles doesn't think to question what Deaton is saying…something about it just feels right. He swallows hard, looking at the softly glowing sigils. Derek's hand finds his knee and squeezes gently.
"That…sounds like a hell of a lot more than a 'parlor trick'," his dad says finally, frowning slightly.
"It is," Deaton agrees. "Anyone can learn how to do what the girl did…what Stiles did, though—that's considerably rarer. And right now, it'll probably only work while Stiles is in the house, but I wouldn't be surprised if he could learn to make the wards permanent…raise and lower them at will."
Derek blows out a huff of air, his brows furrowing into an intense frown. It's the face he makes when he's just started working something out and he doesn't like where his thoughts are leading him. Stiles is pretty sure he knows what he's thinking, too.
Because Stiles is certainly thinking of all the times throughout the years that Deaton has called on him to work the mystical, pretty-damn-close-to-magic-even-if-Deaton-insists-there's-no-such-thing mojo against some of the threats the pack has faced. So much more than Mountain Ash and powdered wolf's bane, and holy shit, Stiles was sixteen when Deaton started talking about sparks and willing things into being.
"You've known he could do things like this all along," Derek says suddenly, accusation thick in his voice.
Deaton doesn't even try to deny it, and Stiles feels his eyebrows shoot up towards his hairline. "Seriously? And in seven years , you didn't think to mention that to me?!" His voice raises with each word, and the pack starts pressing in closer to him. Derek's hand leaves his knee to skim up his back, and he makes a conscious effort to rein in his temper before he works himself up too much. He rests his good hand on his stomach, stroking his side where their son is kicking and shifting restlessly.
"I didn't think you were ready," Deaton says calmly. "You always rushed headlong into everything, Stiles, and you didn't always think of the consequences. You have the potential to be—powerful. What you did here? What I suspect you did when your baby was in trouble? That's…that's not something people can learn. You either have that power inside of you or you don't. The things you have the potential to do…once you start down that path, there's no going back. If you ever decided you wanted to walk away from this world, away from the pack…I had to be sure you were ready to commit yourself fully."
Stiles is silent for a moment after Deaton finishes, just staring incredulously. Then, slowly, deliberately, he looks down at the swell of his stomach, and back up at the vet. "Seriously? Seven. Months. Pregnant. With a werewolf! You seriously thought I was still going to walk away from this?!"
Deaton presses his lips together. "Admittedly, I was going to talk to you about training with me after you graduated this summer. Then Scott told me you and Derek were expecting…I didn't think you needed the extra stress."
"Ah. Well, yes, that worked out beautifully," he mutters sarcastically. He scrubs his hand over his eyes, leaning against Derek's shoulder. He turns slightly, pressing his face into Derek's t-shirt. "We can't fly to Hawaii…how about Mexico?" he mumbles.