A/N- Sorry this chapter took so long. There's a lot I needed to accomplish in this one and I was super busy doing other things… I'm not 100 percent sure I'm satisfied with it, but I think it fulfills its purpose. Hopefully this answers all your questions adequately so we can move on to the super exciting next arc of this fic!


"You didn't ask about Erica."


"Last night, you were worried about Scott and your dad and…me. And Jackson of all people, but you didn't ask about Erica." Derek was sitting on Scott's bed that morning, watching blearily as Stiles got his things ready for school, because regardless of everything that had gone on last night, the school district still decided to be blissfully unaware that members of its own were just out risking their lives for the good of the town and carried on with classes as usual. There was also no convincing Stiles' dad that the thermometer had been lying to him, so Stiles would have to wait for his explanation till that afternoon.

"Should I have asked about her?" Stiles asked, "Is she okay?"

"She's fine. Worse than Jackson, better than Scott."

"But Scott's okay, yeah?"

"Yes. He should have mostly healed by now. But it would have meant a lot to her if you'd been worried."

"…To Erica?"

Derek glared. "No, to Boyd. Yes to Erica. It's hard having a crush on someone who you don't have a chance with, who doesn't even acknowledge you."

"Yeah, I know! I could write the book on it. Did I not mention my torpid non-romance with Lydia Martin?"

"And yet you're just as bad," Derek said.

Stiles paused and looked over at him. Derek was looking out the cracked window. He couldn't read anything off him. "You promised you'd tell me everything today."

"You have school. You ditched yesterday." Derek smirked, then lay back. "If I stay here, will your dad notice?"

"Probably not. He has today off, but he doesn't come in here or anything. I'll shut the door. You could always hide under the bed."

Derek cracked an eyelid but didn't say anything.

"I'll see you after school then? "

"I'll be here."

"And I'll get a full account, right? No detail left undescribed?"

"Have fun at school, Stiles," Derek said.

At school, the first thing he did was wait by Scott's locker. The minute he saw him hobbling around the corner he charged over and wrapped his arms around him. "You scared me so much. I'm so fucking mad at you. We are not friends anymore," he said into Scott's shoulder.

Scott squeezed him back. "Love you too, man."

Stiles pulled back. "Everyone's good? Everyone's okay?"

Scott smiled. "Everyone's good."

Stiles smacked him upside the head, then hugged him again while Scott was protesting. "You hit me over the head and threw me in the basement!"

"I know. I'm sorry. Have you seen Allison?"

"Not yet. We'll walk to her locker. Just like, hold my hand or walk like this or something. You can stand on my feet."

"I thought we weren't friends anymore?" Scott teased into Stiles' shoulder.

"Yeah, we're not. I hate you forever. Just keep reminding me you're real, okay?"

Scott settled for slinging his arm around Stiles' shoulders and using him for support. As they made their way down the hall he said, "Now you know how I felt when I was rushing you to the hospital."

"What even happened?"

"Uh, remember? You got slashed through the gut and were spewing blood and almost died on me?"

"No, I remember that. Or… I know that. Dude, what happened last night? No one will tell me anything."

Scott paused. "Oh. I thought that's what Derek was going to your place to do. He really wanted to see you."

"Yeah, he stopped by, he's still on my bed. He said he'd tell me after school, but I want to know now."

"He's still on your bed?" Scott raised an eyebrow and grinned. Luckily Allison came into view at the same time. Lydia was standing next to her and they both smiled.

"Hi Stiles, hi Scott," Allison said, walking over to give Stiles a hug and to kiss Scott. She apologized to Stiles and reiterated that Scott was not supposed to have whacked him. Scott hung his head like a hurt puppy and offered to hold hands with Stiles all day to make him feel better, but Stiles refused, glaring at him for teasing.

"So, back to telling me about last night-?" Stiles prompted, now that they were gathered.

"Oh man, it was insane," Scott said, wrapping an arm around Allison's waist. "So we led them into that big pit thing, right? The one that's like a mile or so out? Derek had this whole crazy plan set up to trap them in there."

"There's a code among alphas and certain ways to deal with their disputes," Allison clarified. "But it didn't work, it turns out they're basically a gang of thugs, so hell broke loose way too soon."

Scott jumped back in. "There was a huge fight, but there wasn't supposed to be."

"The hunters we called got there on time, but the rest of it happened too soon."

Stiles cut in, "Wait, stop, go back! I need specifics."

"Isn't Derek going to explain it later? From your bed?" Scott asked, half teasing but half serious.

"Dude, just talk to me."

The bell rang right then and Lydia split off to go to her AP Calc class while Stiles and Scott and Allison headed for their first hour. It wasn't until lunch that they were all able to group together and Stiles was gifted with the greater details of what went down.

"When it comes down to it, you were the key part of the plan. That's why we had to lock you up," Scott began.

"Yeah, because that makes total sense," Stiles muttered, picking at his food.

"You were technically the bait," Scott started off, much to Stiles' continued confusion. "You and me. We took your clothes, the last hoodie you wore—"

"Ah! What? I was looking for that hoodie!" Stiles cut in.

"—your pants, some socks from your Lacrosse bag. Isaac dressed up like you and he and I led them to the big... hole. With the rocks…"

"The quarry," Lydia said, curtly.

Scott continued, "You wouldn't believe how fast they showed up. I had no idea they were out to get you. Not like that, I swear, dude. The whole pack gathered around above us, cause we were down in the quarry, and with the hood up they couldn't tell it was Isaac and not you. That's why we took your stuff, so he'd smell like you."

"Apparently a lot of these alphas were born werewolves, like Derek, so they're used to relying on scent. Plus it was dark and we had Isaac hunch over," Allison explained.

"Yeah. They were going on about how stupid you were for showing up and all the things they were going to… do to you..." Scott's voice trailed off and Stiles' eyes got big. He raised his eyebrows.

"Don't repeat that," Allison whispered, firmly. Stiles looked down at his plate and didn't push. She cleared her throat. "The idea was, they were definitely going to be most interested in one of you. We thought they'd focus on Scott since he killed their packmember, but it was almost entirely you. Four of them jumped Isaac before the rest of us could get them off. The rest of us had been hiding downwind."

"Yeah, so the rest of the pack showed up," Scott continued, "And Derek was supposed to evoked this ancient ritual right thingy they've got, but they were already going crazy. I mean, Erica got this guy off me and Derek and Boyd were just sort of wailing on the four that jumped Isaac so Jackson could drag him out of there. Allison's family started shooting… Everything was insane. I took on a couple of them, but I had this one bald guy jabbing his fists in my sides and he grabbed me by the leg. I hit a boulder and totally blacked. I saw Erica break the guy's neck from behind and that was the last thing I remember. And it's weird, it's like I can't heal as fast. I mean, I should be fine today, but I'm not. Anywhere one of those guys touched still hurts like I'm just a normal guy."

"Yeah," Jackson agreed. "It's the same for me."

"It's probably because they're alphas," Stiles suggested. "They must have some mojo that cuts off your healing ability." Allison beamed at him, and he felt a little bit better.

Scott went on, "Anyway, I blacked out after that guy threw me, but way before that Derek got that Isaiah guy. I think he was planning on splitting because he was hanging back, and Derek charged him and he literally ripped the guy in half. Straight through the middle. It was insane!"

"It was gross," Allison shuddered.

That actually made Stiles feel cold. He could picture Derek getting the upper hand, lifting the guy up and then literally tearing his body one piece from the other like some sort of rabid gorilla. He shuddered too.

Jackson cut in. "To be fair though, the guy was taunting him, he was saying all these things, mostly about you, Stiles. Like, I know you and Derek are together and whatnot—" Stiles' jaw dropped. Was there no one who assumed he and Derek could be friends without boning? "But that guy was… he was messed up. Derek lost it. He grabbed this old board that was down there, swung it at the guy—"

Scott jumped back in. "It kinda… how much detail do you want? It hit him in the stomach and knocked him over. He was bent double, then Derek walked up and grabbed him by his hair and he was like, 'He's mine!' and snapped the guy's back! And then he…" Scott made a motion with both hands of separating the lower body from the upper.

"He said what?" Stiles asked. Scott just shrugged. Stiles looked away. "No, what did Isaiah say?"

Allison reached out for Stiles' hand. "No," she cut off any elaboration. "He's gone now. He can't hurt you."

"What about Selena?"

"The chick?" Jackson asked, "Erica was going after her, and you've seen how tough Erica is, and that alpha knocked her out of the way like she was nothing. She walked over when Derek threw down the Isaiah guy, totally calm. She grabbed him by the throat, lifted him straight off the ground. I mean, she's tiny, but she lifted him clean off the ground."

"She was going to tear his throat out," Allison said softly.

"But then Allison here," Jackson smiled at her, "Shot about six arrows in her back. She was down like a light!"

"It's 'out' like a light, sweetie," Lydia corrected gently.

"Whatever," Jackson frowned. "I gotta go. I blew off studying with Danny." He kissed Lydia's cheek. "I'll be in the library, see you after class."

"So… she's dead?" Stiles asked, tentatively once Jackson had left.

"We don't know. Boyd survived more arrows once," Allison said. "Selena was the last one standing in the gorge and after she fell and let go of Derek I don't know what happened to her. Several of them got away. When the alpha hunters showed up I broke off from my dad and everyone to help out with getting the pack to Dr. Deaton's. I don't remember if I saw her again or not."

Stiles ran his tongue across the backside of his teeth. He nodded.

"Well, either way we won. Deaton bandaged us all up back at the clinic. That's where I woke up," Scott said, "And then I got filled in on what happened while I'd been out. That's about when Jackson and Derek went to let you out. I'd have come, but I couldn't walk yet."

The bell rang, signifying that lunch was over. Stiles started and glanced around the table. Everyone had this look of quiet triumph, but he couldn't help feeling like they'd just gotten lucky, like something was still amiss.

Lydia leaned over. "Everything turned out okay," she said, as reassuringly as possible.

Stiles plastered on a smile. "Good! That's awesome. I mean, I knew you guys could do it. Go team! I mean, pack."

On the way to class, Allison walked close to him. "It really is over, Stiles."

He smiled back, "I know! Never doubted it."

"You're just upset that you weren't there?"

Stiles tried not to let himself pause. "What could I have done?"

She squeezed his arm. Their next classes were a door apart, and she paused in front of her room. "Stiles…"


"I don't know what… promise she made…"


She gave him a look. "Selena. She said something to Derek. I mean, what she said was, 'Too bad I won't be able to keep my promise to your kitty.' I know you're the 'kitty.' Scott told me she's been calling you that. But whatever the promise was, she can't hurt you now. Okay?"

Stiles blinked hard. With everything that had been going on it was hard to remember. He stuck on a smile again, hugged Allison, and slipped into his classroom. He spent the rest of the day doodling in the margins of his notebook, then tried to rush home before getting grabbed by the Coach and being reminded they had practice after school and that he was now able to join them again. "What a treat this is! The whole first line here for the first time in the whole goddamn season!" he chided, steering Stiles by the shoulders all the way to his gym locker then peeling off to lead warm-ups.

Stiles didn't make it home till late that evening. When he was through the front door his dad poked his head out from the kitchen. "Care to explain why Derek Hale was in your bed this morning?"

Stiles whipped around, considered, then, "Nope."

His dad frowned. "Stiles."

"He's just a friend! He needed a place to crash."

"In your bed?"

"I have a very nice bed."

"The guest room wasn't good enough?"

Stiles' brain cut out for a second. "…No?"

"Couldn't have maybe warned your old man?"

Stiles' head was shaking before he'd come up with an answer. "That I could not have done. No."

His dad sighed. "Well, fine. Next time you've gotta tell me though, Stiles. I asked him to leave and come back later when you're home."

"You talked to him?" Stiles dropped his bag. "When's he gonna be back?"

"He does know you tried to get him convicted of murder, right?"

"What? I didn—…Yes."

"Several times?"

"Yes, Dad! When is he going to be back?"

"I dunno. He might be up there now. He didn't use the front door like a normal houseguest."

Stiles glanced up the stairs. "Okay, just so you know, you are the best dad ever and I love you and school was great, now I'm just gonna run up the stairs and see if he's here."

"Stiles?" his dad called again when he was halfway up the stairs. He paused and looked back down. "You'll tell me the next time he's coming over, right?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Because I have nothing against him. It doesn't have to be a secret that he's here."

"Okay, yeah, great!"

He didn't wait around after that. He rushed to his room and flung open the door to find Derek seated at his computer, laptop open. He didn't glance over at Stiles. "Your dad's a good guy." Stiles let his shoulders droop, shut the door, then wandered over to sit on his bed, now nicely made. "It was kind of hard to hide all the bandages from him though, so now he thinks I'm in a gang. I assured him you weren't and promised I wouldn't drag you into it."

"Yeah, those scary Beacon Hills gangs. No way out once you get in. Life of crime. Thanks for protecting my delicate nature." Stiles looked over at him wryly. There were new bandages around his neck and arm, but they were showing bloodspots. "You're not healing," he observed. Derek didn't say anything. He closed the laptop before Stiles could focus on what he'd been researching. He turned the chair around and Stiles reached out for his bandaged arm, examining it. Stiles swallowed. "It sucks that I can't wolf-magic you like you did with me."

"It's fine."

"No, it's not." Stiles stared up at the five points of blood poking through the gauze around Derek's neck. "I know what the promise was."


"Sissy said she was going to make me watch while she tore out your throat and shoved it up your ass, remember?" Derek tensed. "She was really serious."

"I see they already filled you in."

"Yeah I… couldn't wait any longer. I got the finer points out of Scott and Allison."

"So I could have just gone home then? Great."

"Don't lie, my place is better," Stiles replied. He placed his palm flat against the spot where the gash was still slightly bleeding on Derek's arm. "… If I could heal you, would you let me?" he asked.

Derek stared at him for a long moment, leaning back in Stiles' desk chair. "No."

Stiles ground his teeth. "Seriously?" He dropped Derek's arm, stood up and crossed his room.

Derek sighed, "Stiles… you can't, so what's the point? It doesn't matter."

"Why not?"

"Why… what? You're not a werewolf."

"You couldn't have just told me? Couldn't have just stopped and been like, 'Sorry Stiles, you need to hide out in your basement for a few hours while we go badassing across the countryside like Rambo's suicidal pop band?'"

Derek snorted, but regained his composure. "That… Would you have gone quietly and sat still if you'd known what was going on?"

Stiles scoffed. "No."

"See? There's your answer."

"But at least I wouldn't have panicked."

Derek's face softened. "I'm sorry."

"I'm still not convinced it worked out."

"It did," Derek replied.

"Then why did you lie about the New Moon thing?" Derek raised his eyebrows like he was feigning innocence. "Did you just think I wouldn't notice?... Oh my god. You did. You really think I'm that oblivious!"

Derek shrugged. "Can't blame me for hoping. Besides, all the evidence was in my favor." Stiles sucked in his cheek and shook his head, completely offended. Derek sighed. He heaved himself up out of the chair. It struck Stiles how pale he was as he walked over to where Stiles was standing, arms crossed. "I know you're not an idiot, Stiles. You're actually occasionally verging on genius. But last night only worked because you were safe. If any one of us had the slightest notion that you were in danger, it would have all fallen through."

"Everyone keeps saying that. Why?"

Derek shook his head. There was a long moment of silence between them, then Derek spread his arms. Stiles let himself be hugged, hooking his chin over Derek's shoulder. "I don't know. I know we haven't always been friends, but we are now. I just… have a strong urge to protect you. It's gotten out of hand, especially since that first attack. I don't know what it is. It's like you're the pack's…"

"…Mascot?" Stiles supplied.

"No. Troop mom?" Derek tried. Stiles laughed bitterly. "I don't know, Stiles. It's not because you're weaker or that I think you'd do something stupid, which, let's face it, you definitely would." Stiles shifted. "I'd just rather you were safe."

They were silent for a long while. Finally Stiles said, "How come we hug so much?"

Derek stiffened. "I thought you liked it."

"I do," Stiles nuzzled his nose into Derek's shoulder. "I like the hugs."