Lost and Found
Lost was a feeling he was familiar with. He knew the feeling like the back of his hand, like the woods that surrounded his burnt family home. However, it was never this extreme.
At least before, he was able to push through and wing it, finding his way through to the end. It wasn't always smoothly or even a success in the end, but he was able to find his way through no matter what. But as he sat on the bottom step of the staircase, the door open along with the windows, the summer breeze filtering through the house and brushing his skin like a whisper, he never felt so lost.
Jackson was no longer a kanima, but a werewolf, and he knew there was no chance of him joining his pack. Erica and Boyd ran; ran from him and the life that he gave them in exchange for power. Scott threw away any hope he had of him joining the pack, all dashed away with a single sentence. "You may be an alpha, but you're not mine." His wolf whined inside at the pain of final abandonment. He didn't even bother considering his uncle.
He didn't trust him.
There was only Isaac, but it was only a matter of time before he left and joined Scott. Isaac was more loyal to the teen than him anyway. He's known it all along, ignoring it with his focus on killing Jackson. And if he didn't leave what was left of his pack, he should.
He was lost.
He was alone.
And he didn't know how to find his way through.
He sat in his jeep, absently tapping at the steering wheel as his mind constantly ran chaotically. The thought of summer used to be a joy, filled with plans on how to spend his free time, but this year was different because he decided to drag his friend out into the woods to look for a body.
After Scott got bit and became a werewolf, everything changed. He was thrust into a whole other world where werewolves, hunters, and kanimas existed. Where his life was threatened more times than he cared to count, where his stress level became so high with everything that happened around him he was surprised he wasn't bald or already had gray hair. School work in need of doing so he didn't fail, research needed to go against whatever was after them, even lying to his dad so much that a new strain was happening between them.
His dad knew he was lying, he knew his dad knew, and he still continued just so he'd be safer. Just so he wasn't pulled into this world as well. They were all they had left. And the safer his dad was the easier it was to breathe through the panic.
Any hope he had for Lydia was crushed the night Jackson became a werewolf. Watching Lydia admit that she still loved Jackson and always will, it broke something in him. Left him numb, empty, and lost.
Years and years of pining after Lydia for it all to go down the drain.
Sure he told Scott that he'd have to extend his plan from ten to fifteen years, but that wasn't true. He was completely throwing the plan out.
He looked down the empty road, and rubbed his hands over his buzzed head in agitation. Whenever he needed to get out, just get away from the thoughts and memories and the sad looks his father would send him—cross between not knowing him anymore and wanting to hold on forever so he didn't disappear again—he'd get in his jeep and just drive. Only for his mind to click back into place and him slam on the brakes.
"If one's an accident, two's a coincidence, and three's a pattern, then what's four?"
Grumbling to himself, he put his car back into drive.
He heard it before he saw it and was standing on the porch by the time the teen pulled in front of his family home and cut the engine. They stared at each other through the windshield, his arms crossed over his chest while the hyperactive teen was just sitting there tapping his fingers against the wheel.
He didn't know why he was there; Scott couldn't possibly be in trouble, and they themselves weren't exactly on friendly terms with each other. They saved each other when the time comes, and he had a certain respect for the teen and his smarts and loyalty, but they weren't friendly.
So why was he here?
Stiles got out of the car and stood there with his hands in his jacket, eyes flickering everywhere, and every now and again landing on him. His mouth opened a time or two as if to speak but no words passed his lips. Shockingly.
He looked lost and with a jolt Derek realized he wasn't alone. After everything that's happened, he wasn't the only one alone and lost, with no direction on where to go.
Stiles finally decided not to say anything, and with one final look in his direction, turned and headed straight into the woods, his stride without purpose or for a destination. It was leisurely.
Only resisting out of principle, Derek took a step down and continued on till he was walking beside Stiles.
It was a routine that continued as the summer passed. Stiles came over at least twice a week and they'd go for a walk. It was spent silently in the beginning, but eventually a comment would pass between them—"I bet you like belly rubs." "Shut up."—and then a few sentences—"Dude, you really need to think about fixing up your house. Get a television or something so we can watch some movies. Update you on some pop culture. How a man went so long without seeing Bruce Willis kick butt is just sad." "Stiles." "Shutting up."—and now they had full conversations. Some topics were off limits—Derek's family and Kate Argent, along with Stiles' mother—but it was…nice.
Derek ignored the looks Peter gave him, he pretty much ignored him whenever he had to. Isaac was gone half the time; he could smell Scott on him and knew where he was, but the days he was over were usually for full moons and sometimes to hang out with Stiles.
The teen was insistent on catching him up on movies, so for the better part of one weekend he found himself in Stiles' room, watching movie after movie on his laptop, snacking on popcorn or curly fries that Stiles was also insistent on Derek eating. And once the teen got an idea in his head, there was no going against that. Of course he made sure to disappear when the sheriff was home and awake.
He watched a bald headed man in his forties or fifties take out a helicopter with a cop car and snorted as the younger man ran over to him, complaining about scraping his knee and about his asthma. The kid in the movie reminded him of Stiles a bit; determined and surprisingly loyal, smart and able to quickly think on his feet, but annoying, talkative, and used sarcasm as a defense.
Glancing over to make a comment on that stunt, he found Stiles falling asleep in his computer chair; legs sprawled out with one of his hands pillowing his head, his cheek squished and his mouth partly open. Derek smirked at the teen and decided to let him sleep; turning back to the movie and the unlikely duo.
"Why am I here again?"
"Dude, your food supply is just way too low for my liking."
"Then don't come over." A normal person would take his words to heart, but Stiles just snorted and continued pushing the cart down the aisle. Apparently the Stilinski house needed food and Stiles figured he could use food as well, so he dragged him along to the grocery store.
He'll admit he hasn't really gone grocery shopping much. Usually he just snacked or got some fast food if he was in the mood. Food was food. He didn't know the difference between low-fat shredded cheese and regular shredded cheese, the difference between vegetable oil and canola oil. He didn't even seem to be dressed right.
As others walked by him and did their shopping, he felt like he stuck out like a sore thumb as he stood in front of the butter, where Stiles told him to go. He was in all black, dressed like a broody ninja according to Stiles, and he just looked and felt lost.
Who knew there was so much butter to choose from?
"Derek, I sent you to get butter, like, hours ago."
"Fine, five minute ago. How long does it take to get butter?"
He refused to admit he had no idea what to get. However, the look Stiles gave him had him giving his own look back, just to cover how embarrassed he was that he didn't know what butter to get. Stiles didn't say anything, though the grin he gave had Derek rolling his eyes, and without even a thought plucked some butter, put it in the cart, and kept on moving.
"Let's go. We've got a few other things to get before we can get out of here."
Refusing to be impressed, Derek quickly caught up with him and followed him around as the cart continued to be filled. They were in the fruits and vegetables section before going to check out and Stiles was taking advantage of his nose; thrusting fruit after fruit under his nose to know if it was good and ripe.
"How'd you do it before?" he found himself asking before answering, "Good," for the kiwi.
"Well you feel it, but even the good ones sometimes were bad on the inside or were bad the next day. Wasting money."
"You sure you were doing it right?"
Stiles threw a glare his way and Derek just smirked. "I know how to test fruit. It's not my fault if the fruit was deceitful."
"Hey, when's the last time you ate a fruit, let alone picked it yourself?"
Giving his own glare, he smirked in satisfaction when Stiles jumped and looked back at the fruit. Yeah, he still had it.
He watched from the woods as Stiles laid down the flowers at the grave. He told himself it was to protect Stiles, god knows the teen had a knack for getting into dangerous situations and getting into trouble.
So he watched Stiles, and made himself tune out whatever Stiles was saying. It was private. He knew all too well the need to be alone when doing this. If someone had eavesdropped on him when he mourned his family, he would have given easily into his rage, no matter who they were.
Stiles sat in front of his mother's grave, sorrow rolling off of him in just his posture; knees drawn up, arms hanging over said knees, head bowed. His wolf whined at Stiles' pain.
"You can come out you creeper."
After only hesitating for a second, because the teen hadn't even looked his way, he stepped out and approached the sullen teen, standing beside him and looking down at the tombstone.
"It was her birthday today," he said quietly.
Stiles continued to stare at the stone. "…I think she would have liked you. She had a way of seeing through people."
And that right there was the nicest compliment he's ever gotten in a long time. If ever.
He felt calmer knowing he wasn't alone. Usually he didn't like seeing anyone on his mother's birthday, not even Scott. Only one he ever saw was his dad. But something about Derek's sturdy, yet slightly creepy with the way he followed him there, presence calmed him. Grounded him. He didn't feel like he was on the verge of a panic attack.
For the first time.
With his heart pounding and a slightly shaking hand, he grabbed what courage he needed to reach out and grip the rough fabric of Derek's jeans and give a slight tug. A silent demand—or plea—for him to join him on the ground.
Derek gracefully plopped down beside him, looking his usual broody self. He was always broody, he just owned the look. Even in the grocery store. He found himself smiling at the memory at finding Derek, dark and intimidating, staring at the shelves of butter as if he didn't chose the right one then the place would explode. His mother would have had enjoyed that and taken it upon herself to teach Derek to not only shop but cook and take better care of himself.
"My mom was great you know," he said. "She cared about anything and anyone that she came into contact with. She mother henned them, but she was also stern, push them to do something she knew they could do. Did it to me all the time."
Derek sat there silently and for that Stiles was grateful, though it was also their relationship. Derek was the silent and deadly presence while Stiles filled the silence with his words and energy. It worked. And soon, Stiles was talking about his mother, talking about the time before she became sick.
He was exhausted afterwards, emotionally drained. And hungry. "You hungry?" he asked.
"Let's go get some curly fries." He smiled, though it was strained, as he stood up.
Giving his mother a goodbye, they left and went through the drive-thru, parking somewhere to eat. Stiles didn't even bother trying to fill the silence between them, he was just too tired. Talking about his mother did that, it was why he avoided it as best he could.
"My mother would have liked you too."
The words made him look over at Derek and see him looking out the windshield, absently chewing on his own curly fries. The admission warmed him a bit.
The side look Derek gave him should have warned him.
"Yeah, after she ripped your throat out to shut you up."
Stiles scoffed and then really looked at Derek and saw the humor in his eyes, the little quirk of his lips and punched Derek's arm. It stung his human hand but not too much. He went back to his curly fries and it was quiet again, but lighter, and then Derek spoke again.
"My mother liked to bake."
And just like that he felt less alone.
Stiles munched on some popcorn as he sat on the couch and watched a movie. Derek was sitting beside him and looking at his face, he couldn't stop from smiling. He looked so enthralled with the movie, completely sucked into the make believe world. So much that he didn't hear Stiles' heart begin the race the longer he stared at the man.
It's been doing that a lot lately, so much that Derek usually asked what was wrong whenever it unexpectedly began to race. Usually he just shrugged and said his heart decided to go for a jog. However, as he continued to watch Derek and how he absently reached over for some popcorn and ate it, he thought about his summer.
He went from alone and lost to spending more than half of his summer with Derek. So much that even his dad had caught on and allowed Derek to come over as long as they stayed in the living room. And hadn't that been an embarrassing conversation. Scott also caught on with his werewolf nose. For the most part, Scott left it alone though he wasn't happy about it, but Stile knew Scott was just waiting for Derek to make one wrong move against Stiles.
Spending time with Derek, he's come to know Derek better and enjoy his company. Sure he threatened to rip his throat out still, but it wasn't all time. Maybe…once every other week. If that.
When Stiles thought about it, he realized he hadn't even thought about Lydia and his zero chance with her that much either. Sure it still hurt when he thought about it, but it wasn't as much as it was after everything died down from the Gerard event. He opened up about his mother and spent her birthday with Derek, Derek opened up about his own mother and talked about how she liked to bake, he even had a conversation with his dad.
He made sure Derek ate more than fast food and the occasional bunny rabbit on the full moon. Stiles inwardly snickered at the thought. He tried to make sure he wasn't such a sourwolf all the time, tried to at least get his lips to quirk into somewhat of a smile. Tried to not let him stew in his burnt family home for too long on the chance he went back to his big sourwolf self.
He cared about him and Stiles knew Derek cared back. Derek occasionally helped him with lacrosse, he indulged Stiles on wanting to educate him on movies, and he even let Stiles drive his car once. And hadn't that been awesome?!
They've become friends and Stiles knew there was a possibility they could become more. Not now though. Derek still had communication and trust issues and Stiles hid behind sarcasm. Derek had to think about what was left of his pack and Stiles wasn't even eighteen yet. Derek has done a lot of things, but dating the sheriff's underage son wouldn't be on his list of things to do.
No, for now they were friends and he was happy with that.
"Stiles," he warned, his eyes flashing red as if that was supposed to make him do anything, and Stiles just rolled his own eyes.
"Don't be such a sourwolf." He then slowly smiled before reaching over. "Wolfie want a belly rub?"
A/N: My first TW fic. How'd I do?