Wolf of Dixie

Family

On the day Stiles turns eighteen, Derek moves to Bluebell. He rents an apartment next to the one where Peter and Isaac have been staying in, and Stiles pretty much moves in with him.

It is, actually, the talk of the town. The boy who got sent away from home for trouble making is now living with his much older boyfriend. It's quite the scandal in Bluebell. Derek becomes sort of a local celebrity, and considering how much he likes people in general, the whole thing is pretty entertaining.

Jackson and Lydia wait for the end of the school year and then move too. Jackson decides not to go to college – he had had dreams and hopes for his future in something of another life, but now he doesn't want any of that anymore. He doesn't want to be so worried about money and status that he doesn't have time for his family. He opens a Sports Store in Bluebell – the first one, actually – and invests some of his trust fund money, so that he won't starve in case things go wrong.

Of course things don't go wrong. He's got talent for business.

Lydia does get into about six different schools, and she chooses MIT. The plan is that she'll come to Bluebell every other weekend, and Jackson will fly out to meet her in the ones she doesn't. During the Summer, though, they bunk up with Stiles and Derek. It's quite strange that, given their history, as couple, the four of them are the ones who get along the best.

Melissa finds a job helping Brick and, well, as embarrassing as it is, she kind of gets together with him. As summer starts they announce they are in a serious relationship, and now Scott and Scott are kind of cousins or some other crazy relation. It's great for Melissa, and great for Brick, and amazing for Scott and Stiles, and pretty good for Magnolia too.

Magnolia who, by the way, gives up the jerk she'd been chasing when Stiles moved there and is in a serious relationship with Isaac. They are sickeningly cute in a way not even Allison and Scott had managed to be when they first got together.

Erica and Boyd stay with Derek the first few weeks, and then, when Jackson and Lydia come to stay with them, the Alpha rents them an apartment. They go to college in University of South Alabama, in Mobile, where Boyd plans to major in History and become a teacher, as Erica studies Biology to teach too.

Allison is the last one to come because she wants to be sure her father won't follow them. They have a fight, and, in the end, he promises her he won't follow, if she promises him she'll keep in touch. Both of them do as the other asks, and she finally leaves Beacon Hills behind. At first, she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She doesn't want to go to college, and she doesn't want to depend on anyone else to live, and she's kind of a wreck for a few weeks.

Then Derek buys a bit more land, away from the house they are building, and builds her a shooting range. She starts with just a few students, but as word gets out that an amazing instructor lives in Bluebell, people start to come to train with her. They know Chris will hear of it eventually, and put things together, but they aren't worried. For once they trust his love for his daughter will stop him from doing something stupid.

Peter and Lemon actually do get together. He opens a small office in town – the only opposition George Tucker has, actually – and Lemon's popularity in town makes it flourish quite fast.

Things are good, in a way. The last week of Summer, the house is finally ready, and the furniture has been bought. Most of the things are already in place and the official move in is in the very next morning. Stiles is attending college in Mobile come fall, and they want to have everything ready before classes start. Things are good.

The only thing that isn't good is John's absence.

Ever since his talk to Derek in front of the Hale house he has become more distant than ever. He calls, of course, and he tries to talk to Stiles, but it seems as if the fact that they are now aware of the problems in their relationship as father and son, they don't know how to behave without letting them come in between them. Stiles tries to keep busy enough that he won't think about it, but Derek knows he's worrying about his dad nonstop.

There's no one else there. Not a single person in that town in whom Stiles trusts to keep his dad healthy or safe. No one to be there for him when he comes home from a difficult shift, and by God, there are a whole lot of those. And there will be a whole lot more, because with the Hale Pack gone there's no one to defend the place.

Stiles sometimes feels as if he's failing his dad. But then Derek will come and kiss him; or Jackson will walk by, showing him something; or Scott will smile, and he'll remember that these people need him too. They need him, and he's not running away on them, he won't fail them as he failed his dad, or his dad failed him. He won't leave, or pretend there's nothing wrong.

He's pack.

He's family.

But it breaks his heart to leave his dad behind.

The house they bad built is everything Stiles has ever wanted in a house. Three story high, white with blue windows and a red front door. Every couple in the pack has a room, and then there are two other spare rooms – Stiles had thought about one room to spare, but Derek insisted on two. The place is spacious and airy, bright with sunlight and, well, love.

It's weird, in a way. Stiles used to think about houses and peace and love for the future. He never quite imagined that things would be here, now, in the present. He's never thought he could actually have all that he dreamed of when he started dating Derek, and yet, here they are.

The pack has a house, Peter is happy, Isaac is happy, Boyd and Erica and Jackson and Lydia and even doomy and gloomy Derek are happy.

He wants to be happy too, but the shadow of his dad's absence is kind of putting a bit of a damper on things.

"Hey" Derek greets from behind him, coming from the bedroom, where he was packing away the last bit of clothing they had in the apartment.

"Hey. Everything's ready?" he asks, more to try and distract his boyfriend than anything else.

"What's wrong?" the Alpha asks in return, frowning.

Stiles shrugs a bit, not knowing how to explain it. He doesn't want to upset Derek, and he really, really doesn't want to talk about it. It's different, for the others. Melissa has come with Scott, Chris had been a sore point for Allison ever since he told her what really happened on the night her mother died, Jackson's, Lydia's and Boyd's parents were really absent, and Erica's mother was in no line for winning any awards for best parenting either.

But he and his dad had had a relationship once. Or at least he had thought so, but then Brick started talking to him, and, well, he felt so bad for blaming his dad for a whole lot of things that now he blamed him for. His absence, his not dealing with Stiles's mom's death, the way he was either way too permissive or he was trying to be in absolute charge of Stiles's life. He didn't want to think about his dad in any other way than perfect.

It was easier for him to be the screw-up son than to have a dad who made mistakes.

And he wasn't sure on how to deal with any of that, especially seeing as his dad's last call had been a good ten days ago, and the man hadn't been answering his phone either, talking to Stiles through a few texts.

Derek apparently decides to let it go, and they put the last of the boxes away in the trunk of his car, driving towards their new home. The others are there already, just waiting for them, so they'll be officially moved in. Stiles tries (and fails) to leave his thoughts about his dad behind.

When their car gets to the house, though, it's impossible to forget about Sheriff John Stilinski.

Because he's right there, between Lemon and Brick.

"What…" Stiles starts and looks at Derek, who is, of course, trying not to smile.

"Just… get out of the car" the man says, and Stiles does get out, walking towards his dad with his mouth open in shock.

"Surprise?" the Sheriff says, half exclaiming, half asking and Stiles just stands there for a moment, trying to understand what's going on.

"What are you doing here?" he finally asks, because he's not sure what to think.

"Moving?" his dad answers, the same questioning tone in his voice again, "Someone told me a few months ago that I should start seeing you for you, and not for what I wanted you to be" the man says, looking as if he's trying very hard not to cry, he swallows hard before continuing, "And someone else pointed out that I wasn't exactly being the best father I could be for you. I know we have our differences, and I know you have become a man without me by your side. You have a family, and a place in it that I could never hope to take away from you, but I don't want us to be two strangers who just happen to share some DNA. I want our relationship to work, Stiles." He stares at his son a bit helplessly, and Stiles doesn't say anything.

He isn't sure he can.

"Is it too late?" his father asks, and that makes Stiles move, half running towards his dad and hugging him close, making both of them stumble a bit.

"It's never too late, dad" he whispers back, knowing full well all the wolves around them can hear.

It's not perfect by a long shot.

The old Sheriff from Bluebell is retiring, and John gets his job simply because the Breelands support him – and along with them, Lavon too.

Lavon forgives Lemon, eventually, but she's too happy with Peter to actually care about it. They become good friends, but that's it.

Things are calm in Bluebell. They don't have to worry about monsters attacking their land, or hunters hunting them down. Slowly, they let go of the fear and apprehension that has followed them for years, and they learn to live. Just… that. Day by day problems, small headaches, like someone used the last of the milk and didn't buy anymore, or all the humans in the pack get a nasty flu at the same time, or someone is rude to Stiles or Derek because they are small headed people, but all in all, it's pretty good.

There are a few major problems, of course. Like the time Wade got mauled by a bear in a hunting trip, and would have died for sure, but then Brick stepped in and asked Derek to bite him.

The pack grows bigger, and now Zoe Hart is a part of it, and Lemon hates it.

They make it work, though. Through thick and thin, the small fights and the big worries, through weddings, and first kids, and all the problems that come with being such a big group of people basically living together – they make it work.

Because that's what family does.

And they sure are family in all the ways that count.


And it's the end!

Thank you so much to all of you who stuck through the story! I'll post a few oneshots in this universe, because there are a few things I want to write about, but wouldn't have a place in this story, so stay tuned for a few more pieces on it!

Thank you again, and let me know what you think!

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