A/N: Dedicated to Jules (who prompted me when all inspiration had left me), with much love.
Inspired by the beautiful artwork from Zainfenrir (Zainclaw on Tumblr) on DA called "Let Me Be Your Anchor". I can't post the link here but you can find it on my Tumblr and on the A03 version of this fic.
A million thanks to the adorable Lis for her help and her sharp beta-reading skills!
Derek let out a vicious scream, so loud it completely covered the sound of the punching bag shattering the mirror. Swinging it in that direction, all his might put behind the punch, hadn't done anything to relieve him, nor did the cry. He was still breaking inside. So he yelled again, at his distorted reflection, at the shards on the floor, at nothing really. He kept at it, desperately, his entire body tense, concentrated. The cries came out as howls, more and more frequently, as the hours passed and the night grew near.
Tonight was a full moon. It wouldn't be a problem, under normal circumstances, except there were no normal circumstances in Derek Hale's life, in the life of a werewolf. This particular day proved that again, only worse. Like every month since as far as he could remember, the animal inside wanted, demanded to be released.
It was a feeling quite difficult to explain. The wolf's an entity, linked to him but independent, with a mind of its own. Every month, when the moon arose, it used all of said mind to get out. While feeling the animal pushing its way through every pore of his skin was not pleasant, it was nothing compared to the raging battle in his head. It was emotions taunting him, wordless pleas to let instincts wash over any and all reason. It was exhausting, reeling it in and never giving in, not in the smallest way.
He could feel the beast pulsing inside, screaming louder than he was, and whatever he was trying wasn't keeping it at bay. Well, it was, since he was still Derek on the outside, but his mind faltered. The thoughts bounced around and he couldn't control them. The smoke. The shock of being abandoned 11 times at once.
He curled up on the dubious floor. He didn't want to think about the fire. A contradiction, because it was always on his mind, but usually it was safe. Remembering the day his life imploded, remembering the smell of burnt flesh still perceptible by his supernatural senses, the specks of ashes in the air around the carcass of his house. It stirred the anger inside, made it flare to impossible heights and consequentially secured the way it would ground him.
Anger helped. It had been a trusty anchor, always. When he was younger, it was over stupid things, how Laura had teased him or refused to let him play with her and her friends. Later on, it was brought on because of the girls (or guys) who wouldn't go out with him or made fun of him, the overgrown teen with the weird, too-tightly-knit family. Then, after the fire, he never had to look very far to find a source for his rage. Anger was good, useful. Its flawless power, pure and intense, narrowed his brain into a single idea: maintaining control. It cleared everything up, settled everything inside of him.
Today, it was nowhere near enough. To anyone with a calendar, the reason was obvious: it was the anniversary of the Hale fire. For the more observant, it was also the first time this anniversary coincided with a full moon. Tonight, it wasn't just a combat between beast and man, it was one between anger and pain. Tonight, it also seemed as though there wasn't going to be much of a fight. His fury was muddled, mingled with the hurt and too many memories brought on by this date. It was turning into a liability, instead of the usual grounding asset.
He punched the floor, his fist tearing easily through the weak wood. He pulled it out, looking almost with disinterest as the splinters were forced out by the sped-up healing process.
The physical exertion wasn't cutting it. All the signs were there, the turn was near, too near. He tried to push it away.
He thought of Kate. How she used him, told him lies after lies, made him believe in a love that was never there. He thought of how good and relieving it felt when he had heard her last breath leave her body, gurgled through the blood gushing out of her throat.
The beast retreated. The control came back: the fangs receding, the hair fading from his face. A long, liberated breath escaped his lips and he got up. In a few quick steps, he went upstairs, undressed and slipped inside the shower, one of the few newly-renovated rooms of the Hale house.
He turned the knob fully and reveled in the torrent of icy water falling down his face. He turned around and let it wash away the sweat off the sore and fatigued muscles of his back. After a minute, the cold water had finished cleaning the result of his workout. That allowed his thoughts to run freely again. Bad.
He looked down at his hands, intact and strong. Reminding him of little Sam's ones and how he would spend hours in his bath, complaining to big brother Derek that his fingers were not pruning like the other kids' would. He took a sharp intake of air, mentally swatted the memory, to no avail. The cascade started, soon, and there was no stopping it. Megan and her dimples showing when she would come up with a clever line at the dinner table. Dad's booming voice reprimanding him for leaving his shoes right in front of the door. His mother's awful singing as she was cooking what would always turn out to be a meal just as terrible.
"No." he thought, loudly. Like it could do anything. The wolf reclaimed his territory, feeding off his hurt and the transition started again. He banged his head against the tiles, slammed it as if he could force the pain out. Blood gushed out of the cut on his forehead, for a mere second. That was how long it took for the wound to disappear. It wasn't going to be long now until he would completely lose the grip.
The bathroom was not safe anymore. He turned off the water, blindly grabbed a towel and walked briskly to his room. It was more secure, built to contain outbursts. There, he would have a chance to keep it together or at least minimize the damage.
He lay down, grabbed fistfuls of sheets and covers and started fighting again. Deep breaths, swears, screams even. Anything that could jump-start the anger.
His concentration narrowed and completely focused on keeping the tightest leash on his animal side. That was the only way he could explain how he missed the recognizable spurting sound of the Jeep or the blur of Stiles' hurried steps in the stairs. He only took notice of him when his scent (dust, caramel, salty eagerness, something else…?) hit him, knocked out his sense of smell actually, and made him snap his eyes open. Yes, there he was in the doorway, silently asking for permission to enter even though his eyes somehow expressed a confidence that wasn't usually there.
"Stiles, get out. Now." he hissed. Looking up, the struggle with the wolf inside making him spasm, he saw the teenager remain motionless, save from a slight shift from one leg to the other. "I mean it. Go. NOW!"
Stiles stood still. So he wouldn't obey, that wasn't new. Everything else was off, though. He fully realized Stiles' scent, unusually strong, different too. Notes of cedar, of wet earth. The lingering determination that was intricate to Stiles' smell was now on the forefront, flooding the other scents with a spiky enrichment.
"It's not working this time. The anger, it's not stopping it. You're losing control and soon you'll shift. That's what's happening to you." It was stated simply, in Stiles' usual clear voice. A fact from the researcher that needed no confirmation. Infuriating and frighteningly accurate.
Derek heard the howl in his head, bit hard on his tongue to not let it out of his mouth. Stiles was right. He wouldn't be able to hold it in for much longer and in that moment Derek was scared. Because ever since becoming the alpha it wasn't just his powers that were heightened, his hunger was too.
"Fuck Stiles, if you understand this then you should… Fuck!" Derek cried. Already distracted by the teen, he had lost yet another bit of his hold and the wolf was achingly close. Pulsating beneath his skin, pushing the fangs out, cracking the claws from his fingertips. The lust for blood, the urge to maim and kill. And Stiles was right there.
No. Fuck no.
"THIS IS OUR MATE!" he screamed silently at the beast. "You do not want to do this. YOU DON'T!"
Lost words. The transformation continued and Derek felt his consciousness slip away. The wolf was almost in complete control. There was little of Derek's face left, with the fur was coming out of his every pore. All that remained was a flicker of his human side, enough to realize that this was happening, the wolf had taken over and the hunger was disregarding all bonds, he was going to attack Stiles. Enough to feel the panic, inevitable because there was nothing he could do. Enough to see that Stiles was still there.
Stiles, who was now shrugging off his hoodie and dumping it on the floor, where his T-shirt quickly followed. Then his pants. This skinny kid, only clad in silly boxers, was approaching the bed without fear, purposefully.
Derek growled and held down tighter. His claws drew deep trenches in the bedding, pierced through the mattress. He howled at the top of his lungs, a last resort to get some aggression out. Stiles flinched almost imperceptibly but kept walking towards him. The thunderous scream, that had made the walls shake, didn't scare the teen away. Knowing Stiles, nothing would.
And that was his last thought. He let go entirely and in his last second, as his vision turned red, he caught sight of Stiles leaning over him. The beast snapped, snarling, and jumped forward only to be stopped by the light weight of Stiles lying on top of him. Stiles, the annoying human, was splaying his whole body against Derek's wolfed out one. Fearlessly.
In an instant, everything changed. He splintered, his psyche broke into two bright pieces and all he saw was white, all he could feel was white. Then it cleared up, leaving a foreign sense of peace. The wolf was still there, communicating with him. Derek was still there too. There was no fight, just a coexistence. He held his breath, basked in the calmness of his mind. However Stiles, nudging slightly between his legs with his knee to allow for a more comfortable fit, did make him break the silence.
"What are you doing Stiles?" he murmured, voice rough and sand-like in his mouth.
"Shhh, don't talk. " Stiles mumbled. The irony of Stiles asking for silence was certainly not lost on Derek. He scoffed and turned his head away. Seemingly unfazed, Stiles threaded his fingers through Derek's. Slim, soft fingers sliding easily against his, grasping just enough to bring comfort to the gesture.
"Listen to the heartbeats." he whispered on Derek's skin, creating a shiver that coursed rapidly through his entirety.
He did as he was told. Not that he couldn't hear them before, but Stiles was right, he wasn't listening properly. When he did, what was a latent fact became a crystal-clear truth.
Thump. One beat for Derek.
Thump. One beat for Stiles.
Thump. One beat for the wolf.
Thump. One beat for Stiles.
Stiles' heartbeat, strong and steady, synchronized with both. The way only an ideal mate's could be.
He knew it. Honestly, he had realized Stiles was it mere seconds after first seeing him, the wolf in him soaring in joy as soon as he had laid eyes on the jittery guy standing in the forest. He had laughed internally at the discovery, unwilling to deal with the fact that his destiny might be linked to that guy's. But there was no denying the truth and, while it had taken months for Derek to love Stiles the way his animal side did, once he got there he knew this was no ordinary mate bond. It was the bond, the one that would happen only in the rarest cases.
He lifted his head, looked at the way their bodies were melded together. Stiles was fresh and light against him, all lean muscles and goose-bumps skin, covering him with the complete comfort of a duvet. It was overwhelming, in a good way. It was clouding his senses with an overload of precise information. Every single hair on Stiles arm, fine and soft, on the verge of tickling him. The surprising hardness of his chest rising in time with his. The lull of his breathing sliding on his shoulder and warming it, also creating an echo in his ear. The tantalizing smell of his hair, that he refused to analyze. So many other sensations that were exhilarating not only to him but to the wolf inside.
It was quite unsettling. This wasn't supposed to happen, on so many levels. Stiles wasn't supposed to be there with him, not so close, not so soon. Derek, on the other hand, wasn't supposed to get a grip so easily, with a simple touch from his mate. He wasn't supposed to forget his hurt so simply and feeling his anger dissipate should have at least worried him. Most of all, both sides of him weren't supposed to enjoy the contact of Stiles body on his so much. Unfortunately that reasoning weighed very little and him, all of him, was awakened in a most inappropriate way.
The towel barely hanging on his waist was shifting. Understandable, his growing erection could not be contained by such a flimsy material. His hips shuffled and inevitably the towel fell farther, sliding off on one side while the other remained stuck between them. He tried to be casual about the situation. Useless, considering not only his less than discreet hardness but also the heady scent of Stiles' own arousal. Hips were starting to move without a word being spoken between the two of them.
"No, not yet. He's too young, he doesn't… Realize." Derek thought. This couldn't happen. Maybe later, in another time and place, once Stiles knew and could understand what it meant, but not now. Because it was not only a matter of "underage, human, sheriff's son", it was also about mates, claim, the "forever" nature of their relationship that he had yet to explain.
A more deliberate thrust from Stiles stopped his train of thought and he groaned through clenched teeth. "Stiles.." he warned.
"Come on Derek…" Stiles pleaded, grinding with a purpose. Derek sighed and relinquished, rising his hips to match Stiles' moves. By then the towel had slipped down completely and the feeling of Stiles' underwear rubbing on his naked cock finished destroying any barrier that was holding him back.
For a while it was simply a mess of tangled legs, heated moans and frantic rutting. For a while it was the easy issues: don't come too fast, angle it right, don't breathe in his ear. Of course it couldn't stay that way. Not with Stiles involved, because he was the one.
The one he loved, with his spastic nature, loyalty, frankness. The one his wolf loved on a primal level, having sensed the fierce heart that was beating in this fragile human. The human that would never need the bite but was screaming for the claim, whether he was aware of it or not.
It could not be just two guys rubbing against each other, just sex. It had to be everything, right here, right now. The animal wanted it all, the touch and the spirit linked.
He didn't want to fight it. Actually, with his mate anchoring him, there wasn't chaos in his head like before. Thoughts, arguments flowing languidly in his mind. Not a fight, a mere reasoning between reality and desires.
He turned his head slowly, saw the expanse of pale skin right next to his mouth. Funny, he had never noticed how Stiles' neck had little to no moles. It was still too inviting. He turned away, eyes catching on their hands fitting perfectly together. Fuck.
He bucked again and Stiles moaned out his pleasure reflexively. This was never going to work out. He could never stop, he would ruin it all, again.
Suddenly Stiles was twisting around, running his lips against Derek's stubble and he swore he saw stars then.
"It's OK Derek, you can claim me."
His heart rose in his throat. No, he couldn't have said that. No way. He turned again, carefully, meeting the golden eyes that were staring straight at him. So sure. They didn't stray.
"I know you want to. Really, it's OK." Stiles breathed, his mouth a mere inch away from Derek's.
The wolf, no longer passive, leaped to the forefront, elated. For the first time, it was welcome and accepted. They were of a single purpose, an attainable one. He fixated on Stiles, his movements slowing down to a lazy dance against him. Reaffirming his grip on Stiles' hands, he reached up until his lips touched those irresistible ones that were so close. They were joined in a kiss that was gentle despite the fire and fierce joy that were burning inside Derek. Timid brushes and quick flickers, not even Stiles' eager response was able to coax more out of him. Don't you scare him away now.
He pulled away slightly, smiled when he saw Stiles blindly kiss the air where he was a second ago and freed his left hand. It naturally went for Stiles' nape, fingertips grazing the short hair. Stiles' eyes were open, wide and bright. God, he wanted him so much. Wanted to dive into him, steal him for himself alone. There was a tiny voice at the back of his brain, whispering protests to the beat of "doesn't know the implications, doesn't know he's your mate, doesn't understand forever." But at that moment, staring at his mate, the one who had brought peace on a hopeless night, his anchor, did that voice had any chance of convincing him?
"You'll have to bite me too, otherwise it won't work." he said firmly.
Stiles nodded. "I know." he replied, once again surprising Derek.
There wasn't anything else to say so Derek kept silent and slid his lips against Stiles' skin, taking in the concentrated scent, searching hungrily for the perfect spot until he found it at the junction of his shoulder. He waited to make sure Stiles had mirrored his actions and settled in as well.
The time for a deep respiration, a heavy pause and then, pushed by instinct, Derek plunged for Stiles' neck. He felt Stiles' own attack on his shoulder blade first. A sharp bite, given with ferocity the likes of which he never suspected the teen could summon. He barely registered the pain before his fangs sank into the tight flesh, marking to the point of deep bruising but not as far as to draw blood to the surface.
Honestly, he had no idea what to expect. Only vague mentions had been made in the past in his family, saying that it was a personal and intense experience. That much was true.
It was brutal, actually. A strike of lightning penetrating him and jolting through his mind, akin to what he had felt when Stiles laid on him. Except this time, everything went dark. He let go of his hold on Stiles neck, snapped his eye open but couldn't see anything. There was a brief moment of panic, his heartbeat spiking and blood bustling in his veins. Just as he was about to say something, the light came back in one swift and dizzying rush and he gasped, hearing Stiles let out a similar sound through his mouth still attached to Derek.
Everything was so clear. Not like his werewolf senses used to perceive, more. Better. From the fine grain of the ceiling above him, to the smallest bead of water in Stiles' breath that was caressing his skin, to the bitter taste of the air coming through his mouth, he could feel it all.
Especially Stiles. Stiles' still erect cock pressed against his own hard one, both apparently unfazed by the experience.
A dual need rose again. One for completion, in every sense of the word. He yearned for it, the beast inside, trashing around with passion, was screaming for it. He gave in with a tentative thrust. Immediately sparks exploded, starting in his lower abdomen and rising, exciting every nerve on their way to his brain. A myriad of minuscule tremors, everywhere, impossible to process.
He hissed loudly. This was unbelievable. He jerked forward again, like a fool, and was rewarded with a more intense ripple effect. He wouldn't last very long regardless how little he'd moved, that was ever so clear. Particularly with Stiles, who was decidedly on a different track and was now earnest in his rutting.
He might have been collected when he arrived but now the flurry of emotions seemed to have reached him as well.
"God Derek, yes.. There, right.. Fuck. What's.. Damn when did you start to smell so good? Again, please, again…"
He couldn't reply. With the sensory overload that he was going through, he couldn't put into words what was going on. His mind still tried, through the arrows of sensations that kept piercing him from every side.
Stiles was the sun, no, a thousand suns, searing him with every inch of his skin in contact with him. Or maybe a comet, because he was fast and blinding. That's all he was, with his hands moving around erratically, brushing against Derek's skin, everywhere, and moving away at once, as if he would make him disappear if he lingered. His mouth was hyperactive as well, murmuring nonsense and biting, licking, kissing whatever it could reach.
Derek soon copied those moves without realizing it, fluttering fingers, unrecognizable words… A disorganized race towards a finish line he could already see. He didn't care, the wolf didn't care. It wasn't important anymore. They had all their life ahead of them to take their time. Just get there.
He reached haphazardly until his hands caught Stiles' roaming ones. He wanted that perfect melding, the burning palms joined, Stiles' unpredictable grip to ground him as he was nearing his climax. Once he had their fingers laced again, the edges of the sensations in his head became sharper, recognizable once more. Clear enough so he could join Stiles, grinding against him faster.
Somehow their movements led to Stiles' cock's release from its confinement. The first contact with Derek's, feeling the ridges and the silky, leaking tip against his own aching cock, it was enough. All his body had waited for. He came before he had the time to warn Stiles, who followed him right after anyway. A loud moan on each part, sudden stillness and it was over, with only their ragged breathing occupying the silence.
While they were catching their breaths, things changed inside Derek. It felt like finding an oasis, an island of tranquility. He let his mouth wander over Stiles' skin, let the moment sink in. He felt… altered, complete. The flooding aspect of the claim was no longer there. He could still feel as acutely, except now he was able to catalog and deal with each sensation, as if he had always been that perceptive.
"Fuck man, is that… Did you turn me? Because, I mean it was like I could… get everything, you know, like I was… Is that what it feels like?" Stiles panted.
Derek took a deep breath, silently analysing every component of his mate's scent. Nothing had changed, except for the layers becoming more complex and defined. Definitely not turned, still very much Stiles.
"No. I think it's the after effect of the claim. You're… heightened."
"You mean I get wolfy powers too? They did not say that would happen! Sweet!"
Derek huffed, a small effort at hiding his laugh. There was going to be plenty of time to clarify the situation, that Stiles was most likely not going to grow fangs or claws, etc. Another day, tonight he was more inclined to bask in the afterglow, silently.
They remained close, hands clasped, through the whole night, well into the morning. Nothing parted them, not the discomfort of a prolonged position or of the drying come between them, and Derek couldn't be more relieved. Even when the moon was at its fullest, the permanent contact of his anchor prevented any possible derail. It was just the bond throbbing in his head, appeasing the wolf and fulfilling Derek.
Still, once the danger had completely passed and the rays of the sun were heating up the whole room, it was time to move forward.
He had to ask. Even though there was no way back, no way he would ever give him up or lose him, now that he was his, he still wanted to know the reason for his timely presence.
"That's what mates are for, isn't it?" Stiles retorted.
His breath stopped midway in his throat, stopped by the surprise. So, somehow, Stiles knew what Derek had figured out the moment they met. Yet it was clear he still feared rejection, even after what had just happened. Derek looked down and even though all he could see was the top of his head, he could feel the hesitance, the slight doubting, in the fidgety movement of Stiles' cheek against his chest.
"How did you know?" he asked softly. That question was confirmation enough for him, he hoped. It seemed to be so when the grip on his hand tightened and Stiles replied with a relieved chuckle.
"You have got to start giving me some credit, man! With the amount research I do, I didn't need any were-senses to figure that out!" he scoffed, making Derek blush. He had to give him that one, he knew how to do his homework. He rubbed the pad of his thumb over Stiles'. A silly gesture of apology and comfort but all he could think of doing at the moment
"Anyway," Stiles resumed "I read that mates make powerful anchors, the strongest actually. Well, unless there's something more in the werewolf past, like Isaac and his dad. He doesn't need a mate. I used to think it was the same for you and what happened to your family. But then I knew tonight was going to be tough, with the anniversary and I'm sorry by the way and I thought maybe it was time for me to help with the anchoring. It looks like I was right."
"Y-Yeah, yeah you were. But… How did you know about…"
"Wha- Oh, you meant to whole mate thing? I had an idea, a feeling. I already knew you were in love with me, kinda easy with all those looks you'd give me… The wolf part of you was trickier. Took a bit of research, again, where I realized I was a tick in each box, then it was just obvious, you know? That I'm your true mate I mean. I wouldn't have let you claim me if it wasn't the case. When I learned that true mates connect with the human and the wolf and that they can reconcile them easily, I just had to come over. Do my duty. Not that it's a job or anything, I mean I obviously enjoyed it…"
Stiles let his voice trail off, from either lack of breath or ideas. Derek felt no need to press him on. So he simply buried his face deeper in the crook of Stiles' neck, inhaled deeply and smiled. "Thank you."
It became a regular solution. The cycle wasn't always torturous. Most months, Derek could manage the beast inside, occasionally disappearing into the woods for a day. Yes, on the majority of the full moons, running freely and hunting would grant him control again. However, once or twice a year, around the anniversary or just during harder times, Derek needed his anchor. Not his lover, not his aide, not even his mate, but his anchor.
So he would lay on the bed and Stiles would cover him. With fingers entangled lazily, skin warming skin, breaths ghosting on each other's neck, they would rest for hours. Nothing more was needed, now that the bond was secured and sealed. Just the connection of the bodies, enhancing the familiar, unique melody of their heartbeats. The song of three pulses, beating as one.