Word Count: 1712
Pairing: Sterek, pre-slash
Notes: flashback, pack dynamics, shenanigans
Stiles is eight years old, and tomorrow is the Valentine's Day party at his school.
His teacher made the rules very clear—it was fine to bring valentines as long as you bring enough for everyone in the class.
Mrs. Stilinski had picked up a box of Pokemon valentines, and Stiles is sorting through them with her.
"Jackson gets the Magikarp, Mom," Stiles explains, handing her the card. "No one likes Magikarp."
Mrs. Stilinski raises an eyebrow, but doesn't chastise him. She knows perfectly well how much Jackson picks on Stiles. She figures if Magikarp is as bad as Stiles thinks, Jackson probably deserves it. "All right," she says, and neatly writes Jackson's name on the card. She taps the paper next to Stiles. "Cross him off the list."
Stiles painstakingly drags his pencil across Jackson's name, and then hands his Mom another Magikarp. "Matt, too."
"What's wrong with Matt?"
She rolls her eyes and writes Matt's name down on the card. Someone had to get the Magikarp, after all.
"This one is for Scott," Stiles continues after crossing Matt's name off the list. "Blastoise is his favorite."
Mrs. Stilinski nods sagaciously and writes Scott's name on the space. "Any other preferences?"
Stiles nods. "Just one more," he says, and digs through the pile in front of him before pulling out one of the deluxe cards. It has all the characters and the proud message, "I choose you, Valentine!" Stiles hands it to his mom solemnly.
"For Lydia?" she guesses.
Stiles nods, and Mrs. Stilinski finds herself hoping he never changes. It's not about Lydia, and frankly it would be a little weird if he ended up with her one day. But Stiles is endlessly devoted, and that, she thinks, will never change, even if the subject of devotion does.
Stiles is pretty perfect, she thinks, so she kisses the crown of his head and murmurs, "Never change, sweetie."
He groans and rubs the spot where she kissed him. "Gross, Mom."
She pretends offense, and shakes her head. "Which one do you want to give to Erica?"
Stiles is 18 and grocery shopping at the dollar store (his dad isn't rolling in the Benjamins, okay?) when he spots the box of valentines.
Normally he'd pass them by (he's a senior in high school now, right? He's grown up a little since he handed these things out) but the box has pictures of wolves howling at the moon and running through dark forests—and, well, it's a bit too hilarious to pass up.
So he caves and puts the box in his basket and moves on to the canned goods (two cans of peas for a dollar—score!). When he gets home, he sets the box on his desk to mess with later, and dives into homework.
Naturally, he doesn't really think about the box again until about a week before Valentine's day, when he notices them underneath a pile of text books. "Are you squished?" he asks mournfully, extracting the box Jenga style. The textbooks don't fall. He fist pumps in victory.
"I have a week," he says solemnly, and opens the box to spread the valentines out. It's easy enough to assign them. There's a lone wolf howling at the moon, so of course he writes Scott's name on it. Scott claiming not to be part of Derek's pack back when they were sophomores continues to be hilarious to Stiles, even if Derek looks gutted every time someone mentions Scott's betrayal.
Actually, that's probably why it's funny.
The group of howling wolves is for Boyd, and the wolf running through the forest goes to Isaac. Those two are easy enough. Boyd became a werewolf just to get a pack, and Isaac wanted the power.
Because he's a horrible person, he gives Lydia and Erica the same card. It's a grey wolf staring right out of the picture surrounded by snow. He grins, because the pair of them will protest receiving the same card even if they'll both think it's the prettiest. He gives Allison the same card as Scott so they can coo over the symmetry.
It's amazing how differently people can react to matching valentines. Of course, it probably helps that Allison and Scott are dating, while Lydia and Erica tolerate each other. On occasion.
For old time's sake, he scrawls Jackson's name on the ugliest of the cards, which is a wolf snarling at a smaller wolf. He'll mail it to Jackson tomorrow, after he picks up more stamps. He feels safe in the knowledge that Jackson is at boarding school and can't touch him right now.
He looks at the big, special valentine, and grins at the close up of a solemn black wolf.
"This could not have been better."
He gives Erica her valentine first. Well, really, he just slips it into her locker. He could just hand it to her, but he thinks of her finding it later, eyes lighting up with a grin (until she sees Lydia's. Stiles is a douchebag, and he likes that about himself.)
When Boyd leaves his backpack behind for a bathroom break in English class, Stiles doesn't hesitate to drop the valentine into the bag. Boyd is way less likely to bite his head off this way. Bonus points.
Only now it's become a game—how many valentines can he pass out in secret?
Scott is easy enough. Stiles just drops the tiny card onto his bed after school while Scott is "studying" at the "library" with Allison.
Allison's isn't hard, either. He slips it into her gym bag while she's making out with Scott the next day (in front of him! Rude.)
Seriously, the pair of them are sickening. But Allison is like Snow White, you know, the Once Upon a Time version, and Scott is almost definitely Prince Charming. So Stiles supposes that True Love makes up for everyone else's discomfort.
Isaac is a little trickier, because he doesn't carry a backpack and Stiles doesn't want to do a repeat of the locker thing. That would be boring. Stiles prides himself on not being boring, so that's definitely out.
But he gets lucky. The opportunity presents itself during lacrosse practice. Isaac is on the field, and Stiles is taking a bathroom break. He tucks the valentine into one of Isaac's boots, and runs back to the field to sit on the bench some more.
While he's warming the bench, Lydia hands him her purse and goes to sit with Allison a couple rows away. He sticks the valentine in her wallet after a few minutes.. He wonders if she'll be surprised when she doesn't get the big card.
He thinks not.
Derek is the only person he really doesn't know how to sneak a valentine to. It's not like he can drop it off at Derek's…living space…or his car. He'll leave his scent every where and then avoiding detection will be impossible. He gnaws on his lip for the rest of practice, trying to think of something.
Turns out St. Valentine is looking out for him, because Derek is waiting in the Camaro with Erica when the group leaves practice that day.
Erica gets out of the car and stalks over to him.
Stiles only tenses for a second before deciding he hasn't done anything wrong, and that Scott would probably stop her before she seriously injured him.
"Hey," she purrs, wrapping her arms around him.
"Hi," he answers, as always, full of false bravado.
She kisses his cheek. "Thank you."
He beams, instantly relaxing. "No problem." He lowers his voice to the point that he's sure only she can hear him. "Will you help me?"
"Of course," she says, and in a truly incredible demonstration of sleight of hand, Stiles transfers Derek's valentine from his pocket to hers. He hugs her afterward, pretending that was the aim all along.
"Sneak it," he says.
Her grin is predatory.
The pack's reactions vary.
Scott just grins at him dopily and punches his arm. Allison sends him a thank you text. Boyd nods solemnly at him, and Isaac gives him this incredible smile, all full of pleasure and wonder. He's so adorable, Stiles wants to keep him in his pocket. Lydia sniffs and tells him that she expects a better card next year, which makes Erica snarl.
"What's wrong with this?" She demands, shoving her own card in Lydia's face. "It's gorgeous."
Lydia looks disgusted. "It's cheap."
"I'm poor," Stiles breaks in defensively.
Lydia concedes the point, deciding to instead complain about their matching valentines.
Erica seems smug and ruthlessly teases Erica about it. Figures that she's happy about whatever makes Lydia mad, even if, under normal circumstances, she'd be mad too.
Jackson sends him a text message a few days later. It just says, "Go screw yourself, Stilinski."
Stiles interprets that as a thank you and counts it as a win.
Derek shows up in his room on Valentine's Day, holding the valentine and frowning. "Really, Stiles?"
"I thought it captured your essence," Stiles says, returning his attention to his calculus homework.
"You ruined a perfectly good picture of a wolf to write 'I'm the alpha' and 'Sparkly McBroodikins,'" Derek answers, and honestly, Stiles finds that tone unpleasant.
"Don't forget the addition of red eyes," he says pleasantly.
"No," Derek says, rolling his eyes. "That was an improvement."
Stiles smirks at that. "See? Your holier-than-thou essence totally comes across."
Derek keeps frowning.
Stiles frowns back for a few seconds, but gets bored. He digs under his desk for the box of remaining valentines. He pulls out another big one—this one without added messages in sharpie—and scrawls "Derek" and then "Stiles" on it before holding it out to the alpha. "If you really want the vanilla version, you can have it."
Derek takes the valentine, smirking now, but he doesn't give the old one back. He leaves through Stiles' window without a word.
Stiles goes back to doing homework until his phone buzzes with a text message from Derek. "Thanks," is all it says, but Stiles feels a little bit like he won the lottery.
"I hope you never change," he sends back, and can't stop smiling the whole time he derives functions.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf.