Word Count:6,244

Prompt: Erica comes back...as an alpha.

Pairings: Derica, background Stisaac, Jydia, and Scallison. Stiles/Erica/Isaac bromance, Derek/Isaac bromance.

"Did you piss off the tooth fairy?" Isaac asks when Derek shows up at the loft covered in purple glitter.

"The tooth fairy is not real," Derek informs him, and tugs his shirt off.

"Way to kill my dreams," Isaac mutters, and takes Derek's shirt. He holds it at an arm's length, like he's afraid he'll end up covered in glitter if it gets to close.

Actually, he probably would.

"So what does leave a purple glitter calling card?" Isaac asks with interest. "A demonically possessed Lydia Martin?"

That gets a snort out of Derek. "I didn't consider that option when I went out to the preserve, but you might be right."

"You didn't see what did this to you?" Isaac gives the shirt a little shake, and purple glitter pools outside of their welcome mat. The shirt is still almost completely purple. "I think we should just throw these clothes away."

"No," Derek grumbles, slipping out of his pants, too. It doesn't seem very important that he's standing outside, where, presumably, someone could walk by at any time. It's like four in the morning and the idea of tracking purple glitter into the house is more terrifying than flashing someone.

"No, you didn't see what attacked you? Or do you actually want to keep these clothes?"

"Throw them out. All I saw was a flickering light," Derek says. "I followed it, and the next thing I knew…" he trails off and gestures to himself vaguely.

"You got glitter-bombed. Oh, man, Stiles is going to lose his shit over this," Isaac says, delighted.

Derek kind of wishes Isaac and Stiles had continued passive-aggressively fighting over Scott instead of bonding over annoyance at his Allison obsession. Pack dynamics might be better but Stiles and Isaac tend to use this new found camaraderie to laugh at Derek. C'est la vie, Lydia would say.

"Throw these away," Derek says again, rolling his eyes. "I'm going to shower."

"Yeah, sure," Isaac says, giggling. "By the way, you have glitter in your eyebrows." The giggling turns into guffaws as he walks away with Derek's clothes held away from his body.

Derek groans and shakes his head out a little before going into the loft to shower. He texts Stiles when he gets out of the shower. "Can you look up flickering lights in the bestiary?"

Stiles replies in his usual shorthand while Derek is still getting dressed. "did it flckr n dispear"

"Yes," Derek texts back.

"repear?" Stiles questions.

"Yeah, it reappeared a couple feet away."

"dont hav 2 luk it up. will o the wisp"

Just perfect.

Derek wakes up to whispering and a light floating over his head.

He strains his ears until the whispering is clear. "Help us, help us."

He reaches up and tries to catch the light. It disappears, and then reappears a few feet away.

Will-o'-the-wisp, he reminds himself, are not only possible glitter bombers. The most recent depiction of them he can think of is from a Disney movie, and apparently they "change yer faete." But in the stories his mother told him, they lead to death.

"Help us, help us!" The whispers are more insistent now.

Derek swallows and crosses the room, reaching out once again to touch. It snaps out of existence, and Derek opens his bedroom door. Sure enough, the wisp is on the other side.

Derek is entranced and he knows he shouldn't be, but the pale yellow lights are wickedly beautiful. Like a painless fire, he thinks, curling his fingers through it. It vanishes and appears closer to his apartment door.

Just as he reaches it again, Isaac says, "Derek? What are you doing?"

The wisp explodes into a cloud of glitter.

"Oh," Isaac says.

Derek looks down at his glitter-covered chest and sighs. Whose idea was it to even invent glitter?

Isaac isn't laughing now, though there is a flicker of amusement resting in his eyes. "So the tooth fairy also wants to lure you into the woods," Isaac says.

Derek brushes some glitter off his arms and sighs. "Apparently."

"Do you think the alphas did this before they left?" Isaac asks, moving over to brush some glitter off of Derek's shoulder.

"What, wake up the local fairy population?" Derek asks, wrinkling his nose. He's pretty sure there's glitter in his underwear. "Maybe."

"I'll get the broom."

Stiles shows up at the loft after school the next day, laptop in tow. He immediately flops onto Derek's couch. "I have the information you need," he intones.

Derek rolls his eyes, but joins Stiles on the couch anyway. The kid always seems grounded when he's doing research for the pack, so Derek doesn't mind giving him all the secrets. He's also the best at finding stuff in the bestiary now that Peter is in Canada.

"Okay, so will-o'-the-wisps are your basic trickster fairies. They lead travelers off the safe path and leave 'em out in the middle of the woods so they're lost. Did you know you have glitter in your hair?"

Derek frowns and rubs at his scalp aggressively. "There was a wisp in my room last night, and it led me to the living room before Isaac startled it and it exploded."

Stiles burst into laughter as some of the glitter rained on his hoodie. He leaned away and brushed it off his sleeves. "I didn't see anything about glitter," he says when he's finished. "But it's possible that they wouldn't have known what to call it when this was written." He starts scanning the translated bestiary eyes narrowed and leg starting to bounce.

Derek resists the urge to press a hand onto Stiles' leg until he holds still. Or tries, anyway. Eventually it gets too annoying and he leaves the room. Boyd comes over for dinner every Thursday night. They both prefer early dinners and if Derek wants the mashed potatoes and baked chicken to be ready by five, he needs to start now. "You gonna stay for dinner?" Derek calls from the kitchen.

"Nah, Dad wants me home," Stiles replies, clearly distracted.

Derek is mashing potatoes when Stiles appears in the kitchen with a frown on his face.

"I couldn't find anything about glitter anywhere," he says. "Is there anything else? We can try to figure out if they're malicious or not."

Derek pours milk into the potatoes and considers that. "The wisp asked for help."

"Huh," Stiles says. He glances at his watch and sighs. "I have to go but I'll get back to you on that, okay? I'll talk to Deaton."

"Sure," Derek says. He's not sure when interacting with the pack got easier. Maybe at Erica's vigil, where they all lit candles and huddled together under the new moon. It seemed right to do it then, when they were most human and the loss of Erica stung the most.

Derek had always known Scott would join the pack eventually. He'd hoped Stiles and Lydia would follow. He hates that the closeness comes from death, but it's a closeness he wouldn't give up for anything. This is his pack now, his family.

It's 5:30, and Boyd is late to dinner. He's not answering Derek's text messages.

Derek doesn't really have nervous ticks, at least, not like Stiles, who chews his lips, Scott, who drums his fingers, or Isaac who makes himself look half as big as he really is. Well, he's closest to Isaac. He tends to slink back into the shadows. It's a trained behavior that comes from being on the run for years—Don't look at me don't look at me don't look—and he feels himself doing it even now.

He texts Boyd again. "Where are you?"

In front of him, a wisp appears.

Derek doesn't know where he is. He's in the preserve; that much is certain, and he could easily smell his way out, but in truth? He's lost, and he's not sure how he got here.

The wisps, of course, led him here, but following them had been like sleepwalking. He was only half aware of anything.

"Derek," a voice says to his right. When he turns, there's a soft yellow orb flickering in the low light of dusk.

He's come this far, he figures, so he follows it. In his pocket, his phone buzzes with a text message, but he ignores it for now. The wisp seems a lot more important.

"Help us," the voice says, louder now. "Help us!"

Dully he realizes that the whispers are a chorus of tiny voices, concentrated in a cave just up ahead.

He follows the wisp to the mouth of the cave. Inside, the cave lights up as though there are a hundred wisps crowded inside. "Help us!" they shriek, and then there's a soft but very human, "Please."

All at once, Derek comes back to himself, overwhelmed by the scent of pack and the sight of a decidedly not dead Erica, trembling and thin. The wisps are flitting around her, ruffling her hair with the breeze. It's not a pretty sight, mostly because she has dried blood splattered across her shirt and her hair has burrs tangled in the curls.

"Please," she whispers again, and her eyes stare straight through him.

His phone buzzes again, and he pulls it out. A text from Boyd flashes across the home screen. "Sorry for worrying you. My phone died and Mom couldn't take me." Another one follows. "Are you okay?"

The messages seem normal enough. Maybe this isn't a glitter-induced hallucination. Derek crosses the cave and kneels next to not-dead-Erica. "How do you feel?" he asks, inhaling deeply. She smells like pain and sadness, but still Erica and it's relieving to think that this isn't a dream, that she might really be alive.

Unless the glitter is hallucinogenic.

"Tired," she says. "Can I go home?"

"I'm going to take you to my loft," Derek says gently. "Okay?"


"I'm picking you up now," he tells her as he wraps his arms around her.

The wisps are still agitated, flickering in and out around them. It feels a bit like he's standing in a Christmas tree, but no one is dousing him in glitter and when they brush against his arms and face, they're gentle. They also seem to really like Erica, if the way they keep pushing hair out of her face is any indication.

"Derek," the voices say, and now they're all around him. The wisps glow brighter when they speak.

"Yes?" he says softly.

"Take care of her," the wisps plead before vanishing all together.

Derek half expects to be covered in glitter, but when he looks down, his henley is still forest green and his jeans are still grey.

He smells his way home.

Stiles and Isaac are waiting on the couch when he returns, both looking sufficiently freaked out. Their panic only grows when they see him holding Erica.

Isaac runs up and takes her from him, eyes wide. "How—she's—Erica?"

"I tried to text you but—" Stiles starts, but then Erica is stirring, and they both fall silent.

Derek takes Erica back from Isaac, rolling his eyes. "I got her, okay?"

"Where was she?" Stiles asks, bouncing on his toes. Isaac wraps an arm around him in an effort to slow him down, but the panic hasn't left his own face.

"The wisps had her," Derek says.

Stiles looks grim. "That means she's been hallucinating. The glitter," he says, and Derek can only sigh, because he suspected as much.

"What can we do?" Isaac asks, reaching out to reverently touch Erica's arm.

"Help her get better," Derek says. He's caught somewhere between relief that Erica is alive, horror that she's so frail, and confusion, because Boyd saw her die.
Alphas can erase memories and replace them, and it's possible that this happened to Boyd. His summary of what had happened the night he'd escaped had been nonsensical in parts, but everyone had chalked that up to the trauma he'd gone through.

Isaac is basically petting her arm now, but Stiles draws him away with a dark look. "Let Derek do this," he says. And it all seems very strange. Derek wonders again if he's hallucinating, if Erica isn't really stirring in his arms.

He carries her to the bathroom instead of standing around thinking about it, and sets her carefully on the closed toilet.

Her eyes open and she whispers, "Is this real? I've seen it so many times," like that makes any sense at all.

But then, maybe it does make sense, if the wisps have been feeding her hallucinogens to keep her alive. Maybe this has been her dream. Maybe this is her dream, and Derek is just privy to it. "I think it's real," he tells her instead. "Let's clean you up."

She nods and shuts her eyes, lifting her arms enough that he could pull her shirt off.

He does so carefully. Her body is unmarred by bites or claw marks, but she's so thin he might knock her over on accident. "Can you tell me what happened?" he asks.

"Tried to escape the alphas with Boyd," she says softly. "Didn't work out so well."

He senses that this is all he's going to get right now. He helps her out of the rest of her clothes and tries not to think about how she's only recently turned 17—a birthday she probably didn't pay attention to—and that he could probably be arrested for undressing her.

"Can you stand?" he asks. He starts a bath instead of a shower when she shakes her head. He helps her climb in and sit down and sits next to the bathtub while she halfheartedly scrubs the dirt and dried blood off her skin. He starts working shampoo into her thick hair, pulling burrs out as gently as possible.

"You've never washed my hair before," she tells him.

It's a strange thing to say. "I've never had the chance," he says slowly.

"I mean when you came to get me from the fairies," she says. Her toes curl around the washcloth as she scrubs anxiously at her feet.

"Does that mean this is real?" he asks, pulling another burr out of her hair.

"I hope so," she says.

Erica stays in the loft that night. She eats an entire box of Swanson chicken broth, and Stiles promised to bring homemade chicken noodle soup over tomorrow.

Isaac hovers next to Erica the entire time, reaching out to carefully braid bits of her hair out of her face and eventually curling up next to her on the couch. "Don't leave again," he whispers before he leaves with Stiles. "Please."

"No," she says, and she bares her throat. "Sorry, 'Saac."

He shakes his head and pulls her close. "S'okay, Erica," he says softly.

She nuzzles his throat and he lets her, even though he's not any higher up in the pack than her.

Derek, watching, thinks she must feel horrible for leaving and must want any position she can have in the pack. But she shouldn't worry. Derek is the only one higher up than any one else, and he's not going to ask for much from her.

After Isaac and Stiles leave, Erica drops down to her knees. She's on the rug Stiles put there a couple weeks, so her knees aren't pressing into concrete, but it can't be comfortable. "I need to tell you something," she says, and she's shaking the way she was when he found her.

He kneels down in front of her and tilts her head up. He knows he won't be able to make her stand; she's too scared for that. But he can go to her level. "Tell me," he says softly. "I won't hurt you."

Tears well up in her eyes, and she blinks them away. When her eyes open, they're alpha red, and Derek's breath catches.

He lifts his hand and thumbs away one of the tears. "Do you want to stay with us?" he asks.

She nods. "Please, Derek, don't make me leave. I'll be an omega, just don't make me leave Beacon Hills, please." Half of a sob escapes her and she drops her head again.

"Erica," he chides gently. "We're not exactly a traditional pack."

She doesn't answer, just bares her throat as though inviting him to tear it out.

Instead he nuzzles it gently, scenting her and asking for forgiveness. "You're pack," he tells her softly. "You never stopped being pack, even when we thought you were dead."

"I don't have to go?"

"No, Erica," he promises. "I don't want you to leave."

She leans away until he stops nuzzling her, and then licks a stripe up his throat and over his jaw. After she pushes herself down further and looks up at him through her eyelashes, expression hopeful.

And he knows why she did it—because she wanted to submit. He knows it's more wolf than human, but…Her tongue had been so soft and wet, slipping over the contours of his neck. He wants it to happen again, just not in a display of submission or dominance. "Why don't you go to bed?" he suggests. "I'll call the pack over tomorrow and we can all talk about how things will work out from now on."

She nods, but doesn't stand until after he does, and even then, he suspects it's because he's offered a hand.

"Can you…" she starts, and then flushes. "Um. I mean. Where am I sleeping?"

"You can take my room or Isaac's," he says.

"Um, just…with…with you, please," she whispers, and ducks her head again, like she's terrified he'll kick her out at the first wrong move.

That niggling voice in the back of his mind reminds him that she's seventeen again, but he pushes it aside for now, because this is about pack, not anything else. "Come on, then," he says, and guides her to his bedroom.

Stiles and Isaac arrive first, making Derek do a double take. Sure, the pair of them have become closer, but he assumed they mostly just hung out with each other when Scott was busy with Allison. Now that he's paying attention, he notices how their scents are blending, how Isaac defers to Stiles, and the way they casually touch each other to calm down.

He wonders if Scott knows his best friends are halfway to being in love.

Erica gets sandwiched between them, and she doesn't seem to mind too much.

"You missed Iron Man 3," Stiles says solemnly.

Isaac nods vigorously. "But we brought it over so we could watch it after tonight's meeting." He looks at Derek. "It's okay, right?"

Derek nods. "Of course."

"Is Pepper in it?" Erica asks quietly.

"Dude, she's the best part," Stiles says immediately. "The absolutely coolest ginger in the world, p.s. don't tell Lydia."

"Don't tell me what?" Lydia asks, striding into the room with Allison and Scott close behind her.

"Absolutely nothing," Stiles says. He grins at Isaac over Erica's head, and Derek wonders how he ever missed it.

A quick glance at Scott reveals that he's still completely clueless.

Boyd is the last person to arrive, and he doesn't come close to Erica at all. Guilt rolls off him in waves, and his face is scrunched up in clear confusion.

Derek crosses the room to stand by him. "It's okay," he says, wrapping an arm around Boyd. "The alphas screwed with your memories." Or maybe it was the wisps. In any case, it must have been causing Boyd severe mental dysphoria to see Erica alive when he remembered her death.

Boyd looks up at Derek, eyes wide. "Does she hate me?"

"Probably not," Derek says. "Come sit down."

Once everyone is comfortable, Lydia calls Jackson and sets up Face Time as soon as he picks up. "We're ready," she says cooly, turning the phone so Jackson could see the pack.

"What's the problem, exactly?" Scott asks. "Erica is back and not looking too bad. Shouldn't we throw a party instead of a meeting?"

"The problem is that Erica is no longer a beta," Derek says.

"You're making her an omega?" Stiles blurts, and he wraps an arm around her.

Immediate protest breaks out from Isaac and Scott, but Allison, Lydia, and Jackson look unaffected. Boyd looks like he might throw up.

"No," Derek says at the same time that Erica flashes her eyes at the group.

Allison chokes out a gasp, as she had been the only one watching Erica (besides Derek).

"What?" Scott asks, glancing at Allison and brushing a hand over her back. "Are you okay?"

Allison wordlessly points at Erica, eyes wide.

Everyone turns to look at Erica, whose eyes still glow red. "Surprise," she says, grinning wryly. It's the first time she's sounded like herself since Derek carried her home.

Something swells in his chest and he feels the corners of his mouth turning up, almost helplessly.

She catches him almost smiling, and the wry grin on her face becomes a little happier.

Stiles breaks the stunned silence first. "No fair," he says. "Erica becomes even more capable of breaking me in half and I can't even get the bite!"

"You don't want the bite," Isaac points out, but he's already chuckling.

Scott's laughing a little, too, like he always does when Stiles tells jokes. But he sobers quickly. "So what does this mean for the pack?" he asks.

"As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't make a difference at all," Derek says.

"It doesn't?" Jackson asks.

"Yeah, won't she have a difficult time submitting?" Allison pipes up.

Derek raises an eyebrow. "Because all of you do such a great job submitting to me," he says sarcastically.

Everyone looks properly contrite at that (except Lydia, who merely purses her lips and shakes her head as though to say, as if.)

"The only real difference is that Erica is stronger than you. She's already declared herself below me, say, as a second, so she might be able to compel you all to do things, but I won't let her unless it's in our best interest," Derek explains, making eye contact with everyone.

"So she's basically super strong beta," Stiles says, once again breaking the tension. Derek is glad that Stiles is on his side and not against him.

"Basically," Erica agrees primly. She's turned up the swagger in front of the pack. It makes Derek feel…strange…that she let her guard down around him, but he supposes it's no real hardship.

Erica, Isaac, and Stiles spread out across the couch to watch Iron Man 3 while Derek does laundry.

He finds a handful of purple glitter inside Erica's pockets and dumps it out the back window. In the distance, he sees a golden flicker of light. He glances behind him, toward the living room, where Stiles and Isaac are arguing over whether Tony Stark or Steve Rogers are the better superhero. Erica is laughing and telling them Black Widow is obviously better than the other two. Stiles snaps that she's not super and doesn't count, which sparks an entirely new argument with Isaac.

When he looks back out the window, the wisp is closer.

He shuts the window fearfully.

Over the next few weeks, Erica doesn't leave the loft, spending her time slowly gaining weight and health.

Isaac has foster parents, but he's made sure to stay on good behavior so that they're willing to let him spend a lot of time at Derek's loft. Isaac is the beta Derek is closest to, so it's not like Derek minds.

Now that Erica is back, Isaac is there even more frequently, so Stiles and Scott also come around more. Stiles more than Scott, obviously, but Scott comes over pretty frequently, too.

It's good, though. The loft smells more like pack now then it ever has before.

Boyd still comes over for dinner on Thursdays, but it takes three weeks before he can look Erica in the eye and tell her what he saw. "Aiden killed you," he says quietly. "You sacrificed yourself to save me."

Erica shakes her head. "I killed Aiden to stop Ethan from catching you. You made it back to the preserve and I ran the other way. But I saw Kali get you here," she pauses and taps the back of her neck. "I guess that's probably when she took away the memory. I don't know why she let you go instead of taking you again."

Boyd wrinkles his nose. "When she left me in front of the loft, she told me I was a gift to Derek. I think. I was bleeding a lot."

"Did she claw you up after I left?" Erica asks, sounding horrified.

"It's nothing big," Boyd says. "Don't worry. I healed."

"Still," Erica huffs.

"Too late for that," Derek says from the kitchen. "Peter killed her."

They never talk about Peter. Erica doesn't know him, anyway, and she must sense that it's a sore subject, so she doesn't ask.

It's better that way.

Derek wakes up alone, which isn't wholly unusual. Erica has been sleeping in his bed every night, but she tends to wake up earlier than him.

It's not morning, though. It's the middle of the night, and his bedroom door is open.

"Help us," he hears, and suddenly he's lurching to his feet, shouting, "Erica!"

There's a startled cry in the living room, and when he walks out, he sees three wisps, circling Erica. She's come out of her stupor, but she still seems confused. "I don't understand," she whispers softly. "What do you want?"

The wisps curl around her, moving closer and then darting away. One lands on her shoulder and she tilts her head toward it, like the wisp is whispering to her. It probably is.

When she looks up at Derek, her eyes are glowing red, and more wisps materialize. "They need me, Derek," she says.

"For what?" he asks, desperate and confused.

"They need me," she repeats.

Derek moves closer to her, but some of the wisps flicker over to him, their softness now cutting. He pushes forward anyway, sensing that if he can touch her, he'll be able to hold her here. "But I need you, too, Erica," he pleads as he crosses the room.

She stares at him, eyes wide.

Finally he reaches her and grabs her trembling hands. "I need you," he says, and kisses her forehead.

The shaking stills under his lips, and he moves them to kiss across her face—her eyelids, her cheekbones and her nose. When he brushes a kiss against her lips, she surges up to meet him, tugging her hands free from his and curling them around his neck.

The wisps shriek and surge around them, pushing closer and trying to pull Derek away.

Erica draws away and roars a truly terrifying, "Leave!"

That was the right thing to say, because they all vanish immediately. Or maybe it was the wrong thing, because his entire living room is covered in purple glitter.

He lets out a shaky laugh, brushes a hand up her arm, and uses the other one to brush glitter out of his hair. "Always the damn glitter," he sighs.

Erica laughs so hard she cries.

"What did they want your help with?" Stiles asks the next day.

The living room is mostly glitter-free, thanks to some extreme sweeping and clothing disposal, but Derek's eyes catch little glints of purple light sporadically scattered through the room.

"I'm not exactly sure," Erica says, wrinkling her nose. "I think there's something attacking their hive."

Stiles writes that down in a notebook and starts muttering to himself as he cross references the bestiary.

Derek glances at Erica, who is studiously not looking at him. He thinks about the way she moved into the kiss last night and wonders if she regrets it. He doesn't ask.

After a few minutes, Stiles leans back from his laptop. "The first problem is that the wisps think you're part of their colony," Stiles begins.

"I was worried that might be the case," Erica says, sighing. "I never meant to cause this much trouble. I was honestly just looking for a place to lie low while I healed. But I don't really remember what happened after that," she admits.

"Deaton thinks you stumbled into some of the hallucinogenic glitter," Stiles says. He looks at Derek. "Luckily for you, they never threw any of that at you. Apparently the hallucinogen glitter is green, and the purple stuff is just meant to irritate and make you itch."

"We're clearly dealing with a kindergarten class of fairies," Erica sighs.

Derek huffs in amusement and Erica looks at him with a shy grin. He smiles back.

Stiles coughs and raises an eyebrow when they both turn to look at him. "As touching as your blooming romance is, that's not the least of our problems."

Derek motions for him to continue.

"I think the hive is under attack, like Erica said. Wisps are very protective of their hives," Stiles explains. "Apparently that's one reason they might lead a traveller astray, and it lines up with the myth that they guard treasure. Before they had glitter, the fairy dust probably seemed like powdered emeralds and amethysts or something."

"So…why do they need me to help? Couldn't they just lead whoever it is away from their hive?" Erica asks.

"Well, if it was, say, a hunter of the supernatural who knew how to avoid going astray…" Stiles shrugs. "Then we might have a problem, and I doubt the fairies are going to be the only ones in trouble."

"Great," Derek says.

"Time to get my feet wet again," Erica says with a smirk.

Stiles beams. "I missed you, so much."

Derek takes the whole pack (sans Jackson) out to the fairy cave. "This is definitely it," he tells them, because carrying Erica out of here is a painful memory, even if getting here in the first place was hazy.

"Cool," Stiles says. "Erica, summon your peeps."

She shoots him a look, but walks toward the cave hesitantly, anyway. "Hello?" she calls gently.

No lights appear, but a crossbow bolt lands in her stomach pretty quickly. "Ah, old friend," she says as she crumples to the ground.

Derek is shifted before she lands, rushing over to her and roaring into the cave. The rest of the pack isn't far behind, and Scott and Isaac push into the cave, growling. They tug a hunter out of the cave and throw him on the ground.

Huffing, Isaac reaches down to pull a bolt out of his leg. "So where's the rest of your friends?" he asks the hunter.

Allison moves forward, crossbow trained on the hunter. "I recognize this guy," she says. "He's passing through alone and clearly ignored my dad's instructions not to screw around with the pack here."

"Fairies ain't pack," the man spits.

"How many murderous fairies have you heard of?" Lydia asks. She's staring at the hunter with a look of clear judgement on her face that makes Stiles stuff a fist into his mouth to keep from laughing too hard.

"And right now," Erica sighs, tugging the bolt out of her stomach and watching the blood with fascination, "Fairies are pack." She stands up and moves into the cave, apparently unconcerned by her stomach stitching itself back together.

Derek follows her closely, eyes scanning the cave for any hunters hiding in the shadows. He finds none.

Erica stumbles suddenly, and he reaches out to catch her. "Do you see that?" she whispers, sounding horrified.

He looks around. "See what?" There's nothing to see, at least, not until he looks down to see what Erica's stumbled into. More hallucinogens.

"I'm still here," she whispers, starting to shake again. "You lied. You never came to save me. I'm still here!"

The wisps appear around them then, whispering, "Saved us, saved us." This time, they're warm as they dart around them.

Erica starts crying. "You lied," she says, over and over again. "You lied."

But then the wisps are circling around her feet, and the green glitter lifts away from her to collect in a corner, and she calms down slowly. A wisp floats in front of her face and stares her down—or, he suspects that's what's happening, anyway.

A green mist gets pulled out of her skin, and Erica relaxes completely.

"Saved us," the wisps intone. "Safe."

Derek pulls her out of the cave before more glitter catches on either of them.

Outside, Lydia has the hunter zip tied up, and Scott and Isaac are trying to figure out the best way to deliver him to Mr. Argent. Stiles watches the pair of them fondly and Allison calls her Dad.

"Let's go," Derek suggests. "Boyd, can you make sure those two don't get lost?"

"Hey," Scott complains.

"I thought I was your favorite," Isaac says, pretending to be glum.

"You're my favorite," Stiles tosses out, perhaps not thinking it through completely, because Scott turns to gape at him. Stiles backtracks immediately. "Not that Isaac is my best friend."

Scott's mouth opens wider, clearly putting the pieces together.

Erica lets out a shaky laugh. "Come on, Scott," she says, rolling her eyes. "I could tell they were more than friends the first time I hung out with them. They argued about whether Stony or Science Boyfriends was a better ship."

"But Pepperony," Scott says, wrinkling his forehead. "You can't beat Pepperony."

"Second the motion," Erica says. "Now let's go."

Erica curls up next to him in bed that night, head resting on his chest. "I want to see my parents," she tells him softly.

"Okay," he says. "But tomorrow."

"Yeah," she agrees.

Erica's Dad cries when he opens the door and sees her standing on the doorstep. He kisses her and calls her his "princesita." She only blushes a little, and when her dad turns to call for her mother, Erica looks over her shoulder and waves at Derek in the Camaro. He waves back and drives away just as her mother rushes forward to hug her.

"Surprise," everyone yells, leaping up from behind the couches and walls in Derek's darkened apartment.

Erica laughs and twists in Derek's arms. "Did you plan this?" she asks.

"Lydia did," he says, smiling. "I was just on keep-you-busy duty."

She claps her hands and rushes forward to hug everyone.

It's not often Erica being an alpha matters, but sometimes they both forget, and she ends up compelling Derek to do things. Neither of them really realize it, because usually it's small things like telling Derek to get her a soda from the refrigerator, or demanding that he help her with her homework. These are things he would have done for her anyway, albeit with a little more coercing.

It doesn't really become a problem until she's kissing him hard and pushing him into the floor and ordering him to take his shirt off that it even becomes a problem.
Stiles likes to say that Derek is allergic to shirts, but Derek can count the number of times he's been shirtless around Stiles on one hand. Around Isaac it happens more often, because the kid is like a brother to him. Around Erica? It never happens.

But this time, he does it without thinking, because she flashed red eyes at him and it's gut instinct.

But when he's shirtless beneath her, hands clutching at her waist, it suddenly becomes terrifying. "Stop," he gasps, tearing his mouth away from her. "Stop."

It's not like she pushed him into something he didn't want, at least, he doesn't think so. But it's still something he's not sure he's ready for; something that gives him pause.

Erica slides off him. "Sorry," she whispers, running a hand through her hair. She watches him put his shirt back on before she figures out what happened. "Oh—Derek, did I…Did I compel you?"

He feels his face heating up. "Yeah."

"I'm so, so sorry," she says, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth. "Seriously."

Privately, he thinks the idea of her telling him what to do is kind of hot, but out loud, he just says, "Don't worry about it. We just…maybe went too far for now."

She nods vigorously. "I'm really sorry. I'll try not to do it again."

He shrugs. "Or, we could make your control of it better," he suggests.

"Yeah?" she asks, still sucking on her lip.

He nods. "But not right now," he tells her, pulling her close and sucking her lip out of her mouth. "Right now," he murmurs as he releases her lip. He never gets a chance to finish that thought, because kissing Erica is entirely too distracting.

Erica practices compulsion on Boyd first, because he's always too willing to make up leaving her, no matter how often she tells him she doesn't blame him. It takes a few tries and some coaching from Derek, but she finally figures out how it feels to compel people and how to prevent it from happening. At least, when it comes to Boyd.

Isaac is next, and then Scott. Finally, she tests her newfound control on Derek, but that mostly leads to several interesting make out sessions.

The next time she says, "Take off your shirt," she's not compelling him, but he does it anyway.

A/N: Originally posted on tumblr at neverendingpaintrain.