Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author Note: Set at some point after season 2.
THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE
"An interesting idea."
"Thanks. Think it'll work?"
"Mmm. There's several ways we can approach this."
"So you'll help?"
Stiles' explanation of what the pack needed to do when facing down ghouls came to an abrupt halt when he realized that Derek was paying more attention to Stiles' desk than to Stiles himself.
"I'm pretty sure you can't absorb what you need to know just by staring at the woodwork."
Derek's frown deepened. "Are those knitting needles?"
Stiles raised his eyebrows, a more-than-slightly-mocking slant to his expression. Because what else would be that shape and size and sticking out of a yarn bag?
"Yeah, they are. Why, do you have the urge to make the pack socks? Because the winter nights are drawing in and of course that shell of a subway station just screams charming and cozy. But you might want to think about..."
Derek had moved closer and was eying the needles with a huge amount of suspicion. "There's something...where did you get these?"
As tempted as Stiles was to answer 'this really sweet old lady with a broomstick gave them to me. Plus a bag of beans that I planted in the garden', he also wanted to prevent the kind of noises that would bring his Dad running with a loaded weapon. His Dad might now know about werewolves, but that didn't mean he'd be cool with finding the local pack's Alpha in his underage son's bedroom after dark.
"They're store-bought. I took them to Deaton afterward."
Derek's hand paused and hovered over the needles. His expression became narrow and hard. "Deaton."
"Yep." Stiles stared back with exaggerated eyes when Derek's look became even more intense. "Hey, not all of us have claws and throat-tearing teeth."
"So you have...needles."
Derek's definitely-pejorative tone caused defensive anger to curl through Stiles' veins. "Yes, I have needles. Needles that right now your super-wolf-senses are telling you to back away from, am I right?"
Derek looked even more displeased, if that was possible. His hand retreated back to his side though. Ha. Good to know that the enchantments worked. "What did he do to them, Stiles?"
"Don't touch them or you'll find out." Stiles turned back to his notes. "So you're going to need to ask Deaton for three different powders. There's another one that I can probably grind for you here..."
Derek looked like he wanted to demand an explanation, but he settled for keeping an eye on the needles as Stiles revealed the anti-ghoul stuff that the pack needed. Clearly whatever Derek's senses were telling him was enough of a deterrent. Good. Once Derek had made his usual dramatic exit, Stiles selected a deep green skein and grabbed the reading he needed to do for class. The steady click-clack of needles was comforting as he burned the midnight oil, his head full of stay warm, stay safe, keep surviving while the breeze from the still-ajar window cooled his neck.
"Other creatures besides werewolves will sense them."
"So it'll be a conversation starter."
"It might make you a prize to be captured."
"...Really not what I was going for."
"Then make sure that you know how to use them."
His Mom hadn't been a knitter. Neither had his grandmothers. He didn't have one memory of a female relative wielding needles. The point was that Stiles hadn't started knitting because of some family tradition. It'd been a recommendation by the best therapist he'd seen after his Mom's death. The therapist had recommended a lot of different hobbies, things to distract Stiles from the grieving ache inside of him and to focus his mind. Taking up a sport had been one of her ideas, which was why all those years later Stiles had thought about trying out for lacrosse in the first place.
Knitting had been of her unusual suggestions and she'd laughed at the look on his face. She'd plucked a heap of knitting out of her own handbag and had shown him right there and then how to use straight needles and a handful of baby-blue yarn. Stiles remembered feeling content, for the first time in forever, his hands as busy as his brain. He'd clung to the needles and the therapist had very kindly let him take them home. He still had them, tucked right into the bottom of his yarn bag.
Scott had tried knitting and had given up shortly afterward. Knitting just wasn't for him, not even now with all those extra-sharp senses helping him out. It had been kind of pitiful to watch.
Watching was the keyword right now. Stiles clenched his jaw for a couple of seconds but refused to turn around and instead concentrated on the circular needle in his lap.
"You don't get points for creepy entrances and silent stalking, dude."
Derek didn't take a step out of the shadows by the window. "That needle's normal."
There was a huff of annoyance but Derek didn't push further. He definitely stayed though; Stiles was hyper-aware of that. Derek's presence made the hairs on the back of Stiles' neck stand up. It also made him more likely to drop stitches. Stiles cursed under his breath and quickly fixed his mistake.
If he didn't know better, he'd assume that Derek had fallen asleep standing up. When he finally got up to stretch and grab a snack from the kitchen, Derek was gone. Of course. Later, as Stiles sorted through his bag, he was sure that he was missing a couple of balls of yarn.
"Another sweater, Stiles?" his Dad asked, producing breakfast as Stiles finished the row he was working on.
Stiles shoved the knitting to one side and began attacking the eggs in front of him. "Scott claimed he's growing out of his sweater and then made puppy eyes at me until I agreed to knit him a new one."
The Sheriff chuckled – he'd been on the receiving end of those eyes more than once so he knew their unholy power. Stiles eyed the sweater that his Dad was currently wearing. He needed to knit one with longer sleeves. His Dad would appreciate that.
His Dad was looking at the knitting needles thoughtfully, brushing a fingertip over one of them. Stiles made a questioning noise around a mouthful of toast. His Dad shrugged a little self-consciously and smiled in that sweet-sad way that usually heralded a story about Stiles' Mom. Stiles rubbed at the part of his chest that ached for the same reason and crunched more toast.
"I hear the sound of the needles when I'm passing by your room." The Sheriff poured more coffee, a sigh rattling his bones and making him suddenly appear way too old. "Your Mom never knitted, but she used to talk about nesting whenever she saw moms-to-be knitting…"
His Dad trailed off and Stiles was left with an interesting visual of some sun-drenched day way back when, his Mom with longer hair like he'd seen in the family albums and his Dad out of uniform, maybe little Stiles bouncing around in a stroller. Some lady was sat on a park bench, knitting away her future with happy thoughts of baby-to-be. Maybe his Mom had wanted another Stiles at some point.
"So, anything you want to tell me, son?" His Dad's voice sliced through Stiles' daydreams. Stiles blinked at him flummoxed. "Nesting…?"
Stiles' smile hardened and his sunny daydreams melted into visions of snapping clawed creatures waiting in the dark.
"Where did this idea come from?"
"The books got us started. All those handy hints. We started brainstorming after reading the blue one with the really cracked spine."
"Ah, so Ms. Martin will be joining us later."
Allison appreciated the gloves that Stiles knitted for her. They were a deep forest green and made of a really velvety yarn that was soft to the touch. He made gloves for Lydia out of similar material; only hers were peach-colored and had crystal buttons at the wrist. Both pairs were made with strong belief in every stitch – you'll be warm and safe, warm and safe. Lydia bestowed a small smile his way and told him that since the gloves matched her latest winter coat, she might even wear them.
She kept her word a few nights later when she and Stiles were reading through the latest stack of magic books, a supply from Deaton that never ran dry. She brushed a gloved finger down a page; they'd learned early on to keep their hands covered when reading magic lore.
"The needles must work well, considering the fifty shades of frustration Derek's currently modeling."
Stiles quirked a smile and noted down an interesting little spell that would come in handy if a certain faerie group ever darkened Beacon Hills' woods again. He wasn't the only one toting around a mystery object; Lydia's not-so-ordinary compact was a constant presence in her purse.
"And Jackson never borrows your mirror anymore."
Lydia's smile was beautifully triumphant. If she'd been anyone else, Stiles would have offered a high-five. As she was Lydia, he topped up her glass and showed her the spell he'd noted down. She nodded in approval.
Stiles didn't have to glance up to know that red eyes were glaring balefully at him from just outside his window. Their fearless leader had the attitude of a sulky teenager. Stiles was tempted to soak the outside of the window with wolfsbane.
He concentrated on knitting instead, his breathing starting to sync with Derek's. The enchanted needles felt strong between his fingers. Nothing will get through this, nothing will hurt you.
His Dad was cooking pizza, the smell was amazing. Coffee was brewing too. Stiles would know that scent anywhere, it reminded him of Deaton's office. There were always a lot of different smells going on in there. Unsurprisingly, a strong one was coffee; it could cover up a multitude of sins.
Derek was still there.
Stiles waggled a needle toward the red eyes. "Fear my needles."
A growl was the only reply he got. But the red eyes stayed exactly where they were. Stiles wondered if they stayed there while he slept. His skin prickled hot.
Knitting was Stiles' yoga. He liked to knit while tackling endless pack research or dealing with a particularly screwy class paper. It kept his mind from wandering too far, improved dexterity, and provided his Dad with something warm to wear during the winter night shifts.
When he wasn't knitting or studying, Stiles practiced what he and Lydia meticulously researched. He ground powders, gathered berries and leaves, and learned phrases off by heart. He drew symbols and stocked up on mountain ash and researched the hell out of wolfsbane and its many variations. He wasn't a wolf, but he was pack, he was a believer, and he was fucking prepared.
Lydia watched as he muttered something and took exactly six paces back, his hands wet with dark red liquid. There was an audible popping sound. Stiles threw a handful of small pebbles - they bounced off an invisible barrier at the treeline. Perfect. Stiles grinned, an expression that Lydia returned with extremely bright eyes.
That night, Derek stormed into his personal space, eyebrows twitching at the sight of the nearby needles. But he didn't back off, he grabbed Stiles' wrists and unapologetically sniffed them. Stiles met his gaze.
"Wolfsbane. River water. Holly berries." Derek narrowed his eyes. "What the fuck have you been playing with, Stiles?"
Stiles tried to pointedly tug his wrists back. "I'm not playing."
Derek's thumb grazed Stiles' pulse point. Stiles' pulse jumped.
"We'll need more mistletoe. And…that… that word that I'm not even going to try to pronounce."
"What does Derek think about this?"
"A pack that can defend itself on every side is a strong pack."
"That's the idea."
Stiles hummed as he worked – a pinch more of that root, a couple more drops of goat's milk. It was one of those rare mixtures he could construct in the kitchen without fear that the smell would put him and his Dad off their food. He squished the ingredients together. This was the last of them. Then he could start on…
"Please tell me that isn't dinner."
His Dad pointed toward the concoction Stiles was making, looking more than a little disgusted. Stiles looked affronted in return.
"This could save your life, Dad."
"As long as I don't have to eat it."
His Dad began grabbing plates and silverware for the table. Stiles assessed him carefully; he wasn't limping or sporting any bandaging or looking particularly exhausted. It'd been a good day. Yay for human crime.
"I couldn't help noticing that Derek Hale's outside again."
Stiles sighed and mashed the mortar in a particularly vicious manner.
"You think you've got somebody house-trained…"
His Dad looked at him assessingly and then grabbed a beer from the fridge. "Be a shame to leave him out there all night, again."
Stiles met his Dad's gaze and saw exactly what his Dad was thinking. Stiles grinned.
"I was going to make too much dinner anyway, you know, for leftover lunches."
His Dad nodded sagely. "It's the neighborly thing to do."
"See a suspicious character; invite him in for dinner..."
"All part of rehabilitation, son."
Stiles snorted as he finished pouring the mixture. His Dad headed to the front door and Stiles carefully labeled the now-full bottle; he'd claimed an entire pantry shelf for his homemade life-saving liquids. Deaton wasn't always around and the pack tended to seek help from Stiles when the latest threat in town didn't crumple under brute force. He'd taught his Dad which bottles were most frequently used so that the Sheriff could help when the pack came calling. He'd taken to it like it was an extension of his job, which Stiles guessed it kind of was.
Of course, his Dad hadn't taken to Derek's constant presence in the same way. He always kept a box of wolfsbane bullets with his gun now. For when his town was threatened, he claimed. Stiles was sure that he liked putting Derek on edge too. Stiles could hear him talking to Derek right now, the Alpha probably completely ill at ease. He was way too used to people finding out about wolves and immediately taking on a hunter's attitude. Stiles thanked God, again, for his father's amazing tolerance for the wacky.
His father, who considered torturing Derek with politeness and pointed words to be rightful payback for the constant danger Stiles' life had been in ever since he'd become part of the pack. Stiles wasn't going to stop him, not even a little.
The first time Stiles heard about the latest invasion of weird creatures was after school when he was just outside his house. The news came via a weird garbled text message from Isaac, which was strange in itself because Isaac was a surprising stickler for proper grammar and punctuation. He'd actually growled at Scott one time after receiving messages in text-speak from him. Good times.
Isaac's message didn't make total sense but Stiles got the gist – Help! Monsters on the loose! They won't die! He pinged everybody else's phone to give them the news/check where they were and managed to get hold of Danny for some triangulation magic. Danny sounded like he was rolling his eyes but naturally agreed to help because Jackson needed him and because he was friends with pretty much the whole pack now.
Stiles called his Dad with a location. "Just in case any weirdly chewed-on bodies show up there."
"That's very considerate of you, Stiles."
"Hey, considerate is my middle name."
"Then be sure to considerately stay far away from this particular problem."
Stiles didn't grace that with an answer. His Dad always asked but he knew what Stiles would do if the pack was in danger. At least the Sheriff would be monitoring the woods now, gathering uniforms just in case. The law was pretty awesome for scaring off hunters. They never had the right licenses for the area.
Just as Stiles was tucking his cellphone away and preparing to go grab extra supplies, something whizzed at him. It made his knees sting. Stiles staggered and whirled around, one hand scrabbling in his backpack. His heart pounded. What the hell was that fast? His mind scrolled through the bestiary, through the notes that he and Lydia had made.
There was a blur of movement again and Stiles leapt out of the way, swiping with enchanted needles. It got him a venomous hiss. Good to know. Stiles grasped the needles with one hand, and madly texted with the other, telling the pack that they needed Lydia to help fend off the creatures. Kelpies? It wasn't staying still enough for Stiles to get a good look.
There was a pattern to how it was moving though. Stiles watched, noting how the leaves moved. The thing was definitely marking out a shape of some kind. Territory lines? Stalking its prey? Stiles waited until it made another pass at him and then sank the needles in. There was a screech and a thud and then something dropped to the ground. Heart racing, Stiles yanked the needles free and tried to catch his breath. Whatever the thing was, it was the size of a large dog and had nasty teeth and sticky-looking spikes down its back. And it was dead in his front yard.
Stiles hastily grabbed the spare hoodie from his bag and wrapped it around the creature, dragging it into the house. Thankfully nobody was around to report him for suspicious behavior.
He texted the pack to tell them that one was dead and he was fine, thank you. He washed his hands thoroughly and disinfected his needles before turning back to the dead animal. Garbage bags had always worked best in this kind of situation before. He got his hoodie free and into the laundry basket and was swathing the creature in trash bags when Derek showed up. He didn't have any visible wounds.
"You can take it from here, right? I'm beat."
Derek eyed him carefully as he stepped closer. Suddenly and without asking, he sniffed near Stiles' ear and neck. Stiles felt goosebumps pop up.
"You weren't lying."
"It really bugs you that you can't tell that from a text message, doesn't it?"
Derek scowled and spotted the needles in the sink. "Knitting saved the day?"
Stiles grinned, adrenaline and exhaustion making everything slightly manic. "Exactly."
Derek held his gaze for a long moment. He didn't ask for clarification and he didn't push for more details. He did stay until Stiles' Dad came home though, and he didn't take his eyes off Stiles for a single moment. Stiles only dropped a couple of stitches.
"There's myths about fate's threads being woven together, right?"
"In many theologies."
"Right. It appears in so many different places, some part of it must…I mean, maybe there's a tiny bit of something true…"
"A logical conclusion."
"Leave these to soak for forty-eight hours and dry them carefully before use."
"…Yeah…yeah, thanks, a lot. For everything."
"Thank you, Stiles."
Another sweater for Erica was almost finished. Stiles grabbed a ball of yarn. There was a faint glittery quality to it which he was pretty sure Erica would love. For all her attraction to tight-fitting leather, Stiles knew that Erica liked sparkly things too. And he was fine with providing that for her in knitted form.
You are safe, nothing will hurt you, you are safe.
There was a whisper of leather, then familiar hands rested on top of Stiles' fingers and warm breath clouded against his neck. His heart sped up and his skin prickled. He didn't turn around. He didn't stop knitting. He did lean back and let the firm chest behind him take his weight though.
We are safe, nothing will hurt us…