Prompt: Pack pool day! Perhaps Derek buys the pack a house to share and it has a pool? (Sterek and/or Scisaac?)
Word Count: 7548
Sterek, Scallisaac, Boyd/Cora, Aidya, Dethan (mentioned).
Okay so this is only vaguely related to the prompt but I promise there is a pool party. Eventually. But first we have pack healing because apparently I just want Derek to be friends with his pack. This is the direction I want Teen Wolf to move even if this is completely out of character for how everyone is currently behaving. Just ignore that.
The title comes from Purple Glow by Arcadia Gardens. :)
"This one," Erica says, grabbing his arm and shaking it. "Stop, stop, stop!"
Derek pulls over. "We haven't even been inside yet," he replies, frowning. He's not sure how Erica managed to wrangle herself into shotgun. Cora has had dibs on it for the past month, but today, she's in the back, sitting between Boyd and Isaac and frowning petulantly.
Erica scoffs and rolls her eyes. "Can't you feel it?" She jumps out of the car, slamming the door behind her and hurrying up to the house. "Come on!" She shouts before slipping inside the house.
Boyd gets out of the car and follows her up the walkway. "At least it's an open house," he mutters.
Derek groans and knocks his head against the steering wheel.
"As weird as this may sound," Cora says primly, "I think she's right." She slides across the backseat.
Derek sits up and looks at Isaac in the rear view mirror. Things are still rough between them, but he's trying to fix it.
Isaac blinks at him, tense, waiting for an indication of what Derek wants.
"What do you think?" he asks, because otherwise they'll be stuck there in a staring contest until Erica comes back and tells him they have to buy the house.
He shrugs and slumps in the backseat. His knees push against Derek's seat. "Haven't seen it, yet."
"Well, let's go," Derek suggests. He gets out and walks around to shut Boyd's door. Irresponsible kids, he laments.
Isaac shuts his own door and walks behind Derek, just to the right.
He still hasn't figured out if the boy is trying to claim the spot of second (which he deserves, admittedly) or if he just doesn't want to turn his back to Derek. Either way, Derek is trying to let him have what he wants. If he eases back into a good relationship with him, everything should be okay.
When they get inside the house, the realtor hands Derek a pamphlet and gives him a weird look. His reputation must precede him. He doesn't let it bother him, just browsing through the brochure as he moves slowly through the entry way. He can hear Erica and Cora arguing about who should get the bedroom at the end of the hall and Boyd snickering.
The house has four bedrooms with walk in closets in each, and three full bathrooms. It's not big enough to house the whole pack, but he could put bunk beds in for sleepovers on weekends, maybe...
He looks up to discover he's wandered into the living room. "The wallpaper is awful," he tells Isaac, who is still hovering nervously beside him.
"Mm," Isaac agrees.
Derek turns to look at him, sensing that the anxiety isn't just because of whatever issues he's got with Derek at the moment.
He's standing maybe two inches behind him, jaw clenched while he stares at the ground.
Derek looks over his shoulder to see the realtor watching Isaac.
"I knew your dad," the man says.
Isaac tenses more.
"He didn't die very long ago," Derek says coolly. "Please don't remind him about everything that went down. Could you actually give us some space? I'll come to you if I have any questions." He doesn't mind being dismissive of people who irritate him. If he ends up picking this house, he hopes he won't have to deal with the realtor too much. Maybe he can do it all while Isaac is at school.
The realtor leaves the room, maybe to go check on the other three.
Derek reaches around Isaac to clamp an arm around his shoulders. "Come on," he says. "Let's look around."
The two of them move through the dining room ("It's nice," Isaac manages to spit out) and into the kitchen, which is smaller than the one Derek grew up with, but bigger than his current one. "Erica would like this, huh?" he says, looking over at Isaac with a hopeful smile.
He nods, drifting away from Derek to brush his hands over the counter tops. "Looks like the previous owner renovated everything," he says. "Granite."
"It is nice," he agrees. He opens the oven. It's clean. "Bedrooms?" he suggests, and Isaac nods.
Three of the four bedrooms have basically the same layout—a small window on one wall and a big, bay-style window on another. The beds are tucked into corners of each room, and there's plenty of room left over for things like desks and bookshelves.
"I like this one," Isaac says shyly, when they open the door to the room that's been painted blue. It's not the one Cora and Erica were arguing over, so Derek doesn't see a problem in preemptively assigning it to him.
He crosses the room and opens the closet. "What would anyone even keep in here?" he mutters, walking inside.
Isaac doesn't follow him inside, waiting across the room tensely. "Clothes," he suggests. "Board games."
He snorts. "Okay."
They go to the master bedroom last. Derek will have to take this room by virtue of being alpha. That would probably be attractive, if he really cared about it.
The room is huge, of course, with enough room for a king-sized bed, two writing desks on either side and two closets. They're smaller than the walk in ones, but combined, there's probably the same amount of space. Derek doesn't own very much, honestly, so the space seems excessive. At least there will be enough room to fit weights, if he decides to buy some.
"Do you like it?" Isaac asks.
"The wallpaper doesn't extend past the living room," he says. "So that's a plus." He goes into the master bathroom and smiles appreciatively at the size of the bathtub. It's not like ever takes baths (who has the time?) but the thought is nice. There's a shower stall, too, which he steps inside to check out. It's decent.
"If you buy this house, can I use your bath?" Isaac wonders, taking a seat on the edge of the tub. "It has jets."
He snorts and nods.
Down the hall, Erica shrieks, "Derek, there's a pool!"
Derek is basically sold on the house, anyway, but he agrees to make an offer after Erica reminds him that she's just returned from the dead and she should get something out of it.
He moves into the house within the next month.
"Can we have a pool party?" Erica asks one day. Technically, she doesn't live with them, but she comes over often enough that it feels like she does.
"Stop moving," Cora scolds. She's crouched at Erica's feet, painting her toenails gold. "You'll get carpet hairs on my brush."
"It's November," Derek protests.
"It's too cold," he says.
"Fine," she sighs. "But we will eventually, right?"
"Sure," he says, and returns his attention to his laptop. There's been some mysterious killings in a town about an hour away, just on the other side of the preserve. All signs point to the killer being a wendigo, which is something he doesn't want to deal with, but will if it moves toward Beacon Hills.
His first priority is keeping the information away from Stiles, who would probably dig deep enough into the articles that he'd end up driving over just because he wanted to see the wendigo. And he'd probably drag Scott along, which would mean Isaac would go, followed by Erica and Boyd.
Not Cora, though. She had a really great sense of self-preservation.
Anyway, the wendigo isn't in his territory yet, which means it's not his problem.
It's not like Derek has been keeping his new living arrangement from Scott and Stiles, he just hadn't gotten around to telling them.
Of course Scott didn't see it that way.
Stiles launches himself onto the couch next to him. "Heeeey, Derek," he says, grinning. "How's it hangin'?"
"Why didn't you tell me you moved?" Scott demands, crossing his arms huffily.
"I haven't talked to you since I did," he answers evasively. "Didn't seem relevant."
"It's irrelevant until you call me to come rescue you," Scott grumbles.
"When has that ever happened?" Derek asks disbelievingly.
Stiles nods, kicking his feet up to rest on the coffee table that Cora had painted daisies all over. (Apparently Boyd had found it on the curb down the street from his house. Cora had treated it as a canvas instead of a place to set her coffee, which, to be fair, she didn't drink. Also, Derek hadn't really minded.) He throws an arm around Derek, all full of kinetic energy that means he doesn't do anything slowly. "He has a point, Scotty-boy. He prefers to throw himself in front of moving cars to ask for help."
"You are aggressively irritating," Derek tells him.
"You love it."
Scott clears his throat. "The point is, I would like to know when this kind of stuff happens. I thought that was the deal with our new...treaty or whatever."
"Scott," Derek says tiredly. "You won't even acknowledge the fact that you've achieved alpha status. We don't have a treaty. What we decided is that we're going to live peacefully."
"Which we are!" Stiles pipes up.
"I need to know where you are," Scott argues hotly. "The territorial urges—"
"You're right; sorry," Derek sighs, knocking his head back. He hits Stiles forearm, which...he'd forgotten that was there. Vaguely unsettling. He pretended he wasn't bothered, though, because at the slightest sign of weakness, the two of them will attack, no holds barred.
"Really?" Scott says, apparently stumped at Derek's lack of antagonism.
"Yeah," he says, sitting up again. "As an alpha who is sharing your territory, I should have mentioned it." He tries not to think about Scott and his pack of humans—and alpha twins that Derek pretends don't exist any more—counting as a pack, usually, but he can't be surprised. Scott isn't a typical werewolf. Of course he refuses to have a typical pack.
"Cool," Scott says, the wind clearly gone from his sails. He probably hadn't been expecting the abrupt apology. It's nice to be able to surprise him.
"Sooooo," Stiles drawls. "Now that that's settled. Don't you have homework to do with Isaac?"
"Oh, yeah. Later!" Scott says, and jogs down the hall to Isaac's room.
Stiles stays on the couch and leans forward to grab the remote. His arm knocks into Derek as he leans forward.
Derek sighs. "You're a disaster."
"A beautiful one?"
Toward the end of January, Isaac comes home from school with a weird look on his face.
On the couch, Cora squints at him. "What's wrong with you?" She's supposed to be working on her GED, but instead she's browsing a site called...Polyvore?
"Don't bother him," Derek says tiredly. There haven't been any more reports of deaths from the wendigo, at least not in any newspaper he can find. It's possible that some hunters came in and took care of it...or the wendigo might have moved further away from the territory.
Of course, he doesn't really believe in scenarios where things work out for him. So the wendigo is probably in his territory, doing a really good job of hiding the bodies or something.
"It's okay," Isaac mumbles. He's gnawing his lips and drumming his fingers. "Scott and Allison are fighting, is all."
"So?" Cora snipes, clicking on a blue dress and dragging it across the screen. "What else is new?"
"They're fighting about me?" Isaac says, beginning to look confused. "I don't really...I think Allison thinks Scott is in love with me or something. Which is dumb, because Scott loves Allison more than he loves the sun. Probably."
Isaac is probably right about that, Derek thinks privately. But being in New York taught him a lot of things that a high school sex ed class never did. "You know people can love more than one person, right?"
"It's not the same," Isaac says. The confusion is shifting to agitation.
"Maybe," Derek says, shrugging. He feels like he knows Scott pretty well now, and he'd hazard a guess that Isaac is only partially right about that. Scott loves Allison, sure. Maybe she is his sun. But sometimes it seems like Isaac is becoming his moon, at the very least.
He doesn't know how Stiles fits in. The two of them seem to occupy the same space more often than not, and he supposes that maybe Stiles is at Scott's core, and vice versa.
Why is he comparing Scott to a planetary system? He needs to sleep, clearly.
"It's going to be fine," he tells Isaac. He'll talk to Scott about it next time he sees him. "I'm gonna take a nap."
"Erica is sleeping in your bed," Cora announces.
He can't really bring himself to be surprised, but when he reaches his bedroom, he shakes her awake. "Shouldn't you be in school?"
Erica bats at his arm and shakes her head before burying herself more deeply in the covers. "Just came back from the dead," she slurs. "Get some time off."
"It's been a few months," he say, settling in next to her. "Shouldn't you be over this by now?"
"It's been a couple years. Shouldn't you be over something by now?" she snarks, rolling to look at him.
He lets her stay in the bed.
Scott knocks before he walks into the house, which is actually really considerate. Everyone else just barges in, which is annoying, but it's not like he doesn't know they're there before they make it to the door.
No one else is at the house just then, so Derek opens the door to let him in. He could have yelled that the door was open, but if Scott is affording him human courtesy, he can do the same.
"Allison broke up with me again," Scott says with no preamble. He flops onto the loveseat, face down.
He settles in on the couch, stretching his legs across the cushions while he observes Scott's moping. "Why?" he asks, when it becomes clear that Scott has nothing else to say.
"She thinks I'm in love with Isaac," he sighs.
"I told her that didn't even make sense," he continues, unconcerned with Derek's non-response. "Because I love her, like, so much. Stiles is always embarrassed of how much I love her, man."
He knew he would have to deal with this sooner or later. He sighs and wonders how this happened. Scott isn't even pack, so he shouldn't be dealing with his issues.
And yet he can't forget telling Scott that they were brothers. Even if Scott doesn't want to acknowledge it, it's still true for Derek.
Plus, the situation is upsetting Isaac, who is pack.
He crosses his arms and then uncrosses them. "Scott, it's okay to love more than one person," he says hesitantly.
"It's not like that," he protests.
"Isn't it?" Derek says coolly, lifting a single brow. He resolutely does not think of anything Stiles would have to say about the movement. His facial expressions are his own business.
Scott scowls at him. Then his face softens and he mutters, "I don't know."
"From an outsider's point of view, it kind of seems like you are," he says gently.
"But...Allison," Scott protests.
"It's like I said," he sighs. "You can love more than one person. Polyamory is a thing."
"Polyamory?" he repeats, scrunching up his face. "I've never heard of that, but based on the prefix and suffix, I'm guessing it means, like, being in a relationship with more than one person?"
He nods. "Right."
"And that's okay?"
"If everyone consents," he agrees. "Stiles would probably be able to help you find out more about it. I don't know much about it. I just had some friends in New York who were in a polyamorous relationship with my neighbor. They were happy."
Scott is looking more and more relieved. Maybe he knew what his feelings for Isaac were all along, but couldn't acknowledge them until someone he trusted told him it was okay.
Which does not make Derek feel warm and fuzzy inside, all right?
"Thanks, Derek," Scott says. He leaves pretty quick after that.
Isaac gets home just twenty minutes later and sniffs the air kind of obviously—Derek seriously needs to train his betas better—and says, "Scott was here? Is he okay?"
"I think he will be," Derek says, shrugging. "Don't worry."
He gets an incoherent text message from Stiles that night from which he garners that Scott has shown up to mope and make Stiles teach him things.
"What even is polyamory? Why did you sick my best friend on my like this?!"
Derek rolls his eyes and texts back, "If he's your best friend it's your responsibility to be with him at this time anyway."
"Usually i just get him drunk!" Stiles replies. He's used six exclamation points, and Derek can't help but roll his eyes. It's over-dramatic and 100% Stiles.
"Stop abusing exclamation points."
Stiles sends back five text messages that alternate between exclamation points, the number one, and at signs.
The sixth text reads, "NEVER" and has at least eight exclamation points attached.
Derek doesn't smile. Not even a little.
Erica shows up with everything she needs to make sure the pool is properly chlorinated. She has a thermometer, too, which she promptly drops into the pool. She starts scooping out the leaves.
"Don't you think it's still a little cool for this?" Derek asks her. He followed her outside when she'd breezed through the house.
"No," she says, shooting him a look. "Besides, I'm chill enough to handle anything.
"Sure," he says, settling in on the deck chair she'd produced.
When the pool is reading at the right chlorine level and the leaves are all cleaned out, she kneels by the side and pulls out the thermometer. "It's 68 degrees," she says, and turns to look at him. "It will be cold—" she dips her fingers into the water and shivers—"but probably worth it." Without hesitating, she tugs her shirt off and drops her pants. She'd come prepared, wearing a dark green strapless one-piece beneath her clothes. "Wish me luck," she intones, and then plunges into the water.
"You're an idiot," he tells her, when she screams about how cold it is as she resurfaces.
Derek is watching the news when Isaac burst into the house, radiating joy. It's a sharp contrast to how Derek feels, which is, at the moment, trepidation and vague despair. Two hikers have gone missing near the preserve, just ten minutes outside of his territory. It might not be the wendigo, but with his luck...well. It might as well be something worse.
He puts on a happy face for Isaac. The kid can probably already tell how Derek is really feeling—even if he didn't have werewolf sense, he had an uncanny ability to read people. "What's up?" he asks, going for cheerful. He probably comes across as uncomfortable.
Isaac frowns at him, but apparently his own happiness is enough for him to overcome the worry. "I have a boyfriend. And a girlfriend."
Finally, Derek thinks, but he says, "Congratulations."
"Can they spend the night this weekend?" he asks, lifting his eyebrows hopefully.
Derek really doesn't want to hear Isaac having sex, and especially not with Scott or Allison Argent. "Are you already at that point?" he almost-but-not-quite wheezes.
Isaac's face burns bright red. "No, not yet. Just. To. Um. Sleep."
Well, that's relieving at least. "Sure, fine, whatever."
"It's okay? I mean. To have another alpha stay here?" he wonders.
"It's Scott," Derek says, shrugging. "Of course it's fine."
When Erica comes over later, she collapses on the couch and lets out a very put-upon sigh. "I can't believe I've never had a boyfriend but Isaac gets to date two people."
From the kitchen, where he's blending whey protein with a fruit smoothie, Derek shrugs. "Date Boyd," he suggests.
Erica slides into the kitchen on her socks, catching herself on the counter and hopping up to sit on it. "Boyd likes Cora; Cora likes Boyd. They don't know how to express it to each other, is all."
There's a mortified choking noise from the direction of Cora's room.
"Do you even like anyone?" Derek asks Erica doubtfully. He's going to ignore anything involving Cora's love life until he actually has to give Boyd the concerned big brother talk. It will probably be better for everyone this way.
"No, I don't think so," Erica says, kicking her feet against the cupboard beneath her. "Well, maybe Jackson. But he's still in London."
"You liked Jackson ?" he asks incredulously. He's not sure why anyone would actually like Jackson. Sure, from an objective point of view, the kid wasn't bad looking, but he had such a terrible personality. "He was literally a murder lizard."
"Hey, you don't judge me for my crush, and I won't judge you for yours," she says, jabbing his shoulder. "Can I have a banana?"
"Sure," he says, starting the blender again. "I don't have a crush."
"Right," she agrees, peeling the banana. "I know all about it. No worries, I mean, I totally get it. It's his mouth, right? Or maybe the moles...No, the fingers, definitely."
"I don't know what you're talking about," he says stubbornly. His smoothie is finished. He pours it into a glass and leaves the kitchen.
Erica hops down from the counter and follows him. She takes a bite of the banana and keeps talking. "Don't be embarrassed. Stiles is hot. And funny. Ooh, and smart."
"I don't like him. I can't stand him," Derek insists.
"That's such a lie," she scoffs. "it's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed of you. Why are you embarrassing me?"
"I don't like him."
"Do so. And I'm not going to listen to you."
"I don't care."
"Is it because he's underage? Because he turned 17 six months ago. He won't be jailbait for long."
"Erica, please . Stop."
"Please, just. Go outside. Swim or something."
"'Kay," she says, shrugging. She throws the banana peel and it slaps his face. "But seriously. Think about it."
It probably means something good that they can banter like this, that she can tease him without worrying that he'll snap and break her arm. After (most of) the alphas had left town, he'd made an effort to be more approachable, to be a friend instead of a tyrant. He thinks it's strengthened the pack just as much as having a stable home base with beds for everyone. Of course, he feels far more grounded now that Cora is his family instead of Peter. That probably helps.
(The tug-of-war with Scott isn't so bad any more, either, now that Scott is truly the alpha of his own pack, now that he sees Derek as a helper, a mentor, a brother, instead of an enemy.
And maybe he learns things from Scott, too. To stop throwing himself into harms way, to think of how lost his pack would be without him.
It's easier when he places the value on his betas instead of himself.)
Erica takes her clothes off and leaves them in a pile by the door. She's wearing the same green swimsuit from last time. Should she have more than one? Is that typical for a teenage girl?
Derek wouldn't know. The Hales didn't have a swimming pool—too many children running around. This is a first for him as much as it is for Erica. But he doesn't know very much about looking after teenage girls. Cora is so used to handling everything herself that he usually just offers advice and a credit card. Sometimes he helps her with schoolwork, but it's been a few years since he got his GED and he doesn't always know how to help her. She thinks he should go back to school. He thinks about it sometimes.
"Hey," Erica says, looking over her shoulder at him with a small smile as she opens the door. "It's okay. I won't tell anyone."
"Well, Cora knows now," he points out.
"You admitted it," she crows, and down the hall, Cora says, "I already knew, doofus ."
He tries not to—what did Stiles call it? Facepalm?—and waves a hand at her. "Go. Please. Before I get overwhelmed and strangle you."
She blows a kiss at him and dances across the deck before leaping into the pool.
The door swings shut and Derek boots up his laptop. He needs to review the beastiary's entry on wendigos.
It won't be long.
Boyd hovers uncertainly in the doorway of Derek's room, holding a mug of what's probably coffee and wearing pajamas. It's a Saturday and Boyd had stayed the night, curled up in the spare bedroom. He would have stayed with Isaac, but Allison and Scott had spent the night, too.
Maybe he would have tried to stay in Cora's room, but Erica and Lydia had piled in there and locked him out.
Derek's kind of glad about that, even though he genuinely trusts Boyd's intentions. It helps that he's never even smelled Boyd's arousal, whereas Scott, Stiles, and Isaac have it seeping out of them constantly. At least Boyd seems interested in other things.
Boyd makes no move to actually enter the room, so Derek rolls over and throws the blanket back. Sometimes his betas get like this, overwhelmed with the need to be near their alpha, but so unsure of him that they can't bring themselves to ask for it. "Come on," Derek mutters when Boyd still doesn't cross the room.
Finally, he approaches the bed and sets down the coffee. It had probably been difficult for Boyd, being the only one sleeping alone. There are times, Derek knows, that Boyd feels like an outsider. It's always frustrating, because Boyd joined the pack to make friends.
Derek tugs Boyd closer, until the boy's head is tucked under his chin. "Sleep okay?" he mumbles, rubbing his hand loosely over Boyd's shoulder.
"Mmm-hmm," he agrees, curling an arm around Derek.
"Good," Derek mumbles. There were days like this for Derek, too, back when it was just him and Laura. Then he only found comfort when he could cuddle up in her lap or give her piggy back rides through the closest parks. So he'd hold off because he felt like he didn't deserve the comfort.
The draw to pack is different now. There's more of them, for one thing. Cora and Isaac live with him, and Cora, at least, expects him to touch her casually and doesn't mind reciprocating. The others hold off until they feel too uncomfortable not being close to him.
He's still unapproachable, for the most part. He's trying to change that. It's still hard.
And it's easy to offer them what they need. It's for them, not him. He can do that.
He can do this.
He thinks an outsider would look on the position he and Boyd are in as something more and less than it is. There's a tendency to elevate romantic and sexual love above all other types of love. He doesn't feel anything like that for Boyd. They aren't brothers and Boyd isn't his son, but the love feels familial, friendly, warm.
That's what really matters, isn't it?
The day before the full moon, Derek runs into the wendigo. Literally, that is. He's running through the preserve, half-shifted, trying to burn off excess energy. It's always like this before the full moon. Like something is trying to claw out of his skin. Sometimes his morning workout is enough to take the edge off. Not today.
Wendigos smell like the forests they inhabit, which means he's caught off guard when the horned creature swipes at his side and attempts to carry him off.
He's not sure how he'd react to surviving so much just to get killed by a wendigo, especially now that things are finally working out for him. So he cuts back, clawing viciously any where he can reach. You have to shoot a wendigo to kill it, with a silver bullet.
He doesn't have any of those on hand, unfortunately. But if he can incapacitate it, he might be able to get assistance from Argent.
Probably not, actually.
Escaping it is.
The wendigo finally lets go of him, which is long enough for him to scramble away and run in the direction of the old Hale house. The Argents had set up shop there, and their might be a spare bullet lying around.
(There won't be. But there is cell service. And Scott has stolen bullets from hunters before.)
He makes it just barely, slamming the red-but-clawed door behind him. The wendigo scrapes against it as Derek takes the stairs, four steps at a time. He dials as he runs, hands shaking. "Scott, pick up."
Stiles answers the phone instead. "Hey, Scott can't talk right now. What's up?"
"Wendigo. I'm stuck at my house, can you—"
"Yeah, of course, what do you need?"
"Silver bullet, as soon as possible. I can hold him off, but—"
Stiles has already hung up, though, and Derek is talking to nothing.
He decides to take comfort in the idea that Stiles is on his way to save him once again.
And then—crap. What if he goes to the house he lives in, the one he actually calls, "my house?" Or, you know, the one he should call "my house," but apparently doesn't. He dials Stiles' phone this time.
Stiles picks up on the third ring. "What, man, I'm driving! I'm not supposed to—"
"My old house, Stiles, not—"
"Okay, okay, got it—"
The wendigo is inside.
Derek hangs up without saying a word, silently tucking the phone into his back pocket. This always happens, though, doesn't it? He tries to remember that a year ago he wouldn't have called Scott (in fact he can't figure out why he called Scott now, except that when he thinks of Scott he still thinks of family, still thinks of brotherhood). He might have called Boyd or Erica, maybe even Isaac. Someone who would use blunt force to knock the wendigo away, only to have Scott and Stiles show up having outsmarted them, already knowing how to deal with the problem.
Derek knew there was a kanima. He didn't know what to do but kill it. But Stiles brought Lydia and Lydia brought Jackson back.
He can let someone else do the heavy lifting, even if he's proud that this time, this time, he knows how to solve the problem. This time, he knew who to call.
Downstairs, the wendigo moves quietly from room to room. It's possible he hasn't eaten in a while, given that he should be able to smell Derek's location. Perhaps the smell of death and Derek have mixed too much in this house, and right now, Derek is invisible.
His phone vibrates and he freezes. He can hear it of course; the question is whether the wendigo heard it. He tugs the phone out of his pocket, hoping it's something important.
It's a text from Stiles—"Got pulled over for speeding; told Allison. She'll be there soon."
Getting rescued by Allison sounds awful.
But he'll take what he can get.
There's a creak on the stairs, and Derek knows the jig is up. He does his best to melt into the meager shadows of his home. It's a husk of what it used to be, like the dead skin a snake leaves behind. The light filters in from outside and there aren't many shadows to hide in. There's something beautiful about that, but he doesn't have time to reflect on that.
The wendigo enters the room, eyes falling on him immediately. It grins at him, teeth an awful shade of black that makes him tense. (He thinks of black blood, of bullet holes and the taste of Gerard.)
He falls into a crouch. He can survive until Allison gets here.
He can survive anything.
(Some days that's a blessing, and others a curse. Today he'll count it as a blessing.)
The wendigo laughs, lunges.
Derek leaps before it can reach him. With his betas, he'll wait for them to strike first, but this isn't a training exercise—it's real life and Derek only has one chance. He ducks underneath the swinging arms, clawing at its legs. He finds purchase behind its left knee and yanks as hard as possible.
There's a brittle broken sound that gives him a flicker of hope, but then the wendigo is grabbing him by his ankle and throwing him across the room.
He slides across the floor and his legs swing over the edge of the house, dangling. He's never regretted another arena to fight in more than this. His claws dig into the floor, hoping the wood hasn't rotted too much here. It works long enough for him to scamper over the edge.
Of course it's not over—it grabs him again; tosses him across the room again. This time he breaks through a wall, landing in Laura's old bedroom. He doesn't linger on the thought, just breaking through the wall again, rushing the wendigo as quickly as possible. If he can attack first, he can—
It knocks him back with one blow to his stomach and he falls through a hole in the floor.
Downstairs, he groans.
The door opens as the wendigo drops through the ceiling and a single shot rings out.
For a long moment, he can't hear anything—did Allison fire the gun right over his head? What's that ringing? Why does everything hurt?
He can hear again. He blinks, aware suddenly of the weight pinning him down. The wendigo's teeth scrape against his shoulder as he shoves it off. He looks over at Allison, who's holding a gun loosely, hair tousled and eyes wide. "Thanks," he says. Means it.
She tries to smile, maybe, but only the right side of her mouth quirks up. "Yeah. Need a ride?"
"Sure," he says, swallowing as he pushes the rest of the wendigo off of him. "But, uh. Do you have a lighter? We should—" He gestures at the corpse.
"Um, no, I don't really like fire," Allison says, stepping closer to him. Almost casually she touches his arm. "You okay? I can call Stiles. He usually...has everything."
He wonders if she hates fire because of Kate and feels bad. She shouldn't. "He'll probably be here soon, anyway," he points out, and sure enough, he can hear the Jeep arriving outside. "You can go on home if you want. We'll take care of it."
She does smile then, patting his arm before turning and walking away. The gun smacks against her thigh a couple times before she gets outside. "Hey Stiles," he hears her say. "Got a light?"
"Yeah, sure, no problem," Stiles says, and then he's bursting into the house, digging into his pocket. "You need fire?"
"Looks like it," Derek says, watching him cross the room.
He smiles wryly. "You're lucky to have me, admit it!"
"Feeling luckier about Allison, honestly," he replies drily.
"Aw, shucks. Your praise means the world to me."
"Of course it does," he sighs. "The lighter?"
"Um, dude, shouldn't we do this somewhere not made of wood?"
Derek sighs. "Sure, fine, whatever." It's easy enough to pick up the wendigo now that it's not alive to struggle, so he drags it down to the basement, Stiles following him silently. That's almost something he wants to comment on, only he's seen Stiles darken into silence before. Usually it means he's gone somewhere bad in his head.
He thinks this is about him, though, so he's not going to ask. He has no interest in Stiles offering platitudes about Derek and fire.
They all have their issues with fire...unfortunately, it's useful. So he deals, because he has to.
Derek isn't...he can't be...afraid. Not when everyone else's lives are at stake.
Not when his is at stake.
So they burn the wendigo and Derek watches the flames. He makes sure they're contained, and that the entire body burns.
Stiles touches his arm, unconsciously resting his fingers at the same spot Allison did, only his fingers curl around his bicep, tight, anchoring.
He can't look at him. But he doesn't pull away, and he thinks Stiles understands the silent gratitude, anyway.
Erica basically lives in the pool after school ends, showing up early in the morning to scoop bugs and leaves out of the pool, diving in wearing that same green swimsuit. She swims laps, floats, and stretches out on the deck chairs.
Sometimes Cora joins her, diving into the pool completely nude and unconcerned with anyone seeing her. To be fair, there's a privacy fence surrounding the backyard, but there's also huge windows overlooking the pool, and honestly, Derek never wanted to see that much of his sister.
"Please buy a swimsuit," he says the fifth time he catches sight of her breasts.
"But I like swimming naked," she whines. Still, she buys a white bikini the next day, winking at him when she walks through the living room in it.
Really, he just counts his blessings. Boyd never was around while she was swimming nude, and even though the boy has never expressed interest in sex, he's not sure how he would have reacted to it.
"You promised me a pool party," Erica reminded him one day, while she dripped water and chlorine in his kitchen. She has a towel wrapped loosely around her hips, but her hair is stringy and dark with water.
He sighs. "So plan one?"
"Can I invite Scott's pack?" she wonders, tilting her head curiously.
"Okay," he says, returning his attention to the stove. He wants to have grilled cheese today, like he and Laura used to eat, back before the fire. It won't be exactly the same, because the store had been out of Texas Toast, as though regular white bread was even worth purchasing.
"Even the twins?" she asks, stepping next to him and raising an eyebrow.
"Up to you," he says, shrugging. It's easy to push the things that have hurt him away, but smarter to get over it. He's trying. Erica should try, too, but it has to be on her terms.
She hums. "Okay. Can I have one, too?" She points at the skillet and gives him a hopeful smile.
"Yeah, okay," he says, smiling back despite himself. "I'll bring it out to you."
"Thanks," she says. She starts to leave, going as far as the living room. But she pauses at the back door, and says, "Stiles thinks you like me."
"I do, I guess," he says, shrugging. She can't see him, of course, but he's used to talking like this, conversing like they're close to each other. He likes being a werewolf.
"No," she says, and he can hear the smile on her face. "I mean he thinks you like me."
"Well, not like that," he admits. It might be easier if he liked Erica, but she doesn't like him, not like that, and he wouldn't force it on either of them. Anyway, she's younger than Stiles, so it's not easier at all. "No offense."
"I'm not offended," she says. "But maybe you should talk to him about it?"
"He's underage," he says dismissively.
"Not for long," is all she says before going back outside and diving into the pool, where Cora and Boyd are already lounging.
And he knows it's true, that he could tell Stiles the truth now and wait a couple months for his eighteenth birthday, that he could have whatever he wants now if he wanted. Stiles cares about him as much as he cares about Stiles.
And that's why he can't say anything, not yet. It's...he needs to be old enough, a consenting adult.
Laura would have killed him for trying anything different.
Laura would have killed him for a lot of things, actually.
But he'll respect this.
"I'm on to you," Erica drawls from the edge of the pool, where she's resting her chin on her arms.
"What's that?" Derek wonders, looking up from the book he's reading. It's something Boyd recommended—The Maze Runner—and he's actually enjoying it quite a bit. He's not really surprised, of course. Boyd has excellent taste.
"I have never seen you swim," she announces.
"You don't swim?" Scott wonders, clamoring out of the pool. "Why?"
"Scott, you're in my light," Lydia snaps. She's sprawled in the deck chair next to Derek, apparently trying to tan. It might work if Aiden wasn't constantly rubbing sunscreen into her skin. Every time she glares at him, he mutters that he can smell her skin start to burn. She lets it go every time.
The dynamic of their relationship would be weirder if he didn't know Lydia as well as he did. She might be dating an alpha werewolf and willing to claim Scott as her own alpha, but she's not the beta in any sense. Aiden probably thinks about protecting her and making her life easier constantly.
"Derek," Erica whines. "You're at a pool party. You have to swim."
"Maybe he just doesn't want to," Stiles says, swimming over to Erica. "Last time we were in a pool together you were knocked out and I had to hold him up for two hours. Terrible memories."
It's not true, of course. Derek just usually has better things to do.
She just rolls her eyes. "Unacceptable. Come on, Der, please? For me?" When he makes no move to get into the pool, she pouts. "For Stiles?"
"Whoa, hey, Stiles is firmly in the camp of letting Derek do whatever the hell he wants," Stiles says quickly, pushing away from the wall. "People gotta move at their own pace."
"That's the most considerate thing you've ever said," Erica says, and then swims after him to forcibly dunk him under the water.
He comes up sputtering and the two of them instigate a splash war that has Allison laughing and climbing up to sit on Isaac's shoulders. "We should play chicken, yeah?"
So Stiles scrambles up to sit on Erica's shoulders, and the two humans grab at each other, laughing as they try to push and pull each other away. Allison wins, of course, because she's the strongest human Derek has ever met. Physically, anyway. He thinks Stiles has a special kind of strength, emotionally speaking.
Stiles would claim it was all sarcasm, of course. Derek can respect that.
In the corner of the pool, Cora kisses Boyd and whispers about how careful Erica is with the chlorine levels. She thinks it's cute that Erica can dedicate herself to something so thoroughly. Boyd thinks it's cute that Cora doesn't acknowledge the same of herself.
Scott joins the fray of the ex-chicken game, helping Isaac and Allison hold Stiles still while Erica ruthlessly tickles him, digging her fingers into his ribs as he shrieks with laughter and tries to get away. His hair is flattened over his forehead, and Derek just wants.
"Hey, if you're just going to watch them, can I have this chair?" Danny asks, coming to stand in front of him. "Ethan is afraid of the water or something and won't let me go near it.
"Uh, sure," Derek says, vacating the chair. He sets the book on the edge of the table furthest from the pool, and goes to sit at the edge. He dangles his feet into the water, just watching the teens laughing and splashing each other.
Stiles manages to get Scott in a headlock, pushing his head underwater and laughing. Of course Scott lets him, because Stiles is always going to be his Batman.
"Derek is smiling," Allison shouts, laughter punctuating every word as Isaac and Erica swim toward him menacingly.
He doesn't stop them from pulling him into the pool, just falling forward. He feels light, like this is what pack is supposed to be. It's nice, being here.
When he resurfaces, Scott is kissing Allison and Stiles is hitting them with a pool noodle, cackling madly. He meets Derek's eyes in between the flogging, and his face softens briefly.
Derek counts it as...something.
Later, Boyd grills burgers and hot dogs, and Stiles produces Cheetos and celery sticks seemingly from no where. Scott had been in charge of the buns, but Isaac was the one who actually brought them, he admits with a blush. Allison laughs about it and kisses both of their cheeks, saying fondly, "My boys."
It's easy. It's right.
So when Stiles steals the food off of his plate, Derek doesn't complain or retaliate, he just offers a smile.
There's a flutter in his stomach when Stiles smiles back, and he thinks—yeah, this is right.
"My birthday is in October," Stiles whispers, when every one else is back in the pool, splashing and yelling.
Derek gives him a lop-sided grin. "I guess I better figure out a really good present."
Stiles grins and pecks his cheek. "Swim?"
"I'm not helping you this time. You get to tread your own water," he insists.
Just for that, Derek tosses him into the pool, jumping in after him.
They come up for air laughing.
A/N: I finished the first part of what will either be the second chapter or the sequel to this and realized I had never posted the first part. Whoops. I actually haven't decided if I want to make this a two-shot or post the two separately. This seems complete to me, but...this site doesn't make sequels easy to find. Maybe if I was on AO3 (which I should really get to, I know...)
Anyway, I think part 2 will be posted as the second chapter for this, at this point. I might even finish it today!