He should've listened to Scott and stayed at his place. But it had been the fifth night in a row that he'd slept over and he now felt more of a burden than a guest. So he'd packed up his bag and made the trek back home. His jeep was still in the shop after two days - he didn't even want to think about the bill that would come from that - or he'd be driving his baby home. He would've been a lot safer and less jumpy in his own car rather than walking down the empty streets.
Since he thought it was a great idea to leave right after dinner, the sun had mostly set, painting the sky a deep orange and red, casting a blanket of darkness over his surroundings. He gripped the sling on his backpack tighter, walked a little faster, tried to keep his eyes from wandering over to the forest on the other side of the street. He was only imagining those strange rustles and crunching leaves, the shadows darting around in the foliage.
He took a deep breath and put his head down, pushing himself to go a little faster. Thankfully, he was almost home.
That was when the howl sounded.
He halted and jerked his head toward the forest, knowing that no wolves lived in Beacon Hills and, yet, that was a very distinct wolf howl.
His heart leapt into his throat and he turned toward the howl right as a giant mass crashed through the trees. Stiles yelped in fright as two blood red eyes zeroed in on him. He flailed and tripped over himself in his hurry to outrun the beast. In his moment of clumsiness, large white teeth clamped down on his bag, yanking him backward. He slipped his arms through the slings and scrambled to his feet, stumbling into a run.
He heard heavy footfalls and scraping behind him. He knew he shouldn't look, just stay focused on where he was going. But, of course, he didn't listen to himself. He spared a glance over his shoulder and inhaled sharply when he saw the beast right behind him. He pushed himself to go faster, but it was no use. The beast shoved him, he lost his footing and went sprawling across the sidewalk.
He flipped around onto his back and inched further away from the hulking form. It took two steps and was directly above him, a deep snarl ripping through its throat. Before he could blink, it jerked its head down toward him and sharp teeth were piercing through his favorite plaid button-up. He screamed in pain, muscles going taut in his whole body as the beast bit through muscle, nearly hitting the bone. It shook its head, bringing tears to Stiles' eyes.
In the next second, the beast dropped him and bolted. Gunshots sounded nearby as Stiles lay there, tears streaming down into his hairline as his left shoulder shrieked in agony, blood soaking his shirt and the ground beneath him.
Heavy boots pounded past him, two sets coming to a halt on either side of where he lay. He opened his eyes slightly and saw two men standing above him, guns cocked and aimed directly at him.
"W-W-W-Wait," he stuttered through the pain, numbness and shock slowly overtaking him.
They glanced at each other and holstered their weapons, looking back down at him.
"We should get him to a hospital," one spoke, a look of pity on his dark features.
"Are you crazy?" the other snapped. "He's one of them now! We need to lock him up. Sooner rather than later."
"He's just a kid, Bruce."
Bruce snorted. “It don't matter, Mark! He's dangerous now. C'mon, let's shove him in the back."
Stiles whimpered and shouted in pain as Bruce yanked him to his feet, shoving him back the way he came. Glancing up, he saw two black SUVs parked on the side of the road closest to the forest and briefly wondered how he'd missed them.
Mark opened the back of one of the vehicles, frowning at Stiles, before Bruce practically threw him in. He landed hard on his injured shoulder and bit down on his lower lip, a pained groan slipping out.
"Shut up," Bruce shouted, sneering. "You filthy freak. Ain't nobody cares what you're going through. All we care about is ending you."
Stiles scrambled to a sitting position and stared at the men in horror right as they slammed the door shut.
His heart slamming against his ribcage, stomach churning, he listened to the two men get in the front seats of the SUV and start driving.
Fright was quickly setting in, but he pushed through it and tried to think like his dad would. Only three windows could be seen, the rest of the car cut off with a large, black wall. Two large duffle bags were set on his left side, packed full of who knew what.
A throb of pain shot through his arm as he leaned back against the right side of the vehicle, bending his knees so he could get in a better position to calm his rapid breathing. Glancing down at his shoulder, he could see the dark stain of blood soaking through the fabric on his shoulder, covering part of his collarbone, upper abdomen and half of his arm.
He threw his head back and squeezed his eyes shut, his chest tightening further. He pressed his right hand against his wound and hissed in pain, which somehow helped his breathing slow down.
He looked around in the darkening light, his mind racing with ways of how he could get out of this scenario, when realization hit him. He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He glanced up as the vehicle came to a stop then quickly unlocked the screen and went to his messaging app. He clicked on the text conversation he had with his dad and bit his lip, thinking of a good way to warn his father while being subtle, just in case these creeps nabbed his phone. The two front doors of the vehicle opened and slammed shut and he quickly typed out three numbers - 911 .
Right as the back door started to open, he hit send and shoved his phone back in his pocket.
Bruce stepped forward and grabbed him by the front of his shirt, pulling him out and dropping him onto the dirt below. Stiles groaned and looked up at them as they closed the back of the SUV. Bruce was looking down at him with disgust before he yanked him to his feet and pushed him forward. Mark stayed behind the two, a blank expression on his face.
Stiles looked around, trying to make sense of his surroundings. It was a tad too difficult since the sun was gone completely, covering everything in black, trees and shrubbery being their only companions.
Bruce grabbed his arm and pulled him into a sharp left turn. Stiles bit his tongue to keep the curse from slipping out of his mouth, not knowing what this guy could do to him. Normally, he wouldn't care, but seeing as he was already in immense pain, he didn't particularly want to risk it.
The men took him down a large steep hill, eventually reaching some old, broken steps and then to a large door which Bruce pushed open, shoving Stiles inside first. The young man stumbled and glanced around the small interior, only being greeted with cement walls and floor, a small barred window on the opposite wall, a torn up mattress, a banged up sink and a dirty toilet. He spun back to look at them but they were already closing the door, Bruce seeming very well pleased at the obvious fear written all over his face.
Stiles raced forward right as the door clicked shut and slammed a fist against it. "Hey! Let me out!!" Panic shot through his veins and he slammed his fist repeatedly on the hard surface, even throwing in a kick. "My dad's the sheriff! He'll find me and you guys will go away for a long time! Better to just let me out now!!"
He attacked the door for only a few more minutes before finally stepping away, knowing the men didn't care and were probably long gone now. He pressed his hand against his chest, right above his heart and below his wound, as his breathing came in quick heaves. He sank to the dirty floor and wrapped his arms around his knees, tears running down his cheeks as the fear overtook him.
Thoughts of doubt and worry that he wouldn't be found, that no one would care, surged forward. As if the overwhelming anxiety was bad enough, his mind just had to throw these thoughts at him. When he was completely alone. In a small room in the middle of nowhere.
One single thought reached through his muddled mind and he frantically reached for his phone. When his fingers felt only emptiness in his pocket, he felt around the other pockets, only to be met with the same thing.
He pressed the palm of his hands against his eyes, a sinking feeling in his gut.
He was never getting out of here.
Waking up to a bright light leaking through the small window, Stiles pulled himself into a sitting position. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, glanced around, and felt dread settle into his bones. Memories of last night assaulted him and he whimpered, pressing a hand to his shoulder.
Instead of his shirt being soaking wet, he only felt dryness and crusty fabric. He looked down and saw the blood on his shirt had dried completely, stopping sometime after he'd fallen unconscious from his panic attack.
Curiosity quickly igniting, he pulled his button-up off, along with the white t-shirt beneath it. What should've been a nasty, blood-soaked shoulder was just more dried blood and mole covered skin. He lightly touched where he remembered the beast biting him, the pain so raw and real, jaw dropped in awe.
That wasn't possible. Its teeth had practically hit his bone, but there was nothing there .
Stiles scrambled to his feet and rushed to the sink, turning the water on and getting a part of his button up that wasn't covered in blood wet. He quickly cleaned off the dried blood on his shoulder and continued to stare at it, dumbfounded.
Not even a scar was left, no proof that it had even happened, except for all the blood. And the pain, the pain that he'd most likely never forget; he shivered just at the memory.
As a loud metallic clang sounded, he spun around and darted toward the opening door. Bruce stepped inside, a taser held firmly in one hand and held out to stop him. Stiles halted as it buzzed and took a step back, hands raised.
“Look, man, I don't know what happened last night, but you can let me go,” Stiles rushed out, eyeing the small contraption as Bruce pushed the door open further. “I won't say a thing to anyone and- and look, the wound is gone! Maybe we were all imagining it! How funny would that be, am I right?!”
Bruce gave him a flat look then stepped aside as Mark came into view, a hulking form flopped over his shoulder. He walked a few feet into the room, Stiles backing up against the far wall to avoid him, and dropped the person onto the floor with a grunt. He barely glanced at Stiles before stepping back out, Bruce slamming the door shut behind them.
Stiles blinked, confused as to what just happened, then stared down at the person on the floor.
It was a man, a fairly attractive-looking man, with dark hair and stubble, lashes casting shadows on his cheeks, muscled arms built from marble. Naked. And covered in blood and dirt.
Stiles stood there, not knowing what to do, his mind completely blank. He was alone in a cemented room - cell, most likely - with an unconscious, naked stranger.
He shook himself, picked up his shirt from the sink, crouched down, and started to wipe the blood and dirt off the man's face. His heart jolted in his chest when he noticed the whole bottom half of this man's face was covered in blood, as if he'd eaten a raw animal. How did he not notice that before? He always saw things that most others didn't, but the past few hours had proven to be quite the opposite.
Fear had him freezing though, thoughts of what this man could be racing through his mind.
Was he a vampire? Did he really eat a raw animal? Maybe he attacked a human. Did he eat their heart? Was he going to eat him ?
Stiles dropped his shirt and slowly backed away even though the man was still unconscious. He didn't want to risk being attacked when the guy woke up, so he huddled in a corner, watching the other as he went through every possible scenario of what had happened to this person.
Neither of them moved until the outside light was nearly gone, casting the room in a dark, pale, bluish-gray. He could hear the man shifting, a grunt slipping past lips, bare skin brushing across the dusty floor.
Stiles gasped when the man abruptly shot upright, eyes flashing a bright, indiscernible color. He slapped a hand over his mouth and pressed himself further into the corner. The man shifted and Stiles tried to move back even more, but couldn't, his back pressing painfully into the cement wall.
He jumped when a low, gruff voice sounded, “Who are you?”
Stiles wasn't sure he wanted to respond so he stayed quiet, keeping his hand firmly over his mouth. He heard more shuffling before what sounded distinctly like an animalistic growl came from the man.
“M-Me?” Stiles finally stuttered out, wrapping his arms around his bent legs.
“You're the only other one in here,” the man snapped with irritation.
Stiles swallowed nervously. “I-I don't- um…I'm Stiles.”
A huff sounded and more shifting before the man spoke again. “Derek. Why are you in here?”
“Um…” Stiles wasn't sure what he could tell this guy. He'd probably think he was insane if he told him a giant, wolf-like creature attacked him and some men with guns shoved him in here. Then again, what if Derek wasn't surprised? He was naked and covered in blood. Maybe he knew about the beast. Maybe he was the beast! “Wrong place, wrong time?”
Derek didn't say anything more for a long time. Maybe he didn't believe him. Or maybe he was thinking up ways to kill him.
That had his heart shooting up into his throat, his stomach churning, body shivering.
“Would you calm down?” Derek grumbled, his voice coming from the other side of the cell rather than the middle. “I'm not going to hurt you.”
“How am I supposed to believe that?” Stiles retorted without thinking. He internally winced, but didn't take his words back. It was a genuine concern.
“Despite popular belief, I'm not a monster.”
Stiles pulled his brow down in confusion then. “What do you mean?”
Derek sighed but didn't speak again, leaving Stiles to his own terrifying thoughts. He rested his forehead on his knees, attempting to calm his racing heart.
His stomach then decided it was a great time to let out a monstrous growl of hunger and he moved his arms to wrap around it instead. He felt Derek's gaze on him, but refused to move.
“How long have you been here?” Derek asked after a few more moments of silence.
Stiles shrugged. “Maybe a day? I don't know.”
Derek grunted. “Do you know why they took you?”
Stiles looked up at that. “The two creepers?” Derek didn't respond, so he continued. “No clue. They just nabbed me from the street.”
“For no reason?”
More shuffling, quick movements from the sound of it. “Shut up.”
Stiles frowned then froze when the door let out a clank and creaked open. He could barely make out Derek moving, crouching just behind it, as Mark walked inside, the light of a flashlight casting his figure in shadow. He tossed a bag onto the floor, his head turning toward Stiles, before stepping back out and closing the door firmly behind him.
Derek and Stiles stayed quiet, staring at the bag, waiting for something to pop out of it.
“It's food,” Derek said, cutting through the tense silence. Another growl came from Stiles’ stomach. “Eat.”
Stiles started toward it then stopped, one hand hovering over the object. “Don't you think they might've poisoned it?”
He could hear what sounded like Derek sniffing. “No. It's fine. Just a meat and cheese sandwich.”
“It's fine. Just eat.”
Stiles didn't protest. He dragged the bag close and crouched back down in the corner, pulling out a Ziploc bag. A sandwich, just like Derek had described, was sealed tightly inside. Stiles glanced over in the direction of where he thought Derek was, the cell so much darker than it had been moments earlier.
“How did you know what kind of sandwich it was? It's in a Ziploc bag.”
A beat of silence then, “I smelled it.”
Stiles blinked, food forgotten at the moment. “That's impossible.”
“Not for me.”
“What are you?”
A flash of red shone in the dark, tensing muscles throughout Stiles body. He realized with a start that it was the same shade as the beast’s eyes and he dropped the sandwich, nausea swirling in his gut. Hands covering his mouth, Stiles couldn't help but stare, even after Derek's eyes went back to normal.
“What’s wrong?” He inquired, a tinge of concern in his voice.
Stiles shook his head frantically, moved the bag aside, bile spilling out of his mouth. He held himself up with his hands, arms shaking, as the image of the beast rushing toward him stuck in his brain.
“Stiles?” Definitely more concern this time, but the young man couldn't move. Only one thought was racing through his mind: he was stuck in a cement cell with a murderous beast. “Hey.” Derek sounded closer this time, Stiles throwing himself back and against the wall to get away, eyes looking for him in the dark. He could barely make out his shadowy figure; he was crouched down only a few feet away.
“Don't come any closer.” Stiles couldn't speak louder than a whisper, his heart clenching with fear, the tingling sensation of trepidation sweeping through his body.
Derek obeyed, seeming to lean back slightly. “You're scared of me.” Stiles would've gave him some snarky remark, but he just couldn't. “I said I wouldn't hurt you and I'm not going to.”
“You already did!” Stiles snapped, glaring at Derek.
He heard the sharp intake of breath. “You were attacked?”
“Are you even listening? You bit me! You hurt me!”
“It wasn't me.” Stiles opened his mouth to argue that, but saw Derek lift his hand. “I was at the sheriff's station until early morning. I've been helping the police try to find the alpha for weeks now.”
Stiles wiped his mouth and sat back. “But your eyes…”
He heard a breathy growl come from the other man, he tensed. “I killed it.”
Stiles eyes widened. “You… But… What are you?”
Derek sighed and shuffling sounded, a soft thud beside him. “I shouldn't tell you. But if you really were attacked, then it doesn't matter. You need to know. How were you attacked though?”
Stiles shakily shifted and leaned back against the wall. “It bit my shoulder.”
A loud curse left Derek's mouth. “It bit you? How did I not smell it?” A pause. An inhale. “Why can't I smell the change on you? Did you heal?”
The harsh tone had dread settling in his gut. “What do you mean ‘change’? And yeah, I healed. Is that good or bad?”
“Good. It means you didn't reject the bite. But it means that you're a werewolf now.”
“I'm a what?!”
“Werewolf. Your senses should be heightening the closer to the full moon we get, your strength will increase as will your speed. And no, you won't become what bit you. Only alphas can shapeshift like that. I have the capability, but hopefully I never will.”
“How do you become… that ?”
“A variety of different ways, but the main one is turning feral. Which means you lose your anchor and your wolf takes control on a full moon. It's practically impossible to gain control back if you lose it on those nights. Speaking of anchors, though, we need to find you one and soon.”
“Why?” The crumple of the Ziploc bag sounded and Stiles jumped when something landed on his lap.
“The full moon is just a few days away. We don't want you to lose control on your first one. Now eat.”
Stiles felt his stomach churning and he tossed the bag aside. “Not hungry.”
“But you do have questions.”
“Tons of ’em. First off, though, why are you naked?”
Derek let out a slight chuckle. “It runs in the family, turning into a full wolf. It's what I did when I was going after the alpha.”
“If you killed it, why did the dudes still take you?”
“They're hunters. They look for any reason to torture and kill us. They caught me right after I killed it.”
“Can anyone become an alpha?”
“Yeah, if they kill one. The only other time you could be one is if you're born one.”
Stiles absorbed that information before he asked his next question. “Why did that alpha bite me?”
Derek paused and let out a heavy sigh. “I'm not entirely sure. The only reason I can think of is he wanted you in his pack. But he was acting too feral for that, especially attacking you in the open like he did.”
Stiles nodded, twiddling his thumbs, when a thought occurred to him. “Does my dad know about werewolves? Does he know you're one?”
“Yeah. He's the sheriff of Beacon Hills.” When Derek didn't respond right away, Stiles’ legs started bouncing nervously, his fingers twisting around themselves. He glanced in Derek's direction and waited a few more long moments before he whispered, “Derek?”
When the other man finally spoke, his voice was low and soft, softer than it had been this whole time. “You should get some rest.”
Stiles turned away, worrying his bottom lip. Perhaps his father did know about werewolves. Would he know about hunters then, too? Would he be looking for him?
The young man shook his head fiercely before he stood and made his way over to the mattress. Of course his father would be looking for him, whether he knew about werewolves or not. He was his son . He'd be crazy if he wasn't. But knowing his father, he knew werewolves existed and had asked Derek not to tell him. Stiles rolled his eyes at the thought.
He snatched his t-shirt from the floor and threw it over his head before crawling onto the mattress. He lost track of how long he stared at the wall, sleep evading him as he lay there. When he heard shuffling on the floor behind him, then silence with the occasional huff, Stiles rolled onto his back.
“He knows,” he said simply. He wasn't sure if Derek had fallen asleep, but it felt better to acknowledge it out loud. It gave him the peace of mind that his father would be looking for him and thinking outside of the box.
“I never said that,” Derek finally mumbled, sounding close by.
“You didn't have to.” Another huff disturbed the silence, this one louder and full of annoyance. “There's room up here, y'know.”
Derek grunted. “Floor is fine.”
Stiles let out a snort followed by an eyeroll. “Dude, even I know it's not. I fell asleep on it and my back is still killing me.”
“Super fast healing abilities, remember?”
“I'm trying to be nice by sharing a small, falling apart bed with you. Would you just suck it up and take the offer?”
A beat of silence. Then, shuffling across the floor and the mattress beside Stiles was pressed down, warmth radiating off of Derek. The young man bit back a grin and closed his eyes, welcoming the sleep that washed over him.
Stiles jerked awake, his heart nearly slamming out of his chest, eyes flying to the door banging open. Derek shot off the bed, hunching over into a crouch, a vicious snarl ripping out of his throat.
Bruce stepped inside, one hand holding a taser, the other a small handgun. The taser was aimed at Derek while the gun was steadily pointed at Stiles’ forehead.
Mark stepped in behind him, frowning. “If you kill them, you'll break the code.”
“Then why the hell are we keeping them alive?! They're useless to us!” Bruce raged, aim steady with both weapons.
“You know why we're keeping Hale!” Mark slapped his hand down on the bigger man's arm, forcing him to lower the taser.
“But him I can kill.” Bruce turned his ugly glare on Stiles, who shrunk against the wall.
Derek tensed, then growled, “He's with me.” Both men looked at the werewolf, still crouched and snarling, in front of them. “He's pack.”
“If he’s pack, why did you let the alpha bite him?”
“I am the alpha.”
Bruce opened his mouth, obviously ready to argue with Derek, when Mark stepped in front of him, looking between the two werewolves.
“Let's take him,” he stated, sneering at the two.
Derek's snarling grew louder as Bruce smirked, lowering the gun, before moving toward the mattress. Derek leapt forward, but Bruce, having seen him coming, thrust the taser into Derek's abdomen. Stiles winced as the other man's body shook before crumpling to the hard floor.
The young man didn't have time to fret over Derek, though. In the next second, Bruce had his hand wrapped in Stiles’ hair and was yanking him to the middle of the cell, tossing him to the floor.
“Where are the other betas?” he demanded.
Stiles glanced back at Derek, briefly met his scowl, then looked up at Bruce. “Betas? What betas? What are you even talking about?”
“Don't play stupid! We know they're not dead! Now tell us where they are!”
“I don't know what you're talking about!” Stiles shouted in pain as the handle of the gun collided with his cheek, head jerking to the side.
“If you don't tell us, then we'll deem you useless and just kill you.”
Stiles rubbed his sore cheek, staring hard at the dusty ground. “They didn't tell me where they were going. We weren't close. No one told me."
Bruce huffed. “Fine. Don't talk.” He lifted the gun and aimed it directly at Stiles.
Eyes widening, he slid back, bumping against Derek. “Wait, wait, wait. I'm not- I’m new! I barely know the- the pack! I swear! Please don't. I can't leave my dad alone.” The bigger man cocked the gun, finger on the trigger.
Abruptly, all he could hear was blood rushing, heartbeat rabbiting in his chest, cold fear dropping into his veins. He stared down the barrel of the gun before he opened his mouth and screamed.
An image of his father in his sheriff's suit, smiling brightly at him, flashed to the front of his mind. Big, fat tears rolled down his cheeks and then he suddenly heard a loud thud.
A warm hand rested on his shoulder and he jerked away, looking over. Derek was crouched beside him, pulling his hand back, hazel eyes staring past him. Stiles turned and found a large crack in the cement wall, Bruce on the ground below it, groaning. Mark was hunched over, rubbing his chest. The gun, or what was left of it, was resting behind Mark.
“Wha…” Stiles blinked a few times, clearing his eyes of tears.
“What kind of freak-?” Bruce sat up, groaning again. He glared daggers at the young man before he stumbled to his feet. “What even was that? You were bit by a freaking werewolf! Werewolves don't do shit like that!”
“Bruce, just go,” Mark snapped, quickly leaving the cell without a backward glance. The other man grunted before following his partner, slamming the door shut on his way out.
Stiles sat there for a long moment, trying to process what happened, while a headache crept over him. He moved and leaned against the wall, closing his eyes, breathing slowly to calm his heart.
“You did that,” Derek said, sitting down on the floor a few feet away.
“Did what? I didn't even see anything!”
“When you screamed, there was this invisible force that had them both slamming against the wall. You literally had Bruce flying through the air.”
Stiles opened his eyes, glanced at the cracked wall, then looked at the other man. “How? I thought I was gonna become a werewolf.”
Derek sighed and scrubbed his hands over his face. “I don't know. You have a very light wolf scent, which actually only appeared just recently. You must be a rare type.”
“A rare type? What? And, also, why did you tell them I was pack? You're lucky I just went with it! I was almost killed because of you! And you said you didn't bite me, but then told them you did?! Have you just been lying this entire time?!”
Derek shot forward, hands on both of his shoulders. “I never-” He broke off abruptly, staring directly into Stiles’ eyes.
Stiles pressed himself further back against the wall. “What are you doing?”
“Your eyes… They're silver.”
Stiles blinked “What?”
“I've never seen an eye color like that. They're practically glowing. I don't understand.”
“What does that mean? Is something wrong with me?”
“I don't know…” Derek sat back, dumbfounded.
Something in Stiles snapped and anger had him surging forward, shoving his face in Derek's. “Okay, dude, seriously! Answer some of my freaking questions before I explode from anxiety! I am literally on the verge of a panic attack and you withholding information isn't helping!”
Derek had the audacity to roll his eyes, which had Stiles nearly yelling at him again, but he started speaking before the young man could utter another word. “Calm down before you trigger the shift.” Stiles huffed and leaned back, folding his arms over his chest as he scowled. “I wasn't lying when I told you I didn't bite you. But if I hadn't said what I did to those hunters, they wouldn't have hesitated in shooting you right then and there.
“And to answer your question about you smelling of wolf, there are some werewolves, very rare, that don't fully shift until their first full moon. That means no scent of wolf to others, no heightened senses, no fangs, no claws, no uncontrollable rage. It can actually be quite unsettling because if you don't turn when you're bitten, you die.
“As for what you just did to those men and your eyes, I genuinely don't know what's going on. Do you use magic?”
Stiles blinked, still trying to process all of that information. “What?”
“Do you use magic?”
“No. I literally just graduated high school a month ago. The only outlandish thing I did was lacrosse because I am not athletic at all.”
“That'll change.” Stiles didn't miss the brief once over Derek gave him and he looked down at himself. He was still wearing the white - mostly white - t-shirt that was half covered in dry blood, torn jeans and scuffed up sneakers. His body looked the exact same as always.
Except at second glance. Where there were toned muscles. That were never there before.
“It's a good sign,” Derek stated.
“How?” Stiles was barely paying attention, running his fingers over his new biceps.
“It means your body is accepting the change. It's not fighting it.” Stiles looked over at Derek to see him staring up through the window. “Tomorrow night is a full moon. The changes are going to come faster the closer we get. Which means we also need to get working on finding you an anchor.”
Derek shifted his gaze to him, eyelids lowered to hide whatever emotion flickered in the kaleidoscope irises. “Anger.”
Derek turned away, gaze on the floor. “It's the only thing that grounds me, keeps me human. It's worked for me for years.”
Stiles looked down, biting his thumbnail. “How do I get one? An anchor.”
“It usually takes time. You have to find something, or someone, that you can think of easily to keep you in control. Especially during a full moon when your wolf is going to be at its strongest.
“For my mother, it was my father. Not only did she not want to hurt him, but he also counseled her, fought with her, believed in her, trusted her… Even when he passed, he was still her anchor. Just because of their deep bond and how much they loved each other.”
“So my dad could be my anchor.”
Derek glanced over at him. “Possibly, yes. Everyone's is different.”
“You said ‘usually’ it takes time, though.”
“Some people, it's not very common, have one before they're even bitten. Anyone can have an anchor. It's basically something that keeps you calm and level headed.”
“Oh. Well, that's not my dad, then.” Stiles sighed and rested his head on the wall behind him, shoulders and neck aching from all the sudden stress.
“It doesn't have to be a person. It could be an emotion or a memory.”
Stiles didn't respond, his mind already racing, trying to find something that could anchor him. But his thoughts seemed too muddled and he couldn't concentrate very well.
He glanced over where the bag holding the sandwich was, partially squished due to one of the hunters stepping on it. He got up, grabbed it and opened the bag, shoving a huge chunk of it into his mouth.
“I have more questions,” he stated after swallowing, turning back to Derek. He nearly choked, though, when he was reminded that the other man was still naked, his legs bent and spread apart. Heat rushed up his neck and cheeks and he spun back around, marching over to the sink and tossing his flannel behind him. “Oh my- Please, put some clothes on, dude!”
He only turned back around after he heard the shuffling from Derek moving quiet down. Derek looked up at him expectantly, the flannel tied around his waist, the longer side hiding his front.
Stiles huffed and took another bite. “Okay, first off, what's the difference between an alpha and a beta?”
“A beta is just another member of the pack while an alpha is the leader.”
“Why did those guys ask about other betas?”
“Because I have a pack and we were separated when I went after that alpha. They want to know where they are because they want to kill us.”
Stiles paused mid-bite, eyes wide as he stared at Derek. “Why?”
“Hunters don't like us. A lot of them look for reasons to end us. But they all follow a code that says they can hunt those who hunt them. Basically, if any of us do any harm to one of theirs or humans, they can do harm back.”
“Did you harm one of them? Or a human?” Stiles voice was quiet, barely above a whisper, as he stood stock still.
Derek glared and snarled, “No, you idiot. I killed the alpha that bit you. How would that make me the bad guy?”
Stiles flailed his arms, nearly tossing the sandwich out of his hand. “I don't know! You could've done something in the past and they have a giant grudge against you, for all I know!”
Derek quickly got to his feet and walked right up to the younger man, their noses almost touching. “I'm not a monster and not all of us are. If you want to survive as a newly bitten werewolf, you're going to need my help. So I suggest you not piss me off.”
Swallowing, Stiles leaned away from him. “Okay. Sorry.” He didn't move an inch, not until Derek was several feet away. Then he moved to the corner that he'd curled up in when the other man had first arrived.
He slid to the hard floor, putting a hand to his head as it thumped with a sudden oncoming headache, sandwich forgotten. Glancing up, he noticed the light coming through the window was darkening and a feeling of dread settled in his chest.
Only hours left before he officially turned and became the same thing that bit him. Not only that, but he still had to figure out why his eyes had turned silver and how he'd caused one of the hunters to fly across the room. Literally.
He sighed and rested his head against the wall behind him. The thumping in his head was spreading throughout his body. He'd never experienced anything like this before, so his only thought was to try to sleep it off.
Quickly forgetting about Grumpy Eyebrows, he closed his eyes and let the darkness overcome him.
Morning blue-gray light shone into the cell when he woke, every muscle in his body stiff and tingling. His headache hadn't gone away. In fact, it had intensified to a very close migraine, causing his eyes to water.
He slowly sat up from his slumped over position and glanced around, hand on his head. Derek was pacing by the mattress, a stern scowl set on his features.
“What are you doing?” Stiles inquired, wincing in pain. “It's so early…”
Derek stopped and looked at Stiles with - if he wasn't mistaken - concern. “How do you feel?”
“Like I slammed my head into a cement wall a billion times. And kinda itchy. Is that normal?”
“Yes,” Derek sighed as he pushed a hand through his hair. “But you were whimpering in your sleep. That…”
“Oh.” Stiles scratched the back of his neck. They were both quiet for a few moments before Stiles spoke again. “Is there really no way to get out of here?”
The other man shook his head, casting a glare at the door. “The walls are full of wolfsbane. I saw some come out when that hunter hit it yesterday.”
“Wolfsbane? Like the flower? Why does that matter?”
“It's like poison to us.”
Stiles’ eyes widened. “Are you- What about the door? Can't we just kick it down?”
“If they've put wolfsbane in the walls, it's probably built into the door as well. They wouldn't make it that easy for us to get out.”
Swallowing nervously, Stiles’ gaze shifted to the only opening in the cell. “What about the window?” Without waiting for a response, he got to his feet and walked over to it. He didn't have to jump too high before he grabbed onto the bars.
A second later, his muscles tensed as a hot, burning pain rushed up his arms. His jaw clenched, his grip tightening on the bars, before he abruptly dropped to the floor.
Derek was there above him in an instant as his body jerked. “You're an idiot.” There was that concern in his eyes again. But Stiles couldn't quite tell if that's what it was since he couldn't hold himself still.
Warmth blossomed on his arm and he glanced down to see Derek's hand resting on it, black veins appearing on his skin.
“W-What are you-”
“Taking your pain,” Derek responded after inhaling sharply, hazel eyes flashing red.
Slowly, his body relaxed, an annoying tingling sensation staying deep in his muscles. With the help from Derek, he sat up and moved to the mattress, leaning against the wall.
“Electrocuted window bars? Seriously?” Stiles huffed and glared at the objects that had harmed him.
“Like I said, they won't make it easy for us to get out.”
A silence fell over them for a few moments, before Stiles spoke again, “Will I be able to do that? The… vein thingy?”
Derek’s lips twitched. “Yes. All werewolves can.”
“Cool. And thanks, by the way. You're right, in that I'm an idiot. I always act before I think and end up hurting myself in some way. But they really went out of their way to make this the worst place to live and- holy crap, why am I so itchy?!” As if to prove his point, he started scratching his arms, legs and chest, moving his hands frantically over himself.
“It's part of the change. It's finally going through your whole system. The closer we get to the full moon, the more symptoms you'll have.”
Stiles looked at him sharply. “Like what?”
Derek sat down beside him and looked up thoughtfully “If I remember correctly, agitation, aggression, lack of self control, your canines will get sharper, more headaches… The itching will eventually go away, though.”
Derek suddenly shot to his feet, muscles rigid, glaring at the door. A few seconds before it opened Stiles heard a muffled noise, like boots crunching through leaves, and then Mark was stepping inside. Stiles tensed slightly at the aggravated expression on the man's face. It was a different look for him and it gave the young man a feeling of unease.
“I've been given orders to not kill you,” Mark stated, cold gaze settled on Stiles.
“We still don't know if you're going to turn so we're going to wait until the full moon rises tonight. Then we'll make our decision.”
Stiles nodded slowly. “Okay. Can we get some food then? I'm starving.”
Mark's brow pulled down into a glare. “Look, kid, whatever you did to us yesterday caused Bruce some broken ribs and a punctured lung. You're a freak and I'm not giving you anything until we know what to do with you.”
“Well, you kinda did give us something just now. You know, telling us you're not killing me yet? That's giving information so you just contradicted yourself a little there.”
“As for you,” Mark snapped, ignoring Stiles and turning to Derek. “We found your betas. One of them already slipped up. Looks like we'll be ending you a lot sooner.”
Before Derek or Stiles could respond, Mark left, slamming and locking the door behind him.
Derek snarled and immediately started pacing, hands clenching and unclenching at his sides. Stiles slowly shifted to the edge of the mattress and watched the other man for a moment.
“What did he mean that one of them slipped up?”
“I don't know,” Derek growled, pushing a hand through his hair. “Isaac's the newest one, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. It's possible Erica could've slipped, but she has Boyd…”
Absentmindedly, Stiles scratched an itchy part of his chest as he spoke, “Maybe Mark's just trying to get you riled up.”
“No. He wasn't lying.”
“How do you know?”
Derek tapped two fingers against his chest, above his heart. “When someone lies, you can hear it in their heartbeat. Almost as if it skips a beat. There was no skip.”
“Oh. Well, maybe one of them is covered in blood or something that's making the hunters think one of your betas messed up.”
Derek stopped and stared hard at the wall before slowly nodding. “That seems more likely.”
Derek nodded and sat back down beside Stiles. “They could've easily gotten into a scuffle with one of the hunters and, after being captured, blamed for ‘hurting’ someone. It's a common tactic that hunters use against us.”
“That's horrible…” Stiles paused and nibbled on his bottom lip before blurting out, “I don't want to be a werewolf.” Derek sharply turned to the young man, brow creased. “I mean, how do we even know I'll be able to stay in control? I have no anchor and I apparently have magic that I don't know what to do with! I'm like a gift wrapped time bomb waiting to explode!”
“Hey,” Derek said softly, placing his hand on Stiles’ thigh. Stiles glanced at him as he tried to calm his accelerating heartbeat. “You'll be fine. We'll figure it out.”
“Why are you so hell-bent on helping me? You barely know me. Did you get bitten, too? Is that how you know what I'm going through?”
“No. I'm a born werewolf. I… I've seen others go through the change. It'll be hard, but I'll help you through it. You just have to trust me.”
Swallowing nervously, Stiles stared into Derek's hazel eyes. After a long moment, he finally nodded. “Okay.” He put his head in his hands as it throbbed, chirps from birds outside echoing into the cell, causing his headache to worsen slightly. He felt Derek's hand leave his thigh and rest on the back of his neck. A second later, the pain dulled, a sigh escaping his lips. “Thanks.”
“Your senses are heightening. It's only going to get worse from here.”
“Gee, you really know how to reassure people, don't ya?”
“Sorry.” And he sounded truly sincere. Where did Grumpy Eyebrows go?
The sky was fading into reds and pinks when Stiles finally got tired of sitting around and began pacing. His head was aching at every step, breath, and heartbeat, sounding so much louder than they probably were. His gums were aching, muscles twitching and tensing, nose burning at every inhale of dust and the mixture of stale scents from previous cellmates.
Derek stayed on the bed and watched him with careful eyes, hands slowly rubbing together.
A deep, guttural growl pushed its way out of Stiles’ throat and he pulled on his hair. “I can't take much more, Derek. It's all too much.”
“Just a little longer, Stiles,” he whispered and Stiles internally thanked the man for being relatively quiet. “You can do this.”
“I can't,” he whimpered, stopping and squeezing his eyes shut. “Just make it stop…”
Shuffling sounded then Derek stepped closer to him, his feet barely making a sound. Stiles could feel heat radiating from Derek a moment later and a small rush of relief washed over him. “Stiles, you've been so strong so far. Stronger than any other bitten werewolf I've seen. You can get through this and I'll be right here with you.”
Stiles sighed and started to lean toward him when the door suddenly banged open and bright lights shone into the room. They jumped apart and snarled in unison at the intruder.
“Derek?” A heavy sigh came from the man in question and then the lights flickered off. A middle aged, bearded man stepped into the cell, tucking away - what looked to be - a gun.
“Chris,” Derek replied, relaxing his stance and nodding his head slightly.
“What are you doing in here? I caught word that some hunters had caught the alpha and were holding it up in here.”
“I caught and killed it. Stiles and I have been locked in here for a few days.”
Chris jerked his head back in surprise. “What the hell for?”
“Stiles was bit before I could kill it.”
Stiles didn't need to look at Chris to feel his gaze on him and he took a step back, glancing downward.
“Who were they?” Chris inquired, hands resting on his hips.
“Two guys. Mark and… Bruce, right?” Derek turned to Stiles, who only nodded. “Stiles was here before I was. They also mentioned that they've got Boyd, Erica and Is-”
“We found them. They're safe. No harm done to anyone.” Chris let out a heavy breath. “Does he have control?”
Stiles glanced up, then. The man sounded so tired and worn down with worry mixed into it. But that wasn't the only thing that had Stiles’ attention; fast heavy footfalls were approaching.
“Not yet,” Derek responded, eyes still on Stiles. “Which is why I don't want him to leave.”
“Like hell you're keeping him here!” The sheriff shoved past Chris and rushed to Stiles, pulling him into a tight bear hug. Without hesitation, Stiles grabbed onto his father's coat and inhaled the familiar scent of peppermint-y home. After a long moment, his father pulled away and looked at him. “Have you eaten? Slept? Showered? Son, you've been missing for over seventy-two hours. Are you alright?” Stiles opened his mouth then shut it. He honestly had no words to describe how he felt. His father's hands ran up and down his arms a few times. “Let's get you home.”
Stiles didn't budge when his father wrapped his arm around him and started to move toward the exit. He felt his concerned gaze on the side of his face, but refused to meet it.
“I can't go, Dad,” he mumbled softly.
“No, son. I am taking you home, right now . You need food and a shower and sleep.”
“Sir, he can't,” Derek interjected. Stiles looked up at the other man's tone. “The alpha bit him before I could stop it. I-”
“I don't want to hear any more from you, Hale,” his father snapped. “You've done enough.”
“Your son doesn't have any control. It's in his best interest and the safety of others for him to stay. Just until a few hours after the moon rises.”
“He's right, Noah,” Chris added, sounding just as displeased as his father. “You have to let him stay.”
Stiles glanced at his father. The older man had a deep frown on his face, brows knit together.
“Dad,” he started, inhaling sharply as he met his father's eyes, seeing worry, fear and frustration all swirling together in their depths. “Derek has taken good care of me. That and I don't really want to be alone right now.”
“You think I'm leaving you alone after just finding you?”
“I don't want to be alone with you. I don't trust myself right now.”
Something flashed across his father's features as he dropped his arm to his side. “But you trust Derek?”
Stiles shrugged. “He's helped me so far.”
“I told him I'd stay with him through his first shift, sir,” Derek stated.
Noah sighed heavily and scrubbed a hand down his face. “I don't like it.”
“Derek's a good man,” Chris told him, clapping a hand on the sheriff's shoulder. “Your son will be okay.”
Stiles gave his father his best brave face, swallowing down his own fear. He hugged the man tightly, inhaled one last deep breath of his scent, then let go and took a step back. The sheriff stared at him for a long moment before he reluctantly left the cell, head down.
Chris nodded at the two and turned to leave, but Derek grabbed his arm before he could get too far. Chris stopped and looked back, eyebrows raised questioningly.
“I need you to contact Deaton,” Derek said. “Stiles has magic and he has no control of it. He'll need help.”
“Tonight?” Chris asked, disbelief coloring his tone.
“No. In the morning. Bring him by early, before the sheriff comes back. Deaton needs to see him before his father takes him home.”
Glancing between the two, Chris slowly nodded. “Alright. And I'll take care of those hunters, too.” His gaze rested on Stiles a second later. “They won't be bothering you ever again.”
Derek inclined his head in acknowledgement and let go of the other man's arm. He took a few steps back to stand beside Stiles and watch the hunter leave the cell, closing and locking it behind him.
Stiles whimpered loudly and began pacing once more. Derek reached out toward him and he flinched back, growling.
“Derek, no, I can't sit still any longer,” Stiles growled. “I don't even think I can stay in here for the whole night, honestly.” He rubbed his chest, hoping the strong urge to run would dissipate. Without thinking, he spun and punched the wall, a sizable crack rippling along the concrete and purple dust flying out.
Derek moved Stiles away from the wall quickly, only to have him shove past and hit the door. “Stiles, you need to calm down.”
Stiles glared at him, fists shaking. “I have to lock myself away from society every full moon and suffer through what feels like an oncoming panic attack! I can't even see my best friend or my dad in case I go crazy and try to eat them! I have to deal with this the rest of my life and you're telling me to calm down?!”
“It won't be like this every full moon. Once you find your anchor, it'll be better. I promise.”
“Would you shut up about anchors already? I don't have one!”
Stiles continued to glare at Derek until the other man closed his mouth. He went back to pacing, only since it seemed to appease the anxiety bubbling in his chest and the back of his mind ever so slightly.
They both stayed quiet as Stiles continued to pace, the outside light dimming quicker than they anticipated.
Stiles' skin was still itchy, but that didn't bother him as much as the need to run did. His nostrils started burning as they were assaulted with new scents: his dried puke from the other day, Derek's heady musk, his own acidic stench of anxiety and fear.
A distant howl sounded, causing Stiles to come to an abrupt stop. He glanced over at Derek to see the other man watching him still, arms crossed over his chest. The howl turned into growling and the urge to run, to get out, became even stronger. Stiles hunched over and gripped his head when he realized the howl, the growling, it was all in his mind.
A second later, he heard Derek's voice, but couldn't make out what he was saying. Then he felt a hand on his arm and something inside him ticked.
He thrust his arm out, snarling, “Don't touch me!!”
Derek stepped back and Stiles glared at him for a long moment before he noticed the growling in his mind was silent. He also noticed four deep, bloody gashes along Derek's chest and he inhaled sharply. Slowly and reluctantly, he glanced down at his hand and saw his claws out, blood coating them and the tips of his fingers.
His chest tightened as his heartbeat accelerated, his breath coming out in short spurts.
“I-I… Derek, I'm…”
Derek moved into his space and tried to get him to meet his gaze, but Stiles wouldn't. How could he? He'd just hurt the man trying to help him, the man he'd grown accustomed to.
“-iles,” Derek's deep voice broke through the sound of blood rushing in his ears. “It's okay! I'm okay! I'll heal!”
Stiles shook his head and backed away, his vision blurring with tears.
He looked sharply at the other man when Derek grabbed his bloodied hand and put it over his chest, right above his heart. Stiles pulled against his grip, refusing to hurt him again. His gaze was glued to the gashes along the tanned skin, watching them slowly knit themselves back together.
Derek was still talking, but by now, it was too late. Stiles was suffering from one of the worst panic attacks he'd had in years.
He felt Derek's other hand press on the back of his head and urge him forward. He reluctantly rested his forehead on Derek's shoulder, knowing that he was too weak at the moment to do anything to stop him. He soon felt Derek's breath tickling behind his ear and realized the other man was attempting to help him calm down.
Like he'd been doing nearly the entire time since he arrived.
Stiles tried to match his breathing to Derek's and, after a while, slumped against the other man, completely worn out. He glanced down at his hand, still being pressed against Derek's chest, and saw his normal fingernails. Blood stained them, but he barely paid it any mind. The calm beating of Derek's heart against his palm was easing any lasting tension in his body.
“Thank you,” he whispered against Derek's neck, closing his eyes, his mind quiet for the first time in several hours.
He felt Derek remove his hand from the back of his head to his lower back, a warm reassurance that he wasn't leaving any time soon. Vanilla and pine wafted off Derek from the movement, washing a sense of peace and comfort over him.
“Sleep, Stiles,” came the whispering response.
Stiles let out a deep breath, welcoming the calm darkness, barely noticing the glow of the moon on the floor.
When he woke, he felt the cold, hard floor against his back. Low voices reached his ears and he slowly lifted his head. Blinking rapidly at the new, bright light, he noticed he was in the cell alone and the door was wide open.
He stumbled to his feet and stepped outside, wincing in the morning sunlight. Glancing around, he found Derek standing a few yards away, a pair of blue jeans having replaced his shirt and a blue Henley covering his muscled torso. Chris was standing beside him as they faced a bald man, his face devoid of any emotion.
It was the stranger that noticed Stiles first.
“Good morning.” The man's voice was surprisingly gentle and soft. Derek and Chris turned to him and he took that moment to join them. “How are you feeling?”
“Exhausted,” Stiles replied. “Everything feels sore or is too loud or bright.”
“Hm. That's to be expected. You were in a dark cell for your first shift. I hear no one got hurt though, so that's good.”
Stiles winced and glanced at Derek. The other man gave him a small smile in return.
“I'm fine, Stiles,” he told him.
“It seems all you need is an anchor,” the man stated.
Stiles blinked and met Derek's eyes. A feeling of warmth washed over him and he smiled.
“I think I already have one.”
“Yeah,” Stiles simply replied, leaning against Derek like it was only natural. “Derek was there for me from the very beginning. Then, last night, when I thought I wouldn't be able to take much more, he was there. I freaked out when I hurt him and he just held me. I could still feel the moon's pull, but I barely acknowledged it. It was like nothing else existed except us.”
Stiles looked at the bald man before turning back to Derek with a smile as the older man inclined his head toward him. As he stared into those hazel eyes, that familiar sense of calm overcame him. A small smile tugged at Derek's lips as they held each other's gaze.
“Ah. Well then.” The man nodded, clearing his throat, then turned to Derek. “How was he with his magic?”
“Only cracked a few walls before I calmed him down,” Derek replied.
“Hm. Interesting. Well, as long as he has an anchor, it should help with both the magic and his wolf. I'd still like to meet with him every so often. Is that alright, Stiles?”
Stiles mutely nodded, glancing at the other men.
“Alright then. Looks like I'm no longer needed here.”
“Thank you, Deaton,” Derek said, the crunching of leaves sounding a moment later. “And thank you, Chris, for your help.”
“Of course,” the hunter replied. “Anything for an old friend.”
Stiles remained quiet until he knew it was just the two of them, peeking over his shoulder to be sure, then he looked back to Derek to see him already staring at him.
“Where's my dad? I thought he was coming to get me.”
“He was. Deaton and Chris convinced him to let me take you home once I knew it was safe,” Derek explained. “I hope you don't mind?”
“Not at all. But what about my magic? Do we know where it came from?”
“Your father said your mother had some magic, so it most likely was passed down to you.”
“Oh, that makes sense.”
Derek nodded. “Now let's get you home.”
“Okay. But first.” Stiles turned and reached up slightly, pressing his lips against Derek's. Derek froze for a moment before he wrapped his arms around him. Stiles felt Derek move one hand up his back, sending a chill down his spine, and and then scratch his blunt nails along his scalp. When they broke away for air, they were both smiling. Stiles bit his lip thoughtfully. “So when do I get to meet your pack?”
“Soon. For now, I just want you all to myself. Since we don't have to worry about the full moon for another month.”
“Fair enough. I'd like to know more about my anchor, too. I mean, you were great and all, but I wasn't really in my right mind the whole time. So, maybe a date? Is that too weird?”
Derek's smile grew. “I think a date would be great.” Before Stiles could respond, he was being pulled in for another kiss.
He knew, then, that as long as he had Derek, he might just be okay being a werewolf.