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Finstock's FunStockyards

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Laura

Sunny, 85 degrees, light wind. It was supposed to be a nice day at an amusement park.

“Peter, can you come to Finstock’s? I need help with– I can’t even with this shit right now.”

“Is that screaming I hear?”

“Just,” she watched as Derek closed in on Fluffyballs, the Finstock’s FunStockyards’ mascot, who was screaming murder, literally, and moving surprisingly fast, now that the bottom of the suit had torn and the kid had full use of his legs, ”just come. And don’t tell mom.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”


Really, she should have expected this. Laura still remembered the first time she watched Derek run down a kid during recess and sit on him to establish dominance. A sudden perking up of the head was all the warning she got before he tore across the playground. It was a scene that played out a couple of times before she became savvy to the sudden-onset creepy stalker eyes which indicated “TARGET SIGHTED” and “ATTACK IMMINENT”. Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t always catch him in time. Derek wasn’t the strongest in the pack, but he was definitely the fastest.

So it was only a matter of time before the teachers expressed some concern. And a matter of time before Derek changed schools, ostensibly because of their better curriculum.

“He’ll grow out of it,” Mom always said.

He didn’t grow out of it. If anything, he grew into it. The creepy stalker eyes were now surrounded by bush-man eyebrows and the stubble and the nigh-permanent scowl combined to form the very model of a violently obvious serial killer. Though there were no more incidents, Derek would still occasionally snap his head in a particular direction, sniff the air, and narrow his eyes. It happened when they were grocery shopping, when they were getting gas, when they were having coffee. And they would have to beat a quick retreat back to the car.

“You’d think he was raised by–”

“Peter, be nice. But seriously, Derek, I can’t take you anywhere.”

“Then don’t. I wanted to stay home anyway.”

And she would gladly leave his ass at home, except Mom’s always going on about how “If you’re going to be an Alpha someday, you have to learn to look after your pack members.”

Which led them here: Finstock’s FunStockyards, a Beacon Hills institution. It used to be, like the name suggests, a stockyard, which meant that it had some old barns and cattle pens, which were converted to house a variety of attractions. Fluffyballs, the unfortunately named mascot, was a dingy-looking, dingy-smelling bunny costume that didn’t walk so much as twitch erratically and was the stuff of local children’s nightmares.

Laura had an irrational love of the place. Derek had never been. Maybe Derek was so grumpy all the time because people never took him to fun places. Fun! Finstock’s FunStockyards, it was even in the name!

In hindsight, bringing Derek to a place where there were masses of people and scads of heavy machinery was a terrible idea. Really, only a zoo could have been worse. Say what you want about Talia Hale’s parenting skills or misplaced faith in her children, but she knew how to keep her kids off the front page of the Beacon Hills Ledger.

It started out okay. They’d arrived after lunch (it was too dangerous to let Derek out of the house hungry) and gone on all three rides, and Derek didn’t even so much as snarl at anyone in line. She was feeling pretty proud of herself. And of Derek, of course. Until she pointed out Fluffyballs and realized she’d lost Derek’s attention. He’d already sighted the sorry-looking rabbit mascot and was making laser-guided murder eyes at it.

“Are you kidding me, that thing actually smells like a tire fire. If you touch it at all, so help me, you are walking home. I’m not letting you in my car. Do you hear me, Derek?”

No, he did not. Wait, was he muttering “Alpha, Beta, Omega” under his breath?

“Derek S. Hale, you will lock down that shit right now because these jeans are new and I am not running in them and destroying the seams.”

The girl guiding Fluffyballs had noticed them and was whispering to the person inside the suit, too quiet for her to hear. Whatever she said, the mascot began shuffling a bit quicker down the path. She could hear Derek’s pulse pick up. Laura Hale was not going to get banned from Finstock’s FunStockyards this day, no sir.

She grabbed her little brother by the biceps. “Derek. Eyes here. Look at me. You are a grown-ass, 20-year-old college student out in public. We are not gradeschoolers playing hide-and-seek in the preserve. You know that’s not actually a rabbit – there is a kid earning minimum wage in that suit. I need you to calm the fuck down because you’re going to get your sorry ass arrested. Do you want explain to mom that she’s going to have to cancel her afternoon meetings and come to the police station because her dumbass son went native on an amusement park mascot and shredded the costume in front of a crowd of horrified schoolchildren and gave some poor teenager PTSD? No? I don’t either. Okay, Derek?”

“Okay… okay. You’re right, sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

It worked! Ha! Suck it, mom! True Alpha material, right here. Time to put a bow on it and bring the package home and RUB IT IN HER FACE.

“Happens to all of us. Let’s just get back to the car and we’ll go for some burgers. Forget all this. Sound good?”

“Sounds good. Yeah, sounds gr– I’m so sorry, Laura, just– I just gotta–”

And there he went, a leather-jacketed blur cutting through the crowds.

“Derek! FOR THE LOVE OF… ah shit.”

Chapter Text

Stiles

This Summer is the Worst – a running tally, by Stiles Stilinski

– Summer kicked off with Heather dumping him at graduation.
+ But his 5-to-10-year plan to win the heart of one Lydia Martin was totally back on.
– Except she was going to MIT and he was starting at UC Irvine in two weeks.
– And the scholarship didn’t cover his entire tuition, so he had to get a summer job.
+ But because he’s awesome, he’d signed up with this work-from-home tech support place which paid way above minimum.
– And then they flaked the fuck out, so he had to go job hunting at the last minute, and all the good gigs had been locked up since April.
+ Which was okay, because Kira got him a job at Finstock’s.
– – – – – As Fluffyballs.


So, it had been two months of snotty kids and neurotic adults during the day, and Call of Duty (if Scott wasn’t on a “date” with Kira, which was rare) and his left hand at night. Which was fine, except for how much it all sucked.

The Fluffyballs suit, though, that was on a whole other plane of suckage. First, you put on this sketchy leotard (it was so skimpy it was probably meant to be disposable). Then you stepped into the suit itself, which smelled like a mix between the boys’ locker room and if a fertilizer truck crashed into a hospital dumpster and burst into flames. And then the head comes down over you and you realize you can’t actually move your arms, because the armpits on the mascot are where your wrists are, so you can only tuck your hands into the little sleeves and flap them about ineffectually. You were also half-blind, literally, because there was only one eye port built into the polka dot hat where your head fit into, and even that had gotten gunked up over the years.

And the entire thing was coming apart at the seams, so even though you could manage a decent walk, you wouldn’t want to, because every step drew in air from the outside from every broken stitch in the fabric, and the only thing worse than being immersed in the heady melange of shit and vomit so thick you could swirl it on your tongue, was getting a palate cleanser so you can taste it anew. So you’d waddle along and flap your hands with near zero visibility and just pray that this might be the day some intrepid park visitor sets the costume on fire with you in it and puts an end to your suffering.

Seriously, he’d read about medieval torture devices that were less unpleasant. God only knows how Greenberg had managed it for the last four years without going postal or getting shacked up at Eichen House. But at least most of the kids stayed away and the troublemakers were quickly taken care of by Kira, who was an all-round ass kicker.

So it wasn’t the worst (well, it really was) once you got used to it (and you never did, unless you’re Greenberg). But it was 4 pm now and he’d been in the suit since opening this morning and he just wanted to shower, go home, jerk off, and maybe cry a little because tonight was date night (again) which meant it’s all Kira had been talking about today and it’s all Scott would talk about tomorrow. So he was kind of surprised when Kira suddenly stopped him and actually talked to him.

“Stiles, did you cut someone off in your jeep today? Like, someone really hot in a trashy romance novel-slash – heh, slash – -true crime kind of way?”

“Um, no. Why?” Normally, he’d be more curious, but his current situation (tired, hungry, sweaty, itchy, smelly) didn’t allow for much more than the continued drawing of breath, and even that was something he was loath to do at the moment.

“Because there’s a really hot trashy romance novel true crime killer guy looking this way and I have no idea who he is but I think he wants to kill you.”

“Maybe he’s just offended by my fragrant aroma?”

“No, he’s too far, I think. And he’s completely ignoring his girlfriend to glare at you.”

“Uh, let’s just get back to the office and you can point him out to me.” For all his griping, he didn’t want to die. Certainly not while wearing the suit. A boy could dream. He shuffled along a little faster, but not too much, because the suit was properly moist now and it did nothing for the reek.

“Yeah, and I’ll grab my bat from my locker.”

“What?”

“I don’t know! What if he tries to kill you when you confront him?”

“Who said anything about confronting him? We’re just going to identify him from a safe distance and call my dad if he’s a threat.”

“Oh right, okay. Guess I got a bit carried away. Let’s just get back to the office, the guy gives me the cre–”

The next words out of her mouth were spoken with a deadly seriousness he’d never heard from her before: “Stiles? Run.”

“Run?”

“I’ll hold him off.”

“Kira, what the fuck?”

“GO!”

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

“Stiles! He’s not stopping!”

“Shit shit shit shit shit!”

He heard something tear in the suit. Judging from the breeze hitting his knees, he’d shredded the legs. Fuck it, Finstock could suck it.

“FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK OH MY GOD I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIEEEEEE.”

Although his target was the main building with its lockable doors, the path was blocked by swarms of people he had no hope of squeezing through, so he instead opted to cut through some of the “landscaping”, which was a dug-up field that Finstock had surrounded with an ankle-high run of chicken wire. The fence didn’t keep people off – the perpetual smell of it being freshly manured did.

The earth was soft under his booties, and now that his footfalls weren’t rattling his skull with concussive force, he could hear the yells from the crowds behind him. Shouts of “EXCUSE YOU!” and “GET HIM!” and… cheering? Wait, were they cheering on the guy chasing him? There was no time to ponder the question because judging by what he heard, the guy was gaining on him, and fast.

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DID BUT PLEASE DON’T KILL ME.”

For a brief moment, there was a strange kind of ecstasy singing in his veins, it was probably the adrenaline rush brought on by the physical exertion and low blood sugar, but he was almost laughing with the exhilaration. Sure, he was in mortal danger, but this was fun. More fun than he’d had in years.

And then reality caught up to him. Or rather, the guy did. And it took the wind out of his sails, or the air out of his lungs, whatever.

For the first time since he’d put the costume on, he was glad for its existence, because it was the only reason he didn’t come away with a mouth full of dirt. Except the impact had deformed the wire framework and he couldn’t wriggle out of it. And he couldn’t see anything because the soil had completely blocked the eye port. At least he wasn’t claustrophobic? And he was able to roll over so he wasn’t face-down in the dirt, at least.

“Dude, I don’t even know you, why,” he was so out of breath, “why… just why?”

The next thing he knew, Fluffypants’ hat was being torn away.

“Aw, come on dude, I’m gonna have to pay for that. Or rather, you will, you crazy bag of–”

His eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness and.... Dude was hot. Kira was right. Trashy romance novel-slash-true crime killer hot.

“Oh wow, you’re hot.” Nope, not winning a Pulitzer today.

Dude still didn’t say anything, just kind of glared at him. So murderous. So sexy. So sitting on his crotch. His skimpy leotard–covered crotch. He had the most confused boner right now. (It’d been a couple of months, okay?)

Dude definitely noticed, if the curious tilt of the head and knowing smirk was anything to go by. But he made no move to get off him. (And no move to get him off, alas.)

“Uh, hi, I’m Stiles?”

“Derek.” Dude has a name! But then he didn’t say anything else. So there they were, stuck in their strange impasse of staring at each other while Stiles' boner strained against the guy's denim-covered ass.

Then Kira came running up. Thank god, she’d be able to sort this out. With her raised baseball bat. Wait, what.

“Kira, don’t–!”

Derek spun around at his warning. Just in time to catch the business end of thirty ounces of aluminum. With his face.

“Oh my god, he’s bleeding. He’s bleeding. There’s blood. Oh my god. Psycho-hot killer guy is on top of me and he’s unconscious and he’s bleeding out. All over me.”

“OH MY G– I’M SO SOR– I DIDN’T MEAN TO–” She was definitely hyperventilating.

"Kira, I don’t mean to interrupt your freaking out, but you swung a bat at the guy’s head and HE’S BLEEDING ALL OVER ME. Can’t you at least, like, roll him off me?”

Oh wait. One-man show in Bonertown.

“Wait no, stop! He might have broken his neck and we might paralyze him if we move him. You should go. Get the nurse. Yeah.” Smooth. So smooth. If he could move his arms, he'd totally be giving himself a high-five.

“I told Coach, he’s bringing them here. He also called the police.”

The police? What? “No! No police. Because my dad will…”

Too late, he could already hear the sirens.

“Ah fuck.” How the hell did they get here so quickly?

“I’ll be right here, Stiles. It’s going to be okay.”

He tried to muster up a smile for her benefit and realized he could taste unconscious hot killer dude’s – Derek’s – blood on his teeth. What the fuck was his life.

“Yeah. Uh, thanks, Kira, for… protecting me?”

He looked over to where Finstock was running crowd control in the distance. It was like watching a strange art-house movie. He turned his head back to look up at the sky. Blue, with nary a whisper of a cloud. Sure, everything smelled like shit, was shit, and he had a stranger’s blood in his mouth; but it was kind of serene?

Soon, all too soon, he saw a familiar silhouette looming over him, blotting out the sun. The law had arrived. The law would solve nothing this day, no sir.

“Hey dad. Daddy-o.”

“Hey son. Want to explain?”

“I don’t know him. I don’t know how any of this happened.”

“Okay, well, Parrish is going to talk to you. Because legally, I can’t. And honestly, I don’t want to. Gotta watch my blood pressure, right?” The Sheriff seemed strangely unconcerned that his son had an unconscious man draped over him and was presently covered in said man's blood.

“Keep joking, old man. I'll pack you nothing but kale salad next week!”

Parrish was at the edge of the crowd, talking to a woman and taking notes. She had long, dark hair and sharp, angular features that reminded him of Derek.

“That’s his girlfriend,” said Kira. Derek’s girlfriend was just as hot as him. Damn. But he was in a good place right now, slowly calming down from the excitement of the past fifteen minutes. He was mellow, and nothing could really harsh his chill. Or maybe he was high? Everything was warm, but in a comfortable way. He couldn’t even smell the manure he was definitely lying on. Hard to believe he was hating his life just an hour ago. Meeting Derek was definitely the highlight of his summer. His year, even. He needed to carry on, if only to get the guy’s last name. And number. Not necessarily in that order.

The paramedics came over and stabilized Derek’s neck before rolling him onto a stretcher. His face looked okay, despite all the blood. Maybe Kira didn’t swing that hard. Oh wait, hard.

He was just about to bend his knees up, maybe roll over, when he heard one of the paramedics call out, “Hey Frank, we’re gonna need another blanket over here!”

A whoop sounded in the crowd. Someone shouted, “That’s what she said!”

“.... Just kill me. I’d like to die now, please.”

Chapter Text

Derek

Finstock’s FunStockyards was a hole. A shitty, scummy hole of shitty scumminess. Derek had managed to survive eighteen years living in Beacon Hills without ever setting foot in the godforsaken place, and when he’d packed up his things for college, he thought he was free forever. Laura loved it. Laura couldn’t shut up about it. From the first time that she came back smelling like rancid cow shit, she made it a personal mission to impress upon everyone how much she adored it. “It’s the happiest place on Earth!” she said. He simply didn’t see the appeal.

Still, he didn’t have anything in particular against the place, and having been in New York for two years, he could safely say there were worse things than rancid cow shit. She even made his favorite for lunch to butter him up: really, really raw steak from that organic farmer’s market on the other side of town that had amazing stuff but was completely insufferable to visit. So he nodded and said, “If you insist” when she suggested that they go.

Fifteen minutes later, he was staring up at the gates and the appallingly garish banner proclaiming “The Home of Fluffyballs!” There was nothing to do but sigh and resign himself to an afternoon of trudging around the ten acres of mostly scrub and gravel footpaths.

There were exactly three rides: teacups, this octopus thing that made at least one kid puke while he was waiting in line, and a small, dinky train that went around the park grounds. There were the standard fairground stalls: a shooting gallery with a BB-gun rifle, a ring-toss game, some water-gun/horse-racing thing, the usual. It wasn’t the worst place in the world, and maybe – he grudgingly admitted to himself (but never to Laura) – he would have enjoyed coming here when he was younger. But as an adult who’d been to Six Flags and been on roller coasters and all too familiar with being crushed by swarms of warm, smelly people on the subway, it wasn’t exactly his idea of a fun afternoon.

By four o’clock, he was ready to bail, Laura or no. He’d brought a small backpack so he could just shift at the edge of the field and run home. He’d learned to always have a contingency plan when it came to Laura, after being ditched too many times by her when the boyfriend of the week would suddenly call her up for “coffee”. He shuddered at the thought.

And then he smelled something. Above the bovine manure milieu of the place, above the body odor of the collected masses, even above the heavy stench of processed cheese product from the food stall they had just passed. It was spicy and earthy and god-awful and maybe actually burning his nostril hairs, but there was something about it. Something that was wonderful. Something he’d been smelling around town since he was a kid but could never pinpoint.

A flash of movement caught his eye. It was that thing. That heinous, terrible thing that was splattered all over the place, on the maps, the signs, the cups, all the shirts in the gift shop. That bunny rabbit mascot with the grotesquely oversized head and buck teeth and the stupid tiny bowler hat. Fluffyballs. It was the source of that wonderful smell. But oh man, did it reek something awful. It was making his eyes water just standing downwind from it.

“Hey look, Derek, it’s Fluffyballs,” Laura said.

He nodded. Thank you, Captain Obvious. He was torn between finding out what that scent was and preserving what sense of smell he had left. God, didn’t they ever wash that thing? How much could they be paying that someone would volunteer to walk around in it? Could that smell really be coming from that thing? Was he crazy? Had something really happened to his brain in New York like Peter was saying?

His train of thought was violently derailed when Fluffyballs began its routine, a weird sort of epileptic twerking and arm flapping. It awoke within him a primal, predatory hunger – the prey drive. It was something they’d played at every full moon as a family, but they never actually hunted in the preserve. He’d never felt so profoundly aggressive in his life until this moment – well, aside from that time when he ate Laura’s classroom guinea pig back in first grade, but that’s something they didn’t talk about – all because of a bit of faux polyester fur bouncing around. It was… cute. It was adorable. And he wanted to tackle it and sink his teeth into it and shake it until it stopped.

No. No, that way lies madness and murder and general bad. He had to calm down. And the only way he knew how…

“Alpha. Beta. Omega….” Did this ever work for anyone, ever? God, he hoped Laura couldn’t hear him. He sure as hell wasn’t paying attention to a word she was saying. He could feel his control slipping. He was in no danger of shifting, he’d gotten that under control before he left for college, but he didn’t need to shift to inflict overwhelming damage to the mascot, the kid inside the mascot suit, and the collective reputation and sanity of his family.

Shit, it was starting to shuffle away. No. Stop. Stop moving. Stop. Shit, it was moving faster. Don’t run. Don’t. No. Don’t move your adorable little feet like that. And that tail. No, stop bobbing! How is anyone supposed to deal with this shit? Oh god, and the arms. Those little flapping arms. He had to look away but he couldn’t. Had to, but couldn’t. And that smell. That smell. He needed it. Needed to have it from the source. Needed to run. Needed to hunt. Need. Want. Kill. Kill. Kill.

“DEREK.” Laura. Oh thank god. Yes. Precisely the distraction he needed. No, he would not like for mom to get involved. Very good point.

“Okay… okay. You’re right, sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

She kept talking. Yes. Excellent. Agree one-hundred percent. Could not be more in accordance. Please pay attention to this up-down motion of the head that indicates acknowledgement and acquiescence.

“Sounds good. Yeah, sounds gr–”

Fluffyballs’ tail caught the sunlight. Just bobbing. Bobbing.

“Come chase me, motherfucker,” it said.

Derek was a proud werewolf. Derek was strong. Derek was better than this. Derek was referring to himself in the third person and goddammit, Derek was more than a bundle of muscle and instinct. But Fluffyballs was getting away. TARGET MOVING OUT OF RANGE. LOSING TARGET. DO NOT LOSE TARGET.

“I’m so sorry, Laura, just– I just gotta–”

FLUFFYBALLS MUST DIE.

 

The kid was screaming. It was a he. And he was definitely that smell. He could follow that smell anywhere. The kid was fast, he’ll give him that. But he was no werewolf. So he let the kid set the pace, let him lead the way out of the crowds, away from the people.

He liked this, running, hunting something so fluffy. He missed running with his family when he was in New York. It was nice, relaxing, letting his strides carry him forward, forward, forward into the wind, into that scent. The crowd was cheering, like he was running a marathon. One of the guys shouted, “FINISH HIM.” Guess he was doing a public service. Guess people have been waiting for this to happen. Couldn’t blame them. It was too cute. It had to die.

He saw where the kid was trying to take them: the barn that served as the administrative building. He smiled, the crowd was too thick for the kid to push through. The kid saw it too, it seemed, and he cut out over the little thing they called a fence. Out into the field. Yes. Perfect. Time for the takedown.

The padded feet on the kid’s costume suffered on the soft soil and he quickly lost speed, but he kept up a valiant effort. It was cute, just like everything else he’d been doing. He was half considering letting the kid go. It didn't have to end with him in the dirt. Maybe he'd even try conversation, heaven forfend.

And then he saw that the kid was running straight for a half-hidden metal spike that had broken off of whatever tiller they’d been using to dig up the earth. It would be painful at best, and at worst… well, he didn’t want to be responsible for any maimings today. So he did the only logical thing and pushed the kid out of the way of the spike.

Unfortunately, it meant the kid went down face-first into the dirt. And because even werewolves must obey the laws of physics, so did he, crushing the mascot’s flimsy head/torso piece under him. If he thought the thing smelled like hot garbage before… damn, and he was wearing his favorite (read: only) leather jacket too.

He got up, not knowing what to do with himself. Now that he’d come down from the adrenaline rush, he felt kind of silly and waited for the inevitable regret to slam into his conscience. He done did a stupid thing, to put it plainly.

The kid rolled over and muttered something, breathing heavily. Oh shit, was he suffocating? Derek quickly grabbed the brim of the bowler hat, straddling the mascot’s torso for leverage, and pulled. Revealing the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. And that smell blossomed in his nostrils. He was awestruck. Time stood still.

This was no kid, this was a proper, handsome-as-fuck guy that he wanted to… that he just wanted. He felt a bit dizzy, a bit high. He felt…

He felt an erection digging into his balls. Well, alright then. Question answered.

“Uh, hi, I’m Stiles?” His voice was kind of broken, kind of sultry. That, and the fact that he was sitting on what was an appreciable hard-on, sent him into a temporary stupor, where his mind was lost in a catalogue of filthy, unspeakable things that you couldn’t find tags for on XTube.

“Derek,” he managed, finally, smiling. This was going to be a story they’d tell their grandchildren, he already knew. “That time I ran your grandpa down and sat on him. It was love at first sight.”

Then Stiles shouted, “Kira, don’t–!”

His werewolf reflexes allowed him to turn around just fast enough to see a streak of silver slicing through the afternoon sun, catching him full in the face.

In a brief moment of clarity before the world went dark, he realized: “Mom is going to kill me,” then “I blame Laura for everything.”


He was dead. It was the only explanation. All he could smell was that delicious scent he’d been craving at the park, been searching for all his life, only stronger and not buried under rotting polyester garbage. It was bacon and pumpkin pie and hash browns and raw, dripping steak and Stiles. It was Stiles. He wanted to sing his name to the heavens. He opened his eyes.

Holy shit. It was Stiles. Here. Sitting. Arms braced against his bed.

“Hey, Derek,” he said, shyly, voice less hoarse than out on the field. On his back. Between his legs. No, not going there. But yes, voice, warm, sonorant, not at all husky. Presumably he’d had a glass of water since that thing with the place and the position.

“Stiles, what are you doing here?”

“Well, they wanted to make sure I didn’t have a concussion or some sort of spinal cord injury, on account of the uh… hard-on,” this he mumbled through the back of his hand, but Derek heard him just fine, “but I’m completely fine! Yes, sir. Clean bill of health, upstairs and downstairs. Crap, I didn’t just say that.”

Stiles was cute when he blushed. And definitely more animated when his arms weren’t trapped inside a stupid costume.

“But what are you doing in my room?”

“Oh, well, uh, my dad is looking for your mom and I think your sister – dude, I totally thought she was your girlfriend – is busy flirting with Parrish? And your uncle – Peter, I think? Sorry, man, dude creeps me the fuck out – he said he was headed out. So I came here, because I don’t know, it sucks waking up in a hospital by yourself. And I was wondering if you wanted to….” Stiles buried his face in his arms, presenting Derek with his fuzzy head of hair, which like the rest of him, smelled good enough to eat. The last part of his question was inaudible though, even to his ears.

“If I wanted to…?”

“Gogetsomecoffeesometime,” came the grumbling reply.

“Hmm, you might have to lean in a bit closer. I can’t hear you too well.”

Stiles looked up and the moment he did, Derek leaned forward and pulled him into a kiss. There may have been a bit of flailing and their teeth definitely smashed together, but Stiles’ lips were soft and he tasted like vanilla milkshake and curly fries. In other words, perfect.

He leaned back and Stiles’ eyes were blown. Pupils dilated. Lips parted. Breath coming heavy.

“I take it that’s a yes,” Stiles said, finally.

He couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, I’d say so.”

“Do you mind if we just do that thing again, with the–” he said, all the while clambering onto the bed, finishing his sentence against Derek’s lips without waiting for a reply.

If he had even a brain cell to spare, he might have remarked on the interesting reversal of position they were in, with Stiles on top, straddling his waist, grinding against him. But he was riding high on the intoxicating scent that muted everything else. His world was defined by Stiles’ lips, Stiles’ tongue, Stiles’ fingertips in his hair, his heartbeat against his own, the curve of his hips in his hands, which were drifting down, down, down….

When they came up for air, the words “Fluffyballs is the best thing that ever happened to me” tumbled out of Stiles’ stubble-burnt mouth.

He was just about to reply when he spotted Laura in the cut-out window in the door.

“Oh my god, you guys are so gross! You two – you deserve each other.”

He sat up, kept eye contact with her, made lip contact with Stiles, and raised a middle finger in response. Dominance established.

“Mom! Derek’s… ugh!” She stormed off.

Laura was right though – Finstock’s FunStockyards was the happiest place on earth.

Chapter Text

Talia

Talia Hale considered herself a modern woman and a modern werewolf. She had a career, a family, a pack, and if you could believe it, a small vegetable garden behind the house. She didn’t get to where she was today by having everything handed to her; no, she fought her own battles and she took pride in her accomplishments. And she wanted her children to do the same. Still, there was no reason they couldn’t benefit from a little adult foresight behind the scenes.

So she refused to call them contingencies or back-up plans. They were simply phone calls that a concerned mother might make when she thought her children might need a little extra... support. That’s all she was doing right now. Making a phone call.

“Sheriff.”

“Alpha Hale, what a pleasant surprise.”

“Please, just Talia.”

“Only if you stop calling me Sheriff. Anyhow, what can I do for you?”

“Laura’s taking Derek to Finstock’s. I don’t think there’s any danger; Derek’s been going to school in New York for two years without incident, so I think we’ll be fine. But I wanted to give you a heads-up just in case…”

“They get into a ‘hairy’ situation? Don’t worry, I’ll be on patrol this afternoon with a guy I trust – you’ve met Parrish, right? Gotta talk to him anyway about a raise. And maybe I’ll drop into the park and bring Stiles lunch.”

“Stiles will be there?” Ruh-roh. Goddammit, how is it that she’s still got cartoon catchphrases stuck in her head when her kids have all outgrown them?

“Yeah, been working there the whole summer. You don’t think it’ll be a problem, do you? I mean, it’s been years… I mean, they were just kids. I’d doubt they’d even remember each other.”

“I… I guess you’re right. Nothing to worry about.” She was already messaging her assistant to clear her schedule. Maybe she should just make her kids stay home. But no. No, she was not one of those helicopter moms. Her kids will never learn to be independent if she didn’t give them the freedom to make their own choices. Their own stupid, terrible choices. Maybe she’ll get Peter to shadow them. But there’s no way they wouldn’t notice him. Okay. Don’t panic. You are Alpha Talia Hale. You have one of the strongest packs on the west coast. It’ll be fine. You’ve got this.

“Talia? Are you still there?”

“Sorry, just got news from a client. You’re right, I’m overthinking this. You and Stiles should definitely come over for dinner this weekend.”

“Sounds great. It’ll be good to catch up.”

Yeah, if we’re still on speaking terms. She was definitely calling Deaton, at the very least.


Work was hell. No. Work was fine. But she had been staring at the same clause on this contract for the last fifteen minutes and she couldn’t stop tapping her toe against the carpet protector. Derek and Laura left the house at one o’clock. It was four now. No panicked phone call from anyone. No cryptic text message from Peter. Nothing. No news at all. Maybe she’d gotten worked up over nothing.

But her gut told her something was wrong. Her alpha senses were tingling, as Peter would say.

No matter. She couldn’t stay in the office a moment longer. She needed to clear her head. She dialed reception.

“I’m going out for coffee. Text me your orders.”

Sunshine. Fresh air. Laura was right, it was a beautiful day. She almost wished she’d taken the day off and joined them at Finstock’s. She felt almost silly for worrying so much. What could possibly go wrong?

She’d barely taken three steps before her phone went off. The Sheriff. Fuck.

“You, uh, might want to swing by Beacon General when you get a chance, they’ve just left with Derek in an ambulance.”

“Oh my god. Is everyone else alright?”

“Well, uh… You know, Talia, I mean– god, how do I say this. But man, werewolves. Christ. I gotta tell you, I never even thought… Hoo boy. Sorry, needed to get that out of my system. So yeah, everyone is fine. Stiles…”

“Oh no, did something happen to Stiles?”

“Nah, he’ll be fine. I managed to get everyone to delete the photos and videos off their phones, so that’s one less thing to worry about. Thank god he’s leaving town in two weeks. Uh, I’ll explain at the hospital, I’m headed there myself as soon as Parrish wraps things up here.”

“See you soon.”

Derek, a werewolf of all people, was going to the hospital? And where was Laura?

And why were there people shouting “boner” in the background?


She could smell her son as soon as she got to the hospital parking lot. She could smell his blood. It took everything she had to maintain her composure, but she somehow managed to stride through the main doors without biting anyone’s head off.

She was just following the Derek’s scent when the Sheriff caught up to her. Good, she needed a explanation. Now.

“Hey Talia, listen, Derek’s still unconscious from what Melissa’s told me. But he’s fine, just a nosebleed. Or at least, that’s what it says on his chart.”

“What happened at the park, exactly?”

A pained expression settled on the Sheriff’s face and he pinched the bridge of his nose before he continued.

“By all accounts, Derek chased Stiles down and sat on him. Like he used to. And then one of the other park employees, Kira, hit Derek in the face with a baseball bat.”

“Jesus.”

“Yeah, she’s lucky he’s a werewolf. Hell, he’s lucky he’s a werewolf. Anyhow, I’ve spoken to Finstock, he’s not going to press charges. In fact, he’s really glad for the media attention. There’s already some sort of crowdfunding campaign to replace the costume that Stiles was wearing. You know, Fluffyballs?”

“The rabbit? Your son was wearing an honest-to-god bunny suit when my son ran him down?”

“That’s correct. The irony hasn’t been lost on me, trust me. Christ, I should have seen it coming. Anyway, Kira’s in the clear because she was defending someone else – despite the clearly excessive force, because, well, your son healed too quickly for anyone to document the original damage. And Stiles has made it very clear that if I or Parrish go after Derek that he’s never going to speak to me again. So I think we’re all covered where the investigation and the law is concerned, but I defer to your expert opinion.”

“No… that about covers it. Thank you, Sheriff.”

“No problem at all, Talia. Well... you know. Anyway, I’ve gotta go find out where my son went and let you get to yours. Have a good evening.”

She watched the man’s back disappear around the corner before she remembered that she didn’t ask him if they were still coming over for dinner on the weekend. And what was with the boner thing she heard on the phone?

Never mind, she was here to take her son home. And to do that… ah, the nurse’s station.

“Hi, my name is Talia Hale, my son, Derek was brought here earlier with a nosebleed?”

“Mrs. Hale, I was just checking in on Derek. He had a concussion, actually. He was awake when they brought him in, but he’s sleeping now. X-rays and CT scan look alright, though, so he’ll be ready to go home in the morning.”

Woman’s name tag said Melissa, she seemed familiar, that scent… oh right, the young man who works at Deaton’s. This must be his mother.

“Can’t you release him now? You said yourself that he’s fine.”

“Hospital policy, I’m afraid. Any concussion with loss of consciousness, we keep the patient overnight. Not to mention the blood loss. Your son’s very lucky, Mrs. Hale. Baseball bat to the face and not even a broken nose. Don’t know how that’s even possible. But I’m sure you want to see him; he’s just down the hall if you want to follow me.”

They started down the corridor, and she already knew which room Derek was in, just around the corner. She could hear his heartbeat. It was a little bit faster than usual. Maybe he was nervous? He’d never been in a hospital before, that’s for sure.

“Are you sure Derek can’t come home tonight? We have a family doctor who’d be able to monitor his condition.”

“No, ma’am. I tell you, you should have seen him when they brought him in, neck brace and all that blood. I mean, once we cleaned him up, you wouldn’t have thought there was anything wrong with him. But that’s really the danger with concussions. Outside, you might not think anything’s out of the ordinary, but inside…”

They reached the end of the hall, just meters away from the door to Derek’s room. She needed to make her case now, before Melissa returned to her station.

“Yes, but surely there are people who need the bed more than my–”

Wait. There was a second heartbeat in Derek’s room. She’d heard it far down the hallway, rabbit-quick, but she didn’t know it was in the room with him. Who the hell was–

Stiles.” It was Derek’s voice, but at a timbre she’d never heard before. And that was definitely not the sound of conversation.

She reached out and put her hand on Melissa’s shoulder. “You know what, you’re right, we should just let him rest. I’ll come back in the morning. Did anyone else come to the hospital with him? Maybe my daughter Laura? Wavy brown hair, about shoulder length? Your hair’s gorgeous, by the way. Do you get it permed?”

She rambled. It’s all she could do to block out the sounds she couldn’t stop hearing now that she was tuned in to it. “Dude, you’re fuckin’ huuuge!” Nope. Nope-nope-nope. Not a thing she was listening to.

Should she call the Sheriff to let him know she’d found his son? Crap, she definitely had to have them over for dinner now. And she definitely had to call Nana Hale, who would definitely invite herself over along with everyone within a three-hour drive. Fuck. And here she was hoping for a quiet weekend. Maybe she’ll just get it catered. The company that did the Christmas party. They were good. That’s a plan. She needed to just get out of here. Make some phone calls. She was good at that. Just get out of here, cry into a venti green tea latte, and make some calls. It was fine. She got this. She’s Alpha Talia fucking Hale, god damn it.

She’d almost made it to the double doors out front when she heard, in the distance behind her, “Mom! Derek’s being… ugh!”

Nope. Nope-nope-nope. Just keep walking. She’s Alpha Talia fucking Hale and Alpha Talia fucking Hale is getting coffee. And making a phone call she knew she was going to regret.

“Peter? Can you meet me at the Starbucks in 10? I need help with– I can’t even with this shit right now.”

“Is everything okay?”

“Just… just come. And don’t tell Laura.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it.”

Epilogue – Finstock

“We’re gathered here tonight to remember and celebrate Fluffyballs, the heart and soul of Finstock’s FunStockyards. But also to bid goodbye to a close personal friend of mine, Wilson. Wilson, you may not know, is the real name of the character you’ve come to know as Fluffyballs.

“Sixteen years and eight months ago, I met Wilson. It may be difficult for you to believe this, but I was an alcoholic back then. It was a chilly January night, I had gas in the car, but nowhere to go. And, it pains me to say this, I took shelter in a dumpster. And as I reached up to close the lid, I saw Wilson, lying there.

“You see, Wilson had been working in the kid’s party restaurant the dumpster was behind. Then one day, that day, for whatever reason, they threw him out along with all the loaded diapers. And man, there were a lot of those, you wouldn’t believe the shit that comes out of babies. Wow.

“And as I looked into his big, honey-whiskey eyes, and he into mine. I realized something. Someone had put Wilson into the dumpster, but no one had put me there. I had put myself into that dumpster. And Wilson, with the moon reflecting off his big buck teeth, was the one who made me understand that.

“That’s when I knew I had to get us out of there. So I pulled him out from under all the diapers and spaghetti sauce and pizza, cleaned him up best I could, then packed us into the car. And we came home, to Beacon Hills.

“And the rest, as they say, is history. And Economics. I got a job, and thank god, my credit history was clean – kids, deal in cash if you don’t have money – so I took out a small business loan and bought this place for Wilson.

“And… that’s a maggot on his eye, isn’t it? Man, I should have washed this thing after I got it out of the dumpster. Ah, there, got it– mmm, protein, kids, don’t let it go to waste. You drink that tequila – and you shouldn’t – but if you do, always finish the worm. Where was I? Whatever, I was done with my story. Into the fire with you, Wilson.

“‘It should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.’ Alright, let’s get the hell out of here before we inhale any more carcinogens. Dismissed!”