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the shape you take

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“Sometimes the shape you take reflects the person that you are.”

It had been years since that line was uttered, back in the chaos that was Beacon Hills at the time, before balance was restored. It stuck in Stiles’ mind though, and not only because of the living -- and some now dead -- examples that he still occasionally has vivid nightmares about. No, the reason he thinks about it sometimes is different, more personal.

He always thought that the fake brain scan held some truth. That it wasn’t only his ADHD that made him different. That his DNA was mutated somehow, to the point where he would’ve been something else and not a werewolf had he ever been turned. He’s past thinking that he would turn the same way Jackson did, into something as easily controlled. Stiles knows that he’s too stubborn for that, and he’s been reassured several times that the chances of that happening were minuscule.

Fox is another option, he sometimes thinks. But then, the Nogitsune took over and he has foggy memories of it being frustrated that he didn’t turn into a full fox. There are other options, too. Cat, due to his curiosity, is a popular one in the deep recesses of his mind.

At the end of the day though, Stiles always ends up admitting to himself that he might never know, and that he is too afraid to risk his werewolf form being something dangerous, something that would put the pack -- his Dad and Melissa included -- in danger. When he passes through the middle portion of his twenties, though, that fear is rendered moot and irrelevant.

Back when things were brutal in town, when everything that had a way to approach the Pack decided it was hunting season, Stiles had Derek and Scott make a promise. Whichever one of them would the Alpha in case it became necessary, they both promised Stiles to give him the Bite. There was only one circumstance which he declared as worthy of a free pass to turn him without asking for consent in the moment. Even in regular emergencies, like if he got badly injured in a fight, Stiles requested that they don’t make rash decisions regarding his human status.

He’s been trying to pretend for a while now that it’s not happening. That the brain scans this time are really his, and not a mirage conjured by an ancient evil fox spirit trying to manipulate him. But he started losing track of time and reality in the last month, and he knows it’s time.

“Deaton says it’ll work,” Scott reassures him when he drives Stiles over to Derek’s place. “The thing he gave you to drink will solidify your human side, and make it less vulnerable, less likely to reject the Bite.”

“I know,” Stiles whispers from the passenger seat.

“I’d do it too, you know,” Scott offers after some time, when they’re getting closer to the rebuilt Hale house.

“I know, but…”

“But it’s gotta be him,” Scott finishes Stiles’ thought.

They’re both Alphas, leading the pack together. For any other human, it wouldn’t be a choice if they were to be bitten, but for Stiles, there’s more to it than alliance to one Alpha. There was a relationship that he had to think about now, one that would be endangered if Stiles’ base scent became colored by Scott’s.

Derek is waiting on the front steps when Scott pulls up to the house. It’s only Stiles who gets out, and Scott drives off almost immediately, though he doesn’t forget to pull Stiles in a hug, or glare at Derek in an attempt to seem menacing. Derek, his arms already wrapped around Stiles’ shoulders, chuckles quietly at the threats.

When the forest around them falls silent again, Stiles pulls away and grabs Derek’s hand, linking their fingers together.

“Okay, come on,” he says, starting to walk towards the front door. “Let’s see how my body is wired, and what new species we’ll be able to add to the Bestiary.”

He’s pretty sure that his body’s DNA will guarantee that he won’t be a ‘wolf. But he’s still Stiles, and that means that he’s curious.

No one is surprised when Stiles emerges from the Hale house in a full shift only a few days of Derek’s supervision later. Lydia has the gall to laugh when she spots his reddish fur.

“We match,” she grins and shakes her hair to emphasise it.

Stiles’ fox teeth nip at her ankle before she gets the chance to get away. Derek, as a wolf with ink black fur, flashes his red eyes at Lydia. When Erica’s sniggers float to them across the front lawn, Derek turns to her with an equally menacing wolf glare. Then he huffs in frustration and grabs the back of Stiles’ neck, mindful of his sharp teeth. Stiles lets out an undignified yip when Derek lifts him and carries him across the house, muzzle wrapped around the scruff of Stiles’ neck.