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they speak of him in hushed tones

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There was no way they could’ve missed the rumours that were going around the entire country. Not only did the other families talk about it at pack meetups, humans in town who were in the know weren’t immune to the talk. Those who weren’t aware of the supernatural talked of miracles, of unbelievable things happening more often than could be ignored. There was talk about a mysterious stranger, a foreigner with glowing eyes and sparks on the tips of his fingers, a magic user with abilities not seen for hundreds of years.

The Hale pack had their own Emissary, a good friend to the family who helped them protecting the Beacon Hills territory. So when the rumours about the legendary Spark intensified around town, Talia approached Deaton with the request to find out if there was a danger to their pack and the people under their protection.

“He’s not a threat,” Deaton said, “not to the Hale pack and especially Beacon Hills.”

It was as cryptic an answer as their Emissary usually provided, and while Talia took it at face value, Derek remained cautious. Though his mother as the Alpha provided the emotional reassurance through the pack bond, he continued hearing stories about other packs in the vicinity preparing to protect themselves from this mysterious Spark whose powers were, according to the whispers, unmatched by any of the Emissaries.

When Derek was out one night patrolling the borders of their territory -- despite Talia’s continued insistence that Deaton’s word about their safety was enough -- his senses alert to any possible intruders, he knew immediately that someone got past the wards set up by his mother and Deaton. What he didn’t expect though, was for the intruder to be sitting quietly in the middle of a clearing, face obscured by a dark hood, and -- even though Derek approached from behind the man’s back -- more aware of the wolf than Derek expected anyone to.

“I didn’t know you could shift fully,” the man said, still with his back to Derek.

The voice was familiar, an echo from the past, only a little deeper than the last time Derek remembered hearing it. His brain worked at full speed trying to reconcile the stories he was hearing about the Spark -- he didn’t miss the tattoos on the mystery man’s forearms where his sleeves were pushed up to the elbows -- with the memory that flooded his mind along with the voice.

He shifted back to human, then, not thinking about how vulnerable it left him, barely noticing the cool air on his skin.

“Stiles?” Derek said, his voice barely above a whisper.

The man turned then, and first his eyes widened in surprise, then he took in the sight of Derek’s -- naked, I’m naked, Derek thought under the scrutiny -- exposed human body.

“It’s been a while,” Stiles replied, a smirk playing on his lips, his eyes flashing purple.

The amused tone and the smile brought back more memories from years ago, and Derek was remembering Stiles as barely a teenager, all arms and legs, eyes wide open and curious. The last time they saw each other was after Stiles’ Mom died, and Stiles’ father made the decision to send Stiles to his family in Poland. Claudia had magic, Derek knew, but not enough to be a full Emissary to a pack, even if she’d helped Deaton sometimes.

“Deaton was right,” Derek whispered, watching as Stiles started walking closer. “I didn’t believe that the legendary Spark wouldn’t be a danger to Beacon Hills, to us , but it’s you…”

“It’s me,” Stiles said when he stopped right in front of Derek. “And I’m no threat to anyone in the Hale pack, or anyone in town. After all, I came back because of you.”

Derek didn’t get a chance to think, because when Stiles’ tongue darted out past his lips to slide over Derek’s, the only thing he could do was to lean in and press them against Stiles’ smile.