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Title:the bite that binds (the gift that gives)
Pairing:Derek/Stiles
Rating: R
Summary:Stiles steps in at the wrong moment and is forced to accept the bite or die.
Spoilers/Warnings: Post-season 1. Includes characters introduced in season two but will likely diverge from show canon pretty quickly.
Notes: Title comes from TV on the Radio’s Wolf Like Me.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Simply borrowed.




Stiles watches it happen in slow motion, stares as the beta from the San Francisco pack moves in on Derek, who is still bent over her dead Alpha. Blood streaks across Derek’s face and he’s curved slightly inward, protecting his side as the skin Stiles can see through the shredded tatters of his t-shirt knits itself slowly back together. The beta’s eyes glow bright, electric blue and her mouth is open, canines lengthening, and before he even thinks it through, before it’s even a thought, he puts himself between her and Derek.

The pain is surprising as thick claws rake across his chest, deep ruts burning into his skin, and for a long moment, he watches as her wolf features shift back to fully human, her eyes a surprisingly pretty gray. She glances down at her handiwork, a noise close to shock coming out of her mouth, and it’s when her claws retract, that he’s ridiculously grateful Derek has super speed because he’s there to grab Stiles as his knees give out, control his fall onto the damp earth. His breath stutters, and he knows his mouth is gaping open but can’t seem to do anything about it except to work his lips like some kind of landed fish. He stares down at his chest, at his vintage Ghostbusters t-shirt, the one he just found at the consignment shop over in Mount Shasta, and it’s ruined. Still getting ruined, actually, with his blood, and he can just make out the ragged edges of his skin. Oh, this isn’t good. This is so not good.

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek grits out, holding him against his chest for a long moment, and that he doesn’t sound angry worries Stiles.

Beyond them, Stiles watches Jackson and Scott distract the beta long enough for Erica to move up behind her, watches as she backs right into Erica’s claws with a startled cry, and then he has to look away because he doesn’t want the sight of his friends doing that as the last thing he sees.

“I’m dying.” He meets Derek’s eyes and feels the ridiculous urge to grin like always. “That was fucking stupid, what I just did right there.”

“Your idiocy is firmly in tact, yes,” Derek agrees, and he pauses in ripping Stiles’ shirt from his body when Stiles cries out, when all the blood not pouring from the open wounds on his chest seems to drain out of his head. Something buzzes in his ears as his vision goes hazy with the sharp, unending pain, and shouldn’t he start going into shock soon? Won’t that make this easier, less like agony?

Then Scott’s face is there, hovering above him, and if Stiles wasn’t fully aware that he was dying, the tear that leaks from Scott’s right eye, the way his face sort of pinches up and then just sort of collapses in on itself, would be a giant clue. Scott never even cried once when his dad left.

“Oh, god, Stiles,” he says bleakly, his fingers grazing along Stiles’ cheek. Everybody always acts like Stiles gives everything he’s thinking or feeling away, but Scott is worse, and Scott crying, the way his hand finds Stiles’ and clutches it, has Stiles flushing with affection for him. He really is going to miss his idiot best friend. He wouldn’t have half as many stupid stories to remember now if it weren’t for Scott’s total willingness and commitment to whatever crazy plan Stiles formulated that day. A little hysterically, he thinks Scott is the Ferb to his Phineas, which would make Derek Perry, of course, and the idea of Derek in a fedora has a huffing laugh slicing through him, knife-sharp; that’s when he has to stop or he’s going to actually split in two.

“You have to bite him, Derek,” Jackson says quietly. There’s an odd quality to his tone, but Stiles can’t look at him to see what. He’s standing off somewhere out of Stiles’ line of vision.

Scott’s hand grips Derek’s arm. “We can’t lose him,” he says, voice ragged around the edges.

Stiles looks back at Derek, blinking slowly, watches him shake his head even as a look of pain flashes across his face. “He’s never wanted it,” he says quietly. “I won’t take that away from him.”

The thump of his heart is getting further apart, he can feel each effort it makes now, and it’s funny because with each pump, he’s just bleeding out that much more. Derek is right. He has never wanted the bite, never wanted to give up the one thing he prized above everything, but he’s seventeen years old. He doesn’t want to die either. He doesn’t want to leave his father to mourn one more person, to (maybe) survive another loss because he isn’t stupid, his father really didn’t survive the first, he’s only been coasting, and he just really doesn’t want to die.

He reaches out a hand, manages to work his fingers into the fabric of what’s left of Derek’s t-shirt, tugs just enough, and tries to steady himself, because he fucking hates his life right now but not enough to give it up. “Do it,” he says, voice coming out in a gurgling pant. He sounds weird, like after he’s drunk too much milk, and he knows it’s the blood coming up the back of his throat, can feel it trickling out the sides of his mouth.

Derek doesn’t even hesitate. One minute he’s on his knees beside Stiles and the next he’s looming over him, mouth opening to make room for his lengthening canines. As Derek moves down towards him, Stiles feels a thrum of fear mixed with something else, a flutter of a feeling he doesn’t want to examine too closely, and fuck he’s dying, he gets to avoid whatever the hell he wants to avoid.

Stiles starts at the feel of Derek’s mouth on the skin right above his heart, for a long second just heat and spit, the lave of a tongue – he tries not to shiver at that or hear the low hiccup of Derek’s breathing as he tastes him, tries harder not to follow what each of these things mean in the grander scheme of things, and Jesus, his ADHD has all but abandoned him at possibly the worst time in the history of ever – and then there’s the pain of teeth, all those teeth, sinking in. It’s kind of on the low end of the pain scale, all things considered, but Stiles still flinches. This is it. This is the end of who he was, of who he maybe could have been, and he closes his eyes as the tears come. He might die, still; the bite could just as easily kill him as save him. Or, he’ll wake up a werewolf. Either way, he will not fucking cry in front of any of them.

Thankfully his body decides it’s enough for now, and he passes out.

-

The kid was tall for his age, but still lanky and narrow, arms akimbo as he tried not to look too terribly bored waiting for his mother in the seating area outside the counselor’s office. Derek recognized him immediately, could smell his mother on him, father too, but mostly his mother, and not for the first time he found himself wondering about Mrs. Stilinski when she wasn’t trying to wrangle wayward youth back onto the straight and narrow. It wasn’t that he was a problem student; as Mrs. Stilinski put it: “Derek, honey, you’ve got potential. Try not to waste it. Make me feel like I’m accomplishing something here,” and Derek would always have to look away from the mixture of hope and exhaustion in her face, the way it lit up her dark eyes. Somehow she always got him to promise to do better before he left her office.

Greg Humphrey lurched out suddenly, letting the door bang back into the wall with a surprisingly sharp thud, and the kid jerked back from the pamphlets lining the wall. He glanced after Greg’s back before swinging his gaze momentarily towards Derek. “If my mom asks, I was not looking at the one about sex,” he told Derek emphatically, eyes wide as saucers, and Derek tried to nod solemnly but figured he failed when the kid’s face fell into a scowl. “You suck,” he muttered and fell into the chair three down from Derek’s.

Derek coughed into his hand, hoping it was enough to cover the short bark of laughter. Even if the kid hadn’t looked like a smaller version of his mother, there would be no mistaking who he was, and as they waited together, Derek kept glancing his way, watching as he pulled the string from his hoodie and snagged it between his teeth. He chewed on it absently, eyes flicking from the ceiling to the plaques lining the walls and back to the pamphlets, even occasionally at him. Derek could feel himself being sized up, studied, as if the data was being collected and filed away for future use.

Derek glanced at the door when he heard Mrs. Stilinski get out of her chair, listened to the soft pad of her feet – by this time of the school day, her heels were always tucked away under her desk all but forgotten – and she gave him that full smile of hers, the one with all her teeth that made Derek feel both embarrassed and adored. “Hey, Derek, give me one sec, okay?”

He nodded quietly and watched as the kid scampered over to her. His long, skinny arms wrapped around her middle while her hands cupped his head, fingers skimming over his short hair. “Hey, little mister, I only have the one student to meet with and he’s one of my good ones so I shouldn’t be more than another fifteen minutes,” she murmured, and it was only because of Derek’s sensitive hearing that it wasn’t just sweetly toned nonsense. “Then we’ll go to Dave’s for pizza, yeah? We can eat there and bring a pizza home for your father.”

“Okay.” The kid let her kiss him on his forehead, only squirmed a little bit, face blooming bright red, and then took his seat to wait again.

“You ready, Derek? I have some brochures I want you to look at,” she said as she turned back into her office. “Now I want you to really think about this one school. I know you’ve never given –”

Derek couldn’t help the way his mouth twitched as she kept on going, and he sat down across from her, giving into the smile because she was as excited about the prospect of college as he was, as his mother was when she wasn’t distracted by her duties as Alpha or his younger brother and sister or whatever latest catastrophe his cousins had caused. He took each brochure, but paid special attention to the one she handed over last, stared at the smiling students on the beautiful, sprawling, green campus.

He left thirty minutes later and found her kid curled up in the chair, his head on his knees, sleeping.

-

When Stiles wakes up, he knows he’s in Derek’s bed, in Derek’s house. He knows it before he’s even opened his eyes because he can smell the Alpha everywhere; his scent is all over Stiles’ clothes, or rather what’s left of them, but more disconcerting, his skin. It probably has something to do with the change, the way Derek had lain over him as he performed the bite, not pressing his full weight into him, but certainly not concerned with all of Stiles’ blood further ruining a previously fine pair of jeans and t-shirt.

He’s definitely not dead, and he blows out a long, relieved breath as the reality of this sinks in. He finds himself searching out the rhythm of Derek moving around downstairs, the steady thud of footsteps as he goes from the kitchen into the living room, and if he concentrates enough, zones in, he can hear Derek’s breath as it whooshes through his lungs, the beat of his heart inside his ribcage. It’s freaky and yet strangely comforting, and even more comforting is the knowledge that Derek knows he’s awake, knew it the moment it happened. He doesn’t try to investigate the feeling, the way it settles him even as his brain and his body long to give in to the lingering feelings of panic. They’re like echoes of who he used to be, the guy he was twenty-two hours ago.

Which is the first weird thing, because if there’s a moment to panic, it’s when you wake up a werewolf, even if you did ask for the bite so you wouldn’t die, but then he realizes that he’s more than just not panicking, he’s calm. His brain isn’t skittering from one thought to the next. There’s no steady stream of images flashing and running on an endless loop. It’s more than just the calming of his Alpha downstairs, he knows this, and he has a startling thought: he won’t have to be on Adderall anymore. The wolf is there, rolling beneath his skin, anchoring him, allowing the hard-won focus to override his usual impulses, and his heart plummets a bit. Even as he remembers the inhaler Scott keeps in his backpack, still, after all of this time, like some kind of reminder of that wheezing, desperately unlucky kid who went into the woods one night, he feels the loss, not just of what his future could have been as a human, but of that other self, the one he’s watching now, in his head.

He finally opens his eyes, rolls onto his side and hugs Derek’s pillow to his chest. Their scents are mixed there, in the sheets on the bed, and Stiles knows that Derek has been keeping an eye on him because Derek’s scent is layered in with his, not older. There’s a shiver at that, a trill up his spine, and he shakes his head, refusing to tackle that mess of thoughts and feelings, leaving it for another day when he hasn’t just woken up a werewolf. Instead he tries to focus on the good: he’s alive. Soon he’ll walk through his front door and his father will be gruff and tell him to call if he’s going to be staying over at Scott’s because “I’m your father and it’s my job to worry about you.” Then he’ll be alive to hug his father, to enjoy the bite of bony forearms pressing into his back because his father always hugs too tight, too hard, just like he likes it.

“You should come downstairs,” Derek says quietly, as if he’s right beside Stiles and not several rooms and a floor away. “We need to talk.”

Stiles nods, then remembers that Derek can’t actually see him, and says, “Okay,” as he sits up, twists until his bare feet are flat on the floor beside the bed. There are fresh clothes folded up on a chair across from him (Scott must have stopped by Stiles’ house because they’re his), and he dresses quickly, taking only a brief moment to glance down at his chest, to touch the unmarred skin. His heart picks up as he follows Derek’s scent from his room, down the long hall, and out onto the landing. At the foot of the staircase, Derek waits and Stiles can’t help but grin as he ambles down, his new wolf yipping happily at the nearness of its Alpha, taking the stairs two at a time.

“We need to discuss some things,” Derek says and walks off, clearly expecting Stiles to follow. Stiles can’t help but raise his head, scent the air in his wake, and he fervently hopes it’s just the whole Derek-is-his-Alpha that makes his smell so enticing. It’s like a crisp October night spent on the back porch with his dad while they avoid the marauding hordes of neighborhood kids hopped up on the combination of candy, excitement, and staying out after dark; his great-aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie she had brought to every Thanksgiving dinner since he could remember; and those yeast rolls his mom used to make for Christmas Eve dinner every year that he and his father still can’t seem to replicate even with her handwritten recipe. It’s not really a surprise that his scenting seems to be informed largely by food, but associating Derek with all of his favorites is more than concerning. He wonders idly, taking the last few steps at a leap and landing with a quiet thump that he can’t even fully appreciate he’s so fucking flummoxed, if that whole avoidance thing can hold over at least a few more days because he really doesn’t want to touch any of this with a ten-foot pole.

Stiles walks into the kitchen, which is the only room Derek has made any headway with renovations. Light, honey-colored wood cabinets, the muted green glass tiles of the backsplash, and brand new hardwood flooring several shades darker than the cabinets have replaced the once-charred remains of the room. (He suspects the girls’ input on the coloring of everything because he is almost positive the place could have been every color of the rainbow and Derek wouldn’t have noticed a thing.) It’s a weird transition, moving from the old to the new, and all of the new smells – spackling, thin set, caulking, the metallic scent of the sink and appliances plus the two guys Derek hired to do the electrical and plumbing work – send Stiles’ senses into overdrive. He has to take several deep breaths before he can speak. “Discuss what?”

“First: you’ll be at every training session from now on. We have a couple of weeks until the full moon. It’ll be your first and I don’t want you going off the rails like Scott.”

Stiles nods. He doesn’t want that either. The very idea that he could hurt someone further sinks his mood, twists his stomach, but regardless of whatever he’s feeling towards Derek, he knows he’s in a much better place with Derek than either he or Scott were a year ago so it will hopefully make for a much better learning curve. The simple fact that he trusts Derek, implicitly, is enough. It’s like a tether, one Stiles won’t have to worry will break or fray. It’s too strong.

“I want one of the other betas with you if you’re not here. Even when you’re home, whether or not your father is on shift, I want someone there with you. When it gets closer to the full moon, you’ll need to be here.” Derek’s voice is soft, like usual, for all that he is laying down the ground rules for Stiles’ foreseeable future, some that may not go over so well with a certain Sheriff, but Stiles knows he’s right.

“Affirmative.” Stiles waits a beat but Derek is just watching him, maybe waiting for an argument or a wise crack; Stiles for once has neither. “I assume there’s more?” he prompts.

“Second: don’t ever do something that fucking stupid again.” Derek’s eyes flash red, and where before being on the receiving end of Derek’s glares left Stiles in great fear for the integrity of his body, now it’s got an extra layer of mortification: he feels chastened, as if he’s the errant child and Derek the disappointed parent. That. That is just so not right Stiles nearly gags.

Flushing, Stiles focuses on the refrigerator over Derek’s left shoulder. He can almost taste what Derek doesn’t say, doesn’t ask – why? It blooms outward from Derek and a part of him knows Derek has too much control for it to be anything but on purpose. The air thickens around them and Derek’s silent question butts up against Stiles, tapping at his sternum like fingers, asking to be let in, but Stiles isn’t ready to tackle that question himself and he certainly isn’t willing to explore his motivations with someone else, especially when that someone else is the person at the center of it all. When he hazards a glance back at Derek, his nostrils flare and his eyes glow their human green, but Stiles flushes brighter and for altogether different reasons. He can smell himself, smell the arousal strengthening, and Jesus, he’s probably smelled a little like this the entire time he’s known Derek.

Then it passes because Derek isn’t a complete asshole, but his eyes don’t leave Stiles’ face. “How do you feel?” and that he can say those words, to Stiles of all people, and not look pained or like he wants to be anywhere but in his own kitchen kind of makes Stiles’ head spin.

“I, um. I’m good.” He tries for a grin but it feels like mostly grimace. “I don’t think I need my Adderall anymore…so yay?”

“For the time being, you’ll have to appear like you need and are taking it,” Derek says.

“I figured,” Stiles says, sagging against the counter. One more lie to keep up with his father, for his father, and he chafes at the idea. He tugs on his ear in sudden agitation. “Do you think, maybe – do you think I could ever tell him the truth?”

“When my grandfather was growing up here, the sheriff knew about us. He even married a great-great-aunt of mine.” Derek places his hands on the countertop, flat, fingers spread out and stares at them as he continues. “It helped. Then hunters killed him as an example to other humans, other ‘race traitors.’” At this, he meets Stiles’ eyes again. “We haven’t taken anyone in law enforcement into our confidence since, if only for their own protection.”

“Jesus.” Stiles lets out a shaky breath and tries to stop from vomiting his empty stomach on to the kitchen counter. He doesn’t want to take any of it back – choosing the bite or hell, choosing to join this merry band of fools long before that – but the thought of losing his father never stops being more than he can physically bear. It is a constant worry, the fear that nips at his heels wherever he goes. “So no then.”

Derek shakes his head. “We’ll table it – for now. If it becomes less safe for him to remain in the dark, then we’ll discuss it. As a pack.”

Whatever he may have said in response is forgotten as several cars screech to a halt outside, feet thumping against hard earth, up stairs inhumanly fast, and then Stiles finds himself at the bottom of his first – seriously?! Is this what they’ve been doing when he, Allison, and Lydia aren’t around? – puppy pile, and all of their scents are crowding him but not unpleasantly so; he can’t help the pleased shudder that goes through him as skin meets skin, the bump of noses, the pitch of happy whines in less-than-human throats. He feels it down into his marrow, the sense of completeness as they press in, and pack pack pack pack thrums through him, in his blood.

It just gets better, too, when Allison and Lydia join in, and he realizes with a jolt that it wasn’t just lip service all this time because the thrumming only gets louder as they hug him close, so hard that he has to blink several times before his eyes clear.

-

The second Stiles slid into the front seat of the sheriff’s cruiser, the smell of his soap and the cinnamon toothpaste he used that morning – all of it filled up the cab, and Derek knew he was in trouble and fuck if it wasn’t really inconvenient. Frustration with Scott was one thing, knocking some kind of sense into the kid another, but when Derek met Stiles’ eyes, all he could see was Mrs. Stilinski and the last time he laid eyes on her kid. Apparently the ability to find hope even in the direst of circumstances was a hereditary trait because Derek could see it there in Stiles’ eyes, in the way he tried to firm up his mouth. Fear poured out into the air between them, but he shook it off, squared his shoulders, and faced Derek down. Then Stiles opened his mouth and said, “I’m not afraid of you,” and even if Derek hadn’t been able to smell it on him, Stiles’ heart kicked into a gallop, all but singing lie lie lie lie into the air.

So he leaned forward just so he could watch Stiles jerk back, but he smelled her there, under everything else, just the barest trace, one more reminder of another time, another him. He glanced down at Stiles’ mouth as the kid talked, as he focused on his current problem, leaning against Stiles’ jeep outside, and tried to ignore the bigger problem sitting in front of him.

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