Scott sat down on the sofa in a huff, Derek not far behind him.
“Scott, come on,” Derek sat in the chair facing him, “You’re not really mad, are you?”
“No,” he snapped, “It’s just - you’re Derek. Do you even like him??”
Derek’s eyes widened in shock. Scott had managed to hit the nail on the head.
“I mean, you’re always threatening him and shoving him into walls. It’s weird to see you two like this, making out and touching and stuff. I mean, Stiles I can see. He talks a good game but he’s actually really sensitive. I can see how he’d care for you. But you? You’ve always been so cold to him. Why now? What changed?”
Derek paused, unsure of how to answer, unsure of how he really felt. “Nothing changed,” he said, “That’s the point. I just suddenly realized that Stiles had always been there. Everything else in my life slips away or I manage to push it away before it can, but Stiles somehow always comes back, whether I want him to or not.”
He looked up and met Scott’s stunned face with a completely earnest one; Derek knew he’d never be able to get it out if he didn’t say it now, “Scott I lost my parents, my sisters, my first love - hell - everyone I’ve ever loved. When I came back I was looking for safety, for something solid, I was looking for home. And somehow I found myself climbing through Stiles’s window.”
Scott chose his words carefully, “That’s great Derek, but do you actually want to be with him? Because I know Stiles, and if he’s in, he’s all in, no reservations. He’s never been with anyone before-”
“No you don’t know!” Scott raised his voice, “He’s never been in love before, so for him to open his heart to you is a really big thing! I saw the way he looked at you in there; can you honestly tell me that you feel the same way? That you won’t bail on him the second things get too hard?!”
“No,” Derek said softly.
Scott growled and his eyes flashed red. He stood up, but the flicker of fear he saw in Derek’s eyes stilled him. Scott returned to the sofa, stunned that he’d just intimidated the former Alpha. He took a deep breath, “Stiles is my brother, Derek. I won’t see him get hurt. I won’t let you do that to him.”
“I-” Derek faltered, “I can’t promise you he won’t get hurt. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about him. Until last night I didn’t even know he liked me, even as a friend, even as a person, but I can tell you, Scott, that I’ve never felt like this about anybody.”
Scott chuckled, “Stiles is special that way.”
“He is,” Derek agreed. “After what happened with Jennifer, and Kate, and…and Paige, I didn’t think I could be close to anyone again. I probably shouldn’t; people tend to get hurt when I date someone…”
Scott flashed him a grin, “So you two are dating now?”
“No,” Scott swore he saw a blush creeping up Derek’s neck, “but I care about him. And I want to see where this goes.”
“You still don’t get it Derek,” Scott protested, “He was a mess when you left. He wasn’t sleeping well, he was always on edge, constantly checking with Animal Control for wolf sightings…”
“You can just look that up?”
“He may have broken into their database,” Scott admitted, “I finally confronted him about what was going on. I mean, it was tough on all of us, me, him, and Allison; we were different, after. But Stiles, Stiles was frantic. He finally broke down one day after school and told me he was furious at you for leaving and terrified you were dead in a ditch somewhere, and I knew. I just knew.”
Scott looked at Derek dead on, “I think he’s in love with you Derek.”
“What??” Derek gasped.
“I don’t think he knows it yet, but yeah, I think so.”
Derek sat back in his chair, unsure of how to process everything Scott had told him.
“So there’s no ‘seeing where things go.’ If you’re going to do this, you need to do it right.”
“Okay so what exactly happened?” Isaac piled the dishes on the counter as Stiles filled the sink with warm, soapy water. “Are you still a virgin?”
“Damn,” Isaac swore.
Stiles grabbed the first plate, “But Derek’s a gay virgin.”
“And he still said he wanted to have sex with you? God, that’s hot,” Isaac mused, “You could be each other’s firsts.”
Stiles blushed and focused on the dishes, “What he said - it was in the heat of the moment. I mean, he’d just told me how Cora died and that he’d killed thirteen people. I don’t know, it was really intense. Maybe he was just caught up in it all, maybe he doesn’t actually feel about me the way I feel about him.”
“Not possible,” Isaac shook his head, “His heart speeds up every time he’s anywhere near you.”
“Really?” Stiles couldn’t keep the excitement out of his voice, but he tried to reel it in, to play it cool, “Nothing happened really, we just made out a little and went to sleep.”
“Um, excuse me,” Isaac snatched a plate out of Stiles’s hand and began to dry it, “I just saw you guys make out. That didn’t look like nothing. You two have heat.”
“Yeah, but each time we’ve kissed, which has been...three times now, I’ve initiated it. What if he doesn’t actually like me? What if he’s just lonely?” Stiles whispered and Isaac could tell, this was what he was truly worried about.
Isaac put his plate down and rested his hand on Stiles’s arm, “Do you want me to listen in on what they’re saying?”
Stiles’s eye flicked toward the living room to where Derek and Scott were deep in conversation. He nodded slowly.
Isaac cocked his head to the side, eyebrows raised thoughtfully. Then a smile spread across his face, “Scott just asked Derek what changed the way he felt about you… Derek said you’d always been there... He said he was looking for home and he found you… Scott’s yelling at him, asking him if he’ll stick around when things get tough…” Isaac’s face clouded, “Maybe we should stop listening.”
“No!” Stiles protested, “What did he say!?”
“...He said he couldn’t promise he wouldn’t hurt you…” Isaac hesitated, but then grinned, “but he’s never felt like this about anyone!”
Stiles smiled to himself, “Alright, that’s enough. That’s all I need to hear.”
“You sure?” Isaac asked.
“Yeah,” Stiles handed him the last plate, “Now I know he cares, at least. God, am I an idiot for getting involved with Derek? I mean, it’s Derek. He’s like the least emotionally available guy we know.”
“Yeah, but it’s Derek,” Isaac argued convincingly, “We’ve all seen those abs.”
Stiles chuckled, “Isaac, can I ask you a very serious question?”
“Go for it.”
“Do you really think I could top Derek?”
“So you’re staying,” Scott stated; it wasn’t a question.
“I guess I don’t have much of a choice,” Derek admitted, “I couldn’t do that to Stiles…”
“Good. Besides, you’re the one who was always telling me an Omega can’t survive on its own, that we’re stronger in a pack.”
Derek looked up, “You want me in your pack?”
Scott sighed, “Look, I know we’ve had our differences in the past. But like it or not, you taught me most of what I know about being a werewolf. And you’ve been an Alpha before. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I could use your help.”
Derek just stared at him, apparently at a loss for words.
“Plus Isaac would tear my head off if I didn’t let you in, he’s still really loyal to you, although I can’t see why…” Derek still didn’t speak, so Scott elbowed him, “Come on, man, I’m kidding! Seriously though, will you be my Beta?”
“So it’d just be me, you, and Isaac?” Derek considered, “That’s a pretty puny pack.”
Scott didn’t miss the gratefulness in Derek’s tone, “Well those are just the werewolf members; you’re forgetting Stiles, Allison, and Lydia, plus Ethan and Aiden-”
“YOU LET THE WONDER TWINS JOIN YOUR PACK?!” Derek growled.
“Wow, Stiles is really rubbing off on you already, huh?” Scott chuckled, “They’re kind of honorary members at this point. Aiden’s dating Lydia and Ethan’s like, actually in love with Danny, so we established a truce based on that. They really helped us out while you were gone, though, training with us and stuff. They’re not bad guys, Derek.”
“Just known killers,” Derek shot back.
“The same could be said about you,” Scott saw the hurt in Derek’s eyes and knew he’d gone too far, “I’m sorry, Derek, I shouldn’t have said that. I’ve just been really on edge lately. Did that happen to you after you became an Alpha?”
“On edge how?” Derek frowned, still wary.
“I don’t know, like, mood swings and stuff.”
“I’m always moody,” Derek said with a completely straight face.
“Ha! See? Being with Stiles will be good for you.” Scott shook his head, “I don’t know maybe it’s nothing. Deaton did say sacrificing ourselves would change us. Maybe it’s just something I have to learn to live with.”
Derek softened, “Becoming an Alpha can affect each wolf differently, Scott. It’s a lot of new power that you’re not used to, of course you’re going to notice some differences.”
“Thanks Derek,” Scott smiled, “This is why I need you in the pack.”
“I’ll join your pack,” Derek rose to join Isaac and Stiles in the kitchen and Scott followed, “but Bonnie and Clyde have got to go.”
“Look at you,” Scott said as they entered the kitchen, “By the time Stiles is done with you, you’ll be a regular comedian.”
“...but then, if you angle sideways…” Derek and Scott froze as they caught Isaac and Stiles in the midst of a very complicated, very sexual conversation. Stiles sat in rapt attention as Isaac gestured wildly, apparently describing some extremely complex sexual positions.
“By the time Stiles is done with me, I’ll be lucky to be in one piece…” Derek whispered.