Scott joins Derek and Stiles for dinner and drops a bombshell.
After a whirlwind tour of the Ways, the Beacon Hills group got home late Sunday night and Scott has had a day or two to get back to normal. As far as normal goes in his life. After school, he texted Derek and asked if he could come over to talk to the older alpha. Scott himself was a bit of a wreck. Running didn't help his unsettled mind and he hadn't slept at all Sunday and only a few hours (mostly in class) on Monday. Even penalty laps of the lacrosse field given by an annoyed Coach Finstock when Scott accidentally knocked Greenberg senseless with the ball didn't succeed in making Scott focus. Sure it was only 5 ounces. But that 5 ounces of hard rubber absently whipped at his head by a werewolf alpha with a lever. Happily, the hapless Greenberg had been wearing his helmet.
Thus it was that later in the evening, a bleary-eyed and nervous Scott showed up at Derek's apartment, knowing the other alpha's senses would tell him Scott was there long before he rang or bounced up the stairs to Derek's spartan apartment. Still, he gave a pro forma knock before entering. He was on Derek's territory. Werewolf etiquette.
It's a few moments before there's an answer, and then, Scott's nose will warn him before the door opens: It's not Derek. Instead, Stiles answers, and he looks a little surprised. "Scott? Hey... uh. Come on in." Dressed in oversized pajamas and barefoot, it's clear that Stiles is planning to stay a while. It also looks like Scott may have joined an evening-in-progress, because there's a pizza and several Chinese take-out containers on the coffee table, along with plates, glasses, and a bottle of something or other, depending on what Derek had on hand. There's no mood lighting or sexy music, at least, or otherwise it might be awkward. As it is, though, clearly they were about to have dinner. Stiles looks Scott over and says, "Dude, you look rough as hell. Have you not been sleeping since we got back or something?"
"Who--" Derek starts to call from the kitchen, where he's engaged in gathering napkins. "Oh." The scent is enough to alert him of who their company happens to be. Since it's Chinese and pizza, it's pretty easy to share. So he grabs an additional place setting, with plate, dinnerware, and a glass, for Scott and brings it all to the coffee table, placing it carefully at the end opposite his own, with Stiles in-between. That's appropriate, really.
Derek probably would have sensed Scott earlier, but he at least didn't detect a threat, and in any case he had dinner and Stiles to worry about. At least now he knows why something was nagging at his mind for the past half-hour or so. "I didn't expect you to come...you know...now."
Scott McCall blinks at the sight of Stiles' domesticity in Derek's apartment and his eyebrows go up. He knows, of course, that they have a thing going. But knowing and KNOWING are two different things. After a moment, he gives a ghost of his usual grin. "Um, maybe I should come back tomorrow? I kind of forgot you guys haven't had a lot of ... time, lately." Not going to say 'alone' time. Because that involves implications he just doesn't want to picture about his best friend. Or Derek, his sometime mentor, for that matter. And especially not together. Like really tall legos. Or dude Jinga.... Scott grimaces and rubs his hand down his face, from eyes to jaw. "Not a lot."
At Derek's words, he shrugs uncomfortably and says, "Dudes. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to jump into the middle of your evening." He stands there a moment, uncomfortable, obviously thinking of going, but he has the bit between his teeth and Scott, when he's set on something, is one stubborn guy. After a moment he says, "Ah, I can make it quick, if it's still okay?"
Stiles just reaches out to take Scott by the arm and lead him over to the coffee table, drawing up a chair for him, and then goes to his own place, which is of course on the couch, just beside Derek's. Stiles perches his butt on the edge of the cushion, leaning forward with clear interest, and looks Scott over thoughtfully. "It shows," he finally says, looking concerned, but he seems a little more mellow than usual. Maybe thus the pajamas. Who knows? Either way, he snags an egg roll without ceremony and munches on it, looking to Derek searchingly, as if trying to figure something out. Finally he just shrugs and falls quiet, clearly figuring that the alphas need to talk. Besides, in Stiles' mind, his Sourwolf and his best friend don't spend enough being social. He doesn't want to disrupt it.
"Sit. Eat." Derek motions to the vast amounts of food they have gathered. It's not really stated one way or the other if they actually intended to eat all of it by themselves, but if so, they may both have needed to have extra stomachs. "And don't make me sit on you until you pass out." It's Derek's own gruff way of showing he cares: physically incapacitating people into unconsciousness. For their own good! Stiles is, by now, familiar with the tough love that Mr. Hale expresses.
Derek sits by Stiles and gives him a little glance as he grabs the egg roll, but he starts to load his own plate wordlessly. Clearly he figures that Scott will speak and doesn't want to interrupt before he's started.
That grin becomes a little more genuine as Stiles pulls Scott into the apartment and the young alpha says to both of them, "Thanks." He takes a single Mongolian beef skewer and doesn't even eat that, mostly just occupying his hands by turning the long wooden skewer round and round as he considers how to say what he's going to say. After a moment, he looks up and those dark brown eyes are almost haunted looking. "Did Stiles tell you about the ...stuff... that happened with Jason and Jacob and their pack?" Jason keeps denying that he has a pack, but what he does have fits the definition well enough for Scott.
Stiles loads up his plate, too, with a couple of slices of pizza, some fried noodles, and egg fu yong. Plus another egg roll. Yeah, this was definitely meant to be a huge feast, way more than the two of them could have finished alone. After swallowing his bite of food, Stiles finally just asks, "What part? We talked some, but I wasn't done explaining everything yet." He glances between them. "He knows that while we were up there, Jason got kidnapped and we had to help Jacob rescue him. He knows that Jason's crazy-and-evil father and brother are dead and that the rest of his people are free, now. He knows that we didn't like the part with the killing, and he knows we're really glad that we're home now." He shrugs some. "Some of it I figured maybe you should tell him yourself." It's clear that Stiles is trying to both be honest with Derek but also nudge Scott to divulge his own news. Sometimes it's better to hear things from the source, after all.
Derek just looks as more or less impassive as he always tends to be. It's just how he is: most of the time expressionless, the rest of the time somewhere orbiting around stern or ominous. He seems...expectant, which is probably exactly what he is as he looks to Scott once, then goes back to gathering food for his plate. "Eat," he repeats. There's almost an implied "or else" threat in his tone. "And tell me."
Scott responds to the tone, if nothing else and starts nibbling on the appetizer. Which is when his stomach clenches so hard that it almost hurts. When did he last eat? Yesterday? Yeah. Sometime Monday. While he speaks, Scott wolfs down that strip of beef and reaches for a plate, starting to load it down now that he's been reminded that he's hungry. He clears his throat and says, "So, other stuff happened. I talked a lot with Jake and saw a lot of what he could do. And there was this thing with a Fairy. A Fairy queen. She, um, gave me an IOU for a favor. I used it. Things didn't go the way I planned." That's the understatement of the year. "I'm ... linked with Jacob now. And Jason. But they don't want me around. I can live with that part." Which is, of course, why he hasn't been sleeping or eating. Because he can 'live' with that part. "But the killing thing. I realized I'm never going to talk them out of it. Or Brock, the lion alpha. Or ANY alpha I've met. You're the only other one who doesn't slaughter people at the drop of a hat." And even Derek is a little scary sometimes. "Anyway, there are a couple of things. First, I'm not reliable any more. My brain is ... messed up, where those two are concerned. So if something goes bad, I ... I'd like you to look after my betas. I've already talked to Ethan about it and he respects and likes you. And will listen to you. I think you can keep both of them from going bad again. And Liam will be a brat about it, but he needs an alpha. Maybe a tougher one than me." He explains all that while eating, swallowing and trying not to talk with his mouth full, so it takes a while. "I know it's a lot to ask, but I would feel better knowing you're there for them. And for the town." He swallows finally and says, a little more quietly, revealing just how seriously bad he thinks things might get by adding, "And my mom."
Stiles' jaw clenches as Scott speaks, and he looks less and less happy about where this is going, but at the same time, he's glad Scott decided to tell Derek directly about all this. It's something Stiles couldn't have let himself keep from Derek for long, but he much prefers that Scott's done the telling. So, he keeps back all the snark and the comments he'd love to make. Instead he just eats his food, paying very close attention to the other two and their words. One can practically see the colored threads reflected in his eyes: Stiles is working things out, perhaps now more than ever before.
Derek sits back, breathes in through his nose -- audibly -- and then out again, more quietly. He stares forward, and then suddenly he moves, but it's only to pick up his glass. Just water. Purified water, of course, not the tap stuff. That's gross around Beacon Hills and will probably lead to mineral buildup on the urethra.
"If something goes bad, I'll be there to beat the stupid out of you," Derek evenly replies, looking to his plate and taking a nice big mouthful of pizza, like ripping into a carcass and...well, wolves will know how that goes. He is suitably placated by the buildup, definitely by the positive talking-up of his abilities and his role in Beacon Hills. "The Good Folk," he carefully continues, which shows some familiarity with them, "always have a twist to their gifts. Haven't you read any fairy tales?"
Scott snorts that that offer to beat the stupid out of him. That might be coming next. At the question, he shakes his head and says, blankly, "Um ... no?" Scott's Achilles heel: anything related to cultural literacy. He shrugs and says, "Yeah, but it's done now and I don't think I can undo it." He pauses a moment, finishing off a slice of pizza and then continues, watching Derek's expression carefully as he says, "Which, um, brings me to the next thing." The younger alpha is visibly ordering his words and trying to figure out how to ask what he wants to ask. "You were born a werewolf, right? I mean, you were always going to be one, no matter what. But people who get bitten, even ones who end up being alphas, have any of them ever been, um, cured? Gotten out of being a werewolf?" There's no way to hide why he's asking. It might even be an offensive question, coming from somebody who has been blessed with that rare 'true alpha' gift.
Stiles' pizza hits his plate with a rather loud splat of extra cheese. He stares at his friend, chews twice more, and swallows. "Okay, I've just gotta make sure I'm hearing you right," he says, setting down his plate and planting one hand on each of his knees. "You want... you want to give Derek your whole pack... and now you're back to the whole 'wanna be cured' thing?" He flings up both hands, then, shaking them back and forth between him and Scott as though framing some invisible tunnel between their faces. "Tell me that someone invented werewolf booze and you're just drunk, or I'm gonna kick your freakin' ass!" He doesn't even include his usual go-to of "little werewolf ass," perhaps because of Scott's stated plan. But Stiles is clearly about to go into total meltdown of indignation mode.
"Calm down, Stiles." Derek looks so cool, so calm and even. But everyone who knows him should probably know to be a little afraid by his tone. It's a little cooler than usual. Too cool. Too calm. "I'll hook you up with a book, and then I'll cure you of being a werewolf. It involves me cutting your head off and stuffing your mouth with wolfsbane. Then I bury it at a crossroads. I'm not sure, but I think that'll do it." His eyes gleam red for a moment...but just for that moment. Then it's gone.
As the tension level ramps up, Scott instinctively puts down his food. His family situation, specifically his father's drunken mistakes with Scott and his Mother have left the teenager very ...aware... of when somebody he loves is unhappy with him. And very uncomfortable. But he meets Stiles gaze after a moment and says, "Stiles, think about it a minute. From where I am." He pauses as Derek speaks and then winces at that flat, level tone. Alright. The easy way isn't going to work. And he can't count of support from Derek. That's fine. He figured that would be the case. At that flash of red eyes, Scott stiffens, but he doesn't return it. He's on Derek's home ground. Instinctively, he knows it's improper to challenge the older alpha, and his friend, in his own home. His den, as it were. "Look, both of you ... I didn't ask to be a werewolf. But I've done everything I could to make the best of it. To do a little good. But I think they are right. You can't be a werewolf without killing somebody sooner or later. Or a lot of somebodies." He glances at Derek and then away, "Any alpha has blood on his hands. All of them. I've been lucky so far, but I'd rather go back to being weak and wheezing than to be a killer."
Stiles shuts up, solely courtesy of Derek's instruction, and he tears into his pizza again while glaring in pure indignation at Scott. He nods in emphatic support of Derek's description of the situation, and if his mouth weren't full he'd say See? See what Derek says? Listen to Derek! But instead he just chews with growing ire. But he slows down at Scott's words and heaves a big sigh. Shaking his head, he manages to keep his shit together and let Derek speak. But from the look he shoots Scott, Stiles clearly does not approve of this line of logic. He looks hopefully to Derek, counting on him to make some sense of this mess.
"Stop whining." Derek's as plain as always. But then, nobody comes to Derek -- nobody with any sense who's actually met him -- for platitudes and meaningless reassurances. "We can train, if you're that worried about it." Which Scott will know, Derek's done a lot of training in the past few months: Erica and Boyd, Ainsley, even Stiles has benefited from Derek's ability to pull it together lately. He's been busy. And he did coordinate a massive takedown of some pretty nasty golems too, which surely Scott will have heard about.
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone so determined not to kill anybody else. You go out of your way. And once...I thought it was stupid." Derek takes another hefty bite, but he wolfs it down. Appropriately enough. "But you lead your pack like you think is right. Maybe...you've got a point. It's easier to just kill our enemies. But the thing we've all learned is that it doesn't actually tend to stop them. It may make some things easier for the moment. But it doesn't solve the problem. It just causes other problems that may be easier. Or..." his brow lowers, "may be worse."
Scott McCall actually snorts with laughter and gives Derek that puppyish grin of his at the advice to stop whining. That's Derek. And one of the reasons Scott really likes and respects the older alpha. He might agree with Derek's advice, but he always knows it coms from the right place. With very little sugar coating. Apparently he saves the sugar for Stiles... nope. Not thinking about that. And then Derek is continuing. Scott nods and points out, "Ethan and Aiden are proof that people can change. Or at least I hope they are. I want to keep an eye on them, basically forever, but if we killed them, they would never have had a chance to do better. To be better." He sighs and runs his hands back through his air, nervous and tired at the same time, wired in a way that's exhausting and stemming from exhaustion at the same time. "
And I definitely want to get my pack together with you for some training. For all of us. And for everybody to get to know each other. That would be good. Maybe together we can help make this town safe for the regular people for a chance. No more 'mountain lion' attacks. He rolls his eyes at that catch-all category used by the sheriff's office for every weird death. "And thank you for saying that, Derek." But Stiles, who knows Scott very well indeed, probably would notice that stubborn glint in his eyes. And the set of his uneven jaw. Yeah, Scott's decided to do something and it will take a bomb to dislodge him from his plan now. He'll just stop talking about it and do it.
Scott McCall actually snorts with laughter and gives Derek that puppyish grin of his at the advice to stop whining. That's Derek. And one of the reasons Scott really likes and respects the older alpha. He might agree with Derek's advice, but he always knows it coms from the right place. With very little sugar coating. Apparently he saves the sugar for Stiles... nope. Not thinking about that. And then Derek is continuing. Scott nods and points out, "Ethan and Aiden are proof that people can change. Or at least I hope they are. I want to keep an eye on them, basically forever, but if we killed them, they would never have had a chance to do better. To be better." He sighs and runs his hands back through his air, nervous and tired at the same time, wired in a way that's exhausting and stemming from exhaustion at the same time.
"And I definitely want to get my pack together with you for some training. For all of us. And for everybody to get to know each other. That would be good. Maybe together we can help make this town safe for the regular people for a chance. No more 'mountain lion' attacks." He rolls his eyes at that catch-all category used by the sheriff's office for every weird death. "And thank you for saying that, Derek." But Stiles, who knows Scott very well indeed, probably would notice that stubborn glint in his eyes. And the set of his uneven jaw. Yeah, Scott's decided to do something and it will take a bomb to dislodge him from his plan now. He'll just stop talking about it and do it.
Stiles's attention actually goes to Derek for most of that exchange, a look of warmth, gratitude, and even quiet pride dawning across his features. Derek's so hardcore about things, it's not often anyone--even Stiles--hears such words from him. They're very clearly welcome words. And he reaches over to give Derek's thigh a subtle, grateful squeeze. He wills the words thank you, even though he doesn't say them out loud yet. As for Scott, Stiles gives him a positively flinty look of his own. "Yes, yes, to Derek-wan you listen," he grumbles, despite knowing that Scott won't get the reference. Derek should, at least. "You guys should all train with him. With all of us. And... don't bail on everyone, dude. Seriously." And then he looks back down at his plate, grabs his chopsticks, and shoves a big ball of noodles into his mouth. Because at least then he won't be tempted to keep talking.
Derek looks pleased enough at this exchange. He's satisfied with most of Scott's words, but there's more that he reads, that maybe he's the best at reading, since so much of his communication occurs on a non-verbal plane: he's more a person of postures, miens, moods, and movements. The things that can be conveyed through the way someone sits or holds the body, the little details of their simple state of being, are all his vocabulary. He notices things.
He notices Scott's eyes.
"Don't make me say it for nothing." Derek answers, a bit more gently than his usual way of speaking. "If you run away, I will drag your ass back here, a thousand miles if I have to."
The teenager tilts his head at Stiles words and asks, about the Derek-wan thing, "Dude? You speak Japanese now?" And then, when Derek speaks, he sighs and sits back, yawning hugely and sneaker tapping the floor in a staccato, nervous rhythm as he gives the other alpha his best skeptical look and says, "Dude, you know me. Better than most people, other than Stiles and my Mom. I'm not going to start running out on my responsibilities now." Of course, that doesn't mean he's also not going to find a way to relieve himself of those responsibilities, but that's not quite the same thing. That's a RESPONSIBLE way of doing it. A mature way. Not the same thing as running away. At all. Or so he's trying to convince himself.
"AAAAAAUGH!" Stiles replies, in a singular display of articulate linguistic prowess. He chomps his way through that mouthful of noodles faster than a wad of curly fries when he's heard there's been a murder, swallows, and then glares at Scott. "Go see Star Wars!" he grouses, and then, rather than indulging the rant that it's clear he wants go make, he looks to Derek and snorts. "You try talking sense into him. Maybe this is one of those alpha to alpha talks, 'cause right now I'm not even speaking his language." A beat, and he glares at Scott. "Which is not freakin' Japanese!" And then he slumps back into the couch, grumpily working his way through the food on his plate.
And through it all, those damned colored strands of yarn keep on forming in his mind. It's like they've become harder than ever to ignore, so much more vivid... and distracting.
"It's Star Wars," Derek replies, about when Stiles says "Go see Star Wars", which works well enough since they manage to say the title at almost exactly the same time. "I'm willing to help you, Scott. But I'm not going to do your job for you. We can cover each other for a little while." But then, Derek has been picking up the slack for Scott for oh...somewhere about the whole summer long. It's eventually going to reach a point, maybe around Halloween or Christmas time, that the older alpha is just not going to be willing to go for that any longer.
Scott McCall nods and says, "I hear you. And I'm sorry. I'll make sure my pack is back in the mix. And definitely getting in some time for that training and meeting." He stands and looks between the two of them, grinning a little, though he still looks tired. At least he's well fed now. "And I should let you two get back to, um, date night or whatever." He has to admit, it looks a lot more cozy than a lot of the time he spent with Allison, watching her polish her arrows and fill her quiver. In retrospect, even when he was in a relationship, it wasn't exactly domestic. Sex, sure. But not ... togetherness. Not hanging out in PJs, having take-out. Because Allison's mother was a psycho killer and her father not far behind. And Scott was uncomfortable bringing her home to his own mother. Watching Stiles and Derek, the young alpha's expression is fleetingly wistful and a little jealous before he grins and shrugs. "I'm out. Have fun. And thanks." And with that, Scott heads for the door.
Stiles shakes his head at Scott a little, putting down his plate, and sits forward again. "Don't try to be a lone wolf, Scott," he says quietly. "You're not Jason. And even Jason isn't Jason. Even he needs people. I know I'm biased, but if you really wanna good role model? Look at Derek. He's stronger with a pack. He's protecting our town. He's got things figured out pretty good right now." And then he slumps back against the couch. "Seeya in class tomorrow, dude. Be smart."
"Make sure that you are back in the mix," Derek points out, with a significant look catching Scott's eyes and looking deep, very deep, into them. He wants to be sure he's understood. And to that end, he puts his plate and glass on the coffee table and, eyes still on Scott, he rises to his impressive full height and breadth, like a thunderhead unfurling in the sky backlit by chain lightning. His chin raises, his head tilts back, he breathes deep and slow, and he's silent for most of that time.
Silent but for the breathing, soft but something to be heard by enhanced senses. "Stay if you need to." He motions to Stiles as Stiles says what he has to say. As if to say, without saying, that Stiles is correct. He can't say it better, so he doesn't try to. Why speak when it's unnecessary?
When Derek stands and does the looming thing, Scott looks back at him, eyes widening a little in surprise. Damn, the older alpha caught that slight deception on Scott's part. Which, of course, makes Scott feel guilty for even trying to lie by omission. He nods and says again, "I hear you." Which isn't exactly a challenge or a confirmation. For both of them, who have seen how stubborn and strong willed Scott usually is, the sight of him meeting that steel and fire from Derek with tired acceptance may be an indication of how low Scott is at the moment. He considers going home. To spending another night tossing and turning in an empty and cold bed, in a house too quiet because his mother is at work and too well-cleaned to smell like pack. At Derek's offer, Scott swallows and then, realizing he doesn't want to be alone, still aching inside from what he thinks he can't have and the people he thinks don't want him, he nods. "Yeah, I'd like that." He grins faintly, trying to lighten up the moment by saying, "But I swear to god, if I hear any making out noises from you two, I'm going to throw myself off the balcony out there and see if heights can kill werewolves."