"Bullshit. Werewolves don't exist. Why do you think I'd believe something that ridiculous?"
"I think you'll believe the truth and the truth is Stiles is a werewolf. He was born that way."
"You know the woman who was killed the other day? The one who was cut in half? That was his mother. She was cut in half because it's one of the only ways to ensure a werewolf stays dead."
"Stays dead? Christ, Alan, do you know how that sounds?"
"Like I'm insane. Yes, Derek, I know how it sounds. It doesn't make it any less true."
Alan's calm confidence began to work its way into way into Derek's head, into his heart, making him wonder if maybe, just maybe, it could be true. Werewolves are real.
Or maybe Alan just forgot to take his anti-psychotic medication this morning.
Both options seemed equally likely at the moment.
"He giving you the "werewolves are real" speech? I keep telling him he needs to work up something like the "one girl in all the world" speech from Buffy, but he refuses. I even wrote him one a few years back, but alas, all my hard work was for naught. I'm Stiles, by the way. Thanks."
The kid – Stiles – looked good, healthy and well rested, except for a deep sadness around his eyes. Understandable if he'd just lost his mother.
"If I'm not mistaken, that usually did much better with a visual aid."
"So it did." Stiles grinned and raised his hand. His fingernails were abnormally long and thick and pointed. With Stiles' hand raised in front of his face, it was impossible to miss the glowing golden eyes, the excess facial that had come from nowhere, the fangs crowding that agile mouth.
Derek scrabbled back, forgetting he was in a rolling chair and nearly falling off when the chair hit the wall.
"That's the usual reaction," said Stiles, the fangs distorting the words. "I had hoped for something different, but looks like you are just a pretty face."
"Now, wait a minute…."
"Now, boys, you're both pretty, but we have more pressing concerns to deal with. Like who shot Stiles."
Stiles had been preening under the earlier compliment even if it hadn't been sincere, but the unnecessary reminder was like a needle in a balloon.
"Since you had the right variety of wolfs bane to fix me up, I'm voting for Kate Argent."
"That bastard hasn't done his own dirty work since Chris hit puberty, so yeah, Kate. Unless he's training up Allison behind Chris's back, in which case, senility has set in."
Derek's confusion got the better of him. "What does Sheriff Argent's family have to do with this? Are they werewolves too?"
Stiles raised his hands in surrender and gestured towards Deaton.
"Thank you for your confidence, Stiles. The Argents are a family of werewolf hunters. There is a code they follow. The code states that they don't kill children and they don't kill any werewolf who hasn't killed. Well, they're supposed to follow it. There are more hunters than the Argents, but they tend to give Beacon Hills a wide berth. The werewolf population here is very small and Chris has a good relationship with them. The others either respect what Chris is doing or they resent the hell out of it. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground there."
"So Kate shot Stiles just because he's a werewolf? How did she even know? If it even was her. I know Kate. Yeah, she's a straight up bitch, but she's not a killer."
"Stiles, there was never any proof. You know if there had been, Chris would have…."
"Done nothing. What could he have done against Gerard? Between Gerard and Sheriff Lansing, Kate could have shot my dad at high noon on Main Street with the entire population of Beacon Hill in attendance and there still would have been no evidence, no proof, no witnesses."
Stiles' voice sounded inhuman as he growled out the last few words, tears spilling out of his glowing golden eyes.
Derek wanted to move. He wanted to pull that beautiful boy close and hold him until he understood he was no longer alone.
He wanted to know there the hell that thought came from.
Deaton was holding Stiles, comforting him and Derek was surprised to find he didn't like that at all.
Okay, seriously. What the fuck was Derek's brain doing? Surely finding out werewolves were real hadn't completely addled it, had it? Maybe it had. It was the only thing that made sense.
"Are vampires real?"
Now his mouth was working without permission. Well, at least his brain won't be lonely.
Stiles and Deaton had identical "are you crazy" looks as they turned to stare at him.
"Well, I don't know, do I? Ten minutes ago, I thought werewolves were just imaginary characters in movies and bad teen fiction."
"That's a longer discussion for another day," said Deaton. "We've decided who shot Stiles, but I'd still like to know what happened. Where were you? Are Scott and Melissa all right? How did you get away?"
Taking a deep breath, Stiles sat at the break table and started talking.
"Scott and Melissa are fine. Or at least Melissa is. She's at the hospital. God only knows where Scott is. He's taking his asshole, murdering father's side, so I went to stay at McLaren's. Getting out of the jeep, I dropped my keys and as I was reaching for them, I got shot. Got back in and drove off. I was trying to get to you once I realized it was a wolfs bane bullet. Luckily, I crossed paths with Floyd over there and made it in time."
"My name's Derek, not Floyd."
Something clicked in Derek's overworked brain. "Wait. Scott and Melissa? As in Scott and Melissa McCall? As in Melissa McCall who works with my sister at the hospital? They're, she's a werewolf?"
"Yes. You have a problem with that?" Stiles was less than happy with the inquiry, if the frost in his voice and the glow in his eyes was any indication.
"What? No… I, I don't know, alright? Melissa's nice and she's Laura's friend, but she's a werewolf. What if…?"
"Look, I know you need some time to process this whole thing, but I'd appreciate it if you at least attempted to not be a complete and total dick about it while you do. Yes, Melissa and Scott McCall are werewolves. They are still the same people you knew yesterday, before you found out. The only thing's that different is that you have a fact that you didn't know before."
"I do get that. Mostly. It's just a little much to hit the ground running with, you know."
"Yeah, I know."
"Stiles, do you have any place else you can stay? I'd offer, but…."
"But if somebody's hunting me, it's just put you in danger too. I won't do that."
"You can stay with me." Good to know Derek's brain was still operating without instructions.
"So I can put you in danger instead. Perfect."
"Nobody knows we've met. There's no way to connect us."
"Except through Deaton. They know I know your boss. That's a connection, dumbass."
"I know that, but what else are you going to do? And Sheriff Argent is a good man and a good sheriff. He'll protect you."
"He's right, Stiles. You know you can trust Chris and I trust Derek. Even Kate will think twice before trying anything else."
"Yeah, it's that second thought I'm worried about."
"Stiles, you don't have a lot of options. The Hales are very well respected. Kate and Gerard would be crossing more than Chris if they hurt any of them."
Stiles wavered. He needed to stay. He needed to keep the pack safe. Could he do that if he left? No. He didn't want to think it, much less believe it, but he knew Melissa and Scott were in more danger form Michael than the Argents. Maybe if he could find Michael quickly, maybe he could keep Derek safe too. Derek and Deaton. Melissa. Scott.
"Fine, but if there's even a hint of trouble, I figure something else out."