Dances With Wolves
? 17 / 25
"Anchors in a snow storm"
It’s the first full moon since the lunar eclipse that Stiles has reason to acknowledge.
It’s just a Tuesday, but it’s the first night in a long time Melissa is off the night shift, so Stiles’ dad invites the McCalls over for dinner. Stiles knows he’s wanted to for some time now; has eavesdropped on him asking her on the phone several times last week, but their different work schedules never wanted to cooperate.
Scott is the first one through the door, opening it the moment Melissa rings the doorbell. She lands a punch on her son’s bicep and reminds him to show manners, but they all know Stiles and Scott are a lost cause. Stiles even got a key to their front door, so Scott barging in like he lives there isn’t a big deal.
Isaac appears looking as if he’s not sure he’s even invited, but the sheriff puts a hand on his shoulder and pulls him inside without any hesitation.
"It’s a full moon tonight," Scott reminds them while taking off his jacket. "I figured we shouldn’t be separated," he explains, looking over at Isaac who’s unwrapping the scarf around his neck. "Just in case."
But the sheriff just waves it off. “No excuses needed,” he assures. “Isaac, you are always welcome here,” he says, giving Isaac a light smile. Funny; Stiles always thought of Isaac as a puppy, but this time he looks more like a kitten. “But I do agree that sounds safest.”
"Me too," Melissa agrees. "And wherever the other wolves in town are, I hope they’ll hold hard onto their anchors as well because I really need this night off."
A chuckle surges among them, and Stiles’ dad starts herding them toward the kitchen.
Stiles had actually forgotten about the full moon, and for a moment he feels really bad about it. Since the last two full moons had passed by without any chaos, he’s simply stopped paying attention to the moon cycle. All werewolves in the area are in control, have their anchors, so there hasn’t really been a reason to count down or dread the full moon nights.
He thinks about the twins for a moment, wondering if their anchors would’ve changed after the showdown with the Darach. Scott’s hadn’t changed, just extended. As long as it works, Stiles isn’t gonna question it. He just hopes that Lydia and Danny are smart enough – which he knows they are – to deal with their werewolf boyfriends in whatever way that keeps them from going on a rampage. They’ve been fine for the past two times, after all.
"Alright, let’s eat," the sheriff declares and none of them hesitate to obey.
The weather had been bad when the teens went to Derek’s loft earlier in the afternoon, but by the time they finish dinner it’s blown up to a full snow storm. The wind is whistling and the snow tumbling around outside, and Stiles feels genuinely pleased to be inside right now because he’d probably blow away in the harsh wind.
Melissa suggests she and the boys better head home before it gets worse, but the sheriff protests that it’s already worse and insists on them staying for dessert. He’s always wanted to try his hand at cheesecake anyway. Stiles signals quickly to Melissa to hurry after him to help – AKA save the cheesecake.
Stiles goes to look out through the window, and the first thing that catches his eye is the big circle in the night sky. He would call it beautiful if it hadn’t been for all the trouble it’s cost, so he just glares.
He sees Isaac sneaking his hand to Scott’s thigh under the table in the corner of his eye, but he pretends to be oblivious.
The cheesecake is done only minutes before the power goes out.
"Bring more candles!" Stiles yells after his dad when he heads back into the kitchen with the empty sauce pan to prepare to make another round of hot chocolate over the fire.
"Stiles, I think this is enough," Melissa remarks, gesturing to the dozen of candles on practically every even surface in the room, glowing like stars in the dark.
"There can never be enough candles," Stiles argues even though he’s pretty sure these are all candles they own, so he’ll let it slide for now.
Melissa scoffs and wraps her blanket righter around herself, shifting to sit just a little bit closer to Scott next to her on the floor to make up for the cold spot the sheriff had left. She’s not even trying to be subtle about it; not ashamed to take advantage of her son’s abilities, which in this case is the fact that he works like a heater.
Stiles, however, still has some pride left and therefore only scoots closer to the fireplace rather than his best friend or his boyfriend. He’s put on a hoodie and has a blanket of his own wrapped around him, but it’s still cold as hell. Scott and Isaac are still in their t-shirts, those hot bastards.
"What time is it?" Isaac asks.
"A little past ten," Stiles’ dad calls from the kitchen before either of them have a chance to reach for their phones.
"Damn," Scott breathes. "I have an assignment due tomorrow."
"They’ll probably close the school if this keeps going much longer," Melissa says, "So don’t worry about that, honey."
"You’ll stay in my room if it goes past bedtime," Stiles decides.
"This is past bedtime,” Melissa remarks, but the boys don’t pay her any mind.
"What about me?" Isaac wonders, coking his eyebrow and somehow managing to look both offended and threatening at the same time.
"I was talking about both of you," Stiles declares. "Oh my god, I’m not so stupid I’d cockblock you on a full moon night."
"Stiles!" Both mother and son sighs in unison. Isaac looks plainly embarrassed.
Their following accusations are interrupted by the sound of someone knocking loudly on the front door. They all freeze, listening to the raging storm outside and looks uncertainty at each other.
"Was that actually a knock or just a tree that fell on our door?" Stiles asks because who the hell would even be outside right now?
"Pretty sure that’s a knock," Melissa says. "Like, 85% sure."
"Stiles, can you get that?" His dad calls from the kitchen, clearly not picking up on just how creepy it is.
"This is like a horror story," Stiles complains as he has to release himself from the cozy blanket to stand up.
"Which one?" Scott asks.
"I don’t know," Stiles admits. "But I’m positive there’s one that goes very much like this."
The hallway is pitch black, and if he didn’t know this house as well as he does, he probably would’ve tripped more than once while making his way to the door. There’s nothing but the storm blowing outside to be heard, and Stiles wishes they had one of those peepholes so he could see if there’s actually someone out there before unlocking the front door. Clearly the town’s sheriff should have one, and not just for his son’s entertainment.
His plan is to only crack the door open enough to peek out, but just like most plans lately it all goes to hell when the strong wind slams the door wide open the second he presses down on the handle, and the loud bang as it collides against the wall makes Stiles fear it’ll fall off its hinges. At least it’s open, he figures, and it turns out it was a knock because standing on the porch with a bewildered expression is Derek.
Then his eyes flash blue, and Stiles gets a vivid déjà vu from that one time when the werewolf had showed up dying in the school’s parking lot and ended up spending most of the day in his Jeep.
"Derek? Oh my god." Stiles instinctively grabs him by the arm and yanks him inside before struggling to shut the door. "Are you crazy? What are you doing outside in this weather?"
Derek doesn’t even get a chance to answer before Isaac and Scott appear, their eyes glowing like lanterns in the dark.
"Derek?" Scott echoes. "Are you okay?"
"I’m fine," Derek says, but sounds like he’s talking through gritted teeth.
Stiles can hear muffled voices from the kitchen, figuring Melissa has gone to join his dad to make sure none of the sacred ingredients for the cocoa is forgotten (it has happened) or perhaps she heard who was at the door and left the living room to give them some space. Either way, she’s awesome.
"Well, you can’t just stand here like a wet dog," he says, nodding down the corridor where a warm light can be seen at the end. "Come on."
Derek doesn’t even try to object, just lets himself be lead back to the living room where the candles are still burning and the flames are still dancing in the fireplace. Blankets are thrown everywhere, pillows in disarray on the two couches and empty, dirty mugs spread out all over the place. Stiles realizes it looks like a slumber party.
He pushes Derek to sit on the closest couch and wraps a blanket around his damp shoulders, debating whether he should go fetch a towel instead.
"You know I can’t really get sick, right?" Derek wonders in a light tone, meeting Stiles’ gaze over his shoulder, and his eyes are back to normal now.
"For the sake of my sanity, let’s pretend that you do," Stiles says firmly before reaching for his own blanket.
Scott and Isaac have returned to their spots on the floor, so their supernatural heat is out of Stiles’ reach. Luckily he’s got another hot werewolf (pun intended) next to him on the couch, and he shamelessly snuggles into his side. Derek doesn’t protest.
The grown-ups reappear a while later, and Stiles is a little curious of what took them so long, but he doesn’t call them out on it. The new mug in his father’s hand speaks for him both acknowledging and accepting the addition to the group, which is a relief. Still, this is a golden opportunity.
"Dad, I found a wet dog on our porch," he announces, and the wolves on the floor snicker. "Can I keep him?"
He’s not sure, but he thinks he can feel Derek stir next to him.
"Sure," his dad replies with a shrug. "He’s allowed on the couch but not in bed."
Stiles blushes too hard that for a moment he feels like opening up a window.
Around midnight it’s been decided that the McCalls will spend the night, and one by one they leave the living room to prepare themselves for the night. They still don’t have electricity, but the fireplace has at least helped spread some warmth throughout the house. Stiles’ dad even found their little battery driven heater they usually bring on camping trips and has let it run in his bedroom for the past hour, saying Melissa should stay there with him instead of taking the cold guest room. Isaac and Scott promise to keep Stiles from freezing to death in his room, and that’s good enough for the sheriff.
Stiles isn’t even surprised when he and Derek end up on their own on the couch after the others have run off because it’s been happening a lot lately. There had been a time when he’d considered being left alone with Derek a punishment, but now it feels like the complete opposite.
Derek has barely moved since he got there, just remained where Stiles put him. He appears to be relaxed, but Stiles can feel him tense up against his side now and then, and his eyes have changed color more than once since he entered the house. If it hadn’t been for the obvious fact that he’s unharmed, Stiles would assume he’s been shot by one of those wolfs bane bullets again because that’s the only time he’s seen Derek without total control.
A heavy silence hovers between them for a long time because Stiles isn’t sure if he should ask or not, but then Derek flinches at nothing again, sending a small vibration through Stiles’ arm that’s pressed to his side.
"I thought you didn’t get affected by the full moon," he says carefully, tilting his head to look at him.
"All werewolves are affected," Derek replies, eyes absently watching the fire. "I feel the blood lust just like everyone else. I’ve just been able to shut it out, to stay in control."
"Well, no offense, dude," Stiles says. "But you don’t look like you’re in control right now."
Derek swallows so hard Stiles can hear it travel down his throat. He stays quiet for such a long time Stiles thinks he won’t answer at all.
"It’s… my anchor," he finally says, voice low. "Just like Isaac and Scott should be together and ground each other tonight, I—" His eyes flicker to meet Stiles’ gaze. "I came here."
Stiles blinks, trying to process and understand just what it means; that Derek came here to anchor himself on a full moon’s night.
"I don’t get it," he admits. He’s frustrated because he wants to understand, but he also doesn’t want to push Derek too hard since he’s not a man of many words in the first place. “Your anchor..?”
Derek averts his eyes from Stiles again, hanging his head.
"It’s not the same anymore," he mumbles.
And that’s a lot for Stiles to take in because he realizes so much about Derek has changed since he was just the grumpy older werewolf he and Scott sought lessons in lycanthropy from. The born werewolf who’d seemed to know exactly who he was and how to deal with his powers. He who used his anger not to lose grip on humanity. None of that applies anymore.
"Is that why you came back?" He asks. "To be anchored?"
"I came back for you,” Derek says, looking back to lock their gazes again. Stiles’ heart stops. Then Derek must’ve realized his mistake. “All of you,” he clarifies, but his voice is unsteady. “We may not be pack anymore – if we ever were – but with Cora gone, you guys are the closest thing to a pack I have left. You, Scott and Isaac.”
Stiles blinks, amazed by how he can tell Derek isn’t perfectly honest despite his lack of superpowers.
"I’m your anchor," he breathes, and it’s not really a question.
Derek shifts in his seat, avoiding Stiles’s eyes.
Holy fuck, Stiles thinks as with his heart jolts violently. Maybe it’s not as big of a deal as he thinks it is because him being what keeps Derek grounded and human would only be logical as he is human, and no doubt the closest one to him – but that doesn’t keep Stiles from being overwhelmed.
"I should go," Derek suddenly says, standing up abruptly.
Stiles bounces to his feet as well, wrapping his fingers around one of Derek’s wrists in a firm grip because the guy looks like he’s about to bolt. The werewolf could easily escape if he wants to, because despite Stiles’ new muscles he’s still nothing compared to Derek, but he just stops dead in his tracks the second their skin make contact.
"I think we both know that wouldn’t be a good idea," Stiles says pointedly, cocking a significant eyebrow.
Derek looks at him then, face so open and chest heaving. For a second he looks like he wants to deny it, shrug it off with a snort like Derek Hale used to do. Before they got to know each other. Before he learned that Stiles isn’t someone he can push away. Before he learned that Stiles will always stay and never run or hide, like he had.
"You should sleep," he mumbles.
Stiles releases his grip on Derek’s arm since he no longer looks like he’s about to flee with his tail between his legs.
"I can still sleep with you in the house," he points out.
"No, I— I don’t want to be a bother," Derek protests. "You already have Scott and Isaac to spend the night."
"Yeah, and those two are probably rutting against each other in my bed at this point," Stiles scoffs. He gestures to the couch. "I’m gonna take the couch, because this room is warm. And, you know, if it helps…" He swallows, butterflies swirling in his belly as he nods to the other couch. "You could take that one. I mean, you don’t have to sleep,” he hurries to add. “But I’d prefer that over you standing above me watching me sleep. It’d give me the Twilight-creeps.”
Thankfully there’s a smile tugging at the corner of Derek’s mouth because Stiles’ face is burning again, and even if his flush can’t be seen in the warm light of the fire, he knows Derek can still sniff out his embarrassment.
"I’ll sleep," Derek says. "But only if it’s okay with your father."
Stiles’ heart is just about to sink but is interrupted by the voice from the dark doorway.
"I’m okay with it," his dad informs calmly. "It’s the couch, isn’t it?" Before Stiles has the time to say anything, the man continues. "Stiles, you know where the sheets are. Goodnight."
And he’s gone.
Stiles slowly blinks at the empty hallway before turning back to Derek who looks just as surprised as he feels.
"Well," he says, voice a little tight. "That wasn’t awkward at all."
Derek huffs, ducking his head, and Stiles lets out a breath of relief. He’s happy that even though Derek’s shoulders still look tense, he does seem to relax a little. The butterflies in Stiles’ stomach go crazy at the thought of it being because he’ll be close to Stiles tonight.
"I’m gonna go fetch the sheets," he excuses, already halfway out of the room when he adds "Stay!" in what’s supposed to be another dog joke, but the word comes out a little heavier than intended and causes his stomach to knot.
The fire has nearly died by the time Stiles returns because he freaked out a little about only having Marvel hero covers and had tried to find something else for Derek, but in the end he’d given up and decided Wolverine would do.
Derek is still standing up, which is ridiculous because it’s been minutes. He looks up as soon as Stiles reappears, and his face looks like a big sign reading I’m sorry.
"Alright," Stiles says, dumping the pile of sheets on the closest couch with a sigh. "Stop looking like you’ve kicked a puppy. You haven’t done anything wrong."
His voice is almost sharp because he needs Derek to understand. He looks like he thinks he’s a burden and Stiles hates it.
"Haven’t I?" He asks flatly.
"No," Stiles replies easily, taking one step closer but still leaving a few feet between them. "And if your little light show tonight was because you feeling guilty about bothering me, then let it go."
Derek stays quiet for a moment.
"You’re really okay with it?"
"Am I okay with keeping you human and preventing you from going on a killing spree? Yeah, I believe I am." Then he pauses. "I mean… I don’t really have to do anything, do I?”
He feels a bit awkward for asking, but he has no clue how this thing works.
"No," Derek says hurriedly, shaking his head. "Nothing."
"I mean, I could,” Stiles clarifies, heart pounding. “If I just, you know, knew what.”
He remember Allison holding Scott’s hand on more than on occasion to calm his wolf, and the thought of doing the same to Derek has his heart hammer like crazy against his ribs.
"Stiles," Derek says, voice so deep it sends a chill down Stiles’ spine. His eyes flash blue again, but it doesn’t last for more than a second, and it doesn’t look as strained as the previous times. "You don’t have to do anything. You— You’re enough. You’ve always been enough,” he breathes, eyes still meeting his steadily. “You didn’t need to do anything for the past two full moons and you won’t have to this time.”
Stiles blinks, letting it all sink in while Derek’s still standing only a few feet in front of him, chest heaving. How long as he been Derek’s anchor exactly? Since he left? Before that?
"You missed me," he finally says, and it’s barely a murmur.
"Of course I missed you!" Derek hisses, gritting his teeth as if half of him doesn’t approve of the secret spilling from his lips. "Fuck, I’ve missed you so much it’s been driving me insane!"
It’s only a sharp inhale of breath later that Stiles steps forward, closing the final distance between them and does what he’d done when he first saw Derek again in the woods that night, only this time he’s actually aware what he’s doing. And this time Derek doesn’t hesitate to hug him back.
He nuzzles into Derek’s shoulder, feels the arms around his waist tighten as Derek does the same. Stiles breathes out, letting his eyes fall shut and relax against Derek’s solid heat. He can feel Derek relax into the embrace as well; can feel the hot breath through the fabric of his shirt as Derek exhales deeply. His shoulders gradually drop and soon his head goes heavy on Stiles’ shoulder.
"You’re an idiot," Stiles sighs.
It’s just a whisper, with his face half buried in Derek’s shirt, but the werewolf must’ve picked it up because he hums in agreement.
Later, after they’ve awkwardly stepped out of each other’s personal space and put out the fire in the room, Stiles lies wide awake under the covers. His gaze is on the other couch, and the two glowing blue eyes meet his in the dark. They don’t say anything, but Stiles is pretty sure his racing heart speaks more than enough.
And that’s when Stiles realize: he doesn’t want to find a date for the dance on Friday. He doesn’t want to dance with anyone else. He wants to dance with Derek.