Title: Good Start
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: pre Stiles/Derek
Word Count: 2,181
Summary: Stiles really wasn’t enthused by the upcoming camping trip.
Authors Note: This is an AU set after the end of S2. Allison is off learning how not to show her psycho, Erica and Boyd are back with Derek, and Jackson is still in town since my AU doesn’t depend on the actor being available 🙂
“This is insupportable!” Lydia said. “You said that there would be a cabin, Derek. This is not a cabin; this is a hut.”
Stiles frowned at the rustic room they were in but didn’t say anything. While he agreed with Lydia, he had no intention of voicing any support. Quite frankly, his enjoyment over her dismay was the best thing about this whole experience so far. He knew it was petty, but he didn’t care.
Erica rolled her eyes. “Don’t get precious, little miss rich. Be grateful that it’s an actual building; Derek initially suggested that we sleep in tents. At least we have running water and a place to wash.”
Lydia folded her arms and cocked one hip. “I’m not showering in cold water!”
“Then don’t,” Derek replied indifferently, picking up his enormous backpack with one hand. “There are two bedrooms, one with two double beds, the other with a double and a queen. I’ll be in the queen; I don’t care who I share with, so the rest of you can sort yourselves out.” He took his pack with him into his chosen room, leaving the door open behind him.
Not that it really mattered which room he picked, since they looked pretty much the same. Aside from the left room having the queen-sized bed, they both had four nightstands, two sets of drawers, and a tiny wardrobe. The left-hand room would get the morning sun and the right-hand room the evening sun.
“Boyd and I are sharing,” Erica announced, folding her arms across her chest as if daring the rest of them to disagree.
Lydia gave an exaggerated sigh. “Of course. State the obvious, much?” Her eyes narrowed. “Fine. Jackson, bring our things; we’ll share with Erica and Boyd. The others can bunk with Derek.”
Stiles shrugged and turned towards Scott expectantly, already planning how to structure the bed covers so that they wouldn’t be stolen from him in the night.
“I’ll share with Isaac,” Scott said, avoiding Stiles’ eyes. “I’m sorry dude, but last time we shared you nearly took my eye out.”
Stiles’ mouth dropped open in outrage. “Excuse me?”
Isaac smirked at Stiles. “Guess you’ll be sharing with Derek. Unless you want to sleep on the floor?”
If Isaac hadn’t suggested it, Stiles might well have decided that sleeping on the floor was preferable to sharing a bed with their grumpy alpha. But like hell was he going to do it now.
Stiles stuck his nose in the air. “Don’t be ridiculous, that would be extremely childish.” Ignoring the openly amused expressions on everyone’s faces—except for Scott who was now giving Stiles the sad ‘please don’t be angry with me’ eyes—Stiles followed Derek into the room on the left.
Derek had already staked out the bed closest to the door. He glanced up at Stiles before going back to emptying his pack. “I’ll be sleeping closest to the door.”
Stiles was feeling belligerent. “What if I wanted to sleep closest to the door?”
Given that Derek was physically strong enough pick Stiles up and move him and probably wouldn’t have any compunction in doing so, that was probably that. In the name of at least attempting to live in harmony for the coming week, Stiles swallowed the acid rejoinder he wanted to make.
When Derek had announced that he’d made plans for a weeklong pack expedition to work on bonding and other stuff, Stiles had been thrilled.
Until he discovered that the week would consist of a two-hour drive, then a six-hour hike to a remote cabin near a lake, followed by five full days of living off the land. Topped off with another six-hour hike back to the cars, and more driving. That did not sound like his idea of fun. It sounded distressingly close to camping.
Camping wasn’t Stiles’ favourite pastime. Given the option of a tent or a motel room, he would take the motel room every time. Motels had Wi-Fi.
He tried to say no. It wasn’t like he had any wolfy instincts to wrestle with, after all.
Lydia had turned one of her most insincere smiles on him. “If I have to do this, Stilinski, then you do too. Cheer up, at least we’ll have coffee.”
It wasn’t fair. Lydia was going because Jackson was going, and they were currently joined at the hip. Jackson was going because he was still emotionally fragile. His transformation from creepy murder lizard to beta werewolf had left him shaken, and since Jackson tended to lash out when he was unsettled, having Lydia there just made sense.
Other than Lydia and Stiles, everyone else was a werewolf. Which meant enduring jokes about his masculinity from Isaac and being called a loser by Jackson. Erica was confusing at the best of times—sometimes she was happy to exchange geeky puns and others she looked like she wanted to smash his face in for talking to her—so she was no help. Boyd, at least, didn’t make jokes at his expense or physically push him around, but then he wasn’t interested in spending time with Stiles, either.
Stiles’ only bro here was Scott, and Scott had already openly rejected him for Isaac. This was turning into a shitty way to spend a week of vacation, and they’d only just arrived.
Going by the laughter he could hear, the others were still in the living room. Stiles was torn between wishing he had werewolf hearing so he could listen to what was so funny, and being glad that he couldn’t, since he suspected they were laughing at him.
He threw himself down on his designated side of the bed and watched Derek methodically unpack. It occurred to him that sticking near Derek might be the theme for the week. Derek wasn’t exactly a box of fluffy ducks, but Jackson and Isaac curbed their asshole tendencies significantly around their alpha.
It wasn’t exactly a guarantee of a good time, but Stiles was a pragmatist at heart, and if he couldn’t have a good time then he’d rather have an okay time than an actively bad one.
Feeling inexplicably cheered up by this revelation, Stiles started to pay more attention to what Derek was doing, intrigued almost despite himself. “How on earth did you fit all of that in there? Is that, like, a bag of holding or something?”
Derek shook his head. “It’s all in how you stack things. My mother used to be able to get everything my sisters and I would need for a fortnight into one pack, along with a sleeping bag big enough to fit all four of us.”
“Could she have been a secret witch? Like in Harry Potter?”
“She was a werewolf, Stiles. Witches—Harry Potter witches, that is—don’t exist.”
“Remus Lupin was a werewolf and a wizard,” Stiles pointed out. “Since I discovered werewolves were a thing, I decided not to rule anything out. For all we know, Harry Potter is a secret tutorial for muggleborns. Maybe if you’ve got magic, you read different words or something.”
Derek sighed and kept on with his task.
A flash of yellow out of the corner of his eye grabbed Stiles’ attention. He turned just in time to see a brightly coloured bird crash into the window pane and then fall out of sight. “Huh. I wonder what kind of bird that was?”
Derek looked up. “What bird?”
Stiles gestured towards the window. “The one that just face-planted into the glass. It happened too quick for me to see what kind of bird it was, but the colours were striking.”
Derek stared at him for a moment. “I didn’t hear anything crash into the window.”
“I know what I saw,” Stiles defended. “It was red, yellow, and blue, and it was about as big as my hand.”
Derek got up and examined the window Stiles had indicated. “Huh.”
“What is that supposed to mean? I did see a bird, Derek.”
“I believe you,” Derek said, going back to his unpacking.
Stiles frowned. “You do?”
Derek shrugged. “Weird stuff sometimes happens out here. When we were little, mom used to tell us that if we were lucky, we’d be taken to visit the magical pond that’s hidden in the centre of the lake.”
“There’s a magical pond in your lake?”
“There might be; I’ve never seen it. For a while, I thought it might just be a pretty story, but with magic, who knows?” Derek rose to his feet and gave his now empty pack a vigorous shake before bending down to slide it under the bed.
Stiles caught himself admiring the way Derek’s jeans stretched over his ass, and averted his eyes. He was going to be sharing a bed with him soon, he didn’t want to make it weird. Or, weirder. “What are the plans for the rest of the day?” he asked. “What there is left, anyway.”
“Dinner, then a quick run to get everyone familiar with the near surroundings.”
Stiles went limp and slumped back into the bed. It was actually rather comfy. “Can I take a pass on that?”
The corner of Derek’s mouth twitched up. “You not interested in a twilight run? I suppose if you want to stay behind and get the kitchen sorted out, that would be okay.”
“Yes!” Stiles agreed hurriedly. “I’ll get right on that kitchen, yes sir.”
Lydia seemed to think that Stiles had allowed himself to be tricked into menial labour. It put her in a better mood, so Stiles didn’t bother telling her that he would have fought to be the one in charge of the kitchen.
Maybe it was all the years that he’d been the one doing most of the cooking for him and his dad, but Stiles tended to get possessive over unclaimed kitchen space. It wasn’t a problem when a kitchen was obviously well-loved, with clean but well-used surfaces, gleaming pots, pans and utensils. Those he could admire with an appreciative eye. A neglected kitchen just begged to be shown some love, and Stiles’ fingers had been itching since they arrived.
The kitchen burner was part of a wetback. That boggled Stiles mind for a moment, as he tried to imagine how all the heavy piping and the tanks had been transported to this out-of-the-way spot, before he remembered…werewolves. He thought about informing Lydia that they were absolutely going to be having warm—if not hot, depending—showers after all, but decided to wait until everyone else could enjoy the reveal.
“You want to help with the scrubbing or hang up the dust covers?” Stiles asked her, rummaging through the cupboards for the biggest pots he could find. There was one huge stockpot and several smaller, although still largish pots
He heated up two big pots of water on the burner and was only halfway through his task when Derek and his puppies arrived back, looking pleased with themselves. The fresh air and the exercise must have mellowed them, because Jackson was the only one who objected when Derek directed them to help Stiles finish up, and even that seemed more perfunctory than heartfelt.
When Stiles woke, he was warm and cosy. He’d slept well, despite his pillow being harder than usual and not smelling like the one that he was used to. It was a pleasant smell, though, warm and fresh, and the pillowcase was soft against his cheek. He nuzzled against it sleepily, humming happily as the arms around him tightened in response.
“Wake up, Stiles!” Scott said from somewhere nearby.
“’k-ff” Stiles mumbled in response, closing his eyes tighter in the hope that if he didn’t open them properly, he might be able to drift off again. His pillow moved abruptly, growling irritably. Stiles petted it soothingly.
“That’s so adorable,” Erica cooed. Isaac was snickering, and there was the distinctive sound of someone taking photos with their phone.
Stiles frowned. What was Erica doing in his bedroom? Was she photographing him? He reluctantly began to head towards wakefulness to figure out what was going on.
The arms around him lifted away at the same moment that he realised that his nice-smelling pillow was Derek’s singlet covered chest.
“Erica, Boyd, Isaac, Scott, thanks for volunteering for woodcutting duty,” Derek announced, voice rough with sleep. “The axes are in the shed.”
Stiles stretched, smirking as the obnoxious tittering that had awoken him turned into petulant complaints.
“There isn’t any wood to chop,” Erica pointed out.
“Then I guess you’d better go and gather some,” was Derek’s reply. “There should be plenty of fallen branches and trees. Bring back anything that looks fairly recent, and cut them so they fit in with the wood that’s stacked behind the house.”
Wondering why he wasn’t more embarrassed at being caught cuddling with Derek, Stiles finally sat up, yawning. Bright morning sunlight streamed in through the window, and the faint smell of coffee wafted from the kitchen.
Maybe this week wasn’t going to be so bad after all. It was certainly a good start.