Title: I Wish
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: pre Stiles/Derek
Word Count: 3,450
Summary: Things look a little different for Stiles when his familiarity bias is stripped away.
Authors Note: This is set in the season gap between S2 and S3. Erica and Boyd made it back to Derek. Stiles found out what happened at the warehouse, and has been trying to get Scott to apologise. It starts on the Monday of the last week before the end of the school year.
It had been an ordinary boring morning until it wasn’t.
Stiles had woken to an empty house. Not unusual, if his dad was working the graveyard shift, then he wouldn’t be home yet, and if it was the day shift, then he’d already be gone. He was currently on graveyard.
Stiles parked in his usual spot and sat in his usual seat during first period. The first strange thing he noticed was the number of new people. They were all improbably attractive, with gorgeous faces and ripped bodies. When they saw him looking at them, they didn’t dismiss him, as he expected them to. In fact, a particularly stunning redhead looked annoyed with him.
Stiles knew that people often found him annoying, but he hadn’t even spoken to her. Wow, that had to be a record. She seemed to be tight with Danny, which was nice. For such a popular guy, Danny spent a lot of time alone.
His phone started blowing up with texts from unknown numbers. After the first few, Stiles turned off his phone. If this carried on, it might be time to think about getting his number changed.
The day just kept getting weirder. It was like everyone was talking in some kind of code, a code they expected him to be able to follow. It was easy enough to ignore it during class time, but lunch was a different matter.
Stiles grabbed a table by himself, which was his usual practice. Or at least, he thought it was his usual practice. He certainly didn’t remember sitting with anyone regularly, unless the cafeteria was unusually full, but sitting alone felt kind of wrong. He was ready to chalk it up to the general weirdness of the day until he saw two of the new kids watching him again.
He tried to pretend that he wasn’t watching them watch him, but figured that he was rumbled when two of them got up and started heading his way.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” said the one with the asymmetrical jaw. “Why are you ignoring us? Why is your phone off?”
Stiles tore his gaze away from the jaw. “What the hell is wrong with you?” he returned. These were the assholes texting him? He’d never given these weirdos his number! This was bordering on harassment.
Jaw-dude’s friend, the one with the cheekbones that could cut glass, looked at Stiles like he’d just crawled out of a particularly smelly rubbish dump. “He’s just attention-seeking. Come on, let’s just leave him to sulk. It’s not like he’s much use anyway.”
Jaw-dude sighed. “Derek told me to tell you he wants to meet with everyone tonight. Not that you really need to go if you don’t want to.”
“That’s good,” Stiles replied. “Wouldn’t want to cry myself to sleep over whatever crazy shit you’re up to. Now if you’d be so good as to stop harassing me and leave me alone? You can tell your little pack of friends that I’m not interested in playing any of their games either.”
Half of the table of weirdos turned to look at him. What, did Jaw-dude have his phone on in his pocket? Were they trying to trick him into embarrassing himself so that they could put it on YouTube or something?
Well, fuck that. Stiles wanted nothing to do with any of them.
The cruiser was out the front when Stiles arrived home, having stopped on the way for groceries.
Noah was sitting at the kitchen table, working on a file that he closed as soon as Stiles walked in. Naturally, that immediately piqued Stiles’ interest.
“Something juicy?” he asked, dropping the bags on the table and hoping to get a glance at the file name.
“Nothing that concerns you,” Noah replied firmly, stashing the folder into an empty document wallet and out of sight.
Stiles pouted but decided it wasn’t worth pursuing. The groceries weren’t going to put themselves away, after all.
Noah watched him curiously. “It’s pretty unusual to see you home at this time of day,” he said when Stiles was nearly done. “You on the outs with Scott? I saw that you altered all the photos that he was in. I didn’t know your computer skills were that good.”
“Who?” Stiles closed the fridge, having grabbed a soda. He opened it, leaning back against the counter. “What?”
“Scott,” Noah repeated. “I know it must be hard, what with Allison and the troubles her family has been through. She’s his first girlfriend, I’m sure things will settle down and even out again soon.”
Stiles’ mouth dropped open. All day long, people hadn’t been making sense. Now his dad wasn’t making sense. A school-wide prank…it would be hard to pull off, but not impossible. His dad wouldn’t go along with that, though.
Stiles mind whirled through the possibilities. The common factor here was Stiles himself. He was the one not making sense.
“Are you okay, son?” Noah asked. “You’ve gone white.” He got up and came over to lay a hand on Stiles’ forehead. “You don’t have a temperature, but I really don’t like this paleness. Are you feeling okay? Did something happen today? Did you hit your head on something?”
Stiles directed a blank stare at the soda in his hand while he went through a swift backwards replay, trying to find the moment when things went from normal to weird. Aside from today, nothing seemed out of place. But that couldn’t be true; he’d somehow forgotten a friend important enough to be in family photos.
He put the soda on the counter with shaking hands. “How long would you say I’ve been friends with Scott for?”
Noah tilted his head to one side, lips moving slightly as he did some mental calculations. “Ten years? Give or take a year?”
Stiles gave a hollow laugh. “Right, well a decade of friendship doesn’t just dissolve overnight, Dad. I’m sure we’ll be fine.” He blinked and straightened up. “I’ll be fine. Just a bit of a headache hit me out of nowhere. I think I’ll go and have a lie-down, see if I can’t kick it before it takes hold.”
Noah raised his eyebrows. “If you’re sure. Want me to order dinner?”
Stiles frowned. “What? No! I just got done restocking the pantry and the fridge! Just…give me an hour, and I’ll throw together a stir-fry.”
Noah visibly relaxed. “If you say so, kid. Now get.”
Stiles grabbed his bag and retreated to his bedroom.
As soon as the door was shut behind him, he was checking his phone, hoping it would help. There were a lot of messages, but he had no idea who they were from, so not much help. His computer was just as useless. A quick flick through his browser history didn’t turn up anything that he didn’t have corresponding memories for.
He flopped down on the bed, throwing his arm over his eyes. What the ever-loving fuck was he going to do? Maybe if he took a nap, he might wake up and find out that it had all been some awful dream.
Unfortunately, the nap did nothing to disturb this strange new reality that Stiles was living in. On the positive side, he did feel better in general. Stiles made enough dinner for his father to take leftovers to work, then saw him off with mixed feelings. He spent some time trying to find things wrong with the photos his dad mentioned, but they all looked normal to him.
Whatever happened had not only adjusted his memories, it had altered everything in the house to reflect the change.
After a bit of thought, he checked out social media. Danny had looked tight with the redhead, so that seemed a promising start.
Danny’s Facebook sent Stiles on a research spiral that managed to create more questions than it answered. He was so engrossed that he wasn’t aware of the intruder in his room until a voice growled “Stiles!” behind him.
Stiles whirled around, only to find himself confronting someone who wouldn’t have looked out of place on the cover of a magazine. One of those ‘Special Interest’ ones that Stiles kept in a box in his closet. He was all perfect hair, designer stubble, and a body that would make even the most dedicated gym bunny weep with envy.
But still, in his room, in his house. Stiles reached for the closest weapon-type thing he had to hand—a desk lamp. It was still plugged in, which impeded how he brandished it.
Sexy Stubble Guy had the temerity to look shocked. “Stiles?” He stepped forward.
Stiles shrank back and did his best to look like he had a plan for the lamp. “How do you know my name? Have you been stalking me?” He caught sight of his window, open where it had previously been closed. “Did you crawl in my window?”
Sexy Stubble Guy’s forehead wrinkled with concern. “Stiles?” His voice had softened. He retreated, back next to the window.
“Yes, I think we all know that my name is Stiles,” Stiles said, feeling a little more confident. Whatever was happening here, it looked like Sexy Stubble Guy didn’t intend to harm him. As his initial panic died, his brain started working again. He put the lamp down. “Hey dude, you might actually be able to help me with something.”
Sexy Stubble Guy frowned. “Stiles.”
Stiles threw his hands in the air. “Oh my god, are you physically capable of saying anything other than ‘Stiles?’”
Sexy Stubble Guy folded his arms across his chest. His decidedly sexy arms across his firm, muscular chest. Stiles tried not to openly salivate. Sexy Stubble Guy raised an eyebrow, but the corner of his mouth was twitching.
“Fine,” Stiles said, folding his arms too. “Just so you know, I have no idea who you are or what you’re doing in my bedroom at—” he turned enough so that he could see the clock on his laptop screen, “—five past eight on a Monday evening.”
Sexy stubble Guy cocked his head to one side slightly, then nodded. “I’m Derek,” he introduced himself. “Derek Hale.”
“Huh. Are you the Derek that Jaw-dude mentioned at lunchtime? There was some kind of meeting? Although, he said that I didn’t need to go.”
“Yeah, the guy with the asymmetrical jaw.” Stiles gestured to his own face. “He approached me with another dude. Curly hair, sharp cheekbones? I have no idea what their names are. I only know that I don’t know them.”
Derek, aka Sexy Stubble Guy, helped himself to a seat on Stiles’ bed. “You don’t remember Scott? That…is worrying.”
Stiles blinked. “Wait. You believe me? You don’t think I’m crazy?”
Derek smirked. “I never said you weren’t crazy. But I also believe you that something weird is going on.” He hesitated. “I should probably leave. You might be safer if you pretend you never met me.”
“No!” Stiles couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “You can’t honestly think that leaving me with a huge gap in my memories is in any way good for me? You think I’ll be safer locked up somewhere like Eichen? Because my own father has already started wondering what was wrong with me! I managed to coast my way through it, but that sure as hell isn’t going to last long. His job is to ferret out lies, after all.”
Derek scowled. “I’m not the best person to be talking to you about this stuff,” he said stiffly. “Scott is…your friend, you should probably talk to him.”
“Right. Here’s a thought, Derek, if this Scott guy is such a good friend, where is he? Why isn’t he here right now asking why I blanked him all day?”
Derek dropped his gaze and shifted uncomfortably. “He would probably think that you’re better off kept out of this.”
“It’s not Scott’s choice to make,” Stiles pointed out. “I already know that it’s something majorly hinky. My dad complimented me on my photoshop skills because all the photos that Scott used to be in have been mysteriously altered. What the fuck, Derek? Is it some kind of magic, or something?”
Derek shifted again and looked longingly at the window.
Stiles’ mouth dropped open. “No. Way. Magic? There’s magic going on?”
“It sounds like some kind of spell,” Derek muttered. “I don’t know for sure, though. Magic isn’t my area. Peter would probably have a better idea.”
“What is your area then?”
Derek sighed and finally raised his eyes to Stiles’. They were bright red. Then Derek’s face just sort of…changed. His eyebrows disappeared, his brow pushed forward, and his teeth lengthened. “I’m a werewolf.”
“Oh. My. God.” Stiles whispered. “This is freaking amazing.”
Getting Derek to explain things involved a lot of badgering and whining on Stiles part. At first, anyway. After a while, Derek’s monologue grew smoother.
Stiles kept a careful record of questions he wanted to ask, not wanting to break Derek’s momentum. It was nearing three in the morning before Stiles felt like he had even a slight handle on what was going on.
“This is some fucked up shit,” Stiles said when it was done.
Derek had done a lot of his talking while stretched out on Stiles’ bed, staring at the ceiling. It was a surprisingly comfortable dynamic. Stiles didn’t know what to think about that.
There was a lot that was worrying him about what Derek had said. Like, he and Scott had accused Derek of murder, twice? And set someone on fire? Fucking hell.
Hearing how he’d stopped Derek from drowning after he’d been paralyzed by a freaky lizard monster made him feel better. Hearing about how Scott had worked with a serial killer to incapacitate Derek, and that he’d…Stiles didn’t even want to think about it. Derek had made it clear that he considered the bite to be a gift, an act of love, used to build families, packs. What happened to Derek sounded an awful lot like a violation akin to rape.
All of the shit that Stiles and Scott had put him through, and he was still on speaking terms with them? For all his bad-boy appearance, it seemed like Derek had the self-preservation instincts of a depressed lemming.
Something about the silence caused Derek to tense. He sat up in a fluid, effortless move that Stiles envied. “As I said, Scott will probably have a different version to tell you.”
Stiles shook his head. “I’m not sure anything he could tell me would make some of this right. I helped set someone on fire, Derek. Someone who had already spent six years suffering from debilitating burns. That…is not okay.”
Derek shrugged. “Werewolves view the world a bit differently. Peter had killed and would likely kill again; therefore, he needed to be eliminated. I can’t say the fire thing wasn’t a cruel method, but you were ordinary humans going up against an Alpha werewolf. You use all the tools available to you to get the job done.”
“It wasn’t just cruel to him though,” Stiles pointed out. “You were there too.”
Derek shrugged again, his eyes flicking over to the window. “You’ve got school tomorrow; I should go.” He got to his feet.
“Wait!” Stiles got up too. “Before you go, I want to ask what you think of telling my dad about all this.”
Derek sat back down again, resting his elbows on his knees. He frowned, but less like he was angry and more like he was thinking. “Are you sure? You’ve seemed pretty adamant that you didn’t want him to know.”
“I can kinda see why I thought that,” Stiles admitted, “at least, before the station thing. That was a tiny-winy clue that ignorance isn’t going to provide safety, though.”
Derek nodded slowly. “Logical.”
Now that Stiles was on his feet, he felt restless. He started pacing. “It’s only a matter of time before something happens directly to him. If he doesn’t know, then he won’t know how to protect himself.” He stopped pacing to look at Derek again. “He could be helpful to you, too. No more being arrested because you tried to keep everyone safe. A perspective that has more than two decades of experiences behind it.”
“A relationship with your father that doesn’t involve you lying to him the entire time…”
Stiles sighed. “That too. Plus, I don’t know how else to explain this strange amnesia thing. What if my memories never come back? I’ll be even more useless than I apparently already was.”
“You’re not useless.”
Stiles scoffed. “Oh yeah? Puny human here, remember? Everyone else is getting nifty upgrades, and I’m still…me.”
“If it had been left up to Scott and his werewolf upgrades, I would have died in the pool that night,” Derek pointed out. “Not to mention all the other times your help has been invaluable. Aside from that, you’re far more useful as human than you would be as another beta.”
“Because what every werewolf pack needs…is a human? Like a mascot or something?”
Derek shook his head. “More like an advisor. Packs are supposed to have humans in them. Humans keep us from sinking too far into our wolf natures, that’s why most successful Alphas find a human to—” he broke off, and blinked a few times.
“A human to…” Stiles prompted.
“To act as primary advisor,” Derek said. The tips of his ears were turning red. “If you want to tell the Sheriff, you should.”
Stiles eyed him suspiciously but decided to let it go. For now. “Will you stand by for a demonstration? I don’t want him to think I’m nuts.”
“If you want.” Derek looked longingly at the window again.
Stiles magnanimously chose to let Derek escape, making sure to get his phone number first. He also extracted a promise that Derek would return the next day for the big reveal.
Then he waited a full half an hour after Derek’s departure before going over to sniff his pillowcase. He was unsurprised to discover that Derek smelled as good as he looked.
Maybe this whole memory-loss thing would end up being a blessing in disguise.
Two nights prior, in a bar called Halfreks
“He just won’t stop going on about it,” Scott complained, draining his glass. “I did what I had to do to protect my mom, but he just keeps talking about consent and betrayal. Actual lives were on the line! Why doesn’t he get that?”
The nice bartender, Cecily, made a sympathetic noise and poured him another drink.
Scott pulled it close and stared into its depths for a few moments before looking back up at her. “Being a werewolf sucks, but if this is the way it has to be, then I just wish that Stiles knew nothing about it.”
Cecily’s friendly smile deepened, and for a moment, her face changed into something hideous. “Wish granted.”
Scott blinked, but her face looked normal again. He must have imagined it. He took a cautious sniff at what was in his glass. Did this have some sort of wolfsbane or mountain ash in it? The last time he’d hallucinated was when Victoria Argent was trying to kill him. It might be time to call it a night. He put the glass down on the bar and got to his feet. “I should probably be going,” he said awkwardly, hoping she wouldn’t be offended.
Cecily nodded understandingly. “Of course. Have a good night, Scott. I hope to see you here again soon.”
“Right.” Scott nodded at her and backed out of the dimly lit bar a little unsteadily. He couldn’t quite remember why he’d even gone in. Something about strange smell, and then Cecily had seemed so kind.
When she’d offered him a drink while he talked, he thought there wouldn’t be any harm in it, even if he was underaged. He was a werewolf, after all, alcohol didn’t affect him. But it had just occurred to him that maybe talking about all this to a stranger might not be the best idea. Now the world was spinning a bit. He couldn’t even see the bar anymore, it was as if it had never been there.
Huh. This might be a thing. One of those things that Stiles kept talking about. He should tell Stiles on Monday. Stiles would find out what the hell that was. He’d know what to do.
Although, getting his woes off his chest to someone who hadn’t spent all their time making unfavourable judgements on his recent decisions had been great, and there was no harm done, after all.