Title: Dancing with the Wolf
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Characters: Derek Hale, Stiles Stilinski
Warnings/Genre: Werewolves are known, Hales alive
Challenge/Prompt: Fluff Bingo Challenge 2019/ Dancing
Word Count: 4310
Author’s Notes: Fluff Bingo is a short story challenge from the Just Write! server on Discord. Some entries are available on AO3.
Summary: Derek should be preparing to build his first pack. All he can think about is that geeky guy that crashed the Wolf Moon Festival.
Derek stomped through the mansion toward his childhood bedroom, happily pulling off his suit and tie. He hated the speeches and networking of the Wolf Moon Festival. Listening to the mayor drone on about the Packs and the Community growing together. New Year, new hope, new life. Ugh.
The first full moon of the new year. When he was a child, it was a magical day. The community embraced the packs. Wolves and humans mingled and celebrated through the day. All of the humans who had spent the last year petitioning, qualifying, and hoping for the gift of the bite would spend their last day as a human.
A day to celebrate their humanity. And, the Packs were right there with them. The reminder that they must all embrace their humanity to achieve balance. There were games and food and a sense of everyone as a part of something greater that rarely occurred outside your own pack.
Well, that’s the way it is when you’re a child. But when you’re a Hale Alpha, you one day have to grow up. And then listen to twenty alphas talk to your group about the importance of choosing the first human to turn. That critical first member of your very own pack.
Which is stupid because it isn’t like Derek doesn’t already have his own pack. There are always those wolves you pick up along the way. Friends and their family that petition to be transferred to your pack once it’s formed. Rarely are the requests denied. You will always be considered a part of your birth pack. A legacy by birth. But the truth is that packs grow, learn, and evolve. Membership is fluid. People come and go. Derek will always be a part of the Hale Pack of North America. He will always defer to his mother as his personal alpha. But he will be independent, leading his own pack, his own family as well.
And, tonight that family will officially be recognized. Tonight he Gifts the Bite to his first official pack member, becomes recognized as a full Alpha in his own right. Once they know the bite has taken, he will call forth his chosen pack to stand before his mother—no, he will stand before Alpha Hale, and she will congratulate him on his choice and welcome the Derek Hale Pack into her territory. It’s exciting.
Derek dropped the tie on the floor. It’s terrifying. The candidates are tested, but there’s still a chance of bite rejection. It’s the last big lesson for an Alpha. To know you are taking a life into your own hands and no matter how much you have done to prepare, there’s no guarantee that you can keep them safe. If they reject the bite, it’s your place to end their suffering. Of course, it will also mean another year until your pack can be recognized. But, honestly, who would want to immediately try again after a rejection?
Derek stripped down to shower and change. The day was for the human. Time to wash away those smells, because tonight is for the wolf. He soaped up in the scent-neutral soap that was purchased for tonight. There are going to be a lot of new wolves, and their senses will be overwhelmed enough without adding artificial scent to it. He stood under the water, just letting it wash away everything.
What if he makes a mistake? Two years ago it was Laura, and she was so excited, so ready to build her pack. She never hesitated. Laying his head against the shower, he sighed. She would be out there tonight with her husband and her daughter and her pack, watching. Ready to celebrate with him. Why can’t he be like Laura? Why can’t he be sure he’s ready?
Turning off the water, Derek knew he could hide no longer. Suit and tie were for the humans, tonight is about the wolf and the pack. Derek grabbed his favorite jeans, a white henley, and his leather jacket. The wolf didn’t need the trappings of civilization. As he tied his shoes, he looked out his bedroom window toward the open field and the preserve. It was still a couple of hours until sunset, though moon rise was about twenty minutes before that.
Derek sighed and put his elbows on his knees. Who’s he kidding? He’s not ready to be responsible for a pack. He’s had a lifetime of lessons and higher education to teach him how to lead. But it’s meaningless repetition.
What kind of Alpha is he supposed to be? The lessons all say the same things. Be approachable, but dominant. Be a leader and make your pack submit. Relax with your pack but be in control. The advice goes on and on. And, the more Derek thinks about it, the more he is sure he is going to fail.
His mom does this so effortlessly. She’s the Alpha, and that’s all that matters. He never questioned it. Never fought it. And never analyzed it. Laura is just like her, and he can see the same in Cora who will be standing in his place in only three years.
“Well, nephew, I see you are ready and eager to go.” Peter leaned against the doorway, watching him and Derek flushed not knowing how long he’s been there.
“Uncle Peter.” Derek looked away. Peter, the alpha who never built a pack.
“Just going to spend the night here?” Peter’s tone was knowing, and it irked Derek that Peter always seemed to just know what everyone was thinking.
Derek paused a moment and thought about it. Why not? “Uncle Peter, how did you know?” There was no reason to explain, Peter always understood.
Peter walked over to Derek’s desk chair and spun it around to straddle while resting his elbows on the back. “Alpha or beta, a Right Hand can step in and lead when the Alpha is lost. It’s something they can be trained to do. But a Left Hand is born for the shadow to protect the pack, and that’s a dreadful place for a leader to stand. I’m an alpha. I could take betas. I could turn humans. But while I can protect and support, I don’t have it in me to build. A Pack needs an Alpha that can stand in the light and build their pack.”
“Maybe I’m not supposed to build a pack. Maybe I don’t have what it takes.” Derek looked down at his laces.
“You are meant to build, Derek.”
“Everyone says that but I look at Mom, and Laura, and all of the other Alphas out there and I’m not like them. I’ve tried to learn, but no matter what I do, I’m out of step with them.”
“That’s your problem right there. Don’t try to be Talia or Laura. Goddess knows you shouldn’t look at Duke and his cronies as examples. And, please, whatever you do, don’t try to emulate your Grandfather.” Peter stood up and walked to the window, opening it to the January breeze.
“The drums have started.” Derek knew that. The only humans here are Pack or invited. “Those drums symbolize the heartbeat of the wolf. We will go out there and dance and celebrate. All of the Packs gathered will dance with the wolf tonight.” Peter reached out and pulled Derek to his feet and pointed out the window.
“When you dance, don’t listen to the beat of Talia’s wolf, or Laura’s, or mine.” He reached out and touched Derek’s chest. “Dance to the beat of your wolf’s heart. Follow where he leads. And, if he leads you on a path your mother would never walk, then so be it. That’s what being Alpha is all about, Derek. Trust your wolf to never lead you wrong.”
Derek turned and hugged Peter. There was a slight hesitation before Peter hugged back.
“Well, as lovely as this moment has been, I have people to see and irritants to intimidate.”
“Thanks, Peter.” Derek watched him leave and then picked up the medallions his father had gifted him. His own Pack Badge, to give out tonight to his betas. He shoved the pouch in his pocket and headed out to the fields.
The chartered buses were still dropping off people. Tents were set up, mainly for humans. A few circled with mountain ash to protect them in case things got heated. It was rare, but occasionally someone lost control with so many being turned at once.
A human could be turned at any time. In the event of a medical emergency, it was up to an Alpha to decide if the Bite should be offered. But the wait between being turned and the first full moon was beyond stressful. Better to just give the bite during the moon and control the first shift.
The bonfires were stretched out to cover the clearing. They waited only for the torch to be lit. Only an hour to go and the drums were already in fine form. The dancers already starting to join.
Derek looked around at the packs. Everyone excited for the moon to rise. When it did, they would shift into beta, and the Dance would be joined in mass. They would dance by the light of only the moon, the time of the wolf. And once the wolf danced, the Emissary would light the bonfires to light the way for man to join with wolf.
For as long as Derek could remember, Deaton would bless the night before he worked his Druid’s magic and caused the torch to light. Then he would walk the torch from fire to fire until they were all lit. When he returned to his start, the drummers would resume, and Deaton would lead them into the joined dance. During the dance, the Alphas would cull the Chosen and Gift them the Bite when the blood pumped fast with the drums to hasten the change.
Derek glanced over to the Chosen. Dressed all in white. They were excited and scared. They hadn’t joined in yet, which was fitting. They wouldn’t until the fires were lit. For now, it was time for the wolves.
He looked toward the dancers and spotted an anomaly. He was—well, geeky. Human, definitely. Dressed in jeans, a Captain America t-shirt, a flannel shirt, and a jacket he danced just out of step with the drums. His eyes were shining with excitement, and he had the dorkiest grin on his face. The dance moves were…kinda spastic if Derek were honest.
Several of the wolves around exchanged looks with Derek and then just grimaced and moved on. Derek only rolled his eyes at them. He was obviously a party crasher. There were always a few who tried. It was Alpha Hale’s policy to not make a scene. At some point, she will direct one of the betas to pull the human aside and send him on his way. No harm, no foul.
Derek moved around the grounds, politely meeting with the other new alpha’s who would gift their first bite today. He knew them all, of course, but it was expected. No matter where he moved, Derek made a point of keeping an eye on the human. If anything he had gotten even more out of step with the other dancers. Derek wondered if he could even hear the beat of the drums.
He neared a refreshment table and picked up a drink. His mother and Peter were at the table adjacent to his speaking to the Sheriff. He was human and new to the County of Beacon Hills. He had been hired after it was discovered the last Sheriff had been bought off by the Argents, a bunch of speciesists that had plotted murder. They had been stopped, and the City Council voted to hire from outside the territory. He had a waiver for running for office for two terms to clean up the mess.
Peter smirked at Derek behind Mom’s back, but she elbowed Peter anyway. His ears perked up when he heard guns mentioned.
“You’re certain you got them all?” Mom was asking.
“Yes. We’ve had them under surveillance for the last two weeks. When they gathered to hand out the weapons, we were able to take them all. I have men keeping an eye out, but I have it on good authority that the danger has passed. At least for tonight.” He turned toward Peter. “And thank you, Mr. Hale, for that timely bit of intelligence.”
“I’m quite certain I don’t know to what you are referring, Sheriff,” Peter answered innocently.
“Right. Well, it was a good bit of research there. Since it was left anonymously, it will be admissible as evidence. But I would appreciate it if in the future you can focus on sources that can be verified legally.”
“I will pass on your request if I find out who gave you information,” Peter replied, helpfully.
The Sheriff sighed and reached up to pull off his sunglasses before giving Peter a very Alpha stare. “I’ve been in law enforcement a very long time, Mr. Hale. I know a Left Hand when I see one. Your job is to protect the Pack. Mine is to protect the citizens of Beacon County, and that includes the Packs that live within. I understand Pack Law just as well as I know the legal code. I prefer that we just cut through the bullshit now so that we can both do our jobs without these little games.”
Peter grinned. “I will keep that under advisement, Sheriff Stilinski.”
“Please, call me Noah.” He motioned to them both.
Mom nodded. “Noah, then. Will you stay for the festivities? You’re, of course, invited to attend.” Peter motioned and moved off to a group of young wolves who were getting a little pushy.
“I would like that.” He accepted a bottle of water from Mom. “My night shift has everything under control. And, I’m kind of excited to watch tonight.”
“Understandable. Did the move go well?”
“Yes. The realtor you recommended was amazing to find something so fast. It’s plenty big enough for us.”
“Will your son be able to follow you?” Mom picked up a shish kabob. “You mentioned he was completing school or something.”
“He hopes to. He finished school last semester, and he’s been standing for his advanced exams. He pushed hard to finish early when I got this job. Several of his professors were hoping he would stay on longer, but honestly, he surpassed them a while back and was just playing along while I was in the area.”
The Sheriff eagerly picked up a burger from a tray that a server set down in front of him. “He’s really hoping that he can find a place with a local pack. But, he’s prepared to work on some independent research as long as the Packs don’t protest his presence.”
Talia smiled politely, “I would be happy to meet with him. Of course, I can’t promise anything other than to give him fair consideration. But, as you know, there are many people who would like acceptance to a Pack.”
The Sheriff nodded, “I know, believe me. I’m sure he will find his place.”
“Will he be in town soon?”
“Oh, he’ll be around. I’m certain you will meet him real soon.”
Derek noted the steady heartbeat that said the man believed what he said and turned back toward the dance. He had put it off as long as he could, and it was time to join in.
He tried to join the group, but even though the sound of the drums vibrated through his body, watching that one spastic human dance with abandon kept throwing him off the beat. How can anyone be that far out of step and not realize it?
Derek closed his eyes a moment and forced his steps to follow the drums. Once he was confident he could follow with everyone else, he allowed himself a grin and opened his eyes. Immediately his gaze flew back to the human. It was like a train wreck. He just couldn’t look away.
He ran into the dancer to his left and motioned an apology as he realized his feet were following the human instead of the drums. Derek cracked his neck and took a breath before forcing himself to look away and tried desperately to regain the rhythm of the dance.
The dancing continued in this way through sunset as all of the wolves joined the dance. No matter how hard he tried to keep it together, just one look at that human would cause him to break step. For the life of him, he just couldn’t figure out why the pack hadn’t removed him yet.
At some point, he found himself dancing next to Peter and leaned in close to ask. He motioned with his head, “Why’s he still here?”
“Deaton’s sister was in an accident this afternoon. He had to fly out to New York. Deaton sent him to fill in tonight.”
“That’s an Emissary?” Derek looked at Peter in disbelief.
“Well, he’s not associated with a pack, so not an Emissary yet. But I’ve heard rumors. A little strange, I’ll admit, but Deaton was certain he could do the job.” Peter shrugged as if to say he had no opinion. Which was stupid to believe because Peter always had an opinion, even if he didn’t always share it.
“What’s his name?”
“Tut, tut, Derek. You know they won’t give a name until they are associated with a pack. They live for their titles. He is Adept until he is Emissary. Then you get a name. Though you need not worry about it. Most packs build for years before they find an emissary.” Peter nudged him and moved on to continue the dance.
Derek shook his head in amusement and continued his dance. His broken little dance with feet that couldn’t stay in step. It was oddly fun instead of annoying. And watching the human irritate the fuck out of visiting wolves was a special little joy that kept the smile on his face.
Soon the drums began to fade away, and everyone stilled. Well, the wolves stilled, but the human adept kept on with his dancing, proving he hadn’t been listening to the drums at all.
Talia Hale’s voice rose above the crowd. “The Wolf Moon has risen and blessed our night. Let Man’s Fire join with Wolf’s Mother to light our celebration. Let us invite our Chosen to join with us to embrace the Wolf and Dance!”
Everyone waited with anticipation while the geeky human just continued his off-beat dancing uninterrupted. And waited. The moment hung there just a bit too long.
Just when it was on the edge of uncomfortable, the Sheriff’s voice rang out, “Stiles!”
The Adept’s eyes shot open, and he paused just a moment before grinning, “Right-O, Daddio!” He shot his fists into the air in a victory pose, and every bonfire on the grounds burst into flames.
There was silence as everyone took in the casual display of pure magical power. The Adept looked around at everyone with a sheepish grin and scratched the back of his head. “Um, hey. Look at that. What say we get this party going? I feel like I could dance all night.”
With that, he returned to his dance. It took a minute before the lead drummer started again. This time, however, setting the beat to match the human. Slowly the wolves joined in, and the Chosen drifted onto the field as well. The wolves were taking a bit to get into step, but Derek found his feet hit the beat on the first step and everything just flowed.
It was wild. It was exhilarating. It was as if his wolf had just been waiting to be freed to follow a step of its own choosing. He looked up and locked eyes with the human who just smirked as if he knew. Derek found himself laughing and just returned the smile.
He moved close enough to speak, the dancing never stopped. “Hi, I’m Derek.”
“I know who you are, Alpha Hale. I’m Stiles.”
“Um, I didn’t think you were supposed to give your name until you joined a pack as Emissary. I haven’t offered that.”
“Oh, you will,” Stiles stated.
“Pretty sure of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Please, you know you want this.” He motioned down at his body. “Why waste time pretending.” He gave a filthy grin, and Derek just laughed.
“I have to have a Pack before I can make any offers.”
Stiles waved his hands out toward the crowd. “Well, get on and start building your Pack, Alpha Hale. Time’s a wasting and the night is young.”
Derek turned and looked over the Chosen who were dancing with the wolves. Enough time had passed that their fear had given way to the rhythm of the Dance. Derek shifted slightly and reached out with his senses. Searching for a human that would fit, that would be pack.
Toward the outer edge of the dance, just at the line between light and dark danced a human. He had blue eyes and brown hair with a cream-colored scarf wrapped around his throat for warmth. He seemed hesitant to wade into the crowd. It wasn’t fear he exuded, though. It was yearning. A yearning to belong, to be more, to be a part of something. He was outside looking in, and Derek’s wolf was whining at him to open the door.
Derek stalked him, joined him, danced with him. “Derek Hale.” He introduced himself.
“Isaac. Isaac Lahey.” He looked at Derek with such hope that Derek didn’t hesitate.
“To be Pack is to be part of something greater than the individual. It’s home and family. It’s strength. It’s comfort. When the world falls apart and leaves us broken and bleeding, the Pack is there to put us together again and make us whole. To be Pack means never walking this path alone. The Bite is a Gift. A gift I offer to you, Isaac Lahey. Will you embrace your Wolf and your Pack? Do you accept my Gift?”
Isaac stared in awe a moment before pulling back his sleeve and reaching out his arm to Derek. “I accept your Gift, Alpha Hale.”
In one move Derek morphed and bit down into Isaac’s bared arm. He allowed the pain of the Bite to be felt for a minute, before reaching out and taking the pain. Derek ignored everyone who was watching him as the dance continued, just the slightest bit muted. He just watched Isaac. Watched and waited.
It didn’t take long as the blood from the bite slowed, and then stopped. Derek held onto him as a fever broke out and he bent over as if cramping slightly. The change could take most of the night, but rejection would be quick and painful. A minute passed, and then another. Finally, Isaac straightened and looked at Derek, through eyes now glowing gold.
Derek smiled relieved. He took Isaac by the hand and pulled him around to face Mom. “Alpha Hale!” He called out above the drums. More wolves moved to join him. Boyd and Erica, others he had met in school and work. Those he would now call his. They were all grinning in anticipation. “The Derek Hale Pack petitions to live within your boundaries.”
Talia Hale drew herself up to her full height and looked at Derek with unveiled pride. “The Hale Pack of North America recognizes the Derek Hale Pack of Beacon County and grants them full rights to live, grow, and stay within my territory.”
They all piled on, and there was a great deal of hugging and back slapping. Derek handed out the medallions to everyone in his new pack and turned them back to the drums that had now returned to their original volume.
They moved back into the middle, and Derek pulled Isaac along, “Come, Isaac. Let your wolf dance with your pack.” They danced with abandon as the rest of the Alphas slowly picked out Chosen and Gifted them with the Bite. There were no rejections, and Derek was relieved.
Leaving his pack to continue their dance, Derek moved back to the Adept.
“Well, well, well. Alpha Hale back to play?” Stiles smirked at him.
Derek looked him in the eye, his head cocked to the side. “You knew you were out of step with the drums, you annoying little shit. Did you knowingly set out to irritate half the wolves in California?”
Stiles laughed. “This land is alive.” He waved his hands around him wildly. And Derek had to duck back. “The magic flows through it so strongly it’s like a heartbeat. Wolves don’t really feel it. They feel the ebb and flow of the moon, but they often ignore the land. Your wolf, however, feels the land even if you don’t always pay attention to it. So, when it came time to Dance, I wasn’t listening to the drums. I was listening to your wolf, Derek Hale. Alpha of the Pack. He’s kind of loud and annoying, but I can appreciate that. I’m often loud and annoying myself.”
Derek just shook his head with a broad, toothy smile. “Well, I could use a loud, annoying Emissary who knows how to listen to my wolf when I’m ignoring it.”
“Emissary Stiles Stilinski of the Derek Hale Pack, at your service. Just don’t get mad at me when I point out you offered to let me be loud and annoying in the future. Because I will point it out.”
Derek laughed and shook his head, “I just bet you will. Want to go Dance with our Pack?”
“Thought you would never ask.”