“I’m sorry.” Scott said. That she’s hurt. Not that it happened. “I love you. But. She’s-.”
“It’s okay. They tell you that when you meet the right one they are everything to you. Immediately.” His grinning nod is a real punch to the stomach. “And we just aren’t.”
“Yeah,” he sounds sad? Maybe? “Friends?”
She sucks it up and gives him a nod. “Eventually.”
Allison shakes her head to clear it and climbs out of her father’s big black SUV. Her relationship with Scott is over. It is past and she can’t, won’t let herself regret it. She’d expected the end, really. She’d known the moment he’d shown her the dainty little vulpine paw print on his right wrist that she wouldn’t get to keep him.
She just hadn’t expected it to end this soon.
She’s happy for him. Really, she is, but she could use a little support right now, too. What do you do when your worldview is turned upside down? And for bonus difficulty, all of the parental guidance you’ve relied on for your entire life has been institutionalized in one form or another.
A little more than 36 hours ago now, she was sitting in the hospital waiting room, trying to get someone to let her in to see Scott when Emma Hale walks out of the treatment area and asks to speak with her and her brother.
Emma sat down with them in a tiny, white conference room and systematically changed Allison’s world with just a few short words.
Emma had let them know that their father had reported to the Center (Allison knew that) because Peter Hale had come online (Allison hadn’t known that!) and they were bonding (Allison really hadn’t needed to know that). Emma had been the one to tell them that Scott had found the little vixen with his jaguar on her wrist. She’d also said that, contrary to what Gerard has said, yes, their family actually are some of those Argents and that their Clan wants to send then some support. From France.
That’s how Allison and Alex end up at the local airstrip watching a tiny little plane taxi to a stop. A good third of the people that climb out of the plane have full heads of shining blonde hair. A more typical color for Argents than the dirty blonde of her siblings’ and father’s or her own rather unusual black.
They have the standard security allotment for traveling Sentinel/Guide VIPs, one bonded pair for each Guide-Dignitary. They should be able to make it work, between their car and the two Center suburbans everyone should fit.
Two women in their twenties, one with brown hair, the other blonde, break off from the group and approach the two local guides.
“Allison?” the blonde one asks, pointing at Allison, her French accent almost unnoticeable.
Allison’s brother nods, stepping forward to shake hands.
“You are just like your father has described you. I’m Charlotte Argent. This,” She gestures to the brunette. “Is my sentinel, Heather. Your father?”
“Is secluded.” Allison says tightly.
She can feel Alex’s questioning gaze on her as he explains to the alpha guide. “He’s bonding with Peter Hale.”
Charlotte nods, unsurprised at their news and unaffected by Allison’s attitude. “A week of isolation wouldn’t be unusual considering their ages and Hale’s recent onlining. This is their third day?”
“50 hours and counting.” Alexander’s huff at her attitude is not subtle.
“And what do you think of him? Your father’s sentinel.”
“We’ve never met him.” Charlotte’s mind is well disciplined and tightly shielded but Heather’s surprise spikes briefly across Allison’s shields. “Our mother was crazy jealous. She couldn’t stop our father from seeing his sentinel per their prenuptial agreement but she didn’t have to let us.”
“She’s gone then?” The female sentinel speaks to them for the first time, very clearly an American. “And the child?”
“Was removed before her body failed completely. He is in the care of the Pride.”
“They’re calling him ‘Michael the Miracle Baby’ on the news.” Her brother contributes.
“How do you know so much about us?” Allison’s curiosity finally bursts. “Gerard swears we aren’t Clan.”
“Gerard is no longer Clan,” Charlotte agrees with a small nod. “The two of you and your father may be. It remains to be seen.”
“So, what does that mean? Tests? We’re going to be tested.”
Charlotte’s shrug is neither a yes nor a no.
“The Pride has made arrangements for our stay.” Heather stepped in before things got awkward. “We were supposed to call Emma Hale when we landed.”
Allison frowns. No one had told her that. “Gerard doesn’t live with us, if that’s the problem. He had a fight with Kate like a month ago and dad kicked him out. He lives in one of the Pride apartments, now.”
Again, surprise from the sentinel, “Do you have room for 12?”
Sheriff John Marcus Stilinski is not ready for this.
He’s standing on the other side of a one-way window from a bonding room. They’d all agreed that Scott and Kira would go first but Derek had started spiking or, more likely, had stopped being able to hide his sensory spikes from Stiles, in the night.
Stiles had woken up half the county to get help for his sentinel but the only long term solution anyone, including Sandburg-Ellison could come up with was formalizing Derek’s imprint on Stiles. It would give Derek a firmer foundation that the sentinel could use to zero his abilities out on and, hopefully, give Stiles the mental connection necessary to crank down Derek’s dials himself if he needed to.
They are sure about the foundation part but not the mental connection part. Apparently, the mental stuff is touch-and-go without a full sexual bond.
Sheriff John Stilinski is abso-fucking-lutely not ready for this.
Derek enters the bonding room first. He’s wearing what has to be a tiny, dark blue speedo and, really? That’s a lot more than John needed to know about his son-in-law.
The younger man is steady on his bare feet to Dr. Sandburg’s very vocal pleasure but his back is covered in a painful-looking rash.
At least it’s not bleeding anymore.
Derek inspects the room and tries to ignore the observers he can hear on the other side of the glass. None of them are as important as ascertaining the security of this room.
None of them are armed. In fact, Derek hasn’t allowed a single weapon to enter the underground bonding areas in this section of the Center since he’d ordered a guard rotation above it. None of their Pride want to fail Derek on this issue. They’re all living in fear and no little awe of Stiles’s wrath.
None of the audience would be able to physically enter the room before Derek could theoretically stop them. The physical structure is sound. Stiles is safe. Or he will be as soon as he gets his ass in here.
They’d had to separate for their cleansings and mediation periods. Just rooms apart in a building with no locked or barred doors but Derek had nearly lost it. He still would have if it hadn’t been for a recording of Stiles’s heartbeat that they let Derek keep and listen to until the very moment he entered the bonding chamber.
Derek’s growling is slowly getting louder and louder the longer he’s alone in the bonding room. The sentinel is pacing so rapidly it’s starting to make John nervous. Derek looks like the big cat he is and he’s clearly pissed off at being in a cage.
Ellison puts a hand on the Sheriff’s shoulder as the man starts to rise. Whether he’s getting up to go find Stiles or to comfort Derek doesn’t actually matter. Neither would be helpful at this point.
The Sheriff of Beacon Hills County glares at the Alpha Sentinel of North America shamelessly and without reserve.
Ellison just gestures to the second door of the bonding room with his chin.
John turns in time to see his son swing open the door to the bonding room.
Derek stands frozen for a breath and a half before he calmly walks into the center of the circle in the middle of the bonding room and kneels, waiting for his guide to join him.
Stiles doesn’t look the least bit concerned that he’s closing himself into such a small space with an upset and nearly feral sentinel. The Sheriff’s son looks poised and completely in control as he moves to the center of the room and stands inches away from Derek fucking Hale. His back is straight, his shoulders broad and his head unbowed. He looks confident. Adult.
John’s son looks like an adult.
It’s a real kick in the chest.
No, John Stilinski is not ready for this.
Not at all.
Stiles and Derek watch each other. Derek gestures for Stiles to turn and he does. A gentle touch warns him before Derek’s picks up first one foot, then the other, running fingers and palms over both. Derek runs his hands up Stiles’s legs stopping around mid thigh, several inches below the dark green, erm, ‘swim suit’ Stiles had been given to wear.
Derek turns Stiles so he’s facing him once again and repeats his actions.
He then pulls Stiles down so the younger man kneels with his kneecaps on either side of Derek’s but not quite in the older man’s lap. He runs his hands over the exposed skin he’s finally allowed his eyes to conquer, keeping his hands well above Stiles’s belly button and away from his pectorals.
This is closer and nakeder than Stiles has ever gotten to another human being. It’s awesome. Horrible and oh, so strange, but awesome.
Horrible because it will be months before they get to do anything like this again and probably even longer before Derek will agree to doing this with intent. Strange because of the deep inhalations his sentinel is using to gather his scent. Awesome because Derek’s high and tight little nipples are just one of the painfully obvious signs that Derek is just as into as Stiles is.
He closes his is eyes as his sentinel runs his hands up Stiles’s shoulders and neck into his hair and recalls every word Patrick Sheppard, Blair Sandburg and two different Center instructors have all told him about creating a bridge, a tether, between his mind and Derek’s.
“Are you ready? I’m going to reach out to you now. I just need you to relax and let me – oh, hey, your shields are already down? Awesome. You really trust me, don’t you? You feel that pressure? That’s me. Grab it with your mind. Pull it deep. It’ll be better if I don’t push. Stronger if I don’t have to force it. Wow, that’s great. We’re doing so good Derek. So good.” Stiles knows he’s babbling but Derek has already established a history of responding positively to Stiles-babble. His is probably the sentinel in Beacon Hills least likely to have a problem forming a vocal imprint on their guide.
“I’m going to spread out now. You’ll feel me everywhere. You’ll know everything I know. You feel everything I feel and think everything I think. Kinda strange, right? I’m going to bring your shields up around me. Wait. Let me do it.”
Derek’s preferred shielding method/imagery is fire. So for Stiles, raising his sentinel’s shields is like pulling a blanket of fire up around them both. Safe fire. This fire would never even dream of damaging Derek or Stiles but it would not hesitate to destroy anyone else.
Once he’s formed a nice thick but flexible egg of fire around the two of them, he calls his own preferred shielding method, water. In his head he can see it fill up the area around them. The water meets the fire but doesn’t put it out and the fire doesn’t evaporate Stiles’s mindscape.
Derek’s fire and Stiles’s water work together, protecting them both. Keeping them comfortable, happy and connected.
Stiles leans back, rolls his neck and works his shoulders to loosen them.
That had to be at least a half hour of work but it is perfect. It’s exactly what they both need and while it won’t stay like this without a lot of work and the foundation of a full mental, spiritual and sexual bond, it will stay like this longer every time they work on it.
And they will be working on it! “We’re done right? That was kinda f-” A surge of intent from Derek grabs Stiles’s attention as his sentinel grabs the back of his neck and reels him in.
Bold as brass, his sentinel plants one on him. Full mouth and it is amazing.
Stiles has been kissed before, okay? Boys, girls, everything in between, it has never mattered to him one whit. Nothing on Earth is as sexually flexible as an unbonded guide, but this! This kiss proves that he was doing it wrong every single time he kissed before this. Every. Single. Time.
It’s hot, wet but not awkward and he knows, can feel all the way to the bottom of his toes that he is the center of Derek Scott Hale’s existence. But it lasts barely more than a moment before Derek starts to tense up and pulls himself back, glaring toward the wall.
Derek manages to stand without touching Stiles in the least and to get between Stiles and the window before he can grasp the meaning of his sentinel’s sudden distance
The observation window.
Stiles had forgotten the window.
How could I forget the fucking window? Stiles thinks, completely dazed and more than a little disappointed, even as his sentinel herds him out of the bonding room.