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Stiles's hand shoots out before he can really think about it. "Don't leave." He can't believe he's saying this to Peter of all people. Derek and Isaac turn to look at him, and they seem just as confused as Stiles feels. Peter's the only one who doesn't look confused because he's Peter. Instead, he's got a smirk on his face like he masterminded Stiles's runaway mouth and this is all part of Peter's grand plan.

Stiles glances at the other two wolves, glad that Scott's already disappeared to moon over Allison. Derek seems to be waiting for some signal from Stiles, maybe a sign that Peter needs his throat ripped out a second time or just a reason why Stiles would voluntarily talk to Peter.

He blurts out the first thing that comes to mind. "I just... I wanted to apologize. For setting you on fire."

Peter's smirk grows wider. "Is that so?"

Stiles wants to let go of Peter's sleeve. He really does, but his fingers refuse to move. He's not sure why he's latched on to Peter instead of Derek. Derek he at least knows as more than a homicidal maniac but nope, his fear-driven mind wants—no, needs—Peter to stay. Because despite what just happened, Stiles knows Gerard Argent isn't dead and that thought scares the shit out of Stiles.

Derek gives Stiles one more backward look before disappearing out of the warehouse, leaving Stiles alone with Peter.

"Did you need something?" Peter asks. Peter's amused and Stiles hopes that he doesn't reek of fear as badly as he thinks he does.

Stiles nods. There are a lot of things he needs. "My Jeep's stuck."

Peter turns toward the warehouse wall that Stiles and Lydia had crashed through. "So it is. I'll clear the boards, you see if it will start?"

Stiles nods but his fingers won't move.

"Stiles?"

"I just..." A shiver runs through him. It's April. It's not that cold, but it feels cold here. The cement floor in the Argent's basement had been colder.

Peter's hand wraps around Stiles's wrist. He thinks Peter's about to pull Stiles off but instead lines of black crawl up Peter's veins and Stiles nearly sags in relief as his pain disappears.

"Shit." Stiles's eyes flutter closed.

"That's one way to put it." Stiles can't see Peter's smirk but he can definitely hear it.

He's not sure how long they stand there. Long enough that Stiles starts to waver on his feet, exhaustion hitting him in full force.

"Why don't I drive you home?"

Stiles nods. His fingers cooperate this time and release Peter's sleeve. Peter pats Stiles's hand and then moves in a circle around the Jeep, tossing aside the parts of the wall littered around the vehicle. Stiles sinks to the floor and watches. It's cement in here too. There's not much of a hole to get back out through, so Peter tears more boards away.

"Stiles?"

Peter is in front of him. When did that happen? He takes the hand that's offered and doesn't let go until he's sitting in the passenger seat. It's weird to be on this side of the Jeep. Scott and his dad are the only other people who've ever driven it, but Stiles's mouth doesn't seem to want to produce the usual nitpicking that he does when Scott drives.

Peter knows how to drive stick, apparently. The Jeep starts up for him without any of the fuss it usually gives Stiles. He almost thinks they're not going to make it back out of the warehouse but they do, no screeching metal or additional scratched paint.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Peter says once they're on the road. Those words seem so weird coming out of Peter Hale's mouth.

"Gerard Argent kidnapped me." Peter glances over at Stiles but doesn't say anything. "He had Erica and Boyd too. He was... I don't know, torturing them? There was electricity and... I couldn't help them. I couldn't even help myself against Allison's grandfather."

"To be fair, he's a pretty fit grandfather. He cuts people in half. With a broadsword. I wouldn't expect you to win that fight."

"Do you think they're still there?"

Peter takes his eyes off the road for longer than Stiles is comfortable with. Stiles is about to say something when Peter turns back. He signals a left. Stiles doesn't remember telling Peter where he lived but left is definitely the wrong way.

"Where are we going?"

"To check."

The words take a moment to fully process and when they do, Stiles sags back into his seat. He doesn't want to go anywhere near the Argent house ever again. Scott and Allison could be getting married in the backyard and he'd still not set foot on their property. But he also can't ask Peter to turn around. Not now. He needs to know Erica and Boyd are safe.

The lights are off when they stop two houses down. Peter turns off the Jeep and then stares. Stiles hadn't said where the Argents live, but he supposed he didn't need to.

"Two heartbeats," Peter says. "Upstairs and... well, Scott should be very glad Argent senior isn't home."

"They're not there?"

"No."

"And Gerard?"

Peter tilts his head slightly and inhales. "He hasn't been back. I assume that's where Christopher is."

Stiles stares at the house as if its shadowy form will reveal everything that happened in the last eight hours. "Do... do you think they're okay?"

Peter doesn't ask who Stiles is referring to. "Either they left, in which case they're better off than we are, or they went crawling back to Derek, in which case they're no worse than we are."

"Do you think..." Stiles trails off. It's a stupid thing to ask. He doesn't know why he's so fixated on Erica and Boyd. They tried to kill him a few days ago. Erica left him in a dumpster. He blames himself for that, partly. He'd been too wrapped up in how alone he felt with Scott chasing after Allison to consider that there were other people just as lonely as he was. He'd never stopped to look outside the bubble that was Stiles and Scott.

"I think a lot of things. You're going to have to be more specific."

Stiles blinks and looks over at Peter. "Do you think Derek knows?"

For a second, something almost like fondness crosses Peter's face before it's hidden behind his smirk. "I can ask." Peter pulls out a surprisingly modern-looking phone and taps out a message, then tucks his phone away. "Home?"

Stiles nods. Peter doesn't ask where to go and Stiles doesn't offer but Peter seems to know the way regardless. That knowledge is only a little bit creepy.

Peter parks the Jeep in the driveway and gets out first. He's around the side of the Jeep before Stiles can even get the door open, which turns out to be a good thing. Stiles's legs buckle as soon as they hit the pavement and Peter's sudden hold on his arms is the only thing that keeps him upright.

"Thanks," Stiles says as he pulls away.

Peter smiles and turns. He starts walking like he lives just around the corner instead of God knows where. Is he staying in the burnt out old house or the abandoned train station with Derek? Neither are pleasant options but Stiles can't exactly invite Peter in. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't. It would raise too many questions.

Stiles sleeps in fits and starts. He's going to have nightmares about that basement for a while. His dad doesn't comment on it, which is a small miracle, but Stiles will take it. He'll take anything he can get.

When he checks his phone after breakfast, there's a single text waiting. It's from an unknown number and all it says is 'They're safe.' That's all Stiles really needs to know.

He sits at his desk, swinging his chair from side to side. He has homework he should do. There are Tumblr and YouTube for distractions and a new MMO he wanted to try out. Instead, he opens a new browser tab and searches for ways to bring someone back from the dead. He could just ask Peter but he thinks this way will be a lot more fun.

Chapter Text

"This was a mistake."

Stiles looks up from where he's perched on the edge of the bed, a sliver of blanket draped across his crotch. "W-what?" He can't help the hurt in his voice. Not that it matters. Peter can probably smell it, mixed with Stiles's confusion and guilt.

"Get out," Peter says. His back is to Stiles. The marks Stiles's short fingernails had left on his back had already faded, unlike the marks on Stiles's skin.

"But..."

"OUT!" The roar reminds Stiles of when they'd first met, when Peter had been the crazed Alpha and Stiles had been piecing together what he knew about werewolves from the internet and the public library.

He scrambles to his feet, glad that Peter's not looking because he doesn't want to see the disappointment he knows is there. He doesn't want to add Peter to the list of people who look at his body and think 'not for me.' His clothes are easy to find, except for one sock, but he leaves it. Peter can fucking deal with a lone sock. It's probably under the bed or something. He doesn't even stop to put his flannel on, he just needs to get out.

The tears don't hit until he's in his Jeep and he's thankful for that one small favor the world seems to have given him. He barely pays attention to the road, doesn't care where he's going. He has to stop when he runs out of road. He throws the Jeep into park and lets it idle while he curls forward, head resting on the steering wheel as tears turn to sobs.

Fuck Peter. Fuck Stiles's stupid judgment. Fuck whatever killer was out there targeting virgins. He should have asked Danny, but Danny didn't share Stiles's love of mythology and annoying Derek. Danny wasn't older and handsome and full of sarcasm. Danny wasn't who Stiles wanted as his first.

Fuck him.

A noise outside the car makes Stiles raise his head. It's dark out, darker than it was before, and he's surrounded by trees. He was on one of the service roads in the Preserve, but he didn't know where.

The noise sounded again, closer, reminding Stiles that there was still a killer on the loose. But the killer wouldn't want him. He wasn't a virgin anymore.

Stiles unbuckles his seatbelt and reaches for the door a second before it's ripped open. He screams as darkness wraps around him like a flurry of bats, like leather on his skin. He's afraid and in that single moment of terror, all he can think about is Peter.

Peter, whose very existence is like a white-hot brand on his soul.

He feels something inside of himself flicker, spark, catch and for a second he thinks he hears Peter roar.

He passes out with the sound still ringing in his ears.


Stiles wakes up tied to a tree. His head aches and he panics, remembering that this is how Heather and Emily had died. This is how he was going to die, even though he's not a virgin.

A hand closes over his throat and Stiles can't even get enough breath to gasp at the horrid figure looming over him. Above him. He can see the trees standing up at the edge of the clearing and even though he can feel and smell wood behind him, this is not like the others. He's laying down on some giant stump and he's still alive, for now.

"Be still," the creature hisses. Stiles doesn't really have a choice. He's pretty well tied down and his head is swimming, thoughts getting more and more foggy the longer she chokes him.

He gasps when she releases him, sucking in deep breaths of air. What the hell is going on? A cold breeze runs through the clearing and Stiles shivers. He's missing his shirt. He cranes his head to look down at his torso. There are strange symbols marked on his skin in something dark. He really hopes that's not blood. He really hopes that's not his blood. His body aches but he doesn't feel like he's bleeding currently.

"I'm not a virgin," he blurts out, because there's no way there's two psychopaths running around tying people to trees.

"No," the creature—is it a person? It has a sort of human shape—says. "You're something much better."

Shit.

Shit, shit, shit. Is 'recently fucked by a zombie werewolf' a thing serial killers look for in their victims?

I can help you.

Stiles opens his mouth, about to respond when he realizes that voice was different. That voice was inside his head.

What?

Release me and I will help you.

The creature is chanting something beside him, a blood-stained knife poised in the air above his chest. Who is....

Here, the new voice says and his attention is drawn down, into the stump. Stiles can feel a presence there, dark and foreboding and powerful. Release me.

How do I know you're not evil? Stiles thinks back at it.

Laughter is his only response.

Decide.

You only hurt it. Not my friends. Not the people I care about.

There's a moment's pause. It considers. Deal.

Three things happen at once. The creature—Darach—stabs him in the chest. The presence in the stump—nogitsune—rips up and through him. Howls fill the clearing as it's suddenly filled with werewolves, familiar blue eyes leading the charge—mate, pack.

Void-Stiles moves like lightning, reversing his position so that he's looming over the darach trapped against the Nemeton. A grin not his own stretches wide across his face. He can feel the magic gathered inside of the darach, magic stolen through bloody sacrifice. The magic jolts free as Void-Stiles snaps her neck and he shudders with delight as he drinks it up.

"Stiles?" Scott's voice sounds hesitant. Void-Stiles can smell his fear. It increases when Stiles turns to look at him, to look at all the wolves and would-be-rescuers who were just a minute too late.

Not them, Stiles thinks franticly. Not them.

The thing inside of him pauses and acquiesces. Stiles slumps forward as the nogitsune releases his body, coiling like an inky pit in Stiles's belly. Peter's the first to reach him, catching Stiles before he lands on the darach's corpse.

"What did you do?" Peter hisses.

Stiles looks up at glowing blue eyes and thinks how wonderful they would look if they were red again. With the darach's magic comes knowledge. There's a pack of Alphas in Beacon Hills. They have Erica and Boyd and a Hale. Stiles's grin is not entirely his own. The negotiation between Stiles and the nogitsune is faster than thought, terms bandied and rearranged until an agreement is struck. He will save his friends and the Alphas will pay.

"Stiles?" The nogitsune's senses are better than Stiles. Despite Peter's earlier words, there's concern there and affection. It wasn't a mistake.

He reaches up and kisses Peter, reveling in the gasps around him. Peter's presence is as solid as the nogitsune inside of him, adding a spark of light to the darkness.

Stiles's smile is entirely his own when he says, "I made a deal."