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Is He Going To Be Okay?

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Stiles grits his teeth together, refusing to give them the satisfaction of hearing him scream as they twist the blade further into his leg. "Is that the best you've got?" He spits, tears clinging to the corners of his eyes as he avoids looking at the blood currently flowing from various parts of his body. "I thought you were supposed to be an Alpha - the best of them all." He knows he shouldn't be speaking - hell, he should probably be begging for his life right now, not giving the already-very angry werewolves even more reason to torture him. But Stiles has never really liked begging, he prefers to use his wit and sarcasm to get out of bad situations. "Or are you not an Alpha? Are you just the pathetic guard dog that the rest of the pack doesn't trust?"

"If you don't shut your mouth, the next knife will be going in your neck," the man snaps, glancing from Stiles to the door. It was clear that the werewolf was anxious; about what, Stiles was going to have to find out.

"What was the plan, huh?" Stiles licks his lips, trying to ignore the familiar metallic taste. "Kidnap me, lure Scott here and then - what? You're gonna kill him?" He watches the man's face closely, noticing him twitch before giving the knife in his leg another twist. Biting back a groan, Stiles keeps pushing. "You really think that's gonna work? Have you not heard the stories? About the Alpha pack that went up against Scott McCall and lost? Or how about the Kanima? The Nogitsune? Which, by the way, was possessing me at the time. Or are you really just stupid enough to think that you'll be the one to finally take down the True Alpha?"

By this point, the man looks nervous. He stays silent but glances worriedly at the door.

Stiles, as observant as always, notices this and raises an eyebrow. "What exactly are you waiting for? Or should I be asking who?"

Again, the man stays silent. 

Stiles groans softly and rolls his eyes, grimacing as he tries to move his head. It takes a few seconds for him to realise that there's wire wrapped around his neck, tying him to the chair. "Seriously? I'm actually pretty flattered, you seem to think I'm a big enough threat that you have to restrain me entirely. Not exactly comfortable though."

"Shut up," The man attempts to growl at him but it comes out as more of a low warning. "The more you talk, the more that wire's gonna cut into your throat."

"Well that's just lovely," Stiles swallows as his eyes scan what he can of the room. He stops, eyes widening slightly as he spots what appears to be a table covered in torture devices. He once again groans, except this time, it's because he's realising how stupid he must be to have gotten himself into a situation like this. 

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"What do you mean you lost it?" Scott growls, claws digging into his palms.

Erica's eyes flash gold as she takes a step back, away from Scott. "I lost his scent, okay? Scott, we'll find him."

It's been two very long weeks since Stiles was kidnapped and everyone is on edge. The sheriff has every available officer working around the clock, worried out of his mind about where his son could be. Lydia has barely slept, afraid that she won't be able to sense if something happens to him. Everyone is upset and terrified to think about what could be happening to him. And Scott, well, Scott's a mess. He hasn't slept, hasn't eaten anything and is snapping at everyone. They know he doesn't mean it, he's just worried about Stiles.

Scott growls again and takes a step forward, only to be pushed back by a strong hand on his chest. He looks up at Boyd and closes his eyes, taking a deep breath as he nods and steps back. He knows he's losing control, he also knows that he's treating the others unfairly; growling at them when they're just trying to help. But he just wants to find Stiles. He can't lose his best friend.

"Scott." Derek steps towards him, making sure to keep his voice soft and reassuring. "We're going to find Stiles. I promise."

He can sense that Derek is just as worried as he is but it does nothing to calm him. "How do you know that? How do you know he isn't already dead?"

The room goes quiet, Scott glaring at Derek as he waits for him to reply. 

"Scott, maybe you should get some sleep," Derek says quietly, taking another step forward as he places a hand on his shoulder. "We're all worried about him but we can't give up hope. And you not sleeping isn't helping anyone. Stiles would be really mad if he knew you weren't taking care of yourself."

Scott rubs at his eyes with one hand, sighing as his shoulders slump. Everyone can see that he's exhausted, they've been searching non-stop for the past fourteen days and have still found nothing. "I just..."

Derek nods as Scott trails off. "I know, but you need to sleep. I promise that if we hear anything, we'll wake you up immediately, okay?"

It takes a few seconds of Derek staring at Scott, determination clear in his eyes, for Scott to finally give in. He nods and lets Derek steer him towards the couch. He lies down and breathes out, closing his eyes for a second as he tries to relax. Derek goes to walk away when Scott's hand reaches out, grabbing onto his wrist. He looks him in the eyes and for the first time, Derek realises just how badly this was affecting Scott as he sees the worry and guilt in his eyes. "You promise you'll wake me if you hear anything?"

"I promise," Derek sends him a small reassuring smile as he shifts his wrist so that he's holding onto Scott's hand and squeezes lightly. "We're going to find him."

Scott nods and smiles back gratefully, letting go of his hand and rolling onto his side, falling asleep almost instantly.

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Stiles feels his fingers start to go numb and wiggles them, worried that they're losing circulation. His thumb brushes against the ropes. Glancing at his werewolf guard, Stiles decides to see just how well his captors restrained him. He moves his wrist slightly and instantly regrets it, the ropes rubbing harshly against his skin. He can't help the hiss that escapes his lips as the burning pain travels up his arm. 

The guard turns to him and glances at his wrists. He sends him a somewhat sympathetic look. "They made cuts on your wrists and soaked the ropes in some sort of bleach or alcohol, I think they added some salt as well, knew it would hurt more."

"Oh," Stiles smiles wryly. "This just keeps getting better, doesn't it?"

The guard stares at him. He looks like he's about to say something but doesn't get the chance to as the door finally opens. 

Stiles lifts his head, eyes focusing on the silhouette entering the room. "They'll be here soon enough. Are you ready?"

Stiles knows that voice. He knows he knows that voice but he can't figure out how he knows it or who it belongs to which confuses him even more. Who are these werewolves and what do they want with Scott? Maybe they want his powers but surely they know that they can't take a True Alpha's power? Or do they have something else in mind?

Stiles doesn't get time to question their motives and stupidity a little more as someone pulls the ropes around his wrists, tightening them. Caught off guard, Stiles screams, biting down hard on his lower lip hard as he breathes deeply through his nose. When had they moved? And how had he not seen them? The person behind him laughs and yanks his head back by his hair, causing the wire around his throat to press even tighter, small beads of blood forming. Stiles bites the inside of his cheek as he stares defiantly up at the person, their fingers still woven tightly through his hair. From this angle, he could tell that they were female which, really, wasn't much of a hint at all.

"You're a tough one," she says, her tone gleeful and slightly maniacal. "This is gonna be even more fun than I was expecting."

Stiles continues to hold her stare, watching her blue eyes flash green then gold. He opens his mouth, eyes not once leaving his captors' as he breaths out, "Well, I don't like to disappoint. Let's have some fun."

A twisted, challenging grin spreads across his lips as her eyes widen in surprise, only to be followed by a cruel, sadistic smirk. "Oh trust me, we're gonna have lots of fun."

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Derek is true to his word, waking Scott up a few hours later. They had just heard from Chris and the Sheriff that they think they have Stiles' location. 

"Scott," Derek shakes Scott gently. "Scott, we think we've found him."

Scott's eyes snap open as he stares up at Derek. "Really? Where is he?"

Derek stands up, holding out a hand and helping Scott up as he fills him in on what Chris told them. 

"Something seems off..." Scott says quietly, eyes downcast as his eyebrows furrow. "It sounds..."

"Like a trap," Malia interjects bluntly, arms crossed. Scott nods as he looks up at her and she groans. "That's because it is one! Whoever took Stiles is trying to lure you in, probably so they can kill you!"

"I know," Scott replies. He begins to stride towards the loft door. 

Malia's hands fly into the air as she looks at the ceiling in exasperation and follows behind him. "Scott! You can't go!"

Scott stops and turns around, staring her straight in the eyes. "They have Stiles."

Malia's mouth hangs open as she stares back at him incredulously. "I know that, but what if..." Malia looks around desperately, hoping someone would back her up. When no one does she groans in frustration and turns back to Scott. "What if he's not there? What if they're keeping him somewhere else and they're luring you to a different location so that they can kill you?"

Scott smiles at her sadly. "It's a risk I'm willing to take."

"I don't want you to!" 

"Malia," Scott takes a step forward, both hands on her shoulders as he looks into her eyes. "Stiles is in danger. And this could be our only chance to help him, I have to do this." 

Malia's eyes shine as she nods. "Then I'm coming with you."

Scott sends her a half-smile and looks at the rest of the pack questioningly. 

Lydia walks forward, standing beside him. "As you said, Stiles is in danger."

Scott smiles at her gratefully. His eyebrows raise slightly as Derek joins them and turns to the others. "Stiles is pack," His voice sounds assertive as he looks at each and every person in the room. "We don't abandon pack and when one of our own is in danger, we help them. No matter the risk."

If Derek had been like this when he was an alpha, maybe things could have turned out differently for him, Scott thinks to himself. 

Isaac and Jackson appear to be the only two still questioning whether this was a good idea or not, although, they seem to agree that it is when they receive glares from almost everyone in the room. 

"Good," Scott says, nodding at they all walk forward. "Then let's go save our friend."

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"Has anyone ever told you that you're a bitch?" Stiles grinds out between his teeth, hissing at the searing pains shooting through his entire body. 

"Actually, yes," the woman replies. She grins as she digs her claws deeper into Stiles' throat. She leans down and licks the trail of blood that had begun trickling down his neck.

Stiles can see his blood on her lips and watches as her tongue darts out, licking away the last of it. He feels disgusted watching her relish in his pain and laughing when he can't stop himself from screaming. It scares him. Not her, she just annoys the hell out of him. What scares Stiles is that he can finally understand the Hunters. He can finally understand why, when they see a werewolf - hell, pretty much any supernatural creature for that matter - their first thought is: monster. Because that is exactly what this woman is. A monster. Stiles knows not all werewolves are like this, he knows that there are good ones like Scott and Derek. But when you're standing face-to-face with one, their eyes glowing, fangs beared and claws long enough to rip your throat out in a heartbeat, how can you distinguish which ones are good and which ones are bad?

A sharp pain in his chest brings him out of his thoughts. Stiles looks down and sees blood soaking through his shirt, two arrows firmly lodged in his chest. Normally, he would already have fainted at the sight but he knows that he can't go unconscious. He might not wake up if he does.

"I really did forget how tough you are, then again, we never really got properly introduced, did we?" 

Stiles' eyes widen a little as he tries to clear his vision. "We've met before?"

The woman laughs and leans closer, dragging her claws slowly down his face, ignoring the trails of blood she leaves behind. "I'm hurt, Stiles, you really don't remember me? And here I thought I had made quite the impression on all of you."

Stiles struggles to focus on her voice. Her laugh. Why does it sound so familiar to him? 

"I'll give you a little hint since you seem to be having a hard time remembering: You stood by with the rest of your friends as Peter Hale ripped my throat out."

"Peter?" Stiles squints slightly, just managing to make out the woman's main features. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and very aggressive. That helps a lot. "But Peter hasn't... If he ripped your throat out..." 

"Come on, Stiles," the woman says teasingly as she trails her thumb across his lower lip. "You're meant to be the smart one."

In his defense, he has lost a lot of blood, currently has two arrows sticking out of his chest and about three knives in various other parts of his body along with a scary werewolf-lady flirting with him while clawing his face. It's a little hard to focus with all of that going on. And so Stiles is surprised when it finally comes to him. 

"No, no, it can't be," Stiles shakes his head, ignoring the burning caused by the wire around his throat and the dull ache in the back of his skull. "You were dead. We went to your funeral."

The woman laughs as she pushes one of the smaller knives further into his stomach. She grins and lets out a shorter, more inhuman laugh as Stiles groans, too exhausted to stop himself. "That's sweet and all but, I wasn't there."

"Yeah, I gathered as much since you're still here and shoving sharp objects into me," Stiles forces out between his teeth. 

 "I never wanted to hurt you, Stiles," Kate says in what she probably assumes is a regretful tone but to Stiles just sounds callous.

"You sure about that? Because it does not seem that way from my perspective."

Kate sighs and stands up, taking a few steps forward. She grins cruelly as her hand nudges one of the arrows in Stiles' chest and he hisses. "I really didn't. You just got in the way. Now you're nothing more than bait and then collateral damage."

"Fantastic," Stiles mutters, blinking slowly as black dots dance in front of his eyes. "That's exactly what I've always wanted to be."

Kate opens her mouth, about to say something but instead, she freezes. She glances at the guard who had been looking away, trying to block out what was happening the entire time but was now watching the door with fearful eyes. "They're here."

Stiles can hear voices but they sound too far. Or maybe they're close? He can't tell anymore. But he knows that it's Scott. Scott found him. Like he always does. 

The door is thrown open, creating a loud bang as it hits the wall and comes off its hinges. Stiles can only make out silhouettes, three of them. No, four. Or... Is it five? There are too many of them. The one in front seems to be staring at him and Stiles has a feeling it's Scott.

"Stiles... Oh god, Stiles!" It's definitely Scott, Stiles thinks to himself as the last of his energy drains away and his eyes close as Scott takes a step forward.

"You found me," Stiles mumbles, knowing Scott can hear him. "You always find me." Then everything goes dark. 

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Scott doesn't need to see anything else, doesn't need to know the danger. He just needs to know that Stiles is okay and judging from the strong stench of blood, anger and sadistic joy, he isn't.

He throws the door open, not caring about the noise it makes and scans the room. His eyes land on Stiles almost instantly. Scott's heart stops and his stomach twists. He stares at his best friend; two arrows in his chest, claw marks down his face and, oh god, the blood. There is so much blood.

"Stiles... Oh god, Stiles!" Scott takes a step towards him, ignoring the two other people in front of him. 

"You found me. You always find me."

The words are quiet but everyone can hear them. Scott can feel himself losing control, eyes glowing as he growls. He's furious, and he's not the only one. 

Derek is the first to notice that one of the people in the room is Kate. A surge of anger mixed with confusion flares through him as he takes a step forward and growls at her. "How the hell are you alive?" 

Kate laughs but her voice sounds resentful. "It's good to see you too, Derek."

"Fine, you wanna play this game?" Derek's eyes glow as he grows more infuriated by the second. "Bring it on, Kate."

Scott, realising that Derek is outnumbered, steps up beside him. His eyes turn red as he calls out over his shoulder, "Lydia, Isaac, get Stiles."

Derek looks at Scott and their eyes meet. They both nod, a silent agreement made between them. All they have to do is keep Kate and her friend's attention on them long enough for Isaac and Lydia to make sure Stiles is safe.

"Scott McCall," Kate says, her tone playful and slightly flirtatious which does nothing but creep Scott out. "Surprised to see me?"

"Considering we live in Beacon Hills where nothing stays dead, not really," Scott replies, trying to keep his voice calm. "Let me guess, you want revenge?"

Kate flashes him a grin as she takes a step forward. "Correct! Glad to see at least someone in your pack still has some brains left," she spits out, turning her head to stare at Stiles, unconscious and being untied from the chair he was on. "It's too bad, he would have made a brilliant hunter with that brain of his," She sighs but when she turns back to Scott and Derek, she's grinning. "It's just a shame that he's probably gonna have some... problems, in that department." She takes another step forward, her grin still in place as Scott growls at her. "That's if he even makes it." Fake concern takes over her features. "I mean, I don't know how much of what I've read is true but, I hear most people can't survive a bite from a were-jaguar."

Scott feels like his heart's been ripped out of his chest as he his whole body freezes. "What?"

"Yeah," Kate's grin returns. "Apparently, there's something in our fangs that slowly stops a humans organs from working as it seeps into their veins and eventually makes its way into their heart and kills them. At least, that's what it does to people whose bodies can't handle it. If they can," Kate laughs and it's cold and holds not even a hint of remorse. "Who knows what might happen to them?"

Derek doesn't even hesitate as he lunges forward, hand gripping Kate by her throat as his claws dig into her skin. Even now she has the nerve to laugh. Derek squeezes tighter and growls out between his teeth, "What have you done to him?"

Kate smirks, her eyes glowing a bright green as her fingers wrap around Derek's wrist. "I already told yo-"

Derek growls again, louder this time. His claws are now piercing Kate's skin, blood slowly trailing down her neck. 

Scott knows he has to do something but he can't even think straight. He's too worried about Stiles to even care about anything else. And then he remembers that they're here to save Stiles, and to do that, he needs to help Derek distract Kate and her friend. His eyes search for the guard werewolf and he spots him almost immediately, standing to the side of the room and not doing anything. Scott frowns but decides that the man doesn't seem like too much of a threat right now.

"Derek," Scott's voice is gentle but also warning. "She stays alive."

Derek glances at Scott over his shoulder. He doesn't look happy about it but he releases his grip on Kate's throat, moving back.

She rubs at her neck and grins. "I see you haven't changed, Scott."

"As much as I would love to kill you right now," Scott says, glancing at Stiles' blood-soaked and tortured body. "That's not how we do things."

"Wow," Kate shakes her head and scoffs in disbelief. "I torture your best friend and you're still not going to kill me? What kind of Alpha are you?"

"The kind that is is still reconsidering stopping Derek from ripping your throat out," Scott says through gritted teeth.

"Now that's what I want to hear!" Kate exclaims triumphantly. "Come on, Scott. We all know you want to hurt me, so go ahead. No one's gonna stop you." When Scott says nothing, Kate narrows her eyes, taking a step closer to him. "You know, hearing Stiles scream is one of the best sounds I've ever heard. It was so..." Kate pauses, casting her eyes upwards as she grins. "Rewarding, I guess you could say, since he tried so hard not to. And god," she moans. "The way he stared right into my eyes as I dragged my claws down every inch of him, it was just so hot. Oh and, when I said every inch of him, I meant every. single. inch."

Scott finally snaps. He pounces at her, slamming her head into the ground as he wraps both hands around her throat. He doesn't care anymore. All that matters is that she hurt Stiles and that's not okay with him.

Kate lets out a broken, sadistic laugh as she coughs. "I knew you had it in you."

"Shut up," Scott pulls his hand back, ready to slash every inch of her and tear her limb from limb. Just as he goes to bring his hand down to swipe at her face, a hand wraps around his wrist and pulls back, stopping him. He looks up, eyes bright red as he growls at Malia. "Let go."

"No," Malia replies, tightening her grip as her eyes flash blue. "Scott, you were the one who told me that this isn't how we do things."

"I don't care anymore!" Scott shouts. And it's true; he doesn't care about what he said, he doesn't care that he's not meant to kill. All he cares about right now is Stiles. "Let go of me!"

Malia, as stubborn as ever, doesn't. 

Scott growls and pulls his wrist back as hard as he can, forcing Malia to let go. He looks back down at Kate and hates the way she's staring at him, as if this is exactly what she wanted. And in a weird way, it is. But as he already said, Scott doesn't care.

Malia groans in frustration and looks around desperately. She catches Derek's eye and gestures to Scott. "Do something!"

Derek continues to stare at Kate before shaking his head. He looks at Malia as he says, "No."

"Seriously?" She asks incredulously, shaking her head as she wonders what they're all thinking.

"You saw Stiles' body, right?" Derek now fully turns towards Malia, pointing behind her to where Lydia and Isaac were sitting against a wall, Stiles propped up against it between them. "You saw what she did to him?"

"Yes, I did, but-"

"Did you hear what she said?" Derek asks her quietly.

"What do you mean?" Malia stares at him, eyebrows furrowed. 

"She bit him." Derek glances at Stiles. "We don't know what a bite from someone like her does to a human."

Malia's eyes turn confused as they drift to stare at the ground. She shakes her head lightly. "No, no, he's gonna be okay."

"We don't know that," Derek snaps. His voice rises as he continues, "We don't know what's going to happen to him! He could die or turn into only god-knows-what!"

"At least he wouldn't be dead," Malia says, lifting her eyes to look at him. 

Derek stares at her, his anger radiating off of him. "Do you really think that's what Stiles would want? To be like her?" He points at Kate without turning around. "Or like us?"

Malia lifts her head and glares at Derek. "If he's alive then it doesn't matter. Would you prefer he died?"

"Of course not!" Derek growls. "But I don't want him to be forced into becoming a monster!"

"We're not monsters," Malia snaps back at him. "And whatever happens to Stiles, we will help him through it because we are his friends and he would do the same for any one of us, even Jackson!"

Jackson turns around and glares at Malia. "Wow, thank you."

"Shut up!" Malia says then turns back to Derek. "I don't care what you say because no matter what happens, I'm going to help Stiles."

"I never said I wouldn't help." Derek growls in frustration. "I'm just furious that you want to let Kate get away with this!"

"I don't!" Malia shakes her head as she turns to look at Stiles. When she turns back, Derek can smell her sadness. "I don't want her to get away with this but... We can't just give up on our code. That would make us as bad as her."

Derek wants to argue, say that it would only be this once and it would be for a good reason but he doesn't. Instead, he sighs and looks at Scott, still pinning Kate to the ground as he stares back at Derek. Scott seems to understand that they aren't going to kill Kate but he still doesn't get up. Derek looks at Malia and raises his eyebrows at her. She whines but walks over to Scott, taking one of his arms to try and get him to stand up. When it doesn't work, she looks over at the others, hoping someone would help. Boyd comes to her rescue and walks over, taking Scott's other arm. 

"If we aren't going to kill her," Erica says, walking up to them. "Can we at least... I don't know, put her somewhere she can't get out of?"

"I know a place that could hold her," Allison answers. "Eichen House."

"Perfect." Malia grins at them, still holding Scott's arm. "One problem though, how do we get her to go?"

Derek turns to look at Kate. She's back on her feet and appears to be watching his every move, unsure of what's going to happen next. Derek crosses the short space between them and elbows Kate in the face, hard, knocking her out.

"I guess that's how," Malia says, eyes wide. 

"Guys," Isaac is looking at them, his concern strong enough that they can all sense it. He glances back at Stiles before continuing, "He's lost a lot of blood and we can't stop it or take his pain, we need to get him to a hospital right now."

It's as if those words trigger something in Scott, snapping him back to reality. He shakes off Malia and Boyd who were still holding onto him and rushes over to where Isaac is sitting with Stiles and Lydia. "I'll call my mom, make sure she knows we're coming."

As they leave the building, Scott glances back, searching for the other werewolf. He was nowhere to be seen. Too worried about Stiles, Scott just let's it be and leaves.

The rest of the pack all just go along with Scott's plan, each of them getting into the vehicles they came in and speeding in the direction of Beacon Hills Hospital, hoping that it's not too late to save their friend.

Chapter Text

Scott breathes slowly into his hands as he sits in the waiting room of the hospital. With each second that goes by, another horrible, terrifying thought enters Scott's mind. He has to keep reminding himself that Stiles is going to be okay. But he doesn't know that. He doesn't have any idea what's going on and it's killing him.

"Scott," Derek places his hand on Scott's shoulder. "Listen."

He does. Scott's head snaps up as he hears his mum's voice, speaking to one of the other doctors. "There's nothing else we can do?"

"I'm afraid not," the other doctor sighs. "All we can do is wait, it's up to him to fight through this now."

"And what if he can't?"

The other doctor didn't reply.

Well, that doesn't make Scott feel better. It just makes him even more worried. He lifts his eyes and looks at Derek. He's surprised to find that Derek's face is completely blank. What's more surprising is that Scott can smell the fear, worry and anger coming from him. 

"Derek," Scott sits up straighter. "We don't know what's going to happen but if there's one thing I do know, it's that Stiles is a fighter, he can survive this."

"I... I can't do this," Derek says quickly and stands up, walking to the elevator. 

Scott wants to call out to him, ask him to stay because he can't handle this alone. But he doesn't. Instead, he lets Derek leave and closes his eyes as he waits for whatever comes next.

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Two hours pass and Scott's still sitting in the waiting room. And that's when he hears it. Stiles' heartbeat is speeding up. 

Scott jumps out of the chair and rushes towards the room Stiles is in. He's by the bed within seconds, grabbing onto Stiles' hand. "Stiles? Stiles, are you awake?"

There's a few seconds of silence before Stiles groans and rolls over. As soon as he does, his eyes shoot open and he winces. 

Scott's eyes scan desperately over his best friends body, trying to locate which parts of him are in pain. Then he realises, the pain is everywhere. He squeezes Stiles' hand gently and concentrates. The feeling that follows is worse than anything Scott has ever felt and he accidentally drops Stiles' hand.

"Scotty," Stiles murmurs as he lifts his head, looking up at Scott. 

"Hey, Stiles," Scott gives him a small smile as he picks his hand back up squeezes gently. "How're you feeling?"

"Fantastic." Stiles grins up at him. He winces again. "I take that back, I'm a little less than fantastic."

Scott laughs but it sounds all wrong, it sounds broken and more like a sob. "You're gonna be okay, Stiles."

Stiles hums as his eyes close. He's asleep within seconds. Scott sighs and his shoulders slump. He leans back and lets his eyes close as well, squeezing Stiles' hand gently as he falls asleep.

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A burning pain shoots through Stiles' spine, forcing him awake. He tries to open his eyes only to be blinded by the sunlight. He quickly closes them. After a few seconds, he once again opens his eyes and blinks slowly, letting them adjust to the bright room. And that's when he notices he's in a hospital room. He turns his head. He winces at the pain that shoots through him but does his best to ignore it as he looks at his best friend, asleep in the chair next to his bed. 

"Scott?" His voice is hoarse and his throat burns when he speaks but that doesn't stop him. "Scotty?"

The werewolf's eyes slowly open. And then they're widening as he leans forward and begins speaking - too fast for Stiles to even make out one word. 

"Woah, calm down!" Stiles lets out a laugh and regrets it almost straight after. He swallows but it doesn't do much good. "Do hospitals have water?"

Scott's eyebrows raise slightly and smiles. "I would assume they do, yes."

"Can I have some?" Stiles asks, grinning.

Scott rolls his eyes but nods. "I'll be back in a second," he says and stands up, letting go of Stiles' hand. Stiles hadn't even noticed he had been holding it to begin with. 

He shrugs to himself as Scott walks out of the room. He returns a few minutes later, a glass of water in his hand. 

"Thanks." Stiles takes it from him gratefully and gulps it down. "Water has never tasted better."

Scott laughs but it dies quickly, leaving Stiles confused. He doesn't question it though, as he sits the glass on the small plastic table beside him. He tries to push himself up on his elbow but collapses back onto the bed as a searing pain rips through his chest and arms, down his torso and legs. It's everywhere. He clamps his mouth shut, grinding his teeth together to stop himself from screaming. 

"Stiles?" Scott's panicked voice cuts through his pain and he knows he's right there but it feels like he's a million miles away. "Stiles?" Not getting a response, Scott seems to go into full-on freak-out mode.

Stiles tries to push through the pain to reassure his best friend but he can't, he just can't. And then slowly, the agony dulls to an ache. But something's wrong. Stiles shifts his head and looks at Scott. His eyes drift down and then back up to Scott's face. Now Stiles is the one panicking, snatching his arm away. He sits up as much as he can and stares at Scott incredulously. "What are you doing?"

"Y-you were-" Scott stares back at Stiles with wide brown eyes. "I didn't know what was happening and I... I didn't know what else to do."

Stiles feels a pain in his chest but he knows it isn't physical. He hates seeing Scott like this: terrified and guilty. He sends him a small smile and places his hand back on top of Scott's. "Thanks, Scotty."

Scott smiles back at him and squeezes Stiles' hand softly. The back of his eyes burn and he blinks rapidly. He clears his throat and looks down at the bed, avoiding Stiles' gaze. "Do you need anything else?"

Stiles narrows his eyes. "No, I'm good," he says slowly. He wants to know why Scott's acting so weird but he also doesn't want to push him. "Is everything okay?"

"You're in the hospital," Scott replies as he smiles. "I'm pretty sure it's obvious that everything's not okay."

"Scott," Stiles' tone is sharp. "What's wrong? Other than the fact that I am currently in a hospital."

Scott opens his mouth to answer him. And then he closes it. He glances up at his best friend and then clearly regrets it. Stiles is watching him with a worried and slightly curious expression. Scott shuts his eyes briefly then looks up at Stiles again and shakes his head. He smiles as he says, "We can talk about it later."

"Scott!" 

"Stiles, you need to rest, okay?" Scott stares at Stiles, determined to avoid the subject for as long as possible. And, of course, to make sure Stiles gets as much sleep as possible. 

"Fine," Stiles says and begins to lie back down. "But don't think I'm gonna let this go. You will tell me eventually."

"Of course I will," Scott replies and smiles at him. Barely a minute passes and Stiles is already half-asleep. Scott runs his thumb over Stiles' knuckles softly and breathes out slowly. He knows he should probably try and get some more sleep as well, but he doesn't want to. Scott just wants to sit in this quiet room, holding his best friend's hand and listening as he breaths in and out, almost in time with his heartbeat.

Chapter Text

Scott lifts his eyes to look over at the door as it quietly creaks open. Derek closes it behind him and steps forward. He glances at Stiles as he asks, "How is he?"

"He's..." Scott shakes his head. He meets Derek's questioning gaze and sighs. "I don't know. He's only woken up once since I've been here."

Derek gives a nod, arms folded as he stares down at Stiles. "Has he shown any signs of..."

"Of becoming one of us?" Scott asks. He shakes his head when Derek nods. "No, but he was in a bit of pain... Derek, when I tried to take it...." Scott trails off.

"What?" Derek asks urgently. "What happened?"

Scott finally looks directly at Derek, worry radiating off of him as he says, "It was worse than anything I've ever felt before, I... Derek, it was like what I felt on the first full moon...."

Derek's eyebrows furrow as he turns his eyes back to Stiles. He looks more worried than Scott has ever seen him, and that terrifies him. Derek clears his throat and turns back to Scott. "We just need to wait and see what happens but..."

"But?" Scott grips Stiles' hand a little tighter without realising. "But what, Derek?"

Derek sighs and runs a hand across his face. It's clear to Scott that he's tired and he's probably just as worried but all Scott wants is for him to say that Stiles is going to be okay. Of course, he knows that Derek can't tell him that.

"We don't know if any of what Kate said is true, however, there's someone who might..."

Scott raises an eyebrow at Derek. "Who?"

"Argent." 

---------------------------------------------

Scott rubs his hand over his eyes. He walks up the small steps and knocks on the front door. It feels like it's been ages since Scott was last here - at the Argent's home. Ever since he and Allison broke up, he hadn't been there as often. They were still friends, but there just didn't seem to be a good reason to go over to her house. 

The door opens and Scott looks up at Chris Argent. Chris' eyebrows shoot up in surprise but he steps aside, inviting Scott in. Giving a slight nod, Scott walks into the house, stopping before he reaches the living room. 

Chris closes the door and turns to face Scott. "Is everything okay?" he asks warily, his expression concerned. "Is Stiles..."

"He's fine," Scott reassures. Although, if he was honest, Scott wasn't entirely sure he believed that. And clearly Chris didn't either. "He's still asleep for now."

Chris nods in understanding but continues to stare at Scott. "That's good. But shouldn't you be with him? For when he does wake up?"

Yeah, Scott thinks, yeah, I should. But he knows that he can't be right now. Right now, he has to find out how to help Stiles. Besides, Derek's with him. He won't be alone if he wakes up. Scott grimaces inwardly. When he wakes up.

"We need your help," Scott says, pushing his worries to back of his mind.

Chris' voice is slightly wary as he replies, "With what?"

"We need to see the Bestiary." Chris stares at him questioningly and Scott sighs, exhausted. "I don't know how much Allison told you about what happened to Stiles-" Judging by the expression on Chris' face, Scott guessed she hadn't told him much, "-but here's the quick version: Kate was the one who took him, yes, she's alive and apparently wants revenge," Scott pauses, allowing Chris to process it.

"But..." Chris shook his head, eyebrows furrowed, "I don't understand. She was dead. Peter killed her-"

"That's what we thought as well, turns out, his claws went deep enough to turn her."

Chris' eyes snap up to meet Scott's. "No..." he mutters. "No, no, that's not... that's not possible."

Scott wasn't sure what to say or do to try and comfort him; he wasn't even sure there was anything he could say that would help in this situation. After all, Chris just found out that his sister is alive but as a werewolf. And that's when Scott realises he left out a piece of crucial information.

"Argent," Scott says, dragging Chris' attention back to him. "Kate isn't a werewolf. She called herself a were-jaguar. That's why we need your help." Scott is begging at this point, desperate for any sort of information on what might happen to Stiles. "We need to see the bestiary, it's the only thing that might be able to tell us-"

"No." 

Scott stares at Chris in disbelief. Of all the things he expected to hear, "no" wasn't one of them. "What? But-"

"You don't need to read the bestiary," Chris says. Scott begins to worry about the lack of emotion on Chris' face. "I already know all about them."

--------------------------------------------

Pain. That's all Stiles can feel as he looks into his mother's eyes. In the back of his mind, he knows this isn't real. He knows it's a dream. But right now, it feels real. And that's all he needs. He takes a cautious step forward as he watches her. 

"Mom?" He places a hand gently on his mother's shoulder and is surprised when he realises he can actually feel her. 

"Stiles..." Her voice is distorted but Stiles can still hear her.

He smiles at her, blinking quickly as his vision blurs. "I'm here."

She smiles back at him sadly. "Stiles, my baby... You can't be here."

"What?" Stiles' eyebrows furrow in confusion as he opens his mouth to continue.

"You're not meant to be here, it's too early," she pauses as she puts her hand on top of Stiles'. "You need to go back, Stiles."

"What are you-" Stiles stops abruptly as he feels a stabbing pain in his chest. He looks down and notices the blood seeping through his clothes. His eyes widen and he looks back to his mother. 

A tear slides down her cheek as she smiles reassuringly. "You're gonna be okay, but you need to go back." She glances down at the his chest. "I love you, Stiles."

Stiles wants to say something. He wants to tell her he loves her. He wants to ask what she's talking about, what's going on. But he can't. Because he realises he's already screaming in agony and someone is shouting at him, trying to wake him up. Then the pain begins to fade and Stiles knows that when he does wake up, he's gonna have a werewolf to lecture and then thank.

Chapter Text

Derek breaths out a sigh of relief as he sits back in the chair. Stiles had just started screaming and thrashing around, he hadn't known what to do other than try and take his pain. It had worked, but Scott had been right. The pain that Stiles was feeling was worse than anything Derek had ever experienced. 

"Hey," Scott's voice comes out of nowhere, whispering quietly and surprising Derek. "Sorry, I didn't want to wake him." He gestures to Stiles and closes the door behind him. "Any changes?" 

Derek sighs again, standing up to face Scott. "Just before you came in, he started screaming." Scott's eyes widen and he looks over to Stiles in alarm. "I took his pain, thought it might help. Scott," Derek waits until Scott's focus is back on him. "You were right. What Stiles is feeling..." he trails off, unsure of how to finish his sentence. He runs a hand over his face tiredly. 

"I talked to Argent," Scott says, saving Derek from having to continue. He tries to force himself not to look over at his best friend. "He's waiting outside but... he told me pretty much everything we need to know."

Derek looks at Scott, his expression unreadable. "I'm going to talk to him."

Scott nods in understanding and lets Derek leave the room. He walks over to the chair that Derek had been occupying and sits down. He sighs and takes a hold of Stiles' hand, waiting for Derek to come back. 

"You're gonna be okay, Stiles. I promise."

-----------------------------------------------

Scott nearly jumps out of the chair when the door slams open. He looks at Derek, then at Chris. "What's wrong?"

Chris glances at Stiles before looking to Scott. "Derek didn't like what I told him."

"I didn't like what you told me?" Derek whips around to face Chris, his expression furious. "I wonder why that is? You told me there's nothing we can do to help Stiles!" He takes another step forward, pointing at him accusingly as his voice rises. "You said that he's either going to die or turn into one of us! Am I supposed to like that?"

"Derek," Scott says quietly, glancing worriedly at Stiles. He was still asleep for now but if Derek kept shouting, he would definitely wake him up. "It's not his fault."

Chris sends Scott a grateful nod but decides to stay quiet.

"I know that!" Derek's voice brakes towards the end. He lowers his head and Scott could tell by the expression on Chris' face that he was alarmed by Derek's behaviour. "It's just..."

"I know," Scott says. He stands up and walks over to Derek. "Trust me, I know how you feel right now." Derek looks up and for some reason, the look on his face just flips something inside of Scott. "Stiles is my best friend, Derek. We've known each other since we were kids. Do you really think I'm happy about this?"

Derek clearly regrets lashing out, even though it wasn't aimed at Scott. "I'm sorry. I never thou-"

"It's fine," Scott says, but it came out too quickly and he knows it sounded rude. He sighs and runs a hand over his face. "I'm sorry."

Derek shakes his head and sends Scott a small, reassuring smile. "It's okay. I snapped at you, you have every right to snap back. Stiles is your best friend, you deserve to be angry."

"I'm not angry, I-" Scott pauses, his expression changing to one of guilt. "I just hate that there's nothing I can do to help him."

"I'm sorry," Chris speaks up, looking at the ground. He lifts his eyes to look at Scott, his expression remorseful. "Kate did this. I'm sorry th-"

"No," Scott says firmly. "You have nothing to apologise for. As you said, Kate did this. Not you."

Chris opens his mouth as if to protest but doesn't. Instead, he sends Scott another grateful smile and nods. "I should probably go, Allison will be home soon."

Scott nods back in understanding. He waits until Chris closes the door behind him and turns to Derek. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Derek replies. Scott isn't convinced and Derek knows that but they just move on. "We didn't wake him, did we?"

Scott turns around to look at Stiles rolling over in the bed but still soundly asleep. He smiles and shakes his head. "No, we didn't."

-----------------------------------------

"Derek, please, just-" Scott stops, sighing as Derek stares at him. 

"What?" Derek asks, stepping forward. "Please, just... What?"

Scott rolls his eyes at Derek but tries to stay calm. "Stop talking."

"Excuse m-"

"About dying!" Scott shouts. He glances at Stiles and sighs in relief when he confirms that he's still asleep. "Please stop reminding me that Stiles might die."

Derek's expression turns guilty but he continues anyway, "I'm sorry. But it is something that we need to talk about considering it's an actual possibility."

"I know," Scott lowers his head into his head. "I just can't think about that right now. I can't."

"Fine," Derek replies, but his tone makes it clear that he isn't done yet. "Then can we at least talk about what we're going to do if he does live?"

Scott bites the inside of his cheek, stopping himself from snapping at Derek. He knows that this is Derek's way of... no, not grieving. Because Stiles isn't dead. Yet, a small voice in Scott's head whispers. He shakes his head and looks up at Derek. "He's going to be okay."

Derek was becoming exasperated and Scott could tell but he just couldn't bring himself to listen to Derek talk about this. "You don't know that." Derek's voice was rising, along with his anger.

"Yes, I do. Because I am not losing him," Scott snaps back, but in a quieter tone, "Derek, I can't lose him."

Derek takes another step towards Scott. "Don't you understand? You can't control this!" By now he was standing right in front of Scott, a mix of emotions radiating off of him. "None of us can! That's why we need to talk about this! Because it's happening and there's nothing we can do to stop it!"

There was silence. The only sound that filled the room was the beeping of the heart monitor. That is, until Stiles decided to let the two werewolves know he was awake. "Why the hell are you two arguing?"

The both of them nearly jumped ten feet in the air at the sound of Stiles' voice. Scott was the first to react. He was beside Stiles in a second and grabbing onto his hand tightly. "You're awake."

"Yeah," Stiles manages to cough out. "I am."

"How do you feel?" Scott asks, despite knowing how stupid it was. 

Stiles's face scrunches up the tiniest bit and then he shrugs. "I've felt better."

"You don't say," Scott laughs, but it dies down quickly. He glances at Derek. "Did you hear what we were talking about?"

"Not really?" Stiles replies, but it comes out as more of a question. Scott gives him "the look" and he sighs. "Okay, yes, fine. I heard." He must see the worried frown on Scott's face as he quickly continues. "But it's okay. I already knew all of that anyway."

Now it's Derek who speaks up, "Which parts? And how?"

"Kate likes to talk," Stiles says, narrowing his eyes as if thinking about it. "A lot," he adds. "And, I know that I'm either going to die or..."

"Turn." Scott finishes for him quietly. Stiles looks at him and pauses before nodding. 

The room was once again silent, none of them knowing what to say. It stayed like this for only a few seconds, of course.

"So, when can I go home?" Stiles asks, directing it to Scott. 

He shakes his head but smiles and gives Stiles' hand a small squeeze. "My mom said you'll probably be in here for a while." Stiles groans dramatically and Scott knows it's for his benefit but he still laughs. "Lydia came to see you a few times."

Stiles' face lights up. "She did?"

"Yeah," Scott smiles. He was just so glad to see that even after everything he had went through, Stiles hadn't changed. "The others did too, but Lydia, Erica and Isaac have been around more often."

"Erica and Isaac?" Stiles repeats slowly, as if making sure he had heard correctly. Scott nods and suppresses a laugh at the expression on Stiles' face. "Why? They hate me. Well, me and Erica have this strange flirting thing going on but I'm pretty sure she still hates me. And Isaac would rather be the one putting me in hospital, not visiting me."

Scott shakes his head but laughs. "First of all: they do not hate you." Scott rolls his eyes when Stiles scoffs. "And Isaac... Well..." Stiles raises an eyebrow at him and smirks, gesturing for him to continue. "He likes you, just in his own special way."

"That's the nice way of saying he hates my guts," Stiles says.

Scott tries to protest but is shushed repeatedly by Stiles. It's only when the room begins to fall into silence again does Derek finally speak up. "I should go."

"Oh." Stiles looks up at Derek, as if only just noticing that he was there, despite Scott noticing him glancing at the other werewolf every few seconds.  "Werewolf business?"

Scott grins when he sees Derek's lips quirk upwards the slightest bit. 

"No..." He hesitates. "Actually, yes."

Stiles rolls his eyes but makes a shooing gesture at Derek. "Go, deal with your wolf business." His nose scrunches up at his choice of wording but he turns back to Scott. "Do you need to leave too?"

"No," He raises an eyebrow at Stiles. "Do you want me to?" he asks jokingly

"Of course not," Stiles replies, grinning. And that was good, because Scott wasn't leaving no matter what he said.

Chapter Text

Derek finally arrives back at the loft. He was tired and all he wanted was to be able to relax on his own. But of course, he knew that wasn't happening. 

He pauses just outside of the door as he hears the familiar voices of his... friends. He'd still prefer to refer to them as pack members but they had refused.

"Why are you in my loft?" He asks as he slides open the door and walks in. He's not surprised when two of the three werewolves jump at his voice. 

Isaac and Erica exchange glances. Derek rolls his eyes and looks at Boyd, the only one who is acting somewhat normal. And the first one to speak. "Didn't you ask us to be here?"

Derek stops for a second. He had. But he didn't want them here anymore. "I changed my mind."

"Seriously?" Isaac blurts out angrily.  He seems to regret it immediately as he takes a step back, cowering away from Derek. Sometimes Isaac's... personality, gets the better of him; especially around Derek. 

"We would just appreciate it if you could make up your mind before calling us here," Erica adds quickly. 

Derek understands where they're coming from. Really, he does. But today he just isn't in the mood for this. "You didn't have to be here if you didn't want to." He begins walking over to the stairs. "It's not like I'm your Alpha anymore," he grumbles under his breath, 

"Okay, I'm sick of this."

Derek stops in his tracks. The three other werewolves feel tense as they wait for him to do or say something. And then he turns around slowly, his eyes narrowed as he looks at Isaac. "What?"

Despite being absolutely terrified, Isaac looks Derek straight in the eyes and replies, "I said, I'm sick of this." He doesn't give Derek a chance to speak as he continues, "You've been acting like a child for days. Something is clearly bothering you and you're taking it out on us and that isn't fair!"

"Fair?" Derek steps forward slowly. His voice is dangerously low as he says, "You wanna talk about fair?" Isaac's momentary confidence disappears as Derek gets closer. "Alright, tell me how it's fair that Stiles might die. Explain to me, how it's fair that he's either going to die or turn into one of us? You can't. Because none of this is fair."

They all appear startled by his words - including Derek. Except for Isaac.

"That's what this has been about?" he asks. Erica's eyes widen as she turns to him, shocked by the lack of sympathy or comfort in his tone. He ignores her warning look and waits for Derek to say something. 

Derek narrows his eyes, just as shocked as Erica at Isaac's blunt tone. "Yes. That is what this had been about. Because I care about Stiles." He shakes his head incredulously at the lack of emotion Isaac is showing. "Unlike you, apparently."

"What?" Isaac appears taken aback and slightly offended by Derek's accusation. "I do care!"

Derek scoffs and crosses his arms. "Really? How many times have you actually gone to visit him in the hospital?"

"More than you!" 

The room is filled with a tense silence. Erica and Boyd exchange worried looks. 

Derek nods slowly and gives a tight-lipped smile. "Right." He doesn't say anything else as he walks - no, storms - up the stairs. 

Erica steps in front of Isaac, glaring at him as she says, "What the hell were you thinking?"

"Excuse me?" Isaac replies. When Erica just continues to glare at him, he gestures to the stairs Derek had walked up. "It's the truth!" He argues, his eyes turning gold. "He's been to see him about three times, while we've been there almost every day for the past two weeks!"

"You wouldn't even have gone to see him once if I hadn't made you!" Erica points out, stabbing her finger at him. 

"That's not true!" Isaac growls back. 

"Stop it. Both of you." Boyd glares at them. He waits until Isaac's eyes have fully changed back and says, "You need to calm down, let's just go to the hospital."

Neither of them argue as they nod and Boyd begins walking out of the loft. He just had to hope that they wouldn't start shouting at each other in the middle of the hospital. 

---------------------------------------------------------

"You're wrong and you know it," Isaac hisses at Erica as they wait for Miss McCall. 

Erica shakes her head in disbelief. "You're the one that's wrong."

Boyd sighs but shushes them when he sees Melissa walking back to them. She sends him a somewhat friendly smile while glancing at Erica and Isaac warily. 

"Alright, you can go in. Scott's still with him but he's awake and is okay to see you." 

"Thank you, Miss McCall," Boyd says as he sends her a grateful nod and smiles.

He begins walking to the room Stiles was in, leaving Erica and Isaac. They notice and quickly catch up to him. Before entering the room, Boyd turns to them, his expression stern. "No arguing. Got it?" They both nod reluctantly and follow him inside.

Stiles and Scott turn to look at them as they enter. Scott gets up and offers the chair, smiling at Erica as he stands to the side. She smiles back and sits down. 

"So," Stiles directs his attention to Erica, grinning as he speaks, "I've heard you've been visiting me, Catwoman."

Erica rolls her eyes but grins back. "Yeah, I have, Batman- We have," She corrects when Isaac glares at her.

"What did I say?" Boyd asks, crossing his arms as he looks between them.

Erica sighs and glances at Isaac. "No arguing."

"Uh," Stiles holds up a hand as he sits up a little straighter and winces inwardly at the pain. "Did I miss something?"

"Isaac and Derek got into a fight," Erica glares at Isaac accusingly as he rolls his eyes in response. 

"What about?" Scott asks, his voice filled with concern.

"Who visits more," Erica answers.

Stiles laughs, bringing everyone's attention to him. When he sees that none of them are laughing as well he stops. "Oh wait, you're serious?"

"Exactly!" Erica exclaims, throwing her hands up. "It's ridiculous, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Stiles agrees. "But how exactly did this argument start?"

"Because Derek was being grumpy - like usual, except worse," Erica explains. "And Isaac, apparently, couldn't keep his mouth shut."

Isaac scoffs. "I'm sorry that you're too scared to stand up to him. But he doesn't get to treat us like that just because he's worried!" He gestures at Stiles without looking at him while he and Scott exchange confused and slightly concerned glances. "We're all worried! That doesn't mean we take it out on each other!"

"I'm not scared of him!" Erica growls, her eyes beginning to turn gold. "I'm worried about him! He's never been like this before."

"I noticed that too," Scott interjects, hoping to calm the situation down. "I've never seen Derek this worried either."

"Uh," Boyd starts, glancing at Stiles as he tries to get the others' attention. 

"Exactly," Erica nods, ignoring Boyd. "I just don't want to say anything that might make it worse."

"Guys!" Boyd shouts. The room goes silent as they all stare at him. He gestures to Stiles.

They all turn to look at him. Stiles was cowering away from them, or more specifically, Erica. Scott looks at her, trying to figure out what was making Stiles so scared. And then he realises. It's her eyes. 

"Erica," Scott's tone is gentle and quiet, making sure he doesn't freak Stiles out anymore than he already was. "You need to calm down."

She looks up at him and her eyes change back to their normal shade of brown. She turns back to Stiles, guilt clear on her face. "I-I'm sorry."

Stiles swallows and smiles at her reassuringly as he tells her it's okay, it was nothing. But Scott hears his heart skip a beat as he leans back to his original position. And again when Erica reaches out and places her hand on top of his. And again when they begin talking. Scott feels like someone's ripped his heart out of his chest, seeing Stiles so afraid of Erica. How will he react if Scott turns? If he starts changing and he can't control it, like what happened after everything with the nemeton? He only got through that because Stiles helped him... What would he do if Stiles was afraid of him?

"Scott?" Stiles' voice breaks through his thoughts.

He looks up at him, shaking his head slightly to try and clear his mind. His hand goes to the back of his neck as he puts on a smile and replies, "Yeah, sorry, just zoned out."

Stiles narrows his eyes at Scott. He nods but Scott can tell that he knows somethings' wrong. Sometimes werewolf sense really do come in handy. 

"I was just saying that we should leave," Erica speaks up, her words slightly rushed as she stands up. "Gotta make sure Derek's..." She trails off, clearly trying to think of an excuse. "Not killing anyone..."

"Yeah," Isaac agrees sarcastically. Erica glares at him as she grabs his arm and he rolls his eyes. "Let's go then."

Scott sends them all a smile as they leave. He turns back to Stiles, smile still in place Stiles' eyebrows are raised as he folds his arms, shifting a bit closer to the edge of the bed. 

"Don't you dare," Stiles says. 

"What?" Scott pretends to look innocent as he sits down in the chair. 

"You're going to sit there and lie to me. It's not gonna work." Stiles stares at Scott determinedly. "You did the hand thing."

"The hand thing?" Scott asks, grinning. 

Stiles rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Yes! The thing you do when you're nervous and lying? You put your hand on your neck?"

"That is not a thing that I do," Scott replies in mock offence. 

"Yes it is and you know it." 

Scott shakes his head in amusement. Then he sees the worry on Stiles' face and it's so bad that he can actually sense it. And he feels like a horrible person for lying to his best friend. Why can't he just tell him the truth? Tell him that he doesn't want Stiles to be afraid of him, that he would never hurt him. It would make things so much simpler. No, Scott thinks, it would just make things worse.

"Scott," Stiles' tone completely changes; it's more gentle and quieter. He reaches out his hand, letting it rest on top of Scott's. "Please, just tell me what's wrong. I'm your best friend, we tell each other everything."

"It's just..." Scott begins. He doesn't know how to say what he's thinking. He doesn't even know how to feel about what he's thinking. "It's too complicated."

"What is?" Stiles asks, leaning forward. 

Scott looks down, unable to see the concern in his best friend's eyes. He breathes in deeply. And then he smiles. "Nothing. We'll talk about it later." He stands up, still looking at the ground. "I need to go see my mom, she wanted to talk to me about something."

"Scott!" 

He ignores Stiles and hurries out of the room, closing the door behind him. He turns the corner and slows down, letting himself lean against the wall as he closes his eyes. He knows Stiles won't be able to follow him; he's in too much pain to even get out of the bed. And Scott knows that running out of the room probably makes him a horrible friend. But he couldn't help it. How would telling Stiles what he's worried about make him feel better? How would telling him that he's scared he's going to lose him change things? It wouldn't. 

But at least then you could get through it together. 

Scott sighs and bangs his head against the wall. He winces. He forgot that even if he heals fast, he still feels pain. He opens his eyes and looks down the corridor, checking to see if he could see his mom. He wasn't lying when he had told Stiles she wanted to talk to him. Now he just had to find her.

Chapter Text

Stiles stares at the door in disbelief. He can't believe Scott just ran out to avoid the question. What is he hiding? Stiles shakes his head and sighs, letting his head fall back onto the pillow. A burning pain shoots up through his neck, causing him to groan. He doesn't even bother to try and suppress it. What's the point? No one can hear me, and Kate already won.

No. He squeezes his eye shut tightly and runs his hands over his face. He can't let himself think like that. She hasn't won. If she had, he would probably be dead, along with Scott. Scott... Why-

Stiles is dragged from his thoughts abruptly as he hears a familiar voice talking to someone, saying "I'll go check on him." And then footsteps walking towards his room. But he shouldn't have been able to hear any of that, not as clearly as he did. He shakes his head and rubs at his eyes. I'm just tired, he tells himself. And then the door opens and Melissa walks in. His eyes snap open and he blinks to clear his vision. That's just a coincidence. 

She sends him a warm smile as she walks over to the bed, holding a glass of water. He smiles back and goes to sit up, only to be stopped when the pain in his chest returns. He closes his eyes briefly and breathes deeply. After a couple of seconds, it eases down to a dull ache. Bearable, at least.

He looks up at Melissa. Guilt washes over him when he sees her worried expression. He smiles and takes the glass from her as he says, "I'm okay. It's not that bad."

Melissa smiles back at him and scoffs. She crosses her arms, replying, "You practically grew up in my house. I've heard those exact words from you every time you and Scott got hurt."

"Not those exact words," Stiles says jokingly, glad that she now seems more relaxed. 

"Yes, those exact words."

They both laugh, Stiles stopping to take a quick drink from the glass. He finishes it and goes to hand it back to Melissa. He pauses just as she reaches to take it, a thought entering his mind. "Has Scott said anything to you?" She furrows her eyebrows in confusion and he elaborates, "About me? Or... Something! I don't know, it just seems like he's keeping something from me."

Melissa smiles understandingly but shakes her head. "He hasn't mentioned anything to me. Have you asked him?"

"Yes," Stiles replies, slumping against the wall as he finally lets her take the glass. "And he literally ran out of the room saying you needed to talk to him about something."

She raises her eyebrows in surprise. "Oh."

"Yeah," Stiles says, his voice filled with disappointment. He sees Melissa frown and he knows she can sense his anxiety. You don't need to have heightened senses to tell when he's anxious, it's basically his permanent state of being. 

"I'll try to talk to him," She says with a small smile. "See if I can get him to tell you."

"Thank you." Stiles returns her smile. 

She nods at him and walks out of the room. He closes his eyes and sighs. Hopefully Melissa can talk to Scott, get him to see that he just wants to know what's going on. He just wants to be able to help. Because right now, he feels pretty useless.

------------------------------------------

Scott sighs as he rounds yet another corner, glancing down the corridor. Still no sign of his mom. He begins walking down it anyway, hoping to pass some more time until he has to go back to see Stiles. He pulls out his phone and goes to his contacts, about to press the one titled "Mom" when he walks straight into someone. He looks up, apologising profusely. And then he sees that it's Melissa.

She raises her eyebrows at him as he grins and says, "Hey! I was just looking for you."

"I was looking for you as well," Melissa replies, smiling knowingly as she continues, "I just checked up on Stiles." Scott feels his stomach twist with guilt and he knows that it's also clear on his face. He opens his mouth to speak but Melissa shakes her head, stopping him. "Talk to him. He's worried about you, and right now, he shouldn't be focusing on anything other than getting better."

"I know," Scott says. "I'll talk to him. I promise."

"Good," Melissa replies, smiling as she nods. "I'll see you at home, okay?"

Scott's eyebrows crease in confusion. "Wait, didn't you want to talk to me about something?"

Melissa waves a hand at him and shakes her head. "It can wait." She points a finger at him. "Go see Stiles." 

Scott doesn't get the chance to argue as she walks away, disappearing into one of her many patients' rooms. He lets it go and turns back around, heading in the direction of Stiles' room. He was just hoping that Stiles wasn't too mad at him for running out. 

------------------------------------------

Scott finally found his way back down to the level Stiles was on. He knows his way around the hospital because of his mom, but he still somehow manages to get lost every now and then. He stops in front of the room he knows Stiles is in, taking a deep breath as he turns the handle and opens the door. He had been expecting to be greeted with an annoyed glare or some sort of sarcastic comment about him running out. But as he enters the room, the first thing he notices is the smell of fear. 

His eyebrows crease in concern, his mind already going over every possible reason for Stiles being afraid. And then he sees it. The one thing he hadn't been expecting. 

Stiles looks up at Scott, his breathing uncontrollable as he glances back down to his hands. His hands that are covered in blood; blood that is coming from his ears, his nose, his wounds. Everywhere.

Scott quickly closes the door behind him and rushes over to Stiles. He doesn't know what to say or do. This is exactly what happened with Jackson, but he turned into the kanima. It's not the same thing - it can't be. But if Stiles isn't bleeding because he's turning into one of them... then it's because his body is rejecting the bite. 

"Scott." Stiles' voice is quiet, practically a whisper, his lips trembling. Scott looks away from his hands and finally notices how pale he is and how badly he's shaking. "I'm scared, Scott."

"I know," he replies quickly, his voice cracking as he grabs Stiles' arms. "And so am I. But we're going to figure this out, okay? You're going to be okay, Stiles."

Stiles closes his eyes as tears slip down his cheeks. When he opens them again, Scott doesn't only see fear; he sees acceptance. And that scares him even more because it means that Stiles is convinced he's going to die. And he's just accepting it. 

"Stiles, you're my best friend. Okay?" Scott's words catch in his throat as his voice cracks. "And I need you. Stiles, you're my brother. Alright, so you're going to be okay." 

It's a few seconds before Stiles responds but when he does, he nods and says, "Yeah, you're probably right." 

"I am," Scott insists, smiling weakly. He glances back down at Stiles' hands as he says, "Come on, we should clean this up before my mom comes back to check on you again."

Stiles nods again and lets Scott guide him over to the tiny sink in the corner of the room. He turns the tap and then stands to the side, letting Stiles wash the blood off his hands. Once they're clean, he wets a paper towel and runs it over his face, washing away any last traces of blood. 

Scott silently watches as he throws the paper towels in the bin and leans on the sink. His eyebrows crease in confusion when Stiles doesn't move, just lets his head hang while the water continues to run. Scott looks down at Stiles' hand, his knuckles white as he grips the edge of the sink tightly. He gently places his hand on his shoulder, only just realising that he's shaking.

"Stiles?" Scott's voice is quiet but concerned, his heart beating a little too fast. "Stiles, are you okay?"

Silence. And then, "No." 

Scott hesitates, unsure of how to respond. He doesn't know how he can possibly comfort him right now. But he doesn't get the chance to think of something as Stiles' legs seem to buckle and he let's go of the sink, falling to his knees. He begins to shake more than he already was as sobs wrack his body.

Scott drops down beside him, desperate to be able to help. He wraps his arms around Stiles' shoulders and pulls him closer. He breathes slowly as Stiles clings to his t-shirt and cries into his shoulder, hoping that it might calm him down. 

He can't help but feel guilty. He knows that Kate was the one who did this; she was the one who bit Stiles. But she did that because of Scott. Kate wouldn't have even bothered to hurt Stiles if she hadn't known how much he meant to Scott. So how could he not blame himself? In a way, this is his fault. Or at least, that's what he keeps telling himself. 

And he hates seeing Stiles in this much pain. He rarely ever sees him upset but when he does, he never knows how to help. And right now, Scott knows what Stiles is feeling. Not just because he can sense it thanks to his werewolf abilities, but also because he's in almost the exact same situation as Scott was when he was bitten. 

But you lived. He's dying.

Scott closes his eyes and slows his breathing, realising it had sped up. He listens carefully to Stiles' heartbeat to see if it's back to normal. Once he's sure that it is, he gently leans back, moving his hands to Stiles' shoulders. 

"Stiles?" 

Stiles pulls back, leaning his head against the sink as he rubs at his eyes with his palms. He drops his hands and Scott's stomach twists with guilt at the sight of his bloodshot and red-rimmed eyes. 

"Stiles?" Scott says again.

"Yeah," Stiles' voice is hoarse as he replies, "I'm okay."

"No," Scott shakes his head and places his hand on Stiles' shoulder. "You're not. And that's okay."

Stiles smiles weakly but it doesn't last long, slipping into a frown as he closes his eyes tightly. Scott knows that it's because he's in pain; he can tell by the burning sensation in his hand. He presses a little harder and squeezes gently, slowly transferring the pain from Stiles to himself. He knows that he won't be happy with him for doing it, but as long as he's not in pain, Scott doesn't mind. 

Just like he thought, Stiles opens his eyes and raises an eyebrow at him tiredly. "What did I say about-"

"I know, I know," Scott smiles innocently and shrugs. "I just don't listen."

"Don't I know it," Stiles mutters but smiles at him. 

"You should get back in bed," Scott says, already pulling him up. "The floor isn't all that comfy."

Stiles rolls his eyes but lets Scott help him back to the bed. He gets in and leans back, resting his head on the propped up pillows. 

"I need to go call Derek but I'll just be outside the door, okay?" Scott says, anxious about leaving Stiles on his own. 

But Stiles nods understandingly and gestures to the door. "Go on. I'll be fine."

Scott half-smiles and leaves the room, making sure to close the door behind him. He breathes out and leans against the wall, already pulling out his phone and tapping on Derek's number. He knows that Derek isn't going to react well when he tells him what happened. But he needs to tell him. Scott doesn't know what to do about this or how to handle it, and Derek was the one who was there when Jackson was going through the same thing. Hopefully, he would know what to do. 

If he doesn't... Scott's stomach twists at the thought. He holds his phone to his ear, waiting for Derek to answer. 

"Scott?"

"Hey, Derek," Scott takes a deep breath. "I think we might have a problem."

Chapter Text

"Scott," Derek calls, quickening his pace as he spots the younger wolf. As soon as Scott had called him, Derek had rushed out of the loft and headed for the hospital. He just needs to see Stiles - to know that he's okay. But you know he's not.

Scott tilts his head in greeting and steps back, his hand on the door as Derek finally reaches him. 

"Is he okay?" Derek asks urgently, glancing through the small window on the door. "What happen-"

"Derek," Scott cuts him off. Derek doesn't like the tone of Scott's voice, he doesn't like the way his voice cracks as if he's been crying, or the desperation that Derek can sense too clearly. He also doesn't like the way Scott's standing in front of the door, as if trying to stop him from going in. "On the phone, I didn't... I didn't exactly tell you the truth."

"What are you talking about?" Derek asks, his voice rising. He shuts his eyes briefly, telling himself to calm down. When he opens them again, he looks at Scott and says, quieter this time, "What didn't you tell me?"

Scott glances at the door before turning back to Derek, worry practically radiating off of him. "There was blood," Derek's eyebrows shoot up as he stares at Scott incredulously. "Derek, it was like what you told me happened with Jackson. But that's not possible, is it?"

Derek's mouth hangs open as he tries to think of an answer but the only thing running through his mind is Stiles.

"Derek?"

"I don't know, Scott!" Derek shouts, throwing his hands out. "I don't know what's happening to Stiles!"

Neither of them say anything as they receive looks from doctors, nurses and patients walking by, having heard Derek's small outburst. And before either of them get a chance to, Melissa walks over, the Sheriff following closely behind her.

She crosses her arms and raises her eyebrows at both of them. "This is a hospital. If you want to have an argument, do it somewhere else. Not outside a patient's room." She walks forward and pushes open the door, gesturing for the Sheriff to go in.

He tries to smile at Scott as he walks into the room but it's clear that he just can't bring himself to when he sees his son lying in a hospital bed. 

"And definitely not while his father is here," Melissa adds quietly as she watches him sit down in the chair beside Stiles. She turns her gaze back to the two boys, her eyes now firm as she asks, "Got it?"

They both nod in understanding and Melissa smiles at them. She goes to walk away but Scott stops her. "Mom, you didn't notice anything... strange, when you were checking on Stiles earlier, did you?"

Melissa glances at him from the corner of her eye as she grabs the clipboard on the door and scans down it. "Strange?"

"Anything... Just, anything unusual," Scott hints, trying his best to be as subtle as possible as she writes something down. 

She sighs as she places the clipboard back on the door and turns to Scott, her arms crossed. "If you're asking if I noticed the unusual amount of blood," She pauses and takes Scott's wide eyes as confirmation. "The answer is yes. It's also why I called his father."

"Wait, you told him?" Scott asks, his tone panicked as he glances behind her to the sheriff. 

"No," Melissa replies. "I just told him that I was worried. But, Scott," She glances at Derek as she leans a little closer, so she won't be overheard by people walking by. "Is there something happening? Something that I don't know that might help?"

Scott had forgotten they hadn't told her the entire truth about what happened to Stiles. All they had said was that he was really badly injured. He had planned on telling her everything once things had calmed down but... he just didn't. Scott sighs and looks at Derek, only to receive an incredulous expression along with raised eyebrows. "Derek, it's okay, we can tell her."

Derek opens his mouth to argue but makes the mistake of looking at Melissa as she stares at him, one eyebrow raised challengingly. He throws his hands up and shakes his head, replying, "Tell her if you want."

Scott nods and turns back to Melissa. "Kate was the one who took Stiles. I told you about Kate, right?" Scott asks, his eyebrows furrowed as he tries to remember. She nods and he continues, "She's apparently back from the dead and determined to kill... well, pretty much all of us."

"I don't understand," Melissa says, her eyebrows creased in confusion as she glances between Scott and Derek. "How is Kate alive?"

"When Peter killed her, he slashed her throat. His claws went too deep and he turned her," Scott says, nodding his head in silent agreement that what he just said was crazy. 

"Wait," Melissa holds out her hand. "She's a werewolf?" She asks incredulously.

"No..." Scott trails off, unsure of if she'll actually believe him. "She's a werejaguar."

Melissa blinks, her mouth hanging open as she tries to process his words. "A werejaguar? I don't think you've mentioned that one before."

"We didn't even know they existed," Derek explains, trying to help in some way. 

"Right," Melissa replies, nodding her head as she appears to still be trying to wrap her mind around the thought of werejaguars. "So, Kate's a werejaguar and she took Stiles?"

"And..." Scott feels a lump form in his throat as he thinks about what's happening to Stiles. "She bit him."

Melissa's eyes widen as they dart between Scott and Derek. "She bit him? Is she, uh, an Alpha? Is he going to turn into... well..."

"That's what we don't know," Derek replies, glancing at Scott. "We don't really know if it works the same way but... the blood, that you saw," Melissa nods, urging him to continue. "It's not exactly a good sign. The last time someone was bitten and there was blood... was Jackson."

"Jackson?" Melissa asks. "As in, Jackson Whittemore? But didn't he turn into the... Kanima?"

"Yeah, he did," Scott says. "But before that, he was bleeding and that usually means the body's rejecting the bite."

"But that means..." Melissa's face drops and she turns her head to look behind her, into Stiles' room. "Oh god," she mutters, her hand covering her mouth.

Scott just nods, unable to say anything. He hated all of this. Telling his mom, it just made it feel even more real. And he doesn't want it to be real. He wants to wake up and realise this was all just a bad dream, that Stiles was okay and Kate hadn't taken him. He just wants things to back to normal. But they never will. Not now.

"You need to tell him."

"What?" Scott looks up at his mom. "Who?"

Melissa shakes her head and turns back to him. "His father."

"But-"

"He deserves to know, Scott."

After a few seconds of hesitation, Scott nods reluctantly. "He does. We'll tell him."

"Good," she says, nodding. "I'll, uh, I'll see you later, be home for dinner, okay?" She waits for him to nod then smiles and leaves to attend to one of her patients. 

Derek and Scott stand in silence, unsure of how to say what they're both thinking. And then Scott looks up and watches the Sheriff hold his son's hand tightly as he whispers something to him, even though he's still asleep. 

"We have to tell him."

Derek sighs but nods, crossing his arms as he leans against the door frame. "I know. But how do we tell someone that their son might be dying?"

"I don't know," Scott replies. "But we need to say something. He doesn't deserve to go through this again..."

Just thinking about how much pain the Sheriff had gone through when his wife was in the hospital was almost unbearable. The thought of having to be the one to tell him that he might have to do it all over again with his son? Scott doesn't know if he can handle it. And how is he meant to tell the Sheriff that he might lose Stiles when he can't even accept that himself? 

Chapter Text

Scott's heart races as he enters the hospital room, Derek trailing closely behind. He closes the door as he glances at him uncertainly but continues to walk forward, stopping when he reaches the end of the bed. Derek nods and tries to look encouraging but all it does is make Scott feel worse.

He looks at the Sheriff, hoping that the words will just come to him. But they don't. All he can think is that this man has been through too much. He hasn't even been able to visit that often, being the only Sheriff in Beacon Hills. Parrish usually tries to fix any problems at the department on his own, along with the help of Lydia. She said she needed something to distract herself, so nobody protested. But there's only so much they can do. This is Beacon Hills after all, the town needs its Sheriff. 

"Scott?" The Sheriff finally notices Scott and Derek but his eyes barely leave his son as he speaks, "Is there something wrong?" Judging by the tone of his voice, Scott guesses the Sheriff thinks he's needed back at work.

If only that was the case, Scott thinks as he shakes his head. He knows he needs to tell him. But he just can't bring himself to do it. "Nothing's wrong."

Derek raises his eyebrows at Scott, silently telling him to just say it. When he doesn't, Derek sighs and turns to the Sheriff. "Sheriff Stilinski," He looks up at Derek questioningly. "We think there might be a problem. With Stiles," he adds. 

"What do you mean, 'a problem'?" The Sheriff asks, glancing at his son. 

And so Scott explains. All of it. Derek helps, adding bits that he forgets or is too hard for him to say. And the entire time, the Sheriff doesn't say a word, not wanting to interrupt them. But his expression gives him away. He's heartbroken. And angry. And just filled with hatred for Kate. 

He's silent as he tries to fully process what they told him. But it's clear that it's all too much. His eyes drift over to Stiles - still fast asleep but looking the most peaceful he has in days. He seems to think something over in his head. "Where's Kate now?"

Scott's stomach twits in guilt - and possibly shame - as he remembers what happened. He glances at Derek and it's clear he's thinking the same thing. "We were going to take her to Eichen. But she escaped when we weren't looking."

"She... escaped?" The Sheriff asks, more to himself than to them. 

"Yeah, she did," Scott confirms.

The room is quiet except for the sound of the heartbeat monitor and people walking by the room. Scott glances at Derek worriedly, silently asking him what to do. But Derek stays silent, his arms crossed and brow furrowed as he watches the Sheriff. 

"I need a minute," The Sheriff says. He lowers his head into his hands

"Of course," Scott replies. He nudges Derek gently and tilts his head towards the door. He gets the message and opens it. They both leave and he closes the door behind them. 

Scott breathes out and closes his eyes. He hated every minute of that. He hated the look on the Sheriff's face as he told him that his son - the only family he has left - might be dying. 

"That could have gone..." Derek pauses. Scott looks over at him as he seems to be thinking it over. "Better. Or worse. I'm not entirely sure."

"Yeah, tell me a-"

Scott doesn't finish his sentence as the door opens back up and the Sheriff walks out, not even glancing at them. They watch as he turns the corner, heading for the front door. 

"I'm gonna go sit with Stiles," Scott says. He nods his head in the direction the Sheriff went as he goes to walk back inside the room. "Do you maybe...?"

Derek nods in understanding and heads after him. Scott just hopes the Sheriff will listen to Derek and not just brush him off like he usually does. Why? So that he can just give him false hope? He shakes his head to himself and fully enters the room, closing the door behind him. 

-----------------------------------------

Derek sighs to himself as he spots the Sheriff heading for his car. Of course he would be the one that has to talk to him. Why couldn't Scott do it? He's a hell of a lot better at reassuring people. 

He's dragged from his thoughts as he realises that the Sheriff isn't the only one at his car his car. His eyebrows crease as he strains his ears, picking up on their voices. One was obviously the Sheriff's, but the other was familiar. Too familiar. Along with their scent. And that's when Derek realises. It's familiar because it's Peter. The Sheriff and Peter. Talking to each other. That can't be good.

He quickly moves into the shadows as he tries to get closer without Peter picking up his scent as well. Thankfully, he seems to be too distracted. Derek listens carefully to their conversation, ignoring the voice in the back of his head that's whispering to him about how this is wrong.

"-You want to find Kate." Peter grins at the Sheriff. "I can help you. Now that I know she's alive, I'd like to have a little chat with her. And I'm sure you do too, considering what she did to Stiles."

Derek growls under his breath. Of course Peter was trying to find Kate, and of course he was trying to get the Sheriff's help. But... We didn't tell Peter that Kate was alive. Which means the Sheriff did. He growls again, still making sure to be quiet. They had kept it from him for a reason.

"-In an hour," The Sheriff finishes.

"Got it. Can't wait."

"I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"

Wait, what? Derek curses. He had stopped paying attention and now had no idea what they had said. Guess I'll just have to follow them and find out. But first - Scott.

He watches the Sheriff get in his car while Peter walks off in the opposite direction before heading back inside to tell Scott what had just happened.

-------------------------------------

"Sheriff Stilinski," Peter calls out, a wide grin on his face as he approaches the man. "I've been looking for you."

The Sheriff barely spares him a glances as he scoffs and reaches into his pocket, searching for his car keys. "Good for you."

"Ooh," Peter raises his eyebrows as he leans against the car. "Someone's in a bad mood. Then again, you did just walk out of a hospital. Nobody's happy after being in one of those."

Peter can smell the anger radiating off of the Sheriff. Humans, he thinks, so terrible at hiding their feelings.

"I wouldn't have been in there, visiting my son, if it wasn't for you," He snaps, finally looking at him. 

Peter's startled by his words. He takes a step back, his hands in front of him. "Whoa, I didn't put Stiles in hospital. I've barely even talked to him, never mind hurt him." That was't exactly true considering Peter has talked to Stiles on numerous occasions, but it always because Derek and Scott were in some sort of trouble. The last part was true; Peter would never hurt Stiles... intentionally.

"You may not have been the one who hurt him but you might as well have, it's your fault Kate Argent's even alive-"

"Kate?" Peter asks, his eyebrows creased as he puts his hands down. "Kate Argent is alive? That's not possible."

"You didn't know?" The Sheriff asks. 

"Of course I didn't know! Nobody tells me anything!" Peter replies, resting his arm on top of the car as he rubs his forehead. "How the hell-... Oh." He casts his eyes upward and groans. "Of course."

"Great. You figured it out. Now could you get off my car?" 

Peter stares at the Sheriff in exasperation. These humans really are idiots. "Seriously? You don't even want to know why I came here looking for you?"

"Not really," The Sheriff sighs, holding his keys up. "I need to get back to work."

Peter narrows his eyes as he says, "I'm sure they can handle things for a few minutes without you."

The Sheriff closes his eyes briefly and nods, opening them. "Fine. What do you want?"

"I heard that it was an alpha who took Stiles. Now I know that it was actually Kate." Peter's still trying to wrap his head around Kate being alive. He can't believe no one thought to tell him. "I was going to make an offer - I still am." The Sheriff narrows his eyes at him but gestures for him to keep going. "You want to find Kate." Peter grins at the Sheriff. "I can help you. Now that I know she's alive, I'd like to have a little chat with her. And I'm sure you do too, considering what she did to Stiles."

"Why would I accept your help when I'm the Sheriff? I can find her without you." 

Peter cocks his head and shrugs. "Maybe. But with me, you'd find her a lot faster. Y'know, thanks to those heightened werewolf senses."

The Sheriff looks away and seems to be thinking and Peter smirks. That was too easy. The Sheriff looks back at him and before he even says anything, Peter can tell that he's won him over.

"Fine. But we need to properly discuss this. Later."

"Absolutely," Peter agrees, folding his arms behind his back. "Where and when?"

The Sheriff sighs and shakes his head. "My house. In an hour."

"Got it," Peter replies, flashing him a grin. "Can't wait."

The Sheriff groans and unlocks his car, pulling open the door. "I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"

Peter doesn't say anything and the Sheriff mutters "oh god" before getting in his car. He turns around, still grinning as he walks away from the hospital. Now, Peter thinks, some wolfs have got some explaining to do.

Chapter Text

Scott knows that he should probably have gone to talk to the Sheriff instead of getting Derek to do it. But he just felt like he couldn't leave Stiles - even if he is still asleep. 

Scott shakes his head to himself, smiling at his best friend. "How did you sleep through all of that?" 

He obviously doesn't expect a reply, Stiles being asleep and Derek talking to the Sheriff. And so he is definitely surprised when he hears, "You can ask him when he's awake. But right now, I think we have a problem. Or, another one, at least."

He turns to face the door and sees Derek, arms crossed over his chest and scowling. Scott stands up and pushes Derek out of the room, closing the door behind them. He sighs and turns back to him. "What now?"

"I just overheard the Sheriff talking to Peter," Derek says. Scott's eyebrows crease in confusion and Derek nods. "Exactly. They were talking about Kate and Peter offered to help the Sheriff find her."

"What did he say?" Scott asks. Surely he wouldn't have accepted Peter's help. But then again, after what Kate did to Stiles.. maybe he would.

To his surprise, Derek frowns and replies, "I don't know. I stopped paying attention."

"Seriously?" Scott asks.

"Yes. Seriously. I was too busy trying to figure out how Peter even knew Kate was alive."

Scott's eyes widen. "Oh yeah, we never told him."

"I'm guessing the Sheriff told him." Derek shakes his head. "But that doesn't matter right now, what matters is figuring out what we're going to do about this."

"What do you mean?" Scott asks. "Why do we have to do anything?"

Derek's eyebrows shoot up in surprise as he blinks at Scott incredulously. "Because if Peter finds Kate, he will kill her. And I don't think the Sheriff is going to try and stop him."

"I get that," Scott says, nodding slowly. "But..." he trails off when he sees the look on Derek's face. No. We can't let them kill her. It's not what Stiles would want. "Okay, yeah, so, what are we going to do?"

Derek's eyes narrow in suspicion at his sudden change of mind but he replies, "They're meeting at the Sheriff's house in an hour. We'll go and see what their plan is."

"I don't think that's a good idea," Scott says cautiously. He pauses, ignoring the look Derek sends him as he tries to think of something. "We could get Lydia to talk to Parrish? See if there's anything they can find out? I mean," Scott presses on. "They would be way less suspicious since they're pretty much always together right now."

Derek's quiet as he stares at Scott, making him more than a little nervous. But he ignores it and waits for him to say something. After a few more seconds of the - incredibly awkward and unnerving - silent staring, Derek sighs and shakes his head. "Fine. But if they screw this up, it's your fault."

"That doesn't ma-" Scott stops himself and smiles. "Totally my fault."

"Good," Derek replies, the finality to his tone making it pretty clear that the conversation is over.

He glances behind Scott at the clock on the wall. "I need to go. Make sure Isaac and Erica haven't killed each other."

Scott snorts as he remembers Erica saying almost exactly the same thing about Derek. He quickly straightens his face as he catches sight of Derek glaring at him. Scott grins at him as he rolls his eyes and turns around, walking away from him. 

He shakes his head as he pushes open the door to Stiles' room and steps in. He retakes his seat beside Stiles, a small smile spreading across his lips when he notices that he's still asleep. And not only that but... he looks happier or more peaceful than he has in... well, since he went missing. 

He didn't go missing, Scott reminds himself. Kate took him.

The smiles disappears as quickly as it had come as he remembers his conversation with Derek. How his first thought when Derek said they needed to stop the Sheriff and Peter was why? Why do we have to stop them?

He wants to say he just wasn't thinking clearly but that wouldn't be true. He genuinely wondered why they have to stop them from killing her. After everything she's done and everyone she has hurt, why doesn't she deserve this? 

Scott looks up as he catches a flicker of movement from the corner of his eye. Stiles was now facing him - still asleep but murmuring quietly. Scott shakes his head in amusement but pauses when he hears, "Scotty." His smile returns as Stiles' lips twitch upwards, despite still being asleep. 

That's why, he thinks. Stiles is the reason that I just can't let them kill Kate. Because even though she hurt him worse than anyone ever has, he would still be the one reminding me that we don't kill. 

----------------------------------------

"I can't believe they talked us into this," Lydia sighs as she trails closely behind Parrish, walking up the path to Stiles' house.

Parrish glances back at her and smiles. "I can." He looks back up at the house nervously. "What exactly what was the plan again?"

"You distract the Sheriff and I try to get Peter to tell me what they're planning?" Lydia says uncertainly. 

Parrish stares at her with wide eyes. "That's the whole plan? I thought there was going to be something else. That's a terrible plan!"

"I didn't come up with it!" Lydia defends. She has to agree though, the plan really is terrible. Why Scott thinks it will work, she has no idea. "We just have to try."

Parrish seems to want to protest but doesn't, and instead, he knocks on the front door. They wait nervously for the Sheriff to answer. Then the front door wings open and Peter takes a step forward, leaning against the door frame as he grins at them. 

"Hi," He tilts his head as his eyes land on Lydia. "How can I help you, kids?"

Lydia rolls her eyes and replies, "We need to speak to the Sheriff." She smiles sweetly as he narrows his eyes at her. 

"He's a little busy at the moment, if you couldn't tell," Peter says. His eyes widen a little as he straightens up and gestures behind him without looking. "But you can come inside and wait if you'd like."

Parrish glances into the house uncertainly, his hand twitching as if wanting to reach for his gun. Lydia sighs and folds her arms over her chest as she leans closer. She lowers her voice as she says, "We know you're planning to find Kate." She leans back, smirking innocently as she continues, "Let us help you."

"But..." Peter's eyebrows crease in confusion. "Kate's dead. I should know, I killed her."

"Drop the innocent act," Lydia snaps, her patience wearing thin. "We know that you went to Sheriff and found out that she's still alive. You offered to help him find her. Now let us help as well."

"Lydia..." Parrish says quietly, confused as to what the hell was going on. 

Peter folds his arms across his chest and smirks. "Oh, was this not part of your little plan?"

Lydia glances at Parrish and shakes her head. "No. It wasn't." Peter's eyes narrow, clearly suspicious. "But I don't care," she states, putting as much confidence as she can muster into her voice. "I want to find Kate and make sure she suffers for what she did to Stiles."

Peter's eyes widen a little at her words but he remains suspicious as he raises his eyebrows at her. "And why should I trust you?"

That, she didn't know. But she was sure as hell going to try and come up with a reason. "Maybe you shouldn't. But wouldn't it be easier to find Kate if you had more people on your side?"

"Yes," Peter says, apparently giving up on his innocent act completely. "But I want to kill her. You would probably stop me because you think you can save her." He rolls his eyes in disgust at just the thought. "Which you can't, by the way, trust me, Derek tried. It didn't work out so well for him. Or me for that matter." 

That was news to Lydia. She reminds herself to ask Scott about that later. Right now, though, "I won't stop you. I'll help you find her, then you can kill her."

Peter stares at her, his eyes narrowing even more. "Steady..." He mutters to himself. 

Lydia smirks to herself. She knew that the first thing he would do was listen to her heartbeat. Scott had already helped her learn how to keep it steady - y'know, in case she was ever lying to a werewolf.

"Is that a yes?" 

Peter hesitates, still suspicious. But at this point, he doesn't have much reason not to believe her. "Fine. But if we find her and you try to stop me, I won't hesitate to kill you as well."

"You tried once before," Lydia smirks at him. "Didn't really work, did it?"

Peter rolls his eyes but smirks back, enjoying her confidence. It always was something he liked about her. 

"Do you still want to talk to the Sheriff?" Peter asks innocently, his eyes drifting over to Parrish. 

Parrish shakes his head, his hand still twitching next to his holstered gun. 

"Good. Because we're a little busy at the moment," He takes a step back, into the house and smirks when he sees Lydia's expression. "I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks," he says and closes the door. 

Lydia's mouth hangs open and her eyes narrow as she turns to face Parrish. "Is it just me or did he make that sound very sexual?"

"Not just you," Parrish says, but his tone is clipped and lacking any hint of humour. He turns around and begins walking back to his car, leaving Lydia standing on the steps. 

Her eyebrows shoot up in shock and she marches after him. He's already in the car by the time she catches up to him. She climbs into the passenger seat and closes the door, turning her head to face him. 

He doesn't say anything as he starts up the engine and begins driving, clearly avoiding even looking in her direction. 

"Okay," she says, licking her lips as she stares out the windscreen. "You're annoyed, I get that. I should have told you what I was going to s-"

"No," Parrish breathes out, laughing to himself. Lydia's eyebrows furrow in confusion as she watches him. "You're going to say that you only said all of that to make Peter believe you. But you meant it, didn't you?"

Lydia's mouth hangs open once again in disbelief. "Of course I didn't mean it."

"You did," he insists.

Lydia throws her hands up, replying, "No. I didn't." She sighs as she leans her elbow against the window, letting her head rest on her hand. "This was the plan all along. Scott told me to say all of that."

Parrish' eyebrow furrow in confusion. "But... Why didn't you just tell me then?"

"I was trying to!" Lydia exclaims. "But then you interrupted me."

"I meant before," Parrish says, glancing over at her. "Why didn't you just tell me before?"

"Because..." she trails off, slumping down in her seat as she realises that she doesn't have an answer. "I don't know, I thought that if Peter thought I was going against the plan then he might be more inclined to accept our help. If he thought that you knew then it might have made it less believable."

Parrish is quiet, glancing at Lydia. After a few seconds pass he seems to give in and accept this, saying, "I guess that makes sense."

"It does," Lydia agrees, relaxing in her seat. 

The conversation for the rest of the ride back to the station was definitely a lot less tense and filled with way more laughter. They arrived and Lydia gets out of the car, waving bye to Parrish as he enters the station and she begins walking away, heading for the loft. 

She sighs to herself once she's certain she's far enough away. She obviously hadn't wanted to admit it to Parrish, but what he said? There was some truth to it. She said she would help Peter find Kate and then let him kill her. And for a second - just a second - she had been telling the truth. She wanted to see Kate suffer for what she did to Stiles. 

But that's not what he'd want. At least, that's what she keeps telling herself. If Stiles dies, he isn't going to be able to want anything. And that thought alone is enough to make Lydia want to hurt Kate. Why should she get to be free and happy when she's ruined so many people's lives, including Stiles'? 

She closes her eyes and runs a hand over her face. She can't afford to let herself think like this. She looks up and realises that she's arrived at the loft. That was surprisingly quick. She shakes her head and walks into the building, hoping to find Scott or at least Derek.

But all the while, those thoughts stay in her mind, whispering quietly to her. And she isn't the only one - many of the others are beginning to question their code and if letting Kate live really is necessary. Especially since things are beginning to look a lot worse for Stiles.

Chapter Text

"You're here, again..." A voice whispers to Stiles through the darkness. He looks around, his eyes searching for the source but finding nothing. "You shouldn't be here."

"Why?" Stiles calls out. "Why shouldn't I be here? Where is 'here'?"

There's no response, only silence. And then there's a flash and the room is filled with a blinding white light. Stiles squeezes his eyes shut, trying to block it out. This is all too familiar. He's been through this before - after everything with the Nemeton. But that can't be right, this can't be the same thing. That just... doesn't make sense. 

As if reading his thoughts, the voice says, "You're right. It doesn't. And that's why you shouldn't be here, you aren't dead."

"But..." Stiles' eyes narrow as the realisation hits him. "I'm dying."

Again, no response. Stiles takes the voice's silence as confirmation. 

"That's just great," he mutters as he turns slowly, looking around for any sort of movement or... just, anything. "I'm guessing there's no chance of you actually being helpful and telling me, oh, I don't know, how long I have until I die?"

Stiles waits. Still nothing. He rolls his eyes, giving up on hearing anything else when the voice speaks up. "I don't know... Because you shouldn't be dying, you aren't... But you are."

Stiles narrows his eyes, staring into the endless white around him. "What does that mean? I can't be dying and not dying at the same time... Can I?"

"It's like..." The voice seems to hesitate as if unsure which does not ease Stiles' anxiety one bit. "You're body is slowly dying but as it does, you're healing."

"What, so, I'm... Turning? I don't get this."

"I don't have the answers. But someone close to you does."

Stiles is really beginning to hate this disembodied voice and its vague answers. "Who?"

"I'm sorry. You have to wake up."

"What? Just tell me who knows!" Stiles shouts at the ceiling - at least, he was assuming it was the ceiling, for all he knows he could be upside down and talking to the floor. 

The voice doesn't reply and his words seem to echo off of nothing as a dull throbbing pain appears in the bottom of his neck. It slowly becomes more painful and he knows that he's going to wake up. He closes his eyes and waits, biting down on the inside of his cheek as the pain grows stronger. It takes over and he's screaming, crying out for someone to just make it stop. And someone does. 

---------------------------------------

Scott sighs as he looks down at Stiles and let's go of his hand. He had finally managed to calm him down but it had just made Scott more worried about leaving him. He needed to go talk to Lydia and Derek though.  

He bites the inside of his cheek, still making no move to leave. I could just call Allison and ask her to visit him... Or Erica. Deciding it's the only good option he has, Scott turns his back to Stiles and pulls out his phone, dialling Erica's number. 

"C'mon, pick up, pick up," he mutters to himself as it rings. 

"Scott? Everything okay?" Erica's voice greets him, her tone laced with panic. She seems to always be like that now; at least, ever since Stiles was bitten. She's constantly worried that something has happened to him. 

"Yeah, Erica, everything's okay." He glances behind him, checking to see if Stiles is awake. But he's still fast asleep. He turns back around, saying, "I was just wondering if you could maybe come to the hospital? I need to go to the loft and I don't feel so great about leaving Stiles one his own."

She barely waits for him to finish speaking, replying, "Yeah, of course. I'll leave right now."

"Great, thank you so much, Erica," Scott says, relaxing a little now that he knows Stiles won't be on his own for long. 

She doesn't say anything else and hangs up the call. Scott puts his phone back in his pocket and heads for the door, taking one last look at Stiles before leaving. 

-----------------------------------------

Scott slides open the loft door and heads in, searching for Lydia or Derek. He spots them, standing near the window at the very back, neither of them looking happy. 

Derek's head turns to Scott, already knowing he was there. "Hey."

Scott nods back in greeting and quickly walks over to them. "Hey," he smiles at both of them but he can't help feeling like something's off. "So," he looks at Lydia. "Did you find anything out?"

She glances at Derek and nods. "Yeah, I did."

"Peter agreed to let us help him find Kate," Derek explains.

"Well, he agreed to let me help-" Lydia puts her hands up and raises her eyebrows when she sees the expression on Derek's face. "But I'm sure he meant all of us..."

"But on the condition that we let him kill her," Derek adds.

Scott's quiet as he thinks about it. His first thought is - That's fine, he can kill her if he wants. But he knows that they can't do that. "We'll just have to make sure he doesn't get the chance to," he says, ignoring the scent of suspicion coming from Derek. 

"Yeah," Lydia agrees but it's not convincing and Scott knows that she's thinking the same thing as him.

They both want Kate to suffer for everything she's done. They both want to stop her from ever being able to ruin anyone else's life. But of course, Derek is there to remind them that they can't. 

"Is that it? Are we done?" He asks, already walking away from them. 

"Yeah," Lydia mutters quietly. She glances at Scott before heading for the door and leaving the loft. 

He sighs to himself and follows after her, heading back to the hospital. He's just hoping that Erica's still there and not freaking out too much. 

-------------------------------------------------

"Miss McCall!" Erica shouts for what must be the tenth time as she repeatedly clicks the emergency button. She glances down at it and groans in frustration. "Why aren't you working? You're meant for emergencies, how am I meant to tell someone there's an emergency if the emergency button doesn't work?"

She peeks her head around the door as she hears the sound of footsteps coming down the corridor. She sighs in relief when she sees it's Melissa and reaches one arm out, grabbing hold of her sleeve and pulling her into the room. Erica quickly closes the door and leans against it, preventing anyone else from getting in. 

"Erica? What-" Melissa cuts her sentence short as her eyes land on Stiles. "Oh no."

"Exactly," Erica says, gesturing to him with one hand. "What the hell is going on?"

Melissa doesn't say anything as she rushes to the bed, propping Stiles up gently and trying her best to avoid the blood that seems to be coming from his wounds. "Stiles? Can you hear me?"

"Should I call Scott?" Erica asks, her phone already in her hand. 

"Uh," Melissa looks at Stiles' face and nods. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea."

Erica dials Scott's number and waits anxiously for him to pick up. It barely rings before she hears his voice, asking if something was wrong. "You could say that. He's bleeding. A lot. And very unconscious." 

"I'm already in the hospital, just wait with him, okay?" His voice is slightly distorted due to the call but she can still make out what he says and that he's now walking faster.

She swallows and closes her eyes. "Please hurry," she whispers into the phone. 

"Erica, he's going to be okay, I promise. Just stay on the call, okay? Keep talking to me."

"Okay," Erica says as she watches Melissa attempt to wake Stiles up and stop him from choking on the blood that's now coming from his nose and his ears. "There's so much blood, Scott..."

There's a knock on the door and Erica turns around, peering through the little window to see who it is. "Oh thank god," she exclaims as she throws the door open and lets Scott in. Once he's inside, she quickly closes it again, not wanting anybody passing by to see Stiles. 

Scott rushes over to the bed and Melissa looks at him. "Do you know what's happening? Do you know what to do?"

Scott hesitates before nodding. "Kind of. Not really. He was awake last time."

"Last time?" Erica exclaims. She knows she sounds hysterical but right now, she doesn't care. "What the hell do you mean last time?"

"This isn't the first time this has happened," Scott says, trying to explain while also attempting to help Melissa wake Stiles up. "It's just... the first time he's been asleep while it's happened."

Erica's eyes are wide as she watches them. She has no idea what's happening or how to help. Then a thought crosses her mind. "Pain!" They both turn to look at her questioningly. "Pain keeps werewolves human and... I don't know, just try it!"

Scott turns back to Stiles, clearly contemplating it. He glances back at Erica then at Melissa, receiving encouraging nods from both of them. "Here goes..." he mutters before taking hold of Stiles' wrist. He grimaces as he squeezes tightly and they hear the bones cracking, probably breaking a few of them.

"Aghhh!" Stiles screams, jolting upright. He breathes heavily as he looks down at his wrist - still in Scott's hands - with wide eyes. He stares at Scott and says, "Dude, did you just break my wrist?"

Scott smiles at him sheepishly. "I might have." Stiles continues to stare him incredulously. "It was the only way to get you to wake up."

"You couldn't have just, oh, I don't know, woke me up like a normal person?" Stiles suggests sarcastically. 

"We tried," Scott defends. "But it wasn't working and you could have choked if we didn't wake you up."

"How could I have ch-" Stiles stops mid-sentence as he finally notices the blood. He pushes the blanket away from him and lifts his t-shirt up gingerly, being careful to avoid touching any of his wounds. 

Erica can't help but feel sick when she sees the amount of blood that had soaked through his bandages. Just seeing them reminded her too much of how they had found him. There's almost as much blood now as there was on that night and that's a little too terrifying for Erica.

She watches as Scott cautiously moves one of his hands, placing it just between Stiles' shoulder and his neck. It's obvious that he's trying to be subtle about it, hoping that Stiles won't notice. And, surprisingly, he doesn't. 

Scott glances over at her and nods and she knows that he's taking some of Stiles' pain away. She nods back and attempts to smile. This was all just so overwhelming and she doesn't know how to feel or how to react. She's just... exhausted. 

Stiles lets his t-shirt fall back down as he looks up at Scott. "Is it as bad as last time? I can't really tell."

"Not really," Scott says, examining the amount of blood on the bed and on Stiles' face. "I don't think there's as much this time."

Stiles looks somewhat relieved and he replies, "That's good. That-that is good, right?"

"Yeah," Scott nods as smiles down at him. "It's good. It means you're healing faster."

Stiles's expression changes at Scott's words, his eyebrows furrowing as he seems deep in thought. Scott glances at Melissa and Erica worriedly. "My body's dying and then healing itself..."

"What are you talking about?" Scott asks, sitting down on the edge of the bed. 

"In... In my dream, there was a voice, and yes, I do know how crazy I'm going to sound, but the voice told me that I shouldn't be there... That I'm dying but healing myself at the same time."

Scott definitely looks more than a little concerned now. "Okay, and are you sure that-"

"Yes," Stiles interrupts before he can even finish his sentence. He looks into Scott's eyes and nods. "I am sure that it wasn't just a dream. They said that there's someone who knows what's happening to me; someone close to me."

"Maybe Derek will know," Erica suggests nervously. The entire thing is freaking her out and she just wants to be able to help, to know that Stiles is going to be okay. 

"Yeah," Scott agrees, turning to look at her. "If anyone, Derek'll probably be the one who knows the most, he's been dealing with this stuff his entire life. I'll talk to him, or would you rather...?" He trails off. 

Erica's eyes widen as she nods. "Yeah, I don't mind. I can ask him."

"Great," Scott says, smiling at her gratefully. He turns back to Stiles. "Was there anything else?"

Stiles shakes his head and sighs. "Nope, nothing else apart from the incredibly annoying and slightly vague disembodied voice. Oh, and, y'know, the insanely white room that I'm not even entirely sure was actually a room, it didn't have any walls."

Scott laughs and shakes his head, pulling Stiles into a hug and catching him off guard. He groans as pain shoots through his body but he hugs back. 

Erica smiles at the two of them and glances over at Melissa and catching her eye. "I'm just gonna go," she whispers and Melissa smiles back and nods understandingly. Erica opens the door and walks out, closing it again behind her. She breathes out and runs a hand across her face, rubbing at her her eyes tiredly. Why can't Stiles just be okay? Why do things have to keep going wrong for him?

Kate. She's the reason he can't just live in peace. She's the one who's ruined his life. He'll never be the same because of what she did to him. 

Erica groans out in frustration. She knows that it's Kate's fault and she knows that there is nothing she can do about it. She heads out of the hospital, trying to push her thoughts away. Right now, she needs to focus on doing as much as she can to help Stiles. And if that means going back to the loft to talk to Derek, she'll do it. Even if she has just realised it's pitch black outside and around midnight. She's still going.

Chapter Text

"Scott?" Melissa says quietly, gesturing with her head to the door. He nods and stands up, following her out of the room and into the corridor, closing the door behind them. 

"What's up?" He asks, his tone worried. It's not that he expects whatever she's going to tell him to be bad news, it's just that worried seems to be his constant state right now, due to everything going on with Stiles. 

She smiles at him warmly and shakes her head. "It's nothing to worry about." He visibly relaxes and she continues, "I just thought I should tell you that I'm getting Stiles released." Scott's eyebrows shoot up and she quickly explains, "It'll be much easier to keep an eye on him if he's out of here, and not only that, the other doctors are starting to get suspicious. They keep asking me why I'm the only one that seems to be allowed to check on how he's doing."

Scott sighs and nods in understanding. It doesn't seem like the best idea but if people are starting to ask questions, they need to get him out. They can't have one of the other doctors walking into his room and finding him covered in blood. Not that that isn't normal for some patients but still, getting him released is the better option rather than having people discover the truth.

"Yeah, okay. When can he leave?" 

Melissa turns her head, glancing at the waiting area and the main desk. "Uh, I'm not sure yet. I need to sort it out first."

"Okay," Scott sends her a small smile as she turns back to him. "Well, I'll just go sit with him until then. I'm assuming he will be released today?" He adds, his eyebrows creased. 

"Yeah," She replies, nodding as she looks through the small window on the door. "Just make sure he's okay and then we can figure out what happens once he's out."

Scott nods back and watches as she flashes him a quick smile before turning around and walking in the opposite direction, heading for the lift. He goes back into the room waits with Stiles until he's able to leave. We just have to figure out what we're telling the Sheriff... And where he's staying.

-------------------------------------

"It's too early for him to be released," The Sheriff insists. 

Scott and Melissa had decided that they should just tell the Sheriff that Stiles was looking a lot better but maybe it would help if he was to stay with them for a few days... or weeks. Of course, that didn't go down so well. 

"But if he is being let out, then he's my son and he's coming home."

"Noah," Melissa says calmly, trying her best to convince him. She understands where he's coming from; she would be the exact same if it was Scott. But it's too big of a risk for Stiles to be at home. What if he starts bleeding again and the Sheriff freaks out and doesn't know what to do? "It'll only be for a few days. And," she presses on when he opens his mouth to argue. "It means he's always got someone with him, while you're at work."

The Sheriff's mouth stays open as if he wants to say something but the words just won't come out. He sighs, shaking his head as he looks at Melissa. "You promise he'll be alright?"

Melissa glances over at Scott and he nods. She turns back to the Sheriff and smiles reassuringly. "I promise."

"And you'll call me if anything happens?"

"Absolutely," Melissa replies.

He nods slowly and heads over to his office door, grabs the handle and pulls the door open. He steps to the side, letting Melissa leave as he sends her a faint smile. Scott goes to move forward but the Sheriff stops him, his expression worried. "Just... Take care of him, okay?"

Scott smiles sadly and nods, hating the strong stench of doubt and fear that's coming from the Sheriff. "I will. I promise," he says. And he means it. He's going to do everything he can to make sure Stiles is okay. 

The Sheriff smiles back and returns his nod as he heads for his desk, leaving the door open. Scott hesitates as he glances at the Sheriff. It feels like he's lying to him -  in a way, he is, but it's for his own good. Isn't it? 

Scott leaves and closes the door behind him, sighing as he exits the department and heads back home. Melissa is going to bring Stiles from the hospital once she's fully sorted everything out and then... they have to figure out the rest. He's just hoping that Erica's conversation with Derek went well; they need something to work with and if Derek doesn't know anything then they need to find out who does. 

------------------------------------------------

Derek folds his arms as he waits for Scott to show up. Erica had come to him, rambling on about some dream that Stiles had about someone knowing something. He didn't have any idea what she was talking about and he told her as much but all she said was, "talk to Scott."

So that's what he's planning to do. "When Scott actually gets here," Derek huffs quietly to himself. He's not exactly known for his patience and he feels as if he's been waiting around for hours. It doesn't help that he told Scott to meet him outside the loft while it's freezing outside. He could have just went in and got a jacket but he didn't see the point.

"Hey!" Scott calls from behind him, making him jump. "Woah," he raises his eyebrows at him, "You okay, dude?"

"Yeah," Derek says, shaking his head as he turns to face Scott. "I'm just... tired. I'm just tired." 

Scott clearly doesn't believe that - it might have something to do with the fact that Derek's heart missed a beat. But he doesn't say anything about it, just nods slowly and says, "Oh, well, you should get some more sleep then. I just wanted to ask if Erica talked to you? About Stiles' dream?"

Derek's grateful that Scott didn't question him further. Because he really doesn't know why he's so on edge - or why he didn't sense Scott before he called out to him. He plays it off to there being too many scents and noises around him but he knows that's not true. "Yeah, she did. I didn't understand much of it but she mentioned something about a voice?"

"Yeah, Stiles said there was a voice talking to him in his dream. It told him he was dying but healing at the same time, does that make any sense to you?"

Derek's eyebrows furrow with confusion. "But if he's healing that means he's turning. So how is he still dying?"

Scott sighs in disappointment and shakes his head. "I don't know. The voice apparently also told him that someone close to him has the answers. I was hoping it would be you but from the looks of it, you're just as clueless as us."

"Have you talked to Argent?" Derek suggests. 

"Not yet," Scott replies, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to; he's been a bit... off, lately and I don't know why." 

"You should just talk to him. Besides, he's more likely to know what's going on; he grew up surrounded by all of this," Derek points out. 

"Yeah, I know. I'll talk to him." Scott sighs.

Derek nods and looks away. "If that's all you needed then I should head back inside. Erica and Isaac have been complaining that they're always left alone with Peter and apparently, he creeps them out."

Scott chuckles. "That's not surprising." Derek smiles back but it's gone almost as quickly as it was there. "I need to go anyway, my mom's getting Stiles released so that we can keep an eye on him. She'll probably be done soon so I should be at home when they get there."

Derek's eyebrows go up in surprise. He hadn't known Stiles was being released. Or that he's going to be staying at Scott's. "That's great. You should definitely be there."

Scott rolls his eyes at Derek's lack of subtlety. "You can still visit him, I'm not going to stop you from coming over."

Derek's eyes widen, caught off guard and he says something along the lines of, "That's okay, I'm busy anyway, it's fine."

"Derek," Scott starts. "I will drag you over every day if I have to. You're still visiting him, alright?" he finishes with a smile. 

"Yeah, yeah, of course," Derek agrees. He gestures to the side with his head. "I should probably be going."

Scott nods and smiles before turning around and heading to his bike. Derek's eyebrows furrow as he stares at it in confusion. He hadn't even noticed that Scott had brought it. How hadn't he noticed when Scott pulled up?

He shakes his head, pushing his thoughts to the back of his mind. He lingers for a few more seconds, watching as Scott leans against his bike and pulls out his phone, dialling someone's number. The person picks up and Derek can tell that it's Allison, not just because he can hear her voice on the other end of the call, but also because of the way Scott's face lights up and he smiles as they begin talking. 

Derek decides that now is a good time to leave and turns around, heading back inside. Just as he reaches the loft door, he pauses, noticing voices on the other side. Very loud and angry voices. Which means that Peter has yet again done something to irritate Erica and Isaac. Wonderful.

-----------------------------------------------

Buzzz. Buzzz. Buzzz.

Chris groans, digging the palms of his hands into his eyes. He's sick of this. Day after day his phone has been going off with unopened messages and missed calls from Kate. Why won't she just stop? He can't even bring himself to answer just one call or open just one little message. All of it is just too much. 

He's been avoiding Scott and the rest of the pack because of it. The only person he's really been talking to is Allison, and even those conversations don't last long. He's worried that someone will ask him what's wrong and he'll just tell them because it's all too overwhelming and so hard to deal with alone. But if he tells them, they might begin to lose trust in him; they might think that he's working with Kate. He knows his thoughts are ridiculous but he can't seem to push them away. They just keep coming back.

Knock, knock.

Chris looks up from his hands and over to the door as it slowly opens. Allison appears, cautiously stepping into his office with a small smile. He lays his hands on the desk, waiting for her to fully enter the room. 

"I was just coming to see if you were hungry," she says, fidgeting with her hands as she stops a few inches from the desk. "I'm gonna go meet Lydia, Jackson and Malia, do you want anything while I'm out?"

He shakes his head and smiles at her warmly. She's always so thoughtful and kind; he really doesn't know where she gets it from. "You go have fun."

"I'll try," she says, huffing out a sound resembling a laugh as he eyes drift down to her hands. "We're probably just going to be talking about Stiles' dream the entire time."

Chris' eyebrows furrow in confusion. "His dream?"

"Oh, yeah." Allison looks up at him and tries to smile but it fades into a frown as she continues, "Scott called me and he mentioned it; something about a voice telling him he's dying and healing at the same time, apparently it said someone close to him knows what's happening and how to help him." She sighs and shakes her head, glancing back down at her hands as she continues to fidget with her gloves. "Scott asked Derek but he doesn't know anything about it."

All Chris can do is nod as he processes her words. Dying and healing at the same time. He can't help but think that sounds familiar. He finally notices Allison staring at him, concern written all over her features. He smiles up at her as he says, "I'm sure they'll figure it out soon. Don't worry, okay?"

He regrets his last words as soon as they leave his mouth, Allison's expression changing from concern to disbelief in a matter of seconds. Of course she's going to worry, Stiles is her friend. He opens his mouth to correct himself but Allison just shakes her head and turns around, slamming the door as she leaves. 

He sighs and leans back in his chair. Not only does he have to deal with a very persistent and stubborn Kate, he also is now in Allison's bad books. "Fantastic," he mutters, just as his phone starts ringing. He only has to glance at the number to know that it's Kate, calling him once again. But this time he considers answering. How much harm could it really do? It's only one call. I can just hang up if she tries to convince me to do something for her. 

But he spends so long debating whether or not it would be a good idea that by the time he's decided, the call was cut off. Just call her back, that annoying little voice that remembers how much he loved his sister at one point whispers to him. Just one call.

He shakes his head and closes his eyes. He can't. It feels too much like betraying Allison and Scott and Derek and all of the people who have been hurt by Kate. Too many people have been hurt because of her. But what if, this time, she really has changed? How will he know if he doesn't even bother to listen to what she has to say?

--------------------------------------------------

Chapter Text

"Chris?" Kate calls to him, distorted through the phone. "Oh god, Chris," she cries. 

His breath hitches in his throat as he hears her voice. "Kate," he mutters quietly. 

"I know you don't trust me," she says, her words rushed, "especially not after what I did to Stiles. But Chris, I need your help, okay? I really need your help." 

He closes his eyes and pauses before he says, "Why did you do it?"

The other end of the call is quiet, except for the low hum of static and what sounds like wind. And then, "I don't know." He groans under his breath and she hurriedly continues, "I was scared. I didn't think, the only thing that seemed important was getting to Scott. But I-I just wasn't thinking. I'm sorry, Chris." 

He doesn't know what to say. Is he just meant to trust her? How can he after everything she has done? He would be betraying everyone. 

Chris is snapped out of his thoughts as he hears something on the call. "Kat-"

There are gunshots, a trap clamping down on something and then he hears Kate, breathing - still alive. "Chris, please, I know you hate me, but I love you, you're my brother and I need your help. They're going to kill me," she whispers. 

"Who?" He asks, barely thinking twice before saying it. "Who's trying to kill you?"

"I don't know." She swallows. "But I'm pretty sure they're hunters. Very persistent ones. Just... Chris, I ne-"

She's cut off as another gunshot sounds, louder than the last ones. 

Chris' heartbeat pounds in his ears as he listens, waiting to hear his sister's voice. But the line goes dead. He slowly lowers the phone, his thoughts racing as he opens his eyes. He stares down at the phone in his hand, part of him hoping that her name will appear on the screen and tell him she's still alive because, yes, she has done horrible things and yes, she has ruined people's lives and yes, she has possibly killed Stiles or turned him into what they were brought up to hate. But Kate is still his sister and he might have just lost her for the second time. 

------------------------

Allison shuts the front door, leaning against it as she tries to catch her breath. She knew something was wrong, her dad was acting too weird. And she was right. But, oh, how unprepared she was for the truth. 

She fumbles with her phone as she whips it out her pocket and taps it, texting Scott. After the message is sent, she sighs and then makes for her car. "We have an emergency," she mutters to herself as she gets in and starts the engine. "Understatement of the century."

-----------------------

"What do you mean 'he's in contact with Kate'?" Scott shouts. "Why the hell is he talking to Kate?!"

Derek rubs his forehead as tries to stay calm, something that Scott is currently failing at doing. 

"I don't know! He got a call from her, he answered and then I'm pretty sure she got shot," Allison shouts back. 

Scott clenches his hands, his nails digging into his palms as they turn to claws. He starts pacing, his eyes flashing red. 

Derek sighs, telling Scott calmly, "You need to focus on your anchor." 

"I don't have an anchor, anymore!" Scott glances at Allison and she ducks her head to avoid his glowing eyes.

"Then find a new one," Derek growls, his temper flaring. "Right now, we need everyone calm and thinking clearly: two things that you aren't."

Scott closes his eyes and slows his pacing until he comes to a stop. After a few more seconds, his breathing seems to be back to normal and when he opens his eyes again, they're back to their usual shade of brown. He nods at Derek gratefully before looking at Allison, saying, "You said you think Kate was shot."

 "Yeah," Allison mutters, moving a piece of loose hair out of her face. "I heard gunshots and then... nothing."

"That doesn't mean she's dead," Isaac points out. "She's a... whatever she is, after all. Bullets won't kill her."

"Why do you have to be so negative?" Erica asks him.

They both smirk but stop when Derek glares at them. "Ever heard of Wolfsbane bullets?" He doesn't wait for them to answer as he looks over at Scott. "What are you thinking?"

Scott shakes his head and sighs, saying, "I don't know. I just know that, if Kate's still alive, we need to find her. It's also not a bad idea to find out more about the people who shot at her." 

"Yeah," Derek mutters. "That's a good point. They could be a problem."

"Some random hunters who are trying to kill Kate?" Isaac scoffs sarcastically. "Nah, I don't think they'll be a problem."

Erica elbows him in the side as she tries to conceal her grin and he rolls his eyes but stays quiet. 

Scott sighs once again and says, "I really would love to stay for this conversation, but I have to go. Stiles is getting out of hospital in half an hour." 

"It's fine. Go." Derek jerks his head at the door. "You should be there for him."

Scott nods gratefully and smiles as he glances at everyone before making his way to the door and leaving. Derek envies him; right now, he could really do with a reason to leave this conversation. It's about to get a lot more awkward, especially with Scott gone. But someone's gotta fine Kate - preferably before Peter or some hunter does. Not that that would be the worst thing in the world, Derek thinks to himself as he begins to regret ever saying they need to keep Kate alive.

--------------------------------

"Ah, it's good to be home," Stiles jokes as Melissa closes the front door behind them. He grins at her cheekily before noticing Scott coming down the stairs. "Hey, roomie. Doesn't this feel like old times?"

Scott grins as he reaches the bottom of the stairs. "Yeah, it does."

"Great! Now can I sit down?" Stiles asks and Scott only just notices how he's leaning against the wall to support himself. 

"Yeah, of course." He hurries over to him and swings his arm over his shoulder, letting Stiles lean on him as they walk to the kitchen.

Scott makes sure Stiles is sitting down on a chair before letting go and stepping to the side, grabbing the edge of the table as he leans back against it. He can't help but grin as Stiles instantly starts ranting about how terrible it was to stay in the hospital for so long - no offense to Melissa.

After she leaves, saying she needs to go back to work, Stiles turns to Scott. He stares at him with a serious expression, all traces of humour gone. 

"Okay, fill me in," he says without looking up from his pancakes that Melissa had made before leaving. "What's been going on?"

Scott's eyes widen and he replies, "Nothing. Nothing's been going on. Everything's been quiet."

"Right." Stiles rolls his eyes and turns his head to look up at Scott. "Why don't I believe you?" He doesn't give him the chance to answer as he continues, "It's because you're lying. Scott, I've been in hospital. For three weeks." He waves his fork around, emphasising his words, "I'm fed up of not being told what's going on just because you think I'm too fragile to handle any of it. Which, by the way, I'm not."

"I know you're not," Scott says, his tone turning anxious. "I just... I thought it was better to let you focus on yourself, especially with everything that's been happening."

Stiles sighs and puts his fork on his plate as he fully turns to face Scott. "I get that. I do. But I'm okay, Scotty. So just... tell me what's been going on."

Scott nods and reluctantly begins explaining everything that's happened since Stiles went into hospital. Once he's done, he looks at him nervously, waiting for him to say something. 

"That's..." Stiles shakes his head, his eyebrows furrowed. "Insane. Everything you just told me? Completely insane." He points his finger at Scott when he opens his mouth to speak. "It is and you know it. I understand wanting to find Kate. She's a bitch. But... All of that just sounds so crazy. I really can't leave you werewolves alone for five minutes, can I?"

Scott relaxes, relieved that Stiles is at least making a joke about it - that always makes him feel a little better. 

"But that's not everything, is it?"

"What?" Scott asks, his eyebrows furrowed. "What do you mean? I told you everything."

Stiles stares at him, as if trying to figure out what it is without speaking. But he must come to the conclusion that he can't, saying, "Come on, Scott. I know there's still something wrong. Besides all the weird werewolf meetings you've been having." He pauses, hoping Scott will say something. He sighs and continues, "Look, whatever it is, you can tell me. What were you thinking about that day in the hospital? When Erica, Isaac and Boyd were visiting?"

Scott's stomach twists as he recalls what he had been thinking that day. "Nothing."

"Scotty," Stiles pleads. 

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He had genuinely been hoping that Stiles would have forgotten about that day. But he also knew that wasn't very likely. Stiles can be very persistent when he wants to know something. 

Scott sighs, muttering, "I was just worried."

Stiles doesn't say anything but silently urges him to continue.

"I saw the way you freaked out when you saw Erica's eyes. You were absolutely terrified of her. What if you feel the same way about me? I don't want to lose you, Stiles."

"Dude, you're not going to," Stiles insists. "I was just... caught off guard, I wasn't terrified. You don't have to worry about that, I'm not scared of you, Scotty."

"You can say that now, but what happens when the full moon comes? Or if I lose control like I did after everything that happened with the Nemeton? I never want to be something that you're scared of, Stiles. You're too important to me."

Stiles is at a loss for what to say. He wants to reassure Scott and tell him that he'll never lose him but he knows that he won't believe him. And then he has a thought. "Turn."

"What?" 

"Turn," Stiles says like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "I'm going to prove to you that I'm not scared of you. So, glow your eyes, bring out your claws, do whatever it is you do when you turn all wolfy."

"Stiles-"

"Don't you dare tell me this is a terrible idea because I wholeheartedly disagree."

Scott sighs and rubs his forehead in frustration. Why does Stiles have to be so confident in his bad ideas? He nods and mutters "fine" before closing his eyes and concentrating, trying to lure his werewolf side out. When he opens his eyes again, they're glowing bright red and he can feel his claws digging into the table and his fangs poking sharply at the inside of his mouth. 

He looks at Stiles, hoping that the expression on his face won't be one of fear. And he feels like collapsing with relief when it's not. Then his heightened senses pick up on something - Stiles' heartbeat. It's faster and it misses a beat. 

"See?" Stiles says. He grips the top of the chair as he pushes himself up so that he's standing in front of Scott. He grins at him, saying, "Not even a little scared."

"Your heartbeat's faster and unsteady," Scott point outs. 

"Well, yeah." Stiles moves one of Scott's hands, holding it gently as he carefully inspects his claws. He glances up at Scott as he says, "Have you seen your eyes? They're awesome!"

Scott doesn't know whether to believe him or not but he really wants to. So, he does. 

He laughs and shakes his head as Stiles pokes the tip of one claw and quickly pulls his finger back, complaining that they're sharp. Scott changes back, grinning as he makes Stiles sit back down and finish eating his pancakes before they head upstairs.

Scott feels a lot better now that Stiles knows everything. He's never had to keep anything from him before - nothing this important, anyway - and his sarcastic jokes never fail to cheer him up whenever they're in a bad situation. Stiles is always right there, by his side throughout it all. And that's not going to change.

--------------------------------

Chris sighs as he closes his office door behind him, getting ready to go to bed. Then there's a knock at the front door. 

He heads down the stairs, muttering, "Of course there's someone at the door in the middle of the night while it's pouring down outside. That's just your typical horror movie scenario, nothing to worry about."

He unlocks the door and pulls it open just enough for him to be able to see outside. His whole body freezes and his heart races as a feeling of unease and distress settles in the pit of his stomach, twisting it until he feels sick. 

Chris parts his lips, whispering, "Kate?"

She tries to grin at him but ends up hissing in pain as she doubles over, clutching her side. Steadying herself against the door frame, she looks up at Chris, her breathing ragged, "Hey, big brother. How are you doin'?"

He just shakes his head, unable to string together a coherent sentence. 

"You might have noticed, but I could use some help," she pants, glancing down at her hand that's still clutching her side as blood slips through her fingers and soaks the bottom of her shirt, along with the top of her jeans. She gasps and loses her grip on the door frame, her knees buckling. 

Chris reaches out without thinking and steadies her. Her eyes close as she tries to focus her breathing, the bullet in her side making it a lot more difficult. He knows he might regret this later but he pulls her into the house and closes the door shut. It only takes one quick look at her for Chris to know that she can barely walk and so bends down and pushes his arm under her legs, picking her up. 

He glances at the stairs, checking to see if Allison had heard anything and come down. Her room door is still closed but he can see her light shining through the crack underneath, telling him that she's still awake.

He doesn't want to involve her in this, not again. But what else can he do? Just sit here and watch his sister die, again? He sighs softly before walking to the bottom of the stairs, calling up, "Allison, I need you to come down. Now. We have a problem."

She peers out of her bedroom door, looking confused as she steps toward the stairs. "Dad, what's..." she trails off, her eyes widening as she spots Kate - her body glistening with sweat, her clothes and hands soaked with blood as she now lays unconscious in his arms. "Yeah, that's a problem."

Chapter Text

Allison practically flies down the stairs, stopping just in front of Chris. Her eyes are wide and her mouth hangs open as she tries to figure out the right words to say. 

Chris glances down at Kate, saying, "I know what you're thinking."

"No, you really don't," Allison mutters.

"She's injured. If we don't get the bullet out, she's going to die."

Allison is quiet as she continues to stare at her aunt. She doesn't know how she's meant to feel about any of this. 

"Allison, please," Chris pleads quietly. 

She looks up at him and knows she has to help. Sighing, she nods and follows him into the living room. He sets Kate down on the couch carefully, being careful to avoid her wound. Kneeling down beside the couch, Chris glances over at Allison and tells her what he's going to need. She hurries off to find them and he gently peels Kate's shirt away from her side, pushing it up to expose the wound. 

He sucks in air through his teeth as he examines her side; dark veins surround the bullet, slowly making their way further up her body while the wound continues to bleed. He knows that if it isn't treated soon, it'll kill her.

Allison appears at his side, kneeling next to him as she hands him the small wooden box labelled “Aconit Napel Bleu Nordique” and watches as he places it on the table beside him. 

He turns back to Kate and hesitates before digging his fingers into her side and pulling the bullet out. Allison grimaces but doesn't look away, knowing that she might need to do this in the future if one of her friends get badly injured.

Chris grabs a bullet out of the box beside him and twists the tip off, tapping the monkshood onto the table and lighting it with a cheap plastic lighter that Allison hands him. "Hold her down," he orders.

She raises her eyebrows at him but does as he says, pushing down on Kate's shoulders as Chris shoves the ashes into the bullet hole in her side. He continues to press down on the wound until it begins to emit a faint blue smoke and Kate's eyes snap open. She groans lowly, trying to sit up but is stopped by Allison, still pushing down on her shoulders. 

"She should be fine now," Chris says. "She just needs to rest."

Allison is uncertain as she looks down at her aunt, her expression twisted with pain. She glances up at her dad, asking, "You're sure that's it?"

He looks over at them, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion as he inspects her side. "She's already healing. She shouldn't still be in pain," he says. 

Kate makes a noise that resembles a whimper as she moves her hand and places it on Allison's, trying to move it out of the way. It's only then that Allison notices the blood in Kate's hair and realises that she wasn't only shot in the side, but the neck as well. "Dad," she mutters, dragging Chris' attention to her as she pulls Kate's hair back and reveals the small hole in her neck. 

He curses and quickly repeats the process of burning the monkshood and pressing it onto the wound, glad that Kate had already taken the bullet out of this one. Once he's done, he applies a small amount of dark blue powder to the wounds which makes Kate hiss.

"What is that?" Allison asks, eyeing it worriedly. 

"Echium Vulgare," Chris mutters, rubbing his hands together to get the excess powder off. "Otherwise known as Viper's Bugloss or Blueweed." He closes the lid of the little box and picks it up, along with the lighter as he gets to his feet. "When mixed with Wolfsbane or Monkshood, it can help reverse the effects. Should soothe any lingering pain."

Allison nods and sits back, her hands falling into her lap as she looks at Kate. She just helped save the woman who hurt one of her closest friends. If they knew, what would they think?

"Thank you," Kate mutters, snapping Allison from her thoughts. She looks up at Chris then down at Allison. "Both of you."

Neither of them say anything and they don't have to, as Kate once again falls unconscious. 

Chris jerks his head at the Kitchen door and Allison nods, standing up and following him. He pushes the door, leaving it open just enough for them to be able to see into the living room. 

He sighs as places the box and the lighter on the table, his hands gripping the edge of it and Allison knows what's coming. "I know that what I'm about to ask is completely unreasonable and you have every right to say no," he starts, keeping his voice low and pausing for just a second when she folds her arms over her chest. "I need you to not tell your friends about this. Especially Scott. Just for a few days, please."

Allison raises her eyebrows slightly but nods. "Yeah, okay."

Chris' eyebrow crease in surprise at how easily she agreed. He shakes his head, asking, "Are you sure? I know that you hate lying to your friends-"

"It's fine," Allison says, glancing into the living room. "But only a few days, right?"

"Three days. That's all I'm asking." 

She nods again and says, "Alright then. I should probably go to bed now."

He smiles and pulls her in for a hug, kissing her on the forehead before letting her go. She smiles back and heads up the stairs, closing her bedroom door behind her. 

Once she's in bed, she sighs. Her dad was right: she does hate keeping secrets from her friends. But she made a promise to him. She's not planning on breaking it -  even if that means avoiding her friends for three days.

-------------------------------------------

Lydia narrows her eyes at her window, muttering, "Something's wrong."

Malia groans and flops backwards onto Lydia's bed. "Nothing's wrong. She's just busy."

"No," Lydia says, shaking her head as she watches a car drive past. "Allison has only ever cancelled on me when something seriously important is happening. Something's definitely wrong. I can just... feel it."

"You feel death!" Malia exclaims, throwing her hands up. "You can't feel reasons for people cancelling on you."

Lydia ignores her as she stands up, grabbing her bag and swinging it over her shoulder. "Come on," she says, pausing by the door as stares at Malia expectantly. "We're going to see her."

"But-" Malia meets Lydia's stare and groans as she sits up. "What if she really is just busy?"

Lydia shrugs, simply replying, "Then we'll leave."

"Then what's the point in going?"

"Just hurry up," Lydia says before turning and leaving her room, expecting Malia to follow.

Which she does but she complains the entire time, making sure Lydia knows that it's a stupid idea. 

-----------------------------------------------

"I just don't get why you couldn't have l-" 

Lydia holds up her hand, cutting Malia off abruptly. She looks from Lydia's hand to her face, her forehead creasing as her mouth hangs open. 

"Look!" Lydia points through the car window and Malia's eye follow. "I told you she wasn't busy."

"Oh god," Malia groans into her hands. She spreads her fingers, peering through them. "She's at home, Lydia. That probably means she's busy. With important things. Things that do not involve us," she emphasises, exasperation clear in her voice. "So, can we leave? Like, right now. Before she notices us stalking her."

Lydia tilts her head, her expression thoughtful before replying, "Nope." She climbs out of the car, ignoring Malia as she tells her not to. 

Malia groans in frustration and quickly follows her, grumbling, "If we get in trouble, it's your fault. I had nothing to do with this."

"But if we get caught, you'll be standing right next to me," Lydia points out, her eyebrows furrowing. 

"I'll run," Malia replies, sending her an innocent smile. 

Lydia doesn't get the chance to be offended as they stop walking, having reached Allison's front door and Malia knocks. 

It doesn't take long for Allison to answer, barely opening the door at first. Her eyes dart over the two girls, her eyebrows shooting up in surprise as she glances at something behind the door. She steps out of the house, pulling the door mostly closed behind her. 

"Hey, didn't you get my text?" Allison asks. 

"I did. I just wanted to make sure everything's okay," Lydia replies, tilting her head slightly as she smiles innocently. 

"Oh." Allison plasters on a fake smile. "Well, everything's fine. My dad just wanted some help. He thinks he might have read something similar to what Stiles said is happening to him and he wants to try and help."

Malia's face scrunches up, her eyes narrowing and flickering blue. She bares her teeth and growls as her eyes dart around them, searching for something that Lydia and Allison can't see. 

"Malia?" Lydia places her hand on the werecoyote's arm, her voice low and alert. "Malia, what is it?" 

"There's someone here. A werewolf," Malia clarifies, pausing for a second as she stares at Lydia. "We're being followed."

Lydia rolls her eyes but glances around uncertainly. "We are not being followed."

Neither of them seem to notice the way Allison's eyes widen with panic, or the way she edges back towards the door, trying to stop them from seeing inside. 

"Why else would there be a werewolf around here?"

Allison searches desperately for an excuse that sounds somewhat reasonable. "It's Isaac," she lies. 

Malia's eyebrows furrow as she opens her mouth to disagree, that the scent isn't the same as Isaac's. Lydia raises her eyebrows at Allison and folds her arms over her chest, asking, "What do you mean?"

"Isaac came over a little while ago," Allison explains, lying through her teeth. She concentrates, keeping her heartbeat steady as Malia clearly grows more confused. "He wanted to check up on me. And he's still here."

"So, he's why you cancelled on us?" Lydia asks, looking mildly offended. 

Allison's eyes widen as she shakes her head, replying, "No! No. I told you, my dad needed my help. I just... got a little distracted."

"Oh, I'm sure you did." Lydia doesn't give Allison the chance to say anything else as she whips around to face Malia. "We should be going then. Jackson and Danny are waiting for us," she emphasises, attempting to make her meaning clear to the werecoyote.

"But-" Malia gestures to Allison, trying desperately to point out that something's not right.

Lydia grabs her arm, beginning to drag her away as she smiles at Allison. "Come on, don't want to keep the boys waiting."

"I don't care about them!" Malia exclaims in frustration, throwing her hands up and knocking Lydia's arm away. "Something's not right."

"I should really head back inside," Allison says, already taking a step back. 

"Yeah, of course." Lydia nods understandingly and Allison sends her a tight-lipped smile before going back inside her house and closing the door. 

Malia groans and stares at Lydia with raised eyebrows. "I'm telling you, something's wrong."

"I know," Lydia states. She strides over to the car and gets in, waiting for Malia to join her. "What did you sense?"

"There is definitely a werewolf around here; or some type of were-thing!" Malia sighs and leans forward, her voice hushed, "Allison's lying. Isaac isn't here - I would be able to smell him. This scent is... different. It's familiar but it's not one of the pack." She shakes her head. "I think they're injured."

Lydia's face lights up with realisation as she takes in Malia's words, her mind immediately connecting the dots. "It's Kate..." she mutters, her eyes wide. 

"Kate?" Malia growls, her expression darkening as she catches on. "Of course, it's Kate. That's why her scent's familiar." She groans and squeezes her eyes shut, feeling her claws scraping against the palms of her hands.  

"Malia. Calm down." Lydia glances out of the car window, making sure they aren't being watched. "If we're right and it is Kate then this could be good. Especially if you're right about her being injured."

Malia doesn't say anything as she tries to stop herself from turning but nods her head in understanding. 

Lydia sighs and sits back as she starts the engine. "We need to tell the others," she points out but her voice is uncertain. "We do need to tell them, right?"

"Of course we do."

"Right," Lydia mutters, staring at the road ahead. "Of course we do. I was just thinking that, maybe, there's a reason Allison hasn't told us and, maybe, we should keep quiet until she does..."

Malia finally opens her eyes, staring at Lydia and asking, "Why would we do that?"

"Because if there is a reason Allison isn't telling us that Kate's at her house, maybe we should just ask her?"

"That'll never work," Malia states bluntly. 

"It might..." Lydia says hopefully, tapping her fingers on the steering wheel nervously. 

Malia shakes her head. "It won't."

Lydia stays quiet as she thinks it over. She should probably tell the others about this but it feels like she would be betraying Allison. And she really doesn't want to do that. But if Malia tells them, she'll have no choice. 

Sighing, Lydia continues driving in the direction of the loft. She'll just have to see what happens once they get there. 

Chapter Text

Scott jumps awake at the sound of screaming. He rushes into the guest room, his eyes landing on Stiles as he thrashes around the bed, his screaming only growing louder.

Scott quickly makes his way to the bed, kneeling beside it as he grabs one of Stiles' hands. Without even thinking, his body automatically begins trying to take away his pain. It seems to help, his screaming slowly quieting down until it eventually sounds like quiet whimpering. 

"Don't worry," Scott whispers soothingly, moving his other hand to Stiles' forehead to help calm him. "I'm here, Stiles."

The floorboards creak quietly and Scott looks over at the door. He smiles at Melissa as she walks into the room, her eyes worried and glancing at Stiles. 

"He's okay," Scott says, mindlessly stroking his thumb over Stiles' knuckles. "Another nightmare."

"He's been having a lot of those recently," Melissa points out. 

Scott sighs and nods, replying, "Yeah, he has. He won't even talk to me about them."

"Maybe he's scared."

"Of me?" Scott asks sadly. Even though Stiles tried to prove he isn't scared, the doubt and worry still lingers in the back of his mind.

"What?" Melissa shakes her head, folding her arms over her chest. "No. Scott, Stiles isn't scared of you. I just meant that maybe he's scared to talk about his nightmares because it would also mean talking about what happened that night."

Scott's shoulders slump as he nods. "That would make sense."

"Yeah." Melissa steps further into the room as she continues to stare at Scott, her expression one of concern. "But, honey, why are you so worried that Stiles is scared of you? You've been best friends for years."

"It's just..." Scott shakes his head, his reasons sounding ridiculous in his mind. "I just don't want to lose him."

"Oh, Scott," Melissa walks over to him, kneeling beside him as she wraps an arm around his shoulders. "You're not going to lose him. You're his best friend and you're too important to each other," she adds, emphasising her words to get her point across. "You just need to talk to him."

Scott sighs and nods, more to himself than to her. "Yeah, I will. Once he's awake, that is." He looks at Stiles, his lips tugging up at the corners as he notices how peaceful he now looks. 

Melissa smiles as she shakes her head lightly and kisses his hair, saying goodnight to him as she heads back to bed.

Scott glances around, his eyes landing on an armchair sitting in the corner. He quickly gets up and pulls it over, sitting down in it as he slips his hand back into Stiles', the other now laying on the armrest. 

This isn't the first time Scott has decided to just sleep in the guest room after Stiles has had a nightmare. It just makes him feel better to know that if Stiles wakes up in the middle of the night or he has another nightmare, he'll be right there to help him through it. And even though Scott doesn't know this, it makes Stiles feel better as well. 

----------------------------

"You are insane," Derek says, folding his arms over his chest. 

Peter throws his arms up in exasperation. "I'm not insane!"

"You're both driving us crazy," Isaac mutters, not caring that they can hear him. 

Peter sighs and steps back, holding up his hands in front of him. "Look," he says. "I'm just suggesting that we k-"

"Murder," Derek corrects. "Murder is what you're suggesting."

"Oh, so what if it is?" Peter rolls his eyes at them. "We go over there, kill Kate, bye-bye goes all of our problems. Well, most of them."

Derek shakes his head, growling, "See? This is why we didn't want to tell you that Kate's alive in the first place."

"Because I want to make sure she can't ruin our lives any further than she already has?" Peter questions, his eyebrows furrowing with confusion. "Derek, you have to see reason here. Kate Argent won't give up; she'll continue to hurt us in any way she can for as long as she's alive."

"You don't know that, she might change," Derek snaps, but he knows that isn't true. "There's always another way," he adds.

Peter tilts his head, his eyes widening slightly with curiosity. "And what if there isn't, huh? What if, the only way to get Kate out of our lives for good, is to kill her? What then?" Derek doesn't answer, staring at Peter with an unreadable expression. He gives up and shakes his head asking, "What if she's already dying? We could just, I don't know, let it happen? You said she's injured, right?" He looks over at Malia for confirmation.

Malia's eyes widen a little as she shrugs. "I think she is. I could have been wrong."

"It doesn't matter," Derek snaps. "Now that we know where she is, we can keep an eye on her. And, if need be, we'll get her admitted to Eichen. Like we were supposed to. And definitely with no killing involved," he adds, glaring at Peter.

Peter rolls his eyes and sighs exaggeratedly before saying, "Fine. We won't kill her."

Derek doesn't respond but nods at him stiffly before heading for the stairs, planning to get some sleep as it's one in the morning.

Peter shakes his head and falls back onto the couch while Isaac eyes him warily. He turns his head, whispering to Erica and Malia without taking his eyes off of Peter. "I don't trust him."

"Neither do I," Erica whispers back while Malia makes a quiet noise of agreement. 

Peter rolls his eyes and looks up from the book he had just picked up from the table. "You do know I can hear you?"

"Yeah, we just don't care," Isaac says, shaking his head. 

Peter scoffs and begins reading, ignoring them completely. 

Malia huffs, saying, "I need to go home. I'll see you guys tomorrow." She leaves the loft without even glancing at Peter. 

Erica and Isaac look at each other, pausing as they communicate silently, before racing after her. They do not want to be left there alone with Peter, and they definitely don't want to be there if Peter and Derek start arguing again. 

--------------------------

Scott's stomach twists with worry as he hops off his bike, leaving it outside the animal clinic. He had gotten a call from Deaton, which had been surprising enough considering he hadn't answered any of the times Scott had tried calling him. What's weirder is that he called at five in the morning. The only explanation he got was: "I've been away looking into something with my sister - nothing for you to worry about. But I heard about what happened to Stiles. I think I might be able to help. Meet me at the clinic as soon as you can."

And then he hung up, not giving Scott a chance to ask him about what he had been looking into. But that didn't really matter right now; not if Deaton might know how to help Stiles.

The bell chimes on the front door as Scott pushes it open, letting Deaton know he's here. Scott heads to the back of the building, knowing that's where his boss usually is. 

"Ah, good, you're here," Deaton says as soon as he enters the room. He barely spares Scott a glance as he puts whatever he had been holding back into its box and shifts it over to the other side of the table. He lifts his eyes to look at Scott, his tone somewhat apologetic as he says, "I'm sorry for not picking up your calls all summer. As I said on the phone, I've been a bit busy but it's nothing for you to worry about," he stresses, obviously trying to assure Scott that it's not a big deal.

"Anyway," he says, putting his hands flat on the cold, metal table and leaning forward. "I heard about Stiles and his situation. I-"

Deaton's cut off as the bell chimes on the front door again. Scott's eyebrows crease as he picks up Derek's scent and he turns around. And, right enough, there's Derek; standing in front of him and wearing his usual serious expression. 

"Derek? How did you know we were here?" Scott asks.

"I called your mom since you weren't answering your phone," Derek says sharply. 

Scott pulls his phone from his pocket, checking for any missed calls. And then he realises it won't turn on. 

He looks at Derek sheepishly, explaining, "It must have died on the way here."

"Yeah, well, your mom told me that you were heading over here." Derek glances behind Scott, probably having just picked up on Deaton's scent. "Since I know you haven't been here all summer, I decided to make sure everything was okay."

Deaton steps out of the room behind Scott and nods at Derek. "That would be my fault."

"I didn't know you were back." Derek eyes him uneasily before turning his gaze back to Scott. "Why are you here? It's nearly six in the morning, school starts back in two weeks. Shouldn't you be preparing for that or something?"

"Again, my fault," Deaton says before Scott can get the chance to answer. "I called him because, well, it's actually better that you're here too. It's probably best that you both hear this."

"Hear what?" Derek questions suspiciously. 

"Come," Deaton says, disappearing into the back room.

Derek sends Scott a questioning look and Scott shrugs tiredly before following after Deaton. Derek, although reluctant, trails behind him.

Deaton turns to face them, holding what looks like an old, dusty book that's practically falling apart; the cover barely attached and loose pages sticking out at all angles.

"What is that?" Scott asks.

"It's something that might be able to give us some more information," Deaton explains, placing it on the table. "I've already had a look through it and..." he trails off, glancing down at the book. 

Derek raises his eyebrows and folds his arms over his chest, glancing at Scott. "And what? What does it say?"

Deaton sighs and shifts his gaze between Derek and Scott. "There's a legend about a werejaguar from many years ago. And, like most supernatural creatures, it was killed. By a family of hunters."

Scott closes his eyes. "Don't say the Argents. Say anyone other than the Argents."

"I'm sorry," Deaton says, despite his tone being less sympathetic than it could be. "It was the Argents. Which means that they'll probably know the most about what's happening."

"You timing could not be worse," Derek says, rubbing his forehead in frustration. 

"Wait, why?" Scott asks, shifting his gaze to him. 

Derek curses and sighs. "Because... Kate's staying with the Argents." Scott raises his eyebrows at him and Derek rushes on, "I was going to tell you. Lydia and Malia found out yesterday and Malia says she thinks Kate's injured."

Scott shakes his head as he processes this new information. "Okay. I guess that means that we have one less thing to deal with." He turns back to Deaton. "Is there anything else in there? Anything about what happens if a werejaguar bites someone?"

"Actually," Deaton lowers his gaze to the book as he opens it, "There is." He flips through the pages carefully, making sure he doesn't damage the book any further. He stops at a certain page, his finger following the lines of words as he skims over them, double checking that it's the right one. Once he's sure, he looks back up at them. 

"It says there are three things that can happen after a human has been bitten by a werejaguar-"

"Three?" Scott interrupts, his eyes darting to Derek. "Argent told us there's only two."

Deaton's expression becomes unreadable as he glances down at the book. "That's odd. Because it definitely says here there's three. The first one is that... Well, they die. The second is that they become a shapeshifter. And the third is that nothing at all happens."

Derek shifts, moving the tiniest bit forward as he asks, "What do you mean? Nothing at all happens? That doesn't make any sense."

"Well, actually, it does." Deaton closes the book. "You see, a werejaguar's venom is weaker than an average werewolf's, which makes their bite less lethal. So, when a human gets bitten, there is a possibility that they'll recover without turning."

"But Stiles had a dream-" Scott starts.

"I know," Deaton says. "I actually had a little chat with Isaac before I called you. He mentioned the dream. A voice told Stiles that his body was dying and healing at the same time?"

Scott nods. "Yeah, does it mean anything?"

"It might," Deaton says. "And it might not. I'm not sure, but with everything I know about Stiles' situation, I feel confident in saying that he has a high chance of recovering from this and staying human."

Scott breathes out in relief. Being told that Stiles is probably going to be okay is the best thing Scott's heard in weeks. 

Derek, however, isn't as easily convinced. "What about the blood?"

"Simple side effect of the venom," Deaton explains. "It's just working its way through his system and interfering with his body. Because it most likely can't do any real harm, it just sends his body into some sort of overdrive, causing a few blood vessels to burst. It's really nothing to worry about."

Derek doesn't know what to think. He wants to believe Deaton, of course, he wants to believe him because that would mean that Stiles is going to be okay. But he knows things are never that simple. 

He just nods and turns to Scott. "You should probably be heading home, your mom's concerned about the way you rushed out of the house. She also told me to tell you that Stiles is awake now."

Scott's eyes widen and Deaton waves a hand at him, telling him to go home and be with Stiles. He smiles gratefully and heads for the door, partially dragging Derek with him. 

The bell chimes once more as they leave and Scott jumps back on his bike while Derek gets in his car, both of them heading in opposite directions. 

Deaton sighs as he picks up the little wooden box he had pushed away earlier, and lifts the lid to reveal a scroll. An old scroll but possibly an important one.

"I'm guessing you didn't tell them about it?" Marin leans against the doorway, a smirk on her lips as she stares at her brother with raised eyebrows. 

"Of course not," he glances over at her as he unfolds it, "They're already dealing with enough problems. They've been through too much as it is."

Marin scoffs and strides over to join him, leaning against the metal table. "And they're going to go through even more. This is their life now. They need to know about that," she jerks her chin at the scroll, now flattened on the table. 

"I'll tell them when the time is right."

She doesn't say anything as they both read over the words scrawled onto the piece of yellowed parchment.

"That poor boy..." she mutters, shaking her head. "You gave them false hope, Alan."

Deaton glances at her and hums quietly. Maybe not, he thinks to himself as he rolls the scroll back up and ties the piece of string around it before placing it back inside the little wooden box. Maybe I've told them what they needed to hear to fight through everything that is still to come.

The bite of a werejaguar is usually harmless. But there is a legend, that only few believe. The legend is that, if a human who has been bitten by a werejaguar, was once in contact or possessed by a truly evil force, they will not turn into a simple shapeshifter, but one of the most powerful ones to ever exist. They may still take the form of whatever represents their true soul, but they will have abilities that are far beyond that of an average shapeshifter. They will be more dangerous than anything you can imagine, and you should do whatever it takes to hunt them down and put an end to them. A creature like this will lose control and destroy everything in its path, including it's loved ones. - M. Argent

Chapter Text

Derek slams his car door behind him, flinching at the ringing it leaves in his ears. Damn werewolf senses, he curses. He should be used to this by now, considering he's a born wolf. But his senses have been off recently; not hearing things he should be able to, not being able to pick up chemo-signals. He's never experienced something like this before. 

Derek is pulled away from his thoughts as he knocks on a door, not even realising he had walked up the path until now. A few seconds pass before the door opens and Chris stares at Derek; his expression a mixture between tired, mildly annoyed and concern. 

"What are you doing here?" he asks, pulling the door open wider. 

"I need to talk to you," Derek answers, nerves kicking in as he takes in Chris' appearance and how exhausted he looks. "I didn't wake you up, did I? I can come back later."

Chris shakes his head. "I was already awake. What do you need to talk about?"

"Is it alright if I come in? I'd feel more comfortable if we weren't talking about this outside; anyone might be able to hear us." Chris' expression becomes alert, his eyes no longer tired as he stands up a little straighter. Derek rolls his eyes, reassuring him, "I know that Kate's staying here. But that's not why I need to talk to you and I'm not here to hurt her or anything else you might be thinking. I need to talk to you about Stiles. So, could I please...?" He trails off, gesturing to the house with one hand. 

Chris doesn't seem to know what to say; he doesn't know how Derek found out about Kate. Nodding uncertainly, he pushes the door fully open and steps to the side, letting him enter the house.  

Derek watches Chris close the front door, his expression wary as Derek begins questioning if this was a good idea after all. 

"Scott got a call from his boss; Deaton, I think you've met him before." Chris nods and Derek continues, "He basically told us some legend about a werejaguar. And your family."

Any confusion Chris has disappears, his expression becoming unreadable. "I've heard about it. It's a legend that's been told throughout my family."

"So you know how it goes?" Derek asks. He knows there's something Deaton's not telling them, something that might be important, and Derek is determined to figure out what it is.

Chris sends him a strange look but answers, "Yes. I know the scroll off by heart, the original one's been missing for years. Apparently, it was stolen during a fight between my family and a pack of creatures."

"A pack of creatures?" Derek asks, raising his eyebrows. "What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, a pack of supernatural creatures. Not just werewolves, it was kitsunes, banshees, kanimas, chimaeras, and their emissary. Kind of like your pack."

"They're not my pack," Derek says immediately. "Scott's the Alpha."

Chris chuckles and rolls his eyes. "You're still part of the pack, and I'm sure Scott appreciates you being the leader every once in a while." Before Derek can protest, Chris continues, "But that's not the point. You said Deaton told you about the legend. So, why does it seem like you know nothing about it?"

"Because he barely told us anything about it. Just that there's a legend about a werejaguar and that it involves your family." Derek finally picks up on what Chris had said, his eyebrows furrowing. "Wait, what scroll?"

"You don't know about the scroll?" 

"Obviously not," Derek says, his tone sharp, and immediately regrets it. "No. Deaton never mentioned a scroll." 

Chris sighs and shakes his head, looking just as confused as Derek. "Why wouldn't he mention the scroll? It's basically the entire legend."

"I don't know. But I said he was keeping something from me and Scott and I was right." Derek curses under his breath. Why would Deaton lie to them? Actually, that's the wrong question to ask, Deaton's lied to them before. What Derek wants to know is, what's so important about this scroll?

"You said you know everything that was on it?" 

"Yeah," Chris confirms, already knowing where this is headed. "Do you want me to write it down? So you can show it to Scott?"

Derek nods and thanks him, waiting by the front door as Chris heads up the stairs to grab something to write it on and a pen. Once he returns, he hands the small sheet of paper to Derek. 

"Thank you," Derek says, his lips tugging up at the corners gratefully. 

Derek is about to leave, when his gaze drifts to the living room, having picked up a scent. An all too familiar scent. He hesitates before gesturing towards the room, asking, "How's Kate doing?"

Chris is clearly surprised by the question, and Derek doesn't blame him. After everything that's happened, he surprised himself by asking that. "She... She's, uh, she's doing okay."

"She isn't injured?" Derek asks, wondering if Malia had been wrong about that. 

"No, she was. She is," he corrects, his throat bobbing up and down as he swallows hard, clearly unsure of where this conversation might go. "She's still healing."

That's interesting.

"Still?" He asks. "Shouldn't she be done healing by now?" 

Chris' expression slips, concern flickering across his face before returning to his usual serious expression. "I'm not sure. The Wolfsbane seems to be affecting her differently."

"Because she's not a werewolf?" Derek shakes his head. "I didn't even think wolfsbane would work on her..."

"Yeah, I'm just as surprised as you are," Chris mutters.

"Alright, boys-" Kate leans against the living room doorway, using it to keep herself upright, "-you don't need to talk about me like I'm not here."

Derek stares at her, his stomach twisting as he controls his anger. The only thing he can think about, the only thing he can see when he looks at Kate, is Stiles' broken and bleeding body, beaten and tortured by her because she wanted to be powerful; she wanted to hurt Scott. And it's just then that he finally notices the similarities between Kate Argent and Peter Hale. They're both willing to hurt innocent people to get what they want. 

He had been in love with the female version of his uncle. That's not weird at all.

"Oh, I know that look," Kate says, stumbling forward as her legs shake, her hands grabbing onto the wall to steady herself. "Ever since I burned your family-"

"Kate," Chris warns.

"And hurt your poor little feelings, you've never looked at me the same. That look right there, it's reserved just for me, isn't it?" She shakes her head, laughing maliciously. "Every time you see my face, you remember that I'm the reason the reason you lost everything, and you blame yourself. Because you got fooled by a pretty face. But that's okay, I-"

"That's enough." Chris snaps, storming forward and grabbing Kate by the arm. He pulls her into the living room, and Derek doesn't even need to have heightened hearing to be able to hear what Chris says to her, warning her to stop or she'll have to leave; injured or not.

It's barely a few minutes later and Derek is wondering whether he should just leave, then Chris walks out of the living room wearing a grim expression as he stops in front of Derek.  

"Derek, I'm sorry, sh-"

"It's fine." Derek stops him, ignoring the way his stomach is still twisting with anger, burning with hatred as Kate's words replay in his mind. "You don't have to apologise for her. I knew she was here and I still came over. It's not your fault."

Chris sighs, reluctant to accept the excuse Derek had made for him. He opens the front door for Derek, holding it open as he steps outside. "Don't forget to show that to Scott," he reminds, pointing to the piece of paper in his hand.

Derek nods, sending him a tight-lipped smile as he glances down at it. He heads for his car, wanting to put as much distance between himself and Kate as he can. It's not that he's got anything against Argent; he can't help that he has Kate for a sister. But for as long as Kate is staying with him, Derek just can't be Argent's home. Which shouldn't be a problem, considering he's not planning on going back anytime soon. At least, not without Scott. 

-----------------------------------------

Stiles groans, bored out of his mind. He lets his head fall back and hisses at the pain that shoots through it. Melissa had said Scott would be back in fifteen minutes but it's already been an hour. He cranes his neck, checking the clock for the tenth time in five minutes.

"That can't be right..." he mutters, sitting back up and grabbing his phone. His eyes narrow at the digital clock. "It's only been ten minutes. That's just gre-"

He's cut off as a deafening screech fills the air. He shoves his hands over his ears, grimacing as he tries to block the noise out. It stops barely a few seconds later and he cautiously moves his hands, only for the noise to be replaced by footsteps and what sounds like a door being slammed.

"Mom, I'm home." Scott's voice travels up the stairs, his words slightly muffled by the bedroom door and Stiles sighs in relief.

There are more footsteps and the door opens. Scott walks in, grinning as he looks over at Stiles.

"You're awake." He moves over to him, sitting in the chair beside the bed. "I've got some good news."

"You do?" Stiles asks, sitting up a little more, ignoring the shooting pain it sends through his spine. "Well? What is it?"

Scott rolls his eyes but his grin stays in place as he answers, "I got a call from Deaton telling me to meet him at the clinic. He managed to dig up some old legend about were-jaguars. Stiles, I think you're going to be okay. Deaton-"

"Woah, woah, woah." Stiles waves, stopping Scott mid-sentence. "First of all, when did Deaton get back? I thought he's been away all summer? He just randomly decided to show back up a week before school starts? Great timing."

"Yeah, it is kinda weird," Scott agrees. "All he told me was that he was away looking into something with his sister and that it's nothing for us to worry about."

Stiles raises his eyebrows. "That's not suspicious or terrifyingly vague at all. And his sister? As in, Ms Morrell? Our ex-guidance counsellor slash druid thing slash probably crazy woman who sort of tried to help me at Eichen? That sister?"

"That sister," Scott confirms, his tone amused as his grin widens. "How much medication have you had today?"

"Just the normal amount. Okay, a little bit more than that. Alright, so, it was a lot. But I'm fine," Stiles says, his words jumbling as they come out as rushed as they usually do when he's had a bit too much Adderall. 

Scott laughs and shakes his head. "You're still missing the point, Deaton thinks you're going to be okay. Isn't that great?"

Stiles' heart pounds, ringing in his ears as he tries to keep it steady, tries to relax so that Scott won't pick up on anything. He plasters on a grin. "Yeah, of course that's great. If he's right, that is." Scott sends him a confused look and Stiles quickly says, "I'm just saying! I get that Deaton's usually right about most things- fine, he's been right about everything. But what if this is the one time he isn't? Scott, I just... I just don't want to get my hopes up, okay?"

Stiles looks at Scott and his stomach turns, guilt rising up as he notices that his wide grin is now gone, replaced by a doubtful frown, not even trying to hide his worry and sadness. 

"I'm sorry," Stiles sighs. "I shouldn't have said anything. It's just... I don't want you to believe that everything's going to be completely fine and we're going to return to our semi-normal life when there's still a very good chance that I'm gonna turn into some sort of weird shapeshifter. Not that that would be terrible or anything," he adds quickly, thinking he might have offended Scott. 

There's a pause before a thought crosses Stiles' mind, his eyes widening in panic. "If I do turn, you don't think that makes Kate my Alpha, right? Y'know, like how when you got bitten, Peter went psycho and tried to make you kill everyone you cared about including me so that you would be in his pack. That's not gonna happen. Right?"

"Uh..." Scott's forehead creases as he thinks it over. "No, definitely not. Probably. Hopefully not."

"Great, that was incredibly reassuring, thank you so much for that."

Stiles groans and lets his head hit the pillow behind him, closing his eyes as he digs his palms into them. "It is way too early for any of this. Why did Deaton have to call you at five in the morning? Can't he just be like a normal human being and wait until later?" He groans again, moving his hands away from his face as he peeks his eyes open to look at Scott. "Is your mom still here or did she have to go to work?"

Scott pauses for a second, listening for her before answering, "Yeah, she's still here. And by the sounds of it, making breakfast. I think."

"Yes!" Stiles says happily, already sitting back up, once again ignoring the pain it causes him. "Let's go see then."

"I don't think so." Scott pushes gently on his shoulder, stopping him from getting up. "You look like you've barely slept, you're staying in bed. I'll go, alright?"

Stiles moans but nods, knowing he won't win this. He watches as Scott grins and leaves the room, heading down the stairs to see his mom. He was hoping that today might be quiet and calm, give them a chance to actually themselves before school starts back in the next week. But Stiles wasn't counting on it. After all, they live in Beacon Hills, nothing ever goes the way they want it to. 

-------------------------------------------

"You practically ran out of here, where did you go?" Isaac asks, barely giving Derek a second to breathe as he closes the loft door behind him. "What's that?" He points at the piece of paper, slightly crumpled in Derek's hand. "Did you find something? Is it important?"

Derek sighs and tries to refrain from rolling his eyes. It's already been a long day and it's barely seven in the morning. He makes for the stairs, his jaw clenching as Isaac follows closely behind him, the smell of curiosity and suspicion filling the air. 

"It's from Argent," Derek answers, hoping that'll be enough for Isaac to leave it alone but also knowing it won't be. 

Isaac appears next to him, his eyebrows raised and his arms folded. "You were gone two hours."

"What's your point?" Derek snaps. He glances at Isaac before walking to the couch, leaving him standing at the table.

Isaac rolls his eyes and leans back, not bothering to follow Derek this time. "No one can put up with you for that long," he mutters, despite knowing Derek can hear him. 

"What was that?" Derek asks, not even turning to face him. 

"You heard me."

Peter coughs as he leans back against the stairs, a smug smirk on his lips. "Actually, he didn't."

Derek rolls his eyes, wanting to just ignore Peter, praying silently for him to disappear, at least for a few hours. 

"What do you mean?" Isaac asks cautiously and Derek curses in his head. 

Peter hums as he walks slowly toward Derek, his smirk only growing. "My dear nephew here is having... Well, let's just say he's having a few problems. Aren't you, Derek?" 

Derek growls, trying to keep himself calm but that's very hard to do whenever Peter's around, not to mention his little 'conversation' with Kate barely half an hour ago. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your senses not working." Peter stops in front of him, his head tilting to the side. "Or am I wrong?"

He wants to say yes, wants to just deny everything because he hates when Peter is right, especially about this, but he also wants to just give in, hear what Peter might say about it because, who knows? He might actually be helpful for once in his life. 

Derek doesn't answer, just stares up at Peter with a blank expression. 

Peter huffs and then sighs, shaking his head slowly. "I didn't want to do this," he says before gesturing for Isaac to come over. Once he's standing next to him, Peter takes a step to the side, talking to Isaac, "Punch him."

"What?!" Isaac and Derek both stare at him incredulously. 

He sighs. "It won't hurt... That much. And if you're not lying, it'll be healed in a few hours."

Derek shakes his head at Peter, seriously wondering how they're even related. And then there's a sharp pain in his jaw. He stares up at Isaac in disbelief, his hand coming up to rub at his jaw, his eyes glowing. At least he knows his eyes still change colour.

"Did you seriously just punch me?" 

Peter and Isaac trade wide-eyed looks, concern and confusion clear on their faces. 

"That's a new look on you," Peter mutters, staring at Derek's eyes. 

"Why are your eyes gold?" Isaac asks nervously.

Derek scowls at the two of them. "What are you talking about?" 

"Your eyes," Isaac gestures to his face, "they're not blue. Why aren't they blue? Why are they gold?"

Derek feels his heart begin to race as he realises they're not just messing with him, they're being serious. He grabs Isaac's phone out of his hands, ignoring the noise of protest he makes. He nearly drops it as he holds it up, checking the reflection from his eyes. And they're right, his eyes aren't glowing blue, they're gold, a colour they haven't been since he was fifteen. Since Paige. 

He looks up at Peter urgently. "Do you know what's happening?"

But Peter looks just as confused as he feels, shaking his head, eyes never leaving Derek's. "No. But whatever it is, I doubt it's good."

Chapter Text

"You gotta get up, Stiles," Scott calls as he walks past the bedroom, already dressed and heading down the stairs. 

Stiles groans and rolls out of the bed, landing face-down on the floor. He mumbles, "Ow," before pushing himself to his feet and walking reluctantly to the bathroom. The week had gone far too quickly for his liking, still not feeling entirely ready to go back to school.

"Stupid school, starting so early in the morning," he grumbles, rubbing at his eyes and blinking to try and clear his vision.

He leans against the sink, one hand holding onto the edge while he turns the tap with the other. His eyes drift to the mirror in front of him, lingering for barely a second, but it's enough for him to notice, for his eyes to shoot back to it, wide and panicked. 

A lump rises in his throat, his heart pounding in his ears as his chest tightens. "This can't be happening," he mutters, leaning closer to the mirror, praying that he's just tired, just imagining things. He blinks. But nothing changes.

"Scott!" 

Barely a few seconds later, Scott rushes into the bedroom, peering around the bathroom door. His eyes land on Stiles, not able to see his face, before darting to the mirror, his expression turning from confusion to shock, then to worry and panic.

"Yeah, I know how you feel." Stiles meets his eyes in the mirror before turning to face him. "I guess we can assume Deaton was wrong," he says, nervous laughter getting stuck in his throat as he swallows hard. "That'll probably be a first for him." He glances back to the mirror, still hoping that this was all just a dream. But there they are; his eyes, glowing a deep orange mixed with flecks of yellow and gold. 

In his head, he knows he should have been expecting this. But after hearing what Deaton had said, how hopeful Scott had been, Stiles had given in and let himself believe that maybe, just maybe, he was going to stay human. 

"Okay, this might not be a problem," Scott says, trying to keep his voice calm and reassuring. For whose sake, neither of them are sure. "We just need to talk to Deaton. It might be another side-effect, like the bleeding."

"Scott, look at me," Stiles says, exasperated. "You see my eyes, right? They're glowing. Just like yours did when you were bitten and turned into a werewolf. This isn't a side-effect, just like my freaky bursts of heightened hearing isn't a side-effect. You know as well as I do what this means. I'm turning into a freaking were-something!"

Scott raises an eyebrow at him. "Were-something?"

"Yes. A were-something, because we have no idea what the hell I'm going to turn into. It might be a werewolf, it might be a werejaguar, I could be a freaking were-squirrel for all we know."

"I don't think were-squirrels exist..."

Stiles stares at Scott incredulously. "Not the point." He runs a hand through his hair, messing it up even more than it already was. "The point is: I'm turning, Scott. We have to go back to school and I'm turning. This is absolutely fantastic," he mutters, closing his eyes as he leans against the sink.

"Look," Scott places his hand on Stiles' shoulder, waiting for him to open his eyes, "Just let me call Deaton, okay? And if he doesn't know anything then... we'll talk to Argent, he has to know something."

Stiles rolls his eyes but gives in. "Fine. But what do we do about school? Are we just supposed to go and pretend that everything's normal and that I'm totally not turning into a mythical creature?"

"They're not technically mythical," Scott points out but quickly hurries on when Stiles shoots him an exasperated look. "It'll be fine, no one will know and it's only a few hours. Unless you're really not feeling up to it..." He hints, a flicker of mischief in his eyes. 

"Yeah, I'm not feeling so great," Stiles plays along, grinning at Scott gratefully. "Y'know what with the pain and all."

It's Scott's turn to rolls his eyes, grinning back at Stiles. "I'll go talk to my mom."

----------------

Stiles leans against the table in the back room of the clinic, his arms folded over his chest as he waits with Scott for Deaton. He glances at the clock for what must be the sixth time and Scott sighs, turning to face him. 

"He's probably just stuck in traffic or something. Does he even have a car?" Scott asks uncertainly.

"He's your boss, you should know." Stiles pulls his eyes away from the clock and scans the room. "That looks old and cursed," he comments, his eyes landing on a thin rectangular box sitting on a shelf at the opposite end of the room.

"It might be," Deaton says, startling the two boys as he moves over to the table in the middle of the room. "Which is why you shouldn't touch it."

Stiles raises his eyebrows but doesn't reply, his eyes lingering on the box before drifting to Scott and Deaton. He listens as Scott fills his boss in on what happened, jumping in every so often. 

Once they're done, Deaton stays quiet, his eyes darting back and forth between them. "Interesting," he says quietly. 

Stiles' mouth falls open, his forehead creasing as he stares at Deaton. He can't help but feel annoyed and Scott seems to pick up on this, shifting a little closer, a small smile on his lips, trying to keep him calm.

"Do you know what's going on?" He asks Deaton. 

"I have a theory," Deaton replies, eyeing Stiles again before turning and moving to the boxes in the corner. He bends down, rummaging through them carefully, keeping his back to the two boys. 

They trade looks, Stiles silently questioning why the hell Deaton's being so vague, Scott just as confused and wanting more information, more reassurance that everything's alright. 

"Ah, here they are." Deaton straightens up, turning back to them and placing two candles on the table in front of him. 

Stiles eyes them suspiciously. He takes note of the strange, white symbols, carved in a loop around both of them, bright against the dark purple that seems to drip from the top and stop before it reaches the bottom. Right now, he was really regretting not paying more attention to that book about ancient symbols and spells that Lydia had been reading just a few days ago.

Scott's eyes narrow as he stares at the candles, his expression unreadable. Stiles elbows his shoulder and jerks his chin at the table, mouthing, "What is it?"

Scott just shakes his head, his eyebrows furrowing as his confusion seems to grow.

"Now, Stiles," Deaton speaks up, dragging Stiles' attention away from Scott. "I'm going to need you to concentrate, alright?" He asks, moving over to the far wall, his fingers hovering over the light switch. 

Stiles hesitates, wanting more of an explanation about what he was doing, but nods when Scott gives him a nudge. Deaton flips the switch and the lights go out, engulfing the room in darkness.

"Well, this is pleasant," Stiles says, sarcasm dripping from his words. "What now? Light the candles, have a nice, cosy little chat? Maybe order some pizza?"

"Stiles, you need to focus," Deaton says, his tone crisp. "Concentrate. Look at the candles, think about the flames, imagine them glowing, lighting up the room."

"That sounds like a great idea, but-"

"Stiles," Scott says, leaning a little closer. "Just try it. Please."

Stiles stares at him before rolling his eyes and sighing, throwing his arms up in surrender. "Fine. But after this whole weird magic thing doesn't work, I'm going to get food." 

He moves his gaze to the candles, their outline just about the only thing he can see in the dark room. The room's quiet, Deaton watches the candles with folded arms, Scott glances up at Stiles every few seconds, and Stiles keeps his eyes focused on the candles, despite knowing how ridiculous this is. They stay like this, seconds turning to minutes as nothing happens.

And then it starts; a flicker of light, barely there for a split second but hard to miss. Stiles and Scott's eyes widen, heads whipping around to face each other, grins spreading across their faces. Deaton moves forward, urging Stiles to continue.

He does, his eyes snapping back to the candles, his hair standing on edge as he feels his stomach twist with what could possibly either be excitement or fear. His eyes narrow in concentration as he tries not to blink, not wanting to screw something up by looking away.

A minute passes before it happens again; lasting longer this time, casting a soft, orange glow around the small room. The flames on the candles flicker and only grow stronger - brighter - with each second that passes. 

Stiles breathes out in disbelief, nearly blowing the flames out. "I have no idea what the hell is happening right now but it is awesome."

"Dude," Scott grabs his shoulders, shaking him gently, "you just lit those candles. With your mind. That's... that's... I don't even have a word for how cool that is!" He pauses, glancing at Deaton. "He did light them with his mind, right?"

Deaton chuckles softly and nods, his eyes still watching the dancing flames. "Yes, he did, which, in itself is remarkable. But for it to have worked on the first try... that's extraordinary."

"Wait, you mean, you weren't expecting that to happen?" Stiles asks. 

"No. I wasn't." Something seems to cross Deaton's mind as his expression becomes unreadable. "The spark inside you really is powerful; stronger than most." 

"Again with the creepy vagueness." The candles seem to burn brighter as Stiles continues, not bothering to hide the irritation in his voice, "Could you please just give us a straight answer? What the hell is going on and why can I suddenly light candles with my mind? I thought turning meant turning into a shapeshifter, not some telekinetic, glowy-eyed, witch. How is that even pos-"

He's cut off, a loud bang sounding throughout the room, followed closely by a crackling. His eyes shoot down to the candles, widening at the now bright orange and blue flames, far too bright to be normal, the purple wax quickly melting and pooling on the table, spreading far too fast. There's another bang, this time from the waiting area, the light going out as the bulb seems to explode, sparks flying from it as it swings back and forth. 

"What the hell is happening?" Stiles asks. He quickly brings his arms up, covering his face as the flames seem to grow bigger, sending tiny bits of what must either be ash or wax flying each other.

"It's you." Deaton's eyes dart from the candles to the lights, then to Stiles. "You're controlling this - not intentionally or consciously, it's because of your emotions. Stiles, you need to control them," he explains urgently, stepping to the side as the candle's crackling grows louder.

"What?! But - I don't know how!" He replies, panic seeping into his tone. 

Scott grabs Stiles' shoulders again, having been knocked off when the light exploded. "Stiles, you need to focus." He looks into his hands, shaking him gently to make sure he understands. "Alright, all you need to do is find something, anything, that'll calm you down. Find your anchor, Stiles."

And whether it's Scott's words, his voice or just simply him being there, Stiles isn't sure, but whatever the reason, it helps. He closes his eyes, breathing slowly - In. Out. In. Out. Just like dealing with a panic attack. When he opens his eyes again, everything seems to be back to normal; the candles are burnt out, the wax now slowly hardening as it threatens to drip off the edge of the table, the lights are still and calm, no more sparks flying at them.

He breaths out in relief and lets himself relax, running the back of his hand across his forehead. "Well, this didn't go at all like I was expecting it to."

Scott grins and pats Stiles' shoulder, letting his other hand fall to his side as he shakes his head. "Trust me, I wasn't expecting this either." He glances down at the candles before looking up at him, a flicker of curiosity in his eyes as he says, "You actually calmed down a lot quicker than I thought you would. I mean, when I turned, you know how long it took me to finally find my anchor - which, probably shouldn't actually have taken me as long as it did, considering it was Allison. But how did you find yours so fast?"

Stiles thinks about it and realises Scott's right; it barely took him a few minutes to get it under control, when it had taken Scott at least a day or two. But then again, Scott didn't have his anchor standing right in front of him. 

He shrugs, his lips tugging into a grin. "I don't know. Maybe it had something to do with my awesome mind powers," he jokes, causing Scott to roll his eyes. 

"Sure. Whatever you say," he replies before looking over at Deaton. "So, could you maybe tell us what's actually going on now? It just might be easier to deal with this stuff if we know everything."

Deaton seems reluctant to answer, his body tensing as he folds his arms over his chest. But when they begin to think that he's not going to say anything, he sighs and moves over to the shelves. When he turns back to them, he's holding the box that Stiles had pointed out, setting it down on the table in front of them. 

"I thought it would be better if you didn't know about this," he takes the lid off the box, revealing what appears to be a scroll, the parchment a faint, dusty yellow with a few light-brown spots, rolled up and tied with a thin piece of blue string. "But I get the feeling that Argent might have already told you."

"Told us what? Wait, what's Argent got to do with this?" Stiles asks, reaching out a hand to touch the scroll. 

Deaton bats Stiles' hand away and picks up the scroll. "Ah, you didn't tell him," he says to Scott as he hands the piece of parchment to him. 

"What? What didn't anyone tell me?" Stiles turns to Scott, his eyebrows raised. "Scott? What is it?"

Scott seems reluctant to answer, chewing the inside of his lip as he turns the scroll over in his hands. It barely takes a few seconds of Stiles staring at him for him to give in. "I talked to Derek a few days ago, he went to see Argent and he told him about the scroll. He wrote down what it said and... it wasn't exactly good news. So I didn't tell you."

"Why? What does it say?" Stiles asks, his voice shaking a little as fear rises in his throat. "What does it say, Scott?"

Scott doesn't answer, just hands him the scroll, watching as he unties the string and unfolds the parchment, waiting for him to be finished reading it. Once he is, Stiles is quiet, eyes still staring at the scroll clutched in his hands. He nods slowly, a quiet, humourless laugh caught in the back of his throat as he lifts his gaze, shifting between Scott and Deaton. 

"Is that what's happening to me? Is that why I was able to light those candles? Because I'm-I'm turning into some dangerous monster?"

Scott moves forward, his hand on Stiles' shoulder once again as he shakes his head. "No, Stiles. That was written by an Argent. Of course they were going to say that, they hated anything supernatural. But that doesn't mean it's true." He looks over at Deaton. "Right? He's still going to be okay, isn't he?"

Deaton's expression is blank as he replies, "Yes. Of course. As you said, it was written by an Argent. It's nothing to worry about."

"Then why lie about it?" Stiles questions. It's like he just can't let himself believe, even for a second, that things might turn out okay for him. "Why not tell us about the scroll sooner?"

"Because I was worried that you would lose hope." Deaton takes the scroll from Stiles, placing it back in its box. "I didn't want you overthinking what it could mean. But now, I had no other choice."

Stiles stares at him incredulously, his irritation and annoyance returning. He bites down hard on the inside of his cheek, ignoring the metallic taste it causes as he tells himself to drop it. But he's so tired of just dropping it, tired of being treated like he doesn't deserve to know the truth, tired of feeling useless and like he's less important. 

There's a quiet rustling noise and something nudges Stiles' hand. He looks down and can't help the grin that spreads across his lips as Scott pushes the packet of M&M's into his hand. "Seriously?" He asks, looking up at him. 

Scott shrugs, smiling as he clearly pretends he hadn't picked up on Stiles' chemo-signals or been able to tell what he was thinking. "I brought them with me in case we got hungry."

"And this is why you're my best friend." Stiles glances at Deaton, now going through a box on top of a small table, before checking the clock above the door. "I'm actually kinda tired. Are we done here or...?"

Deaton barely glances at them as he replies, "We're done. You can leave if you want to."

"Great," Stiles mutters, making for the door almost as soon the words leave his lips. 

He gets in the jeep, leaning back in the seat as Scott climbs in next to him. Stiles looks over at Scott, watching as he calls his mom to let her know they're on their way home so that she doesn't need to worry while at work. He smiles and turns the key, starting the engine up and driving back to Scott's house. He can't wait till they get there, they can relax and spend the rest of the day watching movies or playing games, doing anything as long as it doesn't involve talking about the supernatural. Just one normal, happy day with Scott is all Stiles wants.

Chapter Text

Stiles grips his locker door tightly with one hand, his knuckles turning white as he tries to focus his breathing, his eyes screwed shut. The morning is barely even over and already things are going wrong. And all it took was one extremely loud bell ringing in his ears and an offhanded comment from Jackson.

It doesn't help that the full moon is tomorrow and Stiles still has basically no idea what the hell is happening to him. But it's definitely affecting him as his senses have been in overdrive pretty much all morning; picking up on every little scent, all of the little noises that should be quiet but are instead ringing in his ears. His head is pounding from it all, making it hard to concentrate on anything.

"Hey, dude," Scott greets, appearing next to him with a grin on his lips. "I've been l- Woah, Stiles, are you okay?" 

Stiles gives a weak nod, forcing a tight-lipped smile as he opens his eyes and turns to face Scott, hoping that he doesn't look nearly as bad as he feels. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just adjusting to the whole being back at school thing. Not as fun as usual."

Scott grimaces, his expression understanding. "You sure you wanna stay? I could take you back to mine, my mom won't mind."

"It's okay." Stiles closes his locker, leaning his shoulder against it, not trusting his legs to keep him balanced. "I get the feeling that if I skip out on class today, Coach will make me pay for it at the next lacrosse practice." 

Scott seems like he wants to argue, wants to convince Stiles to just let him take him home so that he can rest. But he doesn't and there's a little part of Stiles that really wishes he did because he might have actually given in.

"Just... come find me if it's too much, okay?" Scott says. "I know what you're going through is way more complicated than what I did, but I want to help. So, if you need me-"

"I'll howl," Stiles jokes with a half-grin. 

Scott rolls his eyes but the gesture has no sting to it, accompanied by a fond smile as he says, "I'm serious, dude."

"So am I," Stiles replies, adjusting the strap of his backpack on his shoulder.

Scott shakes his head at him and pats Stiles' shoulder, his hand lingering as he squeezes lightly.

"Just promise you'll tell me if it gets worse," he says, worry clear in his voice.

"I will, I promise," Stiles says, patting Scott's arm. "Now c'mon, I don't wanna be doing suicide runs for the rest of my life because we're late."

Scott chuckles and agrees, letting his arm drop to his side as Stiles swings his arm over Scott's shoulder, heading in the direction of their next class. 

Stiles is just hoping to make it through the next few hours without any more problems. Of course, he knows that isn't likely.

----------------

Barely twenty minutes go by and yet, somehow, Stiles' situation has managed to get worse. Much, much worse.

Coach was yelling at Greenberg for what must have been the twentieth time that day, distracting everyone from their work as they listened and most of them laughed at whatever the hell Coach was giving Greenberg into trouble for this time.

That's when it started; a dull ache in Stiles' skull, nothing that seemed too bad compared to what he's been through recently.

But it quickly develops into a burning pain, shooting down his neck and spreading throughout his entire body. His heart speeds up, the sound pounding in his ears as he tries to block out the noise around him, his eyes closing as he tries to remember what Scott had told him; just breathe and focus, stay calm. And he's trying so hard but the pain is excruciating and all he wants to do is scream for it to stop. But it doesn't, it just keeps going, getting worse with each second that ticks by. His nails dig into his palms, drawing blood, and he ignores it, determined to just stay calm.

It must be the scent of blood that catches Scott's attention, his eyes widening and darting around the room, landing on Stiles. Before he gets the chance to do or say anything, Stiles pushes away from his desk and stands up, ignoring the Coach calling to him as he rushes out of the classroom.

Scott's quick to react, jumping up from his seat and giving a jumbled excuse to the Coach as he makes for the door.  

Stiles stumbles into the bathroom, his legs threatening to collapse underneath him as he grabs the edge of the closest sink, the blood on his hands smearing across the white porcelain. 

"Hey, Stiles," Scott calls from behind him, his tone panicked. "Look at me, dude, what is it? Is it a panic attack?"

Stiles shakes his head, not trusting himself to speak, his head lowering as he gasps for air and sweat glistens on his skin. His grip tightens on the sink, stinging the marks on the palms of his hands. 

"I need you to look at me, okay, Stiles?" Scott moves forward, careful not to get too close in case it makes things worse, glancing down at the blood slowly rolling into the sink. "Just... just open your eyes, please. You're bleeding, Stiles. I need you to open your eyes."

"It's too much, Scotty. I can't - I can't stop it. Scott, I don't know what's happening," Stiles breathes out in a rush, his voice cracking as his shoulders shake from the effort of keeping himself standing and the pain still shooting through them.

A whimper escapes his throat before he can stop it, quickly turning into a hiss as his hand slips off the sink and he nearly falls to the ground, just barely catching himself. His eyes open and he raises his head a little, just enough to see in the mirror, just enough to meets Scott's reflection.

"Stiles, your eyes." Scott takes another step toward him, his heart racing with worry. "How bad is it?" He doesn't wait for an answer as he reaches out, ignoring the look Stiles sends him when he covers his hand with his own and begins drawing his pain.

Stiles glances up at Scott, his shoulder still shaking as he feels it slowly ease away, leaving behind a familiar dull ache.

Only after Scott's taken as much as Stiles will let him, he moves his hand back to his side and lifts his eyes, relief washing over his face as he watches Stiles' eyes fade from orange to brown.

"Are you okay, dude?" Scott asks, his eyes still flickering with worry. "How do you feel?"

Stiles attempts to straighten up but quickly stops, his pain threatening to return. He turns to face Scott, one hand still gripping the sink tightly. "Like every bone in my body has been broken about a hundred times." He rubs his hand across his face, his breathing uneven as he drags it through his hair, completely forgetting about the blood.

"What can I do?" Scott asks, his voice calm despite his heart still racing from seeing Stiles in so much pain.

Stiles shakes his head, his hand falling to his side. "Nothing. You've already done enough for me."

"No. Stiles, let me help," Scott pleads. 

"There's nothing you can do," Stiles replies, sounding exhausted. "This is happening; whether we like it or not. There's nothing we can do about it so... I just need to deal with it."

"But you don't need to deal with it alone," Scott points out. "I wish there was some way I could stop this but I know there's not. So, just let me be here for you."

Stiles hesitates, hating the idea of burdening his best friend with any of his problems, never mind this. But Scott's staring at him with those puppy-dog eyes, determined to help him whatever way he can, and, oh, come on, that's not fair. He can't just tell him to stop worrying and end up having Scott looking like a kicked puppy. And so he sighs, nodding reluctantly.

"Okay," he says. "But you're not allowed to freak out like that when you think I'm in pain, got it? You always think it's worse than it is." 

Scott tilts his head, his face clearly saying that he isn't going to agree to that. 

Stiles rolls his eyes and rubs at his forehead in exasperation. "Just say okay."

"Okay," Scott says and Stiles just knows there's a but coming. "But if I think you're in pain, I'm not just going to stand by and watch you suffer." There it is.

"Scott-"

"Dude, no," Scott stops him before he can say anything else. "I don't care if the only pain you're in is from a freaking paper cut. If you're in pain, I'm going to help you. I'm not going to promise to let you 'deal with it' when I can help."

Stiles stares at Scott, chewing the inside of his lip as he shakes his head. "You're extremely stubborn, you know that?"

"Yes, you've pointed it out before. You should be used to it by now."

Stiles sighs in defeat and runs a hand across his face. "Fine. But at least promise me that this stays between us, no telling anyone about... any of it," he says. "That doesn't include your mom, she kind of needs to know since I'm staying at your house," he adds as an afterthought

Scott is less reluctant to agree to this, clearly glad that Stiles is at least willing to let him help. "Yeah, of course," Scott says. 

The bell rings, letting them know their class just ended. 

Stiles' breathing is finally back to normal as he lessens his grip on the sink. "We should probably go, we can't stay in here for the rest of the day."

"Are you sure you don't just want to go back to mine?" Scott asks, concern still clear in his voice. "Or I can take you back to your house?"

"I'm sure," Stiles replies, glancing down at the sink as he finally notices the blood. Before he gets the chance to do or say anything about it, Scott reaches out, meeting Stiles' gaze for a second before gently grabbing his hands.

He turns them over, keeping his hands underneath Stiles' as he examines them carefully.

"Dude, these look like claw marks," Scott says, looking up at Stiles worriedly. 

Stiles looks a little closer and, sure enough, Scott's right. "They probably are," he says. "It wouldn't be that surprising after... whatever the hell just happened."

Scott frowns, his eyes lingering on Stiles a second longer before drifting to the sink, still covered in blood. He let's go of one of Stiles' hands, turning the tap and letting the water run until it turns cold, washing away most of the blood in the sink.

Scott gently pushes Stiles' hands under the running water, pulling his own back and letting Stiles clean the blood off.

Once he's done, Stiles wipes his hands on his jeans and meets Scott's worried gaze. "I'm fine, Scotty," he tries to reassure him, his hand on Scott's shoulder as he goes to move toward the bathroom door. 

"Wait," Scott says, stepping in front of him. "I can't sit through the rest of our classes pretending that none of this just happened. You need to rest, Stiles."

Stiles rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Scott, I'm fine," he says, emphasising his words to get the point across. "Really. It's only a few more hours, I'll be fine. And you're in every one of my classes so you'll be there. You don't need to worry, Scott."

For the second - possibly third - time that day, it's obvious that Scott wants to argue. That he wants to refuse to go to class until he's convinced Stiles to go back to his house to rest. But, again, he doesn't.

Because Stiles is staring at him with that look in his eyes; the one that always manages to convince Scott to do pretty much anything, no matter how insane.

And so Scott sighs, opens the bathroom door and follows Stiles out, heading back to Coach's class to grab their stuff.

------------------------

"So," Lydia drops her tray onto the table, startling the two boys as she takes a seat across from them. "Would either of you like to explain what happened back there?"

Malia and Allison join them, sitting on either side of Lydia as she stares at Scott and Stiles, waiting for an answer. 

"Not really," they say simultaneously, grinning at each other and completely failing to notice the looks all three girls send them. 

"Are we talking about you two running out of class?" Allison asks them, pausing to stare at them with curious eyes before receiving a nod from Lydia. 

"It was the full moon, wasn't it?" Malia asks bluntly, although it comes out as more of a statement, her eyes fixed on Stiles. "Something was off about you in class. Your scent was... different. It still is."

Stiles glances at Scott, unsure of whether to just tell the truth, after all, they're his friends and they care about him. But for some reason, he chooses to lie. "No, I'm fine. I'm just tired and I... really needed to go to the bathroom."

"Then why did Scott jump out of his chair and rush after you as soon as you left?" Lydia questions, clearly thinking she's caught them out as her eyes dart between the two boys. 

Stiles looks at Scott with raised eyebrows, receiving a sheepish grin and a shrug. He huffs, casting his eyes to the ceiling briefly as he tries to quickly come up with an excuse. "Because... we're dating?" He jokes, a sly grin forming on his lips as Scott stares at him with wide eyes.

He hits Stiles' shoulder softly, careful not to make his pain worse. Stiles just shrugs and Scott can't help but grin back at him.

"Really?" Lydia drawls, pointing her fork at them. "You expect me to believe that you two are dating? Seriously?"

"I'd believe it," Allison says casually, not even looking up from her food. When she realises they've gone silent, she glances up at them, her eyes wide. "What? When I first met you I thought you were dating. You're closer than anyone I've ever met and that includes people who have actually been dating." She shrugs, picking up her apple and turning it in her hands. "It's really not that hard to believe."

There's an awkward silence, neither of the boys knowing how to respond while Lydia and Malia seem to agree with Allison.

It's only broken when Malia's phone - which she had been given as a birthday present because, as Lydia had said, how the hell is anyone meant to contact you if you don't even have a phone? - buzzes on the table. She checks to see what it is, a grin appearing on her face. She looks up at her friends, her voice filled with excitement as she says, "Kira's coming back today!"

"That's great," Allison says, smiling as she takes a bite of her apple. "Speaking of people we haven't seen in a while," she turns her eyes to Scott, "have you heard from Derek yet? Or Isaac? It's been a week and I still can't get a hold of him. My dad's refusing to tell me where they are, he said that Peter's with them and is making sure they're okay."

Stiles nearly chokes on his food, his eyes wide as he says, "Peter's with them? And we still haven't heard from either of them? Am I the only one finding this more and more concerning?"

"Definitely not," Scott says, his eyebrows drawing together. He looks at Allison. "Did your dad say anything else? About where they are?"

She shakes her head, her hair falling in front of her face. "No, all he said was that we shouldn't worry and Derek's dealing with some personal problems," she answers, tucking the loose strands of hair behind her ear.

"That's just great," Stiles says sarcastically. "What about Erica and Boyd? Or Jackson? Ethan and Aiden? Have all of them just fallen off the face of the earth?"

Scott twists around in his seat. "Jackson, Ethan and Aiden are over there, " he says, jerking his chin at a table across from them, where, sure enough, all three of them are sitting with Danny and a few of their other friends. "Erica and Boyd left earlier, I guess they got bored," he says, turning back around.

"How didn't I notice they were even here?" Stiles asks, staring at their friends across the room in confusion. 

Scott pats Stiles' shoulder, his lips tugging up at the corners as Stiles turns back around in his seat. Both of them oblivious to the look Malia shoots them.

"I'm sure Derek and Isaac are fine," Malia says, surprising all of them. "They can both take care of themselves. Well, Derek will protect Isaac. I think." She turns to Lydia. "You would be able to tell if something happened to them, right?"

Lydia's eyes widen a little as she glances at her friends. "Yeah, I think so, but-"

"There!" Malia says happily, turning back to her food. "They're absolutely fine."

Nobody really wants to argue with Malia; the main reason being that they all want to believe that as well, the other being that she'll probably bite their heads off if they try to tell her she could be wrong.

"Alright, well, would anyone like to discuss our other little problem?" Lydia asks. They stare at her, clearly confused and she rolls her eyes in exasperation. "Oh my god," she mutters, "Kate. Kate is the other problem. No offence, Allison, but I don't exactly trust your aunt all that much. I mean, come on, do none of you find it suspicious that she just suddenly appeared back in town a week before the full moon?"

"I do," Stiles says around a mouthful of potatoes. He pauses when Lydia glares at him, swallowing before continuing, "I've been saying for days that there's something off about it. What if she goes all psycho tomorrow, like Peter did with Scott? I don't know about you guys, but I don't really want to be forced to try and kill any of you. Especially since I would most likely fail and end up getting shot by a hunter or running into some sort of trap that would ultimately lead to my death."

"That's not going to happen," Allison says, lifting her eyes to look at them. "Kate's still injured and she doesn't look like she's going to be healing anytime soon. And my dad's taking precautions just in case; he's going to make sure she can't go anywhere tomorrow. I promise."

Stiles raises his eyebrows, relaxing in his seat as he shrugs. "Problem solved then, I guess."

"Not quite," Scott says.

"What? What now?" Stiles asks, throwing his hands up in frustration. "What could possibly be worse than Kate forcing me to tear you all to shreds?"

"We still have to figure out what we're doing tomorrow, you don't know how to fully control yourself yet," Scott answers.

Stiles pauses. "Good point." He takes another bite of his food, leaning his chin on his hand with a huff of annoyance. Why do they have to have so many things to deal with?

"Well, you need to find an anchor first, right?" Allison asks, looking to Scott for confirmation. "So, once you've figured out what is it, it should be easier for you to control the shifting. That is how it works, right?"

Stiles lifts his head and says, "Yeah, it is. Which makes things a lot easier considering I already have mine."

"You do?" Lydia and Allison ask at the same time, both of their voices a little surprised. 

Malia folds her arms on the table, leaning forward as Stiles lifts his glass to his lips and she says, "I wanna guess. It's either your dad or Lydia. Or possibly Derek."

Stiles chokes on his water, covering his mouth to stop himself from accidentally spitting it out. He quickly pulls his hand away, staring at her incredulously. 

"Why the hell would it be Derek?" He asks, wiping at his mouth to get rid of any excess water. "Or Lydia, for that matter. No offence, you know I love you, Lyds."

She rolls her eyes and continues eating, shaking her head at him. 

Malia narrows her eyes, darting from Stiles to Lydia, clearly confused. "But... if you love her, she could be your anchor. Why was that unbelievable?"

"Because I love her as a friend," Stiles emphasises. "But seriously. Derek? Really? You think that Derek Hale would be the one thing keeping me human and in control?"

Malia shrugs, biting her lower lip as she stares at Stiles. "I thought you used to like him. Guess I was wrong." She ignores the horrified look Stiles sends her. "So, it's your dad then?"

"No, it's not my dad," Stiles says without thinking. That would have been the perfect cover, had he, y'know, not just gone and blown it.

"Then... What is it?" Lydia asks, her eyes narrowing with suspicion. "Do you have a secret girlfriend you aren't telling us about?"

"Oh my god, no," Stiles says. "I... How would that even work? I am literally with you guys every single day, so, unless she's invisible, I don't think there is even a slight possibility of me having a secret girlfriend."

"Dude, c'mon," Scott says, grinning at him as he rests his hand on his shoulder. "You can tell us what, or who, it is."

Stiles tries to ignore the way his heartbeat has suddenly picked up as he rolls his eyes at Scott and grins back at him. He is also doing his very best to ignore the confused look Malia sends him, her eyes darting between him and Scott. And then when it turns to a wide-eyed, knowing look, he's definitely ignoring it. 

"It's an anchor, why are you guys making it sound like such a big deal?" Stiles says, shoving a forkful of food into his mouth to avoid saying anything else. Of course, he probably should have realised beforehand how terrible of an idea that was. 

"I know who it is," Malia says, her eyes somehow growing wider, her lips splitting into a grin. She looks at Lydia and Allison, checking to see if they had picked up on it as well, but they hadn't.

Malia rolls her eyes and jerks her head toward the two boys, Scott's hand still on Stiles' shoulder as he stares at them with a confused expression and Stiles; eyes wide as he tries to quickly swallow his food so that he can stop this conversation right now.

But it's too late. Allison and Lydia look at each other, both of them wearing the exact same expression as they turn their eyes to the boys.

"Oh," Allison says, her hair falling in front of her face once again as she nods slowly. "That... actually makes a lot of sense."

"What does?" Scott asks, finally letting his hand drop back to the table, his eyebrows furrowing. "What are you guys talking about?"

"Scott, you're Stiles' anchor," Lydia explains, her lips curving up at the corners as she glances at Stiles. "Now that I'm thinking about it, that should have been pretty obvious."

Stiles drops his head into his hands, his elbows on the table as he groans quietly. Why did he make it so obvious? Does he not have even one subtle bone in his body?

"Oh," is all Scott says, his eyes a little wide as he turns to Stiles. "Dude, you could've just said so, it's not a big deal."

Malia opens her mouth to protest, probably going to argue that, yes, it is a big deal. But she doesn't get the chance to as Lydia nudges her side underneath the table, trying to be as discreet as possible while Allison attempts to hide a smile behind her hand. 

Stiles peers up at Scott, slowly moving his hands away from his face as his eyebrows furrow. "It isn't? Because I'm pretty sure you were all wanting me to tell you who it was just a minute ago because it is a big deal. Or did I just pick that entire conversation up wrong?"

"No, you didn't, because it is a b-" Malia doesn't get to finish her sentence, Lydia's hand now covering her mouth. Scott and Stiles look at her and she gestures for them to continue with a smile.

Scott chuckles, shaking his head when Stiles rolls his eyes and sends them a sideways grin.

"Look, dude," Scott says, dragging Stiles' attention back to him. "It's seriously not a big deal. Don't worry about it, okay?"

"Yeah, of course," Stiles says, still grinning as nods slowly, his eyes drifting down to the table. He takes one look at his food, grabbing the muffin from his tray before pushing it away.

Stiles pulls his backpack onto his shoulder and swings his legs over the seat, glancing at his friends as he says, "But that's about all the awkwardness I can take for one conversation. I will see you guys... in ten minutes." He's already standing up and about to head for the door when he meets Scott's worried eyes, looking up at him with a frown on his lips. 

"I left something in Coach's class," he lies, patting Scott's shoulder and grinning down at him. "If I don't go get it now, there is a 99.999 percent chance I will never see it again." 

Scott's forehead creases, most likely trying to figure out what Stiles could have left behind considering he was with him when they went back to get their stuff. But he doesn't question it, just nods before turning back to his food.

And so Stiles goes, heading out of the cafeteria and down the hall, stopping once he reaches the top of the first set of stairs. He pushes himself up onto the railing next to the window, just wide enough that he's not worried about falling off.

It's nice here; everyone's eating their lunch or roaming about outside so there's no one to bother him. It's quiet. Which is exactly what Stiles' needs right now. Just a little time to process everything that's happening.

The full moon tomorrow, Kate possibly controlling him, Scott being his anchor, and also the pain he can feel in every part of his body. Despite Scott taking most of it earlier, it had come back. Stiles does have to admit, it's not as bad right now. But then again, maybe that's because he's trying not to feel it.

Stiles leans his head back, his eyes fluttering closed as he breathes out, focusing on keeping himself in control. After all, he was the one who helped Scott when he was bitten. It shouldn't be that much harder for Stiles to learn how to do it. If it is, well... he has Scott. And that's all the motivation he needs to get better at this, to learn to keep himself human. For Scott.

Chapter Text

The night's been pretty quiet so far. And that's surprising considering there's a full moon glowing brightly in the sky, visible from the basement of the lake house that Lydia had suggested they use. Scott had accepted gratefully and driven with Stiles up here a few hours ago, followed closely by their friends, excluding Lydia and Allison as they stayed behind to help Argent. 

Scott watches from his chair, his arms folded on the top of it as Stiles paces back and forth, the chains that are supposed to be tying him up lying on the ground next to his feet. They hadn't bothered putting them on yet; what was the point? Stiles hasn't exactly been showing any signs of turning. 

"Something's off about this," Stiles says for the third time, chewing on his fingers as he falters and turns to Scott. "Why am I not turning? I can see the moon! Shouldn't I be trying to kill everyone right now?"

Scott nods and shrugs, resting his chin on top of his arms. "I don't know, dude. Maybe we should just be thankful that nothing's happening."

"I know," Stiles says, sighing as he stares out the window. "But I just get the feeling that... I don't know, just that something's not right. Trust me, I want to be glad about this. It's just really weird."

Scott grins up at Stiles as he says, "Dude, everything about our lives is weird."

Stiles' lips tug up into a smile. "Yeah, that's true. I don't know, dude, none of this-" He gestures vaguely. "-Seems right. Something's definitely up." He begins pacing again as he rambles on, barely stopping for breath. "You don't think this is a bad sign, right? Like, me not turning means I'm... dying, or something. Or what if it's got something to do with the weird mind thing I did at the clinic? Maybe it stops me from turning? But then the whole thing yesterday doesn't make sense. Maybe it's because of Kate, she-"

"Stiles," Scott interrupts his rambling, getting up from his chair and standing in front of him. "Calm down, just... sit down, I'll order some food and... we'll wait this out. See what happens."

"Yeah, yeah." Stiles nods and lets Scott guide him to the chair. "That's a good idea."

"I know." Scott shakes his head in amusement as he grabs his phone from his pocket. He doesn't even ask Stiles what he wants as he orders food for the both of them. It's probably because he already knows his order from everywhere off by heart.

Stiles folds his arms on top of the chair, resting his head on them as he sighs. He hasn't been able to concentrate on anything else all day, too worried that something horrible was going to happen when he turns. Now he's just exhausted because of it all.

"Hey, dude, cheer up," Scott says, ruffling Stiles' hair as he leans against the wooden pillar next to him. "The food won't be long and, if you want, we can join the others up stairs once it gets here."

Stiles snorts and lifts his head, his chin on his arms as he looks at Scott. "That's possibly the last thing I want. Derek and Malia are probably driving everyone crazy even more than usual, what with them both being too alike for their own good, not to mention the full moon making them even more aggressive. I'm sure those guys are having a ton of fun."

Scott chuckles and turns his head to look out at the moon. "They're not that bad. They just..." He pauses, realising he can't think of a good way to describe Derek and Malia that comes across positive. "Yeah, they're probably driving everyone crazy. I just hope they haven't broken anything, Lydia will kill them if they have. And me. She'll kill me as well."

A few seconds pass and Stiles doesn't respond. The tiny basement is suddenly too quiet for Scott. He turns around, eyes searching in the dim light as he hears a low growl and his heartbeat picks up because he just knows what's coming next. 

"Stiles," he says quietly, taking a small step forward as he realises Stiles is no longer on the chair. He's on the ground, kneeling next to the wall with his back to Scott, the chains rattling. "Hey, talk to me, dude."

He doesn't wait for him to say anything as he joins him, crouching down and taking the chains from him. Scott doesn't want to do this; he doesn't want to chain Stiles up like he's some monster. And that doesn't change when Stiles lifts his head, glancing up at Scott with bright orange eyes that oddly resemble flames, flickering as he swallows. It's clear to Scott that Stiles is afraid as he holds out his wrists for Scott to put the chains on, nodding to let him know it's okay. 

Scott sighs, looking down at his hands as he clamps the first shackle around Stiles' wrist. It looks way too tight but Stiles doesn't complain so Scott just moves on, doing up the other one. 

Once he's made sure they're both secure, he shifts his gaze to look at Stiles, a frown on his lips as he notices the pained expression he's wearing, his eyes squeezed shut, his breathing sharp.

"Are you okay, dude?" Scott asks, moving his hand to rest on Stiles' shoulder. 

Stiles nods, leaning his head against the wall as he licks his lips. "Yeah, I'm fine, Scotty."

And Scott knows he's lying. But what is he supposed to do? The only way he can help right now is by being there for Stiles and letting him that he isn't going anywhere, which is exactly what he's doing as he pulls the chair over and sits in front of him, just listening to his heartbeat and the sound of arguing that travels down the stairs. He knew it was a bad idea to leave almost all of their friends together on a full moon, especially Derek and Malia. Stiles was right when he said they're constantly arguing and that they're too alike. Plus, Derek's still trying to teach Malia how to control herself as well, which, by the sounds of it, is going better than they were expecting.

"Scott, I think you should leave," Stiles breathes out quietly, dragging Scott from his thoughts as he turns his head to look at Stiles. 

"No," He shakes his head, his hands clasped in front of him. "I'm not going anywhere."

Stiles groans, opening his eyes and looking up at him. "Scott, you saw what happened at the clinic. We don't know how bad this can get. You need to go." The desperation is clear in his voice as he tugs on the chains. "Please, Scotty. I don't want to hurt you."

"I know you don't," Scott says. He glances down at the chains as Stiles tugs on them again, harder this time. "Which is why I think you're not going to."

A growl passes Stiles' lips as they pull back into a snarl, his teeth bared. The light above them begins buzzing, growing louder and louder before it finally explodes, swinging wildly and sending sparks everywhere. Stiles takes this as his opportunity and lunges, missing Scott as he quickly gets to his feet, stumbling backwards and knocking the chair to the side. Stiles looks at him, standing as his eyes flicker from orange to brown and he turns his back on him, pulling as hard as he can on the chains. "I want to tear you apart, I want to rip you to shreds and feel my claws in your skin. Don't you understand that? Scott, go. Because if you don't, I will get out of these and I can't stop myself from hurting you. Go!"

"No," Scott says, moving forward slowly, despite the warning growl from Stiles. "You've said worse to me before, remember? There was that one time you threatened to shoot me with a wolfsbane bullet, then bring me back just to stab me with a knife covered in mistletoe and wolfsbane, and then shove me out of a window into a bush filled with every deadly thing to werewolves because I told you I hadn't slept or eaten in three days." He shakes his head. "I'm not leaving you, Stiles, no matter what you say."

"Scott, please," Stiles begs, glancing back at him as he pulls on the chains, a crack appearing on the wooden pillar where they're attached. He tugs again and another appears, bigger this time and threatening to split the pillar. His hands curl into fists around the chains as he growls, "Go!"

"No," Scott says again. He takes another step forward, until he's right behind Stiles. "You're so afraid of hurting me because of what happened when you weren't in control. Do you remember what you told Malia? When she was turning? You told her that control is overrated."

Stiles' hands freeze, his head turning as he looks up at Scott. And Scott reaches out, praying that what he's about to do isn't going to be the worst decision he's ever made. He unlocks the shackles, letting them drop to the ground at his feet.

And then Stiles pounces, growling as they stumble backwards, claws ready to tear apart Scott's skin. And despite this, Scott reaches out, grabbing Stiles' shoulders to steady him. He looks down at Stiles' hands, held out in front of him, his nails back to normal length. When he meet's Stiles' eyes, they're the familiar brown that Scott is so used to seeing. 

He breathes out, swallowing the lump in his throat as his heart continues to pound in his chest. Stiles doesn't seem to know what to say or do. He looks up at Scott, eyes wide, lips slightly parted and hair soaked with sweat while his body seems to shake. 

And all Scott can do is wrap his arms around his best friend, one going over his shoulder and the other hooking under his arm as he pulls him to his chest, his chin resting on top of his shoulder. He feels Stiles' do the same, burying his face into his shirt as he tries to even his breathing. Scott knows he's crying but he doesn't say anything, just moves one of his hands to the back of Stiles' neck, his fingers partly in his hair as he closes his eyes.

"You're okay, Stiles," Scott says to him. "You did it. You're okay."

----------------------------

Stiles glances up at Scott for the what feels like the millionth time, still not saying anything despite the way his lips part each time, as if he wants to but he just doesn't know how. And Scott doesn't want to push him, especially not after what just happened, but he also can't bare the silence. 

Thankfully, it doesn't last much longer. 

"I'm sorry," Stiles finally says, his voice quiet and barely there. He avoids looking at Scott, his eyes focused on his hands. "About what happened... I'm sorry."

Scott's brows furrow as he looks at him, confused by the sudden apology.

"Dude, there's nothing to be sorry for," Scott says. "You didn't do anything. And even if you had," he tilts his head, trying to catch Stiles' eye. "I know it wouldn't have been your fault."

Stiles scoffs and casts his eyes to the ceiling as he leans his head back, accidentally banging it off the wall. He winces as he brings his hand up to rub it, glancing at Scott from the corner of his eye. 

"You unlocked the chains, you were trusting me. And I tried to attack you. If I had-"

"But you didn't," Scott stops him. He refuses to let Stiles feel guilty for something that didn't even happen. "Stiles, you managed to control yourself. That takes a lot of strength, especially on the first full moon." He shakes his head, his lips curving into a smile. "But you did it. And you didn't hurt me. You have nothing to be sorry for," he repeats. 

Stiles swallows, pulling his hand away from his neck and letting it fall into his lap with the other. He begins tapping on his leg without realising it and Scott instantly recognises it as one of the many things he does when he's anxious, letting him know he doesn't believe him. 

"You remember what I was like the first time I was turning?" Scott asks with a grin. "I'm pretty sure it was in the locker rooms at school. I tried to tear your head off, dude. You had to spray me with a fire extinguisher! And then on the full moon, I'm positive I almost tried to kill Allison." He shakes his head at the memories. "What I'm saying is, you did a hell of a lot better at controlling yourself than I did. You should be proud of yourself, cause I am." 

Stiles snorts and looks over at Scott, his eyes filled with amusement. "Yeah, you did try to kill me quite a few times. Well, me and Allison." He pauses, his face scrunching. "Did you ever try to go after literally anyone else? I mean, there was that time at the school when Peter was making you turn, but that doesn't really count."

Scott shakes his head. "I don't think so," he says. "I'm pretty sure it was only ever you and Allison. There might have been the odd time that I felt the urge to attack Jackson but I don't think I ever did."

"Oh, you should have," Stiles says, grinning. "It would have been awesome, especially when he was the Kanima." He whistles, making Scott chuckle. "I would have payed to see an epic fight between werewolf and kanima."

"I'm sure you would," Scott says, shaking his head in amusement. "But seriously, dude. You don't need to be sorry. I'm just glad you're okay."

Stiles sighs and nods. "Yeah, I guess you're right. It's just..." He bites his lip, pausing to think of the right words. "I was afraid I was going to hurt you. I know you would have healed but..." he trails off but Scott knows what he's thinking. 

"It's okay," Scott says, sending him a reassuring smile. "You didn't and I'm right here. I'm okay, you're okay. We're both fine. And-" Scott cuts himself off, looking over at the stairs as he picks up a scent.

Barely a few seconds later, Derek appears at the bottom of the stairs, his expression unreadable and his jaw clenched. 

"Derek?" Scott's eyebrows furrow. "What's wrong?"

"We might have problem," Derek says. His eyes dart to Stiles and Scott already knows this isn't going to be good. "It involves Kate."

Scott and Stiles' eyes both widen, turning to each other at the same time before they quickly get to their feet and follow Derek up the stairs.

---------------------------

Scott sighs as he leans against the couch, rubbing at his forehead tiredly.

"I mean, it's not that bad," Stiles says, attempting to lighten the mood. He quickly presses his lips together when almost everyone in the room sends him incredulous looks.

"Okay, what exactly happened?" Scott asks, directing it at Allison and Lydia. 

Lydia shakes her head, chewing her lower lip as she glances up at him. "I don't really know. We were just sitting there, keeping an eye on Kate when she started mumbling things in her sleep. We didn't think it was a big deal until we actually heard what she was saying." She hesitates to continue, looking at Allison as if asking for help explaining it. When she looks back up at Scott, he can see the concern in her eyes. "She was telling you to go because she didn't want to hurt you."

Scott's eyebrows raise, his working to try and make sense of this whole. But he just can't, it doesn't make sense. And then something clicks into place in his mind, his stomach dropping as he looks over at Stiles. He's wearing a similar expression, the colouring draining from his face as the realisation seems to hit him as well.

"What? What is it?" Derek asks impatiently, picking up on their confusion.

Stiles exhales, waving his hand in Scott's direction as he says, "That's exactly what I said when I was turning."

The room falls silent, none of them really knowing what this means. And then Malia asks the very obvious question that they're all thinking. 

"But how is that even possible?" She gestures to him. "It doesn't make any sense. How could Kate know what you said?"

Stiles shrugs, throwing his hands out as he shakes his head. "I don't know," he says, his voice giving away how tired he is. "What I do know is that something weird is going on and none of it really makes sense but that's just our lives now. Whatever's going on, it's got something to do with Kate and, clearly, me, which I'm not particularly happy about." He sighs, folding his arms over his chest. 

Scott jumps in, sparing Stiles from having to continue. "We can talk to Deaton tomorrow, see if he has any idea what's going on." Both Stiles and Derek scoff as they roll their eyes. Scott ignores them. "Right now, we should just... Relax. As much as we can anyway."

"I like that plan," Stiles says, falling back onto the couch behind him with a groan. "Wake me up in a year."

"Same goes for me," Lydia says, already walking off in the direction of the bedrooms, dragging Allison along behind her. She stops, turning to Scott with narrowed eyes. "There are only three of you in this room. Where's everyone else?"

Scott chuckles and gestures to the stairs with a grin. "They got tired."

Lydia huffs but smiles and continues up the stairs, Allison trailing behind her. Malia ends up joining them, leaving Scott with Stiles and Derek in the living room. 

"I'm gonna head up as well," Derek says, patting Scott's shoulder. He glances at Stiles. "You two staying down here?"

Scott nods, looking up at him as he replies, "Yeah, probably." He looks over at Stiles, eyes closed and breathing softly. "It's better if I stay with him. Plus, we kinda ordered food."

Derek smiles and shakes his head, squeezing Scott's shoulder before making his way up the stairs as well. Once he's out of sight, Stiles lifts his head and raises an eyebrow at Scott. 

"You know you don't need to stay with me, right?" He asks, his tone laced with amusement as his head flops back onto the couch. "I'm fine. You should get some sleep."

"I will," Scott says. He grins as he moves Stiles' legs so he can sit down, resulting in Stiles groaning and flinging them across his lap instead. "But I'm not tired right now. And I wasn't lying when I told Derek we ordered food, I'm not just gonna go to sleep and forget about it."

"That's a very good point," Stiles says, his hand flying into the air while the other covers his eyes.

Scott shakes his head, laughing when Stiles moves to make himself more comfortable, resulting in him nearly kicking Scott in the face.

"Fine then," Stiles says. He pushes himself up on his elbows with a grin. "I'm not tired either. So, let's... sit here and talk while we wait for the food since we have literally nothing else to do in this place."

Scott rolls his eyes but grins. They do talk, and the food shows up about twenty minutes later. While they eat, they joke, they laugh about that super funny thing that happened during lacrosse practice that one time, Scott shoves at Stiles playfully when he teases him about Kira being back. They stay up all night, just talking, even after all of the food is finished. Like they used to when everything was normal and their biggest problems were worrying about if they were going to pass next week's test or if they've practised enough to finally get put on the field for at least one lacrosse game. When everything was simple. But at least one thing remains the same - they still have each other.

Stiles ends up being the first to fall asleep at around three in the morning, legs sprawled across Scott and his head propped up on the many cushions, his mouth open as he snores quietly. Scott smiles as he grabs the blanket from the back of the couch and throws it over him, half covering himself as well. By the time he falls asleep, all thoughts of Kate and what's to come later on that day are pushed to the back of his mind, just letting himself enjoy this one night. 

Chapter Text

"Well that was pointless," Stiles complains, the animal clinic door swinging shut behind them as they head for the jeep. "And a waste of our very precious time. We have homework to catch up on and we have to train for Lacrosse before Coach decides to throw us back on the bench, and not to mention-"

"Stiles!" Scott laughs as he pulls open the passenger door. "Just relax. We'll figure this out," he says, before climbing into the jeep. 

Stiles slides in next to him, slamming the door a little too loudly. He starts up the engine and backs out on to the road, his finger tapping against the steering wheel as he drives away from the clinic. 

Scott glances at him and bites his lip, wishing there was something he could do. Deaton wasn't exactly much help, just told them that he doesn't have any idea what's going on with Stiles or what he might be. He did suggest they talk to Argent though, which isn't all that bad of an idea. 

But right now, they need to focus on school, considering they're probably going to be late now. Scott silently reminds himself to talk to Allison about all of this later, just in case she knows anything. And if not, then he'll talk to Argent. Someone has to know something. 

------------------

"Werefox," Lydia says, appearing in front of the boys. 

They look up at her, startled. They should have been able to hear her walking down the hall towards them but they had been a little too engrossed in their conversation to notice.

"A what now?" Stiles asks, raising his eyebrows. 

Lydia rolls her eyes but explains, "I am almost one hundred percent sure that what you are is a Werefox."

Stiles nods slowly but it's pretty obvious he still has no clue what she's talking about. "Okay, but what exactly is a werefox?" He asks, his hands moving around as he speaks. "Do I turn into a fox during the full moon now?"

Scott grins while Lydia stares at them both with a blank expression.

"It's pretty much the same as werewolves," she says, dropping down onto the stair below them. She rummages through her bag and pulls out a book she had borrowed from the school library. "There's actually a few different... myths or legends, I guess you could call them, about Werefoxes. This book is the only one I could find that was at least remotely helpful."

Stiles reaches out to take it, just so he could look through it, but Lydia smacks his hand away. She places her hands firmly on top of the book. "If this gets damaged in any way, we'll have nothing. And I'll have to pay for it."

"Alright, jeez," Stiles says, holding his hands up in front of him. "Can you at least tell us what it says?"

Lydia nods and opens the cover of the book, slowly flipping through the pages until she finds the one she's looking for. "Here," She taps the page, looking up at the boys. "Werefoxes are a type of shapeshifter, very similar to werewolves. Although, in some folklore and legends, Werefoxes are a type of Kitsune."

"Oh, that's just great," Stiles says, the sarcasm dripping from his words. "Because what I really wanted was to be one of them again since I had such a blast the last time."

Scott pats his shoulder. "It says in some folklore. That doesn't mean it's true. And besides," He glances down at Lydia, "Not all of them are as bad the Nogitsune, just look at Kira."

Lydia nods in agreement, a somewhat grim smile on her lips as she looks back down at the book. 

"They are known to be quite mischievous and also as tricksters but, that's kind of just your personality in general," She teases Stiles, her lips curving up when he sends her a playful glare. "There are a few similarities between werefoxes and werewolves," she continues. "They both turn during the full moon and can both control themselves as long as they find something they care about enough to want to stay in control, i.e an anchor." She glances up at the boys with a smile and Stiles knows what she's thinking.

"Alright, so, what else?" He asks, heat creeping up his neck as Lydia presses her lips together, making it clear she's not done with this conversation yet. 

Lydia rolls her eyes again but moves on, her amusement fading as she reads. "Your abilities are pretty much the same. Enhanced senses, enhanced strength, possible magic, an extremely strong connection to the alpha that turned you while you're shifting, including a possible psychic connection," she finishes, her smile once again turning grim as she swallows.

Stiles' eyes are wide, his jaw slackening as he tries to wrap his head around this new information. "Could you repeat that? Cause I'm not entirely sure I heard you right, I thought you just said that it's possible I have a psychic connection to Kate Argent. And magic is now a possibility as well?"

"Lydia, are you absolutely sure about this?" Scott asks her, leaning down a little to try and get a better look at the book.

"I'm not sure about anything anymore," she replies. She holds the book out to Scott, letting him take it to skim over the pages. "But based on everything you've told me, a Werefox is the most likely thing I could find. Nothing else fits."

Stiles rubs his hand across his eyes, breathing out slowly as he shrugs. He lets his chin rest on his hand as he says, "Yeah, okay." He turns to Scott, glancing down at the book his eyes are glued to. "If Werefoxes really are some sort of Kitsune, maybe Kira will know something? Or her mom? She seems to know a lot about this stuff."

Scott looks up at him with a smile and nods. "Yeah, we actually have Kira's dad's class next so, we can ask him. Don't worry, okay?" He moves his hand to Stiles' shoulder, squeezing lightly. "We're gonna figure this out."

--------------------------------------

"Did you know that apparently in some folklore, Werefoxes feed on human life forces?" Stiles asks, his voice overly cheery as he scrolls down the page. "Oh, and it gets better. Apparently-"

"Stiles," Scott stops him, quickly grabbing the phone from his hand, ignoring his noise of protest. "Stop, okay? Just... calm down. At least until we talk to Kira's dad - or her mom. Or even Argent. Just please try and not freak out for two seconds."

Stiles' eyebrows draw together as he turns in his seat to face Scott. "Dude, what's up with you?" He asks, leaning his elbows on Scott's desk. "And don't say nothing because something is clearly wrong."

"There's just a lot going on," Scott says, his eyes trained on the desk as he shakes his head. "Derek's been back like two days but still won't talk about where he and Isaac were or what they were doing. We have to stay focused on school while also dealing with Kate and figuring out if she's up to something and who shot her, and-"

"And now me?" Stiles asks. Scott looks up at him, silently saying that's not what he meant and Stiles nods in understanding, smiling reassuringly. "Dude, I get it. We've got a lot more to deal with than we're used to and half of it doesn't even make sense. Then again, what part of our life does?" He laughs, nudging Scott's arm and making him smile. "But we managed to deal with everything else. We can get through this, we'll be fine."

Scott meets Stiles' gaze and he can't help but smile and nod in agreement. "Yeah, you're right."

"Of course I am," Stiles smirks, taking back his phone as he leans back in his seat until it's leaning against Scott's desk. "I've been telling you this for years, yet you still never listen to me."

Scott rolls his eyes and shakes his head but he's still smiling, even when Kira's dad finally walks into the classroom with an air of tiredness surrounding him.

Both boys jump out of their seats and stand in front of his desk. He looks up at them and it must be obvious that what they want to talk about isn't homework because he sighs and rubs a hand across his eyes. 

"What's wrong?" 

"Okay, so, it might be nothing but it also might be something," Stiles says, his hands gesturing wildly like they always do when he's nervous. "Kira told you I got bitten, right?" Mr Yukimura nods with a wary glance at Scott and Stiles continues. "Well, Lydia thinks I might be a Werefox and she said that, apparently, they're sometimes known as a type of Kitsune and considering you're married to one, it seemed like a good idea to ask you about it."

"Ah," Ken nods slowly, a flicker of something unknown to Scott and Stiles in his eyes. "That was probably wise. Although, Noshiko is the one that knows more about this. However, I think I might be able to help. To a certain extent."

Scott and Stiles both breathe out in relief, glancing at each other with slight grins.  

"But would this be able to wait until after class is over?" Ken asks with raised eyebrows, his eyes drifting to the students now filing into the classroom. 

"Yeah, of course," Scott says while Stiles nods in agreement. 

Ken smiles at them gratefully and they head back to their seats. Stiles sighs and leans back in his chair once again, his head falling onto Scott's desk and he grins up at him. 

"Now we wait. That's always the fun part."

Scott rolls his eyes but he grins back, not even bothering to try and make Stiles move. 

----------------------------------

"Alright, so you said Lydia thinks you might be a Werefox?" Ken asks, pulling a book from one of the shelves. 

Stiles nods, pushing himself up onto the nearest desk, Scott standing next to him. "Yeah, any idea what that means?"

"Some," Ken admits but he seems hesitant to explain any further. He glances at them both before sighing and laying the book on the desk in front of them. "Werefoxes are indeed sometimes known as a type of Kitsune. They're sort of the trickster foxes - like a Nogitsune but, less chaotic and a lot less evil." He flips through the book, pointing to a certain page when he stops. "They're actually a lot more like werewolves than they are Kitsunes and a lot of their traits are the same."

"Just a question," Stiles cuts in, licking his lips nervously. "Werefoxes don't actually need to suck the life force out of someone, right?"

Ken laughs and shakes his head. "No, that's just an old myth. I've never met one who has to, or can for that matter, feed on a human life force."

Stiles breathes out in relief and Scott pats his arm. "That's good," he says. His eyes dart up to Ken as something crosses his mind. "Wait, you've met one?"

"Yeah, of course," he says, leaning against the desk behind him. "She was Noshiko's cousin. I think."

Stiles' mouth forms an 'o' and he nods. "So... what was she like? I mean, was she... okay?"

Ken smiles. "Kaia was wonderful. One of the sweetest people I've ever met, she was almost always smiling. And yes, she was okay. Her being a Werefox never really got in the way of her life. As I said, they share many traits with werewolves, you can hardly tell the difference."

"That's great," Scott says, grinning. "And what about the whole psychic connection thing? And the magic? Myths as well?"

Ken's smile slips, his face going blank. He seems to avoid looking directly at either of them and it's not hard to tell that isn't a good sign.

"What is it?" Stiles asks, his voice already sounding defeated.

"They are technically myths." Ken sighs, lifting his eyes. "No Werefox I've ever met has had any of those abilities, nor has any Kitsune. The legend says that it's only those who have been in contact with something truly evil." He looks at Stiles, shaking his head apologetically. "You were possessed by the Nogitsune, an evil trickster spirit. That means you'll be dealing with things that I have never seen before. I'm not even sure Noshiko has. I'm sorry, Stiles, I can't help with that."

Stiles stays silent, nodding to himself as he chews the inside of his cheek. He sends Ken a half-smile, trying to let him know it's okay.

Scott rubs Stiles' shoulder as he says, "Don't worry. We'll figure this out."

And Stiles really does appreciate Scott being here for him and trying to reassure him. But lately, he's been hearing "We'll figure this out" a lot and they're still no closer to actually figuring out what's happening to him. 

But he nods again, smiling at Scott gratefully as he hops off the desk. 

"Come on then, we should go before Lydia sends out a search party for us."

Scott chuckles and pats Stiles' shoulder. "Oh wait," his eyes widen a little as he looks back at Ken. "Does this mean that Stiles isn't a Werefox?"

Ken stands still, looking over at Stiles as he thinks it over. "What colour are your eyes?"

"They're orange," Scott replies for him. "And they kinda flicker like fire."

Ken raises a questioning eyebrow at him but just smiles and says, "I think you are a Werefox. Just a very unique one."

Stiles snorts at that, a bit of his humour returning as he says, "Yeah, unique's one word for it."

Ken shakes his head at him, smiling as Scott pushes Stiles out of the classroom while laughing. Almost as soon as they step out into the hall, their friends surround them, each of their expressions questioning and concerned as their eyes dart from Scott to Stiles.

Lydia is the first to speak, urging them to explain, "So? What did he say?"

"Well, he definitely thinks I'm a Werefox, so, you were right about that," Stiles says. His hand comes up to rub the back of his neck as he glances at Scott, meeting his eyes. 

"There's more though, isn't there?" Kira asks, her eyes wide with concern.

Scott nods. "Yeah. Turns out, what's happening to Stiles hasn't exactly a common thing. Y-"

"Basically no one has any freaking idea what's happening to me," Stiles cuts in, his voice a little harsher than he intended. He sighs and looks away, saying, "I need to go, I'll see you guys later." 

He doesn't listen to their protests as he walks away from them, not even caring about where he's going. He just needs to get away from... all of this. It's too much for him to deal with right now and maybe being alone will give him some time to wrap his head around whatever the hell is going on.

Of course, he's not even surprised when he hears footsteps following him, trying to keep a distance, as if that will make them less noticeable. What's surprising is who's following him. 

Stiles doesn't let on that he knows, letting his feet take him outside and to the farthest away bench he can find. It's only when he sits down that he turns around, facing Jackson with raised eyebrows. 

"What do you want?" Stiles asks bluntly. Not that he really cares right now. "I'm sure you didn't follow me just to insult me."

Jackson barely reacts, rolling his eyes in response, used to Stiles' snarky comments. "I came to talk to you. You seemed like you could use it."

"Since when did Jackson Whittemore have a heart?" But it doesn't have any bite to it, his voice tired as he swings his legs over the bench. He leans his chin on his hands and looks up at Jackson. "Why do you even care?"

"Because..." Jackson seems at a loss as he throws his hands out in exasperation. "Just let me be nice to you, Stilinski. It's only gonna happen this once."

Stiles scoffs but doesn't protest when Jackson sits down across from him. 

"Look, I pretty much know how you feel." He ignores Stiles' eye roll and continues, "All of this is confusing as hell, it's horrible and you're constantly worrying about what's going to happen. That you're going to hurt someone. Or in my case, someone else."

Stiles glances at him, his eyebrows furrowing but he stays silent. 

"I get that your situation is a lot different from mine. But at the same time, it's pretty similar. Yeah, I wasn't exactly turning into a... whatever the hell you are." Stiles can't help but smile a little at that, huffing out a laugh. "But I do know what it's like to feel like you're the outsider, like you're different from all of them."

"Yeah, but you asked Derek to bite you," Stiles points out. "I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't want to have a goddamn psychic connection to Kate Argent, the woman who murdered Derek's family and tried to kill pretty much all of us. I didn't want to be able to do things with my mind and I certainly didn't want to try and attack my best friends. I didn't want to be... this."

He swallows as he breathes out, only just realising his voice had been rising the more he talked. He didn't mean to just snap at Jackson like that. 

"That does sound like it sucks," Jackson agrees and Stiles, for some reason unknown to both of them, grins. "Seriously, you do not have much luck. Like, at all," he laughs, and he knows it's okay because Stiles laughs with him. "But I'm sure Scott and Lydia and Allison and all of your friends will find a way to sort whatever's going on with you. You guys always seem to find a solution, no matter what."

"Yeah," Stiles swallows and tilts his head. "I'm not so sure there is a way to fix this."

Jackson gives a half-shrug. "Maybe not. But that doesn't mean they'll stop trying. Just... Don't be an idiot and push them away. That's not going to help anyone. If I had just accepted yours and McCall's help when I was turning, maybe things would have been a lot easier for me. Who knows. But you still have the chance. Let your friends help."

Stiles can't help but gape at Jackson and, if it were possible, he's sure his jaw would be on the floor because since when was Jackson Whittemore actually giving him good advice? 

"Yeah, that was about as awkward as I was expecting," Jackson says, more to himself as he looks away.

Stiles blinks before finally speaking up, "Uh, thank you. Like, really. I was not expecting that one bit, especially from you." Jackson rolls his eyes but the corners of his mouth tug upwards. "So, uh, thanks. And I will. But, you do know that you're one of us, right?" 

Jackson's eyes snap up to him, his forehead creased. "What are you talking about?" He asks with an incredulous grin that seems strange and forced.

Now it's Stiles' turn to roll his eyes. "Wow, you really are a dumbass." He ignores Jackson's offended noise of protest. "You're one of us. And I don't just mean because you're a were-something." Jackson raises his eyebrows and Stiles waves a hand at him. "I saw you that night. When you guys found me? I know you were there, even though you hate me with every fibre of your being, you still went with them to find me. You didn't have to do that, but you did."

Jackson avoids looking at him and Stiles grins when he sees a blush slowly creeping up his neck. 

"I don't hate you," Jackson mutters. Before Stiles can react he quickly presses on, "And I was forced to come along, Derek gave me that stare. It was a little intimidating."

Stiles nods, grinning as he clasps his hands together in front of him. "Is that so? Why were you even with them at that point if you didn't care?"

Jackson opens his mouth to retort, only to realise he doesn't have a good excuse. "Alright, fine. I care a little bit. But only because you were stupid enough to get yourself kidnapped, I mean, how did you even manage that?"

"I'll have you know that it was not my fault," Stiles defends. "I was visiting my dad at work, walked outside, and bam. Someone grabbed me, I kicked them very hard and then they flung me against a wall. Which is really not a nice feeling by the way. After that, I woke up in the place you guys found me. Got tortured a bit... a lot. Pretty sure I blacked out quite a few times."

During his rambling, Stiles fails to notice the way Jackson's looking at him, horrified at what he's hearing. It isn't until he realises he hasn't been interrupted once that he looks up at Jackson. His eyes narrow as he swallows.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

Jackson stays silent, his brows drawn together. He shakes his head and asks, "How the hell did you survive all of that? Most people can't even handle a light beating without having some sort mental scarring afterwards, never mind full-blown torture for two full weeks."

"I..." Stiles' shoulders slump. "I don't know. I guess I just kept telling myself that I needed to get back to my dad. And Scott." 

"Yeah, but-" Jackson's eyes narrow. "Hold on. You were being tortured, and you only cared about making sure your dad and McCall were okay?"

Stiles shrugs. "Yeah. My dad's suffered enough. Losing me? It would destroy him. And Scott... Well, he's my best friend. And Kate was after him, that's why she took me. For all I knew, she could've already found him."

Jackson scoffs but it isn't exactly harsh or rude or anything like that, it's more like he's in disbelief. "Wow, you really have low self-esteem. Seriously, man. How did Scott react when you told him that? I bet he was pissed that you didn't care more about yourself."

Stiles looks down at the table, staying quiet as he fiddles with his hands. 

Jackson's eyes widen and he looks even more exasperated if that's even possible. "You haven't told him, have you? Oh my god, Stiles," he groans and rubs a hand across his forehead. "Talk to him, okay? Trust me, you'll thank me later."

Stiles glances up at him, seeing the stern expression on his face and he nods. "Yeah, I'll talk to him."

"You better," Jackson warns him, swinging his legs over the bench and getting to his feet. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I promised Danny I wouldn't leave him alone until he admits he still likes Ethan. This was his ten minutes of peace, now I must return to annoying the hell out of him."

Stiles snorts and stands up as well, pulling his bag onto his shoulder. "I'm sure he loves you for that."

Jackson smirks and agrees before moving to leave.

"Hey, Jackson," Stiles calls to him. Jackson stops, turning around with a raised eyebrow. "Thanks. Again."

Jackson nods and sends him a genuine smile before continuing in the direction of the lacrosse field, where Danny is most likely practising and enjoying his Jackson-free peace and quiet.

Stiles sighs. That was definitely not a conversation he was expecting to have, but he'll admit, it was definitely one he needed. And so Stiles heads back into the school and goes to his next class, knowing Scott'll be there. He'll tell him everything after school, when it's just the two of them and it's easier. For now, he'll make up some lame excuse that all of his friends will see through and just get through the rest of his classes, pretending he can't see the worried glances they keep sending him.