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a fable of some sort

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Six years old, and he doesn’t understand what it means when the name appears on his wrist in letters red as blood. Usually, name marks fade over time, paling like old scars, like the moon.

Not his mark. It stays fresh and raw, stings when he puts his fingers to the skin, over and over and over, lip tight between his teeth.

Eight years old, and maybe he should care more - the other kids at school do - but he’s always distracted, can’t focus, Stiles seems to have some attention problems.

He doesn’t want to think about things. Things like his mom and the whispery, faded sound of her voice, as if she was already gone. Or his dad, who drives from the station to the hospital and back, a harsh, bitter smell in his squad car, one that Stiles doesn’t recognize. So, he thinks about everything else, and once he starts he can’t seem to stop, brain racingrushingrunning as the words tumble out of his mouth.

Twelve, and he finds the rabbit in the woods, belly open and glistening; the jumble in his head fades away as he kneels down, reaching out to touch. The sticky tips of his fingers match his name mark before he pulls them into his mouth.

That’s the year the Hale house burns.

Fifteen, and his teeth dig into the soft flesh of his wrist, worrying at the skin, pain bright behind his eyes as he touches himself with his other hand. He can’t remember when he started, when the sting of just touching the name wasn’t enough, and it hurts, fuck, it hurts, sharp and clear and so so good.

A wide leather cuff covers the bruise and his name mark both, tucks them away like all the other good boys and girls. He wonders what their cuffs might be hiding.

Stiles isn’t stupid. He knows something’s wrong with him, something rotten at the core like an apple in a fairytale.

He just doesn’t care.

In another year, he likes it, that thing inside, pain like a sore tooth he can’t help but poke, the way the hurt burns through him.

Sixteen, and he fantasizes about the perfect victim, what it would be like to have someone under his knife. More responsive than an animal, so much more of everything, he's sure. He polishes the thought until it shines in his mind, every facet just right.

It's Lydia. Of course it's Lydia. He wants to take her apart and see what makes that precise, clockwork exterior of hers tick, find out what she's hiding underneath. What she's using bright lipstick and a jock boyfriend to disguise. He won't, though.

Because of Scott.

They were thirteen when they yanked off their cuffs to share the names on their wrists. Scott's fingers hovered over the scarlet splash of Stiles' mark, so different from the pale lines of his own.

Derek. Lydia.

Stiles spent the first week of freshman year coaxing Scott to just go say hello to her. By the time Scott finally worked up the nerve, the school was buzzing with the rumor that Lydia was dating some junior named Chaz, captain of the lacrosse team.

After Chaz was Brad, and then James, Michael, and now Jackson. Stiles has his doubts that this Lydia is the one for his best friend, though he never voices the thought to Scott. She's all mechanics and scheming, a lovely, hollow shell of a girl. How could that be right for actual puppy Scott McCall?

He wants to make her hurt, but he can't, so instead he drags Scott out to look for a body.

It’s not the first body he’s found in the woods, not even the tenth. Those were small things, though, animals, easily caught. Easily broken. This is different. Better.

Sixteen, and he looks up to meet Derek Hale’s eyes.

There are a lot of Dereks in the world. Approximately 178,000 in the US alone, Google tells him. He’s not sure, can’t be sure, wants Derek as his soulmate too much to trust that it might be true.

Scott's too busy distracting himself with Allison to bother him about soulmates. The name hidden away on Derek’s wrist will be a jumble of consonants, safely indecipherable. He’s got time.

Derek never removes his cuff, not even when he’s stripping off in Stiles’ room while Danny stares and Stiles watches his reflection in the computer monitor.

And then - then - after blood and fire and screaming terror, Peter dead at Derek’s feet, his eyes flash alpha red, a crimson that matches the name on Stiles’ wrist, and he knows.

This one. His. His.

He sees it in Derek, the matching rot, the soul-deep decay, tying his stomach into knots; the idea of the perfect partner gets his dick wet, and he imagines looking up over that steel table and meeting bright wolf eyes. Two sets of hands wrapped around the same blade, then curling around his cock, hot and blood-slick.

The thought of what they could do together, the damage they could wreak, makes him come so hard he bites through his lip.

After that, he gives into his urges, slips away at night to pick out the perfect, human plaything. He’s done with animals and lesser toys. The first time he watches every last shred of hope slip away from someone’s eyes is a fucking revelation. He is never, never giving this up.

Stiles misses his seventeenth birthday entirely, in a coma the doctors can’t explain. Three weeks go by before the pack figures out how to break the spell, Lydia chanting by his hospital bed, a counter-curse Allison finds in the Argent bestiary. Melissa carefully redirects the medical staff, while Scott stands over him anxiously.

Another month passes before Isaac lets slip that Derek killed the witch who cursed him.

Concealing his... hobbies gets harder when surrounded by supernatural sniffer dogs; the betas follow him around like a pack of lost puppies, all bark with no bite.

Seventeen, and he has more than enough reason to stink of death - Beacon Hills reeks of it, after Kate, after Peter, after Matt and that night at the Sheriff’s station. Death just keeps coming, dogs the pack’s footsteps.

Danny might be alive and might not - he and Jackson abandon Beacon Hills so thoroughly one night that all of their resources, natural and supernatural both, aren’t able to find them.

Their departure brings Lydia more tightly into the pack, closer to Scott, long nights spent in research and tagging along behind Allison. Stiles still hates her a little bit, but he can’t deny her power. Death wraps around her aura in foggy black streaks, tendrils that Stiles wants to reach out and touch.

Especially after Peter manipulates her into raising him from the dead. That is fascinating.

Six months later, Melissa gets hit by a fucking drunk driver and dies before any of them could get to her side, alone.

The driver doesn’t survive much longer after that, either. Stiles makes sure of that.

Her death makes Scott colder, harder. He’s still Scott, all crooked jaw and wide-open grin, but his eyes are as shuttered as the empty McCall house, where he insists on staying. The Sheriff practically demands he move in with them, but Stiles doesn’t try all that hard; there are things he needs his privacy for that Scott still can’t face.

Erica gets killed by a rogue omega she really should have seen coming, throat slashed and chest torn wide open. Boyd’s subsequent death is more of a mercy killing than a murder. Cutting a throat is different when someone asks, less visceral, less satisfying, but they both know Derek won’t kill Boyd, would never kill one of his pack, not even if that’s what Boyd wants after losing his soulmate.

Stiles could, though. He’ll do whatever the pack needs, all the things Derek can’t do.

Eighteen, and there’s only one thing Stiles wants, one thing he needs.

Your eighteenth birthday should be something special, his father tell him; Stiles considers this his birthday present to himself.

There’s a lot of planning involved, finding a strain of wolfsbane that would knock Derek unconscious for a good long while without accidentally killing him. Getting his dead weight in and out of the Jeep is a bitch, but is worth the wide-eyed, panicky look on Derek’s face when he wakes up chained to the bed.

“Ah ah ah, don’t bother. You’ll be too weak to do anything for a while yet.”

This is Stiles’ special place, where he comes to play, to experiment. No one knows about it - no one living, at any rate. Although sometimes he wonders if Scott doesn’t know, or if he just doesn’t want to know.

The play of thoughts across Derek’s face is clear - has Stiles turned, is he possessed, maybe a skinwalker wears Stiles’ face like a mask.

“No happy birthday? I’m disappointed, Derek.”

A new knife, thin, carefully chosen, taps against Stiles’ thigh. Derek deserves something new, something that hasn’t been used on any of Stiles’ previous finds.

“I know you know. I know you know everything. Did you really think Scott wouldn’t tell me, when he saw my name on your wrist?”

A manticore attack left them both nearly skinless, and Scott watched the name knit itself back together before his eyes, Stiles' full name standing out against the skin of Derek's wrist. Stiles never doubted that Derek Hale was his soulmate - never allowed himself to doubt, so it wasn’t relief that flooded through him.

It was victory. Victory, and sharp, sweet anticipation.

He shakes off the memory and climbs up on the bed, slinging his leg over Derek’s torso. He rocks back, delighting in the automatic flex of muscle underneath him. Derek’s eyes burn red and bright as all of Stiles’ favorite things.

“I knew he would - why else do you think I let him see mine?”

Derek leans up as much as the chains will allow, abdomen straining between Stiles’ thighs, voice a thick murmur in Stiles’ ear. “Drove you crazy, didn’t it? Wanting me, waiting for me, trying to see what I would do, if I would do anything. Made you tense, edgy, until you’d come back smelling of blood and someone else’s fear, so thick I could taste it.”

The world shifts on its axis, heat rocketing through him, vision hazy around the edges. That Derek could match him, yes, that the same thing lived inside them both was clear; that Derek could play him, for months, could twist Stiles up and spin him around without Stiles even realizing... is intoxicating.

“Do it, Stiles, come on. You’re not afraid, are you? You’re mine, we both know it.”

This is it, the final test, the only way to be completely sure. 183,000 people in the world that share the name on Stiles’ wrist. Blood, his and Derek’s, fresh from the vein. A few drops is all it takes to consummate the bond, fingertips pressed chastely together, soul meeting soul across cell walls. There’s an old-fashioned ceremony, even, sharp, jeweled pins under a parent’s watchful gaze.

No.

He drags the blade across Derek’s waiting palm, blood welling in the cup of his hand. Stiles wants to suck it away, lick it clean, his mouth watering at just the thought.

Later, Derek’s eyes promise.

He’s careful to wipe every drop off of the blade before cutting into his own skin. The blood’s barely risen to the surface when he brings their hands together

and

everything

stops.

Nothing exists but Derek, in and around and through him, on his tongue and in his head, derekderekderek, together, together, fingers sliding over the belly of a rabbit on the forest floor, ash thick in their lungs as they watch their family burn, sizing up a skinny boy with a buzz cut and his puppy of a friend on a cold Fall day. Tearing out Peter’s throat, an Alpha’s power crashing through them. Watching a woman’s heart beat wildly inside her chest cavity.

Blood and fire and screaming terror in every shade of red, crimson and madder, vermilion, carnelian, on and on, redredred.

They’re going to paint the world with it.

: : :

Apart from that first moment of consummation, according to current literature, the bond doesn't actually give any sort of mental insight into your partner. It's not telepathy.

Current literature doesn't take into account the effects of the supernatural. The wolves are different, their soulmate bonds closer, slip-siding alongside the pack bonds and knitting them all the more tightly together. Inescapable.

Even away at college, Derek’s lust burns through Stiles’ veins. The pull of the full moon tugs on Stiles' bones. On nights when he hunts quietly in the dark, he knows Derek shares his anticipation. Wonders if Derek can feel the tacky coating of blood on his hands.

Derek’s birthday deserves something special, especially since Stiles’ was... quite the celebration. Almost as good as the year before last, when they consummated the bond.

Although this is a present for Stiles nearly as much as it is for Derek.

“Sometimes,” Stiles says, tightening the strap around Derek’s wrist, “I’m really disappointed that you’ll never get to do this to me.” Unfortunately, Stiles just doesn’t have the... stamina that Derek does. He’s got no interest in taking the bite, either, not even for this.

He leans down, slicking his tongue over Derek’s lips until Derek growls and takes his mouth with sharp teeth. Derek is anything but passive, even when he’s tied down. The straps are for Stiles’ safety. Derek’s responses are instinctive sometimes, the wolf lying just under the surface, and only one of them has supernatural healing.

Skin-on-skin winds the bond tighter, until Stiles can’t tell if the impatience comes from him or Derek. He pulls back just enough to sink teeth into the soft skin under the hinge of Derek’s jaw, bites until he tastes blood in his mouth.

I’m going to take you apart, he thinks, hard as he can. Derek moans as if he hears it.

Stiles doesn’t start slow, not with Derek. Slow is for their play toys, when they need to break them in, set the mood a little. This is so far beyond that.

Nine inches, long and slim, with a four-inch tapered blade coming to a fine point. The weight of the hilt is full and fat in his hand, warm from his body. The blade slides sweetly, almost gently, into Derek’s abdomen. A sound escapes, small and breathy; it makes Stiles grin and work the knife a little deeper.

He draws the knife out slowly, carefully, only to replace it with his fingers. This is what he wants, his fingers inside Derek, touching the places no one else gets to see. To taste.

The flavor, hot and metallic bursts across his tongue. It always amuses him, how people romanticize the taste of blood. Apart from that first time with the bond, it's just blood, the same as if you'd bit down on your lip too hard.

And yet -

And yet. There's no other taste he likes more, not even the thick tang of Derek's come. He'll spend hours sucking Derek's dick, chasing after every drop, but even that's not as good as this.

This is Derek's life, offered up willingly for his mouth and his tools.

Stiles' smile is sticky now, stained, hands a mess as he stretches the wet, little hole wider, gets his tongue in between his fingers.

Derek jerks, needy and demanding. His claws grate against the steel table.

Face wicked, Stiles fastens his mouth around the opening and sucks, hard, flicking his tongue around the raw edges of the hole.

It makes Derek moan, Stiles' smug chuckle pressed against his skin.

Finally he pulls back, the wound closing under his mouth, even with the added aggravation from Stiles' tongue.

Hmmm... where next? All of that blank, smooth skin waiting, a perpetual empty canvas for his enjoyment.

The knife trails down, down, leaving fine beads of blood in its wake. He stops, considering; digs the point of the blade against the root of Derek's cock as he thinks. It doesn't take long before there's a puddle of blood and precome gathered against Derek's belly with every twitch of Derek's dick.

There's a picture in his head, something he's wanted to see for a long time. On Derek, at any rate. He wanted to make sure he got it right, so of course he practiced first. It took a few tries to achieve the effect perfectly.

He starts at the base, spiralling up the skin of Derek's cock in increments. The pattern winds up and spools back down, crossing over itself at the head, blood dripping and pooling against the tight gather of Derek's foreskin. He has to work fast; the skin is fine here, heals quickly, and if he doesn't get his mouth on this, Stiles might just go crazy.

Well.

The knife clatters to the tabletop, disregarded in favor of getting his mouth on Derek's dick as soon as possible. There's a steady stream of high, sharp moans from Derek now, pain and brutal pleasure thrumming down the bond.

This. God, fuck, this.

He swallows Derek's dick, chokes himself on it. Gorges on the taste, salt and heat and the coppery slick of blood. He can feel the skin knitting under his tongue, Jesus Christ, and if he's not careful he's going to come all over himself before this is finished.

Derek doesn't have much slack, can't roll his body up like he obviously wants. As much as Stiles gets off on having his face fucked - and he does - he loves the aborted stutter of Derek's hips, the tension and release of his thigh under Stiles' palm.

Stiles lets himself ride the edge of the steel table, the bite of it just wicked enough to get him going. He's so close, just from having Derek in his mouth and under his knife.

"Stiles," bitten out around clenched teeth, "fucking make me come." Not a plea. A demand.

The skin under his lips is already healed when he takes his mouth away, wrapping his fingers around the length of Derek's dick. He jerks it fast and sloppy, slick with spit, leaning over so he can rest his chin on one taut thigh and tap the head of Derek's cock against his lower lip.

He slips the head into his mouth, tonguing around the foreskin, and then sucking, hard, and it only takes three or four wet pulls before Derek's coming everywhere, across his tongue, and Stiles draws back, takes Derek's load on his face, his chin, over the bridge of his nose. Covered in it, dripping spunk, he dives back down, suckling Derek through the aftershocks, dragging his teeth up just to hear the flinching little gasp Derek makes when he does it.

Stiles crawls up on the table when he's had enough, letting Derek lap his come off of Stiles' jaw. A fang catches his skin, and his hips jolt involuntary.

"You didn't come," murmurs Derek.

Stiles smiles and slips free, catching the knife when his knee knocks against it.

"You didn't think we were done, did you?"

: : :

Summer makes them sloppy. They spend long days fucking or playing Mario Kart, and sweltering nights sharing a Slurpee as they pass the knife back and forth. When the temperature cracks ninety, they drive to the coast. They climb out of the ocean hours later, Stiles’ shoulders lobster red, Derek’s hair in wet, finger-combed spikes.

Everything seems loose and lush and easy.

They’re not even in town when it happens. They’re a hundred miles away, deep in the dark, when Derek raises his head and howls, voice spiralling out into the night. Stiles slits the throat of the ruined body at his feet and is running for the car before Derek’s mouth closes.

It’s a long, silent drive back to Beacon Hills. Stiles pulls the directions straight from Derek’s head, broken pack bonds burning.

He has watched it a hundred times, the spill of blood from a body, pumping out with each terrified heartbeat. He’s pressed his mouth to an open wound and tasted the searing gush, watched it turn from scarlet to rust on his skin.

This is thick and black, reeking and wrong, clinging no matter how much he wipes his palms on his jeans. Stiles kneels for what feels like hours as everything goes cold around him, sticky and congealing. He doesn’t remember when he stopped trying to hold the tatters of Scott’s body together, sure that if he just pressed hard enough, he would heal.

The air doesn’t so much as stir, but he feels Derek behind him. The bond is vibrating with rage; it builds on itself, flooding between them in a constant feedback loop, drawing them in so tight, Stiles can feel Derek’s fangs itching in his own gums. Heartbeats skitter into time. Their world narrows to one goal, two sets of eyes with the same vision.

They’re going to destroy Peter for this, if they have to burn the whole of Beacon Hills to do it.

All the supplies necessary to transport a body cleanly are in the back of the Jeep - they don’t bother. Impossible to separate out the jumble of their thoughts, and as one they remember carrying Laura just this way, burying her body - parts of it - deep under the itchy sting of wolfsbane, the same way they remember the excitement, the dizzying rush of arousal, there’s a body in the woods, Scott, come on, let’s go.

They tell Allison in person, drag her out to the Jeep and show her the empty flesh, the black stains on their hands. It’s not because she deserves to hear the news that way, if there is a way a person can deserve to hear about the deaths of the people they love. No.

They want to see her eyes go empty, dark gaze rising to find theirs as her fists clench around empty air. Maybe Scott doesn’t - didn’t - remember the girl who stalked Erica and Boyd, who slipped her knives into Isaac’s back as sweet as anything, but they do. She may wrap it tight under curls and cardigans now, but they want that girl, the one who made herself a weapon.

She stares at Scott’s face for a long, long time. When she reaches out to shut his eyes, her fingertips come away black, already twitching towards the hilts of absent blades. Her lashes are dry when she asks about the death Peter has earned for himself. They know, the three of them, that a quick death is far more than Peter deserves, and far less than what he’s going to receive. Her quiet additions are brutal enough to stretch their lips in the parody of a smile.

He sends Derek to gather Isaac, parting with a kiss that bloodies both their mouths. Even with the distance, it’s difficult to disentangle their minds. Half his awareness lopes through the preserve on swift wolf paws, searching for the place where Isaac’s gone to ground. Stiles rolls down the windows, letting a suckerpunch of cold air swirl into the car as it idles in Lydia’s driveway. He can’t afford to lose focus now.

Only Lydia Martin could make climbing into his Jeep look that graceful, but the smooth twist of her hips no longer speaks to him of sex. The swing of the scythe, the fall of the guillotine; in the two years since the revelation of her nature, Lydia has taken death into herself and made it her own.

There are no words necessary between them. Peter will expect the pack to run him down, will have taken measures to hide himself, sight and smell and his signature erased from the aether. He has always underestimated Stiles and Lydia. This plan was birthed between them months ago, in the sure and steady knowledge that eventually they would have need of it.

They’d nearly come to blows over it, Stiles insisting that Peter needed to be put down, now. He hadn’t expected Lydia to argue, to counter with the fact that they should save it, put Peter’s death to some use for the good of the pack. Death magic has more power than any other, after all, and the more personal the victim, the stronger the spell.

The bag by Lydia’s side is full, the scent of wolfsbane twining through her hair. A thick, gold cuff slips down her wrist. It was missing the night she stumbled naked out of the woods; the name it should have covered then will be fading now, if it’s not already gone. Name marks don’t linger past death.

Stiles hadn't believed, until that night, that Lydia actually was Scott's mate. Their bond hasn't been consummated, even now, years later. Stiles doesn't know why, hasn't wanted to ask - hasn't actually been sure that Scott would even tell him. Being soulmates doesn't mean that other things, other people, don't get in the way.

Ground soaked in blood, worked in over the years, plays host to this ritual. This is Stiles’ favorite place - a forgotten corner of the Preserve, where it doesn’t matter what noises are made. Thirteen years old, he made his first kill here; he and Derek have shed blood here, have come in messy sprays against the dirt. After they reconciled, Lydia enacted her own rituals here, ones she wouldn’t let even Stiles see. Emissary and banshee, Lydia has access to powers even his spark doesn’t touch.

They bury the pieces of Scott’s body in the center.

He binds the circle with salt and herbs and his own blood as Lydia lights candles at the cardinal points. Power thrums through him, the ends of Lydia’s hair rising, ruffled with static charge. Binding laid, they stand hand in hand - they are not afraid, but they will not be separated. They stand as one force as the night wheels around them in an uncanny silence. Candlelight flares a sickly white before snuffing out, leaving a blackness unbroken by moon or stars.

Their voices ring out, a spiraling descent of Sumerian, calling, reaching out into the darkness and demanding, insisting that they be heard. Marduk, they summon, Marduk that saved the Elder Gods, Marduk of fifty names and fifty faces.

Barashakusu, summoned when cold despair has settled in the soul. Luggaldimerankia, who makes hidden answers plain. Namtillaku, whose sigil Lydia wears, with the power to raise the dead and pull secrets from their mouths. Zahgurim, the slow and painful death.

The very air takes on weight as the universe turns to listen.

The response doesn’t come all at once. Nothing appears in their circle, no twisted demons called into existence before their eyes. They creep into their minds like a question; tendrils curl into their secrets, the hidden places and dark corners. Why, they ask. Who are they, to demand such things. What have they to offer?

What they have is power, spark and banshee, emissary and mate. They have blood. And they have a terrible, terrible faith. They believe. Irresistable, to gods such as these, so far outside their time.

Show them the way, they plead. Help them find the betrayer, the murderer, the kin-slayer. Give them vengeance for that which was stolen. Give them the means to turn Peter’s death into life.

If the price is steep, one of them will pay it; the other must live to see this thing done. Somewhere, a wolf howls, echoing down the bond into Stiles. There was more than one reason he sent Derek away. Savage at the loss of pack and soulmate, his wolf would think nothing of facing off with a demon. No. This sacrifice is for Stiles to make, and Lydia.

Lydia’s fingers spasm in his grip, but her voice is steady as she makes her vows. They already agreed, when they conceived this plan.

Anything.

For all Stiles knows, she’s already seen this moment. Lydia keeps her own secrets.

She screams, once, as Marduk’s power takes her; not the wail of the banshee, but the cry of a girl, lost and in pain. The sound cuts off suddenly, magic settling into place, something Other riding at the back of Lydia’s eyes. She brims with force, practically glowing to his spark’s vision.

“They’re coming,” she whispers. “They’re coming.”

He can feel them, too - Isaac and Allison, Derek, feels the pack the way the wolves have always described the pack bond. And there, a filthy, oil-slick feeling, slimy and wrong: Peter. Lydia’s summons is in the wind, her call irresistible, inexorable.

Everything is already prepared, the tools they need carefully chosen ahead of time, so Stiles settles in to wait. It won’t take long for the pack to arrive, or the star of their little drama. He always thought there would be more fight, when they finally killed Peter. He likes his prey to struggle a bit, hope slowly seeping away. There’s a thrill in the challenge.

But this isn’t a hunt; it’s an execution.

Peter’s clever. They won’t be giving him any chances.

A flash of red eyes, a pulse down the bond, and the rest of the pack is upon them. Derek takes a deep breath, gaze flicking down the length of Stiles’ body. Derek’s about as subtle as a hammer when he’s worried, even though he would have felt if Stiles had been hurt. Their fingers brush and tangle momentarily as Derek passes.

Lydia directs them to the points of the circle; Stiles at north, facing Derek at the south, Isaac and Allison stationed east and west. She takes the center for herself, kneeling with eyes closed, the fingers of one hand buried in the dirt. Her song peals out above them, Stiles’ chant thrumming in support. He doesn’t know if it’s magic or the bond, but the call passes to the pack, voices filling up the empty night, compelling Peter closer.

Meek as a lamb, ensorcelled and unaware, he walks into their circle, folding to his knees in front of Lydia. The circle snaps closed around him in a whiplash of power that runs through the pack. They’re together now, in each other’s heads, Stiles’ cold hatred and Lydia’s vengeance, Allison’s thirst for blood, the empty place where the pack bonds of brother and friend should rest.

:: Now :: Lydia’s voice in their ears, although her lips never move.

:: Now :: they agree.

She reaches out to smear dirty fingers against Peter’s forehead. He comes back to himself with a shudder, the pack watching through Lydia’s eyes as Peter takes in everything around him. A moment, less, before his claws flash towards Lydia’s throat, too fast to do anything but take a breath. Lydia moves as he does, though, before he does, one empty palm held out, wolf claws meeting bare skin and melting back to human.

You cannot defeat us, they tell him. We are Pack. We are One, and Many. We will not be broken..

Peter rants about being the real alpha, the head of the pack, face a rictus until Lydia presses her fingers to his mouth. When she pulls them away, nothing but a smooth, pale expanse of skin remains.

No. You are an instrument. You are a tool.

Lydia’s eyes burn with rage and the promise of blood. :: Take him ::

Isaac and Allison bear Peter down to the ground, splayed over the soil where Scott’s body lies hidden. Claws shred and red-tipped fingers yank, baring chest and belly, thighs and thin, soft cock. Derek’s hands clamp around Peter’s ankles as he pulls Peter’s kicking, jerking body taut.

Stiles reaches down to pluck the knife from the ground at Peter’s feet. The first cut - and all the ones in between - are for him, and for the pack. The last, the death stroke, is for Lydia to deal.

He lets the blade dig into the soft flesh below Peter’s chin, remembering that night on the lacrosse field.

“Hello, Peter. Do you know, do you really understand how much damage a werewolf body can take and still keep on ticking?” He shares a filthy smile with Derek. “Because I do.”

It’s not as satisfying when he can’t hear Peter scream. Did Lydia simply seal Peter’s lips together, or fill his mouth entirely?

:: Let’s find out :: Isaac laughs.

Slowly, slowly, wiggling into skin as blood wells up around it, widening the gap and pulling, tugging at the hole.

What do you know, she did leave everything in place. Good. He likes the sounds.

Allison jostles him, fingers clutching her own knives. Stiles pulls back so she can take her turn; fair’s fair, after all. He turns to Derek and offers the blade. Their kiss tastes of Peter’s blood.

There’s a shriek behind them. He doesn’t have to look to know that Allison’s plunged both knives into the center of Peter’s belly and torn him apart, splitting his abdomen wide open. Wolf-faced, Isaac crouches over him, muzzle buried in the gaping wound.

They play for a long time, until they’re sticky, filthy with blood and dirt and... other things. Until Peter isn’t making any more noise beyond the wheezy rattle of air in and out of his ruined mouth. Not dead, no, but near to it, even supernatural abilities unable to keep up with the strain on what’s left of his body.

:: Enough :: Lydia hums to them. :: It’s time ::

The moon has risen, full and fat, light creeping into the clearing. The pack stands as one at Lydia’s urging, taking up their original positions around the circle.

Stiles spares a moment to appreciate the utter lack of squeamishness Lydia displays as she straddles the wreck of Peter’s chest. Not that he expected anything different from her, of course.

She waits, and waits, and waits, the pack holding their breath as moonlight spills across the ground. The first rays touch Peter’s hair and she strikes, enough force in the blow that she severs the spine completely.

Blood pours into the already-saturated dirt. Candles spark of their own volition, flames shooting skyward.

Lydia’s voice reverberates through the night, triumphant.

A hand, claw-tipped, shoots up through the soil.

: : :