By the time I finally got to them, Stiles was sitting with Derek’s head in his lap. He was leaning against the tree with a faraway look in his eyes. I wouldn’t even know a word to describe the look better. Stiles would probably know a word for it. I just knew that it wasn’t a good look. The last time I saw that look on Stiles’ face, we got into a big fight.
It was a few years after his mom died and there was some convention thing his dad had to go to. Stiles talked his dad into letting him stay alone for the first time while his dad was out of town. I was already kind of mad about that because Stiles always stayed with me on the rare occasion his dad had to go somewhere. But Stiles pointed out that it meant we’d have his house unsupervised so I got over it.
The problem was that he didn’t call to ask me to come over. He got really quiet in school and pretty much avoided everybody. I got tired of it and followed him home one day. After forcing him to talk to me, he let it slip that he hadn’t eaten since his dad left and he went to do the laundry only to see an old picture of his mom that brought back all of his hurt and loneliness. We argued for a long time about how stupid it was for him to do that to himself and I ended up punching him in the stomach. We wrestled for a while before he ended up giving in and we ate Chinese food I called in as we laughed at how Stiles had a heart shaped bruise on his stomach and how the fight really ended because I started having a really bad asthma attack that Stiles had to stop by getting the extra inhaler his dad kept for me.
I didn’t want that to happen again.
“He’s cold.” Stiles said distantly, breaking the silence that had formed as I took everything in. Derek was covered in what seemed like dozens of arrows. There was one in Stiles’ hand and a couple littered around the grass. Stiles’ voice was small and fearful. He could handle standing up murderous werewolves pretty well, but when it came to someone he cared about getting hurt, he always fell apart so easily. It didn’t even really have to be someone he cared about, really. The last time Derek nearly died on them was only slightly better than this.
I got down on a knee and pulled out an arrow, expecting the wounds to start healing and to show Stiles that it would be okay if we just got the arrows out.
“I didn’t know werewolves could get cold, Scott.” Stiles said, a hand absently trying to rub warmth into Derek’s shoulder.
“It’s not healing!” I exclaimed, poking at the thick crimson that pooled at the hole where the arrow had been to see if maybe the blood was covering the new skin.
“It’s poison. In the arrows. They have hollow tips. He’s cold, Scott.” Stiles said, as though it was a perfectly good explanation. At least he seemed to be getting out of where ever he was in his head.
I pulled out a few more arrows, hoping that maybe I could prove both of us wrong to no avail. “Okay. It’s going to be alright, Stiles. We just have to get him somewhere. Figure out what this is like last time.”
“Scott.” Stiles said like my name was a suggestion. Which it wasn’t, so I ignored, it and kept trying to figure out what to do. I picked up the arrows and looked at them.
“I’ll take these over to Allison’s. Maybe her dad will have some kind of an idea what’s going on. We just have to get Derek somewhere first.”
“Scott! We have to get him to Dr. Fenris. He’s the best thing we have.” Stiles said, and I was thankful when I looked up and found Stiles mind clicking into overdrive now that there was a chance.
“Who’s Dr. Fenris?” Jackson said, shoving into the little clearing behind me.
“He’s a doctor. He can help. He knows about werewolves, and he’ll keep quiet.” Stiles explained.
I had never been so happy to see Stiles hands flap around like he was trying to fly. “Don’t just stand there like I have a bone for you jackasses! Get him up. Get him to my jeep! This is sort of urgent here!” Stiles yelped at us.
“We’ll take him to my Porsche. I can get there faster than that run down piece of crap you call a jeep.” Leave it to Jackson to find time to insult someone when someone’s dying in front of him. He took Derek’s hips and I took his shoulders, trying to leave him as still as possible while we carried him to the car. He still had like ten arrows in him, but Stiles was certain that they were better off staying for now so Derek would only be bleeding out of a few holes instead of over a dozen.
“So you can speed and get pulled over by a cop and get taken to jail while Derek ends up in a hospital that has no idea what to do for someone like him? No. He’s going to the jeep. We’ll… we’ll put him in the back. You’ll ride with me and Scott will take the Porsche to Allison’s to see if they can find anything out.” Stiles insisted, walking beside me and supporting Derek’s head.
“McCall is not driving my Porsche. He can go with you and I’ll go to the Argents’.” Jackson grumbled, throwing me a glare like I wasn’t to challenge him.
“Jackson. Shut the hell up.” Stiles snapped, throwing a glare at the blond that even Derek would have been proud of. “They don’t even know you’re a werewolf yet, and you think you’re just going to waltz up to their door? ‘Oh, hey, Ms. Argent. My alpha had these arrows in him and we were wondering if you guys might know what the hell’s going on because I’m pretty sure it was all your fault so, yeah, help me maybe?’ No. Just no. This is your damn fault. You left him. You don’t get a say in this. Scott’s taking your car to Allison’s and you’re coming with me to Dr. Fenris.”
Jackson’s eyes flashed in outrage, but Stiles stared him down. My eyes might have started glowing when Jackson looked like he wanted to take a swipe at Stiles, but I’m pretty sure Stiles has been taking lessons at shooting lasers out of your eyes from Derek because Jackson actually backs down. This is a huge improvement from the scared kid that was slumped against the tree when I found him, upset and hopeless, but Stiles always had been able to adapt quickly when he had something to focus on.
We got Derek in the jeep without any further incident and Jackson shoved the keys against my chest. “One scratch, McCall. Just one. I swear to God I’ll-”
“Jackson. Get in here! We don’t have time for your stupid threats.” Stiles called from the jeep whose engine was already rumbling. It was already moving and Jackson had to run after it in order to climb in.
I could help but smile and watch Jackson chase after Stiles and shout profanities at him for doing this before he disappeared in the jeep.
I put the arrows that had been pulled out of Derek into the passenger seat and drove to Allison’s. Porsches handled amazingly well. Way better than my mom’s car or Stiles’ jeep. Maybe even better than Derek’s Camaro, but that was a close call. If I sped a little, it was mainly because Derek was in so much trouble. Definitely that.
I was not looking forward to bonding time with Mr. Argent, but it had to be done. And at least I’d get to see Allison for a little while if she was home.
Stilinski was disturbingly quiet on the ride to this doctor’s place – Fenris or whatever. I swear his eyes were locked on the rear view mirror more than they were on the road. If he really thought that I didn’t notice that it was angled down on the still body of the alpha werewolf in the back, he was as much of an idiot as McCall.
It was dumb luck that the man had the day off and was actually home. When he answered the door, his eyes locked on Stiles and the curiosity on his face turned to frustration and disdain.
“I thought you that I was going to call the cops if you came back here.” He said in annoyance, his eyes turning to regard me.
“Well, my dad’s the sheriff, so… that’s not what we’re here for. We need your help.” Stiles said, rubbing a hand nervously over his close cropped hair.
“I told you everything I know last time you were here. When you tried to break into my home.” Dr. Fenris accused, glaring briefly before trying to close the door.
Stiles shook his head desperately, throwing himself between the door and the jamb. “No, no, no, no, no!” He cried out, rapping his hand on the door and refusing to move it despite there being no signs that it was going to stop closing.
“Kid. I can’t help you.” Dr. Fenris sighed, the annoyance clear in his voice.
“I don’t need help. Derek does. The boy in the picture. I know you remember. He’s in my jeep. Just… please. How long have you been looking for them? I’m giving you the chance to help him. If you can make him better, I’m sure he’ll be willing to talk to you. Please” Stiles was begging, and his desperation didn’t go unnoticed by the doctor. But Stiles’ begging wasn’t necessary. The older man’s heart rate sped up right after mention of a picture. He couldn’t help but agree although he did try to mask his eagerness with suspicion.
Stiles dragged him out of his house and to the jeep, where Derek lay crumbled on the floorboards in the exact same position he put him in. He was alive, erratic heartbeats and breaths acting as confirmation. There may not have been much life in him, but he was alive. Who would become the alpha if this doctor denied us help?
“I’m going to have to go to the hospital. I don’t know if I can get everything he’s going to need.” The doctor’s face fell when he saw Derek. It was obvious that he didn’t have much hope for Hale’s survival.
I could feel Stilinski tremble when he caught sight of Dr. Fenris’ expression, but he quickly got himself back under control. “Alright. We’ll get him inside. Just try. Please, you have to try.”
The doctor nodded, disappearing back inside to grab his car keys. He called a few orders to us before he got into his car and was gone.
By the time the older man got back, we had Derek laid over the island in his kitchen. He set everything up with a mechanical skill and was completely unafraid to simply push us out of the way if he needed to get by.
“Alright, you two start getting the arrows out of him.” He ordered as he set up an IV.
We cleared out the arrows pretty quickly. Well, I cleared out the arrows pretty quickly. Stiles pulled out two, and we met on the third (which was my seventh). He was trying to pull it out as gently as possible and I rolled my eyes at him, pulling the arrow out with a firm tug. Stiles let out an indignant whine, staring up at me with wide eyes like I’d just put pictures of him from the locker room on the internet or something. Like that could happen with the way he hid from everyone else anyway.
With fresh blood running to replace what Derek had lost, the doctor moved on to cut off Derek’s shirt and pants before sterilizing and bandaging his wounds.
“It looks like they may have used an anticoagulant of some kind so I’m going to give him a dose of vitamin K to see if it’ll help him, but I can’t promise anything. I hope you realize that.” He said, frowning deeply. “There’s no precedent for this. There’s no record of anyone ever having treated a werewolf before. I can only hope that dosages will be the same as humans.”
“Just do your best. He… he doesn’t have family anymore. It’s not like there’ll be anyone left to sue you.” Stiles said, biting down on his lip to stop it from trembling. It didn’t take werewolf senses to see that Stilinski was biting back a sorrow that ran deeper than Hale’s lack of family.
I wondered what that was even like. I was adopted. I never met my real family. I never even really met my adopted family. My “parents” were both only children whose parents all died either before I was adopted or when I was too young to know them. I didn’t know what it was like to really have a family, much less understand how much it could hurt to lose them.
Derek seemed to handle it just fine, so it couldn’t be too bad. Stiles was naturally weaker. He wore his fragility on his sleeve like it was something that he shouldn’t be ashamed of, and I hated that most of all. No one expected him to be perfect. Sure, people at school looked down on him for his flaws, but there was a gravity to him that anyone who got close enough was sucked into. My instinct to call him a black hole didn’t cut it. Stiles didn’t feed off the people he drew in; he didn’t bleed them dry until they were nothing.
He captivated people, but didn’t strangle them. Look at McCall. That imbecile would be hopeless without Stiles backing him up. I would never admit it out loud, but Stilinski was more like a sun. He drew the universe around him, letting them choose how close they wanted to get and exhausting his own resources to provide them with as much as he could without considering the fact that he was going to burn out because he was so devoted to giving of himself. How did he get that way? Why was it so easy for him to take the ridicule when he tried so hard to make people happy? Why didn’t the worlds he carried crush him like my burdens threatened to crush me? How could he possibly be strong in a way that I was not when he was so clearly inferior?
“How long until we know?”
“There’s no telling. I already told you that there’s no precedent for this.”
“But you know what they used now.”
“And I did what I could. All we can do is wait."
“Wait for what?” The voice was broken by that venom-filled laugh. I couldn’t see it’s owner, but I tensed – mentally or did my muscles carry out the order? I was too tired to open my eyes to find out. I learned my lesson about trying to will her away. She was my burden to bear, my demon lurking in the shadowy recesses of my mind, and I wouldn’t will her onto anyone, especially not with Stiles so close by. But Stiles, I could push Stiles away if it meant protecting him from a fire-breathing serpent.
“You’re not going to wake up, are you, Derek?” She cooed, her breath warm against my ear. A chill ran across my body – again, I couldn’t tell if this was all in my mind or if my physical body reacted as well – like it used to when we shared a bed. She always loved biting at my ears, maybe because it did get my body to react to her, but now the reaction was to cringe away from her touch rather than to press into the contact.
A happy giggle, a hand through my hair. “I didn’t think so. You’re going to slip away. Just like you should. Like you should have all those years ago when you and Laura went to school early.”
There was a rush of air that chased her away as though she had collected on my skin like dust while I was unconscious. It came again, and a warm hand gave my wrist a gentle squeeze that cleansed the room of any lingering vestiges of Kate’s chthonian malice.
There was a weight next to my shoulder that seemed to the source of the soft gusts of air. Before things went quiet again, I felt Stiles’ face press into my shoulder. He must have fallen asleep. He never was a restful sleeper. I wish he would have gone home, where he could have a bed, where he could sleep comfortably, where there wasn’t a chance that Kate or I might find a way hurt him.