In the Book of Edicts, written in the blood of the Earth, all prophecies are transcribed, all fates recorded, all moments taken in. There is nothing that the Book will not know, will not see, will not understand.
In the Book of Edicts, written in the blood of the Earth, reality becomes legend, legend becomes fantasy, fantasy becomes myth.
Myth becomes fact.
One day, maybe even some day soon (although that isn't really likely, all things considered), Stiles might be able to look back at this summer and laugh. Tell funny anecdotes. Joke about it.
But that day, whatever far off day it is, isn't now.
It's probably not even soon.
So instead, Stiles is going to suffer. Because that's what happens this summer, the last summer before college.
The last summer of normality.
i. nothing gold can stay
There are a lot of problems in Stiles' life that start with 'Scott McCall', 'Derek Hale', and 'the Pack', which is frankly disturbing and should probably be noted if he ever gets put in a mental institution. He wont, he knows, but it's always a sort-of possibility with the way the supernatural shenanigans crop up in their town. It makes Stiles wonder if it's some kind of Buffy phenomenon: is Beacon Hills the way it is because of crazy mythological happenings, or do crazy mythological happenings happen because it's Beacon Hills? The world may never know. Or, at least, Stiles wont.
Either way, the majority of Stiles' predicaments come about due to association - best friend is a werewolf? Totally worthy for fairy curse-work. Hang out with werewolf pack? Obviously looking to be hung upside down in the forest over a goblin fire.
Sneak around behind the backs of the local werewolf hunters while protecting town from death via ghost poisoning? Clearly looking to be snatched up and shipped off to some nut-job's basement in a box.
At least, Stiles hopes he's going to some nut-job's basement. It's really the only good version of this scenario that he can think of.
The short of it, he guesses, is that he's been abducted. Again. He hopes it's by something relatively tame, but the more he rattles around in the back of the car - apparently in a metal box, what the hell is that - the less likely it seems. Nothing else that's snatched him up had been able to drive, which makes him think that this is probably something moderately worse than normal.
The day had been going pretty okay, too, he thinks, trying to keep his head from knocking against the side of the box with any more force than is strictly necessary. With the expansion of the Pack - and the wrangling of Jackson and Lydia into the fold after the Kanima shenanigans - Derek had moved them deeper onto his family's land, away from the slow reconstruction that was the Hale house. Stiles didn't mind it too much, not that anyone asked, but seeing as he was literally the only one going into town for supplies, his vote probably should've been taken a little bit more seriously.
Whatever, he's pretty positive there's some sort of conspiracy going on against him anyway. He figured it out after the fourth time he was the only one kidnapped by angry supernatural bullies with a beef against the Pack. Which, he'd remarked to someone after they'd cut him out of a particularly tenacious net (made of vines, what the hell), was pretty damn stupid. But whatever, he thinks, it'll stop sometimes. Eventually the memo will get out that Beacon Hills Hale Pack isn't a group of newbie supernatural beings and their flimsy side-kicks, and the other baddies will leave them alone. Derek will stop grinding his teeth over territory disputes, Scott will get his head in the game, everyone else will fall in line and be good and happy and finally, finally, Stiles will be able to sit back and not have to anticipate the capture of the week.
They've been doing good too, he knows - everyone's been meshing so well it's like the bumps in the road never happened. They've got their places now, their rules and guidelines, and it doesn't look like they're going to fall apart at the seams any time soon. Erica has settled into her skin and Isaac doesn't look at them like he expects to be punched for existing, and even though Boyd really only claimed that he was tired of being friendless he seems looser too, like he doesn't have to try to be someone he isn't. It doesn't really strike anyone (except maybe Scott, but, please, it's Scott) that Allison and Lydia and Jackson just... fall into place, like if they weren't human or Kanima or whatever Lydia is they'd be werewolves, too, Pack in the most complete sense of the word.
It's perfect, and Stiles sees it for what it is, unity and family and love. He sees it, he knows it, but he can't claim to be in it. Not like the rest of them.
In the dark, rattling around in a metal box, dehydrated and hurting, it's the last thing he wants to think about.
So, of course, he thinks about it. Really, there's no end to the torture he's put through, because he's always doing it to himself.
Stiles knew from the beginning, when Scott first came back faster, stronger, asthma-less, that something big was going down and the most he could do was hang on. Then it tumbled into something bigger - of course it did. There was murder and subterfuge and lying, and half the time Stile's nightmares are of Peter gripping his arm, telling him he wants it, offering it, and all the knowledge of how much better he'd be at the whole werewolf thing floods him, curls and washes his insides with resentment. Because of course Scott is the werewolf, of course he gets the girl, of course he's too stupid to see how ridiculously tight nit and perfect the Pack is as a family, as care and protection and belonging.
He wakes gasping, a weight and a knot in and on his chest, ashamed of himself for feeling what he does, for thinking those things, for believing them even that little bit. It makes looking at Scott that much harder, makes feeling happy for him hurt that much more. He knows, in the purely rational part of his brain - the one that always knows when to take Adderall and when not to, how much to take and when to stop, stop, stop - that he's just digging himself deeper. He knows too, that he's the one isolating himself from the friendships and the Pack because he never feels like he belongs. He knows, he knows, and he can't stop - doesn't stop, won't stop - because he doesn't think he'd be able to take it if, when, it gets ripped away.
Stiles knows the way the world works, has seen those bad things that happen to good people, has seen the way loved ones waste away when the one they need is gone. He hates it, hates all of it, but he vowed early on (back when it was just Isaac who'd been turned, but he knew Derek wasn't going to stop, that Derek was going to fix himself a family even if it meant picking up a group of misfits and teaching them about the things that go bump in the night) - he vowed early on that he wouldn't allow that to happen to him.
He wouldn't become his father (stuck stranded and alone on an island of depression with a teenage son to take care of because there was a gaping hole in his life where his wife used to be, where things like repression and guilt and survivors trauma and cancer turned him into a mess of pain and alcohol).
So yeah, he got to watch the Pack pick itself up and bond and be cute and fuzzy and still moderately terrifying. He got to watch and play book-keeper and make sure that they still paid attention to their human sides, like going to school and getting good grades and eating things that weren't alive half an hour ago. He listens to the Pack meetings over the phone or over Skype, because he can't be there, and he listens to Erica toss around jokes like 'pack mama' and 'mama bear' and he gets to watch Isaac and Boyd and Jackson just humor her and roll their eyes and laugh. He puts the wall up because he needs to know that he can be independent and individual without them, even though his entire being aches with wanting to join in.
(And the flower of pain in his chest never goes away, but he doesn't cry about it anymore and he won't cry about it ever again because, for once, his life is exactly the way it is because of something he did, choices he made. If the Pack gets farther away and he's left to doing house cleaning and cooking and running to the store for them because the only time they're in the cabin is at night, and sometimes not even then, he's fine with it. It's cool - perfect, better than perfect.
It's his life. It has to be.)
He thinks about this while rattling around in a metal box in a car going somewhere, wrists and ankles tied up and half asleep due to the tightness of the rope and the small proportions of the box, the gag in his mouth zapping what little moisture he can muster up, stale and gross tasting. The entire abduction thing had been a blur, and for the first few moments after it he hadn't been able to figure it out, but - some undeterminable amount of time later, and Stiles hoped it wasn't hours, God did he hope it wasn't hours - it had eventually fallen into place for him.
And his day had been going so well, too, he thinks, resting his head on the bottom of the box. Really. Good.
He'd been running to the store, intent on cooking the next weeks dinners and freezing them because he'd be touring colleges while the Pack was romping in the woods and his dad was at some retreat - two months of the beach, lucky dog - and Stiles was left alone in the house. He'd taken up almost permanent residence at the library, too lonely to stay at his home but too proud and hurting to invade the cabin. He'd been in the parking lot of the grocers, carefully loading eggs onto the backseat of the Jeep so that they wouldn't take a leap of faith if he took the corners a little to sharply.
His head and shoulders had been inside the car, moving bread around to form a protective barrier around the eggs, when he'd been jerked violently by the scruff of his shirt and pulled from the car. The momentum had sent him back against the car in the parking space next to him, his head snapping back to bang against the window. His attacker - a guy, taller than him and blondish, from what he'd seen from his peripheral vision - was to his left, big hands like vices grabbing his shoulder and his neck and sending him forward, smashing the front of his head against the cabs diving bar. Dazed and stumbly, he'd barely had time to register the man dragging him, back, the trunk of the car he'd been bashed into popping open.
There's a sharp pain that spikes through the back of his head, like an ice-pick being driven up into his skull, and then he's being manhandled into a tight, stale tasting gag by one person while another set of hands bound his wrists together with duct tape, palm to palm. He can feel the catch of the tape on his jeans, the twist of his shoes as they take them off and bind his ankles together. Hands pat him down quickly, searching for his phone and not finding it, and he has a hazy moment to appreciate the fact that after being taken for the second time they'd started taping the phone's tracking device to the inside of his bicep. Then, wrapped like a particularly awkward sausage link, they spin him around and shove him into a particularly cramped box, the top of it closing a hairsbreadth from his head when they snap the lid down.
Which was where he was when just then, too. Locked in a metal box in a car that couldn't possibly look menacing. He thought it was a blue van. Like a soccer mom van. And yeah, soccer moms could be psycho-crazy and carry around clubs with nails in them in the backs of their vans incase they need to beat the competition to death, but seriously. Who checks a minivan for boxes with bodies in them?
No body, that's who, and it doesn't help him at all.
At some point he falls asleep, curled uncomfortably on his side, fingers against his forehead, mouth dry and stomach twisting in want. There are vague flashes of coherence, where he might be awake or he might not, but at some point the car stops moving, the box shifts, and the noise is gone.
He sleeps through it, mostly, body tense from the cramped space, mouth and throat dry. He thinks he can hear them speaking, at one point, through the drilled holes at the bottom of the box, but nothing makes sense.
"John, no. We aren't allowed to touch the merchandise."
"Please, Joanne, you can't tell me that little twink isn't totally worth it. Did you see his mouth?"
"No. The last time you played 'toe the line' with the delivery we got sent to the boonies. I don't care how much you want to bad touch the kid. Go be a rapist creep after we've dropped him off."
"- bet your such a whore for it, bet you like it rough, bet you haven't even had it that good yet..."
"I just want to fuck your mouth, boy, want to watch your lips stretch over my cock."
"Want to make you scream for me."
As far as he's aware, they don't give him water, but he hasn't died from dehydration after the fourth - fifth? - time he's slipped into unconsciousness, so they're probably giving him something. He doesn't know how long he's trapped in the box, his circadian rhythms twisted beyond recognition without the tell of daylight, and if he wasn't claustrophobic before hand he's seriously contemplating it now. His back aches, his legs are stiff and his arms are cramping. He hasn't felt anything worse than that, though, so he assumes, rattling around in the box, that his captors take him out and stretch him while he's asleep.
He's seriously hoping that whatever is going down, he's not getting felt up while he's asleep. He's got a somnophilia squick, he knows, and he hates the idea of being violated without being aware of it.
Either way, after Stiles's has totally lost his natural sleeping patters, probably been out of the state for at least three days (he's seriously hoping that they aren't out of the country, because holy shit that is not good on so many levels), and is nearly dying of something that is probably jaundice (can you die from that, he wonders, fingers against his nose), it stops.
Everything just... ceases. Stills. Halts. There's movement, and then there isn't, and it's so startling and unusual that he doesn't even notice for several minutes after it happens.
And then, holy fucking shit the car isn't moving anymore. If he strains his ears hard enough he can hear the driver's side door banging open, the crunch of feet on dirt - gravel? - a second set of foot steps from the passenger side. The trunk pops open with an easy snap, and then the box is being lifted, swayed, and he can't tell where the ground is supposed to be but there's a strangled grunting coming from somewhere close by, and a steady swinging motion.
They're carrying him. The box is being removed from the car and they're carrying him away.
Stiles seriously hopes that whatever is at the other end of his journey doesn't eat him, or hurt him, or anything too bad, because it's finally starting to hit him. He's been abducted by people, or beings, who can drive. He has no idea how long he's been gone from Beacon Hills, no idea how long he's been gone period, and no one knows that he's missing. His dads out at a seminar (two months at a beach, and he's choking on his own bile he's going to be sick he's going to be sick oh God), and the Pack was in the forest, doing werewolf things.
He closes his eyes and presses his hands against his face, trying to breath evenly. A little ripple of hysterical laughter fights to get out of him, but he smashes it down. For all intents and purposes, it looks like he could be praying.
He hopes the dehydration or the lack of food claims him before he has a chance to do it seriously.