Two weeks after he’s put on “temporary” leave the Sheriff gets gas at the Kwik n Go.
“Hey Sheriff,” Cindy greets him when he walks in.
“Not the Sheriff any more, Cindy.” He puts down two twenties. This isn’t the first time he’s reminded her. She just shrugs.
“You’re the only Sheriff I know.” She punches a few buttons on the register. “All set,” she pauses and smiles. “Sheriff.”
“Thanks.” He gives her a little wave and heads out to the car. He’s pumping gas when he realizes she’s right. He’s been the Sheriff since she was two. He hasn’t done anything else for eighteen years. What the hell is he going to do now?
On the drive home he tries to put a positive spin on it. Maybe it’s for the best. He’d probably been to comfortable. Beacon Hills was large enough that he was never actually bored, but small enough that he still got called in when a dog went missing or that one time Greta’s parakeet flew outside and wouldn’t leave the giant oak in her front yard.
There were questions he didn’t ask when he turned in his badge and gun. Things he was thinking of now that he had all this time. What would happen to his pension? Could he go back to being a deputy? At least the house was paid off. He had some friends in other departments. Commuting to the next county wouldn’t be unbearable if he had to. He could do it. Yeah, he could do it.
He’s taking out the trash a few days later when Miss Betty waves to him from across the street. He waves back and heads for the end of the driveway. She’s going to want to have a conversation.
“Afternoon, Sheriff,” she calls. He sighs, but smiles anyway. The afternoon sun offers a bit of warmth, but Miss Betty still has her late husband’s wind breaker on over her gardening clothes. Even at seventy-five she still does all of the weeding herself. Whenever the Sheriff sends Stiles over he ends up talking more than helping. Of course, Miss Betty is of the mindset that if she can’t keep up with it herself then she doesn’t need it. Plus, if there’s one person that talks more than Stiles it’s her.
“Afternoon, Miss Betty. That faucet isn’t giving you anymore trouble I hope.”
“Oh, the faucet is fine, dear. I was just on the phone with Greta and Ezra had asked if you’d be at the town meeting next week.” It’s not a question, which is good because she doesn’t give him time to answer. “So I’m glad I caught you when I did.” She takes off her gardening gloves, placing them in the basket that’s half filled with weeds and dead blooms. He knows better than to try and offer help when she stands. “I told Greta you’d never missed a town meeting in twenty five years I can’t imagine why you’d start now.”
“Well, it might not be…”
“And Greta said that Ezra was pleased to hear that. The poor man is still recovering from that stroke he had last August. I’m sure if he can make it then a man in perfect physical health will be there as well.” Miss Betty didn’t raise an eyebrow or purse her lips or straighten the straw hat that sat on her short, permed, gray hair. They both knew what she was doing, no need to draw unnecessary attention to it.
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered instead.
“That’s good to hear,” she leaned down and picked up her basket. “Now, I’ve gone and made too much chicken and broccoli casserole, so you make sure to send over Stiles when he gets home from school.”
Sheriff Stilinski smiled and nodded. “Will do.”
Stiles goes straight home after school every day for an entire week. Today isn’t any different. It only takes an hour and a half for him to return with the casserole. It’s a new record. Stiles follows the instructions that have been neatly written on the post-it note that’s on the tinfoil. His dad has been spending the majority of his time holed up in his office. Papers are strewn about his desk and he’s got his laptop up and running, reading glasses balancing on the end of his nose, when Stiles pokes his head in.
“Dinner will be ready in about thirty minutes.”
The Sheriff nods his head to show he heard. Stiles bites back a sigh and starts to pull the door shut as he leaves, but then changes his mind.
“Hey dad,” he steps into the office fully. His dad looks up at him and he can’t think of anything to say. It’s too quiet and he can hear the clock ticking on the wall to his left, the fan on the computer whirring softly, and a million other noises that used to be drowned out by the Elvis records his mother played and her laugh and the way she’d carry on a conversation with his dad from three rooms away. “Dad I…” he starts, takes a breath. “Have you heard anything?” he asks instead.
“Son, you don’t need to be worrying about that.”
“But it’s my fault.” And his voice definitely does not catch on that last word.
“It’s going to be okay, kiddo. And it’s not…it wasn’t.” He pinches the bridge of his nose, forcing his glasses up onto his forehead. “I don’t blame you.”
Stiles wants to believe him.
He brings an extra plate of casserole up to his room. He knows the outlook on his life is bleak when not even Derek gives him a hard time about not running off at all hours of the night to help werewolf kind.
“Find anything?” Derek asks in between bites. He’s sitting on the chair by Stiles’ bed. The stack of books that had been there now spread across his bed. Stiles shrugs, rubs a hand over his short hair.
“No, not really. There’s no one in the Beacon Hills High class of 2006 that was murdered. I mean there’s a girl that was killed in a car accident because she was texting and a couple of other students committed suicide while at college, but no one was blatantly murdered.”
Derek doesn’t say anything. Stiles doesn’t know if it’s because he’s thinking or if the casserole is really just that damn good. Probably the casserole.
“A loved one could blame someone for one of those deaths.”
“Yeah, but that wouldn’t make them murderers,” Stiles argues.
Derek shrugs. “That’s the funny thing about grief, it doesn’t have to make sense.”
That actually makes sense. He turns back to his computer, his fingers flying across the keys.
“Did you check the city records for anyone that was murdered in ’06?”
“Uh, yeah,” Stiles says, not turning around from what he’s doing, mind already on a million other things. He waves vaguely behind him, while continuing to type with one hand, and says, “Folder. Night stand.”
Derek reads through the folder in silence while Stiles types away. He only looks up when he hears the printer start and it spits out two pieces of paper. Stiles hands them over without having to be asked. When he finishes scanning them he stands. Folder in hand, he heads to the window. He’s got one leg out when he turns to look at Stiles.
“We’ll fix it,” he says and then is gone.
“Yeah,” Stiles sighs, “I’m trying.”
The Sheriff might not be working at the station anymore, or with an actual badge, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t get shit done. He spends his days pouring over the evidence. He’s not hated, so he can still call in some favors at the State Department about fingerprints and tire treads and boot tracks. One of his deputy’s emails him an attachment with security footage of the hospital and the area surrounding the mechanics shop. There are other things that have been happening around town lately too. Things that to most wouldn’t seem related. But considering he’s just solved a six year old arson case and several homicides that were blamed on a mountain lion he’s not ruling anything out.
So he gets the security footage from the school on the night that skylight in the pool was broken and from the area surrounding the gay bar. He’s got calls into several universities about what kind of drug causes paralysis from the neck down for six hours. He emails them photographs of the microscopic look at the slime that had been recovered at the mechanics shop.
The thing is that everything does have something in common: Stiles. The Sheriff rubs a hand over his face. He’s too old for this.
“Scott,” Stiles says the next day at school, “we have to tell my dad.” It’s not like Stiles hasn’t thought of doing this before because he has. He was going to. He got so close. But now it just seems so stupid not to tell him. How else can his dad get his job back unless he solves all of these murders? And Stiles can help. Can give him all the information he needs and all the things he’s found out. Stiles can explain why he’s always in the middle of everything.
Scott shuts his locker, leans his forehead against the cool metal. “I know. Can we. Can we just wait a little bit longer?”
Stiles wants to ask why, but he doesn’t. “Yeah. Okay. Sure.”
“It’s gonna be okay,” Scott says as they head towards Chemistry. “I’ll fix it. I just need some time.”
That’s the problem, Stiles thinks, everyone’s trying to fix it, but they’ve been out of time for days now.
Derek is waiting by his jeep when he gets out of school.
“I think I’ve found something.”
“So this is a thing now then?” Stiles asks. “We’re like working together.”
Derek shrugs. “Scott says he’s pack now.”
“That answers nothing. How do you do that? Can you teach me your ways?” Derek rolls his eyes and gets in the jeep.
“Just start the car.”
“Where are we going?”
“I’ll tell you when we get there.”
“Again with the non-answer answers.” The corner of Derek’s mouth quirks up. Stiles smiles and starts the jeep.
“You have the worst ideas,” Stiles says after hours of silence. Well, actually more like five minutes. “No, like you are worse than Scott and that’s saying something because he’s the one that thought we could parachute off the roof with bed sheets. And in case you’re wondering, you cannot.” Stiles turns to see him rolling his eyes. “Do you get a lot of headaches? Or like super dizzy? Because I’m sure rolling your eyes that much is a medical condition and can cause like muscle damage or something.”
“I’m going to cause you some muscle damage if you don’t shut up.”
“Really? That’s the best you’ve got?”
“Oh my god, fine.” He pauses. “What’re we waiting for anyway?” Derek sighs.
“That folder you gave me. This is the only family member of any of the kids that died that still lives in Beacon Hills.”
“Oh.” Stiles settles back against his seat, getting comfortable. He pulls out his phone and opens up a text. His fingers hover over the keys.
“What’s wrong?” Derek asks when he notices Stiles staring at his phone.
“I’m tired of lying.” He closes out of the text message and slips the phone back into his pocket. Not saying anything is better, he convinces himself.
“Yeah,” Derek sighs, “I know.”
Their little stakeout is a bust. The girl is perfectly normal. She has a boyfriend and a job and classes and a life. Something Stiles is sorely lacking. He feels like they’re getting nowhere. They just keep going in circles until the universe decides to throw them a break. He smacks the steering wheel with the palm of his hand and regrets it almost immediately.
“Ow, damn.” He flails his arm about trying to shake off the pain.
“It works better if you use your face.” Stiles stops and stares at Derek.
“You’re hilarious. Anyway, what next?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, that’s just perfect.” This time Stiles does use his face. Actually, his forehead. He just leaves it against the steering wheel. “What if we’re wrong? What if the kanima just goes after whoever the hell it wants to go after? Maybe it doesn’t even have a master. Maybe it’s its own master.”
“We can’t be wrong,” Derek says before he can gather up any more speed in his rant. Stiles picks his head up at that and makes a face.
“What?” he asks, arms flailing out, almost smacking Derek in the face. “Have you been paying attention? We’re almost always wrong. In fact, when have we been right?”
“I guess we should just give up then.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” Stiles scrubs his face with both of his hands. “Okay. Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way.” He lets out a long breath. “The master could literally be anyone, but we already know who the kanima is. Why don’t we just tail Jackson? I mean sooner or later he’s got to come into contact with the master, right?”
Derek nods. It’s a sound theory. Which is why he already has Isaac, Erica, and Boyd already on it and that’s exactly what he tells Stiles.
“I guess you’re not just a pretty face.”
Derek manfully resists the urge to roll his eyes or smack Stiles.
“They’re writing down everyone he has contact with. When I get a list of people he sees multiple times you can cross reference all of them with any sort of crimes.”
Stiles drops Derek back off at the warehouse. Before he gets out of the jeep Stiles grabs the sleeve of his leather jacket.
“What if it’s Gerard? I mean the killings started when he got into town.”
Derek first pries Stiles’ hand off his jacket, then answers. “Anything’s possible. I’ll keep an eye on the Argents.”
“What? No! You can’t.”
Derek huffs and gives up on getting out of the car. He turns to Stiles and raises an eyebrow.
“I mean, you can. You’re an adult. You can do whatever you want. But it just might not be a good idea. They’ve been winning a lot lately and it would suck if you died.”
Derek raises his other eyebrow and definitely does not smirk.
“I mean,” Stiles amends again, “not for me. For your betas. I would be just fine. Definitely wouldn’t suck for me.”
“I promise to be very careful.” Derek opens the door.
“Oh, shut up. Just don’t do anything stupid, you know without back up or something.” Derek shuts the door. Once he’s inside the warehouse Stiles lets out a yell. “You’re a moron. Also, get over yourself.” He starts the jeep and heads home.
Scott gets in the jeep and sniffs. “Why does it smell like Derek in here?”
“Stakeout,” Stiles mumbles. “Did you finish that lab worksheet for Harris?”
“Smooth,” Scott comments, but lets the subject be changed anyway. “And no, but Danny let me copy some of his answers.”
“Awesome because the last thing I need is to fail Chem on top of everything else in my life.”
“You’ve never failed anything,” Scott says. It’s true. He’s pretty sure Stiles has never even gotten a B.
“I’ve also never had to deal with my best friend being a werewolf during finals and said best friend’s stupid alpha showing up at all hours of the night.” Stiles pulls into the school parking lot. They’re early for a morning practice, so he gets a good spot. It’s the little things really.
“Point,” Scott amends. They grab their lacrosse gear and head for the locker room. “You know,” Scott starts, “I get we haven’t really had a lot of time, but if you need to talk…”
“I’m fine.” He sighs because that came out way snappier than he wanted it to. “Really, we’ll get through this and it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine.”
“Okay,” Scott says.
Practice is normal. Stiles sits on the bench next to Matt. He tries to ignore the way his stomach clenches at the waves of evil that the kid emits. Maybe he should have told Derek about his theory about Matt. His face being evil is a completely reasonable reason. Matt is flicking through pictures on his iPad, most of them lacrosse, but out of the corner of his eye Stiles catches one of Allison. It wouldn’t be anything, but Stiles is pretty sure she’s sitting in her room. He tries to act like he didn’t see anything. He mostly fails. Matt just smiles his creepy smile at him.
“Um,” Stiles says, “nice photos.”
“They are, aren’t they.” He continues scrolling through the photos.
Stiles tries to convey the creepiness of Matt to Scott through a series of complicated eyebrow maneuvers. Scott gave him his patented confused look. Of course.
“Stiles,” Matt says calmly. He turns the iPad so Stiles can see a picture of what should be Scott on the field, “can you explain this?”
“Sun glare,” he answers automatically.
“Really,” Matt says. Stiles nods his head so hard his neck pops. “In every single picture?”
“Must be the camera. Might want to get that checked out.”
“Yeah, yeah I’ll do that.”
“Good talk,” Stiles says as the coach blows the whistle to end practice. He scrambles up from his spot on the bench, almost falls over, and then rights himself. “Bye.” He runs over to Scott.
“You know how I’ve never liked Matt.” Scott nods. “I’ve got actual reasons now.”
“Hey, Danny.” Stiles plops down in the seat next to him. Danny barely glances up from his computer. “So how well do you know Matt?” Danny does look up at that, eyeing Stiles suspiciously.
“Oh, no reason,” Stiles says. He pulls out his Econ book and a green highlighter. Yellow is Chem, orange is History, and pink is English. There is absolutely nothing wrong with color coordinated notes. “Has he ever shown any homicidal tendencies?”
“Yes, but I’ve decided to keep it to myself,” Danny deadpans because he’s Danny and can do that with every sentence he utters. But Danny is also flawless and loveable and observant. “Look,” he says, giving Stiles his full attention. “I’m sorry about your dad, but I’m pretty sure Matt didn’t commit those murders and maybe it would be better if you just let someone else handle this one.”
“Could you. Could you tell your dad I’m really sorry?” Stiles asks.
“Yeah, Stiles, sure.” Danny says. Stiles sighs too because if there’s anyone that gets how hard it is having a parent in public office it’s Danny. Of course Danny is perfect and would never get his dad fired from being Mayor.
Because life hates him and Coach does to he ends up staying late to sanitize and organize the extra lacrosse pads.
“Think of it as character building,” Coach says tossing him a rag. “Or don’t. I don’t care. Just make sure they’re clean. We don’t need another mono epidemic.”
Stiles is pretty sure that had nothing to do with sharing lacrosse pads.
He’s muttering to himself and scrubbing away when a shadow falls over him. Because of course, this is the locker room. Things always have to go down here. Looking up Jackson is staring at him with yellow eyes. He scrambles back, falling off the bench. There’s nothing to keep him from continuing to slip. The tiles are still wet from all the showers that have been taken throughout the day. He can feel the dampness seeping into the seat of his pants.
“Jackson,” he tries. There’s no response. Finally, he gets his feet under him and his able to push back until he runs into something. He looks up. Derek’s above him, wolfed out, a low growl constant in his throat. “Oh, thank god,” he says.
The two lunge for each other. Stiles does his best to hide in a locker. Jackson stays partial kanima. Half of his face is green scales and his claws are out, dripping with venom. All he can see is Derek going down, paralyzed from neck to toe. He can see the claws tearing through his stomach. Stiles has seen Derek heal from many things, but he can’t see this ending in any sort of good way.
Stiles spots the fire extinguisher on the other side of locker room. Mathematically speaking there’s a high probability it could work like it did with Scott. On the other hand there’s an even higher probability he won’t even make it to the opposite wall. He gives it a shot anyway. He’s almost there when a fist comes out of nowhere. Stiles goes down like a bag of rocks.
“What the…” he looks around, clutching his jaw. Matt is there, smirking, massaging his knuckles.
“Stiles,” he says.
“You. You’re the kanima’s master? But you’re alive?”
“You’re very observant.”
“I guess that means we’re using the very loose definition of murder then.” Stiles uses the lockers behind him to help him stand. He can already feel his cheek swelling. At least it’s something he can blame on lacrosse when he gets home. If he gets home. Matt opens his mouth, but Stiles cuts him off. “Look I’m sure you’ve got like a really great reason for all the killing with a giant lizard, but I don’t really care. I’d just like you’d stop. And if you can’t I’m sure Derek over there would be happy to help.”
Matt smirks and says, “Derek’s not always going to be around to save you.”
Stiles is slightly offended. “I don’t need saving.” He manages to land his own punch on Matt’s jaw. Matt stumble back, but just grins. Looking behind him, Stiles notices that he’s now the sole focus of the kanima. Perfect.
“Stiles run!” For once he listens.
It’s like being chased by the alpha all over again. He takes a corner a little too fast and bangs into a wall. Isaac, Erica, and Boyd are all running towards him. Stiles starts flapping his hands in a shooing motion.
“Go. Other way. Run,” he gasps out. Hearing footsteps behind him he chances a look back and sees Derek, but no kanima. “Where is he?” he asks when Derek catches up. He doesn’t get an answer, just Derek’s hand on the back of his shirt pulling him to run faster.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Derek demands once they’re at the jeep. The three betas fan out around them, claws out.
“What are you talking about?” Stiles twists himself out of Derek’s grasp. He’s still breathing a little hard from the mix of terror and running and his cheek is hurting like a bitch. Obviously the best thing to do would be to poke it. He winces. Derek’s eyes narrow then. His hand comes up, but stops short. There’s a long moment of staring.
“I was just cleaning the lacrosse pads,” Stiles says finally. “I didn’t do anything.” Derek drops his hand back down to his side.
“Really? You did nothing?”
“Well,” Stiles says with a bit of a shrug, “I may have been asking around about Matt’s homicidal tendencies.”
Derek lets out a low growl accompanied by an eye roll.
“Do you think you can manage to get home on your own or do I need to send along a babysitter?” He swears he hears Isaac snicker.
“I’m not a freaking Disney princess. I can manage on my own.” He does not cross his arms over his chest like he wants to.
“Whatever,” Derek opens the jeep door for him. “Get in Snow White.”
“Oh, screw you,” Stiles says over the howls of laughter from the others, but gets in the jeep anyway. “Plus I’d totally be Jasmine because I’m not a damn prize.” He slams the door shut himself and takes off before Derek can get out another word.
His dad knocks on his door and pokes his head in.
“What’s up, dad?”
“I’m heading out to the meeting. I’ll be back in a few hours. You gonna be here?” Stiles nods.
Derek climbs through his window after he hears the front door shut.
“How do you do that?” Stiles wonders.
“It’s a gift,” Derek says with a shrug. Stiles does not let his eyes follow the way Derek’s shoulders move under the leather jacket. He’s used to having inappropriate crushes. This is nothing new to him.
“I’ve got Boyd keeping an eye on Matt right now. Most of the town is at City Hall, so if we’re going to try anything it’s gotta be tonight.” Stiles looks up at this, a horrible thought coming into his head.
“You don’t think…” he trails off, not wanting to put that thought out into the universe. His luck is crappy enough as it is. Derek shakes his head though, which makes Stiles feel a little bit better.
“No, Matt has to follow some basic rules. That’s just a room full of innocent people.”
“So was the gay bar,” Stiles reminds him.
“He didn’t kill anyone there either.” Stiles doesn’t know that that comforts him very much. “Anyway, I came by to tell you we’ll take care of Matt, so just don’t get in the way.” Derek stands and heads for the window.
“Wait a minute. What does that mean? I thought we were working together now. You can’t just use my awesome research and deductive reasoning skills and then leave me at home.”
“I can,” Derek says, “and I am.”
“Hey, hey, no.” Stiles grabs the back of his leather jacket and pulls. Derek allows himself to be brought back into the room. “I can help.”
Derek turns to him, eyes flashing red. “You’ll stay here,” he says in his alpha voice. Stiles does not back away. In fact, he takes a step forward.
“Why can’t you just let me help?”
“I can’t be worried about you,” Derek roars. He grabs the front of Stiles shirt with both hands. “Do you understand?” Stiles doesn’t say anything, just stares at Derek. He thinks something is happening here, something important, but he doesn’t want to screw it up. “Stiles, say you understand.”
“I understand.” He licks his lips, his mouth suddenly dry. Derek lets go abruptly and he stumbles back a few steps.
“Good. Lock the window behind me.” And he’s gone. Stiles lets out a breath and doesn’t not scream in frustration like he wants to. What the hell was that?
The Sheriff is not ashamed to admit that his mind goes in and out during the town meeting. It’s been years since he’s sat in the audience, but he’s kind of relieved that he doesn’t have to worry about keeping from getting that glazed look in his eyes when someone goes on and one for an hour about the horror of adding another stop light.
On the way there he’d phone in a favor to the station, so he’s checking his phone every few minutes for a text message. Stiles wasn’t the only common denominator in all the crimes. Considering he knows his son isn’t a cold blooded killer he called in a tip about the Chemistry teacher Adrian Harris who always seems to be mixed up in something. Also some kid in Stiles’ class, Matt Daehler.
It’s pretty packed tonight. Quite a few people are left standing in the back. These things aren’t usually deserted, but he hasn’t seen this many people here since that time they were voting on whether or not to paint the water tower a different shade of blue or that brief period of time where a few people wanted to have an exit added to the town from the interstate. That was shot down pretty quick though.
The meeting is winding down though and nothing too ridiculous has happened.
“Before we close is there any business yet to be discussed that anyone would like to bring forward?” Mayor Mahealani asks.
Old Man Johnson stands with the use of his cane. There’s not a single tremor in his weathered body and his voice is steady when he speaks. “I do.”
“The floor recognizes Ezra Johnson,” the Mayor says with a nod.
“I was wondering when we’d be getting our Sheriff back.”
The Sheriff looks up, but Old Man Johnson doesn’t even glance at him, just keeps his eyes focused on the city council at the front of the room. Murmurs begin to pop up here and there in the crowd. Nothing the Mayor feels he needs to bang his gavel for though. He’d be an idiot if he hadn’t suspected something like this to happen.
“The department is currently under review and when-” Mr. Whittemore begins his eyes darting to the Sheriff. He can see the accusation in them, but really he’s got about as much idea of what’s going on as Whittemore does.
“Now that’s a cockamamie story if I’ve ever heard one and we all know it.”
“Mr. Johnson I assure you-”
“If we’re going to start holding parents accountable for the stunts of dumb teenagers,” Old Man Johnson continues because he will be heard even over all the bullshit Whittemore is slinging. “Then I feel all of the parents of dumb teenagers need to be brought to attention.”
“I second this motion,” Miss Betty says, raising her hand.
“It wasn’t a motion, Betty,” the Mayor says. “Go on, Mr. Johnson.”
“I seem to recall Jackson gave a false statement to the police a few weeks ago involving a murder. And let’s not forget that party that almost led to a forest fire back in October. Wasn’t that thrown by the lacrosse team? I also seem to recall quite a few high school students being at a club on a school night where some sort of hallucinogenic drug resulted in several hospitalizations.”
The Mayor nods. It’s all the truth.
“So far,” Old Man Johnson says, his eyes sweeping over everyone sitting at the table in the front of the room, “I think that means most of the city council should be on a leave of absence.”
“Now see here-” Mr. Whittemore stands, the backs of his knees shoving his chair back into the wall with a loud clang.
Greta stood then. She was one row ahead of Old Man Johnson and a couple chairs to the left.
“Ezra is right. William,” she says, her gaze on Mr. Whittemore, “I remember a time when you stole your father’s shotgun and kidnapped a few of the freshman on the basketball team.” The Sheriff thought it best not to mention that he’d been one of the seniors in on that prank along with Will. Of course it didn’t look like Will was going to mention it either. Their defense at the time had been that the shotgun wasn’t even loaded. He didn’t think that excuse would fly anymore though.
Melissa McCall stood next. The Sheriff looked to her, a little bit in awe, she didn’t have the clout of being rich or elderly. She was simply an inhabitant of Beacon Hills. A rather smart and beautiful inhabitant, but still.
“I’ve had my car egged,” she says and the Sheriff remembers a few years ago when she pulled into the station, eggshells still clinging to the windows and yolk dripping from the roof. It hadn’t been difficult to find the teens responsible. “The punishment for that was a written note of apology and having my car detailed.”
Others begin to stand then, adding their own stories. He notes Coach Finstock among them and even sees Adrian Harris. He wonders who blackmailed him into being here. Eventually, Mayor Mahealani has to bring out the gavel to calm everyone back down. They all take their seats once more, except for Old Man Johnson.
“Did you have a point?” the Mayor asks, not a hint of malice in his voice.
“Yes. Raise your hand if you have or have ever had a dumb teenager.” Most of the hands in the room go up, if not all of them, including some council members. “Now, raise your hand if you think having a dumb teenager should result in the loss of your job.” There’s not a single hand left up. “I’d like to propose a motion to reinstate the Sheriff as the Sheriff.”
“I second that motion,” Miss Betty says.
Mayor Mahealani bites back a smile and says, “Motion carried. All in favor?” All hands go up again. “Motion upheld.” And he bangs his gavel. It really is the best part of being Mayor. “Meeting adjourned.” He doesn’t wait for any objections before he bangs the gavel again.
The Sheriff is in a bit of shock. Melissa approaches him as others file out of the building, their work here done.
“Thank you,” he tells her before she has a chance to say anything.
“You’re welcome. It was all the truth. This town wouldn’t even know where to start if they had to actually find a new Sheriff.” He smiles at her and stands.
“How do you feel about dinner?” He blurts out. And really, Stilinski, he thinks to himself, that’s what you’ve got? But she laughs and nods, so it must not have been that bad.
“Sheriff!” They both turn their heads at the sound of Scott’s voice. He’s pushing his way through the crowd to get to them. His eyes wide and panicked. “Sheriff it’s Stiles.”
Stiles was contemplating the pros and cons of following Derek when his phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number and was tempted to let it go to voicemail.
“Hello,” he answered.
“Lydia?” he asked, sitting up in his chair. She was whispering. He didn’t hear any background noise, just her fast and panicked breathing.
“There’s someone outside of my house. I think they’re trying to get in.”
He grabs his keys and hoodie and is out the door before she even has to ask him.
“Lydia, I’m on my way, but you have to call the police.”
“I tried,” she says, “no one answered.”
Stiles stops with his hand on the door handle of his jeep. “What?”
“It just rang and rang,” she tells him before he hears a shattering of glass and her scream.
“Lydia!” He wrenches open the jeep door and scrambles to get the key in the ignition. He hears another scream and then silence.
It could be anything from a run of the mill robbery to the kanima to freaking hunters. He texts Derek that Lydia’s in trouble and he’s heading over before throwing the phone onto the passenger seat. He shifts into reverse, tearing out of his driveway. About five hundred feet down the road a black SUV blocks his way, forcing him to slam on the breaks. Gerard steps out from the passenger seat. Stiles is so screwed. For about a second he wonders if he can just floor it and swerve around, but three others are stepping out of the vehicle now. All with their very own large weapon.
“Why don’t you come on out of the car Stiles?” Gerard asks. He pops a pill into his mouth, waiting.
“I think I’m good here,” Stiles calls out. Gerard smiles. That seems to be a cue to the driver because he walks forward. Stiles quickly locks the door. He’s sure that will help. The window explodes inwards from the butt of the gun and he surges forward into his temple. It’s not enough force to knock him out, but it’s definitely enough to daze him.
The back of his shirt is grabbed and the next thing he knows he’s on his hands and knees on the asphalt, Gerard standing above him. The creepy ass smile is still on his face.
“You don’t want to make this difficult, do you?”
“It’s actually kind of what I do.” A boot meets his midsection making him gasp for air. He clutches at his middle.
“Just tell us where we can find Derek. That’s all we need.” Gerard crouches down in front of him. “Then we’ll leave and you can go on living your miserable existence.”
“Derek who?” Stiles asks. Gerard sighs and pats his cheek. Stiles does not flinch in the slightest.
“Well, I tried.” Gerard makes a motion with his hand and Stiles his being dragged to his feet. He struggles, but only because he’ll feel like a loser if he doesn’t at least try. The one holding him pulls his arms behind his back forcing his elbows to touch. This is in no way going to be fun, he thinks before he’s doubled over from a punch to the stomach. The next time he looks up Gerard is holding what appears to be a very tiny knife. It could probably still do some damage though, even if only on the surface.
“You really think this is the best place,” Stiles says, trying not to recoil when he feels the coolness of the blade on his cheek. “We’re in the middle of the street. Anyone could see.”
“The beautiful things about small towns,” Gerard says, bringing the blade up until the tip rests just under Stiles’ right eye, “is that everyone turns up at town meetings. Look around Stiles. The houses are dark, no one is home.” He brings the blade down until he feels the sharp press of it on his stomach. “I could gut you right here and no one would find you until it was too late.”
“If that’s the plan,” Stiles says, all false bravado, “I hope you brought a bigger knife.”
Gerard laughs and pushes in. Stiles can feel when his shirt gives way and then when his skin starts to as well. But the knife is pulled back before the wound is too deep. Stiles gasps for breath and immediately tries to stop when it makes his stomach contract. Gerard wipes away some of the tears on Stiles’ face with the blade.
“I don’t know. I think this one will do just fine.” There are a few more well placed punches to his abdomen. For a few moments he can’t quite remember how to breathe.
“You do know that I’m human, right?” he gasps.
“That excuse doesn’t work when you associate with monsters.” Gerard wipes the blade off on Stiles shirt. “Are you ready to tell me where Derek is?”
“Not even close.” He gets backhanded for his comment. Blood flows into his mouth and he lets it pool together with his saliva before spitting at Gerard. He smiles, he’s always wanted to try that. Of course this leads to another backhand. Whatever. Completely worth it. He’s about to come up with a completely witty and hilarious thing to say when they all hear sirens. Stiles tries not to sag with relief.
His arms are released and he drops like a rock to the ground. He’s kicked so hard he flops over to his back. Gerard places his foot on Stiles’ sternum and applies just enough pressure for it to effing hurt.
“Derek Hale,” Gerard demands. Stiles shakes his head. There’s not enough breath in him to form actual words. More pressure his applied and the demand his repeated.
“Gerard, we need to go,” one of the men says, but Stiles can’t see him. Stiles his pretty sure he’s about to black out when he hears his dad’s voice.
“Get away from my son.” There’s a moment where Stiles thinks his dad is going to be ignored, but then the pressures gone and he can breathe. Seriously, who knew how awesome air was.
“Stiles!” That’s Scott’s voice and he can still hear sirens approaching, so he’s not quite sure how his dad got here before them. Or if someone called it in. He really doesn’t care. Most of the upper half of his body hurts. Scott’s kneeling beside him then as his dad handcuffs Gerard. The others have all put down their weapons. He feels like he’s missing some very important details. Like how his dad has his gun or his handcuffs.
“Stiles, you okay?” Scott asks.
“I’ve been stabbed,” he tells him, clutching his stomach. Scott scrambles to get his shirt out of the way. He’s relieved to find only a scratch where the blood as already clotted. He lets out a breath of air and sits down. All the adrenaline seems to leave his body at once. “A knife was used to puncture my skin. It totally counts as a stabbing,” Stiles defends when Scott doesn’t say anything.
“Totally,” Scott agrees and holds Stiles hand as the paramedics arrive on the scene.
“How the hell did you get here so fast?”
“Derek,” Scott says, “I guess he heard Lydia on the phone with you and sent Isaac out here to stop you from interfering. He got here and called me. We’re trying this new thing where we let the police handle things.”
Stiles laughs and regrets it immediately.
“What happened with Lydia?”
“Derek took care of it. I’ll fill you in later.”
His dad comes over then and takes Scott’s place.
“I don’t suppose you want to tell me what happened?” His dad asks. He’s being rolled onto a backboard and then left onto a stretcher. Stiles really doesn’t think this is quite the time to have an honest conversation with his dad.
“I want to,” he says, “but Scott can do it better.” Scott looks down at him, eyes wide. He’s not too bothered by the look. Scott totally owes him for all the crap he’s had to put up with.
“Yeah,” Scott finally says. “I guess I can. And uh,” he adds. “You might want to send a squad car over to Lydia Martin’s. There’s a high probability there’s a murderer tied up in her kitchen.”
His dad manages to get him up to his bed and just lets him collapse. He doesn’t notice his dad pulling off his shoes and socks, but he feels the kiss pressed to the top of his head. It makes his entire body relax.
“I love you.” It’s mumbled into his pillow. The Sheriff hears him anyway.
“I love you, too. More than you’ll ever know.”
Stiles doesn’t know if he falls asleep or not. Time is doing that spinny thing in his head or maybe that’s just his body. It doesn’t matter. Time either passed or it didn’t, but Derek is here now, sitting on the edge of his bed. He opens his eyes, licks his lips because his face feels weird. In the next blink Derek his somehow sprawled on top of him, but he doesn’t feel heavy. Stiles doesn’t question in it.
“I feel that this is a very significant moment, but they gave me the good stuff so you've only got about five minutes.” He moves his hand up to pat Derek’s back, but it kind of just flops there and stays. Oh, well.
“You wait for me.” Derek breathes in deep in the crook of Stiles’ neck. He reaches his other hand up and pats Derek’s head.
“There, there sourwolf. ‘M fine.” Derek takes another deep breath and his entire body shudders. Stiles lets out a sigh.
“Go to sleep Stiles.” It’s murmured against his neck and Stiles can feel Derek inhale as he exhales, feel the steady thud of Derek’s heart against his own. The medicine makes him feel light and heavy all at the same time, but Derek’s grounding him, keeping him steady.
“’Marrow I demand kisses,” he mumbles against Derek’s cheek.
“Sleep, Stiles.” But he doesn't say no, so Stiles counts it as a win.