“Yeah, thanks I’m not really into the whole bestiality thing.” Stiles snapped back at the River Guardian. He probably had a name, but not one Stiles was going to bother remembering. Especially after all the grabbiness. “Youch! Careful with the merchandise here.” Stiles yelled, as the centaur grabbed him.
“Put me down you four-legged creep!” Stiles went in for a kick, but the River Guardian just laughed and pulled him closer, leering.
“Halt!” They both froze to look at the newcomer. Stiles took the entirely selfish moment to look the man up and down. What a fine specimen of man. Rippling muscles, a clear scowl, and the most gorgeous green eyes he’d ever seen.
All the same, not needed. “Thanks Gorgeous, but I got this.” Stiles threw him a winning smile.
“Yes, I can see that clearly.” Gorgeous responded, before shifting to face the River Guardian. “I’m going to have to ask you to put this young man down.”
The River Guardian just glared and threw the first punch, throwing Gorgeous across the lake.
Stiles took the advantage and grabbed the River Guardian’s hair and began yanking on it. Stiles hoped he would just drop him, and he could clear out.
“Come on bro, time to go on the offensive here!” Stiles heard a women’s voice holler out.
Gorgeous turned and launched himself at the River Guardian so hard, that he dropped Stiles in the water. Stiles rolled his eyes and got to his feet, adjusting his tunic, and heading over to the side as the Guardian landed. Where Gorgeous started to whale on him.
“Is this guy for real?” Stiles wondered aloud. A sexy do-gooder appears at the right moment to ‘save’ Stiles? He wondered what he wanted.
“Oh yeah.” A woman behind him said. Stiles spun around to see a woman with wavy brown hair. “I’m Laura by the way.”
“Nice.” Stiles sneered, suspicious of her game. He turned back to watch Derek finish off the River Guardian. Huh, guess the guy had helped him out. A little.
Derek ran over to them. Laura cheered him on, “Nice job, but you need to stay focused. Keep your guard up and watch your back…” But Derek walked right past her.
“Uh, are you alright? Mr.?” Derek asked hesitantly.
“Stiles, the name’s Stiles. Don’t ask why, because I won’t answer. So, do they give you a name with all those rippling pectorals?” Stiles let his eyes wander appreciatively.
“I…uh…I,” Derek stumbled.
“Are you always this articulate?” Stiles grinned, as he turned to walk away.
“Derek! My name’s uh Derek.”
“Well Derek, it’s been a real slice but I’ve got to be going.” Stiles started walking, but turned back, “Maybe we’ll meet up some time.”
“Yeah…yeah I’d like that.” Derek said. Derek’s eyes followed Stiles as he walked away, and it definitely made Stiles a little smug. Not that he’d admit to anything, of course.
He got far enough away, to the grove where he’d been told to meet Peter.
“Stiles,” Peter’s voice echoed through the trees. “Stiles, my little pretty boy. I’m confused.” He cooed as his arms encircled Stiles. “I thought you were going to bring the River Guardian over to my side.”
“Your little friend got a little too grabby for me to make a deal.”
“Well that little executive decision just cost you two more years to your imprisonment.” Peter smiled.
Stiles was sick of this, sick of all of this. But it’s not like he could do anything. It wasn’t even his fault. “It wasn’t even my fault, some gorgeous guy named Derek came stomping through and destroyed your River Guardian.”
“What as that name?” Peter’s voice became a touch more deadly, as he crowded Stiles’ admittedly small personal space.
“Derek, why?” Stiles asked.
“I had a Derek taken care of a couple of years back, but now I’m not so sure.” Peter hummed threateningly. “We can fix this. I have a plan.”
Thebes, of all the places Derek had chosen Thebes. Not like it bothered Stiles, but it was just disgusting. All the same, he ran through the streets looking frantic and doe-eyed.
“Derek!” Stiles fell into his arms, and damn were those eyes still gorgeous.
“Stiles?” Derek said as he caught him.
“You have to come, quickly! There was the girl, she was just messing around in these caves when there was a rockslide and now she’s trapped.”
Derek stood tall, “We have to help her. Come on, Stiles!” Derek raced through the city to the outskirts of the town.
There was some coughing under one of the larder rocks, and Derek ran up there.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“Please help me!” A pitiful voice pleaded. Derek nodded and grabbed the rock.
Stiles watched from an outlook as Derek threw the rock aside and helped golden-haired beauty from the rocks. He watched as she clearly thanked him and ran off.
“Derek, please get out. While you still can.” Stiles whispered, and for a second Derek turned his head like he’d heard him. But then there was a menacing growl from deep in the caves.
A lizard creature stalked to the entrance, a kanima. Derek readied his stance and waited for the first move. Stiles’ eyes watched intently.
“Stiles, always a pleasure. Enjoying the show?” The damsel from before showed up next to him.
“Malia.” Stiles’ voice was monotonous. “Nice acting.”
“Thanks Stiles,” she said with a smile, “it’s almost like you appreciate me.” She draped herself around him, pressing herself along his back, and resting her chin on his shoulder. “I miss you, haven’t seen you much.”
“Your Dad keeps me pretty busy.” Stiles commented, watching as Derek tries to tackle the kanima. He’s getting dangerously close to his claws. If the kanima even scratched him, Derek’s done for.
Stiles knows it’s dangerous, that if Peter knew, he’d probably have Stiles imprisoned until his grave, but it’s not like this would be much different. He reached inside and touched his Spark, his little bit of magic. Careful to avoid detection, he pressed a message forward. Only Derek would feel it.
Beware its claws. If you are even grazed, they will paralyze you and you will quickly die.
Derek hesitated for a second, as he felt the unmistakable presence of Stiles for a second as he heard the message, then refocused back on the fight, heeding Stiles’ warning.
Stiles let out a sigh of relief that Malia hadn’t detected him. She was her Father’s child after all, one never quite knew all the damage they could do.
Thankfully the battle seemed to be going Derek’s way, until the kanima’s tail hit him particularly hard against the wall. Stiles breathing hitched, as Derek slide down the wall. Possibly unconscious as the kanima came closer.
Then, all of the sudden, Derek’s eyes lit up yellow as he shifted into a wolf and lunged with renewed vigor at the kanima.
“A shapeshifter. I haven’t seen one of them in years. I thought Daddy had wiped them out.” Malia breathed on Stiles’ shoulders.
They both watched as Derek eventually ripped the kanima’s throat out. Malia retreated back to the shadows, no doubt to meet up with her father wherever he was watching. Stiles watched with pride as not only Laura ran out to cheer for Derek but what seemed to be the entire town of Thebes.
He risked some clapping of his own, and hoped that Peter would leave Derek alone now. Even if Stiles knew it would never happen. Peter would be back, and Derek would die. The thought soured Stiles’ momentary cheer, and he turned away from the crowd to find Peter.
The next few months were a nightmare. Peter scrounged up every ally he could, Ancient Hunters, Banshees, Witches, Druids, Berserkers, and even a Wendigo to fight Derek. And Derek always won, making Peter angrier and angrier.
After watching the latest failure, and Peter’s subsequent rage blew up the side of the mountain. His temper had been getting shorter and shorter. Still, Stiles wouldn’t be Stiles if he didn’t snark.
“Looks like Derek is taking everything you throw at him.” Stiles said with a smile, as he sat down on the ledge. He liked watching Derek, liked seeing how happy he was.
“Or maybe I’m not throwing the right thing in the right place. Come on pretty boy, everybody has a weakness. We just need to know his.” Peter’s voice was coaxing.
“No Peter.” Stiles turned to face him. “I’m not interested. Find someone else to do your dirty work. I’m through!”
“That’s not how this works.” Peter said, taking Stiles by the throat and throwing him against a wall. Stiles couldn’t breathe and he was gasping for breath. “You do what I tell you to do.” He released Stiles as he collapsed on the ground. “Or have you forgotten what Scott did to you? He was like a brother to you, and when he died, you gave up everything to get him back. And what did he do? He left you. Found a new best friend that little Isaac kid, and even found a sweet little girl to trail after. Allison, wasn’t it? He doesn’t even think of you anymore.” Peter’s words were cutting as Stiles felt them reopen some of those wounds. How much it had hurt. How abandoned he’d felt. Like he was nothing. He was worth nothing.
“Stop, just stop.” Stiles’ voice was weak and raspy as he blinked away tears. Damn him. Damn him and his stupid deals and everything about him!
“And this is why I think you’re going to leap at my offer. Give me Derek’s weakness, and I will give you the thing you want most.” Peter leaned down to whisper in Stiles’ ear. “Your. Freedom.”
At that point Stiles was so stunned, and so weak, that he promptly just passed out. When he awoke, Peter and Malia were gone. But Stiles knew what he had to do. He had to get free. He couldn’t stand to be Peter’s puppet or Malia’s plaything anymore. They were both sick and twisted and he was better off as far away from them as he could possibly be.
With a quick invisibility spell, he slipped into Derek’s home.
“It’s no use Laura. No matter what I do, Mother still refuses to let me return home.” Derek’s voice echoed through the tiles.
“Yes she will Derek, it takes time. And you’re not entirely alone, I’m here.”
“I know, and thank you, but I don’t see what the point is anymore. Clearly I’m not doing the right thing, but I don’t understand. I’ve saved people, Laura, a lot of people. And their lives matter, they mean something. Why can’t Mother see that? Isn’t that worth returning home?”
“Derek, I know. I know how much you want to go home and I-” Laura stopped as the doors slammed open and running footsteps were heard.
“Derek! They broke through the front gates, hide!” A young man’s voice was heard.
“Thanks Boyd. Laura and Erica, care to enact Alpha plan?” Derek asked.
Laura nodded, and ran out the door with Boyd, calling for Erica, while Derek slipped behind a curtain. The crowd of boys and girls swept into the hall area as they clamored for Derek.
“Look I think that’s him on the veranda!” Laura called, as there was a thunder as they all stampeded out.
Stiles let go of his invisibility and swung the door shut. He knew Derek was behind the curtain, he could even see his feet.
“Let’s see what’s behind curtain number one!” Stile pulled the cord to reveal Derek standing sheepishly to the side. Then he saw Stiles, and his eyes brightened.
“It’s okay Der, the sea of raging hormones has ebbed. You’re in the clear.” Stiles strode over to the couch.
“Stiles, thanks I-, I wasn’t sure when I was going to see you again. I missed you.” Derek admitted.
Stiles fell on to the couch, and watched as Derek traced his body as he stretched. “So Mr. Hero, what do you do on your days off?”
“I’m really not a hero, and I really don’t get days off.” Derek said.
“Oh, I know.” Stiles smiled conspiratorially, “Say, what about a day off? We could go do something fun!”
“I don’t know Stiles.” Derek’s voice was hesitant, but Stiles knew he had him hooked.
“Come on Derek.” He coaxed.
Derek conceded with a mumbled “Okay” to which Stiles responded with a brilliant smile, and grabbed his hands to head out the back door.
His hands were warm and Stiles couldn’t remember the last time he’d held hands with someone.
Stiles took Derek to see a play, something that Derek admitted he didn’t get to see a lot of. It was a good play, they both laughed at certain parts, and it was just nice and relaxing. Then Derek led Stiles out to the woods.
“Where are we going Derek?” Stiles asked with an easy smile.
“I want to show you something.” Derek promised.
He walked a bit farther, then turned to face Stiles. “You were watching, when I saved that girl and fought the kanima, weren’t you?”
Stiles bit his lip and turned away. “Yeah, yeah I was.”
Derek nodded, “So then you know I’m a shifter.”
“I don’t think there’s anyone in Thebes that doesn’t know you’re a shifter Der, it’s kinda one of your selling points.”
Derek looked down, “yeah, I guess you’re right.”
Suddenly Stiles desperately wanted to see, “Derek, can I…can I watch you? Shift I mean, I saw you on that day, but you were so far away.” His feet had carried his so close to Derek, he practically touching his chest. His eyes looked up to meet Derek’s, and they were both breathing a little quickly.
Derek nodded, and turned around, slipping out of his armor. Stiles knew he should have turned around, given Derek his privacy, but he couldn’t. Besides, Derek kept his tunic around his waist.
He turned to face Stiles, and Stiles saw Derek shirtless, right in front of him. He stepped forward, and gently traced Derek’s collarbones, feeling how warm he was.
Then Derek shifted into his wolf, and Stiles sat down as the wolf pressed against his side.
“Hello Derek.” Stiles murmured. “Thank you for showing me this.”
They laid in the clearing for a little while, basking in the sun until it got dark. Then when it started to get dark, and a little colder, Derek shifted back and dressed himself. He gave Stiles’ his cape to wrap around his shoulders. Stiles took it gratefully. It still managed to be warm, and smelled of Derek.
“Stiles, on that day, I…I felt you. You told me to stay away from the kanima’s claws, didn’t you?”
Stiles looked around quickly to see if he was being watched, “Please don’t tell anyone about that. I have…a little magic. A Spark. I can…press messages onto people, among a couple of other different things. It was me, but please you can’t tell anyone.” He had no idea what he’d do if Peter found out. He could imagine it though. Peter could be creative with punishments when he wanted to be.
“Stiles, what’s wrong?” Derek asked.
“Nothing.” Stiles answered quickly, too quickly.
“It’s nothing okay? Just not something I want to advertise.” Stiles snapped. When Derek retreated, Stiles felt bad. “Look, I promise I will tell you about it one day. I promise to tell you everything, but I can’t right now.”
Derek seemed to accept this was the best he was going to get, and changed topics.
They wandered into the garden, talking about trivialities. The day was fast closing, and Stiles knew he had to get to the point with Derek.
“Thanks Stiles, for doing all this. For…playing hooky with me.” Derek said with a smile. “I’ve never really done anything like this before. It’s been mostly training.”
“What’s there to train? It’s not like you have any weaknesses.” Stiles took the opening, hating himself for it.
Derek smile, sheepish. “Those were a lot of the early days. My family, well this sounds horribly pompous, but they’re Gods. I’m the son of Edward and Talia Hale.”
“Shouldn’t you be up there with them? The Gods? Why are you here?” Stiles asked.
“I was taken, when I was a child. Someone tried to kill me, and they almost succeeded. But I was taken in and cared for. I found out my real family when I started to train to be a hero. There’s a lot of rules of where a God or Goddess can intervene, but my sister Laura decided to come down to train me. She sacrificed a lot of her power and safety to do that. But she’s great, she really is.”
Stiles nodded and Derek continued, “When we first started to train it was brutal. But any weaknesses I had, Laura made sure I protected them. She was unrelenting when it came to training, but hey, I guess it made me the hero I am today.”
“Your whole family, just left you here?” Stiles asked.
“It’s not their fault. Their hands were tied.” Derek mumbled. Stiles nodded. He put his hand on Derek’s shoulder and he leaned into Stiles’ hand.
“I’m sorry.” Stiles murmured softly.
“I’m not.” Derek raised his head. “If I wasn’t down here, I would never have met you.” His face was so close to Stiles, his lips were so close to Stiles lips. Derek was so warm and comforting and just perfect. They both leaned in, anticipation curling on each shallow breath they took and-
Laura came bursting through the trees. “What the hell Derek! Where were you today? You think you can just run off because you feel like it? That’s it! You’re headed straight back to the gym where you are going to get the workout of your life!” She growled.
“It’s not his fault, I was the one who-” Stile began Derek’s defense.
“And you!” Laura whirled an accusatory finger at Stiles. “I know you are the one who caused this mess! Derek was nothing but focused until you came along. Now I can hardly keep his mind on his training and-”
“Don’t blame Stiles because of my failings Laura. He hasn’t done anything wrong. Leave him alone.” Derek retorted angrily.
“Fine, let’s go. Run there. I’m counting the seconds.” She growled. Derek took one last look at Stiles, who gave him a weak smile, then shifted and ran. Laura bent down to collect the clothes and armor.
“Don’t think I’m done with you.” She cautioned and ran off.
A pair of eyes glowed in the forest, and Laura didn’t get far until she collapsed. Malia stepped out of the shadows, and dragged Laura back to the edge of the clearing so she could hear everything.
Stiles, in the meantime, was dealing with his own troubles. He liked Derek. He was smart, funny, honest, and devastatingly attractive. But he couldn’t care about him. He couldn’t! He had to accept that one day, Derek would leave him. Just like his father had, just like his mother had, just like Scott had. Everyone he cared about left him. If he didn’t care, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much when Derek tossed him aside. When he decided he was going to find someone whom he deserved.
Because Derek deserved the best. Someone who could love him and actually admit to it without being ashamed or afraid. Someone who wouldn’t lie to him. Stiles wished he could be that person. He wanted to be that person for Derek, but he had done too many terrible things because of Peter to ever deserve someone as good as Derek.
Maybe once he was free, once Peter and Malia were long gone, maybe then he could be honest with Derek. Maybe they could be happy with one another. But that was just a dream, some loose hope and he knew it.
He felt cold arms slide around him, trapping him. Like Peter always did. “So pretty boy, what’s the word? What is Derek’s weakness?”
Stiles shrugged him off, and faced him. “I won’t hurt him. Find someone else. I’m done with you.”
“Tsk tsk Stiles, didn’t we learn already? I own you. You belong to me.” Peter grabbed Stiles wrists and squeezing them until the pain forced him down.
Malia tapped Laura awake, she needed to hear this next part.
“If I say I need Derek’s head on a platter, you say?” Peter threatened.
“I tell you medium or rare done.” Stiles said, eyes glaring.
Laura stopped listening the minute she heard that. Oh Derek, she thought, this is going to break your heart. She ran as fast as she could away.
“As if.” Stiles continued. “I’m not just some minion you can bend to your will Peter.”
“Oh yes you are. If you ever want to see your freedom…”
“I don’t care! Don’t you get it? We both know you’ll never set me free, and I will not let you hurt him. Derek’s different. He’s a good person, he would never hurt me. Even if I wanted too, you can’t! Derek has no weaknesses, he’s going to stop your little plans, and-” Stiles turned to face Peter, only to see he was far too close and far too smug for this to be going Stiles’ way.
“I think Derek does have a weakness, Stiles. I truly think he does.” Peter said, yanking Stiles’ chin close as Stiles realized what Peter meant.
“No Peter! No!” Stiles tried to get away, tried to run, but Peter merely snapped his fingers and Stiles froze.
“Perfect. Malia?” Peter called.
“Just as you ordered Father. Laura is running off to warn Derek now. He will reject her, and he will be alone and ready to make a deal.” Malia smiled with triumph.
“Good,” Peter cooed. “Now go make sure it happens that way.”
Laura trudged her feet the last few steps. She hated this. She wished she could change this. Anything else. Anything for her to break her brother’s heart. She paused at the opening and watched Derek laugh as he went through the workout, clearly enjoying himself.
How could she do this to him?
But he deserved to know. He needed to know. She didn’t what sick, twisted game Stiles was playing with that man in the garden, but she wouldn’t let him hurt Derek any more than he already had.
“Derek, I have to tell you something.” Laura began.
“Laura, I’ve just had the best day of my life! I can’t stop thinking of Stiles. Of his smile, how he always tries to help me. How much he trusts me. He’s everything to me Laura, he’s perfect…”
“Derek!” Laura pleaded. She couldn’t hear anymore. “Derek! Stiles is a fraud!”
“What?” Derek looked stunned.
“Stiles is a fraud!” Laura repeated loudly.
“No!” Derek denied.
“He’s been playing you for a sap!”
“Stop it!” Derek said aggressively,
“He’s planning something with some guy, I heard them! You can’t trust him. He’s just some lying, two-faced little bastard.”
“I SAID STOP IT!” Derek pushed her into some of the training weights. Laura just sat there. Stunned. Then she realized what had happened. Derek had made his choice. She wasn’t just going to sit around and wait for the fall-out. She got up and dusted herself off.
“Laura, Laura please. I’m sorry…” Derek pleaded.
“Don’t.” Laura said when he tried to come near her. “Just…leave me alone, alright? I tried to help you. I’m trying to help you!” She was done. She just ran out. She needed to get away.
Derek just stood there. Laura…had left. He had hurt her, he had hurt Laura. His sister. But she was wrong. She didn’t know Stiles. Not like he knew him. Stiles was a good person. She’d see. She’d come back.
“Hello, I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. I’m Peter.” A voice came from behind him.
“Is this not a good time?”
“Just leave me alone, okay?” Derek turned away from him.
“Hey I only need a few seconds, I’m a fast talker.” Peter said, spinning to face him. “I just need you to stop being a hero for one day, just one.”
“You’re out of your mind.” Derek sneered.
“Ah ah ah, hey, I do have a bit of leverage here that you might want to know about.” Peter promised. He snapped his fingers.
Stiles was appeared, and was still running. He took in his new surroundings quickly, meeting Derek’s eyes. “Don’t listen to-!” He pleaded before Peter snapped his fingers again and chains of shadow sent his spilling onto the ground, arms, legs, and mouth bound.
Derek rushed to his side to catch him as he fell, when Stile disappeared. Derek rounded on Hades with a snarl.
“Let him go!” He turned and threw himself at Peter to tackle him down, but Peter sidestepped him faster than a blink of an eyes.
“I wouldn’t be too hasty here. Let’s make a deal. You give up your wolf for 24 hours, let’s say the next 24 hours. This means no extra strength, hearing, coordination, nada, and I give you Stiles back. Safe and free as a bird.” Again Peter snapped, and Stiles appeared on the ground again, eyes spinning wildly as his words were muffled by the shadow chains.
“People are going to get hurt, aren’t they?” Derek asked brokenly.
“I mean yeah, maybe there’s that possibility, but isn’t Stiles worth more than that?” Peter appeared next to Stiles again, gripping his wrists again making tears jump to his eyes. “Well! Isn’t he?” Peter demanded as Stiles’ voice raised to a whimper.
“You have to promise he won’t get hurt! Swear it!” Derek demanded, and Peter released Stiles once again to slump on the ground.
“Fine, fine Stiles here is safe from any harm and if he is harmed, you get your wolf back and blah blah blah blah. Shake?” Peter stretched out his arm.
Stiles shook his head wildly.
Derek looked at Stiles with apology in his eyes.
“Going three times!” Peter called in a challenge.
“All right, I’ll do it.” Derek said, taking Peter’s hand.
“Sold!” Peter crowed, and began to suck the wolf right out of Derek. Watching with glee as Derek became too weak to stand and struggled for breath. Eventually Peter finished, and Stiles watched in horror as Peter hefted a weight and threw it at Derek, pinning him to the ground. Derek was so weak.
Peter looked around and couldn’t leave without one last shot. “You’ll love this.” He told Derek, turning to face Stiles.
“A deal’s a deal pretty boy.” Peter snapped and the shadow chains disappeared, leaving Stiles coughing and weak in their wake. “Oh and by the way, isn’t he just the best actor? I mean I couldn’t have done it without you Stiles.”
“What-What do you mean?” Derek asked brokenly.
“No, please no…” Stiles begged, but Peter kept going.
“I mean that little Stiles here has been working for me the whole time.” Peter said, running his hands down Stiles’ sides and brushing his cheeks in a gruesome parody of intimacy.
“You’re lying!” Derek yelled.
Peter just smiled and Malia appeared, throwing herself at Derek’s feet. “Help oh please help me!” As she stood, and threw him to the ground.
Derek just looked at Stiles, complete and utter anguish filling up his eyes.
“No, it’s not like that!” Stiles ripped himself from Peter’s finger. “Derek, Derek please it was never like that, I never meant to, I couldn’t,” He begged Derek, but Derek just turned and walked away from him.
“I’m sorry.” Stiles whispered brokenly.
“Couldn’t have done it without you Stiles.” Peter smiled and disappeared, taking Malia with him.
“Derek, I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.” Stiles sobbed. Derek wouldn’t even look at him. What had he done?
“DEREK!” A voice thundered, shaking even the ground Stiles and Derek were on. “DEREK! Come out and fight me!”
Derek wiped his tears and stood tall. He walked to the edge of the training center and watched as a Darach stormed through the city.
Stiles followed him up, watching as the Darach sliced the throats of any who came near her. She was on a rampage, and Stiles knew this was all his fault. Then he saw Derek move down the steps, heading towards her.
“No! You can’t! If you fight without your wolf, you could die. It will kill you!” Stiles tried to stop him. Didn’t Derek understand? Stiles couldn’t lose him. Not like everyone else. Stiles wouldn’t let him go.
“There are worse things than death.” Derek pushed him aside, not listening to him. He kept walking towards the Darach.
“Please! Stop! Wait!” Stiles begged, but Derek ignored him. Stiles tried organize his frantic thoughts. This was suicide. Stiles had to do something, but Derek wouldn’t listen to him. He had to find someone…Laura! She would talk some sense into him.
He didn’t have time to wander the city. He drew up his strength, and felt his Spark and just….moved.
Stiles looked around, he was by a pier of some sort. Then he saw Laura. He took a staggered step forward. He had never done anything like this before, and it hurt. He was so exhausted, he was afraid he’d collapse on the steps.
Laura spun around with such a look of disdain that Stiles almost recoiled. “What do you want? You lying, scheming-”
“I know!” Stiles said, and then more sincerely. “I know what I am. This isn’t about me, this is about him. You have to come, Derek won’t listen to me and-”
“Good, guess he’s finally gotten some sense.” Laura sneered.
“No! Listen to me, if you don’t help him now, he’ll die.” Stiles told her.
She finally stopped and looked at him. “Where is he?” Her voice was deadly serious. Stiles breathed a sigh of relief.
“I can take you to him, I promise. I…I have magic. I can shift your location to near his. I…I’ll catch up as soon as I can. Please, please just go to him.”
“Why aren’t you coming?” Laura asked, eyes narrowed in distrust.
Stiles looked away, “I’m not…strong enough. I swear though,” Stiles faced her head on. “I will be there as soon as I can.”
Laura searched his eyes for a moment, and nodded. Stiles took her by the shoulders and…pushed her into her new location.
He drew in a ragged breath as she disappeared, slumping to the side. His eyes lowered in exhaustion, but he couldn’t stop now. He had to go see Derek. Had to make sure he would be okay.
Ever step was torture, every movement was agony as he crawled back to the square. Thankfully Laura hadn’t been that far away. Stiles might actually make it.
Laura stumbled, and looked around. She was in the square, and there was a Darach. A Darach approaching her baby brother. She had been batting him around like a plaything.
“Derek! Come on Derek, you can do this. Pull yourself together!” She rushed to help him. More than anything, she wished she could bring out her wolf and tear this monster to pieces, but the laws forbid it. She could only assist Derek.
“Laura? You came back.” Derek gave a weak smile, as his head slumped back.
“No, no Derek. This is not time for a nap. Come on. Fight back! This gal’s a pushover. You can take her!” Laura encouraged, trying to wipe away some of the blood.
“You were right Laur, I’m so sorry. Stiles…Stiles…” Derek tried to tell her.
“Shh, shh I know. I’m sorry. But he’s the one who got me here. I’m here now. Everything is going to be okay.” The Darach screeched as she approached them. “But you need to get up and fight, otherwise more people are going to get hurt.” She said sternly.
Derek nodded and tried to stand up as the Darach strode forward, and pinned him by the neck. He kicked his feet helplessly, then concentrated to kick the Darach square in the stomach, pushing her away.
He looked around for materials, anything he could use. Time to use his brains the right way. He found some rope and began looping it around and around the Darach until she was pinned and couldn’t fight back. A harsh blow to the head with a wagon wheel did the trick, and she was unconscious.
Stiles had pulled himself up on a wall in time to see Derek turn the fight around. He breathed a sigh of relief when he got the upper hand. Derek had won, and he stood tall and proud, but there was a support column beside him that was wobbling.
“Derek!” Stiles yelled as he put all of his strength in a fast sprint, using the last dregs of his magic to make him faster, fast enough to save Derek.
Derek looked up and saw Stiles running at him, and suddenly felt a force pushing him back as he collided with the opposite wall. He shook his head, stunned at the blow.
“Stiles?” He asked, confused. Then it came back to him, and he saw Stiles lying under the column. “Stiles! No!” He howled, racing to his side.
He grabbed the column, trying to lift it off of Stiles. Derek could feel his strength returning as the column moved and he threw it to the said.
“What’s happening?” He asked.
“The deal with Peter,” Stiles rasped, “is broken. Promised I wouldn’t get hurt.” He winced as he tried to talk.
Derek raced to his side, cradling Stiles’ face gently. “Stiles, Stiles…why? Why would you do that?”
Stiles gave him a small smile, looking into the eyes that had entranced him from the moment he’d seen him. His Derek. Still so clueless. “Because I love you Der.” He told him.
“Stiles,” Derek begged, “Please Stiles…” Don’t go. Derek couldn’t make out the words, but he knew Stiles understood.
There was nothing Derek could do for him now, “Derek, there’s still time. You can still stop Peter. He going to attack Olympus. He has a whole horde of Alphas that are attacking. If you leave now, you could still save your family.” Stiles whispered sadly.
“Derek, I’ll watch over him. You need to go.” Laura said quietly. Stiles looked at Derek, trying to memorize his face. It was so perfect. Derek clearly didn’t want to go, but he knew he had too.
“You’re going to be alright Stiles. I promise.” Derek said with utter conviction. For a moment, Stiles believed him. But as Derek shifted to the wolf to run off, and Stiles felt the pain resurge, he knew he was done for.
Laura and Stiles shared a moment of silence before Stiles spoke. “Tell Der…tell him I’m so sorry. I never wanted to hurt him. He has to know. He has to know…” He started shaking.
“Shh, shh he knows. I’ll tell him Stiles.” She said sadly as she stroked his face comfortingly. “You have to stay awake Stiles, Derek will be back soon.”
Derek burst through the gates to see Peter lounging in a throne, smug as he watched Derek’s family be led away in chains.
“Don’t get too comfortable Peter!” Derek snarled as he broke the chains that bound his family. They all began to fight the Alpha pack with renewed vigor. “This ought to even the odds!”
“Get him!” Peter demanded, and Derek found himself facing down the pair of twins as they merged into a monstrous creature.
He saw out of the corner of his eye as his sister Cora took on Ennis, and his father Edward took on Kali, and his mother attacked Deucalion with a savage pleasure. He knew all their names from the history of his family. They had put the Alpha pack down once, and they would do it again.
Derek retuned his mind to the fight, snarling and slashing at the Twins until he was able to rip them apart with a howl of triumph.
Peter was yelling at the Alpha Pack to attack but many of them were dead. Ennis was dead and so was Kali, Edward and Cora were making quick work of Deucalion.
“Watch your Mother work.” Talia promised as she squeezed Derek’s shoulder comfortingly.
“PETER.” She roared, approaching her wayward brother.
“You wish.” Peter sneered, snapping his fingers to summon his chariot. Derek turned into a wolf and began to follow, intending to finish the fight. Peter sped away, tauntingly adding, “Thank a ton Derek, but at least I’ve got a consolation prize. I know a friend of yours that just dying to see me.”
Derek froze, Stiles. He turned the other direction and ran as fast as he could. Wishing, and hoping, and praying that he would get back in time.
Stiles drew another pain, ragged gasp. He could feel the weight on his chest grow heavier and heavier. The light around him was going dim. He could hardly feel Laura’s hand in his.
Derek raced as fast as he could, heart beating wildly. No. Stiles! Stiles had to be okay, Derek had promised. He knew Stiles would be okay. He had to believe that Stiles would just be okay. What would he do without him?
Faster, faster, he urged himself. He had to go faster!
Derek burst into the square and watched as Stiles just collapsed against the rubble. All the tension left his body, all the life left his body.
“No, no Stiles!” Derek pleaded, shifting into his human form and running to him. Stiles seemed so very young, and so very fragile. “No, Stiles. Please. Wake up! Wake up…” Derek sobbed brokenly as he traced Stiles’ cheek. He felt like his whole world had ended, right there in his arms. Stiles was dead. Derek had failed him. Failed to protect him. Failed to keep his promise.
“Derek, I’m so…I’m so sorry.” Laura’s voice broke in grief. Derek raised his head and howled his grief. His anguish, the grief was so visceral any who heard the sound could feel it settle into their chests.
Derek cradled Stiles body close to his, like Stiles was just cold and he’d wake up if he got warmer. “Stiles, Stiles, Stiles….” He kept repeating as he rocked Stiles’ body.
Eventually he stopped, and laid Stiles tenderly on the ground. Derek drew up his knees to his face and sobbed.
“I’m sorry Derek, but there are some things you just can’t change.” Laura whispered, trying to comfort him.
“Yes I can.” Derek’s head rose in grim determination.
“What do you mean?” Laura asked.
“Peter.” The word was more a growl than anything else.
Malia flinched as Peter threw another chair against the wall, a mere inches from her face.
“We were so close!” Peter raged. “We almost had complete power! But then our little pretty boy has to go all noble.” He sneered.
Suddenly the side of his throne room crumbled as Derek burst in as a wolf, bigger and more menacing than Peter had ever seen.
He shifted into a human, stalking forward and grabbing Peter by the throat. “Where is he? Where. Is. Stiles? Let him go!”
“Woah woah woah. First, toga. Then we talk.” Peter told him, even when strangled, he still managed to be in control.
Derek dropped him in disgust as he grabbed the toga Malia provided. Peter led him back behind the throne room.
“It’s a small Underworld after all.” Peter said with a smile. Derek saw all the souls spinning endlessly in the green vortex. So many people, there were young and old all shades of themselves.
“Stiles!” Derek gasped as he saw him floating with the others, looking so still it hurt. He pushed his hands into the vortex to grab him, and yanked them back. Grimacing as it felt like his hands were burning.
“Ah ah ah, you see Stiles is running with a new crowd these days, and not a very lively one at that.” Peter smiled.
Derek thought for a moment, “You like making deals. Take me in Stiles place.”
“Hm,” Peter thought as he seriously considered this, “the son of my most hated rival trapped forever in a river of death.”
“Going once…” Derek offered.
“Is there a downside to this?” Peter wondered idly.
“Going twice…” Derek threatened.
Peter threw his hands up, “Okay, okay. You get him out. He goes, you stay.” Derek didn’t need to hear anymore as he dived into the vortex. “Oh, you know what slipped my mind? You'll be dead before you can get to him. That's not a problem, is it?” Peter hollered after Derek.
Derek swam as fast as he could to get to Stiles’ shade. He was just up ahead, but Derek could feel every muscle, every patch of skin burning. Nothing was meant to be alive down here, and that very life hurt.
But he had to reach Stiles. He had to. Stiles had died because of him. So he reached and reached, feeling weaker and weaker for Stiles’ hand…
Peter watched with unashamed interest as he saw Derek’s skin begin to burn away in the vortex. All the same, he was a busy man. And if he planned to capitalize on his new good fortune, he needed to start planning now. He turned away to walk back to the throne room, when a hand gripped the ledge.
Amazement colored Peter’s features as he watched Derek glow as he carried Stiles’ shade. The look of pure love on his face as he stared at the dead boy’s face was overwhelming.
“That…this is impossible. To survive this you’d have to be, you’d have to be…” Peter stammered.
“A god?” Malia chimed in from the throne room, clearly listening.
Derek ignored Peter’s splutterings and pleading to talk to his mother on Peter’s behalf. Only until Peter grabbed Stiles’ shade, lifting the limp head.
“C’mon Stiles, pretty boy, talk to him. Schmooze him.” Peter rambled.
Derek’s face was pure rage as he punched Peter so hard, he fell into the vortex. The other shades began clawing at him as he screamed.
But Derek minded him no thoughts. He had what he came for, his most precious treasure. Stiles. He cradled the shade with love as he emerged from the depths of the Underworld through one of the portals to Stiles’ body.
Gently he lowered Stiles’ shade into his body. Holding his breath on the hope that this would work.
Stiles’ chest breathed in, and his eyes opened. A smile curved his lips as he looked at Derek.
“Derek.” Stiles breathed. The expression on Derek’s face was heartbreakingly beautiful. Full of love and warmth and joy. “How did you-why did you?”
“People do crazy things, when they’re in love.” Derek offered with a smile, as he helped Stiles to his feet, feeling Stiles lean against his chest.
Derek could see the moment his words as Stiles’ face broke into a smile. He could almost read the wonder as Stiles realized Derek loved him. They both leaned in, breathing the same air. Their lips so close to finally….
But then both stumbled as a cloud came to scoop Derek up. Derek instinctively pulled Stiles close to him as they began to travel to the Heavens.
Stiles looked in amazement at the throngs of people, trying to recognize all the gods and goddesses he worshiped that were standing in front of him, cheering Derek on and welcoming him home. Stiles watched as Derek’s eyes lit up as Talia and Edward hugged him, and Stiles was so proud of Derek he felt like he couldn’t breathe.
“Derek, we’re so proud of you.” Edward told him as he wrapped his son in a hug. Talia grabbed him by the shoulder and punched him.
“Fine work Derek. You did it!” Talia said with zeal. “You are a true hero.”
“You were willing to give up your life to rescue this young man.” Edward told Derek.
“For a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but the strength of his heart.” Talia finished. Derek had never felt so happy to have his mother’s arms around him, and his father beaming at him. “Now at last, my son, you can come home.” She said with a flourish as the gates to Olympus opened.
Stiles watched as everyone cheered, and realized that now was his exit. Derek was finally home. He had his family. He was happy. He didn’t need Stiles anymore. It was time to gracefully disappear.
“Congratulations Derek, you’ll make one heck of a god.” Stiles murmured. He turned softly and began to walk away.
Derek was laughing with joy as everyone congratulated him. He turned to share the joy with Stiles, only to see him walking away, shoulders hunched, and Stiles’ arms wrapped around himself as if to keep him from breaking into pieces.
Then Derek realized, if he was a god he would never be with Stiles again. “Mother, this is the moment I’ve always dreamed of. But,” Derek gracefully caught up to Stiles, “a life without Stiles, even an immortal life, would be empty.” Derek took Stiles hands, and pressed them to his heart. He turned to his parents. “I wish to stay on Earth, with him. I finally know where I belong.” With that he drew Stiles into a hug, feeling completely at peace.
Talia looked at her husband in complete understanding and nodded. She had waited two decades to truly meet her son. A few more would make no difference. She would give them both a full, happy mortal life. And when their time had passed, she would welcome them both into their home on Olympus to be eternally happy.
Stiles and Derek both leaned in for a kiss. Which started as chaste and sweet, then Stiles ramped it up a notch. Grabbing Derek’s head and pushing them closer together. Feeling each other pressed close together. They could both hear cheers, but it didn’t matter.
“I think it’s time for a celebration!” Talia shouted, and at once everyone seemed to be at a party as music rang out. Derek and Stile broke apart to see everyone having a good time. Even Laura was there, looking happier and more radiant than Stiles had ever seen her.
Talia watched her son with love and pride, and turned to the higher heavens, creating a constellation of stars to form Derek’s shape as the triumphant hero.
Not everyone was celebrating. Malia approached the ledge into the vortex. Talia had forbidden anyone from helping Peter out. And his screams echoed throughout the entire Underworld. They never stopped.
Talia had placed Malia in charge of the Underworld, and it was more of a torture than a promotion. She could never be far from her Father’s screams of agony.
“Oh Daddy,” Malia hiccupped. She hadn’t slept in weeks and her hair swayed around her, dirty and unclean. Her eyes were bloodshot. She would never have called him Daddy when he was around, but now, now things were different. “I’m going to help you. I promise Daddy. Everyone who hurt you will be punished. And then maybe you’ll stop screaming so much Daddy? Please?” Her voice hitched like a little child’s, but then turned dark, “I’ll make them pay, I promise.”