Of all the monasteries in Christendom, Melk is probably Stiles’s favorite. He liked it when it was a little wooden hut on the hill, and he still likes it now, four hundred years later when it is a fuckton more impressive.
There are a lot of demons on Earth, right? And a lot of demons means a lot of fighting. So it’s not actually the dumbest plan in the world to hide out in a monastery, okay? Sure, the habits are itchy and the food is bland, and if Stiles hears the Gregorian Chant one more time he’s going to light up a motherfucker, but, all in all, it’s not too bad.
He’ll stay for a few years, then head for Fountains, then Vezelay, then maybe Mount St. Bernard—although the Cistercians are a little weird—and by the time he eventually gets back to Melk, there will be an entirely new generation of monks who won’t remember what he looked like.
It’s a perfect plan.
It is, until on his third week back in Melk, Stiles wakes in the middle of the night—between prayer services, of course, because fuck his life—and one of the other novices is crying.
Stiles is used to it. He’s been a novice for a few centuries now, so he knows the drill. They bring a bunch of sniveling little brats in, shave their heads, remind them that God is watching everything, then dump them with the novice master until he can churn them out a year or so later as dour little monks.
Stiles is ready to jam his thin pillow over his head or, conversely, to smother the guy with it, when he’s beaten to the chance. Because the novice master, roused by the noise, appears with a lamp in hand, and kicks the new guy in the ribs.
The novice makes a sound not unlike a yelp, and then lies still.
Stiles glares at the novice master as he wanders away again, and leaves this end of the dormer in darkness.
“Well,” he whispers at last, across the cold stones between their pallets. “So much for Christian charity.”
The new novice gasps at his blasphemy, and Stiles rolls his eyes. Then he hears a slight giggle-snort from the other pallet, and figures that hey, maybe he just made a friend.
Fuck it sideways.
Why anyone feels the need to get up and pray in the middle of the night will always be a mystery to Stiles. Do they think God’s sitting up there on his shiny throne, making detailed notes? Actually, He might be. He’s kind of a stickler for shit like that. But, come on! God created people to be diurnal. Matins is clearly going against His divine plan.
Stiles tried to bring that up once, a few decades ago back in Graz, and he will fight anyone who dares tell him that Franciscans are cool and laid back. The asshole novice master had sent Stiles straight to the abbot. Days later his ass was still sore, and not in a fun way. The abbot had wielded a cane like a fiend.
Stiles keeps his grumbling to himself as he laces up the back of his habit and readjusts his cowl. Fucking Matins.
Still, in the glow of candles in the night stairs, he has the first opportunity to meet his new friend.
He’s probably about sixteen. Darker than most of the locals. There’s something in him that speaks more of the Mediterranean than the Wachau, and makes Stiles think longingly of warmer climes. He has dark eyes, a worried expression, and an endearingly crooked jaw.
“My name’s Stiles,” he whispers to the novice.
“Scott,” the boy whispers back.
Weird name. But hey, who is Stiles to judge?
They bump against each other as they continue down the night stairs into the chapel.
Stiles knows all his Latin.
He can perform any liturgy, any time, without even having to open his eyes. He’s a star pupil.
Scott is not.
Stiles figures that out when Scott accidentally launches into the wrong psalm as a response, and then completely fucks up the supplication. Even the kid sitting next to them, who must be twelve at the outside, gives him the side eye. And the novice master whacks him over the back of the head with a stick.
There will probably be a time when Stiles strings the novice master up by his own intestines, just saying. And it will probably be soon.
It’s not easy being a demon in a monastery. There is way too much temptation to stir shit, for starters. But the sort of shit that Stiles wants to stir—like maybe making all the crucifixes in the chapel simultaneously turn upside-down, because how funny would that be?—is also the sort of shit that will bring the Inquisition down on them like a ton of fucking bricks. Not that Stiles is scared of the Inquisition. That bunch of pussies? Hell no. But he’d rather not attract what the Inquisition brings: the sort of demons who enjoy the spectacle of death and bloodshed and chaos. The exact sort of extended family Stiles has been avoiding for centuries. Because fuck those guys. Stiles likes Earth, okay? He likes hanging out here, even if the company is pretty dull and they haven’t figured out how to get rid of fleas from bedding yet. There are worse places. Stiles knows that for a fact.
So he keeps his head down, and plays the good little novice, and intends to continue doing that forever.
Besides, he has a friend now. And friends are good.
Actually, “good” is the perfect descriptor when it comes to Scott. He’s good. Apart from that one nervous giggle when it came to Stiles’s blasphemy on the first night, he’s been earnestly, studiously, frustratingly good.
He’s also homesick.
“I miss my mother,” he whispers to Stiles when they’re digging weeds in the herb garden. Stiles had hoped for brewery duty, but no luck. Scott flushes when he speaks, as though admitting an unconscionable sin.
“I miss mine too,” Stiles says, and finds that it’s true. She was mortal though. Of course she didn’t stick around. That’s what death does, right? Makes people leave, even when their kids are clinging to them begging them not to go?
And his dad…
Stiles and his dad don’t have a lot in common.
It’s a whole thing. Biblical proportions. Literally. Stiles suspects his dad is looking for him, but it’s not like he’d expect his kid to end up in a monastery. Turns out an itchy black habit is the perfect camouflage.
“She sent me here because we’re poor,” Scott says. “If I take my vows, I won’t starve.”
“No,” Stiles agrees. “I’ve never heard of a starving monk before.”
At that moment Brother Nilus waddles past, and Scott ducks his face to hide a grin.
“Still,” Stiles says meditatively. “It depends on what you enjoy more, right? Gluttony or lust. At least in the outside world you can fuck.”
Scott’s jaw drops.
Oh. Okay. Whoops.
Sometimes Stiles doesn’t blend in as well as he’d like, and he’s always had a problem letting his mouth run away with him.
“Um,” he says, trying frantically to salvage this. “Wasn’t it Saint Peter who said it was better to marry than to burn?”
Scott chews his lower lip in a way that is entirely too distracting. “I guess? Do you think you won’t take your vows, then? Would you rather marry?”
Marry? Ha! No, Stiles would rather fuck his way indiscriminately across all of Europe, thanks, but this is probably not the time to bring that up.
He fiddles with the cross hanging from the rosary tucked into his belt. “Um, maybe? Like sometimes I don’t know if I’m suited to a monastic life.”
Understatement of the millennium, right there.
“That’s the point of our novitiate, I think,” Scott says with a sigh. “To see if we are truly ready to dedicate our lives to the Church.”
“Right,” Stiles agrees, and tugs at a particularly stubborn weed.
Scott smiles, and oh, of course it’s like sunshine.
Stiles is so, so screwed.
The thing is, Stiles doesn’t really believe in that whole vow of chastity thing. Or the one about poverty. Or obedience. Okay, or any of the major vows and their multitude of subsections. Chastity, though? Come on! But when he’s lurking in monasteries, he does do his best to avoid unnecessary attention. And that means no hook ups.
Obviously he’s not counting Sebastiano in Rome.
Or Simon in Bath.
Or Ciaren in Ballynaleek.
Point is, Stiles does not hook up with other monks.
No, he does not.
But Scott is so fucking pretty.
Living in a dormer with eleven other guys between the ages of twelve and seventeen means that there are many awkward boners. It’s a thing. It’s a perfectly natural thing, in Stiles’s opinion, but Brother Adrian, the asshole novice master, seems to think that it’s something abominable, and can be whipped out of a boy.
Luckily Stiles has centuries of control, because a whip? Adding a whipping to his erection? That is not going to help it go away. At all. Really, it’s just going to encourage it.
Liam is the first of the novices to fall foul of Brother Adrian’s punishments. He howls and cries as Brother Adrian whips him, and Stiles is sure the glint in Brother Adrian’s eyes has nothing to do with holy zeal. In fact, Stiles is pretty sure that Brother Adrian is a dirty fucking hypocrite, and the reason he hurries away the second he’s done leaving welts across Liam’s ass is because he’s going to jerk off.
Stiles helps Liam onto his pallet, rubs some salve into his burning ass, and then plans a million excruciating ways for Brother Adrian to die.
And Scott is really weird about the whole whipping thing.
Like, that night he doesn’t whisper to Stiles across the gap between their pallets like usual. And at Matins, he keeps his gaze averted. And the next day he volunteers to help in the kitchens instead of the herb gardens, and Stiles is a little miffed. Fine, he’s upset. Legitimately upset.
This friend business is difficult to navigate.
It’s not until he’s lying awake the next night and he hears Scott tossing and turning beside him that he realizes the problem.
Scott’s avoiding him because he’s not just his friend. He’s also attracted to him. And he’s terrified of being punished.
If Stiles were a better person—or demon, whatever—he’d probably just ignore the awkwardness and concentrate on getting their burgeoning friendship back on the right path. The chaste path. But Stiles really isn’t a better person at all.
He’s Hell bound, right?
Might as well earn it.
It takes a while to engineer a way for him and Scott to be alone, but Stiles is nothing if not tricky. He manages to finagle himself into the abbot’s good graces and, one night when the abbot is dining with a bunch of self-important noblemen and merchants from town, he’s allowed the honor of serving them at their table in the abbot’s private residence.
Oh, such honor. Much privilege. Many godliness. Wow.
It’s all Stiles can do not to roll his eyes the entire evening.
But he also manages to get Scott the job for the night as well, which was the entire point. It means that Brother Adrian won’t expect them back until late.
And there’s many a slip, as the saying goes, twixt the cup and the lip. Or twixt the abbot’s house and the novices’ dormer, as it were.
It’s very late when the genial abbot finally dismisses them with his blessing. His literal blessing. And Scott doesn’t suspect a thing when Stiles suggests they take the long way back to the dormer.
The cloisters are deserted at this hour. Everyone else is in bed, and it’s still an hour or two to go until Matins. It’s perfect. The night is cool, and there is very little moon.
“Have you thought any more about if you’ll take your vows or not?” Stiles asks as they walk slowly around the colonnaded path.
Scott sighs. “I don’t know. I worry that I have no real calling. I worry that if I’m here, I won’t be able to help my mother if she needs it.”
Stiles’s heart melts a little at that. Because fuck these guys and their lip service. Scott’s all about charity and love.
“You don’t have to decide for months yet,” Stiles reminds him. “And, you know, there might be things in the outside world for you.”
“Like what?” Scott asks with a faint smile. “Like having no name, no money, and no prospects?”
“Like this,” Stiles says, stepping close and pressing his mouth gently against Scott’s.
Scott freezes for a moment, and Stiles thinks he’s going to pull away. Then he sags a little, his arms coming around Stiles, and his mouth opening under the soft pressure of Stiles’s tongue. He tastes like honey and sweetmeats, courtesy of the abbot’s table, and a little like the bitter, watery beer the abbey produces. His mouth is warm, his breath hot, and his hands tremble against Stiles’s back.
“Oh, God,” Scott whispers against Stiles’s mouth, and Stiles is almost eighty percent certain that he’s not asking for rescue right now. Which is good. Penises before penance, right? That’s always been Stiles’s philosophy.
“Just let me…” Stiles drags Scott’s heavy habit up, and manages to get a hand on his thigh. Scott jerks back, and hits his head on a column. “Shit! Are you okay?”
He’s wide eyed. Wild eyed. He nods. “Y-yeah.”
Stiles goes for broke, and reaches for Scott’s dick. It feels big. His mouth waters at the weight of it, the heat. Scott’s hard, and he’s leaking, and Stiles would really, really like to drop to his knees and suck him off so much right now. But that would mean forgoing the kissing, and Stiles might just be in love with the kissing. He presses his mouth back against Scott’s, and licks into it. Then he kisses a path up his jaw, and down his throat, all the while jerking Scott off underneath his habit.
It’s hot and messy and Stiles might just be in love with this boy. The way he bites his lip and arches his neck when he comes. The way he goes weak at the knees, and sags into Stiles’s embrace. The way his kisses afterward are soft and pliant and not at all soured with guilt and recrimination.
The way he smiles, and whispers Stiles’s name like it’s as holy a prayer as any he’s learned since he got here.
Yes, this must be what love feels like.
The bells wake Stiles later that night.
But no. It’s not Matins. The bells keep pealing, chiming discordantly in the darkness, the sound echoing through the stone walls of the abbey.
“What’s going on?” Liam asks, scrubbing at his eyes.
Brother Adrian takes a lamp to see.
He’s back within minutes, eyes wide.
“The Inquisition!” he exclaims. “The Inquisition is here!”
Look, Stiles isn’t scared of the Inquisition. But he’s pissed, because they’re totally cock blocking him right now. He doesn’t know why they’re here. He doesn’t really care. Probably some demented old fool in the scriptorium got high on the fumes of his ink and started blathering about demons. It’s happened before. It would be funny, Stiles guesses, except for the part where the Inquisition actually tortures and kills people.
Point is, everyone gets really leery about the whole sin business when the Inquisition is in town.
Stiles sits quietly at the back of the chapter house the next morning while the abbot introduces the inquisitors. A cardinal, a couple of hawkish Benedictines who don’t look like they’ll go easy on anyone just because they’re all on the same team, a Clunaic just to prove they’re diverse and not playing favorites and whatnot, and one guy who is introduced as a doctor, and who immediately puts Stiles on edge.
Because the thing with the Inquisition is it’s usually full of total dickbags who have no idea what they’re talking about and wouldn’t recognize the apocalypse if it climbed onto the table and took a shit in their breakfast. But this guy here? This doctor? He’s got the look of a man who knows things.
Stiles immediately distrusts him.
Stiles hasn’t done anything wrong. Well, hand job aside, but come on. Does anyone really believe that every monk in Christendom has spent every night alone? And the nights are particularly cold in Melk.
Basically though, Stiles hasn’t done anything wrong.
Apart from existing, but that’s not exactly his fault.
He just needs to keep his head down, and he’ll be fine, right?
“Benedicite,” the doctor says, leaning on the fence of the herb garden.
Stiles meeps and drops his weeds. He climbs to his feet, wipes his hands on his habit, and nods respectfully. “Benedicite, Doctor Deaton.”
“You are a novice, yes?” the doctor asks, his clever eyes searching Stiles’s face. “Stiles.”
“Yes, master,” Stiles says. He’s not one for honorifics, but he thinks this is one of those situations where it might pay to be respectful. And the reality is, in the hierarchy of the monastery even the lay brothers who shovel shit in the stables outrank Stiles.
“Do you work here in the herb gardens every day?”
“Yes, master,” Stiles says, and why the fuck is an inquisitor talking to him?
“Do you like your work here, Stiles?”
“Yes, master,” Stiles lies.
The doctor smiles slightly.
At that moment Scott appears, the door of the herbalist’s workshop slamming shut behind him.
“Brother Infirmarian needs these!” he exclaims, like being sent to fetch and carry brings him no greater joy in life. But then, it’s for sick people. So no, it probably rates really high on the list of things that bring Scott joy. Scott’s as sweet as nectar.
As Scott draws closer, the scent of the berries he’s carrying hits Stiles. Hits him like the bolt from a fucking ballista. Fucking rowan. He takes a quick, instinctive step back.
Deaton’s curious gaze follows him.
Stiles forces a smile. “You’d better hurry, Scott.”
Scott nods earnestly, and sets off in the direction of the infirmary.
When Stiles glances at Deaton again, the man is smiling.
“Why are you so upset, though?” Scott asks later that night. They’ve just finished working the abbot’s table again and are walking back through the cloisters. Dinner wasn’t so much fun this time, with Doctor Deaton looking at him. The rest of the inquisitors are undoubtedly total fuckwhippets, but Deaton… Something about the guy sets Stiles’s teeth on edge.
“No, it’s nothing,” Stiles lies. “It’s just… I might have to leave, I think.”
“Leave!” Scott exclaims. He stops, and grabs a fistful of Stiles’s habit. “Is it because of the Inquisition? Because they’re here to help.”
Right. Just like the Black Death is here to help.
“No, I know,” Stiles lies again. “It’s just I’ve been thinking that maybe this isn’t the place for me, and that I should go before I waste anymore of Brother Adrian’s time.”
“But what would you do out there?” Scott asks, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the walls.
What wouldn’t he do?
He could take as long as he liked between monasteries. He could get drunk. He could get laid. He could get his fix of all the deadly sins before putting his pious little mask back on. He’s particularly looking forward to sloth. No more prayers in the middle of the night!
He shrugs. “I’ll find something. I could be a clerk?”
Scott gives him a dubious look. “Stiles, you can barely sit still during services.”
“But I have commendable script!” Stiles protests.
Scott tries to smile, but fails. He swallows. “I’d miss you, if you left.”
“You could come too!” It’s out before he can think better of it. Because, really? Scott is good, and Stiles is…not. Stiles wants to roll around in sin like a pig in shit, and that’s really not Scott. Not at all. Their friendship wouldn’t last a day if Stiles’s wasn’t faking who he was.
“I don’t know,” Scott says, biting his lower lip in that distracted way he does when he’s anxious. “I don’t know.”
Stiles reaches for his hand, and holds it tightly. “Scott?”
“The locutory is empty.”
Scott knows exactly what he’s asking. He grips Stiles’s hand in return, and nods. “Yes.”
The locutory is a room set into the outer wall of the abbey. There is a whitewashed wall dividing the room, with a wooden grill set into it. One half of the locutory opens into the abbey. The other opens into the outside world. If Scott takes his vows, if he ever sees his mother again, it will be in this room. They will be separated by that thick grill.
The locutory is a room for talking, but Stiles and Scott don’t talk.
They kiss, and they settle onto the cold floor, fingers fumbling with belts and laces. Stiles shivers when Scott reaches out and tugs his cowl up. For a moment he vanishes inside the warm black hood his cowl creates. Then he feels Scott’s fingers tugging at the laces behind his neck, loosening them so that Stiles can pull the cowl all the way forward and squirm out the hole in the back.
He does the same for Scott.
Their habits are bundled like blankets on the cold floor, their discarded undershirts and sandals beside them.
If anyone were to come in now…
But Stiles can’t stop this. He wouldn’t, not for all the world.
Scott opens underneath him, with the help of a vial of olive oil Stiles earlier stole from the kitchens. And it’s beautiful. He’s beautiful. His breath hitches a little in panic when Stiles gets his fingers inside him, but Stiles kisses away his fear, and thinks that he’d raze the world for this boy if he asked. He never would though, because he’s a goddamn saint. He’s so much more than Stiles deserves.
He takes it slow, makes it good for Scott too. Jerks him off as he fucks him gently, and makes him come twice before he finishes. And then, when it should be awkward and sticky and Stiles should be doing his whole “Welp, this was fun, but I just remembered I have that thing” speech, instead they snuggle together on their discarded habits, and kiss, and whisper sweet things to each other.
Yeah, this is probably love.
Fuck the Inquisition.
Ever since they arrived, everybody’s been on edge. Because nobody likes the Inquisition. Not even the abbot, and he likes everyone. Instead he gets all anxious and flustered, and worries that maybe if there’s even a single speck of dust in the chapel that it will somehow be presented as evidence he’s colluding with Satan.
Stiles and the rest of the novices spend the next few days polishing candlesticks. And not in a fun, euphemistic kind of way.
Brother Adrian is more of a dick than usual. Liam gets beaten again for waking up with an erection and trying to take care of it by rubbing himself off against his pallet. One of the younger kids gets smacked across the face for getting his catechism wrong. And another boy is made to stay up all night walking in laps around the cloisters reciting from the Scriptures because he dropped a book. Seriously. A fucking book.
Stiles hates Brother Adrian.
Stiles hates cleaning the chapel too. He misses the herb garden actually, and that’s saying something. But in the herb garden he and Scott could talk and laugh, and nobody bothered them. In the chapel there is always an audience. Either the sacristan, or someone praying, or Brother Adrian, or the fucking inquisitors. They hang around the place like a bad smell. Like, a worse smell even than the incense, and that’s saying something. That shit stinks like nobody’s business.
Stiles gets clumsy.
Okay, he’s always been a little clumsy.
But this time he really fucks up.
He’s messing about by the altar, polishing the same section of wood he has been for an hour now, when he slips and falls, and knocks a box onto the ground.
The noise brings the sacristan, and a livid Brother Adrian, and two of the inquisitors.
“Sorry, master,” Stiles says, reaching quickly to retrieve the box.
Except it’s not just a box, is it?
Of course it’s not.
It’s a reliquary.
And it cracked open when Stiles knocked it down.
There’s an old, bleached bone inside it. A metacarpal, if Stiles is any judge. Ha! Some old saint is literally giving Stiles the finger!
He picks the box up.
“How dare you touch that!” Brother Adrian exclaims, and grabs for it.
It’s jostled between them for a moment. Then, as Brother Adrian gives a particularly hard wrench, the finger bone flies free, and hits Stiles in the face.
Like, seriously ow. This thing must be the real fucking deal, because Stiles is suddenly aware his face is burning. Not like he’s embarrassed he got hit in the face with a piece of bone, burning. Actual, literal burning.
Face, meet genuine holy relic.
Stiles lifts a hand to try and hide his cheek, but it’s too late.
The sacristan is running at him, screaming something unintelligible. He’s holding a goblet. Is that—
The holy water hits him in the face, and Stiles doesn’t even have time to freak out before he blacks out.
When Stiles said he wasn’t scared of the Inquisition, that was apparently because he’d never actually dealt with a proper inquisitor before. But somebody on this team very clearly knows his shit.
When Stiles comes to, he’s been stripped down to his undershirt, and he’s in the middle of the chapter house floor. His wrists are manacled behind him, and his ankles are chained to an iron ring set in the floor. And neither of those things would be an issue at all, except there’s a circle of something that might be rowan ash around him, and a fuckton of symbols written on the floor.
Stiles blinks at them woozily.
Well holy fuck.
It’s been a long time since he saw anything from the Testament of Solomon. In the original Aramaic instead of badly translated Greek. It would be as impressive as fuck if it weren’t being used against him.
“Well, fuck my life,” he mutters.
Someone gasps, and Stiles looks up blearily.
Oh, okay. He has an audience. Great. The entire chapter house is filled. Most of the who’s who of the monastery is here. The abbot’s here. Fat Brother Nilus is. The kindly infimarian is. The librarian is. The prior, too. Brother Adrian is, and great… He’s brought along all the novices, probably to try and scare them into godliness or something, including—
Scott is staring at him, horrified.
Stiles tries to quirk his mouth into the approximation of a smile, but he thinks he doesn’t quite make it. Because he’s in serious trouble here, apparently. He’s caught in a demon trap, and there is a bunch of inquisitors making their way toward him now.
Curiously, Doctor Deaton stands aside and lets one of the Benedictine monks take charge. The guy has a face that could only be improved by leprosy, and Stiles is scared, okay? He’s scared, and he’s so unused to being scared. He hasn’t been scared since he was a kid, and that was more millennia ago than is worth counting.
His mother knew his true name. She whispered it to him as she lay dying, and Stiles begged her not to go. Begged her not to leave him.
He wishes he could take comfort in that now, but how can he? If they kill him, he’s not going to the same place she did. His suffering is only just beginning, because guess what Hell really doesn’t like?
That whole dramatic “Well, go and fuck yourself, Beelzebub! I am outta here, douchenozzle!” is going to come back and bite Stiles real soon.
He clenches his fingers and rolls his shoulders, and glares balefully at the approaching monk. Brother…he tries to remember from serving at the abbot’s table. Brother Deucalion? Yeah, something like that.
Deucalion opens the book he’s holding. “Exorcizo te, omnis spiritus immunde, in nomine Dei Patris …”
Seriously? Stiles sighs.
Yes, yes, foul demon begone and suchlike. Except Stiles isn’t possessing anyone, okay? This body right here? It’s the one he was born with, thanks. He can’t be evicted through exorcism.
Which is no consolation at all, to be honest.
Because if they can’t exorcise the demon, they’ll just kill it.
The worst part, very probably, is the hunt for witch marks. It starts when Deucalion strips him entirely naked, and starts poking and prodding at him. Stiles doesn’t have witch marks. He’s not a witch, or a Jew, or an apostate, or whichever poor souls these fuckers usually target. He’s an actual living demon, and he is so far above their pay grade it should be laughable. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt though.
Because, okay, in a world where a witch mark can be basically any spot or blemish on a person’s skin—even an invisible one, just in case they’re stuck for targets—Stiles is fucking covered in them. He’s got moles all over him. And Deucalion goes after every one, first with pins, and then with a burning poker. Because he’s an asshole, that’s why.
To be fair—not that Stiles is really in the mood to be fair—Deucalion doesn’t seem to be getting off on this the way Harris was when he whipped Liam. It’s more like Stiles is an interesting scientific experiment. He even seems a little surprised when Stiles screams in agony when he presses the burning tip of the poker to a mole on the top of his thigh. Stiles drops to his knees, crying out.
Because pain. Yeah, pain is still a thing he feels. Not as acutely, maybe, as a human does. But it’s not a fucking tickle, all right?
He can hear someone retching in the background. Some of the younger novices are crying. Someone else is praying.
Deucalion steps around behind him and pulls his head back. Brings the poker into his line of sight.
“No! Enough!” The abbot rises from his seat, clutching at his chest. “You are hurting him! You are hurting that boy!”
Stiles gasps in relief.
“This here,” Deucalion says calmly, “Father Abbot, this is not a boy.”
“If not a boy, then what?” the abbot asks, his voice reed thin.
Deucalion straightens up. “That is what we are trying to establish.”
“Oh, dear,” Doctor Deaton says, and it’s the first time he’s spoken since Stiles woke up trapped. “I really wouldn’t do that if I were you, Brother Deucalion.”
“I am an official of the Inquisition,” Deucalion replies piously. “I can do as I wish.”
“No," Stiles whispers as the poker comes closer. He feels the heat of it against his eye, and tries uselessly to flinch away. “No!”
Deucalion doesn’t listen.
Stiles has never judged anyone who confesses to the Inquisition. Because who wouldn’t? So when Deucalion presents him with a piece of parchment to sign, Stiles shakily scrawls his name at the bottom, and remembers how he once told Scott he had commendable script. Not anymore.
He is left, chained and naked in the demon trap, and informed by Deucalion that he is to be burned at the stake as a witch.
As a what now?
Stiles is beyond caring, but seriously, who is paying the salaries of these guys? They should ask for their money back.
And since when did a witch warrant a demon trap from the Testament of Solomon? Overkill, much?
He fixes his one good eye on Doctor Deaton, and is surprised to find the man smiling at him with what appears to be genuine amusement. He steps close to Stiles, and says in a low voice, “Well then. Do you suppose you ought to call for help?”
Then he draws the sole of his boot through the demon trap, and Stiles is free.
For a second Stiles is shocked, and doesn’t know what to do.
But only for a second.
“You fuckers!” Stiles screams, the chains falling away uselessly. “You absolute sons of whores! What the everlasting fuck was that about?”
The chapter house is in chaos as everyone tries to make for the exit at once.
“Nuh uh!” Stiles twitches his fingers and the doors slam shut. “You will stay here and you will listen!”
Except what with all the screaming and panicking, that seems kind of unlikely. Stiles rolls his shoulders, and feels his power course through him as it heals him. He moves forward, stronger with each step. His vision clears.
“You!” Stiles bellows at Deucalion. “You absolute fuckweasel!”
Deucalion stumbles backward, holding his cross up like that will make a difference.
Stiles catches a glimpse of Scott’s pale face somewhere in the middle of the chaos. He doesn’t look scared anymore. He looks…attentive? Relieved? Jesus. Stiles doesn’t know. He’s busy. He’s got inquisitors to tear apart.
Stiles grabs Deucalion by the habit, and lifts him easily off the ground. “What the fuck is your problem, asshole?”
Deucalion gapes at him, his face slack with terror.
Oh, Stiles is going to have so much fun killing this guy. He lifts Deucalion higher and—
The doors to the chapter house smash open, and the entire room is filled with a blinding white light. Stiles growls.
“Oh, fucking seriously?” he demands. “Already?”
The man striding through the light has the look of someone who’s not going to take any shit.
He’s, well… he’s also not a man.
Cue heavenly choirs and whatnot.
“Stiles,” he says. “It’s good to see you again, kiddo. Now put that man down and watch your damn mouth. ”
Thing is, it’s all right there. Possibly in Genesis. It’s been a while since Stiles read the actual book. Angels met humans. Adult fun times ensued. And their demon children were the result. And that whole Flood thing? Please. Stiles has been sidestepping dimensions to avoid getting in the shit since he could walk. Possibly even before.
The other thing is, having an angel as a father is a hard act to follow. So Stiles pretty much didn’t try. They haven’t talked in a while. Entire civilizations have risen and fallen since the last time they spoke, actually. But the centuries fall away the second Stiles sees him again.
“You okay, kiddo?” his dad asks, wrapping his arms around him.
Stiles sniffles, and nods into his shoulder.
His dad pats him on the back. “Get some damned clothes on then.”
Stiles grumbles as he pulls his undershirt back on.
“Well,” his dad says. “This is a fine mess you’ve got yourself into.”
“I didn’t do anything!” Great. He’s reverted straight back to his adolescence.
“Nothing?” his father asks, raising his eyebrows.
“Well…” Stiles looks over to where Scott is still sitting on one of the benches, looking stunned. “Well nothing demonic!” He points an accusing finger at Deucalion. “He burned me!”
His dad turns the full power of his heavenly gaze on the petrified Deucalion. “You burned him? You burned my son?”
Deucalion clutches at his eyes, screaming, and falls to the ground. Smoke rises between his fingers.
Guess nobody ever told him not to look an angry angel in the face.
Stiles glares around the room again until his gaze falls on Deaton. “And he trapped me!”
“Deaton,” his father says. “Nice to see you again.”
Wait, what? Where are Deaton’s burning eyeballs?
“John,” Deaton says with a nod.
“Thanks for finding my boy.”
“Finding and torture-enabling!” Stiles protests. Seriously, who the hell is Deaton that he’s on first name terms with one of the seraphim? No, scratch that. Stiles doesn’t care. He just wants to punch him.
“Suck it up, kiddo,” his dad tells him. “If you hadn’t run away, you wouldn’t have been in this mess to begin with.”
“How is this my fault?” Stiles demands, and then wishes he hadn’t, because he has the feeling his dad is going to use a good chunk of eternity to tell him exactly. He sighs. “Can we go? Can we just go?”
His dad hugs him again. “Yeah, son, let’s go home.”
Stiles turns around awkwardly, in the middle of trying to lace his sandals back on. The only reason he doesn’t faceplant is because his dad grabs the back of his undershirt.
“Scotty!” Wow. This is awkward.
“You’re a demon?” Scott asks. He’s chewing his lower lip again, and twisting his hands in front of himself nervously.
“Yeah.” Stiles sighs. “I guess I should have said something?”
“Um.” Scott looks a little bemused. But then, he usually does. It’s sweet. “Nah, I get why you didn’t. I mean, this is kind of the wrong place to bring it up?”
Stiles grins a little at that. “It really is.” Then his heart skips a guilty beat. “So, sorry about the whole deadly sin thing.”
Scott wrinkles his nose, and shrugs. “No. It was, um, nice.” He looks around anxiously, to where everyone in the chapter house is staring at him. Brother Adrian looks apoplectic. “Oh. We probably shouldn’t have mentioned that.”
Stiles’s dad sighs, and pinches his nose. “You’d better come with us, son.”
Scott looks a little awestruck, but nods.
“Anyone else here whose chastity you violated?” John asks Stiles.
“Nope. Just him.” Stiles looks around again. “Although Liam’s a chronic masturbator.”
“Come on then,” John says, gesturing to Liam. Then he sighs again. “Jesus Christ, kid. Hiding in a monastery? You don’t do things by halves, do you?”
“Blasphemer,” Stiles says fondly, and leans into his dad’s embrace. “And no. No, I do not.”
They head outside into the blazing light, with Scott and Liam scurrying after them.
It’s going to be okay, probably.
He’s got his dad, and he’s got his Scott who is his best friend and Stiles kind of thinks he loves for real—he’s also got Liam, which is twice the number of friends than seems strictly necessary, but hey, he can deal—and everything’s turned out pretty damn okay.
Also, the accompanying angelic choirs are nice and stuff, but if they hold that middle-D all the way back to his dad’s place in heaven, Stiles is going to have to cut a bitch.