Stiles ran into the boiler room, trying to believe they weren't about to find another dead body. Fuck the Alpha pack! They just couldn't leave well enough alone? It was bad enough that the Beacon Hills pack had just taken down a murdering psycho and his pet Kanima, now they had to deal with this shit!
He'd gotten an urgent text from Scott while he'd still been at the hospital, telling him what had happened. Derek was trapped, alone, with two insane werewolves until sunrise. Stiles had run all the way to his jeep.
It had taken less then 10 minutes to drive to the school and way less to bolt from the jeep to the building. He'd found Scott next to the boiler room door. His best friend filled him in on their plan, that had been working damn it, up until they found out a teacher was in the basement and now Derek had to hold off two werewolves on his own.
Oh, of fucking course there would be someone down there! It's not like they could have things go right the one time they had actually formulated a good plan!
They had spent long, agonizing minutes in tense silence, waiting, willing the sun to rise. There were barely any sounds on the other side of the door. That couldn't be a good sign.
Please, Stiles found himself thinking furiously at the unyielding metal. Please, don't be dead.
Now, with the dawn at their backs, he, Scott, and a frantic Isaac ran into the basement... and headlong into a nightmare.
There was blood. A lot of blood. Stiles felt like they'd walked onto the scene of a horror movie. Everything was red.
Cora and Boyd were passed out on the floor and Scott immediately ran over to check if they were still alive. Stiles, however, was focused on the third body, covered in so much blood it was barely recognizable.
“Derek!” he shouted, sliding to his knees beside the prone Alpha. His eyes were closed, his chest a mural of deep, jagged claw marks and he wasn't responding.
There was blood everywhere. The floor, the walls, it was soaking into his shoes and the knees of his jeans. So much blood, Derek's blood.
“Oh no, oh god, oh no...”
He wasn't dead, he couldn't be dead. He was too fucking stubborn to be dead! Stiles put his hands on either side of the Alpha's face, his hands trembling as he shook the other man.
“Derek, come on!”
“Stiles!” Scott grabbed his shoulder, turning his friend just enough that he could look at his face. Isaac was supporting an unconscious Cora, going pale when he caught sight of Derek. “We need to get them to Deaton, Come on!”
Still shaking, Stiles nodded before climbing to his feet to help haul the werewolves upstairs to the cars, Allison's dad making his way down to deal with the civilian still in the basement. As Stiles climbed back into his jeep, he prayed to whatever god was clearly ignoring him that the Alpha bleeding all over his back seat would live.
They were banished to the front almost as soon as they'd gotten the three wolves in to Deaton, which had been far from easy, thank you very much. Two of those werewolves were pure muscle but did they get to know what was going on? Oh, nooooo. They had to sit out front and wonder.
Well, 'they' really just meaning Stiles and Isaac. Scott was apparently 'needed.' So now Stiles sat in one of the really fucking uncomfortable chairs, chewing his nails and bouncing his leg a mile a minute. He was certain that Isaac was tempted to punch him in the face but he just couldn't help it.
After the forty minute mark, the mild-tempered veterinarian finally called them back. The first thing Stiles saw was Derek, laid down across the metal table and unconscious. Most of his injuries had closed up and healed over, but he was pale and out cold. The next thing he noticed was Scott, perched on the back counter with his head in his hands.
Oh yeah, these looked like good signs.
“He hasn't woken up?” Isaac asked in a small voice. Scott's head shot up at the other wolf's tone and he hopped off the counter to come stand by him. Stiles figured it was some 'pack comfort' thing.
He swallowed hard and looked at Deaton as the vet began to speak.
“No, I'm afraid he hasn't,” he started and Stiles wanted to shake the man for sounding so... flat about it. What was it with Deaton's 'I'm-so-stoic-and-calm-and-never-seem-affected-by-anything'-ness?
“Why not?” Stiles asked. “He was tore up pretty badly but shouldn't the being a werewolf handle that? I mean, what's the point in going all growly every full moon if you don't get the full advantage of the healing? Well, other than the speed, strength, hearing-”
“Ability to disembowel annoying teenagers,” finished a voice from behind him.
Stiles whipped around so fast he nearly fell to the floor, much to the smug amusement of one Peter Hale who had been creeping behind him like the creepy, zombie wolf he was.
“What are you doing here?” Scott demanded, moving slightly in front of Isaac and Stiles.
“That is my nephew laid out on the table,” Peter answered, tone conveying anything but sincerity. “Of course I rushed straight here.”
“Like you care,” Stiles spat, swallowing hard when cold blue eyes were trained on him.
“Believe it or not, I'm here to help.”
“Oh yeah sure. I believe that-”
“I called him here. I need him to lend his insight,” Deaton interrupted, holding up a hand as if to pacify the teens. Stiles moved closer to Derek's prone form, as if he stood a chance of keeping Peter away. Which, yeah, no shot whatsoever, but it made him feel better.
“Insight on what?” Isaac asked, refusing to look at Peter and instead directing his glare at Deaton. Scott placed a calming hand on the taller wolf's arm, draining a tiny amount of tension out of his shoulders.
“Derek was severely hurt,” the vet started. “As a response, he has gone into a kind of healing trance.”
“But... he looks healed,” Stiles said, looking over Derek's body. It was true, the Alpha had healed completely during his stay in Deaton's exam room. There was hardly any evidence of the harrowing events of only an hour or so before.
“Which leads me to believe that this trauma not only affected his body,” the man continued, looking at them each in turn. “But also his mind. He's fallen into a type of coma, trapped in his own mind and unable to wake up.”
Stiles looked over at Scott, meeting his friend's eyes and realizing why the teen had seemed so down when he came in.
“So... he's just... stuck like this?” he asked haltingly.
“Yes,” Peter said, earning icy glares from the teens at his almost cheerful tone.
“If we don't pull him out of it,” Deaton finished quickly, throwing a disapproving look Peter's way. “Someone will have to enter Derek's mind and lead him back.”
The vet fell silent, allowing them all a moment to understand the full gravity of the situation.
Stiles looked down at the slumbering Alpha, a cold weight settling in his stomach at the thought of him never waking. His eyes were moving behind his eyelids and even in sleep, his forehead was pinched in a frown that Stiles wanted to smooth with his fingertips.
He looked up to find Scott watching him with nervous concern and Peter giving him an all too knowing smirk. He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders, looking determinedly at Deaton.
“What's the plan?”
“We’re going to use a ritual to place one person in a trance that will allow them to access Derek’s mind,” the vet explained. “It can be dangerous, for both parties involved, and we’ll likely only get one shot at this.”
“If we only have once chance, shouldn’t we send more than one person?” Scott asked but Deaton was already shaking his head.
“Too many voices will confuse him. If he retreats any deeper we’ll never reach him and most likely you would all end up trapped as well.”
“Ok, so let’s avoid that,” Isaac said, getting a small smile out of Scott. Deaton nodded.
“Only one can talk to him. It has to be someone with a strong connection to Derek in order for this to work.”
Peter stepped closer as Deaton paused and Stiles felt his heart speed up as the wolf leveled him with a scrutinizing look. This couldn’t be going where he thought it was. They would pick Isaac. The young wolf made the most sense as he’d been living with Derek, was part of his pack, and was also one of the first that Derek had given The Bite. Why wasn’t Peter looking at Isaac?
“Now, he would never admit it,” Peter started, his eyes never leaving the fidgeting teen. “But there is one person who could reach him…”
His gaze grew more intense until Stiles had to drop his eyes to get away from that searing look.
“Who could save him,” the wolf finished.
“Stiles,” the vet said firmly, drawing Stiles’ gaze. “Only you can save him.”
“Wait,” Isaac burst out, looking between Deaton and Peter like they’d lost their minds. “Why Stiles? I mean… they’re not exactly close.”
Scott put a hand on the other wolf’s arm but his eyes were firmly on Stiles. Stiles refused to look at his best friend. Scotty knew all about his feelings for the surly Alpha and he didn’t need to see the concern, or worse, the pity in his friend’s eyes. Stiles looked at his feet as he tried to calm the shaking in his hands. He was sure all the wolves could hear his heart beating like a hummingbird, maybe even Deaton could too that sneaky bastard.
“Maybe not on the surface,” Deaton explained. “But they share a much… deeper bond.”
The teen’s head snapped up at that.
“A bond? What bond?” he blurted, unable to help the hint of hope in his voice.
“One I’m certain my stubborn nephew has convinced himself isn’t there,” Peter continued smugly. Stiles started to suspect he and the vet had been practicing this speech what with their perfectly matched vague-as-shit answers.
“But... what...” Scott started. Deaton was focused solely on Stiles.
“Unfortunately we really don’t have time to explain. Stiles,” he put his hands on the teen’s shoulders. “Only you can do this. You have to find Derek and wake him up; it’s his only chance of coming out of this.”
The brunette swallowed hard before looking once more at the unconscious Alpha. He had no idea what ‘bond’ they were talking about, but if he had any chance of helping Derek…
“Ok,” he breathed, then spoke again with more conviction. “Ok, what do I do?”
Why does a vet’s office even have a giant, trough-looking tub? Stiles wondered as he looked at the uninviting metal tub that he had helped fill almost entirely with ice and water while Deaton had poured some of his mysterious herbs into it.
He stood there barefoot in a pilfered t-shirt and sweats from Scott’s work locker as they waited for Deaton to finish… whatever he was doing with the last few herbs that would allow Stiles to find his way into Derek’s mind. After another minute, the vet finally finished mumbling over the jar and dumped what looked like mistletoe berries (Stiles had spent a lot of time in the potions room on Pottermore) into the icy water.
“Ok, we’re all set,” he said, looking calmly at Stiles. “Ready?”
Taking a deep breath, Stiles stepped up to the tub before nodding shakily.
“Dude,” Scott said as he put one hand on the brunette’s shoulder. “You okay?”
“Oh yeah,” Stiles responded, voice dripping with sarcasm. “You know, just going for a swim in the world’s worst cup of iced-tea so that I can Inception a comatose werewolf whose mind is probably going to be about as much fun as the first five minutes of a Supernatural episode. Just your typical Tuesday in Beacon Hills.”
His best friend didn’t answer, looking instead over at Deaton.
“How slow does his heartrate need to be?”
“Very slow,” was the typically unhelpful answer. “Nearly dead.”
A bolt of lightning lit the room briefly and Stiles nearly scoffed at the drama it added. Scott’s grip on his shoulder tightened at Deaton’s words and Stile’s covered his friend’s hand with his own, drawing that brown-eyed gaze.
“I’ll be okay, Scotty,” he said, hoping his heartbeat stayed strong and steady to reassure his friend. Scott gave him a firm nod before loosening his grip and stepping slightly back. He looked over at Isaac who was looking really queasy.
“You can wait in the other room…”
“No,” the wolf answered, shaking himself a little and squaring his shoulders. “No, that’s okay. I want to be here.”
“We’re wasting time,” Peter almost sounded concerned from where huddled in the corner, almost. Stiles ignored him and gave Isaac a grateful smile.
“Ok,” he sighed, lifting one leg and slowly climbing into the tub. He hissed in a breath at the frigid temperature of the water but forced himself to sit down, the water coming up to his neck. Scott took up position at his back, both hands on his shoulders as Deaton leaned over the side in order to look him in the eye.
“Remember Stiles: We won’t be able to keep you down for too long before it becomes dangerous. You need to find him as fast as you can.”
Stiles nodded, his teeth chattering as he tried to take deep breaths and his fingers sore from how hard he was gripping the sides of the tub.
“Ready?” Scott asked, probably freaking out but doing a good job of not showing it. Stiles forced himself to loosen his grip and bring his arms all the way into the water. He took one more deep breath, nodded, and then let his best friend plunge him under water.