The alpha pack leaves Beacon Hills after just two days. The first Derek spends attempting to unite all those who know about the wolves into one force to take them on. The second Derek spends being ripped to shreds as the alphas assert their claim on what was once Hale territory. They kill Peter outright, but leave Derek, barely alive, as a message. Deaton manages to save him, but only just. Stiles stays at the vet’s to help— Deaton has to sleep eventually and, even though he’s unconscious, Derek gets restless and frantic in the presence of any of the other wolves.
Stiles isn’t glad Peter’s dead, but he isn’t exactly grieving either. Derek will heal soon enough. He’ll have to let himself fall back to beta—maybe even omega or find another pack, but that’s not so terrible. It might even be good for him to get out of Beacon Hills—Isaac too. All in all, Stiles figures things didn’t go so badly.
First they go to Boyd’s funeral, hearing the pastor lament the loss of a life taken too soon. They hear a similar message at Erica’s service that afternoon. The next day, Jackson is laid to rest in the Whittlemore family mausoleum on the edge of the cemetery with a grand and formal ceremony. That afternoon they attend two small ceremonies back-to-back as he and Derek stand alone as Peter’s casket is lowered into the grave next to his wife, child, and the rest of the Hale family. A few others come to the cemetery for Isaac—the entire lacrosse team, a few teachers from school—and there’s a quick graveside message from the funeral home’s pastor. The following morning, Melissa McCall spends the entirety of Scott’s funeral sobbing into Stiles’ shoulder as Jim McCall, fresh in from Chicago, stares vacantly into the distance, clearly still in shock from the news of his son’s death.
Last but not least, they lay the sheriff to rest. Beacon Hills’ firemen and sheriff’s deputies escort the casket, all in their dress uniforms with a solemn air of reverence surrounding them. People from all over come to pay their final respects. The preacher extols the sheriff’s many years of service to the community and how he heroically gave his life in the line of duty trying to save young people from the flames.
No, he was just trying to save me, Stiles thinks.
Because Stiles knows though he doesn’t want to that his father ran into the flames because of him. The firemen on the scene pulled two people from the flames just as the sheriff arrived: Lydia Martin and Scott McCall. Stiles’ mind has painted a far too vivid image of what must have happened. He can almost see the look on his dad’s face when he recognized Scott; See him remember his son was supposed to be spending the night at the McCall’s; see him look to the flames and realize Stiles may be trapped inside.
It’s the only way to explain why the man would have run into the blaze with no protective gear just as the firemen were retreating because the walls were giving way.
All this lying to protect him, and I got him killed anyway. I should’ve known. First mom, now him, what the hell is wrong with me?
He can feel the panic attack coming. The sound of the pastor’s voice gives way to a rushing noise in his ears. He closes his eyes and tries to focus on breathing, but the more he tries, the more he realizes just how out of control it is. He gasps for air as spots dot his vision. The world tilts as he topples, but strong arms catch him before he hits the ground. He continues to battle the constricting feeling in his chest as the hands on his shoulders lead him away.
"Breathe, Stiles,” Derek commands softly. “Come on.”
Eventually, he does suck enough air in his lungs to start the slow process back to normal respiration. He and Derek don’t return to the graveside. They stay at the edge of the cemetery, near the trees. When the funeral is over and those gathered disband, no one approaches, but several give Stiles long, sad looks. Stiles is trembling from head to toe, but he can’t stop it. It’s all too much to take in.
“What the fuck happens now?” he wonders aloud.
“Now, we’ll make the alphas pay,” Derek promises, and his voice sends a chill down Stiles spine because there’s no masking the thirst for blood behind the words.
“Yeah,” Stiles agreed darkly. “We will.”
“It’s all about confidence and belief,” Deaton says. “It’s the same magic my family has been using for centuries as guardians, a knowledge passed down through generations. Everyone has a little magic, and everyone can be trained to wield it. It can give you a fighting chance in a fight with a werewolf. You just have to believe in something with every fiber of your being. What do you believe in, Stiles?”
Vengeance, he thinks immediately with a fire that’s sure to hold the passion it will take to accomplish his vendetta.
“Justice,” he says aloud, knowing it’s a much more acceptable answer. “No one should be able to take advantage of power like that.”
Deaton nods his approval.
“You have to be careful. There’s a balance between devoting yourself to the magic and losing yourself to it. It’s the same as the werewolves must find a balance between accepting their wolf side and allowing instincts to entirely take over.”
Oh, but can’t you guess that I want the magic to take over. I want to lose the Stiles they shattered and find the Stiles who can shatter them. I want the pain to be washed away with the power.
He doesn’t mean to come back from this. He’s thought a million times of just ending it now—sharpen the blade, down the pills, tie the noose—but he can’t bring himself to do it. First a penance must be paid.
For condemning his father to such a fate with lies and deception.
For leading Scott into the open jaws of an alpha.
For claiming to love Lydia and failing her in so many ways in the past year.
For all the times he wished death on Isaac or Jackson for the sake of simplifying his own life.
For sitting safely, idly, in the back room of a vet’s office and not feeling so much as a twinge of apprehension as everyone he cared about burned alive.
Yes, a penance must be paid; then, and only then, will his life will be his own to take or spare as he sees fit.
When Stiles finally plunges a knife coated in wolfsbane into the chest of an alpha—not one of the alphas, but nonetheless a stepping stone to becoming strong enough for the vengeance they so desperately seek—he can't help the smile that plays at the corner of his lips.
He rips the weapon upward through its heart and feels the warm, black blood ooze out of the wound and over his fingers. His grin widens and, somewhere in the back of his mind, it registers that this is the first time he's smiled in weeks.
Stiles pushes the vanquished alpha away from him and relishes in the dull thud of the body hitting the floor. To his left, Derek lets out a howl of satisfaction. He then strips out of his bloodstained hoodie and leaves it with the body. It's not a mistake. It's a calculated choice.
The police will find this corpse. They'll find the hoodie. They'll identify Stiles' DNA. They'll paste his picture on the news. And with every kill he makes, the broadcasts will reach wider and wider, sending a message to the ones they're hunting:
We're getting stronger, and we're coming for you.
Stiles wakes bound to a chair with the familiar metallic taste of blood in his mouth. He remembers only vaguely the fight just before losing consciousness—being jumped as he and Derek re-entered their motel room. There had been two of them—hunters not wolves—but he hadn’t gotten a good look at them before one dealt a powerful blow to his head that rendered him unconscious.
He opens his eyes slowly, squinting against the light. He spits to the side and watches the bloody gob splat against the brown boots of the hunter in front of him. Around the shoes there’s a design in black paint forming some kind of circle with a pentagram, he recognizes it vaguely from the reams of research he compiled on all things supernatural when Scott was first turned. It’s a devil’s trap of some sort.
“Think you got the wrong monster,” he informs them, finally looking up into the faces of his captors.
“Oh, I think we got just who we’re looking for. You’ve left a trail of more bodies than we can count, and when that body count starts including hunters, we take a little offense.”
“They were bigoted assholes who couldn’t listen to reason,” Stiles replies bluntly. “We gave them the chance to back the hell off, and they were too stupid to take it. They deserved what they got.”
His head snaps back as the hunter lands a punch square to Stiles’ jaw. The momentum of it nearly topples the chair backwards.
“Dean!” the second hunter scolds. “There’s a kid in there.”
“You really think that kid’s still alive after this black-eyed bastard’s been riding him for six months? The kid’s long gone, Sam.”
“We can’t be sure of that.”
Stiles can’t help chuckling.
“What’s so damn funny?” the one called Dean demands.
“Just when I think you hunters can’t get any worse, you go and prove just what moronic cavemen you really are.”
“Yeah, well, we’re the morons who’re sending your ass straight back downstairs unless you tell us what the hell kind of plans you’re part of. At first we thought this was just some rogue werewolf, but you two are tag-teaming. Since when did demons start keeping pets?”
Stiles eyes follow Dean’s to the back corner of the room where Derek’s still form lies collapsed against the wall. Stiles can’t tell from this distance if he’s breathing or not. There’s a pool of blood around him slowly absorbing into the carpet, but it’s red, not black, and Stiles hopes it means these imbeciles tried to kill him with silver bullets. Regardless of how successful they were, the intent to kill was clearly there—no hesitation for explanation. Just the usual coldhearted hunter bloodlust.
“Don’t look so shocked,” Dean comments, noticing where Stiles’ gaze has gone.
“Didn’t you know rabid dogs have to be put down?”
“I will rip you apart with my bare hands,” Stiles informs him, his voice calm and icy, “and I will enjoy every second of it,” he adds with a slow grin.
“That’d be a neat trick,” Dean informs him. “Sam, start it,” he orders, nodding to the younger man.
“Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus,” Sam begins. “Omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii.” He halts, looking at his partner. “Dean, this isn’t’ working.”
“Maybe you should give it a try in pig latin,” Stiles suggests.
He can feel the heat of the spark he’s conjured in the ropes that tie his hands behind him. It doesn’t need much more before some extra pressure from him could break it the bonds. He looks to Derek, still trying to gage if the wolf needs more stall-time to heal or if he could help take on the hunters now—or at least flee.
“Keep going,” Dean commands and the younger man obliges.
Dean grabs a bucket that’s no doubt filled with holy water and douses Stiles. There’s just a hint of fear in his eyes when he gets no reaction, and, like every other hunter Stiles has ever had the misfortune to meet, he channels that fear into anger.
“How the fuck are you doing that?!” he demands, leaning in to yell in Stiles face; he’s close enough for Stiles to smell the onions and whiskey on the man’s breath.
“Because I’m not a demon, you jackass,” he replies, taking the moment of closeness for the advantage it is and head-butting the hunter.
He frees his hands with a jerk of his arms and sends a punch to the hunter’s jaw before he has time to block it. As he stumbles to the side, the other hunter drops the exorcism he’s been reading from and raises a shotgun. He gets off one shot that sends Stiles flying backwards, flipping over the corner of the bed behind in and into the small space between the bed and the wall. He stays down, feigning more injury than he’s taken. The shot fired was a salt round, meant for a demon, but it still hurts like a bitch.
“You’re trying to tell me your human, you little shit?” Dean asks, moving around the edge of the bed.
“Something like that.”
“What are you?”
“I’m pissed off is what I am.”
“You know what I mean; what the hell are you?”
“What do you care? You kill everything. You don’t need to know the particulars.”
“Why’d you kill all those people?” Sam asks.
He responds only because in six months this is the first person who’s ever asked and honestly seemed to care what the answer is.
“They’re not people; they’re werewolves. Well, I guess technically the hunters were people, but those were all self-defense. We hunt werewolves—alphas, whole rogue packs, the occasional omega when things get slow—and we kill werewolves. Efficiently.”
“We do your job. We’re just better at it.”
He doesn’t get to answer the question because the sound of sirens reaches them, and they’re closing in. If Stiles had to guess, he’d say the sounds of fighting and gunshots didn’t go unnoticed. The two hunters look just as alarmed as Stiles; no doubt they’re in no hurry to get arrested either. In the moment of distraction, Stiles slides a hand under the bed to retrieve the gun he stashed there earlier. He pulls it out and fires.
They took cover as soon as he started shooting. He doubts either hunter is fatally wounded—assuming they get to a hospital in time—but they’re incapacitated and concerned enough for one another to buy Stiles the time he needs to get to Derek.
“Nice,” Derek compliments as Stiles pulls the wolf to his feet.
“Good. You’re not dead. Can you run?”
They disappear around the corner of the building just as the squad cars screech to a halt in the parking lot. They’ll be long gone before anyone can figure out who they were or where they’re headed. He smiles and reaches for Derek’s hand as they disappear into the night.
sorry it's been so long, and sorry to those of you who wanted/expected more :/
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The day they finally, finally take on the Alphas, Stiles can feel the thrum of victory in his veins like a second heartbeat. There’s no room for failure, no room for mistakes. They’re taking them down; they’re making them pay.
Vengeance will be had.
Stiles turns to Derek as they walk, no more than a block or two from the old mill where they alphas have holed up.
“I couldn’t have done this without you, you know,” he says, and it feels like a goodbye because it is. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Where else would I be?” Derek wonders, hand slipping into Stiles, squeezing his fingers briefly, and the relinquishing it again.
The Alphas never see them coming. They fall one by one, but at great price. Some of the screams that fill the air are ripped from Derek and Stiles. Their blood mingles on the dusty concrete floor alongside the Alphas’. Stiles worries for just a moment that they may be losing, that some may retreat and survive, but the tattoo of gunshots erupts as an exterior door bursts open, and he knows the Alphas will die. It must be hunters who have come to help, but he doesn’t care who, just focuses on searing the life out of the Alpha trapped beneath him. It’s not until he hears a cry from Derek that can mean only one thing that Stiles wavers, eyes searching until he sees the agonized face of his last remaining ally.
As he rises, a bullet pierces through his chest, sending him to his knees, but he crawls forward anyway. It’s a scratch among many, a fleshwound that won’t kill the spirit—not yet anyway.
“Dean, stop! It’s the kid! It’s that kid! Don’t shoot!” a vaguely familiar voice pleads.
“What the hell?”
“Derek, you dead?” he wonders collapsing on the concrete next to Derek’s still form.
“Dead. All of them. We did it.”
Stiles lifts his head to see Derek smile. There’s a trickle of black blood oozing from the corner of his lips, and Stiles knows the hunters must’ve done their research since last they met.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay, Stiles,” the tall one says as his form swims into view.
“Sam, he’s not human! Be careful!”
“He’s seventeen, Dean! What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“Dead right?” Stiles wonders. “They’re all dead.”
“Yeah. They are. We didn’t—didn’t realize your friend was—we thought they were all—”
“Just—just hang with me, okay? We’ll get you some help.”
“Sam, you saw him. He’s not human he’s just as vicious the—”
“Dean! We are not going to sit here and watch him die!”
“Derek?” Stiles wonders, tuning out the hunters’ argument, but Derek doesn’t answer. Stiles turns his head and sees Derek’s death-clouded eyes. The pang of pain at realizing he’s truly alone doesn’t last long; this’ll just make the next step easier.
He reaches one hand out for Derek’s lifeless one, grasping the blood-slick fingers as tightly as he can manage. Stiles doesn’t have any bullets left, but the hunters don’t know that. He clutches the gun, raising it to aim at the young hunter moving to crouch beside him. He hears the crack of a gunshot.
thanks for reading!