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The Stars and The Truth

Chapter Text

To say Stiles was in pain was the understatement of the year.
Parts of his body were hurting that he’d never thought someone could cause pain to. His organs, his thighs, his hips; those were towards the top of the list.
But what really hurt was his skin. It didn’t fit him, it wasn’t right, it wasn’t his. There were bruises and scratches and markings that weren’t supposed to be there, that had no right to litter his skin. He didn’t consent to them being embellished upon his body, but it didn’t happen to him. It had happened a world away, to someone else, in another time and dimension. It hadn’t been him. Those woman didn’t do this to him; it had been someone else.
It had been someone else restrained and blindfolded, choking on rubbery plastic as his insides burned from more of it. It had been someone else’s hair being ruthlessly yanked on, another man’s scalp that had had manicured nails digging in and causing pain. Another man who’d been so fully and irreversibly violated that he couldn’t even react to his pack when they showed up, that couldn’t even respond when his alpha was pressing along his abused figure. It was someone else, someone that wasn’t Stiles.

“Can you use your powers yet?”
Peter’s gentle voice pulled Stiles from his inner monologue of repression and denial back to the living room of the new Hale House.
His alpha had been the one to find him, he’d barged in fully shifted as a wolf, sleek white fur a welcome and stark contrast to what had previously been a dimly lit and devious room. Peter had been the one to tear those women from Stiles, to pull them away and pull their life source straight from their body. He’d stayed shifted as the rest of the pack had caught up, he’d curled around Stiles’ limp body and whimpered - Peter had whimpered - at the young man’s unresponsiveness.
He’d shifted back and scooped Stiles up after accepting clothes from Derek, he’d held him close and wouldn’t let anyone else near. He’d drained his emissary’s pain until Stiles was able to pass out from a lack of stimuli to keep him awake.
He’d opened his eyes to the comfort of their home, being wrapped in strong arms, in comfortable clothing and a large blanket, by the fire.
He’d opened his eyes to a comfort he’d had shoved out of him, to a peace he thought he’d never be able to obtain again after he’d been so thoroughly violated in ways a woman should not even be able to do to him.
But he was here, curled up against Peter, his childhood friend and his brother sitting on the couch. They were huddled together, clinging to each other for strength Stiles wished he could give them; for a reassurance he wouldn’t be able to offer even himself for a while. Jamie let out a small whine when their eyes met and made a move to come over, but at a growl from Peter they rooted themselves to Isaac, letting out a distressed noise.

“Please let me see them… They need to just touch me.” Stiles voice was scratchy and barely above a whisper, his earlier screams haunting his vocal chords even hours later.
Peter grunted quietly, setting his jaw and staring at the fire. Jamie was off of the couch in under a second, pressing their face against Stiles’ cheek, ignoring their alpha’s growl as they stroked through their friend’s hair.
“Stiles… You… We were so scared.” They whispered, nuzzling against Stiles’ forehead before pressing a chaste kiss to his skin. Their lips and fingers were trembling, unable to remain steady as they confirmed Stiles’ existence, that Stiles’ living form was not mere imagination.
“I was, too,” Stiles murmured, allowing a second more of attention before ducking his head away, the anxiety wracking through him too much. Peter’s snarl had Jamie back on the couch, their expression torn as they let Isaac smell Stiles from their hands.

“You never answered my quest-”
Peter was effectively cut short as the fire expanded immensely via a short burst of energy from Stiles’ hand that was outstretched. His eyes had gone black, the gentle twinkling of stars evident to those allowed to step close and observe. When the alpha shrank away, the emissary’s hand dropped and he sagged against his chest. “I-I, I didn’t… I wasn’t thinking…”
Peter shushed him with a firm squeeze and brush of lips across his forehead, soothing the anxiety he’d felt spike despite Stiles’ block on himself from the pack bond.
“You’re not in right mind. It’s okay.”
“ ’s not an excuse.”
“It’s a reason to quickly and easily forgive you,” Peter murmured, fingers gently tracing over one of Stiles’ fading tattoos. They appeared for magic use and then were hidden again, much to his chagrin. Peter always wanted his emissary’s power to be on full display.
But his eyes were Peter’s true weakness. To say that Stiles’ eyes were the night sky was too simple, because they were so much more; they were sparkling with an otherworldly glow, the specks twinkling just as the stars above Peter did night after night without fail. The gorgeous star systems that fascinated Stiles so were reflected in his eyes as he used his magic, his anchor known to any and every enemy before they were slain. They gave hope to those Stiles was helping, too, the twinkling inspiring some small spark that was left in someone who previously believed they were void of all hope. Peter’s emissary was unique in more ways than one, and he’d wished those traits were always on display.
They sat together in silence as the alpha tried to project his positive and hopefully uplifting thoughts to his emissary, Jamie and Isaac silently fretting over Stiles as he dozed off again in Peter’s capable and comforting embrace.

 


 

“They’re going to pay, and for once, murder isn’t off the table.”
“Keep your voice down, Derek, he’s sleeping.”
The younger alpha had made his way to the living room, needing to be close by Stiles. He’d been pacing the study, trying to give him room and not overwhelm him, but it had gotten to be too much. He’d needed Stiles in his sights.
“But I wholeheartedly agree, nephew. There were others that had been there, I could smell them.”

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up nestled between Jamie and Isaac, the three of them situated on one of the softer floor pallettes Stiles has been on. There was ample cushioning beneath his body from about six or seven blankets, the one he was wrapped in his favorite he always stole from Derek. He shifted a bit to settle closer to Isaac, nuzzling against his brother's shoulder.
The movement woke him and Stiles tensed, awaiting the tackling hug and frenzied words that never came. Isaac simply smiled and rolled to face his brother, eyes peeking open. "Can I hold you?"
His voice was raspy, hinting to Stiles he'd been asleep for a very long amount of time yet again.
"Yeah," The emissary paused as his voice gave way through the word, and the pressure in his sinuses finally hit him, making him groan quietly. "I would get sick," He grumbled, tossing his blanket over Isaac before cuddling up to the beta's warm torso.
"That's the least of your worries," Isaac murmured, moving his arm from where he'd settled it on Stiles' waist to a place a bit farther up his torso when the emissary had tensed up at the contact.
"What could be worse?" Stiles smiled, nudging his cold nose against Isaac's neck, smiling as his brother hissed softly at the unwelcome feeling.
"Peter and Derek are out for blood."
Stiles laid in silence for a while, mulling over exactly how he wanted to phrase his response. "I can't find it in myself to give those women any sympathy."
"They want to kill them, Sti," Isaac was whispering, the tremor of discomfort that ran down his spine not escaping Stiles' senses. "They just want to... They want to murder."
"Izzy?" Stiles frowned and looked up at his brother when he heard him sniffle, "Hey. What's, what's really going on?"
The beta closed his eyes, the shaking Stiles had noticed earlier back full force, but this time accompanied by quiet sobs. "Izzy, hey, what is it?" Stiles murmured, gently moving his brother's hand from where it was fisted in the v-neck Stiles was wearing, "Hey. Come on, it's me. Talk."
"I knew one of them," Isaac whispered, sitting up, hunching his shoulders, "I was going to ask her to the game this weekend."
"Look at me, right now," Stiles sat up, the hand Jamie tried settling on his hip causing him to flinch and shy into Isaac's side.
"I can't. Please. She kept asking about you, fuck, I'm so stupid," Isaac pushed Stiles from his body before he stood, moving away from the huddle of blankets. Stiles was trying to regain his breath, Isaac's push having shoved him in a way he hit a sore spot just right. Jamie's hand was reaching for Stiles again and he smacked it down, trying to crawl away from the two of them. His body was screaming with the effort of pulling his muscles, his lungs were spasming, trying to breathe in and out at the same time, and Stiles was trying to tell Jamie he did not need to be touched. Words weren't coming, oxygen wasn't available, people were yelling as the blankets and rug flew up from a burst of Stiles' power. The couches made a hideous noise that had the the emissary cowering down as they were flung to the wall. The table overturned and glass shattered. Stiles was still trying to breathe.
"Peter, where's," Stiles was trying to speak, he was. The air wasn't available still, but he was somehow able to get the words out. "Peter."
"Stiles, you've got to stop your field. I can't get to you. Come on, recite your constellations," Peter's voice was too far away, and when Stiles looked up, the alpha was across the room, seeming to struggle against an invisible enemy, trying to push forward but failing miserably as he was thrown against a wall with a wave of new power.
"Peter," Stiles gasped, attempting to push himself to his knees with the aid of the fireplace to hoist himself up.
"Come on. Andromeda," Peter's voice was riddled with pain, the anxiety and guilt rolling through Stiles at the revelation manifesting into another wave of power that had the man thrown against the wall again. "Antlia. Aquarius. A-"
"Apus," Stiles cut him off, breathing out harshly when Peter made it a few more steps before he had to stop again.
"What?"
"Apus. It's Andromeda, Antlia, Apus, then Aquarius," Stiles closed his eyes, willing the mantra to come back. His anchor. He needed the stars right now.
"Keep goin-uh!" The breath was punched from Peter as he was thrown back against the wall, Stiles struggling to pull the memory. "Don't, no-no rushing," He begged, fingernails digging into his palms as he begged his mind to release the words.
"Aquila. Ara. Aries," Stiles opened his eyes, the specks of white swirling to form each star cluster as he spoke them aloud. "Auriga, Boötes, Caelum, Came-Camelopar-par-" Stiles groaned and pounded his fist against the brick of the fire place.
"Camelopardalis," Peter's voice was close now, a few feet away. The emissary looked up at his alpha, his powers receding as he felt something inside him break at the sheetrock staining Peter's clothes, the blood dripping from his nose and trickling down the side of his face from a gash on his temple that was slowly healing. "Say it."
"Camelopardalis," Stiles whispered as he felt strong arms envelope him, gentle fingers moving to brush tears from his face.

"Cancer
Canes Venatici
Canis Major
Canis Minor
Capricornus
Carina."

"Peter!" Derek's frantic voice tore Stiles' concentration and had both of the alphas plastered to the wall with a surge of power backed by anxiety. The emissary was doubled over once more, knuckles white from his grip on the fireplace. He could hear the older man speaking urgently to his nephew, but it was too much for his frantic mind to focus on. So much anxiety from the pack bond was attacking him from every member, the pain wracking through Derek and Peter only pressing in more on his mental state.
Stiles knew Peter was talking, presumably to Derek, simply because of the gentle timbre of his voice breaking through the thick atmosphere his power was creating. The younger alpha started moving towards the door, and at seeing his limp, Stiles doubled over, another burst of power emanating from his body. Derek was thrown against the frame of the doorway before managing to army crawl forward and away, the fear and pain Stiles could feel through the bond causing him to cry out.
Peter's cry of pain had the emissary's full attention, trying to curb the wave to follow the noise. "Stiles... Mantra..."
His voice was broken, destroyed, he was slumped against the wall, the only thing holding him up were Stiles' waves of energy coming off in a steady flow. "Carina..."

"Carina
Cassiopeia
Centaurus
Cepheus
Cetus."

Peter crumpled to the floor as Stiles managed to pull his powers back. He wasn't completely in control again, and the dull thud of his alpha's body falling had him back at the precipice.
"It's okay. You're doing so good, Stiles."
Peter's voice was raspy, weak, but the emissary could sense his sincerity as the man moved to a sitting position. He had a hand over his abdomen, trying to sit still and quiet as his body repaired itself.
Stiles was doing everything in his power to keep himself together, but he could feel the gentle magic working its way through Peter to wrong the mistakes of his own. A broken sound fell from Stiles' lips as he doubled over again, shame flowing through his body.
"Hey. What's after Cetus, Stiles? Tell me. You've got to make it through them all."

"Chamaeleon."

"Keep going. Your eyes shift to every one and I love watching it," Peter was lulling Stiles into a softer, simpler, more comfortable state of mind that made the recitation that much easier. "I want to see them all."

"Circinus
Columba
Coma Berenices
Corona Australis
Corona Borealis
Corvus, Crater-Crux-Cygnus-
Peter, someone's having a panic attack. It isn't just me."

Stiles was on his hands and knees, the fear and screaming helplessness swirling through his body from someone other than himself.
"Stiles, Stiles, look at me," Peter's voice was urgent, he was limping across the room to the emissary. "Block out the pack right now. You need to get yourself under control. You're putting us in danger and we can't focus on someone else until you're reigned in."
And the words shouldn't hurt as much as they did, but Stiles could definitely feel inside himself the moment something seemed to snap and shatter to pieces. Isaac and Jamie's screams, Derek's fear as he crawled away from Stiles, Peter standing less than a foot away and not laying a hand on him. He was a liability and a danger to his pack. How ironic; their protector was putting their lives in danger.
Stiles listened to Peter nonetheless, shutting himself out from their pack-wide 'network', mainly because he didn't need anyone looking into why that small string of words broke something deep in him. He was instantly sobered, needless to say, and made it to his feet, the shrieking pain in his side and hips be damned. If he was to be a danger, he wasn't going to be someone that should be looked after 24/7. Keep his pack away, keep his pack safe.
"Hey, you've gone out on me," Peter murmured, carefully setting a hand on Stiles' shoulder, stepping in close and brushing his nose through the emissary's hair. "You didn't finish your list."
Reciting constellations was the last thing on Stiles' mind, he'd rather be outside looking at them, but he knew Peter wouldn't let him out of sight until he'd finished. He needed to be away from the alpha, from the pack; he was putting them in danger.

"Delphinus
Dorado
Draco
Equuleus
Eridanus
Fornax
Gemini
Grus
Hercules
Horologium."

Stiles allowed himself to lean into Peter's body, resting his weight heavily against the now fully healed werewolf.
He needed this, he wouldn't be allowing himself this pleasure for a while to come. He couldn't endanger Peter and the rest of his wolves more than they already were on a regular basis. They should be focusing on threats from outside, that's only place danger should be coming from, which is where Stiles was going to be. On the outside.

"Hydrus
Indus
Lacerta
Leo
Leo Minor
Lepus
Libra
Lupus
Lynx
Lyra
Mensa
Microscopium
Monoceros
Musca."

Peter was gently carding his fingers through his emissary's hair, an arm around his waist to support the younger man's weight and hopefully discreetly pull some of his pain.
Stiles had no objections, opting for a gluttonous moment - a cheat day before the diet begins.

"Norma
Octans
Ophiuchus
Orion
Pegasus
Phoenix
Pictor
Pisces
Pisces Austrinus
Pleiades
Praesepe
Puppis
Pyxis
Reticulum
Sagitta."

Peter's lower register voice crafted a harmony to Stiles' own tenor sound as he made his way through the list, other members of the pack filing into the room to watch them.

"Sagittarius
Scorpius
Sculptor
Scutum
Serpens
Sextans
Taurus
Telescopium
Triangulum
Triangulum Australe
Tucana
Ursa Major
Ursa Minor
Vela
Virgo
Volans
Vulpecula."

As he slumped fully against Peter, losing the battle with consciousness he'd barely been able to maintain even with his magic, a snippet of dialogue from his defilement came to the forefront of his mind.
"We're going to destroy your pack, Mieczyslaw. You will do it for us.

The war had just begun, and those women were already on top.
How was he supposed to keep himself away if he couldn't even keep his own eyes open?

Chapter Text

The next time Stiles woke, he was curled up in a large bed. Nobody was there to greet him this time, which was strangely comforting. Stiles wanted to take a moment to deliberate over the revelation that being alone was now something he wanted, whereas he used to avidly work against waking up alone.
The door to an adjacent room opened and steam poured out, and Stiles realized this was Derek’s bedroom. A small pit opened in his gut as he realized Peter probably wasn't home.

“Hey, hey, no. It's just me,” Derek said softly, peeking around the door, gently spooning some form of comfort towards Stiles through their bond that the emissary only tried to push away.
“I don't need your help,” Stiles said quietly, pulling the blanket tight around his shoulders to cocoon himself in the rapidly receding warmth. Derek always kept his room cold.
“It's not help, it's pack. C'mon, Stiles,” Derek sighed quietly, grabbing some sweats and changing in the bathroom before coming back out. “I know you're not… you're not wanting any kind of help or closeness right now, but you saw what shutting people out did to me, didn't you? You always talked about it, and… I'm promising you that I won't let that happen. I can't let you turn into me,” Derek murmured, sitting on the edge of the bed and turning the lights in the room to a halfway dim. Stiles grunted and blinked a few times to get used to the new lighting before he scooted across the bed to sit by his other alpha.
“You know it's going to be hard? I don't… I'm not discounting you-” “Stiles, you were held captive for almost a month, who knows how much they did to you in that time. We had different versions of a very scarring moment in our lives. I know yours was different, don't apologize for saying it.”
Stiles nodded and dropped Derek’s gaze as his eyes welled with tears, his shoulders hunching. “It still hurts everywhere,” he whispered, reaching up to wipe his tears away as he took in a shaky breath. “I don't feel like myself.”
“Can you… do you think you could tell me what's different between now and the nogitsune to how we should try to… help you out?”
“I need to be alone. N-Not always!” Stiles said quickly when he saw Derek open his mouth to object. “Just… you know I have major anxiety issues, and I can't… I can't have another panic attack. I'm going to need… I need the pack to know if I move away or push them away that it's not personal, I just… it's a lot,” Stiles said quietly, glaring at his hands as they started to shake.
“We can't let you leave the house without Peter or myself and at least another pack member. We know there are others that weren't there when we found you,” Derek murmured, grabbing Stiles’ hands and squeezing them lightly before tugging him forward for a hug. The emissary let out a choked noise, burying his face against Derek’s chest, his fingers digging into the skin on his back. “Derek, I'm scared.”
“Me too, Stiles. We can't lose you again,” Derek whispered, pulling him into his lap and nuzzling his face in his hair. “I do need to tell you something, though.”
Stiles felt his stomach drop, but sat up to look at Derek nonetheless.
“Jamie was the other person having that panic attack. Peter said I shouldn't tell you, but I knew you needed to know now so I could leave you alone if you needed to deal with it.”
“Why did they have it?” Stiles asked stupidly, but he already knew the answer.
“Because they caused yours.”

- - - - -

“Stiles! Oh my god, Stiles!” Erica was the first to try to scramble to her feet when the emissary made it down the stairs, leaning heavily against Derek as he did so.
He could feel the disapproval radiating from Peter, so he looked at him first. “Keeping me alone is going to do nothing for the pack or my healing,” He explained as he limped over to Peter. He settled a hand against the side of his face, brushing a thumb over the alpha’s cheek as he leaned into the touch. “Thank you for caring,” he murmured before turning to face the rest of the pack. “Before you guys rush me and suffocate me, I need to say something that I need you to respect about the situation.”
Twelve pairs of eyes sat trained on Stiles and he had to drop his eyes to the floor, shifting to stand a bit behind Peter. “I can't… do touch like I used to. And I need you to respect that. I don't want a repeat of what happened…” Stiles glanced at Derek, unsure of how long it had been.
“Two days ago.”
“-two days ago. I don't want to put anyone in danger like that, so I-” Stiles’ voice broke and he turned away for a second, setting a hand on Peter’s shoulder to try to steady himself. “I need you to understand if I push you away or shy away or move away or flinch, don't take it personal. Please. You know how much I love cuddling and hugging and just… touching and being touched. But, right now, I can't… I can't handle it. A lot. All at once? Too much at on-” Peter set a hand over Stiles’ on his shoulder and squeezed it, looking back at him.
“Deep breath. Take a second. You don't have to get it all out in under 30 seconds.”
Stiles nodded and leaned down, pressing his face in the corner of Peter's neck and shoulder, the hand he'd had against his alpha’s cheek moving to hold his waist. He looked up, making eye contact with each member of his pack before speaking again. “I need you to remember that if I have to get up and leave, I'm not saying don't ever touch me again. I just mean it for that moment.”
“Can we all give you a hug? One at a time?” Erica asked hopefully.
Stiles bit his lip and covered Peter’s mouth before he answered for him. “I'll try it. But… d-don’t crowd around,” He murmured as he stood up straight. Peter settled his hand in the small of Stiles’ back as Erica unceremoniously scrambled to her feet and tried to walk over as calmly as possible. Stiles gave her a friendly smirk. “I expected you to be more enthusiastic.”
“I'm not gonna freak out and end up messing it up for everyone else,” She huffed, but then couldn't help herself as she wrapped Stiles in a tight hug and buried her face against his neck, letting out a pitiful whimper. He laughed quietly and hugged her back, combing his fingers through her hair. “I missed you, too.”
Erica held him for a good stretch of time, and when she stood up straight again, Stiles felt his heart wrench as he saw tears starting to fall down her cheeks. “Hey, Catwoman doesn't cry,” He murmured, brushing them away. She let out a wet laugh and smiled, leaning into the touches. “She does when she nearly loses Batman.”
Stiles kissed her cheek before giving her another quick squeeze before they separated, and then Boyd stood. He walked over and gave Stiles a quick hug before standing back, a hand on his shoulders. “I should be a little mad she missed you more than she missed me when I left for a week, but I can't blame her.”
“You can't cry, too. I'm already close to losing it,” Stiles whined, his smile faltering as he started tearing up.
Boyd laughed quietly and squeezed Stiles’ shoulder before moving out of the way. Lydia was standing in his place, hands on her hips and glaring at him.
“I can't believe you let yourself get captured,” She muttered, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I have to keep you on your toes, Lyds. Otherwise I wouldn't be me,” Stiles smiled weakly, opening his arms for her to hug him. She kept the act up for a few more seconds before stepping forward and hugging Stiles tight, sighing out shakily. “Don't you ever fucking pull something like that again. I can't believe I missed your dorky ass.”
Stiles smiled and held her tight, swaying a little bit. “I will give you my utmost promise thingy that I will do my best to never put you through that again.”
“I'm gonna hold you to that,” Lydia mumbled as she stepped back, wiping tears from her face. “And don't think I won't.”
“As if I ever doubted your ability to make me do anything.”
“I'll put you in drag again,” She threatened, and Stiles laughed quietly.
“That's not much of a threat, I loved the makeup.”
“You're so weird,” Lydia groaned, shaking her head as she moved out of the way for Malia, who just walked forward and wrapped Stiles up tight. He was a little caught off guard, but returned the hug, pressing a kiss to her hair. “It's real, I'm real,” he murmured, combing through her hair as her shoulders started shaking.
They stayed like that for a good amount of time, Stiles holding her just as tight as she held him.
When Malia finally stood up, she sniffled and wiped her eyes. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too,” Stiles smiled, leaning forward to nuzzle against her cheek. She smiled and closed her eyes, sighing heavily.
“You good?”
“Yeah, I am now.”
“My turn. Out of the way, I need my bro!” Scott announced, then smiled weakly when Stiles cringed at the volume of his voice. “Sorry. I'm just excited.”
“It's alright. We all know you aren't the smartest in the room,” Stiles smiled weakly, squeaking when Scott enveloped him in a bear hug.
“But I missed you the mostest.”
“I believe that much.” Stiles murmured, smiling as he managed to get his arms around Scott’s waist to hug him back. “But, I, ah, I can't breathe,” Stiles whispered, his shoulders going tense.
Scott let go instantly, setting his hands on Stiles’ shoulders and looking him over.
“Sorry, you're probably still sore, aren't you? Do you- pain drain? Painkillers? Tylenol?”
“How about not so many questions?” Stiles asked meekly, gently pulling Scott’s hands from his shoulders. “I-I think, I think I'm… sorry,” he mumbled, his shoulders sagging as he saw Isaac frown. He moved closer to Peter, hands fisting in his pockets.
“What does that mean?” Scott frowned, reaching to touch Stiles’ shoulder again. He shied away from the touch, stumbling against Peter and going rigid when the alpha grabbed his waist to steady him. “N-no hands, please,” he said quietly, glancing at Scott and then at Peter, who quickly let go of him.
“Hey, there's a thing in the garden I wanted to show you,” Derek said softly.
Stiles nodded his head vigorously, stumbling again over Peter’s feet and weaving his way around Scott and Malia to get to Derek, following him closely as they made their way to the back door.

- - - - -

“Thanks,” Stiles said quietly, sitting down in the lush green grass. He ran his fingers through it a bit thoughtfully before laying backwards on the grass, closing his eyes and sighing quietly.
A memory flashed through his mind and he scrambled to his feet, heart racing. “Get Isaac out here. He- we need to check the wards. Now!”

Chapter Text

“We need to check the wards? Why?” Isaac frowned, steadying Stiles when he stumbled over a root.
“Something the witches said, about wards… just… please? Bear with me? We need to check every last one. No matter how small it may seem.”
“Okay, okay, I'm with you. Let's just get to the spot,” Isaac murmured, following Stiles to the front porch. They shared a look and curt nod before setting a hand on the pillars. Both of their eyes turned their respective colors - Stiles’ black and Isaac’s purple, an intricate series of tattoos spreading across their bodies.

When they reopened their eyes they took in the scene around them, glowing white and yellow lines woven into the air around them.
“Check each one. Every one. We'll double check each other,” Stiles mumbled, reaching forward and plucking a line from the mass. He worked his fingers into the rope, feeling each individual strand for anything out of the ordinary. Isaac followed suit, frowning slightly.
“Stiles, what did they say?”
“Your magic isn't as secure as you think it is.”
They worked in silence after that, Isaac mulling over the words as Stiles gave his full attention to the task at hand.
“That could mean a lot of things, you know. Like how you lashed out when you had the panic attack,” Isaac suggested timidly, unable to meet Stiles’ eyes.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Your old panic attacks never got this bad. What if they did something to your magic? Or just fucked you up enough that it changed how your body deals with issues now?”
Stiles was quiet for a time after that, deciding he would only try to respond if they found nothing wrong with the wards.
With his luck, nothing was wrong with them.

Stiles dutifully ignored Isaac after they pulled their magic back and were thrown back into reality. Instead he stepped back and turned towards the path to the clearing, willing his resolve to hold until he could make it away from prying eyes.
Isaac held back Derek and Peter, reminding them that Stiles’ wards were the best of the best, and that they extended a mile or so away from the house. He wouldn't be in danger in the clearing. It wasn't even 50 feet away.

Objectively, he was right. Stiles was only not in danger from an outside threat. His own thoughts and memories, however? Those were running amoc inside his head and trying to make themselves known. Stiles willed the tears to stay back, but they fell nonetheless. He was going to rip his pack apart because he couldn't handle a traumatizing event. He was their rock, their level head in any chaos, but in this moment he could hardly breathe with the stabbing sensations that plagued every inhale.
A deep breath was what he needed at the moment, but a deep breath could set him even farther over the edge.
Naturally, he did what any healthy emissary would do- he fell to his knees and plunged his hands into the soft dirt at the center of the clearing, dropping his defenses and letting the pain flow. Everything hurt. His shins and calves were screaming from disuse, his knees and elbows sobbing at every movement from the scrapes that had scabbed over. A headache plagued him constantly, the skin on his back and shoulders still raw from nails digging in and scratching him. The memories flooded forward and Stiles could only manage a broken sob as he felt his magic burst forward and channel its way downwards. His throat was raw, aching with every sob, and his face burnt with his tears. He was shaking, every quick, shallow breath a handful of glass shards piercing his abdomen and chest. All he could do was let it out - he couldn't risk his pack being injured again…

When Stiles finally comes to he's still in the clearing, surrounded by gorgeous purple hues. There was a sandwich and chips in plastic baggies in front of him. They were the first to be acknowledged, and quickly consumed.
Next was the overwhelming amount of flowers in the clearing. They were beautiful. Long stems, each adorned with at least 20 blooms apiece. They looked familiar, but Stiles couldn't figure out why. Perhaps they were someone's favorite flower? Maybe his? They were very gorgeous, after all…
“You're awake. Good,” Lydia’s voice was quiet, yet it still startled Stiles. He turned to look at her and frowned, wondering how long she'd been there and just how oblivious he'd been. What else had he missed?
A quick survey of his surroundings let him know it was getting a little dark, he should probably head back to the house. Lydia should, too.
“It is pretty dark, but we're not leaving just yet.”
Shit, he'd said that out loud. “Why not?”
“Stiles, I know I call you stupid, but I like to think it's all for play and not true. Do you really not know why?”
Stiles frowned and shook his head ‘no’, reaching for Lydia’s hand and twining their fingers. “You only call me stupid cos you love me.”
“I plead the fifth,” Lydia smirked, squeezing his hand before picking a flower and holding it up for him to see. “It’s not weird that I'm the one here trying to get you, Stiles?”
“Kind of. You don't usually like the clearing because you wear heels a lot.”
“Good. So, why would I be out here right now, instead of one of our alphas, or Isaac, or… anyone else in the pack? Why do you think it's me?”
Stiles frowned and looked up at Lydia from the flower, tilting his head slightly.
“It's because I'm human, Stiles. Why do you think that matters?”
Everything seemed to click in that moment. “Wolfsbane,” He whispered, diverting his gaze to the flower in her hand. “Oh fuck. Where is it? Who's hurt?”
“No one is hurt, Stiles, it's okay,” Lydia murmured, tightening her grip to root him to the ground. “It's only in the clearing. It's just so thick that none of the pack could get to you. And the other thing…” Lydia trailed off and dropped her gaze to Stiles’ arm, tracing over the patterns burnt into his skin. He hissed in pain and pulled away, whimpering as the raw skin on his legs rubbed too harshly against his pants. Now the pain was registering.
“You were probably blocking it out from shock. It's okay, Isaac has some salve and is on standby with a shower. We just need to get you inside and then work on clearing the Monk’s Hood. It's okay,” Lydia murmured, offering her hand to Stiles from where she was now standing. “Let us help you.”
“I've been nothing but problems. Why?” Stiles whispered, looking away from Lydia and digging his fingers into the lush grass.
“Because you're pack, and we care about you.”
Stiles grimaced and turned away, closing his eyes. “That's the problem.”
“What?”
“I’m pack. That's how they're going to use me.”
“How who's going to use you?”
“The witches. Fucking - Reynard. The goddamn god,” Stiles muttered, burying his face in his hands. “Why do all of the fucking foxes have some kind of fetish for me?”
“I don't know. I don't know what any of that means. But I do know we need to get you inside and get you cleaned up, and then maybe we'll talk about Reynard. Come on,” Lydia murmured, helping Stiles to his feet. He shrugged off her proffered help silently, leading the way through the mass of wolfsbane plaguing the clearing.

 

 


 

 

“What the ever loving fuck do you mean, ‘I know’, Peter!” Lydia’s anger was audible even to Stiles upstairs. He tried to peek out from his door to investigate, but Jamie huffed and gently tugged him back into the room. “Isaac said you have to put this on, first.”
“I want to know what they're talking about. Why is Lydia yelling?” Stiles frowned, following Jamie to sit on the bed.
“Peter knew something about a… Bernard? Retard? I couldn't hear what it was. I wasn't listening. They went into the study now, probably so she could yell without letting everyone know what is happening.”
“It's so I wouldn't be able to listen in,” Stiles grumbled. The salve burnt to high heaven everywhere it touched his skin. He kept his jaw tight, but Jamie kept worrying their lip, a steady stream of black running up their arms whenever they touched Stiles.
It still hurt, even with that aid, and Stiles couldn't begin to imagine what Jamie was feeling as they drained that from him. Or what he would be feeling if he didn't have such a thoughtful pack member watching over him.
“Everyone else went into the study, too, didn't they?”
Jamie remained silent, keeping their eyes trained on Stiles’ chest where they were working.
“Peter and Derek told you a while ago, didn't they?” Stiles couldn't help that his tone grew bitter, and Jamie shrinking away with a guilty look had him groaning softly and reaching to squeeze their arm. “Why couldn't they tell me they knew about Reynard? If anything, I could've offered them some information. Such as the motherfucking meat suit he's possessing so they know which body to rip into.”
“He's an ancient God, Stiles. Ripping into a physical form is practically impossible.”
“So, find another way! We killed the Nogitsune, and that son of a bitch possessed me.”
“The Nogitsune is a child to him, Stiles,” Jamie whispered, their shoulders hunching in. “He’s so ancient his original name is in a language we can't even pronounce, so he's been given a new one.”
Stiles sat quiet after that tidbit, a cold spike running down his spine and rendering him mute. His escape was a trap. It had to be. No way something that old had some kind of issue keeping a pathetic little human trapped.
“Everything about this is wrong.”
Stiles’ voice was raspy as he choked up his words, tears welling in his eyes. “This isn't right.”
“What do you mean? Isaac told me to make sure you stay in here and to put this on you,” Jamie frowned, fingers stilling in their circular movements.
“Nevermind,” Stiles shook his head, closing his eyes and leaning back against the headboard. “You're doing great. If Isaac gave instructions, they're right.” He should feel bad about diverting Jamie like that. He didn't.
He was leaving tonight.