Stiles had made the guide on what to do about when one is being tortured. It was one of the manuals that all the betas had to read. It was actually passed around various packs. Stiles had a lot of admiration from surrounding packs with his instructional manuals. However Stiles didn’t really think that he’d have to use one, it was all mostly theory until this point.
Stiles had plenty of time to practice his carefully worded outline of what to do when someone was torturing you. The secret to torture is to never think about something that you loved while you were in pain. There were two reasons.
The first was that anything that the difference between the happy memory was such a good thing that it would make being pummeled feel even worse, if at all possible. Embracing happy memories would only make the reality agonizing, like remembering the big game in high school while you were a washed up unemployed deadbeat. You would notice the difference between then and now and depression would fill the void.
The second was because you had hope that you were going to get out of the torture situation. If one thought about their happy memories while being tortured, if they ever got back to those happy memories they would always flash back to torture. Stiles held to the hope that he would see Derek again, so he never thought about Derek when Benny was trying to break him. He didn’t ever want to associate Derek with this.
Stiles succeeded in being strong and not thinking about his family and his pack while Benny tore at his resolve and his body.
At night he held to Henry and he held to the memories of Derek. He thought about Dade. Stiles wanted to see who Dade would become. Stiles had a feeling that Dade was going to be a never-ending source of amusement and exasperation.
The first couple of times it was fists and floggers. Stiles had been black and blue all over. Benny had been taken pictures and clucked about how much Derek was going to love them. Then they dislocated his shoulder and threw him in the house.
He’d been roughed up before, but Benny had taken a surprising glee to torture. There was bruising and shallow cuts and then he was usually left in the sun or rain tied up. Eventually he would be thrown back into the house to have a few days to recover before it all started again. Benny never seemed to tire of this routine.
It continued on and on.
Lydia had told them this morning that it had been five weeks.
Stiles was losing time. He was losing sense of the days. He was one big bruise. His face was swollen and his ribs were on fire and probably broken.
“Good times,” Stiles mumbled as he tried to walk between the big goons. They weren’t being careful and his arm was most definitely broken.
They didn’t say anything, they never did.
“We should do this again soon,” Benny said from behind him.
Stiles didn’t even move to look for him, his vision was already twisting under the pain.
“Don’t rush on my account,” Stiles said, seeing the front door come closer. “Really, I don’t mind if you take your time coming back.”
“You’d miss me,” Benny said coldly as they threw him through door.
Stiles tried to catch himself with his good hand and ended up using his face to stop his forward momentum. Henry and Lydia were on the floor on the far side. When Henry touched him he flinched and let out a moan.
Henry threw himself across the room.
“Henry, it’s okay,” Stiles said through clenched teeth as Henry touched him. The pain was agonizing and Stiles knew pain. He also was about ten seconds from throwing up.
Henry looked up at him through a tear-streaked face, he didn’t look like he believed that in the slightest.
“You are okay,” Stiles said.
“You aren’t,” Henry said quietly. “Why is he doing this?”
Stiles looked at Henry and touched his black hair. He really wished that he lied to Henry.
“He wants to make you mad,” Stiles said quietly. “He’s hurting me so you get mad, you know the Incredible Hulk?”
“When he get’s angry he changes into a big green rage monster,” Stiles said, trying to smile at Henry. “Benny wants to make you angry, he wants to make it so that you go feral. He think by hurting me it will make you angry enough to be just a wolf.”
Henry’s brow wrinkled in thought. “I am angry.”
Stiles nodded and blinked back tears. “I know, little man, but being angry just means that you’re scared. You don’t have to be scared. This isn’t over; there is nothing to be scared of. We’re going to be okay.”
“How?” Henry asked. “Dad isn’t coming.”
Stiles shook his head and this time his smile was real. “Yes he is. He always does.”
“Promise,” Henry asked, eyes wide.
“Promise,” Stiles nodded and suddenly realized that he wasn’t going to be able to hold onto consciousness much longer. “I’m going to take a little nap. Why don’t you take care of Lydia for a bit.”
Henry nodded, his face still didn’t look convinced. “Okay.”
Stiles closed his eyes and slipped into darkness.
Stiles woke up slowly. The first and overwhelming feeling that he had was the weight of his own body. He felt his arm throbbing with a pain that brought tears to his eyes. He felt it through and through. He felt the almost sureness that he wasn’t going to be able to take another hit, that he couldn’t do this any more.
There was a stirring next to him, just the shudder of breath in sleep. Stiles could feel Henry curled up between him and the wall. That was enough to bring him back, to stop him from curling in on himself and wanting to die.
He opened his eyes and looked around the darkened room. He could make out Lydia’s red hair curled in a ball in the corner. Her shoulders were shaking.
“Lyds,” Stiles whispered.
She her head whipped up and she looked at him, wiping her eyes.
“I don’t know how you can do this,” she said, standing up, her bare feet barely making a sound. She came and rested her chin on the bed.
“Didn’t have anything else to do today,” Stiles said.
Lydia shook her head. “You were screaming today.”
Stiles felt his throat well up. He had always tried to be so quiet. It killed him to think that he had failed on that account.
Lydia’s eyes were luminous in the moonlight. “I wanted to run out there and beg them to shoot me in the head. Then you come in here and tell Henry that he can’t be angry, like you taught Gandhi the way of the world. You do all this and I don’t see death anywhere around you,”
Stiles breathed in, a little too deeply. It sent pangs of pain throughout his body. “Well I suppose that is a good thing.”
Lydia’s lip trembled.
“We are not dying here,” Stiles whispered. “You told me I had to stay strong. I couldn’t panic. Same goes for you. We’re going to believe in this.”
Lydia looked at Stiles in the moonlight. He knew he was beaten and raw. There were shallow cuts and there was hardly an inch of him that wasn’t an unnatural color.
“I know I’m not pretty,” Stiles said. “But I’m here.”
Lydia looked at him, eyes wide and luminous. She nodded, but there was no confidence in her look. Something in Stiles ached that she didn’t take the bait and tell him how he was never all that pretty.
“You said there was a contingency plan it was for the boys,” Stiles continued. “If we are killed Derek will have no one. We can’t die. I grew up with a parent who only had half, my father was a little more balanced before hand. If I die then what happens to Derek, what happens if the worst happens and Derek has to deal with all of it alone? What happens to Dade and my dad?”
Lydia’s face crumbled.
“What happens to you if I give up?” Stiles said. “You look like you’ve already given up.”
She reached out for his arm and touched him lightly. Stiles hissed.
“We don’t have anything hard to make a cast with,” Lydia said. “I have some foam strips and I have some blanket strips. I’ll bandage you.”
Stiles sat up gingerly. He tried not to jostle his aching body and Henry.
“Okay,” Stiles said.
He watched as she gathered her supplies.
“You’ve been preparing long?” Stiles asked.
“You’ve been out for hours,” Lydia confirmed, coming over to the bed.
Stiles swallowed. “It’s probably going to hurt. I might make noise. Keep going unless I ask you to stop.”
Lydia looked at him and it looked like she was going to cry.
“My safe word is rutabaga,” Stiles said.
Lydia didn’t take the bait and make a comment about how much she didn’t want to know about Stiles’s love life. Stiles really wanted to break down, because he needed her to be Lydia.
Instead she gently took his arm and began to set it in the makeshift cast.
“You can talk to me, Lydia,” Stiles said quietly. “You can tell me anything. That is how you and I work.”
Lydia continued to wrap his arm, but she finally began speaking. She didn’t look up, but she sounded less haunted.
“I’m not used to being the little woman at home, waiting,” Lydia said quietly. “I’m not the damsel in distress.”
“I know,” Stiles replied. “You’re the one with the Molotov cocktails.”
“I sit in this room while they drag you out and I have nothing but checkers and Latin,” Lydia said quietly. “The two people who love me most in the world are in this room. I don’t know how to go on because I can’t do anything and the two of you are in danger. They brought you here to destroy you, I’m just collateral damage.”
Stiles just looked at her. “Lyds, you will never be collateral damage. It’s not like I’m doing anything except for taking hits. You being here is vital to me.”
Stiles hissed as she tightly wound his arm, but he kept talking. “You are vital to all of us. You’re Allison’s strength, her ability to do what is in her heart rather than what society or her family rules tells her is because of you. You are her backbone. We all need you, even Derek. Don’t even pretend that you two don’t talk almost everyday.”
Lydia smiled and continued working. “He’s really bad at computers, he has questions.”
“Don’t I know it,” Stiles said and then bit his lip as she wound around the worst of the break. “I think that Dade knows how to work them better.”
They both ignored the fact that his voice was cracking.
“He also complains about you,” Lydia added.
“Derek Hale lives to gruffly bitch,” Stiles said through gritted teeth.
Lydia tied off the bandages.
“That he does,” Lydia said brushing off her hands. “But he also loves you something fierce, so do me a favor, don’t let anything happen to you or Henry.”
Stiles closed his eyes. He could feel the bruises on his face and on his body. He could feel the almost unbearable pain in his arm.
“Tell me you don’t see death here,” Stiles said. “Tell me that he’ll come, that they’ll all come.”
Lydia pushed him gently down to the bed. “They’ll come for us.”
Stiles eyes cracked open, seeing her in the moonlight. “Because we’re family, because we’re pack, all of us.”
“That is what I think every night,” Lydia whispered. “I listen to you two sleep and I know that wherever I go, this will be my home. You two, this little section of California will always be here and always welcome me, no matter what the world throws at me. Backstabbing colleagues and psycho relatives, I will always come home to Beacon Hills.”
Stiles smiled at her.
“What do you think about every night?” Lydia asked. “You always seem content.”
Stiles bit his lip as he looked at his arm.
“It makes you happy,” Lydia said. “Share the happy thoughts.”
““Promise not to think less of me?” Stiles said, feeling the calm of his memory flow into him.
“Far too late for that,” Lydia replied.
Relief rushed through Stiles as they fell into their old cadence.
“I think about how I’m an idiot for not saying yes to Derek,” Stiles said quietly.
Lydia looked up at him with a little grin. “You really are, but that is your happy place?”
“It’s more than that,” Stiles said quietly. “It’s a big house full of kids and eventually grandkids. It’s that ever after.”
Lydia snorted. “Let me get this straight. You fall asleep every night to the thought of your big fluffy white werewolf wedding.”
“Every night,” Stiles told her
“I’m going plan it,” Lydia said crawling into bed with him and Henry. “You and Derek would be hopeless and probably have carnations and baby’s breath.
“Of course you are,” Stiles said closing his eyes. “How else are we going to get something tasteful?”
“Fall wedding with red and gold?” Lydia asked sleepily.
“I was thinking spring with green,” Stiles offered.
“Of course,” Lydia murmured. “Always trying to bring out Derek’s eyes.”
“Hmmm, Derek eyes,” Stiles sighed.
Lydia’s breathing evened out. “I can get on board with your happy place. I’m there you know, making sure you don’t screw up spoiling your grandkids.”
Stiles felt the sting of tears. “We’re going to keep going, we have years of living to do.”
Stiles spent two days barely able to move. The pain was excruciating. He was having trouble sleeping, he hadn’t been able to keep anything down. He lay on the bed shivering.
On the third day Benny and his goons showed up. Stiles could barely make it to sitting position without nearly passing out. He couldn’t bear it.
Lydia went to the door, Henry shadowing her.
“Not him,” Lydia said. “Not today.”
The goons looked back at Benny through the open door. He looked straight at Henry.
“Take me,” Lydia said standing tall.
“No,” Stiles said weakly from the bed.
Lydia stood tall and composed. “Take me today.”
Henry wrapped his arms around her. “No Lydia.”
Lydia held up her hand to Benny. “I’ll be right with you.”
She picked up Henry and carried him to Stiles. She placed Henry down gently on the bed.
“Stiles is going to tell you stories today,” Lydia told him. “Have him tell you about the time we were caught in the school. I was awesome.”
Stiles looked up at her and shook his head. She soothed his hair and kissed him on the forehead.
“You don’t have to,” Stiles said. “Please don’t.”
“You can’t,” Lydia said. “And I have to do something.”
Stiles pulled back and looked at her, looked at the pain on her face.
“You stubborn idiot,” Lydia whispered. “You’re not alone.”
“He’s going to hurt you,” Stiles said.
“Let me take a few blows,” Lydia said. “We’ll be home soon.”
Stiles saw the determination in her face, saw the hope that was in her eyes. He tried to get up, but he couldn’t even get vertical without nearly passing out. He knew that he wasn’t up to it. He wouldn’t be able to take much more. He looked over at Henry. His large eyes were wide.
“Think about something mundane,” Stiles whispered. “Think about something you don’t like.”
“I’ll think about camping and Peter Hale,” Lydia replied. “I know how to do this Stiles. I taught you.”
Lydia turned to Henry. “Stay with your Daddy.”
Henry started to cry and Lydia got up. She stood straight and marched out the door.
Tears still streamed down Henry’s face, but his eyebrows and forehead took on a pensive look. Stiles had seen that look too many times.
“Why not me?” Henry asked petulantly. “Why you?”
He didn’t sound like a small little boy. The voice was raw and angry.
“They want to hurt me,” Henry said. “Why you and Lydia?”
Stiles couldn’t even move his arms to hold his son.
“Henry breathe,” Stiles said calmly. “Don’t think with your anger. Don’t think with revenge or hate. Think about your brother, he is going to need you. You’re his big brother and he’s so little.”
Henry still was pouting, his face was scrunched up in a four-year-old temper tantrum.
“I don’t wanna,” he said, small fists pounding the bed and making Stiles wince. “I don’t have an older brother, I’m fine. I want them to not hurt you.”
Henry’s eyes flared gold and his teeth began to grow.
“Henry Horton Hale-Stilinski,” Stiles said through clenched teeth. “You will not turn in anger. You will not do this. Calm down right now.”
Henry’s face crumpled and he threw himself on the bed. Stiles nearly blacked out with the pain from the vibrations, but he took his good arm and held Henry to him.
“Think about your father, think about your brother,” Stiles said. “Think about Scott and Isaac. Think about Allison and the new baby that you need to meet. Think about your grandfather’s face every time he sees you. Your dad always tells your power is in your family, in our pack. Don’t you dare give up on them.”
Stiles started talking to him, telling him all the thoughts in his head, all the things that he clung to, all the hope that he had.
He told Henry happy moment, that he couldn’t even feel as real any more. Stiles wanted to believe in it. He didn’t want Henry to feel the rage that he was beginning to see in his son’s face.
Stiles talked and tried to ignore the sounds outside, sounds he knew that Henry could hear all the more clearly. Those were the sounds that Henry and Lydia had been hearing for weeks. Stiles understood why they were going a little crazy. Lydia didn’t let out a single scream, but there was the snap of the flogger on skin.
Being the one stuck in the room was its own kind of special torture. Stiles didn’t know how the two of them had stood it.
The sun was setting in the windows when she was thrown into the room. She pushed herself up shakily and looked at their retreating forms.
“Thanks for the nice time,” she said and stood up.
Bruises were blooming on her face, her lip was split, and she was cradling her hand. She gave Henry a smile.
“No biggie, little man,” she said.
Stiles could tell that she didn’t mean it, but he loved her all the more for pretending. She sat up, obviously in pain and not using her hand and told Henry to set up the checkerboard.
While Henry’s back was turned Lydia looked to Stiles and closed her eyes in pain.
‘I hope they get here soon,’ she mouthed.
“Anything broken?” Stiles asked.
“Sprained wrist,” Lydia told him. “That out there was nothing I haven’t gone through in cheerleading camp.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow. “I had forgotten about the junior high cheerleading phase.”
“Apparently it is good training for werewolf kidnapping,” Lydia said as Henry came back to her.
Henry wrinkled his nose. “Do I have to cheerleader?”
Lydia looked over at Stiles.
He thought for a moment. “We really try to not impose gender norms on them.”
“Stop trying to be a politically correct parent,” Lydia snapped. “No child should have to go through the cesspool of the world of cheerleading or beauty pageants.”
“No tiara, buddy,” Stiles told Henry. “Lydia says so.”
“Wanna play checkers, Daddy?” Henry asked, apparently not caring a bit about cheerleading and beauty pageants.
Stiles sat up and nearly threw up. He closed his eyes.
“Do we have water left?” Stiles said through the nausea.
Henry looked over to the meager stash of apples, eggs, power bars. His face scrunched up.
“A little,” Henry said, running to get it. He brought it to Stiles.
“Bring it to Lydia,” Stiles said, looking at the half full bottle.
Lydia sat on the bed. “Maybe give me a minute before we play?”
Stiles watched her. She didn’t seem to be faring any better than he was.
He closed his eyes. He wished he was the praying type. He wished that he was the type of person who believed in a higher power. He wasn’t. He believed in pack and he believed in family.
He sent up a word to his mother, wherever she was he hoped that she would be there, that she would help him.
He opened his eyes and it was just the room, just the same thing. Stiles moved over and gave Lydia room on the bed. Henry hovered over them, but didn’t touch.
“Daddy told me about the time he rammed his jeep into the wall,” Henry began.
Stiles went and tried to drag himself to the food.
“Oh did he,” Lydia asked, eyes popping open.
Henry began retelling the story with Lydia interjecting pieces that Stiles had gotten differently from her memory. Stiles lay there listening to them talk.
Henry perked up, he seemed to be listening to something. Stiles looked towards the window as if he could sense it.
“Is it Benny?” Stiles asked. Henry moved to the window and shook his head.
“There is another wolf in the woods, it sounds different,” Henry said. His eyes were glinting a little in the moonlight.
The hairs on the back of Stiles’s neck bristled. This was still Henry’s territory and his son was getting possessive over it. Henry was breaking a little.
“Stiles there is someone else out there,” Lydia said. “Someone else who isn’t Benny or a goon.”
Then there was a noise that Stiles could hear. There was a loud howl going through the woods. Stiles perked up. The sound was long and held and absolutely soul crushing. Stiles felt tears start to form in his eyes and he couldn't really say why.
“Someone’s here,” Stiles said with relief. He had no idea of how to alert anyone of their position short of burning down the cabin, which would pose a problem, but someone was out there, they weren’t alone.
Lydia looked out the window, she had a small smile and a look of relief on her face.
"It's Derek," she whispered.
“Dad,” Henry said, scrambling to peer into the night.
Stiles just looked at her, not wanting to hope. "How can you tell? I know his howls. That doesn’t sound like him. It sounds like some kind of broken wolf."
Henry looked at Lydia.
Lydia nodded. "For a week after you brought a date to his hand fasting there were sounds like that in the woods. You’ve never heard it because he only makes it when you are gone."
Stiles said perking up, listening to the wailings again and he turned towards Lydia. "Are you sure?"
She nodded. “Those of us who were occasionally in town after his hand fasting would hear it. It is him. I heard it for weeks. He really was miserable with Meg.”
“I thought he would be in Alaska looking for us,” Stiles remarked, trying not to grin. It hurt his face.
Lydia gave him a skeptical look. “Derek? He probably was all growling and not helping the progress. Besides, do you think that he would leave Dade home for very long?”
Stiles felt momentary relief. "Oh my dear sweet emo wolf. Of course, of course you would go run through your son’s land and hide your misery from the world. Don’t ever change.”
Then his face fell. “How do we tell him? How do we get him here. There are hundreds of acres. Lydia, how do we get him here.”
Lydia just smiled and motioned towards Henry.
Stiles looked at his son. He had heard him growl before, but never bellow over miles.
“Big man, we need you to do something for us,” Stiles said, reaching out to Henry. “You have to call your dad, we need you to howl as loudly as possible. Do you think you can do it?”
Henry thought about it for a second and then nodded. “Course.”
He took a deep breath and concentrated for a second. The noise that came out was something Stiles could barely believe came from such a small creature.
Lydia smiled at Stiles. “Stop worrying Derek will know, he will recognize his child’s cry.”
Her face was bruised and her hair had long since passed into a mess, but she looked every inch the princess she had declared herself to be when they were in the kindergarten sandbox.
Stiles swallowed. He knew that he knew the way that his father walked; he never even had to look up to know that his father was there. It was something he didn’t even think about. Stiles was sure that Derek would know.
Henry’s call rang out through the hills. Stiles knew that it would probably bring Benny, but Derek would be there as fast as his legs could carry them. They just had to hold on and hope that Derek would get here before Benny’s goons.
“Do we have weapon,” Stiles said looking around.
“Nope,” Lydia said. “Just like the last time we tried to figure out how to jailbreak this place.”
“I’m disappointed in our shiv making abilities,” Stiles said, feeling light headed with hope. He still was aching, but adrenaline was giving him the strength to sit up.
“Let’s go sit in the doorway,” Stiles said, moving gingerly off the bed. “I’m dying to see who gets here first.”
Together they pathetically walked the few yards to the door, Henry bounding around them.
“You stay in the house,” Stiles instructed.
Henry was nervously peering out the door. “Where is Dad?”
Lydia looked relaxed and leaned against the doorframe. They sat in the doorway and waited, Lydia’s head rested on Stiles’s shoulder.
“Please make it Derek,” Stiles whispered up to his mother.
Stiles was gnawing on his already bloody cuticles when Derek Hale came bursting out of the trees. He was in full beta form, wearing nothing but tight black pants.
“Daddy!” Henry said, running out of the house to the edge of the mountain ash line,
Derek’s blue eyes were blazing. He came to an abrupt stop at the edge of the circle.
“Mountain Ash,” Stiles said and Derek’s looked at him. Derek’s eyes looked like a he had just found a lost city of gold. He seemed to take them in bumps and bruises. Stiles was sure that Derek could readily see the gold rings around their necks, Stiles had nearly forgotten they were there.
Lydia was already talking to explain. “We have witches charms. We can’t leave the house, unless there is this talisman that Benny and his goons have around their neck.”
Derek just looked at them. He took a deep breath and Stiles knew that he could smell blood and scabs.
“Are you really here?” Stiles asked, still feeling dazed, full of adrenaline and nausea.
Derek nodded. “Are you okay?
Stiles nearly laughed at the absurdity of the situation. There was no way that Derek expected that to be answered in the affirmative.
“Henry is fine,” Stiles assured him.
“Daddy knew you were coming Dad,” Henry said. “He kept saying you would be here.”
A heartbreaking look passed over Derek’s face, almost too quick to see.
Stiles looked at Derek, over Derek’s half naked body. On a normal day half-naked Derek was a fantasy that Stiles was thrilled to have. Today the sight of Derek was like being shocked with electricity. Stiles knew that he was shaking and that he was probably four seconds from keeling over, but Derek was here.
“We’re good,” Stiles said a little breathlessly. Derek took a step forward and ran into the mountain ash line again. He looked at the distance between the house and the line and then slammed his hand uselessly against the barrier.
“Benny’s probably on his way, we need you to call in reinforcements,” Lydia said with a sigh. “Googly eyes can wait.”
Derek pulled his phone out of his pants pockets, never looking away from Stiles.
“I found them,” Derek said. “We’re on the north side of Henry’s territory. I’ve turned my GPS on. Get up here now. We’re still in some major trouble. Bring the arsenal, the law, and medical. I can’t tell you how much to hurry.”
Derek hung up the phone and shifted back into his human form. His eyes were wide and he couldn’t stop looking from Henry to Stiles. Finally he swallowed.
“Lydia, keeping them in line?” Derek asked.
“You know it,” Lydia said. “Henry is pretty well versed in Latin.”
Derek blinked repeatedly and nodded. He crouched down and got on eye level with Henry.
“Was Lydia good to you?” Derek asked.
Henry’s little eyebrows drew together. “She beat me at checkers, a lot. I don’t like playing with her.”
Derek nodded. “Nobody does, we play with her because it makes her happy and we all hope that one day we’ll beat her.”
Henry smiled. “Because we don’t give up.”
Derek gave him a smile, but it looked more like he wanted to cry.
“Family motto, big man,” Derek said.
Stiles wanted to go to him, wanted to touch him. Derek looked up at Stiles.
“I love you,” Stiles blurted out, because he just had to make sure that the last words between them weren’t about how Derek would be going on a vacation if Stiles ran away with Lydia.
The edge of Derek’s mouth quirked.
“If you say ‘I know’ I’m running out of this house and pray my head explodes,” Lydia said.
Both Derek and Stiles grinned. In the yard Henry looked between them, he bounced on his feet.
“So this is Benny?” Derek asked.
“Is he my uncle?” Henry asked.
Derek shook his head. “He’s your mother’s brother. Scott is your uncle, Isaac is your uncle, they’re your family.”
Henry sniffled a little. “Are Scott and Isaac coming?”
Derek’s face crumpled a little. “They’re looking for you in Washington right now. They can’t be here soon.”
Henry looked like he was going to cry. “It’s going to be too late.”
Derek shook his head. “No it’s not, you have more family. You have family that can get past the mountain ash.”
“Allison is coming? She’s pregnant,” Lydia said scandalized.
Derek looked guilty.
“Four months,” Stiles said. “You guys are the most overprotective--”
“Washington!” Lydia said.
Everyone turned to look at her.
“Throw me your phone,” Lydia said excitedly.
Derek looked at her as if he could read her plan.
“Derek, we gave up on following where her mind goes long ago,” Stiles said.
Derek held up his phone.
“I have a bad hand,” Lydia said. “Be gentle.”
Derek tossed it to her and she caught it flawlessly. He nodded with approval. She pressed a few buttons and put the call through.
“Scott, it’s Lydia,” She said, tossing her scraggly hair over her shoulder. “We’ll have time for all those thing and questions and everything later. Right now I need you and Isaac to do something and I need you to do it right now, no questions.”
Lydia started talking and orchestrating a plan.
Stiles grinned and turned to Derek. “She’s going to get them to go find the witches so we can get these things off our necks and maybe leave this cabin.”
“I got that,” Derek said raising an eyebrow. He still was still tracking Stiles and Henry. “Does someone patrol the area? Should we be expecting company?”
Stiles looked at Lydia who was engrossed in the phone conversation, apparently telling Scott and Isaac the location of the witches. Stiles was at a loss about the patrols. He didn’t have a clue; he was usually in too much pain to notice.
“Yes Dad,” Henry piped up. “There usually is three checks a night.”
Derek smiled at Henry, and then shot a glance at Stiles. After a brief scan, Derek began speaking far too evenly. “Stiles. How hurt are you?”
Lydia hung up the phone and looked at Derek. “I’m not a medical doctor, but he’s doing really sucky. To be honest he’s pretty much putting on his weight on me.”
Derek’s look intensified.
“Traitor,” Stiles muttered, looking at his hands. His vision was blurred; he really didn’t want to see Derek looking at him anyway, not like that.
“Melissa is coming,” Derek said. “Everyone is coming, just hold on. You’ve held on this long, just a little bit longer.”
“You’re here,” Stiles said, trying to breathe through the pain.
“Just a little bit longer,” Derek promised.
“I see where you get it from,” Lydia muttered.
Stiles felt tears prick at the corner of his eyes.
“Henry get into the house,” Derek said, his voice still holding the Alpha tinge he could never let go of
Stiles risked upsetting his stomach and looked up. Derek was wolfed out. Henry still stood in the yard. He had wolfed out to, just like his dad.
“It’s a wolf,” Henry said through his teeth. “He can’t get in. I need to protect Daddy.”
Derek looked like he was torn between being so proud of his son and wanting him to be in the house.
There wasn’t time for Derek to decide which way he wanted Henry to go, a beta almost silently came through the woods. Derek growled at him. The goon, one of the ones who faithfully had taken Stiles to the torture shed, faced off against Derek.
Stiles clenched his fists before groaning in pain.
Derek looked over briefly at Stiles. Stiles was sure that he could feel the stutter of his heart. Stiles looked at Henry, there was a moment when he considered what he should do in front of his son.
“That is one of the guys who would take Stiles,” Henry said. “He’s a bad guy.”
Derek threw a fist at the goon and he landed flat on his back.
“You tell me,” Derek said to Stiles, not taking his eyes from the beta. The beta sprang to feet. Neither one of them wanted Henry to see Derek attack the wolf, but neither were too keen on him living.
“There is a shed a few yards over there,” Stiles said pointing with his good hand. “Take him there and do what I always used to say we should do to evil things, you’ll find plenty in there to help.”
Derek nodded and turned towards the goon and Stiles swore that he got even bigger. Derek let out a roar and the goon had the good sense to look a little nervous.
“Henry,” Lydia said. “Come here. I have a secret way you can protect us and I don’t want anyone to hear it.”
Stiles looked at her gratefully as Henry turned his back on his father and ran to them. Lydia whispered in Henry’s ear something to the extent of ‘throw sand in their eyes’, she made it sound better, but as he listened to her he wasn’t watching Derek beat the goon and drag him into the shed.
When Lydia was done talking Henry ran to the mountain ash line again and waited for Derek to return. When he did Derek looked angry and a little green in the moonlight. His eyes glowed white blue.
Stiles lifted his head and met his gaze. Stiles knew he would never be able to say what happened to him. Showing was enough, now Derek knew all he needed to know.
“That is where you went?” Derek said, his voice on the edge of a growl. “That is what caused that.”
“Yes,” Stiles answered, looking straight at Derek.
A growl escaped his throat.
“You’re here,” Stiles said, his voice cracking. “We’re going home.”
Derek looked like he was trying to keep all of his emotion in lest he rage apart.
“Just a few more minutes,” Lydia said hoarsely. “But you have to get your head into the game.”
“How many?” Derek asked, his voice less than human.
Stiles felt woozy again. He didn’t know, he hadn’t been able to keep count.
“Good boy,” Lydia replied to Derek. “Stay focused. There are fifteen.”
“How many of them are wolves?” Derek said, beginning to pace.
“Ten,” Henry replied.
“And two witches,” Lydia replied.
“Three humans?” Derek asked.
Stiles felt his head swimming. He felt useless, after days of just taking the brunt of Benny’s anger he felt like he had nothing left he had to do. He could feel exhaustion and pain coming to claim him.
“Lydia,” Derek growled and hissed. “He’s passing out. Do not let him pass out.”
“If your naked torso can’t keep him conscious then what the hell do you think I can do?” Lydia said, panic creeping into his voice.
“Stiles,” Derek said, his voice taking on something soothing.
Stiles felt himself waking up. He waved his good hand in Lydia’s general direction. “He’s using sexy voice. He wants something.”
Lydia gently poked gently at him. “You should see what that is.”
“Stiles,” Derek said like honey over gravel. “We’re going to have guests in fifteen minutes. I need you to tell me the weaknesses of the people who are coming up here so that way when your father and Melissa come up here they are okay.”
Stiles fought his way to consciousness and looked at Derek. He was still wolfed out, but there was something vulnerable about him.
“You’re bringing my father here?” Stiles accused.
“Do you think I can keep him away?” Derek said. “You can fight me over it or you can help me fight.”
“Derek needs all the help that he can get,” Lydia remarked.
Stiles snickered and tried to stay coherent. “He’s going to tear their teeth out with his neck.”
“Stiles focus,” Derek said. “What is Benny’s weakness?”
Stiles sat up best he could. “He hits like a sheltered trust fund child. He likes to use other things to fight with.”
“He likes guns,” Henry volunteered.
Rage rippled through Derek but he kept talking calmly. “Good, good. What about the rest of his pack.”
“Tall blonde shaggy hair hits like a mac truck,” Stiles said focusing on Derek. “Medium sized guy with an unfortunate mullet is spry and can move fast, and you’re so hot.”
Lydia reached a hand to steady Stiles; he didn’t even realize that he was shaking.
“The mullet guy likes to sneak up on you,” Lydia added. “He likes the tender spots.”
“Good,” Derek said as he ground his teeth, he didn’t sound like he meant good, but he kept them talking, getting information.
It was twelve minutes when he held up his hand.
Stiles was awake enough to see. He was ashamed at the fear that coursed through his body at the impending arrival of Benny’s crew.
“Don’t die,” Stiles whispered. “Please don’t die. We have too many years of things we need to see.”
And that is when Benny and his lackeys came tearing out of the underbrush.
“Oh the reunion,” Benny said with all the arch of a villain. “I was really hoping to kill them first. Oh well, you’ll just have to watch.”
Stiles felt a little surge of adrenaline, enough to keep him lucid.
“Henry come here,” Stiles said.
Henry didn’t move.
Derek steadied himself, watching the betas come out of the woods. He was preparing himself for battle. Benny carelessly took out his gun.
“I could shoot your little human,” Benny offered. “Anytime I want, I can shoot him and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.”
Henry was growling, his eyes a ferocious yellow. Benny turned and smiled at the child. Stiles could feel Lydia trying to pull him into the house, but his body wouldn’t cooperate. He couldn’t leave his family out there.
“Henry,” Stiles said as Lydia pushed him back.
Derek snarled at Benny, teeth shining in the moonlight. Benny’s gun focused on Henry.
“Get in the house,” Derek growled.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Benny advised.
“Henry,” Lydia said, standing up. “Come here, come with your Daddy and I.”
Stiles was half in the house, Lydia was pushing him back. He wouldn’t give up his fight to get to Henry. Lydia bit her lip and then squeezed his injured arm. Stiles crumpled with a muffled moan.
“Stay down,” Lydia said and turned to the stand off, she put her arms out.
“Henry, baby, please come,” she said.
Henry looked at her and smiled. “It’s okay Lydia, he won’t hurt me.”
Lydia put her hand to her mouth and Derek growled.
“It’s a gun, Henry,” Lydia said.
Henry turned towards Benny and walked forward. “Bullets can’t hurt me.”
Benny grinned and pulled out a knife. He held it a little bit gingerly. It was the way that all wolves looked when they were handling something with wolfsbane.
“But this can,” he said.
Derek took a step forward and Benny pulled back his arm to throw the knife. The swoosh of an arrow hit his arm and the knife clattered into the circle around the house, landing at Henry’s feet.
Allison stepped out of the woods, flanked by her father. Her slightly rounded belly clad in dark tights. She didn’t give an inch.
Derek noticed her and turned to move on Benny.
Henry was faster. He scrambled to grab the fallen knife. With a deftness that was born out of adrenaline rather than any skill he threw the knife at Benny. Benny’s goons burst from the other side of the woods from Allison and Chris. Allison moved forward to grab Henry, Chris covering her with fire. She scuffed line Mountain ash line and ran full speed to the cabin.
Derek turned to the intruders and went on them with full wolf force.
Allison carried Henry into the cabin and threw him at Lydia. Allison took partial shelter and aimed her arrow out the door.
Stiles turned on the floor, he had to watch, he had to know.
He saw Derek take on five of the wolves as Chris was shooting to keep the others at bay. Allison was taking careful aim, helping Derek when she got a clean shot. Stiles just watched Derek, fangs and claws as he ripped through the bodies that had kept them apart.
Stiles lay there watching. He couldn’t do anything but wait.
“It’s a battlefield out there,” Lydia shuttered.
“Will Derek be okay?” Stiles asked.
“I can’t tell,” Lydia said. “Everything is wrapped around each other.”
She moved behind him. Vaguely Stiles could hear her talking to Henry, he could hear Henry crying, but he couldn’t move, he couldn’t do anything but watch. He didn’t even flinch as he saw claws dig into Derek’s flesh and then Derek swipe back, nearly decapitating his opponent.
“Incoming,” Chris yelled to Allison.
Allison moved from the doorway and into the melee. Stiles wanted to call her back, wanted to tell her that it wasn’t good for the baby, but he caught a glimpse of his father and he nearly choked. This situation wasn’t good for any of them. His father was there with a shotgun, shepherding Melissa to the cabin. Melissa had a bat.
Stiles’s eyes snapped back to the fighting. Derek was winning. He was still outnumbered, but Chris and Allison were evening the odds. There was yelling and screaming and behind him Henry was crying and Lydia was soothing him.
Everything felt fractured.
And then Melissa and his father were in the cabin.
“Be gentle with him,” Lydia said over the din.
Both Melissa and his father just looked at him. The looks on their faces showed him that Derek had been kind in his lack of reaction. They both looked like they had been slapped.
Melissa knelt by his side and plopped a bag by his head.
He could hear her talking and cutting his disgusting shirt off of him.
“That bad?” Stiles asked, feeling light headed and hysterical.
“I don’t even know where to start,” Melissa said.
“You’re a nurse,” Lydia chastised. “Start there.”
Melissa put her hand to Stiles’s head.
“How long has he had a fever?” Melissa asked, her voice all business.
Stiles laughed. He didn’t even realize he had one.
“A week,” Lydia admitted. “There are marks on his back that are infected and they broke his arm three days ago. We have been underfed and probably are dehydrated.”
Melissa lightly touched his ribs. Stiles let out a sad moan.
“Is he coughing up blood?” Melissa asked.
“I don’t know,” Lydia said in a small voice.
“No,” Stiles said.
“Stiles,” his father said, moving to his head. Stiles rested his head in his father’s lap. He could see his father watching the fight. Stiles felt like he could close his eyes now. His father would make sure Derek was okay.
“Really dad,” Stiles said, it came out in a little bit of a whine. “I haven’t coughed up even a little blood.”
Melissa had been rummaging in the bag. She lifted Stiles up.
“I need you to take these pills and drink some water, Stiles,” she said in her head nurse voice.
“Shit it is bad,” Stiles said, taking the pills.
“We need to get him to the hospital,” Melissa told them, looking at the door.
“Understatement,” Stiles muttered.
“You aren’t allowed to die,” Derek said.
Stiles opened his eyes and there was Derek, bloody and whole. “Promise. How is Benny?”
“None of them will ever harm anyone ever again,” Derek promised.
“Good,” Stiles said weakly.
“There are sirens coming,” Derek said.
The Sheriff stood up. “I’ve got this.”
Derek leaned down and touched Stiles’s face. Stiles's eyes fluttered shut. Dry lips pressed against his burning forehead.
“All I wanted,” Stiles said contentedly.
“Derek,” Lydia said. “You need to come here.”
Stiles opened his eyes and looked at where Henry was still crying on her shoulder.
“What is wrong?” Stiles said, scrambling to sit up again.
Derek steadied him. “Stay, I have this.”
Stiles watched as Derek went over to Henry. Derek tried to rub off some of the blood in the two steps that it took to get to Henry.
Lydia gently put Henry in Derek’s arms. Henry was still sobbing. He wouldn’t look at Derek.
“It’s okay,” Derek said, rocking him a little. “You’re safe now.”
Henry looked up at him, his eyes glowing red.
“My eyes,” he whispered. “They’re different.”
Derek didn’t flinch, didn’t look away. One of his hands came and stroked his son's head.
“Different,” Derek said, his voice choked with emotion. “But still beautiful, just like the rest of you.”
Derek came back and sat next to Stiles. Stiles leaned against Derek and looked at their son.
The newest little Alpha.