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Is He Going To Be Okay?

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Stiles grits his teeth together, refusing to give them the satisfaction of hearing him scream as they twist the blade further into his leg. "Is that the best you've got?" He spits, tears clinging to the corners of his eyes as he avoids looking at the blood currently flowing from various parts of his body. "I thought you were supposed to be an Alpha - the best of them all." He knows he shouldn't be speaking - hell, he should probably be begging for his life right now, not giving the already-very angry werewolves even more reason to torture him. But Stiles has never really liked begging, he prefers to use his wit and sarcasm to get out of bad situations. "Or are you not an Alpha? Are you just the pathetic guard dog that the rest of the pack doesn't trust?"

"If you don't shut your mouth, the next knife will be going in your neck," the man snaps, glancing from Stiles to the door. It was clear that the werewolf was anxious; about what, Stiles was going to have to find out.

"What was the plan, huh?" Stiles licks his lips, trying to ignore the familiar metallic taste. "Kidnap me, lure Scott here and then - what? You're gonna kill him?" He watches the man's face closely, noticing him twitch before giving the knife in his leg another twist. Biting back a groan, Stiles keeps pushing. "You really think that's gonna work? Have you not heard the stories? About the Alpha pack that went up against Scott McCall and lost? Or how about the Kanima? The Nogitsune? Which, by the way, was possessing me at the time. Or are you really just stupid enough to think that you'll be the one to finally take down the True Alpha?"

By this point, the man looks nervous. He stays silent but glances worriedly at the door.

Stiles, as observant as always, notices this and raises an eyebrow. "What exactly are you waiting for? Or should I be asking who?"

Again, the man stays silent. 

Stiles groans softly and rolls his eyes, grimacing as he tries to move his head. It takes a few seconds for him to realise that there's wire wrapped around his neck, tying him to the chair. "Seriously? I'm actually pretty flattered, you seem to think I'm a big enough threat that you have to restrain me entirely. Not exactly comfortable though."

"Shut up," The man attempts to growl at him but it comes out as more of a low warning. "The more you talk, the more that wire's gonna cut into your throat."

"Well that's just lovely," Stiles swallows as his eyes scan what he can of the room. He stops, eyes widening slightly as he spots what appears to be a table covered in torture devices. He once again groans, except this time, it's because he's realising how stupid he must be to have gotten himself into a situation like this. 

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"What do you mean you lost it?" Scott growls, claws digging into his palms.

Erica's eyes flash gold as she takes a step back, away from Scott. "I lost his scent, okay? Scott, we'll find him."

It's been two very long weeks since Stiles was kidnapped and everyone is on edge. The sheriff has every available officer working around the clock, worried out of his mind about where his son could be. Lydia has barely slept, afraid that she won't be able to sense if something happens to him. Everyone is upset and terrified to think about what could be happening to him. And Scott, well, Scott's a mess. He hasn't slept, hasn't eaten anything and is snapping at everyone. They know he doesn't mean it, he's just worried about Stiles.

Scott growls again and takes a step forward, only to be pushed back by a strong hand on his chest. He looks up at Boyd and closes his eyes, taking a deep breath as he nods and steps back. He knows he's losing control, he also knows that he's treating the others unfairly; growling at them when they're just trying to help. But he just wants to find Stiles. He can't lose his best friend.

"Scott." Derek steps towards him, making sure to keep his voice soft and reassuring. "We're going to find Stiles. I promise."

He can sense that Derek is just as worried as he is but it does nothing to calm him. "How do you know that? How do you know he isn't already dead?"

The room goes quiet, Scott glaring at Derek as he waits for him to reply. 

"Scott, maybe you should get some sleep," Derek says quietly, taking another step forward as he places a hand on his shoulder. "We're all worried about him but we can't give up hope. And you not sleeping isn't helping anyone. Stiles would be really mad if he knew you weren't taking care of yourself."

Scott rubs at his eyes with one hand, sighing as his shoulders slump. Everyone can see that he's exhausted, they've been searching non-stop for the past fourteen days and have still found nothing. "I just..."

Derek nods as Scott trails off. "I know, but you need to sleep. I promise that if we hear anything, we'll wake you up immediately, okay?"

It takes a few seconds of Derek staring at Scott, determination clear in his eyes, for Scott to finally give in. He nods and lets Derek steer him towards the couch. He lies down and breathes out, closing his eyes for a second as he tries to relax. Derek goes to walk away when Scott's hand reaches out, grabbing onto his wrist. He looks him in the eyes and for the first time, Derek realises just how badly this was affecting Scott as he sees the worry and guilt in his eyes. "You promise you'll wake me if you hear anything?"

"I promise," Derek sends him a small reassuring smile as he shifts his wrist so that he's holding onto Scott's hand and squeezes lightly. "We're going to find him."

Scott nods and smiles back gratefully, letting go of his hand and rolling onto his side, falling asleep almost instantly.

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Stiles feels his fingers start to go numb and wiggles them, worried that they're losing circulation. His thumb brushes against the ropes. Glancing at his werewolf guard, Stiles decides to see just how well his captors restrained him. He moves his wrist slightly and instantly regrets it, the ropes rubbing harshly against his skin. He can't help the hiss that escapes his lips as the burning pain travels up his arm. 

The guard turns to him and glances at his wrists. He sends him a somewhat sympathetic look. "They made cuts on your wrists and soaked the ropes in some sort of bleach or alcohol, I think they added some salt as well, knew it would hurt more."

"Oh," Stiles smiles wryly. "This just keeps getting better, doesn't it?"

The guard stares at him. He looks like he's about to say something but doesn't get the chance to as the door finally opens. 

Stiles lifts his head, eyes focusing on the silhouette entering the room. "They'll be here soon enough. Are you ready?"

Stiles knows that voice. He knows he knows that voice but he can't figure out how he knows it or who it belongs to which confuses him even more. Who are these werewolves and what do they want with Scott? Maybe they want his powers but surely they know that they can't take a True Alpha's power? Or do they have something else in mind?

Stiles doesn't get time to question their motives and stupidity a little more as someone pulls the ropes around his wrists, tightening them. Caught off guard, Stiles screams, biting down hard on his lower lip hard as he breathes deeply through his nose. When had they moved? And how had he not seen them? The person behind him laughs and yanks his head back by his hair, causing the wire around his throat to press even tighter, small beads of blood forming. Stiles bites the inside of his cheek as he stares defiantly up at the person, their fingers still woven tightly through his hair. From this angle, he could tell that they were female which, really, wasn't much of a hint at all.

"You're a tough one," she says, her tone gleeful and slightly maniacal. "This is gonna be even more fun than I was expecting."

Stiles continues to hold her stare, watching her blue eyes flash green then gold. He opens his mouth, eyes not once leaving his captors' as he breaths out, "Well, I don't like to disappoint. Let's have some fun."

A twisted, challenging grin spreads across his lips as her eyes widen in surprise, only to be followed by a cruel, sadistic smirk. "Oh trust me, we're gonna have lots of fun."

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Derek is true to his word, waking Scott up a few hours later. They had just heard from Chris and the Sheriff that they think they have Stiles' location. 

"Scott," Derek shakes Scott gently. "Scott, we think we've found him."

Scott's eyes snap open as he stares up at Derek. "Really? Where is he?"

Derek stands up, holding out a hand and helping Scott up as he fills him in on what Chris told them. 

"Something seems off..." Scott says quietly, eyes downcast as his eyebrows furrow. "It sounds..."

"Like a trap," Malia interjects bluntly, arms crossed. Scott nods as he looks up at her and she groans. "That's because it is one! Whoever took Stiles is trying to lure you in, probably so they can kill you!"

"I know," Scott replies. He begins to stride towards the loft door. 

Malia's hands fly into the air as she looks at the ceiling in exasperation and follows behind him. "Scott! You can't go!"

Scott stops and turns around, staring her straight in the eyes. "They have Stiles."

Malia's mouth hangs open as she stares back at him incredulously. "I know that, but what if..." Malia looks around desperately, hoping someone would back her up. When no one does she groans in frustration and turns back to Scott. "What if he's not there? What if they're keeping him somewhere else and they're luring you to a different location so that they can kill you?"

Scott smiles at her sadly. "It's a risk I'm willing to take."

"I don't want you to!" 

"Malia," Scott takes a step forward, both hands on her shoulders as he looks into her eyes. "Stiles is in danger. And this could be our only chance to help him, I have to do this." 

Malia's eyes shine as she nods. "Then I'm coming with you."

Scott sends her a half-smile and looks at the rest of the pack questioningly. 

Lydia walks forward, standing beside him. "As you said, Stiles is in danger."

Scott smiles at her gratefully. His eyebrows raise slightly as Derek joins them and turns to the others. "Stiles is pack," His voice sounds assertive as he looks at each and every person in the room. "We don't abandon pack and when one of our own is in danger, we help them. No matter the risk."

If Derek had been like this when he was an alpha, maybe things could have turned out differently for him, Scott thinks to himself. 

Isaac and Jackson appear to be the only two still questioning whether this was a good idea or not, although, they seem to agree that it is when they receive glares from almost everyone in the room. 

"Good," Scott says, nodding at they all walk forward. "Then let's go save our friend."

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"Has anyone ever told you that you're a bitch?" Stiles grinds out between his teeth, hissing at the searing pains shooting through his entire body. 

"Actually, yes," the woman replies. She grins as she digs her claws deeper into Stiles' throat. She leans down and licks the trail of blood that had begun trickling down his neck.

Stiles can see his blood on her lips and watches as her tongue darts out, licking away the last of it. He feels disgusted watching her relish in his pain and laughing when he can't stop himself from screaming. It scares him. Not her, she just annoys the hell out of him. What scares Stiles is that he can finally understand the Hunters. He can finally understand why, when they see a werewolf - hell, pretty much any supernatural creature for that matter - their first thought is: monster. Because that is exactly what this woman is. A monster. Stiles knows not all werewolves are like this, he knows that there are good ones like Scott and Derek. But when you're standing face-to-face with one, their eyes glowing, fangs beared and claws long enough to rip your throat out in a heartbeat, how can you distinguish which ones are good and which ones are bad?

A sharp pain in his chest brings him out of his thoughts. Stiles looks down and sees blood soaking through his shirt, two arrows firmly lodged in his chest. Normally, he would already have fainted at the sight but he knows that he can't go unconscious. He might not wake up if he does.

"I really did forget how tough you are, then again, we never really got properly introduced, did we?" 

Stiles' eyes widen a little as he tries to clear his vision. "We've met before?"

The woman laughs and leans closer, dragging her claws slowly down his face, ignoring the trails of blood she leaves behind. "I'm hurt, Stiles, you really don't remember me? And here I thought I had made quite the impression on all of you."

Stiles struggles to focus on her voice. Her laugh. Why does it sound so familiar to him? 

"I'll give you a little hint since you seem to be having a hard time remembering: You stood by with the rest of your friends as Peter Hale ripped my throat out."

"Peter?" Stiles squints slightly, just managing to make out the woman's main features. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and very aggressive. That helps a lot. "But Peter hasn't... If he ripped your throat out..." 

"Come on, Stiles," the woman says teasingly as she trails her thumb across his lower lip. "You're meant to be the smart one."

In his defense, he has lost a lot of blood, currently has two arrows sticking out of his chest and about three knives in various other parts of his body along with a scary werewolf-lady flirting with him while clawing his face. It's a little hard to focus with all of that going on. And so Stiles is surprised when it finally comes to him. 

"No, no, it can't be," Stiles shakes his head, ignoring the burning caused by the wire around his throat and the dull ache in the back of his skull. "You were dead. We went to your funeral."

The woman laughs as she pushes one of the smaller knives further into his stomach. She grins and lets out a shorter, more inhuman laugh as Stiles groans, too exhausted to stop himself. "That's sweet and all but, I wasn't there."

"Yeah, I gathered as much since you're still here and shoving sharp objects into me," Stiles forces out between his teeth. 

 "I never wanted to hurt you, Stiles," Kate says in what she probably assumes is a regretful tone but to Stiles just sounds callous.

"You sure about that? Because it does not seem that way from my perspective."

Kate sighs and stands up, taking a few steps forward. She grins cruelly as her hand nudges one of the arrows in Stiles' chest and he hisses. "I really didn't. You just got in the way. Now you're nothing more than bait and then collateral damage."

"Fantastic," Stiles mutters, blinking slowly as black dots dance in front of his eyes. "That's exactly what I've always wanted to be."

Kate opens her mouth, about to say something but instead, she freezes. She glances at the guard who had been looking away, trying to block out what was happening the entire time but was now watching the door with fearful eyes. "They're here."

Stiles can hear voices but they sound too far. Or maybe they're close? He can't tell anymore. But he knows that it's Scott. Scott found him. Like he always does. 

The door is thrown open, creating a loud bang as it hits the wall and comes off its hinges. Stiles can only make out silhouettes, three of them. No, four. Or... Is it five? There are too many of them. The one in front seems to be staring at him and Stiles has a feeling it's Scott.

"Stiles... Oh god, Stiles!" It's definitely Scott, Stiles thinks to himself as the last of his energy drains away and his eyes close as Scott takes a step forward.

"You found me," Stiles mumbles, knowing Scott can hear him. "You always find me." Then everything goes dark. 

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Scott doesn't need to see anything else, doesn't need to know the danger. He just needs to know that Stiles is okay and judging from the strong stench of blood, anger and sadistic joy, he isn't.

He throws the door open, not caring about the noise it makes and scans the room. His eyes land on Stiles almost instantly. Scott's heart stops and his stomach twists. He stares at his best friend; two arrows in his chest, claw marks down his face and, oh god, the blood. There is so much blood.

"Stiles... Oh god, Stiles!" Scott takes a step towards him, ignoring the two other people in front of him. 

"You found me. You always find me."

The words are quiet but everyone can hear them. Scott can feel himself losing control, eyes glowing as he growls. He's furious, and he's not the only one. 

Derek is the first to notice that one of the people in the room is Kate. A surge of anger mixed with confusion flares through him as he takes a step forward and growls at her. "How the hell are you alive?" 

Kate laughs but her voice sounds resentful. "It's good to see you too, Derek."

"Fine, you wanna play this game?" Derek's eyes glow as he grows more infuriated by the second. "Bring it on, Kate."

Scott, realising that Derek is outnumbered, steps up beside him. His eyes turn red as he calls out over his shoulder, "Lydia, Isaac, get Stiles."

Derek looks at Scott and their eyes meet. They both nod, a silent agreement made between them. All they have to do is keep Kate and her friend's attention on them long enough for Isaac and Lydia to make sure Stiles is safe.

"Scott McCall," Kate says, her tone playful and slightly flirtatious which does nothing but creep Scott out. "Surprised to see me?"

"Considering we live in Beacon Hills where nothing stays dead, not really," Scott replies, trying to keep his voice calm. "Let me guess, you want revenge?"

Kate flashes him a grin as she takes a step forward. "Correct! Glad to see at least someone in your pack still has some brains left," she spits out, turning her head to stare at Stiles, unconscious and being untied from the chair he was on. "It's too bad, he would have made a brilliant hunter with that brain of his," She sighs but when she turns back to Scott and Derek, she's grinning. "It's just a shame that he's probably gonna have some... problems, in that department." She takes another step forward, her grin still in place as Scott growls at her. "That's if he even makes it." Fake concern takes over her features. "I mean, I don't know how much of what I've read is true but, I hear most people can't survive a bite from a were-jaguar."

Scott feels like his heart's been ripped out of his chest as he his whole body freezes. "What?"

"Yeah," Kate's grin returns. "Apparently, there's something in our fangs that slowly stops a humans organs from working as it seeps into their veins and eventually makes its way into their heart and kills them. At least, that's what it does to people whose bodies can't handle it. If they can," Kate laughs and it's cold and holds not even a hint of remorse. "Who knows what might happen to them?"

Derek doesn't even hesitate as he lunges forward, hand gripping Kate by her throat as his claws dig into her skin. Even now she has the nerve to laugh. Derek squeezes tighter and growls out between his teeth, "What have you done to him?"

Kate smirks, her eyes glowing a bright green as her fingers wrap around Derek's wrist. "I already told yo-"

Derek growls again, louder this time. His claws are now piercing Kate's skin, blood slowly trailing down her neck. 

Scott knows he has to do something but he can't even think straight. He's too worried about Stiles to even care about anything else. And then he remembers that they're here to save Stiles, and to do that, he needs to help Derek distract Kate and her friend. His eyes search for the guard werewolf and he spots him almost immediately, standing to the side of the room and not doing anything. Scott frowns but decides that the man doesn't seem like too much of a threat right now.

"Derek," Scott's voice is gentle but also warning. "She stays alive."

Derek glances at Scott over his shoulder. He doesn't look happy about it but he releases his grip on Kate's throat, moving back.

She rubs at her neck and grins. "I see you haven't changed, Scott."

"As much as I would love to kill you right now," Scott says, glancing at Stiles' blood-soaked and tortured body. "That's not how we do things."

"Wow," Kate shakes her head and scoffs in disbelief. "I torture your best friend and you're still not going to kill me? What kind of Alpha are you?"

"The kind that is is still reconsidering stopping Derek from ripping your throat out," Scott says through gritted teeth.

"Now that's what I want to hear!" Kate exclaims triumphantly. "Come on, Scott. We all know you want to hurt me, so go ahead. No one's gonna stop you." When Scott says nothing, Kate narrows her eyes, taking a step closer to him. "You know, hearing Stiles scream is one of the best sounds I've ever heard. It was so..." Kate pauses, casting her eyes upwards as she grins. "Rewarding, I guess you could say, since he tried so hard not to. And god," she moans. "The way he stared right into my eyes as I dragged my claws down every inch of him, it was just so hot. Oh and, when I said every inch of him, I meant every. single. inch."

Scott finally snaps. He pounces at her, slamming her head into the ground as he wraps both hands around her throat. He doesn't care anymore. All that matters is that she hurt Stiles and that's not okay with him.

Kate lets out a broken, sadistic laugh as she coughs. "I knew you had it in you."

"Shut up," Scott pulls his hand back, ready to slash every inch of her and tear her limb from limb. Just as he goes to bring his hand down to swipe at her face, a hand wraps around his wrist and pulls back, stopping him. He looks up, eyes bright red as he growls at Malia. "Let go."

"No," Malia replies, tightening her grip as her eyes flash blue. "Scott, you were the one who told me that this isn't how we do things."

"I don't care anymore!" Scott shouts. And it's true; he doesn't care about what he said, he doesn't care that he's not meant to kill. All he cares about right now is Stiles. "Let go of me!"

Malia, as stubborn as ever, doesn't. 

Scott growls and pulls his wrist back as hard as he can, forcing Malia to let go. He looks back down at Kate and hates the way she's staring at him, as if this is exactly what she wanted. And in a weird way, it is. But as he already said, Scott doesn't care.

Malia groans in frustration and looks around desperately. She catches Derek's eye and gestures to Scott. "Do something!"

Derek continues to stare at Kate before shaking his head. He looks at Malia as he says, "No."

"Seriously?" She asks incredulously, shaking her head as she wonders what they're all thinking.

"You saw Stiles' body, right?" Derek now fully turns towards Malia, pointing behind her to where Lydia and Isaac were sitting against a wall, Stiles propped up against it between them. "You saw what she did to him?"

"Yes, I did, but-"

"Did you hear what she said?" Derek asks her quietly.

"What do you mean?" Malia stares at him, eyebrows furrowed. 

"She bit him." Derek glances at Stiles. "We don't know what a bite from someone like her does to a human."

Malia's eyes turn confused as they drift to stare at the ground. She shakes her head lightly. "No, no, he's gonna be okay."

"We don't know that," Derek snaps. His voice rises as he continues, "We don't know what's going to happen to him! He could die or turn into only god-knows-what!"

"At least he wouldn't be dead," Malia says, lifting her eyes to look at him. 

Derek stares at her, his anger radiating off of him. "Do you really think that's what Stiles would want? To be like her?" He points at Kate without turning around. "Or like us?"

Malia lifts her head and glares at Derek. "If he's alive then it doesn't matter. Would you prefer he died?"

"Of course not!" Derek growls. "But I don't want him to be forced into becoming a monster!"

"We're not monsters," Malia snaps back at him. "And whatever happens to Stiles, we will help him through it because we are his friends and he would do the same for any one of us, even Jackson!"

Jackson turns around and glares at Malia. "Wow, thank you."

"Shut up!" Malia says then turns back to Derek. "I don't care what you say because no matter what happens, I'm going to help Stiles."

"I never said I wouldn't help." Derek growls in frustration. "I'm just furious that you want to let Kate get away with this!"

"I don't!" Malia shakes her head as she turns to look at Stiles. When she turns back, Derek can smell her sadness. "I don't want her to get away with this but... We can't just give up on our code. That would make us as bad as her."

Derek wants to argue, say that it would only be this once and it would be for a good reason but he doesn't. Instead, he sighs and looks at Scott, still pinning Kate to the ground as he stares back at Derek. Scott seems to understand that they aren't going to kill Kate but he still doesn't get up. Derek looks at Malia and raises his eyebrows at her. She whines but walks over to Scott, taking one of his arms to try and get him to stand up. When it doesn't work, she looks over at the others, hoping someone would help. Boyd comes to her rescue and walks over, taking Scott's other arm. 

"If we aren't going to kill her," Erica says, walking up to them. "Can we at least... I don't know, put her somewhere she can't get out of?"

"I know a place that could hold her," Allison answers. "Eichen House."

"Perfect." Malia grins at them, still holding Scott's arm. "One problem though, how do we get her to go?"

Derek turns to look at Kate. She's back on her feet and appears to be watching his every move, unsure of what's going to happen next. Derek crosses the short space between them and elbows Kate in the face, hard, knocking her out.

"I guess that's how," Malia says, eyes wide. 

"Guys," Isaac is looking at them, his concern strong enough that they can all sense it. He glances back at Stiles before continuing, "He's lost a lot of blood and we can't stop it or take his pain, we need to get him to a hospital right now."

It's as if those words trigger something in Scott, snapping him back to reality. He shakes off Malia and Boyd who were still holding onto him and rushes over to where Isaac is sitting with Stiles and Lydia. "I'll call my mom, make sure she knows we're coming."

As they leave the building, Scott glances back, searching for the other werewolf. He was nowhere to be seen. Too worried about Stiles, Scott just let's it be and leaves.

The rest of the pack all just go along with Scott's plan, each of them getting into the vehicles they came in and speeding in the direction of Beacon Hills Hospital, hoping that it's not too late to save their friend.

Chapter Text

Scott breathes slowly into his hands as he sits in the waiting room of the hospital. With each second that goes by, another horrible, terrifying thought enters Scott's mind. He has to keep reminding himself that Stiles is going to be okay. But he doesn't know that. He doesn't have any idea what's going on and it's killing him.

"Scott," Derek places his hand on Scott's shoulder. "Listen."

He does. Scott's head snaps up as he hears his mum's voice, speaking to one of the other doctors. "There's nothing else we can do?"

"I'm afraid not," the other doctor sighs. "All we can do is wait, it's up to him to fight through this now."

"And what if he can't?"

The other doctor didn't reply.

Well, that doesn't make Scott feel better. It just makes him even more worried. He lifts his eyes and looks at Derek. He's surprised to find that Derek's face is completely blank. What's more surprising is that Scott can smell the fear, worry and anger coming from him. 

"Derek," Scott sits up straighter. "We don't know what's going to happen but if there's one thing I do know, it's that Stiles is a fighter, he can survive this."

"I... I can't do this," Derek says quickly and stands up, walking to the elevator. 

Scott wants to call out to him, ask him to stay because he can't handle this alone. But he doesn't. Instead, he lets Derek leave and closes his eyes as he waits for whatever comes next.

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Two hours pass and Scott's still sitting in the waiting room. And that's when he hears it. Stiles' heartbeat is speeding up. 

Scott jumps out of the chair and rushes towards the room Stiles is in. He's by the bed within seconds, grabbing onto Stiles' hand. "Stiles? Stiles, are you awake?"

There's a few seconds of silence before Stiles groans and rolls over. As soon as he does, his eyes shoot open and he winces. 

Scott's eyes scan desperately over his best friends body, trying to locate which parts of him are in pain. Then he realises, the pain is everywhere. He squeezes Stiles' hand gently and concentrates. The feeling that follows is worse than anything Scott has ever felt and he accidentally drops Stiles' hand.

"Scotty," Stiles murmurs as he lifts his head, looking up at Scott. 

"Hey, Stiles," Scott gives him a small smile as he picks his hand back up squeezes gently. "How're you feeling?"

"Fantastic." Stiles grins up at him. He winces again. "I take that back, I'm a little less than fantastic."

Scott laughs but it sounds all wrong, it sounds broken and more like a sob. "You're gonna be okay, Stiles."

Stiles hums as his eyes close. He's asleep within seconds. Scott sighs and his shoulders slump. He leans back and lets his eyes close as well, squeezing Stiles' hand gently as he falls asleep.

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A burning pain shoots through Stiles' spine, forcing him awake. He tries to open his eyes only to be blinded by the sunlight. He quickly closes them. After a few seconds, he once again opens his eyes and blinks slowly, letting them adjust to the bright room. And that's when he notices he's in a hospital room. He turns his head. He winces at the pain that shoots through him but does his best to ignore it as he looks at his best friend, asleep in the chair next to his bed. 

"Scott?" His voice is hoarse and his throat burns when he speaks but that doesn't stop him. "Scotty?"

The werewolf's eyes slowly open. And then they're widening as he leans forward and begins speaking - too fast for Stiles to even make out one word. 

"Woah, calm down!" Stiles lets out a laugh and regrets it almost straight after. He swallows but it doesn't do much good. "Do hospitals have water?"

Scott's eyebrows raise slightly and smiles. "I would assume they do, yes."

"Can I have some?" Stiles asks, grinning.

Scott rolls his eyes but nods. "I'll be back in a second," he says and stands up, letting go of Stiles' hand. Stiles hadn't even noticed he had been holding it to begin with. 

He shrugs to himself as Scott walks out of the room. He returns a few minutes later, a glass of water in his hand. 

"Thanks." Stiles takes it from him gratefully and gulps it down. "Water has never tasted better."

Scott laughs but it dies quickly, leaving Stiles confused. He doesn't question it though, as he sits the glass on the small plastic table beside him. He tries to push himself up on his elbow but collapses back onto the bed as a searing pain rips through his chest and arms, down his torso and legs. It's everywhere. He clamps his mouth shut, grinding his teeth together to stop himself from screaming. 

"Stiles?" Scott's panicked voice cuts through his pain and he knows he's right there but it feels like he's a million miles away. "Stiles?" Not getting a response, Scott seems to go into full-on freak-out mode.

Stiles tries to push through the pain to reassure his best friend but he can't, he just can't. And then slowly, the agony dulls to an ache. But something's wrong. Stiles shifts his head and looks at Scott. His eyes drift down and then back up to Scott's face. Now Stiles is the one panicking, snatching his arm away. He sits up as much as he can and stares at Scott incredulously. "What are you doing?"

"Y-you were-" Scott stares back at Stiles with wide brown eyes. "I didn't know what was happening and I... I didn't know what else to do."

Stiles feels a pain in his chest but he knows it isn't physical. He hates seeing Scott like this: terrified and guilty. He sends him a small smile and places his hand back on top of Scott's. "Thanks, Scotty."

Scott smiles back at him and squeezes Stiles' hand softly. The back of his eyes burn and he blinks rapidly. He clears his throat and looks down at the bed, avoiding Stiles' gaze. "Do you need anything else?"

Stiles narrows his eyes. "No, I'm good," he says slowly. He wants to know why Scott's acting so weird but he also doesn't want to push him. "Is everything okay?"

"You're in the hospital," Scott replies as he smiles. "I'm pretty sure it's obvious that everything's not okay."

"Scott," Stiles' tone is sharp. "What's wrong? Other than the fact that I am currently in a hospital."

Scott opens his mouth to answer him. And then he closes it. He glances up at his best friend and then clearly regrets it. Stiles is watching him with a worried and slightly curious expression. Scott shuts his eyes briefly then looks up at Stiles again and shakes his head. He smiles as he says, "We can talk about it later."

"Scott!" 

"Stiles, you need to rest, okay?" Scott stares at Stiles, determined to avoid the subject for as long as possible. And, of course, to make sure Stiles gets as much sleep as possible. 

"Fine," Stiles says and begins to lie back down. "But don't think I'm gonna let this go. You will tell me eventually."

"Of course I will," Scott replies and smiles at him. Barely a minute passes and Stiles is already half-asleep. Scott runs his thumb over Stiles' knuckles softly and breathes out slowly. He knows he should probably try and get some more sleep as well, but he doesn't want to. Scott just wants to sit in this quiet room, holding his best friend's hand and listening as he breaths in and out, almost in time with his heartbeat.

Chapter Text

Scott lifts his eyes to look over at the door as it quietly creaks open. Derek closes it behind him and steps forward. He glances at Stiles as he asks, "How is he?"

"He's..." Scott shakes his head. He meets Derek's questioning gaze and sighs. "I don't know. He's only woken up once since I've been here."

Derek gives a nod, arms folded as he stares down at Stiles. "Has he shown any signs of..."

"Of becoming one of us?" Scott asks. He shakes his head when Derek nods. "No, but he was in a bit of pain... Derek, when I tried to take it...." Scott trails off.

"What?" Derek asks urgently. "What happened?"

Scott finally looks directly at Derek, worry radiating off of him as he says, "It was worse than anything I've ever felt before, I... Derek, it was like what I felt on the first full moon...."

Derek's eyebrows furrow as he turns his eyes back to Stiles. He looks more worried than Scott has ever seen him, and that terrifies him. Derek clears his throat and turns back to Scott. "We just need to wait and see what happens but..."

"But?" Scott grips Stiles' hand a little tighter without realising. "But what, Derek?"

Derek sighs and runs a hand across his face. It's clear to Scott that he's tired and he's probably just as worried but all Scott wants is for him to say that Stiles is going to be okay. Of course, he knows that Derek can't tell him that.

"We don't know if any of what Kate said is true, however, there's someone who might..."

Scott raises an eyebrow at Derek. "Who?"

"Argent." 

---------------------------------------------

Scott rubs his hand over his eyes. He walks up the small steps and knocks on the front door. It feels like it's been ages since Scott was last here - at the Argent's home. Ever since he and Allison broke up, he hadn't been there as often. They were still friends, but there just didn't seem to be a good reason to go over to her house. 

The door opens and Scott looks up at Chris Argent. Chris' eyebrows shoot up in surprise but he steps aside, inviting Scott in. Giving a slight nod, Scott walks into the house, stopping before he reaches the living room. 

Chris closes the door and turns to face Scott. "Is everything okay?" he asks warily, his expression concerned. "Is Stiles..."

"He's fine," Scott reassures. Although, if he was honest, Scott wasn't entirely sure he believed that. And clearly Chris didn't either. "He's still asleep for now."

Chris nods in understanding but continues to stare at Scott. "That's good. But shouldn't you be with him? For when he does wake up?"

Yeah, Scott thinks, yeah, I should. But he knows that he can't be right now. Right now, he has to find out how to help Stiles. Besides, Derek's with him. He won't be alone if he wakes up. Scott grimaces inwardly. When he wakes up.

"We need your help," Scott says, pushing his worries to back of his mind.

Chris' voice is slightly wary as he replies, "With what?"

"We need to see the Bestiary." Chris stares at him questioningly and Scott sighs, exhausted. "I don't know how much Allison told you about what happened to Stiles-" Judging by the expression on Chris' face, Scott guessed she hadn't told him much, "-but here's the quick version: Kate was the one who took him, yes, she's alive and apparently wants revenge," Scott pauses, allowing Chris to process it.

"But..." Chris shook his head, eyebrows furrowed, "I don't understand. She was dead. Peter killed her-"

"That's what we thought as well, turns out, his claws went deep enough to turn her."

Chris' eyes snap up to meet Scott's. "No..." he mutters. "No, no, that's not... that's not possible."

Scott wasn't sure what to say or do to try and comfort him; he wasn't even sure there was anything he could say that would help in this situation. After all, Chris just found out that his sister is alive but as a werewolf. And that's when Scott realises he left out a piece of crucial information.

"Argent," Scott says, dragging Chris' attention back to him. "Kate isn't a werewolf. She called herself a were-jaguar. That's why we need your help." Scott is begging at this point, desperate for any sort of information on what might happen to Stiles. "We need to see the bestiary, it's the only thing that might be able to tell us-"

"No." 

Scott stares at Chris in disbelief. Of all the things he expected to hear, "no" wasn't one of them. "What? But-"

"You don't need to read the bestiary," Chris says. Scott begins to worry about the lack of emotion on Chris' face. "I already know all about them."

--------------------------------------------

Pain. That's all Stiles can feel as he looks into his mother's eyes. In the back of his mind, he knows this isn't real. He knows it's a dream. But right now, it feels real. And that's all he needs. He takes a cautious step forward as he watches her. 

"Mom?" He places a hand gently on his mother's shoulder and is surprised when he realises he can actually feel her. 

"Stiles..." Her voice is distorted but Stiles can still hear her.

He smiles at her, blinking quickly as his vision blurs. "I'm here."

She smiles back at him sadly. "Stiles, my baby... You can't be here."

"What?" Stiles' eyebrows furrow in confusion as he opens his mouth to continue.

"You're not meant to be here, it's too early," she pauses as she puts her hand on top of Stiles'. "You need to go back, Stiles."

"What are you-" Stiles stops abruptly as he feels a stabbing pain in his chest. He looks down and notices the blood seeping through his clothes. His eyes widen and he looks back to his mother. 

A tear slides down her cheek as she smiles reassuringly. "You're gonna be okay, but you need to go back." She glances down at the his chest. "I love you, Stiles."

Stiles wants to say something. He wants to tell her he loves her. He wants to ask what she's talking about, what's going on. But he can't. Because he realises he's already screaming in agony and someone is shouting at him, trying to wake him up. Then the pain begins to fade and Stiles knows that when he does wake up, he's gonna have a werewolf to lecture and then thank.

Chapter Text

Derek breaths out a sigh of relief as he sits back in the chair. Stiles had just started screaming and thrashing around, he hadn't known what to do other than try and take his pain. It had worked, but Scott had been right. The pain that Stiles was feeling was worse than anything Derek had ever experienced. 

"Hey," Scott's voice comes out of nowhere, whispering quietly and surprising Derek. "Sorry, I didn't want to wake him." He gestures to Stiles and closes the door behind him. "Any changes?" 

Derek sighs again, standing up to face Scott. "Just before you came in, he started screaming." Scott's eyes widen and he looks over to Stiles in alarm. "I took his pain, thought it might help. Scott," Derek waits until Scott's focus is back on him. "You were right. What Stiles is feeling..." he trails off, unsure of how to finish his sentence. He runs a hand over his face tiredly. 

"I talked to Argent," Scott says, saving Derek from having to continue. He tries to force himself not to look over at his best friend. "He's waiting outside but... he told me pretty much everything we need to know."

Derek looks at Scott, his expression unreadable. "I'm going to talk to him."

Scott nods in understanding and lets Derek leave the room. He walks over to the chair that Derek had been occupying and sits down. He sighs and takes a hold of Stiles' hand, waiting for Derek to come back. 

"You're gonna be okay, Stiles. I promise."

-----------------------------------------------

Scott nearly jumps out of the chair when the door slams open. He looks at Derek, then at Chris. "What's wrong?"

Chris glances at Stiles before looking to Scott. "Derek didn't like what I told him."

"I didn't like what you told me?" Derek whips around to face Chris, his expression furious. "I wonder why that is? You told me there's nothing we can do to help Stiles!" He takes another step forward, pointing at him accusingly as his voice rises. "You said that he's either going to die or turn into one of us! Am I supposed to like that?"

"Derek," Scott says quietly, glancing worriedly at Stiles. He was still asleep for now but if Derek kept shouting, he would definitely wake him up. "It's not his fault."

Chris sends Scott a grateful nod but decides to stay quiet.

"I know that!" Derek's voice brakes towards the end. He lowers his head and Scott could tell by the expression on Chris' face that he was alarmed by Derek's behaviour. "It's just..."

"I know," Scott says. He stands up and walks over to Derek. "Trust me, I know how you feel right now." Derek looks up and for some reason, the look on his face just flips something inside of Scott. "Stiles is my best friend, Derek. We've known each other since we were kids. Do you really think I'm happy about this?"

Derek clearly regrets lashing out, even though it wasn't aimed at Scott. "I'm sorry. I never thou-"

"It's fine," Scott says, but it came out too quickly and he knows it sounded rude. He sighs and runs a hand over his face. "I'm sorry."

Derek shakes his head and sends Scott a small, reassuring smile. "It's okay. I snapped at you, you have every right to snap back. Stiles is your best friend, you deserve to be angry."

"I'm not angry, I-" Scott pauses, his expression changing to one of guilt. "I just hate that there's nothing I can do to help him."

"I'm sorry," Chris speaks up, looking at the ground. He lifts his eyes to look at Scott, his expression remorseful. "Kate did this. I'm sorry th-"

"No," Scott says firmly. "You have nothing to apologise for. As you said, Kate did this. Not you."

Chris opens his mouth as if to protest but doesn't. Instead, he sends Scott another grateful smile and nods. "I should probably go, Allison will be home soon."

Scott nods back in understanding. He waits until Chris closes the door behind him and turns to Derek. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Derek replies. Scott isn't convinced and Derek knows that but they just move on. "We didn't wake him, did we?"

Scott turns around to look at Stiles rolling over in the bed but still soundly asleep. He smiles and shakes his head. "No, we didn't."

-----------------------------------------

"Derek, please, just-" Scott stops, sighing as Derek stares at him. 

"What?" Derek asks, stepping forward. "Please, just... What?"

Scott rolls his eyes at Derek but tries to stay calm. "Stop talking."

"Excuse m-"

"About dying!" Scott shouts. He glances at Stiles and sighs in relief when he confirms that he's still asleep. "Please stop reminding me that Stiles might die."

Derek's expression turns guilty but he continues anyway, "I'm sorry. But it is something that we need to talk about considering it's an actual possibility."

"I know," Scott lowers his head into his head. "I just can't think about that right now. I can't."

"Fine," Derek replies, but his tone makes it clear that he isn't done yet. "Then can we at least talk about what we're going to do if he does live?"

Scott bites the inside of his cheek, stopping himself from snapping at Derek. He knows that this is Derek's way of... no, not grieving. Because Stiles isn't dead. Yet, a small voice in Scott's head whispers. He shakes his head and looks up at Derek. "He's going to be okay."

Derek was becoming exasperated and Scott could tell but he just couldn't bring himself to listen to Derek talk about this. "You don't know that." Derek's voice was rising, along with his anger.

"Yes, I do. Because I am not losing him," Scott snaps back, but in a quieter tone, "Derek, I can't lose him."

Derek takes another step towards Scott. "Don't you understand? You can't control this!" By now he was standing right in front of Scott, a mix of emotions radiating off of him. "None of us can! That's why we need to talk about this! Because it's happening and there's nothing we can do to stop it!"

There was silence. The only sound that filled the room was the beeping of the heart monitor. That is, until Stiles decided to let the two werewolves know he was awake. "Why the hell are you two arguing?"

The both of them nearly jumped ten feet in the air at the sound of Stiles' voice. Scott was the first to react. He was beside Stiles in a second and grabbing onto his hand tightly. "You're awake."

"Yeah," Stiles manages to cough out. "I am."

"How do you feel?" Scott asks, despite knowing how stupid it was. 

Stiles's face scrunches up the tiniest bit and then he shrugs. "I've felt better."

"You don't say," Scott laughs, but it dies down quickly. He glances at Derek. "Did you hear what we were talking about?"

"Not really?" Stiles replies, but it comes out as more of a question. Scott gives him "the look" and he sighs. "Okay, yes, fine. I heard." He must see the worried frown on Scott's face as he quickly continues. "But it's okay. I already knew all of that anyway."

Now it's Derek who speaks up, "Which parts? And how?"

"Kate likes to talk," Stiles says, narrowing his eyes as if thinking about it. "A lot," he adds. "And, I know that I'm either going to die or..."

"Turn." Scott finishes for him quietly. Stiles looks at him and pauses before nodding. 

The room was once again silent, none of them knowing what to say. It stayed like this for only a few seconds, of course.

"So, when can I go home?" Stiles asks, directing it to Scott. 

He shakes his head but smiles and gives Stiles' hand a small squeeze. "My mom said you'll probably be in here for a while." Stiles groans dramatically and Scott knows it's for his benefit but he still laughs. "Lydia came to see you a few times."

Stiles' face lights up. "She did?"

"Yeah," Scott smiles. He was just so glad to see that even after everything he had went through, Stiles hadn't changed. "The others did too, but Lydia, Erica and Isaac have been around more often."

"Erica and Isaac?" Stiles repeats slowly, as if making sure he had heard correctly. Scott nods and suppresses a laugh at the expression on Stiles' face. "Why? They hate me. Well, me and Erica have this strange flirting thing going on but I'm pretty sure she still hates me. And Isaac would rather be the one putting me in hospital, not visiting me."

Scott shakes his head but laughs. "First of all: they do not hate you." Scott rolls his eyes when Stiles scoffs. "And Isaac... Well..." Stiles raises an eyebrow at him and smirks, gesturing for him to continue. "He likes you, just in his own special way."

"That's the nice way of saying he hates my guts," Stiles says.

Scott tries to protest but is shushed repeatedly by Stiles. It's only when the room begins to fall into silence again does Derek finally speak up. "I should go."

"Oh." Stiles looks up at Derek, as if only just noticing that he was there, despite Scott noticing him glancing at the other werewolf every few seconds.  "Werewolf business?"

Scott grins when he sees Derek's lips quirk upwards the slightest bit. 

"No..." He hesitates. "Actually, yes."

Stiles rolls his eyes but makes a shooing gesture at Derek. "Go, deal with your wolf business." His nose scrunches up at his choice of wording but he turns back to Scott. "Do you need to leave too?"

"No," He raises an eyebrow at Stiles. "Do you want me to?" he asks jokingly

"Of course not," Stiles replies, grinning. And that was good, because Scott wasn't leaving no matter what he said.

Chapter Text

Derek finally arrives back at the loft. He was tired and all he wanted was to be able to relax on his own. But of course, he knew that wasn't happening. 

He pauses just outside of the door as he hears the familiar voices of his... friends. He'd still prefer to refer to them as pack members but they had refused.

"Why are you in my loft?" He asks as he slides open the door and walks in. He's not surprised when two of the three werewolves jump at his voice. 

Isaac and Erica exchange glances. Derek rolls his eyes and looks at Boyd, the only one who is acting somewhat normal. And the first one to speak. "Didn't you ask us to be here?"

Derek stops for a second. He had. But he didn't want them here anymore. "I changed my mind."

"Seriously?" Isaac blurts out angrily.  He seems to regret it immediately as he takes a step back, cowering away from Derek. Sometimes Isaac's... personality, gets the better of him; especially around Derek. 

"We would just appreciate it if you could make up your mind before calling us here," Erica adds quickly. 

Derek understands where they're coming from. Really, he does. But today he just isn't in the mood for this. "You didn't have to be here if you didn't want to." He begins walking over to the stairs. "It's not like I'm your Alpha anymore," he grumbles under his breath, 

"Okay, I'm sick of this."

Derek stops in his tracks. The three other werewolves feel tense as they wait for him to do or say something. And then he turns around slowly, his eyes narrowed as he looks at Isaac. "What?"

Despite being absolutely terrified, Isaac looks Derek straight in the eyes and replies, "I said, I'm sick of this." He doesn't give Derek a chance to speak as he continues, "You've been acting like a child for days. Something is clearly bothering you and you're taking it out on us and that isn't fair!"

"Fair?" Derek steps forward slowly. His voice is dangerously low as he says, "You wanna talk about fair?" Isaac's momentary confidence disappears as Derek gets closer. "Alright, tell me how it's fair that Stiles might die. Explain to me, how it's fair that he's either going to die or turn into one of us? You can't. Because none of this is fair."

They all appear startled by his words - including Derek. Except for Isaac.

"That's what this has been about?" he asks. Erica's eyes widen as she turns to him, shocked by the lack of sympathy or comfort in his tone. He ignores her warning look and waits for Derek to say something. 

Derek narrows his eyes, just as shocked as Erica at Isaac's blunt tone. "Yes. That is what this had been about. Because I care about Stiles." He shakes his head incredulously at the lack of emotion Isaac is showing. "Unlike you, apparently."

"What?" Isaac appears taken aback and slightly offended by Derek's accusation. "I do care!"

Derek scoffs and crosses his arms. "Really? How many times have you actually gone to visit him in the hospital?"

"More than you!" 

The room is filled with a tense silence. Erica and Boyd exchange worried looks. 

Derek nods slowly and gives a tight-lipped smile. "Right." He doesn't say anything else as he walks - no, storms - up the stairs. 

Erica steps in front of Isaac, glaring at him as she says, "What the hell were you thinking?"

"Excuse me?" Isaac replies. When Erica just continues to glare at him, he gestures to the stairs Derek had walked up. "It's the truth!" He argues, his eyes turning gold. "He's been to see him about three times, while we've been there almost every day for the past two weeks!"

"You wouldn't even have gone to see him once if I hadn't made you!" Erica points out, stabbing her finger at him. 

"That's not true!" Isaac growls back. 

"Stop it. Both of you." Boyd glares at them. He waits until Isaac's eyes have fully changed back and says, "You need to calm down, let's just go to the hospital."

Neither of them argue as they nod and Boyd begins walking out of the loft. He just had to hope that they wouldn't start shouting at each other in the middle of the hospital. 

---------------------------------------------------------

"You're wrong and you know it," Isaac hisses at Erica as they wait for Miss McCall. 

Erica shakes her head in disbelief. "You're the one that's wrong."

Boyd sighs but shushes them when he sees Melissa walking back to them. She sends him a somewhat friendly smile while glancing at Erica and Isaac warily. 

"Alright, you can go in. Scott's still with him but he's awake and is okay to see you." 

"Thank you, Miss McCall," Boyd says as he sends her a grateful nod and smiles.

He begins walking to the room Stiles was in, leaving Erica and Isaac. They notice and quickly catch up to him. Before entering the room, Boyd turns to them, his expression stern. "No arguing. Got it?" They both nod reluctantly and follow him inside.

Stiles and Scott turn to look at them as they enter. Scott gets up and offers the chair, smiling at Erica as he stands to the side. She smiles back and sits down. 

"So," Stiles directs his attention to Erica, grinning as he speaks, "I've heard you've been visiting me, Catwoman."

Erica rolls her eyes but grins back. "Yeah, I have, Batman- We have," She corrects when Isaac glares at her.

"What did I say?" Boyd asks, crossing his arms as he looks between them.

Erica sighs and glances at Isaac. "No arguing."

"Uh," Stiles holds up a hand as he sits up a little straighter and winces inwardly at the pain. "Did I miss something?"

"Isaac and Derek got into a fight," Erica glares at Isaac accusingly as he rolls his eyes in response. 

"What about?" Scott asks, his voice filled with concern.

"Who visits more," Erica answers.

Stiles laughs, bringing everyone's attention to him. When he sees that none of them are laughing as well he stops. "Oh wait, you're serious?"

"Exactly!" Erica exclaims, throwing her hands up. "It's ridiculous, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Stiles agrees. "But how exactly did this argument start?"

"Because Derek was being grumpy - like usual, except worse," Erica explains. "And Isaac, apparently, couldn't keep his mouth shut."

Isaac scoffs. "I'm sorry that you're too scared to stand up to him. But he doesn't get to treat us like that just because he's worried!" He gestures at Stiles without looking at him while he and Scott exchange confused and slightly concerned glances. "We're all worried! That doesn't mean we take it out on each other!"

"I'm not scared of him!" Erica growls, her eyes beginning to turn gold. "I'm worried about him! He's never been like this before."

"I noticed that too," Scott interjects, hoping to calm the situation down. "I've never seen Derek this worried either."

"Uh," Boyd starts, glancing at Stiles as he tries to get the others' attention. 

"Exactly," Erica nods, ignoring Boyd. "I just don't want to say anything that might make it worse."

"Guys!" Boyd shouts. The room goes silent as they all stare at him. He gestures to Stiles.

They all turn to look at him. Stiles was cowering away from them, or more specifically, Erica. Scott looks at her, trying to figure out what was making Stiles so scared. And then he realises. It's her eyes. 

"Erica," Scott's tone is gentle and quiet, making sure he doesn't freak Stiles out anymore than he already was. "You need to calm down."

She looks up at him and her eyes change back to their normal shade of brown. She turns back to Stiles, guilt clear on her face. "I-I'm sorry."

Stiles swallows and smiles at her reassuringly as he tells her it's okay, it was nothing. But Scott hears his heart skip a beat as he leans back to his original position. And again when Erica reaches out and places her hand on top of his. And again when they begin talking. Scott feels like someone's ripped his heart out of his chest, seeing Stiles so afraid of Erica. How will he react if Scott turns? If he starts changing and he can't control it, like what happened after everything with the nemeton? He only got through that because Stiles helped him... What would he do if Stiles was afraid of him?

"Scott?" Stiles' voice breaks through his thoughts.

He looks up at him, shaking his head slightly to try and clear his mind. His hand goes to the back of his neck as he puts on a smile and replies, "Yeah, sorry, just zoned out."

Stiles narrows his eyes at Scott. He nods but Scott can tell that he knows somethings' wrong. Sometimes werewolf sense really do come in handy. 

"I was just saying that we should leave," Erica speaks up, her words slightly rushed as she stands up. "Gotta make sure Derek's..." She trails off, clearly trying to think of an excuse. "Not killing anyone..."

"Yeah," Isaac agrees sarcastically. Erica glares at him as she grabs his arm and he rolls his eyes. "Let's go then."

Scott sends them all a smile as they leave. He turns back to Stiles, smile still in place Stiles' eyebrows are raised as he folds his arms, shifting a bit closer to the edge of the bed. 

"Don't you dare," Stiles says. 

"What?" Scott pretends to look innocent as he sits down in the chair. 

"You're going to sit there and lie to me. It's not gonna work." Stiles stares at Scott determinedly. "You did the hand thing."

"The hand thing?" Scott asks, grinning. 

Stiles rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Yes! The thing you do when you're nervous and lying? You put your hand on your neck?"

"That is not a thing that I do," Scott replies in mock offence. 

"Yes it is and you know it." 

Scott shakes his head in amusement. Then he sees the worry on Stiles' face and it's so bad that he can actually sense it. And he feels like a horrible person for lying to his best friend. Why can't he just tell him the truth? Tell him that he doesn't want Stiles to be afraid of him, that he would never hurt him. It would make things so much simpler. No, Scott thinks, it would just make things worse.

"Scott," Stiles' tone completely changes; it's more gentle and quieter. He reaches out his hand, letting it rest on top of Scott's. "Please, just tell me what's wrong. I'm your best friend, we tell each other everything."

"It's just..." Scott begins. He doesn't know how to say what he's thinking. He doesn't even know how to feel about what he's thinking. "It's too complicated."

"What is?" Stiles asks, leaning forward. 

Scott looks down, unable to see the concern in his best friend's eyes. He breathes in deeply. And then he smiles. "Nothing. We'll talk about it later." He stands up, still looking at the ground. "I need to go see my mom, she wanted to talk to me about something."

"Scott!" 

He ignores Stiles and hurries out of the room, closing the door behind him. He turns the corner and slows down, letting himself lean against the wall as he closes his eyes. He knows Stiles won't be able to follow him; he's in too much pain to even get out of the bed. And Scott knows that running out of the room probably makes him a horrible friend. But he couldn't help it. How would telling Stiles what he's worried about make him feel better? How would telling him that he's scared he's going to lose him change things? It wouldn't. 

But at least then you could get through it together. 

Scott sighs and bangs his head against the wall. He winces. He forgot that even if he heals fast, he still feels pain. He opens his eyes and looks down the corridor, checking to see if he could see his mom. He wasn't lying when he had told Stiles she wanted to talk to him. Now he just had to find her.

Chapter Text

Stiles stares at the door in disbelief. He can't believe Scott just ran out to avoid the question. What is he hiding? Stiles shakes his head and sighs, letting his head fall back onto the pillow. A burning pain shoots up through his neck, causing him to groan. He doesn't even bother to try and suppress it. What's the point? No one can hear me, and Kate already won.

No. He squeezes his eye shut tightly and runs his hands over his face. He can't let himself think like that. She hasn't won. If she had, he would probably be dead, along with Scott. Scott... Why-

Stiles is dragged from his thoughts abruptly as he hears a familiar voice talking to someone, saying "I'll go check on him." And then footsteps walking towards his room. But he shouldn't have been able to hear any of that, not as clearly as he did. He shakes his head and rubs at his eyes. I'm just tired, he tells himself. And then the door opens and Melissa walks in. His eyes snap open and he blinks to clear his vision. That's just a coincidence. 

She sends him a warm smile as she walks over to the bed, holding a glass of water. He smiles back and goes to sit up, only to be stopped when the pain in his chest returns. He closes his eyes briefly and breathes deeply. After a couple of seconds, it eases down to a dull ache. Bearable, at least.

He looks up at Melissa. Guilt washes over him when he sees her worried expression. He smiles and takes the glass from her as he says, "I'm okay. It's not that bad."

Melissa smiles back at him and scoffs. She crosses her arms, replying, "You practically grew up in my house. I've heard those exact words from you every time you and Scott got hurt."

"Not those exact words," Stiles says jokingly, glad that she now seems more relaxed. 

"Yes, those exact words."

They both laugh, Stiles stopping to take a quick drink from the glass. He finishes it and goes to hand it back to Melissa. He pauses just as she reaches to take it, a thought entering his mind. "Has Scott said anything to you?" She furrows her eyebrows in confusion and he elaborates, "About me? Or... Something! I don't know, it just seems like he's keeping something from me."

Melissa smiles understandingly but shakes her head. "He hasn't mentioned anything to me. Have you asked him?"

"Yes," Stiles replies, slumping against the wall as he finally lets her take the glass. "And he literally ran out of the room saying you needed to talk to him about something."

She raises her eyebrows in surprise. "Oh."

"Yeah," Stiles says, his voice filled with disappointment. He sees Melissa frown and he knows she can sense his anxiety. You don't need to have heightened senses to tell when he's anxious, it's basically his permanent state of being. 

"I'll try to talk to him," She says with a small smile. "See if I can get him to tell you."

"Thank you." Stiles returns her smile. 

She nods at him and walks out of the room. He closes his eyes and sighs. Hopefully Melissa can talk to Scott, get him to see that he just wants to know what's going on. He just wants to be able to help. Because right now, he feels pretty useless.

------------------------------------------

Scott sighs as he rounds yet another corner, glancing down the corridor. Still no sign of his mom. He begins walking down it anyway, hoping to pass some more time until he has to go back to see Stiles. He pulls out his phone and goes to his contacts, about to press the one titled "Mom" when he walks straight into someone. He looks up, apologising profusely. And then he sees that it's Melissa.

She raises her eyebrows at him as he grins and says, "Hey! I was just looking for you."

"I was looking for you as well," Melissa replies, smiling knowingly as she continues, "I just checked up on Stiles." Scott feels his stomach twist with guilt and he knows that it's also clear on his face. He opens his mouth to speak but Melissa shakes her head, stopping him. "Talk to him. He's worried about you, and right now, he shouldn't be focusing on anything other than getting better."

"I know," Scott says. "I'll talk to him. I promise."

"Good," Melissa replies, smiling as she nods. "I'll see you at home, okay?"

Scott's eyebrows crease in confusion. "Wait, didn't you want to talk to me about something?"

Melissa waves a hand at him and shakes her head. "It can wait." She points a finger at him. "Go see Stiles." 

Scott doesn't get the chance to argue as she walks away, disappearing into one of her many patients' rooms. He lets it go and turns back around, heading in the direction of Stiles' room. He was just hoping that Stiles wasn't too mad at him for running out. 

------------------------------------------

Scott finally found his way back down to the level Stiles was on. He knows his way around the hospital because of his mom, but he still somehow manages to get lost every now and then. He stops in front of the room he knows Stiles is in, taking a deep breath as he turns the handle and opens the door. He had been expecting to be greeted with an annoyed glare or some sort of sarcastic comment about him running out. But as he enters the room, the first thing he notices is the smell of fear. 

His eyebrows crease in concern, his mind already going over every possible reason for Stiles being afraid. And then he sees it. The one thing he hadn't been expecting. 

Stiles looks up at Scott, his breathing uncontrollable as he glances back down to his hands. His hands that are covered in blood; blood that is coming from his ears, his nose, his wounds. Everywhere.

Scott quickly closes the door behind him and rushes over to Stiles. He doesn't know what to say or do. This is exactly what happened with Jackson, but he turned into the kanima. It's not the same thing - it can't be. But if Stiles isn't bleeding because he's turning into one of them... then it's because his body is rejecting the bite. 

"Scott." Stiles' voice is quiet, practically a whisper, his lips trembling. Scott looks away from his hands and finally notices how pale he is and how badly he's shaking. "I'm scared, Scott."

"I know," he replies quickly, his voice cracking as he grabs Stiles' arms. "And so am I. But we're going to figure this out, okay? You're going to be okay, Stiles."

Stiles closes his eyes as tears slip down his cheeks. When he opens them again, Scott doesn't only see fear; he sees acceptance. And that scares him even more because it means that Stiles is convinced he's going to die. And he's just accepting it. 

"Stiles, you're my best friend. Okay?" Scott's words catch in his throat as his voice cracks. "And I need you. Stiles, you're my brother. Alright, so you're going to be okay." 

It's a few seconds before Stiles responds but when he does, he nods and says, "Yeah, you're probably right." 

"I am," Scott insists, smiling weakly. He glances back down at Stiles' hands as he says, "Come on, we should clean this up before my mom comes back to check on you again."

Stiles nods again and lets Scott guide him over to the tiny sink in the corner of the room. He turns the tap and then stands to the side, letting Stiles wash the blood off his hands. Once they're clean, he wets a paper towel and runs it over his face, washing away any last traces of blood. 

Scott silently watches as he throws the paper towels in the bin and leans on the sink. His eyebrows crease in confusion when Stiles doesn't move, just lets his head hang while the water continues to run. Scott looks down at Stiles' hand, his knuckles white as he grips the edge of the sink tightly. He gently places his hand on his shoulder, only just realising that he's shaking.

"Stiles?" Scott's voice is quiet but concerned, his heart beating a little too fast. "Stiles, are you okay?"

Silence. And then, "No." 

Scott hesitates, unsure of how to respond. He doesn't know how he can possibly comfort him right now. But he doesn't get the chance to think of something as Stiles' legs seem to buckle and he let's go of the sink, falling to his knees. He begins to shake more than he already was as sobs wrack his body.

Scott drops down beside him, desperate to be able to help. He wraps his arms around Stiles' shoulders and pulls him closer. He breathes slowly as Stiles clings to his t-shirt and cries into his shoulder, hoping that it might calm him down. 

He can't help but feel guilty. He knows that Kate was the one who did this; she was the one who bit Stiles. But she did that because of Scott. Kate wouldn't have even bothered to hurt Stiles if she hadn't known how much he meant to Scott. So how could he not blame himself? In a way, this is his fault. Or at least, that's what he keeps telling himself. 

And he hates seeing Stiles in this much pain. He rarely ever sees him upset but when he does, he never knows how to help. And right now, Scott knows what Stiles is feeling. Not just because he can sense it thanks to his werewolf abilities, but also because he's in almost the exact same situation as Scott was when he was bitten. 

But you lived. He's dying.

Scott closes his eyes and slows his breathing, realising it had sped up. He listens carefully to Stiles' heartbeat to see if it's back to normal. Once he's sure that it is, he gently leans back, moving his hands to Stiles' shoulders. 

"Stiles?" 

Stiles pulls back, leaning his head against the sink as he rubs at his eyes with his palms. He drops his hands and Scott's stomach twists with guilt at the sight of his bloodshot and red-rimmed eyes. 

"Stiles?" Scott says again.

"Yeah," Stiles' voice is hoarse as he replies, "I'm okay."

"No," Scott shakes his head and places his hand on Stiles' shoulder. "You're not. And that's okay."

Stiles smiles weakly but it doesn't last long, slipping into a frown as he closes his eyes tightly. Scott knows that it's because he's in pain; he can tell by the burning sensation in his hand. He presses a little harder and squeezes gently, slowly transferring the pain from Stiles to himself. He knows that he won't be happy with him for doing it, but as long as he's not in pain, Scott doesn't mind. 

Just like he thought, Stiles opens his eyes and raises an eyebrow at him tiredly. "What did I say about-"

"I know, I know," Scott smiles innocently and shrugs. "I just don't listen."

"Don't I know it," Stiles mutters but smiles at him. 

"You should get back in bed," Scott says, already pulling him up. "The floor isn't all that comfy."

Stiles rolls his eyes but lets Scott help him back to the bed. He gets in and leans back, resting his head on the propped up pillows. 

"I need to go call Derek but I'll just be outside the door, okay?" Scott says, anxious about leaving Stiles on his own. 

But Stiles nods understandingly and gestures to the door. "Go on. I'll be fine."

Scott half-smiles and leaves the room, making sure to close the door behind him. He breathes out and leans against the wall, already pulling out his phone and tapping on Derek's number. He knows that Derek isn't going to react well when he tells him what happened. But he needs to tell him. Scott doesn't know what to do about this or how to handle it, and Derek was the one who was there when Jackson was going through the same thing. Hopefully, he would know what to do. 

If he doesn't... Scott's stomach twists at the thought. He holds his phone to his ear, waiting for Derek to answer. 

"Scott?"

"Hey, Derek," Scott takes a deep breath. "I think we might have a problem."

Chapter Text

"Scott," Derek calls, quickening his pace as he spots the younger wolf. As soon as Scott had called him, Derek had rushed out of the loft and headed for the hospital. He just needs to see Stiles - to know that he's okay. But you know he's not.

Scott tilts his head in greeting and steps back, his hand on the door as Derek finally reaches him. 

"Is he okay?" Derek asks urgently, glancing through the small window on the door. "What happen-"

"Derek," Scott cuts him off. Derek doesn't like the tone of Scott's voice, he doesn't like the way his voice cracks as if he's been crying, or the desperation that Derek can sense too clearly. He also doesn't like the way Scott's standing in front of the door, as if trying to stop him from going in. "On the phone, I didn't... I didn't exactly tell you the truth."

"What are you talking about?" Derek asks, his voice rising. He shuts his eyes briefly, telling himself to calm down. When he opens them again, he looks at Scott and says, quieter this time, "What didn't you tell me?"

Scott glances at the door before turning back to Derek, worry practically radiating off of him. "There was blood," Derek's eyebrows shoot up as he stares at Scott incredulously. "Derek, it was like what you told me happened with Jackson. But that's not possible, is it?"

Derek's mouth hangs open as he tries to think of an answer but the only thing running through his mind is Stiles.

"Derek?"

"I don't know, Scott!" Derek shouts, throwing his hands out. "I don't know what's happening to Stiles!"

Neither of them say anything as they receive looks from doctors, nurses and patients walking by, having heard Derek's small outburst. And before either of them get a chance to, Melissa walks over, the Sheriff following closely behind her.

She crosses her arms and raises her eyebrows at both of them. "This is a hospital. If you want to have an argument, do it somewhere else. Not outside a patient's room." She walks forward and pushes open the door, gesturing for the Sheriff to go in.

He tries to smile at Scott as he walks into the room but it's clear that he just can't bring himself to when he sees his son lying in a hospital bed. 

"And definitely not while his father is here," Melissa adds quietly as she watches him sit down in the chair beside Stiles. She turns her gaze back to the two boys, her eyes now firm as she asks, "Got it?"

They both nod in understanding and Melissa smiles at them. She goes to walk away but Scott stops her. "Mom, you didn't notice anything... strange, when you were checking on Stiles earlier, did you?"

Melissa glances at him from the corner of her eye as she grabs the clipboard on the door and scans down it. "Strange?"

"Anything... Just, anything unusual," Scott hints, trying his best to be as subtle as possible as she writes something down. 

She sighs as she places the clipboard back on the door and turns to Scott, her arms crossed. "If you're asking if I noticed the unusual amount of blood," She pauses and takes Scott's wide eyes as confirmation. "The answer is yes. It's also why I called his father."

"Wait, you told him?" Scott asks, his tone panicked as he glances behind her to the sheriff. 

"No," Melissa replies. "I just told him that I was worried. But, Scott," She glances at Derek as she leans a little closer, so she won't be overheard by people walking by. "Is there something happening? Something that I don't know that might help?"

Scott had forgotten they hadn't told her the entire truth about what happened to Stiles. All they had said was that he was really badly injured. He had planned on telling her everything once things had calmed down but... he just didn't. Scott sighs and looks at Derek, only to receive an incredulous expression along with raised eyebrows. "Derek, it's okay, we can tell her."

Derek opens his mouth to argue but makes the mistake of looking at Melissa as she stares at him, one eyebrow raised challengingly. He throws his hands up and shakes his head, replying, "Tell her if you want."

Scott nods and turns back to Melissa. "Kate was the one who took Stiles. I told you about Kate, right?" Scott asks, his eyebrows furrowed as he tries to remember. She nods and he continues, "She's apparently back from the dead and determined to kill... well, pretty much all of us."

"I don't understand," Melissa says, her eyebrows creased in confusion as she glances between Scott and Derek. "How is Kate alive?"

"When Peter killed her, he slashed her throat. His claws went too deep and he turned her," Scott says, nodding his head in silent agreement that what he just said was crazy. 

"Wait," Melissa holds out her hand. "She's a werewolf?" She asks incredulously.

"No..." Scott trails off, unsure of if she'll actually believe him. "She's a werejaguar."

Melissa blinks, her mouth hanging open as she tries to process his words. "A werejaguar? I don't think you've mentioned that one before."

"We didn't even know they existed," Derek explains, trying to help in some way. 

"Right," Melissa replies, nodding her head as she appears to still be trying to wrap her mind around the thought of werejaguars. "So, Kate's a werejaguar and she took Stiles?"

"And..." Scott feels a lump form in his throat as he thinks about what's happening to Stiles. "She bit him."

Melissa's eyes widen as they dart between Scott and Derek. "She bit him? Is she, uh, an Alpha? Is he going to turn into... well..."

"That's what we don't know," Derek replies, glancing at Scott. "We don't really know if it works the same way but... the blood, that you saw," Melissa nods, urging him to continue. "It's not exactly a good sign. The last time someone was bitten and there was blood... was Jackson."

"Jackson?" Melissa asks. "As in, Jackson Whittemore? But didn't he turn into the... Kanima?"

"Yeah, he did," Scott says. "But before that, he was bleeding and that usually means the body's rejecting the bite."

"But that means..." Melissa's face drops and she turns her head to look behind her, into Stiles' room. "Oh god," she mutters, her hand covering her mouth.

Scott just nods, unable to say anything. He hated all of this. Telling his mom, it just made it feel even more real. And he doesn't want it to be real. He wants to wake up and realise this was all just a bad dream, that Stiles was okay and Kate hadn't taken him. He just wants things to back to normal. But they never will. Not now.

"You need to tell him."

"What?" Scott looks up at his mom. "Who?"

Melissa shakes her head and turns back to him. "His father."

"But-"

"He deserves to know, Scott."

After a few seconds of hesitation, Scott nods reluctantly. "He does. We'll tell him."

"Good," she says, nodding. "I'll, uh, I'll see you later, be home for dinner, okay?" She waits for him to nod then smiles and leaves to attend to one of her patients. 

Derek and Scott stand in silence, unsure of how to say what they're both thinking. And then Scott looks up and watches the Sheriff hold his son's hand tightly as he whispers something to him, even though he's still asleep. 

"We have to tell him."

Derek sighs but nods, crossing his arms as he leans against the door frame. "I know. But how do we tell someone that their son might be dying?"

"I don't know," Scott replies. "But we need to say something. He doesn't deserve to go through this again..."

Just thinking about how much pain the Sheriff had gone through when his wife was in the hospital was almost unbearable. The thought of having to be the one to tell him that he might have to do it all over again with his son? Scott doesn't know if he can handle it. And how is he meant to tell the Sheriff that he might lose Stiles when he can't even accept that himself? 

Chapter Text

Scott's heart races as he enters the hospital room, Derek trailing closely behind. He closes the door as he glances at him uncertainly but continues to walk forward, stopping when he reaches the end of the bed. Derek nods and tries to look encouraging but all it does is make Scott feel worse.

He looks at the Sheriff, hoping that the words will just come to him. But they don't. All he can think is that this man has been through too much. He hasn't even been able to visit that often, being the only Sheriff in Beacon Hills. Parrish usually tries to fix any problems at the department on his own, along with the help of Lydia. She said she needed something to distract herself, so nobody protested. But there's only so much they can do. This is Beacon Hills after all, the town needs its Sheriff. 

"Scott?" The Sheriff finally notices Scott and Derek but his eyes barely leave his son as he speaks, "Is there something wrong?" Judging by the tone of his voice, Scott guesses the Sheriff thinks he's needed back at work.

If only that was the case, Scott thinks as he shakes his head. He knows he needs to tell him. But he just can't bring himself to do it. "Nothing's wrong."

Derek raises his eyebrows at Scott, silently telling him to just say it. When he doesn't, Derek sighs and turns to the Sheriff. "Sheriff Stilinski," He looks up at Derek questioningly. "We think there might be a problem. With Stiles," he adds. 

"What do you mean, 'a problem'?" The Sheriff asks, glancing at his son. 

And so Scott explains. All of it. Derek helps, adding bits that he forgets or is too hard for him to say. And the entire time, the Sheriff doesn't say a word, not wanting to interrupt them. But his expression gives him away. He's heartbroken. And angry. And just filled with hatred for Kate. 

He's silent as he tries to fully process what they told him. But it's clear that it's all too much. His eyes drift over to Stiles - still fast asleep but looking the most peaceful he has in days. He seems to think something over in his head. "Where's Kate now?"

Scott's stomach twits in guilt - and possibly shame - as he remembers what happened. He glances at Derek and it's clear he's thinking the same thing. "We were going to take her to Eichen. But she escaped when we weren't looking."

"She... escaped?" The Sheriff asks, more to himself than to them. 

"Yeah, she did," Scott confirms.

The room is quiet except for the sound of the heartbeat monitor and people walking by the room. Scott glances at Derek worriedly, silently asking him what to do. But Derek stays silent, his arms crossed and brow furrowed as he watches the Sheriff. 

"I need a minute," The Sheriff says. He lowers his head into his hands

"Of course," Scott replies. He nudges Derek gently and tilts his head towards the door. He gets the message and opens it. They both leave and he closes the door behind them. 

Scott breathes out and closes his eyes. He hated every minute of that. He hated the look on the Sheriff's face as he told him that his son - the only family he has left - might be dying. 

"That could have gone..." Derek pauses. Scott looks over at him as he seems to be thinking it over. "Better. Or worse. I'm not entirely sure."

"Yeah, tell me a-"

Scott doesn't finish his sentence as the door opens back up and the Sheriff walks out, not even glancing at them. They watch as he turns the corner, heading for the front door. 

"I'm gonna go sit with Stiles," Scott says. He nods his head in the direction the Sheriff went as he goes to walk back inside the room. "Do you maybe...?"

Derek nods in understanding and heads after him. Scott just hopes the Sheriff will listen to Derek and not just brush him off like he usually does. Why? So that he can just give him false hope? He shakes his head to himself and fully enters the room, closing the door behind him. 

-----------------------------------------

Derek sighs to himself as he spots the Sheriff heading for his car. Of course he would be the one that has to talk to him. Why couldn't Scott do it? He's a hell of a lot better at reassuring people. 

He's dragged from his thoughts as he realises that the Sheriff isn't the only one at his car his car. His eyebrows crease as he strains his ears, picking up on their voices. One was obviously the Sheriff's, but the other was familiar. Too familiar. Along with their scent. And that's when Derek realises. It's familiar because it's Peter. The Sheriff and Peter. Talking to each other. That can't be good.

He quickly moves into the shadows as he tries to get closer without Peter picking up his scent as well. Thankfully, he seems to be too distracted. Derek listens carefully to their conversation, ignoring the voice in the back of his head that's whispering to him about how this is wrong.

"-You want to find Kate." Peter grins at the Sheriff. "I can help you. Now that I know she's alive, I'd like to have a little chat with her. And I'm sure you do too, considering what she did to Stiles."

Derek growls under his breath. Of course Peter was trying to find Kate, and of course he was trying to get the Sheriff's help. But... We didn't tell Peter that Kate was alive. Which means the Sheriff did. He growls again, still making sure to be quiet. They had kept it from him for a reason.

"-In an hour," The Sheriff finishes.

"Got it. Can't wait."

"I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"

Wait, what? Derek curses. He had stopped paying attention and now had no idea what they had said. Guess I'll just have to follow them and find out. But first - Scott.

He watches the Sheriff get in his car while Peter walks off in the opposite direction before heading back inside to tell Scott what had just happened.

-------------------------------------

"Sheriff Stilinski," Peter calls out, a wide grin on his face as he approaches the man. "I've been looking for you."

The Sheriff barely spares him a glances as he scoffs and reaches into his pocket, searching for his car keys. "Good for you."

"Ooh," Peter raises his eyebrows as he leans against the car. "Someone's in a bad mood. Then again, you did just walk out of a hospital. Nobody's happy after being in one of those."

Peter can smell the anger radiating off of the Sheriff. Humans, he thinks, so terrible at hiding their feelings.

"I wouldn't have been in there, visiting my son, if it wasn't for you," He snaps, finally looking at him. 

Peter's startled by his words. He takes a step back, his hands in front of him. "Whoa, I didn't put Stiles in hospital. I've barely even talked to him, never mind hurt him." That was't exactly true considering Peter has talked to Stiles on numerous occasions, but it always because Derek and Scott were in some sort of trouble. The last part was true; Peter would never hurt Stiles... intentionally.

"You may not have been the one who hurt him but you might as well have, it's your fault Kate Argent's even alive-"

"Kate?" Peter asks, his eyebrows creased as he puts his hands down. "Kate Argent is alive? That's not possible."

"You didn't know?" The Sheriff asks. 

"Of course I didn't know! Nobody tells me anything!" Peter replies, resting his arm on top of the car as he rubs his forehead. "How the hell-... Oh." He casts his eyes upward and groans. "Of course."

"Great. You figured it out. Now could you get off my car?" 

Peter stares at the Sheriff in exasperation. These humans really are idiots. "Seriously? You don't even want to know why I came here looking for you?"

"Not really," The Sheriff sighs, holding his keys up. "I need to get back to work."

Peter narrows his eyes as he says, "I'm sure they can handle things for a few minutes without you."

The Sheriff closes his eyes briefly and nods, opening them. "Fine. What do you want?"

"I heard that it was an alpha who took Stiles. Now I know that it was actually Kate." Peter's still trying to wrap his head around Kate being alive. He can't believe no one thought to tell him. "I was going to make an offer - I still am." The Sheriff narrows his eyes at him but gestures for him to keep going. "You want to find Kate." Peter grins at the Sheriff. "I can help you. Now that I know she's alive, I'd like to have a little chat with her. And I'm sure you do too, considering what she did to Stiles."

"Why would I accept your help when I'm the Sheriff? I can find her without you." 

Peter cocks his head and shrugs. "Maybe. But with me, you'd find her a lot faster. Y'know, thanks to those heightened werewolf senses."

The Sheriff looks away and seems to be thinking and Peter smirks. That was too easy. The Sheriff looks back at him and before he even says anything, Peter can tell that he's won him over.

"Fine. But we need to properly discuss this. Later."

"Absolutely," Peter agrees, folding his arms behind his back. "Where and when?"

The Sheriff sighs and shakes his head. "My house. In an hour."

"Got it," Peter replies, flashing him a grin. "Can't wait."

The Sheriff groans and unlocks his car, pulling open the door. "I'm gonna regret this, aren't I?"

Peter doesn't say anything and the Sheriff mutters "oh god" before getting in his car. He turns around, still grinning as he walks away from the hospital. Now, Peter thinks, some wolfs have got some explaining to do.

Chapter Text

Scott knows that he should probably have gone to talk to the Sheriff instead of getting Derek to do it. But he just felt like he couldn't leave Stiles - even if he is still asleep. 

Scott shakes his head to himself, smiling at his best friend. "How did you sleep through all of that?" 

He obviously doesn't expect a reply, Stiles being asleep and Derek talking to the Sheriff. And so he is definitely surprised when he hears, "You can ask him when he's awake. But right now, I think we have a problem. Or, another one, at least."

He turns to face the door and sees Derek, arms crossed over his chest and scowling. Scott stands up and pushes Derek out of the room, closing the door behind them. He sighs and turns back to him. "What now?"

"I just overheard the Sheriff talking to Peter," Derek says. Scott's eyebrows crease in confusion and Derek nods. "Exactly. They were talking about Kate and Peter offered to help the Sheriff find her."

"What did he say?" Scott asks. Surely he wouldn't have accepted Peter's help. But then again, after what Kate did to Stiles.. maybe he would.

To his surprise, Derek frowns and replies, "I don't know. I stopped paying attention."

"Seriously?" Scott asks.

"Yes. Seriously. I was too busy trying to figure out how Peter even knew Kate was alive."

Scott's eyes widen. "Oh yeah, we never told him."

"I'm guessing the Sheriff told him." Derek shakes his head. "But that doesn't matter right now, what matters is figuring out what we're going to do about this."

"What do you mean?" Scott asks. "Why do we have to do anything?"

Derek's eyebrows shoot up in surprise as he blinks at Scott incredulously. "Because if Peter finds Kate, he will kill her. And I don't think the Sheriff is going to try and stop him."

"I get that," Scott says, nodding slowly. "But..." he trails off when he sees the look on Derek's face. No. We can't let them kill her. It's not what Stiles would want. "Okay, yeah, so, what are we going to do?"

Derek's eyes narrow in suspicion at his sudden change of mind but he replies, "They're meeting at the Sheriff's house in an hour. We'll go and see what their plan is."

"I don't think that's a good idea," Scott says cautiously. He pauses, ignoring the look Derek sends him as he tries to think of something. "We could get Lydia to talk to Parrish? See if there's anything they can find out? I mean," Scott presses on. "They would be way less suspicious since they're pretty much always together right now."

Derek's quiet as he stares at Scott, making him more than a little nervous. But he ignores it and waits for him to say something. After a few more seconds of the - incredibly awkward and unnerving - silent staring, Derek sighs and shakes his head. "Fine. But if they screw this up, it's your fault."

"That doesn't ma-" Scott stops himself and smiles. "Totally my fault."

"Good," Derek replies, the finality to his tone making it pretty clear that the conversation is over.

He glances behind Scott at the clock on the wall. "I need to go. Make sure Isaac and Erica haven't killed each other."

Scott snorts as he remembers Erica saying almost exactly the same thing about Derek. He quickly straightens his face as he catches sight of Derek glaring at him. Scott grins at him as he rolls his eyes and turns around, walking away from him. 

He shakes his head as he pushes open the door to Stiles' room and steps in. He retakes his seat beside Stiles, a small smile spreading across his lips when he notices that he's still asleep. And not only that but... he looks happier or more peaceful than he has in... well, since he went missing. 

He didn't go missing, Scott reminds himself. Kate took him.

The smiles disappears as quickly as it had come as he remembers his conversation with Derek. How his first thought when Derek said they needed to stop the Sheriff and Peter was why? Why do we have to stop them?

He wants to say he just wasn't thinking clearly but that wouldn't be true. He genuinely wondered why they have to stop them from killing her. After everything she's done and everyone she has hurt, why doesn't she deserve this? 

Scott looks up as he catches a flicker of movement from the corner of his eye. Stiles was now facing him - still asleep but murmuring quietly. Scott shakes his head in amusement but pauses when he hears, "Scotty." His smile returns as Stiles' lips twitch upwards, despite still being asleep. 

That's why, he thinks. Stiles is the reason that I just can't let them kill Kate. Because even though she hurt him worse than anyone ever has, he would still be the one reminding me that we don't kill. 

----------------------------------------

"I can't believe they talked us into this," Lydia sighs as she trails closely behind Parrish, walking up the path to Stiles' house.

Parrish glances back at her and smiles. "I can." He looks back up at the house nervously. "What exactly what was the plan again?"

"You distract the Sheriff and I try to get Peter to tell me what they're planning?" Lydia says uncertainly. 

Parrish stares at her with wide eyes. "That's the whole plan? I thought there was going to be something else. That's a terrible plan!"

"I didn't come up with it!" Lydia defends. She has to agree though, the plan really is terrible. Why Scott thinks it will work, she has no idea. "We just have to try."

Parrish seems to want to protest but doesn't, and instead, he knocks on the front door. They wait nervously for the Sheriff to answer. Then the front door wings open and Peter takes a step forward, leaning against the door frame as he grins at them. 

"Hi," He tilts his head as his eyes land on Lydia. "How can I help you, kids?"

Lydia rolls her eyes and replies, "We need to speak to the Sheriff." She smiles sweetly as he narrows his eyes at her. 

"He's a little busy at the moment, if you couldn't tell," Peter says. His eyes widen a little as he straightens up and gestures behind him without looking. "But you can come inside and wait if you'd like."

Parrish glances into the house uncertainly, his hand twitching as if wanting to reach for his gun. Lydia sighs and folds her arms over her chest as she leans closer. She lowers her voice as she says, "We know you're planning to find Kate." She leans back, smirking innocently as she continues, "Let us help you."

"But..." Peter's eyebrows crease in confusion. "Kate's dead. I should know, I killed her."

"Drop the innocent act," Lydia snaps, her patience wearing thin. "We know that you went to Sheriff and found out that she's still alive. You offered to help him find her. Now let us help as well."

"Lydia..." Parrish says quietly, confused as to what the hell was going on. 

Peter folds his arms across his chest and smirks. "Oh, was this not part of your little plan?"

Lydia glances at Parrish and shakes her head. "No. It wasn't." Peter's eyes narrow, clearly suspicious. "But I don't care," she states, putting as much confidence as she can muster into her voice. "I want to find Kate and make sure she suffers for what she did to Stiles."

Peter's eyes widen a little at her words but he remains suspicious as he raises his eyebrows at her. "And why should I trust you?"

That, she didn't know. But she was sure as hell going to try and come up with a reason. "Maybe you shouldn't. But wouldn't it be easier to find Kate if you had more people on your side?"

"Yes," Peter says, apparently giving up on his innocent act completely. "But I want to kill her. You would probably stop me because you think you can save her." He rolls his eyes in disgust at just the thought. "Which you can't, by the way, trust me, Derek tried. It didn't work out so well for him. Or me for that matter." 

That was news to Lydia. She reminds herself to ask Scott about that later. Right now, though, "I won't stop you. I'll help you find her, then you can kill her."

Peter stares at her, his eyes narrowing even more. "Steady..." He mutters to himself. 

Lydia smirks to herself. She knew that the first thing he would do was listen to her heartbeat. Scott had already helped her learn how to keep it steady - y'know, in case she was ever lying to a werewolf.

"Is that a yes?" 

Peter hesitates, still suspicious. But at this point, he doesn't have much reason not to believe her. "Fine. But if we find her and you try to stop me, I won't hesitate to kill you as well."

"You tried once before," Lydia smirks at him. "Didn't really work, did it?"

Peter rolls his eyes but smirks back, enjoying her confidence. It always was something he liked about her. 

"Do you still want to talk to the Sheriff?" Peter asks innocently, his eyes drifting over to Parrish. 

Parrish shakes his head, his hand still twitching next to his holstered gun. 

"Good. Because we're a little busy at the moment," He takes a step back, into the house and smirks when he sees Lydia's expression. "I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks," he says and closes the door. 

Lydia's mouth hangs open and her eyes narrow as she turns to face Parrish. "Is it just me or did he make that sound very sexual?"

"Not just you," Parrish says, but his tone is clipped and lacking any hint of humour. He turns around and begins walking back to his car, leaving Lydia standing on the steps. 

Her eyebrows shoot up in shock and she marches after him. He's already in the car by the time she catches up to him. She climbs into the passenger seat and closes the door, turning her head to face him. 

He doesn't say anything as he starts up the engine and begins driving, clearly avoiding even looking in her direction. 

"Okay," she says, licking her lips as she stares out the windscreen. "You're annoyed, I get that. I should have told you what I was going to s-"

"No," Parrish breathes out, laughing to himself. Lydia's eyebrows furrow in confusion as she watches him. "You're going to say that you only said all of that to make Peter believe you. But you meant it, didn't you?"

Lydia's mouth hangs open once again in disbelief. "Of course I didn't mean it."

"You did," he insists.

Lydia throws her hands up, replying, "No. I didn't." She sighs as she leans her elbow against the window, letting her head rest on her hand. "This was the plan all along. Scott told me to say all of that."

Parrish' eyebrow furrow in confusion. "But... Why didn't you just tell me then?"

"I was trying to!" Lydia exclaims. "But then you interrupted me."

"I meant before," Parrish says, glancing over at her. "Why didn't you just tell me before?"

"Because..." she trails off, slumping down in her seat as she realises that she doesn't have an answer. "I don't know, I thought that if Peter thought I was going against the plan then he might be more inclined to accept our help. If he thought that you knew then it might have made it less believable."

Parrish is quiet, glancing at Lydia. After a few seconds pass he seems to give in and accept this, saying, "I guess that makes sense."

"It does," Lydia agrees, relaxing in her seat. 

The conversation for the rest of the ride back to the station was definitely a lot less tense and filled with way more laughter. They arrived and Lydia gets out of the car, waving bye to Parrish as he enters the station and she begins walking away, heading for the loft. 

She sighs to herself once she's certain she's far enough away. She obviously hadn't wanted to admit it to Parrish, but what he said? There was some truth to it. She said she would help Peter find Kate and then let him kill her. And for a second - just a second - she had been telling the truth. She wanted to see Kate suffer for what she did to Stiles. 

But that's not what he'd want. At least, that's what she keeps telling herself. If Stiles dies, he isn't going to be able to want anything. And that thought alone is enough to make Lydia want to hurt Kate. Why should she get to be free and happy when she's ruined so many people's lives, including Stiles'? 

She closes her eyes and runs a hand over her face. She can't afford to let herself think like this. She looks up and realises that she's arrived at the loft. That was surprisingly quick. She shakes her head and walks into the building, hoping to find Scott or at least Derek.

But all the while, those thoughts stay in her mind, whispering quietly to her. And she isn't the only one - many of the others are beginning to question their code and if letting Kate live really is necessary. Especially since things are beginning to look a lot worse for Stiles.

Chapter Text

"You're here, again..." A voice whispers to Stiles through the darkness. He looks around, his eyes searching for the source but finding nothing. "You shouldn't be here."

"Why?" Stiles calls out. "Why shouldn't I be here? Where is 'here'?"

There's no response, only silence. And then there's a flash and the room is filled with a blinding white light. Stiles squeezes his eyes shut, trying to block it out. This is all too familiar. He's been through this before - after everything with the Nemeton. But that can't be right, this can't be the same thing. That just... doesn't make sense. 

As if reading his thoughts, the voice says, "You're right. It doesn't. And that's why you shouldn't be here, you aren't dead."

"But..." Stiles' eyes narrow as the realisation hits him. "I'm dying."

Again, no response. Stiles takes the voice's silence as confirmation. 

"That's just great," he mutters as he turns slowly, looking around for any sort of movement or... just, anything. "I'm guessing there's no chance of you actually being helpful and telling me, oh, I don't know, how long I have until I die?"

Stiles waits. Still nothing. He rolls his eyes, giving up on hearing anything else when the voice speaks up. "I don't know... Because you shouldn't be dying, you aren't... But you are."

Stiles narrows his eyes, staring into the endless white around him. "What does that mean? I can't be dying and not dying at the same time... Can I?"

"It's like..." The voice seems to hesitate as if unsure which does not ease Stiles' anxiety one bit. "You're body is slowly dying but as it does, you're healing."

"What, so, I'm... Turning? I don't get this."

"I don't have the answers. But someone close to you does."

Stiles is really beginning to hate this disembodied voice and its vague answers. "Who?"

"I'm sorry. You have to wake up."

"What? Just tell me who knows!" Stiles shouts at the ceiling - at least, he was assuming it was the ceiling, for all he knows he could be upside down and talking to the floor. 

The voice doesn't reply and his words seem to echo off of nothing as a dull throbbing pain appears in the bottom of his neck. It slowly becomes more painful and he knows that he's going to wake up. He closes his eyes and waits, biting down on the inside of his cheek as the pain grows stronger. It takes over and he's screaming, crying out for someone to just make it stop. And someone does. 

---------------------------------------

Scott sighs as he looks down at Stiles and let's go of his hand. He had finally managed to calm him down but it had just made Scott more worried about leaving him. He needed to go talk to Lydia and Derek though.  

He bites the inside of his cheek, still making no move to leave. I could just call Allison and ask her to visit him... Or Erica. Deciding it's the only good option he has, Scott turns his back to Stiles and pulls out his phone, dialling Erica's number. 

"C'mon, pick up, pick up," he mutters to himself as it rings. 

"Scott? Everything okay?" Erica's voice greets him, her tone laced with panic. She seems to always be like that now; at least, ever since Stiles was bitten. She's constantly worried that something has happened to him. 

"Yeah, Erica, everything's okay." He glances behind him, checking to see if Stiles is awake. But he's still fast asleep. He turns back around, saying, "I was just wondering if you could maybe come to the hospital? I need to go to the loft and I don't feel so great about leaving Stiles one his own."

She barely waits for him to finish speaking, replying, "Yeah, of course. I'll leave right now."

"Great, thank you so much, Erica," Scott says, relaxing a little now that he knows Stiles won't be on his own for long. 

She doesn't say anything else and hangs up the call. Scott puts his phone back in his pocket and heads for the door, taking one last look at Stiles before leaving. 

-----------------------------------------

Scott slides open the loft door and heads in, searching for Lydia or Derek. He spots them, standing near the window at the very back, neither of them looking happy. 

Derek's head turns to Scott, already knowing he was there. "Hey."

Scott nods back in greeting and quickly walks over to them. "Hey," he smiles at both of them but he can't help feeling like something's off. "So," he looks at Lydia. "Did you find anything out?"

She glances at Derek and nods. "Yeah, I did."

"Peter agreed to let us help him find Kate," Derek explains.

"Well, he agreed to let me help-" Lydia puts her hands up and raises her eyebrows when she sees the expression on Derek's face. "But I'm sure he meant all of us..."

"But on the condition that we let him kill her," Derek adds.

Scott's quiet as he thinks about it. His first thought is - That's fine, he can kill her if he wants. But he knows that they can't do that. "We'll just have to make sure he doesn't get the chance to," he says, ignoring the scent of suspicion coming from Derek. 

"Yeah," Lydia agrees but it's not convincing and Scott knows that she's thinking the same thing as him.

They both want Kate to suffer for everything she's done. They both want to stop her from ever being able to ruin anyone else's life. But of course, Derek is there to remind them that they can't. 

"Is that it? Are we done?" He asks, already walking away from them. 

"Yeah," Lydia mutters quietly. She glances at Scott before heading for the door and leaving the loft. 

He sighs to himself and follows after her, heading back to the hospital. He's just hoping that Erica's still there and not freaking out too much. 

-------------------------------------------------

"Miss McCall!" Erica shouts for what must be the tenth time as she repeatedly clicks the emergency button. She glances down at it and groans in frustration. "Why aren't you working? You're meant for emergencies, how am I meant to tell someone there's an emergency if the emergency button doesn't work?"

She peeks her head around the door as she hears the sound of footsteps coming down the corridor. She sighs in relief when she sees it's Melissa and reaches one arm out, grabbing hold of her sleeve and pulling her into the room. Erica quickly closes the door and leans against it, preventing anyone else from getting in. 

"Erica? What-" Melissa cuts her sentence short as her eyes land on Stiles. "Oh no."

"Exactly," Erica says, gesturing to him with one hand. "What the hell is going on?"

Melissa doesn't say anything as she rushes to the bed, propping Stiles up gently and trying her best to avoid the blood that seems to be coming from his wounds. "Stiles? Can you hear me?"

"Should I call Scott?" Erica asks, her phone already in her hand. 

"Uh," Melissa looks at Stiles' face and nods. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea."

Erica dials Scott's number and waits anxiously for him to pick up. It barely rings before she hears his voice, asking if something was wrong. "You could say that. He's bleeding. A lot. And very unconscious." 

"I'm already in the hospital, just wait with him, okay?" His voice is slightly distorted due to the call but she can still make out what he says and that he's now walking faster.

She swallows and closes her eyes. "Please hurry," she whispers into the phone. 

"Erica, he's going to be okay, I promise. Just stay on the call, okay? Keep talking to me."

"Okay," Erica says as she watches Melissa attempt to wake Stiles up and stop him from choking on the blood that's now coming from his nose and his ears. "There's so much blood, Scott..."

There's a knock on the door and Erica turns around, peering through the little window to see who it is. "Oh thank god," she exclaims as she throws the door open and lets Scott in. Once he's inside, she quickly closes it again, not wanting anybody passing by to see Stiles. 

Scott rushes over to the bed and Melissa looks at him. "Do you know what's happening? Do you know what to do?"

Scott hesitates before nodding. "Kind of. Not really. He was awake last time."

"Last time?" Erica exclaims. She knows she sounds hysterical but right now, she doesn't care. "What the hell do you mean last time?"

"This isn't the first time this has happened," Scott says, trying to explain while also attempting to help Melissa wake Stiles up. "It's just... the first time he's been asleep while it's happened."

Erica's eyes are wide as she watches them. She has no idea what's happening or how to help. Then a thought crosses her mind. "Pain!" They both turn to look at her questioningly. "Pain keeps werewolves human and... I don't know, just try it!"

Scott turns back to Stiles, clearly contemplating it. He glances back at Erica then at Melissa, receiving encouraging nods from both of them. "Here goes..." he mutters before taking hold of Stiles' wrist. He grimaces as he squeezes tightly and they hear the bones cracking, probably breaking a few of them.

"Aghhh!" Stiles screams, jolting upright. He breathes heavily as he looks down at his wrist - still in Scott's hands - with wide eyes. He stares at Scott and says, "Dude, did you just break my wrist?"

Scott smiles at him sheepishly. "I might have." Stiles continues to stare him incredulously. "It was the only way to get you to wake up."

"You couldn't have just, oh, I don't know, woke me up like a normal person?" Stiles suggests sarcastically. 

"We tried," Scott defends. "But it wasn't working and you could have choked if we didn't wake you up."

"How could I have ch-" Stiles stops mid-sentence as he finally notices the blood. He pushes the blanket away from him and lifts his t-shirt up gingerly, being careful to avoid touching any of his wounds. 

Erica can't help but feel sick when she sees the amount of blood that had soaked through his bandages. Just seeing them reminded her too much of how they had found him. There's almost as much blood now as there was on that night and that's a little too terrifying for Erica.

She watches as Scott cautiously moves one of his hands, placing it just between Stiles' shoulder and his neck. It's obvious that he's trying to be subtle about it, hoping that Stiles won't notice. And, surprisingly, he doesn't. 

Scott glances over at her and nods and she knows that he's taking some of Stiles' pain away. She nods back and attempts to smile. This was all just so overwhelming and she doesn't know how to feel or how to react. She's just... exhausted. 

Stiles lets his t-shirt fall back down as he looks up at Scott. "Is it as bad as last time? I can't really tell."

"Not really," Scott says, examining the amount of blood on the bed and on Stiles' face. "I don't think there's as much this time."

Stiles looks somewhat relieved and he replies, "That's good. That-that is good, right?"

"Yeah," Scott nods as smiles down at him. "It's good. It means you're healing faster."

Stiles's expression changes at Scott's words, his eyebrows furrowing as he seems deep in thought. Scott glances at Melissa and Erica worriedly. "My body's dying and then healing itself..."

"What are you talking about?" Scott asks, sitting down on the edge of the bed. 

"In... In my dream, there was a voice, and yes, I do know how crazy I'm going to sound, but the voice told me that I shouldn't be there... That I'm dying but healing myself at the same time."

Scott definitely looks more than a little concerned now. "Okay, and are you sure that-"

"Yes," Stiles interrupts before he can even finish his sentence. He looks into Scott's eyes and nods. "I am sure that it wasn't just a dream. They said that there's someone who knows what's happening to me; someone close to me."

"Maybe Derek will know," Erica suggests nervously. The entire thing is freaking her out and she just wants to be able to help, to know that Stiles is going to be okay. 

"Yeah," Scott agrees, turning to look at her. "If anyone, Derek'll probably be the one who knows the most, he's been dealing with this stuff his entire life. I'll talk to him, or would you rather...?" He trails off. 

Erica's eyes widen as she nods. "Yeah, I don't mind. I can ask him."

"Great," Scott says, smiling at her gratefully. He turns back to Stiles. "Was there anything else?"

Stiles shakes his head and sighs. "Nope, nothing else apart from the incredibly annoying and slightly vague disembodied voice. Oh, and, y'know, the insanely white room that I'm not even entirely sure was actually a room, it didn't have any walls."

Scott laughs and shakes his head, pulling Stiles into a hug and catching him off guard. He groans as pain shoots through his body but he hugs back. 

Erica smiles at the two of them and glances over at Melissa and catching her eye. "I'm just gonna go," she whispers and Melissa smiles back and nods understandingly. Erica opens the door and walks out, closing it again behind her. She breathes out and runs a hand across her face, rubbing at her her eyes tiredly. Why can't Stiles just be okay? Why do things have to keep going wrong for him?

Kate. She's the reason he can't just live in peace. She's the one who's ruined his life. He'll never be the same because of what she did to him. 

Erica groans out in frustration. She knows that it's Kate's fault and she knows that there is nothing she can do about it. She heads out of the hospital, trying to push her thoughts away. Right now, she needs to focus on doing as much as she can to help Stiles. And if that means going back to the loft to talk to Derek, she'll do it. Even if she has just realised it's pitch black outside and around midnight. She's still going.

Chapter Text

"Scott?" Melissa says quietly, gesturing with her head to the door. He nods and stands up, following her out of the room and into the corridor, closing the door behind them. 

"What's up?" He asks, his tone worried. It's not that he expects whatever she's going to tell him to be bad news, it's just that worried seems to be his constant state right now, due to everything going on with Stiles. 

She smiles at him warmly and shakes her head. "It's nothing to worry about." He visibly relaxes and she continues, "I just thought I should tell you that I'm getting Stiles released." Scott's eyebrows shoot up and she quickly explains, "It'll be much easier to keep an eye on him if he's out of here, and not only that, the other doctors are starting to get suspicious. They keep asking me why I'm the only one that seems to be allowed to check on how he's doing."

Scott sighs and nods in understanding. It doesn't seem like the best idea but if people are starting to ask questions, they need to get him out. They can't have one of the other doctors walking into his room and finding him covered in blood. Not that that isn't normal for some patients but still, getting him released is the better option rather than having people discover the truth.

"Yeah, okay. When can he leave?" 

Melissa turns her head, glancing at the waiting area and the main desk. "Uh, I'm not sure yet. I need to sort it out first."

"Okay," Scott sends her a small smile as she turns back to him. "Well, I'll just go sit with him until then. I'm assuming he will be released today?" He adds, his eyebrows creased. 

"Yeah," She replies, nodding as she looks through the small window on the door. "Just make sure he's okay and then we can figure out what happens once he's out."

Scott nods back and watches as she flashes him a quick smile before turning around and walking in the opposite direction, heading for the lift. He goes back into the room waits with Stiles until he's able to leave. We just have to figure out what we're telling the Sheriff... And where he's staying.

-------------------------------------

"It's too early for him to be released," The Sheriff insists. 

Scott and Melissa had decided that they should just tell the Sheriff that Stiles was looking a lot better but maybe it would help if he was to stay with them for a few days... or weeks. Of course, that didn't go down so well. 

"But if he is being let out, then he's my son and he's coming home."

"Noah," Melissa says calmly, trying her best to convince him. She understands where he's coming from; she would be the exact same if it was Scott. But it's too big of a risk for Stiles to be at home. What if he starts bleeding again and the Sheriff freaks out and doesn't know what to do? "It'll only be for a few days. And," she presses on when he opens his mouth to argue. "It means he's always got someone with him, while you're at work."

The Sheriff's mouth stays open as if he wants to say something but the words just won't come out. He sighs, shaking his head as he looks at Melissa. "You promise he'll be alright?"

Melissa glances over at Scott and he nods. She turns back to the Sheriff and smiles reassuringly. "I promise."

"And you'll call me if anything happens?"

"Absolutely," Melissa replies.

He nods slowly and heads over to his office door, grabs the handle and pulls the door open. He steps to the side, letting Melissa leave as he sends her a faint smile. Scott goes to move forward but the Sheriff stops him, his expression worried. "Just... Take care of him, okay?"

Scott smiles sadly and nods, hating the strong stench of doubt and fear that's coming from the Sheriff. "I will. I promise," he says. And he means it. He's going to do everything he can to make sure Stiles is okay. 

The Sheriff smiles back and returns his nod as he heads for his desk, leaving the door open. Scott hesitates as he glances at the Sheriff. It feels like he's lying to him -  in a way, he is, but it's for his own good. Isn't it? 

Scott leaves and closes the door behind him, sighing as he exits the department and heads back home. Melissa is going to bring Stiles from the hospital once she's fully sorted everything out and then... they have to figure out the rest. He's just hoping that Erica's conversation with Derek went well; they need something to work with and if Derek doesn't know anything then they need to find out who does. 

------------------------------------------------

Derek folds his arms as he waits for Scott to show up. Erica had come to him, rambling on about some dream that Stiles had about someone knowing something. He didn't have any idea what she was talking about and he told her as much but all she said was, "talk to Scott."

So that's what he's planning to do. "When Scott actually gets here," Derek huffs quietly to himself. He's not exactly known for his patience and he feels as if he's been waiting around for hours. It doesn't help that he told Scott to meet him outside the loft while it's freezing outside. He could have just went in and got a jacket but he didn't see the point.

"Hey!" Scott calls from behind him, making him jump. "Woah," he raises his eyebrows at him, "You okay, dude?"

"Yeah," Derek says, shaking his head as he turns to face Scott. "I'm just... tired. I'm just tired." 

Scott clearly doesn't believe that - it might have something to do with the fact that Derek's heart missed a beat. But he doesn't say anything about it, just nods slowly and says, "Oh, well, you should get some more sleep then. I just wanted to ask if Erica talked to you? About Stiles' dream?"

Derek's grateful that Scott didn't question him further. Because he really doesn't know why he's so on edge - or why he didn't sense Scott before he called out to him. He plays it off to there being too many scents and noises around him but he knows that's not true. "Yeah, she did. I didn't understand much of it but she mentioned something about a voice?"

"Yeah, Stiles said there was a voice talking to him in his dream. It told him he was dying but healing at the same time, does that make any sense to you?"

Derek's eyebrows furrow with confusion. "But if he's healing that means he's turning. So how is he still dying?"

Scott sighs in disappointment and shakes his head. "I don't know. The voice apparently also told him that someone close to him has the answers. I was hoping it would be you but from the looks of it, you're just as clueless as us."

"Have you talked to Argent?" Derek suggests. 

"Not yet," Scott replies, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to; he's been a bit... off, lately and I don't know why." 

"You should just talk to him. Besides, he's more likely to know what's going on; he grew up surrounded by all of this," Derek points out. 

"Yeah, I know. I'll talk to him." Scott sighs.

Derek nods and looks away. "If that's all you needed then I should head back inside. Erica and Isaac have been complaining that they're always left alone with Peter and apparently, he creeps them out."

Scott chuckles. "That's not surprising." Derek smiles back but it's gone almost as quickly as it was there. "I need to go anyway, my mom's getting Stiles released so that we can keep an eye on him. She'll probably be done soon so I should be at home when they get there."

Derek's eyebrows go up in surprise. He hadn't known Stiles was being released. Or that he's going to be staying at Scott's. "That's great. You should definitely be there."

Scott rolls his eyes at Derek's lack of subtlety. "You can still visit him, I'm not going to stop you from coming over."

Derek's eyes widen, caught off guard and he says something along the lines of, "That's okay, I'm busy anyway, it's fine."

"Derek," Scott starts. "I will drag you over every day if I have to. You're still visiting him, alright?" he finishes with a smile. 

"Yeah, yeah, of course," Derek agrees. He gestures to the side with his head. "I should probably be going."

Scott nods and smiles before turning around and heading to his bike. Derek's eyebrows furrow as he stares at it in confusion. He hadn't even noticed that Scott had brought it. How hadn't he noticed when Scott pulled up?

He shakes his head, pushing his thoughts to the back of his mind. He lingers for a few more seconds, watching as Scott leans against his bike and pulls out his phone, dialling someone's number. The person picks up and Derek can tell that it's Allison, not just because he can hear her voice on the other end of the call, but also because of the way Scott's face lights up and he smiles as they begin talking. 

Derek decides that now is a good time to leave and turns around, heading back inside. Just as he reaches the loft door, he pauses, noticing voices on the other side. Very loud and angry voices. Which means that Peter has yet again done something to irritate Erica and Isaac. Wonderful.

-----------------------------------------------

Buzzz. Buzzz. Buzzz.

Chris groans, digging the palms of his hands into his eyes. He's sick of this. Day after day his phone has been going off with unopened messages and missed calls from Kate. Why won't she just stop? He can't even bring himself to answer just one call or open just one little message. All of it is just too much. 

He's been avoiding Scott and the rest of the pack because of it. The only person he's really been talking to is Allison, and even those conversations don't last long. He's worried that someone will ask him what's wrong and he'll just tell them because it's all too overwhelming and so hard to deal with alone. But if he tells them, they might begin to lose trust in him; they might think that he's working with Kate. He knows his thoughts are ridiculous but he can't seem to push them away. They just keep coming back.

Knock, knock.

Chris looks up from his hands and over to the door as it slowly opens. Allison appears, cautiously stepping into his office with a small smile. He lays his hands on the desk, waiting for her to fully enter the room. 

"I was just coming to see if you were hungry," she says, fidgeting with her hands as she stops a few inches from the desk. "I'm gonna go meet Lydia, Jackson and Malia, do you want anything while I'm out?"

He shakes his head and smiles at her warmly. She's always so thoughtful and kind; he really doesn't know where she gets it from. "You go have fun."

"I'll try," she says, huffing out a sound resembling a laugh as he eyes drift down to her hands. "We're probably just going to be talking about Stiles' dream the entire time."

Chris' eyebrows furrow in confusion. "His dream?"

"Oh, yeah." Allison looks up at him and tries to smile but it fades into a frown as she continues, "Scott called me and he mentioned it; something about a voice telling him he's dying and healing at the same time, apparently it said someone close to him knows what's happening and how to help him." She sighs and shakes her head, glancing back down at her hands as she continues to fidget with her gloves. "Scott asked Derek but he doesn't know anything about it."

All Chris can do is nod as he processes her words. Dying and healing at the same time. He can't help but think that sounds familiar. He finally notices Allison staring at him, concern written all over her features. He smiles up at her as he says, "I'm sure they'll figure it out soon. Don't worry, okay?"

He regrets his last words as soon as they leave his mouth, Allison's expression changing from concern to disbelief in a matter of seconds. Of course she's going to worry, Stiles is her friend. He opens his mouth to correct himself but Allison just shakes her head and turns around, slamming the door as she leaves. 

He sighs and leans back in his chair. Not only does he have to deal with a very persistent and stubborn Kate, he also is now in Allison's bad books. "Fantastic," he mutters, just as his phone starts ringing. He only has to glance at the number to know that it's Kate, calling him once again. But this time he considers answering. How much harm could it really do? It's only one call. I can just hang up if she tries to convince me to do something for her. 

But he spends so long debating whether or not it would be a good idea that by the time he's decided, the call was cut off. Just call her back, that annoying little voice that remembers how much he loved his sister at one point whispers to him. Just one call.

He shakes his head and closes his eyes. He can't. It feels too much like betraying Allison and Scott and Derek and all of the people who have been hurt by Kate. Too many people have been hurt because of her. But what if, this time, she really has changed? How will he know if he doesn't even bother to listen to what she has to say?

--------------------------------------------------

Chapter Text

"Chris?" Kate calls to him, distorted through the phone. "Oh god, Chris," she cries. 

His breath hitches in his throat as he hears her voice. "Kate," he mutters quietly. 

"I know you don't trust me," she says, her words rushed, "especially not after what I did to Stiles. But Chris, I need your help, okay? I really need your help." 

He closes his eyes and pauses before he says, "Why did you do it?"

The other end of the call is quiet, except for the low hum of static and what sounds like wind. And then, "I don't know." He groans under his breath and she hurriedly continues, "I was scared. I didn't think, the only thing that seemed important was getting to Scott. But I-I just wasn't thinking. I'm sorry, Chris." 

He doesn't know what to say. Is he just meant to trust her? How can he after everything she has done? He would be betraying everyone. 

Chris is snapped out of his thoughts as he hears something on the call. "Kat-"

There are gunshots, a trap clamping down on something and then he hears Kate, breathing - still alive. "Chris, please, I know you hate me, but I love you, you're my brother and I need your help. They're going to kill me," she whispers. 

"Who?" He asks, barely thinking twice before saying it. "Who's trying to kill you?"

"I don't know." She swallows. "But I'm pretty sure they're hunters. Very persistent ones. Just... Chris, I ne-"

She's cut off as another gunshot sounds, louder than the last ones. 

Chris' heartbeat pounds in his ears as he listens, waiting to hear his sister's voice. But the line goes dead. He slowly lowers the phone, his thoughts racing as he opens his eyes. He stares down at the phone in his hand, part of him hoping that her name will appear on the screen and tell him she's still alive because, yes, she has done horrible things and yes, she has ruined people's lives and yes, she has possibly killed Stiles or turned him into what they were brought up to hate. But Kate is still his sister and he might have just lost her for the second time. 

------------------------

Allison shuts the front door, leaning against it as she tries to catch her breath. She knew something was wrong, her dad was acting too weird. And she was right. But, oh, how unprepared she was for the truth. 

She fumbles with her phone as she whips it out her pocket and taps it, texting Scott. After the message is sent, she sighs and then makes for her car. "We have an emergency," she mutters to herself as she gets in and starts the engine. "Understatement of the century."

-----------------------

"What do you mean 'he's in contact with Kate'?" Scott shouts. "Why the hell is he talking to Kate?!"

Derek rubs his forehead as tries to stay calm, something that Scott is currently failing at doing. 

"I don't know! He got a call from her, he answered and then I'm pretty sure she got shot," Allison shouts back. 

Scott clenches his hands, his nails digging into his palms as they turn to claws. He starts pacing, his eyes flashing red. 

Derek sighs, telling Scott calmly, "You need to focus on your anchor." 

"I don't have an anchor, anymore!" Scott glances at Allison and she ducks her head to avoid his glowing eyes.

"Then find a new one," Derek growls, his temper flaring. "Right now, we need everyone calm and thinking clearly: two things that you aren't."

Scott closes his eyes and slows his pacing until he comes to a stop. After a few more seconds, his breathing seems to be back to normal and when he opens his eyes again, they're back to their usual shade of brown. He nods at Derek gratefully before looking at Allison, saying, "You said you think Kate was shot."

 "Yeah," Allison mutters, moving a piece of loose hair out of her face. "I heard gunshots and then... nothing."

"That doesn't mean she's dead," Isaac points out. "She's a... whatever she is, after all. Bullets won't kill her."

"Why do you have to be so negative?" Erica asks him.

They both smirk but stop when Derek glares at them. "Ever heard of Wolfsbane bullets?" He doesn't wait for them to answer as he looks over at Scott. "What are you thinking?"

Scott shakes his head and sighs, saying, "I don't know. I just know that, if Kate's still alive, we need to find her. It's also not a bad idea to find out more about the people who shot at her." 

"Yeah," Derek mutters. "That's a good point. They could be a problem."

"Some random hunters who are trying to kill Kate?" Isaac scoffs sarcastically. "Nah, I don't think they'll be a problem."

Erica elbows him in the side as she tries to conceal her grin and he rolls his eyes but stays quiet. 

Scott sighs once again and says, "I really would love to stay for this conversation, but I have to go. Stiles is getting out of hospital in half an hour." 

"It's fine. Go." Derek jerks his head at the door. "You should be there for him."

Scott nods gratefully and smiles as he glances at everyone before making his way to the door and leaving. Derek envies him; right now, he could really do with a reason to leave this conversation. It's about to get a lot more awkward, especially with Scott gone. But someone's gotta fine Kate - preferably before Peter or some hunter does. Not that that would be the worst thing in the world, Derek thinks to himself as he begins to regret ever saying they need to keep Kate alive.

--------------------------------

"Ah, it's good to be home," Stiles jokes as Melissa closes the front door behind them. He grins at her cheekily before noticing Scott coming down the stairs. "Hey, roomie. Doesn't this feel like old times?"

Scott grins as he reaches the bottom of the stairs. "Yeah, it does."

"Great! Now can I sit down?" Stiles asks and Scott only just notices how he's leaning against the wall to support himself. 

"Yeah, of course." He hurries over to him and swings his arm over his shoulder, letting Stiles lean on him as they walk to the kitchen.

Scott makes sure Stiles is sitting down on a chair before letting go and stepping to the side, grabbing the edge of the table as he leans back against it. He can't help but grin as Stiles instantly starts ranting about how terrible it was to stay in the hospital for so long - no offense to Melissa.

After she leaves, saying she needs to go back to work, Stiles turns to Scott. He stares at him with a serious expression, all traces of humour gone. 

"Okay, fill me in," he says without looking up from his pancakes that Melissa had made before leaving. "What's been going on?"

Scott's eyes widen and he replies, "Nothing. Nothing's been going on. Everything's been quiet."

"Right." Stiles rolls his eyes and turns his head to look up at Scott. "Why don't I believe you?" He doesn't give him the chance to answer as he continues, "It's because you're lying. Scott, I've been in hospital. For three weeks." He waves his fork around, emphasising his words, "I'm fed up of not being told what's going on just because you think I'm too fragile to handle any of it. Which, by the way, I'm not."

"I know you're not," Scott says, his tone turning anxious. "I just... I thought it was better to let you focus on yourself, especially with everything that's been happening."

Stiles sighs and puts his fork on his plate as he fully turns to face Scott. "I get that. I do. But I'm okay, Scotty. So just... tell me what's been going on."

Scott nods and reluctantly begins explaining everything that's happened since Stiles went into hospital. Once he's done, he looks at him nervously, waiting for him to say something. 

"That's..." Stiles shakes his head, his eyebrows furrowed. "Insane. Everything you just told me? Completely insane." He points his finger at Scott when he opens his mouth to speak. "It is and you know it. I understand wanting to find Kate. She's a bitch. But... All of that just sounds so crazy. I really can't leave you werewolves alone for five minutes, can I?"

Scott relaxes, relieved that Stiles is at least making a joke about it - that always makes him feel a little better. 

"But that's not everything, is it?"

"What?" Scott asks, his eyebrows furrowed. "What do you mean? I told you everything."

Stiles stares at him, as if trying to figure out what it is without speaking. But he must come to the conclusion that he can't, saying, "Come on, Scott. I know there's still something wrong. Besides all the weird werewolf meetings you've been having." He pauses, hoping Scott will say something. He sighs and continues, "Look, whatever it is, you can tell me. What were you thinking about that day in the hospital? When Erica, Isaac and Boyd were visiting?"

Scott's stomach twists as he recalls what he had been thinking that day. "Nothing."

"Scotty," Stiles pleads. 

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He had genuinely been hoping that Stiles would have forgotten about that day. But he also knew that wasn't very likely. Stiles can be very persistent when he wants to know something. 

Scott sighs, muttering, "I was just worried."

Stiles doesn't say anything but silently urges him to continue.

"I saw the way you freaked out when you saw Erica's eyes. You were absolutely terrified of her. What if you feel the same way about me? I don't want to lose you, Stiles."

"Dude, you're not going to," Stiles insists. "I was just... caught off guard, I wasn't terrified. You don't have to worry about that, I'm not scared of you, Scotty."

"You can say that now, but what happens when the full moon comes? Or if I lose control like I did after everything that happened with the Nemeton? I never want to be something that you're scared of, Stiles. You're too important to me."

Stiles is at a loss for what to say. He wants to reassure Scott and tell him that he'll never lose him but he knows that he won't believe him. And then he has a thought. "Turn."

"What?" 

"Turn," Stiles says like it's the most obvious thing in the world. "I'm going to prove to you that I'm not scared of you. So, glow your eyes, bring out your claws, do whatever it is you do when you turn all wolfy."

"Stiles-"

"Don't you dare tell me this is a terrible idea because I wholeheartedly disagree."

Scott sighs and rubs his forehead in frustration. Why does Stiles have to be so confident in his bad ideas? He nods and mutters "fine" before closing his eyes and concentrating, trying to lure his werewolf side out. When he opens his eyes again, they're glowing bright red and he can feel his claws digging into the table and his fangs poking sharply at the inside of his mouth. 

He looks at Stiles, hoping that the expression on his face won't be one of fear. And he feels like collapsing with relief when it's not. Then his heightened senses pick up on something - Stiles' heartbeat. It's faster and it misses a beat. 

"See?" Stiles says. He grips the top of the chair as he pushes himself up so that he's standing in front of Scott. He grins at him, saying, "Not even a little scared."

"Your heartbeat's faster and unsteady," Scott point outs. 

"Well, yeah." Stiles moves one of Scott's hands, holding it gently as he carefully inspects his claws. He glances up at Scott as he says, "Have you seen your eyes? They're awesome!"

Scott doesn't know whether to believe him or not but he really wants to. So, he does. 

He laughs and shakes his head as Stiles pokes the tip of one claw and quickly pulls his finger back, complaining that they're sharp. Scott changes back, grinning as he makes Stiles sit back down and finish eating his pancakes before they head upstairs.

Scott feels a lot better now that Stiles knows everything. He's never had to keep anything from him before - nothing this important, anyway - and his sarcastic jokes never fail to cheer him up whenever they're in a bad situation. Stiles is always right there, by his side throughout it all. And that's not going to change.

--------------------------------

Chris sighs as he closes his office door behind him, getting ready to go to bed. Then there's a knock at the front door. 

He heads down the stairs, muttering, "Of course there's someone at the door in the middle of the night while it's pouring down outside. That's just your typical horror movie scenario, nothing to worry about."

He unlocks the door and pulls it open just enough for him to be able to see outside. His whole body freezes and his heart races as a feeling of unease and distress settles in the pit of his stomach, twisting it until he feels sick. 

Chris parts his lips, whispering, "Kate?"

She tries to grin at him but ends up hissing in pain as she doubles over, clutching her side. Steadying herself against the door frame, she looks up at Chris, her breathing ragged, "Hey, big brother. How are you doin'?"

He just shakes his head, unable to string together a coherent sentence. 

"You might have noticed, but I could use some help," she pants, glancing down at her hand that's still clutching her side as blood slips through her fingers and soaks the bottom of her shirt, along with the top of her jeans. She gasps and loses her grip on the door frame, her knees buckling. 

Chris reaches out without thinking and steadies her. Her eyes close as she tries to focus her breathing, the bullet in her side making it a lot more difficult. He knows he might regret this later but he pulls her into the house and closes the door shut. It only takes one quick look at her for Chris to know that she can barely walk and so bends down and pushes his arm under her legs, picking her up. 

He glances at the stairs, checking to see if Allison had heard anything and come down. Her room door is still closed but he can see her light shining through the crack underneath, telling him that she's still awake.

He doesn't want to involve her in this, not again. But what else can he do? Just sit here and watch his sister die, again? He sighs softly before walking to the bottom of the stairs, calling up, "Allison, I need you to come down. Now. We have a problem."

She peers out of her bedroom door, looking confused as she steps toward the stairs. "Dad, what's..." she trails off, her eyes widening as she spots Kate - her body glistening with sweat, her clothes and hands soaked with blood as she now lays unconscious in his arms. "Yeah, that's a problem."

Chapter Text

Allison practically flies down the stairs, stopping just in front of Chris. Her eyes are wide and her mouth hangs open as she tries to figure out the right words to say. 

Chris glances down at Kate, saying, "I know what you're thinking."

"No, you really don't," Allison mutters.

"She's injured. If we don't get the bullet out, she's going to die."

Allison is quiet as she continues to stare at her aunt. She doesn't know how she's meant to feel about any of this. 

"Allison, please," Chris pleads quietly. 

She looks up at him and knows she has to help. Sighing, she nods and follows him into the living room. He sets Kate down on the couch carefully, being careful to avoid her wound. Kneeling down beside the couch, Chris glances over at Allison and tells her what he's going to need. She hurries off to find them and he gently peels Kate's shirt away from her side, pushing it up to expose the wound. 

He sucks in air through his teeth as he examines her side; dark veins surround the bullet, slowly making their way further up her body while the wound continues to bleed. He knows that if it isn't treated soon, it'll kill her.

Allison appears at his side, kneeling next to him as she hands him the small wooden box labelled “Aconit Napel Bleu Nordique” and watches as he places it on the table beside him. 

He turns back to Kate and hesitates before digging his fingers into her side and pulling the bullet out. Allison grimaces but doesn't look away, knowing that she might need to do this in the future if one of her friends get badly injured.

Chris grabs a bullet out of the box beside him and twists the tip off, tapping the monkshood onto the table and lighting it with a cheap plastic lighter that Allison hands him. "Hold her down," he orders.

She raises her eyebrows at him but does as he says, pushing down on Kate's shoulders as Chris shoves the ashes into the bullet hole in her side. He continues to press down on the wound until it begins to emit a faint blue smoke and Kate's eyes snap open. She groans lowly, trying to sit up but is stopped by Allison, still pushing down on her shoulders. 

"She should be fine now," Chris says. "She just needs to rest."

Allison is uncertain as she looks down at her aunt, her expression twisted with pain. She glances up at her dad, asking, "You're sure that's it?"

He looks over at them, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion as he inspects her side. "She's already healing. She shouldn't still be in pain," he says. 

Kate makes a noise that resembles a whimper as she moves her hand and places it on Allison's, trying to move it out of the way. It's only then that Allison notices the blood in Kate's hair and realises that she wasn't only shot in the side, but the neck as well. "Dad," she mutters, dragging Chris' attention to her as she pulls Kate's hair back and reveals the small hole in her neck. 

He curses and quickly repeats the process of burning the monkshood and pressing it onto the wound, glad that Kate had already taken the bullet out of this one. Once he's done, he applies a small amount of dark blue powder to the wounds which makes Kate hiss.

"What is that?" Allison asks, eyeing it worriedly. 

"Echium Vulgare," Chris mutters, rubbing his hands together to get the excess powder off. "Otherwise known as Viper's Bugloss or Blueweed." He closes the lid of the little box and picks it up, along with the lighter as he gets to his feet. "When mixed with Wolfsbane or Monkshood, it can help reverse the effects. Should soothe any lingering pain."

Allison nods and sits back, her hands falling into her lap as she looks at Kate. She just helped save the woman who hurt one of her closest friends. If they knew, what would they think?

"Thank you," Kate mutters, snapping Allison from her thoughts. She looks up at Chris then down at Allison. "Both of you."

Neither of them say anything and they don't have to, as Kate once again falls unconscious. 

Chris jerks his head at the Kitchen door and Allison nods, standing up and following him. He pushes the door, leaving it open just enough for them to be able to see into the living room. 

He sighs as places the box and the lighter on the table, his hands gripping the edge of it and Allison knows what's coming. "I know that what I'm about to ask is completely unreasonable and you have every right to say no," he starts, keeping his voice low and pausing for just a second when she folds her arms over her chest. "I need you to not tell your friends about this. Especially Scott. Just for a few days, please."

Allison raises her eyebrows slightly but nods. "Yeah, okay."

Chris' eyebrow crease in surprise at how easily she agreed. He shakes his head, asking, "Are you sure? I know that you hate lying to your friends-"

"It's fine," Allison says, glancing into the living room. "But only a few days, right?"

"Three days. That's all I'm asking." 

She nods again and says, "Alright then. I should probably go to bed now."

He smiles and pulls her in for a hug, kissing her on the forehead before letting her go. She smiles back and heads up the stairs, closing her bedroom door behind her. 

Once she's in bed, she sighs. Her dad was right: she does hate keeping secrets from her friends. But she made a promise to him. She's not planning on breaking it -  even if that means avoiding her friends for three days.

-------------------------------------------

Lydia narrows her eyes at her window, muttering, "Something's wrong."

Malia groans and flops backwards onto Lydia's bed. "Nothing's wrong. She's just busy."

"No," Lydia says, shaking her head as she watches a car drive past. "Allison has only ever cancelled on me when something seriously important is happening. Something's definitely wrong. I can just... feel it."

"You feel death!" Malia exclaims, throwing her hands up. "You can't feel reasons for people cancelling on you."

Lydia ignores her as she stands up, grabbing her bag and swinging it over her shoulder. "Come on," she says, pausing by the door as stares at Malia expectantly. "We're going to see her."

"But-" Malia meets Lydia's stare and groans as she sits up. "What if she really is just busy?"

Lydia shrugs, simply replying, "Then we'll leave."

"Then what's the point in going?"

"Just hurry up," Lydia says before turning and leaving her room, expecting Malia to follow.

Which she does but she complains the entire time, making sure Lydia knows that it's a stupid idea. 

-----------------------------------------------

"I just don't get why you couldn't have l-" 

Lydia holds up her hand, cutting Malia off abruptly. She looks from Lydia's hand to her face, her forehead creasing as her mouth hangs open. 

"Look!" Lydia points through the car window and Malia's eye follow. "I told you she wasn't busy."

"Oh god," Malia groans into her hands. She spreads her fingers, peering through them. "She's at home, Lydia. That probably means she's busy. With important things. Things that do not involve us," she emphasises, exasperation clear in her voice. "So, can we leave? Like, right now. Before she notices us stalking her."

Lydia tilts her head, her expression thoughtful before replying, "Nope." She climbs out of the car, ignoring Malia as she tells her not to. 

Malia groans in frustration and quickly follows her, grumbling, "If we get in trouble, it's your fault. I had nothing to do with this."

"But if we get caught, you'll be standing right next to me," Lydia points out, her eyebrows furrowing. 

"I'll run," Malia replies, sending her an innocent smile. 

Lydia doesn't get the chance to be offended as they stop walking, having reached Allison's front door and Malia knocks. 

It doesn't take long for Allison to answer, barely opening the door at first. Her eyes dart over the two girls, her eyebrows shooting up in surprise as she glances at something behind the door. She steps out of the house, pulling the door mostly closed behind her. 

"Hey, didn't you get my text?" Allison asks. 

"I did. I just wanted to make sure everything's okay," Lydia replies, tilting her head slightly as she smiles innocently. 

"Oh." Allison plasters on a fake smile. "Well, everything's fine. My dad just wanted some help. He thinks he might have read something similar to what Stiles said is happening to him and he wants to try and help."

Malia's face scrunches up, her eyes narrowing and flickering blue. She bares her teeth and growls as her eyes dart around them, searching for something that Lydia and Allison can't see. 

"Malia?" Lydia places her hand on the werecoyote's arm, her voice low and alert. "Malia, what is it?" 

"There's someone here. A werewolf," Malia clarifies, pausing for a second as she stares at Lydia. "We're being followed."

Lydia rolls her eyes but glances around uncertainly. "We are not being followed."

Neither of them seem to notice the way Allison's eyes widen with panic, or the way she edges back towards the door, trying to stop them from seeing inside. 

"Why else would there be a werewolf around here?"

Allison searches desperately for an excuse that sounds somewhat reasonable. "It's Isaac," she lies. 

Malia's eyebrows furrow as she opens her mouth to disagree, that the scent isn't the same as Isaac's. Lydia raises her eyebrows at Allison and folds her arms over her chest, asking, "What do you mean?"

"Isaac came over a little while ago," Allison explains, lying through her teeth. She concentrates, keeping her heartbeat steady as Malia clearly grows more confused. "He wanted to check up on me. And he's still here."

"So, he's why you cancelled on us?" Lydia asks, looking mildly offended. 

Allison's eyes widen as she shakes her head, replying, "No! No. I told you, my dad needed my help. I just... got a little distracted."

"Oh, I'm sure you did." Lydia doesn't give Allison the chance to say anything else as she whips around to face Malia. "We should be going then. Jackson and Danny are waiting for us," she emphasises, attempting to make her meaning clear to the werecoyote.

"But-" Malia gestures to Allison, trying desperately to point out that something's not right.

Lydia grabs her arm, beginning to drag her away as she smiles at Allison. "Come on, don't want to keep the boys waiting."

"I don't care about them!" Malia exclaims in frustration, throwing her hands up and knocking Lydia's arm away. "Something's not right."

"I should really head back inside," Allison says, already taking a step back. 

"Yeah, of course." Lydia nods understandingly and Allison sends her a tight-lipped smile before going back inside her house and closing the door. 

Malia groans and stares at Lydia with raised eyebrows. "I'm telling you, something's wrong."

"I know," Lydia states. She strides over to the car and gets in, waiting for Malia to join her. "What did you sense?"

"There is definitely a werewolf around here; or some type of were-thing!" Malia sighs and leans forward, her voice hushed, "Allison's lying. Isaac isn't here - I would be able to smell him. This scent is... different. It's familiar but it's not one of the pack." She shakes her head. "I think they're injured."

Lydia's face lights up with realisation as she takes in Malia's words, her mind immediately connecting the dots. "It's Kate..." she mutters, her eyes wide. 

"Kate?" Malia growls, her expression darkening as she catches on. "Of course, it's Kate. That's why her scent's familiar." She groans and squeezes her eyes shut, feeling her claws scraping against the palms of her hands.  

"Malia. Calm down." Lydia glances out of the car window, making sure they aren't being watched. "If we're right and it is Kate then this could be good. Especially if you're right about her being injured."

Malia doesn't say anything as she tries to stop herself from turning but nods her head in understanding. 

Lydia sighs and sits back as she starts the engine. "We need to tell the others," she points out but her voice is uncertain. "We do need to tell them, right?"

"Of course we do."

"Right," Lydia mutters, staring at the road ahead. "Of course we do. I was just thinking that, maybe, there's a reason Allison hasn't told us and, maybe, we should keep quiet until she does..."

Malia finally opens her eyes, staring at Lydia and asking, "Why would we do that?"

"Because if there is a reason Allison isn't telling us that Kate's at her house, maybe we should just ask her?"

"That'll never work," Malia states bluntly. 

"It might..." Lydia says hopefully, tapping her fingers on the steering wheel nervously. 

Malia shakes her head. "It won't."

Lydia stays quiet as she thinks it over. She should probably tell the others about this but it feels like she would be betraying Allison. And she really doesn't want to do that. But if Malia tells them, she'll have no choice. 

Sighing, Lydia continues driving in the direction of the loft. She'll just have to see what happens once they get there. 

Chapter Text

Scott jumps awake at the sound of screaming. He rushes into the guest room, his eyes landing on Stiles as he thrashes around the bed, his screaming only growing louder.

Scott quickly makes his way to the bed, kneeling beside it as he grabs one of Stiles' hands. Without even thinking, his body automatically begins trying to take away his pain. It seems to help, his screaming slowly quieting down until it eventually sounds like quiet whimpering. 

"Don't worry," Scott whispers soothingly, moving his other hand to Stiles' forehead to help calm him. "I'm here, Stiles."

The floorboards creak quietly and Scott looks over at the door. He smiles at Melissa as she walks into the room, her eyes worried and glancing at Stiles. 

"He's okay," Scott says, mindlessly stroking his thumb over Stiles' knuckles. "Another nightmare."

"He's been having a lot of those recently," Melissa points out. 

Scott sighs and nods, replying, "Yeah, he has. He won't even talk to me about them."

"Maybe he's scared."

"Of me?" Scott asks sadly. Even though Stiles tried to prove he isn't scared, the doubt and worry still lingers in the back of his mind.

"What?" Melissa shakes her head, folding her arms over her chest. "No. Scott, Stiles isn't scared of you. I just meant that maybe he's scared to talk about his nightmares because it would also mean talking about what happened that night."

Scott's shoulders slump as he nods. "That would make sense."

"Yeah." Melissa steps further into the room as she continues to stare at Scott, her expression one of concern. "But, honey, why are you so worried that Stiles is scared of you? You've been best friends for years."

"It's just..." Scott shakes his head, his reasons sounding ridiculous in his mind. "I just don't want to lose him."

"Oh, Scott," Melissa walks over to him, kneeling beside him as she wraps an arm around his shoulders. "You're not going to lose him. You're his best friend and you're too important to each other," she adds, emphasising her words to get her point across. "You just need to talk to him."

Scott sighs and nods, more to himself than to her. "Yeah, I will. Once he's awake, that is." He looks at Stiles, his lips tugging up at the corners as he notices how peaceful he now looks. 

Melissa smiles as she shakes her head lightly and kisses his hair, saying goodnight to him as she heads back to bed.

Scott glances around, his eyes landing on an armchair sitting in the corner. He quickly gets up and pulls it over, sitting down in it as he slips his hand back into Stiles', the other now laying on the armrest. 

This isn't the first time Scott has decided to just sleep in the guest room after Stiles has had a nightmare. It just makes him feel better to know that if Stiles wakes up in the middle of the night or he has another nightmare, he'll be right there to help him through it. And even though Scott doesn't know this, it makes Stiles feel better as well. 

----------------------------

"You are insane," Derek says, folding his arms over his chest. 

Peter throws his arms up in exasperation. "I'm not insane!"

"You're both driving us crazy," Isaac mutters, not caring that they can hear him. 

Peter sighs and steps back, holding up his hands in front of him. "Look," he says. "I'm just suggesting that we k-"

"Murder," Derek corrects. "Murder is what you're suggesting."

"Oh, so what if it is?" Peter rolls his eyes at them. "We go over there, kill Kate, bye-bye goes all of our problems. Well, most of them."

Derek shakes his head, growling, "See? This is why we didn't want to tell you that Kate's alive in the first place."

"Because I want to make sure she can't ruin our lives any further than she already has?" Peter questions, his eyebrows furrowing with confusion. "Derek, you have to see reason here. Kate Argent won't give up; she'll continue to hurt us in any way she can for as long as she's alive."

"You don't know that, she might change," Derek snaps, but he knows that isn't true. "There's always another way," he adds.

Peter tilts his head, his eyes widening slightly with curiosity. "And what if there isn't, huh? What if, the only way to get Kate out of our lives for good, is to kill her? What then?" Derek doesn't answer, staring at Peter with an unreadable expression. He gives up and shakes his head asking, "What if she's already dying? We could just, I don't know, let it happen? You said she's injured, right?" He looks over at Malia for confirmation.

Malia's eyes widen a little as she shrugs. "I think she is. I could have been wrong."

"It doesn't matter," Derek snaps. "Now that we know where she is, we can keep an eye on her. And, if need be, we'll get her admitted to Eichen. Like we were supposed to. And definitely with no killing involved," he adds, glaring at Peter.

Peter rolls his eyes and sighs exaggeratedly before saying, "Fine. We won't kill her."

Derek doesn't respond but nods at him stiffly before heading for the stairs, planning to get some sleep as it's one in the morning.

Peter shakes his head and falls back onto the couch while Isaac eyes him warily. He turns his head, whispering to Erica and Malia without taking his eyes off of Peter. "I don't trust him."

"Neither do I," Erica whispers back while Malia makes a quiet noise of agreement. 

Peter rolls his eyes and looks up from the book he had just picked up from the table. "You do know I can hear you?"

"Yeah, we just don't care," Isaac says, shaking his head. 

Peter scoffs and begins reading, ignoring them completely. 

Malia huffs, saying, "I need to go home. I'll see you guys tomorrow." She leaves the loft without even glancing at Peter. 

Erica and Isaac look at each other, pausing as they communicate silently, before racing after her. They do not want to be left there alone with Peter, and they definitely don't want to be there if Peter and Derek start arguing again. 

--------------------------

Scott's stomach twists with worry as he hops off his bike, leaving it outside the animal clinic. He had gotten a call from Deaton, which had been surprising enough considering he hadn't answered any of the times Scott had tried calling him. What's weirder is that he called at five in the morning. The only explanation he got was: "I've been away looking into something with my sister - nothing for you to worry about. But I heard about what happened to Stiles. I think I might be able to help. Meet me at the clinic as soon as you can."

And then he hung up, not giving Scott a chance to ask him about what he had been looking into. But that didn't really matter right now; not if Deaton might know how to help Stiles.

The bell chimes on the front door as Scott pushes it open, letting Deaton know he's here. Scott heads to the back of the building, knowing that's where his boss usually is. 

"Ah, good, you're here," Deaton says as soon as he enters the room. He barely spares Scott a glance as he puts whatever he had been holding back into its box and shifts it over to the other side of the table. He lifts his eyes to look at Scott, his tone somewhat apologetic as he says, "I'm sorry for not picking up your calls all summer. As I said on the phone, I've been a bit busy but it's nothing for you to worry about," he stresses, obviously trying to assure Scott that it's not a big deal.

"Anyway," he says, putting his hands flat on the cold, metal table and leaning forward. "I heard about Stiles and his situation. I-"

Deaton's cut off as the bell chimes on the front door again. Scott's eyebrows crease as he picks up Derek's scent and he turns around. And, right enough, there's Derek; standing in front of him and wearing his usual serious expression. 

"Derek? How did you know we were here?" Scott asks.

"I called your mom since you weren't answering your phone," Derek says sharply. 

Scott pulls his phone from his pocket, checking for any missed calls. And then he realises it won't turn on. 

He looks at Derek sheepishly, explaining, "It must have died on the way here."

"Yeah, well, your mom told me that you were heading over here." Derek glances behind Scott, probably having just picked up on Deaton's scent. "Since I know you haven't been here all summer, I decided to make sure everything was okay."

Deaton steps out of the room behind Scott and nods at Derek. "That would be my fault."

"I didn't know you were back." Derek eyes him uneasily before turning his gaze back to Scott. "Why are you here? It's nearly six in the morning, school starts back in two weeks. Shouldn't you be preparing for that or something?"

"Again, my fault," Deaton says before Scott can get the chance to answer. "I called him because, well, it's actually better that you're here too. It's probably best that you both hear this."

"Hear what?" Derek questions suspiciously. 

"Come," Deaton says, disappearing into the back room.

Derek sends Scott a questioning look and Scott shrugs tiredly before following after Deaton. Derek, although reluctant, trails behind him.

Deaton turns to face them, holding what looks like an old, dusty book that's practically falling apart; the cover barely attached and loose pages sticking out at all angles.

"What is that?" Scott asks.

"It's something that might be able to give us some more information," Deaton explains, placing it on the table. "I've already had a look through it and..." he trails off, glancing down at the book. 

Derek raises his eyebrows and folds his arms over his chest, glancing at Scott. "And what? What does it say?"

Deaton sighs and shifts his gaze between Derek and Scott. "There's a legend about a werejaguar from many years ago. And, like most supernatural creatures, it was killed. By a family of hunters."

Scott closes his eyes. "Don't say the Argents. Say anyone other than the Argents."

"I'm sorry," Deaton says, despite his tone being less sympathetic than it could be. "It was the Argents. Which means that they'll probably know the most about what's happening."

"You timing could not be worse," Derek says, rubbing his forehead in frustration. 

"Wait, why?" Scott asks, shifting his gaze to him. 

Derek curses and sighs. "Because... Kate's staying with the Argents." Scott raises his eyebrows at him and Derek rushes on, "I was going to tell you. Lydia and Malia found out yesterday and Malia says she thinks Kate's injured."

Scott shakes his head as he processes this new information. "Okay. I guess that means that we have one less thing to deal with." He turns back to Deaton. "Is there anything else in there? Anything about what happens if a werejaguar bites someone?"

"Actually," Deaton lowers his gaze to the book as he opens it, "There is." He flips through the pages carefully, making sure he doesn't damage the book any further. He stops at a certain page, his finger following the lines of words as he skims over them, double checking that it's the right one. Once he's sure, he looks back up at them. 

"It says there are three things that can happen after a human has been bitten by a werejaguar-"

"Three?" Scott interrupts, his eyes darting to Derek. "Argent told us there's only two."

Deaton's expression becomes unreadable as he glances down at the book. "That's odd. Because it definitely says here there's three. The first one is that... Well, they die. The second is that they become a shapeshifter. And the third is that nothing at all happens."

Derek shifts, moving the tiniest bit forward as he asks, "What do you mean? Nothing at all happens? That doesn't make any sense."

"Well, actually, it does." Deaton closes the book. "You see, a werejaguar's venom is weaker than an average werewolf's, which makes their bite less lethal. So, when a human gets bitten, there is a possibility that they'll recover without turning."

"But Stiles had a dream-" Scott starts.

"I know," Deaton says. "I actually had a little chat with Isaac before I called you. He mentioned the dream. A voice told Stiles that his body was dying and healing at the same time?"

Scott nods. "Yeah, does it mean anything?"

"It might," Deaton says. "And it might not. I'm not sure, but with everything I know about Stiles' situation, I feel confident in saying that he has a high chance of recovering from this and staying human."

Scott breathes out in relief. Being told that Stiles is probably going to be okay is the best thing Scott's heard in weeks. 

Derek, however, isn't as easily convinced. "What about the blood?"

"Simple side effect of the venom," Deaton explains. "It's just working its way through his system and interfering with his body. Because it most likely can't do any real harm, it just sends his body into some sort of overdrive, causing a few blood vessels to burst. It's really nothing to worry about."

Derek doesn't know what to think. He wants to believe Deaton, of course, he wants to believe him because that would mean that Stiles is going to be okay. But he knows things are never that simple. 

He just nods and turns to Scott. "You should probably be heading home, your mom's concerned about the way you rushed out of the house. She also told me to tell you that Stiles is awake now."

Scott's eyes widen and Deaton waves a hand at him, telling him to go home and be with Stiles. He smiles gratefully and heads for the door, partially dragging Derek with him. 

The bell chimes once more as they leave and Scott jumps back on his bike while Derek gets in his car, both of them heading in opposite directions. 

Deaton sighs as he picks up the little wooden box he had pushed away earlier, and lifts the lid to reveal a scroll. An old scroll but possibly an important one.

"I'm guessing you didn't tell them about it?" Marin leans against the doorway, a smirk on her lips as she stares at her brother with raised eyebrows. 

"Of course not," he glances over at her as he unfolds it, "They're already dealing with enough problems. They've been through too much as it is."

Marin scoffs and strides over to join him, leaning against the metal table. "And they're going to go through even more. This is their life now. They need to know about that," she jerks her chin at the scroll, now flattened on the table. 

"I'll tell them when the time is right."

She doesn't say anything as they both read over the words scrawled onto the piece of yellowed parchment.

"That poor boy..." she mutters, shaking her head. "You gave them false hope, Alan."

Deaton glances at her and hums quietly. Maybe not, he thinks to himself as he rolls the scroll back up and ties the piece of string around it before placing it back inside the little wooden box. Maybe I've told them what they needed to hear to fight through everything that is still to come.

The bite of a werejaguar is usually harmless. But there is a legend, that only few believe. The legend is that, if a human who has been bitten by a werejaguar, was once in contact or possessed by a truly evil force, they will not turn into a simple shapeshifter, but one of the most powerful ones to ever exist. They may still take the form of whatever represents their true soul, but they will have abilities that are far beyond that of an average shapeshifter. They will be more dangerous than anything you can imagine, and you should do whatever it takes to hunt them down and put an end to them. A creature like this will lose control and destroy everything in its path, including it's loved ones. - M. Argent

Chapter Text

Derek slams his car door behind him, flinching at the ringing it leaves in his ears. Damn werewolf senses, he curses. He should be used to this by now, considering he's a born wolf. But his senses have been off recently; not hearing things he should be able to, not being able to pick up chemo-signals. He's never experienced something like this before. 

Derek is pulled away from his thoughts as he knocks on a door, not even realising he had walked up the path until now. A few seconds pass before the door opens and Chris stares at Derek; his expression a mixture between tired, mildly annoyed and concern. 

"What are you doing here?" he asks, pulling the door open wider. 

"I need to talk to you," Derek answers, nerves kicking in as he takes in Chris' appearance and how exhausted he looks. "I didn't wake you up, did I? I can come back later."

Chris shakes his head. "I was already awake. What do you need to talk about?"

"Is it alright if I come in? I'd feel more comfortable if we weren't talking about this outside; anyone might be able to hear us." Chris' expression becomes alert, his eyes no longer tired as he stands up a little straighter. Derek rolls his eyes, reassuring him, "I know that Kate's staying here. But that's not why I need to talk to you and I'm not here to hurt her or anything else you might be thinking. I need to talk to you about Stiles. So, could I please...?" He trails off, gesturing to the house with one hand. 

Chris doesn't seem to know what to say; he doesn't know how Derek found out about Kate. Nodding uncertainly, he pushes the door fully open and steps to the side, letting him enter the house.  

Derek watches Chris close the front door, his expression wary as Derek begins questioning if this was a good idea after all. 

"Scott got a call from his boss; Deaton, I think you've met him before." Chris nods and Derek continues, "He basically told us some legend about a werejaguar. And your family."

Any confusion Chris has disappears, his expression becoming unreadable. "I've heard about it. It's a legend that's been told throughout my family."

"So you know how it goes?" Derek asks. He knows there's something Deaton's not telling them, something that might be important, and Derek is determined to figure out what it is.

Chris sends him a strange look but answers, "Yes. I know the scroll off by heart, the original one's been missing for years. Apparently, it was stolen during a fight between my family and a pack of creatures."

"A pack of creatures?" Derek asks, raising his eyebrows. "What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, a pack of supernatural creatures. Not just werewolves, it was kitsunes, banshees, kanimas, chimaeras, and their emissary. Kind of like your pack."

"They're not my pack," Derek says immediately. "Scott's the Alpha."

Chris chuckles and rolls his eyes. "You're still part of the pack, and I'm sure Scott appreciates you being the leader every once in a while." Before Derek can protest, Chris continues, "But that's not the point. You said Deaton told you about the legend. So, why does it seem like you know nothing about it?"

"Because he barely told us anything about it. Just that there's a legend about a werejaguar and that it involves your family." Derek finally picks up on what Chris had said, his eyebrows furrowing. "Wait, what scroll?"

"You don't know about the scroll?" 

"Obviously not," Derek says, his tone sharp, and immediately regrets it. "No. Deaton never mentioned a scroll." 

Chris sighs and shakes his head, looking just as confused as Derek. "Why wouldn't he mention the scroll? It's basically the entire legend."

"I don't know. But I said he was keeping something from me and Scott and I was right." Derek curses under his breath. Why would Deaton lie to them? Actually, that's the wrong question to ask, Deaton's lied to them before. What Derek wants to know is, what's so important about this scroll?

"You said you know everything that was on it?" 

"Yeah," Chris confirms, already knowing where this is headed. "Do you want me to write it down? So you can show it to Scott?"

Derek nods and thanks him, waiting by the front door as Chris heads up the stairs to grab something to write it on and a pen. Once he returns, he hands the small sheet of paper to Derek. 

"Thank you," Derek says, his lips tugging up at the corners gratefully. 

Derek is about to leave, when his gaze drifts to the living room, having picked up a scent. An all too familiar scent. He hesitates before gesturing towards the room, asking, "How's Kate doing?"

Chris is clearly surprised by the question, and Derek doesn't blame him. After everything that's happened, he surprised himself by asking that. "She... She's, uh, she's doing okay."

"She isn't injured?" Derek asks, wondering if Malia had been wrong about that. 

"No, she was. She is," he corrects, his throat bobbing up and down as he swallows hard, clearly unsure of where this conversation might go. "She's still healing."

That's interesting.

"Still?" He asks. "Shouldn't she be done healing by now?" 

Chris' expression slips, concern flickering across his face before returning to his usual serious expression. "I'm not sure. The Wolfsbane seems to be affecting her differently."

"Because she's not a werewolf?" Derek shakes his head. "I didn't even think wolfsbane would work on her..."

"Yeah, I'm just as surprised as you are," Chris mutters.

"Alright, boys-" Kate leans against the living room doorway, using it to keep herself upright, "-you don't need to talk about me like I'm not here."

Derek stares at her, his stomach twisting as he controls his anger. The only thing he can think about, the only thing he can see when he looks at Kate, is Stiles' broken and bleeding body, beaten and tortured by her because she wanted to be powerful; she wanted to hurt Scott. And it's just then that he finally notices the similarities between Kate Argent and Peter Hale. They're both willing to hurt innocent people to get what they want. 

He had been in love with the female version of his uncle. That's not weird at all.

"Oh, I know that look," Kate says, stumbling forward as her legs shake, her hands grabbing onto the wall to steady herself. "Ever since I burned your family-"

"Kate," Chris warns.

"And hurt your poor little feelings, you've never looked at me the same. That look right there, it's reserved just for me, isn't it?" She shakes her head, laughing maliciously. "Every time you see my face, you remember that I'm the reason the reason you lost everything, and you blame yourself. Because you got fooled by a pretty face. But that's okay, I-"

"That's enough." Chris snaps, storming forward and grabbing Kate by the arm. He pulls her into the living room, and Derek doesn't even need to have heightened hearing to be able to hear what Chris says to her, warning her to stop or she'll have to leave; injured or not.

It's barely a few minutes later and Derek is wondering whether he should just leave, then Chris walks out of the living room wearing a grim expression as he stops in front of Derek.  

"Derek, I'm sorry, sh-"

"It's fine." Derek stops him, ignoring the way his stomach is still twisting with anger, burning with hatred as Kate's words replay in his mind. "You don't have to apologise for her. I knew she was here and I still came over. It's not your fault."

Chris sighs, reluctant to accept the excuse Derek had made for him. He opens the front door for Derek, holding it open as he steps outside. "Don't forget to show that to Scott," he reminds, pointing to the piece of paper in his hand.

Derek nods, sending him a tight-lipped smile as he glances down at it. He heads for his car, wanting to put as much distance between himself and Kate as he can. It's not that he's got anything against Argent; he can't help that he has Kate for a sister. But for as long as Kate is staying with him, Derek just can't be Argent's home. Which shouldn't be a problem, considering he's not planning on going back anytime soon. At least, not without Scott. 

-----------------------------------------

Stiles groans, bored out of his mind. He lets his head fall back and hisses at the pain that shoots through it. Melissa had said Scott would be back in fifteen minutes but it's already been an hour. He cranes his neck, checking the clock for the tenth time in five minutes.

"That can't be right..." he mutters, sitting back up and grabbing his phone. His eyes narrow at the digital clock. "It's only been ten minutes. That's just gre-"

He's cut off as a deafening screech fills the air. He shoves his hands over his ears, grimacing as he tries to block the noise out. It stops barely a few seconds later and he cautiously moves his hands, only for the noise to be replaced by footsteps and what sounds like a door being slammed.

"Mom, I'm home." Scott's voice travels up the stairs, his words slightly muffled by the bedroom door and Stiles sighs in relief.

There are more footsteps and the door opens. Scott walks in, grinning as he looks over at Stiles.

"You're awake." He moves over to him, sitting in the chair beside the bed. "I've got some good news."

"You do?" Stiles asks, sitting up a little more, ignoring the shooting pain it sends through his spine. "Well? What is it?"

Scott rolls his eyes but his grin stays in place as he answers, "I got a call from Deaton telling me to meet him at the clinic. He managed to dig up some old legend about were-jaguars. Stiles, I think you're going to be okay. Deaton-"

"Woah, woah, woah." Stiles waves, stopping Scott mid-sentence. "First of all, when did Deaton get back? I thought he's been away all summer? He just randomly decided to show back up a week before school starts? Great timing."

"Yeah, it is kinda weird," Scott agrees. "All he told me was that he was away looking into something with his sister and that it's nothing for us to worry about."

Stiles raises his eyebrows. "That's not suspicious or terrifyingly vague at all. And his sister? As in, Ms Morrell? Our ex-guidance counsellor slash druid thing slash probably crazy woman who sort of tried to help me at Eichen? That sister?"

"That sister," Scott confirms, his tone amused as his grin widens. "How much medication have you had today?"

"Just the normal amount. Okay, a little bit more than that. Alright, so, it was a lot. But I'm fine," Stiles says, his words jumbling as they come out as rushed as they usually do when he's had a bit too much Adderall. 

Scott laughs and shakes his head. "You're still missing the point, Deaton thinks you're going to be okay. Isn't that great?"

Stiles' heart pounds, ringing in his ears as he tries to keep it steady, tries to relax so that Scott won't pick up on anything. He plasters on a grin. "Yeah, of course that's great. If he's right, that is." Scott sends him a confused look and Stiles quickly says, "I'm just saying! I get that Deaton's usually right about most things- fine, he's been right about everything. But what if this is the one time he isn't? Scott, I just... I just don't want to get my hopes up, okay?"

Stiles looks at Scott and his stomach turns, guilt rising up as he notices that his wide grin is now gone, replaced by a doubtful frown, not even trying to hide his worry and sadness. 

"I'm sorry," Stiles sighs. "I shouldn't have said anything. It's just... I don't want you to believe that everything's going to be completely fine and we're going to return to our semi-normal life when there's still a very good chance that I'm gonna turn into some sort of weird shapeshifter. Not that that would be terrible or anything," he adds quickly, thinking he might have offended Scott. 

There's a pause before a thought crosses Stiles' mind, his eyes widening in panic. "If I do turn, you don't think that makes Kate my Alpha, right? Y'know, like how when you got bitten, Peter went psycho and tried to make you kill everyone you cared about including me so that you would be in his pack. That's not gonna happen. Right?"

"Uh..." Scott's forehead creases as he thinks it over. "No, definitely not. Probably. Hopefully not."

"Great, that was incredibly reassuring, thank you so much for that."

Stiles groans and lets his head hit the pillow behind him, closing his eyes as he digs his palms into them. "It is way too early for any of this. Why did Deaton have to call you at five in the morning? Can't he just be like a normal human being and wait until later?" He groans again, moving his hands away from his face as he peeks his eyes open to look at Scott. "Is your mom still here or did she have to go to work?"

Scott pauses for a second, listening for her before answering, "Yeah, she's still here. And by the sounds of it, making breakfast. I think."

"Yes!" Stiles says happily, already sitting back up, once again ignoring the pain it causes him. "Let's go see then."

"I don't think so." Scott pushes gently on his shoulder, stopping him from getting up. "You look like you've barely slept, you're staying in bed. I'll go, alright?"

Stiles moans but nods, knowing he won't win this. He watches as Scott grins and leaves the room, heading down the stairs to see his mom. He was hoping that today might be quiet and calm, give them a chance to actually themselves before school starts back in the next week. But Stiles wasn't counting on it. After all, they live in Beacon Hills, nothing ever goes the way they want it to. 

-------------------------------------------

"You practically ran out of here, where did you go?" Isaac asks, barely giving Derek a second to breathe as he closes the loft door behind him. "What's that?" He points at the piece of paper, slightly crumpled in Derek's hand. "Did you find something? Is it important?"

Derek sighs and tries to refrain from rolling his eyes. It's already been a long day and it's barely seven in the morning. He makes for the stairs, his jaw clenching as Isaac follows closely behind him, the smell of curiosity and suspicion filling the air. 

"It's from Argent," Derek answers, hoping that'll be enough for Isaac to leave it alone but also knowing it won't be. 

Isaac appears next to him, his eyebrows raised and his arms folded. "You were gone two hours."

"What's your point?" Derek snaps. He glances at Isaac before walking to the couch, leaving him standing at the table.

Isaac rolls his eyes and leans back, not bothering to follow Derek this time. "No one can put up with you for that long," he mutters, despite knowing Derek can hear him. 

"What was that?" Derek asks, not even turning to face him. 

"You heard me."

Peter coughs as he leans back against the stairs, a smug smirk on his lips. "Actually, he didn't."

Derek rolls his eyes, wanting to just ignore Peter, praying silently for him to disappear, at least for a few hours. 

"What do you mean?" Isaac asks cautiously and Derek curses in his head. 

Peter hums as he walks slowly toward Derek, his smirk only growing. "My dear nephew here is having... Well, let's just say he's having a few problems. Aren't you, Derek?" 

Derek growls, trying to keep himself calm but that's very hard to do whenever Peter's around, not to mention his little 'conversation' with Kate barely half an hour ago. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about your senses not working." Peter stops in front of him, his head tilting to the side. "Or am I wrong?"

He wants to say yes, wants to just deny everything because he hates when Peter is right, especially about this, but he also wants to just give in, hear what Peter might say about it because, who knows? He might actually be helpful for once in his life. 

Derek doesn't answer, just stares up at Peter with a blank expression. 

Peter huffs and then sighs, shaking his head slowly. "I didn't want to do this," he says before gesturing for Isaac to come over. Once he's standing next to him, Peter takes a step to the side, talking to Isaac, "Punch him."

"What?!" Isaac and Derek both stare at him incredulously. 

He sighs. "It won't hurt... That much. And if you're not lying, it'll be healed in a few hours."

Derek shakes his head at Peter, seriously wondering how they're even related. And then there's a sharp pain in his jaw. He stares up at Isaac in disbelief, his hand coming up to rub at his jaw, his eyes glowing. At least he knows his eyes still change colour.

"Did you seriously just punch me?" 

Peter and Isaac trade wide-eyed looks, concern and confusion clear on their faces. 

"That's a new look on you," Peter mutters, staring at Derek's eyes. 

"Why are your eyes gold?" Isaac asks nervously.

Derek scowls at the two of them. "What are you talking about?" 

"Your eyes," Isaac gestures to his face, "they're not blue. Why aren't they blue? Why are they gold?"

Derek feels his heart begin to race as he realises they're not just messing with him, they're being serious. He grabs Isaac's phone out of his hands, ignoring the noise of protest he makes. He nearly drops it as he holds it up, checking the reflection from his eyes. And they're right, his eyes aren't glowing blue, they're gold, a colour they haven't been since he was fifteen. Since Paige. 

He looks up at Peter urgently. "Do you know what's happening?"

But Peter looks just as confused as he feels, shaking his head, eyes never leaving Derek's. "No. But whatever it is, I doubt it's good."

Chapter Text

"You gotta get up, Stiles," Scott calls as he walks past the bedroom, already dressed and heading down the stairs. 

Stiles groans and rolls out of the bed, landing face-down on the floor. He mumbles, "Ow," before pushing himself to his feet and walking reluctantly to the bathroom. The week had gone far too quickly for his liking, still not feeling entirely ready to go back to school.

"Stupid school, starting so early in the morning," he grumbles, rubbing at his eyes and blinking to try and clear his vision.

He leans against the sink, one hand holding onto the edge while he turns the tap with the other. His eyes drift to the mirror in front of him, lingering for barely a second, but it's enough for him to notice, for his eyes to shoot back to it, wide and panicked. 

A lump rises in his throat, his heart pounding in his ears as his chest tightens. "This can't be happening," he mutters, leaning closer to the mirror, praying that he's just tired, just imagining things. He blinks. But nothing changes.

"Scott!" 

Barely a few seconds later, Scott rushes into the bedroom, peering around the bathroom door. His eyes land on Stiles, not able to see his face, before darting to the mirror, his expression turning from confusion to shock, then to worry and panic.

"Yeah, I know how you feel." Stiles meets his eyes in the mirror before turning to face him. "I guess we can assume Deaton was wrong," he says, nervous laughter getting stuck in his throat as he swallows hard. "That'll probably be a first for him." He glances back to the mirror, still hoping that this was all just a dream. But there they are; his eyes, glowing a deep orange mixed with flecks of yellow and gold. 

In his head, he knows he should have been expecting this. But after hearing what Deaton had said, how hopeful Scott had been, Stiles had given in and let himself believe that maybe, just maybe, he was going to stay human. 

"Okay, this might not be a problem," Scott says, trying to keep his voice calm and reassuring. For whose sake, neither of them are sure. "We just need to talk to Deaton. It might be another side-effect, like the bleeding."

"Scott, look at me," Stiles says, exasperated. "You see my eyes, right? They're glowing. Just like yours did when you were bitten and turned into a werewolf. This isn't a side-effect, just like my freaky bursts of heightened hearing isn't a side-effect. You know as well as I do what this means. I'm turning into a freaking were-something!"

Scott raises an eyebrow at him. "Were-something?"

"Yes. A were-something, because we have no idea what the hell I'm going to turn into. It might be a werewolf, it might be a werejaguar, I could be a freaking were-squirrel for all we know."

"I don't think were-squirrels exist..."

Stiles stares at Scott incredulously. "Not the point." He runs a hand through his hair, messing it up even more than it already was. "The point is: I'm turning, Scott. We have to go back to school and I'm turning. This is absolutely fantastic," he mutters, closing his eyes as he leans against the sink.

"Look," Scott places his hand on Stiles' shoulder, waiting for him to open his eyes, "Just let me call Deaton, okay? And if he doesn't know anything then... we'll talk to Argent, he has to know something."

Stiles rolls his eyes but gives in. "Fine. But what do we do about school? Are we just supposed to go and pretend that everything's normal and that I'm totally not turning into a mythical creature?"

"They're not technically mythical," Scott points out but quickly hurries on when Stiles shoots him an exasperated look. "It'll be fine, no one will know and it's only a few hours. Unless you're really not feeling up to it..." He hints, a flicker of mischief in his eyes. 

"Yeah, I'm not feeling so great," Stiles plays along, grinning at Scott gratefully. "Y'know what with the pain and all."

It's Scott's turn to rolls his eyes, grinning back at Stiles. "I'll go talk to my mom."

----------------

Stiles leans against the table in the back room of the clinic, his arms folded over his chest as he waits with Scott for Deaton. He glances at the clock for what must be the sixth time and Scott sighs, turning to face him. 

"He's probably just stuck in traffic or something. Does he even have a car?" Scott asks uncertainly.

"He's your boss, you should know." Stiles pulls his eyes away from the clock and scans the room. "That looks old and cursed," he comments, his eyes landing on a thin rectangular box sitting on a shelf at the opposite end of the room.

"It might be," Deaton says, startling the two boys as he moves over to the table in the middle of the room. "Which is why you shouldn't touch it."

Stiles raises his eyebrows but doesn't reply, his eyes lingering on the box before drifting to Scott and Deaton. He listens as Scott fills his boss in on what happened, jumping in every so often. 

Once they're done, Deaton stays quiet, his eyes darting back and forth between them. "Interesting," he says quietly. 

Stiles' mouth falls open, his forehead creasing as he stares at Deaton. He can't help but feel annoyed and Scott seems to pick up on this, shifting a little closer, a small smile on his lips, trying to keep him calm.

"Do you know what's going on?" He asks Deaton. 

"I have a theory," Deaton replies, eyeing Stiles again before turning and moving to the boxes in the corner. He bends down, rummaging through them carefully, keeping his back to the two boys. 

They trade looks, Stiles silently questioning why the hell Deaton's being so vague, Scott just as confused and wanting more information, more reassurance that everything's alright. 

"Ah, here they are." Deaton straightens up, turning back to them and placing two candles on the table in front of him. 

Stiles eyes them suspiciously. He takes note of the strange, white symbols, carved in a loop around both of them, bright against the dark purple that seems to drip from the top and stop before it reaches the bottom. Right now, he was really regretting not paying more attention to that book about ancient symbols and spells that Lydia had been reading just a few days ago.

Scott's eyes narrow as he stares at the candles, his expression unreadable. Stiles elbows his shoulder and jerks his chin at the table, mouthing, "What is it?"

Scott just shakes his head, his eyebrows furrowing as his confusion seems to grow.

"Now, Stiles," Deaton speaks up, dragging Stiles' attention away from Scott. "I'm going to need you to concentrate, alright?" He asks, moving over to the far wall, his fingers hovering over the light switch. 

Stiles hesitates, wanting more of an explanation about what he was doing, but nods when Scott gives him a nudge. Deaton flips the switch and the lights go out, engulfing the room in darkness.

"Well, this is pleasant," Stiles says, sarcasm dripping from his words. "What now? Light the candles, have a nice, cosy little chat? Maybe order some pizza?"

"Stiles, you need to focus," Deaton says, his tone crisp. "Concentrate. Look at the candles, think about the flames, imagine them glowing, lighting up the room."

"That sounds like a great idea, but-"

"Stiles," Scott says, leaning a little closer. "Just try it. Please."

Stiles stares at him before rolling his eyes and sighing, throwing his arms up in surrender. "Fine. But after this whole weird magic thing doesn't work, I'm going to get food." 

He moves his gaze to the candles, their outline just about the only thing he can see in the dark room. The room's quiet, Deaton watches the candles with folded arms, Scott glances up at Stiles every few seconds, and Stiles keeps his eyes focused on the candles, despite knowing how ridiculous this is. They stay like this, seconds turning to minutes as nothing happens.

And then it starts; a flicker of light, barely there for a split second but hard to miss. Stiles and Scott's eyes widen, heads whipping around to face each other, grins spreading across their faces. Deaton moves forward, urging Stiles to continue.

He does, his eyes snapping back to the candles, his hair standing on edge as he feels his stomach twist with what could possibly either be excitement or fear. His eyes narrow in concentration as he tries not to blink, not wanting to screw something up by looking away.

A minute passes before it happens again; lasting longer this time, casting a soft, orange glow around the small room. The flames on the candles flicker and only grow stronger - brighter - with each second that passes. 

Stiles breathes out in disbelief, nearly blowing the flames out. "I have no idea what the hell is happening right now but it is awesome."

"Dude," Scott grabs his shoulders, shaking him gently, "you just lit those candles. With your mind. That's... that's... I don't even have a word for how cool that is!" He pauses, glancing at Deaton. "He did light them with his mind, right?"

Deaton chuckles softly and nods, his eyes still watching the dancing flames. "Yes, he did, which, in itself is remarkable. But for it to have worked on the first try... that's extraordinary."

"Wait, you mean, you weren't expecting that to happen?" Stiles asks. 

"No. I wasn't." Something seems to cross Deaton's mind as his expression becomes unreadable. "The spark inside you really is powerful; stronger than most." 

"Again with the creepy vagueness." The candles seem to burn brighter as Stiles continues, not bothering to hide the irritation in his voice, "Could you please just give us a straight answer? What the hell is going on and why can I suddenly light candles with my mind? I thought turning meant turning into a shapeshifter, not some telekinetic, glowy-eyed, witch. How is that even pos-"

He's cut off, a loud bang sounding throughout the room, followed closely by a crackling. His eyes shoot down to the candles, widening at the now bright orange and blue flames, far too bright to be normal, the purple wax quickly melting and pooling on the table, spreading far too fast. There's another bang, this time from the waiting area, the light going out as the bulb seems to explode, sparks flying from it as it swings back and forth. 

"What the hell is happening?" Stiles asks. He quickly brings his arms up, covering his face as the flames seem to grow bigger, sending tiny bits of what must either be ash or wax flying each other.

"It's you." Deaton's eyes dart from the candles to the lights, then to Stiles. "You're controlling this - not intentionally or consciously, it's because of your emotions. Stiles, you need to control them," he explains urgently, stepping to the side as the candle's crackling grows louder.

"What?! But - I don't know how!" He replies, panic seeping into his tone. 

Scott grabs Stiles' shoulders again, having been knocked off when the light exploded. "Stiles, you need to focus." He looks into his hands, shaking him gently to make sure he understands. "Alright, all you need to do is find something, anything, that'll calm you down. Find your anchor, Stiles."

And whether it's Scott's words, his voice or just simply him being there, Stiles isn't sure, but whatever the reason, it helps. He closes his eyes, breathing slowly - In. Out. In. Out. Just like dealing with a panic attack. When he opens his eyes again, everything seems to be back to normal; the candles are burnt out, the wax now slowly hardening as it threatens to drip off the edge of the table, the lights are still and calm, no more sparks flying at them.

He breaths out in relief and lets himself relax, running the back of his hand across his forehead. "Well, this didn't go at all like I was expecting it to."

Scott grins and pats Stiles' shoulder, letting his other hand fall to his side as he shakes his head. "Trust me, I wasn't expecting this either." He glances down at the candles before looking up at him, a flicker of curiosity in his eyes as he says, "You actually calmed down a lot quicker than I thought you would. I mean, when I turned, you know how long it took me to finally find my anchor - which, probably shouldn't actually have taken me as long as it did, considering it was Allison. But how did you find yours so fast?"

Stiles thinks about it and realises Scott's right; it barely took him a few minutes to get it under control, when it had taken Scott at least a day or two. But then again, Scott didn't have his anchor standing right in front of him. 

He shrugs, his lips tugging into a grin. "I don't know. Maybe it had something to do with my awesome mind powers," he jokes, causing Scott to roll his eyes. 

"Sure. Whatever you say," he replies before looking over at Deaton. "So, could you maybe tell us what's actually going on now? It just might be easier to deal with this stuff if we know everything."

Deaton seems reluctant to answer, his body tensing as he folds his arms over his chest. But when they begin to think that he's not going to say anything, he sighs and moves over to the shelves. When he turns back to them, he's holding the box that Stiles had pointed out, setting it down on the table in front of them. 

"I thought it would be better if you didn't know about this," he takes the lid off the box, revealing what appears to be a scroll, the parchment a faint, dusty yellow with a few light-brown spots, rolled up and tied with a thin piece of blue string. "But I get the feeling that Argent might have already told you."

"Told us what? Wait, what's Argent got to do with this?" Stiles asks, reaching out a hand to touch the scroll. 

Deaton bats Stiles' hand away and picks up the scroll. "Ah, you didn't tell him," he says to Scott as he hands the piece of parchment to him. 

"What? What didn't anyone tell me?" Stiles turns to Scott, his eyebrows raised. "Scott? What is it?"

Scott seems reluctant to answer, chewing the inside of his lip as he turns the scroll over in his hands. It barely takes a few seconds of Stiles staring at him for him to give in. "I talked to Derek a few days ago, he went to see Argent and he told him about the scroll. He wrote down what it said and... it wasn't exactly good news. So I didn't tell you."

"Why? What does it say?" Stiles asks, his voice shaking a little as fear rises in his throat. "What does it say, Scott?"

Scott doesn't answer, just hands him the scroll, watching as he unties the string and unfolds the parchment, waiting for him to be finished reading it. Once he is, Stiles is quiet, eyes still staring at the scroll clutched in his hands. He nods slowly, a quiet, humourless laugh caught in the back of his throat as he lifts his gaze, shifting between Scott and Deaton. 

"Is that what's happening to me? Is that why I was able to light those candles? Because I'm-I'm turning into some dangerous monster?"

Scott moves forward, his hand on Stiles' shoulder once again as he shakes his head. "No, Stiles. That was written by an Argent. Of course they were going to say that, they hated anything supernatural. But that doesn't mean it's true." He looks over at Deaton. "Right? He's still going to be okay, isn't he?"

Deaton's expression is blank as he replies, "Yes. Of course. As you said, it was written by an Argent. It's nothing to worry about."

"Then why lie about it?" Stiles questions. It's like he just can't let himself believe, even for a second, that things might turn out okay for him. "Why not tell us about the scroll sooner?"

"Because I was worried that you would lose hope." Deaton takes the scroll from Stiles, placing it back in its box. "I didn't want you overthinking what it could mean. But now, I had no other choice."

Stiles stares at him incredulously, his irritation and annoyance returning. He bites down hard on the inside of his cheek, ignoring the metallic taste it causes as he tells himself to drop it. But he's so tired of just dropping it, tired of being treated like he doesn't deserve to know the truth, tired of feeling useless and like he's less important. 

There's a quiet rustling noise and something nudges Stiles' hand. He looks down and can't help the grin that spreads across his lips as Scott pushes the packet of M&M's into his hand. "Seriously?" He asks, looking up at him. 

Scott shrugs, smiling as he clearly pretends he hadn't picked up on Stiles' chemo-signals or been able to tell what he was thinking. "I brought them with me in case we got hungry."

"And this is why you're my best friend." Stiles glances at Deaton, now going through a box on top of a small table, before checking the clock above the door. "I'm actually kinda tired. Are we done here or...?"

Deaton barely glances at them as he replies, "We're done. You can leave if you want to."

"Great," Stiles mutters, making for the door almost as soon the words leave his lips. 

He gets in the jeep, leaning back in the seat as Scott climbs in next to him. Stiles looks over at Scott, watching as he calls his mom to let her know they're on their way home so that she doesn't need to worry while at work. He smiles and turns the key, starting the engine up and driving back to Scott's house. He can't wait till they get there, they can relax and spend the rest of the day watching movies or playing games, doing anything as long as it doesn't involve talking about the supernatural. Just one normal, happy day with Scott is all Stiles wants.

Chapter Text

Stiles grips his locker door tightly with one hand, his knuckles turning white as he tries to focus his breathing, his eyes screwed shut. The morning is barely even over and already things are going wrong. And all it took was one extremely loud bell ringing in his ears and an offhanded comment from Jackson.

It doesn't help that the full moon is tomorrow and Stiles still has basically no idea what the hell is happening to him. But it's definitely affecting him as his senses have been in overdrive pretty much all morning; picking up on every little scent, all of the little noises that should be quiet but are instead ringing in his ears. His head is pounding from it all, making it hard to concentrate on anything.

"Hey, dude," Scott greets, appearing next to him with a grin on his lips. "I've been l- Woah, Stiles, are you okay?" 

Stiles gives a weak nod, forcing a tight-lipped smile as he opens his eyes and turns to face Scott, hoping that he doesn't look nearly as bad as he feels. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just adjusting to the whole being back at school thing. Not as fun as usual."

Scott grimaces, his expression understanding. "You sure you wanna stay? I could take you back to mine, my mom won't mind."

"It's okay." Stiles closes his locker, leaning his shoulder against it, not trusting his legs to keep him balanced. "I get the feeling that if I skip out on class today, Coach will make me pay for it at the next lacrosse practice." 

Scott seems like he wants to argue, wants to convince Stiles to just let him take him home so that he can rest. But he doesn't and there's a little part of Stiles that really wishes he did because he might have actually given in.

"Just... come find me if it's too much, okay?" Scott says. "I know what you're going through is way more complicated than what I did, but I want to help. So, if you need me-"

"I'll howl," Stiles jokes with a half-grin. 

Scott rolls his eyes but the gesture has no sting to it, accompanied by a fond smile as he says, "I'm serious, dude."

"So am I," Stiles replies, adjusting the strap of his backpack on his shoulder.

Scott shakes his head at him and pats Stiles' shoulder, his hand lingering as he squeezes lightly.

"Just promise you'll tell me if it gets worse," he says, worry clear in his voice.

"I will, I promise," Stiles says, patting Scott's arm. "Now c'mon, I don't wanna be doing suicide runs for the rest of my life because we're late."

Scott chuckles and agrees, letting his arm drop to his side as Stiles swings his arm over Scott's shoulder, heading in the direction of their next class. 

Stiles is just hoping to make it through the next few hours without any more problems. Of course, he knows that isn't likely.

----------------

Barely twenty minutes go by and yet, somehow, Stiles' situation has managed to get worse. Much, much worse.

Coach was yelling at Greenberg for what must have been the twentieth time that day, distracting everyone from their work as they listened and most of them laughed at whatever the hell Coach was giving Greenberg into trouble for this time.

That's when it started; a dull ache in Stiles' skull, nothing that seemed too bad compared to what he's been through recently.

But it quickly develops into a burning pain, shooting down his neck and spreading throughout his entire body. His heart speeds up, the sound pounding in his ears as he tries to block out the noise around him, his eyes closing as he tries to remember what Scott had told him; just breathe and focus, stay calm. And he's trying so hard but the pain is excruciating and all he wants to do is scream for it to stop. But it doesn't, it just keeps going, getting worse with each second that ticks by. His nails dig into his palms, drawing blood, and he ignores it, determined to just stay calm.

It must be the scent of blood that catches Scott's attention, his eyes widening and darting around the room, landing on Stiles. Before he gets the chance to do or say anything, Stiles pushes away from his desk and stands up, ignoring the Coach calling to him as he rushes out of the classroom.

Scott's quick to react, jumping up from his seat and giving a jumbled excuse to the Coach as he makes for the door.  

Stiles stumbles into the bathroom, his legs threatening to collapse underneath him as he grabs the edge of the closest sink, the blood on his hands smearing across the white porcelain. 

"Hey, Stiles," Scott calls from behind him, his tone panicked. "Look at me, dude, what is it? Is it a panic attack?"

Stiles shakes his head, not trusting himself to speak, his head lowering as he gasps for air and sweat glistens on his skin. His grip tightens on the sink, stinging the marks on the palms of his hands. 

"I need you to look at me, okay, Stiles?" Scott moves forward, careful not to get too close in case it makes things worse, glancing down at the blood slowly rolling into the sink. "Just... just open your eyes, please. You're bleeding, Stiles. I need you to open your eyes."

"It's too much, Scotty. I can't - I can't stop it. Scott, I don't know what's happening," Stiles breathes out in a rush, his voice cracking as his shoulders shake from the effort of keeping himself standing and the pain still shooting through them.

A whimper escapes his throat before he can stop it, quickly turning into a hiss as his hand slips off the sink and he nearly falls to the ground, just barely catching himself. His eyes open and he raises his head a little, just enough to see in the mirror, just enough to meets Scott's reflection.

"Stiles, your eyes." Scott takes another step toward him, his heart racing with worry. "How bad is it?" He doesn't wait for an answer as he reaches out, ignoring the look Stiles sends him when he covers his hand with his own and begins drawing his pain.

Stiles glances up at Scott, his shoulder still shaking as he feels it slowly ease away, leaving behind a familiar dull ache.

Only after Scott's taken as much as Stiles will let him, he moves his hand back to his side and lifts his eyes, relief washing over his face as he watches Stiles' eyes fade from orange to brown.

"Are you okay, dude?" Scott asks, his eyes still flickering with worry. "How do you feel?"

Stiles attempts to straighten up but quickly stops, his pain threatening to return. He turns to face Scott, one hand still gripping the sink tightly. "Like every bone in my body has been broken about a hundred times." He rubs his hand across his face, his breathing uneven as he drags it through his hair, completely forgetting about the blood.

"What can I do?" Scott asks, his voice calm despite his heart still racing from seeing Stiles in so much pain.

Stiles shakes his head, his hand falling to his side. "Nothing. You've already done enough for me."

"No. Stiles, let me help," Scott pleads. 

"There's nothing you can do," Stiles replies, sounding exhausted. "This is happening; whether we like it or not. There's nothing we can do about it so... I just need to deal with it."

"But you don't need to deal with it alone," Scott points out. "I wish there was some way I could stop this but I know there's not. So, just let me be here for you."

Stiles hesitates, hating the idea of burdening his best friend with any of his problems, never mind this. But Scott's staring at him with those puppy-dog eyes, determined to help him whatever way he can, and, oh, come on, that's not fair. He can't just tell him to stop worrying and end up having Scott looking like a kicked puppy. And so he sighs, nodding reluctantly.

"Okay," he says. "But you're not allowed to freak out like that when you think I'm in pain, got it? You always think it's worse than it is." 

Scott tilts his head, his face clearly saying that he isn't going to agree to that. 

Stiles rolls his eyes and rubs at his forehead in exasperation. "Just say okay."

"Okay," Scott says and Stiles just knows there's a but coming. "But if I think you're in pain, I'm not just going to stand by and watch you suffer." There it is.

"Scott-"

"Dude, no," Scott stops him before he can say anything else. "I don't care if the only pain you're in is from a freaking paper cut. If you're in pain, I'm going to help you. I'm not going to promise to let you 'deal with it' when I can help."

Stiles stares at Scott, chewing the inside of his lip as he shakes his head. "You're extremely stubborn, you know that?"

"Yes, you've pointed it out before. You should be used to it by now."

Stiles sighs in defeat and runs a hand across his face. "Fine. But at least promise me that this stays between us, no telling anyone about... any of it," he says. "That doesn't include your mom, she kind of needs to know since I'm staying at your house," he adds as an afterthought

Scott is less reluctant to agree to this, clearly glad that Stiles is at least willing to let him help. "Yeah, of course," Scott says. 

The bell rings, letting them know their class just ended. 

Stiles' breathing is finally back to normal as he lessens his grip on the sink. "We should probably go, we can't stay in here for the rest of the day."

"Are you sure you don't just want to go back to mine?" Scott asks, concern still clear in his voice. "Or I can take you back to your house?"

"I'm sure," Stiles replies, glancing down at the sink as he finally notices the blood. Before he gets the chance to do or say anything about it, Scott reaches out, meeting Stiles' gaze for a second before gently grabbing his hands.

He turns them over, keeping his hands underneath Stiles' as he examines them carefully.

"Dude, these look like claw marks," Scott says, looking up at Stiles worriedly. 

Stiles looks a little closer and, sure enough, Scott's right. "They probably are," he says. "It wouldn't be that surprising after... whatever the hell just happened."

Scott frowns, his eyes lingering on Stiles a second longer before drifting to the sink, still covered in blood. He let's go of one of Stiles' hands, turning the tap and letting the water run until it turns cold, washing away most of the blood in the sink.

Scott gently pushes Stiles' hands under the running water, pulling his own back and letting Stiles clean the blood off.

Once he's done, Stiles wipes his hands on his jeans and meets Scott's worried gaze. "I'm fine, Scotty," he tries to reassure him, his hand on Scott's shoulder as he goes to move toward the bathroom door. 

"Wait," Scott says, stepping in front of him. "I can't sit through the rest of our classes pretending that none of this just happened. You need to rest, Stiles."

Stiles rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Scott, I'm fine," he says, emphasising his words to get the point across. "Really. It's only a few more hours, I'll be fine. And you're in every one of my classes so you'll be there. You don't need to worry, Scott."

For the second - possibly third - time that day, it's obvious that Scott wants to argue. That he wants to refuse to go to class until he's convinced Stiles to go back to his house to rest. But, again, he doesn't.

Because Stiles is staring at him with that look in his eyes; the one that always manages to convince Scott to do pretty much anything, no matter how insane.

And so Scott sighs, opens the bathroom door and follows Stiles out, heading back to Coach's class to grab their stuff.

------------------------

"So," Lydia drops her tray onto the table, startling the two boys as she takes a seat across from them. "Would either of you like to explain what happened back there?"

Malia and Allison join them, sitting on either side of Lydia as she stares at Scott and Stiles, waiting for an answer. 

"Not really," they say simultaneously, grinning at each other and completely failing to notice the looks all three girls send them. 

"Are we talking about you two running out of class?" Allison asks them, pausing to stare at them with curious eyes before receiving a nod from Lydia. 

"It was the full moon, wasn't it?" Malia asks bluntly, although it comes out as more of a statement, her eyes fixed on Stiles. "Something was off about you in class. Your scent was... different. It still is."

Stiles glances at Scott, unsure of whether to just tell the truth, after all, they're his friends and they care about him. But for some reason, he chooses to lie. "No, I'm fine. I'm just tired and I... really needed to go to the bathroom."

"Then why did Scott jump out of his chair and rush after you as soon as you left?" Lydia questions, clearly thinking she's caught them out as her eyes dart between the two boys. 

Stiles looks at Scott with raised eyebrows, receiving a sheepish grin and a shrug. He huffs, casting his eyes to the ceiling briefly as he tries to quickly come up with an excuse. "Because... we're dating?" He jokes, a sly grin forming on his lips as Scott stares at him with wide eyes.

He hits Stiles' shoulder softly, careful not to make his pain worse. Stiles just shrugs and Scott can't help but grin back at him.

"Really?" Lydia drawls, pointing her fork at them. "You expect me to believe that you two are dating? Seriously?"

"I'd believe it," Allison says casually, not even looking up from her food. When she realises they've gone silent, she glances up at them, her eyes wide. "What? When I first met you I thought you were dating. You're closer than anyone I've ever met and that includes people who have actually been dating." She shrugs, picking up her apple and turning it in her hands. "It's really not that hard to believe."

There's an awkward silence, neither of the boys knowing how to respond while Lydia and Malia seem to agree with Allison.

It's only broken when Malia's phone - which she had been given as a birthday present because, as Lydia had said, how the hell is anyone meant to contact you if you don't even have a phone? - buzzes on the table. She checks to see what it is, a grin appearing on her face. She looks up at her friends, her voice filled with excitement as she says, "Kira's coming back today!"

"That's great," Allison says, smiling as she takes a bite of her apple. "Speaking of people we haven't seen in a while," she turns her eyes to Scott, "have you heard from Derek yet? Or Isaac? It's been a week and I still can't get a hold of him. My dad's refusing to tell me where they are, he said that Peter's with them and is making sure they're okay."

Stiles nearly chokes on his food, his eyes wide as he says, "Peter's with them? And we still haven't heard from either of them? Am I the only one finding this more and more concerning?"

"Definitely not," Scott says, his eyebrows drawing together. He looks at Allison. "Did your dad say anything else? About where they are?"

She shakes her head, her hair falling in front of her face. "No, all he said was that we shouldn't worry and Derek's dealing with some personal problems," she answers, tucking the loose strands of hair behind her ear.

"That's just great," Stiles says sarcastically. "What about Erica and Boyd? Or Jackson? Ethan and Aiden? Have all of them just fallen off the face of the earth?"

Scott twists around in his seat. "Jackson, Ethan and Aiden are over there, " he says, jerking his chin at a table across from them, where, sure enough, all three of them are sitting with Danny and a few of their other friends. "Erica and Boyd left earlier, I guess they got bored," he says, turning back around.

"How didn't I notice they were even here?" Stiles asks, staring at their friends across the room in confusion. 

Scott pats Stiles' shoulder, his lips tugging up at the corners as Stiles turns back around in his seat. Both of them oblivious to the look Malia shoots them.

"I'm sure Derek and Isaac are fine," Malia says, surprising all of them. "They can both take care of themselves. Well, Derek will protect Isaac. I think." She turns to Lydia. "You would be able to tell if something happened to them, right?"

Lydia's eyes widen a little as she glances at her friends. "Yeah, I think so, but-"

"There!" Malia says happily, turning back to her food. "They're absolutely fine."

Nobody really wants to argue with Malia; the main reason being that they all want to believe that as well, the other being that she'll probably bite their heads off if they try to tell her she could be wrong.

"Alright, well, would anyone like to discuss our other little problem?" Lydia asks. They stare at her, clearly confused and she rolls her eyes in exasperation. "Oh my god," she mutters, "Kate. Kate is the other problem. No offence, Allison, but I don't exactly trust your aunt all that much. I mean, come on, do none of you find it suspicious that she just suddenly appeared back in town a week before the full moon?"

"I do," Stiles says around a mouthful of potatoes. He pauses when Lydia glares at him, swallowing before continuing, "I've been saying for days that there's something off about it. What if she goes all psycho tomorrow, like Peter did with Scott? I don't know about you guys, but I don't really want to be forced to try and kill any of you. Especially since I would most likely fail and end up getting shot by a hunter or running into some sort of trap that would ultimately lead to my death."

"That's not going to happen," Allison says, lifting her eyes to look at them. "Kate's still injured and she doesn't look like she's going to be healing anytime soon. And my dad's taking precautions just in case; he's going to make sure she can't go anywhere tomorrow. I promise."

Stiles raises his eyebrows, relaxing in his seat as he shrugs. "Problem solved then, I guess."

"Not quite," Scott says.

"What? What now?" Stiles asks, throwing his hands up in frustration. "What could possibly be worse than Kate forcing me to tear you all to shreds?"

"We still have to figure out what we're doing tomorrow, you don't know how to fully control yourself yet," Scott answers.

Stiles pauses. "Good point." He takes another bite of his food, leaning his chin on his hand with a huff of annoyance. Why do they have to have so many things to deal with?

"Well, you need to find an anchor first, right?" Allison asks, looking to Scott for confirmation. "So, once you've figured out what is it, it should be easier for you to control the shifting. That is how it works, right?"

Stiles lifts his head and says, "Yeah, it is. Which makes things a lot easier considering I already have mine."

"You do?" Lydia and Allison ask at the same time, both of their voices a little surprised. 

Malia folds her arms on the table, leaning forward as Stiles lifts his glass to his lips and she says, "I wanna guess. It's either your dad or Lydia. Or possibly Derek."

Stiles chokes on his water, covering his mouth to stop himself from accidentally spitting it out. He quickly pulls his hand away, staring at her incredulously. 

"Why the hell would it be Derek?" He asks, wiping at his mouth to get rid of any excess water. "Or Lydia, for that matter. No offence, you know I love you, Lyds."

She rolls her eyes and continues eating, shaking her head at him. 

Malia narrows her eyes, darting from Stiles to Lydia, clearly confused. "But... if you love her, she could be your anchor. Why was that unbelievable?"

"Because I love her as a friend," Stiles emphasises. "But seriously. Derek? Really? You think that Derek Hale would be the one thing keeping me human and in control?"

Malia shrugs, biting her lower lip as she stares at Stiles. "I thought you used to like him. Guess I was wrong." She ignores the horrified look Stiles sends her. "So, it's your dad then?"

"No, it's not my dad," Stiles says without thinking. That would have been the perfect cover, had he, y'know, not just gone and blown it.

"Then... What is it?" Lydia asks, her eyes narrowing with suspicion. "Do you have a secret girlfriend you aren't telling us about?"

"Oh my god, no," Stiles says. "I... How would that even work? I am literally with you guys every single day, so, unless she's invisible, I don't think there is even a slight possibility of me having a secret girlfriend."

"Dude, c'mon," Scott says, grinning at him as he rests his hand on his shoulder. "You can tell us what, or who, it is."

Stiles tries to ignore the way his heartbeat has suddenly picked up as he rolls his eyes at Scott and grins back at him. He is also doing his very best to ignore the confused look Malia sends him, her eyes darting between him and Scott. And then when it turns to a wide-eyed, knowing look, he's definitely ignoring it. 

"It's an anchor, why are you guys making it sound like such a big deal?" Stiles says, shoving a forkful of food into his mouth to avoid saying anything else. Of course, he probably should have realised beforehand how terrible of an idea that was. 

"I know who it is," Malia says, her eyes somehow growing wider, her lips splitting into a grin. She looks at Lydia and Allison, checking to see if they had picked up on it as well, but they hadn't.

Malia rolls her eyes and jerks her head toward the two boys, Scott's hand still on Stiles' shoulder as he stares at them with a confused expression and Stiles; eyes wide as he tries to quickly swallow his food so that he can stop this conversation right now.

But it's too late. Allison and Lydia look at each other, both of them wearing the exact same expression as they turn their eyes to the boys.

"Oh," Allison says, her hair falling in front of her face once again as she nods slowly. "That... actually makes a lot of sense."

"What does?" Scott asks, finally letting his hand drop back to the table, his eyebrows furrowing. "What are you guys talking about?"

"Scott, you're Stiles' anchor," Lydia explains, her lips curving up at the corners as she glances at Stiles. "Now that I'm thinking about it, that should have been pretty obvious."

Stiles drops his head into his hands, his elbows on the table as he groans quietly. Why did he make it so obvious? Does he not have even one subtle bone in his body?

"Oh," is all Scott says, his eyes a little wide as he turns to Stiles. "Dude, you could've just said so, it's not a big deal."

Malia opens her mouth to protest, probably going to argue that, yes, it is a big deal. But she doesn't get the chance to as Lydia nudges her side underneath the table, trying to be as discreet as possible while Allison attempts to hide a smile behind her hand. 

Stiles peers up at Scott, slowly moving his hands away from his face as his eyebrows furrow. "It isn't? Because I'm pretty sure you were all wanting me to tell you who it was just a minute ago because it is a big deal. Or did I just pick that entire conversation up wrong?"

"No, you didn't, because it is a b-" Malia doesn't get to finish her sentence, Lydia's hand now covering her mouth. Scott and Stiles look at her and she gestures for them to continue with a smile.

Scott chuckles, shaking his head when Stiles rolls his eyes and sends them a sideways grin.

"Look, dude," Scott says, dragging Stiles' attention back to him. "It's seriously not a big deal. Don't worry about it, okay?"

"Yeah, of course," Stiles says, still grinning as nods slowly, his eyes drifting down to the table. He takes one look at his food, grabbing the muffin from his tray before pushing it away.

Stiles pulls his backpack onto his shoulder and swings his legs over the seat, glancing at his friends as he says, "But that's about all the awkwardness I can take for one conversation. I will see you guys... in ten minutes." He's already standing up and about to head for the door when he meets Scott's worried eyes, looking up at him with a frown on his lips. 

"I left something in Coach's class," he lies, patting Scott's shoulder and grinning down at him. "If I don't go get it now, there is a 99.999 percent chance I will never see it again." 

Scott's forehead creases, most likely trying to figure out what Stiles could have left behind considering he was with him when they went back to get their stuff. But he doesn't question it, just nods before turning back to his food.

And so Stiles goes, heading out of the cafeteria and down the hall, stopping once he reaches the top of the first set of stairs. He pushes himself up onto the railing next to the window, just wide enough that he's not worried about falling off.

It's nice here; everyone's eating their lunch or roaming about outside so there's no one to bother him. It's quiet. Which is exactly what Stiles' needs right now. Just a little time to process everything that's happening.

The full moon tomorrow, Kate possibly controlling him, Scott being his anchor, and also the pain he can feel in every part of his body. Despite Scott taking most of it earlier, it had come back. Stiles does have to admit, it's not as bad right now. But then again, maybe that's because he's trying not to feel it.

Stiles leans his head back, his eyes fluttering closed as he breathes out, focusing on keeping himself in control. After all, he was the one who helped Scott when he was bitten. It shouldn't be that much harder for Stiles to learn how to do it. If it is, well... he has Scott. And that's all the motivation he needs to get better at this, to learn to keep himself human. For Scott.

Chapter Text

The night's been pretty quiet so far. And that's surprising considering there's a full moon glowing brightly in the sky, visible from the basement of the lake house that Lydia had suggested they use. Scott had accepted gratefully and driven with Stiles up here a few hours ago, followed closely by their friends, excluding Lydia and Allison as they stayed behind to help Argent. 

Scott watches from his chair, his arms folded on the top of it as Stiles paces back and forth, the chains that are supposed to be tying him up lying on the ground next to his feet. They hadn't bothered putting them on yet; what was the point? Stiles hasn't exactly been showing any signs of turning. 

"Something's off about this," Stiles says for the third time, chewing on his fingers as he falters and turns to Scott. "Why am I not turning? I can see the moon! Shouldn't I be trying to kill everyone right now?"

Scott nods and shrugs, resting his chin on top of his arms. "I don't know, dude. Maybe we should just be thankful that nothing's happening."

"I know," Stiles says, sighing as he stares out the window. "But I just get the feeling that... I don't know, just that something's not right. Trust me, I want to be glad about this. It's just really weird."

Scott grins up at Stiles as he says, "Dude, everything about our lives is weird."

Stiles' lips tug up into a smile. "Yeah, that's true. I don't know, dude, none of this-" He gestures vaguely. "-Seems right. Something's definitely up." He begins pacing again as he rambles on, barely stopping for breath. "You don't think this is a bad sign, right? Like, me not turning means I'm... dying, or something. Or what if it's got something to do with the weird mind thing I did at the clinic? Maybe it stops me from turning? But then the whole thing yesterday doesn't make sense. Maybe it's because of Kate, she-"

"Stiles," Scott interrupts his rambling, getting up from his chair and standing in front of him. "Calm down, just... sit down, I'll order some food and... we'll wait this out. See what happens."

"Yeah, yeah." Stiles nods and lets Scott guide him to the chair. "That's a good idea."

"I know." Scott shakes his head in amusement as he grabs his phone from his pocket. He doesn't even ask Stiles what he wants as he orders food for the both of them. It's probably because he already knows his order from everywhere off by heart.

Stiles folds his arms on top of the chair, resting his head on them as he sighs. He hasn't been able to concentrate on anything else all day, too worried that something horrible was going to happen when he turns. Now he's just exhausted because of it all.

"Hey, dude, cheer up," Scott says, ruffling Stiles' hair as he leans against the wooden pillar next to him. "The food won't be long and, if you want, we can join the others up stairs once it gets here."

Stiles snorts and lifts his head, his chin on his arms as he looks at Scott. "That's possibly the last thing I want. Derek and Malia are probably driving everyone crazy even more than usual, what with them both being too alike for their own good, not to mention the full moon making them even more aggressive. I'm sure those guys are having a ton of fun."

Scott chuckles and turns his head to look out at the moon. "They're not that bad. They just..." He pauses, realising he can't think of a good way to describe Derek and Malia that comes across positive. "Yeah, they're probably driving everyone crazy. I just hope they haven't broken anything, Lydia will kill them if they have. And me. She'll kill me as well."

A few seconds pass and Stiles doesn't respond. The tiny basement is suddenly too quiet for Scott. He turns around, eyes searching in the dim light as he hears a low growl and his heartbeat picks up because he just knows what's coming next. 

"Stiles," he says quietly, taking a small step forward as he realises Stiles is no longer on the chair. He's on the ground, kneeling next to the wall with his back to Scott, the chains rattling. "Hey, talk to me, dude."

He doesn't wait for him to say anything as he joins him, crouching down and taking the chains from him. Scott doesn't want to do this; he doesn't want to chain Stiles up like he's some monster. And that doesn't change when Stiles lifts his head, glancing up at Scott with bright orange eyes that oddly resemble flames, flickering as he swallows. It's clear to Scott that Stiles is afraid as he holds out his wrists for Scott to put the chains on, nodding to let him know it's okay. 

Scott sighs, looking down at his hands as he clamps the first shackle around Stiles' wrist. It looks way too tight but Stiles doesn't complain so Scott just moves on, doing up the other one. 

Once he's made sure they're both secure, he shifts his gaze to look at Stiles, a frown on his lips as he notices the pained expression he's wearing, his eyes squeezed shut, his breathing sharp.

"Are you okay, dude?" Scott asks, moving his hand to rest on Stiles' shoulder. 

Stiles nods, leaning his head against the wall as he licks his lips. "Yeah, I'm fine, Scotty."

And Scott knows he's lying. But what is he supposed to do? The only way he can help right now is by being there for Stiles and letting him that he isn't going anywhere, which is exactly what he's doing as he pulls the chair over and sits in front of him, just listening to his heartbeat and the sound of arguing that travels down the stairs. He knew it was a bad idea to leave almost all of their friends together on a full moon, especially Derek and Malia. Stiles was right when he said they're constantly arguing and that they're too alike. Plus, Derek's still trying to teach Malia how to control herself as well, which, by the sounds of it, is going better than they were expecting.

"Scott, I think you should leave," Stiles breathes out quietly, dragging Scott from his thoughts as he turns his head to look at Stiles. 

"No," He shakes his head, his hands clasped in front of him. "I'm not going anywhere."

Stiles groans, opening his eyes and looking up at him. "Scott, you saw what happened at the clinic. We don't know how bad this can get. You need to go." The desperation is clear in his voice as he tugs on the chains. "Please, Scotty. I don't want to hurt you."

"I know you don't," Scott says. He glances down at the chains as Stiles tugs on them again, harder this time. "Which is why I think you're not going to."

A growl passes Stiles' lips as they pull back into a snarl, his teeth bared. The light above them begins buzzing, growing louder and louder before it finally explodes, swinging wildly and sending sparks everywhere. Stiles takes this as his opportunity and lunges, missing Scott as he quickly gets to his feet, stumbling backwards and knocking the chair to the side. Stiles looks at him, standing as his eyes flicker from orange to brown and he turns his back on him, pulling as hard as he can on the chains. "I want to tear you apart, I want to rip you to shreds and feel my claws in your skin. Don't you understand that? Scott, go. Because if you don't, I will get out of these and I can't stop myself from hurting you. Go!"

"No," Scott says, moving forward slowly, despite the warning growl from Stiles. "You've said worse to me before, remember? There was that one time you threatened to shoot me with a wolfsbane bullet, then bring me back just to stab me with a knife covered in mistletoe and wolfsbane, and then shove me out of a window into a bush filled with every deadly thing to werewolves because I told you I hadn't slept or eaten in three days." He shakes his head. "I'm not leaving you, Stiles, no matter what you say."

"Scott, please," Stiles begs, glancing back at him as he pulls on the chains, a crack appearing on the wooden pillar where they're attached. He tugs again and another appears, bigger this time and threatening to split the pillar. His hands curl into fists around the chains as he growls, "Go!"

"No," Scott says again. He takes another step forward, until he's right behind Stiles. "You're so afraid of hurting me because of what happened when you weren't in control. Do you remember what you told Malia? When she was turning? You told her that control is overrated."

Stiles' hands freeze, his head turning as he looks up at Scott. And Scott reaches out, praying that what he's about to do isn't going to be the worst decision he's ever made. He unlocks the shackles, letting them drop to the ground at his feet.

And then Stiles pounces, growling as they stumble backwards, claws ready to tear apart Scott's skin. And despite this, Scott reaches out, grabbing Stiles' shoulders to steady him. He looks down at Stiles' hands, held out in front of him, his nails back to normal length. When he meet's Stiles' eyes, they're the familiar brown that Scott is so used to seeing. 

He breathes out, swallowing the lump in his throat as his heart continues to pound in his chest. Stiles doesn't seem to know what to say or do. He looks up at Scott, eyes wide, lips slightly parted and hair soaked with sweat while his body seems to shake. 

And all Scott can do is wrap his arms around his best friend, one going over his shoulder and the other hooking under his arm as he pulls him to his chest, his chin resting on top of his shoulder. He feels Stiles' do the same, burying his face into his shirt as he tries to even his breathing. Scott knows he's crying but he doesn't say anything, just moves one of his hands to the back of Stiles' neck, his fingers partly in his hair as he closes his eyes.

"You're okay, Stiles," Scott says to him. "You did it. You're okay."

----------------------------

Stiles glances up at Scott for the what feels like the millionth time, still not saying anything despite the way his lips part each time, as if he wants to but he just doesn't know how. And Scott doesn't want to push him, especially not after what just happened, but he also can't bare the silence. 

Thankfully, it doesn't last much longer. 

"I'm sorry," Stiles finally says, his voice quiet and barely there. He avoids looking at Scott, his eyes focused on his hands. "About what happened... I'm sorry."

Scott's brows furrow as he looks at him, confused by the sudden apology.

"Dude, there's nothing to be sorry for," Scott says. "You didn't do anything. And even if you had," he tilts his head, trying to catch Stiles' eye. "I know it wouldn't have been your fault."

Stiles scoffs and casts his eyes to the ceiling as he leans his head back, accidentally banging it off the wall. He winces as he brings his hand up to rub it, glancing at Scott from the corner of his eye. 

"You unlocked the chains, you were trusting me. And I tried to attack you. If I had-"

"But you didn't," Scott stops him. He refuses to let Stiles feel guilty for something that didn't even happen. "Stiles, you managed to control yourself. That takes a lot of strength, especially on the first full moon." He shakes his head, his lips curving into a smile. "But you did it. And you didn't hurt me. You have nothing to be sorry for," he repeats. 

Stiles swallows, pulling his hand away from his neck and letting it fall into his lap with the other. He begins tapping on his leg without realising it and Scott instantly recognises it as one of the many things he does when he's anxious, letting him know he doesn't believe him. 

"You remember what I was like the first time I was turning?" Scott asks with a grin. "I'm pretty sure it was in the locker rooms at school. I tried to tear your head off, dude. You had to spray me with a fire extinguisher! And then on the full moon, I'm positive I almost tried to kill Allison." He shakes his head at the memories. "What I'm saying is, you did a hell of a lot better at controlling yourself than I did. You should be proud of yourself, cause I am." 

Stiles snorts and looks over at Scott, his eyes filled with amusement. "Yeah, you did try to kill me quite a few times. Well, me and Allison." He pauses, his face scrunching. "Did you ever try to go after literally anyone else? I mean, there was that time at the school when Peter was making you turn, but that doesn't really count."

Scott shakes his head. "I don't think so," he says. "I'm pretty sure it was only ever you and Allison. There might have been the odd time that I felt the urge to attack Jackson but I don't think I ever did."

"Oh, you should have," Stiles says, grinning. "It would have been awesome, especially when he was the Kanima." He whistles, making Scott chuckle. "I would have payed to see an epic fight between werewolf and kanima."

"I'm sure you would," Scott says, shaking his head in amusement. "But seriously, dude. You don't need to be sorry. I'm just glad you're okay."

Stiles sighs and nods. "Yeah, I guess you're right. It's just..." He bites his lip, pausing to think of the right words. "I was afraid I was going to hurt you. I know you would have healed but..." he trails off but Scott knows what he's thinking. 

"It's okay," Scott says, sending him a reassuring smile. "You didn't and I'm right here. I'm okay, you're okay. We're both fine. And-" Scott cuts himself off, looking over at the stairs as he picks up a scent.

Barely a few seconds later, Derek appears at the bottom of the stairs, his expression unreadable and his jaw clenched. 

"Derek?" Scott's eyebrows furrow. "What's wrong?"

"We might have problem," Derek says. His eyes dart to Stiles and Scott already knows this isn't going to be good. "It involves Kate."

Scott and Stiles' eyes both widen, turning to each other at the same time before they quickly get to their feet and follow Derek up the stairs.

---------------------------

Scott sighs as he leans against the couch, rubbing at his forehead tiredly.

"I mean, it's not that bad," Stiles says, attempting to lighten the mood. He quickly presses his lips together when almost everyone in the room sends him incredulous looks.

"Okay, what exactly happened?" Scott asks, directing it at Allison and Lydia. 

Lydia shakes her head, chewing her lower lip as she glances up at him. "I don't really know. We were just sitting there, keeping an eye on Kate when she started mumbling things in her sleep. We didn't think it was a big deal until we actually heard what she was saying." She hesitates to continue, looking at Allison as if asking for help explaining it. When she looks back up at Scott, he can see the concern in her eyes. "She was telling you to go because she didn't want to hurt you."

Scott's eyebrows raise, his working to try and make sense of this whole. But he just can't, it doesn't make sense. And then something clicks into place in his mind, his stomach dropping as he looks over at Stiles. He's wearing a similar expression, the colouring draining from his face as the realisation seems to hit him as well.

"What? What is it?" Derek asks impatiently, picking up on their confusion.

Stiles exhales, waving his hand in Scott's direction as he says, "That's exactly what I said when I was turning."

The room falls silent, none of them really knowing what this means. And then Malia asks the very obvious question that they're all thinking. 

"But how is that even possible?" She gestures to him. "It doesn't make any sense. How could Kate know what you said?"

Stiles shrugs, throwing his hands out as he shakes his head. "I don't know," he says, his voice giving away how tired he is. "What I do know is that something weird is going on and none of it really makes sense but that's just our lives now. Whatever's going on, it's got something to do with Kate and, clearly, me, which I'm not particularly happy about." He sighs, folding his arms over his chest. 

Scott jumps in, sparing Stiles from having to continue. "We can talk to Deaton tomorrow, see if he has any idea what's going on." Both Stiles and Derek scoff as they roll their eyes. Scott ignores them. "Right now, we should just... Relax. As much as we can anyway."

"I like that plan," Stiles says, falling back onto the couch behind him with a groan. "Wake me up in a year."

"Same goes for me," Lydia says, already walking off in the direction of the bedrooms, dragging Allison along behind her. She stops, turning to Scott with narrowed eyes. "There are only three of you in this room. Where's everyone else?"

Scott chuckles and gestures to the stairs with a grin. "They got tired."

Lydia huffs but smiles and continues up the stairs, Allison trailing behind her. Malia ends up joining them, leaving Scott with Stiles and Derek in the living room. 

"I'm gonna head up as well," Derek says, patting Scott's shoulder. He glances at Stiles. "You two staying down here?"

Scott nods, looking up at him as he replies, "Yeah, probably." He looks over at Stiles, eyes closed and breathing softly. "It's better if I stay with him. Plus, we kinda ordered food."

Derek smiles and shakes his head, squeezing Scott's shoulder before making his way up the stairs as well. Once he's out of sight, Stiles lifts his head and raises an eyebrow at Scott. 

"You know you don't need to stay with me, right?" He asks, his tone laced with amusement as his head flops back onto the couch. "I'm fine. You should get some sleep."

"I will," Scott says. He grins as he moves Stiles' legs so he can sit down, resulting in Stiles groaning and flinging them across his lap instead. "But I'm not tired right now. And I wasn't lying when I told Derek we ordered food, I'm not just gonna go to sleep and forget about it."

"That's a very good point," Stiles says, his hand flying into the air while the other covers his eyes.

Scott shakes his head, laughing when Stiles moves to make himself more comfortable, resulting in him nearly kicking Scott in the face.

"Fine then," Stiles says. He pushes himself up on his elbows with a grin. "I'm not tired either. So, let's... sit here and talk while we wait for the food since we have literally nothing else to do in this place."

Scott rolls his eyes but grins. They do talk, and the food shows up about twenty minutes later. While they eat, they joke, they laugh about that super funny thing that happened during lacrosse practice that one time, Scott shoves at Stiles playfully when he teases him about Kira being back. They stay up all night, just talking, even after all of the food is finished. Like they used to when everything was normal and their biggest problems were worrying about if they were going to pass next week's test or if they've practised enough to finally get put on the field for at least one lacrosse game. When everything was simple. But at least one thing remains the same - they still have each other.

Stiles ends up being the first to fall asleep at around three in the morning, legs sprawled across Scott and his head propped up on the many cushions, his mouth open as he snores quietly. Scott smiles as he grabs the blanket from the back of the couch and throws it over him, half covering himself as well. By the time he falls asleep, all thoughts of Kate and what's to come later on that day are pushed to the back of his mind, just letting himself enjoy this one night. 

Chapter Text

"Well that was pointless," Stiles complains, the animal clinic door swinging shut behind them as they head for the jeep. "And a waste of our very precious time. We have homework to catch up on and we have to train for Lacrosse before Coach decides to throw us back on the bench, and not to mention-"

"Stiles!" Scott laughs as he pulls open the passenger door. "Just relax. We'll figure this out," he says, before climbing into the jeep. 

Stiles slides in next to him, slamming the door a little too loudly. He starts up the engine and backs out on to the road, his finger tapping against the steering wheel as he drives away from the clinic. 

Scott glances at him and bites his lip, wishing there was something he could do. Deaton wasn't exactly much help, just told them that he doesn't have any idea what's going on with Stiles or what he might be. He did suggest they talk to Argent though, which isn't all that bad of an idea. 

But right now, they need to focus on school, considering they're probably going to be late now. Scott silently reminds himself to talk to Allison about all of this later, just in case she knows anything. And if not, then he'll talk to Argent. Someone has to know something. 

------------------

"Werefox," Lydia says, appearing in front of the boys. 

They look up at her, startled. They should have been able to hear her walking down the hall towards them but they had been a little too engrossed in their conversation to notice.

"A what now?" Stiles asks, raising his eyebrows. 

Lydia rolls her eyes but explains, "I am almost one hundred percent sure that what you are is a Werefox."

Stiles nods slowly but it's pretty obvious he still has no clue what she's talking about. "Okay, but what exactly is a werefox?" He asks, his hands moving around as he speaks. "Do I turn into a fox during the full moon now?"

Scott grins while Lydia stares at them both with a blank expression.

"It's pretty much the same as werewolves," she says, dropping down onto the stair below them. She rummages through her bag and pulls out a book she had borrowed from the school library. "There's actually a few different... myths or legends, I guess you could call them, about Werefoxes. This book is the only one I could find that was at least remotely helpful."

Stiles reaches out to take it, just so he could look through it, but Lydia smacks his hand away. She places her hands firmly on top of the book. "If this gets damaged in any way, we'll have nothing. And I'll have to pay for it."

"Alright, jeez," Stiles says, holding his hands up in front of him. "Can you at least tell us what it says?"

Lydia nods and opens the cover of the book, slowly flipping through the pages until she finds the one she's looking for. "Here," She taps the page, looking up at the boys. "Werefoxes are a type of shapeshifter, very similar to werewolves. Although, in some folklore and legends, Werefoxes are a type of Kitsune."

"Oh, that's just great," Stiles says, the sarcasm dripping from his words. "Because what I really wanted was to be one of them again since I had such a blast the last time."

Scott pats his shoulder. "It says in some folklore. That doesn't mean it's true. And besides," He glances down at Lydia, "Not all of them are as bad the Nogitsune, just look at Kira."

Lydia nods in agreement, a somewhat grim smile on her lips as she looks back down at the book. 

"They are known to be quite mischievous and also as tricksters but, that's kind of just your personality in general," She teases Stiles, her lips curving up when he sends her a playful glare. "There are a few similarities between werefoxes and werewolves," she continues. "They both turn during the full moon and can both control themselves as long as they find something they care about enough to want to stay in control, i.e an anchor." She glances up at the boys with a smile and Stiles knows what she's thinking.

"Alright, so, what else?" He asks, heat creeping up his neck as Lydia presses her lips together, making it clear she's not done with this conversation yet. 

Lydia rolls her eyes again but moves on, her amusement fading as she reads. "Your abilities are pretty much the same. Enhanced senses, enhanced strength, possible magic, an extremely strong connection to the alpha that turned you while you're shifting, including a possible psychic connection," she finishes, her smile once again turning grim as she swallows.

Stiles' eyes are wide, his jaw slackening as he tries to wrap his head around this new information. "Could you repeat that? Cause I'm not entirely sure I heard you right, I thought you just said that it's possible I have a psychic connection to Kate Argent. And magic is now a possibility as well?"

"Lydia, are you absolutely sure about this?" Scott asks her, leaning down a little to try and get a better look at the book.

"I'm not sure about anything anymore," she replies. She holds the book out to Scott, letting him take it to skim over the pages. "But based on everything you've told me, a Werefox is the most likely thing I could find. Nothing else fits."

Stiles rubs his hand across his eyes, breathing out slowly as he shrugs. He lets his chin rest on his hand as he says, "Yeah, okay." He turns to Scott, glancing down at the book his eyes are glued to. "If Werefoxes really are some sort of Kitsune, maybe Kira will know something? Or her mom? She seems to know a lot about this stuff."

Scott looks up at him with a smile and nods. "Yeah, we actually have Kira's dad's class next so, we can ask him. Don't worry, okay?" He moves his hand to Stiles' shoulder, squeezing lightly. "We're gonna figure this out."

--------------------------------------

"Did you know that apparently in some folklore, Werefoxes feed on human life forces?" Stiles asks, his voice overly cheery as he scrolls down the page. "Oh, and it gets better. Apparently-"

"Stiles," Scott stops him, quickly grabbing the phone from his hand, ignoring his noise of protest. "Stop, okay? Just... calm down. At least until we talk to Kira's dad - or her mom. Or even Argent. Just please try and not freak out for two seconds."

Stiles' eyebrows draw together as he turns in his seat to face Scott. "Dude, what's up with you?" He asks, leaning his elbows on Scott's desk. "And don't say nothing because something is clearly wrong."

"There's just a lot going on," Scott says, his eyes trained on the desk as he shakes his head. "Derek's been back like two days but still won't talk about where he and Isaac were or what they were doing. We have to stay focused on school while also dealing with Kate and figuring out if she's up to something and who shot her, and-"

"And now me?" Stiles asks. Scott looks up at him, silently saying that's not what he meant and Stiles nods in understanding, smiling reassuringly. "Dude, I get it. We've got a lot more to deal with than we're used to and half of it doesn't even make sense. Then again, what part of our life does?" He laughs, nudging Scott's arm and making him smile. "But we managed to deal with everything else. We can get through this, we'll be fine."

Scott meets Stiles' gaze and he can't help but smile and nod in agreement. "Yeah, you're right."

"Of course I am," Stiles smirks, taking back his phone as he leans back in his seat until it's leaning against Scott's desk. "I've been telling you this for years, yet you still never listen to me."

Scott rolls his eyes and shakes his head but he's still smiling, even when Kira's dad finally walks into the classroom with an air of tiredness surrounding him.

Both boys jump out of their seats and stand in front of his desk. He looks up at them and it must be obvious that what they want to talk about isn't homework because he sighs and rubs a hand across his eyes. 

"What's wrong?" 

"Okay, so, it might be nothing but it also might be something," Stiles says, his hands gesturing wildly like they always do when he's nervous. "Kira told you I got bitten, right?" Mr Yukimura nods with a wary glance at Scott and Stiles continues. "Well, Lydia thinks I might be a Werefox and she said that, apparently, they're sometimes known as a type of Kitsune and considering you're married to one, it seemed like a good idea to ask you about it."

"Ah," Ken nods slowly, a flicker of something unknown to Scott and Stiles in his eyes. "That was probably wise. Although, Noshiko is the one that knows more about this. However, I think I might be able to help. To a certain extent."

Scott and Stiles both breathe out in relief, glancing at each other with slight grins.  

"But would this be able to wait until after class is over?" Ken asks with raised eyebrows, his eyes drifting to the students now filing into the classroom. 

"Yeah, of course," Scott says while Stiles nods in agreement. 

Ken smiles at them gratefully and they head back to their seats. Stiles sighs and leans back in his chair once again, his head falling onto Scott's desk and he grins up at him. 

"Now we wait. That's always the fun part."

Scott rolls his eyes but he grins back, not even bothering to try and make Stiles move. 

----------------------------------

"Alright, so you said Lydia thinks you might be a Werefox?" Ken asks, pulling a book from one of the shelves. 

Stiles nods, pushing himself up onto the nearest desk, Scott standing next to him. "Yeah, any idea what that means?"

"Some," Ken admits but he seems hesitant to explain any further. He glances at them both before sighing and laying the book on the desk in front of them. "Werefoxes are indeed sometimes known as a type of Kitsune. They're sort of the trickster foxes - like a Nogitsune but, less chaotic and a lot less evil." He flips through the book, pointing to a certain page when he stops. "They're actually a lot more like werewolves than they are Kitsunes and a lot of their traits are the same."

"Just a question," Stiles cuts in, licking his lips nervously. "Werefoxes don't actually need to suck the life force out of someone, right?"

Ken laughs and shakes his head. "No, that's just an old myth. I've never met one who has to, or can for that matter, feed on a human life force."

Stiles breathes out in relief and Scott pats his arm. "That's good," he says. His eyes dart up to Ken as something crosses his mind. "Wait, you've met one?"

"Yeah, of course," he says, leaning against the desk behind him. "She was Noshiko's cousin. I think."

Stiles' mouth forms an 'o' and he nods. "So... what was she like? I mean, was she... okay?"

Ken smiles. "Kaia was wonderful. One of the sweetest people I've ever met, she was almost always smiling. And yes, she was okay. Her being a Werefox never really got in the way of her life. As I said, they share many traits with werewolves, you can hardly tell the difference."

"That's great," Scott says, grinning. "And what about the whole psychic connection thing? And the magic? Myths as well?"

Ken's smile slips, his face going blank. He seems to avoid looking directly at either of them and it's not hard to tell that isn't a good sign.

"What is it?" Stiles asks, his voice already sounding defeated.

"They are technically myths." Ken sighs, lifting his eyes. "No Werefox I've ever met has had any of those abilities, nor has any Kitsune. The legend says that it's only those who have been in contact with something truly evil." He looks at Stiles, shaking his head apologetically. "You were possessed by the Nogitsune, an evil trickster spirit. That means you'll be dealing with things that I have never seen before. I'm not even sure Noshiko has. I'm sorry, Stiles, I can't help with that."

Stiles stays silent, nodding to himself as he chews the inside of his cheek. He sends Ken a half-smile, trying to let him know it's okay.

Scott rubs Stiles' shoulder as he says, "Don't worry. We'll figure this out."

And Stiles really does appreciate Scott being here for him and trying to reassure him. But lately, he's been hearing "We'll figure this out" a lot and they're still no closer to actually figuring out what's happening to him. 

But he nods again, smiling at Scott gratefully as he hops off the desk. 

"Come on then, we should go before Lydia sends out a search party for us."

Scott chuckles and pats Stiles' shoulder. "Oh wait," his eyes widen a little as he looks back at Ken. "Does this mean that Stiles isn't a Werefox?"

Ken stands still, looking over at Stiles as he thinks it over. "What colour are your eyes?"

"They're orange," Scott replies for him. "And they kinda flicker like fire."

Ken raises a questioning eyebrow at him but just smiles and says, "I think you are a Werefox. Just a very unique one."

Stiles snorts at that, a bit of his humour returning as he says, "Yeah, unique's one word for it."

Ken shakes his head at him, smiling as Scott pushes Stiles out of the classroom while laughing. Almost as soon as they step out into the hall, their friends surround them, each of their expressions questioning and concerned as their eyes dart from Scott to Stiles.

Lydia is the first to speak, urging them to explain, "So? What did he say?"

"Well, he definitely thinks I'm a Werefox, so, you were right about that," Stiles says. His hand comes up to rub the back of his neck as he glances at Scott, meeting his eyes. 

"There's more though, isn't there?" Kira asks, her eyes wide with concern.

Scott nods. "Yeah. Turns out, what's happening to Stiles hasn't exactly a common thing. Y-"

"Basically no one has any freaking idea what's happening to me," Stiles cuts in, his voice a little harsher than he intended. He sighs and looks away, saying, "I need to go, I'll see you guys later." 

He doesn't listen to their protests as he walks away from them, not even caring about where he's going. He just needs to get away from... all of this. It's too much for him to deal with right now and maybe being alone will give him some time to wrap his head around whatever the hell is going on.

Of course, he's not even surprised when he hears footsteps following him, trying to keep a distance, as if that will make them less noticeable. What's surprising is who's following him. 

Stiles doesn't let on that he knows, letting his feet take him outside and to the farthest away bench he can find. It's only when he sits down that he turns around, facing Jackson with raised eyebrows. 

"What do you want?" Stiles asks bluntly. Not that he really cares right now. "I'm sure you didn't follow me just to insult me."

Jackson barely reacts, rolling his eyes in response, used to Stiles' snarky comments. "I came to talk to you. You seemed like you could use it."

"Since when did Jackson Whittemore have a heart?" But it doesn't have any bite to it, his voice tired as he swings his legs over the bench. He leans his chin on his hands and looks up at Jackson. "Why do you even care?"

"Because..." Jackson seems at a loss as he throws his hands out in exasperation. "Just let me be nice to you, Stilinski. It's only gonna happen this once."

Stiles scoffs but doesn't protest when Jackson sits down across from him. 

"Look, I pretty much know how you feel." He ignores Stiles' eye roll and continues, "All of this is confusing as hell, it's horrible and you're constantly worrying about what's going to happen. That you're going to hurt someone. Or in my case, someone else."

Stiles glances at him, his eyebrows furrowing but he stays silent. 

"I get that your situation is a lot different from mine. But at the same time, it's pretty similar. Yeah, I wasn't exactly turning into a... whatever the hell you are." Stiles can't help but smile a little at that, huffing out a laugh. "But I do know what it's like to feel like you're the outsider, like you're different from all of them."

"Yeah, but you asked Derek to bite you," Stiles points out. "I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't want to have a goddamn psychic connection to Kate Argent, the woman who murdered Derek's family and tried to kill pretty much all of us. I didn't want to be able to do things with my mind and I certainly didn't want to try and attack my best friends. I didn't want to be... this."

He swallows as he breathes out, only just realising his voice had been rising the more he talked. He didn't mean to just snap at Jackson like that. 

"That does sound like it sucks," Jackson agrees and Stiles, for some reason unknown to both of them, grins. "Seriously, you do not have much luck. Like, at all," he laughs, and he knows it's okay because Stiles laughs with him. "But I'm sure Scott and Lydia and Allison and all of your friends will find a way to sort whatever's going on with you. You guys always seem to find a solution, no matter what."

"Yeah," Stiles swallows and tilts his head. "I'm not so sure there is a way to fix this."

Jackson gives a half-shrug. "Maybe not. But that doesn't mean they'll stop trying. Just... Don't be an idiot and push them away. That's not going to help anyone. If I had just accepted yours and McCall's help when I was turning, maybe things would have been a lot easier for me. Who knows. But you still have the chance. Let your friends help."

Stiles can't help but gape at Jackson and, if it were possible, he's sure his jaw would be on the floor because since when was Jackson Whittemore actually giving him good advice? 

"Yeah, that was about as awkward as I was expecting," Jackson says, more to himself as he looks away.

Stiles blinks before finally speaking up, "Uh, thank you. Like, really. I was not expecting that one bit, especially from you." Jackson rolls his eyes but the corners of his mouth tug upwards. "So, uh, thanks. And I will. But, you do know that you're one of us, right?" 

Jackson's eyes snap up to him, his forehead creased. "What are you talking about?" He asks with an incredulous grin that seems strange and forced.

Now it's Stiles' turn to roll his eyes. "Wow, you really are a dumbass." He ignores Jackson's offended noise of protest. "You're one of us. And I don't just mean because you're a were-something." Jackson raises his eyebrows and Stiles waves a hand at him. "I saw you that night. When you guys found me? I know you were there, even though you hate me with every fibre of your being, you still went with them to find me. You didn't have to do that, but you did."

Jackson avoids looking at him and Stiles grins when he sees a blush slowly creeping up his neck. 

"I don't hate you," Jackson mutters. Before Stiles can react he quickly presses on, "And I was forced to come along, Derek gave me that stare. It was a little intimidating."

Stiles nods, grinning as he clasps his hands together in front of him. "Is that so? Why were you even with them at that point if you didn't care?"

Jackson opens his mouth to retort, only to realise he doesn't have a good excuse. "Alright, fine. I care a little bit. But only because you were stupid enough to get yourself kidnapped, I mean, how did you even manage that?"

"I'll have you know that it was not my fault," Stiles defends. "I was visiting my dad at work, walked outside, and bam. Someone grabbed me, I kicked them very hard and then they flung me against a wall. Which is really not a nice feeling by the way. After that, I woke up in the place you guys found me. Got tortured a bit... a lot. Pretty sure I blacked out quite a few times."

During his rambling, Stiles fails to notice the way Jackson's looking at him, horrified at what he's hearing. It isn't until he realises he hasn't been interrupted once that he looks up at Jackson. His eyes narrow as he swallows.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

Jackson stays silent, his brows drawn together. He shakes his head and asks, "How the hell did you survive all of that? Most people can't even handle a light beating without having some sort mental scarring afterwards, never mind full-blown torture for two full weeks."

"I..." Stiles' shoulders slump. "I don't know. I guess I just kept telling myself that I needed to get back to my dad. And Scott." 

"Yeah, but-" Jackson's eyes narrow. "Hold on. You were being tortured, and you only cared about making sure your dad and McCall were okay?"

Stiles shrugs. "Yeah. My dad's suffered enough. Losing me? It would destroy him. And Scott... Well, he's my best friend. And Kate was after him, that's why she took me. For all I knew, she could've already found him."

Jackson scoffs but it isn't exactly harsh or rude or anything like that, it's more like he's in disbelief. "Wow, you really have low self-esteem. Seriously, man. How did Scott react when you told him that? I bet he was pissed that you didn't care more about yourself."

Stiles looks down at the table, staying quiet as he fiddles with his hands. 

Jackson's eyes widen and he looks even more exasperated if that's even possible. "You haven't told him, have you? Oh my god, Stiles," he groans and rubs a hand across his forehead. "Talk to him, okay? Trust me, you'll thank me later."

Stiles glances up at him, seeing the stern expression on his face and he nods. "Yeah, I'll talk to him."

"You better," Jackson warns him, swinging his legs over the bench and getting to his feet. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I promised Danny I wouldn't leave him alone until he admits he still likes Ethan. This was his ten minutes of peace, now I must return to annoying the hell out of him."

Stiles snorts and stands up as well, pulling his bag onto his shoulder. "I'm sure he loves you for that."

Jackson smirks and agrees before moving to leave.

"Hey, Jackson," Stiles calls to him. Jackson stops, turning around with a raised eyebrow. "Thanks. Again."

Jackson nods and sends him a genuine smile before continuing in the direction of the lacrosse field, where Danny is most likely practising and enjoying his Jackson-free peace and quiet.

Stiles sighs. That was definitely not a conversation he was expecting to have, but he'll admit, it was definitely one he needed. And so Stiles heads back into the school and goes to his next class, knowing Scott'll be there. He'll tell him everything after school, when it's just the two of them and it's easier. For now, he'll make up some lame excuse that all of his friends will see through and just get through the rest of his classes, pretending he can't see the worried glances they keep sending him.

Chapter Text

Scott watches Stiles pace back and forth, wringing his hands as he mutters to himself. He isn't entirely sure what's happening right now. One minute they were sitting on Scott's bed, playing some Lego Superhero game that Stiles insisted on, and the next, Stiles was rambling on about how needs to tell Scott about what happened the night he was bitten but it isn't anything to worry about, he just really needs to tell Scott because it's slowly eating away at him the longer he keeps it to himself.

Not wanting to pressure him, Scott had stayed silent and waited patiently for him to find the right words. But Stiles was beginning to look more and more freaked out at just the thought of telling Scott, and there's only so long he can watch and do nothing. 

He reaches out, his hand circling around Stiles' wrist as he tugs gently. Almost straight away, Stiles freezes, his pacing coming to a halt and his quiet mumbling of nonsense cutting off abruptly. He swallows and looks at Scott, his face pale. 

"Stiles, whatever it is, I'm here, okay?" Scott gently pulls him to the bed, getting him to sit down as he turns to face him. "You can tell me whatever it is."

Stiles nods, his eyes darting down to his hands as Scott lets go of his wrist. Scott can feel his stomach turning, worry and guilt rising in him because he has a feeling he already knows what Stiles needs to tell him but he doesn't want to just assume and then turn out to be wrong. But if it is what he thinks it is, Scott knows how painful and hard this must be for Stiles and that's why he doesn't want to push him. 

It takes a few more seconds of silence before Stiles breathes out slowly and nods to himself, as if building himself up to speak. And when he does, his voice shakes a bit and he needs to stop to try and calm himself down again. Scott hates the smell of anxiety and rising panic that's surrounding his best friend, and he's ready to comfort him in any way he can if things get really bad. But for right now, he continues to wait patiently, knowing that Stiles just needs him to be here and to listen.

When Stiles finally manages to work himself up to talk again, the words pour out, rushed and a bit jumbled and it's like he can't stop them. Scott still understands everything he says perfectly though. And he really wishes he couldn't. He sits there, next to Stiles and listens to him explain what happened that night, from how he was grabbed while walking out of the Sheriff's station to waking up screaming in that place because they had started torturing him while he was unconscious and it was only when they dug their claws into his neck that he woke up. He goes on to explain the different ways Kate and the other wolf tortured him. They beat him, cut him, burned him, injected him with a hallucinogenic to make him think he was hurting his dad, Scott, all of his friends. They tortured him in pretty much every way imaginable. 

By the end, Stiles is shaking and tears are rolling down his face and he does everything he can to not look at Scott because he doesn't want to see that look in his eyes. And Scott doesn't know what to say, but that's probably for the best because he's not sure he could speak even if he knew what to say, the lump in his throat making it hard to swallow and his vision blurry.

Instead of trying to think of something, Scott just wraps his arms around Stiles and hugs him a little too tightly. But Stiles doesn't complain as he collapses into Scott's arms, knowing that he's there, that it's alright for him to finally stop pretending he's okay because Scott knows now, he knows how broken Stiles really is. 

The room is filled with the sound of quiet sobbing and hushed, soothing whispers and Scott just holds Stiles as he clings to him like a lifeline - like an anchor. He rocks him slowly, his hand running up and down his arm comfortingly as Stiles' tears soak his chest. Scott knows he's crying as well; he can feel the tears rolling down his face as he inhales sharply, his chest burning as he tries not to break down then and there. Stiles needs him to be the strong one. But his best friend is shaking in his arms after reliving one of the darkest parts of his life and Scott's chest is tight and his stomach is twisting because seeing Stiles like this is worse than any pain he's ever experienced. 

Scott's so distracted by trying to comfort Stiles that he doesn't hear his mom calling out to them as the front door shuts behind her, doesn't notice the stairs creak a little as she steps on them and makes her way towards his bedroom. It isn't until Melissa is standing in the doorway, still in her uniform and her hand covering her mouth as she takes in the sight of the two boys, that Scott realises she's home. 

He shifts his head, looking up at her with tears still in his eyes as his arms tighten around Stiles and suddenly he feels like a little kid, just wanting his mom to tell him that Stiles is going to be okay, that everything is going to be alright. But she doesn't. Instead, she looks at him, silently asking him if it's alright and as soon as he nods Melissa moves forward. Her arms wrap around them, letting them both just break down because neither of them has to be strong right now.

She presses her lips to Scott's hair and then Stiles', feeling her own eyes burn as she listens to the muffled noises of pain and distress that escape Stiles' throat, sounding like they're clawing their way out. 

They stay like this as the seconds tick by, Scott and Stiles' eyes both red and sore from the tears, and Stiles' throat is dry and scratchy from the feeling of wanting to scream but holding it back. His body's still shaking but it's not as bad as before and when he breaths in, there's a tightness in his chest but it's more or less back to normal. 

He slowly lifts his head, avoiding looking at both Scott and Melissa as he rubs at his eyes with his sleeve. Scott lets one arm fall into his lap but the other stays wrapped tightly around Stiles, not wanting to let go until he's okay. Melissa, however, unwraps both her arms, taking a small step back as she looks at Scott. 

He just nods in response to her silent question and she sends him an understanding smile before walking out of the room, leaving the two boys alone as she closes the door behind her. 

At the sound of the door clicking shut, Stiles looks up, barely meeting Scott's gaze. He tries to force a grin and it's so obvious that even the smallest amount of effort is too much for him to handle right now, but he still tries, huffing out a broken sound that's probably supposed to be a laugh. 

"That, uh..." Stiles moves his head, his lips trembling and he has to bite down on them, forcing down the lump in his throat as he swallows. He lets his eyes close as another tear slips down his cheek, squeezing his hands together tightly. He tries to speak, tries to find the right words to lighten the situation like he usually does. But he just can't do it this time.

And Scott knows that, which is why he doesn't try to push him, doesn't try to make him say anything. He just pulls him back to his chest and holds him because he knows Stiles just needs him to be here for him, to comfort him. 

Stiles breathes out and leans into his touch, relaxing a little as he moves his forehead to rest on Scott's shoulder. They're both exhausted, from trying to figure out everything that's been going on and dealing with all of the stress, and that conversation took a lot out of them, leaving them both emotionally drained.

Which is why Scott isn't surprised when Stiles quietly tells him he's tired and all he wants to do is go to sleep. And so Scott offers to let him sleep in his bed, to save him from having to go through to the guest room and Stiles doesn't even have enough energy to argue, just nodding as Scott moves up the bed, gently guiding him along with him.

It barely takes a minute for Stiles to get under the covers, his eyes drifting closed almost as soon as his head hits the pillows. Scott smiles tiredly and runs his hand his fingers through Stiles' hair as he leans his head back against the wall.

Stiles' lips quirk up at the corners as he leans into the touch once more and his hand moves as if reaching out for something. Scott takes hold of it gently with his free hand as he looks down at Stiles fondly, watching as he curls his fingers around Scott's and pulls his hand closer.

They stay that way for a little while and Scott nearly drifts off to sleep, listening to Stiles' heartbeat and the quiet noises he makes. But he doesn't get the chance to as Melissa carefully opens the door, trying not to disrupt them. Her eyes immediately land on Stiles, sound asleep with a peaceful smile, before drifting to Scott. 

She doesn't say anything, glancing at something just out of Scott's eye line and he gets the message. He carefully, and as gently as possible, pulls away from Stiles, nearly being tugged back as Stiles rolls over, still holding his hand. Scott manages to once again pull away, fully this time as he gets off the bed, following his mom out of the bedroom and down the stairs.

It's only when he reaches the bottom that he picks up on another scent and his eyebrows furrow. Isaac smiles sheepishly at him and the confusion is probably clear on Scott's face. 

"Hey, Scott," Isaac says, keeping his voice quiet as he glances at the stairs. "So, uh, I'm back."

Scott can only nod, unsure of what to say to the beta. He looks at his mom and she just smiles and pats his shoulder, saying they should talk before walking into the living room and giving the two boys space. Scott's eyes drift back to Isaac as he continues to stay silent.

Isaac swallows and nods. "Yeah, we should talk."

------------------------------------------------------

Scott tilts his head, his eyebrows furrowing as he processes everything Isaac just told him. "So, the reason you and Derek disappeared-"

"-Was because we were trying to figure out what was going on with him," Isaac finishes for him. "Turns out, the git was just 'evolving.' And yes, by 'evolving' I mean, he can now turn into an actual wolf."

"Wow," Is all Scott says. He doesn't know what else he can say. And thankfully, he doesn't have to try and think of anything as his mom appears in front of them, pulling on her jacket.

She looks over at the boys, her eyes darting between them. "Everything okay?" They both nod and she smiles. "Great. So, Isaac, will you be staying with us again?"

Scott's eyes widen as he turns to Isaac. He had completely forgotten that Isaac has nowhere else to stay, unless Derek's had a change of heart and decided to take him back in, which is doubtful. But it's not like they really have room, not with Stiles being here. 

Isaac seems to be thinking the same thing as he shakes his head and says, "I don't think so. You guys don't have the room and I-"

"Nonsense," Melissa interrupts him, turning her eyes to Scott. "I'm sure we have room."

Scott wants to protest and say, no, they don't have the room, simply because it's the truth. But his mom is looking at him, silently urging him to agree and he has absolutely no idea why but he smiles and nods. 

"Yeah, I'm sure we can work something out."

Isaac is just as surprised as Scott is, his eyes wide as he looks at him. He knows that they don't have the room either but it's not like he wants to argue with Melissa. And so he forces a grin and says, "That's great. Thanks."

"What's great? And- Isaac?" Stiles' voice drags their attention to him, standing just a few stairs above them as he stares at Isaac with narrowed eyes. "When did you get back?"

"Uh, an hour ago, I guess," Isaac replies. 

Scott can feel the awkwardness surrounding them and he really wants to know what his mom is thinking, putting Stiles and Isaac in a house together. That can only end in disaster. For everyone. 

Fortunately, nothing bad can happen quite yet, as Isaac stands and points to the door. "I should go. Derek, he, uh, he needs to... talk to me."

They all know it's a lie but no one's going to stop him from leaving this situation. And so, he waves goodbye and heads out, Melissa doing the same as she leaves for work.

And that just leaves Scott and Stiles, lingering in the hall. Scott gets up, walking back up the stairs and Stiles follows him. 

Once they're back in the bedroom, the door closed behind them, Stiles lets himself fall back onto the bed, his face landing on the pillows. Scott shakes his head, amused as he sits on the edge, going back to his previous position before his mom had come in. 

And then something crosses his mind. He looks down at Stiles, his face half-buried in Scott's pillows and most of him underneath the duvet. He opens one eye, meeting Scott's curious gaze and sighs. 

"What is it?" He mumbles into the pillow. 

Scott thinks for a second before saying, "I thought you were asleep, while I was downstairs. How come you woke up? I mean, you looked pretty exhausted to me. I wasn't expecting you to wake up for another few hours at least."

"Guess I just wasn't that tired," he replies with a shrug. 

But he answered far too quickly and Scott can see right through his lie, hearing the slight jump in his heartbeat. And it seems like Stiles knows Scott heard it because he closes his eyes and swallows, looking as if he's preparing himself to come up with some other excuse. 

But he doesn't need to. Scott has a feeling he already knows why Stiles is still awake, and even if he's wrong, it doesn't matter right now. He shifts around a little to make himself more comfortable before turning his eyes back on Stiles, one arm under the pillows and his eyes shut as he breathes quietly.

Scott does the same, letting his eyelids close as a wave of exhaustion washes over him. Before he can fully fall asleep though, he feels something nudge his hand. He looks down at Stiles, his hand now laying next to his own on the bed. Stiles' thumb seems to twitch slightly as it brushes against Scott's hand and Scott can't help but smile at Stiles' attempt to be subtle. He gently slips his hand into Stiles', their fingers lacing together as they both drift off to sleep.

-----------------------------------

Scott really regrets not speaking up when his mom offered to let Isaac continue staying with them. He should have tried harder to get her to see that they do not have the room. And that's not even the main problem. The problem is having Stiles and Isaac under the same roof. They're constantly getting on each other's nerves and that's when they're at school or at Derek's loft, never mind when they're staying in the same house. 

And if his mom thinks that Stiles and Isaac are going to be willing to share a room, Scott is gonna need to point out how severely mistaken she is. Or maybe he should just get them to do it, they seem pretty up for arguing against even being near each other. 

"You're insufferable, you know that?" Stiles says, his arms folded across his chest as he looks at Isaac. 

Isaac rolls his eyes and scoffs. "Like you're any better. You're the most annoying person in the entire universe."

Scott drops his head onto his arms and groans. They've only been arguing for five minutes but it feels like an eternity to him. All he wants is for them to at least pretend to get along, or else the next couple of weeks are going to be hell or all of them. 

"- Yeah, well, at least I'm not constantly irritating Scott," Isaac snaps.

Scott's head snaps up, his eyes darting between them. He had tuned out of the argument for five seconds, mainly because he doesn't want dragged into it. But here they are, and Scott just knows this isn't going to go down well.

"Please, do explain how you would know if I'm irritating Scott." Stiles tilts his head back against the wall behind him, raising his eyebrows as he waits for Isaac to answer. "You haven't even been here for a week." 

"Oh wow, I was away for a week helping Derek, I can't believe I was so selfish." Sarcasm is practically dripping from Isaac's voice and he rolls his eyes as they glint gold. He doesn't notice the way Stiles flinches, or that the light above them has started flickering, swaying back and forth a little. "And it's so obvious that you annoy the hell out of Scott. You're always following him around, you never shut up, you even use being kidnapped and bitten as an excuse just to be around him and get his sympathy. It's pathetic, even for you." He steps closer to Stiles without realising, cornering him against the wall, his eyes bright gold and Scott rises a little from his seat on the arm of the couch, not liking where this is going. There's a spark from the light and it goes out but Isaac continues as if nothing happened. "I'm actually surprised that no one's tried to claw your throat out just to get you to shut up, that's how irritating-"

"Isaac, stop it," Scott finally snaps, his tone harsher than he had intended but he doesn't really care because Isaac just crossed a line into very dangerous territory. 

And Isaac does stop. He even looks like he regrets what he said, his eyes fading back to blue as he looks at Stiles and takes a step back, only just realising how close he had gotten. But it's too late for him to take back what he said and they all know it. 

Stiles stays silent, just looking back at Isaac with bright orange eyes that glow in the now dimly lit room and he presses his lips together, his face slightly pale. And Scott's little confused because right now Stiles doesn't smell like anger or annoyance or any kind of emotion he had been expecting. He smells like fear - like he's terrified.

And Scott can feel his heart pounding against his ribs, guilt and anger twisting his stomach because he knows he should have spoken up sooner, stopped them from getting to this point.

He can't help but notice the flicker of pain that crosses Stiles' face. Not like Isaac hurt his feelings, more like he's in actual physical pain. And Isaac seems to notice as well, glancing at Scott in alarm, his eyes wide and questioning. But Scott's just as clueless as he is. 

Stiles still doesn't say anything, blinking a few times as he looks down, as if trying to change his eyes back, but it doesn't work and they continue to glow. His eyes squeeze shut for a split second and he flinches. And now Scott's really beginning to worry because what is happening to him right now to make him like this?

"I, uh... I need to go, my dad called earlier and he wants to talk to me," Stiles quickly mumbles, already heading out of the living room as he speaks. "He probably wants me to come home, so, uh... I guess that makes things less complicated." 

Scott's heart sinks and he quickly gets to his feet, chasing after Stiles. By the time he reaches him, he's already out the front door and halfway down the path. Scott quickly catches his wrist, not wanting to risk Stiles freaking out and just taking off.

He doesn't wait for him to turn around, just stops and stands still. Stiles goes to continue walking but is forced to stop, feeling Scott's grip on his wrist. He sighs but still doesn't turn around.

 "Stiles, you don't need to go," Scott says. "Isaac didn't mean what he said, he was just-"

"Trying to get on my nerves?" Stiles doesn't bother trying to walk away again and instead faces him, knowing it won't do any good to keep his back to him. His eyes are back to normal as he manages to pull his arm out of Scott's grip and he rubs it slightly, more of a reflex than because it actually hurt. Scott looks at him, his head tilting to the side and Stiles just shrugs, his eyes narrowing as he gestures vaguely to the door. "Is that really what you believe? Because it sounded to me like Isaac was pretty accurate. And you didn't exactly disagree with him. Not that I expected you to, he's right."

Scott shakes his head, looking directly at Stiles as he says, "No, Stiles, you're wrong. And so was Isaac. I'm sorry I didn't say something sooner, I should have. But none of what Isaac said is true." Stiles rolls his eyes and scoffs quietly and Scott really just wants him to understand. "I know you don't use what happened to get sympathy. You wouldn't even talk about it for weeks, never mind try to make any of us feel guilty because of it. You only just told me." He tries to catch Stiles' eye as he presses on, determined to make him see the truth. "Stiles, I don't care what Isaac said, he was way out of line. He never should have said those things."

Stiles sighs and rubs at his temples with his thumb and forefinger, his left hand gesturing at nothing in particular as he says, "I don't know, Scott, maybe it's for the best if I go home." But it doesn't sound like he means it and Scott knows that there's a part of him that wants to stay. "My dad's been worried about me and I know he has work and everything but it's fine." He drops his hand back to his side and shrugs, looking away from Scott. "I'm fine, I should just g-"

"All I'm asking is that you stay tonight," Scott cuts in, hoping that he can convince him. "Just one night. And if you still want to leave in the morning, then I won't stop you. Okay?"

Stiles doesn't say anything, thinking it over. And then his lips tug up at the corners a little and he nods. "Fine. But do I have to share a room with Isaac? Because I can't promise I won't smother him in his sleep."

Scott suppresses a grin and tries to think of another way this could possibly work. He doesn't want to make either of them sleep on the couch but he also doesn't want to wake up in the morning to find out they've killed each other during the night. "You can sleep in my room?" He offers, it being the only thing he can come up with.

"Sure," Stiles nods, a smile on his lips but there's something off about it and Scott just can't figure out what it is. "At least I know you're not gonna claw my eyes out while I'm asleep."

For some reason, Scott feels his stomach turn at those words and it's only just hitting him. The reason why Stiles flinched during the argument, why he smelt like fear when he saw Isaac's eyes, the light flickering and going out. He was afraid of Isaac. But that can't be right, Stiles has to know that Isaac would never hurt him. Sure, they get on each other's nerves a lot, but after everything that Isaac went through, Scott doubts he could ever hurt someone accidentally, never mind intentionally. 

But there was something about the way Stiles was watching Isaac's every move during their argument, the way he seemed to try and cower away when Isaac had him against the wall. As if he was convinced Isaac was going to hurt him. 

And honestly, Scott's never felt more like a horrible friend than he does right now because of course Stiles was afraid. He was cornered by a werewolf with glowing eyes, pretty much completely vulnerable while Isaac taunted him. After everything Stiles told him just a few hours ago, Scott should have realised that Stiles was freaking out because he's been in that situation before. Only it was Kate who was in front of him last time, not Isaac. That's why Stiles was so convinced Isaac was going to hurt him. Because Kate did.

"Scott? Scotty?" Stiles' voice breaks through his thoughts, a hand on his shoulder while concerned eyes stare at him. "You okay, dude? You zoned out on me."

Scott blinks, and then shakes his head, plastering on a grin as he nods and meets Stiles' gaze. "Yeah, sorry. We should... We should head back inside, don't want to freeze to death out here."

Stiles sends him a strange look but he agrees all the same, his hand not leaving Scott's shoulder as he kind of pushes him back into the house, following behind him. Scott shuts the front door before heading into the living room and he stops at the doorway, leaning against the wall. His eyes drift over to Isaac, sitting on the couch and looking a little nervous as their eyes meet. Scott nods and he seems to relax, his shoulders slumping as he leans back and Scott knows he feels bad about what he said to Stiles.

And it doesn't look like Stiles is holding it against him. There's quite a bit of distance between the two of them but Scott can't really blame Stiles for that, not now that he knows why Stiles was so afraid. Their eyes meet and Stiles sends Scott a half-smile before his eyes dart to the stairs, and Scott already knows what he's thinking.

"Go on up, I know you're still tired," Scott says, motioning his head in the direction of the stairs with a smile. 

Stiles does, patting Scott's shoulder as he walks by, his hand lingering for a second as he smiles back once again. And then he's up the stairs and it's just Scott and Isaac left in the living room. 

"So, uh... I can just sleep on the couch, if it's still okay for me to stay," Isaac says, looking uncertain.

Scott raises an eyebrow at him, momentarily forgetting that he hadn't told Isaac about the sleeping arrangements. Once he does remembers he shakes his head, waving his suggestion away.

"No, it's fine. You sleep in the guest room." Isaac's brows furrow in confusion and Scott explains, "Stiles is sleeping in my room, just so you two don't kill each other."

Isaac flashes him a grin as he rolls his eyes but Scott can tell he's grateful that he's even still allowed to stay after what just happened. His eyes dart around the room as they both fall silent. 

"If it's okay with you, I'm just gonna head up now," Isaac says, pressing his lips together as he nods slightly. 

"Yeah, of course," Scott says, once again gesturing in the direction of the stairs. "I was just about to as well, anyway." 

And so they both head up the stairs, Isaac waving a little as he goes into the guest bedroom and closes the door behind him. 

Scott does the same and enters his own bedroom. His eyes land on Stiles, who's watching him with a grin, his chin resting on his hand, his elbows propping him up. Scott can't help but grin back, shaking his head as he pushes the door closed and walks to the bed. He nudges Stiles over a little, his grin widening when he pretends to roll dramatically and ends up falling off the bed and landing on the floor with a thud and a quiet, "Ow."

"You okay, dude?" Scott asks, peering over the side of the bed. He has to bite down on his lips to suppress a laugh when he sees Stiles, sprawled out on the floor and not even bothering to try and get up. "Do you need a hand?"

"No, I'm good down here," he says, voice slightly muffled by the floor. He turns his head and looks up at Scott. "It's actually pretty comfy."

"Get up here," Scott laughs as he reaches out a hand and pulls Stiles back onto the bed.

He doesn't say anything when Stiles decides to sprawl across the bed instead, his head in Scott's lap as he closes his eyes and smiles. Scott simply smiles as well and shifts his legs to get more comfortable before switching on the TV and leaning back, relaxing as Stiles falls asleep once again. 

--------------------------------------

Kate drags her claws across the concrete ground, mainly to irritate the two girls who are meant to be keeping an eye on her but are instead chatting away to each other, their voices low. Not that it really makes a difference, she does have heightened hearing after all. 

It seems to have the effect she wants as Lydia lifts her head and glares at her. Allison only glances in her direction before bringing Lydia's attention back to her, nudging her hand with a smile as she goes on about the assignment that's due in one of their classes, her cheeks dimpling as she laughs when Lydia complains. 

Kate groans and hits her head on the wall behind her. She hates being locked up in this stupid basement. It doesn't make any sense, the full moon's already passed, they have nothing to worry about now. So why the hell won't they just let her out of here already? 

She's pulled from her thoughts as a dull throb starts in the base of her skull. She doesn't really pay much attention to it, pain being something she's gotten used to since she was shot. It's strange, she should have healed without any problems but for some reason, she's still weak. Kate has no idea what those hunters hit her with but it definitely wasn't just wolfsbane, or else she wouldn't even have been as injured as she was when she showed up here. 

A white-hot pain shoots through her head and she flinches, grinding her teeth together as she squeezes her eyes shut. That, however, isn't something she's used to. And neither is the tingling sensation that's coursing through her, or the thoughts racing through her mind, or even the things she's feeling. They aren't... hers. Which, doesn't even make sense.

"And it's so obvious that you annoy the hell out of Scott."

There's a stabbing pain in Kate's chest as she feels her stomach twist at those words. Why? What the hell just happened? She looks around the dimly-lit basement but the voice didn't belong to either of the girls. 

"Isaac, stop it."

Now, that voice she recognises. And suddenly her mind's working to connect the pieces, to figure out what this is and why she just heard Scott McCall's voice. In her head. And after a few seconds, it all just seems to click into place.

Kate smirks as she tests out her theory, unsure of how she'll even know if it works. But she goes for it anyway, closing her eyes and concentrating, thinking the same words over and over again. Hurt him. 

At first, she thinks she was wrong, that it isn't working. But then she feels something shift inside her mind, as if pushing against her, blocking her out and whispering to her desperately. No.

And she laughs as she pushes back, clawing at the invisible wall inside her mind. She doesn't even care that Allison and Lydia are staring at her like she's gone mad, both suspicious. Because she was right. She doesn't know how, but for some reason, she has some sort of connection to the one and only Stiles Stilinski. And she continues to laugh because this has to be the best and most amazing thing that's happened to her in weeks. There's going to be some complications, sure. But that doesn't matter because she can finally start doing what she really came here for. She can finally figure out how she's going to break Scott McCall.

Chapter Text

Darkness. That's all Stiles can see. Slowly, his eyes begin to adjust and make out faint shapes. It takes him a little longer than it probably should have to remember that he's a Werefox, and all he has to do is glow his eyes. But when he tries, nothing happens. Everything's still a little blurry and too dark to fully make out.

And that's when he begins to think that this isn't real, that he's asleep. The eye thing was definitely the first clue, but the second is that the room he's in is the Argent's basement and he's almost one hundred percent sure that the last thing he remembers is falling asleep in Scott's room. 

Stiles shifts the slightest bit, tilting his head to look around, wondering if this is another one of those super creepy and ominous dreams. Although, if it is, he really has to wonder why the hell it's in the Argent's basement when every other one has been in... well, nothing, really. It's always just this endless nothingness, so, this? It doesn't make much sense. And why does it feel so real? 

There's a quiet noise from the corner of the room and Stiles freezes, his eyes darting over in that direction. He knows that there's no reason for him to be cautious or worried about anything because this is definitely a dream. But still, he has this strange feeling in the pit of his stomach and there's a pounding in the back of his skull that's putting him on edge. Everything about this seems off and, dreaming or not, he isn't planning on taking any risks that might result in his death. 

As carefully and quietly as possible, Stiles pushes himself off of the floor, getting to his feet as he glances around the room. He still can't make much of it out but he's been in this basement enough times with the others to know where almost everything is, including the locations of every single dangerous and life-threatening trap that Stiles most certainly wants to avoid. 

Which is why he's caught off guard when he realises that he can't move. His eyes shift down to his feet and he has to bite down on the inside of his cheek to stop himself from making a noise as he reminds himself this is just a dream. But the sight of the bear trap clenched around his right foot, covered in blood and the metal spikes going straight through his ankle, it's too familiar. And the worst part is the smell, his senses kicking back in and the stench of blood being so overwhelming that he begins to feel light-headed and his vision seems to blur slightly. He's been through this before, with the after-effects of the Nemeton. But that doesn't make any sense-

And that's when he finally hears it, that same little voice that was whispering to him during his argument with Isaac, the one that told him to hurt Scott or Isaac. He wasn't sure at the time who it was talking about. But it grows clearer in his mind as he focuses on it, his curiosity winning out over his fear. And the clearer it gets, the more familiar the voice is. And suddenly Stiles feels sick to his stomach because once again he finds himself thinking that he knows that voice, he knows that laugh.

"That's right, Stiles," Kate practically purrs, her voice soft, as if trying to soothe him. "Much quicker now, aren't you? Then again, you haven't lost as much blood this time. But I can fix that if you'd like."

Stiles squeezes his eyes shut, willing himself to wake up because, after all, this is just a dream. More like a nightmare but still. He can wake himself up. 

Kate laughs and it rings in Stiles' ears, forcing him to cover them as he winces. Her voice seems to echo in his head as she says, "You really think you can just tell yourself to wake up and that's it? I'm gonna be gone? No, no, Stiles. That isn't how this works, I'm afraid. Because, you see, you're not the one in control of this. I am. And I'm only just getting started." She laughs again and Stiles really wishes he could just rip out her throat, anything that'll shut her up. "You don't seem to be grasping the situation very well, so let me help you understand it a bit better."

There's a brief moment of silence before Stiles hears the quiet sound of feet on concrete, slowly making their way toward him. He can't help but try and move back when Kate finally comes into view, her skin pale and sickly and he wonders just how badly those wolfsbane bullets affected her. Allison and Lydia had told them that she doesn't appear to be healing too well but still, this is pretty far from what he was expecting.

"I know, I'm not looking so good," Kate sighs, a little over-dramatically in Stiles' opinion, and holds out her hand in front of her, inspecting it as her nails grow into claws. "That's what happens when you're locked away in a basement. But still, I don't need to look good for this."

Stiles narrows his eyes at her. "For what? How am I..." He stops, shaking his head as he looks at Kate. "You're not even real. None of this is real, I'm dreaming." He tries to block out her laughter as he squeezes his eyes shut, once again willing himself to wake up, more desperate this time.

"Oh my god, what is it with you people?" Kate asks in exasperation, slowly moving closer to him. "Do you need me to spell it out for you? I. Am. In. Control. Not you. I'm in your mind, Stiles. And you can't push me out." 

He doesn't know why but he opens his eyes, looking directly at her as her lips curve into a smirk, now barely a few inches away from him. He tries to look away, tries to move his head, then his hands, even his fingers. But he can't. He really isn't in control. 

She leans forward a little and Stiles desperately wants to move away, because she is way too close for comfort. She rolls her eyes and takes a step back, her smirk still in place. "You don't need to be scared of me, Stiles. You're technically my beta. I'm not gonna hurt you."

Stiles' chest tightens because finally, someone might have just confirmed his fear. Kate is his Alpha. But that doesn't mean she can control him, after all, Scott managed to fight back against Peter and-

"Oh please," Kate scoffs, rolling her eyes again. "You're gonna use those two as an example? Look at them. Just because Scott decided he wasn't going to join Peter's little pack-" she spits the word, her face scrunching with disgust, "- doesn't mean that changed anything. If Derek hadn't killed Peter, he would have found a way to turn Scott against all of you."

Stiles licks his lip, eyes darting away from Kate as his mind works to figure a way out of this. It then slowly dawns on him. "So, what you're saying is, all I need to do is kill you?"

Kate smirks again, her arms folding across her chest as she stands up a little straighter. "Sure, Stiles," she says, her voice teasing. "All you have to do is kill me. But since you and your friends completely failed at that the last time you had the chance, how about we stick to discussing what you're gonna do for me."

Stiles can't help but roll his eyes, finding her words and her confidence ridiculous. Like he would ever actually help her do anything, especially when it most likely involves hurting his friends. Being locked up in this basement must really be getting to her. 

"Look, I get it," Kate says to him with a sympathetic look that is so obviously fake. "I tortured you a little-" Stiles scoffs, "-I tried to kill your friends. But I'm the only one who can help you, Stiles. Those powers you have? Being able to do things with your mind? I can do it too. And I know how to control it now. Let me help you before you hurt one of your friends. Before you hurt that sweet little red-head - what was her name? Lydia? Or what about Scott-"

Stiles growls without realising, trying to move forward but the trap keeps him held in place. Kate glances down and chuckles, the sound harsh to Stiles' ears. She doesn't seem all that bothered by his foot being stuck in a trap. Then again, why would she be? If what she's saying is true, she's the one controlling what's happening in this dream. 

He groans in frustration, attempting to yank his foot free, not caring about the pain. This is just a dream, the pain he feels here isn't real. But when he tries to pull it out, the spikes seem to go deeper, tightening around his ankle. He forces himself not to scream as he watches them rip through his leg until he has to stop because the pain is just too unbearable. 

Sweat forming on his face, he looks up at Kate, his breathing unsteady as he clenches his jaw. "I'm not going to help you. Whether this is a dream or some weird connection thing, it doesn't matter. This won't change my mind." 

Kate stares at him, her eyes turning a bright green as she asks, "You sure about that?"

Stiles doesn't think he's ever been surer of anything in his life. "Yes," he spits out through clenched teeth. 

Kate sighs as if disappointed and suddenly there's a white-hot pain shooting through every inch of him. Black spots dance in front of his eyes and he has to grind his teeth together to once again stop himself from making a noise but it doesn't seem to work and it just becomes too much. And then he's screaming as the pain continues to pulse through him, taking over all of his senses as he leans against the wall behind him. He ends up on the floor, his foot still stuck as he gasps for breath, his chest burning and his heart pounding. His vision clouds as tears build up in his eyes and he just can't bring himself to care that Kate is just watching him, smirking as he tries not to writhe in pain. 

And then Stiles hears something - a voice. Someone begging him to wake up, telling him that it's just a nightmare and he needs to wake up. Stiles shifts his eyes to look up at Kate, now scowling as she seems to blur. She opens her mouth as if to speak but no words come out, and then she's gone. 

The pain slowly eases a little and Stiles breathes out, his eyes closing as he lets the relief overtake him. When he opens his eyes again, he's no longer in the Argent's basement. Instead, he's sitting up in a bed, Scott in front of him and watching him with worry in his eyes, hands on his shoulders.

Stiles doesn't know how to explain what the hell just happened to Scott, doesn't even try. He just lets his head fall back against the wall, his body slumping with the relief of being anywhere that isn't with Kate. Even though it was just a dream - a very, very bad one - Stiles can't help but worry. Because what if Kate was right? What if his powers or whatever the hell you wanna call them, turn him against his friends? What if he accidentally hurts one of them because he can't control himself? 

"Stiles, talk to me," Scott pleads and Stiles only just realises he zoned out. "Are you okay?" 

"I'm fine, Scotty," Stiles says in what he hopes is a convincing tone. "Just a nightmare." His eyes drift over to the clock on the table next to him, reading 4:16 am and his eyes widen slightly as he looks back at Scott. "Did I wake you up? Oh god, I did, didn't I?" He covers his face with his hands, groaning into them. 

Nightmares are bad enough as it is, but Stiles always ends up feeling ten times worse when he wakes up and realises that his screaming woke Scott up as well. Because of Stiles, Scott probably doesn't get much sleep at all. 

"It's okay, dude," Scott hurries to reassure him, hands still on his shoulder as he squeezes gently. "I don't mind. I couldn't really sleep anyway." He waves away Stiles' questioning look as he continues, "But are you okay? That nightmare seemed worse than usual..."

Stiles brushes off his comment. He knows Scott's trying to help, let him know that he can talk to him about this stuff, but he just can't. He can't tell Scott what he dreamed about, it's just too much. 

And Scott seems to understand this without Stiles even having to say a word, knowing him well enough by now to tell when he doesn't want to talk about something. Stiles is grateful when Scott smiles at him, his hands falling from his shoulders as he tells him he'll be back in a minute, he just needs to go see his mom before she leaves for work. 

Stiles sits there in silence, on Scott's bed, waiting for him to come back. He shifts the slightest bit, aiming to move his legs into a more comfortable position as they start to get sore only to hiss when a sharp pain shoots through his ankle. His right ankle. 

The blanket is pushed away within seconds, Stiles' eyes scanning over his legs, his heart racing. It skips a beat. The blood drains from his face as he stares at the marks covering his ankle, in the exact spot where the trap's spikes had pierced him in his dream. He wants to tell himself that isn't possible, that he's still tired and just seeing things. 

But when he blinks to clear to clear his vision, they're still there; bright white against his skin and jagged, showing just how deep the spikes really went. Even if this is real, they shouldn't look like this; like scars. He shouldn't even be able to have scars. 

Stiles swallows and without thinking, gingerly trails his fingers along them, clenching his jaw at the sting this causes. This just proves one thing: Kate was telling the truth, at least about her controlling the dream and being in his mind. But does the mean she was also telling the truth about their connection, and her being able to help him? He knows what she's like, she'll say anything to get what she wants... but what if she was telling the truth about this?

He quickly covers his legs back up, pulling the blanket over himself once more as he hears Scott coming back up the stairs. At least that's one more upside to being bitten; it's easier to keep secrets from his friends. 

When Scott walks back into the room, he seems to pause for a second, sensing that something's not quite right. But when he looks at Stiles, who just flashes him a forced grin, he smiles back and continues to the bed, telling him about how Derek called last night after Stiles fell asleep and he wants to talk to them all at the loft later today. 

Stiles tries not to panic. It's hard enough to lie to Scott and get away with it, but everyone else? They're gonna know something's wrong straight away.

  ------------------------------------

Stiles hasn't been paying one bit of attention the entire time they've been at the loft and everyone knows it. He even knows they know it. But nobody mentions it, either because they don't really care enough to ask or because they don't want Stiles to do that thing where he gets all defensive and completely denies it. 

It's not like they really need him to be listening anyway, they're only discussing what they're meant to do about their Kate situation and debating whether or not it's best to just keep an eye on her or send her to Eichen before she can do any more harm. Nothing too important. 

So, he lets his mind wander. He shouldn't, he knows he shouldn't, but he can't help it. He replays the parts of the dream he can remember in his head, which is nearly all of it thanks to Kate. It's her words that he keeps lingering on though. I'm the only one who can help you, Stiles. Those powers you have? Being able to do things with your mind? I can do it too. And I know how to control it now. Let me help you before you hurt one of your friends.

He's been trying to push it away, telling himself that she was lying, but if she is, what's her goal here? To get Stiles to help her kill everyone he cares about? That's never gonna happen. Connection or not, he's never going to do anything that could hurt his friends, not after what happened with the Nogitsune. He will never make them go through that again.

Sure, Stiles. All you have to do is kill me. Now that, he's a lot more okay with, and he actually finds it pretty appropriate considering the discussion going on in front of him. 

But Stiles knows he can't just suggest killing her, even though almost everyone seems to expect him to do exactly that. Hell, he's surprised he hasn't already. When they first met Derek? Stiles kept telling Scott they should just kill him. And when they were dealing with Jackson as the Kanima, his suggestion was: Kill him. Although, in his head, he knows he was never really serious about that. Just like how he knows he can't tell them to kill Kate because they will, and he doesn't want them to.

When Stiles first realised this, he panicked, because why doesn't he want Kate dead? Why doesn't he want her to suffer for everything she's done? He should, he knows he should. And he doesn't want to believe that there's a possibility that there's even a tiny part of him - the part that has a connection to Kate, his Alpha - that wants her to be okay. That just isn't something he can deal with, and he doesn't know how his friends would react to it. 

But he knows that there's also a part of him that does want her dead, simply because it seems to be the only way to break his connection with her and he wants that more than anything right now. All day he's had to pretend he's okay, pretend his ankle doesn't hurt every time he even moves. And not to mention the splitting headache that's been pounding away at his skull, making him think he can hear Kate's voice, whispering to him, laughing. It's irritating, and just to make it worse, Scott and, by the looks of it, every other person in the room keeps throwing glances at him, not even trying to be subtle. It's just too much.

The sound of raised voices and arguing cuts through his thoughts, and it's only when he finally zones back into reality that he realises the somewhat okay discussion his friends were having has now escalated into a full-blown argument. 

Stiles' eyes dart over to Scott, watching him struggle to keep himself calm while talking to Malia, who is definitely doing the exact opposite. He isn't quite sure what to do and, thankfully, he doesn't need to think of something as Lydia appears in front of him, her lip set in a thin line.

"Stiles, can I talk to you for a second?" She asks, not even waiting for an answer as she heads toward the window.

He glances at their friends once more before hurrying after her, raising his eyebrows when he reaches her.

"What's up?" He asks. He feels himself wringing his hands and he quickly forces himself to stop, knowing it's an obvious giveaway that he's anxious. Although, judging from the way Lydia's looking at him, she already knows that. 

"Something's wrong," she says, getting straight to the point. She folds her arms over her chest as she continues, "You've been distracted the entire time you've been here, it's obvious." She gestures in the general direction of their friends.

Stiles glances over at them, noticing the way Scott and Derek both quickly look away, pretending they hadn't heard a thing. When he turns back to Lydia, it's her turn to raise her eyebrows, her lips pursed.

"I'm fine," Stiles says, forcing a grin. "Just... didn't get much sleep. I'm just tired." 

Lydia's eyes dart away to her left for a second and Stiles rolls his eyes, knowing she's looking over at Scott. He turns to him as well, catching Scott's eye and sending him a pointed look. He quickly turns away and Stiles sighs, rubbing his forehead. 

"Stiles, you're-"

"I said I'm fine, okay?" He snaps, his voice louder and harsher than he meant for it to be. He immediately feels bad and looks at Lydia but she doesn't seem hurt, just worried about him. Somehow that makes him feel worse. 

He can sense the many pairs of eyes on the two of them and he can practically taste the concern lingering in the air and he would be lying if he said it wasn't just a little bit annoying. He understands that they're worried but he's fine. Why can't they just accept that? Maybe because you're lying?

Stiles rubs his forehead again as he turns his back on Lydia. His headache's only getting worse the longer this goes on and his ankle feels like it's on fire, a burning pain shooting through it. He has to resist the urge to move it, knowing that if he does that, the pain will only get worse and it'll be a lot harder to lie to his friends about it.

He feels a comforting hand on his shoulder, pulling him from his thoughts, but he doesn't turn back around. Stiles knows that he let himself go too far, he lost control. Not just because of the way he snapped at Lydia, but because he can feel his nails - claws - digging into his palm. And if he looks up, everyone else will know too, because there's no way his eyes aren't bright orange. 

"I'm sorry," he says without turning to face Lydia. "I didn't mean to-"

"I get it," Lydia says, and her voice is understanding. "I pushed you. But Stiles-" she pauses and he gets the feeling she's looking over at the others again. "You've been acting really strange and you're just not yourself. Please, just talk to me." 

Stiles wants to. He really wants to talk to someone about this dream, about Kate getting into his mind and torturing him all over again. But he also doesn't want to put that kind of burden on his friends. After what Scott said about everything they're dealing with, Stiles doesn't want to add to their growing list of problems. 

Besides, he can handle this alone. He doesn't need to bother his friends with this. He'll find a way to shut Kate out, it can't be that hard. 

"I'm fine," Stiles repeats and he can feel his friends' disappointment, mixed with a little exasperation and, honestly, at this point he doesn't blame them. He would feel the exact same way if the situation was reversed. "Just tired." 

And he leaves it at that, finally opening his eyes and blinking a few times before turning to face the others, forcing a grin. He rubs his hands together, striding over to join his friends, ignoring the looks they send him.

"So, what are we doing? Sending the psycho Alpha jaguar to Eichen?" He throws his hands out when a few of them raise their eyebrows. "What? I was half-listening," he says defensively. But it's after he says it that he realises that might not have been what they were questioning. "And that description was very accurate. Kate is one hundred percent a psychotic Alpha were-jaguar." 

He doesn't tell them how he knows for sure that Kate is an alpha, just moves on like it's no big deal. And most of them play along. But Lydia isn't dropping it, not that easily. 

--------------------------------

Stiles was ready to leave. Just get out of the loft and go see his dad, get away from everything. But before he even got the chance to try, Lydia stopped him. He knew exactly what she wanted to talk about and a part of him wanted to just leave anyway, tell her he's sorry but he really has to go. But when he looked at her and the only thing he could see was how worried she was, he couldn't do that to her. 

And so that's why he's now sitting in Scott's kitchen - Stiles had told her that if she insisted they need to talk, he would rather do it somewhere there isn't a bunch of werewolves listening in. At least at Scott's house, the only ones around are... Well, Scott, but he's currently stressing over homework. And Isaac but he's currently up in the guest room on the phone to Erica, so, he's not exactly eavesdropping on them. 

Stiles hops up onto the kitchen table, something he's been doing a lot recently whenever he enters the room, and faces Lydia. She's wearing an unreadable expression but Stiles can still tell what she's thinking, and he knows what's coming. 

"I'm worried about you," she says. Her arms are folded across her chest and she's standing right in front of him, a determined look in her eyes. "You've been distracted all day and you've been really quiet, which definitely isn't right, normally you can't shut up. You didn't even look at Peter when he insulted you." 

"Peter insulted me?" Stiles asks, eyebrows drawing together. 

Lydia huffs and stares at him incredulously and he can see her point. 

"Lydia, I'm fine, I've just-"

"If you say you're just tired or that nothing's wrong one more time-" Lydia moves a little closer, pointing a finger at him threateningly, "-I'll have to tell everyone I got another Banshee prediction because I killed you."

Stiles raises his eyebrows at her, half-impressed and half-afraid. "Wow. You just got ten times more terrifying, something I didn't think possible." He swallows and a small grin appears on his face as Lydia's hand drops to her side, her eyes narrowing at him. 

"I just don't get why you can't talk to me, or Scott, or literally anyone else who cares so much about you."

She briefly casts her eyes to the ceiling before letting her head hang, her shoulders slumping as her strawberry-blonde hair falls in front of her face. Seeing her like this - worried, defeated - finally makes him begin to realise just how much he's hurting his friends by lying to them. 

Stiles places his hands on Lydia's arms, pulling her a little closer as he smiles up at her. When she lifts her eyes to meet his they're shining and a tear slips from the corner. He didn't realise how badly this was affecting her, he just thought she was worried, like everyone else. But it's obvious it's something more.

She tries to look away but when he moves his hand up to her cheek, wiping away the tear, she breathes out a soft laugh.

"I'm sorry," Stiles says to her, and he genuinely means it. "I'm an idiot, I know." He grins, his thumb caressing her cheek. She looks up at him and his grin slips a little as he swallows and drops his hand back to her arm. "It's Kate. She's why I've been so distracted." 

Lydia's brows furrow as her tilts to the side a little. "What do you mean?" 

"She..." Stiles looks down, avoiding Lydia's eyes as his stomach twists with anxiety. "She got into my head. I had a nightmare last night and, I don't know how, but she was controlling it. She just kept talking about how she can help me and how..." His eyes dart up to meet Lydia's. "She says I'm gonna end up hurting all of you unless I let her help me." 

Lydia's quiet, her mouth twisting into a frown, a line appearing between her eyebrows as she just looks at him. And then, "Stiles, she's lying." She shakes her head, her hair moving with her as she presses on, "If she really was in your head - and I believe you when you say she was - then of course she said that. Stiles, she's playing on your worst fears. She's manipulating you, forcing you to think that she's the only one who can help you." She holds his stare, something unknown to Stiles flickering within her eyes - it looks like understanding. "Stiles, I know you still blame yourself for what happened with the Nogitsune but... you're not going to hurt anyone."

Stiles just sits there, staring back at Lydia and he realises she's right. It's so obvious that that's what Kate is doing. But that doesn't change the fact that she still has a connection to him, one she's still trying to use right at this moment if the pain shooting through his skull is anything to go by. It doesn't change that she's able to torture him all over again while he's asleep and there's nothing he seems to be able to do about it. 

"What is it?" Lydia asks, the worry in her tone clear. "There's something else, I can tell. What is it, Stiles?" 

He glances up at her, thinking it over before making a decision. "In my nightmare, Kate made sure I couldn't fight back. There was a trap - like, an animal trap. And I got my foot stuck in it." 

Lydia's brows furrow once more but she doesn't say anything, moving her head slightly to silently convey her confusion. 

Stiles sighs and drops his hands from Lydia's arms, reaching down and showing her the scars on his ankle. He's not surprised by her reaction, watching her eyes widen before darting to his face. Her hand twitches, as if she had been moving to touch the scars but thought better of it. He's glad she didn't because right now they're still stinging like they're on fire. 

"That shouldn't be possible," Lydia says, shaking her head as her eyes flick up to meet his. "Stiles, how...?"

"I don't know," he replies. "When I woke up they were just... there. It was Kate, it had to be. I don't know how she did it but there's no other explanation. She's using the connection to... to torture me all over again." 

Lydia nods slightly before saying, "Then we'll find a way to break it. There has to be a way - there always is." 

Stiles is grateful for Lydia's - obviously forced - optimism and hope. But Kate already told him the only way to break it is to kill her, and that's not something they can do. They can't break their code just because of this. Because of Stiles. 

"I appreciate that, Lydia, I do," Stiles says, and she looks at him like she's daring him to continue, to argue. "But what if there isn't a way? Not a good way at least. What if..." He licks his lips, trying to force himself to just get it out there, see her reaction. "What if the only way to break the connection is by killing Kate?" 

Lydia immediately shakes her head and Stiles feels his stomach turn. "No, there's another way." Stiles nods and Lydia presses on, "Stiles, there is another way. I didn't have to kill Peter to break my connection to him. We don't have to kill Kate, there'll be some other way." 

Stiles freezes for a second. He had completely forgotten about Peter controlling Lydia, taking over her mind, making her see things that weren't there... Making her betray her friends. 

"Lydia, I'm sorry, I didn't even think-" He doesn't get the chance to finish as Lydia waves it off. 

"Don't apologise. You didn't do anything wrong." She sends him a small smile. "It's pretty easy for people to forget what Peter's done, now that he's actually trying to help." Her eyes darken for a second and it's so fast that Stiles isn't sure if he imagined it. "But I can't, I just... I can't."

The kitchen is quiet, Lydia's words hanging in the air. Stiles wants to say something but he doesn't know what he could possibly say to make her feel any better right now. 

She clears her throat, swiping at her eyes with her sleeve as she looks away from him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to-" 

"Hey, hey, it's fine," Stiles quickly cuts in, pulling Lydia down into a hug. His left hand moves to the back of her head, the right resting on her back. "I'm sorry, I never should have brought this up." 

Lydia shakes her head, pulling back a little to look at Stiles with watery eyes. He reaches up to move a strand of hair out of her face and she lets out a sound resembling a quiet laugh, before looking into his eyes. "We're going to fix this, Stiles. We'll find a way, we always do." 

Stiles can't help but smile at her and her words, reminded of what Jackson said just yesterday. He nods and says, "Yeah, I'm sure we will."

But he knows deep inside him that isn't true. There's nothing they can do, not this time. Kate's too strong, too determined to win. They can't beat her and they can't break this connection. He just has to hope that she really was lying about him hurting his friends.

After a few more seconds pass, Lydia fully pulls away but Stiles' hands remain on her waist. She grins at him and it's a little lopsided and not quite as bright as it usually is but it still makes him smile back at her. 

"Guess that's just one more thing to add to the list of things we have in common," she jokes nervously. 

Stiles snorts and nods. "Yeah, because being controlled by psychos is really something to bond over." 

They look at each other and both burst out laughing. The situation isn't the best, but Stiles is just glad to have friends who care so much about him and are willing to help him through this. He even lets a tiny part of himself believe that maybe they can figure this out, and just maybe, things will be okay. 

Chapter Text

Stiles doesn't like this idea. In fact, he hates it. It's terrible and can only end in disaster. But after an hour of Lydia begging him to just give it a chance, he gave in. Although, that was mostly because she was threatening to get the others involved as well if he didn't.

He hasn't given up though; he's been complaining the entire time they've been driving, his excuses becoming more and more ridiculous the closer they get to the loft. When he glances over at Lydia, checking to see if there's any sign that she's changing her mind, it's clear that his complaining is having no effect on her. 

Before he knows it, they reach the loft and make their way up the stairs. It's only when they're standing outside the sliding door that Stiles' anxiety fully kicks in. Being a supernatural creature - especially a Werefox - has its perks, Stiles is just bitter that getting rid of his anxiety wasn't one of them. 

Lydia slides the door open and Stiles' eyes immediately land on Peter, leaning against the table at the far end of the room with his arms folded across his chest and a smirk dancing on his lips. Stiles really hates this idea now, mainly because of the look Peter's sending him. 

"My, this is a surprise," he says to them, his head tilting to the side. "What can I do for you kids?" 

Stiles can't help but roll his eyes, not bothering to protest when Lydia steps forward and mirrors Peter. She clenches her jaw, obviously not wanting to admit what they came here for and Stiles hopes that maybe now they can just leave and pretend this never happened. 

"We need your help, okay?" 

Stiles internally groans and curses Lydia Martin's stubbornness. 

Peter raises an eyebrow at them, his eyes narrowing. "You need-" He pushes himself away from the table, "-my help?" He pauses, looking at the two of them. And then he scoffs and rolls his eyes, his amusement turning to disbelief. "And why on earth would I help you, hmm? What do I get from this?"

"You are absolutely right," Stiles quickly jumps in, taking this as an opportunity to get the hell out of here. He catches Lydia's arm and begins walking backward as he says, "You would gain nothing from this and are therefore unwilling to help us. Oh well, such a shame, guess we'll just have to-" 

 "Stiles." Lydia doesn't bother to pull her arm but she plants her feet firmly on the ground, refusing to move as she scowls at him. Her frustration is clear and Stiles really doesn't blame her, but if the situation were reversed, he knows she would be doing the exact same as he is right now. She takes a second before turning back to Peter.

"We can help you. I know you want to be closer to Malia - well, I can talk to her. And so can Stiles. She trusts us, if we ask her to give you a chance, she might listen." Lydia's lips curve into a smirk as she finishes, so sure that was enough to convince Peter. 

But Stiles isn't so sure. Yeah, Peter obviously wants a better relationship with Malia, anyone can see that, but what reason does he have to trust Lydia and Stiles to actually talk to her? For all he knows, they'll just use him for his help and then never tell Malia about this. And who says Malia even wants to talk to him? She only found out about Peter being her dad a few weeks ago, roughly a few days before Stiles was taken. She could still be angry for all they know.

Peter hums in thought, casting his eyes to the ceiling. And then he looks back down at them with narrowed eyes and says, "No thanks. I think I'll pass." 

Lydia rolls her eyes but doesn't give up, as much as Stiles really wishes she would. "Come on, Peter. We both know that this is what you want more than pretty much anything. I swear we will talk to her. We just need you to help us." 

"What makes you think he even knows how to help?" Stiles asks, the thought only just crossing his mind as he turns to Lydia, still holding onto her arm. "He might not have any idea how to help me, and then we came here for nothing. Did you ever think about that?"

Lydia goes to respond but is quickly stopped by Peter as he holds up a hand and leans forward a little. 

"What exactly am I supposed to be helping with here?" He finally asks. 

Stiles meets Lydia's stern stare and sighs. "My connection to Kate," he explains, still reluctant but knowing it won't do him any good to lie or stall any longer. "It's gotten stronger, she's... in my head - in my dreams. I don't know how or why but she's using it to... well, not exactly talk to me but you get the idea."

"Wait a second," Peter holds up a hand, his eyes narrowing, "What connection? What the hell are you on about?"

It's only then that Stiles and Lydia both realise that Peter has no idea what's going on. Nobody told him about anything that's happened in the past week or two. He doesn't know what happened the night of the full moon or about Stiles' connection. Yesterday, when he joined the pack meeting, they were already in the middle of arguing so he didn't hear what they had been discussing just minutes before. He doesn't know anything about it and now everyone's going to kill them for being the ones to tell him. They had a reason for not telling him - they didn't know what exactly was going on with the connection in the first place and they didn't want Peter trying to use it to his advantage. It seems both Stiles and Lydia had forgotten about this, Stiles too busy trying to convince her it was a terrible idea and Lydia too busy ignoring him.

Stiles looks at Lydia, meeting her eyes and seeing the same panic he knows is all over his face. When they turn back to Peter, he's staring at them, waiting for one of them to answer. A few seconds pass, Peter folds his arms, standing up straighter and now leaning a little intimidatingly over the two of them as they try to figure out how to fix this. 

When Stiles was trying to come up with excuses to not go through with this, Peter not knowing about any of it should definitely have been one of them. It clearly would have worked and made Lydia change her mind, or at least prepare for this situation. 

"Uh, okay, I think we should leave now," Stiles says to Lydia, turning to her. "Y'know, important things to do, death to avoid, you get the idea." He begins pulling her away once more and this time she doesn't protest, moving with him.

They barely get a few steps toward the door before a noise makes them freeze. Peter looks at his hand, holding it up and twisting it around a little as he casually inspects his claws. His eyes flicker blue for just a second as he meets Stiles' exasperated stare. 

"Come on, seriously?" He gestures at Peter with an air of annoyance, pretending he didn't flinch just a little at the glowing eyes looking back at him. "Why'd you always have to go straight to torture? Why can't you ever just talk like a normal person?" 

Peter shrugs. "Because I'm a creature o-" 

"A creature of habit, yeah, yeah," Stiles waves him off, not letting him finish and receiving a huff in response. "We get it." He looks over at Lydia, silently asking her what she thinks they should do. Her response is a slight shrug, her eyebrows raising a little as if to say it's too late to go back now. 

So, they reluctantly explain the situation to Peter, hoping that he'll actually be willing to help if he even can and that they didn't just mess up and possibly make the worst decision ever. For a second, they both worry that they have messed up, that Peter isn't going to help them. Then he sighs and leans back against the table behind him, his shoulders slumping a little as he rubs his forehead, claws turning back to nails.

"You kids really do know how to make a mess of things, don't you?" He obviously doesn't expect an answer as he moves on, his hand falling to wrap around himself along with the other. "Right then. We should probably get started if you don't want your friends to find out about this, which, I'm assuming you don't considering you two came to me. Alone."

Stiles is a little taken-aback - he hadn't expected Peter to agree at all, never mind so willingly. And he had definitely been expecting a much more... angry reaction to finding out they've all been lying to him for weeks.

"Hold on," Stiles' eyes narrow at Peter for not the first time today. "Why are you so..." He motions in Peter's general direction, "not you. Why would you actually want to help me?"

Lydia hits his arm, her eyes wide as she sends him a pointed look, most likely telling him to shut the hell up and just go with it. But Stiles doesn't like how easy this seems - there's always a catch with Peter.

"Is it really so hard for you people to believe that I actually want to help?" Peter asks, a hint of annoyance in his voice. He looks from Stiles to Lydia, seeing the questioning looks on their faces and he huffs again. "Alright, fine. Maybe I would like the chance to have an actual relationship with my daughter instead of her hating me for even breathing. Is that so bad?"

Stiles stares at him, wondering if Peter's telling the truth, if he really does just want to be closer to Malia. He's not exactly known for caring about family all that much or even wanting to associate himself with any of them. But Stiles has to admit, ever since Malia came into the picture, Peter has... calmed down, to say the least. He's not going out of his way to maim or kill anyone so, that's progress.

"What's your definition of help?" Stiles asks warily. 

Peter's lips twitch at the corners and Stiles knows he's going to regret this - not that he didn't already. "Well, you need to tell me exactly what you feel when Kate uses the connection. I need to know if it's something I can actually fix or..." 

He trails off but Stiles gets the general idea. Stiles sighs but explains it to him; the headaches, the burning sensation, the little voice in the back of his head that stabs at his skull every time it whispers to him. He tries not to leave anything out, just in case every little detail is important. 

When he's done, Peter nods slightly, humming thoughtfully. "Interesting. Alright, here's what I'm gonna do." He moves forward, stopping when he's standing just in front of Stiles. He flicks his claws out on his left hand, holding it up a little. 

Stiles' eyes widen and dart over to Lydia, who is staring at Peter like he's gone mad. He can't help but agree with her. 

"Woah, alright, no," Stiles shakes his head rapidly, taking a step back, hands in front of him, "no chance." When Peter just raises an eyebrow at him Stiles scoffs. "There is absolutely no way I am letting you stick your claws in my neck. You'll kill me."

Peter rolls his eyes. "Would you relax? I'm not going to kill you." He lowers his hand slightly, showing Stiles he doesn't intend to hurt him. "Look, if you want any chance of breaking the connection you have with Kate, you have got to start trusting me. I'm not the bad guy here." 

"Then tell us what you're going to do," Lydia jumps in, eyeing Peter's claws warily. "You can't just shove those into his neck. You only do that when you're trying to see the person's memories, don't you? How is that going to help?" 

Peter's quiet for a moment. "Seems like someone's been paying attention in Werewolf class. But that's not entirely true. You don't just see the memories." He presses on, explaining further. "By doing this, I'll have a better idea of what exactly Kate is trying to gain from this. I'll be able to figure out how she's making the connection stronger, and most of all, it'll help me figure out how to break it. If that is still what you want, of course?" He asks, turning his eyes back to Stiles. 

Stiles barely hesitates before giving a slight nod, chewing the inside of his cheek. He definitely still wants to break the connection. But at the same time, he doesn't really like the thought of being completely vulnerable while Peter's digging through his mind.

His eyes meet Lydia's and it's obvious that she's waiting for him to say something, give some sort of confirmation that he is absolutely sure about this. He isn't, but he still lifts his head and sends her a reassuring smile before facing Peter. 

"Okay then," he licks his lips, his anxiety already twisting his stomach and making him jittery, "let's get this over with." 

Peter only waits a few more seconds, checking to make sure Stiles isn't going to change his mind. When it's clear that he isn't going to, Peter quickly brings his hand back up to Stiles' neck and pierces his skin with his claws. He carefully pushes them deeper, knowing that if he moves them even an inch the wrong way, he could seriously hurt Stiles - and not just physically. 

As soon as Peter's claws enter Stiles' neck there's a sharp pain in his head and everything becomes blurry. There's a flash of colour; bright and blinding and changing so fast that Stiles can't keep up. He can hear voices but their words are rushed and jumbled together and none of it makes sense. And then he blacks out. 

--------------------------

Stiles isn't even surprised that the first thing he hears when he's finally conscious again is Lydia and Peter arguing. He lets them continue for a few more minutes, not just because he's kind of enjoying it but also because his head is pounding and he just can't find the energy to speak. 

"If he doesn't wake up, I'm calling Scott." Lydia's voice is threatening but Stiles can hear the panic seeping into it. 

Stiles can just sense that Peter rolls his eyes before saying, "Will you relax? He's still alive. You and I would both know if he wasn't. Besides, he's conscious now, so there's no need to call his boyfriend."

Stiles groans and wants to roll his eyes but chooses to open them instead. It takes a few seconds before his vision clears and he finally speaks up. "First of all-" he looks at Peter, "-I hate you. Secondly, definitely don't call Scott. And lastly, what the hell just happened and why did I pass out?"

Peter's lips quirk upwards into a smirk as he glances over at Lydia, who goes from relieved to glaring at Peter within seconds. "See? He's fine."

"I wasn't going to just take your word for it." Lydia shifts her attention to Stiles, her eyes turning soft and concerned as she asks, "Do you remember what happened?"

"Yeah, uh..." Stiles has to think for a second. "He did the whole claws in my neck thing, which absolutely sucked, by the way." He shoots a glare at Peter, who responds with a slight shrug, looking unbothered. "Then... I don't know, there was like flashing lights and voices. That's all I remember before I passed out." 

The room goes quiet as Stiles and Lydia both look at Peter. It takes him a second to notice, but when he does, his eyes widen in exasperation. "Why do you people always assume it's my fault?" He holds up a hand before they can say anything. "Don't answer that, I know that it usually is my fault. But surprisingly, this time it's not." 

Stiles glances at Lydia, meeting her equally disbelieving gaze and they both turn back to Peter, eyebrows raised. 

He sighs and rolls his eyes. "I'm telling the truth. What happened... wasn't supposed to happen. You weren't meant to pass out." 

"Then why did I?" Stiles shoots back. 

"Because of Kate." Peter spits her name out like just saying it burns his tongue. "She's weak, but she's making your connection to her stronger, focusing all of her energy and power on making it as difficult as possible for you to push her out. I couldn't get past whatever barrier she's put up, she's blocking me out. Making sure no one can figure out what she's planning..."  He trails off and his eyes widen. 

He doesn't say anything, doesn't fill them in on whatever realisation he just came to. Instead, he gets to his feet and moves across the room, beginning to pace back and forth with a frown as he glares at nothing.

Stiles and Lydia once again exchange glances, both becoming increasingly uneasy by Peter and his silence. After all, Peter loves the sound of his own voice, so when he's quiet, there's more than likely always a problem. They give him a few more seconds, the air filling with the silence and tension that's practically radiating off of Peter. And then Stiles can't take it anymore, because he needs to know what's going on and Peter's freaking him out just a little.

"Could you stop for like, one second? Please?" Stiles asks as he finally pushes himself to his feet. Peter does stop, turning around so fast that Stiles has to take a small step back. "Alright, thank you. Now would you maybe be able to tell us what the hell's going on and why you're acting..." He has to pause, trying to pick the right words as he gestures to Peter's tense shoulders, arms folded over his chest and jaw set. "Like you're freaking out? I seriously don't think I've ever seen you like this, and that's honestly a little terrifying. So just... tell us what it is." 

Peter glances at Lydia, now standing beside Stiles with a curious look in her eyes but almost mirroring Peter with her arms folded and her lips set in a thin line. He sighs and rolls his eyes, sounding and looking slightly exasperated that neither of them have figured it out on their own.

"Kate is obviously planning something, and it's more than likely going to involve maiming or killing. Including your precious little friends." He looks away for a second, something clearly bothering him and Stiles can guess what it might be. He clears his throat and shifts his gaze back to them. "It would seem that she's going to try and use your connection to achieve her little murder plan. Obviously, we can't let that happen." 

Stiles rolls his eyes, licking his lips as he shakes his head. "You're just the bearer of goods news, aren't you?" He asks, the sarcasm in his voice making Peter scoff. 

"You asked for the truth. Well, there is it." He pretends to look smug, a slight smirk on his lips but Stiles and Lydia can both tell it's forced. "Now, do you want my help or not?" 

Stiles isn't the only one who's taken aback, turning his head to look at Lydia and catch her eye. She appears to be just as confused and suspicious as he is, and so he doesn't say anything when she jumps in, questioning Peter before he can. 

"You... You still want to help?" She asks, her eyebrows furrowed. "Why?"

Peter's usual unreadable expression slips and for just a second, they can see a flicker of something else. "Just because all of you seem to enjoy making me the villain, doesn't mean I have to act like one and pretend not to care."

Neither of them say anything, more than a little stunned by his response. Which gives Peter the perfect opportunity to put his walls straight back up, his smirk returning as he walks forward, pushing past the two of them. Before they can ask him where he's going, he stops, raising an eyebrow at them over his shoulder. 

"Are you coming or would you rather we stay here and waste the precious time we have before Kate somehow manages to make the connection even stronger and murder us all?" 

Stiles and Lydia don't try to argue, looking at each other and giving a similar response before following Peter out of the loft. For once, they're trusting him, not knowing what other option they have. But they're both hoping this isn't going to be a mistake and that Peter is finally going to prove them wrong, prove that he meant it when he said he cares.

Chapter Text

It's about now that Stiles is really questioning Peter and his definition of keeping things a secret. After all, they just arrived at the animal clinic. The place where Scott works. And even though Stiles knows Scott isn't here as he was still at home when he and Lydia left, he really doubts that Deaton is going to keep anything they ask him a secret from Scott. Then again, he does have a tendency to hide certain parts of the truth from them. Maybe he'll be willing to... not lie, but keep whatever they're about to say to him from Scott. 

Then Stiles sees the way Deaton eyes them as they walk into the back room of the clinic, Peter flashing him his signature cocky grin while Stiles and Lydia hang back, both sensing how badly this could go. And when Stiles actually steps into the room, he realises why Deaton was looking at them the way he did. Because the Sheriff, and Stiles' father, just happens to be standing right next to the vet.

"Stiles? What are you doing here?" His dad asks, eyes darting to Lydia and lingering a second longer on Peter. "Why the hell are you anywhere near my son?" He directs this question at Peter. Stiles doesn't miss the way his hand twitches, hovering over his holstered gun. 

Peter sighs, grin slipping into a casual smile as he raises his eyebrows, having obviously seen his reaction as well. "Come now, Sheriff. No need to shoot me. I'm only trying to help." He sends him a pointed look, "You know that." 

The Sheriff hesitates, glancing at Stiles and Lydia uncertainly as if expecting them to give him some sort of sign that they're in danger. They don't and he sighs, rolls his eyes, but moves his hand, choosing to fold his arms instead. 

"Would someone like to explain what's going on?" He asks. He's looking directly at Stiles but Stiles isn't exactly keen on answering this question, and he would really appreciate it if Peter and Lydia didn't say anything either. 

"Oh, you don't know?" Peter asks, a little too gleefully considering the situation. He glances at Stiles, immediately noticing the warning glare he receives from both him and Lydia. "I'm helping." The Sheriff raises an eyebrow in disbelief and Peter throws his hands up, shaking his head slightly. "Why does no one believe me when I say that? I am genuinely trying to help you people, and all I get in return is the judgy stare."

Stiles rubs his forehead in frustration but takes a small step forward, looking at his dad as he says, "Dad, just... trust me. Please?" 

The Sheriff still looks wary but he seems to relax just a little. He doesn't get the chance to argue even if he was going to. 

"She's all good to go," Deaton says, talking about the dog currently sitting on the exam table as he strokes her head. He smiles a little before looking back up at the Sheriff, "Just make sure she gets a good nights rest and she'll be fine to go back to work tomorrow." 

It's obvious to all of them that Deaton is trying to get the Sheriff to leave as quickly as possible, and even though the Sheriff doesn't know why, he just seems to accept it. He sighs but sends Deaton a tight-lipped smile and nods gratefully. 

"Great. Thanks," he says. He takes hold of the dogs lead and she hops off the table, heading straight for Stiles. She jumps up, front paws leaning on his leg and he grins as he reaches down to stroke her head. 

The Sheriff then heads for the door, pausing as Stiles and Lydia move to let him through. He looks at Stiles once more as he passes him, clearly still waiting for him to say that Peters threatening him and Lydia or something along those lines. But Stiles just responds with a grin that's a little off but enough to convince the Sheriff that he's not in any danger. 

"Should I expect to see you at home tonight or are you still staying with Scott?" He asks, lowering his voice slightly. 

Stiles has to think before answering. He hasn't actually told his dad about anything that's happened recently, including him now being a Werefox. He knows he should have but considering how much has been going on and them not even knowing what he is until a few days ago, it wasn't exactly on the top of his priorities. Now, however, he knows he's going to need to tell him. Which also means he should probably go home. 

"Yeah, I'll see you at home. There's only so much of me Scott and his mom can put up with," he says, still grinning.

The Sheriff nods and pats his shoulder. Stiles can see how relieved he is and he can't help but feel guilty about how much his dad's probably been stressing for the past few weeks. Why he even let Stiles stay at Scott's for as long as he has is a mystery to Stiles, but he doesn't question it. He decides that he'll wait another day before breaking the news to his dad but that doesn't mean he shouldn't still go home. After all, now that Isaac is back to staying at Scott's, there isn't enough room there. Even if Scott insists that Stiles can continue sleeping in his bed. It'll be good to go home. 

Once the Sheriff is out of the clinic, Deaton faces Peter and spares Stiles and Lydia a confused glance. "Why are you here?" 

Peter's grin is back, having previously slipped off when he became bored with the situation and waiting for the Sheriff to leave. "We need your help." He rethinks that and motions toward Stiles. "More like, he needs your help. I'm just the babysitter." 

Stiles rolls his eyes at Peter's comment, "Scott told you about my connection to Kate, didn't he?" Deaton nods and he continues, "So I'm guessing you probably already know what's going on and how to break it. Am I right?" 

He's never trusted Deaton and he's always made that clear when given the opportunity. It doesn't help that Deaton's constantly keeping things from them, it's like he's trying to make himself look suspicious. But right now, he's pretty desperate, and like he said, Deaton probably already knows what's going on. He might be the only one who knows how to break whatever connection he was with Kate. 

Deaton pretends to look confused for a second but then sighs and nods. "Yes. I do know what's going on with you and why Kate is able to do what she can. But-" 

Peter holds a hand up, silencing Deaton. "Can we just like, skip to the part where you tell us what we need to do to get Kate out of his head? Because she's kinda torturing him and somehow getting stronger, so, wasting time isn't exactly an option we have."

"Patience just isn't in your vocabulary, is it?" Stiles shakes his head at Peter before turning back to Deaton. "He's not entirely wrong though. Kate's making the connection stronger and she's in my head almost all the time now." 

Deaton nods in understanding. He presses his lips together in a thin line and looks to the shelves in the corner of the room, clearly in deep thought. Stiles looks at Lydia, raising an eyebrow and she shrugs, just as confused as he is. He looks away just as a sharp pain pulses through his skull and he has to clench his teeth. He wasn't lying when he said that Kate's in his head almost all of the time. The pain is just a warning that she's trying to get through to him, to whisper to him like a devil on his shoulder. In all honesty, Stiles thinks he would prefer having the devil in his head - it'd probably be less painful and a lot less irritating. 

He manages to force himself to block it out, even when a low hum starts in the back of his mind, not taking long to turn into a quiet buzzing. Still, he pushes it out for now and tries to stay focused. 

"I'm afraid I can't help you," Deaton says out of nowhere, turning his eyes back on Stiles. 

Stiles's eyebrows go up and he blinks at Deaton, "You... can't help? As in, there's nothing anyone can do and I'm just stuck with Kate Argent in my head before she finally figures out how to make me into her very own personal murder fox? Or you're just choosing not to?" 

Deaton doesn't seem at all bothered by the accusation and just shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Stiles. I can't help you." 

Stiles moves to argue that he just isn't willing to and that it's obvious he's hiding something from them. As usual. But Lydia catches his arm, dragging his attention to her instead. 

"Come on, Stiles," she glances at Deaton, the look in her eyes making it clear that she believes him just about as much as Stiles does. "Let's go back to my house, I've got tons of books. Surely one of them will have an answer." 

Stiles doesn't protest and lets Lydia begin pulling him towards the door. He only stops for a second as his eyes dart to Peter, who shrugs but doesn't move to follow them.

"You two go ahead." Peter keeps his eyes on Deaton, "I've got things to do, people to see, you know how it goes. I'm a busy man."

Stiles rolls his eyes and he and Lydia walk out, heading for the exit. He really should have known better, should have known that Deaton wouldn't help them. Or maybe he really can't. Maybe Stiles is just too far beyond help. 

He pushes those thoughts to the back of his mind, along with any trace of Kate and her cruel little voice. He can't let himself give up hope that they can break the connection, if he does that, then Kate wins. That can't happen. He just has to hope that there's something in one of Lydia's many books that can tell them how to fix this. 

------------------------------------

Peter makes sure Stiles and Lydia are out of the clinic and far enough away that even Stiles' supernatural hearing won't be able to listen in before turning to Deaton, hands behind his back and a sly smirk on his lips.

"You lied to them," he says. 

Deaton sighs and turns away from Peter's smug and accusing stare, "I did what's best for Stiles." He isn't entirely convincing and Peter can hear the doubt in his voice, "You know what will happen if we try to break his connection to Kate." 

"I do," Peter agrees, taking a step toward him. "But I also know what will happen if we don't."

There's a pause as Deaton's hands grip the edge of the counter, his eyes briefly closing before he faces Peter. It seems more like he's trying to convince himself that what he's saying is the truth, his eyes firm but wavering, unsure of himself.

"It's too dangerous." Peter rolls his eyes and Deaton presses on, eyebrows drawing together and his voice a little more urgent, "Breaking their connection will kill him and Kate. And if it doesn't, it could backfire and that part of the Nogitsune's spirit that still exists within Stiles? It will resurface. But because of him now being, not just a shapeshifter, a Werefox, of all things, he will be stronger. Far more powerful than we are able to handle." He takes a deep breath and looks directly at Peter, "We already dealt with this once and just look how that turned out. We can't risk it. Not again, and certainly not when it puts the lives of countless innocent people at stake."

It's obvious that Deaton was hoping that bringing up the past would convince Peter to let this go. But they both know that isn't going to happen, after all, this might be his only chance to get rid of Kate, once and for all. 

"Let me see if I'm picking this up right, because you know me, I'm always misunderstanding things," Peter starts, feigning confusion and innocence as he tilts his head. "You're willing to let Kate make their bond so powerful that she'll have full control over him, making her able to turn him against all of us; his friends, his family, his pack. You want to let Kate win. Just like we let that other psychotic bitch win all those years ago."

Deaton clenches his jaw and even looks offended by Peter's accusation. "I don't want to do any of that. I don't want to let an innocent boy lose his mind and become a puppet for someone as cruel and heartless as Kate Argent. But we have no other choice. You know that better than anyone else."

Peter scoffs and rolls his eyes, "Alright, you can stop that." Deaton simply raises his eyebrows. "You don't need to remind me of what happened. I remember it perfectly fine, thank you." 

Deaton's firm composure seems to slip and he lets his arms fall to his side, his eyes softening. "I don't like this any more than you do. But, Peter... we were warned about this many years ago. Satomi didn't steal that scroll from the Argents for nothing. It told us what would happen if a werejaguar bit someone who had come in contact with something truly dark and we ignored it. We let her get bitten, even after what happened. We doomed her to a fate worse than death. Do you really want to put Stiles through that as well?"

"Enough," Peter snaps, a low growl escaping the back of his throat as his eyes flash blue. He didn't come here to be reminded of how they failed to save his niece, despite him trying to hang it over Deaton's head just moments before. "I get it, okay? But it's different this time, we can save Stiles-"

"No, Peter," Deaton shakes his head, the sadness in his eyes revealing that he's already given up, "We can't. There is nothing we can do to break the bond between him and Kate. Just like there was nothing we could do to save her." He catches Peter's eyes, forcing him to hold his gaze. "We already went through this once before and now it's happening again. Do you really want to go down that road again? To see countless innocent people get hurt?"

"What's the other outcome, huh?" Peter asks, pretending like he doesn't already know. "If we don't break the connection? We'll have no other choice but to kill Stiles. It'll be the only way to stop Kate after she's managed to strengthen the bond. Do you really want his blood on your hands?" 

Deaton has never looked more exasperated in his life as he shakes his head again, a thing he seems to do a lot around Peter. "Of course not. But no matter what we do, we're going to lose. Don't you see that? No matter what we do, Stiles is going to get hurt. At least this way, Scott might have a chance of stopping Kate from taking hold of Stiles. Stiles might be able to push her out." And it's like the realisation suddenly hits him, his eyes hardening with disbelief and disgust. "But you don't want that, do you?" 

Peter attempts to look like he doesn't understand what Deaton's talking about but he doesn't even get a second to breathe, never mind defend himself with a fake excuse. "You want Kate to strengthen her bond with Stiles, don't you? Once it reaches a certain point, any harm that comes to Stiles will also hurt Kate. And that's exactly what you want."

Peter sighs and rolls his eyes in his usual over-dramatic manner but Deaton isn't buying it. "And you want to try and break the connection because you know it won't work. It will break the both of them." He shakes his head, his disgust only growing. "You don't care about Stiles or the amount of damage that this is causing him mentally and physically. You're just using him so that you can kill Kate. Which also means killing Stiles."

"You're out of your mind," Peter claims. "Did you not hear me telling you that we need to save him? I'm pretty sure you were the one suggesting we let Kate take over his mind and use him to kill everyone he cares about." 

"No. You're manipulating him." Deaton scoffs. "It's all you seem to do. You just keep hurting the people who trust you, deceiving them, lying to them, making them trust you. And then you just turn right around and stab them in the back." He takes a step forward, not even fazed by the possible threat of Peter ripping his throat out if he says one more wrong thing. "I will not let you hurt Stiles. Whatever plan you may have, it's going to fail. I'll make sure of it."

That's all it takes for Peter's patience and pretense to wear away as he moves away from Deaton. He walks backwards as he heads for the exit of the exam room, keeping his eyes on Deaton as he says, "Good luck with that." 

He doesn't wait for a response and leaves the animal clinic, the scent of angry disbelief that was clinging to Deaton during the last part of their conversation still lingering. Peter ignores it. He ignores Deaton's words, bouncing around in his head, telling him how selfish he is. He only cares about one thing right now and that's killing Kate Argent.

------------------------------------------

Stiles flips through page after page, eyes darting across them and barely taking in the words as he looks for anything that might be even remotely helpful. He's aware of Lydia's eyes on him, watching him as she pays no attention to the book in her lap, opened on a page that she's apparently been reading for the past ten minutes. He already knows what's coming, he's just waiting for her to finally say it. 

"Maybe we should call Scott," She says, voice a little nervous. Stiles closes his book as soon as the words leave her mouth, having been expecting this conversation since they left the clinic. "I'm just saying that maybe we'd have more luck if he was here? Maybe he'd... know what to do?" 

"Lydia," Stiles turns to face her with a smile, "Calling Scott isn't going to help us. In fact, it'll make things worse. We'll just end up worrying him for absolutely no reason." Lydia raises her eyebrows, clearly unconvinced and not buying his excuse for even a second. He rolls his eyes, "I just don't want to bother him, okay? He doesn't need the stress of this on top of everything else." Stiles looks down at the book in his lap, "He's already got enough to deal with."

Lydia shifts the book from her lap and places it on the bed as she turns to face Stiles, her forehead creasing. "Stiles, Scott would want to know about this. He'd want us to call him. I know we're dealing with a lot right now, what with Kate still being in town and whoever tried to kill her being a possible threat to us as well, but Sco-"

"Oh my god, Lydia, I think I found something," Stiles cuts her off, eyes wide as he reads the paragraph again while moving the book to let Lydia see. She doesn't even complain about him interrupting her, too distracted by the possibility of them actually having found a way to break the bond. 

After she's read the part Stiles points out to her, she looks up at him, eyes a little wide. "I'm calling Scott," she decides. 

Stiles doesn't even try to argue with her this time as he scans the next page, a mix between excited and a little worried. They might have actually just found a way to break his connection to Kate. It sounds extremely dangerous and like it'll cause him a lot of physical pain but if it gets Kate out of his head and stops her from being able to try and control him, he's willing to risk it. He just needs to convince Scott. 

As if in response to him finally discovering a possible way to break the bond, there's a sharp pain in his skull, a lot like the one he felt earlier in the clinic. But there's something about it that Stiles has never picked up on before, maybe because this is the first time he's felt it but it worries him. It's like his head is on fire but only for a second. It just goes back to the dull ache that Stiles has become so used to. 

He doesn't bother to put much thought into the strange momentary burning sensation, putting it down to Kate just trying once again to get into his head. Thankfully, he's gotten better at blocking her out. He just pushes the quiet whisper of "help me" that accompanied the pain to the back of his mind, ignoring it and pretending he never even heard it while listening to Lydia wait for Scott to answer his phone.

Chapter Text

"No. No way." Scott took one look at the book, eyes scanning over the words faster than Stiles even thought possible before making up his mind. He holds Stiles' gaze and shakes his head. "There is no way that we are doing that. It's too risky." 

Stiles sighs and tugs his hand through his hair. He knows it's risky; he's had pretty much this exact conversation with Lydia at least three times in the time it took them to drive to Scott's house. 

"Trust me, I know that." He sighs again and glances at Lydia, her stubbornness and concern barely wavering, already having made it clear how she feels about this. He looks back over at Scott, silently pleading with him, "But right now, this seems like our only option." Scott opens his mouth to once again protest and Stiles stops him. "If you've got any other ideas on how to break this freaking connection to Kate then feel free to let me know. I'll gladly do it. But until then, this is the only thing we can do." 

"Even I have to agree that this sounds insane," Isaac jumps in, eyes darting between Scott and Stiles. 

Stiles glares at him. "Not helping." 

Isaac rolls his eyes but doesn't say anything, wary of starting another argument with Stiles after how the last one ended. He's apologised at least twice to him, and yet there's still a glint of guilt in his eyes when he's around Stiles, despite being told it's fine. 

"You know what's not helpful?" Malia asks, not waiting for an answer. "You being dead. Which is exactly what's going to happen if you go through with this crazy idea of yours."

She's made it quite clear she's just as against this as Scott and Lydia and even Isaac, which is slightly disappointing to Stiles considering he was kind of counting on her to back him up on this. Not that he's sure why.

"Guys, I'm not gonna die," Stiles says, ignoring the slight quiver of doubt in his voice.

"Trust me, you are," Lydia tells him. 

The way she says it stops Stiles in his tracks for a second and the snarky but reassuring reply he had gets caught in his throat. She sounds certain, like she knows that doing this will get him killed. Like she can sense it. And he'll admit, that's more than a little terrifying considering how all of her previous death predictions have worked out.

Stiles pulls himself back to reality and forces a grin as he says, "Come on, after everything, you think this is what's gonna kill me? We've done things that are a thousand times more dangerous than this-" 

"Hold on," Isaac raises a hand, eyebrows pulling together in confusion as he looks at Stiles, "Lydia - a banshee - pretty much just confirmed that if you do this, you're going to die. And you still want to go through with it?" 

Stiles opens his mouth to answer him. But he falters. He doesn't want to go through with this - he doesn't want to ask his friends to support him on this, because he agrees with them; this is insane. But that doesn't change what he already knows; this is his only option. 

"I know what you're thinking," Scott says. Stiles looks at him and he continues, "But, Stiles, we'll find another way." 

Stiles shakes his head, "Not before Kate takes control. We've not got enough time." He's definitely glad Lydia finally convinced him to tell Scott and the rest of their friends - at least, the ones who were already at Scott's house - about what's been going on. It certainly does make this part of the conversation easier. 

"Look, I know you don't want to do this," Stiles says as he moves towards Scott, eyes still pleading with him, "And I get it. I do. I know the risks and I know this is extremely dangerous. But, Scotty... If we don't, it's only going to get worse."

Scott just looks at Stiles and he hesitates, his original response not making it past his lips. Then he sighs and glances at the others; Lydia shakes her head, sending him a warning look, Malia simply continues to look unmoved, and Isaac just shrugs, knowing that whatever Scott decides, it'll probably be for the best. And when he turns back to face him, Stiles can see the glint in his eyes. The one that tells him he's gotten through to him. 

Another sigh and then Scott asks, "Stiles, do you know what you're asking me to do?" Just one last attempt at convincing Stiles to change his mind. 

"I do," Stiles says. "And I'm sorry that I'm asking you to do this. But I need you to."

"Okay," Scott nods slowly and rests his hands on Stiles' shoulder, lips curving into a small smile, "Then we should probably get started." 

Stiles returns his smile. Half of him is glad that Scott agreed to this, knowing that it really is the only way to get Kate out of his head and without Scott, he wouldn't be able to do it. But at the same time, the other half of him wished Scott had refused. 

"Uh, guys?" Isaac's voice cuts through Stiles' thoughts and stops him and Scott before they can go any further. "If you're actually going to go through with this insane plan," he ignores Stiles' eye roll, directing his attention more towards Scott, "shouldn't we maybe... I don't know, call Derek? I know how crazy this sounds but maybe even Peter? Y'know, the two people who might actually know what the hell they're doing?" 

Stiles and Lydia both immediately shake their heads upon hearing Peter's name. 

"Mhm. Nope," Lydia says, pressing her lips together as she continues to shake her head. "There is absolutely no way we're calling Peter. Stiles and I already went to him for help and he lead us to a dead end. There's nothing else he can do." 

"Okay, so, Derek then," Isaac tries again. 

This time, it's Scott who shakes his head. "No. We leave Derek out of this. If he knew, he would definitely try and stop us."

"And that doesn't tell you something?" Isaac asks incredulously. "Like, oh, I don't know, that you shouldn't do this?" 

Malia and Lydia seem to be in agreement with Isaac, all three of them still adamant that this is a terrible idea. Not that Scott and Stiles are disagreeing with them. It is a terrible idea and it's not even one that makes sense. But the book said that for the connection Kate has to Stiles to be broken, an Alpha must get into his head and somehow force her out from there. How that's even supposed to work, none of them are sure. But they have to try.

Which is why Scott says again, more firmly this time, "We leave Derek out of this." 

Isaac expresses his exasperation but doesn't say anything else. Lydia doesn't seem all that keen to try and continue arguing either, despite her opinion remaining the same, along with Malia's, who just follow Lydia's lead and the both of them stay quiet. So it's settled then. 

Scott faces Stiles once again, looking directly into his eyes and searching for any trace of doubt. "You're sure about this?" 

There's a pause. And then Stiles swallows, wets his lips and nods. "Yeah. I'm sure." That's all Scott needs to hear. 

Stiles watches, heart racing and stomach twisting, as Scott gingerly flicks out his claws. Their eyes meet for just a second, the hesitation still there, and then there's a sharp pain in Stiles' head.

It starts out okay, although the feeling of having a werewolf's claws shoved into the back of his neck isn't exactly pleasant, but it's tolerable. At least, it was until a loud ringing fills the quiet room and startles all of them, including Scott who was so focused that he jumped and jerked his claws without meaning to. 

Stiles has to bite back a scream, forcing it to a hiss as the burning pain pulsing through his neck travels and fills his head, making him a little dizzy.

"Oh god, Stiles, are you okay? I didn't - I didn't mean to - are you - dude, talk to me. Are you okay?" Scott's voice is frantic and panicked and Stiles can't help but feel a little bad that he reacted the way he did. Although, in all fairness, he nearly just had a bunch of nerves and probably other important things in his neck clawed out. 

It takes a second for Stiles to feel able to talk, a buzzing echoing in his skull as he shoots a glare in Lydia's direction as she fumbles with her phone, sending him an apologetic look. He turns back to face Scott and nods stiffly. 

"I'm great," he replies, ignoring the crack in his voice as he tries to get air into his lungs. Scott's claws are still in his neck and he's trying extremely hard not to beg him to just take them out. They still need to do this, even if it just got ten times more painful.

Scott waits until Lydia moves away to answer her phone before focusing back on Stiles and not hurting him any more than he already has. He tries again and Stiles closes his eyes, reminding himself to breathe in and out as the pain only increases. Scott nearly manages to start getting somewhere, carefully trying to get into Stiles' mind without doing any damage, when Lydia runs back into the room and very nearly startles him once again. Thankfully, he heard her this time and was prepared, making sure to keep his hand as still as possible. 

"You need to stop," Lydia tells him urgently and Stiles eyes' fly open. Scott looks over at her, eyebrows furrowing and his mouth opening as he goes to ask her why. "Allison called. Kate escaped." 

Scott immediately pulls his claws out of Stiles' neck but his hand lingers, resting partly on his shoulder. Stiles doesn't pay any attention to it like he normally would, too busy trying not to freak out at Lydia's words. 

"Kate escaped?" He repeats slowly. Lydia nods, chewing her bottom lip and Stiles breathes out a humourless chuckle as he runs a hand over his face. "That's just great." 

"We shouldn't panic," Scott says, earning himself incredulous looks from everyone in the room. "She can't go far," he explains. "She's still injured and weak; she'll probably be nearby." 

"Then we should go out and find her, stop her from leaving town," Isaac suggests, already standing from his seat on the couch. 

Scott nods in agreement and glances at Malia. She shrugs but he knows that's her way of saying she's in. He meets Lydia's eyes and a silent understanding passes between them. She nods slightly and he returns it gratefully. 

"Alright, so, I'll go with Isaac and Malia to find Kate," Scott says as he turns to Stiles. "You and Lydia stay here." 

Stiles opens his mouth to protest but quickly stops when Scott raises his eyebrows. He sighs and throws his hands up but nods. "Yeah, okay, fine," he agrees reluctantly. 

With that, Isaac and Malia head out of Scott's living room and exit the house, already trying to see if they can pick up on any trace of Kate's scent. Scott moves to follow after them but pauses when Stiles grabs his arm. 

His lips part as he tries to force himself to say what's sitting on the tip of his tongue. But then he sees the concern in Scott's eyes and he drops his arm to his side and shifts a little. 

"Be careful, okay, Scotty? I know Kate's injured but she's still a psycho and we know what she's capable of." He swallows and rubs the back of his neck, fingers brushing over the fresh claw marks as he looks at Scott. "Just be careful." 

Scott's lips curve into a soft smile and he nods. "I will, dude. I swear." He pats Stiles' shoulder once more before turning and closing the front door behind him, leaving Stiles and Lydia standing in the living room.

Stiles rubs a hand across his face again before turning to face Lydia. They barely get two seconds to even think, to breathe, the quiet and worried tension that had filled the room not five minutes ago being broken as Stiles collapses. 

The only thing he can feel is the burning sensation from earlier, now ten times worse as it flares through his head, and his heart pounding in his chest. He can see Lydia kneeling next to him, her hands grabbing at his shoulders and his shirt frantically, her eyes wide and darting around to try and find a way to help him. Her lips are moving but Stiles can't hear what she's saying, the buzzing in his head drowning everything else out. But he doesn't need to be able to hear her to know that she's panicking and he wants to reassure her, calm her down, but he can't. 

Lydia quickly moves away from him and a variety of thoughts and worries cross his mind; are his eyes glowing? Is he wolfing out? Is she going outside, hoping that Scott will still be there? 

But he doesn't need to question for much longer as Lydia reappears beside him, phone in hand and eyes still just as wide and desperate and so full of worry. She manages to help him to his feet just long enough to get him onto the couch, his legs giving out nearly as soon as he's sitting down.

The buzzing doesn't seem as loud now, allowing Stiles to grasp onto bits and pieces of what Lydia's saying as she talks to someone on the other end of the phone. He can't quite make out who it is and he's not all that bothered by it, more focused on the pain that's making it hard to think, to breathe. And that isn't even the worst part. It's the whispering, the little voice in his head that he's gotten used to over the past few days that decided to take up residence in the back of his mind. But something isn't right, it doesn't sound the way it usually does. It's scared, and weak. 

Stiles has been here before. Not this exact situation but close enough. When the Nogitsune separated from Stiles and took on its own body - well, his body - Stiles started getting weaker. He was in constant pain and his entire body felt like it was freezing. It's happening all over again but with Kate. She has to be the reason for this. It would explain why she just suddenly decided to escape. 

Stiles tunes back in to what Lydia's saying, still partly trying to figure out who she's talking to. She catches his eyes and her expression softens slightly, as if she's trying to reassure him that everything's fine, even though he clearly knows it isn't. But still, he appreciates the effort and manages to move his hand to grab her free one, squeezing lightly as he sends her his best attempt at a smile considering the amount of pain he's still in. 

She squeezes back and returns his smile before the person on the other end - who Stiles can now hear and knows is Malia - says something and brings Lydia's attention back to her. Lydia's eyes widen and a little as she says, "No, no! Don't tell Scott! I just..." She glances at Stiles, "We don't know what's going on and you're the only one that I could call who might be able to help."

There's a pause as Lydia waits for Malia to respond and in that time, Stiles can't help but feel grateful that Lydia's trying her hardest to stick to her agreement of not worrying Scott when it isn't necessary. Although, it's obvious she wants to. 

"No, he's conscious," Lydia replies to Malia, glancing over at Stiles again. 

He tunes out at this point. The buzzing may have quietened down but the voice hasn't. It's still there but he can't make it out what it's saying - what she's saying. He knows by now that the voice belongs to Kate.

He tries to focus, to listen to what she's saying, hoping it might give him some clue as to where she is. But her words are jumbled together and rushed and she just sounds so desperate that Stiles has to wonder if she really did escape. It's possible that the hunters who wounded her managed to find out where she was and decided to take her so they could finish the job. 

It takes a few seconds - maybe a minute - before Stiles is finally able to make out just one word. Peter. But that doesn't make sense, it's like she's trying to warn Stiles but what does Peter have to do with any of this? 

He gives up on listening, deciding that she's just messing with his head, like usual. Besides, he's still in pain and it doesn't seem like it's going away any time soon and he's not even sure he can stand. 

He looks at Lydia, still on the phone to Malia but her eyes keep darting to him, worry evident in them as she keeps a tight grip on his hand. And just as their eyes meet and Lydia opens her mouth to say something, a white-hot pain flashes through Stiles' skull, blurring his vision. The words "you're going to regret this" echo in his mind and then he loses consciousness.

Chapter Text

Scott stops, pausing to sniff the air for any trace of Kate and her scent, anything that might give them some sort of idea as to where she's gone. They managed to track her all the way to the preserve but then... nothing. Scott's just been heading off in every direction, hoping that they'll pick up on something again. 

He looks at Malia as she appears at his side, phone in hand and worry in her eyes. 

"It's Stiles," she says before he can even open his mouth to ask her what's wrong. 

Just those two words are enough to make his stomach twist, panic flaring inside of him. "What about him? Is he okay? Did something happen? Is Kate there?" 

"He collapsed just after we left and Lydia says he's just passed out. She's freaking out because she doesn't know what to do and Stiles is saying weird things." 

Scott's eyebrows draw together as he asks, "What kind of weird things?" 

"I don't know," Malia says. "Something about... someone regretting something?" 

None of this is calming Scott down in any way, only adding to his panic and worry. He should never have left, he should have stayed behind with Stiles and Lydia. Malia and Isaac are more than capable of tracking Kate down without him. 

"I need to go back," he tells her, glancing over at Isaac, who appears to be listening to their conversation from a few feet in front of them while also attempting to continue trying to catch Kate's scent.

Malia reacts quickly, shaking her head as she reaches out to grab his arms. "No, Scott, we need you here. Stiles is going to be okay, but he needs you to find Kate. And me and Isaac can't do that without you. Alright?" 

Scott doesn't reply straight away. He knows he should stay and help them find Kate - he does know her scent better than either of them. But right now the only thing he can think about is Stiles and if he really is okay. What if something else happens? What if - 

"I know what you're thinking," Malia shakes her head again. "Nothing is going to happen. And even if you were there, what would you do, huh? How could you possibly help Stiles right now, other than by finding Kate and stopping whatever she's doing?" 

He thinks it over in his head and once again, he knows she's right. He sighs and nods. "Yeah. Okay. But tell Lydia to call Derek." Malia's forehead creases as she hesitates to do what he said. "We need his help. He might be able to find Kate; he was... closer to her than I was." At that, Malia raises her eyebrows and Scott presses on. "Besides, he'll want to know if something's happening to Stiles." 

"Really?" Isaac is the one who speaks up this time, having joined them just as Scott had begun speaking. His voice is more than a little disbelieving and he's wearing a strange grin that Scott can't quite figure out the reason for. "Why would Derek Hale, the guy who shows barely any amount of affection for any living being, want to know if something's happening to Stiles?" 

Scott bites the inside of his cheek, trying not to snap at Isaac. He doesn't know what's been up with him lately but there's something off and the result is comments like this; snarkier than usual and a little more insensitive, not to mention thoughtless. He keeps telling himself it's probably just an after-effect of the full moon that was barely two days ago. But he's not sure he actually believes that.

"Oh let me guess," Isaac says, not waiting for Scott to calmly tell him that Derek cares, just in his own way. "Derek's playing big bad wolf and he has to protect Stiles, his precious red riding hood?"

Malia snorts at the same time as Scott growls lowly. It wasn't aimed at her but she immediately stops when he sends her a warning look, having the decency to look at least slightly ashamed as she turns her eyes down to her phone to avoid getting involved any further.

He turns back to Isaac, still trying so hard to stay calm while ignoring the tightness in his chest caused by Isaac's words. "I don't know what's going on with you, but whatever it is, you need to find a way to sort it. You aren't acting like yourself and honestly, you're being a bit of jerk."

Isaac raises his eyebrows, a smirk that Scott knows is fake on his lips. "I don't know if it's something to do with the full moon. Or maybe what happened when you were with Derek and Peter. But right now, that doesn't matter. I need your help to find Kate. Do you think you can put whatever it is that's making you lash out at us behind you for just a few more hours to do that?"

For a second, Scott worries that Isaac isn't going to agree. But then the irritatingly cocky expression he had plastered on just moments before slips and he nods. Scott even thinks he saw a glimpse of regret in his eyes. 

"Alright, good." He looks back at Malia, who now lifts her head to meet his gaze. "Tell Lydia t-" 

"To call Derek," she finishes for him, sending him a nod as she waves her phone around. "I got it. But what exactly is she supposed to tell him?" 

Scott takes a second to answer. Then he makes up his mind and says, "Everything. About Kate escaping and what's going on with Stiles. And the connection she has to him. It might be important." 

Malia nods in understanding and holds the phone back up to her ear and Scott realises that she never actually ended the call in the first place. 

He glances at Isaac, who barely holds his stare for a second before looking away again. Scott just waits for Malia to be done and hang up the call before moving on, walking further into the preserve that's lit only by the moonlight now as he goes back to trying to catch Kate's scent once more. He can hear Isaac and Malia behind him, smell the worry and concern that's clinging to both of them. Of course they're worried. Stiles is their friend too; at least, most of the time. 

But it's different for Scott. He's known Stiles since they were kids, they practically grew up together and he's his best friend. He's nearly lost him so many times that it's hard to keep count at this point but every single time, Stiles was okay. He came out of it alive. Scott just hopes this time isn't any different. He can't lose Stiles. He just can't.

And that's what he keeps telling himself as the seconds tick by, the air getting colder as it gets closer to midnight. Scott still wants to turn back. He wants to be there to make sure Stiles is okay. But as Malia pointed out, what else can he do to help him other than find Kate? 

As he pauses again, stopping for just a few seconds to see if there's any trace of Kate nearby at all, he wishes that he hadn't let Derek and Malia change his mind all those months ago. When they were in that abandoned building and Stiles was covered in blood and bruises and nearly half his bones had been broken, Scott had Kate in his grasp. 

His hand was around her throat, he had her on the ground and she was defenseless. He could easily have killed her. He should have. None of this would have happened if he had just ignored Malia telling him not to break their code and convincing Derek to agree with her. He's almost positive the rest of the pack would have been okay with it.

Stiles would still have turned, but Kate wouldn't be able to hurt him like this. She wouldn't be able to get in his mind and manipulate and torture him all over again. Scott could have saved Stiles so much pain. But he didn't. He chose to be a "hero" who doesn't kill. No wonder Kate laughed in his face. She knew exactly what she was doing and she knew that Scott would back down from killing her. Or at least, that someone would convince him that there's always another way. 

Scott moves on, listening carefully for any sort of sound that might indicate Kate's nearby as he makes his way through the preserve, Malia and Isaac still following behind him. 

A few more minutes of walking through the woods in silence, their hope of finding Kate tonight slowly diminishing, and then they hear it. It's not quite a howl like theirs but it's close, a little higher-pitched and harsh to their heightened hearing. And Scott knows that it can only belong to Kate. 

He doesn't question why she would do something that would lead them straight to her and immediately takes off in the direction it came from, knowing Malia and Isaac are right behind him as he dodges around trees and narrowly misses tripping over a fallen branch. Everything turns red as Scott begins to turn, making it much easier to use his heightened senses and listen for any other noises. 

Scott comes to a stop as he reaches a far too familiar clearing and his eyes land on the burned-down house that somehow still stands, the moonlight making it look even more terrifying than usual. Or maybe it's the sound of another howl, desperation seeping into it as it turns into a cry.

Scott is once again taking off, ducking as he enters the tunnel that leads to the basement. Why Kate would come down here, of all places, he has no idea. But he's about to find out and stop her from doing whatever it is she's doing to hurt Stiles.

----------------------------------

Lydia continues to pace up and down Scott's living room, chewing on her nails. She glances over at Stiles, still unconscious on the couch and making quiet noises that sort of resemble words but also make absolutely no sense. 

She's been like this for the past ten minutes, since Malia told her to call Derek with no explanation whatsoever and then hung up on her. Having no idea what other option she had, Lydia did call Derek. The conversation didn't last very long; she told him the basics of what's going on and he said he'd come right over. 

Now, she's just waiting. Very anxiously.

Just as she glances at Stiles again, there's a noise from behind her. She immediately whips around. Her eyes dart all around the room, trying to find the source of the noise, before finally landing on a book that she's absolutely positive was sitting on the table not two seconds ago. 

She cautiously moves toward it. She knows by now that something moving on its own - whether it is just a book or not - is never a good sign. It usually means that something is about to go very wrong. 

But she still bends down to pick it up, slowly turning it over in her hands. She just wants to make sure the book isn't about anything supernatural and trying to send her some sort of message. Which, she can't believe is something she's even considering as a possibility. But this is her life now and the book just so happens to be about druids. 

She sighs and sets it back down in its original place on the coffee table. It probably just slipped and fell. 

And Lydia manages to convince herself of that for all of five seconds. A low buzzing noise catches her attention and at first, she assumes it's nothing, that it's probably just a power surge in the lamp. And when she looks over at it, it is flickering.

But it doesn't stop there. 

Lydia's eyes dart to the book she picked up just a few seconds ago as it flies open, the pages flipping themselves faster than her eyes can move. The buzzing only gets louder and the flickering turns into short bursts of darkness before the light comes back on, only to go back out a second later. 

If she wasn't freaking out already, she definitely is now. 

And to make things worse, when she looks over at Stiles, his lips are moving but she can't hear a word he's saying, the buzzing far too loud at this point. His head moves from side to side and his eyes are screwed shut and he's trashing around slightly but his hand is reaching for his neck, like he can't breathe. 

"Stiles," Lydia moves to his side, trying to shake him awake as gently as possible. "Stiles, you need to wake up. Stiles, come on, wake up. Please, Stiles, come on. Wake up."

She groans as he stays unconscious, hands and head still moving, fingers now clawing at his throat. She does try to stop him, desperately pulling at his hands so that he won't hurt himself but even when he was human he was pretty strong, now he's a werefox and ten times stronger.

"Oh god, why couldn't Scott have just stayed here?" She groans again, still struggling to keep Stiles from accidentally hurting himself. "I'm not equipped for this kind of situation!" 

She knows she's talking to herself and that she sounds a little hysterical but can anyone really blame her? She's sitting with Stiles, a werefox who is currently unconscious and more than likely being mentally tortured by Kate Argent, who is currently missing. Not to mention the flickering lights, the book that's pages are still flipping back and forth so fast that Lydia is sure they're going to rip themselves out.

It doesn't take long before things somehow escalate even further and things get much worse. There's a crash from behind Lydia and she spins around, keeping a hold on Stiles' hands. She realises that the source of the noise was a picture that had been hanging on the wall and went flying across the room, smashing and sending glass everywhere. 

Lydia bites the inside of her cheek as she tries to figure out what to do. But with the combination of trying to keep Stiles under control, the lights still going out every few seconds, and things magically flying all over the place, she's a bit unfocused and it's hard to think. 

But Stiles makes her decision a little easier. Her eyes snap back to him as he stops struggling and suddenly his nails are replaced with claws. Knowing what the smart decision is here, Lydia immediately backs off. She stands up, eyes still glued to him and hoping that he'll just go back to being an unconscious person who lies still because she knows there is absolutely no way she can stop him if he tries something else. 

She's so focused on Stiles that she doesn't hear the door opening. But then there's a voice shouting, "Lydia, look out!" 

Before she even has time to process what's going on, she's being shoved to the floor, Derek's arms wrapping around her and his body shielding her as something goes crashing into the wall. 

She looks up and sees the broken pieces of yet another photo frame scattered beside her. If Derek hadn't made her duck, it would have hit her and she can guess it probably would have been painful. And messy.

"What the hell is going on?" Derek asks her as he stands up. He offers a hand to her without looking and she takes it without hesitation. 

"I don't know, one minute I was just talking to Stiles and the next he collapsed and then things started moving on their own and I have no idea what I'm doing," she admits, voice once again high-pitched and bordering on hysterical. 

Derek doesn't seem to mind though, eyes darting all around the room and taking in the mess and the still flickering lamp. Then he spots Stiles; on the couch, claws still out and reaching for his neck but it's like he's struggling with an invisible weight. 

"What is he doing?" Derek is already by Stiles' side, fingers wrapping around his wrists and pulling his hands away from his neck. He obviously has more luck than Lydia but it still seems like he's struggling a little to keep a hold on him. "How long has he been like this?" He asks Lydia urgently, looking at her over his shoulder. 

"Uh, ten - fifteen minutes? I don't know!" She throws her hands up. "I haven't exactly been keeping track of the time. If you haven't noticed, I've had more important things to worry about." She gestures at Stiles. 

Derek sighs and clenches his jaw but he turns back to look at Stiles. "We need to stop whatever Kate's doing to him. Has Scott had any luck in finding her yet?" 

Lydia shakes her head, eyes glued to Stiles. "I don't think so. I haven't heard from them since Malia told me to call you and then hung up on me." 

Stiles lets out a sound that resembles a pained whine and he stops struggling against Derek's grip. He begins mumbling again and at first, it doesn't sound quite right, like they aren't even words. And then - 

"He's coming. You should have... have realised he would. You're not just hurting... me. You're hurting him. They know what you're doing. They're coming. He's coming, Peter. I can hear him." 

Lydia looks at Derek, the feeling in her stomach making her nauseous as she processes Stiles' words. 

"Did he just say...?" She doesn't need to finish her sentence as Derek nods slowly. "Oh god. Kate didn't escape, did she?" 

Derek meets her gaze and she can finally see just how worried he is. "No. I don't think he did," he answers, shaking his head and Lydia's stomach twists, knowing what this means. 

"Peter has her," she says, voice barely a whisper and eyes drifting to Stiles. "And he's going to kill her. Which means..." She swallows the lump in her throat, eyes wide as she looks back to Derek, more urgent now. "We need to tell Scott."

Derek pauses, looking away as he seems to think it over. He must come to a decision as he stands up, facing Lydia. "We need to get Stiles to Deaton. He's the only one who might be able to wake him up from this if Scott can't find Kate and Peter soon." 

Lydia doesn't try to argue. She just nods and helps Derek get Stiles off the couch, wrapping his arms around their shoulders and moving him to his jeep. She just hopes that they really can wake Stiles up. 

--------------------

Scott sticks out his arm, stopping Malia and Isaac and keeping them behind him as he cautiously peers around the corner, looking into the dimly-lit basement. Maybe they should just call it the torture room at this point; there's been far more of that than what you should find in a normal basement. 

He glances back at Malia and Isaac, pressing a finger to his lips. They get the message and keep quiet. None of them know if this is a trap and Scott just wants to make sure no one else gets hurt. 

He takes a small, quiet step forward and his eyes immediately land on Kate. She's slumped against the wire fence and her head is hanging forward, her hair covering her face.

Scott listens. Her heartbeat is steady but slow. It's not hard to tell that she's barely conscious and those howls that lead them here must have taken the last of her energy out of her. But why did she do it then? 

"Can't a guy get a little warning before you crash his party?"

Peter smirks as he steps out of the shadows, hands clasped behind his back. 

Scott freezes. It's not hard to put the pieces together at this point and he's quickly coming to the realisation that Kate didn't escape. Peter took her. 

"I have to say," Peter glances down at Kate, head tilting slightly, "I'm a little disappointed that you interrupted us just as things were getting good." 

A low whine escapes from Kate as she seems to try and move away from him. But she was already weak to begin with and it doesn't look like spending an hour or two with Peter did much good for her. The most she manages is to push her self up on her hands just the slightest bit before slumping back down again. 

Peter chuckles and it's low and twisted and sadistic. He looks over at Scott, glancing at Isaac and Malia with such an unfazed look in his eyes that Scott has to wonder if he knew they were coming. 

"Peter, you have to stop whatever it is you're doing," Scott says, trying to keep his voice calm. But when his eyes dart to Kate, all he can see is Stiles the night they found him and what he must be going through right now. Still, he tries. "You're not just hurting Kate, you're-" 

"Hurting Stiles, yes, I know," Peter finishes for him, rolling his eyes as he crosses his arms over his chest. "Do you really think I'm an idiot?" He doesn't wait for them to answer that. "I know what I'm doing." 

"You're killing Stiles is what you're doing," Malia growls, moving to lunge at Peter. 

Scott quickly grabs her arm and holds her back, glancing at Isaac and silently asking for help. Isaac nods once and then swiftly pulls Malia back, making sure to keep a hold on her arms, despite his eyes flickering gold from his own anger. 

Then Scott turns back to Peter just as he rolls his eyes once more. "Malia's right. If you don't stop, Stiles will..." He has to pause, not wanting to say it. He swallows the lump that's risen in his throat. "You need to stop. I understand that you're angry with her, and you have every right to be. But this-" he gestures at Kate, too weak and tortured to even make a sound now, "-this isn't the solution. Killing her isn't going to make you feel any better." 

Peter scoffs, arms dropping to his sides. He stares at Scott incredulously. "Of course it will. You do remember she burned nearly my entire family alive, right?"

Scott clenches his jaw as he nods. Even he has to admit, Kate isn't exactly the nicest person. In fact, she's pretty far from it. But that doesn't mean he can let her die, especially not with Stiles' life on the line here as well. He opens his mouth but is cut off as Peter continues. 

"And you're not forgetting that she tried to kill us both on more than one occasion? Or that time she tried to kill all of your friends? Or how she literally kidnapped Stiles, your best friend, tortured him until he couldn't even speak and then bit him, nearly killing him and then turning him into a werefox. Oh and, you know, the whole trying to control him thing. Torturing him in his dreams and all the other lovely things she's done."

"Alright, you've made your point," Scott snaps, finally able to get a word in as Peter just stands there smirking. "Trust me, I'm not forgetting any of that. And that is exactly why I can't let you kill her." 

Isaac steps forward, eyes glued to Peter while he keeps his voice quiet and asks Scott, "Why don't we just kill him?"

Malia makes a noise of agreement and Peter glares at the both of them.

"Because that's not how we do this, remember?" Scott lets out a quiet sigh. "As much as I would like to." 

"You know, Scott," Peter isn't even looking at him, eyes on his hands as he slowly extends his claws. "I've always said that code of yours and your pesky morals, the way you see the world in black and white; good and evil, is going to become a problem some day. Going to get the people you care about hurt."

Scott tenses, not liking where this is going. He takes a small step, preparing to fight Peter if necessary. And by the looks of it, it's definitely going to be necessary. 

Peter finally looks over at him. "Guess today is that day." 

Then he's grabbing Kate by her throat, dragging her up the pillar and to her feet. She gasps and tries to claw at his hands but it's pointless. Peter's grinning as he looks Kate in the eyes, probably enjoying the fear that's practically radiating off of her and quickly filling the room. 

"No!" Scott's voice comes out as a growl and he's done trying to be calm, trying to reason with a sociopath.

His vision turns red as he shifts, claws replacing his nails and he bears his fangs. He doesn't even hesitate before lunging at Peter, hands curling into fists as he grabs his shirt and slams him into the wall. Scott can feel his claws digging into Peter's skin and for just a second, he likes it. 

But then Peter pushes back, eyes bright blue as he snarls. Scott's back hits one of the pillars. His feet lift off the ground just the slightest bit. Peter's hand moves to grip his throat, fingers squeezing tightly as his claws pierce Scott's skin. 

Out of the corner of his eye, Scott can see Malia and Isaac moving towards them, their anger making them lose control. He shakes his head as best he can, catching their eyes.

"No," he manages to force out, his voice strained as he struggles to even breathe, "don't." 

And they listen. They stop in their tracks but clearly want to do the exact opposite and help Scott - their alpha. But Scott's eyes dart to Kate, still slumped over and nearly unconscious and they follow his gaze. They seem to get what he's trying to say and Isaac slowly and cautiously makes his way towards her.

Peter just chuckles again, that cruel and malicious sound ringing in Scott's ears as he leans closer, apparently less interested in Kate now.

"You know, it's funny," he starts, licking his lips like a hungry animal. Which, Scott supposes he is. "When I bit you that night, I never would have guessed that you would turn out to be a true alpha. Or that you'd have your very own pack, one so loyal and protective." 

He spits the words, glancing over at Malia with a sort of disgust, Isaac now out of his line of sight as he attempts to get Kate to her feet. "You were supposed to be my beta. You were supposed to be part of my pack. You were meant to make me stronger, help me get revenge for my family." His grip on Scott's throat tightens and Scott's hands come up, grabbing Peter's wrist as he clenches his jaw. "Instead, you got me killed. And then, after everything I've done for you and your pathetic little friends despite making me out to be the villain in this whole situation, you decided not to tell me that Kate Argent is alive and breathing. And that you had the opportunity to kill her and instead, you let her escape." 

Scott just holds Peter's stare, determined to keep his attention away from Isaac, who now has one of Kate's arms over his shoulder while Malia moves to help him and slings the other over her own.

Peter growls and slams Scott's head into the pillar. A sharp pain shoots through his skull but he's not worrying. He can heal. Getting Kate away from Peter is the priority right now. 

"You don't even get it, do you?" Peter laughs but it lacks any hint of humour. "What, you think that saving Kate, keeping her alive, makes you a hero?" He shakes his head, leaning closer, lips barely inches away from Scott's ear. "It makes you a coward. You're refusing to do what's necessary because you have a code. But what you have to get into that idiotically moral little mind of yours is that Kate Argent is dangerous, more so now than ever. You refusing to let her die is only going to get more people hurt. Can you really handle that on your conscience, Scotty?" 

Scott shakes his head slowly and Peter flashes a twisted grin, clearly thinking he's won. But then Scott's eyes flicker from red back to brown and his grip on Peter's wrist tightens. All of the pent-up anger and hatred towards Peter that Scott has been trying to ignore for years for the sake of being civil, and for Derek, surfaces at just that one simple little word out of Peter's mouth.

"You're wrong." He begins pulling Peter's hand away from his throat, struggling only a little. "I'm not keeping her alive because of my code. None of this; coming here to find her, stopping you from killing her. None of it was to protect or save Kate because of my morals." He can see the confusion and slight panic in Peter's eyes as they dart from Scott's hand around his wrist to his face. Scott is the one who leans closer this time, voice dangerously low. "I'm here to save Stiles."

Scott can tell just by the wide-eyed look on Peter's face that he's realising how badly he's messed up this time. And for a second, just one second, he thinks that maybe Peter will actually back down. That he won't try to fight this any more than he already has. 

But then Peter clenches his jaw, lips pressing together in a tight smile. "Well, if you won't let me kill Kate, then I guess I'll just have to kill you too." He glances at Malia and Isaac, who are clearly struggling to keep Kate up, despite their combined supernatural strength. "All of you." 

Before Scott can stop him, Peter lunges for Kate, not caring if Malia and Isaac get in the way. He pulls his hand back to attack, claws out. Then he freezes. 

Scott's eyebrows draw together in confusion but before he can move, Peter falls to the ground. Completely knocked out with sparks of electricity flying off him. 

Scott's eyes widen, mouth opening and then closing as he looks at Peter. He lifts his gaze as movement catches his eye and relief washes over him at the sight of the person standing in front of them, allowing him to finally relax at least a little for the first time in hours.

Chris just stands there, staring at the electrified baton in his hand as he turns it over. Then he looks up and meets Scott's impressed, thankful, and still slightly shocked gaze.

"Sorry I'm late," he says, looking around the basement. "And that you had to suffer through Peter's terrible monologue; they're his own unique form of torture if you hadn't noticed." Chris' eyes linger for a second on Kate, and Scott can smell his concern. He can't really blame him; she is still his sister after all. Then he looks back over at Scott, lowering the baton. "Lydia called. She said you could use some help. By the looks of it, she was right."

Chapter Text

The door of the animal clinic swings open as Derek kicks it, hitting off the wall with a loud bang. He makes his way inside, a still very unconscious Stiles in his arms and Lydia hurrying behind them. He once again kicks his foot out, nearly knocking the small wooden barrier off its hinges as he moves past it and into the examination room where he knows Deaton is waiting. 

And sure enough, Deaton turns to face them as they enter the room. For just a second, he appears confused, his eyebrows drawing together as he watches Derek carefully set Stiles down on the table. But then the light above them begins to flicker, just like the lamp at Scott's house, and something seems to click in his mind. 

"How long?" He asks, moving to stand beside the table. When he doesn't get an immediate response, he looks up at them. "How long has he been like this?" He asks again, more urgent this time. 

"Uh-" Lydia glances at Derek, licking her lips as she tries to think. "About twenty minutes now. I think." 

"Good," Deaton mutters, eyes back on Stiles as he moves his hand to his chest. 

"Good?" Derek repeats incredulously. "How is any of this good?" 

Deaton doesn't answer, his eyes closing as he presses down harder on Stiles' chest. He can feel his heartbeat. It's slow but it's there. The thing that worries him though is the buzzing. He can feel it under his fingertips, in Stiles' chest and practically coursing through Stiles' body. It's like he's a ticking time bomb. Which in this case might actually be a rather accurate comparison. 

He pulls his hand back and looks up at Lydia and Derek, ignoring the impatient looks they're both sending him.

"You tried to break his connection to Kate, didn't you?" He asks, already knowing the answer.

Lydia hesitates, glancing at Derek again. But then she looks at Stiles, barely breathing as the light above them flickers. 

"Yes," she answers quietly. "We were - uh, trying to break his connection but then Allison called and we had to stop because Kate escaped." 

"Except she didn't really escape," Derek adds. "Peter took her." 

Deaton nods in understanding. "I thought as much." 

He doesn't answer Lydia and Derek's questioning looks as he turns and moves to the shelves where he keeps things he might need in case of an emergency like this one. His eyes scan over the various herbs and powders until he spots the ones he's looking for. He quickly mixes the dark purple powder with the clear, gel-like liquid. 

"Uh, I don't want to rush you or anything seeing as you're the expert here, but... would it be possible to maybe hurry this along a bit?" Lydia asks nervously. "Just because it kinda looks like Stiles is... well, not waking up but... something's definitely happening and I'm gonna guess it's not a good sign."

Deaton glances at Stiles over his shoulder. His head is slowly moving from side to side and his nails are growing, turning into claws.

"Just about done..." Deaton mutters as he turns back and holds the bottle up to examine it carefully.

He swirls the contents around a little to make sure it's properly mixed and then grabs a syringe, filling it up with the purple substance. 

When he turns back around, syringe in hand, he doesn't bother to spare Lydia and Derek a glance. He doesn't have time to answer their questions or ease their suspicions. He simply goes ahead, plunging the needle into Stiles' neck.

Derek steps forward and grabs Deaton's hand before he can push down on the plunger, fingers curling tightly around his wrist. Deaton sighs and looks up at Derek. He's met with bright blue eyes that hold a protectiveness he wasn't quite expecting. 

"What do you think you're doing?" Derek asks, his voice coming out as a growl. 

"I'm simply using a combination of wolfsbane and kanima venom to paralyze and weaken Stiles," Deaton answers calmly. "While he's in this state, there's no telling what he might do. Even unconscious a werefox has a connection to the alpha who turned them. They send signals into their minds and can force them to shift, do things that could result in them hurting not only themselves but everyone around them as well." 

"But we already told you, Peter took Kate. She might not even be alive at this point, never mind forcing Stiles to do anything," Derek says. 

Deaton shakes his head, glancing at Lydia. "No. Kate is still alive." 

"And how do you know that?" Derek questions, irritated.

"Because," Deaton shifts his gaze back to Derek, "there's a good chance that if she weren't, Stiles wouldn't be either."

Derek goes quiet at that. He glances back at Lydia as well, trusting her judgment - as a Banshee - more than Deaton's. She swallows and nods, telling him that Deaton's right. Kate is still alive.

As Derek turns back to Deaton, his grip on his wrist loosens and he lets him go, taking a small step back and allowing him the space he needs. 

"This isn't going to hurt him," Deaton promises, seeing how worried Derek and Lydia both are. "It's just a precaution to make sure that, if something goes wrong, he can't harm himself or any of us."

Derek's jaw clenches but he nods in understanding. 

Deaton then looks back down at Stiles and hesitates for just a split second. He should have just told them everything he knew to begin with when they asked him. Maybe they wouldn't be in this situation now if he had.

Then he carefully pushes down on the plunger, injecting the mixture of Wolfsbane and Kanima Venom into him. Its effect seems to be instant as the light stops flickering and Stiles' nails stop growing into claws.

"There," Deaton mutters, pulling the syringe out of Stiles' neck. 

He places it on the shelf behind him and then looks up at Derek and Lydia, catching their questioning looks. "For now, all we can do is wait for Scott to find Kate." 

--------------------------------

It's about twenty minutes later when Scott and Isaac rush into the clinic, holding Kate up between them. She can barely stand, her head hanging as she struggles to breathe, and her feet dragging on the ground. 

Derek quickly moves to help as they set her down in the nearest chair. He turns to Scott and the only thing he asks is, "Peter?" 

But Scott isn't looking at him. His eyes are focused on Stiles, laying perfectly still on the examination table. The worry and concern radiating off of him is too strong not to pick up. 

"Scott, he's gonna be fine," Derek tells him, setting a hand on his shoulder. 

"Are you sure?" He asks quietly, lifting his gaze to look at Derek. 

Derek doesn't answer straight away, his chest tightening as he tries to force himself to lie. He isn't sure that Stiles will be okay, he isn't sure that any of them actually know what they're doing anymore. And seeing Scott like this, so... helpless and afraid, it makes Derek think of that scared teenager he first met barely three years ago, who had no idea what he was doing or what was going on, and he just can't bring himself to lie again.

Scott understands Derek's silence perfectly though. He nods and looks away, blinking a few times more than necessary to get rid of the stinging in his eyes. 

"Uh-" he swallows, trying to get his words out without his voice cracking, "-so, what do we have to do?" 

His words seem to pull them all back to reality, all eyes focused on Deaton expectantly. He looks around at them all, clearly hesitant to speak, but why, none of them are sure.

Then he sighs, glancing at Stiles who only seems to be getting paler by the minute, all the colour slowly draining from his face as his chest barely moves.

"There is one last option," he says, his voice giving away his reluctance to explain further. But he makes the mistake of looking up and is met with the concerned and worried expressions of nearly everyone in the room.  

"What is it?" Scott urges. "What's the last option?" 

"It's dangerous. The chances of it working are very slim, and the possible consequences will be worse than you can imagine." He pauses, looking Scott directly in the eyes, silently pleading with him. "Scott, I know that you want to save Stiles. But this - I do not advise you to even consider this. It will only do more damage than good-"

"What other choice do we have?" Scott shoots back. "There's nothing else we can do. The one thing we could find that maybe could have worked was dangerous as well but we didn't get the chance to go through with it. We have to do something."

His voice tightens and his eyes flicker red for a split second. "I don't care how dangerous it is. If we don't do anything, Stiles is the one that gets hurt. Not us. And I can't - I won't lose Stiles."

Deaton shakes his head as he starts to say, "I'm not saying that-" 

"Stiles has put himself in danger over and over again. For us. He's nearly died so many times that I've lost count at this point and I hate it." His vision blurs slightly and he blinks back tears, ignoring the crack in his voice. "I was supposed to - to-"

Lydia steps towards him, voice gentle. "Scott, just listen, okay? You're worried. That's understandable - we all are. But maybe-" 

"No," Scott shakes his head, his eyebrows furrowing. "This keeps happening. Stiles always somehow gets hurt. How is that fair? We were supposed to - I was supposed to protect him. Make sure he never - that he never got hurt. But he's been hurt so many times. He's nearly died over and over again." 

"Scott, that isn't your fault," Isaac tries to tell him while keeping his distance. "None of this is. If anything, it's hers-" he points at Kate, slumped over in the chair. "Besides, Stiles can protect himself. It's not your job to l-" 

Scott shakes his head again, cutting Isaac off as he argues, "But I'm his best friend. I'm at least supposed to look out for him." 

"You do," Derek says. He waits until Scott is looking at him to continue, "Scott, everything you have done in the past six months has been to protect Stiles. Every decision, every single little thing. You have been doing everything you possibly can for him and he knows that." 

Scott continues shaking his head, squeezing his eyes shut as the tears escape, slipping down his face. "I should have been there. He shouldn't have been taken. He shouldn't have been bitten. We were supposed to - I was supposed to be there to protect him. None of this - none of it should've - it's not right."

Derek places his hands on his shoulders, shaking him a little as he says, "Hey, listen to me, okay?" He waits for Scott to nod before continuing. "There was nothing you could have done to stop what happened. We all feel guilty about it. But Stiles is still alive, and right now, we need to figure out how to save him." He looks Scott in the eyes. "Alright? Let's just... let's figure this out. Together." 

The room is silent again other than the quiet sound of breathing as they all wait for Scott to respond. Then he's nodding, eyes still wet with tears as he looks at Derek but he doesn't say anything other than a quiet, "Okay." 

"I still strongly advise against this," Deaton warns them as a last attempt to change their minds. But one look from Derek and he sighs. "But if you're going to go through with it, I must warn you once more. It's dangerous and could have terrible consequences. It may not even work considering the weak state both Stiles and Kate are in."

"We get it," Lydia says. "And we're willing to take the risk and deal with whatever consequences it has." 

Deaton pauses to make sure they're all in agreement on that. When it's clear they are as no one argues, he nods slowly and then turns his back on them, searching his shelves once more. He reaches to the very back and when he faces them again, he's grasping a small wooden box about the size of his hand. 

There's an engraving on the top of it that Scott doesn't recognise, and one look at Derek tells him that he doesn't either. None of them bother to ask about it. 

Deaton opens the box to reveal two vials, both filled with a similar murky grey substance. He places the box down, holding onto the vials as he takes a deep breath, looking up to meet Scott's eyes. 

"You're sure about this?" He asks one last time. 

Scott doesn't hesitate before nodding. "Just tell us what to do."

"Alright then." He holds up the vials. "These have to be injected into both Stiles and Kate at exactly the same time. Even one second off and it could mess the entire thing up. There's already enough to worry about with this, we don't want to make it worse because we got the timing wrong." 

They all show that they understand as Deaton continues. "Now, the real problem we're going to have is after they're both injected. The wolfsbane and Kanima venom that I injected Stiles with earlier? It's going to wear off straight away, as soon as this is in his system." 

"I'm not really seeing the problem," Isaac speaks up. 

Deaton looks over at him as he says, "When that happens, any sort of message, any signal that Kate has been trying to send to Stiles, every emotion and bit of pain that either of them may have experienced recently will instantly overwhelm his mind. He may lose control of himself. Meaning-" 

"Meaning his fox side and the part of the Nogitsune still inside him will have the opportunity to take control," Derek finishes for him.

"Oh," Isaac says, nodding slowly. "Yeah, that could be a problem." 

"Well, how do we stop that from happening?" Lydia asks, directing the question at Deaton. "Surely there's got to be some way to make sure Stiles keeps control." 

Deaton begins to shake his head then pauses. He glances at Derek and the two of them seem to have a silent conversation, Derek's eyebrows furrowing before Deaton glances at Scott and it's like a realisation washes over him. 

Scott, Lydia, and Isaac are left confused, having no idea what's going on as their impatience grows a little. They don't really have time for whatever's going on as Stiles' skin has barely any colour left in it and his heartbeat has somehow gotten even slower than before. Not only that but Kate's barely breathing now as well and still bleeding from whatever torture Peter put her through.

Lydia is surprisingly the first to snap. "Would either of you like to fill us in on what's going on?" She asks, throwing her arms out as she stares at them both. "Because I'm not sure if you're aware of this, although you certainly should be, none of us have the ability to read minds and we're kinda on a time limit over here." 

"Uh - Yeah," Derek says, glancing at Deaton again, who just sends him a small shake of his head. "Don't worry, we know what we're doing." 

Scott and Lydia both gape at him like he's gone crazy while Isaac just scoffs and mutters, "Oh this is gonna be great." 

"Well, we'd kinda like to know what the plan is?" Lydia says like that should be obvious. 

"I said don't worry. Now," Derek turns back to Deaton, missing the incredulous looks Scott and Lydia send him. "Is there a certain way we need to do this or...?" 

Deaton shakes his head, still holding onto the vials. "No. It can be injected anywhere, although the neck is usually best." 

Derek nods in understanding as he crosses his arms over his chest. "Right. Well, how are we doing this?" He asks, looking around at them all. When he doesn't get a response, he sighs, rolls his eyes, and asks, "One of us has to inject Kate, and someone else has to inject Stiles. Who's taking who?" 

There's a brief moment of silence as they all consider it. Isaac is the first to awkwardly raise his hand a little and say, "I don't really feel like dying today but I still think that Stiles is the safer option. I can do it for him." 

"No," Scott immediately snaps. He quickly backtracks, letting his eyes close for a second before opening them again and looking at Isaac. "I don't want you to get hurt. And besides, you don't exactly..." he hesitates to find the right words. "Like him."

Isaac doesn't try to argue, just shrugs. "Fair point," he says, clearly happy to be left out of the whole thing entirely as he hops up onto the counter next to him. 

Lydia glances around, licking her lips as she shakes her head. "Yeah, I don't really think it'd be such a great idea for me to do it. I'm not exactly strong enough to keep him under control and talking to him definitely won't do the trick." 

Nobody tries to protest, in agreement with her and not wanting the only other person in the room who can't heal to get hurt. So, it's then down to Derek, Scott, and Deaton. Derek goes to offer to do it but Scott stops him. 

"It should be me who does it," he says. "That way if something goes wrong..." He trails off, not wanting to even finish that thought. 

Derek nods in understanding and glances at Deaton as he fills two syringes with the contents of the vials. Then he takes one of them from him, something passing between them while Scott takes the other, barely even looking at either of them. 

Derek moves to stand beside Kate and bends down, gently tilting her head up and moving her hair away from her neck as he positions the syringe. 

Scott stands beside Stiles, pausing for a second to just listen. The sound of his heart still beating, so slow and so close to being dead but still there, is exactly what Scott was looking for. He then carefully positions the syringe at Stiles' neck, the needle pushing against his skin but not quite piercing it yet. He silently begs his hands to stop shaking as he takes a deep, shaky breath and then meets Derek's eyes. 

They both nod and then they're pushing the needles in and pressing down, injecting them at the same time. As soon as it's done, Scott pulls the needle back out of Stiles' neck, discarding it on the table without a second thought. His eyes dart over his face, searching for any sign of him waking up. 

There's a gasp for air from the other side of the room and Scott looks up, watching as Kate's eyes shoot open and she reaches out, grabbing blindly at the nearest thing which just so happens to be Derek. Her chest heaves as she sucks in deep breaths, desperate for air, and grips Derek's arm tightly. 

Scott looks back down at Stiles, panic and fear taking over. He screws his eyes shut, listening for Stiles' heartbeat. 

"He's - he's not - why can't I hear anything?" Scott glances up at Derek as he takes hold of Stiles' hand, trying to draw pain or feel for a pulse or anything else that will tell him that Stiles is still alive. "There's no heartbeat. There's nothing." 

"Scott..." Deaton places a hand on his shoulder with a solemn look on his face as Scott looks up at him.

"No," Scott says, shaking his head frantically. He turns back to Stiles, gripping his hand tighter as the other moves to his neck, clinging to him desperately. "No. He's not - he can't be - he's - no." 

A choked cry escapes Lydia from the other side of the table, a hand covering her mouth as tears roll down her cheeks. Scott looks up at her, eyes stinging again as he silently begs her to tell him he's wrong, that Stiles is still alive. But she doesn't say anything. She just turns away as Derek pulls himself out of Kate's grip and wraps his arms around Lydia, pulling her into a tight hug.

Scott's eyes drift back down to Stiles and the realisation hits him like a wave. His vision blurs with tears as he cries, shaking his head over and over again, still clinging to Stiles like it might bring him back. His body shakes, trembling, his throat sore and burning as he chokes out apology after apology, begging Stiles to just wake up, telling him he can't leave him like this. 

Derek tries to comfort him, tell him it wasn't his fault, his arms still around Lydia and his own face wet with tears. The pain that fills the air is too much, clouding Scott's mind and making it hard to breathe. He doesn't care. The cries just keep coming, heart-wrenching and filling the small room as he begs Stiles to please just open his eyes.

Lydia turns, her back to Derek but not moving away from him as she mutters, "I don't understand..." Her eyebrows furrow. Her voice catches in her throat as she struggles to get the words out and shakes her head. "I don't - I can't feel it... He shouldn't be dead." 

"What do you mean you can't feel it?" Deaton questions. 

"I mean..." she shakes her head again. "Every other time someone's... died-" she nearly chokes on the word, "-I've always had this feeling. Like, it's - it's cold. But not just cold; it's like - my entire body is freezing, even my mind. And - all I want to do is scream. But it's not - I don't - it doesn't feel the same. I don't feel any of that." 

Scott looks up at her, his cries now coming out as uneven, ragged breaths. "Then - what does that mean?" He glances at Deaton. "Why doesn't it feel the same?" 

Deaton shakes his head, eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he stares down at Stiles' lifeless body. "I don't know..." He mutters. 

"Is he... not dead?" Isaac asks cautiously, his voice surprisingly hoarse as wipes his face with his sleeve.

"I don't-" Deaton doesn't get to finish his sentence, cut off by a low growl. 

They all look at Kate, her hair now hanging in front of her face as her claws dig into the arm of the chair she's sitting on. She lets out another growl. Then she lifts her head, eyes glowing bright green and face slowly shifting, her skin becoming a dark purple.

Derek immediately pushes Lydia behind him while Isaac jumps down from the counter, eyeing Kate warily. Scott straightens up a little, hands still holding onto Stiles but eyes on Kate as she looks around at them all. 

Her eyes stop on Stiles. They all see the recognition that flashes in her eyes and then she's trying to get up, trying to move towards him. Derek and Isaac quickly push her back down, clearly having to use supernatural strength to do it. 

"What's happening to her?" Lydia asks quietly, taking a step back and nearly hitting the metal table. 

"I warned you of the effects this would have," Deaton reminds them as he blindly reaches behind him. "She's losing control of herself. The only thing that's familiar to her will be Stiles since she turned him." 

"You said it would happen to Stiles!" Isaac shouts as he and Derek struggle to keep a hold on Kate. "You didn't mention we'd have to deal with a psychotic jaguar who wants to kill us!" 

Deaton hesitates, a syringe filled with kanima venom now held tightly in his hand. He glances at Scott, tilting his head as if apologetically. "I expected Stiles to be the one that survives this." 

"Wait, the one?" Scott asks, eyebrows furrowing. "You mean that..." 

Deaton swallows, his eyes falling closed for a second as he nods. "Yes. The chances of both of them surviving were... well, practically nonexistent. Only one usually ever comes out of this alive. Although, most of the time none survive it at all." 

"And you never thought to tell us that? That there was a fifty-fifty chance of Stiles being the one that survives?" Derek accuses, his eyes flashing blue. 

Kate pushes up, still trying to get free. Derek clenches his jaw and turns back to her, his fangs appearing as he growls. She stops for a second, looking up at him. Then she's growling back, struggling even harder. 

"Can we maybe discuss this later?" Isaac asks through his teeth as Kate digs her claws into his arm. "Right now, we have to deal with the one that's alive and trying to kill us." 

Deaton nods in agreement, handing the syringe to Scott. He takes it but doesn't move, just staring down at it. 

"Scott!" Derek shouts, trying to get his attention as he begins to lose his grip on Kate. 

"Why shouldn't we just kill her?" Scott asks, his voice nearly void of emotion. "It's not like she doesn't deserve it."

He misses the incredulous looks they all send him. Or maybe he just doesn't care anymore.

"Scott," Lydia's voice is gentle but urgent as she glances at Kate worriedly. "We can't. You know that." She pauses, waiting for Scott to say something or come to his senses. When he still doesn't move, she continues, taking a small step towards him. "Scott, I know how you feel right now. Stiles is..." 

She swallows, closing her eyes for a second before forcing herself to continue, looking at Scott. "We can't-" 

Kate manages to get free from Derek and Isaac, knocking them both to the ground as she lets out a deafening roar. The whole room seems to shake from the force of it. Scott's forced to cover his ears, dropping the syringe as he tries to block it out, tries to fight back against it. 

Out of the corner of his eyes, he can see Derek and Isaac doing the same. Even Lydia has her hands pressed against her ears to block it out, blood trickling through her fingers. 

Scott's the only who has the most control over himself, his head pounding and buzzing and the wolf side of him wanting to take over. But he forces himself not to give in, staring straight at Kate as he clenches his jaw. 

She stops, now fully turned. Then she begins to make her way towards Scott, only her eyes aren't on him. They're on Stiles. She comes to a stop in front of the examination table, staring down at him.

Scott glances behind her, watching Derek and Isaac struggle back to their feet but hesitate to try and attack her. He quickly looks over at Lydia and Deaton, making sure they're both okay. Then his eyes are back on Kate. 

Her head tilts to the side. She slowly begins to reach out a hand. Her fingers barely brush Stiles' arm before Scott's fingers wrap tightly around her wrist. Her eyes dart up to meet his, confusion and anger mixing together. She growls, low and warning him to back off. 

But Scott shakes his head, his grip tightening as he blinks and his eyes turn red. He stares directly into her glowing green eyes that seem to have more life now than when she was human. "Get away from him," he says quietly, half coming out as a growl of his own. 

She bares her fangs to respond with another growl, a second warning. But it gets caught in her throat as Scott quickly cuts her off, mouth opening as he roars and squeezes her wrist tighter. 

Her face scrunches, fingers curling into her palms and drawing blood as she's forced to her knees. Scott roars again, wanting her to suffer. If it weren't for her, they would never have been in this situation. Stiles would still be alive. But just as he does, there's a noise from behind him. From Stiles.

Scott instantly turns his attention away from Kate. He lets go of her wrist and he moves back to Stiles' side. His eyes search desperately, just like the first time, and his hand is once again gripping Stiles'. But this time, he can feel it. Stiles' heart beating, slow at first and then speeding up as his chest rises and falls, his skin slowly starting to regain some of its colour.

"Stiles?" Scott whispers hopefully. His other hand moves to Stiles' head, his fingers tangling in his hair as he grips his hand tightly. "Come on, Stiles. Just wake up. Open your eyes. Please, Stiles."

A few seconds pass, the held and slightly uneven breaths of everyone in the room the only thing filling the silence as they all wait for something to happen. Then Stiles' eyes fly open, glowing bright orange as he gasps for air, his chest heaving just like Kate's did as he sucks in a deep breath. 

His eyes dart around, quickly landing on Scott. There's a flicker of recognition, confusion, panic. So many emotions at once. Then he swallows, his mouth dry and voice barely a whisper as he asks, "Scotty?"