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In These Hallowed Halls. (Among The Doomed And The Damned, We Found What People Yearn For.)

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In this world, magic is well known. How could it not be? A person has something descriptive regarding their soulmate magically tattoed onto their body once they meet them; it would be hard to ignore the fantastical nature of such an occurrence.

In this world, because of this, werewolves are not hidden. Hunters are regulated and part of the police force, and therefore require the same background checks – though they are admittedly more like an army than anything else.

After all, if something like the Anuk-Ite got free, you couldn’t exactly arrest it now, could you?

So, in this world, various things didn’t happen. In this world, various things happened.

Some of them are unimportant. Many are, of course, in a background sense.

But some things stay the same.

Malia was still adopted.

Claudia still died.

They are similar people, if not the same. The dread doctors died years ago, for example, so there is no way for Donovan to be given enough power to be a danger.

(Creating betas is a regulated process, too. It requires you to be of age and sound of mind because it is a life-changing decision. It transforms you, forever, into something else. Something super-human in nature.)

For another, Malia’s mother was caught and killed a few months prior to Malia’s return to humanity. Perhaps this is why, in this world, she finds it easier to control her shift.

Or, perhaps it is that in this world, her father doesn’t think her crazy for ‘thinking’ she was a coyote for the past nine years.

(That, however, doesn’t stop him from not knowing what to do with her.)

Despite the world knowing about the supernatural, knowing about druids and shifters and beasts and banshees and the science of magic, that doesn’t stop the Nogitsune from being a danger.

It just stops Stiles from having to worry about people thinking he’s the one murdering people.

(But it does mean he’s more aware. There are mandatory classes about possession in every school, since the incident in ’02, ’19, ’21, ’34, ’40, and the incident at Oak Creek…)

Stiles puts himself away the second he puts two and two together.

Malia shows up two days into his stay. The nogitsune has been quiet, for now. He’s not sure why, but he’s not about to question it.

“Malia,” Stiles says, when he sees her at lunch. Scott’s been visiting, and due to the nature of Stiles’ detainment here, he was allowed to help with the investigation and rescue of the lost coyote girl.

(Eichen house is one of the relevant changes. As a facility for the supernatural to go if they are a danger to others, or for the possessed, or for the simply mentally ill, it has higher regulations than a lot of the other places in the world. In this universe, it’s actually quite nice.

Nobody has tried to commit suicide in the asylum and succeded – there is always that caveat you gloss over in the fine text, after all - since it opened. A record, considering it’s canon counterpart.)

Malia stares at him, and Stiles winces, scratches at his side.

“I’m Stiles. A friend of Scott’s…” He offers, hesitant. He’s never met Malia before; he didn’t promise to help and then abandon that promise.

Malia doesn’t punch him. She stares, quietly, then slides into the seat across from him.

“You know each other?”

“Not now, Oliver,” Stiles says, and Oliver quietens. He’s a nice enough guy, Stiles supposes, but he’s more dangerous than he seems.

“You know Scott?” Malia asks, simple.

Stiles nods. “He’s my best friend,” Stiles tells her, response automatic.

“He gave me a shirt,” Malia says. “I’ve still got it. I’ll give it to you once we’re out.”

Stiles blinks at her.

“It’s yours,” Malia says. “It smells like you.”

“Oh.” Stiles nods. “Okay, then. Sure.” He says.

Malia offers a smile. A small one; closed lipped and more of a quirk upwards, but it’s pretty all the same. Stiles smiles back, sort of.

His side is still bothering him, but Stiles ignores it.

(It’s probably nothing.)

(Obviously, it is not nothing.)


 

Stiles has a session with Morrell that evening. Not for her French teacher side, or her psychiatrist side (though she can’t help but have that side show up in all aspects of her life, of course) but for her druidic one.

The one that was trained in how to deal with nogitsunes.

“Have you ever meditated before?” Morrell asks.

Stiles almost laughs. “ADHD, remember?” Stiles asks, rhetorically.

“You can still try,” Morrell says. “Because you need to. It’s either that or another ice bath.” She adds, pointedly.

“I think I’d prefer the ice bath,” Stiles grumbles, but he sighs and nods, acquiesces.  

“Copy me.” Morrell instructs, and sits across from him, cross-legged.

Stiles mimics her position.

“Take deep breaths,” Morrell says. “In for four, out for seven.”

Stiles does as she says.

“Close your eyes,” Morrell advises, and Stiles does so, because he wants to get this over and done with as quickly as possible.

This is nothing he hasn’t done before, with various other psychiatrists. Clinically diagnosed anxiety usually means they’ll try and find calming techniques – Stiles never really did well with the ones that required he just sit there, because those let him think.

“Visualise an empty room. It stretches on for miles, and it’s a blank, white canvas…” Morrell says, voice smooth, and Stiles lets it wash over him as he does so – and if there’s one thing Stiles is good at, it’s imagining things that aren’t real.

Stiles can’t exactly visualise nothingness, though. He uses the ice bath induced shared headspace as a template, and works from there.

“Now visualise it building up,” Morrell says, “Let it build itself. What kind of room do you see?”

Stiles still sees the blank shared headspace, but he simply lets his mind wander, for a moment. The room shrinks; the walls close in and the ceiling lowers.

“My bedroom,” Stiles says. “There are cork boards everywhere. String connecting blurred pictures, a couch where my bed should be.”

“Good.” Morrell says. “Now… sleep.”

She doesn’t say sleep, of course. But that’s what Stiles hears, and that’s what he does.

Morrell lowers the teen onto the floor and tidies up her supplies, then returns to her desk.

“Enter,” She calls, and Malia comes in, shuts the door behind herself.

“Good,” Morrell nods. “You remember basic manners.”

Malia scoffs and sits down, frowns petulantly across at Morrell.

“Have you had any troubles with shifting recently? Morrell asks, straight to the point.

Malia seems distracted, head tilted as she quite obviously sniffs the air.

“Stiles is here,” She says. “Or was here.” Malia glances around the room, and narrows her eyes, sniffs the air once more.

“Why is he behind your desk?” Malia asks, unconcerned for the most part, but there is a line between her brows one might call worry if they were feeling generous.

“Meditating,” Morrell says. “Now, back to you. Have you had trouble shifting?” Morrell repeats, and Malia seems mollified as she relaxes back into her seat, and shrugs. “I can’t,” Malia says, and Morrell leans forwards; concerned, intrigued. “I see,” Morrell murmurs.

“Well,” Morrell nods. “Hold out your hand,” She instructs, and Malia does so, if reluctantly.

“As a werecoyote, your fingernails should transform into claws at your command.” Morrell says. “Those who are more in control can even do individual nails. Or, of course, those who are more desperate.”

Malia nods. “So what do I do?” She asks, eager to learn. This Malia is no less eager to return to her coyote form than the one from before – This Malia knows her birth mother was an assassin and is dead and that her birth father had no idea she existed because her biological aunt removed all memories of her from him, and that doesn’t exactly warm her to humanity.

But her bio dad promised to visit, and to introduce her to her cousins, and Talia has been instructed to stay the hell away from my family because even in this world, Peter and Talia do not get along. So Malia has something to hold onto, at least, and it’s healthier than a hook-up in the basement of a mental institution.

(Not that that isn’t going to happen. But that that will be much healthier than it was in canon.)

“Concentrate,” Morrell instructs. “Focus on turning your fingernails into claws.”

Malia tries, and she tries really hard, but nothing happens.

“We’ll try again tomorrow.” Morrell nods, and Malia takes that as her cue to leave, but she hesitates.

“Is he okay?” Malia asks, and it’s slightly awkward but Morrell mentally smiles because it means the girl didn’t loose her ability to feel concern for other people during her time with the brain of a coyote.

“He will be,” Morrell tells her, because that is true.

Malia takes this answer and nods, then is gone through the door before anything else can be said.

Morrell turns back to Stiles, and waits.

Stiles is in this facsimile of his bedroom, with it’s odd couch and blurry photographs, and he’s siting there, staring at the door.

The door that’s ajar. Open.

He needs to close it, but he can’t close it with the Nogitsune in here. He needs to kick the nogitsune out the door, and then lock it. Lock it tight, so nothing else can ever get in here ever again.

He doesn’t want to hurt his friends.

Stiles stands and looks around the room, drags his fingers along the red string as he walks towards the cork board on the left.

He’s got to start somewhere, after all.

It doesn’t take too long to find a discrepancy.

Stiles finds a yearbook; in it, there are photos of people he knows, with their names and a quote that sounds like Stiles’ thoughts about them written underneath.

‘punchable-y pretty’  Is under a few people, and Stiles rolls his eyes at himself.

Stiles finds the discrepancy on the fourth-to-last page. He would have missed it if he’d have flicked over a page further than he had.

Stiles resolves to not flick through books after this. You might miss something important.

Stiles picks at the corner of a photo of a person he doesn’t recognise.

Corporal Rhys.

A dead man tells no tales.

Literally what the shit? Stiles frowns, and peels off the photo, then nearly drops the book.

Stiles does drop the book when he realises the fly isn’t a picture, but he grabs the creature before it can move, squeezes it hard in his palm.

The nogitsune is a fly. Small, unassuming. Something ignorable.

Stiles has decided he despises flies. Fuck ‘em.

Stiles pointedly ignores the struggles of the fly in his palm – he simply crushes it harder and stomps over to the door, then shoves it through and slams it shut, pulls the deadbolt across and locks it, then steps back.

Stiles nods, returns to the couch, and lies down.

Job done.

It took a long time for that technique for nogitsune removal to be discovered. It’s not the be all and end all; there are some side effects. After all, the nogitsune was just ripped out, but the stuff it altered still remains, there’s just no evil fly there to hold the reigns.

Still. Stiles wouldn’t find that out for a long time – perhaps never, if he were so lucky as to never kill anyone.

(In this world, that happens more often than people like to admit.)

Stiles sits up, groggy and tired, and heavy-feeling.

“I take it the nogitsune is gone?” Morrell asks, and Stiles nods, hesitant but hopeful, in a way he hasn’t been for a while.

It took a long time for the hunters to realise Gerard was rogue, and that he’d converted a lot of their better agents, like Kate and Victoria. Even Allison, for a short time, but she was young, and forgivable. After all, he’d manipulated her via the use of her mother’s death, and she wasn’t technically a hunter yet. You couldn’t exactly put all the blame on her shoulders for that.

Kate and Victoria are dead. That’s usually what happens when you work with the kind of person Gerard is.

Funny, that the bite he wanted ultimately killed him, but not before he could kill his accomplices.

(Still. Stiles isn’t exactly complaining, as bad as it sounds. He knows what it’s like to loose your mother, after all, so maybe he should be more sympathetic, but it’s a little difficult when she looked the other way while her husband’s father was beating you up and torturing your friends with electricity. Even helped, to an extent.)

“Then we’re done here.” Morrell says. “You are still booked in here for at least another week, however.”

“Why?” Stiles asks. “Because that’s when the amount of time you’ve paid for runs out.” Morrell says.

“Oh.” Stiles nods. “… I guess we don’t get a refund for the days we don’t use, huh?”

“No.” Morrell says, flatly. “Also,” She adds, and takes some bottles from her drawer. “Your prescripton.”

Stiles nods in thanks, grateful, and takes the bottles. “Make sure you take the correct amount,” Morrell warns. “No more, no less.”

Stiles nods, knowing full well that once he’s out of here he’s not going to have the luxury of doing that so he’s gonna simply take what he can get, and goes to leave the room.

“Be careful,” Morrell says. “And make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Stiles doesn’t bother replying, he simply leaves the room.


 

“Why are you still here, then?” Malia asks, the next morning.

“What?” Stiles blinks, says through a mouthful of food, then hastily swallows. “What?” He repeats, clearer.

“Why are you still here, since Morrell said you’re clear,” Malia repeats, states.

“Oh,” Stiles shrugs. “Well, for one the money we payed for this isn’t going to magically reappear, so I might as well stay for the rest of the time, you know, just in case,” Stiles tells her.

Malia nods and resumes eating her food, a slight wrinkle to her nose showing her distaste for it.

“Don’t like the food?” Stiles asks.

“I miss deer,” Malia says, glumly, through her mush. Stiles isn’t exactly sure what the food is, but it’s about as good as the food in the canteen, which is to say it’s fucking shit.

“Venison,” Stiles says, absently.

“What now?” Malia asks, and stiles shrugs. “The meat you get from deer. Venison.”

“Oh.” Malia blinks. “Well, I miss that, then.”

Stiles nods, and the two continue eating in what is a surprisingly comfortable slience, considering their lack of familiarity with one another and the place they’re in.

Well. To be fair, Stiles has been here for at least a week or so. Malia’s only been here for a couple days.

That night, Stiles finds Malia in the boys’ shower room.

“Uhm.” Stiles says, then turns around. Oh, but there’s mirrors. He turns, and faces the door, and definitely doesn’t look at her in his peripheral vision.

There are some words on her shoulder blade, but there’s too much steam. Really, Stiles can’t see anything.

“Stiles I – don’t care,” Malia says, as if she can’t see why he would think she would, or why he might think she should.

“Oh?” Stiles asks, unsure of what to say.

“There aren’t boys and girls’ rooms in the woods,” Malia says, and Stiles knows that, obviously.

“Well, why are you in here, anyway?” Stiles asks. “Why not the girls’ room?”

“Because it’s cold in there.” Malia says. “And it’s hot in here.”

“I think the steam makes that obvious,” Stiles says, and he can’t see it, but Malia smiles.

“Yeah,” She says. Stiles winces.

“So, uh –” Stiles starts, but he doesn’t finish, as Malia chooses then to finish showering and simply walk out into the main area, blasé as you please, completely and utterly naked.

“Uh.” Stiles says, scratches the side of his head.

“Now you’re staring,” Malia points out – almost teasingly, but it’s a little too matter-of-fact for that.

“No,” Stiles denies, looks away.

“Look,” Malia says. “We’re both in a place we don’t actually need to be right now, and I’m bored.” She shrugs.

“… The basement’s off limits?” Stiles offers, and Malia smiles.

Chapter Text

It's not hard to imagine how they get into the basement because we don't need to imagine it. Stiles and Malia are both slated for release rather soon, so they're not watched as closely as other patients, and so they can get away with more. 

Basically - it goes similarly to that of the canon plan, except it goes more smoothly than it did there. 

Once they're in the basement, Malia shuts the door and locks it as Stiles meanders around, has a look at the filing cabinets and the couch and the rest of the room. It's not as run-down as he'd thought it might have been. The couch looks relatively new and the filing cabinets are neat and orderly. There is a desk and a computer; an old-ish looking one from maybe the early 2000s, and considering all it's for is for keeping track of where paperwork is, Stiles supposes they don't really need a new one. 

"Something smells strange," Malia says. Peter, in his visits, has been instructing her and it's gone better than Morrell's attempts at trying to get her to shift.

One step at a time. Get her to do the simple stuff first, ease her into the shift. So she doesn't get stuck again. 

"Like what?" Stiles asks.

"Like death," Malia says. She knows what that smells like.

"...Ah," Stiles responds, kind of, looks around as if to try and spot it. "Where, exactly?"

Malia shrugs. "I can't do that yet," she admits. "Tracking."

"Well, hopefully, it's just a dead rat or something," Stiles mutters, then wanders on over to the filing cabinets and flicks through the folders within the first drawer he reaches for.

"That was... kind of fun," Malia says. "Figuring out how to get in here."

"Enacting the plan?" Stiles continues on from what she said, and he flashes a smile in her direction.

Malia can't help but smile back, at least a little. 

"Yeah," Malia nods. 

"I've found it tends to be more fun than the result," Stiles says. 

Malia looks around. "Seems so," She says. The smell is still thick on the air, but she can tell it's old. Like whatever died here died a long time ago.

But that doesn't stop that 'whatever' from still being here, which is... creepy.

"I think something's buried here," Malia says, suddenly. That was the smell, she realised - the kind of smell she could scent at a graveyard near a freshly buried grave, but amplified - not hidden under six feet of earth and encased in solid wood. 

Still muffled, though. Like it's behind something.

"Maybe it's in the walls," Stiles says, dryly, and Malia frowns, wanders over and drags her hand along, to check.

"I was - ... joking," Stiles says, slows as she comes to a halt and more obviously sniffs the air around a particular section of wall.

"Get over here," Malia says, grabs a pipe and lightly tosses it to him once he arrives next to her.

"Thanks?" Stiles offers, confused, as he takes the pipe in hand. Malia curls her hand into a fist.

"I think it's behind here," She says, and Stiles nods, slowly, and grips the pipe more firmly.

"Alright," Stiles says. "Casual vandalism time, then."

The two make a shared effort to break down the wall, and it doesn't take too long. Malia shakes her hand after the last punch, and after Stiles puts down the pipe he asks if he can see.

"I'm not hurt," She says, though he checks just in case. "I'm a werecoyote, remember?"

"One who can't control her power," Stiles says, lets go. "But yeah, you're fine."

"And that's a dead body," Stiles adds, once he turns to look. "... gross." He mutters, then frowns, leans forward. "Hey, that's - but that can't be possible..." Stiles continues, under his breath. There's this photo Malia can see; an old one, aged and torn. On it is a picture of a few people - a pretty asian girl, a fairly handsome man, and Malia can't make out the rest in this lighting. 

"That's Kira," Stiles tells her. "Or, at least, she looks like Kira."

"Maybe it's her mom," Malia says. "Or an ancestor."

"Yeah, she is a kitsune," Stiles muses. "Mrs. Yukimura could be... really old," He shakes his head, amused. Stiles reaches forward and takes the photo quickly, so as to keep his hand in the vicinity of the dead body for as little time as is possible.

"I'll give it to her," Stiles says. "Then Kira can see if it really is her mom."

Malia nods, and Stiles glances back at the dead body, then sighs.

"We should cover that," He says, and Malia goes over to the other side of the basement and grabs a sheet from the box of spare sheets. 

"Will this do?" She asks, and Stiles shrugs. "Well, I mean, they're not gonna miss the broken wall, but at least they won't have to get an eyeful of rotting dead guy, so yeah. That works."

"You seem happier today," Malia says. "Morrell said you'd be alright. Are you?"

"Well, there's no evil fly in my head any longer, so I'd say yes, vehemently." Stiles nods, as he takes the sheet she hands over to 2him. 

Stiles throws the sheet over the rotting body, and Malia wanders over to the couch, then sits on it. 

"That's good," she says. 

"Not before the wolf lichen wore of, however," Stiles sighed.

"Wolf lichen?" Malia asks. "Oh," Stiles nods as he sits down next to her. "Right. Posession classes don't start until high school, I forgot you wouldn't know. I was possesed by a Nogitsune," Stiles tells her. "Wolf Lichen is a way to keep the fox at bay - they poison you with it."

"Oh." It's Malia's turn to say. "Pleasant."

"Not really," Stiles grumbles, rubs at the side of his neck.

"Can I see?" Malia asks, and Stiles shrugs. "Sure," He says, turns, and she lifts the back of his shirt.

It's not pretty - there are these lines that look like brusing spanning the upper half of his back, and Malia can see that they spread around the side of his neck, too. Malia drops his shirt, and he turns back around.

"Does it hurt much?" She asks, and he hesitates. "Kind of," Stiles says, "But in a weird way. It should wear off in an hour or so. I'd be getting my dosage now if it weren't for the fact that the evil fox is gone."

Malia nods, and that's that conversation done with. 

"There's writing on your side." Malia says. "Do you have a soulmate?"

"What-" Stiles frowns, and lifts his shirt, and lo and behold, there is writing there, along with a helpful drawing.

"Well that's detailed," Stiles says. "And uh - ... not that I know of."

"That's a coyote," Malia says. "I guess it's me, then."

"... Huh." Stiles mutters. "Do you...?"

"You said there was something on my shoulder," Malia says, turns around and takes off her top. "Anything?"

"Yeah." Stiles nods. "No drawing, and it's not too descriptive, but my real name's on there so... yeah."

"Hmm." Malia hums, turns and leans back against the couch cushions. Stiles mimics her and tries his best to ignore that she hasn't put her shirt back on. 

"It's warm down here," Malia says. "It's nice."

"What's with that?" Stiles asks. "I mean - you showering in the guy's room because the waters warmer, you know, that."

"I feel really cold," Malia tells him. "I used to have a fur coat and now I - don't, and I'm not used to it."

"Oh," Stiles says, then sits up properly. Malia mimics him, turns towards him slightly. "Here," Stiles says, and takes her hands in his.

Malia stares at him. "Well, you weren't kidding," Stiles says, and Malia lets out the slightest of laughs, and smiles properly for a brief moment. 

Malia continues staring, and when he glances up towards her, says "What?", she thinks she likes him enough.

Malia leans forward and kisses him - soft, simple. Stiles stares for a moment, surprised, then closes his eyes, tilts his head slightly so their noses aren't squished.

Malia leans back and Stiles says "Was that your first kiss?"

Malia nods. "Well..." Stiles hesitates. "Was it good?"

Malia nods again. "... You wanna try again?"

Malia smiles and leans back in.