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My Soul Is Gone

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My Soul Is Gone

Stiles is unsurprised that Scott has no interest in finding the dead body in the woods. Anything that has to do with death — or really, anything that has to do with nighttime and all its unknowns in general — means Scott has no interest. Which, considering Scott wants to be a vet, is kind of ironic, as death is par for the course with animals whose lifespan is considerably shorter than the average human.

It is the thing of moments, however, to convince Scott that he should come with Stiles. It is a gift that Stiles knows he has, the ability to charm and sway and woo others into doing what he wants. Ever since he was younger, it had been a skill that had come quite naturally to him. Not that there is really any effort in nudging Scott along until he eventually does what Stiles wants.

For someone like Scott, whose father abandoned him when he was young, it was easy to poke at the vulnerable spots in his psyche. Stiles relished the euphoria that rushed over him whenever Scott caved to his whims. It was a small thing and yet it brought Stiles much joy.

The only thing that would make it better would be if Scott knew and fought against the manipulation. Alas, he was too simple minded — naive in all the ways that Stiles lost long ago — and just accepted the type of friendship that Stiles shoved onto him.

They trooped through the forest, under the cover of the moon that smiled down upon them. The night and all its creatures had always felt welcoming to Stiles, the shadowy corners mere delights to be discovered. It is like his eyes were open and his mind accepting to all the possibilities that could come his way, long before the idea of those things were ever even an inkling to him.

It also helps that he knows of the supernatural, the creatures that most humans think are myth and make-believe.

Stiles watches as Scott tramples right past a fairy ring, none the wiser for what his fate could have been had he only walked a few inches to the right. Not that Stiles would let anything happen to his best friend. Scott not only belonged to Stiles, but Stiles had worked too hard to own Scott to allow a mere slip of a faere folk to snatch something that did not belong to them based on a perceived slight.

Stiles bared his teeth as he himself walked by the faerie ring, grinning with teeth bared at the mere wisp of a thing fluttering in the circle, staring him down. He had an understanding with the faere folk, one that had been fought with blood and vengeance countless centuries ago, that meant they each left the other alone and would not go out of their way to provoke the other — which was a real shame, as Stiles was always itching for a good fight.

And those little bastards were especially good for satiating Stiles’s need for blood.

Scott’s huffing brought Stiles’s attention back to the reason he was even out in the woods in the middle of the night. There was a creature masquerading as some form of large cat tearing apart humans in the woods.

For as much of a hell’s mouth place Beacon Hills was, it stayed relatively quiet in terms of human carnage. The supernatural creatures liked the power that the nemeton provided them — and had not that been such a beautiful discovery to Stiles.

It was rare to see such a bearer of power left untamed and unprotected as the Nemeton of Beacon Hills. Normally there was a coven of witches or a bound pair of druids keeping watch over such a powerful force, but the Beacon Hills nemeton was surprisingly unguarded. And since the supernaturally inclined wanted to keep it that way, did not want to have to beg for sips of power, they all played relatively well together.

Though, if Stiles were being honest, and he always was with himself even if he could not be bothered to be with others, he had declared himself the rightful heir to the power of the Nemeton. For as long as it suited his desires, he would continue to allow the power of the nemeton to be freely shared. The moment someone stepped out of line and tested his benevolence? Well, he had no problem with bloodshed.

“Stiles, I really don’t think we should be out here,” Scott says with a gasp, leaning over his legs to catch his breath.

Stiles did not even bother to keep from rolling his eyes. “Scott, we’ve barely been out here five minutes.”

“Yeah, but,” Scott says as he stands up, “we could really get into trouble if your dad found us out here.”

“Scott,” Stiles walked up to Scott and grabbed onto his shoulders, “Scottie, dude, come on. You know that this is the most excitement that Beacon Hills has seen in ages! Besides, if we find the body--and that’s a big if because this forest is huge--we’ll just take a little peak and go back home.”

“We’ll go right back home?” Scott asked, hope bright in his eyes.

Stiles let a smile grace his mouth even knowing that Scott likely would not be able to see it. “Yes, Scottie, right back home.”

Stiles kept a hand on Scott’s shoulder as he turned them in the direction of where police reports said the body had been found. Thanks to a childhood that afforded him a long leash, Stiles knew the forest like the back of his hand.

When his mom had fallen ill, it meant a lot of afternoons he was watched only in so far as he had to check in with his mom once every few hours. Otherwise, he was left alone to explore his backyard and the forest beyond it. It was not his mom’s fault that she did not know of the hole in the fence hidden behind the rose bush she had planted along the back fence. It was Stiles’s fault that he did not tell her about it, but since it hurt no one for him to keep himself busy, he felt the less his mom knew — the less she stressed — the better.

Stiles lead Scott along, guiding him around the tree roots and rocks that were liberally decorating the forest floor. The further along they walked, the more tense the atmosphere in the forest became. The sense of something wrong was palpable in the air, a heavy aura that permeated the very air they were breathing. Stiles knew that Scott could not tell what was happening, but the human brain was a fascinating thing in that sensors were firing in Scott’s brain right now that were telling him to start preparing.

Stiles catalogued each of his best friend’s fear responses: Scott’s shoulders hunched considerably, his already laboured breathing sped up and his eyes darted blindly in every direction. Stiles would laugh if not for the fact that the entire forest had gone still. Something was out there, stalking them, watching them for any sign of weakness.

Well, it would find no weakness in Stiles. A darkness had subsumed his soul right around the time his mother had died, taking every perceived human weakness with it — along with many of the supernatural ones as well.

Stiles welcomed the challenge, however, that a new threat possessed. The idea of something to conquer thrilled him down to the marrow, making his blood rush so loudly in his ears that he missed the split second tell.

The crack of a single solitary branch meters off that should have alerted Stiles to the incoming danger.

Between one breath and the next, something big jumped between the two teens, pushing Scott to the ground with a yell. Stiles growled, baring non-existent fangs as the creature bounded away. Were it not for Scott needing him, Stiles would have given chase.

Poor Scott stood no chance, but he was Stiles’s to protect and fury erupted in Stiles’s soul. Too long had Stiles let himself behave, forced himself to keep in line and adhere to the rules set down by his father and society, and this was his penance for that; Scott attacked while under Stiles’s protection.

Crouching down beside Scott, Stiles ran his hands along Scott’s torso, looking for the telltale sign of the wound that took his best friend down. It was not hard, warm blood seeping through Scott’s shirt and onto Stiles’s hands from low on Scott’s side. Even with help from the moon’s light, Stiles could not tell how bad the wound was. With a curse, Stiles helped Scott to his feet and half-carried half-dragged Scott out of the forest and to his waiting car.

Taking Scott to the hospital was out of the question because his mom would ask too many questions and Stiles’s patience was running thin. Instead, Stiles drove Scott back to his house because his dad was out looking for the dead body in the woods.

Convenient.

Scott was quiet throughout the drive but Stiles was not much concerned. The light from the car had shown that the wound was not bleeding as badly as Stiles had initially thought, which was a small relief. Scott seemed to be in a semi-comatose state which suited Stiles’s needs just fine, especially when it meant that Scott would not put up too much of a fuss.

Getting Scott into the bathroom once they got home, it became abundantly clear to Stiles what kind of creature they — well, really, he — was dealing with. On one hand, Sitles could count the number of creatures that lived in and around Beacon Hills that could leave the same type of bite mark that currently was bleeding sluggishly from Scott’s side, and all of them were of the supernatural variety.

The fact that the wound was already healing narrowed that list down and left Stiles with the glaring conclusion that he was dealing with a werewolf. Adding to that, the wound was already healing which could only mean one thing: an alpha werewolf.

Having lived in Beacon Hills all his life, Stiles had never encountered a werewolf in his small California town, at least not so far as he can remember. There had lived a family in the area when he was younger, but they were gone by the time he became enlightened to the existence of the supernatural side of the world.

Stiles would have said that Beacon Hills was tainted for werewolves, the tale of the Hales having spread far and wide, and yet he could not deny the evidence of the bite on his best friend’s side.

It made him furious, for who thought they could enter his territory and take with their mangy claws his best friend, and, yet, insanely curious to meet this werewolf and see who dared. It took a certain kind of supernatural creature to flaunt itself with such flagrant disregard for the natural order of things.

Every supernatural creature in and around Beacon Hills knew that this was Stiles’s territory, that all those in this domain belonged to him. Stiles had made sure they knew with bloody bodies left as warnings to those who were brave enough to step foot into Beacon Hills.

You know you’re going to have to deal with this. Stiles laughed aloud as his long silent companion made its presence known. You cannot let some foolish welp think that they have command in our domain.

Stiles shrugged, not denying the claim. He knew that any sign of resistance to his command would have to be dealt with, but now was not the time. Right now he had to deal with a human who was showing strong signs of turning into a werewolf, if the healing bite was anything to go by.

With a sigh, Stiles grabbed a cloth and put it under warm water. It was the work of moments to wipe away the blood and inspect the wound which had stopped bleeding already — a definite sign of healing. If Stiles did not love Scott so much, he would take care of the headache that was sure to come right here and now and just be done with Scott; but alas, he did love his best friend and wanted him to stick around, even if that meant having to deal with a newly turned — and likely to be scatterbrained — werewolf.

“Do you think it’ll get infected?” Scott asked, apropos of nothing.

“No, Scott, I do not think that it will get infected,” Stiles rinsed out the bloody cloth and put it into the hamper, he would have to do a load later to get rid of the evidence, lest his father find it. He was already going to have to deal with Scott, he absolutely did not want to deal with his father.

Quietly, under his breath, Stiles whispered, “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about infections ever again.”

As much as Stiles was used to covering things up, hiding things from his dad that the man was better off not knowing about — things Stiles himself wished he had never had his eyes opened too — adding Scott, loveable goofy Scott, to the list of people who were in the know was something Stiles had never planned to have happen. Scott could be trusted, he and Stiles had grown up scheming and getting into mischief, but it was Scott’s inability to bluff his way through anything that had Stiles worried.

Stiles was the talker. Stiles was the one who was depended on to get them out of tough situations and to charm their way into areas where they really should not be.

None of that would matter, however, if Stiles could not find and take care of the alpha werewolf who had decided to bite Scott. If Stiles could become Scott’s alpha, their lives would be much easier. Stiles did not want to even contemplate the opposite, and that was to say nothing of his ever present house guest. Stiles was not sure at all what would happen were he to absorb the alpha werewolves powers.

There were too many variables at play and Stiles was too tired at the moment to deal with it, but there would be no sleep for him any time soon. He had to look into who could possibly be this alpha werewolf and find out how they could have possibly got in without him knowing. Scott, who was basically asleep on his feet, was easy enough to move from the bathroom to Stiles’s bed and get tucked in. Stiles looked longingly at the bed but skipped it and sat himself down at his desk.

You’ll have to kill the alpha, rend it limb from limb.

Pictures floated through Stiles’s mind of exactly how they would take care of the alpha. While part of him relished the bloodlust, the other part cringed away. Stiles had had years to come to terms with the duality of his nature, the dark stain corrupting his soul, but it still caught him off guard, especially after a long silence.

Pulling up the browser, Stiles decided to go with the most obvious route, and looked up the Hale family. Most of the Hales had died right around when his mother had passed away. To the muggles of the world, the Hales had been the unfortunate targets of an arsonist. To those in the know, the Hales — a well known and prestigious werewolf pack — had been targeted and their deaths used as a warning to the rest of the supernatural world.

Though most of the Hales had been burned alive, there had been a few survivors, if Stiles was remembering correctly. He never had found out where they had gone, too preoccupied with handling his new dark urges and his mother’s passing — and finding out about the supernatural had just been the icing on the cake of a real shitty year. He did not want to know that the bogeymen and monsters that parents used to scare their kids into behaving were actually real. No, Stiles would have been very happy being kept in the dark about that.

The first search that popped up when Stiles put in Beacon Hills Hale family was the fire and how there were still no suspects. The next handful of searches were more of the same and Stiles was starting to question whether there had been any survivors. He was sure that his dad had mentioned at least two survivors, either of whom could have inherited the alpha powers.

It was at the bottom of the first search page that Stiles found an article that mentioned survivors, though it was only two sentences in the entire article that Stiles almost skimmed over. He counted three survivors: Peter, Laura and Derek Hale.

So far as the article went, Peter Hale was the only survivor to have been pulled from the fire. Derek and Laura Hale had been spared by the mere fact that they were not at home when the fire had been set. There was no mention as to what happened after the fire but, now armed with names, Stiles set about searching specifically for those three Hales.

Searches for Derek Hale and Laura Hale both pulled up nothing. The two had no social media presences so far as Stiles could find. That was not quite unusual for members of the supernatural world, though the younger generations were continuously pushing the boundaries. It was even more unsurprising for two young werewolves on the run from whoever had targeted their pack.

The search for Peter Hale, surprisingly enough, pulled up the long-term care ward at the hospital. That was definitely a mistake on behalf of the administration at the hospital, but Stiles was not looking a gift horse in the mouth. The fact that Peter was in a long-term care ward meant that whatever damage that had been done to him by the fire was still affecting him and thus meant it was extremely unlikely for him to be the alpha.

Alpha werewolves had healing capabilities beyond what beta werewolves had. Nothing short of a wolfsbane bullet to the head would really put a stop to an alpha werewolf — or, in the case of the Hales, whatever concoction that had been used to start or accelerate the fire that took them down.

The question that burned at the tip of Stiles’s tongue was why now? It had been six, almost seven, years since the fire. Why would one of the Hales come back now? And why kill some random woman? The Hales were all born werewolves so far as Stiles knew. Their control over their natures would be unparalleled.

Unless, if Peter Hale was still in Beacon Hills, maybe Laura or Derek had taken that woman out to protect him? Was the woman in the woods a hunter? If it was Laura or Derek, had they been living in Beacon Hills this entire time?

Stiles did not think it was possible. He knew most everyone who lived in the town, and those he did not he at least would have seen around. In a town as small as Beacon Hills, it was hard to get around without being seen by someone, and there had definitely been no mention of any Hales.

The old biddies who loved to gossip would never leave alone the subject of the poor Hale children who had lost their entire family to the fire, not if either Laura or Derek still lived in Beacon Hills. Stiles would know, he had to deal with a lot of the same gossip about himself and how he was still surviving his mother’s death and how his dad, the Sheriff, was just doing his best.

There were too many questions and not enough answers at this point. Stiles wanted to find Derek or Laura and get the answer from them. Even just seeing either of them might help him to slot of few of the puzzle pieces into place.

He really wanted to know who was fucking up the peace he had worked so hard to maintain. He did not mind getting dirty, did not mind the bruises on his knuckles when he had to really make a point stick, but it never failed to infuriate him that someone would come along and mess that up.

It’s been awhile. Don’t you miss the blood? Don’t you miss the cowering? The fear oozing out and permeating the air? Find the alpha, take them out, make a point to outsiders.

“We will!” Stiles hissed, glancing to make sure Scott was still sleeping. It would not be the first time his best friend had heard Stiles seemingly talking to himself, but Stiles tried to minimize the instances. Just because Scott did not prescribe to the notion that their classmates had taken on that Stiles was not quite right in the head did not mean he could not start thinking that way.

The front door opening pulled Stiles from his thoughts and he jumped to his feet. He had to deal with the laundry before his dad saw the bloody cloth in the hamper. He hurried to the hamper and ran it down the stairs, throwing the load into the washer just as his dad popped his head around the doorframe.

“You been in all night?” His dad asked, eyes jumping from Stiles to the washing machine.

Stiles shook his head in the negative as he loaded up the machine with the detergent. “No, Scott and I went out for a bit but we decided to come back to the house and play some Call of Duty.”

The Sheriff nodded and tossed something at Stiles, laughing as Stiles fumbled with what happened to be an inhaler. “Found that out on the driveway by your car. Make sure it makes its way into Scott’s bag or Melissa’ll kill him for losing another one.”

Stiles laughed too, relieved that his dad had found the inhaler on the driveway and not out in the woods near the dead body that the police had been investigating. So many things had already gone wrong, Stiles would not have wanted to deal with his dad finding out he and Scott had been out in the woods on top of everything else.

“Alright, I’m going to call it a night. You and Scott should think about having an early night as well,” his dad came into the room and clasped the back of his neck, giving Stiles a slight shake.

“Yeah, we will,” Stiles agreed, yawning because he actually was tired and not just putting on a show for his dad. Stiles was able to breathe a sigh of relief once his dad made his way up the stairs.

He made his way up to his bedroom once he started the wash, mind whirling with the possibilities of who could be the alpha werewolf and why they were showing up now. The chance that it could be a non-Hale briefly flashed through his mind but it was pushed off to the side as a slim reality. The odds were stacked too heavily towards Laura or Derek Hale, and Stiles had learned long ago that coincidences were rarely just that.

Scott was passed out when Stiles pushed into the room and a quick check on his bite mark showed that it was healing up nicely. Likely Scott would end up with just a faint scarred over bite mark to show for it. With nothing more to search tonight, Stiles pushed his way onto his bed and flicked off his lamp.

Stiles’s first thought upon waking was to check the number of days until the full moon. If his knowledge of werewolf lore was correct, Scott would have until the full moon until he made his first transition, which meant Stiles had until then to figure out who the alpha was. According to his phone, the full moon was in four days, which did not give him a lot of time.

It was frustrating but Stiles accepted the challenge. At least, hopefully, pushing himself to figure this out would tax his mind enough to allow him to sleep without dreams. His darker nature delighted in coming out to play at night and tormenting Stiles. He could count on one hand the number of dreamless sleeps he has had since his mother passed.

If it were not for his dad, Stiles would have taken himself out years ago just to get some sleep.

Scott was already gone by the time Stiles got up which was just fine by Stiles. He needed to run by the hospital to check on the long-term care ward to pay a visit to Peter Hale; needed to make sure at least one werewolf in his territory was accounted for.

Getting into a hospital that you once practically lived at was a piece of cake for Stiles, especially when the nurses who recognized you wanted to give you whatever you wanted. The nurses had long ago learned that Mieczyslaw Stilinski was a quirky little thing and it was harmless to allow him to roam the halls of the last place his mom lived.

Using that kindness to his advantage, Stiles made his way along the halls, glancing in every room he passed until he got to Peter Hale’s room. The room was completely bare of any momentos that long-term care residents with regular visitors had. All that took up the room were the bare essentials that every long-term care room had, along with the scent of disuse and dust.

Peter Hale was laying on his bed, completely unmoving. Upon closer inspection, Stiles found the werewolf’s eyes open but unseeing. It was disconcerting, especially combined with the scars that took up the majority of Peter’s face.

Stiles had to wonder how bad the burns were to begin with if they had only healed to the extent they were now. It must have been a gruesome sight to behold at first. Stiles reached out to touch one of the scars-

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Two things happened simultaneously: Peter Hale’s eyes flared red for a split second, and a nurse pulled Stiles’s hand away before he had a chance to touch one of the scars.

“You can’t be in here!” the nurse screeched, yanking his arm back.

The moment the nurse’s hand touched his arm, Stiles felt the stain in her. Like called to like and corruption such as the stain covering her soul sang out to Stiles in a most horrendous way. He grinned as he turned to face her, letting out a laugh as horror filled her eyes.

Devour her!

It is moments like this that Stiles truly wishes he could take a knife to his chest and cut out his heart. He does not want to eat the black soul in front of him, does not want any part of the taint this woman so obviously delights in having but he is no longer in control of his body. His darkness rises up to meet hers.

Stiles knows the exact instant the nurse catches his eyes, sees when her eyes make contact with the void that has become him. He cannot look away, does not want to look away, as the stress lines form around her eyes and her pupils dilate in fear.

Only once has he seen what happens to his eyes when his dark magic rises up and it still haunts him when he closes his eyes. Blackness like a wormhole descends over his eyes making it look like the vacuum of space is looking back. Looking into that blackness feels like your very soul is on the brink of being lost and there is nothing you can do to stop yourself from falling in.

Stiles grins as the nurse sways into him, no longer cognisant of the world around her. She is stuck in his gaze and it is the work of but an instant, Stiles reaching out a hand to rest against her chest and pulling with his magic, and he owns her soul. Her will is subsumed by his, her taint blending beautifully with his, and for the first time in months he feels like he is satiated.

It makes him want to puke while he relishes the freedom and simplicity of what would feel to anyone else like they have just had a full nights sleep.

The nurse, Jennifer, was a nasty piece of work. He now owns her memories and the things she has done to patients would horrify most. Stiles delves into the bits of him that are now her — he knows it will not be long before her soul is devoured completely by his dark guest so he has to use what he can from her now before even he will begin to forget her life — and finds what he needs in her interactions with one resident alpha werewolf of the long-term care ward.

People do not like to be vulnerable in front of others and werewolves even less so. They have a pack, someone always at their back, for a reason. For an alpha werewolf, Stiles imagines Peter Hale likens his vulnerability to every spine tingling sound out there magnified tenfold.

The question still stands though, how did a man who has been comatose for six years now become alpha? Was he always the alpha and his burns so bad it took him this long to heal? Stiles can see through Jennifer’s memories that Peter Hale has only really become semi-cognisant in the last few months, enough to be aware of what the nurse was doing to him — Stiles tries not to gag openly — but definitely not enough to be getting out of bed to kill a woman.

Yet, the fact still stands that Peter Hale is without a doubt the alpha werewolf in Stiles’s domain. It did not make sense.

Unless because Laura and Derek Hale were no longer living in Beacon Hills, if the distance between the pack caused Peter’s wounds to heal so slowly? But from everything Stiles knew, werewolves needed to be near their alpha. No way would two vulnerable young werewolves leave their alpha, especially not after such a traumatizing event. Logic would dictate their bond would turn near co-dependent.

Except maybe the two younger werewolves had sought out a new alpha? Leaving Peter Hale an alpha of nothing, meaning he had no pack to draw on?

Stiles growled lowly as he pushed Jennifer away from him. She was now his thrall and would only act on his command. With a flick of his wrist, he sent her on her way with a command to go about her regular work with added stress to do no harm. He could feel disapproval coming at him but the void was satiated and would not push the issue.

Turning his attention to Peter, Stiles watched as the werewolf tracked him with his eyes. Yes, the alpha was very much aware of him. Stiles wondered if it was the darkness in him that had Peter so focused on him, or if it was just because there a new person in his room. Stiles could not be sure exactly how much of the interaction the alpha had seen between himself and Jennifer, and of what he saw how much he comprehended.

Striding over to the bed, Stiles gazed down into eyes that flickered red, rage flaring up at him like an oil induced fire. Somehow, this werewolf had killed in his territory and that was not allowed. Yet, to look at him, Peter Hale was a husk of a man trapped in a body — one that looked useless but Stiles would have to test how far it could be pushed — and nothing to be frightened of. A werewolf stuck in bed was as weak as any human.

“So,” Stiles hummed, eyes roving over the werewolf. “how aware are you?” he asked as he raised a hand to poke Peter’s nose. His hand never made contact.

“Aware enough to warn you that if you try to poke me again, you will lose a finger,” Peter Hale answered, squeezing Stiles’s hand hard enough to hurt any normal human.

Stiles had lost the ability to feel pain long ago so he merely smiled at the cute little display of faux dominance.

“Tell me, Peter, what did you do to the woman in the woods?”

Incomprehension stared up at him from confused eyes. Stiles is sure the alpha before him would hate to know he had absolutely no poker face but for now Stiles used that to his advantage. Either Peter had absolutely nothing to do with the dead body in the woods and that meant Stiles had another werewolf on his hands, likely an alpha turned omega — the thought of which made him grit his teeth. Omega werewolves were feral mutts that needed to be put down and add to that an alpha werewolves strength? It would be an unbelievably hard task. Stiles hated cleaning up someone else's mess; or the wolf was stronger in Peter than the man, a not unheard of thing that could happen to an injured werewolf.

“Okay, next question: how long do you plan on wasting your life laying here pretending to be a comatose man?”

Peter’s eyes flashed again and he growled at Stiles. The wolf was so close to the surface that Stiles could not fathom how it would let Peter continue to rot away in a hospital bed. It would stand to reason that the wolf would have the man up and moving long before Peter was likely ready but the wolf was a master of survival — they would push through and survive, regardless of what human limitations tried to dictate to them.

Stiles hummed to himself. “That’s what I thought. Listen here, wolf, I am in no mood to deal with the supernatural world being found out now. You’re unstable and I won’t have you fucking up my town, you hear me?”

Stiles walked around the room, feeling Peter’s eyes following him. The room was stale, no pictures, flowers or cards; it was impersonal in a way that spoke of the absence of visitors. It was sad seeing as Peter was a werewolf and had been part of a large pack but seeing as his pack had been burned alived, well, it was not exactly unusual.

Still, it did make Stiles wonder where Laura and Derek Hale were. None of his searches had born fruit and he doubted that the man before him would have any answers, however it did not hurt to ask. “So, any idea where Derek is? Or maybe Laura?”

Peter nearly jumped off the bed he sat up so fast, letting out a roar that would have had nurses running to the room were it not for Jennifer being the only on this end of the ward. The alpha red of the werewolf’s eyes brightened up the room, casting everything in an eerie glow that had Stiles’s heart racing. It had been ages since he had wrestled with an alpha and he was itching for another taste.

“Oh, my my my, that set you off, didn’t it?”

Peter snarled. “They left me.”

“And how does that make you feel?” Stiles asked, stifling his laugh as Peter growled at him again. It was definitely a sore spot for the werewolf.

As amusing as Peter’s show of aggression was, Stiles was tiring of it. The werewolf was clearly involved even there was still a puzzle surrounding him and Scott. The further the wolf came to the fore, the more Stiles was sure that it had been out of the hospital. That Peter was an alpha werewolf hopped up on aggression and one wild alpha werewolf had just bit Scott was too much of a coincidence for Stiles.

The mystery surrounding Peter Hale’s alphadom still bothered him but the more time he spent in Peter’s room, the more convinced Stiles became: Peter Hale was Scott’s alpha. The only reasoning Stiles could parse out for Peter wanting to bite Scott was the werewolf was desperate for a pack. A pack that, for some reason, did not seem to include Derek and Laura Hale.

“But it wasn’t both pack members that set you off, just Laura,” Stiles mumbled aloud, hearing another rumble from the werewolf at the mention of his niece’s name. “What did Laura do to you?”

She left me!” Peter all but yelled, lunging out of the bed for Stiles. Even for a being as old as the void inside Stiles, the sight of Peter transforming was something neither had ever witnessed. The alpha was warped, hugely grotesque and malformed. The man before him was never meant to be an alpha and it showed.

Stiles briefly thought that Peter’s alpha form physically looked a lot like how Stiles felt internally with the being inside him that was both him and not. They were both fighting a duality that was never theirs to dominate and yet had been thrust upon them. Stiles had no time to dwell on the thought, however, as the werewolf’s hulking form jumped at him the moment the transformation was complete.

Before the werewolf could make impact with Stiles, Jennifer jumped between him and the werewolf. She was dead before she hit the ground, her throat torn asunder by teeth that were craving human flesh. It was a fitting end for a woman such as the nurse and were Peter in a better frame of mind, Stiles is sure he would have seen the beauty of such an end for his number one tormentor these last six years. When one plays with predators, one should expect to get bit.

As it was Peter was too busy devouring Jennifer to care about much else, so long as Stiles stayed still — and he would not move for anything, not when he was gifted the rare opportunity to witness evolution at its finest. So rarely did anyone outside a werewolf pack get to be a spectator to such a vulnerable and wicked moment as an alpha consuming its prey.

Stiles knew that it would not be long before one of the other nurses came investigating where Jennifer had gone so he made the snap decision to take Peter with him. The werewolf was completely feral, oblivious to its higher brain function, which meant it was the perfect moment for Stiles to strike.

The will of an alpha werewolf was a formidable opponent but the nogitsune had been alive much longer and mind games were its speciality. With nothing but a thought, Stiles struck at the alpha’s mind, hitting right at the part of its brain that centered on pack. Stiles could tell the moment the alpha sensed that something was off, watching as it stopped in its mindless attack. Peter had not yet focused his mind, was not of sound mind to build up his mental walls and definitely did not have enough pack bonds to cement any will, so Stiles’s attack was quick and efficient.

With glee, Stiles inserted himself into Peter’s pack, asserting himself as the dominant alpha. The retaliatory attack was instantaneous and packed more of a punch than Stiles was expecting. His will was strong but one such as Peter, who came from a pack with a lot of heritage and whose very magic came from the ground they were standing on, was certainly a worthy opponent. Stiles used up energy he really did not have excess of to maintain his hold over the alpha.

Though the battle had been completely centered in their minds, both men were panting by the time it was settled. Peter was no longer the hulking beast and Stiles once again a normal looking teenage boy.

God, he really needed a drink. Stiles could only hope that his dad had not finished all the good whiskey in his latest binge.

With the added pack bonds running through his head, Stiles felt sick to his stomach. There was too much going on in his brain, already had been before he decided controlling an alpha werewolf was a good idea, and he just needed to sleep. Unfortunately, he still had the dead nurse’s body to clean up along with making sure Peter did not get up to any shit while he was gone. Along with making sure Scott was okay and then delving into Peter’s memories to figure out exactly what the fuck was going on.

He was sick and tired of being in the dark. Stiles was going to get to the bottom of this werewolf business once and for all. Tomorrow, after he spent tonight getting blackout drunk.

Spending energy he really did not have, Stiles cleaned up the body and blood with the flick of a wrist. The body and all became nothing but dust and Stiles nudged it under the bed with his foot. It was clearly a mess that needed to be cleaned up but as Stiles expected Peter to “wake up” from his coma tomorrow and to check himself out of the hospital, he did not bother to worry about it.

With a mental push at Peter to get back into bed and pretend like he was still in a coma until later, Stiles left the hospital. The sun was still out but Stiles found he could not enjoy it. The void was restless, it wanted to consume the essence that was the alpha werewolf. Though it had fed on the nurse, the sheer power of an alpha, even one weakened by illness, was too tempting to be sated by one soul for long.

You are growing tired, little spark. It won’t be long now until you’re mine. And when that happens, what will it matter to the souls under your care that you did not let me take them right away? In the end, it won’t mean anything. You will all belong to me. Your soul is nearly mine.

Stiles ruthlessly pushed the void back, taxing himself even further. It was becoming harder and harder to separate himself from the void, their entities merging more each day. The separation between their souls was lessening and the melding of the two was becoming such that Stiles knew he would soon cease to exist. His body would live on but his soul would be consumed entirely — he was getting to the point where he wondered why he kept fighting it.

Fight it he would, though, until Scott no longer needed him. His dad, while Stiles loved him dearly, was nothing more than a ghost going through the motions, one whose soul had departed the moment his wife had passed. The Sheriff needed Stiles, needed a reason to keep on living, but they both knew that the man would only be too happy to depart the mortal plane to be with with wife again.

With a push toward his car, Stiles took out his phone to see if Scott had contacted him at all. There were no new messages, either from his best friend or his dad, so Stiles headed home and went straight for the liquor cabinet.

With three days left until the full moon, Stiles was in a bit of a time crunch. There was absolutely no way that Scott was prepared to transform into a werewolf — it would be a trial even convincing his best friend that there was such a thing as werewolves and that the supernatural world was real — and there was also Peter to think of. There was still the mystery of the dead body in the woods and Stiles also had a pounding headache to deal with.

First things first, Stiles ambled down the stairs and made himself a pot of coffee and a massive omelette. He was not particularly hungry but if he was going to continue to manipulate Peter, he was going to need more energy.

As he sat eating, he took the time to poke at the pack bonds that were now snuggly settled in his mind. It was an odd feeling, very different from the nogitsune taking up residence in his mind. The pack bonds were created in such a way as to be seamlessly integrated into each pack members mind. As a facsimile of an alpha, the pack bonds in Stiles’s mind did not ring harmoniously.

It was jarring and if he concentrated on it too much it made him want to grind his teeth. Still, poking at the bonds would be the quickest way to determine if Peter was Scott’s alpha. Stiles just had to parse out each bond and find where they lead. It was a lot like untangling a ball of yarn that a kitten had got a hold of. Every time Stiles thought he had unraveled a part he would stumble upon another knot.

It took Stiles the better part of an hour, and nearly the entire pot of coffee, before he finally found the thread he was looking for. The link was extremely thin and fragile looking, and in places almost completely bare, but Stiles followed the line all the way to a familiar presence: Scott. Stiles could not have said why it was familiar, only that the sense of it, the aura, reminded him of his best friend.

At least he had one answer down: Peter Hale was indeed Scott’s alpha. Going by the state of the rest of the pack bonds Peter seemed to have, Stiles had a good bet as to why the alpha had chosen to bite his best friend. Most of the pack bond links lead to withered and ashy ends that were slowly decaying and poisoning Peter’s mind. One link that had looked somewhat healthy had come to an abrupt end when Stiles had tried to travel it, and another healthier looking link had lead to another born wolf, though Stiles could not have said whether it was Derek or Laura though he had a good idea.

For a creature that survived on pack, Peter was on the brink of insanity. Any werewolf in his position would have been driven just like he was to go out and build himself a new pack, try to stabilize his mind. Stiles empathized with Peter though he hated the man for turning his best friend.

A knock at his front door startled Stiles out of his musing and he blindly went to answer it. He nearly shut the door in Peter’s face when he saw the werewolf standing there.

“What, no please come in?” Peter asked with a sneer, pushing his way past Stiles. The werewolf walked into the house like he owned it. Stiles wanted to gouge out that smarmy little smile, scar up the pretty face that no longer held any scars.

“What are you doing here?” he asked instead of acting on his more feral urges.

“You’re the one who decided to set up shop in my mind. I felt it only fair to set up shop in your home as payback,” Peter replied, helping himself to the last bit of coffee in the pot. The werewolf groaned as he took a sip. “Oh, how I missed coffee.”

Stiles glared at Peter as the wolf perused the kitchen. He could not decide if he hated Peter more or less for being attractive on top of being an asshole. Actually, who was he kidding, he absolutely had a soft spot for attractive assholes.

“So, did you find what you were looking for?” Peter asked as he settled in at the table with an apple in hand, pointing up at his head as if to clarify for Stiles that he meant his brain. Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I found out that you killed your niece,” Stiles replied, throwing out a hunch and nodding to himself as Peter’s eyes darkened.

“My niece ceased to be family to me the moment she left me here to rot away in a hospital, completely unprotected. Pack does not abandon pack, the first lesson every born wolf learns, and she hightailed it out of here because she was scared of something she had been trained to fight almost since birth. So, yes, I killed her. Do I regret it? Sure. But at least I’m back on my feet.”

“Well,” Stiles said, seating himself across from Peter. “as much as your family drama thrills me, and, hey, it really does, my heart feels for you, you brought my best friend into this and that’s unacceptable.”

Peter laughed, taking a large bite out of his apple and chewing slowly. “Your friend was a mistake, biting him, I mean. Though I’m sure his birth was a last ditch effort at a happy family, if these memories I’m seeing are anything to go by, so looks like he was a mistake after all, as well.”

Stiles let the comments slide, knowing Peter was only trying to get a rise out of him. “I don’t care if biting him was a mistake, what’s done is done.”

“Ah ah ah,” Peter interrupted. “not so.”

“What do you mean, not so?”

“I’ll play ball, Stiles, only so long as you play ball with me.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes at the werewolf. “I don’t have time to play games. If you’re telling me that we can reverse what was done to Scott then that needs to happen, a.s.a.p.”

“And it does need to happen, a.s.a.p.” Peter grinned, obnoxiously continuing to eat his apple. “Werewolf bites and phases of the moon, such tricky business. And if things are not timed correctly, well.” Peter shrugged in a what-can-you-do way that had Stiles envisioning punching the werewolf in the face.

He could not afford to actually get physical with the werewolf right now as the nogitsune was slumbering and any altercation would certainly wake it up. Peter was lucky.

What do you want?” Stiles asked, slowly enunciating each word.

“Well, two things, actually, but they are itty bitty compared to what you’re asking of me.”

Stiles slammed his hands down on the table and shoved his chair back as he stood up to lean over the table towards Peter. “I will not ask again.”

“Oh, my, any observer would think you were the one trapped inside your body and mind for the last six years and not me.” Peter tutted at Stiles. “But, you’re right, I should stop teasing.”

Stiles impatiently sat himself back down. Despite his words, Peter continued to eat his apple until only the core was left. The werewolf proceeded to get up and throw the apple out before washing his hands and finally making his way back to the table.

“First off, you will be getting rid of one of the only true pack bonds I have left and I’ll want a replacement.”

Stiles nodded. “Okay, fine.”

“Ah ah, I’m not letting you skate by by trying to reunite me with my nephew or anything else so trite. I mean you.”

Stiles nodded again. “Yeah, I figured as much. Your second demand?”

“I want a taste of that malevolent spirit you’ve got roiling around in that brain of yours.”

Stiles sat back, alarmed at what Peter was asking for. “You have no idea what’s roiling around inside my brain.”

Peter sat forward, eyes bright with excitement. “Oh, but sweetheart, I do.” Peter’s eyes roved over him, tension running through him like he knew what answer Stiles was going to give and could not wait to getting his perceived just desserts.

There really was no question as to the answer Stiles was going to give Peter, he would do anything for his best friend, but that did not mean he liked it. The nogitsune was nothing to be trifled with and here Peter was wanting a sip. If Stiles didn't already know that Peter was a bit off his rocker, he would label the man insane.

“Fine but don’t blame me when it backfires on you because it definitely will, backfire, and you’ll go up in smoke, again.”

Peter grinned, delighted, it seemed, with Stiles’s snark. “Well, first things first, I’ll be needing that bond from you before I help you with your friend.” Peter said as he rolled back the sleeve of his no doubt stolen jacket. “On the wrist, if you please.”

Stiles eyed Peter with uncertainty. “What do you mean?”

“Well, alpha my alpha, you cannot exactly bond with me if you haven’t bitten me, now can you?”

Stiles flailed his arms, indicating Peter’s head and Stiles’s. “Can’t I just, you know, mentally put the bond in place?”

“See, if I trusted you more then I would say yes but alas, you’ve done me dirty and my poor heart cannot handle another heartbreak. So, we’re going with the tried and true method of an alpha bite. Since you’ve so graciously made yourself my alpha, that means you get the honour of biting me.”

Stiles tried to think of a way to argue Peter’s point but he did not see much hope. The werewolf was his only hope to reverse the change in Scott. With a deep breath, Stiles closed his mental barriers around the void as tight as he could. He knew as soon as the nogitsune tasted blood, it would surge to the forefront of his mind to devour Peter. Hopefully the pack bond, along with his mental walls, would be enough to stop that from happening.

Grasping Peter’s wrist, ignoring the loop of this is a bad idea playing on repeat in his brain, Stiles leaned down and bit deeply into Peter’s flesh. The flood of blood into his mouth was soothing and he gulped down a mouthful before he got a hold of himself. The bond snapped into place instantly but Stiles felt it the moment the nogitsune woke up, throwing himself physically away from Peter to stop what was inevitably about to happen.

Except nothing happened, at least not outwardly. It was like an invisible barrier had sprung up between the nogitsune and Stiles, one that Stiles had to put no effort into maintaining. Stiles could feel the nogitsune raging inside, felt sick with the force of its rage, but he was in complete control of himself. For probably the first time in years, Stiles felt almost wholly himself.

“What did you do?” Stiles asked as his eyes frantically sought out Peter’s.

Peter sat back in his chair with a smug smile. “The bond between an alpha and its, well, let’s just call me your right hand or first beta, is an extremely strong bond.”

Stiles could tell that Peter was definitely not telling him something but he really did not care. He could breathe! And his head did not feel like it was a balloon on the brink of exploding. He no longer felt too big for his body, and while there was a part of him that craved more of Peter’s blood, there was a cleansing rush going through him that was removing a taint on his soul that he had long ago become accustomed to.

He was not the only one affected by the bond, he could tell. There was an air of sanity surrounding Peter that had not been there before, and looking at their bond mentally showed a healthy pulse to the link, nothing like it was before.

Stiles had so many questions for Peter, they were burning at the tip of his tongue, but he had Scott to think of first. His best friend, though Stiles loved him dearly, was nowhere near prepared to deal with the supernatural — heck! Stiles had been dealing with it for almost seven years and even he did not feel equipped to deal with them! Once they had Scott sorted out then Stiles would ask Peter his questions.

“I’ve given you the bond, now you need to tell me how to reverse the transformation in Scott.”

Peter drummed his fingers on the tabletop. “Actually, it is a pretty simple procedure, though you’re not going to think so once I explain to you what needs to be done.”

“Of fucking course.”

“Well, first, you’re going to need a power to sacrifice.”

“Like my magic?”

Peter hummed. “No, but thank you for confirming for me that you do, in fact, possess magic. I thought so but it’s always nice to have a theory proven correct.”

Stiles scowled at the werewolf. “Enough with the mind games. You said so yourself, time is of the essence. You can dick around later.”

Peter grinned, leering at Stiles in a way that was unfortunately arousing. “We can discuss dicks later then. No, when I mean a power to sacrifice I’m talking something a little stronger.” Peter explained, nodding for emphasis at Stiles’s head.

“What? But, no, I don’t control it!” He hissed, purposefully not naming it so as not to draw the nogitsune’s attention. The demon spirit was too busy trying to get passed the barrier the bond with Peter seems to have created to be paying attention to their conversation, at least for now.

“Sweetheart, you don’t have to control it. For the ritual I’m thinking of, the power source just needs to be present. The Nemeton will do the rest of the work.” Peter further explained.

Stiles tried not to get excited, ignoring the insistent push against the new barrier in his mind. He was not entirely sure about the strength of the barrier and did not want to push the nogitsune any further. Stiles may have been the host but the nogitsune had explained, taunted at him even, many a time that it only needed a body. The only reason Stiles was even still around was because he possessed magic and if he went, his magic went with him since it was tied to his soul. The nogitsune was too attached to the magic to be rid of him, yet.

He did not want to hope so he pushed the thought aside. “That’s the first thing, what’s next?”

“Someday, sweetheart, I will teach you the value of patience.” Peter said with yet another leer before continuing on. “The next thing you need is a Nemeton and since you didn’t question when I mentioned it earlier, that means you already know of the one in Beacon Hills. What you’ll need also is the thing you’re planning to restore: aka, your friend. Then something that ties you to the land, that’s where I come in. And lastly more coffee because it’s been an age since I’ve had a cappuccino and I’m not going a step further until I’ve had one.”

Stiles rolled his eyes at the cappuccino bit even as his mind was already running to find the closest coffee shop.

“Oh, and one other thing.”

Stiles frowned at Peter but gestured for him to continue.

“The ritual also needs to take place on the full moon as that’s when the wolf will be closest to the surface and easiest to send home. Your friend will be losing his latent spirit, and since all those belong to the moon, it’s easiest to send them home when she is brightest.”

For the first time since Peter barged into his home, doubt crept into Stiles’s mind. “It won’t hurt him, will it? Losing his latent spirit, I mean.”

Peter shook his head no. “Since his wolf has not had a chance to bond with him, no. Bonding occurs, for bitten wolves, during their first transformation which takes places under the light of the first full moon after they are bitten. The bond is strengthened on each subsequent full moon. If he had had a chance to bond with his latent spirit, removing it would be like killing a part of him.”

“But, won’t he start the bonding process on the day of the full moon?” Stiles asked a little desperately. This was no longer sounding as easy as Peter had initially implied.

“Technically, yes, but the ritual will sever the bond before it has a chance to come to fruition.”

Stiles hesitated before asking. “You’re sure?”

Peter shrugged. “No, I’m not. But what other option do you have? Either you try this or your best friend becomes a werewolf.”

Stiles bared his teeth at Peter, the only gesture he knew the werewolf would understand without him having to say anything. Though he could not help but add, “I really hate you.”

Peter nodded his acceptance of Stiles’s decree.

Waiting another two and a half more days until the full moon was a true test of Stiles’s patience. Peter spent the entirety of his time with Stiles, in the spirit of pack bonding as he put it (though Stiles chalked it up to a need to be around someone after having been in a coma) which was all well and good except for the fact that Stiles had school.

Scott went on acting like everything was fine and dandy which, for him, it technically was. The bite that Peter had given him was completely healed, only a bare white scar left as evidence to what should have been a fatal bite. Scott even went so far as to say he felt well enough to try out for first string in lacrosse, much to Stiles’s chagrin, because he knew that even if Scott made the team, his asthma would be back before he knew it.

Stiles was not even annoyed that Peter basically became his second shadow. It was nice having company, and Peter’s presence also seemed to dampen the loudness of the nogitsune’s screams in his head which was a nice bonus.

What truly bothered Stiles was knowing that everything could go wrong. That Stiles was trusting his information from a man who had been in a coma and had no sources to back up his claim. Stiles had tried researching but all of his searches were fruitless. There was also no point in reaching out to the supernatural community because Stiles had no contacts, only allies based on the fact that they were terrified of the nogitsune.

Not that Stiles blamed them. Before Peter, before the bond between them, Stiles had been so close to losing himself, to his soul completely melding with the void inside him, that he had almost been past the point of saving. He had not truly realised how much of himself he had lost until both his dad and Scott commented on how much happier and well rested he seemed.

“If you keep worrying, you’ll worry yourself right into an early grave. Sometimes you just have to trust that everything is going to work out.” Peter huffed out on the night before the full moon, when they were seated on his couch watching a movie. His dad would not be home for a few hours so Stiles felt comfortable letting Peter stay rather than kicking him out back to his place.

That was another thing that was new and nice, hanging out with someone other than Scott. Peter, having come out of a coma in such a miraculous way (to quote his doctor) meant that he could go on living as he had before, resume his old life. His condo had been set up in such a way that payments were made for bills and everything else on an automated system so he still had a home to go to — it helped that he was rich as well because he had to pay his medical bills on top.

So they had been spending time at Peter’s condo, going through some of the old Hale family collection of books to see if what Peter remembered about the ritual was correct. Sadly, Peter thinks the books perished in the fire along with everything else.

Tonight, however, Stiles had wanted the comfort of home.

“You know, Peter, has it ever occured to you that I cannot trust that everything is going to turn out?”

“Stiles, if we’re going to start comparing our tragic backstories, I think we both know I am going to win.”

Stiles rolled his eyes with a laugh as he shoved at the werewolf. “You know what I mean. Until you, I haven’t exactly been stable.”

“And until you, I was nothing but a sad coma patient who might have made the six o’clock news once upon a time. Now I’ve got my mate and we’re about to stabilize the Nemeton, so life is looking up,” Peter said, looking at him fondly.

Unfortunately Stiles’s brain was too busy processing the word mate to notice. “Woah woah woah, back up, did you say mate?”

Peter at least had the grace to blush. “I was not going to say anything until later, when things were more stable for all of us.”

Stiles nodded but he did not believe it. “Uh huh, sure,” he said, crossing his arms and looking away from the werewolf.

“No, Stiles, hey,” Peter said, reaching out to gently unfold Stiles’s folded arms and hold his hands. “I mean it, I was going to tell you after we sorted everything with Scott. I don’t want to overwhelm you but we only get one mate and I would never dare dream of starting off our relationship on lies.”

Stiles scoffed. “And, what, let me guess, we only became mates because I bit your wrist?”

Peter frowned and seemed to take a deep breath to center himself. “No, the placement of the bite has nothing to do with it. I just liked the thought of having your bite in a spot that would always be visible to me,” he explained, tilting his wrist so they could both see the bite.

“When I was in the woods that night,” Peter went on. “I was out there because my wolf sensed Laura and wanted vengeance for her abandoning us. I was still roaming through the area when I stumbled across your scent. It was you I was aiming to bite that night because my wolf recognized your scent as the one. I missed because I was not altogether in my right mind, but even then I knew you were my mate.”

Stiles could not look Peter in the eye anymore. It was all a bit much to take in. “I see.”

“I know this got deep really quickly but I am serious about you, about the potential between us. And I know you’re only sixteen so nothing will happen for a few years but I want to build up our friendship and get to know you. But I knew it would be too much now, it’s bad timing. I want to help your friend and then we can focus on us.”

Even without looking at Peter, Stiles could tell the werewolf was just as overwhelmed by what he was saying as Stiles was. He had put it right, it was bad timing.

“Okay, we’ll focus on Scott and then us. That’s a good plan. And the first thing we should probably do is get a good nights sleep, so we’re prepared, for tomorrow,” Stiles said as he pulled his hands out of Peter’s, rubbing his palms on his thighs as he tried not to fidget.

Peter made him feel like himself again which meant an ADHD riddled teenager and he kind of hated it. He liked when he did not twitch and fidget, when he did not feel so full of restless energy. However, at the same time, he would not trade it for the world. He was ready to be rid of the spirit that had plagued him since his mother died.

“That sounds like a good plan,” Peter said quietly in response, recognizing a dismissal for what it was. “Try to sleep well, I will see you in the morning.”

“Goodnight,” Stiles called to Peter’s retreating back, listening as the front door opened and closed.

Stiles made his way to bed not long after Peter left. He slept fitfully that night and was not at all rested when he got up in the morning. He left the house and went to collect Scott.

He had not made plans with Scott but he knew his best friend would be up to playing hooky for a day. It was not often they skipped school, both because Stiles’s dad was the Sheriff and Scott’s mom, Melissa, worked too hard for either of them to feel comfortable letting her down. Seeing as the sun was showing, though, Scott readily agreed that the day would be wasted inside and allowed Stiles to drag him out into the woods.

One would think with their track record of getting into shit in the woods Scott might be a bit more hesitant but Stiles was glad to see his friend was as trusting as always. Stiles knew he had lucked out with a best friend like Scott, one who stuck by him even when his personality seemed to do a complete 180 degree flip. It was one of the reasons why Stiles had held out against the nogitsune as long as he had. He could not let his best friend down. No matter what he was going through, Scott had always been there for him, and Stiles had wanted to be there for Scott as long as he could. Now, thanks to Peter, Stiles was going to be around for a long time to come.

Since the full moon was a long ways off, Stiles and Scott spent the day shooting the shit and just having fun. It had been an age since they had just goofed off together. Scott informed Stiles that he had, indeed, made first string in lacrosse but had decided not to accept since Jackson was still a huge douche. He informed Stiles that he might go out for the drama club instead since his friend from business class, Isaac, was joining and thought that Scott would make a good fit.

Stiles, personally, did not think Scott would be able to act for shit since he was a terrible liar but encouraged his best friend nonetheless. At least he would still be around to see Scott through the other side if the drama club did not work out.

As night started to fall Stiles finally started steering Scott towards the nemeton. Thanks to the nogitsune, he had an innate sense of where it was located in the forest. Stiles could tell that the wolf was nearing the surface as Scott was getting more agitated the longer they kept walking. His best friend was sweating profusely and had started quietly growling not that long ago. Stiles prayed fervently to the moon that this ritual would work.

He needed Scott to survive. His best friend had been his north star for so long that he could not lose it, no matter how selfish that might make him.

“Stiles.”

Scott jumped about a foot in the air and turned around to snarl at Peter. Unfortunately as Peter was his alpha Scott was cowed pretty quickly when Peter growled in return. Peter quirked a brow at Stiles, his face only visible because the moon was already out.

“I told you to give him the sleeping pill earlier so that he would be a bit more calmed down now instead of this stink of raging teenage hormones,” Peter said, a whine tinging his voice. “Now I’m just going to have to do this.”

If Stiles had known Peter was going to punch his best friend in the face and knock him out, he absolutely would have given Scott the sleeping pill he had pilfered from his father. “Wow, asshole, did you really have to knock him out? I was going to give him the sleeping pill closer to the nemeton.”

Peter rolled his eyes. “He won’t be out for long, his wolf is too close to the surface for one punch to take him out. And I told you, I was fine with carrying him however far I had to.”

“Well, you’re going to have to carry him from here because I can’t.”

Peter did not even bat an eyelash as he bent down to pick Scott up, lifting him like he weighed nothing. Already Stiles could see that Scott was stirring, which meant they really had to get to the nemeton sooner rather than later.

“Is he going to be okay afterward? Or will he be out cold?”

Peter hummed in thought. “He will likely be out cold, so I’ll have to carry him to your car so you can drive him home.”

They spent the rest of the walk in silence, Stiles actually enjoying the woods for once. He could feel the creatures around them, they were leaving him alone as they always did, but for the first time he was actually able to enjoy the beauty that surrounded him. It was breathtaking, especially bathed in the light of the ever brightening full moon.

When they finally got to the clearing where the nemeton lay the moon was almost fully overhead. Scott was awake and restless in Peter’s arms, the alpha werewolf only too happy to put Scott down onto the large stump.

“What the hell is going on, Stiles?” Scott yelled out, sending some critters that had come to investigate them running off.

“You probably won’t remember this tomorrow and if you do you’ll just think you had a weird dream. But, you were bitten by a werewolf and we, Peter and I, are going to reverse that because Scottie, I love you, but I gotta say, I think you would make a terrible werewolf,” Stiles explained, ignoring Peter’s snort from behind him.

“Stiles, I don’t feel so well,” Scott groaned as he clutched at his stomach. Stiles starred on in fascinated horror as he hunched over and his form started to heave. If Stiles had not seen, and done, worse things it would definitely lead to nightmares.

“Stiles,” Peter hissed, pulled his attention. The werewolf pointed up at the moon which was just reaching its zenith.

Stiles nodded, squaring his shoulders. He felt Peter grab hold of his shoulders from behind, grounding him in the present and anchoring him for what was about to come.

“Peter, are you sure I’m not going to lose myself along with the nogitsune?” Stiles asked, the one question he had hesitated to ask before but now it was too late. Not that he would do anything different, he would do whatever it took to save Scott.

“Like I said before, that’s why you’ve got me. I’m not only a Hale wolf, born of this land, but I’m also your mate, born of your heart. I know it sounds cheesy as fuck but without me to be the tether between your heart and this land, you would drift off. The mother moon would welcome you with open arms but I’m not ready to give you up just yet.”

Stiles laughed a little hysterically as Peter squeezed his shoulders. It was all the comfort he could take.

Turning his attention back to Scott, Stiles saw that his best friend was currently hunched over on his hands and knees, snarling. It looked painful and if the sounds that Scott was making were anything to go by, it truly was. With a breath, Stiles cleared his mind and focused inward on the pack bonds that he could still feel.

Though his bond with Peter had lessened the faux alpha bond that Stiles had imposed on Peter, the bonds that Stiles had felt were still there. Using that connection, Stiles traced the pcak bond that he knew to be Scott’s all the way to the end, delving into his best friend’s soul. Scott’s soul was as bright as Stiles would have bet on but there was a second different light trying to fuse to it. It was on the outskirts, trying to latch on and Scott’s soul was fighting it.

Vaguely Stiles could make out that Peter was saying something behind him but he could not make out the words. Instead, Stiles continued to focus where he needed to. With a thought he reached out to touch the second light, the lycanthropic soul that was doing its level best to fuse to Scott’s soul, and cupped it in his mind — or, he tried to. The soul was heavy and Stiles felt himself getting absorbed into it.

He tried to fight it, scared that Peter would not be enough to tether him to the present. Everything he threw at the soul just seemed to get sucked right in and in a panic Stiles flung open wide all the doors in his mind, releasing the one being he had never unleashed before.

The nogitsune flew out of him and into the lycanthropic soul and was completely subsumed by it. At least, that is what it looked like. Deep inside the soul Stiles could see a dark void forming, gradually growing until it had nearly eclipsed the bright moonlight soul that was the lycanthropic soul. Stiles mentally cried out for the beauty that was being stamped away but he did not have to. The mother moon took care of her children.

With a shudder both the nogitsune and the lycanthropic soul were sucked out of him and Stiles finally understood what Peter had meant when he said the nemeton would take over. Stiles’s eyes fluttered open to watch as the globe of light descended into the nemeton. The light disappeared for a split second before Stiles watched as the lycanthropic soul rose up and out of the nemeton, floating higher until it dispersed completely.

“The mother moon welcomes a latent spirit back home,” Peter whispered in his ear. “And it is a beautiful event you will never again see occur. Thank you, Mother moon, for that blessing.”

The words may have sounded ritualistic but Stiles felt the power of them in the bright beams of light that filtered through the tree branches and touched him. He had never seen such a beautiful side to magic as this and it gave him hope that one day his magic might produce light instead of darkness.

Feeling like his strings have been cut, Stiles fell back into Peter’s waiting arms. He was exhausted like he had never felt before.

“Just a little longer, sweetheart, and then you can go to bed. We have to get Scott home first,” Peter said, chuckling as he held Stiles close for a second longer before gently putting him back onto his feet.

Stiles instantly became alert at the mention of his friend though he still felt completely drained and like even a straight 24 hours would not be enough sleep to feel rested. His eyes sought out Scott. His best friend was completely passed out on top of the nemeton, snoring away like nothing was wrong. Stiles laughed he was so giddy at the sight.

“He’s alright!”

Peter joined in his laughter. “I told you he would be.”

Stiles turned to Peter with a smile as the werewolf went to pick up Scott. “Peter, I cannot thank you enough. Scott, well, I personally don’t think he would have handled being a werewolf. You’ve saved his life.”

Peter turned to Stiles once Scott was settled in his arms. “Stiles, this saved Scott as much as it saved me.”

Stiles frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Check the bonds again,” was all Peter said in reply.

As the started walking back to where Stiles had left the car, Stiles left himself drift, comfortable in the knowledge that Peter would steer him straight. Sinking into himself felt like the easiest thing in the world, no longer fighting for space in his own mind. He sought out the bonds and realised they were no longer present. The only bond left was his bond to Peter.

Stiles’s eyes flew open and he stared at the wolf in shock. “But, what does that mean? The bonds are all gone?”

“Just like you had to sacrifice a power, I had to sacrifice something as well. For me, it was the bonds of my long dead pack,” Peter explained as they walked onto the path near the parking lot. “and my alphadom.”

Stiles gasped and grabbed onto Peter’s arm. “But! You’ll become an omega!”

Peter stopped to look at Stiles, to reassure. “That alpha bite you gave me was not a faux bite, like you seem to think. You have magic in your own right, enough that my wolf recognizes and accepts you as our alpha. It also probably helps that you’re my mate.”

Peter kept on walking and Stiles was helpless to do anything but follow. It took them less than ten minutes, once they hit the path, to reach the parking lot. Stiles unlocked his car and watched as Peter layed Scott gently along the backseat of his jeep. Stiles waited until Scott was settled and Peter had walked back to his side to ask his question.

“But I still don’t understand, Peter. How are you okay with this?”

Peter sighed and leaned against the jeep. “I was never meant to be alpha. My wolf form was warped and disfigured for a reason. Those born to wear the mantle of alpha are born so for a reason, and it’s not my lack of spirit or leadership ability. I don’t know what goes into the making of an alpha but I was happy to be born a beta. And though you’re not a werewolf you’ve been contending with a demon spirit, your soul expanded. It only makes sense that you are fit to be an alpha.”

Stiles swallowed. “Oh.”

“And I am happy to follow wherever you may lead.”

“Double oh.”

Peter laughed and pulled Stiles in for a hug. It felt nice but it also felt right. Stiles could feel their bond in his mind, how it pulsed soothingly.

“Now,” Peter said as he pulled away. “it’s time you took your friend home and then yourself, and get straight into bed. We will talk more tomorrow.”

Stiles sighed but knew Peter was right. With one last quick hug, Stiles hopped into his jeep and took his friend home. It took a bit to wake Scott up and to drag him up to his room but Stiles was out of the house in minutes and on his way home.

As the next day was still a school day, Stiles dragged himself out of bed. He met Scott at the front door and had a completely ordinary day. When he got home at the end of the day Peter was waiting for him on his front porch, two cappuccinos in hand.

He sat down beside Peter, accepting the still hot coffee and enjoying a few sips, before he turned to the werewolf with a smile. “Thank you for the coffee.”

Peter smiled right back at him, the fondness present for Stiles to see this time. “You are most welcome.”

“So, it’s been a crazy few days, hasn’t it?” Stiles asked, tipping his head back to gaze at really nothing at all.

Peter merely hummed.

“So,” Stiles said, sitting up and turning to look at Peter with a wide grin on his face. Thanks to the man beside him, Stiles was finally free of the poisonous being that had nearly swallowed him whole. Having Peter as his mate sounded like a grand thing indeed.

“So?” Peter asked, prompting him when Stiles had been quietly gazing at him for long minutes.

“Well, you’ll never guess what Scott told me today.”

It was Peter’s turn to let out a loud, absolutely captivating laugh. “Let me guess, something about a dream involving werewolves in the forest?”

And Stiles joined him in laughing, letting his head thunk onto Peter’s shoulder: the man who saw his soul through the darkness and saved it.

Stiles snorted as a thought came to him. “You’re basically like my soul mate.”

Peter’s eye roll could be seen for miles, Stiles was sure.