Stiles got out of his jeep and surveyed the compound. He’d gotten a call from a very private source, saying that the FBI had finally managed to get the Argents, and the compound was being cleared out asap. Technically, he had no business of being here, but frankly he didn’t care. He knew Argents were hunters and knew what kind of sins they were capable of. Most other people currently here had no clue.
He spotted Agent McCall in the distance and marched to him.
“Stiles? What are you—you know, never mind.” McCall looked around and asked, in a low tone. “Hunters?”
“Yep. I heard they had a dog fighting side business, so….” He shrugged. He just had to be sure.
“That’s at another location and the house has already been scoured through, but they have a barn here, you’re free to take a look?”
It didn’t seem like McCall thought there was anything there. Otherwise he wouldn’t have given Stiles the permission. But when a cop looked at Stiles in a very pointed manner, McCall shook his head to show that he was okay to be there. That was a plus.
“The house is clean?” Stiles made sure and got a brusque nod. “Okay.” He walked to the big red barn that was… empty. If you didn’t take an old rusted tractor into account.
Stiles climbed up the ladder and found absolutely nothing in the hay loft, and the rest of the barn was just as empty. There was straw on the floor and the trails of where the cops and agents had walked were somewhat visible.
He was about to leave, when something started to niggle at his conscience. Call it a hunch or just pure paranoia, but something felt… off. He looked around again, and then decided to go check out the tractor after all.
There were no tracks close to it, so the agents hadn’t checked it, either. He wasn’t sure what he’d find, but he felt like something had to be there. Just… anything.
The tractor was unremarkable in every possible way. It looked like it wouldn’t even start. Frowning, Stiles made another circle around it, and then looked at the floor. He scuffed his shoe on the straws—that moved and showed… not dirt like the rest of the floor was.
He dropped to his knees and started to move the straw around. “A fucking hatch. Shit.” He scrambled up and ran to the doors, looking wildly around. “Agent McCall!” he called, and soon the familiar form popped out of one of the small sheds nearby. “I think I found something!”
The tractor was moved and the hatch that was large enough to just be hidden by the tractor was opened with Stiles pushed to one of the barn walls out of the way as the professionals did their thing.
Cops went down the stairs with weapons drawn, and soon came back up looking half sick, half puzzled.
One of the FBI guys came to Stiles. “You’re the animal guy, right?” he asked, and for two beats, Stiles was confused.
Then his brain caught up and his bullshitting skills kicked in. “Yeah, why?”
“McCall wants you down there.” The guy pointed over his shoulder and left the barn, gesturing at the remaining cops to follow him.
Feeling an odd dread, Stiles went down the stairs into a surprisingly well-lit… well, dungeon. Might as well call it was it was.
Agent McCall stood to the side and looked sick to his stomach. Stiles went to him and saw what he was looking at. Car batteries, knives, any sort of implement one could think to use to inflict pain to another being was there, neatly on several racks on the walls. There were jars of mostly unidentified substances on one shelf, and Stiles recognized at least aconite and a few other poisons.
“Agent…?” Stiles frowned, and the man pointed at two cells in a corner.
In one of them was a skeleton of… maybe a wolf? Something quite big. The other… Stiles peeked in and saw two sets of red eyes in the far corner.
“Are they…?” McCall asked, sounding choked up.
“Do they have the same problem your son has?” Stiles asked in a dry as he could muster tone before turning back to the wolves. “Yes. Let everyone know I’ll be taking care of them. And for fuck’s sake, go get my bag from the back of the Jeep.” Then, because sometimes McCall could be as thick as his son, he added, “And don’t let anyone here. Tell them the animals are too freaked out.”
McCall started up the stairs, and as soon as he was out of earshot, Stiles went to the cell’s bars and knelt down.
The wolves were black and dark brown, but it was hard to tell for sure with the lighting inside the cell being so bad.
“Okay, guys. My name is Stiles. The Argents are gone, I promise that.” Those were the two most important things. Then onto the third. “I’ll get you out of here. I even think I know who you two are, actually. I’ve been an eye out when they’ve busted known hunters. Argents were pretty much the last ones they finally got that I suspected might have you, or at least some knowledge of you.”
The brown wolf turned his head to listen toward the steps, and McCall soon stomped down the stairs. He dropped Stiles’s duffel next to him and grunted, “You won’t be disturbed. I moved the Jeep to the barn doors.”
“Excellent. Thanks. Now leave.” He didn’t take his eyes off the wolves. McCall huffed and stomped back up.
The black wolf was almost cowering behind the brown one now, his eyes were closed, and the brown one was taking the front, protecting him with his bulk that was… well, not very bulky. You had to do some shit to werewolves if you wanted to make them look like this. Stiles was pretty sure they hadn’t been fed and had been forced into their animal forms by some trick. A collar maybe?
“Okay guys, as I said I think I know who you are. But first me. I know you have no reason to trust me, not after what other humans did to you, but you kind of have to. You know you’re in no condition to run on your own. You need some TLC and a safe place to shift back and then more TLC. I have a place, you won’t be the first supernatural beings I’ve nursed back to health, and you won’t be the last.”
The brown wolf tilted his head, and Stiles could hear the way it was sniffing the air, trying to get a read on him.
“You can listen my heartbeat, Peter,” he said, his suspicion confirmed when the wolf went completely still and the black one opened his eyes in shock. “I told you I knew who you were. You’re Peter and that’s your nephew Derek, right?”
A little whine escaped Derek then, and he hid behind Peter once more, trembling now.
“I know there’s some sort of history between the Argents and the Hales, but Christopher Argent is an acquaintance of mine, and he tipped me off. He couldn’t tell me anything specific, just to look closely. He’s not like his father and sister, those two are going to rot in a cell for the rest of their miserable lives, I promise.”
Peter huffed, and then listened for the sounds from above again.
Stiles could hear someone walking over them in the barn and sighed. “Look, this isn’t ideal. I’ll let you go as soon as we’re out of town if that’s what you want, even though I’d rather not. But for now, you two need to act like two good wolfdogs for the idiots up there.” Peter growled then. “Oh I know, trust me. I need to get you out of there, get whatever is keeping you two shifted off you, but you can’t shift back. You can’t show red eyes, either. When I get you out, you need to come with me, get into my car, and we’ll be out of here. Okay?”
Derek continued to tremble, while Peter clearly considered. He nudged his nephew carefully, and got him to his wobbly feet.
Stiles nodded and went to open the electric locks. Once the door was open, he peered in. “Is there anything about the doorway that prevents you from leaving?” When Peter shook his head, Stiles smiled slightly. “Good. I have acid in my bag, I was totally ready to do an old school prison bars melting for you guys.”
Peter huffed, and even Derek seemed to cheer up a little.
“Now, collars, right?” Stiles waited for the wolves to approach him and held out his hands. “Can I look?”
Peter came to him and tilted his head, revealing a horrible burned circle around his neck under what looked like some sort of metal collar, but it was obvious there was something like mountain ash in the mix, because the collars continued to burn the wolves and prevented them from shifting.
The latch itself wasn’t hard to open, it just needed two hands to do it. Not even with collective eight paws could the wolves get out of them.
“Right. I’ll take these off you. Remember to hold onto the wolves. It’s gonna be hard enough to get you to my car without anyone asking questions. I don’t want to have to bullshit my way out with two naked men.”
Peter huffed again, but stayed still, closed his eyes in obvious concentration when Stiles opened the latch mechanism on the collar. The wolf shuddered and swayed immediately, the poison away from his delicate skin.
It took Derek a few moments to come to Stiles, but he did after seeing Peter was okay. He almost collapsed when the collar fell to the floor. Both wolves’ eyes shone red, the relief and pain coursing through their veins.
Suddenly Peter growled toward the stairs and Stiles cursed. A young cop walked down the stairs, looking curious.
“Hey, I volunteer at a dog rescue—” the poor guy started.
“Get back out. I just got them to calm down and will bring them out soon. I can’t have you fucking this up for me,” Stiles snapped in a tone that made the cop freeze.
It was obvious he wanted to help the “dogs” and hadn’t expected this kind of response, but he recovered quickly and nodded. “Sorry, sorry….” He retreated quickly.
Peter let out a sound that might’ve been a wolfy hum of sorts, and Stiles had the feeling he was being measured somehow.
“Okay, we need to get you of here. I know it’ll suck, but I’ll have to put leashes on you in case there’s anyone in the barn.”
Even Derek gave him the stink eye then, and Stiles grinned. “I know. No dog jokes.” Then he got serious. “This is a no joke kind of situation, isn’t it?”
He then dug out two leashes from his bag and put them on the wolves who tensed with the nylon touching their necks. They weren’t healing at all, and Stiles thought they needed nourishment, soon.
“Okay. Let’s go.” He picked the leashes and his bag, and off they went.
Derek especially wobbled and was obviously scared of the outside world, while Peter seemed full of righteous fury, weak as he was as well.
“Hey man, I’m sorry. I just thought since there’s two, I could’ve taken one to my rescue.” The young cop stood by the Jeep while Stiles opened the back door and let Peter jump in first.
He had to help Derek a little, and suddenly there were two other cops and Agent McCall hovering nearby. Stiles closed the door behind Derek and turned around.
“Sorry, but these two are obviously a bonded pair that has gone through hell down there. I would never separate dogs like that. And now I gotta go. They need to be checked by my vet and get all the help they need.”
“If you’re su—”
“Officer. I told you he’d take care of the dogs, didn’t I?” McCall’s voice snapped like a whip, making the young cop deflate and tense at the same time.
“Yes, sir—I mean Agent, I didn’t—”
Stiles hopped into the Jeep, started it, and drove off while McCall handled the newbie.
“Jesus….” Stiles hissed as he put distance between them and the Argent compound.
Peter rumbled a growl when they got to the gates and drove through. Derek whined deep in his throat, the sound hurting Stiles in his marrow.
“It’s okay. Half an hour or so and we’ll be at my place. You’ll be fine. Nobody will hurt you again. I promise.”
Derek hid as well as he could by making himself flat on the seat, while Peter looked around, keeping an eye on where they were going.
“Hey, Peter? You’re safe, I’m handling this, so take care of your nephew, okay?”
Reluctantly, Peter settled down next to Derek and huffed just loud enough for Stiles to hear.