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Never Trust A Fox (They're Pranksters At Heart)

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Whilst the Nogitsune stalks down the hallway snarling about being a thousand years old, he stops as the ceiling vent above him rattles, before another Stiles crashes down on top of him. A sword almost impales both of them when it follows several seconds later. The pair are a tangle of limbs, they haven't managed to separate by the time a tentacle blob monster also falls out of the ventilation system on top of them. Followed by a young woman with black hair and goo smothered casual clothes.

 

She dodged the pile up, landing in a crouch in front of a startled Scott who had been in the middle of sneaking after the Nogitsune. The pair of the floor managed to detach themselves from each other just in time to not get eaten by the green blob. The Nogitsune picked up the sword, a Japanese style longsword, only to have it snatched out of his hands by the other Stiles that fell out of the ventilation system. The newcomer Stilinski opened his mouth to speak, when with a blast of purple tinted light and a shriek of pained defeat, the blob creature exploded into fizzling scraps of its former whole self.

 

The woman's mouth was slightly open, wispy purple-tinted 'smoke trails' escaping her mouth. The Nogitsune seemed rather stunned by the sight. He knew what this woman was. He must have caught her attention somehow because purple pupils moved to take him in. The warm glint sharply faded with an accompanying inhale. The Nogitsune scrambled backwards, in a crab like scuttle of a movement, back slamming into one of the corridor lining rows of lockers. On the other side of the corridor, still near the ventilation cover drop site, the newer Stiles Stilinski lay on his back staring at the ceiling. He was trying to work out a better approach to dealing with any future tentacle creatures. His original approach of chopping off tentacles with a sword hadn't worked terribly well, since the blob creature would regenerate lost limbs. He blinked as Scott's face entered his periphery.

 

It was a little weird, there was something...off about Scott's face. “Hey Scottie, did you do something to your hair? There's something different about you.” Scott didn't answer, reaching out and pulling Stiles' arm closer to himself, Stiles was confused but didn't fight his best friend's actions. Until inhuman teeth sank into the flesh of his forearm, enlarged canines piercing the flesh of his inner right arm (the left had a tattoo on the inner forearm), blood swiftly welling out of the puncture wound. With a pained yelp, ripping his arm away from the now lax grip, and backing up until his back met the cold but solid metal of the lockers lining the corridor, whiskey brown eyes locked onto Scott's form and refused to move. Cradling his arm to his chest, Stiles hissed as his arm burned with pain. Like there was poison in his blood. In his peripheral he could see his girlfriend—the woman he arrived with—chasing down the evil spirit thing that looked like him.

 

Scott's eyes were glowing red, and he was staring at Stiles like he was shocked by what he was seeing. Kira approached from behind Scott and also stared. Stiles felt a shiver run throughout his body followed by the urge to throw up violently. He clamped his good hand over his mouth, wincing heavily as the movement jostled his still burning arm. Squeezing his eyes shut he started counting to ten. By three he curled around his bitten arm. By seven he was struggling to concentrate. By eight he knew he couldn't stay in human form. His count of ten came out as a bark. “I think you bit the wrong one Scott, this is the one that came out of the ceiling.” Kira spoke shakily. Lydia was still supporting the Stiles they knew was human, but the Voices were whispering louder and louder in her ears.

“We need to take him to Deaton, or Noshiko. Preferably both together.” Lydia spoke, she was shaken up by this odd diversion from what should have been a more simple result than it turned out to be. This was a mess. Now instead of two Stilinski teenagers, there were three identical Stiles. One was an evil Nogitsune in the original body, one was Real Stiles in a Nogitsune created body that got thrown up magically out of the original, and now a third who after getting bitten by an Alpha Werewolf transformed into a six tailed furry black fox.

 

The Nogitsune was in the wind, again. Being pursued by whoever that strange woman was. They were left with Real Stiles and this New Stiles That Turned into a Black Fox. “Okay.” Scott answered. “Kira, can you call your mom and ask her to meet us at the clinic?”

“Okay, yeah, I'll ask her.” Kira was already fishing her phone from her pocket. The six tailed fox the size of a Great Dane dog didn't struggle when Scott reached out and tried to carry the awkwardly large fox. The fox just panted, similar to how a human would gasp breaths through the pain. This New Stiles even tried to help them move him around. Kira picked up the sword that fell through the ceiling vent. Scott drove Roscoe as Real Stiles was still too weak to stand on his own let alone be in charge of a vehicle. The New Stiles well, he currently didn't have thumbs.

 

Getting to the clinic was easy, only it was under attack by Oni. Two to be precise. The fox in Scott's arms started wriggling, eventually tumbling hard out of Scott's arms, crashing to the ground in human form, sweating and sickly looking. Right arm looking infected already. Whiskey brown eyes burning bright silver, with a twist of his healthier arm, another Japanese style longsword appeared in his grip, before he attacked the two Oni from behind. He destroyed one with what was probably fox fire. The other, was trapped in a circle of glowing light after he used a European style longsword to 'draw' a circle around the Oni on the floor. Scott moved over to his father figure, mentor and boss who was half collapsed against a metal animal gurney.

 

The New Stiles after trapping the Oni wheezed as he stumbled over to Scott and Deaton, weakly but still insistently shoving Scott's and Deaton's own hands away from the two sword wounds Deaton had. A long fingered right hand clamped itself over the abdomen wound first. Veins in the arm turning inky black and drawing the pain and corruption out of Deaton. New Stiles pulled his hand away leaving a completely healed wound. He repeated the same with the back wound, turning back into a fox in the middle of it, before becoming human again. He finished healing Deaton, collapsed in a heap and dragged himself over to Real Stiles. Who weakly tried to shuffle away from the New Stiles, only the guy pulled up the bottom cuff of his jeans, pulled down his sock and clamped his right hand around Real Stiles' ankle. His veins turned inky black again, but this time pumping Real Stiles with something; going on the direction of the inky blackness when it appeared.

 

Real Stiles started regaining colour. New Stiles abruptly turned back into the six tailed fox, which moved its mouth to continue doing what New Stiles was previously doing with his hand. “What's he doing?” Scott asked the room just as Noshiko revealed herself.

“What I imagine a Field Kitsune would chose to do naturally. Heal the sick and wound. Even at cost to himself.”

“Why does he look like Stiles when not a fox?”

“An Alpha Werewolf has a way to determine what is truth and what is not.”

Scott deflated with realisation. “I have to go into his head again don't I?”

“Yes, but you need him in human form to--” The fox detached from Real Stiles and shivering limped over to Scott. “Whoever he is, he is very cooperative.”

“Do I need to take anyone with me?”

“No. Not unless you want a second opinion.”

“Lydia?” Scott asked, looking to his friend. The Banshee shook her head, not wanting to get too close to another kitsune's mind games after the most recent incident. Kira steps forwards.

“I'll go with you--” Kira stepped forwards, closer to Scott by a step and a half, when her mother's aged eyes looked at her only child.

“No Kira, you need to stay on watch outside. If no one objects, I'll join you.” Her mother spoke calmly. Kira conceded, stepping back again.

 

New Stiles is trembling and looks very very sick whilst in human form. His right arm, the bite wound is leaking puss. The veins are a pulsing inky black but it only seems to be slowing the deathly Alpha Bite down, not keeping it at stalemate or even healing it like he did with Deaton and Real Stiles. Noshiko had sat on the floor next to him, Scott behind them, since the clinic lacked a settee like the McCall Residence. Deaton however had to intervene as the New Stiles could barely sit upright—he'd slumped over Noshiko as soon as she sat next to him. Pitifully moaning out a plea of 'auntie' towards her. Noshiko had a theory.

 

Her theory turned out to be completely wrong. This wasn't the Nogitsune's offspring, nor was it it's 'Good Side'. Oh no. That would have been easier to compute compared to the truth. Parallel worlds. Alternate universes.

 

Scott pulled his claws out and scrambled back until he hit the wall behind himself. He slid down it until he was sitting on the floor again, burying his head in his hands and feeling tears starting to escape his eyes. He sucked in a breath and failed to stop it coming out as a wet cry. Noshiko meanwhile took to action—this was a person, another Kitsune, an adolescent kitsune no less, who looked up to her as family . She tossed off her jacket, pulled up her blouse to just under her breasts, pulled out a kukuri blade she kept on herself for emergencies, not a tail, but still a formidable weapon in skilled hands. She took a steadying breath and then stabbed herself with it. The True Alpha just whined at the sight before him. “Oh my god! Mom!” Noshiko ignored her daughter for now, she gripped pale sweaty long fingered hands, one handled more gently than the other considering one limb had a lethal bite wound present, and pressed them to her fresh wound.

“Eat. Don't heal. Just eat.”

 

He ignored her and healed her, meaning her wound was only half the meal she intended it to be. The bite wound entered a stalemate. “What the hell is going on?!” Lydia demanded. Scott just started crying harder. Noshiko allowed it, he just learnt he has potentially sentenced a perfectly innocent person to death. One who not only looks like his best friend, but is his best friend. Just from an alternate reality.

“Mom?” Kira drew closer, worried for her mother. Her hands reached out tentatively to the bloodied skin. “What's—I don't—what's going on?”

“This is Stiles, just as much as the Stiles standing over there.” Noshiko answered. It wasn't exactly an easy situation to explain. Noshiko prepared to stab herself again, only a trembling arm stopped her.

“N-no. Stop.” New Stiles wheezed. Noshiko looked at him, a look on her face similar to when she felt like Kira was ignoring good advice.

“Pain is the most immediate source of energy we can give you. Without it you are going to die.” Scott made a despairing noise on hearing that.

“I've...had...worse...” New Stiles gasped out as a fresh wave of puss leaked out of his wounds. Noshiko used the opportunity that granted her to stab herself again. “...You're all crazy idiots. Bad...enough, with all your...tail-swords...”

 

The arm was still in a stalemate, but the trembling lessened, and the full shining silver eyes just became flickers of silver whenever the arm flared particularly badly. The chittering clicks of the Oni reminded them of the the demon's presence. “Is that entirely safe?” Lydia questioned. “What did he do to it?”

“It's like a...a circle of Mountain Ash.” Scott spoke, wiping his eyes. “Whatever is trapped in the circle can't come out until the rule is met.”

“A 'rule'? What do you mean by 'rule'?” Lydia looked between Scott and his puffy red eyes, Kira and Noshiko with the New Stiles still on the floor, Deaton standing next to Scott helping him stand and steady himself, Real Stiles who looked confused as she felt, and the trapped Oni.

“It can't come out until it's not a threat.” New Stiles answered.

“I didn't ask you.” The Banshee snapped. She was on edge, after going into his head Noshiko and Scott trusted this guy. But they'd been tricked before. Yet also she was aware the Nogitsune's reaction to him falling out of the ceiling had been mostly likely genuine.

“Well considering I'm the one who wrote the rule into the Ecricture Barrier, I'm the only one present who could have the proper answer. You look different, is your hair different? It doesn't look different but something—oh! You're younger! That's what it is!” He scrunched up his face. “You look the same as you did when you were sixteen.”

“That's because I am sixteen. How old are you?”

“Seventy four.” Kira, Deaton, Real Stiles and Lydia all startled and stared at him.

“No that's impossible, you...you're seventeen at the most.” Lydia hissed. He tilted his head focusing on Lydia, but aware of the whole room.

“I'm a kitsune. I age differently to you. For everyone one year you age, it takes me almost four years to physically change the same amount.”

What?!” Lydia snapped.

“It's not exactly a secret. You could probably go to any public library and find at least one book on kitsune lore. Some of it might not be accurate, but then we are tricksters and probably played pranks on whoever was researching us at the time. Well Fiorian Libraries, I have no idea what Joya, Bosco or other countries have culturally in regard to kitsune.” He curled around his arm again with a hiss. “This burns worse than the time Kianna bit me when she was still cursed. What in the name of Ishgar kind of wizard are you Scotty? My arm feels like it's going to fall off!”

 

Scott almost started crying again. “I'm a werewolf.”

“I don't know what that is.”

“It's...like your Scott, only without the wizard stuff.”

“That doesn't make sense.” Without the 'wizard stuff' Scott wouldn't be capable of anything. Stiles wouldn't know him—he'd just be one of the non-magical townsfolk of Magnolia.

“Scott, you're trying to explain to a person who grew up surrounded by wizards and magic. He probably can't conceptualise a person he knows as a wizard as anything without magic.” Noshiko advised, she shifted her grip on her dagger, only to have it plucked from her grasp and thrown into a distant corner of the room.

 

Scott remembers one of the memories they saw. If they take New Stiles to the hospital it can not only reduce his mom's workload, but also help the drained kitsune regain energy. “You don't want us to hurt ourselves to help you. What if we take you to a hospital--”

“I don't know what that is either.” The Field Fox quietly interrupted. Scott paused, quite confused, how could he not know what a hospital was? He'd seen them in the memories, he'd seen this Stiles and his dad visit such places to lighten the workload of the doctors and nurses who worked there, along with a young woman with long blue hair and a tendency to trip over thin air. When Lydia spoke, both Scott and this Stiles turned to look at the Banshee.

“Why are you so keen to help him? What's in his head that changed your mind?”

“He's Stiles. But he's...not our Stiles. He's from somewhere else. And he knows us, but the people he knows, like he has his own Scott, Lydia, his own dad. And they are exactly like us, but also not.” Scott struggled to explain. “Lydia! There's another you in his memories, and instead of being a Banshee, you're still connected to spirits, but you sort of channel them like Vixen does in comics, to fight bad wizards. But they aren't animal spirits, they're other wizards. And your mom does it too.”

 

“That's...you're talking about parallel worlds.” Kira realised, understanding the comic book reference. “But why does he keep turning into a fox? I don't do that.”

“The Kira he knows does. Kitsune of his world are born in fox form, we saw a memory of you two learning how to take human form.” Noshiko answered her daughter. She was calm, but inside she was reeling. This, this six-tailed kitsune was a Nogitsune, but she could see the differences between the one she had summoned and this much younger one clear as day. She hadn't needed to go into the memories to see that, she'd thought perhaps he'd been the Nogitsune's offspring. One that sought to protect its new mother, the former Host. She didn't quite know how Void Kitsune reproduced, she's considered that maybe they severed a tail off and made a new one like taking a sprig from a tree. She felt very foolish for those kind of thoughts now. She didn't know this young (though he was older than her daughter, physical development wise they were essentially the same age) kitsune personally, but he knew her and she would see to it herself that he was kept as safe and healthy as she could until he could return home to his (real) Auntie Noshiko.