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Two Men and a Tree

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The weekend Christmas break starts, Stiles is researching a new monster in town that’s got a bad habit of abducting people. Reading through the file his dad gave him, he takes notes as he goes. The first child went missing the weekend after Thanksgiving. Since then, a new child goes missing with each passing week. All of them have been between the ages of 6 and 12. All of them are different races. Each from different religious backgrounds, and family makeups. The only commonality, other than age, is that none of them are from wealthy families. They were snatched once they got close to the woods surrounding their homes, meaning no witnesses.

He knows he isn’t the only one trying to find the the missing children. All evidence points to a run of the mill, serial kidnapping, so the police are working the cases if they were normal instances of missing people. But they’re wrong, and Stiles can feel it every time he walks through the Preserve. Almost like the Nemeton is telling him to keep digging. So he does.

He isn’t having as much luck as he usually does. Lydia is out of state with her family, so she can’t help translate the Bestiary. At this point, he is just translating what he knows and skipping over the rest. He can only hope that somewhere in the Argent history, someone came across whatever they’re looking for.

Two hours ago, he found a site that will take what he and Lydia already translated and can run it through finding similar words. A lot of the text is already done, so it isn’t as slow going as it would have been their first time with the Bestiary.

An hour into it and the site gives him an error message, unable to continue. "Unable to contin.... What the hell does that mean? I swear this thing!"

Stiles clicks around on the page, selecting various words and looking them up. Come to find out, halfway through the Bestiary, someone had the brilliant idea to change the language it was written in.

"Old French... Are you kidding me with this? Who writes in Old French... and Old English? In the same paragraph? What is with these people?! As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, now it’s gonna take twice as long" Stiles sighs and the lights in his room flicker.

He searches the site to see if it can translate it further. It can. He changes the settings and lets it run again.

It is nearing 4am and Stiles’s eyes are beginning to cross. Stretching, he lets his mind wander and it lands on when Scott was bit by Peter and how everything changed. Ever since that day, all Stiles has done is research. He doesn’t always work alone but it is usually his ideas and his research that gets them through whatever it is he is doing. Stiles sighs heavily. It’s exhausting, but apparently the Pack thinks that it’s a one man job, and he’s the only one capable enough to do it.

He usually doesn't mind. Ever since the whole Nogitsune thing, research makes him feel useful. But some nights, when he knows that the pack is asleep while he tries to translate the damn Bestiary all by himself, searching for each strange word on it’s own in hopes of finding a website that can tell him what it mean… he can’t help but get a little frustrated. He has done this so many times he often dreams about the words that sound foreign on his tongue but his brain seems to be able to read, more and more each day.

He sighs again. His mind wanders further, and it leaves him in the memory of Gerard kidnapping him. His anger towards the bastard flares, and the lights in his room flicker and dim. Stiles never told anyone what happened that night. No one ever asked. Except Peter. He told Peter what happened while they were stuck in the Train Station to Nowhere. Peter wanted to kill Gerard, but couldn’t find him. When everyone was brought back, The Ghost Riders took more than just the Nazi Captain. They took Gerard as well. Both men were marked with swastikas. Stiles thought it was poetic that both wore the same band on their sleeves, what with Gerard being genocidal and all. The lights in his room stop flickering and come back on to full brightness, as he smirks at the thought. Even with the satisfaction he feels at knowing Gerard's gone, he still can't forget everything he did to the Pack. Everything he did to him .

Stiles is knocked out on the field while everyone is focused on the chaos surrounding Jackson’s “death”. Someone carries him to a car and they end up at the Argent home. He wakes, while being carried to the basement, and is forced onto his feet to walk the rest of the way. A man, who’s face Stiles never sees, throws him down the basement stairs of the Argent house. When he shuts the door, the guy turns off the light to the landing of the basement. Stiles stands and he hears a whimper in the dark. Afraid of what he might find, he cowers against the wall, searching for the light switch. When he turns it on, he sees Boyd and Erica hanging from the ceiling by rope soaked in wolfsbane and handcuffs, connected to a small generator with electrical wires connected to their cuffs. Stiles tries to untie them but Erica and Boyd make noises of protest. 

“Shh.” He tells them to quiet down and as soon as he touches the rope, “Ow!” he’s electrocuted, sending painful shocks through both of the werewolves.

Stiles hears a familiar voice from behind him. “They were trying to warn you. It's electrified.”

Stiles turns around, anger and curiosity apparent in his expression. “What are you doing with them?”

“At the moment, just keeping them comfortable. There's no point in torturing them, they won't give Derek up. The instinct to protect their Alpha's too strong.” Disgust and pride wash over his face for a fraction of a second. Just enough to notice, before his expression hardens again.

“Okay. So what are you doing with me? Because Scott can find me, all right? He knows my scent. It's pungent, you know? It's more like a stench. He could find me even if I was buried at the bottom of a sewer covered in fecal matter and urine.”

Gerard scoffs. “You have a knack for creating a vivid picture, Mr. Stilinski. Let me paint one of my own. Scott McCall finds his best friend bloodied and beaten to a pulp. How does that sound?”

Stiles’s voice lowers, a lot less confident. “I think I might prefer more of a still life or landscape, you know?”

Gerard doesn’t respond right away and thinking the old man is bluffing Stiles blurts out, “What - what are you, 90? Look, I can probably kick your ass up and down this roo--” Before he can finish the last word, Gerard slaps him hard across the face. He then grabs the neck of his shirt and knocks Stiles off his feet. Stiles holds his hands up in protest, begging Gerard not to hit him again. He continues to do this, while Gerard hits him over and over.

Stiles lays on the floor of the basement, and before his vision goes dark, Gerard goes back upstairs and another man comes down. Stiles assumes it is the same man who threw him down the stairs. He still doesn’t know what he looks like. Just as his eyes close and his senses go quiet, he hears more than feels, his rib break as the man kicks him in the side.

Some time later, a sharp pain registers on his arms. Over and over it happens until he can’t ignore it. He whines as he wakes. The man is shrouded in darkness as he slices into Stiles’s upper arms. He tries not to cry out as the man continues to cut shallow marks into his skin. Enough to hurt, enough to bleed, and enough to scar, but not enough to do any permanent damage. Not enough to kill him.. The pain in his chest feels worse than just a kick to the ribs and realizes the same shallow cuts cover him all over his torso. Each cut is carefully placed and none will show when he wears a shirt.

The man continues cutting even after Stiles passes out.

When he wakes for a third time, Chris Argent is giving him something for the pain and bandaging his wounds. He frees Stiles from the chair he’d been tied to when he passed out the first time, and walks him to a car. Once Stiles is in the backseat, Chris shuts the door and lets the driver know he can leave. The car stops a block from Stiles’s house and lets him walk the rest of the way. As soon as Stiles shuts the door to the car, it speeds off. Stiles stumbles home and walks into his room, just in time to hear his dad say, “Oh, come on, Stiles. Where the hell are you?”

Playing it off as nothing big, he replies with, “Right here. It's okay. Dad, it's okay.”

“Who did it?” Noah walks over to him, anger in his steps.

Stiles tries to placate his dad with a lie, “It's okay. It was just a couple kids from the other team. You know, they were really pissed about losing and I was - I was mouthing off, you know. The next thing I know -”

“Who was it?” his dad demands, again.

“Dad, I don't know. I didn't even see them really.” Not technically a full lie. The only faces he saw were Chris, Gerard, Erica, and Boyd… and Chris had a broken expression on his face when he helped Stiles to the car, like he didn’t want to be doing what he was doing.

“I want descriptions.” Noah’s voice is more forceful this time.

Stiles’s voice raises a couple of octaves, desperate for his dad to believe him and to just let it go. “Look, dad, come on. It's not even that bad.”

Noah’s voice cracks with emotion and raises with each word “I - I'm calling that school. I'm calling them and I'll personally go down there, and I'm gonna pistol-whip those little bastards!”

“Dad!” Stiles shouts, trying to get Noah’s attention. Then more softly, “I just - I said I was okay.”

“God.” Noah almost sobs out, as he grabs Stiles and holds him close in a hug. Tears threaten to fall from Stiles’s eyes. Both from emotion and the physical pain he is in.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, up until he crashes his Jeep into the warehouse wall and knocks Jackson down. The thing that stuck out most was the fact that no one asked him if he was okay, or why he smelled like morphine, blood, and disinfectant. Not even a weird look when he winced and limped when he walked. Not even Scott. He only gave Stiles questioning look at the mark on his cheek, and that was it. He probably assumed it happened when he crashed the Jeep.

When he gets home, he gingerly lays on his bed, without changing his clothes, and falls asleep on top of the comforter. He doesn’t wake again, until the sun is high in the sky, and it’s only to go to the bathroom and lay back down again. He sleeps for another 4 hours only to wake to the sounds of Dad getting home from work.

Stiles’s anger causes the lights to flicker again. After that night, everyone went on with their lives as if nothing had happened. Everyone was busy that summer, trying to forget. Luckily his ribs healed enough for him to play Lacrosse that following semester. A lot of the scars faded with diligent use of scar cream. Enough stayed, though, that he was very careful when he changed in the locker room so no one would see them. He knew that that would be the beginning of all of this. How people treated him. The fragile human. As long as he kept quiet, no one seemed to care about the pain he was in. The only one who ever seemed to notice was Peter. Any time he was injured and in the room with Stiles, he’d brush his hand against his bare skin, siphoning away any pain. Stiles and Peter never talked about it. But Peter could see from Stiles’s expression that he was thankful for the help.

Why is it, the one everyone seemed to trust the least, always seems to be the one that cares about him the most? Even Scott is distancing himself more and more these days. Each year something happens and it feels like the pack grows farther and farther away from him.

An annoying beeping noise alerts him that the page he is working on is done translating. Stiles reads through the information and arm pumps while shouting “YES!” causing the light in his lamp to explode. “Damn it. Not again” he laments.

He calls Scott. Who, of course, doesn’t answer. “Why do I even bother calling him. I swear…” Stiles rants to himself as he dials Peter’s number, while ignoring the flickering of his lights.

“Stiles, it is almost 5 am. Why on earth are you calling me?”

“Scott wouldn’t answer--”

“Of course”

“--and I thought that you are the best one to call, since I know what is kidnapping the kids that are missing.”

“Go on.”

“We are looking for a… hold on I can’t pronounce this. I’m going to put you on speaker phone and look up how to say this.” He puts the phone down on his desk and Peter can hear tapping and Stiles muttering under his breath. Finally the site he wants loads and he plays the audio.

Jólakötturinn” [the word is a clickable link]

Peter hears Stiles pick the phone back up. “It’s a…. Why the fuck didn’t it just tell me the English name… I swear to god this thing is going to be the dea--”

“Stiles, focus”

“Yeah, sorry. It’s called a ‘Yule Cat..’ Says here it is ‘a cat from Icelandic folklore that lives in the mountains and comes out around the time of Yule. It captures children it finds who aren't wearing new clothes then drags them back to its lair to be devoured’.” He sighs.

“Well that sounds pleasant” Peter quips, sarcastically.

“Why in the world a giant Icelandic cat is here in Beacon Hills, is beyond me. But that’s what it is.”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think there’s much we can do about it right now. It won’t try to take another kid for a couple more days, so we have time to find it. Now. If that is all, please get something to eat and go to bed. You have been up entirely too long.”

“But --”

“No, Stiles. Don’t argue. It is day three that you have been working on this, and if I know you, and I do, you haven’t slept the entire time. Go to sleep. Eat first. Or I swear I’ll come down there and make you.”

Stiles pauses, “That doesn’t sound like much of a threat,” he says before he has any time to stop himself.

Peter growls under his breath. Not sure if Stiles is calling his bluff or flirting with him. He is too tired for this and just pinches the bridge of his nose instead. “Stiles. Do you have anything to eat?”

“Well, no. Not really.”

“It’s too late and early to call for a delivery. I’m coming over with food. Please just go take a shower, while I drive over.”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “Fine, Zombiewolf. But I’m not going to be the one to explain to my dad why a 30 something year old werewolf is visiting his house this early in the morning. He’s going to be awake soon.”

“I really doubt your father will be that upset with me, if I can get you to eat a decent meal, make sure you get to sleep, and then leave right after. I don’t plan on staying to watch you sleep. Besides, we’re Pack, and Pack takes care of their own.”

“Alright. Alright, I’ll see you when you get here.”

Peter doesn’t bother saying anything before he hangs up. He just smiles to himself. That boy, I swear…

Chapter Text

Stiles pulls his phone from his ear and looks at it like its grown a head or something else as equally as strange. Peter just ordered him to take a shower and to wait for him because he is going to bring Stiles food. This is the first time, since they escaped The Wild Hunt, that they’ll be around each other without the other Pack members present. Well. Stranger things have happened.

Stiles tries not to think about that whole thing, as he undresses and stands under the spray of the shower. His mind drifts anyways. Scott was so happy to see him, after he returned. They beat the bad guys together. And saw a common enemy defeated for good. But once the dust settled, and everyone processed everything, the Pack drifted. It seems like they got along really well without him for three months. And seemed to settle into some kind of rhythm. The only thing that resumed was calling him for research. The only two people that treat him like he matters, after that night, are his dad and Peter.

The lights flicker as his annoyance towards his best friend grows. Apparently the True Alpha is just too busy for plain ole human Stiles anymore. The lights start to buzz as his annoyance turns to anger. He takes a few calming breaths to try and rein it in, since he doesn’t want to have to clean up glass yet again.  He reminds himself that Scott isn’t the True Alpha, anymore. He lost that back when he saved Allison from the Oni attack. The brightness and the buzzing of the lights, slowly eases a little at the thought.

A tap on the bathroom door pulls him out of his own thoughts and the lights return to normal.

“Stiles, are you okay in there? The lights are flickering again.”

“Yeah, Dad, I’m okay. Just got caught up thinking about the last time I saw Scott outside of school and it upset me a bit. I’m fine though, I promise.” he says this as he hurriedly washes his hair and scrubs the important bits of his body, aware that he’s wasted enough water already.

“Alright, son. I’m here if you need to talk.”

“I know, Dad.”

“I’ll leave you to it. I’m gonna go finish getting ready for work.”

Stiles hears his dad’s footsteps move down the hall towards the kitchen and he finishes rinsing the last of the soap from his body and gets out of the shower.

He dries off, and gets dressed in some comfy clothes. He smiles as he hears Peter’s car driving up. He makes his way to the kitchen, bumping his hip on the damn hallway table, still not use to the layout of the house they moved into, several months ago.

Just as he gets to the front door, his dad is opening it, and greeting Peter.

“Sheriff… Good to see you again. I hope you have time for breakfast. I brought enough for all of us.” He holds the bag in the air. It appears to be a large cloth grocery bag with large containers inside.

“Oh thank goodness. We haven’t been grocery shopping this week, because someone has been locked in their bedroom for the last several days doing research… and the fridge is looking a bit empty.”

“Don’t worry, Dad, I’m done with that for now. I figured out what is taking the kids.”

“Oh good! You can fill us in over breakfast.” Noah looks at him pointedly.

Peter sets the bag on the table. From it, he pulls out several containers with hot food inside. He didn’t buy this stuff. He actually made breakfast and brought it over.

Noah and Stiles set about bringing dishes and silverware to the table, along with various serving utensils.

“Wait, did you make us each our own meals?” Noah asks, impressed with the spread in front of him.

“Why yes, Sheriff, I most certainly did. Plus some things for us all to share. For you, I made an omelette with peppers, several types of mushrooms, and low fat cheese, and turkey bacon on the side. Everything is cooked with olive oil and seasoned to perfection. For Stiles, I made curly fries, air fried, and two lightly buttered sausage biscuits, with cheese. For myself, I made a breakfast steak, scrambled eggs, and sauteed veggies.  Because Stiles gets curly fries, I figured I’d make baked hash browns for the two of us. I brought whole wheat pancakes and Bourbon Maple Syrup for us to share. It smells alcoholic, but I assure you it isn’t. It’s just aged in whiskey barrels.”

As he lists all these things off, he sets the dishes in front of each person. The shared food sits in the center of the table.

“Well, I gotta say, Peter, you have really outdone yourself,” Noah praises.

“Thank you. It isn’t often I get the chance to cook like this and enjoy it. Usually it’s all eaten before I can get it out of the kitchen.” he smirks, thinking back to all the mornings the Pack let themselves into his apartment while he was cooking breakfast. Damn heathens without any manners, he thinks to himself.

“Let’s dig in before this gets cold.”

Everyone fills their plates and they dig in. Stiles begins to talk around mouthfuls of food.

“Okay, so, I found an entry in the Bestiary. It was a bitch to translate, but it gave me a name. I won’t even begin to try and pronounce it, but it is essentially a very large cat.” He goes into detail, repeating everything he told Peter over the phone.

Just as they were talking strategy, Stiles takes his first bite of the fries. “Oh my god, Peter I think I love you. These are perfect.” and he just shovels more food in his mouth.

Peter looks over at Stiles, dumbfounded. Noah blows air out of his nose, with an amused and knowing expression on his face as he takes a bite of his omelette.

Stiles realizes that both men are staring at him, and he looks up “What?” and looks utterly confused. “What? Do I have food on my face? What?

Peter files the moment away, cherishing it. He knows Stiles didn’t know what he said in the moment, but Peter’s stomach still clenched at the thought that he might mean it.

He doesn’t let his feelings show on his face and he just smiles without it reaching his eyes.

“Nothing, Stiles, just eat your food. And try to get more in your mouth than on your face.” Noah admonishes, the amusement not leaving his eyes.

Stiles hums in response, finishes his fries and focuses on the rest of his food.

After a few awkward silent moments, the three of them go back to talking about their ideas for finding the Yule Cat and dealing with it.

Stiles finally remembers something “None of the lore I found tells you how to kill this thing. It just says it goes away after Yule is up. I don’t know how we are going to stop it, or even find it and free the kids if they are still alive.”

Noah takes a deep breath, feeling like they are moving in circles. He leans back in his chair and looks at the watch on his wrist. “Well, I am going to be late, if I stay here any longer. We will eventually figure something out. In the meantime, Stiles please go to bed. You look like you went ten rounds in the ring.”

“I will, Dad. I promise. I’m done with research for now.”

“I know you will, son. I just worry.”

“Don’t worry, Sheriff, I will make sure he goes to sleep, before I leave.”

Noah just smiles warmly at Stiles and Peter and gets up to brush his teeth and head to work.

Once his dad leaves, Stiles stands and tries to clear the dishes. As Peter stops him and takes the dishes from him, Stiles wobbles on his feet, his need for sleep affecting his balance.

“Stiles, why don’t you go get ready for bed. Get comfortable. I’ll be finished in a moment.”

Stiles makes a noncommittal noise and walks through the house and makes it as far as the couch in the living room, before his body decides to sleep now . Stiles tries to fight it but as soon as he gets close enough, he feels his knees buckle and he has just enough brain power to aim for the large piece of furniture. Peter is running water in the kitchen and doesn’t hear Stiles’s whine of protest or the grunt as he falls face down onto the cushions.

By the time Peter is finished cleaning up the breakfast mess, Stiles is passed out cold, with one arm and one leg, hanging over the edge of the couch. At some point he was able to flip himself over onto his back.

Peter just smiles at the boy and picks him up bridal style. Stiles makes a noise of protest and Peter makes a soothing rumbling noise in his chest, in response. Stiles settles into Peter’s hold, wrapping his arms around the man’s neck, as he lays his head on Peter’s shoulder. Stiles’s nose snuffles against his skin, and a sigh escapes him, seemingly satisfied with what his smells there. Unsure if he meant to do it, Peter realizes Stiles just scented him while he was sniffing his skin. The tip of the boy’s nose rubbed against Peter’s throat, causing Peter to make a very inhuman noise. Peter fights the urge to tilt his head to the side, in a submissive pose.

Peter files that thought away and makes his way down the hall to Stiles’s open doorway. He gently leans down and lays him on his bed. Just as he pulls his arms away, Stiles grabs Peter’s wrist and tugs.

Peter looks down, surprised by the sudden sensation, and then looks at Stiles. His eyes are half open and he makes a whining noise. “Stay, Peter. Please.”

“Stiles, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“I just want you to lay with me, while I sleep. No getting naked. No hanky -panky. Just sleep.”

“Alright fine. I hope you have something I can wear because I am not laying in bed wearing slacks.”

“Tall dresser, third drawer. You loaned me a pair of your sweats and I never gave them back.” Stiles shakes his head and yawns. “Too comfy.”

It takes Peter a moment to realize that Stiles wears his clothes. The clothes he gave the boy. The clothes he told Stiles to return and he never did. The wolf in Peter makes a happy noise at the idea of Stiles wearing his clothing.

Peter turns his back and swiftly changes, removing his shoes first. He leaves his Henley on and unbuttons all three buttons. When he turns back around, Stiles is out of his pants and is laying in his boxer briefs. He also has changed out of his t-shirt and into a white singlet. He’s pushed the comforter to the foot of the bed, pulled the sheet up, and is holding it up for Peter to climb in.

Peter lays down and gets settled. As soon as he stops moving, Stiles noses at his shoulder, nudging it and making a sound of protest. Peter huffs and lifts his arm so Stiles can get closer, and when he does, Stiles snuffles against his neck again.

Peter tenses. “Why do you keep doing that? You aren’t a wolf, Stiles.”

“I know I’m not, but ever since you came back, your scent. I don’t know…  it’s comforting. Smells like burnt cedar and pine needles. Like…” he huffs in frustration, trying to find the words his fingertips curling around  a wrinkle in Peter’s shirt. “Like something wild but safe. You smell like the Preserve after it rains.”

Peter cocks his head back to look down at the boy. Stiles just admitted to Peter that Peter smells like Pack to him. Instead he just asks, “You smell all of that, on me, with your human nose?”

Stiles yawns. “I don’t think I’m all human,” he confesses. And as his eyes close, he points to the ceiling light and makes a pinching motion. With that, all of the lights in the room go out, except the small night light next to his bed.

“I didn’t know you could do that,” Peter muses.

“Been able to since I got back from the Train Station. Now, less talking, more sleeping.”

Peter makes a sound of agreement and the two settle down together. Stiles is out within seconds. But Peter takes a while, trying to process what Stiles has told him so far. As he finally begins to fall asleep, he turns his head slightly, pressing his nose against Stile’s head. He breathes in the scent of his hair and relaxing as he sifts through the chemical scent of his shampoo and finds the one that belongs to Stiles. Its woodsy, and sweet like cinnamon. He also smells the slight scent of the way the world smells right before it rains, and assumes it is the notes of Stiles’s magic. The last thing Peter smells is something that surprises him. Stiles smells like Pack. Like family. Like home.

He rumbles in pleasure, almost like a purr. Just before he closes his eyes, he lightly presses his lips to Stiles’s hair. He falls under with a smile on his face, breathing in the scent of the boy in his arms. He sleeps deeply, and without nightmares for the first time in almost a decade.

Chapter Text

Peter has been awake for an hour, just resting his eyes, listening to Stiles breathe, taking note of when and how his heartbeat changes throughout the night. He wonders what the boy is dreaming about. He woke because at one point, in the night, Stiles gripped Peter’s shirt like it was his saving grace. Stiles had let out a whimper, and his breathing turned into panic. Peter had gently caressed Stile’s arm that was draped across is chest and tried to make quiet, soothing, rumbling noises. It took about 10 minutes, but his breathing evened out and his grip on Peter’s shirt loosened.

Peter finally falls back asleep and wakes again when the sun is well below the horizon, and crickets are chirping outside Stiles’s window. He can feel Stiles’s body slowly waking up. He waits, not wanting to startle the boy, in case he’d forgotten that he asked Peter to stay.

A voice, muffled and thick with sleep startles him from his thoughts. “I can hear you thinking.”

Peter smiles, realizing he’s been caught off guard. Leave it to Stiles to be the one person to surprise him.

“Is that another one of your new powers?”

Stiles yawns, covering his mouth, not wanting to assault Peter with his morning breath. “No, I could feel you tense up as soon as I started to wake up.”

“Is that so?” he asks. Affection and his smile can be heard in his voice.

“Yes, Zombiewolf, it is. Also your scent gets stronger when you do that. Like all your muscles are squeezing out every drop of your smell.” Stiles curls his fingers around a wrinkle in Peter’s shirt, trying to stretch the rest of him without moving much. Also trying to not be rude, poking Peter with… Well, it's embarrassing so we won’t talk about it even though Peter probably woke the same way. But Peter is laying on his back so he didn’t have to try and not be rude about it.

“Now who’s over thinking?” Peter asks, smirking.

“I was trying not to be rude. I can’t help this. Besides. I’m warm and comfy and I don’t wanna move.” Stiles makes a whining sound of protest. “But I really need to get up and go to the bathroom. You are so warm though.”

“Do I need to toss you out of bed?”

Stiles groans again, and sits up, stretching his arms in the air and flexing his back. He didn’t move all while he slept, and he’s a little stiff.

“I’ll be right back.”

Stiles leaves the room, and takes care of business. As he flushes, he hears Peter shuffling around in other parts of the house. He goes back to his room and puts on a pair of pajama bottoms and joins Peter in the kitchen.

“Cooking again, I see. You spoil me, Peter.”

“I told you, Stiles, you’re Pack. You did a lot of work the last few days, and I wanted to show you I appreciate it. The rest of them never thank you, and I never get the chance to. So this me, thanking you.” He places more pans on the stove as he says this, like it drives the point home.

Stiles didn’t miss how Peter referred specifically to him as Pack and how he didn’t call the others that. Stiles gets lost in thinking about this, while Peter pulls out a bunch of random items. He doesn’t even stir when Peter starts speaking.

“Your father wasn’t exaggerating when he said that you were down to bare bones. I might be able to pull together something from this mess, though.”

Stiles makes a noise, acknowledging that Peter spoke, but he doesn’t respond otherwise.

“There’s some pink food coloring at the back of the cabinet, I might put that in with some pasta” Peter says, trying to keep the laugh out of his voice.

Again Stiles makes a noise but doesn’t look away from the air he’s currently staring into.

“Also I’m going to shave my head and run down the street naked.”

Stiles hums and then blinks. “Wh-what?”

“That certainly got your attention.” Peter smirks at him.

Stiles just continues to look at him, confusion all over his face.

Peter’s expression instantly changes from amused to concerned. “Stiles, I was just agreeing with the Sheriff about the state of your food pantry. Are you okay? You seem preoccupied.”

Stiles moves his hands to his lap and looks down at them, worry crossing his face. Peter scents the air and can smell the anxiety coming off of him.

“Stiles,'' Peter says gently. “You can talk to me.”

Stiles takes a deep breath. “It isn’t anything bad, I just don’t know how to ask, because I’m not sure of the answer. And sometimes that’s worse than knowing.”

Peter waits to allow Stiles time to collect his thoughts.

“You keep referring to me as Pack, But you avoid calling anyone else that. You’ve done it twice. And I was just.. I don’t know. Worried? I’m not sure, but I needed to know.”

Peter puts down the box of noodles he was looking at and walks over to Stiles. He stands next to him, and leans against Stiles and the chair. A classic pose of reassurance. Stiles leans into him.

Peters voice is gentle and soothing, when he speaks. “Stiles, ever since the night we returned from the Train Station, you are the only one who feels like Pack to me. Derek was gone for so long, and then I was gone for so long. I barely know my own daughter, and Derek… I don’t think he will ever forgive me for what I did to his sister. You know Scott will never forgive me for giving him the bite and all the things I did in the past. Nevermind the fact that I saved his best friend. You are my Pack. They aren’t. That’s what I meant when I denied being part of Scott’s Pack and why I refer to you and to them, the way that I do.”

Peter gently cups the back of Stiles’s head and strokes until his hand is under his ear, nudging Stiles’s face so he will turn to look at Peter. Stiles’s eyes are swimming and as they spill over, he wraps his arms around Peter and hugs him close.

Peter’s heart breaks for the boy. He can smell the loneliness on him, his friends always busy with something else. Never seeming to have any time for Stiles, except to ask him to help with one thing or another. “Stiles.”

And with that one word, Stiles starts to openly cry.

“I’m so sorry, Stiles.”

“No. Don’t do that. You haven’t done anything wrong. And to finally hear that I am part of something. No one has ever openly said I was Pack. No one but you. And lately I’ve felt less and less like I belong. I’m sorry.”

Peter just holds him, and tries to take whatever physical pain he can. When Stiles’s body stop shaking, and his sobs quiet down, Peter leans over to the center of the table and grabs a napkin from the holder sitting there. He hands it to Stiles, who unwraps his arms so he can blows his nose.

“I guess that’s been building for a while,'' he laughs in embarrassment.

“Stiles, please don’t ever feel embarrassed about how you feel. If anything, I am living proof that holding it all inside is not good for one’s sanity.” They both laugh a little at that.

“Alright, you were going to cook something for me?” Stiles says, sliding the chair out and standing. “Why don’t I help you look through all of the stuff that’s left in the kitchen and throw out what’s expired. I think Dad just boxed the old kitchen up and unpacked it without looking at what we had. I’m sure you’re bound to find something in there older than I am.” he laughs and it sounds like music to Peter’s ears.

Chapter Text

Stiles starts pulling things from the cupboards and setting them on the counters. Peter joins him. Without speaking, they sort through everything. They find too many boxes of cake mix that are past their ‘use by’ date and several cans that are starting to bulge. A couple of them look like they’re ready to burst at the seams. Once Stiles realizes that the “throw away pile” is going to be pretty big, he grabs a cardboard box from the garage, and stacks them all inside. There’s no way a trash bag is going to be able to contain the impending mess. 

Once they’re finished sorting, there are three sizable boxes ready to go to the trash, and they have a decent spread of food to cook for dinner. What is left is neatly organized in the pantry. Satisfied, they move to the fridge and freezer. Peter finds the deep freezer in the garage and brings all the food in. 

Everything way past its sell date or is too freezer burned to recognize, they put in a garbage bag lined box. All the old food in the fridge is also tossed. After they are finished, there is only one box to throw away, and they still have enough meat to cook for dinner. 

Once all of the boxes are taped shut, Peter carries them all out to the garage, where the larger garbage cans are kept. When he comes back in, Stiles is drying his hands and moving to look through what they set aside to be cooked. Peter smiles to himself and washes his hands so they can get started.

Stiles picks through all of the meat and gets started unwrapping it. Some of it is chopped up beef tips, some of it is boneless pork chops. Without speaking, the two of them set about preparing the food. Peter finds a small food processor in the lower cabinets and he puts the meat in, pulsing it until it is all ground up. Peter transfers it to a bowl and Stiles drops in some parsley. Stiles pulls out the remaining eggs from the fridge, a jar of Parmesan cheese, and the remainder of the bread from the breadbox. While he toasts the bread, Peter measures out the garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. He cracks the eggs, drops them in the mix, and discards the shells. He adds the other dry ingredients once Stiles is done crumbling in the toast. While Peter mixes it all together with his hands, Stiles slowly adds some water. Satisfied with the mixture, Stiles sets up a pan on the stove with olive oil. They work together to roll the meatballs, as the pan heats up. 

Peter turns on another eye and Stiles adds butter to the pan. He then dices some onions and adds that too. He hands Peter another utensil so he can stir them. Once they are ready, he holds a bowl out for Peter to put the onions into and then sets it aside so that he can dice some mushrooms. Worcestershire sauce and butter are added to the pan. Peter cooks those down with the rest of the ingredients. Once they’re done, they’re added into the bowl with the onions.

After all that, Stiles adds a little more butter the pan, and stands next to Peter while he adds flour, whisking it while it cooks. Since they don’t have any red wine, he just adds some milk until there’s a thick sauce in the pan. He then grabs the onions and mushrooms, adds those, and then covers it with a lid and turns the heat down so the flavors can mingle.

Getting out of the way of what Peter is still doing with the meatballs, he sets about getting the noodles. Out of all the boxes on the counter, he grabs the ones that have the same cook times. He puts the rest back in the pantry. He fills a deep pot with water, and sets it on the stove. Peter turns the eye on and finishes what he’s doing with the meatballs. Stiles opens all the boxes of pasta and Peter slowly adds them to the boiling water.

Unbeknownst to them both, Noah had come home. They’re both too caught up in their own little bubble to notice, which is surprising, considering Peter’s enhanced senses. Noah sits at the kitchen table and watches them move around the kitchen like they’ve been living together for years. All he can do is smile. He isn’t sure what they are making but it smells really nice. 

Noah watches as Stiles pulls out half a package of cream cheese and a half empty tub of sour cream and he adds it all to a pan after Peter lifts the lid. Stiles then drains the noodles and Peter puts the meatballs he’d been cooking into the pan also. Last goes in the noodles. While Peter stirs it all together, Stiles gets the plates down and nearly drops them when he’s startled by the sight of his dad sitting at the table.

“Dad! Holy shit you startled me.”

His dad laughs a little. “Sorry, son. I didn’t want to interrupt what you were doing. I’ve been sitting here watching the two of you work like a well oiled machine. You know you haven’t said a single word for the last 30 minutes or so?”

“Huh. I hadn’t even realized.” Stiles looks back at Peter in question, who was watching them with a spatula in his hand.

Peter just hums his acknowledgement.

Noah takes the plates from Stiles and puts them on the table so Stiles can grab a third. He grabs utensils and glasses as well. 

Peter puts the finishing touches to the food, grabs the salt and pepper, and a square potholder and walks over to the table. He sets everything down and, as he’s arranging the food, Stiles brings over a pitcher of water and takes his seat. After Peter plates the food, he joins Stiles and the Sheriff.

“I gotta say, Peter, you keep impressing me with your cooking skills.” Noah praises.

“Hey, I helped. I cooked the sauce and prepped most of the food,” Stiles corrects.

“You both did a great job, this looks fantastic.”

“We had to clean out all the cupboards, the fridge, and freezer, to find all this stuff. It was fun, though. Peter helped me organize what we didn’t throw out, and we made dinner with what was left after.” 

“Well, I appreciate it.”

“It was a pleasure, Sheriff,” Peter says between bites.

“Please call me Noah, Peter.” He smiles 

After that, they’re all silent as they enjoy their meal.

Stiles can’t help but notice a feeling in his chest start to build. It feels like something tugging on his heart, like it’s searching for something to grab on to. As he sits with the two most important men in his life, he can feel this sensation reaching out to them. Once it hits home, they both look up at him, as if they feel it too. 

Peter smiles, knowingly.

“Wasn’t me guys, I swear” Stiles immediately responds. 

“What exactly was that?” Noah’s face is calm, but Peter can hear the uptick of his heartbeat. 

“Well, Sheriff, that was a Pack bond forming. It happens between werewolves and other members of the Pack, once a bond has formed.”

“I’m not a werewolf, and neither is Stiles.”

“Stiles is a unique case. He has a Spark, and that Spark has finally woken up. Stiles told me that he’s been able to affect the lights since he returned from the Train Station. I suspect being exposed to that much supernatural power is what woke it up. Werewolf Packs aren’t just wolves. They also have humans in them, too. This happens because of circumstances like fighting for your lives together, or even birth. Two werewolf parents do not guarantee that a child will be born a wolf. I had many cousins, aunts, and uncles that were human.” Peter’s eyes go out of focus for a moment. Stiles doesn’t miss the sadness there.

“And the moving around each other in the kitchen? Is that part of it too?” Noah asks.

“No. That was all Stiles. I suspect his magic was reading my wolf and responding accordingly. He probably wasn’t even aware he was doing it.”

“Okay, but what does the other stuff have to do with me?” Stiles asks, taking a bite of his food.

“Well, you don’t just have magic, you are magic. Because of that, you are now a supernatural being, capable of actually feeling the Pack bond. Humans don’t feel it the way we do. To them, it’s just an enhanced feeling of being home and safe when around other members of their Pack. But we can actually feel the physical connection. I bet if you concentrated, like you do with the lights, you could actually see it. I can, when I use my wolf eyes.” Peter’s eyes turn electric blue and he’s startled by what he sees. 

“What? What just happened? What did you see?” Stiles asks, the smell of dread and fear permeate the room, circling around him as he begins to panic, expecting the worst.

Peter places a hand on Stiles’s before he speaks, calming the boy almost instantly. “Emissaries are usually connected to their Pack by a golden thread that ties them back to the Alpha. Not only is your dad’s thread gold, but your’s and mine are woven together as if I were an Alpha. His thread is much thinner than yours, though. I was not expecting it to be gold at all.”

“Wait. Are you saying I have magic? Me? The Sheriff?”

“No, Sheriff, I think you are a carrier. Magic like this is usually passed from mother to child.”

“That would certainly explain why Claudia insisted on naming Stiles after her father. She often told me his role in the family was to keep everyone safe. She never explained it though.”

“What do you mean, Sheriff?” Peter asks.

“Right here, guys.” Stiles says, waving his hand, trying to get their attention.

“His name is Polish. The translation of his name is two parts. Sword and glory,” Noah states, matter of factly.

“You’re telling me his name is ‘Mieczyslaw’?” Peter’s expression is one of shock and awe.

“Still in the room, here.” Stiles tries again.

“Yeah, Claudia insisted.” Noah looks sad when he says this.

“Well, that certainly does explain a lot.” Peter looks as if all the pieces have fallen into place.

Hello!? Is somebody going to explain to me what the hell is going on? And how the hell did you know my name?” Stiles bangs his hand on the table, as he shouts, shaking everything, making a sound of metal on ceramic.

The two men look over at Stiles, both sporting embarrassed expression.

“Sorry, son.” “Sorry, Stiles” they both utter at once. 

“I speak several languages,” Peter states.

“Fine, but what about the rest?” Stiles asks, a sense of urgency in his voice.

“Stiles, your magic had to come from somewhere. Sparks don’t just appear. Your mom might not have known she had magic, but she was at least a carrier, just like your dad. Something must have happened to get the ball rolling though.” Peter looks over to Noah, silently asking him. 

Noah scowls as he thinks back. His eyebrows raise as he realizes something. “Your mom had trouble conceiving. We tried everything. Fertility doctors, medications, even surgery to see if there were any physical abnormalities. Her ovaries just didn’t work right. So as a last resort, she visited the only holistic shop in town.” Noah shakes his head. “Stiles, your mom knew Deaton. Before he was a vet, he owned the shop she visited. He gave her a tea to drink. Said it was made from some kind of tree bark. She had to say some words each time she made a cup. I have no idea what they were since she always whispered it. A couple of months later, your mom started having morning sickness.”

Stiles looks angry. He stands, flailing his arms wildly as if his body is protesting the ridiculousness of it all. “So you’re telling me that I’m here because of some magic tree bar--- Oh my god it was bark from the Nemeton.” His eyes go wide and he slaps his hand to his forehead in stunned realization. Before he can react, his feet go out from under him and he falls into his chair.

“Son? Are you okay?”

“I think I need to go lay down.” 

Stiles gets up and walks to his room. Once in the living room, he asks “You coming, Zombiewolf?” and continues on his way.

Peter gets up to follow, and Noah places a hand on his arm to get his attention. “I know this was a lot for him, at once. Just keep me posted on how he’s doing.”

“I will, Noah, don’t worry.” Peter pats Noah’s hand and follows Stiles to his room.

Peter walks in and gently shuts the door.

“Talk to me, what do you need?” he asks Stiles.

“Would it be too weird to ask for skin to skin contact? Because right now, I can’t really handle anything else. I just want to process this information and maybe fall asleep.”

“I can do that. I’m going to leave my pants on, though. I don’t want your dad to get the wrong idea.”

“That’s fine.”

Stiles takes his shirt off and hands it to Peter. Peter removes his Henley and sets both on Stiles’s computer chair. He slides into bed and gets comfortable, waiting for Stiles to do the same. They end up in a similar configuration as last time. Stiles’s upper body is more draped over Peter’s, chests touching. Stiles nudges Peters jaw and Peter leans his head to the side, allowing Stiles to scent him. Peter then turns and does the same to Stiles’s temple. He makes a pleased rumbling noise in his chest. 

“I wish I could do that”, Stiles muses. 

Peter just chuckles under his breath, and continues to rumble.

They don’t speak after that. Just finding comfort in each other’s heartbeats. Peter can feel the pulsing of the Pack bond and can sense when Stiles finally falls asleep. Even asleep, the lights follow his commands, and they turn off.

Peter falls asleep almost immediately after Stiles, thoughts of their conversation circling his brain.

Chapter Text

When Stiles falls asleep, the feeling of falling doesn’t stop. He isn’t falling rapidly. That stomach-in-your-throat feeling is absent, and it doesn’t feel like he’s plummeting to his death, rather it feels more like he’s a feather, gently drifting down. He isn’t fully awake, so he tries to ignore the sensation. He groans in protest as he lands and feels dirt and leaves under his hand. He stretches, sits up, and looks around. 

He doesn’t see much, until he stands. The sky is all black, without stars. The moon is out and its full. He looks around him, and notices a familiar tree stump.

He groans again. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Come on, not this again.”

He hears a quiet cough from behind him and spins around, anger lacing his features. 

Standing in front of him is what appears to be a young child with green skin. They appear to be about 12 years old. Stiles can’t tell what their gender is. They are wearing brown pants with moss on the cuffs, a tunic the color of gray bark with moss on the edges, and a deep green belt. Their vest is hooded and is made from lichen lace. They have brown hair with green streaks. There are twigs sprouting from their temples that appear to be antlers. They have a long face, and high cheekbones. Their eyes are completely shimmery gold. There aren’t any whites, pupils or irises. Their eyebrows appear to be soft moss, with spindly twigs at the head of each brow. Their ears are long and pointed at the tips.

“Who are you?” Stiles asks, anger seeping into his voice.

“I am no one,” they say.

Stiles’s irritation grows. "Don't tell me 'no one'. Who are you?" 

"I'm not anyone yet. But if you must know, I represent the consciousness of the tree." They tilt their head to the side. “I am the Nemeton. You may call me Nemo, if you wish.”

Stiles looks them up and down. He squints, making a decision. “Why am I here?”

“I wanted to talk to you about your magic and your future. The magic that flows through you and I are from the same source. The very earth I sit on. I know you feel me every time you walk through the Preserve. I know you felt the connection the night you saved the sacrifices.”

“What sacrifices?” Stiles shakes his head. “I never saved anyone.”

“How soon you forget your battle against the Darach,” Nemo says. “You and your Wolf are quick to let your kindnesses slip from your memory.”

“My w- you mean Peter?” Stiles arches his brow. “He isn’t my wolf. He’s just Pack.”

“Yes. He is Pack. The bond between you has already started to grow. When you were captured by the Ghost Riders and were stuck at the Train Station for three months, the two of you bonded. There is a reason your bond is gold and is intertwined with his. When you bonded over trying to escape, it was more than just a friendship. It was a true Pack bond. You will be his Emissary one day, in the near future. You will experience a tragic loss, and you and he will embark on a journey together. 

He loves you as his family. You are the only one who sees him for what he is. You were the first face he saw that didn’t want something from him when he woke from his coma. You were the one that lead to his first death. Derek might have dealt the killing blow, but you were the one to throw the Molotov cocktail. Your Spark was present even then. The bond forming between you. He could have killed you out on that field when he injured your friend, but you willed him not to. He could have forced the bite on you. You’d have made an excellent werewolf. But your Spark told him not to, even when you lied and told him you didn’t want it. You’ve entertained the idea more than once. But you don’t need to be a werewolf, to be part of a Pack, to feel included.

It wasn’t his time to be the Alpha. It was too soon, and you knew he needed to be stopped, but you also understood why he was killing those people. The pieces fell into place after his death. It was then that your heart opened up to him. A time will come when the two of you will feel more for each other than you do now. Don’t fight it. Don’t push it. Let it flow naturally.” Nemo smiles serenely at Stiles, waiting for him to respond.

In all honesty, Stiles had no idea what to respond with. He had no idea just how linked the three of them are. 

“What do you want me to do? What is your plan?” Stiles finally asks.

“I want you to guide Peter. Be his family. His friend. Be his Pack. Help him build a bridge between your Pack and Derek’s. Don’t get discouraged by the events that will happen in your near future.”

“Okay, that wasn’t vague at all. Thanks for that,” Stiles says sarcastically.

“That is all I can tell you, of your future. I do have a gift for you. Two runes. They will help you on your journey. The first is Algiz. Shaped as a bird’s foot, it will protect you and allow a greater understanding of things you may not yet see. The second is Eihwaz. It is very similar to a backwards Z, and will ground your places in both the human and supernatural worlds. You will know what it is to live as your Pack does. You will not die as humans do.”

Nemo reaches out and places a hand over Stiles’s heart and the other on the back of his head. “This will be brief, but unpleasant. I am sorry.”

Stiles falls to his knees, gripping Nemo’s wrist and yells out in pain. His vision goes white as pain courses through his body, radiating out from where the Nemeton’s hands grip him. He squeezes his eyes shut and prays that the pain will stop, or even just fade a little. He feels himself falling again. He loses consciousness and the pressure on his body disappears. The pain lingers, pulsing faintly in his chest and head. He’s scared. 

“Stiles!” He hears his name and ignores it. He feels a sharp, stinging pain in his hand and jolts awake,  

The lights in the room turn on as he jerks up and rubs the back of his hand.“Ow! Shit, Peter, what was that for?!”

“You went limp and then I smelled burning flesh. What happened?”

“I had a dream, and --” Stiles looks down at his chest and feels the base of his skull. He hisses in pain, as his fingers brush against the brands on his skin. 

“What the hell? Stiles,” Peter looks down at Stiles’s chest and then pushes him forward so he can get a look at the other mark on his head. “Where did these come from?” The veins in Peter’s hands start to turn black as he siphons away Stiles’s pain. “It isn’t normal, to wake up branded after dreaming. Tell me what happened.”

Stiles takes a deep breath and tells Peter what was in his dream. He goes into detail and doesn’t leave anything out. When he’s finished Peter sits in stunned silence, his face is scrunched in contemplation. 

“You don’t have to say anything. If you don’t want to be around me, I get it. I mean, how nuts is that? A tree talking about the inevitability of our future. Like, don’t get me wrong, you’re hot and all, but no,” His face scrunches up at the thought. “Gross.”

Peter makes a face at Stiles. Stiles laughs a little, but doesn’t interrupt him. 

“Stiles, its fine. I don’t feel that way about you either. I like our Pack bond. I like our friendship. Nothing will change that. Not some feelings that might happen, and certainly not a tree…” Peter shakes his head, “Wait, how can I be both gross and hot at the same time?” 

“I meant what I said. But the whole zombie thing is a little off-putting… plus you’re old, so.” Stiles makes a dismissive motion and Peter just rolls his eyes. A shadow of a smile on his face.

They sit in silence for a moment. They both expect it to feel awkward, but it isn’t. Peter is still concentrating on removing the pain from Stiles’s skin, and realizes it is a steady ache that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Other than that they aren’t really interacting. Lost in their own thoughts, the silence is comfortable; it feels safe.

Stiles yawns and brings Peter out of his own head and he looks at the clock. “Alright, Doctor Manhattan, it’s time to go back to bed. if something else comes up, we'll address it in the morning. I'm getting too old to be up this late.” Peter lays down and gets comfortable while he says this. 

“Dude! Do you even know who that is?” 

“Stiles, the comics were out long before the movie. Yes, I know who that is. Now go to sleep.”  He lifts his arm up and shakes it a little, urging Stiles to lay with him again.

“Yeah yeah, Zombiewolf.” Stiles smiles, as he lays down and wraps an arm over Peter’s chest. When he gets situated, he rubs his nose against Peter and inhales deeply, sighing. Before Peter can say anything, the lights turn off and Stiles’s heartbeat slows down as he drifts off to sleep.

Peter lays in the dark, unable to fall back asleep. His thoughts are focused on the coming loss Stiles is apparently going to experience soon. They’ve all lost so much, Stiles, more than anyone. He doesn’t want to see the boy in any more pain. He’s barely gotten over what happened with the Nogitsune. Not to mention the hell that was the Train Station. 

Peter sighs heavily, squeezing Stiles a little closer to him, as if trying to protect him from what’s to come. As he closes his eyes and tries to rest, he hears birds start to chirp as dawn begins to chase away the darkness in the sky.

A tall dark figure stands outside the mouth of a cave and scents the air as a breeze picks up. A deep rumble starts in their belly, and bubbles up out of their mouth.

“Mmm. Smells like the magic of a young Emissary,” they growl out. They turn and make their way back inside, standing in front of a small group of huddled bodies.

“Smells better than anything I had already planned on eating,” they growl again. They pause when one of the huddled bodies lets out a small whimper. The figure licks their lips. “Don’t worry, I will still eat you. But you won’t be the main course. I plan to eat a Spark.”

The figure throws something on the ground in front of the group and walks away. Small hands reach for the loaf of bread and split it among themselves as quietly as possible. As they consume their only meal for the day, the dark figure hunches over, changing shape. They are now on all fours, long lack tail swishing back in forth. The dark figure walks to the back of the cave, where there is a lot of soft bedding. They turn a couple of circles, and curl up to go to sleep. As they dream of swallowing down a Spark of magic, the cave fills with the deep vibration of their purr.

Chapter Text

The next couple of days are a blur to Stiles. Peter went home the morning after the dream, and neither have spoken about it since. Stiles spends time with his dad at the station, helping with other cases, and talking with the other deputies about the Supernatural side of Beacon Hills. All of them have seen too much, to be left out of the loop. Parrish helped a lot. Everyone was surprised no one was startled when Parrish showed the teeth and eyes that go along with being a Hellhound.

Despite the bad things they have seen, all of them are receptive to “sensitivity training”. An education seminar that Stiles put together, to train the department on how to interact with supernatural beings that may live among them. Surprisingly, Scott actually agreed to help him. Allison also showed up. The whole thing went off without a hitch and everyone felt better for it.

The final day of the seminar is on the 23rd, and everyone is happy it’s almost over. Stiles is taking a lunch break, thinking about the Pack meeting that night, when Scott sits next to him. Allison joins them soon after. The three of them sit in comfortable silence for a bit, until Scott breaks it. 

“Hey this has been sorta fun. I missed this. Feels almost like old times, minus the whole ‘running for our lives’ thing.” He looks over at Stiles, who looks up at him and hums in agreement. 

“Look, I know we haven’t hung out in a really long time. I feel awful about that. I know you went through a lot the last few years, and this most recent thing with the Ghost Riders. I tried to give you some space to heal from that and I got so caught up trying to give you what I thought you needed, that I didn’t bother asking you what you wanted.” Scott waits for Stiles’s response, aware of the anger coming off his friend.

“Scott, you realize this is the most you’ve said to me in three months? You don’t text me back except to ask me to do research and to let me know about Pack meetings. I want to hate you but I can’t. You’re my brother. When I was stuck in that Train Station, all I could think about was getting back to you and my dad and the rest of the Pack. Then I got back, we fought together to defeat them, and once the dust settled I only saw you during lacrosse practice and Pack meetings.”

Allison is silent for a moment before she smacks Scott on the back of his head. Before he can ask her why she did it, she starts shouting at him “Scott McCall, you asshole! You told me Stiles didn’t want to hang out with you or was busy. You even told me he had other plans! What the hell! He is your best friend! What were you thinking!?” She gets up, arms crossed, glaring at him.

Stiles looks between the two in front of him with his eyes open wide in surprise. He was not expecting this turn of events. In that moment, he felt a tether in his chest reach out towards the hunter. When it snaps into place, she gasps in shock. Her face goes a little pale as her hand hits her chest at the sensation, and she falls back down into her seat.

Stiles stands and rushes to her, putting a hand on either shoulder. “Breathe, Allison. Just breathe. That was just the Pack bond taking hold. The feeling is only this strong because I have magic. It won’t hurt you. Breathe.” He inhales, urging her to breath with him. She starts to take deep breaths, her hands moving to Stiles’s shoulders, to brace herself. “Good. You okay?” She swallows and nods her head yes. He leans his head against hers, and she closes her eyes. They eventually untangle their arms and she nuzzles his forehead with her nose and pulls back with a smile on her face.

Scott is sitting there in stunned silence, watching the entire exchange. His eyes tracking Stiles’s movements while the boy sits in the chair next to Allison. Their knees touch and Allison leans so that her shoulder touches his.

“What the hell was that? You never bonded with me or anyone else in the Pack like that. And what’s up with the sudden touching?” Scott’s anger flares to life and his eyes flare with gold, his tone attempting to take on the Alpha spark it use to hold. 

“Scott, I have magic. I’m a Spark, remember? It works differently now. I’m actually bonding. It started with Peter and my da--”

“No! That isn’t how this works! She is my girlfriend and I’m--”

“You’re what, Scott? The Alpha? That ship sailed when you saved me, remember? You don’t own me and I can Packbond with whoever I want. God, you don’t own the Packbond,” Allison scoffs. 

“This doesn’t make any sense. I don’t understand this.” Scott shakes his head “I’m gonna go. I need some space to think about things. I’ll see you at the Pack meeting.”

“Scott! Come back! Scott!” Allison yells. She stands to go after him but Stiles puts his hand on her arm to stop her. 

“Let him go. Maybe he will go to Derek and ask him and actually listen this time.”

“I hope you’re right. I can’t believe he’s acting this way. He acts like you and I are sleeping together or something.” She rolls her eyes as she swallows, focusing on the Packbond, trying to calm down. 

Parrish pops his head in the room, breaking the tension. “Hey, guys? Break time’s over. We have only a couple of hours left of this thing.”

“Perfect timing as always, Parrish.” Stiles comments, as he picks up his lunch trash and tosses it. As he walks by the Hellhound, he reaches a hand out and touches his shoulder. A thread reaches out to the man and when it connects, Parrish’s eyes turn fiery for a moment then return to normal. The two smile at each other.

“Come on, Allison, let’s get this over with. Maybe grumpy pants will be in a better mood at the Pack meeting. If not, we’ll just ignore him.”

She nods and follows him.

With the seminar over, Stiles says his last goodbyes to everyone, and makes his way to his jeep. He’s surprised to see Allison leaning against the passenger side door. 

“Scott not make it back to come get you?” he asks the obvious. She nods at him, a dejected look in her eyes. “Alright. Its unlocked.” he motions for her to get in.

The drive to Derek’s loft is a quiet one, but they don’t need to fill the silence. Stiles reaches for Allison’s hand, when her thoughts turn dark. He tries to push reassuring thoughts and feelings through their new Packbond and she smiles in gratitude. He should be weirded out by the urge to touch, reassure, and scent mark those he’s bonded with. But deep down, it feels as normal as breathing, and he doesn’t want to stop.

When he pulls into the parking lot for Derek’s building, he and Allison are both surprised to see Scott’s bike. They look at each other and shrug. 

Allison leans into Stiles as they ride the elevator up to Derek’s floor. He wants to wrap his arm around her shoulder but doesn’t want to give Scott anymore ideas so he just lets her lean. He lets his mind wander to the dream he had about the Nemeton, trying to piece together what all the tree could have meant. 

He’s brought out of his thoughts by the growing sound of angry voices. Allison looks at him with worry in her eyes and he tries to send soothing vibes through the bond. 

When the door opens to the elevator, they are assaulted with the sound of Scott shouting, “No! You didn’t see them! She was nuzzling his face like some dog!”

“Scott, for once in your life, will you please listen to what I’m telling you?” they hear Derek shout back. 

There’s a pause and then “What the fuck does that even mean?!”

“It means that Peter and I are both born werewolves. We had werewolf elders. We have a culture, and governance that turned wolves just don’t have. I’ve told you time and time again how things work in our world, and you’ve been fighting me ever since you were turned. I realize that Peter wasn’t that trustworthy in the beginning, but he wouldn’t lie about how Pack dynamics work. He doesn’t fuck around when it comes to that!”

“Yeah but--”

“No! I’m tired of fighting over this. Peter told me that Stiles has magic. A lot of magic. The Packbond is different when it forms with him. It has nothing to do with sex, and it definitely doesn’t mean that she’s more closely bonded to him than she is with you. It’s just different. You need to apologize to your best friend and your girlfriend, because there is no getting around the fact that you fucked up this time. You did. Not Stiles, or Allison, or anyone else. It was you.”

“You’re out of your mind.”

“Get over yourself, Scott. You’re not sixteen anymore.” Derek’s voice is tinged with the Alpha spark to drive his point home. Stiles fully expects Scott to fight Derek after he hears that, but Scott makes a choked whimpering sound and goes silent.

Stiles and Allison are standing at Derek’s door, afraid to open it, not sure if the argument is over. Their silent question is answered when the door slides open and Peter is standing there, with a knowing expression. “Stiles! What a pleasure. And Allison, too. We were just talking about you. Why don’t you come in.” 

Stiles looks at Peter as if to say you aren’t fooling anyone with that, as he walks through the door. Without looking at Scott, he sits down on an empty couch. Allison sits next to him, ignoring Scott, as well. When Stiles wraps his arm around her shoulders and she gets comfortable leaning her head on Stiles’s shoulder like it belongs there, Scott lets out a deep growl. Stiles looks up and sees that his eyes are glowing. 

“Really Scott? You really wanna do this now? Because you’re what, too proud? Well guess what, you aren’t the only one who can do that.” Stiles closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath He focuses on where he feels his magic nestled in his chest, and lets it spread. When he feels it touch every part of himself, he opens his eyes. 

Derek and Peter are both quiet, but Scott immediately stops growling and lowers his gaze. Stiles’s eyes are glowing gold, but it isn’t just werewolf gold. The irises and pupils are gone and in their place looks like liquid gold, swirling around. 

“Now, if you’re done trying to make me feel inferior to you, put your eyes away and come sit with us. Or you can keep standing there, looking like an idiot.” He blinks, letting his magic recede, allowing his eyes to go back to normal.

Scott opens his mouth as if to say something snarky, and Derek growls at him, his eyes tinged with red. Scott’s mouth closes and walks over to Allison. 

Before he can sit, she asks, “Scott, how could you think Stiles and I are sleeping together? When would we have even done it?” She huffs in frustration. “You always said he was busy, and you and I spend all of our time together. Don’t you trust us?”

“Yeah, but the touching? Why do you have to touch him so much?”

“You spend so much time denying your wolf, you don’t even realize that touching, scenting, and being close to your Pack members is a thing you need,” Derek responds. 

“Yeah, but we aren’t animals. And Stiles isn’t even a werewolf!” Scott turns, anger flaring again.

“Correction, we aren’t wild animals. You aren’t just human anymore, Scott. You’re part wolf. You can’t keep denying that part of you. Stiles has the instincts of a werewolf because he’s on his way to becoming an Emissary. Emissaries take on some of the traits of their Pack members as a way to maintain the connection. I told you, the bond isn’t about sex. It never was. Otherwise we wouldn’t Packbond with our own parents.”

“Yeah, Scott, the other person I formed a Packbond with, was my dad. I know for a fact we’ve never done the tango, so…” he leaves the statement open ended, putting emphasis on it with a vulgar gesture with his hands. 

Scott goes silent for a moment, processing all the information. When it all clicks into place, his cheeks tint with a blush and he looks completely embarrassed. 

“Wow, I really fucked up here, huh guys?”

“Yeah buddy, but we love you anyway.” Stiles states. He gestures to Allison’s side and she lifts her arm, inviting him to sit down. Finally, he sighs as if a weight has been lifted, and sits. She rubs her face against his and smiles at him. 

“Are we okay?” Stiles asks.

“Yeah. I’m sorry, Stiles. I don’t know why I got so jealous. I know that neither of you would do that to me. I --” He’s cut off as he gasps in surprise as a tether leading from Stiles’s chest connects to Scott. The suddenness of the connection knocks the air from his lungs. Stiles just smiles. 

Before anyone else can speak, Isaac walks into the loft, takes one look at Stiles, and sits at his feet. He wraps an arm around Stiles’s leg and rubs his face against the boy’s thigh. Stiles absentmindedly begins to run his fingers through the beta’s hair. Stiles feels the Packbond connect with Isaac and a contented rumble starts up in Isaac’s chest. 

Derek walks over and gently touches Stiles’s shoulder as he walks to the door, to greet the others as they enter. As soon as his hand makes contact, Stiles feels a very tiny thread connect to the Alpha. The edge of Derek’s lip curls ever so slightly, before his face goes blank again. 

Stiles wonders if it will be like when he connects with the rest of the Pack. He feels slightly overwhelmed. He can feel everyone’s emotions as they filter through the bond. They have so many members now. Lydia, Ethan, Aiden, and Jackson are all out of town. Lydia is still with her mom visiting relatives. Ethan and Jackson are tying up loose ends in England, and Aiden went with them. Only three of the parents of Pack members were brought in, Noah, Melissa, and Chris. The rest are kept in the dark for the time being. 

When Derek opens the door, Erica and Boyd walk in. Erica shouts “Batman!” before plopping herself in Stiles’s lap and nuzzling his neck. Boyd just nods, and climbs on the back of the couch, his legs ending up on Stiles other side, so that Erica can lean against him. Stiles feels their Packbonds connect. Boyd just grunts and smiles, and Erica nuzzles Stiles’s neck again. “Aww, I didn’t know you cared so much, Batman.” 

Stiles just snorts in amusement.

The three youngest Pack members, Liam, Mason, and Cory,  walk through the door and they sit down at Stiles’s feet. There are other couches to sit on, but everyone is drawn to the pull of Stiles’s magic. When more Packbonds form, they look at Stiles in questions. Derek just watches, after sitting in a nearby armchair. Peter is still standing in the kitchen.

Theo and Malia arrive together. He sits on the far end of the same couch everyone is piled around, and Malia sits on the back, next to Boyd. 

“Oh. You have magic now,” she states. “Is that why we are all Pack bonding with him again?” She directs the question to Derek who just nods at her. “Well, it feels weird. Not bad, just weird.”

Stiles looks at Theo, who looks like he feels out of place. Everyone is sitting close to Stiles, but Theo hurt him the most and is unsure if he’ll be welcome. 

Almost as if he could hear his thoughts, Stiles says “As long as you don’t try to come between me and my friends again, you can scoot closer.” Stiles notes that when Theo scoots closer to Scott and gets settled, that the Bond that forms between he and the chimera feels more like a dotted line, rather than a solid thread. 

The last person to join the Pack meeting is Parrish. He looks freshly showered and changed into comfy clothes. He smiles at the group, as he sits on the empty couch, across from everyone. There isn’t any room for him to pile in.

Derek claps his hands together, once, to get everyone’s attention. “Alright, now that everyone is here who can be, let’s begin the Pack meeting. Stiles, please update us all on what you’ve found.”

Stiles pulls his phone out so he can read off his notes.

Chapter Text

Before he begins to read, Erica moves from his lap to Allison’s and drapes her legs over Scott’s.

He leans forward and focuses on his phone. “Okay, so this is just from the Bestiary. Keep in mind the Bestiary has only been partially translated. I can only do so much with Lydia out of town,” he begins. He brings up the web page with the pronunciation on it that he used when he explained this to Peter, so they can hear the name. 

“Essentially it is a giant black cat from Icelandic Lore that appears during Yule. It kidnaps children who don’t have new clothes, and takes them back to its den to eat. All the lore I’ve found so far, says that it was originally a story parents told their kids, to get them to complete their chores in time for Yule celebrations. Lazy kids get coal instead.”

“That’s it? That’s all you know? You could have told us this a few days ago.” Scott looks annoyed.

“Scott, I was translating for three days straight without sleep. I barely ate. I then spent the rest of the time on every search engine I could find, to search as deep into the web I could possibly go, without breaking the law. I haven’t found a way to kill this thing, yet, but I am still looking.” 

“What else do we know? What convinced you this is even the right creature?” Derek asks.

“As far as we know, only four kids have been taken, all from poorer families, all between the ages of 6 and 12. They all come from different racial and religious backgrounds, and different family makeups.” Stiles starts to look tired, and he sighs in frustration as Derek and Scott both look at him like he’s failed.

“Parrish, are there any details you’ve found, since Stiles was handed a copy of the files?” Allison asks, trying to break the tension in the room. 

“Yeah. Because of Stiles’s seminar at the station this weekend, a couple of the deputies interviewed all of the parents again. The parents of the first two hadn’t put a Christmas tree up yet, and the most recent two didn’t have any presents under their trees, at the time of their abduction. I think this fits pretty damn well with what Stiles found.”

Stiles looks a little smug at this. He looks over Derek’s head at Peter, who also looks smug. Both really wish that Derek and Scott would stop doubting Stiles’s ability to find information.

“I asked my dad to contact other precincts, in communities similar to ours, to see if there are any cases that look like ours. I have been trying to track how and when it got to the US.” Stiles looks like he’s ticking things off of a checklist on his phone, while he says this.

“Why would you waste time doing that?” Scott asks, his anger growing slightly. Allison smacks him. 

“Obviously he wants to try and find survivors, to ask them how they got away. Maybe he can figure out how to kill it… or in the very least how to hurt it, so we can save as many of the kids as possible.” 

“Scott, I love ya, buddy. But ya really gotta stop questioning my every move. I think I’ve proven time and again that I know what the hell I’m doing.”

“Seems solid. Keep me updated on anything Noah finds.” Derek nods at Stiles, approvingly, and Scott looks sufficiently cuffed. “Is there anything else we need to discuss?” He looks at everyone, waiting for their responses. 

Everyone makes various noises that convey that they are ready to move on from the current topic, with nothing to add. 

“Okay, with Pack business addressed, what are we ordering for dinner before we start movie night? And I swear to God if anyone says pizza I am breaking my window just to throw all of you out of it.” A small smile curls at Derek’s lip before his expression is serious again. He crosses his arms and waits.

“We haven’t had Chinese food in a few weeks, why don’t we get that? I think there’s a couple of menus in the drawer Peter is leaning against, in the kitchen.” Liam suggests, looking over to the older werewolf. 

Peter shrugs and opens the drawer, pulling out a stack of menus He sorts through them, and putting back the ones that aren’t for the place they have in mind. He hands them out to those who want to look at them. 

“Everyone text me with what they want and I’ll make the call,” he instructs. 

After about 15 minutes, everyone has sent a text to the Pack’s group text and Peter walks off to grab his Bluetooth headset, so he can read off his phone without putting the person on speakerphone. Stiles is pretty sure he can hear Peter speaking Mandarin.

A few minutes later, he walks back into the room. “They said it will be about an hour. It will take 30 minutes to drive there. I will need a couple of volunteers to go with me, so we can carry it all. Who wants to come?” Peter looks around the room, expectantly. 

Stiles taps Isaac to let him know he needs to stand. Isaac smiles up at the boy and moves out of the way. Stiles gets up and walks over. “I need a break from all this. I’ll go.” 

Peter nods and then looks past Stiles as Isaac walks up. “Are you coming too, pup?” 

Isaac blushes at the endearment, and nods yes. He stands close to Stiles, who shifts his weight so that he’s closer to the young werewolf. Isaac makes a happy noise in his throat and leans so that he’s touching Stiles. Peter just watches the exchange, with a pleased look in his eye, like he’s privy to some secret no one else knows. 

“Alright. We’ll leave now, in case they’re done early. If you need anything while we’re gone, text Stiles. We’ll be near several stores so if we need to get any drinks or snacks, make sure you text before the hour is up. No one is running back out once the movie starts.”

Everyone makes noises of agreement and Stiles can already feel his phone vibrating as texts come in. He rolls his eyes at Peter as they make their way towards the door. Peter just chuckles.

When they get down to the parking lot, Peter leads them to a darker corner and pulls out a set of keys from his pocket. “I figured we’d take my car, since it’s bigger. Stiles, you ride up front.” He motions for the boys to get in, when he unlocks the doors. 

Once they are far away from the loft that Isaac is sure no one inside can hear him he leans forward in his seat and asks, “Hey, so why do I feel more strongly bonded to the two of you, than I do Derek?”

“We don’t know yet,” Stiles explains. “My magic has been getting stronger, since I got back from the Train Station.” Stiles wants to tell him about the dream, but Peter gives him a warning look. 

“I told Stiles we should just wait and see what it means. We have more important things to worry about right now.” Peter says, instead.

“Okay. I know there’s something you aren’t telling me, but I trust you. Your reasons are your own. I’m sure if you could tell me, you would.” Isaac sits back in his seat, flashing his eyes, and reverently touching the thick thread, leading from him to Stiles. 

The rest of the ride to the restaurant is spent in comfortable silence. They get to their destination and the three of them split up to get the various grocery items the Pack requested. By the time they are done, their order is ready. They pack the car and are driving back to Derek’s within 20 minutes. 

No one comments when the three of them sit on the smaller couch together while they eat and watch the movie, leaning into each other. No one seems to notice when Isaac stretches across the boy and the older werewolf, with his head in Stiles’s lap. Derek just glances at them, when Isaac begins to happily rumble when Stiles plays with his hair. Worry crosses his expression before his face goes blank again and he focuses back on the movie. 

By the end of the night, Isaac and Stiles have fallen asleep. Once everyone goes home, Peter gently wakes them and offers the boys some extra pillows and blankets. They nod and thank Peter. Isaac moves to the other end of the couch and gets comfortable. Stiles settles back down and both boys fall back asleep before Peter leaves.

Derek stops Peter at the door, a concerned look on his face. Peter just shrugs and Derek sighs before letting his uncle leave. Derek then locks the door before heading upstairs to his own room.

The Alpha falls asleep, questions circling his mind.

Chapter Text

Stiles wakes up with a stretch, as the room fills with light. His foot bumps something warm and he looks down at the other end of the couch and sees a sleepy-eyed Isaac blinking at him, a smile on his lips. 

“Morning, pup,” Stiles says, before he can think about what he’s saying. 

Isaac groans. “I don’t wanna be awake right now, but Derek refuses to invest in curtains and it’s too bright in here.” 

“‘Bout time you two woke up. I thought I was gonna have to eat all this food by myself. Get up and get dressed. Breakfast will be ready soon.” Derek announces from the kitchen. 

Both boys groan in protest.

“How is he always so chipper in the morning?” Stiles laments. 

Isaac gets up and rushes to the bathroom. He washes his face and takes care of his business really fast so Stiles can do the same. When Stiles is done, both of them join Derek and sit at the kitchen bar across from Derek’s stove.

Derek fills three plates with scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast with butter and orange marmalade. He then fills three bowls with grits and cheese. A food item he became partial to, while living in North Carolina. Stiles promptly crumbles his bacon and chops his eggs up really small and dumps them into the bowl and starts eating the grits with his toast. Both Isaac and Derek make a face of disgust. 

“Oh don’t give me the sour faces, guys. Try it, you might like this,” he says, noting the shift in their emotions, through their Packbonds. 

They eat in relative silence. Stiles and Isaac offer to clean the kitchen when they are finished eating. They then finish helping Derek clean the rest of the loft, since no one bothered before they left, the night before. 

“I’m gonna head out. Isaac, do you need me to take you anywhere?” Stiles begins to gather his things and head for the door. 

“Yeah, can you drop me off at the Argent’s? I still have some things I need to pick up. I haven’t moved all my things back over here yet.”

“Sure thing, buddy. Do you want some help?”

“I’ll be alright. Chris offered to drive me back over, once I’m done.”

Before they could get out the door, Derek stops them both. He grabs the wrists of both boys, a subtle way to scent mark them. “Thank you for staying and helping clean up.” He lets them go and walks back to his recliner and picks up a book and begins to read. Realizing they’ve been dismissed, they both leave. 

Stiles drops Isaac off, at the Argent apartment, lingers for a moment as Chris greets him, and heads off towards the Preserve. He texts his dad, while he is stopped at a red light. 

I spent the night at Derek’s on his couch. He fed me and Isaac breakfast. I am heading to the Preserve. I need to walk and clear my head. I love you and will see you later tonight. Happy Christmas Eve.

Noah replies back:

Alright, son. Don’t be out too long. There’s stuff in the fridge for dinner. Invite Peter or someone else from the Pack over. I don’t want you to spend the day alone. I’ll be off about 5pm. I love you, Stiles.

Stiles reads the text his dad sent, as he parks at the entrance to the Preserve. He knows that walking through it is a stupid move because the Yule Cat can still hurt him, even if he isn’t the right age. He’s desperate for answers, though, and he’s willing to risk it. They’re out of options and running out of time to find the missing children. He seeks out the only thing left: The Nemeton. 

Apparently the tree knows he is coming because it doesn’t take him long to find it. Most of the time he’d be searching for hours before he stumbles into the clearing where it sits. He often wonders if it is the tree’s version of pranking him when it prolongs his ability to find it. 

He walks up to the tree stump and the ground rumbles slightly, almost as if the roots are greeting him. He smiles a little. He looks around him and notices that there is sunlight filtering through the treetops. The lights and shadows dancing across the clearing, appearing alive.

Without putting much thought into what he’s doing, he takes his hoodie off and bunches it up to use as a pillow. He kicks his shoes off and sets them on the ground. He puts his hands on the stump to pull himself up. When he does, his hand catches on a splinter that cuts his palm. He hisses at the sudden pain and inspects the wound. He sees a small sliver of wood and pulls it out. Hopefully the bleeding will stop soon, he thinks to himself. He then climbs on top of the stump, stretches out, and gets comfortable. 

“Okay, Nemo. I am at a loss here. I’ve done all the research. Read all the case files. I can’t find any more information than I already have. I need help finding the missing kids, before it’s too late. Christmas will be here soon and when it’s over, the Yule Cat will leave. I need to find them before it eats them and moves on.”

He lays his hands down on the stump, palms down, and concentrates. He has no idea what he’s doing, but he figures he’d try anything. He feels his magic waking up and spreading from his chest throughout the rest of his body. The sting in his hand, where the tree cut him, fades. Unknown to him, where his blood drips onto the dry wood, the color is changing. New growth is slowly starting to sprout from a crack and is making its way towards his hand. When it reaches its destination, the tip of the new growth touches the wound, as if lapping at the blood, encouraging it to fall.

Stiles feels himself falling again, warmth spreading through his body. When he lands, he opens his eyes and looks around. Unlike before, where he woke up on the ground, he is now laying on the Nemeton’s stump. The difference between the dream stump and the real stump is that he’s laying on a bed of moss, and there are little green shoots growing out of the cracks. They’re too green to be considered saplings. They look like large bean sprouts. He carefully crawls to the edge of the stump and stands. 

When he looks up, he is greeted by an older looking Nemo. Where Nemo looked 12 years old before, the tree being looks to be about Stiles’s age now. Their face has lost some of the baby fat and they appear to be a healthier shade of green. Their twig like antlers and eyebrows appear to be alive, rather than dried and dead. Their hair is no longer limp and faded, but vibrant and soft.

“You’re looking better.” Stiles notes.

Nemo hums and smiles.

“I need your help. We’ve done everything we can to find the kids and tomorrow is Christmas. We’re out of time,” Stiles rushes out.

“You’re right on time, Stiles. I can’t give you the answers you seek, but I can give you some tools that will help you in your quest. You will need them to survive the coming battle. My only advice is this: don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t let your magic run rampant, since it will save you in the end.” Nemo walks towards Stiles and motions for him to kneel. They place a hand behind Stiles’s right ear, and the other at the base of his throat, right at the dip between his collar bones.

Stiles sighs. He knows this is going to be unpleasant, even before Nemo speaks again. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, bracing himself for the pain. He grabs on to each of Nemo’s wrists, to keep from falling when it does hit.

“This will hurt, just as it did last time. I’m sorry, but it is necessary. I will give you two more runes. The first is called Kenaz, it looks like a v that has been turned on it’s side. It will help you hear the truth, and gain knowledge from all that you encounter. The second is called Ansuz it looks like a slanted capital f. This will allow you to understand any language, including that of animals… both supernatural and not.” 

Stiles swallows and then feels a familiar heat and his muscles give out as the pain over takes his senses. He faints. He feels the familiar sensation of falling. He gently lands on a hard surface with the sun hitting his face. He moans as he wakes and stretches. 

Suddenly, the sun is blocked out and a cold chill runs through his body. The wound in his hand seals shut, and he tries to open his eyes. The pain behind his ear and at the base of his throat makes it difficult to move. 

A deep, rumbling voice shakes Stiles to his core. “So you are the Emissary. You’re a tiny little morsel. You’ll make a delicious addition to my feast.” 

Before Stiles can move or defend himself, a large cold hand touches his forehead and he starts to lose consciousness. The last thing he feels before he goes completely under is the searing, white hot pain that courses in his chest, as the connections to the Pack disappear one by one like lights going out. Every muscle in his body contracts in response to the loss, leaving him tensed and unable to move. 

When he wakes again, he is on cold, hard ground and a small hand is shaking his shoulder. He whimpers as he becomes aware of the pain wracking his body. A soft, tiny voice brings him fully awake. “Hey mister. Wake up.”

“Where are we?” he asks, as he sits up with his hand against his chest, like putting pressure on an open wound. He groans as he moves, still groggy from being knocked out. 

“Cave. It’s cold” comes a small voice near him.

Stiles looks around the dark cave and realizes he’s surrounded by four small children. They are all dirty and thin. They huddle around him. Thankfully, when he was taken, his hoodie was grabbed too. He puts it on and feels around for his phone. He sighs in frustration, when he realizes it’s gone. He holds out his arms and motions for them to come closer. They gather around him and lean into his warmth. 

“We will get out of this. I don’t know how, but we will.” he reassures them. 

“I highly doubt that, young Emissary,” a voice growls out. The dark figure standing in the cave opening laughs deeply. “You will stay here. I will know if you leave. If you want a fire, you’ll have to build one.” The figure tosses some bread on the ground in front of Stiles as the figure passes by. He grabs it and portions it out to everyone, saving the smallest piece for himself. 

Once he’s done eating, he looks around and finds a pile of logs. Before he can gather what he needs, the sun sets adding to the chill and darkness of the cave.

Chapter Text

Peter is in the kitchen, when he feels Stiles’ pain filter through the Packbond. Moments later he feels Stiles panic. Before he can process it, he is brought to his knees by another sensation. One that has his heart beating wildly, and his eyes moving frantically trying to process what it means. He blinks and brings his wolf eyes forward and chokes down a guttural sound of complete anguish, when he sees the golden rope connected to Stiles is torn and frayed as if it were ripped away. 

Once he catches his breath and is able to stand, he realizes there is an annoying buzzing sound coming from the living room. It’s his phone. Texts are filtering through to the Pack group text and everyone is in a panic. It seems he isn’t the only one who felt the connection rip away.

He’s about to reply, adding his own confirmation, when his phone begins to ring. 

When he answers it, Isaac immediately starts speaking, not waiting for a greeting. “I don’t know why my first instinct is to call you, instead of Derek or Scott, but here we are.”  

“I have a theory about that, but it’s too soon to tell.” Peter responds. Isaac just hums.

“Has Lydia gotten in touch with anyone? Do you think she can feel his death from out of town? She wasn’t here to Packbond with him, so I don’t know how it works now.”  

Before Peter can respond, his phone beeps. He pulls it from his ear to see who’s calling. “Well speak of the devil herself.” 

“Can you answer and make it a group call?” 

“Yes. Give me a moment.” Peter puts Isaac on hold and answers Lydia’s call, adding Isaac to the group.

“He isn’t dead,” she says as soon as Isaac’s on the line. “I saw the texts. I’d know if he were dead. I’m packing now and I’m taking the first flight back. My mom will understand. If she doesn’t, then I’ll figure something out. Can you fill me in on what’s been going on since I left?”

Peter and Isaac spend the next half hour taking turns explaining the kidnapped children, Stiles’ research, as well as what Parrish had told them. 

“Jesus, it hasn’t even been a full week,” she says, exasperation in her voice. She takes a breath. “Okay, I need someone to gather everything he was working on. Maybe he missed something. Peter, if your family has their own bestiary and you can get your hands on it, please do so.” She pauses and Peter hears her take a couple of deep breaths again. “If you can get his laptop and his copy of the Argent bestiary, do it. I’ll call Allison and have her talk to her dad and see if we can get any copies of other hunting family’s bestiaries if their are any. If I think of more, I will text you.”

Before either of the wolves can respond, Lydia ends her call. “Just how smart is she?” Isaac asks. 

Peter snorts. “Smarter than either of us will ever understand, pup.” Isaac hums in agreement.

They both hang up and Peter calls Noah. He picks up after the third ring. “Talk to me.” is all he says. 

Peter fills him in. He can feel Noah relax a little, through the Packbond. “Okay,” he replies, after taking a few calming breaths. “What do you need me to do?”

“We will need to get access to Stiles’ locker at school to make sure he didn’t leave any information there. And I’ll need access to all his research and his laptop.”

“I’ll get together everything from his room, so you can pick it up at any time. Talk to Scott about the keys. Stiles gave him a copy of all of his copies. He doesn’t think I know, but I do. He has a copy of all the school keys.”

Peter makes and amused noise. “Of course he has copies of the school keys.” 

“Oh, he has copies of every major building in town, plus copies of the keys to everyone’s homes.”

“Why does that not surprise me,” Peter muses. 

“He’s nothing if he’s not resourceful,” Noah says, amusement tinting his voice. Peter hears him take a shuddering breath. “Peter, we need to bring my boy home. Please, bring him back to me safely. I don’t care what you have to do.” Peter’s heart breaks for the sheriff as he hears emotions flood the man’s voice. “I just got him back from that damn Train Station. I can’t lose him again. Not like this.”

“Sheriff, I will do everything in my power to bring him home. You have my word.” Peter knows that Noah didn’t miss the fact that he didn’t promise to bring him back alive. He isn’t sure he can make that promise and saying it out loud would make this too real too fast. 

“Okay. Do what you can.” Noah’s voice sounds small.

“You know I will,” Peter tells him.

Peter puts his phone back in his pocket after Noah ends the call, and grabs his keys. As he drives back to Derek’s, the silence in his car is deafening. 

After Stiles builds up the fire, the cave takes on an orange glow. He zips his hoodie up and wraps his arms around two of the smallest of the four kids. They huddle as close to the fire as they can, trying to stay warm. He’s horrified as he looks around at all of their faces. Their eyes have dark circles and their cheeks are sunken in. 

These kids need to eat and they need warm blankets. When he hears the deep purr of the sleeping cat at the back of the cave, he closes his eyes and tries to clear his mind. He focuses on his magic and sifts through all the information tied to it. Good to know it comes with its own user manual , he muses to himself. He latches on to the ability to pull objects from memories. He focuses his magic.

He remembers the sight, smell, and taste of chicken noodle soup and focuses on those sensations. He imagines there are 5 bowls of it. He imagines that the broth is thick and warm, the chicken cooked to perfection, the noodles plump and perfectly made. He imagines the vegetables that he loves, carrots and very small pieces of celery, both cooked until they are tender. He imagines how the smell of it makes him feel warm and safe and the taste brings back memories of his mom spending hours making it while he’s sick, so that he will feel better after eating it. He imagines how she carefully selected spices and herbs to flavor the broth. He opens his eyes when he hears a very quiet gasp. Sitting in front of each of them are large bowls of soup he just imagined. He smiles as he lifts one and tastes it and hums in approval as it is just like he remembered. 

He encourages the others to eat and helps them when they are too weak to keep lifting their bowls. When everyone is finished eating, he closes his eyes and remembers washing the bowls, drying them, and putting them away. When he opens his eyes, the bowls are gone. 

He thinks about the time he had a sleep over at Scott’s when he was younger. Before he lived in the house he’s in now, Scott lived in a small house with only two bedrooms. Because of this, Stiles had to sleep on the floor and because they didn’t have a cot for him to sleep on, Stiles had to sleep on a pile of blankets. Stiles pulls the blankets from those memories and remembers how warm and comfortable they were, and how they smelled. He remembers small details some of the blankets. The wool blend with the single cigarette burn on it from when a distant relative stayed over and borrowed it. The quilt that Melissa bought at a thrift store that had a square with the faded words ‘Congratulations Class of ‘84!’ embroidered on it. The fuzzy fleece blanket with Buzz Lightyear on it that Scott denies ever owning to this day. He keeps remembering all the blankets that he’s used in the past and when he’s done, there are enough for them to sleep on and enough to cover up with. He lays out the largest of the blankets, one top of the other along one of the walls, and hands out the smaller ones to each of the kids. Before they settle down for the night, he watches as they, one by one, walk around to a dark corner by the opening of the cave and then come back. He realizes they are going to the bathroom when one of them is still adjusting their pants as they walk back to the group. 

“Is that where y’all have been going potty?” he asks one of the older kids. 

They blush but nod. 

“That’s alright. This is a really bad situation and you have to do the best you can. Is it a hole, or a bucket?” 

“Its a hole the cat made for us. Every morning he makes it go away, like its new. Then he leaves and comes back around night time. This is the first time he came back before the sun went down.”

“That’s convenient. Okay, well I’ll be right back. Then we can go to sleep, okay?” they all nod at him in agreement. He realizes they are all afraid to speak too much. He suspects the cat did not like the noise.

He walks to the dark corner and finds the hole in the ground. He takes care of his own business and walks back. He lays down and motions for them to lay next to him. He takes their blankets and tucks them all in before pulling his own over his shoulders. 

He doesn’t fall asleep for a long time, and as he lays there, he focuses on his magic. He finds the place he can feel it goes to when he isn’t using it and he builds a wall around it. He pokes and prods until he is sure not a single drop can escape. When he is satisfied, he imagines a tiny door that only he can see, is in the wall. That way he can still access the magic, and it doesn’t seep out accidentally. 

He tries to repair the broken threads of his Packbonds but when he looks at each of the threads, the ends look like they are painted with a strange energy. As if they were dipped in glue. When he focuses on it, it looks blue and shimmers. He pokes at it and it shocks him. He swears under his breath and concludes that the Yule Cat put some type of shield around his Packbonds so that he can’t be found. He huffs in frustration. 

He rolls onto his back, trying to get comfortable. When he settles, one of the smaller kids snuggles up closer to him in their sleep. He sighs. He knows he needs to come up with a plan to try and get out of the cave and get the kids out without losing anyone. But he doesn’t have all the information yet. He hopes he can get some answers tomorrow. 

He finally dozes off as moonlight shines into the cave and lands a few feet from the fire.

Chapter Text

Peter takes Lydia’s bags from her as she pulls them from the baggage claim. She rolls her eyes as she resituates her carry-on on her shoulder. He promptly takes that as well. She smirks at him. 

They sit in silence as Peter drives. He assumes Lydia is lost in thought. He is pulled from his own when she takes a breath to speak. 

“We’re going to Stiles’s house.” it isn’t a question.

He hums in response and holds up a set of keys. 

“Those are his second copy of the keys he has.” Again, not a question. 

Peter hums again. 

“You waited until I was in town to go to his house to pick up his laptop and research material.” 

Peter doesn’t hum but he does make a noise to let her know she’s right.

“We are meeting the others at Derek's?” she asks.

“I told everyone who isn’t going to help to stay home. Scott already went to Stiles’s locker to pick up anything he left there. Allison is bringing any information she was able to get from Chris. Isaac is going to be there because he lives with Derek and will help us sort.”

“Mmm. Your voice did that thing it does when you are keeping something from me, when you mentioned Isaac’s name. What is it?”

“Can’t slip anything past you.” He smirks at her, without looking away from the road in front of him. “Isaac and I have Packbonded...but it’s stronger connection than what he has with Derek.” He pauses, not sure if he should tell her about Stiles’s dream or the connection between him and Stiles. She picks up on his reluctance. 

“Peter. Tell me everything. I can’t help if I don’t have all the pieces.”

He knows she’s right. He takes a deep breath and slowly blinks as he exhales through his mouth.

“It started the day he finished researching. I came over with breakfast, we ate, and he went to bed. He asked me to stay after I tucked him in. Wh-don’t look at me like that. We were fully clothed and just slept. After that, it gets more complicated than that.”

Lydia waits for him to continue. 

“We cooked dinner that night and we formed a Packbond. By ‘we’ I mean the Sheriff and I  connected to Stiles at the same time… Lydia, his thread is gold, intertwined with mine. It’s a very thick rope, instead of a thread. The Sheriff’s is gold, but not as thick.”

She arches her eyebrow in question. 

“I don’t understand it either, but I have a theory.”

Peter spends the rest of the ride explaining all the details he left out over the phone. Including Stiles’s dream and Isaac’s Packbond.


He hears the voice calling his name but it sounds far away.

“Stiles, honey.” 

He feels his shoulder move. He blinks, trying to bring the world into focus.

“Hmm?” He looks up at the familiar face in front of him. She looks younger than he remembers her being.

“Stiles, I’ve been calling your name. The doctors are done in your mom’s room. She’s sleeping peacefully. You can go in and see her now.” Melissa smiles warmly at the boy in front of her. 

He just nods, eyes full of sadness.

“Sweetie, look at me.” Melissa cups his face in her hand. “I know this is hard, but she can hear you, okay? Talk to her, it’ll help. If you need anything, I’ll be right outside.” She caresses his cheek and nods at him when he looks at her with a questioning  expression.

Stiles makes up his mind and nods at her again. He gets up and walks down the long hallway, while looking down at his feet. He keeps walking and walking, but the hallway seems to go on and on. He looks up and takes in his surroundings. He should have been at her door by now. He looks behind him and he realizes the hallway is even longer. The waiting room is long gone. He tries to open the door near him and its locked. He tries another one and it is also locked. He starts to bang on them, but no one answers.

Frantic, he takes off running back the way he came and the hallway stretches out in front of him. He stops running when he realizes he isn’t going anywhere. He’s bent over, with his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath, when he hears a growl coming from behind him. 

He slowly looks over his shoulder and a large shadow passes by him, but he doesn’t see what made it. He slowly presses his back against the wall and begins to inch his way forward, while looking behind him. 

Suddenly the silence of the hallway is swallowed by the sounds of frantic voices and rapid footsteps running around. He blinks again and someone in scrubs runs past him, clutching their stethoscope. Phones are ringing and the noise of the hospital is getting louder. 

Another person runs by him wearing scrubs and he tries to get their attention, but no one seems to hear him. Before he can keep moving a body slides along the floor and crashes into the wall next to him. They are covered in blood and are missing an arm. Its Melissa. 

“Stiles. Run!” she manages to gurgle out, before her eyes close and she slumps over. 

He stands there, frozen. People are getting more and more frantic, running around. Screaming is now joining the shouting voices. He turns to run back down the hallway, trying to find his mom’s room again. He’s shaken out of his trance by another person knocking into him as they run past. He begins to run.

What feels like every ten feet, he runs into another person covered in blood and half eaten. He realizes some of the screaming is his own. Most of the faces are familiar ones. Everyone he loves is being eaten while he just wants to find his mom’s room. 

A voice stops him in his tracks. “Well well well. Look what I’ve found. I knew I was saving the best for last.”

Stiles whimpers and presses his back against the wall again. He tries to move forward and a shape looms over him. 

“I wouldn’t move if I were you.”

He gulps and looks up. Towering over him is a dark shape covered in fur, with red eyes. The face shifts into one he recognizes, but something is wrong with it. It’s almost like the creature in front of him can’t keep the face in its proper shape and it keeps slowly morphing into one of a crazed wolf. 

“Mmmm. you smell delicious,” the creature wearing Peter’s face says. 

Stiles swallows thickly, as tears flow down his face. “Please,” he whispers. 

“What was that?” the creature asks, head tilted to the side, eyebrow arched in question. 

“Please. I just want to say goodbye to my mom.” Stiles’ lip trembles as more tears flow down his face.

“No. I think I’m going to eat everyone you love and save her for last, just so you can watch.”

A sob escapes Stiles’ mouth. “No. Please!”

The creature in front of him begins to laugh. As it does, the face resembling Peter’s melts back into something barely resembling a wolf’s. Before Stiles can protest, the demon wolf runs down the hallway, taking bites out of, and ripping apart, anyone he crosses. 

When the creature is out of sight, the hallway returns to normal, but Stiles can still hear shouting and panic in other parts of the hospital. He takes a few breaths to calm his racing heart. He looks around to find the bathroom. When he walks in, he is surprised by what he sees. 

The boy in front of him is much younger than he feels, and is not wearing his signature plaid overshirt with a graphic t-shirt under it. He walks up to the mirror to inspect himself further. His face is smaller and rounder, his hair is longer and hanging in his face a little. He watches his mirror self as he sweeps his hair aside so it isn’t over his eyes.

“Okay, this isn’t just a dream. Some of this is part of my memories. I’m actually a kid again.” he says to himself out loud. He starts pacing, tapping his chin trying to remember everything that happened the weeks leading up to the day his mother died. 

“Okay, a few days after Mom was placed in the long term ward, I was sitting in the waiting room,  waiting on Dad to join me so we could see Mom together. This was before she had her last episode where she thought I was trying to kill her.” Stiles closes his eyes, but keeps pacing, trying to think back to the day in question. 

“I was talking to Melissa about the room across from Mom’s. A man in the room that no one ever visited the entire time Mom was in the hospital. I was asking who he was, and why he was there. I thought it was sad that no one even sent him flowers.”

He keeps pacing, trying to focus on a memory that seems to keep slipping from him whenever he gets close. He goes over they day over and over and finally a face comes into focus.

Stiles’ eyes open wide as realization dawns on him. The man in the room was Peter Hale. Stiles thinks back to the encounter with the demon wolf in the hallway. The eyes were red. “They couldn’t have been red, if that was Peter. Peter was still in a coma, and his eyes would have still been blue. I need to find Peter’s room.”

Stiles peaks out of the bathroom, looking both ways before he enters the hallway again. He cautiously starts to walk in the direction he was originally going when all hell broke loose. He passes the waiting room, as well as several other familiar doors. 

He pauses, taking a deep breath. As much as he wants to see his mom again, he knows that she’s just a memory. She won’t be able to talk to him or hold him, and he needs to see Peter laying the bed, to break the hold of the nightmare. He closes his eyes, and exhales. He opens the door to Peter’s room and walks in.

Peter is laying on the bed, with his face partially obscured by bandages. He is hooked up to all kinds of monitors with tubes, and wires. Some for feeding him, some for oxygen, some for documenting his vitals.

Seeing the wolf like this, injured and helpless, makes something in Stiles’ chest swell with emotion. He walks closer to Peter’s bed and caresses the man’s uninjured cheek, careful not to disturb the tape holding the feeding tube in place. Tears roll down his face as he stands there, next to the man he’s grown so close to over the last year. 

“Peter, it was never easy seeing you like this. But I remember now. I visited you every single day I came to see my mom, before she passed. I always saved a flower from her bouquet for you. The last day was the hardest, not only because I knew my mom was gonna die, but because I knew it’d be the last time you’d ever get any visitors. My dad was too wrapped up in his own grief to talk to me, and… and losing Mom almost broke me. I’m sorry I didn’t visit you. Maybe if I had, you wouldn’t have gone crazy and that nurse wouldn’t have been able to use you. I remember what I said to you that last day. I said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t come see you anymore. My mom is gonna die soon and I won’t come back here again. I’ll stay here as long as I can. Maybe someday I’ll see you again and you’ll be all better. Please don’t forget me.’”

Stiles shakes his head. “Peter, I’m so sorry I forgot you.”

Sobs wrack Stiles’ tiny body as he relives all the emotions from the last day he visited his mom. So many things he didn’t understand then click into place now. He picks up Peter’s hand and rubs his cheek against it, leaving his scent behind. 

“I swear to you, if I ever get out of that damn cave, I will be a better friend to you. You are my family. And nothing will change that. Especially not some magical cat trying to trick me into hating you.” Stiles brushes his lips against the back of Peter’s hand before he sets it back on the bed. 

Just before he turns around to walk towards the door, it slams open. An angry growl, so loud it shakes the bags hanging above Peter’s bed, comes from the hallway. 

“My my, you’ve been busy,” a garbled voice echoes across the room. 

Stiles turns around and faces the creature. Its shape keeps faltering, like it can’t keep up the glamour. The face glitches like a broken computer monitor and cycles through something that resembles Peter, the demon wolf, and a misshapen cat. 

“You can’t fool me. I know what you are, and you won’t make me hate him.”

“Hmm. Perhaps I need to try harder.” The creature takes on a contemplative expression while its features finally settle to that of a very tall, thin man, covered in fur, with large ears and wide grin. He looks like he’s stepped out of a cartoon. Stiles would laugh if he wasn’t so angry.

“Nothing you can do will break me. I won’t give up my Packbond that easily. I won’t let you take him from me!”

“Perhaps not, but I can hurt you in other ways.”

Before Stiles can do anything, the creature in front of him leaps into the air, from the doorway and as it lands, it takes on the shape of a very large cat. It knocks Stiles aside and grabs Peter out of the bed with its mouth. Stiles screams as the cat throws its head back and tosses Peter in the air, opening wide and swallowing him down with a loud gulp. Stiles is still screaming as he runs towards the cat, throwing punches every which way. The cat takes a swipe and Stiles, throwing him across the room. His vision goes dark as his back and head collide with the wall and he slides down in a heap.

The last thing he hears before everything is quiet again, is the sound of the cat laughing deeply.

Stiles wakes with a start and looks around him. He counts his fingers and sighs in relief when he only has ten. As he shakes off sleep, he carefully extracts himself from the kids that are piled around him and runs for the bathroom corner of the cave. He falls to his knees and heaves into it, emptying his stomach. He gasps as the last of it leaves him and he hangs his head trying to catch his breath. 

A small voice coughs behind him. “Are you okay?” they ask. 

“Yeah, I think so. I had a bad dream.”

He looks over his shoulder at the child standing behind him. Her name is Cassie and she’s the oldest of the four. She nods at him and holds her hand out. Stiles takes it and she helps him stand. He doesn’t protest when she wraps his arm over her shoulder, letting him lean against her. They slowly walks back to the bed he made and Stiles smiles at her, grateful for her help. 

“I’m sorry I woke you up” he whispers.

“Its okay. I was having a hard time sleeping anyways.”

Stiles nods and tries to gently move back into his spot. Cassie does the same, and they both close their eyes. Stiles eventually falls back asleep, thankful that he doesn’t dream.

Peter startles awake from a dream he doesn’t quite remember. The pillow under him is soaked with tears. The words “Please don’t forget me” echo in his memory. Peter covers his face with his hands and sobs into them, the pain in his chest deepens as his heart breaks for reasons he doesn’t quite understand.