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It Was Only Just a Dream

Chapter Text

The car was spinning, breaks squealing as tires locked, unable to find traction on the ice.

Stiles was flooded with hopelessness as he tried to remember what to do in this situation. He felt sick, his stomach in his throat was he ineffectively pulled at the wheel, trying desperately to stop the slid of the jeep towards the deep ditches that lined the road this far into the preserve.

The frightened shout of his dad sitting next to him was awful, sinking into his chest and filling him with dread. It was a reminder that whatever happened didn’t just happen to him. He was responsible for the fate of John Stilinski as well.

He could hear Derek in his head, yelling at him not to come, screaming at him to fucking listen for once, that the pack didn’t need him, not for this. They had fought, Stiles had shouted back that he wasn’t unless until Derek had said, voice uncharacteristically soft, almost tender “I can’t have you getting hurt. I can’t. Don’t come. Please.”

Stiles almost listened. Almost. But the need to protect the pack far outweighed any shred of self-preservation he had.

And now they were spinning out on a back road in the middle of a snowstorm that shouldn’t even exist in California.

Fuck.

In an heartbeat, Stiles lost his battle to keep the jeep on the road. It slid off, slamming into an electric pole and throwing Stiles against the door, before sliding into the ditch. His head hit the wheel and he lost track of everything through the pain that threatened to pull him under.

“Stiles. Stiles!” His dad was yelling nearby, but he was dizzy and tired.

The last thing he heard was his father’s terrified cries.

+++++

 

Stiles woke to beeping in his ear and the smell of hospital in his nose.

“Stiles?”

It sounded like Scott. But Scott hadn’t been in the car. He wasn’t even at the newly built Hale house, where they had been headed. He had been at the clinic, trying to pry more information out of Deaton. About the, about whatever it had been that was currently terrorizing Beacon Hills. Stiles was in too much pain to remember what it was.

He whimpered again, as he tried to move, and it send jolts of pain through his chest. Shit. It was hard to breath.

“Stiles?” Scott asked again. “Are you awake? Can you hear me?”

It was only the terrified tone of Scott’s voice that convinced Stiles that it was a good idea to pry his eyelids open.

Scott was leaning over him, indeed looking terrified. “Oh thank God,” he said, as Stiles managed to meet his best friends gaze.

“Scott?” His throat was so dry even he couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. “What?”

Scott held a straw up to his lips and Stiles took a few sips of water.

“What happened?”

It was still hoarse and scratchy, but it was at least audible this time.

Scott didn’t answer, eyes darting all around the room instead of looking at his friend. Stiles followed his gaze, to discover he was in a hospital. The ER specifically, if the fabric curtains and general commotion he could hear were to be believed.

He wasn’t surprised. He knew that hitting the pole had done some damage.

“Where’s my Dad?”

Stiles was certain his father had been in the car. Stiles hasn’t wanted him to come, but Sheriff had gotten off work early and insisted.

Scott managed to look even more nervous. “I need to tell Mom your awake.”

“Scott, what happened?”

Scott fled the room but was back with Melissa before Stiles could even begin to work himself up into a panic.

“Melissa.”

Melissa had would know what was going on. Know what to do. She always knew what to do.

“Oh sweetie.” Her face wasn’t its normal nurse face, concerned but confident. It was twisted and worried, in a way that he had never seen before, not once during any of their werewolf drama. Not even when she thought her son was shot. Not when she had been kidnapped and almost ritually sacrificed. “How do you feel?”

Stiles was trying hard not to panic now.

“What happened?”

Melissa sat on the edge of the narrow bed, careful of the pulse oximeter and IV. She stroked his hair, like she had done a hundred times before but his time, it didn’t made Stiles feel better in the way only a mother’s touch could.

“You were in a car accident. Do you remember being in the car?”

Stiles nodded.

“Good. That’s good. Do you remember what happened after the car crashed?”

Stiles heart was beating so hard he could hear it in his ears. He shook his head. He remembered cold and snow and that was it.

Melissa’s face was pale. She took a deep breath. “Your dad’s cruiser was T-boned by a drunk driver on the way to your house. You were coming home from dinner with him.”

That wasn’t right. He had been in the jeep, not the police cruiser and they hadn’t been coming home from dinner. He and his dad hadn’t managed to have a meal together in weeks.

“It was.” A tear slid down Melissa’s face and Stiles went cold. “It was a bad wreck. The cars hit so hard; the metal basically fused together.”

“Melissa, where is my dad?”

Another tear followed, then another. “I’m so sorry Stiles. The car was hit on the driver’s side. There wasn’t anything they could do. He didn’t make it.”

The faint buzzing in his ears grew louder and louder. He could see Melissa talking, see Scott run out of the room sobbing, but he couldn’t hear anything but the fucking buzz in his head.

He couldn’t breathe. Everything was too bright, too much and when the white in his vision began to eat up everything else, Stiles let it.

+++++

 

“Stiles. Son, open your eyes.”

Stiles obeyed his father. He was pinned; the steering wheel against his chest, sending sharp pains through him with every breath. He wanted to sit up, but he was on his side, pressed against the ground. His mind whirled, trying to make sense of it, trying to figure out why up wasn’t up. Slowly, it came to him. When they hit the electric pole, they must have slid in the ditch, landing on the jeep on its side and trapping him between the wheel and the ground.

“Dad?” he managed to slur out.

This wasn’t right. Melissa said his dad had been driving.

“You’re going to be alright.”

His dad was pushing on the wheel, trying to move it off Stiles and give him room to breathe.

He was so tired. He reached out, trying to grab at his dad. His father’s strong hand grasped at his and Stiles held on with all his strength, even as his eyes flickered closed once more.

+++++

Stiles woke up to Melissa looking very relieved and Scott looking pale with blotchy red eyes.

“My dad is dead.”

It wasn’t a question, but it was all the same.

“Yes.”

Stiles rolled over away from his friends and faced the white wall.

He couldn’t be dead. He had just seen him. He couldn’t be dead.
------
It wasn’t as bad is it could have been. For as sore and terrible as he felt, he didn’t even have a concussion. Just a few stitches in the side of his head. His right wrist was bruised, but not broken. His ribs where bruised too, where the seat belt had caught him. He was covered in small cuts from the broken glass.

The doctors said he was lucky.

He told them to go to hell.
------
Melissa took him home. To the McCall house, not his own. Because he “shouldn’t be alone right now.”

She was probably right.

It was dark by the time they pulled in. Melissa muttered something about supper while Scott hovered awkwardly around Stiles, who had sat down on the couch.

“Scott. Turn on the TV.”

“Yeah, sure.” Scott looked grateful to have something to do. Once it was on, they watched in silence, punctuated by Scott occasionally tapping on his phone, texting someone.

Stiles wondered where his phone was. Probably lost in the accident.

The accident that didn’t make sense. He knew he had been driving. They had been heading out to help the pack.

“Hey, Scott.”

Scott looked up his phone.

“Are you a werewolf?”

Scott’s eyes widened in a way that would have been comically any other time.

“Yeah of course. Stiles are you alright?”

“And you have a pack. Derek.” The name stuck in his throat. “Derek is the alpha and all our friends are in the pack. Right?”

“Yeah, man. Isaac, Erica, Boyd, Jackson and I are all werewolves. Lydia’s a banshee and Allison is a hunter. You’re in the pack too.”

“Oh. OK. Just checking.”

“No worries.” Scott looked very worried and started texting almost frantically.

“Hey Scott.”

He looked up.

“My dad is dead?”

Scott’s face fell. “Yes. Yes. I’m so”

Stiles held up his hand. “Don’t you dare say you're sorry.”

They continued to sit quietly until Melissa came in with some soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, that Stiles couldn’t make himself eat. His head throbbed as he took the pills that Melissa handed him.

As soon as they were done, Scott herded him up the stairs to his room, leading him some sweats to replace the borrowed hospital clothes.

“The pack wants to come over tomorrow to see you. Is that okay?”

Stiles grunted and shrugged, too drained to manage words.

“Good. I think it would be good for you.”

Scott flipped of the light and pulled Stiles down into the bed. They hadn’t shared since they started high school but sleeping anywhere else tonight would have seemed wrong.

Stiles didn’t want to go to sleep. He didn’t want to wake up tomorrow and all of this be real. He needed it to be some terrible nightmare. But the pills worked too well, and he was out as soon as he curled up next to Scott on the bed.

+++++

“Son.” His father was in his face, tapping his cheek. “I need you to stay awake.”

“I’m trying.” Stiles whined, pushing his dad away with a glare. His dad laughed; his face barely visible in the dark cab of the jeep.

“I know.”

“We crashed?”

“Yes, Stiles. We crashed.”

There was a long moment of silence, both their harsh breathes and the wind the only sound in the jeep that was slowly getting colder now that the heat wasn’t running, the engine having cut off in the crash.

“Phones?”

There was a shuffling sound. “Mine is smashed. Yours?”

Stiles didn’t know which way was up, much less where his phone was. He shook his head, as he found both pockets empty.

The Sheriff wasn’t wearing his uniform. No radio. They weren’t calling for help, that was for sure.

“You’re going to get us out?”

“Yes son. I will.”

“My chest hurts.”

The Sheriff frowned and ran a hand over Stiles’ chest, carefully pushing on ribs, looking for the source of the pain. He hit something and Stiles arched away from his dad, screaming and tears running unbidden down his face.

“Fuck!”

“I’m sorry.”

But the Sheriff didn’t pull his hand away and Stiles could see blood glistening on it. He twisted, looking through the holes of the steering wheel and found the source.
It was a small piece of metal, not larger than his thumb, sticking out of the left side of his chest.

“Lean up as best you can.”

Stiles tried, smashing his chest tighter against the wheel while his dad ran a hand down his back.

“It’s not pinning you so we need to leave it in. Try not to touch it.” The Sheriff said, smacking away Stiles’ hand as he tried to do just that.

Now that he knew why he hurt; it was all he could think about. There was a piece of metal in his chest. There was metal in him. His chest was on fire and he gasped. His breathing began to speed up as his vision grew spotty.

“Dad” he said desperately, terrified of passing out and going back to that awful place. The place where his dad was dead, and he was fine.

“I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

It was a promise, but the spots grew, and the darkness grew, enveloping the dim cold metal of the jeep until there was nothing.

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up with a gasp, his memories hitting him all at one.

His dad was dead. He was alone. His dad was dead.

This couldn’t be real.

“Stiles?” Scott was awake and in front of him, gripping him by the shoulders.

His stomach twisted and heaved.

“Bathroom. Bathroom, now.”

Even with Scott’s super strength pulling them down the hall, they only made it a few feet before Stiles’ knees gave out and he collapsed. His stomach tightened as his mouth filled with saliva and then he heaved, vomiting mostly bile on the wooden floors of the McCall house.

Scott held him up, so he didn’t face plant in the mess. Melissa appeared out of nowhere, with a wet cloth she put on the back of his neck. It helped, but Stiles didn’t stop retching until there was nothing left and he was so empty it hurt.

Scott was crying quietly as he held on to his best friend. Stiles was grateful but was far too tired from the struggle of waking up to say it.

“Let’s get you cleaned up.” Melissa said kindly. “You’ll feel better.”
------
Melissa was a fucking liar. The shower didn’t help. He didn’t feel as dirty and the disgusting smell of hospital didn’t cling to him anymore. But he didn’t feel better. If anything, looking at himself in the mirror as he dried off, looking at the stranger with dead eyes and his face, just made him feel emptier.

He walked downstairs, wearing his own clothes. Someone had left a duffel in the bathroom, filled with his things, clothes and toiletries, even his laptop.

Someone had been to his house. His empty house.

“I’m making pancakes.”

Stiles sat down next to Scott at the McCall dinning room table. He went green at the mention of food.

“Oh honey.” Melissa ran a hand through his hair then pressed her lips to his forehead. “You need to at least try to eat.”

Stiles tried. He managed about three bites before thought about all the times his dad made the same breakfast for them, how the batter always turned out too runny but he faithfully ate them anyway because his dad had made them. He pushed his plate away, and wandered to the living room, ignoring the conversation Melissa and Scott were having about grades and finals.

Scott didn’t want to go to school, but his mother made him. Scott left in a huff, promising to come if Stiles needed anything. Stiles didn’t point out he had no phone to let him know if he did need him.

Melissa did things, and Stiles mindlessly watch on old sitcom. The laugh track felt like it was mocking him.

He didn’t bother to change it.
------
“Stiles.” Melissa was kneeling in front of him. “Stiles I have to go take care of some things. One of the pack is here to stay with you.”

It took a long minute for Stiles to realize she was waiting on a response. “Okay”

“He’s in the kitchen making some food for you guys.”

It was probably Isaac. Any of the other betas would already be up his space, smoothing him. Isaac's dad was dead too. Maybe Melissa thought they would bond over it or something.

“Okay.”
-----
The TV played and Stiles watched but didn’t see a thing. His mind stalled on the single though.

His dad was dead.

They would never hang out together, never eat a couple of microwave meals together, never fight again. His dad wouldn’t be there to watch him graduate, to get married, to become a man his dad would be proud of.

It was nearly dark by the time Stiles noticed it was Derek not Isaac sitting in the armchair across from the couch.

“She called you?”

“Yes.”

Stiles grunted and curled up tighter into a ball, gripping a pillow as tight as he could so he wouldn’t fly into a million pieces.

“She thought I might understand.”

Stiles snorted. “I’m sure you do. But that doesn’t make it any better.”

“I understand that too.”

Stiles didn’t eat the crackers that Derek brought him, and gagged when Derek offered to make him a sandwich. The thought of eating made him feel sick. He did manage to drink a soda, though it took all afternoon. He figured it was better than nothing.

Melissa came home and thanked Derek, who nodded and rose, eyes never leaving Stiles.

“Hey Derek.”

The wolf paused, hand on the doorknob.

“My dad is dead.”

Derek’s face twisted and softened in the way the Stiles though he might be a little bit in love with. It made his stomach hurt.

He wished Derek would hold him. He felt like if Derek held him, he might not feel so cold.

“I know.” The words were soft and somehow it hurt worse that way.

“The pack is coming over later. Come with them.”

Derek’s lips twisted up. “Sure.”
------
“Jesus Stilinski.” Jackson said as they walked in. “You look like shit.”

The others shushed him, but Stiles knew that pissed off look was concern, not disdain. It was better than the pity that was on everyone else’s face. Besides, he felt like shit. His body ached and his head pounded. He clapped Jackson on the shoulder and motioned everyone in, Derek in the back, face carefully blank like it hadn’t been since they first met. Since Derek had become his alpha, not just the alpha.

The pack brought pizza, but no one managed to do more than nibble at it, not even the wolves. Stiles didn’t even try. He had thrown up again right before they got here, when Melissa tried to feed him some applesauce.

They hovered. No one talked. Alison clung to Scott like a limpet and Lydia hung onto Stiles’ hand so tight it hurt, Jackson keeping guard on her other side.. Too many faces had red swollen eyes and Erica kept hiccuping. Stiles couldn’t stand it.

“Come on.” He grabbed Lydia’s hand and pulled her over to the couch. He sat her on the left and pushed Scott down on the right. He sat right in the middle, doing his best to curl up with both of his best friends.

The rest of the pack fell in. Jackson sat on the floor in front of Lydia. Isaac was next to him, arm resting up on Stiles leg in a way that had to be uncomfortable for the wolf. Erica and Boyd joined them on the floor. Allison sat half perched on the armrest of the couch, half on Scott.

Derek sat in the same chair he had been in earlier, watching his pack. Stiles caught his eye and a small part of him relaxed slightly in the presence of his alpha.

Someone flipped on a crime drama. Stiles ignored it, focusing instead on the feel of his pack around him, desperately trying to find comfort in it when all he felt was empty.

They TV played a commercial for next week’s episode and Stiles laughed, slightly manically, as he realized his dad would never know what happened on his favorite forensic show. Or who would win the next world series. Or even what the weather would be the next day.

“Change the channel.”

It was an order from the alpha and Isaac snapped to obey, putting on some Disney movie.

Stiles didn’t even notice the tear run down his face, until Lydia wiped it away, her own face wet as well.

Stiles throat burned and he took few deep breaths until his head felt like it was going to explode form the pressure. He stopped crying and clung to his pack, eyes never leaving Derek’s.
-----
The pack left early. They still had a day of finals before winter break.

Scott was done with his though. Stiles had heard Isaac and Boyd talking about it, but he didn’t understand.

They were sitting in bed again.

“How did you get your finals done?”

Scott grinned sheepishly. “I took them all today. The teachers, they understood. That’s why I was home so late.”

“Oh.”

Scott’s smile fell at the non reaction and Stiles felt bad.

“Thanks man. I know that had to be hard.”

“It wasn’t so bad. At least then I didn’t have to stress about them all week.”

“Yeah.” Stiles stared up at the ceiling. They hadn’t turned the light off and it cast weird shadows. “What am I supposed to do about mine?”

“Mom talked to the school. They agreed to take an average of your midterms and your homework grades. So, you still have your 4.0.”

“Great.” Stiles didn’t care.

Melissa came in, face drawn. Stiles wondered how she was doing. She had loved his dad, in some way. It had to be hard for her as well.

“Stiles?” How are you feeling? Do you want to talk about any of this? I know it’s a lot to take in.”

Stiles shook his head. He didn’t have a damn thing to say about anything that had happened. His dad was dead. No amount of discussion was going to bring him back.

“I talked to the funeral home today. Your dad’s funeral is the day after tomorrow.”

Stiles didn’t know what to say, so he didn’t say anything. Melissa seemed unnerved by his silence, fidgeting in a way that reminded Stiles of himself.

“I’ll take care of all the details tomorrow.”

Stiles mind went back to all the things his dad had had to do for his mom’s funeral. “I’ll pick out the casket and I’ll get his dress uniform tomorrow.”

“No, sweetie. You don’t need to worry about that.”

“But,” Stiles felt a jolt of pure anger, suddenly hating the wonderful woman sitting on the edge of the bed next to him. “You don’t know what he would like. You don’t know how to press the lines of his uniform, so they don’t crease. You don’t know. You don’t!”

“Okay. Okay.” Melissa gave in without a fight, standing up to go. “Tomorrow we will take care of the details. Now try to get some sleep.”

She turned off the light.
------
Stiles tried to sleep. He really did. But his arm was sore, and his head still throbbed. His bones ached and his muscles were throbbing in beat with his pulse. He hurt all over.

He wanted sleep. He wanted the mindlessness that came with unconsciousness. He didn’t want to think anymore. He didn’t want to feel anymore.

He wanted to see his father, if only in his dreams.

But he was too tired to sleep. All he could do was lay there and listen to Scott’s snores and Melissa’s sobs.

The sun was a smear on the horizon when his eyes finally fell closed.

+++++

“Cover your face.”

Stiles threw his hands up and turned his head to the side. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his dad kick out the front windshield, shattering as the splintered glass gave way.
It made sense. With the jeep on its side, it would be easier to crawl out that way then climb out the passenger side door.

His dad crawled onto the dash and looked out as Stiles lowered his hands.

“Shit.”

The hood of the jeep was crumpled. There was only about a foot between the dash and the twisted metal that used to be the hood. There wasn’t enough room to climb out the front, not with Stiles hurt and his dad’s knees being what they were.

“Okay.” Stiles didn’t like the look of that worried look on his father’s face. “Okay. I guess we are going out the passenger side door.”

The door that was now the ceiling. The door that was so dark he couldn’t see the sky, because of the buildup of snow that had accumulated. The Sheriff sighed. He was holding his arm too tight to his body.

“You’re hurt.”

His dad smiled. “I banged it a little bit in the crash. I’m alright.”

Stiles heart twisted up. “Melissa says you’re dead.”

“What?”

“She told me you were dead.”

“What are you talking about? When did you talk to Melissa? Stiles, I’m not dead. I’m not going anywhere. We are getting out of here.” There was worry in his Dad’s eyes, even as he maintained his calm cop facade.

Stiles desperately hoped that was true.

Chapter Text

Stiles woke up before the sun even finished rising. He ignored the circles under his eyes as in the mirror. He showered and got dressed.

Some sleep was better than none.

They had cereal for breakfast. Stiles stirred it lazily, eating only a few bites before the nausea hit and he had to stop. Melissa looked exhausted and worn as well, hair in a messy bun and face pale. Scott looked tired too, though his eyes weren’t red from crying like his mom’s.

It was a bright crisp day, no snow in sight. It seemed wrong somehow. It should have been cloudy, overcast. Stiles watched the kids play outside on the playground at the school they passed, laughing and running in their coats.

They pulled in the funeral home and were out of the car before the reality of what they were doing hit Stiles like a freight train. He staggered, grabbing the door of the car to stay upright. He had forgotten for a moment, distracted by the normalcy of riding in the car, why they had been in the car in the first place.

“Stiles?” Scott asked, as the blood drained from his friend’s face. “Are you alright?”

Stiles nodded; throat tight. “I just forgot.”

How could he have forgotten? His dad was gone. Nothing else should matter.

Scott clapped him on the shoulder as Melissa talked to the director, telling him what they needed.
-----
Everything at the funeral home was gloomy, and it smelled musty, the cloying smell of lilies suffocated him. He didn’t know how Scott’s werewolf nose could stand it.

“Stiles?” Melissa was there, arm around his shoulders. “Are you okay?”

Stiles ignored her.

The casket Stiles picked out was blue, with brass handles. His moms had been blue too, but hers was light, like a summer sky. His dads was dark navy.
Melissa nodded, then took the director to the side, talking about money.

Stiles looked out the window. The sun was still shinning, and it looked so much more like real life than the dim little room he was in. He ignored Scott’s shout as he took off walking towards the outside, then down the block.
-----
Scott tried to stop him a few times, even holding physically grabbing his arms to stop him. Stiles ignored him, waited till he let go, then started walking again.

It was a long walk to the Stilinski house, but Stiles didn’t mind. The winter wind didn’t feel as cold as it should be.

Probably because he was frozen on the inside.

There were nearly there, Scott talking nearly hysterically to his mom on the phone, telling her where they were, that Stiles noticed their shadow.

Derek was a few blocks behind, making no attempt to hide himself or catch up to them. Stiles glared at him, wondering why, then found he didn’t really care.

He kept walking.
-------
Walking into his empty house hurt so bad Stiles wasn’t sure how he was still upright. He should be on the ground, curled up and screaming, because everything was wrong.

There was still mail on the table, bills waiting to be paid. There were dishes in the sink, even though it had been Stiles turn to wash and he meant to do it. He didn’t remember why he didn’t.

His dad’s coat was handing off the back of the kitchen chair. Stiles trailed his fingers over it. He wanted to hold it, see if it still smelled like aftershave and mint, but he didn’t want to move it. He didn’t want to move anything.

The house was frozen in time, waiting on its owners to come home. Stiles didn’t want to move anything. He didn’t want to break the spell.

He walked upstairs, Scott a silent figure beside him. Stiles was glad he was there. Scott was strong enough for both of them. Scott would get him through this.
-------
He went through his dad’s closet mechanically, pulling his granddad’s watch out of a box on the top shelf and sticking it in his pocket and pulling through his dad’s nice clothes.

The Sheriff only had two suits, the one that he wore to Stiles’ mother’s funeral, and one he bought for a friend’s wedding.

He wouldn't be wearing either one. The Sheriff would be buried in his dress uniform. It was only right. After all, the Sheriff was the Sheriff. It wasn’t just what he did. It was who he was.

Stiles pulled it out of the back of the closet, carefully flattening the non-existent wrinkles. His heart was pounding frantically, but he felt tingly and dull, like his head wasn’t getting enough blood. He shook his head, trying to get rid of the black spots in his vision.

“Scott? Are they standing guard?”

It was tradition, in the Beacon Hills police department, that the body of a fallen officer never be left alone. But, in light of the many, many tragic events, the tradition had fallen by the wayside. Too many funerals and not enough officers.

“Yes, Stiles. They are. He isn’t alone.”

“Good.” Stiles handed Scott the uniform and coughed into his hand, hard. The lights were wrong. They hurt his eyes.

He made it three steps before his knees gave out. Scott caught him, screaming his name but his felt too weak to respond. There was a crash, and Stiles caught a glimpse of alpha red eyes as his own closed, body too numb and distant to stay awake anymore, even as Derek’s hand grabbed his face.

+++++

“God damn it.”

The Sheriff was pushing with all his strength to get the passenger side door open. But there was no place to put his feet to brace and he slid back, kicking Stiles’ arm where he lay still in the drivers’ seat.

“Sorry son.”

His dad sat back down, chest heaving and injured arm stiff and close to his body. Stiles hoped this whole thing wasn’t too much stress on his heart. He would never forgive himself if his dad had a heart attack because Stiles couldn’t obey the alpha’s orders to stay the fuck home.

They weren’t going to get out this way. And they needed to get out. His dad needed more space to work; space to push up on the door properly.

“Dad. I’ll move.”

The Sheriff made a noise of objection as Stiles tried to get himself out of the seat and up out of the way on the dash.

“You’re going to drive that metal deeper in.” The Sheriff reprimanded, but helped his son move anyway, pushing the wheel away from Stiles’ chest as his son pulled himself out of the seat.

“Have. To.” Stiles couldn’t talk and move and that worried him a little.

He was right, and his dad knew it. That’s why he helped this son perch on the edge of the dash, leaning against the twisted metal frame.

“Now you can push the door up.”

The Sheriff was tall enough he could stand on the driver’s door and push up on the passenger door, instead of the awkward crouched way he had been trying before.
He didn’t try immediately, instead knelt by his son, hand on the back of his neck. “You’re shivering.”

Stiles nodded. He was cold, way down deep in his bones. He didn’t know if it was the wind he could hear howling outside or the blood loss. Either one wasn’t good.

“Here.” The Sheriff pulled off his coat and draped it over his son.

“No.” Stiles was too tired to shake it off, but pouted, hopping his dad would get the message to but his fucking coat back on.

“Don’t worry. We’ll be out of here in a second. I won’t have time to get cold.”

+++++

Stiles woke up to the swaying motion of a car and his head on someone’s lap. He felt wrong, too hot but chilled at the same time. He though it might be his dad rubbing a comforting hand on his back but that couldn’t be right.

His dad was dead.

He squinted through his eye lashes that had to each weight a hundred pounds, trying to see what was going on.

It wasn’t Scott above him, though he could hear him talking nearby, presumable to Melissa if the tone was anything to go by. It was Derek, looking worriedly down at him.

“Tired.” Stiles slurred.

“Yeah.” Stiles had a feeling Derek knew exactly how much he hadn’t been sleeping. “We’ll be home soon. You can go back to sleep.”

It wasn’t home. His home was man that was dead on a cold slap in the funeral home.

He closed his eyes anyway.

++++++

His dad strained at the door, but even with Stiles out of the way, he couldn’t get it open. He wasn’t strong enough.

He stopped struggling, couching down and panting. Stiles meet his eyes.

“My fucking arm won’t work.” The Sheriff said as a sort of apology.

An idea flashed across Stiles’ brain. “The bat.”

His dad’s face light up as he grasped the idea and smiled. He ruffled his kid’s hair. “That’s the Stiles I know. Always figuring something out.”

His dad climbed over the seat, grabbing the bat Stiles always kept in the back, as well as Stiles’ bag. They had brought it for some reason. It was important, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember why.

His dad gripped the bat and slammed it against the door over and over but the metal wouldn't budge.

“Fuck.”

“It’s frozen.” Stiles supplied unhelpfully. “It’s frozen shut.”

+++++

Stiles woke up alone in Scott’s bed. He sat up slowly, head still spinning and chest tight.

“They went to finish the funeral plans.”

Stiles wasn’t surprised at all that Derek was creeping in the shadows of the room. He had been there before, eyes glowing red, though over time, the glare faded until there was something else burning in those eyes. A glint of something that Stiles wanted to be a part of, someday.

Not today. Today he just wanted his dad back. Or at least to go back to sleep. He closed his eyes again.

“Drink.”

A cold soda was pushed into his hand and Stiles drank it wordlessly.

“You’re always here.” It was an accusation and a question all rolled into one, something Derek could appreciate.

“I’m your alpha. You need me.”

He wasn’t wrong, but the way he said it bugged Stiles. Derek had been an awful alpha once, but after Erica and Boyd got free from Gerard and chose to come home, he had improved. He tried to bond with his betas, not just boss them around. The beta’s stopped being such little pricks and managed to learn some control. Scott joined shortly after they defeated the alpha pack, Lydia and Allison soon after, following their boyfriends. Stiles didn’t know when he joined, but he knew they loved him. The pack had come together in a way that Stiles couldn’t explain. They didn’t really have much in common, but they were bound together tight. He knew that any of them would be there in an instant if he called.

“Lie.”

Derek’s eyes flashed at the challenge, but his face went soft instead of hard with anger.

“I know what it’s like to lose everyone.”

That sounded more like the truth.

“Yeah.”

“Can you walk downstairs?”

Stiles debated, then nodded. He felt better after the soda. The world wasn’t so distant, and his heart didn’t feel like it was beating out of his chest, though he still felt shaky. He followed Derek downstairs and into the kitchen.

“I made mac and cheese.”

Stiles blinked hard at the werewolf as he sat. “You cooked. The king of Chinese takeout? Cooked for me?”

Derek rolled his eyes and it was so familiar that Stiles smiled for the first time since it happened. Derek caught his eyes and grinned back.

“It was a frozen dinner meal. But it still counts. I put it in the oven. Eat.”

Derek pushed the bowl in front of Stiles. He picked at it, as Derek ate his own.

“Melissa thinks it was a combination of stress and your stubborn refusal to eat. Your blood sugar dropped, and you fainted. She says if you don’t start eating, she is taking you to the hospital for an IV.” Derek pointed his fork at Stiles meaningfully.

“I did not faint.” He took a bite just in case the threat was a real one. He didn’t want to go to the hospital. Once he started eating, he was ravenous. He scarfed the whole bowl down, though he turned down seconds when offered. His stomach must have shrunk in the last few days.

Derek rinsed the dishes, then they went to the living room to watch some more TV. Derek sat next to him on the couch, instead of the chair this time. They had finished three episodes of some old sitcom before Stiles was brave enough to speak.

“I’m sorry for digging up your sister.”

Derek sent still and the blood drained from his face. He looked devastated, not angry but Stiles could tell he was speaking from behind fangs when he asked, “What?”

“I’m sorry. It was wrong of me, and Scott. You were going through a tragedy and we treated it like it was an action hero movie that only we could solve. You were grieving and I got you arrested. It was so, so wrong of me, and I’m sorry.”

They finished another episode before Derek answered, fangs put away, though he was still pale.

“I accept your apology. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me.”

“I would never hurt you.” Stiles said so quietly that even the werewolf couldn’t hear.
-------
Melissa got home. Scott didn’t. His mom said he had some things to do. Stiles knew that was code for spend time with Allison. He wasn’t’ mad. Scott needed someone to hang on to. After all the Sheriff had been a better father to Scott than his own. He had lost that too. Scott needed support and Stiles couldn’t give it to him. Maybe Allison could.

He would let them both down if he had to be strong for Scott right now.

Melissa more than made up for Scott being missing. She fussed over Stiles, taking his pulse and blood pressure, even going a finger stick for a blood sugar reading. She looked at the reading and hummed.

“Did he eat?”

Derek answered yes. Melissa drilled him for more information, how much, when exactly, did he eat seconds while Derek got more and more stiff as he answered. Stiles would normally be offended that they were talking over him but he found he didn’t mind today. He was too worn down to care.

Melissa went to bed as soon as she was convinced Stiles wasn’t about to go into a diabetic coma. She looked brittle and worn. Stiles worried but didn’t have the strength to do anything.

Stiles stayed up for a bit, waiting on Scott. He gave up as the hours started to creep closer and closer to midnight. He should go to bed, even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep.

Tomorrow was the funeral. He would have to say goodbye to his father. He didn’t know how he was going to be able to.

He turned off the TV and got up.

“Are you staying?”
------
Stiles didn’t turn as he pulled on his sweats for bed, letting his chest stay uncovered as he his fingers traced the bruises the seat belt had left when it caught him, saved him.

Derek made a soft noise, but Stiles didn’t look up. He didn’t want to see the pain and worry on his face.

He thought about Melissa and her nervous looks, her hovering and mothering, not knowing or not caring that all Stiles wanted was to be left alone to sit in agony.

“Hey Derek?” He paused, coughing to clear his throat, to get the tickle out of it “Is Melissa worried about me?”

“She’s scared, yeah.”

Scared, not worried. It took a moment for the implications of what Derek said to hit Stiles. He pulled on a borrowed T-shirt from Scott’s drawer.

“She thinks I’m going to do something. Something bad.”

Suicide. Melissa was worried that he was going to kill himself. That’s why she was so worried, and not just sad. That was why she called Derek. To watch him when she couldn’t.

It wasn’t that far of a jump. When his dad had been kidnapped, Stiles first idea was to sacrifice himself. And this was so much much worse than then. When dad had been missing, it had been terrifying and awful, his stomach always hurting and anxiety so high he could barely function. Now he knew where his dad was, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

Stiles didn’t say he wouldn't.

“You’re not taking this like we though you would. You’re not melting down, you’re not screaming or hell, talking at all really. You’ve shut down, blank and empty. It’s terrifying. She’s scared.” Derek repeated, looking small.

He should have felt pity, or concern, or even a little sorry for scaring Derek, for scaring them all. The feelings all welled up in him, but they didn’t flow over. Instead they withered and died in the pit of his stomach, until he felt nothing at all.

“Melissa wants me to talk. She keeps asking how I feel, what I need. Scott’s happier when I don’t. His eyes get so wide when I ask him anything. He’s worried he is going to stay the wrong thing and break me.”

“Some people don’t understand. There aren’t words for how much it hurts. There isn’t anything that can be said to make it better. Scott and Melissa haven’t lost it all yet. They don’t know.”

Stiles looked at Derek’s feet, unable to look at his alpha’s face. “What do you want from me?”

In a moment, Derek had crossed the room. He gently grabbed Stiles chin and lifted it until they were eye to eye, so close Stiles could feel his breathe on his face.

"Survive," Derek breathed.

It was a promise and a threat all rolled into one. Stiles nodded and broke away.
------
Derek stayed until Scott came home, watching Stiles pretend to sleep. He was gone before the beta was up the stairs, for the sake of who, Stiles wasn’t sure.

Stiles was still awake. His skin felt wrong. The world felt wrong. This couldn’t be happening. His dad couldn’t be dead. He couldn’t.

He didn’t want to be alone.

Scott fell into bed without a word, still dressed in clothes that smelled like Allison’s perfume. Stiles heart ratchet up, as he fought off the impending panic attack that was long overdue.

Scott must have noticed, heard it, because before Stiles could work himself up, he was wrapped so tightly in a werewolf’s arm he could hardly breathe. It startled him enough that he could calm down, slightly.

Scott’s shoulders heaved. He sobbed into Stiles back without words. Stiles let him. He couldn’t comfort, he couldn’t, but he could let his friend cry over the loss of such a great man.

Scott eventually cried himself out and drifted off, his hold loosening. Stiles tried to sleep as well, but he was too hot, his skin too tight and he wanted to rip it off. His mind ran in circles, tormenting him. He tossed and turned until he couldn’t take it anymore.

He walked to Melissa’s room like he was in a dream.

“Melissa?”

She was up in an instant, flicking the light on.

“Stiles what’s wrong?”

Her eyes were red. She had fallen asleep crying too.

“What happens after tomorrow? What do I do with his things? What about the house? I don’t even know what bank the mortgage is at. And the bills? I don’t have any money. I know dad had insurance and a pension, but how do I get it? I’ll need it. The hospital and the funeral home bills are high, I know that.”

Melissa stood up, walking towards him as he ran his hand through his hair, tugging like it would get the thoughts out of his brain.

“Stiles, it’s going to be alright. We’ll figure it out. We will.”

She didn’t get it. Stiles coughed into his arm. “No. No, I’m only seventeen. They won’t let me have any of the money but the bills need paid. They’ll take the house. Mom picked it out, you know, that’s why we stayed. Fuck, Melissa am I going to have to go into foster care? Are they going to take me away from the pack?”

There was a growl behind him at that statement. Scott must have heard him and followed him into Melissa’s room.

Melissa was in front of him eyes wide and honest. “No one is taking you. I’ve applied for temporary guardianship of you until you turn eighteen. I’ll help you take care of it all. I promise.”

Stiles felt like crying. “Promise?”

He didn’t care that he sounded five. He needed to hear it.

“I promise.” Melissa was there hugging him tightly and Stiles held on. He didn’t know that the last time he had been held like this, by a mother.

Melissa broke away, hands on his checks, then on his forehead. She frowned.

“You’re warm. Really warm. Scott the emergency kit please.”

She led Stiles over to her bed. “Let’s get you sitting down.”

Stiles didn’t want to. It was Melissa’s bed. He shouldn’t have even come in her room. It wasn’t right.

Melissa bundled him into bed without any trouble, leaning him against the headboard. Stiles arms felt weighted down. He couldn’t push her off. He blinked slowly. This felt like a dream. Maybe it was all a dream.

Scott was back too fast, or maybe it was a long time. Stiles wasn’t sure. Melissa stuck the thermometer in his mouth.

“Did he have a fever when you got home?”

Scott shook his head.

The thermometer beeped. 104.3

“That’s high isn’t it.” Scott looked anxious.

Melissa smoothed Stiles hair with one hand as she dug through the kit with the other. “It’s high yeah. But grief can really mess with the immune system and he hasn’t been taking care of himself. It might just be a bug.”

She handed Stiles a couple pills and the water off her nightstand. Stiles took them, hand shaking so bad she had to help him hold the cup up.

“I want you both to sleep in here tonight.”

“Mom?”

“I want you to sleep with him to keep an eye on his breathing, but your bed’s too small. He’ll end up pressed against you and get too hot. My bed is bigger. I’ll stay in your room.”

The lights flipped off.

There must have been a sedative in the handful of pills he swallowed, because no sooner did Stiles’ head hit the pillow then he was asleep.

+++++

John tried each of the back doors and even the rear hatch. Nothing. They were all frozen shut.

“It’s here isn’t it. The monster? It froze the jeep to keep us here.”

Stiles nodded as his father sat down next to him on the dash. It was cold, but he felt a little better huddled next to his dad. Stiles remembered now. He knew why they were out of this god forsaken road.

“The Chenoo.”

It was a winter monster, native to the northeastern United States. The pack didn’t know what brought it down so far south, but it ended up in Beacon Hills, like every other monster seemed to, during the coldest winter in a hundred years. The Chenoo was once a human that, out of desperation or cruelty, turned to cannibalism and was now doomed to a life of hunting for human flesh. It had killed and eaten three people so far since they figured out it was here. Derek wasn’t going to let the be another.

What they didn’t know, what Stiles didn’t know until he called and talked to a professor at the University of North Dakota, a woman who knew about the supernatural for sure, was that the Chenoo was the one bringing the harsh winter. It froze people before it ate them, because its own hearts is frozen.

“What kills them?” Stiles asked, frantically texting Derek tell him to wait, to not go after it. “With guns or knives, or let’s say claws, hypothetically?”

“Only fire. Burn their hearts and melt them. Tell your wolves their claws won’t make a dent.”

Stiles hung up the phone and was out the door in a moment. He paused, diving into the trunk of his dad’s cruiser parked in the driveway. It was snowing, just a little bit, and bitter cold.

“What are you doing?” The Sheriff asked pulling on his coat as he stepped outside.

“I need road flares.” It was a sign of how much better their relationship had gotten that his dad didn’t question it, only helped him dig them out.

“I’m coming with you.”

Stiles wished he had argued, but he didn’t. And now they were both going to die in his jeep.

A tear rolled down his face. His dad wiped it away, face as calm and strong as ever.

“I know it looks bad, kiddo. But Derek will figure out we are taking too long. He’ll come get us. We aren’t far from the house. He’ll be here soon.”

His dad wasn’t wrong. Derek would be here soon, if he knew Stiles was in danger, looking at him with worried eyes and a frown and holding him so tight it hurt, but it didn’t really because that was how the wolf showed he cared.

But.

“He doesn’t know dad.” Stiles voice broke. “He told me not to come. We fought. He won’t look for me, because he doesn’t know.”

The Sheriff inhaled sharply.

“I’m sorry Dad. I’m so sorry.”

Arms wrapped around Stiles as he began to cry in earnest. “Hey, hey. Stay calm. You stay calm, you stay alive, you know that.”

“We are going to die out here.” It was all his fault.

His dad’s arms never let go. “No one is dying today.”

Chapter Text

"Stiles.” A voice thundered from behind him. He froze, hand on the butcher block.

“What are you doing?”

Stiles whipped around to find Derek in the McCall’s kitchen, hands out and face carefully blank.

“I don’t know.” His stomach was icy cold as his voice went high and panicky, He remembered the helplessness of being trapped, of being sure Derek wasn’t coming. That was all. “I don’t remember coming down here. Derek, I don’t remember.”

Derek crossed the kitchen supernaturally fast, knocking Stiles’ hand away from the block of knifes.

“Stiles.” Scott was there too, wrapping him up in his arms. “I woke up and you weren’t there. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know.” Stiles whispered, as he knees gave out. His mother slept walked. She forgot things, missed time. He had been waiting years for it to happen to him.

At least now his dad wouldn’t have to watch.

Scott lifted him easily and laid him on the couch. He covered Stiles with a blanket, eyes big and hands unsure.

Stiles heard him whisper to Derek as they walked away to get Melissa.

“We’re going to lose him too.”
-----
Stiles still had a fever. Melissa assured him that the fever combined with the medications she gave him could have easily induced the sleepwalking. She looked worried though.

“Maybe we should go to the hospital, just to be safe.”

“No.” Stiles coughed, then shook his head. Not today. He couldn’t today. “Tomorrow. Not today.”

“Alright.” Melissa gave in. “Let’s get some food in you, it’s going to be a long day.”
--------
Stiles was losing time. One second they were getting in the car, then next they were shaking hands with the funeral director. The pack was already there, dressed in black and looking more put together than they had any right to.

Stiles knew he looked awful. His eyes circles were so bad, they looked bruised. He was pale and his lips chapped. He had managed to lose weight just the last few days, and he didn’t have much to begin with. His cheekbones stood out far too much.

The pack hugged him one after another, but Stiles was too cold and numb to notice. He coughed over and over, rubbing his chest. Melissa had given him more meds, but they didn’t seem to be working.

Lydia glared at him.

“My chest is tight.”

She nodded then flounced away, no doubt going to talk to Melissa about it.
----------
He didn’t want to look at the body. It wasn’t his dad, not anymore. It was a cold body, nothing more. He stood as far as possible from the casket where the honor guard still stood watch.

People began to file into the visitation.

Melissa and Scott stood on either side of him to greet the mourners, the only family left for the Sheriff. The others sat in the front row faces wet, except for Erica and Boyd, who had taken it upon themselves to patrol the area for threats.

Allison and Lydia flitted around, checking on the pack and force-feeding Stiles bits of power bars and sips of water between funeral-goers, since he hadn’t been able to stomach anything at all for breakfast. Stiles didn’t really want it, but he looked at all the sad faces around him and ate. He didn’t want to add to their worries.

Stiles didn’t see Derek for a while. He assumed he was out patrol or scaring the mourners with his angry glare.

He wasn’t.

Stiles found him when he turned from the crowd during a water break. The alpha was a few feet behind Stiles and Scott, behind everyone, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, wearing a black shirt and jeans.

It made sense. From there he could watch the whole funeral home. He could keep an eye on Stiles’ heart rate and breathing and be next to him in an instant if needed. He was protection Stiles, since the Sheriff no longer could.

It felt like ages before the visitation line ended. The faces blurred together and the mourner’s platitudes fell flat.

Scott led him to the front row, where he was bracket on all sides by pack and safety and family. It felt so familiar, but it couldn’t be real. It had to be a dream. His dad, his dad couldn’t be in that casket.

He couldn’t be.

The preacher droned on and on. The Mayor gave a speech about the greatness of the Sheriff. Other officers stood, giving testimony to how Stiles’ dad changed their lives.

It was all wonderful and it was all true. But it wasn’t all. It wasn’t enough.

Stiles remembered watching his dad work, proud and strong, always doing the right thing. He remembered baseball games and late-night movies. He remembered hugs with a hand against the back of his neck, pulling him in tight.

He remembered drunk nights, screaming matches, broken plates and slammed doors. He remembered lonely nights where the Sheriff didn’t come home at all. He remembered the hurt in his father’s eyes when he looked at his son’s eyes that were too much like his mothers. He remembered all the lies, from both of them.

“What are you doing?” The last officer had spoken. It was a prayer now, then the procession to the graveyard, but Stiles wasn’t ready.

He stood and walked up to the front. No one stopped him, even as he swayed with every step.

“My dad was a good man. The best Sheriff. Everyone talked about how fair he was, how strong. And he was. But there was so much more.”

Stiles swallowed hard, pushing down a cough. He needed them to understand.

“He was my dad. We were the world’s smallest family, him and me. He was everything to me. My biggest champion and my worst critic. He was always there. Maybe late, maybe worn down and tired from work, but he was always here.”

A promise at a different funeral, the promise that Stiles still had him. Another broken promise.

“And now he is gone.”

His legs threatened to give out. He looked hopelessly at the pack and in an instant, Scott and Isaac were there, holding him up. He glanced at his dad’s cold, empty face as they led him pack to this seat.

His dad was dead.
-------
Stiles didn’t want to ride in Melissa’s car to the cemetery. He wanted to ride in the hearse. He needed to be with his dad. Everyone kept arguing with him but he couldn’t focus long enough to argue back.

He ended up in Melissa’s car, Scott in front with his mother, Derek by his side.

Stiles was shaking and rocking in his seat, hands clenched tight to try to keep himself from going to pieces. It wasn’t a panic attack. It was deeper, harder, cutting him from the core out until all he could feel was pain.

“You’re wheezing.”

He might be. He didn’t know. Scott turned around, concerned. Derek’s eyes were dark as he grabbed Stiles’ hand and held on tight.
-------
He didn’t remember sitting down in the chairs beside the grave. He flinched as the rifles fired their volley and tried not to cover his ears.

He felt raw, flayed to the bone. Everything was too loud, too sharp. He was ash, too cold and burning up at the same time. Each breathe was an effort.

There was a flag on his dad’s casket.

People talked and prayed. The pack each went and touched the casket, eyes wet and faces splotched as they walked away from their final goodbye. The flag was somehow folded in his hands.

“Stiles?” Melissa was soft in his ear. “Do you want to say goodbye?”

He stood and walked, but it didn’t feel like his body. He touched the casket, but it wasn’t his hands he saw before him, shaking.

“Dad?” He asked, letting his head fall against the wood. “Dad, I can’t. I can’t to this alone.”

He couldn’t be who he was meant to be without his father. He couldn’t run with wolves; he couldn’t be fearless. He needed his dad behind him.

“Please. Please don’t be dead.”

It couldn’t be real.

They began to lower the casket. The crank made an awful grinding sound. The casket hit the bottom of the hole.

Stiles collapsed to his knees, head back and wailed.

Everything he had pushed down since he woke up came flying up as he sobbed and screamed. Snot dripped down his face and his hands were filthy from clawing at the frozen ground. He didn’t care. Nothing mattered. Nothing. Mattered.

He sobbed until he couldn’t breathe, and he gasped, throat moving but no air going in.

Hands were on him and he felt the pack all around, suffocating him while they tried to pull him up.

“Melissa he is really hot.”

“Fuck. Fuck. Why is he breathing like that?”

“What do we do?”

“Is it a panic attack?”

“Stiles, honey, can you hear me?”

Color’s blurred and he didn’t know how was holding him up. He felt to wrong. This wasn’t his body. This wasn’t his pain.

“Derek?” He slurred out, reaching the only person who might understand him.

Derek’s hands were cold on his face. “Stiles. I’m here. I’m right here. You need to breathe, okay. Take a breath for me.”

He tried but he couldn’t get the air to move the way it should be. He coughed and wheezed instead.

“Try again.”

“Derek, we need to get him to the hospital. Now. His fever is way too high.”

“Please try.” Derek sounded wrecked and that wasn’t right either.

Stiles needed him to know. He needed him to understand why he couldn’t breathe here in this world.

“It’s not real.” Stiles gasped as he let himself go limp, too tired to try anymore. “This isn’t real, Derek.”

He couldn’t breathe but it didn’t hurt. His lungs didn’t burn, and his head didn’t feel like it was about to explode.

He thought death was supposed to hurt. Maybe that was just life.

“Please. Stiles try. I need you to stay here. Please don’t do this.” Derek was begging and he could hear Scott sobbing. Someone was screaming about an ambulance. Hands were on his chest, desperately trying to pump air into his lungs.

Numbness surrounded him, wrapping up tight in its cocoon. He couldn’t have clawed his way back if he had wanted to.

And he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to go back to the hurt and pain. He didn’t want to live in a world without his dad in it.

Death doesn’t happen to you. It happens to everyone around you.

The last thing he heard was Lydia’s scream ripping through the graveyard.

+++++

His dad’s breathe was warm on his face. Everything else was so cold. He could feel his hands, clenched so tight around his dad’s shirt that he ripped it.

“Your going to die.”

“Stiles, what are you talking about?” His dad shook him slightly, face pinched.

“You die. And I’m all alone. I can’t do it, not without you.”

“Stiles, you are never alone. You have friends, a found family. A pack that is looking for you right now. And besides, I’m not going anywhere. You’ve still got me.”

Hands pulled him in even closer. “Stay awake son.”
------
The door was ripped off its hinges with a loud metallic screech. A face swam above them, eyes glowing red as a howled echoed through the woods.

Derek’s face fell back to human as his gaze fixed on the huddle mass of the Stilinski men, eyes dark with worry, though his face was blank. “Is he okay?”

“He needs a hospital. Now.”

Derek dropped into the jeep, nose flaring as he smelled the blood that was liberally covering Stiles’ chest.

“I came anyway.” The words were slippery on his tongue. They were saved. His dad would live and they would be fine.

“I can see that.”

The Sheriff shifted his son into Derek’s waiting arms. Stiles was too weak to complain about being treated like he was breakable. He was. He was broken, but he wasn’t, because his dad was still here.

Not dead. His dad was not dead.

His dad climbed out slowly, almost slipping at the top, before Scott came from nowhere and grabbed him.

Derek made a move to jump out as well, but Stiles stopped him.

“No wait. The bag.” Derek rolled his eyes but grabbed the book bag anyway.

Derek needed to understand. “I brought flairs. To kill the Chenoo. You have to burn them.”

Derek swallowed at the mention of burning but nodded and began to effortlessly climb out. “Let’s get you out of here. We’ll go hunting later.”

Scott and Isaac were the only other ones there. Scott was looking at his dad’s arm but didn’t look too worried. Derek didn’t put Stiles down, just adjusted his grip as Stiles wheezed, clutching on hand around the still bleeding wound.

“We need to go.”
------
The Chenoo came out of the white wall of snow, silent and deadly as the pack made their way to the Hale house. It had no scent, which was why the pack had been struggling to track it down.

Stiles saw it coming from behind them, head lolling on Derek’s shoulder, too weak to hold it. He was fading fast. Everyone else was busy picking though the wind and snow to see.

Its eyes glowed a ruby red in the white of the tree’s, but it’s face was nothing like an alpha. It was pale and smooth. Broken teeth flashed at it grinned and ran towards them with unnatural quickness, its feet flying over the snow.

Stiles didn’t have time to yell out a warning before the monster was there, ripping and tearing at the wolves with impossible speed.

It lunged at Derek and Stiles fell to the ground.

Blood sprayed out of Stiles mouth, dark like ink and that was bad he knew it was bad.

The wolves were fighting hard, but the creature was faster, older, better. They suffered wounds that bleed, their own hits never fell.

His dad was beside him, eyes wide with panic hands hovering, not sure if pressure on the wound would help or kill him faster.

“Dad.” Stiles managed to force out. “Dad the flairs.”

The bad was beside them. The Sheriff fumbled with the opening and pulled it out, ready to throw the weapon to a wolf.

Then all at once, it was silent. No wolves moved from where they lied in the snow and this couldn’t be real. Scott couldn’t be lying face down un-moving. Isaac couldn’t be losing so much blood, too much blood as he gasped for air. And Derek. Derek couldn’t be dead. But he looked it, eyes open to the sky and chest in pieces around him.

Focus. This was real. He had to focus. He had to save them.

But Stiles could still feel the coldness of the graveyard dirt under his nail. He could still hear the pack crying for their lost father, Derek screaming at him to stay.

This wasn’t real. It didn’t matter what he did. His dad was dead.

The Chenoo approached, slowly and steadily, grinning its broken grin. The Sheriff stood, the other flare now burning in his hand.

“Stay away from my son.” The Sheriff’s hands were steady, and he stood strait and tall and his dad was going to die, they were going to die.

This wasn’t real.

The monster ran at his dad and his dad ducked, then with reflexes born of years of training, plunged the flare into the creature’s side.

It went up fast, burning and screeching in a way that reminded Stiles far too much of Peter.

This was real.

His dad’s face swum above him.

“You’re okay, you’re okay, you’re okay.” The words were so fast they sounded like a chant. His dad was panicking, rambling, fear in his eyes. “Stay away son. Just stay awake.”

Stiles tried, but his eyes kept fluttering shut as his dad screamed for help, but the wolves were hurt, they were dead.

But they weren’t. Derek was above him, then Scott. He could hear Isaac somewhere on the phone, promising help. He was so happy they weren’t dead. Hands were on him, pressing down and it hurt, it hurt but it was his pain, his body dying, not theirs.

Blood filled his mouth again and he tried to spit it out, but it ended up just dribbling down his chin.

“Fuck.” His dad voice cracked as a sob burst out. Stiles tried to focus on his dad’s face, on Derek’s hands wrapped around his own.

“Can you give him the bite? Turn him, make him one of you, so he’ll heal.”

“He doesn’t want it”

“I don’t care! I don’t care what he wants. He’s not dying here. Not today. I made a promise.”

“No. No, his heart.” Derek bowed his head until his forehead was pressed against the bloody mess that was Stiles’ chest. “His heart isn’t strong enough. It’s already stuttering. He’ll be dead before the bite can take.”

“Then take him” And Stiles was being lifted and if it was pain before, it was agony now. He let the black creep in over his vision. “Run. Get help.”

Derek took off, running easier now that the snow had died all at once as the sky cleared. But each step drove pain deep into his chest and it hurt, it hurt and Stiles tried screamed but he didn’t have the air and all he could do was gasp.

“Stay here. Stay with me.”

This was real.

This wasn’t real.

It didn’t matter.

The world went black.
------
Stiles woke to the smell of hospital in his nose and the screams of his father in his ears.

“Stiles?”

Stiles couldn’t recognize the voice, ears still ringing. But he knew what was about to happen. He braced to take what was to come, because it didn’t matter if it was real. He had been here before. He knew how it ended. He died or his dad died. Checks and balances, maintaining the scales of the world.

"Where’s my dad?” He asked, dreading the answer.

“Son?”

Stiles opened his eyes and prayed this was real.