Everyone underestimates the human. Stiles has learned this lesson over and over and usually he'd be annoyed, but right now, he is so fucking thankful because being underestimated means he can try to get himself, Erica, and Boyd out of this fucking basement.
Stiles cannot express with words how much he hates Gerard Argent.
"Well? Nothing left to say?" Gerard asks, smiling gently, almost tenderly in contrast to his treatment of me.
Everything hurts and I have bruised places I didn't even know I had. I feel like shit. But I'm not alone.
Erica whimpers from her spot in the room, hung up like a slaughtered pig, electricity running through her to keep her from healing. I know Boyd suffers the same treatment.
I must look awful, maybe even worse than I feel. I won the game, only to land myself in the Argents' basement.
"Scotty boy's not coming for you- he works for me now. That alpha Derek isn't coming either. No one's coming, not for you. The poor human." A see a small dot appear as Erica's tear hits the floor.
As I lay there, bleeding, I realize how true Gerard's words are- just not in the way he thinks. No, they won't come for me, and they don't know to come for Erica and Boyd. We have to get ourselves out. I have to get us out.
I spit the copper taste from my mouth in a puddle of saliva and blood. Thankfully, he hasn't knocked any teeth loose: small mercies.
I flip over to look at Gerard and see the insanity that he hides from his family so well. He plays up the grandfather image, but the room's contents know what he is. A monster.
"G-Go to hell." I say weakly. I have one shot at this. If it doesn't work... Well, I'll have to think of a plan B. I was rewarded with a swift kick to the stomach causing bile to try to make its way up my esophagus. I cough again before swaying and slump to the ground. I don't get back up. I don't move even as he stamps painfully on my finger.
"Tsk. Human playthings are so fragile." He says flippantly. For a moment, I'm so reminded of Kate that the bile makes a valiant second attempt. Erica lets out another cry, but I don't move.
"Why don't we make this interesting? Let's see how 500 volts treats you, hmm? The boy might make it through the night, but you, girly... Hmmph." I hear energy crackle and both werewolves let out muffled shouts, straining against their restraints.
"And the human... Let's see him crawl back to them. His injuries will hurt them even more than than they hurt him. I do so love small tokens of affection. I'll see you all soon for more entertainment." I hear Gerard's footfalls disappear and wait another three minutes regardless. I was never one for much patience. I try to catch my breath, eyes still closed. Everything hurts and I don't think I could open my left eye much if I wanted. I feel like my ribs have to be bruised by now and I pray that I don't have any internal bleeding or I'm screwed to hell.
I groan as I collect myself into a heap on the floor, reaching out to the wall for balance. I see Erica's eyes widen as I manage to stand. I stumble my way to the table Gerard so kindly thought I wouldn't touch and cut the electricity to Erica and Boyd, wincing as they twitch with the after effects. I walk to Erica first.
"I'm sorry, Catwoman. This is gonna hurt." I rip the tape off of her mouth as quickly as I dare. She whimpers softly as I move to Boyd, repeating the action.
"Do the chains have wolfsbane? Or mountain ash?"
"Wolfsbane. I smell mountain ash too, but I don't know where it is. Not in the chains." Boyd says.
"Erica, do you wear bobby pins?" She begins to shake her head, but then nods.
"I think so. My left." I run my fingers through her hair until they snag, repeating the action until I have three. I unwrap Boyd and Erica's arms to free them from the wires then walk to the machine itself. It was the same damn thing Kate had used and I took great joy out of hitting it right on something that looked important. As I knock the machine's remains to the ground, I drag the table over to the two werewolves and climb on top so I can try to pick the lock on the shackles. I almost break one of the pins because my hands are shaking so much. I force myself to breathe evenly to avoid a panic attack. It takes me ten minutes to free Erica and another four to help Boyd, both of whom have been mostly silent the whole time, still trying to catch their breaths and heal. Boyd has to catch me as I stumble getting off the table.
"You make a great Batman, Stiles." Erica tells me weakly, pulling me into an exhausted hug. I rest my head on her shoulder and breathe slowly. When I start to feel even more tired, I pull away.
"I've got to- Scott and Derek- the kanima-"
"Stiles, you can barely stand." Boyd tells me.
"I know. A-Are you two still-?"
"We're too weak right now. We can't just... Leave town." I nod.
"You can hide at my place. My dad- tell him I'm ok, but I can't see him right now."
"What are you gonna do?" Erica asks. I hold my hand on the doorknob and summon the courage I need to face the world.
"I'm Batman. I'm gonna go help."
"Not by yourself." Boyd calls.
"He's right. You'll get yourself killed." Erica says.
"Do you hear anyone's heartbeat? In the house?"
"Then direct me to the wolfsbane bullets. I think- I think Gerard controls the kanima now." The two have a silent conversation while I go to the Argents' garage, picking the lock with the pins from before. I grab four hand guns with extra ammo, keeping two for myself and passing one each to Erica and Boyd who look confused.
"You don't want to get up close and personal with something that can paralyze you with a touch." I open Chris's truck and climb in the driver's seat, flipping down the overhead, and keys fall into my lap with a jingle.
"There's probably a burner phone in the compartment there. We need to call Lydia. She's too involved in this already and since it's Jackson, our only hope pretty much is to have her try to talk Jackson down. We can't- can't trust Allison or Scott or Uncle Bad Touch."
"Peter Hale. Back from the dead as of yesterday. Jackass and psychopath, but alive and breathing again. He'll try to convince Derek to let him become alpha to kill the other Argents. There's... There's not many people we can trust right now to be honest."
"We need to talk to Isaac too. Now what's Lydia's number?" Erica asks, pulling out a sleek black phone and staring determinedly at me.
Ring... Ring... Rin--"Hello?" Lydia's voice fills the car on speakerphone.
"Stiles?! Oh my god, are you okay? You were kidnapped! Your dad's going out of his mind!"
"I know, I know. Principal Gerard did it. It's- look, I've gotta drive and figure out a plan. I'll let Erica and Boyd explain everything to you, ok?"
"Stiles... Okay. Sure, what the hell. Speak." And they did. They gave her a rundown of the supernatural and I interjected to explain the Peter Situation, capitals required. It took surprisingly little time to arrive at the old Hale House.
"Derek!" I shout, parking the truck and running inside. I don't see Derek anywhere, but I do see Uncle Bad Touch's computer lying on the creaky table. I easily open the computer only to be faced with a password bar.
Alpha. Incorrect Password.
Hale. Incorrect Password.
Revenge. Incorrect Password.
What would he- of course.
Argent. And that one would be correct. I have to wait hardly a moment for the computer to load before there is a horrific screeching and a short animation plays. I exit out of the animation while Erica and Boyd grimace next to me.
"The kanima goes through three phases of being. First is the half-human form that typically lasts three to four months. Once the first stage has reached completion, the kanima will kill itself, then secrete its paralytic in large quantities to form a cacoon in which it begins metamorphosis in a trance-like state that cannot be completed while the kanima is 'alive.' After a few short hours, the kanima reaches its final stage of being--kanima aerola, a creature with both reptilian and oligarchic features, namely scales and wings." I read aloud. "Jackson- Jackson committed suicide on the lacrosse field today. About two and a half hours ago- right when Gerard took me."
"We've got to go." Erica insists.
"Where? We don't know where they are." Boyd tells me. Lydia's voice filters through the phone's speakers.
"I'm on my way. I'm gonna call Jackson-"
"That's it!" I exclaim, eyes widening.
"Lydia, if his phone's not off, I can track it! I had to do it for Peter. Or I could track Scott's, but that's only if we have to. Do you know his user and password?"
"Um. His username is JacksonElijah and his password is LydiaLacrosse."
"Of course." I say, sarcasm leaking into my voice, but Lydia doesn't say anything as I pull up the program Danny had shown me.
I get a hit almost instantly and feel a wicked smile creep onto my face.
"Time to be BAMFs. So if I'm Batman and Erica's Catwoman, what are your nicknames?" I ask, loading everything in the car. "Lydia, meet us at the warehouse by the East edge of Beacon Hills. We've got a party to crash."
"What the hell do you mean I should run the- oh fuck you all. Fine. I'm not paying Mr. Argent for damages though. We're billing Gerard." I press the gas pedal hard, forcing the shiny black truck through the wall/door/thing.
"Is that my car?!"
"You just hit Jackson!" Lydia tells me.
"It's not like it hurt him!" I tell her, unhooking my seatbelt. I immediately pull out a gun and click the safety off, surveying the scene. Everyone gets out of the car behind me.
Derek is to my left, clutching at his side while it heals. Isaac, having already been called by Erica, seems to have already arrived and has a fancy pair of knives in his shoulders- Allison's knives. I wince as he continues pawing at the wounds.
Peter is behind a support beam for the building which- yeah, that's Peter all right. Surprisingly, Chris stands in front of Isaac, seemingly defending him. Gerard is calmly standing to the right, Allison at his side, and Scott standing slightly in front of her in a protective stance.
Until she gets her head out of her ass, the effort is wasted of course.
Jackson takes only a moment to stand up after we hit him, snarling at us from in front of Gerard who smirks. I knew he was controlling Jackson!
"Mrs. Reyes, Mr. Boyd. What a surprise seeing you here."
"Next time, make sure the weak little human is actually unconscious." I tell him, aiming my gun at Gerard while everyone else aims at the kanima.
"Stiles, what the hell are you doing?" Allison finally asks.
"Your grandfather's a bastard. A manipulative one at that. Did Scott ever tell you why Derek bit your mother? She was killing Scott so Derek had to fight her off. Gerard is also the bastard who locked Erica and Boyd in the Argent basement and electrocuted them. Not that your treatment of them was much better when you almost killed them." I here Derek growl from his side of the room and even Peter frowns.
"Grandpa?" Allison asks. She sounds as though she doesn't believe me.
"Sweetheart, I'm sick. I will do whatever it takes to survive."
"That's why you want Derek." I mutter. Lydia's gun shifts from the floor to Gerard, safety off.
"Maybe you are the smart one. Nearly perfect grades. No brain to mouth filter though."
"Dad?" Chris says, gun still trained on Jackson, but looking at Gerard through the corner of his eyes.
"Scott, if you'll do the honors?"
"Scott, don't do it! We can protect your mother, but not if you give Gerard what he wants. He'd kill Derek and become an alpha." I shout.
"I don't need Scott to help me. Jackson!" Gerard snaps. I hear Erica shoot a warning shot over Jackson's shoulder as he approaches Derek. My gun stays on Gerard as I move towards Lydia.
"Jackson?" Her voice asks quietly. He twitches.
"Jackson, I b-brought that k-key." She says, holding the small key in her right hand, slightly away from herself.
"Jackson." She says more forcefully as he turns to her.
"Look at me. In the eyes." Jackson's skin on the left side of his body begins turning back to his normal pale.
"Jackson!" Gerard yells.
"Jackson." Lydia says calmly.
"L-Lydia." He says weakly. "D-Do you... still l-lo-"
"Yes, I do, Jackson, I still love you, I do, I love you, I-" she says, tears beginning to roll down her face.
"Derek." He says, control shaky. Derek and Peter lunge at the same time, sinking claws in Jackson's stomach.
Jackson falls boneless to the ground. Dead. My eyes refocus on Gerard to see him angrily turning to his daughter.
"I need the bite to survive, Allison! And Derek killed your mother! Help me, please." His eyes sparkle with his grandfather persona and I feel hatred burn inside me.
"I'll die without it." He says, moving toward her. I watch as his arms begin to rise for a hug, but a flash catches my eyes and I register almost too late that the flash is a knife. I aim the gun and shoot Gerard in the arm and note as the knife clatters uselessly to the floor.
"Jackson?" Isaac calls, confusion lacing his words. I turn around only to see a naked Jackson (and I never want that image again, thanks) starting to sit up, wounds closing rapidly. He stands up in his naked glory and howls, eyes flashing a brilliant blue as his fangs extend and claws emerge, eyes widening as Lydia throws herself at him, capturing him in a tight hug before kissing him. I turn to give the two privacy and toss Jackson my lacrosse jersey.
"Wear it as a skirt or something. No one needs to see that." I feel Lydia's eye roll even without seeing it and hear as she takes off her jacket to give to him.
When I look back at Gerard, he is clutching his shoulder hissing in pain and I smirk happily.
"Someone should make sure he doesn't have any hidden weapons." Derek says. I click the safety of the gun back on and stuff it in the back of my jeans to go over to Isaac. I glance at Boyd and nod to him and he follows.
"This is going to hurt. I'm sorry." I nod again at Boyd as we each rip out a knife from Isaac. He whines painfully and my stomach twists because I can only think how he must have made similar noises after his father...
Well. Erica finally pulls me over and gives me a firm hug and a whispered thanks before going to lay her head on Boyd's shoulder while watching over Isaac. Scott is trying to console a shaking Allison while Chris adds to a growing pile of objects from Gerard.
A knife, a small pistol, a notebook, a carefully sealed box of wolfsbane, and his pill container.
Wait a minute... I feel something guiding me to the pills, a weak tug that I easily ignore. It takes a minute for me to recognize what the tug is- mountain ash. Scott's eyes are likewise zeroed in on the rowan and I turn to catch his attention and widen my eyes in question. His widen in response in surprise, then shrugs dismissively. Gerard isn't bleeding out, but he is bleeding freely on the floor.
Peter looks happy as he stares at the bleeding man, while Derek looks entirely neutral, glancing more often toward his pack of pups than Gerard. Isaac finally seems to be healing and clutches tightly to his fellow betas, snuggling into them and whispering at a level my human ears can barely pick up. I don't want to know about Lydia and Jackson so I glance back at Chris.
He looks... Tired. Exhausted. I want to pity the man, but I feel as spent as he looks. The adrenaline I'd been functioning on for the past hour or so has faded, leaving my injuries stinging. I walk to Gerard and notice that he's still clutching his arm, trying to remove the bullet. I wonder how a trained hunter can be taken down by a single shot to the shoulder before I remember whose gun I'm using.
The bullet has wolfsbane which is poisonous to humans in the long term. It probably hurts like hell. I hope so. I shrug off my shoulder pads which started hurting three hours ago and stretch my back, twisting my neck until it pops. Chris doesn't seem to know what to do with Gerard now and I don't either. I'd be exceptionally glad if he'd go die in a ditch, but he's alive and in our grasp.
I plop down a few yards away from Chris on the side furthest from Gerard.
"You stole my truck?"
"Your father beat me and tortured my friends in your basement for two hours. So yes. And we stole your guns." Erica and Boyd look up and slide the guns, safety on, toward us, but still far from Gerard's reach. Gerard has finally passed out, I think, thank god. I pull my gun from my pants and hand it to Chris carefully.
"Lydia has the other." Chris glances at the extra cartridges sticking out of my pocket, but doesn't ask for them back and I don't give them. We could use a supply of wolfsbane bullets for counteracting bullet wounds. Ah, irony.
"I think we should call the police now." Allison calls, breaking away from Scott.
"And explain the situation... How?"
In the end, their story goes like this:
Gerard kidnaps Erica, Boyd, and Stiles. Erica and Boyd are hung up in chains and Gerard tries to electrocute them, but the machine doesn't work; he beats up Stiles instead. They hear Gerard say that he's going after Scott, Allison, Lydia, and Jackson next and Stiles frees Boyd who then frees Erica and they take Chris' car to the location he'd stupidly given. Chris gets a text from his daughter to come to the warehouse and drives her car to get there, only to find his father pointing a gun at his daughter. Using his carrying license to his advantage, he takes his pistol from the car and shoots his father in the shoulder and saves the children. He calls the police.
It's not the most well thought out explanation, but with all of their words against Gerard, it won't be hard to arrest him. Derek, Peter, and Isaac all leave before the cops arrive and everyone prays that their blood will be overlooked. Chris takes all the weapons the wolves don’t take- even Allison's- and adds them to the pile at Gerard's feet, wiping everyone's prints, but adding Gerard's while he's unconscious.
Stiles' dad is the first on the scene.
"Over here, dad." I say. He runs to me and pulls me into a hug and ow, but yeah, it's nice. My dad's cologne wraps around me and I feel like I've been holding my breath this whole time. He catches me as I stagger and grabs his radio to call for an ambulance. It takes him a whole three minutes of checking over me to even notice the others there and then Gerard,
"What the hell happened?!"
And well. That's one hell of a story.
Three bruised ribs. A broken finger. Multiple lacerations and non-fatal bruising. A concussion.
After everything, it could have been worse. I spent two agonizing days in the hospital with my dad by my side. He assured me the first few hours that my statement could wait, but I want that bastard's ass dropped in jail as soon as possible. Everyone came to check on me at some point or another.
Erica and Boyd decided to stay and make nice with Derek, but avoid Peter now that they know him as Uncle Bad Touch. Isaac- literal puppy Isaac- has come into my room with food and blankets and anything else he thinks I need and it is absolutely adorable. And annoying, but it's endearing so shut up.
Lydia and Jackson take a break from their 'we're-both-alive-yay' fucking to visit me on the second day. Jackson mostly looks at the floor or his shoes and mutters a quiet thank you that he had to repeat at normal volume when Lydia elbowed him. He also promised to wash my jersey.
Scott practically had to be restrained once he realized what Gerard had done to me- go bro code!- and had a lost puppy look ever since Erica and Boyd admitted what Allison had done to them in misguided vengeance.
Derek had come over, thankfully without Peter who I don't and probably never will trust. He'd mostly looked at me all judgy-wolf and grunted, but after a few minutes he put a hand on my shoulder and his veins turned black and I realized I fucking love werewolves because they can take pain away.
He muttered a thanks to me and left after putting his number in my phone (he has a cell phone?) and told me to be at the meeting on Saturday. I was in too much shock to do much but stare.
Erica and Boyd became almost permanent residents of my hospital room, hesitantly maintaining a truce with Scott.
Erica brought me my laptop and a charging cord and headphones and yes, my friends are godsends. Nothing like torture to make acquaintances into friends, right? Bonding.
Chris and Allison were next, but I barred Allison from entering for the first day and a half to get my point across. Chris was nice enough, I suppose. He didn't really know how to treat me, I guess. He kept giving me weird looks, but never mentioned the gun thing or the car thing. He did however tell me thanks for not actually killing his father, even if his father's a psychotic bastard with a personality disorder (my words). He also promised that he owed me a favor since Gerard was gonna hold a knife to Allison. And he promised to give me a gun when I got out of the hospital.
My dad was with me a large portion of the time, but he needed to work a lot so that he could take care of me at home for the week after the hospitalization. Mrs. McCall was there too and apparently Scott had finally explained everything to her rather than the bare details. She never looked at us in quite the same way again because she would flash between the phantom image of us from before and the supernaturally knowledgeable version of the present. She's working on reconciling the two.
Dad didn't want to leave me alone that first day out of the hospital, afraid I'd be hurt, but Isaac was practically glued to my side, leeching away pain every hour or so until I finally made him stop so he wouldn't work himself sick. More than that, my dad saw how much Isaac was trying to help (and seriously, how did that even happen?) and offered to house him until the adoption papers were finished- custody going to Derek Hale.
And now I'm enjoying my third day away from the hospital and it's Saturday. Thankfully, my dad had gotten called away to deal with the legal shit involved with another Argent's run in with the law and let me stay with Isaac and Scott at home. Only we aren't home.
'Two o'clock. Bring Isaac & Scott.' The message was short, but I'd learned to expect nothing less of the man of few words himself, Derek Hale.
I watch sadly from the backseat as Isaac drives my Jeep (and if that isn't a sign of real freakin trust, I don't know what is) toward the remains of the Hale House; my dad says I can't drive for the next few days. Thankfully for the pack, Erica passed through the grape vine that Derek is looking for an actual house so that he can adopt Isaac and have pack meetings. When I finally get there, everyone is fairly subdued.
"Well... This isn't looking optimistic."
I shuffle out of the car and glance at Scott who is struggling with what to look at. He'd only joined Derek's pack in order to save his mom, so tensions are high, but Scott has reluctantly agreed (with my assistance of course) to give the pack another chance since they've helped him (and me and Jackson and indirectly Lydia- though Peter sorta... Well.)
He and Allison are no longer a thing at the moment which is somewhat of a relief and somewhat horrifying because god, his eyes. They are like a kicked puppy! His depressing self is hard to deal with lately on a good day since his life seemingly revolves around Allison.
"Scott. Isaac. Stiles." Peter’s voice calls. Scott grimaces and Isaac gives a half-hearted wave.
"Uncle Bad Touch." The entirety of those present gave me a look that I ignore as I go to stand with Erica and Boyd, slinging my arms around the new couple.
"So. Redecorating? Because that symbol was not on your door before." I call to Derek who grunts.
"No. Peter found it yesterday when he came for his laptop and I smelled at least four wolves nearby."
"What's it mean?" Lydia calls from Jackson's lap.
"It's the sign of an Alpha pack."
"A-alpha pack. A pack of alphas. Are you absolutely shitting me." The question isn't even a question though I really really want someone to say "yes, haha, got ya. Now go meet Ashton Kutcher."
But nooooo. Because our problems can’t just be over.
"What do they want?"
"... We don't know." I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose. At least I won’t be bored over the next few days as I put my research skills to the test. Isaac starts to meander his way over to me to suck the pain away, but I wave him off with a small smile.
"Anything else going horribly horribly wrong?" I ask, removing my arm from Erica and Boyd's necks.
"Well, the alpha pack is known for killing whoever they want, so there's that." Peter adds. I hear Scott let out a resigned sigh.
"Any good news then?" Jackson questions.
"I'm alive and breathing." Peter adds, smiling despite Lydia's glare.
"Shut up, Peter." Derek and I snap. Lydia's glare intensifies.
"Any actual good news?" Erica asks.
"Gerard was sentenced early. Life without parole." I restrain myself from fist pumping the air only because it would take energy and I'm still sore.
"Finally." Lydia says daintily. Everyone seems to nod along with her.
"I found a loft we can stay at and have meetings at until more permanent arrangements can be made." Isaac coughs pointedly at Derek and Lydia giggles.
"-And I've been instructed to inform you that Peter has his own separate apartment a block down." Instructed, eh? So now he's listening to his pack? Freaking finally. While Derek may not have been the best alpha in the world before, he is trying. He was never meant to be an alpha, but he’s doing his best, and hey, we’ve made it this far. He’s got all of us to rely on when things go to shit. Because, highly dysfunctional and fucking insane as we are, I think we could be some sort of pack. Maybe. Eh, it’s a work in progress. We’ll just have to take the threats one at a time and work on our freakin communication, people!