He knows they have them.
That part isn’t even a question. Stiles has already been to Scott’s house, where they left Mrs. McCall alive but beaten unconscious, has already been to Chris Argent’s house. He’s seen the destruction they left behind there when they broke in and stole his daughter out of her bedroom. They left Argent alive, but just barely, both hands broken and his kneecap shot to all hell. Stiles had scented the blood even before he turned down their street, but under that, he had smelled Allison’s fear, raw and powerful.
They went after Lydia as well. She was caught unaware, but she put up a fight if the scent of other blood is anything to go by. And that’s where they, whoever they are, screwed up. They took the wolves before they went after the humans and thought themselves safe, but that’s because they’re stupid. Incompetent. Stiles’ lips curl into something too cruel to be called a smile and he pulls up the hood of his red sweatshirt. The bat he’s holding drags rough over the ground, the metal of if grinding against the stray stone it passes over. They won’t hear him coming though, because Stiles is smart. He knows how to cover his scent, how to hide the sounds of his footfalls and the bat. He also knows how to make them pay. In blood.
“Dammit, Stiles, it’s two thirty in the morning. Why the hell are you calling me?”
Stiles sucks in a shaky breath, his heart racing. “Dude,” he says. “Dude, Derek, something’s wrong. I need—I need you to get yourself over here.” He pauses, then adds, because this is just warrant pulling out all the big guns, “And bring Peter and his super bestiary.” He disconnects because that’s the best way to get Derek to do what he wants. More than that, though, he’s having a hard time getting his breathing under control, and the last thing he needs right now is to have a panic attack.
He can see the moment the werewolves in the group sense his presence. They tense, a couple lifting their faces to scent the air. Only one does not, instead turning to face where Stiles is standing, still hidden in the shadows. He moves forward, stopping just at the edge, and smiles, cold and deadly.
“You have something of mine,” Stiles says. He smirks when the hunters jump and whirl to face him, caught off guard. The group might be working together, but they aren’t a real team. There are twenty-five in all, ten of whom are werewolves. The rest are hunters. “I’ve come to take it back.”
“And what,” the lead hunter says, “could that possibly be?” Beside him, the alpha werewolf shifts and bares his teeth.
“This one has no scent. He is the witch they warned us about.”
Stiles laughs, a quiet huff of air that has the rest of the werewolves drawing close to their alpha. “Once upon a time, there was a boy who ran with a pack of wolves.” Stiles takes another step forward, and the sound of the bat against the forest floor draws the eyes of several werewolves. This time, it’s one of the betas who laughs.
“A baseball bat? What, is it dipped in wolfsbane?”
“Something like that.”
“Show your face, human,” the alpha demands, eyes glowing bright as rubies in the flickering firelight.
A quick peek at his phone reveals that it’s only been three minutes since he called Derek; not long enough for him to have gotten there, regardless of his mode of transportation. Unable to deal with seeing himself like this any longer, Stiles heads for his room, throws himself down on his bed face-first in true teenage drama fashion and closes his eyes. His heart is still pounding out a rapid staccato in his chest, and it’s getting harder to breathe with every passing second. Finally he hears his window open.
“Jesus Christ,” he snaps, rolling over. “It took you long enough.”
Stiles opens his eyes and almost smirks at the sound of Peter dropping his laptop.
Turning his head, Stiles sees why. The girls are bound and gagged, unconscious with their clothes torn and their faces bruised. He leans closer, scenting them carefully, and is relieved to know they have not been abused. Straightening, Stiles hoists his bat over his shoulder and turns to face the group once more.
“I’m going to be generous. I’m going to tell you once more, return to me what you’ve stolen and I will give you a ten minute head start before we come after you.”
“What is a child going to do to us?” This is from one of the other hunters, and Stiles tilts his head in the man’s direction but does not show his face. Not yet. He waits, and sure enough, the alpha is the one to answer the question.
“He is no mere child, not if the rumors are to be believed. He is the pack witch; his magic is strong and he has been trained by Deaton and Morrell.”
“Wrong,” Stiles sing-songs. “That was a year ago. Lydia is our witch now, so you’re lucky you were smart enough to gag her, or some of you would be missing your skin. She’s very good at that spell.”
The wolves had been moving during the exchange, shifting until they formed a loose circle around Stiles, but he’s unconcerned. There is nothing they can do to stop him.
“You have something of mine,” Stiles says, and he reaches for his hood, pushing it back to reveal the rest of his face. Lips curled up in a smile promising pain and eyes like death, he says, “And now I’m going to take it back.”
Peter’s voice breaks the silence, causing them both to jump when he says, “Demon possession. It’s the only thing I can find that would explain this.”
“And the fact that it’s still Stiles driving?” Derek asks, not loosening his hold on Stiles’ chin.
Peter shakes his head. “It’s probably weak, maybe dying. It’s leaking, essentially. We should be able to exorcise it, if we work quickly.” He snaps the laptop closed and stands. “Call the pack. Have them meet us at the house.”
Derek nods, and Stiles follows them down the stairs and out to Derek’s car. His dad will be home soon, he knows, but Stiles doubts his dad will even miss him. Not until lunchtime, at least.
“Kill him,” the alpha orders, and Stiles just continues to smile.
He dodges the first attack, and meets the second one head on. Claws slash through his arm, come away bloody, and Stiles sighs.
“This is my favorite sweatshirt. Please be a little more careful.”
Someone laughs, but they stop when the third werewolf attacks and Stiles’ bat caves in its head, sending blood and brain matter splattering over those nearest. One of the other wolves snarls, and Stiles bows a little before adjusting his grip on his bat.
“Don’t worry,” he assures the group at large. “I’m just getting warmed up.”
He moves again, and this time it’s to bring his bat down on the knee of the lead hunter. Stiles lets his momentum carry him into a roll and comes up behind two werewolves. He doesn’t give their pack the time to call out a warning as he swings his bat once more. This time, however, just as the bat is closing in on them, he steps back and a blade slides out through the tip, severs two heads in one calculated sweep and sends them flying to land in the fire.
The moment the holy water touches Stiles’ skin he begins screaming. Not the shrieks of an angry, vengeful spirit, but those of someone in the worst pain imaginable. Derek fights against the hands holding him, his wolf close to the surface in its need to protect Stiles, but his pack is strong. Ms. Morrell adds her strength to theirs and Derek finds himself all but frozen in his steps. His hands clench, and blood drips from his fists onto the rotted floor, but he shows no other signs of his discomfort.
It’s Peter who puts a stop to the proceedings, but it’s almost too late. Stiles is lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood, clawing at his skin as he continues let out the most inhumane scream. There are long gashes appearing all over his body, places where he’s been rent open either by some unseen force or himself, and his eyes are black and soulless, but the demon won’t release its hold. Or—
“Dear god, stop,” Peter shouts.
He knocks Ms. Morrell out of the way, sends Dr. Deaton flying across the room, and drops to his knees to gather Stiles’ body into his arms. He looks shattered, tortured, and Derek can only stare at him in shock until Peter says, voice shaking,
“Oh, god. He’s not possessed. He is a demon.”
No one speaks, and all that can be heard is the wet, sucking breaths Stiles drags in, shaking as his blood continues to flow unchecked.
Derek stumbles across the short distance, collapses down beside them both and reaches out with one clawed hand to touch the wound over Stiles’ heart. The flesh there is torn wide, revealing tissue and bone, and he chokes on his apology as he takes in what they’ve done. Peter shifts, lets Derek take over cradling Stiles’ bleeding body, but he never lets go.
After a minute or so, Ms. Morrell comes closer, but before she can say a single word, the door blows open. A woman is standing in the doorway, wrapped head to toe in a cloak that she lets fall to the ground as she takes in the scene before her. Her skin is dark, a rich red-brown like the earth after a good rainfall, but her face is painted into the likeness of a skull, gleaming white in the low-lit room. Around her shoulders and arms, a snake pulses and writhes.
“Fetch,” he says, and they howl their agreement.
The alpha chooses that moment to attack, thinks, mistakenly, that Stiles is distracted. Stiles takes the hit and rolls with it, comes up swinging yet again, and dislocates the alpha’s shoulder with his bat, brings it down to sink the sword through his thigh. It’s like a dance, the way he spins around to cut through the chains binding Derek, spins away to bring the bat up under the chin of a cocksure beta, slamming his head back.
The lead hunter is still there, and he’s staring up at Stiles in something akin to horror, hands scrabbling over the dirt as he tries to crawl backwards. Stiles drops into a crouch at the same time that Derek leaps towards him, and hears the satisfied crunch of the last beta’s body giving way to teeth and claws.
He doesn’t object when Peter eases Stiles fully into his arms, stepping aside so that it is only Derek and the strange woman standing inside Dr. Deaton’s circle of confinement. The runes painted on the ground glow brighter than before, then fade out to dust.
She looks him over, the saddest of smiles curving her painted lips downward. “His mother was one of the greatest demons to fall,” she says at last. Her voice is strange; cultured, and deep, echoing in Derek's head and ears. She sounds both incredibly youthful and terribly old all at once, and it confuses his senses.
“Fall?” Derek asks, afraid to say more.
She hums, reaching out with one hand to touch Stiles’ forehead. “Yes. Fall. Die. She was a demon of great power, and she gave it all away for human love."
There is no derision in her words, but Derek knows all about demons and their ways. He says as much, and she clucks her tongue at him even as she reaches into a small pouch tied to her waist.
"To say that all demons are evil would be like saying all werewolves are rabid beasts waiting to be destroyed. Demons are temptation. They are the seven deadly sins, but they are also humanity. They can love, wolf, just like any other."
The snake chooses that moment to move, slithering down her arm to land on the ground with a soft thump. Derek eyes it warily, but it only curls into a tight ball, head swaying as it tastes the air around it.
"And you're, what? A demon guide?"
"Something like that," she says. Her smile is all teeth and while it isn't exactly unfriendly, it's not very welcoming either. "My kind have served demons and angels alike. I help her now, yes, but in another day, week, month...I have stitched feathers back into their shafts for the great Uriel. We serve to keep the balance."
Deaton clears his throat to ask, "Why come now?"
She laughs, low and throaty. "Because his mother was the closest I have ever come to having a friend. I should have come sooner, but the war between the sides is endless, and my work distracted me."
She turns her attention to the powders she's been mixing together, swirling them around in a small wooden bowl. Derek watches, rapt, and only sees her moving when it is too late to dodge her grip. He snarls, but cannot break her hold as she takes a knife to his arm, collecting the blood that wells up on the blade and transferring it to the bowl.
"Give him my blood and you'll kill him," Derek growls around his canines.
The woman meets his gaze and holds it. "You don't know what he is," she states. She doesn't wait for Derek to confirm her words, just laughs again. This time, the sound is chilling, and the rest of the werewolves flinch back. "How precious. This boy's mother created your kind hundreds of years ago and you can't even smell the kin on him. Your blood will no more harm this boy than your bite could turn him.
"Who are you?" Derek demands.
She shakes her head. "Names are a powerful thing, and I am older than your entire bloodline."
In Derek's arms, Stiles stirs, whimpers as his wounds began to bleed anew.
"Darling boy," she says, "Let's get you fixed up, and then we'll show this wolf of yours just what you can do."
Derek remains more or less human looking, right up until Stiles hisses out, “Now.”
Then he’s lunging towards the alpha, transforming mid-leap into the largest wolf imaginable. His teeth close around the alpha’s throat, tear through flesh and bone and send the head dropping into the dirt as he howls his victory for the others to hear. The death of the alpha has added to his power, and he all but glows with it as he moves to stand at Stiles’ side.
Stiles props his chin on his bat, stares the hunter down with a smirk that has the man visibly shaking. From out of the shadows around the camp come the rest of the wolves, their muzzles dripping blood. Scott and Jackson shift back into their human form, the process hastened by the power still pouring off Stiles. They free their mates, gather them up into their arms, and rejoin their pack at Stiles’ back.
“This is what you’re going to do: You will tell the others about us. Everything. You will give them a message from me. My message is simply, do not trespass into our territory. Stay far away from the woods of the boy who runs with wolves and there will be no more bloodshed. The Beacon Hills Pack is under my protection, and I will tear apart anyone who dares say otherwise. Do you understand?”
The hunter nods, but does not speak. Stiles smiles, and the black slowly recedes leaving only gentle brown eyes. “Good. Now, you should really get that knee looked at before it gets any worse. And hunter? If you’re not out of my town in the next forty-eight hours, I’ll kill you myself and send your head back to your family.” Then he smiles, wide and beaming, and leads his wolves away.
His hand is hovering over Derek’s head where he’s kneeling before Stiles, eyes closed. Even as he says the words, Stiles can feel the power pooling in his fingertips, and he presses them to Derek’s brow, letting it ease out slowly, like the trickle of a stream in the summer. Derek shudders, but makes no sound as he shifts, his body reshaping itself with more speed than when he transforms on his own.
Around them waits the rest of the pack, Allison and Lydia included. Dr. Deaton and Ms. Morrell are standing further back, but right beside Stiles is the woman, her hands firm where she’s gripping his shoulders.
"Just focus on the power. Breathe with it," she instructs.
She’s already explained to him about his mother, in great detail, about the gift she laid upon the human who killed in her name like an animal gone rabid. She had twisted his soul into a mockery of one her brother’s Hell Hounds, then set him loose to create more of his kind. Because of her, because of her gift, Stiles has a certain degree of control over the werewolves he has bound himself to over the past year. Is bound to more fully, now that Derek's blood flows within his veins.
When he’s done, Derek no longer looks human. In his place stands a beast almost twice the size of regular wolf with eyes that glow red and teeth that cannot be contained within its muzzle. Stiles shivers as he drops into crouch before Derek, and he holds out one hand, palm up. The nose that presses against his fingers is damp and cool, the fur around it soft.
“I can do this with all of them?” Stiles tears his gaze away from Derek’s magnificence long enough to meet hers.
She smiles, wide and chilling. “All this and so much more, my child. Just you wait. When you come into your full power, you are going to shake this world a part.”
The demon is tired, every particle of her being aching from the age-old battle she’s been caught in with her brothers and sisters. She takes a break, slips through the shadows of the human world until she reaches a sleepy little town. It is an unremarkable thing, and she’s turning away to leave when something prickles down her spine.
She sees him sitting in the park, a book open across his lap and an apple held loose in his fingers. Even from here, she can taste the purity of his soul in the gentle breeze that moves between them. She sighs, moves closer, but does not leave the shadows hiding her from mortal sight. She does not stir when the air beside her shivers and another presence joins her, only hums and stretches her wings out. The leathery rasping sound they make as she pulls her companion close send the few birds still lurking shooting off into the sky.
"It's been so long since I wore mortal flesh," the demon says, and she knows she sounds mournful, regretful.
"Are you going to possess him?" Her companion strays closer.
From the corner of her eye, the demon watches as the snake hugging the woman's body scents the air with its tongue, blind eyes unblinking in the late afternoon sunlight. The demon offers no immediate answer and without fail, the woman's impatience has her turning, reaching out and pressing her fingers to the delicate curve of one black-red horn. The demon closes her eyes, basks in the touch and opens her mind to what the other is feeling and thinking.
Most would consider her hideous she knew, with her cracked, black-red skin, the spines decorating her head and horns soulless eyes, but not the priests and priestesses of the old ways. Far too long ago, the demon had thought to change her appearance, but a woman had come to her, had convinced her not to, saying it would be a shame to hide such beautiful darkness away from the world. They had close ever since, more so than most demons or angels allowed when it came the men and women of this line.
Pulling herself from her thoughts, she says, "No, not this one. Look at him. He's the loveliest creature I have seen in all my years. His soul is so pure, I just want to eat it."
She can see that her words have given the priestess pause, though the demon doubts it is because of the violence. No, beneath the hunger is something different, something new, and the demon can feel it ringing through her even as her companion feigns ignorance.
"Will you possess another, then? Seduce this young man and consume both their souls?" There is hesitancy in her words, and the demon knows that even though the suggestion has been put out there, if she was to choose such a path, the priestess would stop her.
When the demon turns to look at her, she knows her eyes have gone black through and through. "No, I think I want to fall in love."
The woman looks half ready to laugh, but there is also panic pulling her features tight beneath the white clay painted over her face. Her lips twist, and the paint there cracks. The demon knows what she is thinking: higher ranking demons only possess the purest of souls, their single goal to corrupt and steal away that bit of Light for themselves. Among the lower ranks, long-term possession is not uncommon, but what the demon is suggesting is unheard of. To bind oneself in a mortal form of their own devising, rather than to ride alongside a human’s soul. To live... There would be no unbinding, not until her death, and even then, no guarantee that the demon would return to her demonic form. And it would require the blackest of magic. The priestess' specialty, though she uses it seldom.
"You would risk everything, doing that. And if he gets you with child? There will be no saving you. The war has already taken so many from both sides. Would you really ask this of me?"
That thought had not even occurred to her, but now that the seed has been planted in her head, the demon cannot shake it free. "A child," she whispers. Another wave of longing sweeps through her, and the demon’s gaze returns to the young man seated beneath the Oak tree. Demons bear no true offspring, but steal away the babes of mortals, twisting them until they are fit to face the darkness of Hell. Angels are the same, yet another likeness binding the two sides together.
“You aren't thinking. When this child comes into his powers, what will happen then? Bind yourself in human form, marry a mortal and bear his child and you will die. Sure as I'm standing here beside you now. There will be no one to teach him what he can do, what he's capable of, with you gone."
“But you will,” the demon says. It’s not a guess, not a question. The priestess will do whatever it takes to continue the demon's legacy. She swore so when they first crossed paths nearly a century ago, and the demon is counting on her to remember her promise now.
The woman's head dips in a low bow. When their gazes meet once more, her eyes are as black as any demon’s. Any angel's.
“Say my name?” the demon asks as the priestess dips one hand into the pouch at her side. “Say it for me, one last time. It will be forgotten after this.”
The priestess smiles, sad. "There is no magic, no avenging angel, strong enough in this whole universe to erase your name…Hesicasiel.”
The sun and moon eclipse as the dust settles over Hesicasiel’s form, and she can feel her wings shake and wither, her horns melt away. She closes her eyes, and when she opens them again, the young man is kneeling beside her, concern darkening his pale blue eyes.
“I saw you faint,” he says. “Are you okay?”
It takes her a moment to find words in a language he will understand. “I am now.”
“Oh, good.” He offers her his hand. “Stilinski,” he says. “Oh, but that’s my last name. Sorry. I don’t—I mean, my first name is—”
She smiles, lets him pull her to her feet. As he leads her away, tripping over his words as he tells about the test he’s studying for, how he plans to become a deputy, and after that, Beacon Hills’ finest sheriff, she hears a whisper on the wind.
“You love him with all you got, my child, because the clock? It has already started ticking.”
She doesn’t regret her choice, not even a few years later when her powers pass on to the baby boy growing inside her, leaving her human and dying.