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Time To Come

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His body felt weightless, as if he was floating in the water, letting the current drag him wherever it wished for him to go. That was exactly the kind of trigger that usually forced the body back to awareness, was it not? The twitch that would have pulled him out of the dreamland just a second before he could manage to drown in it. But that did not happen this time and Stiles just kept floating aimlessly.

Did he even have a body, he wondered tiredly. His mind was strangely sluggish for a hyperactive dude like him and the only reason for that could be that he got himself locked in a psychiatric ward once again. Just like after his mom passed away. The weightless feeling reminded him way too much of the effect the drugs there had on him.

They must have drugged him...no, this felt somehow different than before. It felt....weird, as if he couldn't reach his own body. But why couldn't he reach his own body? It should be right there. Right... there... somewhere...

Stiles tried to turn his head to the side. Just a simple movement like that shouldn't be so hard, right? Well, wrong, because there was no head for him to turn, no eyes to catch a glimpse of anything, no fingers to wave around the vast space surrounding him. There was just his mind, tired and sleepy, drifting in the nonexistent wind.

A thought of death appeared to him and he approached it warily. Could this really be it, he mused. It must be it. What else could it be? He must have died and this was... well... whatever becomes of the existence after death.

That deduction did not comfort him at all though. If this lifeless floating without any purpose whatsoever was all that it was to the afterlife then, well excuse him for being ungrateful, but he did not want it. He'd rather just die in a very atheistic way, thank you very much, without all this nonsense.

If he had a mouth to say anything, he would probably choose to complain to the big boss up there or well... to whomever that decided to put him here after his untimely demise, because this seriously sucked... big times.

If he could at least reach out and search for a way out, even if there was no way out, it would at least give him something to do. Being locked up inside one's mind without any stimuli whatsoever was starting to make him feel very claustrophobic, but since the state did not seem to change no matter how much panic filled his invisible brain, he simply let himself sink into the blissful lethargy.

Stiles did not know how long he'd been drifting around the space or in and out of consciousness after that. It must have been long enough for him to forget all about himself, long enough to not even care about anything. Nothing mattered to him anymore, not even his own weird existence... because there was nothing... nobody... no-

Until there was suddenly a pull that ripped him out of his languor, that forced him out of his mind and he looked up... properly looked for the first time since he landed in this dark place.

There was something in the darkness alright, he realized, squinting and searching – a tiny light emerging from the darkness. It wasn't even a steady light like a lamp might have cast. It wasn't even the dance of a restless flame. No, it was something much more transient, like a flash of light from an electric discharge, like a short pulse traveling through the night and reaching out for him – a spark of sorts.

He focused on the point, where he had seen it glisten, hope filling up his essence. His patience was rewarded right away, because there it was again – the golden twinkle calling out to him.

Stiles reached out without any hesitation and... well would you look at that, he did have an arm and it was even equipped with five long fingers! He must have simply forgotten that they existed, but now he remembered... he remembered he had a body and with that realization, it was as if the body suddenly made itself visible to him.

And so he moved it in the direction of the spark and reached over for the warm light, enveloping it with his fingers. He clenched it tightly in his hand, although he was worried it might go out at any moment, but that was not the case. On the contrary, the spark seemed to be flashing even brighter, seeping through his body and making his skin glow in a reddish color.

Stiles looked at it with the eyes that he suddenly had back too, which... yeah, that was pretty sweet too, since he was growing tired of the darkness... but once he looked down, he noticed the light of the spark reflecting on something else – a thread coming out of his body... no wait make that two... no, there were three of them, each one of them starting at a different point but all of them leading in the same direction folded in a tangled mess.

There was the thick blue one, which was connected to his ring finger, but that one did not seem as strong as it could have been for some reason, because it was faint, barely glowing. Stiles moved his hand pulling at the thread experimentally, but nothing happened. It just remained there like a promise of something that could be.

Further up his other arm was where the other thread started. And this one did not seem weak at all with that tantalizing glow of a Rudolf's nose and it's persistent humming. He tried to tug at that one as well, but it did not budge, strong as nylon.

And then there's the third one, the one he wouldn't even have noticed, weren't it for the other two, that combined with it further along the way into the darkness – the golden thread. It wasn't even a thread per se, more like a huge number of little sparkling beads connected all together. He did not know how exactly they stayed connected since they weren't tied together by a lace or something similar. They were just floating in a perfect like, as if by magic.

Stiles followed them with his eyes, watched them lead away from his body and twirl around each other in a complicated braid that led off into the darkness. The weird thing about it was, that that space ahead of him looked a lot scarier and a lot more dark than the rest of it, which did not give any sense because there was nothing darker than black right? It definitely felt darker though...

But the three threads led there. They connected him to something beyond that dark wall and Stiles knew he needed to follow it no matter how scary or impossible it seemed. He needed to get back there. He needed to get out. Right now.

And so he forced his stiff body to move in that direction and let himself be swallowed by the darkness in hope that the thread will lead him back home... or at least somewhere else.

 

~o~

 

He did not move once he managed to come to himself, too afraid that he might discover he was still stuck in that void without any body whatsoever, too afraid his current status was just a hallucination that might be disturbed by a sudden movement.

His body took a deep breath in and Stiles could relish in the scent of moss, static electricity and wet fur that filled his nostrils immediately. If this was some crude mind trick his invisible brain was trying to play on him... well he did not mind per se, he just hoped it would not disappear too quickly.

And it wasn't just the smell that attacked him. There was a noise filling up his ears too – the rustle of leaves, the soft breathing somewhere close by, the two male voices talking not too far away from him, the menacing hissing in the background...

However, with the stimuli came also the unpleasant things. And yep he really did have a body this time, because there is no way he would feel this much pain and discomfort, weren't it for the fact he actually had a body to feel this sick for.

For starters, his head throbbed, mind turning around in crazy circles and his skin itched annoyingly, even burned in some places. Not to mention the aching emptiness within his chest or the dull throb in his limbs. All this assaulted him at once and his mind managed to at least force his body to exhale in pain.

But then something warm cuddled to his side, covering half of his body with a warm blanket and somehow, magically almost, the pain started to subside, leaving behind only a strange tingle, which was definitely a lot better than the pain and cold he felt before.

Thank you fur blanket, Stiles thought tiredly, his body still immobile, as if it did not know how to move and needed a few more minutes to restart.

“Is it going to work?” asked one of the voices suddenly and the teen zeroed in on the conversation curiously.

"I do nott now,” answered the other male voice with a heavy accent, which sounded way too familiar to Stiles. “Blak magic bad, it maybie consumed hiz iskra or maybie more and den nosing can help.”

“But you can still feel his magic,” argued the first voice. “And I can feel the Emissary bond. It did not break. And Derek...”

“It culd bee just bodie,” said the second man worriedly. “Emptie bodie wis bondz too strong too disapier.”

Stiles couldn't help but frown a little, the eyebrows moving with a huge difficulty even though it was just a simple reflex. The blanket pressed itself closer as if sensing his confusion, the warmth calming the teen down immediately.

But still, who were these men? And what was he doing at a place like this? Wasn't he in his room just a second ago? The last thing he remembered was falling off a chair... maybe he fell right into a different dimension or he concussed himself into oblivion and this was actually some drug-induced dream he was having in the hospital while being in a coma.

It did seem hazy enough, the voices swimming slightly all over the place together with his whirling mind. He couldn't keep his thoughts steady for some reason... maybe he really was dreaming. He wished he could move his arms to look at his hand and count his fingers, that usually helped.

“So we just wait? It's not safe to remain at this place. Definitely not this near to the Nemeton nor at the place where he indisposed of the clan leader. Others might be upon us at any moment. Maybe we could move him,” noted the first voice, but then there was a sigh and the man continued in defeat. “Alright, but what about that one? Derek may have subdued it, but...”

“Kanima vill nott hurt, it found master in yor nefew,” stated the other man, his voice sounding further away as if he turned around to look at the... what was it again, Stiles wondered, his head overflowing with words he did not understand. What were the dudes talking about? Maybe he hit his head really strong and his brain couldn't even produce normal dreams anymore. Not that he ever had those...

"I am not worried about it hurting us, although I am quite positive I might be allergic to it's venom so let's just be careful around that tail of his,” the first voice stated, annoyance obvious behind his words. “I was just wondering if there was a cure for it. Now normally I wouldn't care about the well-being of a murderous creature, that tried to kill us all a few times and caused Stiles to end up in that state, but... he wouldn't have wanted us to give up on curing him now, would he? That stubborn little... why did he have to...”

Stiles' breath caught up in his lungs as he heard the intensity of frustration in the first person's voice. It was somehow weird, that a random stranger should care about him this much. Maybe he just didn't recognize the voice for some reason? But no, it really was a voice he had never heard before, at least not up close like this.

So how did he spot concern in between his words then? How come he desperately wanted to at least open his mouth and inform those two men he was actually fine? Perhaps if he would just manage to open his eyes and show them. They seemed really worried and somehow he did not like that at all...

He focused on his eyelids, trying to push them up with his sheer will, but the muscles did not listen to him, as if they were hardwired by somebody else and unable to decode Stiles' own orders. The only thing he could do right now was to wait for them to adjust. They would adjust given the time, wouldn't they?

“I vill have to do cleening ritual like Przemko said me to do,” answered the second man and wait, wow, what the hell? Only his mom ever called him that! What the actual fuck. Who were these people and how did they know his real name? And okay, that wouldn't have been that weird, since his name was printed on his ID, but who would know how to shorten it correctly? Let alone pronounce it?

“Alright, take the kanima back to my apartment then. I have all you might need for any ritual in that cabinet I showed you. We can't have it pace around here while we wait on Stiles to wake up anyways. Especially if he won't be able to remember anything... if he even wakes up at all, that is,” the first voice said, a painful sigh dividing his words. “Unless you want to stay here too?”

“I can nott, yu know dat,” countered the second voice. “Wee are nott supposed to meet yett. Nott like dis at leest.”

“You seem oddly sure that he will recover,” stated the first man, his voice doubtful for no reason whatsoever. Stiles was fine after all.

Okay, he might not be able to move yet, but once he figures out how to turn on his body and finds out what happened after he fell off that chair, he should be fine. He just needed to locate that stupid on switch. Why was it so hard? He couldn't have broken his spine... or could he?

Or maybe there was nothing to move, because these men were actually serial killers and they chopped his limbs into tiny little bits...and oh okay, that was definitely a panic attack swelling inside his ribcage, which might have been stupid of him, but he waited long enough for his body to recover and...

What if it wouldn't recover at all? Is he going to be stuck like this until he dies of thirst? Or will one of those guys feed him water? What if they decide he was indeed dead and leave him here all alone and unable to move? He did not want that. He did not want them to leave him behind. It didn't matter he did not know them... he just, please just, don't leave... he thought frantically.

Stiles could feel his heart quickening it's pace, could feel it hammer onto his ribs in a painful way, the air coming out of his throat in breathless wheezes. And then there was a distressed whine coming from somewhere right next to him and the two men stopped talking, no doubt alerted by the noise his panic was causing.

But he couldn't stop it, because he was trapped in a useless shell of a body which he had no control over and that fact alone was so terrifying that it only increased his panic.

The second man said something in an urgent voice and there was shuffling all around him, but Stiles could not focus anymore, his vision slowly turning black.

And yeah, it was dark before, but at least he could sense sunlight behind his eyelids, thanks to their reddish color, but now... it was all slipping away from him...and he really did not want that to happen. He didn't want to go back to that black void. Not again. Not again, please.

“Stiles, don't you dare,” a voice barked right above him and the black spots disappeared from his sight as if by magic. Not to mention he was startled by the weirdly impelling tone behind the words. It was strangely vibrant, as if there was some strong undercurrent or an echo of some kind hidden behind them.

“You need to come back now, right now ,” commanded the voice and Stiles could feel a jolt of something run through his body and complete his body's restart.

His eyelids flew open at once and he drew a deep breath in as if he just emerged from the depths of a lake, gasping for oxygen. He looked up, his mouth opened, his fingers twitching and saw a pair of red glowing eyes staring right back at him, shining like taillights on a car.

“And now calm down,” ordered the man above him, his eyes flashing harshly and wow did they really just flash or was the lack of oxygen giving him hallucinations already?

“Calm down, Stiles,” the guy repeated, pressing his palm onto his heaving chest and Stiles obeyed because it was somehow really hard to not do what the man asked him to do.

Such a limitless obedience from his side did not give any sense to him. Because once his vision steadied and he looked at the man properly, he realized he really did not know him and it could definitely be a mass murderer. He even looked like one for some reason. And even so... Stiles had a weird inclination to trust him... which was even more weird.

There were definitely a lot of bizarre things happening all around him right then, but that was not the end of it, because when he suddenly moved his hand, it collided with the fur blanket that kept him warm and that blanket moved on it's own accord, lifted itself from his body and peered down at him and... yeah, it was a huge black wolf, not a blanket.

Definitely not a blanket, because that was not how blankets look like. And they definitely do not look at people like that, not with blue glowing irises, that reminded Stiles of the Tardis.

Well actually, not even normal wolves look at people like that... definitely not with glowing eyes, but then again, it could still be the lack of oxygen affecting his deprived brain. Just look how frantic his thoughts were. (Okay, that was actually the only normal thing happening right now, since his thoughts were always this frantic, if not more, but still.)

It was still unsettling though, because no matter what kind of tricks his mind was playing on him, there was a wolf... no let's amend that, a vicious animal right on top of him, that might be getting ready to kill him with it's saber fangs and even so, he must have hit his head really hard because he lifted his hand and reached out for him.

And how did he know it was a dude wolf? Well, that was his default setting with all animals, was it not? It's not like he learned such a thing just by staring into those glowing orbs. Of course not, he just assumed that it was a male specimen, yep.

“Hey buddy,” Stiles whispered, scratching the wolf behind his ear. He then slid his fingers through the thick fur, down the side of the wolf's head, fascinated by the way the wolf closed his eyes in contentment. And as he opened them again, they were no longer glowing and he could see their real color, which was a undefinable mix of green and brown.

The wolf turned his head then and opened his mouth, and yes Stiles immediately imagined the animal chewing off his hand or at least tearing off his fingers but the wolf just lolled out his tongue and licked his palm in gentle affection, which somehow made Stiles grin like a stupid idiot. How the hell was he not freaking out right now?

“Okay,” he noted nervously and pushed himself up into a sitting position. The wolf and his master looked up at him and he avoided their eyes, casting a look around to find out where he was.

There was a huge tree stump nearby and a charred heap or who-knows-what. No signs of that other man and the hissing snake or whatever that was. But then again, maybe there never were two dudes, maybe it was just this one talking with himself in the slavic accent. That did not comfort him at all.

None of those conclusions told him him a thing about their current location though. But judging by the composition of the deciduous tree types behind the borders of the clearing, they might even be in the Beacon Hills Preserve. Now that he could work with.

 

The man who was crouching in front of him stood up and watched him guardedly, as if waiting for something.

“So...,” Stiles started, squinting up at the dude.

“So?” the man repeated, eying him expectantly. The wolf looked up at his master and then back at the teen. What the hell were they waiting for? A magic trick?

“So... you seem like a person with all the answers,” Stiles stated, waving his hand in the man's direction.

And just like that, the tension seemed to have been sucked out of the space, the wolf whined and backed out of his personal space, nudging his head sadly against the leg of it's master. But the man did not show the same sadness. He just sighed and shrugged. “Because there is no one else around?”

“Well it's not like the wolf could answer my questions so why...,” he joked, but the wolf peered at him accusingly and Stiles swallowed up the rest of the sentence in confusion.

“Ah, well I am sure he would love to,” answered the man, crouching down to pull at the wolf's ear. “But he got himself stuck, didn't you buddy?”

The wolf growled and snapped his huge fangs in the direction of the man's fingers and wow okay, never make fun of vicious animals, dully noted.

“Ookay,” Stiles exhaled shuffling back a little, hoping they would not notice. “Honestly dude, you are just adding up to my list of questions with all that nonsense.”

“By all means,” the man grinned, waving his hand around as if they had all the time in the universe, which... okay, a good first point.

“What day is it? Just... you know... checking,” the teen frowned, trying to put the pieces together.

“Hmm, probably wednesday or...ah yes wednesday. I apologize for my hesitation, I haven't had the need to keep and eye on the time as such,” he shrugged and Stiles felt himself nod automatically. “But I assume you were more curious about how many days you've been out? Then since last friday.”

“Oh-kay, thanks I guess, that was kinda nice of you to mention,” Stiles noted, sliding his fingers over his forearms to scratch away the itch. He looked down at the reddened skin and wondered where did the burns come from. It was as if someone tried to write illegible shit onto his skin with a needle.

“I can't remember the past what... six days then,” he summarized and then looked up at the man again, his frown deepening. “What did you drug me with then? Or you know... not that I'm accusing you or anything... so no offense?”

“None taken,” the man laughed, standing up again as the wolf shuffled behind his legs as if he wanted to hide from the teen. “I am quite used to you accusing me of things I didn't do at all or yet for that matter.”

“Okay, that doesn't answer a freaking thing. You might as well candidate for a president with such vague explanatory methods,” Stiles grumbled, annoyance seeping into his voice, which might not have been the wisest choice, but this dude was very unwilling to simply explain stuff that was way too important to him at the moment. “Can't you just outright tell me what happened in those six days? Maybe draw me a chart or something?”

The man looked at him, his eyes once again searching, but after a few seconds he just sighed and shook his head in disappointment. And somehow Stiles felt like he let him down with just existing the way he was. It was the same look his dad used to give him after mom's death after all, so he was quite familiarized with it.

“Alright,” nodded the man, gesturing for him to get up. “Why don't we talk on the way back to your house. It's already nearing the time you would usually get off school and we certainly don't want to alert the sheriff.”

Stiles pushed himself off the ground, his legs trembling under him from some kind of an extension he couldn't remember doing.

Actually it weren't just his legs, but his whole body that seemed overextended. Curious. And what was even curiouser was the fact that the man's arm twitched as if he wanted to steady Stiles, but then didn't move to do so in the end. He decided to ignore that glitch though.

“The fact that you know all that – like when I get off school or where I live or what does my dad do? Not comforting at all, man,” he mumbled while brushing the dirt off his pants, but after glancing down his legs he realized his feet were caked in dried mud, as if he got stuck in quick sand and he gave up on the whole dusting-himself-off business.

“I imagine it must be,” answered the man, which should have been impossible. How come he heard him that easily?

“Nor is the fact, that you own a huge wolf, that could probably tear me into tiny little pieces any second,” Stiles noted regretting his words right away, because the wolf whined and turned sadly away from them, trotting out of the clearing with his tail hanging down between his legs. The man rolled his eyes and followed after him, beckoning Stiles to join them.

“There is nothing to worry about, Derek is quite harmless,” he nodded, when the teen caught up to him.

“Oh, his name is Derek?” Stiles wondered, watching the wolf jump over a fallen log with ease. He decided to walk around it, because there was no way he would be able to jump over it in a normal state, not to mention this tired exhaustion he found himself in suddenly.

“And you are...?” he continued his questioning after they passed the log. “I mean, unless it's top secret because you are secretly a vampire and by telling me your name you will reveal...”

“Peter Hale,” the man jumped into his rambling with an amused twinkle dancing in his eye. Delighted to finally meet you in person, Stiles.

Chapter Text

 

 

"Peter Hale?" Stiles frowned looking up at the man he found himself walking through the woods with, which was already a bit of an unsettling thing for itself, not to mention what kind of company he found himself in, because of course he knew the name. "The Peter Hale? As in..."

"Yes, as in the famous comatose survivor of the arson case, the one and only... Peter Hale," the man grinned, tilting his upper body in a mocking kind of bow.

"Aren't you supposed to be in the hospital though?” Stiles frowned, remembering the files his dad kept spread across his table for weeks after the fire.

It was a big thing in a small town like Beacon Hills, when such a disaster occurred. Nothing extraordinary ever happened in here after all (unless one counted the birth of Lydia Martin, of course), so the teen found it hard to believe that he didn't hear about Peter Hale regaining his consciousness. But then again, he was out for a few days, so maybe that was when it all happened.

“I am all better now actually,” the man answered, his muscles tensing just as Stiles thought he spotted a weird reddish glint inside his irises. It must have just been a trick of the light though. There was no way a thing like that could have happened naturally. Just the sun's reflection, Stiles thought, scolding himself internally for his wild imagination.

“So how come...” the teen started to ask, but was promptly interrupted by Peter: “It's a part of the story actually. Now shut up and let me explain.”

“But-”

“I said shut up and listen, Stiles,” the man repeated sternly, so Stiles just rolled his eyes and waved his hand around impatiently keeping his mouth shut this time. He was eager to find out what happened and this dude didn't seem to be the type who liked to be interrupted.

“Thank you,” Peter nodded, resuming his walk through the trees. “Now... where do I start...ah yes. The supernatural is real, the two of us are werewolves and the real reason why you can't remember a single thing from the past week is that the future you traveled back into past friday and decided to occupy your body for the time being. The running theory is that all the future memories were lost with the disappearance of the future you, which unfortunately means, that now it's just the original you again.”

Stiles stared at Peter's back while he explained his crazy theory, walking slowly behind him. But once he was finished, the man looked around at him and his eyebrows flew up in question as he awaited some sort of reaction from him.

But honestly Stiles wasn't going to buy a story like that, because come on - a dude who woke up from a freaking coma recently, telling him all this? Of course he was gonna doubt every single word that spilled out of his mouth. Now don't get him wrong, he was all for the supernatural being real. That was just not how the real world worked. Sadly.

“Great,” he muttered rolling his eyes. “Awesome... like seriously, it's a pretty cool story, but ya know, not believable enough. Not unless you can prove it... and don't say the wolf is proof enough.”

The wolf called Derek stopped in his tracks turning around with a glare obvious in his eyes. He even growled silently, making the hair on Stiles' arms stand up in fright, but logic was logic and the teen was not about to give it up just because a wolf was bearing his fangs at him. At least not yet. Maybe if the said vicious creature would decide to come closer... maybe then. Maybe.

“I mean, sure,” Stiles continued, his self-preservation instincts too weak to shut him up. “It is a quite overgrown wolf, I guess, but it ain't even fullmoon right now, nor any of those magical times of the year like solstice or something so...”

“Derek is a werewolf though,” Peter informed him calmly and the wolf just nodded at that... yeah, he definitely nodded... like a real person would - what a fun trick, the teen thought, they should try out for a circus next.

“So he can change back into a human,” Stiles opted, raising his eyebrows as he glanced back at Peter.

“Well...”

“Yep ,here we go,” he exclaimed, rolling his eyes extensively. “Now you're gonna make up a reason why he actually can't change into a human right now to prove you right, but suuure... he is a werewolf, alright.”

“He really isn't able to do that at the moment, though,” Peter shrugged, giving the wolf a questioning look, but Derek just turned his back to them, trotting slowly up the path between the trees.

They started to follow him again, as the man continued to persuade him about the existence of his disillusions. “Derek has a bit of a problem changing ever since the fire, you see. Plus, he barely managed to turn into a wolf. I must say I was quite surprised about that development myself, because it takes a lot of... well, let's call it dedication, shall we? To be able to do that in the state he found himself in... that is very interesting indeed. But as it is, yes, you are right, he won't be able to turn back for a few more days at least, so I can't exactly prove anything in that way, no.”

“Wait,” Stiles looked up, spotting the wolf slip between two closely standing trees and then look back at them. Something occurred to the teen right at that moment. “Derek... as in your nephew Derek Hale?”

Peter's nod made Stiles groan unhappily, as he stopped once again and glanced accusingly at his companion: ”You named your wolf, which where the hell did you manage to get a wolf anyways? Whatever, the important part is... you named him after a family member that left you to rot away in the hospital after the fire killed your whole family?”

Derek let out a menacing growl from his throat but the teen payed no attention to that, too caught up in his rambling.

“Oh my God, you are crazier than I thought!” he exclaimed, in disbelief running his palm over his scalp. “You... I am gonna end up dead in a ditch somewhere, aren't I? You are just trying to keep me calm, so that my meat doesn't get bitter like they do it with animals! Well, I gotta inform you, that it's too late for that, my body is full of weird stuff and my mind is not the most pleasant place either, so maybe you should reconsider...”

And that was when Peter rolled his eyes (again) and let them flash brighter than red Christmas lights. Stiles went silent at once and watched Peter's face contort into an angry scowl, his ears changing shape at the same time. Hair sprouted wildly along his sideburns, skin growing over his eyebrows, bones rearranged themselves inside his body a little to offer more support to the strengthening muscles. And once his transformation was finished with the last snap of his sharp talons, the werewolf opened his mouth in a violent snarl, the fangs greeting Stiles with a moist splatter of saliva.

The teen didn't even get to react properly, he only stumbled back a few steps, his mouth hanging open in a silent kind of shock. His feet got hooked on a tree root and he fell right onto his ass, scattering dry leaves all over the place.

Peter grinned. He actually grinned at Stiles with that mouth full of razor-sharp knifes. Grinned. And that wasn't the end of it, because the tilting of his mouth was followed by a throaty kind of laugh at the look of Stiles' face.

The wolfy Derek had the audacity to join him with some kind of yipping and... well Stiles didn't even mind to be laughed at, because that in front of him was a real werewolf. Like a real... freaking... werewolf and oh my God, how cool was that? He couldn't stop staring nor close his mouth for that matter, but who cared, because... a werewolf! There! Look at him!

But just as quick as it appeared, it disappeared and Peter was his old human self once again.

“Believe me now?” the werewolf asked as he walked closer to Stiles and offered him a hand. The teen's eyes ranked over his body and his face, cataloging all the changes that occurred in the past few seconds and he knew it wasn't enough. His curiosity was definitely not satisfied. On the contrary, it was actually roused from it's bed, where it lounged comfortably for the past boring years of his life. This changed everything...

“Do it again,” Stiles breathed out, staring at the man in front of him in amazement as he clasped the other man's hand. “Can you change into a wolf too? Can you show me that?”

“No,” Peter shook his head, pulling him up to his feet. “Werewolves with blue eyes always end up having a bit of a problem with that kind of a party trick, I'm afraid.”

He gestured between him and Derek, as if it was obvious, but Stiles did not get it at all.

“But your eyes are red,” he argued, brushing his palms over his pants to get rid of the dirt. That did not help per se, because his pants already looked as if he got stuck in a lake full of quick sand, but yeah, let's just ignore that minor piece of information, because there were more important things to learn about right now. Things that involved werewolves... and jeez, Stiles still couldn't get over the fact that there were two real-life werewolves right in front of him.

“My eyes are red, because I am an Alpha now, the pack leader,” Peter answered, as they walked along the dry bushes, Derek leading them through the trees once again. “The Alpha's red drowns any other eye color, but if I didn't have the status, my eyes would be blue just the same as Derek's.”

“So blue is a Beta then or something?” Stiles wondered, thinking back on all the nights he spent reading up on werewolves. Some of it might even be true now actually. That was a very exciting prospect for him.

“Blue or yellow, yes,” the werewolf answered inclining his head in thought. “Depending on how many loved ones you manage to murder, of course.”

Stiles stopped in his tracks and gulped, while Peter pushed through the bushes onto the road that led through the preserve. They were near the well-known intersection and the teen could see his baby blue jeep parked on the other side of the road, but he couldn't make his legs move, frozen on the spot.

“I am guessing the blue option is for the higher head count?” he asked and took a step back when Peter looked back at him, his eyes glowing menacingly in the afternoon sun.

Stiles glanced up the road and saw Derek sit next to his jeep, his eyes glowing blue as if they reacted to his Alpha's eyes and the teen couldn't help but realize, that even though being in the presence of real werewolves seemed like the coolest thing ever, it was also the most scary thing that could have happened to him. Alone in the woods, with two vicious supernatural beings, who could rip him apart at any time.

They basically confessed to have killed people right then, their glowing eyes the visible proof of their crimes, screaming at Stiles to run away. By that definition, they must have been murderers alright. And not just some common murderers, because killing a stranger wasn't as bad as killing somebody you loved. Stiles knew all about that, because he did that to his own mother... and that thought made his heart calm down marginally, because what if they were the same?

“So the blue eye thing,” he pushed through his lips, watching Peter's reaction closely. “It is triggered by some weirdo blood magic reaction when you bath in their blood or is it like... psychological? Like when you believe to have killed somebody you loved... when you think to have caused their death, but not necessarily... like a manifestation of the guilt you carry inside?”

Their eyes stopped glowing at once, as they blinked and turned to each other to share a look. It was just a glimpse but it told Stiles what he needed to know and even though none of them said a thing, he understood. It must have been the fire - the fact that they both survived weighting in on their conscience, that made their eyes blue. He would have the same eye color as them if he were a werewolf, he was sure of it.

And with that knowledge he slipped between the dry bushes framing the road and walked to his car. He patted his jeans but didn't find the keys anywhere.

“Should I break in?” Peter asked from beside him and Stiles startled, because he didn't hear the werewolf approach the jeep at all.

“No!” he exclaimed in horror. “You are not going to hurt my precious, are you out of your mind? I would rather walk all the way back than-!”

“You didn't seem that devastated when the Fates slashed your tires a few days ago, so I presumed it would be alright, if I payed for the repairs later,” the werewolf shrugged, scanning his car for a weak spot.

“Who did what now?!” Stiles cried, glancing down at the tires, which indeed seemed to be new indeed.

“Wait,” he muttered suddenly, because looking at them gave him an idea. If it was really the future Stiles, who drove the Jeep up here, then he must have known they would need to drive the car back and there was only one place the teen would hide his keys if he was unwilling to take them with him.

Stiles stepped to the side and crouched down to the front tire, reaching over to push through the mud beneath it. His fingers encountered what he was looking for and he laughed in elation as he pulled out the set of keys.

“Did you remember that or just assumed?” Peter asked, studying his face once again with that searching look, which made Stiles uncomfortable when he woke up. Even worse was the fact, that wolfy Derek was suddenly looking at him in a similar way.

“I have always put them there actually,” Stiles answered, trying to not feel guilty that he wasn't the future dude. That would be stupid of him.

He shook his head and turned from them to unlock the door. He then opened it and beckoned to them to climb inside too, before he settled into the driver's seat snatching up his phone that lied nearby. He pocketed it, while they followed him inside the car in silence. Peter first opened the door for the wolf, who just jumped into the back without any effort whatsoever and then pulled open the door in the front to sit next to Stiles.

“Soo,” the teen breathed, starting the car quickly. He needed to have some sound around him and the engine was more than glad to comply being as noisy as it was. But it was not enough and the teen kinda hoped he could restart the conversation once again. And so he continued: “Derek's eyes are blue, but he did manage to turn into a wolf...I thought you said it's impossible.”

“I said that it's problematic, not impossible,” Peter corrected him, tapping his fingertips against his thigh. “But he-”

Before he could finish the sentence though, there was a warning growl from the back, that silenced the Alpha at once. Peter just sighed and turned his head away to look at the passing trees, while Stiles guided the jeep along the road.

He risked a glance in the rear-view mirror, but the wolf was out of sight and he didn't feel adventurous enough to turn around in case the wolf would snap his teeth at him in annoyance, so he just kept driving. There were definitely things the two werewolves did not want to tell him and that only made Stiles more suspicious.

“So are you gonna wipe out my memory completely once we reach my place?” he asked, feeling his fingers tighten around the steering wheel. It seemed like the next logical step for the two of them. Stiles was probably never supposed to know about any of this. It was just his perfect future self that they wanted to hang out with and since that one was gone, they probably had no more use for the ordinary him.

Peter turned to look at him carefully. “Would you want us to?”

“Why... can you do that?” Stiles inquired unable to keep hurt from his voice, which was stupid of him, because he shouldn't care about it. So what if they wiped his memory clean? He was fine before he knew them, he will be after he forgets all about them too, right? ….right?

“Well, not magically, no,” Peter shrugged, looking through the windshield. “But I can always try hitting you over the head using just the right amount of strength. That might work one way or another.”

“What?” the teen exclaimed, glancing over to see the werewolf grin mischievously. And then it dawned on him. “That was not funny, man.”

“I beg to differ,” Peter snorted a smile still playing on his lips. “The truth is though, that we would not hurt you. You are a part of our pack, after all. In a pack we look out for each other no matter what.”

“I am?” Stiles asked curiously, surprised by such a notion. He almost forgot to turn right to head back to Beacon Hills, but managed to do so in the last second, which only made the wolf in the back grunt in annoyance as the sharp turn made him slide over the seats. “Humans can be in a werewolf pack?”

“Anybody can be, if the Alpha accepts them,” Peter informed him calmly. “And you are not just an ordinary human, you have magic too.”

“Yer a wizard, Stiles!” the teen imitated, his tone full of disbelief. “How can I bet one though? I ain't like Harry Potter doing accidental magic all my childhood. I don't dream about flying bikes or anything like that. I mean, come on, I need to take freaking pills to be able to concentrate on stuff. Doing magic? It does sound cool, I'll give you that, but... pretty impossible for a dude like me.”

“Well the future you knew how to do magic so,” Peter argued as if that was an argument enough.

“So the future me was some badass magical Jedi that can just leap back in time whenever he wants to what... to say hi? Forgive me if that's hard to believe. Are you sure it was me? Maybe it was just some dude pretending....”

“It was an accident actually...the time travel part,” the man interrupted him as the jeep finally slipped into the town, the industrial area passing around them slowly.

“Oh, well that does sound more like me, true,” the teen muttered, watching the road. “So... what happened to the future me then? Did he like... catch a train back or something?

“You died,” Peter informed him, his posture tensing. “Sacrificed your life for our pack. To protect us from a coven you sucked in dark magic from the Nemeton – the cursed tree back in the preserve – and used the magic to disperse the coven. It burned through your core though and... well it's quite a miracle that we got the younger you back at least. We thought... you should have died altogether if truth be told. Your future self must have known a way to keep you alive.”

Stiles stopped at the red light at the nearest intersection and looked over at the werewolf, studying his emotionless expression, but Peter did not offer any more information being stubbornly silent and the light changed to green again, so Stiles turned back to the road.

“Pretty heroic actually,” the teen noted with some sort of satisfaction. It seemed like a story from a book after all and he loved those parts where the main character did courageous things like that. He had to admit that the future Stiles seemed pretty awesome. Like a superhero or something.

“Pretty stupid actually,” Peter barked, startling Stiles out of his fantasy. His voice was hard and unforgiving. “Don't do that. Ever.”

The teen just hummed while he considered it and then waved his hand around in nonchalance. “Except now that I know what I did and that I actually did it in the future... I will definitely have to do it when the time comes, because you just set the future out for me by telling me what happens – it's a self-fulfilling kind of thing...”

“No, we will change it,” Peter answered, his fingers gripping his thighs as he stared through the windshield.

“That's not possible,” Stiles laughed, not even worried that he might die in the future in such a way. The future him didn't seem real to him anyways. And if he would be destined to die for someone he treasured in the future? Well then that seemed like a good way to go... he would never want to repeat the mistake he did while waiting for his mother to die. He was not going to let anybody else die because of him.

“Stiles,” the werewolf warned, a silent growl reaching the teen's ears from the back as if to enunciate Peter's point.

“It's just logical,” the teen rambled, turning the jeep to drive around the hospital. “If you changed that, then you would disrupt the whole time continuum, change the future itself. It was meant to happen like that and it will happen once I travel back in time when I reach the point in the future...”

“I said we will change it, Stiles,” Peter growled, his eyes flashing red. “And when I say...”

“Why do you even care?” the teen exclaimed, tensing on the seat. He could not understand the way Peter was acting. They barely knew each other and no matter what the future him did for them... it wasn't him and it might never be, so why would they care for a stranger like him?

“No seriously, I get it, the dude saved your life,” he said, voicing his thoughts. “But you don't owe me anything so...”

“You are pack now.”

“No, I am not,” Stiles argued, pushing the gas pedal lower unconsciously. “Maybe I will be one day, I am obviously destined to be, so probably yeah.... but still, I ain't a pack member now. How does that even work? Is there a ritual? Or do you just point at whoever you want and pronounce them a part of your pack? Do you roll the dice? Or is it like a feeling? I mean... do I have to leave my family behind and dedicate all I have to you? Because that ain't happening man... I barely know you, he was your pack member, I am just... the abducted flesh or whatever...”

He did not dare to look at Peter to see him realize his words were true so he concentrated on the driving instead. It shouldn't matter this much to him, he chastised himself, when he felt the sadness running through him. It logically shouldn't, because they were all strangers to each other after all. But somehow it did matter and that frustrated him... those weren't his feelings, it was just the imprint the future him left in his brain no doubt. He needed to start to ignore those faint traces of something he could not remember.

The jeep turned around the last corner and entered their street, creeping slowly between the family houses. Stiles led it into the driveway and cut the engine short, still gripping the steering wheel way too tightly.

“Would you like to be in our pack?” Peter asked out of nowhere and the teen turned around to gawk at him in incomprehension.

“But... why me? I am not a magical Jedi. You have no guarantee I will become one, why would you...,” Stiles started, shaking his head insistently. “Now don't get me wrong, it sounds like a quite awesome thing altogether, cuz I mean...duude, werewolves want me in their pack for no apparent reason whatsoever and how can one say no to that? But still... this sarcastic mess of a weak human that is me can't exactly be beneficial to you in any way.”

Peter just nodded silently along his monologue, as if listening carefully to his reasoning although he obviously did not agree with a single word he uttered. But midway through it, he frowned and inclined his head from Stiles suddenly, concentrating on the sounds outside of the car. The teen wondered what came over the werewolf, but ignored it for the sake of finishing his part of the conversation.

The wolf in the back stirred restlessly, his ears flickering here and there. Stiles frowned and turned to Derek, watching him with a frown on his face and just as he was about to ask what was going on, Peter spoke up: “I need to go now.”

The teen's head whipped back to him right away. “What, why?”

“Got a call,” the werewolf said, opening the door to jump out of the Jeep. “Think about the pack thing though. I do want you... not the future you, the you now, to be in our pack. So just think about it.”

“But I still have questions!” Stiles exclaimed, clambering out of the car to follow after Peter who already managed to walk down the driveway.

“Derek is staying with you, ask him if needed,” the werewolf said over his shoulder, waving his hand around in dismissal. “I have important matters to attend now.”

“Wait, why does the wolf get to stay with me again?” Stiles cried gesturing wildly and at fur blanket standing next to him. What the hell, do werewolves have ghostly powers of teleportation or are they just that good at sneaking around? He didn't even notice Derek climbing out of the Jeep.

Peter turned around at that and folded his arms over his chest, glancing behind Stiles a few times as if he was checking for something. “Because the future you was in your body when he killed the coven leader, which means...”

“No wait, let me guess,” the teen groaned, running his palm over his head. “The rest of them might be out for revenge? And I am not Dumbledore anymore so I would end up dead in like what...two seconds?”

“Precisely,” Peter nodded. “Now go. The sheriff is walking to the door as we speak. I'd rather he wouldn't have a reason to get suspicious about us.”

“And the giant wolf following me around doesn't count as a reason because what?” Stiles wondered angrily, hating to be treated like a child who can't take care of himself all of a sudden. Also he could totally see Derek rolling his eyes at everything he was saying. Which was just plainly rude. Wolf aren't supposed to know how to do that!

“Just leave your window open, he will climb through there to avoid your father,” Peter explained impatiently.

“The window,” Stiles deadpanned, quirking his eyebrow in disbelief. That must have been a bad joke.

“Just do it,” the Alpha ordered, his eyes flashing and the teen was starting to wonder if werewolves hypnotized other people with that weird glow of their eyes. Maybe that was how the whole obedience thing worked.

Peter turned around and started to walk away in measured steps. Stiles would have mistaken him for a normal dude walking through their street on his way back from from work if he didn't know any better.

He turned around to shrug at Derek or at least glare at him, but the wolf was gone, probably sneaking around to get into their house through his window. Which was a very unsettling thing to know about, but since this was his life now obviously, he will just have to roll with it.

Stiles walked back to the house, lost in thought and as he got to the front door, just when he was reaching out for the door knob, the door was yanked open and an excited-looking sheriff grinned at him. “We found Lydia!”

And yep, that did not shorten his list of questions at all.

 

Chapter Text

 

“You found Lydia?” Stiles repeated, confused for a second. Well no, he was confused for longer than that, but he was smart enough to play along so that his father wouldn't notice a week worth of memories missing out of his son's brain. He really didn't want to explain that to his dad, nor did he want to end up in a psychiatric ward once again.

Also, thank you very much, werewolfy Peter, he thought begrudgingly, for not sharing this seemingly important information. Now he had to cover for it and that was definitely a hard thing to do when one didn't remember a thing about the past week.

“That's great, dad,” he grinned, forcing his eyebrows to not knit together in confusion. “And... where did you find her?”

John smiled at that, beckoning him to step inside the house. He led Stiles all the way to the kitchen and then turned around with his arms stretched out in victory. Really, all he was missing was a bottle of champagne. That was the only thing that could make him look even more festive than he already did right then.

“Wandering out in the woods,” he informed Stiles. “She must have woken up confused and then managed to walk out of the hospital, which of course we already brought up to the authorities. I think they are reviewing the nurse that was on duty that night.”

“Oh, Melissa?” he asked promptly.

“Wasn't on duty that night,” his dad answered, shaking his head.

The teen wanted nothing more than to ask about the reason why the hell was Lydia in the freaking hospital in the first place, but he reigned himself and kept nodding along his dad's words, trying to look super enthusiastic about all the information. Which yeah, wasn't hard to fake, but it would have been a lot easier if he actually knew what his dad was talking about.

“So...uhh,” he stumbled trying to find something he actually could ask.”Is she okay? I mean...if you found her in the preserve... there are... animals and such...”

Animals and werewolves apparently. Could this have something to do with the Hales? Did they do this to Lydia? No, why would they kidnap a teenage girl from a hospital and abandon her in the middle of the woods? That gave no sense whatsoever.

But if there were werewolves, there could be a bucket full of other supernatural creatures that could be out for blood and if Lydia ended up crossing path with some of them...

“No, don't worry, she was alright. A bit shaken, true, but else unharmed,” the sheriff ensured him and Stiles breathed out in relief. If something had happened to her...

“Good, good,” he nodded, suddenly eager to know what happened to his strawberry goddess. And there was only one source of information available to him at that moment and that source was waiting on him in his room, so he decided to ditch the whole talk and head upstairs.

“So uh, good job dad. I got things to do now though so... I'll be in my room if you need me or something,” he smiled, snatching a bottle of orange juice that stood on the counter. He was so thirsty he could drink a whole river of water if he was near any.

Before he could walk out of the kitchen though, his dad stopped him asking: “They already told you, didn't they?”

And Stiles blanched, his fingers gripping the bottle a little too tight, but could any of you blame him, he really did not expect a question like that. Did his dad know about the Hales? Did the future Stiles tell him? What a fucking jerk, did he pull his dad into the whole supernatural business too?

“What?” he turned around pretending to not understand. He hoped he misunderstood the whole thing really. “Who told me what?”

“About Lydia,” the sheriff explained, turning to the counter to pick up the mug of steaming coffee he must have made before Stiles came. “Don't play dumb, if you didn't know beforehand, you would be jumping around in elation. But here you are just nodding along, so who told you? Scott?”

“Umm yea, it was him,” Stiles pretended to give in. He opened the bottle and took a sip from it. So thirsty. “It spread over the school like a fire if truth be told, but, I mean, I am still glad you found her just...”

His dad studied him for a few heartbeats and then sighed, running his palm over his face in some kind of a defeat.

“So you were nowhere near the preserve today,” John noted suddenly.

“Uhh, no, why would you-” Stiles started but then realized he just walked inside the house with his clothes all muddy and dirty from who knows what and sheriff well... he was a sheriff, a thing like that wouldn't escape his keep eyes. He took another sip off the bottle to gain a bit more time.

“Umm,” he stammered, looking down at his ruined jeans then. Why didn't this occur to him sooner? He could have changed clothes in the jeep, he always carried some spare stuff with him in case his clumsiness gets out of the hand. Really, it saved him from a few quite embarrassing moments already. Not this time though, because the future him abducting his body made him stupid or something. Damn.

“Yeah this is just...” Stiles muttered, not exactly sure what to say.

“I get it, no need to explain,” his dad sighed, walking to him, taking the bottle from his hands and pulling him in a tight hug. “I expected as much, but still, you need to be more careful, kiddo. I know... I know you haven't been feeling all that well these past few days, what with all the time travel talk...”

“Uhh, wait what?” Stiles asked. Yep, when in doubt just ask the what-question over and over again. It's inconspicuous enough.

“Well you don't usually involve me in your sci-fi mumbo-jumbo and neither do you visit your mom on... did something happen between you and Scott?” his dad wondered, pulling away from him to peer into his eyes. “I did not see him over for way too long and you gotta admit that's weird, because you guys are like Siamese twins.”

“Yeah no, we're fine,” the teen forced a grin, stepping away from his dad in relief. John obviously didn't know a thing about supernatural, which made Stiles think that his future self wasn't that kind of an asshole after all. Granted that assumption should be true by default, because if the present him ain't stupid than his future self shouldn't be either, but a lot could happen in ten years. Such a long time changes people.

But how come his future self did not spent that much time with his best buddy Scott? Was it because something happened between them and they weren't friends anymore? Nah, not possible, the dude was probs just busy saving the world and what not.

“Um, well I'm gonna hit the shower,” Stiles nodded, gesturing for the stairs. John nodded back at him automatically and turned back to the counter to fill his cup with more coffee.

 

~o~

 

Stiles ran up the stairs, ignoring the door to his room. He headed straight for the bathroom, pushing the door open urgently. His bladder couldn't wait a second more or so he told himself as he walked straight to the toilet, but the truth was he just wanted a little more time before he got to talk to Derek, even though he could not talk to a wolf per se, he still felt like taking a few minutes and think about all that had happened in the last few hours.

And that was why after finishing his business, he shed all his clothes and climbed into the shower to clean his body and clear his thoughts. Also because he was muddy as hell, but who cared about such things, he always tripped or fell somewhere where he shouldn't, so that was pretty much a normal state for him.

Stiles grabbed the shower head, turning the knob to ease hot water out of it. Holding the spray of water away from his body, he waited until it really turned warm and then immersed his naked body in it. It felt like heaven, his aching tense muscles eased up and he breathed out in relief as the headache got chased away by the spray of hot water as well.

He has been ignoring his body's complains for the last hour, after the adrenaline ran our of him, leaving him exhausted and numb. Was that because of the time travel thing? Or the fact that his future self used some weirdo dark magic to kill a wizard? Or maybe it was all of it combined. And probably tripled by who know what else.

Still, he could not imagine killing a person... thinking back on the clearing he woke up in, he suddenly realized what that smoking heap of ash must have been and felt bile rise up his throat just remembering it. Luckily he managed to keep it down, turning his face into the spray of hot water... the image of the future him seemed quite heartless. Stiles wasn't sure, he could ever be like that – killing a person by burning them alive.

What a horrible way to murder somebody. Did he just stand there watching the man burn alive? Did he enjoy his screams or did he just kill him fast and then burned his body so he wouldn't come back alive by some weird magic? There were way too many possibilities and Stiles was nothing if not inventive.

The teen forced all the thoughts and worries to the back of his head and deciding that hot water made him clean enough, he turned the water tab and stepped out of the bath into a little carpet they kept there so that the floor didn't get wet.

Eying his dirty clothes, he reached over for the towel and dried off his body. But because he had no clean clothes at hand, he just decided to tie the blanket around his naked body. Ignoring the damp skin, he took out the phone from the pants on the floor and set out for his room.

There was no time to think about his future after all. Important was what was happening right there and then. And he still had a few things to clear with the wolfy guy waiting inside his room.

And so he threw the door open and scanned the room. He spotted Derek right away. It would be hard not to spot a black wolf sitting near his table if truth be told, but he was somehow still glad that Derek was actually there and did not run off before he could answer any of his questions.

“So,” he started, crossing the arms over his chest as he pushed the door closed with his foot. He leaned over the wolf and scowled. “Lydia?”

The wolf eyed him for like two seconds, the expression on his face making Stiles want to cover his exposed body for some reason. He suddenly felt really warm and what the hell, why would anybody feel like that in front of a wolf? Yeah, okay a man in a wolfy disguise. Anyways, Stiles had no reason to feel shy, they were both dudes after all... although, maybe that was the reason, but yeah, let's not go there.

Luckily, the weird look was gone before he could even move and the wolf finally answered his question with an uncaring shrug. It was a really weird gesture for an animal like that, that much was true.

“You could have started with all, you know,” the teen scolded shaking his head. “What happened to her?”

Derek kept looking at him unimpressed. He then sighed and opened and closed his mouth silently a few times.

“You can't talk in this form, I get it,” Stiles noted, rolling his eyes. “I just thought you guys might have a way... not even some weirdo telepathic stuff or something?”

The wolf shook his head, looking more and more annoyed, which kinda annoyed the teen as well. What was the good thing about having a werewolf around, where he couldn't even ask all the important stuff? Where was Peter, when one needed him and why did he leave him alone with Derek – it's not like the wolf could explain anything to him right now.

“Great, just great,” Stiles muttered sitting down on the edge of his bed, frustration creeping into his voice as he grabbed a pair of boxers and put them on careful of the tower so that the wolf wouldn't catch a sight of anything inappropriate.

Jeez, okay, sue him, he did not feel like walking around Derek Hale in his freaking birthday suit, no matter how wolfish he was right then.

“How am I supposed to make sense of all this?” he sighed, pulling on a blue shirt he found bundled at his feet.

The wolf moved left. He sniffed the floor and pushed a dark shirt aside, revealing a file which must have been buried under it. A fleeting thought passed through Stiles' brain, a single small uncertainty as his eyes landed on the unfamiliar shirt, but curiosity pushed it away, when Derek pushed the file in his direction.

Stiles picked it up right away and stared at the first page. That was definitely his handwriting. Nobody could fake such illegible scribbles, let alone read them, but he could... because they were his. And so he let his eyes glide over the words, his eyebrows climbing higher and higher with each and every one of them:

 

Yo past me! This is the future you speaking or well... in this case writing. Is too bad I can't meet ya for realsies to explain everything to you, but ya know how it is... actually, now that I think abut it, i am probably dead by now, am I not? Kinda depressing if ya ask me, so lets not dwell on that and get on with the more important stuff. Be sure to build me a monument though, cuz I probably just saved your ass!

Anyhow, this the amazing guide to the awesomeness that is me and the future I live in. Honest to everything magical, it is one beautiful future so please don't mess it up for us. I trust you to keep yourself on the right path so that you might write these words yourself one day... that is just if this really is a time loop, if not then...well a few words of wisdom at first:

Follow my path young padawan, don't succumb to the dark side and one day you might end up being just as cool as I am, cuz man the things I have gained in the future, you would not believe me even if I did write it down now. It is well worth it, trust me, I am not the Doctor, but I do know stuff so... sit down, hold tight, here we go:

 

Stiles looked up at the wolf who was sitting in front of him then and frowned. “Was I high when I wrote this?”

The wolf did not answer though. Which wasn't exactly a surprise, because being an animal like that, one did not expect it to just open it's mouth and talk. But Stiles would have still appreciated if Derek at least decided to pay attention, not ignore him and creep into the corner of his room for no reason whatsoever.

He watched his ears flicker slightly for a few seconds longer and then decided to resume his reading.

 

Most important info follows:

1.You're magical! Well technically a lot of people are but they never really learn how to use the potential and end up living a totally boring life. But since I am awesome, you gotta be too and that only leaves one thing for you to do – learn how to access that magic you have been given by mum. How? Don'tcha worry, you won't be alone for such a hard task, I already contacted a fella to teach you, codename Gandalf, he will totally love that nickname, you better use it man! So yeah, good luck...also if you manage to access your Spark, I got a vial of bay tree ash somewhere – use that to glimpse into the future. Sadly I probably didn't find out a way to leave behind my memories if you gotta read all of this.

 

2.The Hale pack is your family. I know it might not seem that way, especially if Derek is being an ignoring asshole and Peter acts like a crazy maniac, but they are your family just as same as dad or mom was. And I am not sure if the pack will grow the same as it did in my time line, because I did manage to mess up a few things here and there, but if it ever gets to the point where it was in my future, I am sure it will be just the type of thing you always wished to have in your life. So protect them with everything you have or I swear to the Nemeton I will hijack your body from the huge magical beyond and keep it for all eternity so that you might never return back to it! But yeah, no pressure! :)

 

Just when Stiles was about to read the third point on the list, which was definitely about Derek Hale, because he could have sworn to have seen his name somewhere between the words of that first sentence, he was interrupted by his dad who barged into the room, his face frantic.

The teen looked up at the sheriff and seeing the look of utter shock, he blanched under the wave of dread that spread through his mind. Something was wrong. He knew that right away.

“It's Scott,” his dad said, his hand tightening around the door knob. “There was an accident. Melissa called he is being brought to the hospital as we speak.”

“We need to go,” Stiles reacted right away, throwing the notes onto his bed and scrambling for some pants on the ground. He only found his gray sweatpants, but whatever was good at this moment as long as he didn't have to run to the hospital clad in his boxers only.

“Yeah,” his dad nodded after he dressed. “Come on, we'll take the cruiser.”

The teen was about to run out of his room right away but a disapproving growl stopped him. He turned around and spotted Derek's head peaking from behind the bed. He must have heard his dad approaching and hidden.

“Dude, no, I have to,” Stiles argued, shaking his head frantically. “It's Scott, I... I'll be back soon or well soon-ish... and dad is gonna be with me. I will be safe.”

The wolf shook his head obviously not agreeing with that plan, but the teen barely cared. This was not something he could ignore.

“It's my best friend, I have to go,” he reasoned, taking a step back which brought his body over the threshold. He then turned around completely and ran after his dad without looking back.

 

~o~

 

“So what exactly happened again?” Stiles questioned breathlessly, as he climbed into his dad's police cruiser. He didn't even feel bad for leaving Derek behind, because no matter what his notes told him, no matter how much of a family the future him promised him to have, there was a very important member of his present family, that needed him right now and Stiles was nothing if not caring about his own. And Scott was one of those people. And there weren't many left, so there was no way he would abandon him in such a time of need.

“Melissa wasn't sure,” sheriff answered promptly, turning on the engine and guiding the cruiser down the driveway. Stiles put the seatbelt on quickly and fidgeted nervously.

“Yes, but what did she say, then?” he breathed.

“She only said there was a car accident or something,” John said as he turned the car left heading for the shortest possible route to the hospital. It was still taking too long. “I will call deputy Lawrence when we get to the hospital, he was on call today.”

“Oh my god, a car accident?!” Stiles exclaimed, his fingers digging into his knees as a dozen possible scenarios flooded his brain and yes, each and every one of them was worse than the previous one. “How bad was it?”

“I don't know, she didn't say,” John repeated patiently. “She only knew what Lawrence told the operator.

“Call Lawrence then,” the teen exclaimed, waving his hand around. “No wait, I'll do it, you keep on driving.”

He reached over to pry the phone from his dad's pocket, his fingers trembling. They didn't even reach the church yet, the car was definitely going too slow, way too slow for the likes of him. He needed to know what happened and needed to know it now.

“Put him on speaker,” the sheriff ordered, as Stiles hit number six on the speed dial and waited, counting the rings. Luckily he didn't have to wait too long, since the deputy picked up almost right away.

“John, I was about to call you,” Lawrence said without any greeting whatsoever, which only made Stiles tense, because the deputy was always very polite and him not taking the time to greet the sheriff only implied that the situation was way too dire to waste any time.

“This is Stiles,” the teen interrupted before his dad could say anything. “We are heading to the hospital right now, what happened to Scott...is he...?”

“The ambulance took him to the hospital like fifteen minutes ago,” Lawrence answered calmly. “We are not completely sure what happened yet, but by the looks of it, the wheel on Scott's bicycle must have hit something, which made him whirl off into the road right into the path of a truck. And since the truck driver had not seen him till the last second...”

“Oh shit...is he..? Is it bad?” Stiles wheezed, feeling the panic ride up his windpipe.

“Well it didn't look that good, but I am sure the ambulance...”

“Understood,” John intercepted, reaching over to put a hand on his sons shoulder while driving past the church. “Thank you for the info, Lawrence. Get back to your job, I will see you back at the station in a few.”

“Of course,” the deputy answered, his voice somehow relieved. “Beckett is already taking down the statement from the driver. I will go to assist him.”

“Good,” John nodded. “See you-”

“Wait, no,” Stiles exclaimed, the phone in his hand trembling.. .yea okay, it wasn't the phone, it was his hand okay, not stop picking on such unimportant details and focus on the vital stuff, the teen scolded himself. “Wait Lawrence, I need more info, I-”

“Stiles, hang up,” the sheriff said squeezing his shoulder tightly. “Hang up.”

“But dad, what if-”

“Hang up, Lawrence has work to do,” his dad repeated, his voice a bit more stern than before. “We are almost there anyways.”

Stiles looked out of the window, watching them pass the church, but they were still not close enough. Unfortunately, it was too late because he heard the noise being cut off in the phone. Lawrence hang up on him. He clenched the phone tighter, so tight his fingers hurt, but he did not care about the pain, not one bit.

“Can't you put on the sirens and speed up a bit?” he questioned hopelessly.

“Almost there,” did dad answered calmly, his hand leaving Stiles' shoulder for a second to switch the gears as they turned right. They were passing the market place.

It took a few more seconds for them to climb the road up to the hospital and once they reached the parking lot, Stiles was ready to jump out of the moving car, weren't it for his dad's hand that once again landed on his shoulder.

John led the car right to the entrance door, or well as near at the road would go, because there were still a few yards separating them from the door itself.

Only when he cut the engine short, did he let go of Stiles' shoulder and that was when the teen leaped out of the car and raced into the hospital blindly. There was a woman standing by the front desk talking hurriedly to the nurse behind it, but the teen paid her no attention, as he slipped between her and the nurse.

“Excuse me, we need-”

“Stiles!” John called from the side of the room beckoning him to follow down the hallway. Being the sheriff, he knew exactly where they had to go and he also could go there without waiting for a permission. Stiles grinned, running after his dad in elation. It was really good his dad was a sheriff sometimes. Albeit only sometimes.

They walked along the corridor, going left through a glass door, twice actually, because the emergency entrance was at the back of the building as to not interfere with the parking lot for the visitors.

Stiles wasn't really paying any attention to where they were going, nor what they were passing on their way there. He only concentrated on his dad's back. He looked at those broad shoulders, watched the sheriff lead him calmly and allowed some of that calmness to envelope his body as well.

He hated hospitals, the smell, the artificial light, the sick people... it used to give him heavy panic attacks right after his mom died and even though that got much better, because he was a logical person after all and concluded that a hospital was generally a good place for sick people to end up in with all those doctors and what not... well definitely better than the morgue, right? But still.

He could feel the past feelings of dread resurfacing once again. All those days he spent watching his mom whither away. All those days she... and now Scott was at the same place. He was there somewhere beyond a door and the beeping kept slowing down gradually, up until...

His train of thought was interrupted when his dad stopped. The teen moved a little to the right to see why they stopped and blanched. It was the door to the ICU. Scott was stuck in an intensive care unit.

Stiles could barely breathe at the revelation, panic flooding his chest. That couldn't be true, maybe this was some sort of a nightmare, he thought desperately, looking down at his hand, but it was not blurry nor weirdly shaped and he had to give up on that hope. This was real.

And that was when the door opened and Melissa stepped through them, her eyes red and puffy.

“John,” she exclaimed as she spotted his dad. She walked over to them quickly, it were just a few steps anyways, the look in her eyes giving up way too many informations.

Stiles gulped and watched his dad put his arms around her when the tears began to fall out of her eyes as she tried to explain the horrible state her son was in. The teen caught some words like “surgery” and “blood loss” and “fractures” and he would have heard the whole thing weren't it for the fact that he couldn't bring his feet to move in closer.

“But...,” he said suddenly, his voice way too loud and rough. “But he is going to be okay, right...? I mean... it's Scott... he always...”

Melissa glanced at him from over John's shoulder, her tears leaving wet tracks all the way down her cheeks, her face a desperate veil of utter sadness and that was an answer enough. Stiles did not need to hear the words, he did not need to see it for himself. He just knew - she did not know. She did not know at all.

It was suddenly too much for him. The corridor was way too narrow, the world began to tilt just as it always did before when got caught up in a panic attack and he could see his dad letting go of Melissa and reaching out for him.

But that was when something pulled at his insides accompanied by a wave of vibrations in his back pocket. Stiles felt himself slip back into reality, his heartbeat calming down, his breath returning to normalcy, his brain thinking clearer again.

He curiously reached for his phone and looked down at the flashing screen. John stopped and watched him for a second, but seeing the panic attack draw back, he turned back to Melissa who needed his attention more at the moment.

Stiles' phone kept ringing and Peter's name kept flashing on it persistently and the teen kept staring at it numbly until he felt the panic attack completely release him. How come the werewolf has his number, he wondered, it must have been another of his future self's doings.

He slid his fingers over the screen to accept the call and walked a few steps further down the hall to have a sense of privacy.

“Stiles, what is wrong?” Peter barked from over the phone and made the teen cringe at the volume.

“Did Derek call you?” Stiles wondered aloud, his brain still a bit stupid from the almost-panic attack. He somehow ended up dumbly imagining Derek dialing a number on a smartphone using only his paws and that wet muzzle of his and then yipping into it in some wolfy language to complain he has been left alone at home.

“No, I have tracker on you that connects me to your emotions and it started to beep very insistently,” Peter explained hurriedly pressing for an answer. “So what is wrong?”

“It's Scott, he was run down by a truck,” Stiles exhaled, totally ignoring how weird it was that some werewolf could basically read his thoughts. Yeah, he was good with weird and hearing Peter's voice... it somehow gave him comfort, which in turn made him wonder if that was a pack thing or not.

That was until he realized that Peter met the future him, he talked with him and obviously knew a lot of things so he could not help but ask.

“Was this supposed to happen? Is he going to...?” he breathed, afraid to hear the answer.

“Who?”

“My best friend Scott,” Stiles swallowed, his hope trampled by a wild horde of elephants. “Oh fuck no, the future me did not talk about him? He did not tell you about Scott at all? Oh no, is he dead in the future? Will he die...? I can't let that happen, I can't watch... not again.”

“Calm down,” Peter growled, his voice laced with some sort of authority that calmed the teen right away. “That is not the priority right now. You need to get back and stay near Derek. Now.”

“I am not leaving.”

There was a loud crush in the background and Peter's growl intensified. Stiles could hear a voice talking to the werewolf and although he could not distinguish the words, it sounded urgent enough. Peter cursed under his breath.

“Stiles, get back home, now,” he ordered, the weird vibrations in his tone intensifying, which did not seem to influence the teen at all, but he still some kind of a pressure that was compelling his mind to do so. “You have to-”

“No, fuck you!” Stiles exclaimed, fighting the weird wolfy magic. “I don't care what kind of friendless asshole the future me was, I need to stay here! This is Scott, this is family, he is my brother, I won't leave him. Not now, not ever!”

He didn't let Peter talk anymore, he just tore the phone from his ear and hung up on him without any remorse whatsoever. Peter was not his Alpha, he could not command Stiles to abandon one of the most important people in his life, he could not order him around like some weak human.

He made up his mind, he would stay by Scott's side, until Scott would not need him anymore. Whether that would be his dead or his recovery, that did not matter, he would not let him be alone just as he couldn't let him mom die alone, even though she barely recognized him in the end.

And with that thought, he turned around and walked back to his dad and Melissa switching his phone to the airplane mode.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles sat on the bench in front of the ICU for... well he didn't exactly know for how long already. There was a reason for that and it wasn't a sudden change of the laws of time. He simply didn't know what was the time when they left the house, nor the time when they arrived at the hospital, nor the time when Melissa slipped back behind the locked door to keep an eye on the surgery. Nor did he know when the sheriff left him all alone, because mister Whittemore was raising all hell back at the station for some reason or another.

The only thing he knew was that it had already gone dark behind the windows and Scott was still in the surgery. It was quite a long surgery and no... for as much as an information junkie Stiles was, he did not turn on the wi-fi on his phone and he did not google through the tons of information... he just couldn't, not when it was Scott, not when he was afraid of what he might learn.

And so he kept sitting on the bench quietly, gripping the inactive phone between his fingers and staring at the floor, as the nurses and doctors kept walking by him. He was glad they did not try to talk to him. Or that they didn't try to send him away – the sheriff must have talked them into it. Yeah, he probably did, because it had seemed t be past the visiting hours already.

Stiles let the seconds slip by in a mindless marathon of waiting. How long was it already? He wondered again. It might have been just five minutes or it might have been four hours. And he could have just looked down on his phone to know. But he didn't. He wanted to wait until Melissa to comes out of the ICU. She will be back soon and there will be a relieved smile on her face and everything will be alright. He will have his brother back then.

And if not... well, he did not dare to dwell on that possibility. It was too soon. Scott will be okay after all. This was not some work of a supernatural creature or anything like that after all. This was just a simple car accident. Something, that happened every day and something that people survived every day. It was no big deal. It was just a car... a truck...a fucking truck.

And what if it wasn't an accident at all? What if this was a result of his future shenanigans? What if the future him caused this horrible accident by the pure logic of a butterfly effect? Could he go back and repair it? Could he set things right by erasing the decisions made by the future him? How does one travel back in time anyways? How...?

Ahh, that's right, Stiles thought, letting his head sink even lower as he braced his elbows onto his thighs - he was useless. Totally useless... he didn't know how to travel back in time, he couldn't do shit, magical nor normal. He was just a simple human with no special powers whatsoever.

He couldn't save Scott just as he could not save his mom... because everybody around him kept dying, because he was like poison... what did him mom use to tell him every time she had an episode? Ah yes... he wants to kill me... he wants to kill me, don't leave me alone with him... he wants to...

“Stiles,” whispered a male voice from beside him and the teen startled, bolting upright with shock in his wet eyes. He glanced up at Peter who was sitting next to him and for a second he did not understand.

Why did his eyes sting? Why was he crying? And when did the werewolf manage to sneak up on him? Was he sitting next to him for this whole time?

“Stiles,” Peter repeated and his eyes flashed red, the tone of his voice bringing the teen back to himself.

“Uh sorry,” he blurted out, rubbing at his eyes in frustration. “It's nothing...”

“No need to apologize,” Peter remarked, tearing his eyes away from the teen and leaning back onto the bench which they shared. He let out a long sigh and relaxed. “The future you panicked just as much.”

“Well good to know some things never change,” Stiles laughed bitterly, leaning back to mirror the other man. “Good to know, that even as a powerful wizard, I still feel incapable to help my loved ones.”

“Which is a stupid assumption, because you did save us all in the end,” Peter countered promptly without even looking at him.

“Yes and I died,” Stiles snorted, shaking his head at the mundane topic of their conversation. Who cared what his future self did? Who cared at all, when Scott was fighting for his life? This was not the time, nor the place and if Peter only came over for the sole purpose of dragging him back to Derek, well then he could just fuck off already.

“Look,” the teen started, turning to look at the werewolf to voice his thoughts. “If you are here to-”

“That friend of yours,” Peter intercepted suddenly, looking at him curiously from where he sat. “You said his name was Scott... Scott McCall by any chance?”

Stiles frowned and looked down the hall, spotting a nurse pushing a wheelchair with an elderly woman in it to the elevator. He watched them get into the lift and with the final ping of the door he glanced back at the werewolf suspiciously. “Yeah, McCall, why?”

Peter hummed under his breath as if he just figured out the answer to the most important question in the whole galaxy. To the dilemma, that kept torturing the mind of philosophers all over the universe for hundreds of years. He turned his eyes to the door behind which Scott was being operated on then.

“Why?” Stiles repeated, because the elusive behavior intrigued him and he wanted to know more.

“The future you mentioned him to me,” Peter answered automatically, not letting his eyes slide off the door. Did he hear something Stiles couldn't with the weak human ears of his? And did the teen even want to know if yes?

“Is he going to... die? Is that what you talked about?” the teen asked before he could stop himself. He still did not want to know, because not knowing might keep all the hope inside him alive, but he could not help being curious, because it was the core of his nature after all. And something about Peter's calm endeavor told him, that it might not be as bad as he feared.

“I don't know,” Peter answered, but there was more to it, more to the answer, more behind his words and if Stiles could just figure out what, then everything would be clearer.

The werewolf looked at him then and blinked. “The famous notes of yours did not mention any of this? That is... if the notes even exist, it might have been a ruse after all.”

“They do exist,” Stiles answered slowly, not understanding how anything of it could be ruse. “I just did not get the chance to read them thoroughly, nor bring them over for that matter. It wasn't exactly high on my list of priorities.”

There was something in Peter's eyes just then, when he confirmed the existence of the notes and Stiles sighed in understanding. He tore his eyes away from the werewolf and stood up.

“If you want to read them just go back to my place and ask Derek to show you around,” he said, keeping his back to the man. “I don't exactly care, you know.”

Peter did not get off the bench and Stiles did not turn around to look at him. He fixed his eyes on the door instead and stared at it for a while. The silence only made him itchy and so he side-stepped a little and sighed, staring stubbornly ahead.

“How is he doing then, did they tell you something?” the werewolf asked, startling the teen out of his thoughts, because the source of his voice was way too close. When did the other man get up from the bench? How long was Stiles staring at the door...? Why aren't they done with the surgery yet?

“Pretty bad,” Stiles muttered, pushing his hands into his pockets and shuffling his feet. “I mean, Melissa, his mom, did tell us something but, I... I mean just the look in her face was enough to...cuz it was the same when...”

“When your mother died?” Peter wondered aloud, glancing over at the teen. And when Stiles looked over at him, he did not see pity, as he was used to, just a silent kind of understanding. And it made him wonder what happened that the werewolf understood his pain that much. Except he knew the reason for it, didn't he? He just didn't let him mind descent down that path because it would be way to cruel to discuss the fire with Peter right now.

And so he chose the more harmless question to ask: “My future self talked about that as well?”

“Yes, you went to see her...”

And yes, Stiles should probably be surprised about that, because wasn't the dude from ten years in the future? Shouldn't he have been past that? But somehow he knew he could never forget his mom, not after she was so forcefully taken from him, not after all those weeks he spend worrying and fearing for her to meet an untimely demise, which she did in the end anyways.

Just reminiscing about it now made him feel raw as if he was scraped down to the bones and to think that Scott might end up on the other side of life as well... Stiles would have panicked once again, he definitely would have, but he somehow couldn't, because Peter was standing right next to him and his presence there was weirdly calming.

“Say,” the teen started, glancing at the werewolf. “That calming thing you're doing... is that your superpower or something?”

“More like an Alpha thing really,” Peter answered promptly and Stiles had to admire his straightforwardness for that. “I can order my pack members to fetch me wine and cheese or rub my sore feet.”

Stiles grinned at that and turned to the other man again, his eyes full of curiosity: “And they can't resist it?”

“Of course they can,” Peter shrugged. “If they got a strong enough mind that is. But if it's something you want to happen but can't make your body do? Well... that's easy for me to achieve using the Alpha's voice, because your mind does not want to rebel against it. Quite on the contrary, it embraces it eagerly, happy to follow.”

“Couldn't you use that on Derek to help him turn back then?” the teen wondered, his hands coming up in front of him in a curious gesture.

Peter hummed at that. “He would have to want to change back and as things are now? I am not sure he actually does want to. Not yet at least.”

Stiles nodded thoughtfully, rubbing his hands together as he went through his recent memories and one of them stood up to him after hearing Peter's explanation. One of them in particular. And when he finally managed to connect the dots, he could not help but asking. “It's like when you brought me back in that clearing. That was it, wasn't it? That Alpha thing?”

“That's what worked then in the end?” Peter asked, surprise painted all over the words. “My Alpha voice?”

“Umm, well... yes?” Stiles guessed, trying to sort through the memories. He was trapped in some void... and then something helped him find his way back. That something guided him back, but it was not just one simple thing, it were three equally strong... what were those things anyways?

“There were these... like... threads of sorts,” he frowned. “Like...these...”

“Like three bonds you mean,” Peter clarified and Stiles could not believe it, because it was exactly the word he was searching for.

“How did you know that?” he wondered, the door all but forgotten as he looked directly at the other man.

“Well, we figured the only way to pull you out of the oblivion would be to use the bonds that tied you to each and every one of us,” the werewolf explained, his eyes full of contemplation. “We needed to bring you back to this world, to anchor you back and what better way than to use the ties that bind you to us to guide you back? It somehow worked out in the end, that there was one connection representing each and every one of us. Isn't that just fascinating? You were really lucky. If it was just an hour earlier, then it wouldn't have been possible at all, because Derek...”

“Who's us?” Stiles jumped into his monologue, eager to know more. Who could be thee other two people that he had such strong bonds with? Was it his dad? Or maybe Scott?

“Me, Tomasz and Derek.”

“Tomasz is some other pack member?” the teen wondered, the name not at all familiar to him. But then he somehow remembered the weird conversation he overheard back at the clearing and everything seemed to finally give sense. “The dude with the Russian accent? That's Tomasz, isn't it?”

“Yes, except he is not a pack member,” Peter explained, running the fingers of his hand over the side of his body for some reason. “He is just a little magical helper, that came into our lives recently. Actually, the future you called him over.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Stiles exclaimed, putting up his hands to stop the torrent of the other man's words. “Is that the mysterious Gandalf person my future self mentioned in the notes?”

Peter snorted at that: “The future you surely ha-” but then he suddenly froze, lifting his eyes to stare at the door to the ICU, as if he could see all the way past them. His head inclined a little, concentrating on something being said far away.

“Wha-” the teen started, but the werewolf silenced him with a simple hand gesture. He then leaned closer to the door and kept listening for a few seconds more.

Stiles could not bear the silence, could not stop his fingers from twitching, his mind from supplying all the possible scenarios...but then Peter leaned back away and blinked a few times, his previous concentration levels sinking.

“Sounds like the surgery is over,” the werewolf informed him slowly.

“And?” Stiled breathed out, dreading the hell out of the answer, because he didn't know what would follow. He could not read Peter's expression as easy as Melissa's... but somehow he couldn't keep his heart from swelling with hope, that got crushed right away by the other man's following words: “They don't think he will survive the night.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles just stared. He did try to push some words of denial out of his mouth, push them past his lips, but his tongue felt suddenly way too heavy and his throat closed off as if somebody stuffed a balloon down into his lungs. A balloon that only kept growing bigger and bigger, threatening to tear apart his whole body.

“That must be a mistake,” he whispered in shock. “Maybe they were talking about somebody else, maybe you heard wrong or...”

“I just need to listen to his heartbeat to confirm the doctor's words, Stiles,” Peter said shaking his head. “It's very weak, kept alive by machines.”

“No, that... but that can't be, it's Scott, he,” Stiles muttered. He couldn't wrap his mind around that piece of information. It's like it came from a different dimension where everybody thought differently and his brain was just not compatible with it. He just couldn't process it at all.

“I'm sure he'll be fine, we just have to wait,” he managed to say, pushing the last remains of his hope into those barely audible words.

He looked up at Peter then, silently begging for some kind of reassurance, but the look on the other man's face was painfully neutral. It made Stiles realize, that the werewolf wasn't lying and since he wasn't, Stiles needed to do something to save Scott and needed to do it right away. But what could be do? He was no surgeon, no...wait, his eyes snapped back to Peter.

“Isn't there some magic, I could do?” he breathed, desperately surging his brain to look for a solution in the recently revealed world of supernatural.

“I don't think you would be able to access your Spark yet, let alone using it for such a complicated-”

“What about Gandalf then?” Stiles exclaimed, reaching over to grip Peter's biceps urgently. “You said he knows magic, lots of it, maybe he could-”

“No, he can't now. He just went through a very taxing cleansing ritual, which means he will be out for another few hours,” Peter explained, looking moderately regretful. “It will be too late by the time he regains his strength and besides-”

“Somebody else then?” Stiles presser, squeezing the other man's arm.

“You must know somebody, that could help,” he reasoned desperately. “It's my brother, Peter, it's my family, I will do anything, I will... please Peter, there must be something, anything...”

“Anything?” Peter breathed and Stiles' head snapped up from where he stood hunched and forlorn. There was hope, there was obviously something to be done about Scott's ordeal and the teen did not hesitate to nod.

No matter what it was, no matter what it required of him, he would do it. He would die to keep Scott alive for Pete's sake...and somehow he finally understood why his future self did what he had done, because Stiles was the same. He was about to do the freaking same thing.

Peter studied his face for a while longer and then sighed. “Alright. I somehow expected this to happen anyways. Well then... Scott is sadly unconscious right now, so he can't exactly give me his consent, but you can. The question right now is though, are you willing do to it? Are you willing to take responsibility for this when the time comes?”

Stiles frowned looking into those green eyes. He watched little specks of red appear in them out of nowhere. Watched them whirl and grow and devour the green as if it was a forest being swallowed by a grand fire. He watched the irises glow in a streaking red color and knew. He knew what that meant. But still, he needed to hear it to be sure. And so he asked, his voice hushed: “You don't mean...?”

“Oh yes, I do,” Peter grinned, his teeth a mixture of fangs and regular teeth. “I am going to give Scott the Bite.”

Stiles could feel his heart beat for a notch faster, could feel his fingers tremble at the sight of the bloodthirsty look on Peter's face. Was he really ready to entrust his best friend to a werewolf? Because this was a vicious werewolf smirking at him. Not a human. Not a human at all. By far.

“But he will be a werewolf then,” the teen noted dumbly, unconsciously taking a step back.

“But alive,” Peter reasoned. He closed his mouth then and blinked a few times to urge his eyed to turn back to their normal green color and Stiles would have bet it was for his own benefit. He must have heard what his heart did at the sight of it.

“Of course there is a chance he will reject the Bite,” the other man continued, “but this is the highest-”

“Do it.” Stiles heard himself say. And wow okay, that surprised not only Peter but pretty much both of them. But then again, it was the only logical decision. He wanted Scott to live, he wanted him to live no matter what and if turning him into a werewolf kept him alive, well then screw it, screw all the reason.

“Are you sure? He might end up blaming you,” Peter noted, inclining his head. “He might rather be dead than a werewolf.”

“No,” Stiles shook his head, feeling more sure about it with every passing second. “He wants to live too, I know him, he wouldn't just want to leave his mom all alone. She has nobody who could protect her from that asshole of an ex and... no, there is no way Scott would rather die than... he has his own dreams, dreams that would die with him and we...we promised to each other... and if there is no other way...”

“Not that I know of, no,” Peter confirmed when Stiles looked at him with a question in his eyes. “Not unless you would want to resurrect him after he died and that...well it's a lot more complicated than a simple Bite, trust me.”

“Do it then.”

The werewolf studied his features for exactly two more second and then nodded. No hesitation. “Understood.”

Stiles watched Peter step away from him and head for the door. It was just then when it opened and a crying Melissa stepped out of the ICU. The teen wasn't even surprised by the perfect timing the werewolf chose to step to the side of the door and slip inside. There was no way Melissa would pay attention to her surroundings at that state of mind. It was the perfect opportunity for Peter to get into the ICU undetected.

The last thing he saw before the door closed properly and before his sight got blocked by a mop of Melissa's dark hair was a faint red glow of the Alpha's eyes.

“It's going to be fine,” he breathed into the flowery smelling hair, as the door to the ICU clicked closed. “He's going to be fine.”

 

~o~

 

“Melissa,” the sheriff called across the hallway as he approached the two of his dearest with deputy Lawrence trailing slowly behind him.

Stiles looked up at him from where he sat on the bench with Melissa, their sides pressed tightly together for comfort and nodded to the deputy politely. He then looked over at Melissa, but she just kept her head down, fiddling with her sleeve distractedly.

“How is he?” John asked them as he got closer, but Stiles did not answer (for the obvious reason) and Melissa only shook her head sadly, a silent sigh escaping her lips. She was too tired to cry by now, too tired to fight. Stiles knew that feeling way too well.

“They are keeping him alive as best as they can,” she informed his dad, her voice resigned as she stood up again. “I just went out to inform you guys and... I'll be heading back to him now, I won't leave him all alone, even if...”

“I'll stay with you,” John nodded, his tone not leaving any room for negotiation. Melissa just nodded back to him and stepped a little closer to the ICU door looking relieved at that.

Sheriff turned to Stiles then and sighed. “Lawrence will take you home.”

“What? No no, I'll stay with you,” the teen argued, moving closer to the door as well. He was not going to abandon his best friend. What if Peter won't be able to get to him or what if Scott dies anyways? He needed to stay here, he needed to make sure... how should he trust Peter, whom he has known for only a few hours? This could have all been a sham and then Scott will be dead tomorrow and Stiles won't even know...

“You got school tomorrow, buddy and it's already way past midnight,” sheriff stated, tapping his finger over his watch.

“You can't be serious, dad, school? Who cares,” Stiles exclaimed, waving his hands around in agitation. “This is Scott, I have to stay. Of course I have to.”

John stepped in closer to him and put his arms around his son. The hug was so tight, Stiles could feel the fast drumming of his heart. And that forced him silent although he had a whole bunch of reasons that he was about to voice. He couldn't bring himself to open his mouth though. Not with his dad clinging to him like that... just like that night, when he came back from the station to find him all alone in that hospital room - sitting there all alone next to mom's empty bed.

“You will go home this time, Stiles,” John whispered, his hands trembling as he clasped the back of the teens head. “You have to, I don't want you to go through this again. Please.”

And when his dad looked at him, with all the vast amount of sadness pressed tightly inside his eyes, Stiles could not voice a single argument. He could only set his jaw, because if truth be told, he wasn't even sure if he could go through all of this again. All the following nightmares, all the panic attacks and the possible hospitalization. He didn't want to go through it all over again. So if this was, what would keep him out of the psychiatric ward this time then... those thoughts were so selfish though and he knew he wouldn't be able to leave anyways. Not if Scott was about to die.

And that was when the door to the ICU opened once again and a surgeon stepped in through it, still wearing his mask and the green medical attire. He nodded to Melissa who nodded back without looking at the men, because she was too busy grabbing the door before it would slide close again.

John ignored the surgeon altogether, his eyes set on the teen in front of him. But Stiles looked, he glanced behind his dad's shoulder as the masked man passed behind the sheriff and caught a sight of a red flash, followed closely by a playful wink.

“I promise I will call you right away if something changes, but for now, please Stiles just-”

Stiles' eyes snapped back to his dad and somehow he managed to grin, because Peter just winked at him as if there was nothing to worry about anymore and oh my God, a werewolf just saved Scott's life by turning him into a werewolf and it did not matter that the Bite wouldn't have to take, it was a chance, a chance at life, that Scott did not have a few minutes ago.

“Stiles,” John repeated, shaking him slightly.

“Uhh right,” he muttered, rubbing his hand over his face to conceal the revealed sigh. Scott was going to live. He was going to be alright.

And with that thought in mind he bid is farewell and let himself be steered out of the hospital by a worried deputy Lawrence all the way trying to not look too giddy.

 

~o~

 

When they got outside, there was no sign of Peter. Did he go back to his own place or to whatever lair werewolves occupy in their free time or did he stay in the hospital to keep an eye on Scott?

He turned around to look at the main entrance, wondering which of those options was true.

“Come on, Stiles,” deputy Lawrence called from the side of the road where the police cruiser stood. The teen had to give it to his dad, he really did abuse his sheriff powers when it came to taking care of his loved ones.

Stiles followed the deputy into the cruiser, pulling the seat belt tightly over his chest as Lawrence put the key into the ignition and hit all the right pedals to guide the car away from the hospital.

The teen turned to look at the building for the one last time and then sighed and leaned back into his seat. He felt tired. Emotionally and physically drained from all the strain the day brought to him.

It wasn't just Scott's accident, it was also the whole time travel business that resulted in him being lost in a void for a whole damn week. Or wasn't he? He wasn't sure how to define the state of being that went on in his brain for the last week but still, he could not remember it, so... definitely not a positive thing to happen.

Except, if it didn't happen at all, then he might haven't got to know Peter and then Scott... well maybe he would have been still dying right now.

Stiles could still not believe what just happened. It seemed like Peter just agreed to bite a random teen to help Stiles out. He didn't even let them know if he wanted to join that pack of theirs yet. And yet the Alpha still went ahead and saved his best friend's life like that.

No matter how it works out in the end, even if Scotts body did reject the Bite and he died... even so, Peter did not have to do a thing. He didn't know Scott, he wouldn't have known him at all weren't it for the future him mentioning the teen and so the werewolf wouldn't have to care at all if there was someone dying or not.

But there he was, agreeing to bite Stiles' best friend, allowing a total stranger into their pack, just because Stiles begged him to...and that...that seemed way too....is this how packs worked, Stiles wondered as the car turned left around the church. It felt like the family he had before his mom got sick, it felt like the family he always wanted to gain back.

“You're awfully quiet,” Lawrence noted from behind the steering wheel suddenly. “I would have thought you would start the interrogation by now. I am sure I'm a very good source of information you know, I was there right after it happened.”

Stiles frowned and looked up and the deputy, who drove the car calmly. He knew Ian for a while now, knew him as a kid even because he was the eldest son of the previous sheriff who got shot during a visit in Los Angeles.

But they only got to know each other better last summer, when Stiles spent lots of time back at the station, because Scott went to his dad for a few weeks. It was then when Lawrence started to work at the station, newly graduated. They became kinda sorta friends way too easily.

“As if you would tell me anything,” Stiles snorted, watching the other man's mouth turn up a notch from the corner of his eye.

“Well of course I wouldn't, I am a proper deputy after all and I got no business spilling crucial information about car accidents or any other cases to random civilians,” Ian nodded, his voice all serious and official. “But I mean, you do want to be a deputy one day right? And some people do believe that time does not flow like a river, but gathers like a lake, which kinda makes you a deputy already right? Is that what you wanted to say?”

“Yep,” Stiles nodded, a grin forcing it's way onto his lips. He drummed his fingers over his thighs then and glanced at Ian who kept staring stubbornly through the windshield, never taking his eyes from the road for longer than a heartbeat like a proper driver.

“I already know your methods way too well,” the deputy muttered,pressing his fingers against the lever on the side to active the turn signals so they can change the lanes.

Stiles relaxed into his chair and sighed, ready to play their game. “Man, what a day, partner.”

“What a day indeed,” Ian nodded, seemingly focused on driving the cruiser. But it couldn't have taken a lot of his concentration, because this late at night, there were no cars nor people around to get in his way. It was very peaceful, just the two of them and the road.

“Heard about the car crash back at the bakery? I was there just a mere minutes after it happened,” Ian said out of nowhere.

“Ah yeah, some kid on a bicycle, was it?” Stiles offered, feigning a slight disinterest.

“Yeah what a mess, we had to call an ambulance and that all,” the deputy sighed, rubbing his hand over his fair hair, his gray eyes stormy. “The driver was out of state, a truck transporting fish or something, but damn, from what we got out of him with Beckett, he didn't see the kid until the very last second. We did trace his phone though and according to the records somebody called him right before the accident, so he must have been reaching for his phone when it happened. He wouldn't admit it of course, but I am dead on sure it was like that.”

Stiles nodded, when he saw Ian glance at him briefly. “Damn,” he breathed then. “It should be banned altogether, doesn't matter if it's hands free or not, it distracts the drivers either way.”

The deputy hummed in agreement. “I would have arrested him right away, true, weren't it for the fact, that the kid wasn't supposed to be on the road, ya know, definitely not in the middle of it, how the fuck did he get there, I have no idea, nor were we able to determine it in the following investigation.”

“So what...?” Stiles frowned, leaning over to glance through the windshield. They were almost at their house. Only three more streets to go. “He couldn't have just teleported there out of nowhere, could he?”

“Well of course not, but there were no cameras around and the only other eye witness I had was a small child who said a bogeyman appeared and scared the shit out of the bicycle kid, which was obviously just a shocked child talking right?”

“Unless it really was a bogeyman,” Stiles frowned wondering if it really was something supernatural that caused Scott's accident or if it was just the child's crazy imagination. Probably the latter. It must have been hard on the child to see an accident like that and then to even talk about it. Of course he or she would end up making up a story like that. Scott probably hit something and his bicycle swerved right into the path of the truck. Simple as that.

Just because he knew, that the supernatural was real, it didn't mean that it was behind every little thing that happened.

“Well I do freaking hope it wasn't the bogeyman. This ain't the Supernatural after all,” Ian shivered, guiding the car up the driveway to the Stilinski mansion.

“Except you do like Supernatural,”Stiles grinned, pushing the side of his chair to pull himself free of the seat belt.

“Yes, but as you know, I am still more of a Breaking Bad person,” the deputy smiled.

 

~o~

 

Stiles walked into his room, an apple stuck in his mouth. He wasn't really hungry before, not when he was waiting at the hospital, he could barely bring himself to drink the bottle of water his dad left him behind, but now, as most of his stress vanished, he felt like he could eat a whole horse or maybe even an elephant or maybe even a half of an diplodocus. Not a whole one, come on, those dinos were way too huge even for his starved out stomach.

He did not put the lights on as he closed the door behind him, walking to his bed by memory, too tired to even look around the room. What would be the point anyways? He was too exhausted to read the notes and Derek was probably long gone. There was no way he would stick around after Stiles abandoned him in such a rush before.

But just as he thought it, a large dark shape emerged from behind the bed, it's blue eyes glittering eerily in the darkness like some supernatural orbs from a different planet. And in the first second, Stiles startled, his brain wondering if it were two twin fairies in front of him, but once he recognized his own personal werewolf bodyguard, his body relaxed and he smiled slightly.

“Hey,” the teen greeted, putting the rest of the apple nto the table and sinking down to the wolf to scratch behind his ear. Dogs liked that sort of thing, so there was a chance Derek would too, but he just kept staring at him, his eyes full of unspoken accusations.

“I'm sorry, buddy,” Stiles cooed, bringing up his other hand too to stroke through the wolf's fur. Derek bared his teeth at that, snapping them in his general direction.

“Don't like me calling you buddy, huh?” the teen smiled, pulling his hands out of the reach. He did not think Derek would bite him, but better to be safe than sorry.

He sighed then, somehow relieved the wolf was still there and if he would have time and knowledge he would sense more behind the relief, but he didn't and so he just pushed himself up to his feet and sat down on the bed. He braced his elbows onto his knees and pressed his forehead into his palms tiredly.

He could feel the notes nudging at his butt, but ignored them altogether. Not because it was too dark to read, but because he would just want to sleep. For at least three days, thank you very much. Except he knew he wouldn't be able to anyways. Not until he knew for sure that Scott would be fine.

Stiles did not move, even when he felt Dereks muzzle nudge his thigh. Not when he felt the wolf wedge his head into the triangle created between his thigh, forearm and chest. He only did, when Derek turned his head and poked his nose into his side, making the teen snort.

He looked down at the wolf and leaned down to mush his face against his fluffy head. Derek exhaled loudly as if that amused him, but let the teen wrap himself around his head like an octopus either way. He even let him brush his cheek over the top of the head.

Stiles stayed like that for a while, his eyes closed as he stroked slowly through the fur on Derek's back, the weight of the wolf's head steady on his thigh, grounding him, calming him, relaxing him into a pleasant and drowsy state.

Up until Derek got fed up with it and pushed at Stiles, who was already half asleep. He glanced down at the wolf and felt him push onto his stomach with his head, as if trying to make him to move to bed. And the teen just followed the silent order without any complain whatsoever, because he felt like he would fall asleep at any second anyways.

And so he flopped down, rolling over until he was curled between the blankets, not bothering to take off his pants not his shirt for that matter, nor anything else. He just put his head onto his forearm and felt himself slip back into that relaxed state of drowsiness.

But something was missing and so he opened his eyes, just a little bit and patted the empty place next to him. The dark shape in front of the bed did not move at all though and continued standing in front of his bed.

So Stiles patted the bed again, a frustrated noise escaping his throat. That did not work either, judging by the lack of movement around him. He forced his eyelids open then and lifted his head from his forearm.

“C'm here puppy, come n,” he cooed, trying to coax Derek to climb into the bed with him, but he bviously did not feel like it, because Stiles could see his silhouette shaking it's huge fluffy head and well...that was just unforgivable, Stiles wanted his wolfy cuddles thank you very much. He deserved them. Although maybe that was just his exhausted brain talking. Yeah, pretty much. Whatever.

“Derek, you big meanie, I almost died today,” he pouted and flopped back, his head feeling way too heavy. “I need my fur blanket.”

He could hear the wolf sigh, literally like a human person would, which made him snort sleepily, but then there was a shift on the bed and a warm fur being pressed against him and he couldn't help and smile as Derek lied down next to him. It made Stiles grin in victory.

“G'd boooooy,” the teen muttered as he reached over to pet the fur in front of him. He could feel the wolf growl softly under his hand in addition to hearing it and his grin widened at that.

Settling more comfortably, he moved a little closer to his furry blanket and let his fingers run comfortingly all over the wolf's side. He picked at little strands of fur, playing with them gently between his fingertips.

It felt somehow nostalgic, because when he was small, his mom would lie down with him and wait till he would fall asleep, because he always had a problem with it due to his ADHD. She would let him play with her long soft hair, let him tangle his fingers into it in a repetitive motion that eventually made him fall asleep.

And this was just as nice. It was no wonder he felt his consciousness slip away from him after a few more seconds. His breathing deepened as he lay pressed against the side of the softly breathing wolf. He didn't even notice he fell asleep, tired from all the exertion.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

There was a bright flash blinding him for a short second... or maybe even a longer one. He was not sure how long a second lasted. What he knew was that once he finally gotten himself to open his eyes, he ended up wishing he never did open them, because all around him swirled a weird collage of nonsensical pictures. And it felt as if he was swimming through each and every one of them at the same moment, living through every situation, like he was lost in the whirlwind of time and space - splinted, divided, multiplied.

He heard an echo of joined voices from his right and turned to look there, only to be assaulted by by a bright red color reminding him of blood. It swirled and swirled, falling down onto a huge tree trunk which swallowed it all. And somehow he knew that it was still hungry for more.

His own blood burned at the realization, eager to comply and he moved a bit away hoping that the proximity would diffuse the tension but it only made it stronger. The gravity of the tree trunk was strong, way too strong for him and he felt his skin breaking and the blood seep out of his body to reach the remains of the huge tree, which wasn't even a tree anymore, but a huge black hole, sucking in everything around it, calling for more with every passing second.

And then there was a flash again and he sobbed in relief as he found his body being whole once again after opening his eyes. That was until he lifted his face and saw the dead bodies. And the worst about it was, that it wasn't just a formless mass of faceless people, that much he could have ignored, but no... he knew all of them. He knew his dad, he recognized Scott and Melissa, even some of his classmates. He saw Peter amongst them too, together with what he guessed was Derek and turned his head away in disgust.

The air rippled around him, sending waves of electricity through his nerves, spasming his muscles, but it did not hurt, not at all, because he was too busy falling. He fell and fell, similar to the Alice who fell down the rabbit hole, but this was different altogether, because the wind kept cutting his skin, turning him madly around and around in circles until he got all dizzy and disoriented.

And through the whistling of the wind and through his own sobs and cries, a voice reached him. A voice that was his but not entirely his at all - a voice that sounded like a recording from an old cassette player.

“My mate is not dead,” it snapped arguing with someone in the background, who he could not hear. And then another snippet of a conversation joined in too: “But I can take care of myself...no, shut it, yes I can! So you can turn around and go back to Peter,”

“What? Wait...Derek!” it called from behind him then. He tried to turn his head to its source to see the scene it came from but the wind did not let him. It was too strong. “It's not just wolves,” the voice continued regardlessly. “We got me, a super awesome magic user hah. Our Emissary is a banshee and we even got hun-... um humans with a good connection to law enforcement like my dad or weaponry like my Alpha's dad and others so...yeah, we are a quite strong pack altogether.”

“How could I ever not, Der,” it whispered all of a sudden from some other direction, confusing him. There was way too much gentleness in that voice that was way too similar to his own. He did not understand why and the winds didn't allow him enough time to concentrate on the following words, pushing his body into a tornado.

“I didn't regress back to my old self at all this time either...you did something, didn't you? What did you do?” he managed to hear next, the voice way too far away to be heard properly.

“Come back here and kiss me, you silly wolf,” it sighed right next to his ear and made his eyelids flutter open in surprise, only to be closed right away by the air pressure. “Man, I thought I was a goner for sure this time. Thanks.”

“My mate...” he heard from all around him in the from of an endless echo. It was circling around him for a while now, but this was the first time he could make it out clearly. “Remember those words though, because I'll make sure he survives it. Just...promise me to teach him...to teach me all about you all over again, alright?”

“My mate...” bounced back to him, accompanied by another constellation of words from a different conversation. “Well, for future reference, we're super versatile, but I mean for today, it would probs be a good idea with you on the top, yeah, since...”

“My mate...” it came again and he forced the winds to let him turn his head to it's source and opened his eyes. The world steadied itself for a half of a second and he could see... he could see him.

“I do have a mate in the future,” the voice said, while he stared at the man in front of him. “...who is also my husband, who is also a werewolf and pretty much the love of my life and...and...”

The man looked up at him with those hazel green eyes, which were like a blast from the past that was supposed to be long forgotten and Stiles recognized him, his jaw falling down in surprise. “It's actually you,” the voice repeated. “Derek.”

And that was when Stiles lost his footing and fell, loosing the sight of Derek altogether, but before he could even yelp or cry out from such a sudden change of his position, he ended up on a bicycle, riding from the school.

The street was almost empty, because he took the shortcut as he always did – the one that led from the statue of the three soldiers to the bakery, which nobody ever used because it was only meant for bicycles and not for pedestrians.

He pressed the right foot pedal and then the left one in a blurry of movement, gaining the wanted speed as he zipped along the road, hurrying to get home. He needed to get ready for the study date with Allie after all, so there was no time to lose. Also, he needed to call Stiles and make sure he was alright. And then he will make him explain himself just as he promised.

He smiled as he passed a boy sitting on the bench in front of a bakery with a chocolate muffin halfway inside his mouth. It reminded him he was hungry as well and so he stepped into the pedals once more, heightening the speed of his bicycle.

The birds chirped and the sound of a vehicle behind was ignored because why should he worry about stuff like that? He wasn't even on the road after all, the car would pass beside him without causing him any harm

And that was when he glanced down, the air few feet in front of his shimmering weirdly, as if there were hot fumes escaping from a sewer and he frowned looking down in confusion only to find the normal greyness of the asphalt.

There was nothing weird there at all, it must have been just a... but then he looked up and the air was not shimmering anymore. Instead of it, he spotted a huge black shadow standing in his way.

And so he tore at his handlebars to not hit this person that appeared right in front of him out of nowhere and somehow... yes, he knew there was a vehicle behind him, he could hear it's engine... that's why he wanted to swerve the bicycle to the right to end up on out of the way, but the bicycle did not listen to him and headed into the other direction – right onto the road.

He looked up in fright, knowing full well what was coming but unable to do anything about it as he drove right into the path of the truck. And then there was pain... and then there was darkness... and then he was no more...

 

~o~

 

Stiles woke up with a start, his breath catching up in his throat, his heart hammering in his chest. He opened his eyes and stared at the bookcase as he waited for his body to calm down, but it somehow did not want to. There were tears forming in his eyes and he sobbed as he realized what he has just dreamed about. And even though it was just a dream, damn, it seemed so realistic as if he was Scott himself on that fated afternoon. How was that even possible? Was this the magic Peter was talking about? Who would want magic like that? It was sick...

A warm body pressed onto his back as he lay on his side and he felt calmness wash over his body like a mighty tidal wave that washes away the dirt from the beach. The warmth brought him back to reality. He found his breath again, knowing that he was not alone in this, reminding himself that Scott was going to be okay. Granted in a very werewolfy way, but whatever.

Derek's tail flapped over his knees and Stiles snorted, turning around to face the wolf. He had his snout snuggled under Stiles' pillow and that made the teens smile broaden automatically, making the dream fade into the background.

“Hey puppy,” he sighed in exasperation, wrapping his arm around the wolfs fluffy body, cuddling in close to him.

Derek growled at that, nudging him away playfully, but Stiles just snickered, hugging the wolf tighter and since the overgrown stuffed animal didn't complain anymore, he just remained like that for a few more minutes, until his heart calmed down completely.

Only then did he stir again, his hold on the wolf weakening a little as he looked up, his eyes landing on Derek's flickering ear.

“Say, if there are werewolves...” he whispered, afraid to talk louder in case he would jinx them. “Are there other creatures as well? Like vampires and fairies and... the grim reaper by any chance?”

Dereks ear flickered at that, his head turning a little so that he could peer at the teen from behind his shoulder, a question obvious in his eyes. And yep, Stiles was still amazed by the fact, that he could decipher emotions like that from a wolfs face, especially cause it was still dark around them and his eyes could barely make out Dereks silhouette in it. But still, he somehow knew, as if it was only natural for him to know. Although that wasn't actually important right now, it still fascinated him.

“They do..?” he wondered aloud, but the wolf did not answer, he just kept staring at him with the same question in his eyes. As if he was trying to ask “Why do you wanna know?”

And Stiles frowned - there was something he was missing. “I dreamt about...,” he started to explain, but then the phone in his back pocket dinged, the sound informing him about the low battery.

He took it out and reached over to the bedside table, where his recharger lay. Plugging the socket into his phone he noticed the plane mode still on and swore mentally. How was his dad supposed to call him if something happened to Scott if he kept his phone basically off?

And so he moved his finger over the screen tapping the plane mode option off again and then went ahead and decided to cancel all the opened applications as well just as he always did to save the battery. There were the usual things like the alarm clock, candy crush or the flashlight, but the fact that the camera app was on made him stop in his tracks.

He tapped the window and brought it up, sliding his finger across to pull out the photo gallery looking for the latest photos his phone made. And yep, just like he suspected, there was one new picture dating a day back, which must mean that the future him shot it for some reason.

He tapped at it and when it opened on the whole screen, Stiles felt his jaw drop at the sight of a naked man lying in what looked like his freaking bed. And, hell be damned, the man looked as if he'd... well simply judging by the tousled hair and the state of nakedness as if...well as if he just had a round of pleasurable activities on his bed and oh my God, was this some photoshoped joke of the future him? It must be, there was no way... but then he looked in closer at the mans features and frowned, recognizing him effortlessly, because, after all, he saw his face just a few minutes ago while he slept.

“No way,” he breathed, the details of his dream flooding his brain. “Are you kidding me...?”

Stiles scrambled for the light on his bedside table, switching it on and as the room lightened up around him he looked at the floor hoping to find what he was looking for. But the stack of papers was nowhere to be seen. He glanced behind him at the wolf who watched him curiously.

“Where are the notes?” he questioned and Derek turned his eyes to the table.

Stiles jumped off the bed racing and snatched the file from the table skimming the first page once again. There were parts he already read before of course. The introduction, the part about his hidden magical superpowers, the other one about the Hale pack being the important thing in his future life, but what he really wanted to know was all the way underneath it, right at the very bottom of the page.

“Derek Hale,” he read putting one hand on the table to steady himself.

 

3. The last but not least, Derek Hale! Oh I could write endless novels about him, but let's start with the basics, because if I won't tell you then noone will and you will end up wondering if it's a thing or not and struggle with his stupid dumbass denial for the rest of your teenage years. So, plain and simple, here we go, the truth – Derek is your werewolfy mate, your future husband, the love of your life, basically the only person you will ever need around in such a way. Yes, he is a pain in the ass sometimes, but...that ain't a bad thing most of the time, if ya know what I mean – wink wink!

Uh but yeah... it's not a soulmate thing, you still do have options. Actually both of you do and this was totally not a plot to get you two together so that I can have my husband back in the future, if I ever get back there...it's just an info. Because man, that thing for Lydia won't work and I bet you do know that already. She's great, man, she's amazing, but at the same time she ain't what you need... you need someone like Derek and he needs someone like you. So just...give it a thought, is all I ask for and if it ain't supposed to be it...well then it just ain't, no hard feelings, bro!

(Also if you fucking hurt him in any way I will shackle your leg to mom's hospital bed on the day she died and lock you in a time loop to witness it over and over again! Which sounds really heartless, but you are me so it does not count.)

 

Stiles stared at the front page dumbly and then re-read the whole thing once again, his eyes skimming over the words, putting them into sentences, forcing his brain to understand. He read it a third time just to be sure he got it all right and then looked up at Derek who was sitting on his bed, watching him carefully with those blue glowing eyes of his.

“Is this all true?” the teen asked, waving the file around for him to see. The wolf nodded without letting his attention to be caught by the moving object in his hand. He kept staring right at him instead. Focused. Resigned. Resolute.

“And this,” Stiles gulped, lifting the phone for Derek to see. He tapped at the screen, unlocking it and showed the picture to the wolf. “Is this you?”

Derek nodded again, his eyes still not sliding off the teens face even though he was waving the phone between them. It was somehow unnerving, seeing him sit so motionlessly, as if he was an exhibition in some museum.

“Oh okay,” Stiles nodded back looking down at the notes to turn a few more pages over in them. He did not read a thing though, only skimmed through them, dismissing the fact that they were ordered alphabetically, because of course they were, his future self was as much him as his present self and he would order them in the same way.

There were names and full pages of text or just notes here and there without any special meaning whatsoever. He closed the notes and put them back on the table, feeling awkward, not sure what to do with his arms.

“So uh, you like...,” he glanced at Derek, who seemed to be waiting for him to digest it all. “So you like...hooked up with the future me... and had sex and stuff?”

The wolf shrugged at that, looking away from him for a second and if that wasn't a confirmation enough, then Stiles was an abominable snowman.

“What the hell, are you kidding me?!” he exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air in frustration. Derek shrunk away from him a little, but the teen was too busy with his own theatrics to notice it. He started to pace around the room instead.

“Just your luck, Stilinski,” he complained loudly. “You find a hot person that actually wants to hook up with you, finallyyy and then you go and get possessed for that, because why the hell not.”

He glanced back at the wolf, who stopped fidgeting and stared at him in confusion.

“I mean, look at you,” Stiles gestured, waving his phone around. “Hot damn! I would really want to remember that at least. Don't you have a recording or something at least? A pensieve? Of course not...because that is just my luck. A hot guy like you pops my cherry and uhh, the hell, that is worst than being roofied to...”

Derek flinched at that and Stiles stopped in his tracks, watching the flash of guilt run through his body.

“Wait uhh...,” he stuttered, suddenly feeling way too embarrassed to continue his tirade. “Rewind, I want to take that back, that is not what I meant...uhh, it's more like sex in the Tardis, which would make me the Doctor obviously and that uh...that is like a cool thing, not a rapey thing, because it was still me but from a different time line, so...”

The wolf looked away and Stiles felt his heart clench as the guilt flooded his chest. He did not mean it like that, although it was true. The future him was still him though and whatever he decided to do while being in his body shouldn't be something to feel upset about.

“Aww, come on,” Stiles grinned, trying to cut through the tense atmosphere with a joke. “I would have probs gotten drunk before my first time anyways, so you don't...”

Derek shook his head at that, standing up from the bed to obviously go away for good, because Stiles was just such a fuck-up he couldn't say anything right. The future him might have been wrong after all, there is no way Derek would ever... they don't even know each other for Pete's sake and they probably never will, because Stiles can't keep his pie hole shut.

“No, no, wait, Derek,” he groaned, watching the wolf jump off his bed and head for the window. One solid leap through it and he would be gone. And he somehow did not want that.

“Don't I get to play the nightmare card? Blood, gore, dead bodies,” he babbled, the memories making him shudder involuntarily. He forced them down, but the look on his face must have betrayed him, because he felt Derek's worried eyes on him right away.

“Uhh, no, I barely remember anything, that...I mean, Scott is going to be okay now, he...Peter helped him, so there is no reason to...also you don't have to stay to protect me, my dad will be soon home anyways,” he muttered, sitting down on the bed in defeat. If Derek wanted to leave he should, Stiles probably shouldn't guilt him into staying around such an annoying person as he was.

They remained like that for a few heartbeats, Stiles sitting on the bed looking at the dark screen of his phone in his hand and Derek standing in front of the window, studying him with his eyes. But that did not last and the wolf sighed, turning around to leave.

“I don't mind, you know,” Stiles said before Derek could reach the window. The wolf froze, turning around to look at him. “I could say, that it's okay because it was me anyways. Or I could say whatever, because it wasn't me but him. Either way, it's fine...let's just date our history from the point I woke up on the clearing, shall we? And if...”

He was suddenly interrupted by his father's voice coming from downstairs. “Stiles?” And what the hell, when did his dad come home? He did not hear the car approach the house at all and he usually noticed right away, because it was always better to know when a parent was getting too close to the mischievous child alone at home, but still.

The teen blanched, looking at the door and hearing the approaching footsteps and then whipped his head to the left to check on Derek, but the wolf was nowhere to be seen. He sighed and stood up just when his dad opened the door.

“Did you sleep at all?” John questioned as he glanced him over, but Stiles ignored the question in favor of blurting out his own. “How's Scott?”

“Better,” his dad answered, a smile spreading over his lips. “The doctors were a lot more pessimistic than needed.”

“Can I go see him now?” the teen asked impatiently. He leaned over to grab a hoodie from the floor and put it on, his phone still clenched tightly in his hand. He was eager to go to the hospital, which was a first alright, but could you blame him? He really wanted to make sure that Scott was alright. And of course he really wanted to explain to him everything as soon as possible. It would suck if Scott were to munch on the nurse or something because of some reflex and knowing him, he might as well do it.

“We can drive back right away and...”

“No, Stiles, I only came back to shower. I have to return to the station for the next shift,” the sheriff said shaking his head. “Besides, they wouldn't let you go inside right now anyways. He is better, true, but he still didn't wake up... and I would rather you stayed out of Rafaels way right now.”

“What... the asshole came over?” Stiles exclaimed, frowning. He didn't even pretend to be sheepish at the look John gave him, because he knew it wasn't meant to stop him belittling Scott's dad, but to stop him from using such foul language in front of the actual sheriff.

“Yeah, he came after you left,” John sighed rubbing a hand over the back of his head. “Yelled at Mel for letting their stupid son drive around on a bike.”

“What the actual...”

“It's fine though, I managed to calm him down,” the sheriff said, shaking his head in irritation. “But still, you better wait till he's gone, I wouldn't want him to take it out on you. You know how he is...”

“Yeah,” Stiles nodded, thinking back to the time his dad and Rafael argued the last time and how Raf “accidentally” drove over his bicycle he left on their lawn.

“Having him around isn't going to help Scott heal at all,” the teen complained, nudging the black shirt on the floor with his foot. He did not recognize the shirt at all... wait, could it be Dereks? He flushed thinking it might have been.

“I know, but it can't be helped,” John shrugged, ignoring that the teen was probably red as a tomato. He must have taken it for anger. “The official visiting hours are in the afternoon anyways. You can just go ahead to see Scott then. I am sure Rafael will be gone by then. Can't imagine him staying that long anyways... now come on, get ready for school.”

Stiles frowned and looked down at his phone. It was already morning. He was so busy figuring out his dream, he didn't even notice the sun coming up in the outside world. His room was turned to the west and there was overcast so of course he barely noticed.

“Do I really have to?” he pouted, letting himself fall down into the bed - his feet still planted to the flood, his arm thrown over his face.

“Yep,” the sheriff grinned, turning around to head for the bathroom. “Oh and by the way, did your phone run out of battery?I could not reach you earlier...”

“Oh umm,” Stiles hummed bringing his phone up to his eyes to glance at it. He ran his fingers over the screen and once it unlocked he got a face full of Dereks nakedness and his face grew red once again.

“What...?” his dad frowned, looking at him from the hallway.

“Uh, no, the battery is fine. Well, it isn't, but there is still some left so... I just put it on plane mode in the hospital and uh forgot about it,” Stiles stuttered, taping at the screen to close it down, but of course a motion like that did not make the picture go away, it enhanced it. He imagined his face turning even redder.

“All okay?” John wondered. He stepped back into the room, reaching out to grab the phone as Stiles pushed it protectively to his chest.

“Yep, all okay, you really do not wanna see this dad,” he nodded, an awkward smile painting his lips. “I accidentally opened my porn folder.”

John stopped dead in his tracks pulling his hand away way too quickly for a human to be possible. “You keep that on your phone as well?”

“Handy, ya know,” the teen grinned, wiggling his fingers in the air. The sheriff just rolled his eyes at that, leaving the room immediately with a horrified look on his face, which made Stiles snort.

There was movement to his left right after he heard his dad close the door to the bathroom. Derek came out behind the bed and put his head on its edge to watch Stiles silently. Not that he could say anything anyways, since he was a wolf and all, but the teen was still somehow glad for the company.

He kinda thought Derek has already left. The weird thing was, he didn't even startle when the wolf appeared, because that was obviously a normal thing for his crazy brain. Just hanging around in my room with my huge-ass wolf like every other day, yep. Nothing surprising in that, totally chill.

“Hey, if he's getting better,” Stiles whispered, looking up at the ceiling. “Does that mean he won't reject the Bite anymore and recover fully?”

Derek was quiet and so the teen looked at him curiously, but the look on his wolfy face did not confirm nor reject his words.

“Not sure yet?” he guessed, turning his face back to the ceiling. He saw Derek lean over closer in his peripheral vision and then felt his nuzzle touch his cheek apologetically.

“It's okay,” he sighed, reaching over to pet the wolf's head. “I understand.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles changed his clothes quickly, totally forgetting there was his future lover standing in the same room watching him. He could not imagine Derek as a man after all, the only memories of him he had were either blurry dreams or vague flashes from the past and that's why he wasn't exactly embarrassed to change in front of the wolf. Yes, it was a very weird situation he found himself in. But he's just gonna roll with it. He was always good with weird after all.

He glanced around the room to find his bag, but the only one he found was all wet from some weird liquid that Derek kept shrinking away from, so he left it there and hoped he would find everything he needed today inside his locker. And if not then whatever, it was just school after all, not the end of the world.

“Stiles!” his dad yelled from downstairs, getting ready to drive him to school, since it was on the way.

The teen snatched the green hoodie from the chair and put it on hastily. He then glanced over at Derek.

“Are you gonna turn invisible and come to school with me?” he asked, although he knew it was the most absurd question he could ask at that moment. His brain just worked like that. Whatever.

The werewolf just sighed and then turned around to sniff the floor. Stiles watched him move around the room for a while, until he dug his red pants from under a pile of shirts. He pushed it around with his nuzzle and then reached into his back pocket, pulling a folded piece of paper from the back pocket.

Stiles reached for it, taking it from between Derek's sharp teeth and then unfolded it to read it's content.

“A doctor's leave?” he inquired wondering what he needed that for. But yeah, he only wondered for a fraction of a second until he figured out that the future him probably decided to avoid the school for timely purposes. If he was from the future, he wouldn't want to revisit high school either.

“How many days did he...did I ditch?” he asked looking down at the wolf. Derek touched his foot with his paw once and then looked up at him expectantly.

“Oh okay, that doesn't sound too bad. And I gotta admit it was pretty sweet of the future me to leave this behind so that I won't get into trouble, very thoughtful indeed,” he muttered, folding it again to put it into the front pocket on his hoodie. He grinned at the wolf then. “Guess I'll see you around then, right?”

“Stiles, we're gonna be late!” his dad yelled again and Stiles cringed, waving Derek goodbye and then ran out of the room to jump into the cruiser.

 

~o~

 

“You're doing okay, kiddo?” the sheriff asked suddenly once they left the driveway.

“Huh?” Stiles frowned turning his head to his dad. His mind was way too full with all the information he had to process and the fact that there were still holes he needed to fill in his memory did not help the whole thing either.

He really needed to sit down for a few hours and read all the notes his future self left behind for him and then he needed to hunt down Peter and ask a whole lot of questions. But up until then he already resigned himself with the fact, that he might space out every now and then. That was pretty normal for somebody who missed a whole week of life because the future version of him decided to visit, so yeah...

“I asked if you're okay,” John repeated calmly as he drove the car around the corner where Jefferson's dog started to bark right away - as he always did, the obnoxious pug.

“Um, sure, why wouldn't I be?” Stiles shrugged, turning his face back to the front.

“It's just... you've been awfully quiet lately, not to mention you've been acting somehow different that usual,” the sheriff said, giving him a pointed look. “And I don't mean to pry, I know it has been hard on you with all those accidents happening around, especially since it was Scott and Lydia, but... you should just know I am there for you if you need to talk or... something.”

“Uh, no, it's... yeah,” the teen mumbled not sure what to say. What was there to say anyways? Well, dad, of course I seemed different in the past week. It wasn't actually me after all. It was the Stiles from the future who might have tried to be subtle about the whole time travel thing, but you are a sheriff after all so no wonder you got a little bit suspicious. Not to mention all that crap that has been happening all around.

He had yet to find out if his dream was some sort of flashback or if his brain was just trying to deal with all of the mess in it's own weird way. And that still wasn't the biggest thing out of it all, because look, supernatural was real, did you know? And a badass werewolf wanted him to join his pack... no, there was no way he could tell all this to his dad. It would probably only put him in the harms way.

“Lydia is okay, by the way, I went to check up on her,” his dad started without being asked, bless his caring soul. “They should release her home today since she did not sustain any injuries during her little trip to the preserve, but still...I talked to the doctor and we agreed a psychiatric evaluation would be in order once she feels better. But judging by the fact she was already demanding to get a more decent food delivered to her room, I think that shouldn't be a problem.”

Stiles hummed under his breath, saving the questions about Lydia for later and for somebody more suitable to answer them. But the sheriff was not done with his reports, he jumped right to the other topic at hand: “And Scott will be fine in no time, the internal bleeding was stopped and the fractures set right... the only thing we have to wait for now is for him to wake up to assess his mental state, but he did not have any head injuries so there is a very slight chance of that being an issue.”

“Myea,” the teen nodded, leaning against the door as he watched the church from behind the window.

It's not like he did not care about the state Scott was in at the moment, that wasn't it. But his dad did not have the whole info, he did not know Scott could reject the Bite at any given time and then die without any warning whatsoever. At least thats what Peter made him think when he explained the whole thing to him earlier. So really...what was the point of all the medical crap, when it wasn't important anyways.

“Sorry dad,” he sighed. “I just don't really want to talk about any of it right now.”

“Yeah, I know,” John nodded, turning left to lead the car through the parking lot in from of the high school. “Just...”

“It's not gonna rain, dad, don't worry,” he assured his dad with a smile as they stopped in front of the schools building, using the code they made up after his mom died. He really had problem expressing himself at that time in fear to hurt his dad with his words and the doctor recommended him to use metaphors instead and somehow it stuck.

“Yeah, but there might still be clouds,” his dad answered, watching him open the door and get out of car clumsily.

“As long as there is no rain, the little overcast won't hurt a fly,” Stiles answered easily, grinning down at his dad. John studied him for a while longer and then smiled back, motioning him to close the door so he could drive off.

The teen watched the police cruiser peel off the curb and join the stream of cars leaving the school's parking lot. He turned around then to head inside, but he didn't even get to reach the door when someone grabbed him by the hoodie and snarled: “You're coming with me, Stilinski.”

Chapter Text

 

"What the hell!?” Stiles yelped, twisting around to find his way out of the tight hold. With that surprising movement he managed to pry the foreign fingers off his shirt and stumbled away from the person in front of him, his stance defensive and his mind annoyed once he recognized Jackson Whittemore.

“What do you want, Jackson?” he wondered aloud, not fighting his scowl.

The teen just stood there as if the whole planet belonged to him and since it in fact didn't, it only made Stiles that much angrier. Just seeing him cross his arms over his chest was a demanding gesture enough, but once he twisted slightly to the right and jerked his head in the direction of the parking lot, saying “Come on.”...well, let's just say that was the last straw.

These were some really fucked up days for Stiles after all and he was done being commandeered around by whomever who thought they had the privilege to tell him what to do. Nobody will get to what he should and shouldn't do... not all the supernatural creatures combined, not the future him personally and definitely not Jackson fucking Whittemore. He was so done with it all.

“If you think you can bully me into anything...”

“I don't give a shit about what you have to say, Stilinski, okay?” Jackson hissed, turning around to face the teen. He stalked closer to him and spat. “Hale wants to see you, so you better...”

“Who...?” Stiles breathed playing stupid, because as proven by the years of playing dumb, it always managed to pull information out of the other person, just because they had the need to play smart or show off their intelligence. It was a given.

“Peter Hale, dumbass,” Jackson growled, making Stiles grin in victory as he awaited more information to spill from the other teens mouth. He had him hooked. “He told me to bring you over as well for who knows what fucking reason. Now move or I will...”

“You will what...?” Stiles snorted casting a glance around just to make sure there were still people around. And yup, lots of other teens were staring at them with huge intrigued eyes and there were even one or two adults moving slowly to them just in case this turned out to be a fight.

It wasn't like he did not want go to see Peter Hale, of course he did, but since it was Jackson standing in front of him...well, it might as well be a ruse to get him some place and beat the shit out of him. He won't fall for the same thing twice. Definitely not after that lie about Scott looking for him in the gym where he got locked afterwards as a prank.

He also had no intentions of leading Jackson to Peter in case the teen wanted to hurt his pa-...well ya know, them. Not that he could, being a human and all, but one could never be too safe. Especially not with douchebags with influential parents.

“You won't dare to do a thing and we both know it,” Stiles smirked and before he could say something more, Jackson was suddenly in his face, yanking at the front of his shirt. He grabbed the other teens hands by reflex, feeling a weird pressure in his chest as he dug his nails into the skin.

But then a different hand slithered between their bodies and touched their tangled ones and the pressure eased just as fast as it appeared. The touch sent a charge of electricity through both of their hands and they let go of each other at once, their eyes snapping to the woman standing next to them.

Oh, she was pretty, there was no doubt about it, but Stiles couldn't help but step a little back at the look she gave them. Her eyes were haunting, her aura somehow unsettling and the only thing the teen could compare it to was when a pedophile touched a child... which yeah, stop it brain, pay attention.

“Is everything alright here, boys?” she smiled at them, clasping her hands in front of her body cheerfully, he wavy brown hair falling down from her shoulder at that movement.

“Not your business,” Jackson muttered, watching her carefully as he rubbed his hand, which somehow seemed a little too green for a normal human. Stiles would have squinted to take a better look, but he somehow did not trust the woman enough to let her out of his sight.

“It is a teachers business, if students decide to have a fight on the schools ground,” she nodded seriously, her eyes focused on Stiles. They flickered up and down his body and he fought the impulse to cover himself up, because it felt as if he was standing in front of her naked, her eyes dissecting him to the very core. He was so eager to get out of her sight that he decided to team up with Jackson and that was a statement enough.

“We're fine,” he blurted out, waving to the parking lot. “I just forgot my bag in Jacksons car and was too lazy to return for it, but yeah... don't mind us.”

She watched him for a second longer, making his body feel all slimy and then let her eyes slide to the teen standing next to him, a look of disgust twisting her pretty features. She raised an eyebrow in disbelief then.

“Yeah okay, that's a lie,” Stiled grinned, reaching out to grasp Jacksons biceps, pushing him away from the woman. “Jackson just wants to have a make out session in the car. Can you blame him? I am quite the catch... let's go Munchkin!”

He was quite surprised, when Jackson gave in to the pressure on his biceps and let himself be ushered down the pavement and Stiles wondered if it had something to do with the fact that the woman was still watching them as if they were her lab rats in some freaky experiment or if he had some kind of authority around himself after he had been hijacked by his future self.

Well, the following actions were enough of an approval that none of it was true. He apparently just got lucky.

“The hell, Stilinski?!” Jackson hissed, snatching his arm from his hold when the woman disappeared behind the entrance door of the high school. And Stiles knew the exact moment the door closed behind her because he couldn't help but watching her out of the corner of his eye. Was she a new teacher? She did say something like that, didn't she? Stiles would have to be careful around her, she seemed worse than Harris for some reason.

“Don't touch me again, you freak,” the teen next to him threatened, pulling him back to their conversation. Not that Stiles missed any of his words per se, he just ignored them because most of the time it was a bunch of insensitive nonsense.

“I am talking to you,” he hissed again and what the hell was all that hissing about, did he turn into a freaking snake while Stiles was out of it? Did he join the cult of Salazar or whatever the hell rich people did in their free time?

“Pfft, come on,” Stiles rolled his eyes, throwing his hand in the air. “You totally want a piece of me, that's what all the bullying is about... doesn't Lydia make you watch Glee, Karofsky?”

“One more word and I will...,” Jackson threatened, his hands clenched into fists at his sides and that was a reason enough for Stiles to stop joking around. Now normally he wouldn't be scared of Jackson, no, that boat sailed a long time ago, but there was something more about him now, some weird green shade passing his skin that made Stiles wary.

“Back to the business then,” he nodded, reaching into his back pocket for his phone. “I am going to call Peter before I go anywhere near your car. For what I know you might just want to...ah damn.”

He tapped the screen once more just to be sure that his phone didn't just freeze as it sometimes did, but no, it was dead, because he obviously forgot to charge it this morning, interrupted by the whole mate revelation and then by his dad. He sighed, pushing the phone into his back pocket and ran his hand over his head, thinking of some other way to contact Peter to verify Jacksons claims without having to actually go with him first.

The teen in front of him sighed in annoyance and then pulled out his own expensive phone, hitting speed dial before Stiles could even raise his eyebrow.

“Don't break it,“ he scowled trowing the phone in Stiles' direction, which probably wasn't the best move on his part, but luckily the teen managed to snatch it out of the air just in time. Well if that wasn't an act to make one speechless then nothing was.

“Stiles,” he heard a familiar voice from the speaker and glanced down at it, as Jackson turned around and started walking through the parking lot to the far side of it, where the rich kids parked their expensive cars. Stiles would have normally imagined him getting hit by some passing car, but he somehow couldn't bring himself to do it this time.

“Stiles,” Peter repeated and Stiles brought the phone to his ear. He glanced around just to be sure that no one was standing too close to him to hear the conversation and then turned his attention back to the phone.

“How did you know it was me?” he asked curiously and forced his legs to follow Jackson. Yes because that needed to be forced, who would follow a jackass like that voluntarily, hmm? Even if he did seem to be a little bit nicer right now, Stiles' trust was very hard to gain these days.

“Because your own phone is unreachable all morning and you are not stupid enough to trust Jackson,” Peter answered with a sigh. “I heard you two have quite a history, which is quite unfortunate, given the recent development of the pack but not nonnegotiable.”

“Umm, the recent development?” Stiles inquired, hating to not know everything right away. Wasn't there some magic that would tweet all the information into his head automatically? If yes, he would totally be willing to pay for it or steal it...or download it illegally for that matter.

“Jackson joined our pack a few hours ago,” the man said, not sounding a little bit upset about it. On the contrary he seemed somehow proud and what the actual fuck? Jackson gets to join his... Peters pack just like that? The biggest asshole in the whole universe just gets to dab into what was supposed to be his? Well okay, it was a bit selfish to think about the werewolves like that, but sue him, yeah, he was selfish and that only made him jealous, because if people like Jackson could join a pack so easily then the offer didn't seem that special at all.

“Explain,” he ordered.

“Now not.”

The refusal made Stiles stop in his tracks and clench the phone tighter than he already did. Bet his knuckles were all white on that trembling hand of his. And he knew he was being stubborn but whatever, the lack of information was more frustrating than a carped full of Lego pieces that one had to walk over without any shoes.

“Explain or fuck off,” Stiles grit out then, scowling down at his shoes. “I've had it with the mysteries and secrets and what-nots....if Jackson can know then so can I. Now speak or forget about me going anywhere.”

Peter signed at that. Again. A deep sigh of resolute surrender, but Stiles did not allow himself to feel victorious, not before he got all of the information he wanted. He glanced around once more, because people tended to sneak up on him way too often and listened.

“It was right after the future you arrived into the present time,” Peter started to explain. “Derek turned into an Alpha and it got the best of him. He was never really trained to be one...unlike me. So when he accidentally managed to ram a silver Porsche, which happened to have your friend Jackson and one Lydia Martin in it...well long story short, they were about to die in a tremendous amount of pain and my nephew decided to do the least sensible thing and bite them to save their lives...don't look at me like that Derek, it's what you did and he would have found out one way or another.”

Stiles heard a whine on the other side of the speaker, but did not focus on it. He tried to process all of the words instead, filling in the holes in his memories, adding the words to the tapestry, that started to manifest in his mind and in the end of the process, there was one fact that stood up to him the most.

“So Lydia is a werewolf too then?” he breathed in disbelief. Is that why she was in the hospital? Is that why his dad found her running around in the preserve? He needed to know.

“No, she's a banshee,” Peter tsked and Stiles could literally hear the eye roll in that statement. “You can't turn into a supernatural creature if you already are one.”

“Uhh, so then Jackson is...?” the teen stuttered, feeling as if he just stumbled into some tv show, because obviously the supernatural was all around him. He was just too blind to see it before. Although he might have noticed Harris being a freaking orc a long time ago... that did not change a thing about how he felt at that moment though.

“Yes and no,” Peter explained meanwhile. “He's a Kanima actually, but those are created by the mutation of the werewolf gene so I suppose the answer can't exactly be straightforward in his case as much as I would like it to be.”

“Uhh, is there a supernatural google, that I could use or so? Because I am getting sick and tired of not understanding a thing,” Stiles complained, kicking the little pebble on the ground. He walked between a black battered car and a while Honda, following the stones flight route.

“Tomasz will teach you or I will give you access to my collection,” the werewolf said, sounding oddly reassuring. “Now get into the car...or don't, your choice, but Jackson and the others need to come over right now, so better decide quick.”

“The others...?” Stiles echoed, but judging by the click on the other side of the call, Peter must have hung up on him after he was done with his persuasive talk.

The teen let his hand sink lower, since he did not need the phone pressed to his ear anymore and glanced around, watching the last few students that were hurrying to the schools building and then looked over at the gleaming red Mercedes right in front of him. He peered inside and spotted four pairs of eyes staring at him impatiently from behind the windows.

“And there I thought my life was a mess before,” Stiles muttered and walked over to the Mercedes.

 

~o~

 

“Hey guys,” Stiles greeted as he settled down on the front seat next to Jackson. He turned around and grinned at the group sitting in the back, studying their faces lost in different stages of confusion and determination while Jackson turned the key in the ignition.

The engine hummed like a tame lion, because of course it did, this was a freaking expensive car after all and then helped the vehicle to peel off the parking space and head out to wherever Peter actually lived. The fact that Jackson obviously knew that too did not brighten Stiles' mood at all.

“So, you are on all of this too?” Stiles asked curiously, watching Isaac Lahey, Erica Reyes and Vernon Boyd stare back at him.

“On what?” Erica muttered, frowning as she turned to watch the scenery behind the window. “We barely know what's going on.”

“And you got into Jacksons car anyways?” Stiles snorted and glanced over at their driver who remained strangely silent, his eyes never leaving the road in front of him.

He then looked in the back of the car to catch Isaac shrugging and Erica give him wide eyes. Boyd was the only one that looked calm enough, rummaging around in the pocket of his denim jacket. He brought out a piece of a neatly folded paper and gestured to it silently.

Erica and Isaac glanced at him and brought out a similar piece of paper, which only fueled Stiles' curiosity. He reached out for the nearest one, which happened to be Vernons but before he could snatch it from the other teens hand, it was gone in the same pocket it came out from. Boyd shook his head as Stiles frowned and Erica and Isaac pocketed their notes fast as well, as if they were afraid Stiles might try to steal them and read them.

“Are those from Peter?” he wondered, turning to look at Jackson who was driving the car slowly through the intersection near the church.

Jackson just nodded at that, focusing a tad too much on driving. And at first Stiles thought he might have been deliberately ignoring him for the sake of keeping everything that Peter does a secret, but then he noticed the frown of concentration on Jacksons face and the slow and careful pace of the car and wondered.

He would have never though Jackson was the cautious type while driving, but then it occurred to him that the other teen was in a deadly car accident just a week ago and that must have left a mark. And here he was driving anyways and that...well Stiles was a little bit impressed once he realized it.

“So what does the note say?” Stiles asked turning around to the back again. He was far too curious to let this go.

“I guess none of us will be willing to tell you,” Boyd informed him, looking at him unimpressed. Isaac glanced down at his feet and Erica decided to run her fingers through her disheveled hair instead of answering. That could not stop him from trying though. It only made him want to try harder if truth be told.

“Must be something very convincing, since you all decided to ditch school on this fine day,” Stiles guessed, watching their faces for any sign of confirmation.

“I could say the same about you,” Boyd decided to say, somehow becoming the spokesman for their little group. Maybe it was just because the other two occupants did not feel like chatting much. Or maybe it was something more.

“Is this a part of the explanation you owe me?”

“What...?” Stiles frowned wondering what that was all about. He knew fully well it must have something to do with the future him promenading himself around Beacon Hills in his fragile human body, but sadly, he did not have a clue what that said bastard did or said while he was wearing his meat suit, so he just shook his head, saying: “Uh, no? I don't know? I was on drugs last week so let's just ignore everything I said or did, okay? I guess that would be the wise choice here.”

Vernons frown deepened at that and he looked out of the window, folding his arms over his chest. Isaac shrunk in on himself and Ericas lower lip trembled, which all together made Stiles think he said something very hurtful. What was it that his future self did to these three that they would refuse to forget?

He hummed and turned back to the front, getting dizzy from the motion sickness and from the pressure of their combined silence. The mood in the car was not exactly ideal for him to continue and try to pry their secrets out of them. It did not get better once he glanced through the windshield and saw them pass the cemetery on their left.

He watched the graves as they rode past them and let himself get lost in his thoughts. The notes did not give him rest though, because he was far too curious to find out what could their possible content be. What would make these three teens jump into the car with Jackson and ride all the way to Peter Hale - werewolf extraordinaire? He must have promised them something....something encouraging enough to...

Stiles gasped and turned to look at the three people sitting in the back just when the car stopped in front of a gray apartment building. They ignored him of course and stepped out of the car right away without glancing back at him.

But Stiles was not done with this, not now when he knew what Peters plan was, not when he figured out what he had to offer to the teens, which... was he fucking crazy? He can't just go and build a teen werewolf army or whatever... why would he even consider doing something so illogical? Stiles had no idea, but he knew he had to stop it, before it would become too much to handle.

And so he jumped out of the car as well, watching impatiently as Jackson locked the car and led them through the opened entrance door. They huddled all into the elevator and rode up to the sixth floor.

Stiled didn't wait for Jackson to invite them inside though. He barreled through the opened door without any greeting whatsoever, glanced around to take a second to figure out the layout of the apartment and then turned left to head into the living room.

And that's where he found Peter, sitting in the armchair reading something on the laptop laying in his lap. Wolfy Derek was sitting next to him leaning onto his leg contently, his eyes closed. At least they were until Stiles stepped into the room and all havoc broke loose.

“Are you fucking kidding me with all of this, Peter?” Stiles barked, waving his hand behind him to point at the group of teens standing there. Or at least he assumed they were standing there. He was too busy glaring at the Alpha in front of him to check.

“Well hello to you too, Stiles,” Peter smiled pleasantly and closed the laptop, which he then put on the small table in front of him.

Derek took one look at Stiles and pulled back from Peters knee, moving to stand behind the chair cautiously. Stiles would have felt sorry for making him move out of the way, but he was too engrossed in his own world to notice.

“You called them over to offer them a Bite didn't you?” the teen exclaimed, bracing his hands on his hips in disapproval. “Have you no shame? Why don't you just walk into the BHHS and round up all the teens to turn into werewolves... like, what are you thinking? This is not right!”

Peter just sighed and gestured for him to sit down, but Stiles shook his head, standing over him, his eyes demanding answer, his body blocking the entrance to the living room. He couldn't just let them pass through. They did not know what they were agreeing too and if Peter was selfish enough to use their needs against them, then...

“Trust me Stiles, it was not my idea to cook up werewolves out of every self-esteem deprived adolescent in town,” Peter said calmly as he crossed one leg over another, his eyes scanning the teens behind him. “But as it happens, those were the names the future you made me remember before his untimely demise and upon further inspection I have spotted the potential he had been vaguely talking about, so... who am I to argue with the destiny.”

“So what, are you just gonna run around biting kids, because a lunatic claiming to be me from the future told you to?” Stiles exclaimed shaking his head, ignoring the vicious growl that came out from behind Peter. “It's one thing when you do it to save lives but like this? Recruiting them all on purpose? Are you really that insane?”

The Alphas eyes glowed dimly in the reddish colour that he has seen before, but this time it did not seem comforting nor reassuring. It was scary. It was a command, that was supposed to make him back off. “Don't. I trust the future you.”

“Me?” Stiles snorted, pushing the sense of dread caused by the glowing irises out of his mind. It was easy, because he forgot his meds in the morning and his mind was too unfocused to allow him to concentrate too much on one thing anyways. “How can you even know it was me? It could have been an impostor! He killed people, right? I would never kill anybody. My dad is the freaking sheriff for Pete's sake...so what other reasons did you have to believe the jackass was me anyways?”

Derek's growl intensified at that, his sharp teeth gleaning in the morning sunlight as he moved forward, but Peter reached out to grip the fur on his back and hold him in place.

“Don't talk like that about him,” the Alpha said calmly, forcing his eyes to turn back to the green human shade. That only reinforced Stiles to continue on with his tirade though, seeing him sit there all calm – like a king on a fucking throne staring down at the peasants.

“I can't believe you! Abducting teens...? And here I thought you were...”

“This is not what you think it is,” Peter interrupted him, his voice hard as steel. “I have asked you to join us just because you still bear an indirect bond to the pack as an Emissary and because I believe you will become as trustworthy as the future you one day - given the potential you have, but if you think this is all about you, then you have not been listening at all. This has nothing to do with you.”

“In fact, you have zero authority to demand anything. This is about them. It's their choice and if they are willing to listen to what I have to offer them and they accept it, then I will allow them to join my pack - werewolves or not.”

“It's my pack, it's my privilege to gift them with the Bite if they are willing... not yours. You are not the Alpha here. I am. You are free to challenge my claim of course, as any other does, but do not think I will go down that easily, Stiles. I waited far too long to gain this position to let you jeopardize it with your foolishness.”

Peter lifted his eyebrows at that, putting both his feet on the ground and leaning over to look at the teen more closely, the sharp ends of his nails digging into the armchairs material.

“And you questioning my reasons and my sanity? Let me tell you... if you think your opinion matters to me more than the words the lunatic entrusted me with just before he had sacrificed his life for my pack? Then you are right, because you can't be him after all. Not now and not in ten years.”

He leaned back into the chair then, almost relaxed once again. His hand did this benevolent gesture of a king releasing his servant as he continued talking.

“I am willing to indulge you to some extent of course, but unfortunately you have crossed the line here. Go cool your head, Stiles, I have more urgent matters to attend to than your hurt ego and pointless accusations.”

Stiles watched him in silence, swallowing the giant ball of poison that had been formed in his throat as he listened to the hurtful words. And that was when Jackson used the moment to finally push him out of the way and walk into the living room. He sat down at the far end of the couch and gestured for the rest of the teens to enter.

Boyd went through first, he glanced over the room and then sat down next to Jackson, looking at Peter. Isaac ushered in next, glancing nervously between Stiles and the Alpha, but since Peter only smiled reassuringly, he decided to sit down as well.

Stiles wanted to say something when Erica passed around him, maybe reach out for her and stop her, but he only managed to open his mouth, before she stopped him.

“I might not understand all of it, but I appreciate you standing up for us Stiles, really,” she said slowly, watching him with her wide brown eyes. “But mister Hale is right, we came here because we wanted to. I want to hear what he has to offer. And if he was telling the truth...and I could be free of my sickness, then you have no right to interfere, no matter how much you would want to. It's my decision, you know.”

“And on that note,” Peter cut in, waving for Erica to join the other teen on that couch. She did so, sparing one last glance for Stiles, before flopping down next to Boyd and Stiles could only watch silently, as the Alpha smiled and turned to them.

“Thank you for joining me here today. I hope Stiles' little outburst did not discourage you from what I have to offer to you. He is not quite himself at the moment, as you might have noticed,” he glanced over at the teen briefly and the rest of them did as well. Seeing the look they all gave him, as if he really wasn't the one who was supposed t be standing in front of them, Stiles took a little step back, looking down to the carpet in embarrassment.

“Now, I will start with the basic information,” Peter continued, his attention focused on the teens sitting in front of him again. “I will explain to you all that you need to know and give you a certain time to decide if you want to take it or not. Nothing major will happen today. We will jut talk – all together and then separately in case you will have inquiries that you would rather discuss privately, which I am sure you will have. And only after all that, if you are sure...”

Peter kept talking, but Stiles could not listen to it any longer, because the Alpha had been right all along, he was out of line earlier... he was an intruder. And as weird as it was, he even felt as an intruder in his own body after what Peter has said about the future him. Especially when he remembered the looks they have all been giving him in the past hour.

And so he backed out of the living room, pointedly ignoring how Derek stood up to follow him. He shook his head and slipped out of the apartment before the wolf could catch up to him, closing the door behind him.

Derek probably knew how to open doors so if he wanted to follow the teen, it wouldn't help much, but given by the reluctant glances he kept giving his Alpha, he wasn't going to follow Stiles any time soon. Not after all that he has said about the future him, not after he has insulted the man that was supposed to be his mate.

It wasn't like Stiles didn't want to be this badass mated wizard, that would end up being a driven protector of a werewolf pack. And if truth be told, he did not understand what drove him to insult Peter in such a way. He shuddered just thinking about it as he pressed the button in the elevator. Peter did so much for him after all, he saved Scott for Pete's sake, why would Stiles even...?

He sighed leaning against the mirror in the elevator that was situated next to the buttons. His warm breath clouded it for a few second and Stiles watched the fog, feeling worse than he did when he rejected to visit his mom's grave for three months in a row and dad threw an empty bottle of whiskey his way.

Maybe it was his ADHD. Maybe it was because he forgot his meds or because the future visitor messed up his brain... or maybe he was just no good at all. And the worst of it? The look Erica gave him before joining the others. Because seeing her made him understand what a huge mistake he made attacking Peter like that. What was he even thinking?

He begged him the Alpha save Scott, begged him to give the Bite to a complete stranger, to someone he could not talk to before, whom he could not explain all the stuff to, who he couldn't get to know before accepting him into the pack and how much of a risk that was? How much of a sacrifice? Were Alphas even allowed to gift people with the Bite like that? Was Peter gonna get into trouble if someone found out?

Stiles ran his hand over his head and pushed the entrance door open with the other one. He glanced at the red Mercedes standing nearby, neatly parked on the marked place, which was so unlike Jackson Whittemore, that it made Stiles' heart clench painfully in his chest. Maybe Peter was right... maybe he would never become the future him. Maybe his destiny was to become someone else entirely now.

He couldn't imagine killing a living person after all, not like the future him did, because no matter how hard he imagined taking a life, he just couldn't get past the morals that his dad taught him. And wasn't that a proof enough? What could have changed in all those year that he became a person like that?

Stiles shook his head and folded his arms around himself as he walked down the road along the cemetery. With all the adrenaline and anger gone out of him, he felt as if he has just dunk into the deepest part of a dark ocean and got himself shackled to it's bottom without any access to air.

He stopped in his tracks and looked to his right, watching the graves that were the nearest to him. Looking at them, he suddenly felt a irresistible need to go see his moms grave, because if she was still alive, she would have helped him to figure this all out. She would have told him that it was all okay and that no matter what he decided to do, he would still be her champion in the future. But his mom was not alive anymore and her words could not comfort him at a time like this, because they were all but memories by now.

He climbed over the low fence made out of stone that was divining the cemetery from the road and walked between the small graves, following the narrow path to the pavement that led through the middle of the cemetery.

Stepping onto the tiles, he forced his head to mindlessly commandeer his body to walk up the cemetery, all the way to the back where his moms grave stood nestled between dozens of others.

And as he looked up to survey it from the distance, he realized his sight was obscured by a man standing right in front of it. Before he could zero in on him though, a weird sound caught his attention and he turned around to check that out first.

Well okay, the sound of a motorbike on itself was not weird per se, but the fact that he heard it approaching through the cemetery was a little weird indeed, because it couldn't have been some freaking illusion caused by echoes that would be carried from the road. It really was right in the middle of the cemetery and heading his wait no doubt.

And just like that, the bike came into view, racing up the path to meet him. He side-stepped in between the graves just in case it wanted to continue the journey uphill, because he wasn't stupid enough to remain in it's path, but the rider parked the motorbike only few feet away from him, the tired squealing on the tiles, marking them black.

And Stiles kept watching while the rider got off the bike and then took off the helmet as well and yeah it was a woman - her long hair braided in a solid braid that would let her hair get tangled in the wind while speeding around on a motorbike.

Wondering what she might be doing riding all over the cemetery, but not in a mood to engage in a conversation with a stranger, he turned around to head to his moms grave only to be stopped by her words.“Where do you think you're going?”

“Uh,” Stiles turned around and surveyed her features once again, making sure she wasn't somebody he knew. She did remind him of someone at one level or another but he couldn't pinpoint the exact person she resembled. But other than that, her dark skin, her long dark brown hair, her childish features – it did not ring a bell. Not at all.

“Do I know you?” he wondered aloud, a sense of dread falling upon him. This couldn't be his future self doing, could it? And if yes who was this woman?

“Are you Gandalf?” he asked, taking a wild guess, because it's true that he thought Peter's friend to be the wizard his notes were talking about, but who knew what his future self actually meant? He certainly did not drop any names, nor did he assign a gender to the magical help that he called to help young Stiles, so it might as well be her, right?

“Oh, you are either way too foolish or way too arrogant to hide your magical signature, but I would have found you either way,” she said, unzipping her leather overalls. It revealed a bit too much skin and Stiles was a gentleman enough to glance away, which was probably a very stupid thing to do because the next thing he knew, she had a weird clay doll in her hand. That couldn't be a good thing. “You will pay for what you did to my brother.”

And at that, Stiles blanched.

“Ohh, no no no, wait waaait,” he stuttered, outstretching his hands in front of him to still her. It would have probably been more effective if he had some awesome magical shield at his disposal right there and then, but yeah, let's not dwell on the thing one did not have and focus on how to get out of this mess alive. Because that woman was not joking, judging by the way her eyes flashed and the doll in her hold vibrated in sync with her fluctuating eyes.

“No seriously, please, just listen to me,” Stiles tried again, waving his hands around. It occurred to him he should probably run, but turning his back to this woodoo woman didn't seem like a good idea at that particular moment, so he just doubled his effort. “That was not me, I would never hurt your brother, I didn't even know him, I swear. I don't even know his name or...”

“Alan Deaton,” she snarled and scowled as she spotted the look of recognition in his eyes. Well sue him, he did not expect her to drop the vets name and claim that that was actually the person his future self killed. He really needed to read the those notes properly.

“Um, the vet? Why would I...uh okay, but...that wasn't really me, there was this dude...and if you would just let me explain,” he insisted, looking around for somebody that could help him. But Derek was nowhere to be seen, nor any other member of the pack and well of course they weren't...Stiles did not deserve their protection, not after what he had said to Peter. He was all alone in this. “I will explain, just...”

“Your silver tongue won't save you,” she smirked, as the eyes on the doll finally began to glow purple es well. Little lines of light sprouted from those two dots and began traveling all the way down the clay man, dividing themselves, uniting themselves as they created a net of connected dots all over the dolls body.

“You won't escape this again,” she muttered, squeezing the dolls chest with all her might. “Not at this proximity.”

Something cracked in the doll. Were it the chest itself or the head or the legs breaking off... he did not know. The only thing he knew was that in one moment he was standing upright and in the other he found himself on the ground, his heart skyrocketing and hurting as if it turned into a freaking hedgehog, piercing his internals with every frantic beat.

He gasped, clenching at his chest as the pain grew stronger. If he could just open his ribcage and tear his heart out of his body he would have done it right away, because he could not bear it for a second longer. He sobbed, curling in on himself, as he heard the womans sadistic laughter, knowing full well that he probably only had seconds before he would lose his consciousness and die.

Oh God, he thought as his whole body began to tremble, please just don't let his dad find his body near moms grave.

He cried out in pain as the doll cracked again, a huge chuck of it's chest falling down to the ground and Stiles did not have to see it to know it happened. He just knew the doll was about the crumble and his life was about to end and he clenched his jaw, shutting his eyes in preparation for death.

And when the pain suddenly disappeared. It was such a relief to be without the pain in his chest, that he thought he actually did die and became a ghost.

But then he heard the voice and it made him open his eyes and glance at the woman. His head was still dizzy and his sight blurry, but he realized she wasn't standing there alone anymore, because there was a man right next to her, his arm outstretched, his fingers looped around her wrist.

“Yu are disturbing ded,” the man said and Stiles blinked a few times, trying to get his vision back to order and once he did, his mouth fell open, because the man was not an ordinary human. His outstretched arm glowed like melted gold, just the same as his eyes did and his aura was so strong, Stiles could barely feel the woman's magic anymore.

She scowled at him and tried to wrench her hand from the tight hold he had on her but the effort was all but futile. He tsked and grinned as she tried it again and then snorted when she tried to shatter the doll with the grip, but the doll was no longer glowing, the clay hard and unresponsive.

“The spine,” she spat as she finally recognized him. “You were supposed to be dead, I saw your magic disappear!”

“Do nott trust yor eyez. I can nott die, nott yet,” the man breathed, glancing at her hand which he still hand in hold. The woman looked at it as well and Stiles could see her face going white with fear. He squinted to see what made her scared and then realized her hand was all gray. As gray as stone underneath him and the curse seemed to be slowly traveling up her arm, devouring her flesh one cell after another, leaving behind nothing but the cold lifeless material.

“No,” she cried out as she struggled to free her hand. “No please, release me, please I won't...”

And at that Stiles wanted to ask the man to stop torturing her and just call the police to lock her up for an attempt on his life, but the womans face twisted into a scowl when the man did not react to her pleads and the teen could only watch as she reached over and gripped her stony forearm, sending a flare of purple magic into it.

Her fingers dug into the stone in the same manner as they did into the clay doll which she was still holding in the petrified hand and then she jerked her cursed arm, breaking the stone off right at the spot where it connected to her arm. The man staggered back in shock, holding her arm in one hand.

She barked out a laugh and reached into her leather overalls, bringing out a fist full of little glowing stones. The man did not wait for her to use one though. He threw her arm at her, knocking some of the stones out of her hand but she was way too fast and sent two of them Stiles' direction way too fast for the teen to notice.

The man did see it though and he reacted right away whirling around as he slashed his hand at Stiles, sending a spray of golden dust his way.

The teen didn't have time to hide or get out of the way, but he didn't even have to because the dust spun around him just in time to create a barrier, that got hit by two of the womans glowing stones right away. Luckily they just bounced away from it, erupting into a white fire as they did and when he looked up, he saw the woman throwing one poisoned needle after another the mans way, but he just moved his hand as quickly as a snake attacking, creating invisible barriers wherever he needed them.

Once she ran out of needles, he just grinned, stomping his foot on the ground and the magical tattoo all over his arms flared even brighter and at first Stiles thought nothing was happening, but then he saw the roots erupt from under the woman and she yelped when one of them managed to hook onto her leg, making her trip over.

The man grinned and clapped his hands in front of him. As he pulled them apart, Stiles could see electricity zap between his fingers, the buzz of it making his short hair stand. But the woman was not done, she dropped a few more of her magical stones which erupted into the white fire that devoured the roots trying the grab her in milliseconds. She then rolled around and reached behind her to pull out a gun.

“Drop it,” she ordered as she trained the gun at Stiles. “Drop it or I will shoot him.”

The man just laughed and pulled his hands apart, stretching the lightning between the tips of his fingers. The bigger the distance, the more it grew and Stiles was so fascinated by it, that he even forgot about the gun trained at his head.

That was until he heard the three shots fired and then two more. He jerked back, but the only thing that hit his face was a wave of air when the bullets bounced off the barrier.

Reassured that he won't die any time soon, he looked up once again and saw the man right in front of the woman, his hand outstretched as it gripped the top of her head. The lightning was gone from between his fingers, but that was probably because he used it as a way to whack the gun out of her grip.

They stood like that for a little while. The man holding the top of the womans head, watching her face as it turned into stone together with the rest of the body. He sighed when the process was finished and let go of her. Muttering something under his breath, he pressed his little fingers to her forehead and the stone fell apart, creating a heap of dust that got scattered around in the wind.

He then let his hands fall to his sides, the glow of his tattoo being slowly drained away into his eyes until those were the only ones glowing. He blinked a few times and then his whiskey-coloured eyes turned to Stiles. A playful smiles painting his lips. He flicked two of his fingers and the barrier surrounding the teen slithered back to him, sliding into the pockets on his jeans effortlessly.

“I wanted to waitt to mett yu,” the man said then, his accent way too familiar now that stiles wasn't confused by a time traveling coma.

He studied the mans features - his upturned nose, his long blond hair pulled into a messy ponytail on the top of his head, his smile and his long fingers and brightly colored eyes and suddenly he knew, even if it seemed impossible he somehow knew, because his mom once talked to him about her family back in Europe and if this wasn't it then...

The man grinned, seeing him catch up and then nodded. “I suppos, future reallie iz changing, deer nefew. Butt dat kould be a good sign. After all, yu gett to learn from mee soonr.”

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles pushed himself from the ground, his eyes never leaving the man who stood in front of him, that claimed to be his uncle and if truth be told, it kinda seemed like a very believable story, especially once he studied the features on his face. They reminded him of his mom, they reminded him of his own - those lively whiskey eyes blinking at him from so close sent a wave of nausea through his body when he concentrated too long on them. It was like looking in the mirror.

It could have been magic or it could have been the fact that it was way too similar to the way his mom used to look at him before she got too sick and too afraid of him. Either way... he grew to hate the painful reminder that his eyes were to him and to his dad.

As a child he even considered buying colored lenses so that his dad would not have to be reminded of Claudias untimely demise. And he even managed to order them online successfully, but unfortunately his eyes rejected the idea right after the tried to push them onto his irises, reddening and tearing up, stinging in discomfort. He cried for a while after that and threw them away without telling anyone. Not even Scott.

“How are yu felling?” asked his uncle, his head cocking to the side as he run his eyes up and down the teens body. “Anysing hurt?”

“Yeah, no, I'm fine,” he stumbled, glancing behind the man to catch a sight of the womans ashes. But they were nowhere to be seen anymore. The wind scattered them into the grass between the graves and the only reminder of her existence was the bike, stubbornly standing on the side of the narrow pavement. Stiles wondered is his uncle will turn that into ashes too just to avoid suspicion.

“Dat iz a lie,” the man said and stepped in closer. He brought up his right hand to touch the teen, but Stiles flinched away right away, his eyes bulged in alarm.

“Duuude, careful with that!” he yelped, gesturing wildly in the direction of his hand. He did not want to be turned into dust as well after all.

His uncle grinned at that, lifting his hand to run it through the messy hair on the top of his head, the smile on his lips sheepish.

“Yu have nosing to fear from me, Przemko,” he laughed, letting his other hand travel up to his head as well. He reached back for the hair tie that held the long hair together and pulled at it, releasing the mess into his other palm. He then proceeded to make a new bun on the back of his head, making it a bit less messy than the previous one which got loose in the battle.

Stiles watched him for a few seconds, the memories of his mom raw and itchy. He could not help but open his mouth and say: “Only my mom ever called me that.”

“Yez, I imagine,” his uncle answered, putting his hands on his hips, which was a lot better than trying to touch him with them anyways. “Nott a very fun name for american teen, iz itt?”

Stiles snorted at that and nodded wordlessly. That was exactly something he would have said weren't it for his uncle saying it first. It somehow felt like they have already breached the barrier from a stranger to an acquaintance with that short question.

“Sooo,” the teen started, fidgeting. He looked around, his eyes landing on his moms grave not so far away. He hummed and then looked back at the man. “You're moms brother...? Not that I don't believe you, just...”

“Good, bettr bee save dan sorry,” the man smiled, bowing his head. “I am Tomazs, nice to mett yu again.”

“Just like that,” Stiles wondered, stepping a bit to the right to survey the man from a different angle. It could have been some kind of an illusion or a ghost or who knew what, given that the supernatural was real.

“Yez,” the man snorted. “Some sings are as easy. Lets be glad, shall we? Dis would be a reallie fucked up trap if it were dat way, don't yu sink?”

Stiles' lips thinned at that because even that nonchalant response could not lower his defenses. Not yet. There was one more important question he needed to ask, before he could relax completely in this mans presence.

“Are you here to bring the future me back?” he questioned suspiciously, moving a bit further from the man in case he would try something. Not that he could escape him, he thought bitterly, not after he saw what his uncle was capable of, but just in case he would try to do some weird woodoo on him to suppress the present him again...well, let's just say, Stiles wouldn't go down without a fight.

Tomasz' brow rode up his forehead in surprise. “Wat?”

“Well he was obviously...” the teen gestured weakly, remembering the words Peter threw his way earlier. He was not as cool, nor as strong, so of course they would want the future Stiles back, right? And how else to achieve it than through some weird magic. This man seemed strong enough for a such a thing, didn't he?

“He iz yu,” his uncle frowned, blinking in incomprehension. “I do nott understand.”

“I don't think he is and I bet you all would prefer him back.” Stiles muttered bitterly as he glanced over the graves on their right. “At least the pack for sure...so excuse me if I don't trust you to have no intentions to send me back into oblivion at all. For all I know, you...”

“But yu are him,” Tomasz shook his head, hitting his chest with his first lightly. “Here. Dat iz d same. Dat iz watt matters.”

“No, not the same,” the teen snorted, his face twisting in distaste. “I would never kill a person as he did, I would never...”

“Reallie...?” Tomasz spat, stepping in closer to him, his posture suddenly tense and dangerous, but Stiles somehow didn't manage to move away even if it was threatening. He only kept staring at the man as he spoke with a voice trembling with grief and terror.

“And if yu had a familie, a pack, wateverr and enemies would kill and torture each and everie one of yor loved onez. Wat if dey would cut off yor dads fingers and feed them to d old gods to put a vile course on yor coven, dat would kill all small babies inside a woman, a course dat would rip her apart if any of us would want to have child to stop familie from surviving for anoder generation..?!”

“What...?” Stile blanched horrified.

“Yez, imagine attak so vicious,” Tomasz continued mercilessly, his face distorted and full of pain. “Imagin watching strangers cut dem all in parts, but sparing yu becoz yu are way too week for dem, becoz it iz fun to watch yu suffer behind a barrier. Imagine barrier gone after dey leave and you stand in yor home with all d dead bodies. Imagine...would yu kill den? Do nott lie boy, do not dare to lie now... if yu found dem again, would you nott kill dem?”

“I...,” the teen whispered not even able to imagine a situation like that no matter how vividly his uncle tried to describe it.

That was not something that happened in real life, was it? That sounded more like a horror movie, more like a very bad dream – thee same sort of a dream he had at night in fact. With all those dead bodies, bleeding all over the ground, the blood seeping into his skin, making him feel like he would go berserk in any second. That was kind of how Tomasz' face looked at that moment if truth be told. So maybe...

Stiles swallowed a few times.

“I don't know,” he answered honestly, lowering his head in embarrassment, which only made his uncle sigh and relax, so it was obviously a good thing to be honest, even if it probably wasn't the response Tomasz wanted to hear.

“It iz okay,” the man sighed, reaching out to put a comforting hand on the teens shoulder, as if he realized he went way too far with him. “I apologize, I waz way too seriouz.”

Stiles just shrugged at that, trying to push the thoughts of slaughter out of his mind. He did not want to imagine his dad like that, nor anybody else close to him.

“Yu will understand in time, I am sure,” Tomasz said, the words filled with positiveness once again. He squeezed his shoulder as Stiles looked back at him and mirrored his smile. And it would have been a pretty nice moment between a nephew and his uncle weren't it for the fact that Tomasz suddenly frowned, running his hand up his shoulder and letting his palm linger at the side of his neck. His frown deepened after a few heartbeats and Stiles tried to glance at his neck, wondering if it started to turn into stone by accident or something.

“Wait,” his uncle whispered, bringing up his left hand to push against the other side of his neck. He then looked around as if looking for somebody and then looked back at the teen urgently. “Why are yu even alone? Where iz yor vlkolak?”

“Uhh,” Stiles frowned. “You mean Derek? Well uh, we had an argument of sorts with Peter and some pretty heavy stuff was said...”

He did not finish, lowering his head to stare at his shoes. He felt like shrugging off his uncles hands from his neck but it somehow felt comforting enough to leave them there while he pushed the gravel under his sneakers, shrugging sheepishly.

“Not rite,” Tomasz muttered, snatching his hands from Stiles' skin and pushing his left hand in the pocket on his jeans to bring out a very old looking phone. Seriously... it was like a freaking brick from hundreds of years ago if not directly from the Stone Age. The old Nokia edition that Stiles remembered his dad having a very very veery long time ago.

Tomasz dialed out a number and lifted one finger when Stiles opened his mouth to ask who and why he was calling, because he somehow had a suspicion who it might be and did not like the idea of it. Like... not at all.

“Peter,” his uncle greeted pleasantly and that much was to be expected. Not the words that followed it though. “I will kastrate yu, yu fucker, yu left him unprotected.”

Stiles cringed, but kept watching, oddly fascinated by the threatening tone in Tomasz' voice. His uncle winked at him and then turned back to his phone.

“I do nott care wat he said,” the man snorted, turning to look around as if he was worried someone might listen in on their conversation. He seemed even more paranoid that Stiles was.

“Yu stupid dog,” Tomasz snapped, gesturing with his hand. “Anie cursed person would say dat, even worse.”

“Cursed...?” Stiles asked, his hand flying to his neck as if there was some evidence he could feel. When was he cursed? What was he cursed with?

“Nott strong,” his uncle answered shaking his head. He waved at the teen to calm him down a little and then talked back into the phone. “Butt I could feel on his skin. He does not now how to resists it yet, of corse...it waz obvious to test yor pack, and yu pako...”

He listened in for a few second his frown deepening as he nodded along. Stiles could hear a faint voice coming off from his direction and wondered what Peter might be saying. He might have been complaining that Stiles was way too weak to be in the pack because he let himself be cursed with who knows what and if truth be told he did somehow found it hard to believe it. He did not feel any different after all.

The teen stroked his neck nervously, fearing he might find a scar or maybe something worse, but his fingers only skidded over normal human skin.

“Dat I do nott know,” Tomasz sighed into the phone, glancing at his nephew. “Dere iz no signature, I could try and encode it, but I am too week now, becoz I had to save Przemko from attack of coven woman, which is also all yor fault by d wat. Yu promised to protect my nefew so dat I could keep my distans and yu failed to keep dat promise. Our deal iz off table den. I have no intentions helping yu, if yu...”

His uncle went suddenly silent listening in to the urgent voice on the other side. The tone on itself was all Stiles could make out though, because he was way too far to hear any real words, after all.

“Alrite,” Tomasz sighed, he walked back to Stiles and offered him the phone.

“Peter haz somesing to tell yu,” his uncle explained, when the teen just stared not taking the phone even after he shook it into is face. Stiles did not reach for it after the explanation either though, his lips thinning.

“No, I'm fine,” he shook his head, rejecting the offer to talk to Peter. “I...it was my fault. I would have said it anyways. Cursed or not.”

“Dis iz nott about argument,” Tomasz explained, pushing the phone onto his chest calmly. “Course pulled the thread of bond between yu and yor pack and onlie wordz can put it back together, onlie...”

“It's not my pack,” Stiles muttered stubbornly, pushing the hand holding the phone away from him. He looked up at his uncle stubbornly. “It's their pack, I don't belong in it, which is fine... so... it's fine.”

And even though he somehow knew saying this was wrong, he had forced it through his lips anyways, not caring about the consequences of his words.

Was Tomasz going to be mad at him now? Was Peter? He did not know nor did he care. Better be honest than tell lies to comfort them. And if it were the effects of the curse still running through his veins? He did almost call them a pack a few times before, but that was a mistake, of course, just a slip of his tongue, nothing serious. He barely knew them, he barely... Stiles pushed the thoughts out of his mind, feeling dizzy and frustrated for no reason whatsoever.

Tomasz kept looking at him, reading him like an opened book - as if he could even read between the lines not only the words written on the paper.

He nodded after a few heartbeats and brought the phone back to his ear.

“I will call yu later,” he breathed calmly and Stiles felt himself relax a little bit as well.

“Yez, I do apologize for hard wordz against yu Alfa,” he continued rolling his eyes excessively. “Also, if yu do bad to Przemko again, I will pickle yor ballz, Alfa or nott.”

He grinned at Stiles then, pocketing his phone. The teen just stared back. And yep he did that staring thing a lot, but come on, there was a badass wizard in front of him and he was also his uncle and even if Stiles felt his brain trying to flood his mind with sad memories about his mom every time he noticed something that Tomasz shared with his sister, it still made him feel very excited to have an uncle like that. After all, it was always just him and his dad after...

“Wow dude, that's,” he exclaimed, waving his arms around in disbelief. “You do realize he's a werewolf, right?”

“And yu do realize, I am a magic, rite?” Tomasz laughed, his eyes flashing briefly at the nuance. “I wuld definitelie win fite.”

“You would...against Peter?” Stiles mused curiously. It wasn't that hard to imagine, considering what he witnessed previously when his uncle got rid of that crazy witch, but still...he did mention something about being weak after those few minutes of using magic, so if there is really such a long recharge time after an excessive magic use, then it might not be hard to beat him. One just needed to wait until he was exhausted enough to not be able to fight back and get rid of him then, right?

Stiles wondered how far magic reserves even reached, but decided to not ask right there and then, as he stored the question for later.

“Well, strictlie speeking...Peter iz a trickie one,” Tomasz hummed, tapping his fingertips against his lips as he thought about it. “I am sure he haz a few jokers up hiz sleeve...butt enouf off dat, first sings first....”

He reached into his back pocket once again, but not for his phone as before. This time he brought out a red pen and reached for the teen's right hand, scribbling something onto the inside of his wrist.

Stiles glanced down and surveyed the constellation of runes or whatever those were and when Tomasz finished, he brought it in closer and then looked over at his uncle curiously.

“What are these...does that cancel the curse against Peter?” he inquired, as Tomasz pocketed the pen back and looked around once again like a paranoid maniac. Stiles was starting to think it was a habit of his for some reason. And if anything of what he said before about his family was true, then it did not surprise him one bit.

“No, I can nott cancel that course. It alreadie happened, the bond iz alreadie loose. Yu can nott repair a bond wis magic, dat wuld be foolish,” his uncle explained, his eyes lingering on the bike not so far away from them, as if it was making him suspicious. Maybe he thought the coven could track it by GPS? That wouldn't be so far off the table, would it?

“This sigil iz to hide yu. For now at liest,” Tomasz continued, tearing his eyes from the bike to look at his nephew. “It iz not so strong as future zu had, becoz yu can nott use yor iskra yet, but it should be enouf to hide yor magical signature if the coven will try to find yu again.”

“Do you have one like that too?” Stiles wondered when he noticed his uncle rubbing the ring on his finger. Could that be it?

Tomasz smiled as he saw him eye his wedding ring. He lifted his hand to him and pushed the ring aside to reveal a very extricate pattern of a whole bunch of different symbols which were weaved into a circle around his ring finger. They were so small they could fit effortlessly under the thick wedding band without him to worry, that someone might notice it.

“One haz to be careful wis so manie enemies,” he said then, pushing the wedding ring back into its place.

“But you seem strong,” Stiles objected immediately and his uncle just snorted at that, throwing his arm around his shoulders to turn him around and usher him down the pavement, clearly too impatient to stay near the bike for any longer.

“One iz never strong enouf to not be causious,” he said while he led Stiles out of the cemetery. “Now come on, I will join yu on yor way home just in case dere are more druids around.”

 

~o~

 

By the time they left the premises, Stiles' mind was all but swarmed with questions that he needed to ask and facts he tried to staple all together without having to ask, but given his nature, he did not remain silent for way too long and right after they crossed the road to avoid the towns center and walked into the park, he turned to his uncle and let his mouth run loose.

“So uhh, you are the Gandalf the future me talked about then?” He wondered, trying to make sure. “Or is that somebody else? I mean I think it's you, but the notes were super cryptic or at least the first page was... as if he did not want to let me know exactly who it was so I thought I would ask, but I mean if you are not sure either then....”

He looked over at Tomasz, who was looking over the trees and waited for the words to catch up to him. They did in the next second and his uncle grinned, clasping his hands in front of him.

“Oooh I like daaat,” he laughed, winking in his direction. “Dat can be my codename from now on as yors is Stilez. It iz smart to make dat soon, verie smart, yez.”

“Um, how so?” the teen wondered, watching his uncle as they passed in around the bench where an old lady was feeding some pigeons. “Can somebody woodoo me easier if they know my name?”

“It iz nott about knowing,” hi uncle shrugged, walking a bit faster for some reason. Or maybe it was just his usual pace, who knew. “It iz about tru name of sings dat gives yu power over dem. Just reading yor name somewhere would nott do trik, butt if yu told yor full name....wen yu say it...den it iz yor tru essence. A magic never says hiz whole name just like dat.”

“Well, that seems impractical,” Stiles grimaced trying to imagine never saying his full name. “What if you need to introduce yourself like a normal person would, what then?”

But he knew the answer to that even before Tomasz opened his mouth, because it must have been exactly the same as when he introduced himself - he never really said his full name either, not after they made up his nickname with Scott after he got laughed at in elementary school.

“Hello, I am Tom Stilinski,” his uncle said suddenly, imitating an introduction to demonstrate his own strategy. It was somehow weird to hear his moms surname being dropped that easily by somebody else than him or his dad. It made him squint into the sunlight a little.

“But doesn't that carry your true essence as well then?” he mused after a little while, when he managed to look over at Tomasz again. “Doesn't everything you would use as a name? As long as you call yourself that...”

“Ah, I understand wat yu mean. Dis iz where it gets interesting, yu see,” Tomasz started, stretching his arms in front of him. “It iz not yor magic dat defines true name, it iz yor mommies.”

“What...?” Stiles blanched, stopping in his tracks, the torrent of the memories threatening to spill into his mind all over again. He blinked a few times to restore order in his head and waited for explanation.

“Magic comes from mom,” his uncle said, stopping as well, his face getting a nostalgic sort of look. “From her bellie. Yu grow under her heart, which iz d source of magic, d centre. She iz d one to give yu name, becoz she made yu. Her magic seeped into yu, it defined yu and the tru name...it resonates wis her magic, it sing d same song....yu will hear one day. And everie time yu wake it up and hear it sing, it iz like yor mom iz with yu.”

Stiles looked away at that, swallowing the huge lump of feelings clogging his throat. He wouldn't want to cry over such a stupid thing, but he reached to his chest anyways and grasped the front of his shirt, wondering if he will be able to hear a gentle melody of his mom love once again when he wakes up his magic. He would love that more than anything...especially since mom was...he shook his head wildly.

He promised himself to not remember his mom the way she was while in the hospital, but how she treated him before. But still... his heart ached to hear a confirmation that all those disillusions in the hospital were just lies her sick brain spilled. That would actually be the most wonderful thing in the world.

He looked up then, seeing Tomasz was already a few feet ahead of him - he must have resumed walking slowly right after he said it to give Stiles a bit of privacy. The teen sniffled a bit and then jogged a little to catch up to his uncle.

“So, mom was magic then...?” he asked, eager to know more, even if it did mess with his emotions. Since they already started, Stiles might as well continue. It couldn't get any worse could it? Tomasz seemed to know a lot of pleasant things about his mom. Things that might overshadow those bad memories that were seared on the inside of Stiles' skull.

“Yez a very skilled magic,” Tomasz confirmed, watching a sparrow land a few feet in front of them and then flick away again as he saw them approach.

“Then why did she have to...” the teen trailed, letting the rest of the sentence unsaid. Why did she have to die? If she had magic... and I saw what you can do so... wasn't there some ritual that could have saved her? Something that would have cleared her brain of the treacherous disease? Something that would let Stiles keep his mom?

Tomasz sighed at that. “It was becoz she did not use her magic, she sup...she pressed it down. A strong magic like dat, it iz like steam engine. If yu do nott let steam out after a while, it damage bodie, it damage everysing, it makes yu sick. Dat is wat happens wis peeple who have a strong iskra but never use it. Dey get sick. Sometimes less, sometimes more.”

“Why didn't she just...”

“Enemies,” his uncle answered promptly and Stiles could only shake his head and run his fingers over his short hair biting his lower lip.

“But this,” he said weakly, looking down at the chain of protection sigils on his wrist. He put his fingers over it, squeezing tightly. “You hid me, you hid yourself, couldn't she have...?”

“I did nott have those yearz ago,” Tomasz muttered, staring into the distance wistfully. “I spent last few yearz studying sigils, experimenting wis dem, testing dem... but it waz different back den.”

“How different...?”

His uncle made a grimace at that, as if he wasn't really willing to talk about it, but when Stiles opened him mouth to apologize and tell him to ignore the question, Tomasz lifted his hand to stop him from talking.

He sighed then, looking around them briefly – maybe surveying the surroundings or maybe just steeling himself for what was to come. He folded his arms over his chest then.

“Aftr our familie got...massakered,” he started, the last word eliciting an unpleasant shiver over his body. “Wee ran. I waz nott full age at dat time, butt we had friendz who helped.”

“We stayed hiding in Rak-...emm Austria for a wile, in mountains and Klaudia... well she hated hiding just as much as I did, butt for a diferent reazon. She wanted to life her life and I wanted revenge. I waz young and foolish sinking I could beet anybodie wis my week iskra, without the magic backup from coven. And... bezos of my foolish wayz, bad sings happen...”

“I knew Klaudia went to Amerika after dat to start new life, butt I could not follow, not wis all of dem alife...not wis...,” he shook his head at that, his face full of disappointment and regret. “I was too angrie, too...hardheaded. We had a fight and she left...and I stayed behind wis all my anger. And I still am angrie at dem for destroying our familie, butt I learn patience, I learn to life...I need to be stronger first and den I can revenge dem.”

“My mom just left you all alone? After your whole family...?” Stiles asked quietly, as he watched the pavement. He somehow knew that feeling very well didn't he? Of course, he still had his dad after she died, but maybe it would have been better for him at that time to be all alone, than to watch his dad get drunk every evening and make that unhappy grimace when looking at his only son.

“Do nott sink bad of her,” Tomasz said, shaking his head in alarm as he looked over at him. As if he couldn't even think bad of his sister no matter what she did. “It were hard timez and I am glad she did wat she did. The anger I felt, it was poison, I can see now. I would have led her to dead too, if she stayed.”

But Stiles couldn't help but wonder anyways. If his mom did not leave Europe, she might have not gotten sick, because she would have been using her magic just as Tomasz did – freely and without any bad consequences from suppressing it that long to protect her weak human family. Maybe she would have still been alive. Granted Stiles wouldn't have existed at all, but then he wouldn't be able to be sad about it, if he never would have developed a consciousness that could make him sad.

Except Tomasz did say she would have died a long time ago if she had stayed behind... Stiles kinda thought that might be just the guilt talking though and so he opted to ask to be sure.“Why do you think you would have led her to her death? I mean you are alive, so maybe she...”

“No, Przemko,” his uncle gritted, looking away from him and suddenly, he looked very old, as old as his dad, because his face distorted, showing the wrinkles Stiles didn't even notice before and his hands shook next to his body, curled up in tight balls.

“I would have taken her wis me, as I did wis my friendz. I was a stoopid pako chasing after powerful magics, who had a whole coven for support and...mz friendzs - dey all died.” Tomasz gulped and relaxed his hands, running his fingers soothingly over his wedding ring. That seemed to calm him down a bit, his face finding that previous calmness once again.

“It waz a hard price to pay, butt I learned from it,” he admitted reluctantly after a while. “I learned I need to gett strong first and I need to do it alone. Dis iz onlie my fight to...fight. My revenge.”

The trees around them dissipated as they stepped out of the park and walked around the only cinema that was still functional in Beacon Hills.

Stiles would have normally glanced over the program that they kept displayed on a board on the front of the building, but he was too busy digesting it all. And Tomasz let him so they walked in silence for a while, passing around the supermarket and into the streets full of houses.

“So you have killed people too then?” Stiles asked suddenly, after they passed around the first house. “And you think that's right? Why not just call the police on them or...something?”

He couldn't help but ask that. It was the way he was brought up by his father after all.

“Police? Dat iz for normal humans,” Tomasz snorted, clearly amused by that idea. “Normal humans have their own laws. The supernatural kreaturs have their own. We can nott be judged like human wisout special powers, becoz we are nott like dem. A normal prison can nott hold a magic, nott if he is skilled. Police can nott capture a vampir or a vlkolak.”

“But...”

“Yu can nott use normal law for all of us, dat would be silly,” his uncle interrupted him without even letting him speak up. “Yu do nott use the same laws for diferent countriez either so why should dis bee anie diferent?”

“Hah, well this isn't a matter of smoking in public or so!” Stiles exclaimed vividly, throwing his hands up in frustration.

What is wrong with the supernatural world that they must be all so bloodthirsty? Can't it just be the same as normal world but with an addition of getting superpowers? It's not like Xavier established any special rules for his X-men, they were all living in a normal human world after all. Stiles feared he might never get it. He was, after all, taught differently.

“It iz a life and dead matter, it iz more important dan dat, becoz it protects us.” Tomasz continued relentlessly. “Laws need to be stronger and stricker, becoz we are all stronger and more visious.”

The teen frowned and decided to go for an obvious approach. “Well, why don't you have a supernatural police then?”

“Oh, yu mean hunters?” his uncle snorted, rolling his eyes at him. “Dey claim to be supernatural police. Butt trust me, yu do nott want to cross dem...and yu can definitelie nott look for help or sympanthy in deir ranks. Dey onlie care about humans.”

Stiles pouted at that and turned away from Tomasz with a tight expression on his face. He didn't like how all his arguments were smashed down by sheer logic. The things obviously worked differently in the supernatural world, but he still thought they could make it out of all problems without killing each other. What kind of sick world would that be if the only solution was death?

His uncle obviously understood his dilemma, because he reached over and patted his shoulder to bring Stiles' attention back to him, as they stroke across the road. They were already on the street that led to his house, only a few dozen yards away from it.

“I am nott forcing yu to uninstal yor brain, becoz dat is what yor father teached yu and yu should honor dat,” he said, his voice strangely kind. “Butt just sink about wat I said to yu.”

Stiles jerked his head in a nod, knowing full well that there was nothing to be done about it anyways. He could just accept that that was how they rolled in the supernatural world and if he wanted to be a part of it in the future, he would have to learn to live by the rules, that have been established there a long time ago.

It was not like he could go ahead to change them. There didn't seem to be a supernatural president or a king or an emperor of sorts that would issue law and everybody would automatically follow them. It was a huge chaos of strong beasts and powerful creatures, that could only be held down by the threat of losing their own life if they did something wrong.

And Stiles could understand that. He really could. It was just hard to get around the black and white morals his dad thought him. But who knew, maybe one day he would overcome that and see the world in shades of gray, just as all the supernatural beings seemed to see it.

“Well I will leave yu now,” Tomasz smiled with his arm around Stiles, gesturing at the house as they stood in the driveway: “Yu will be safe now.”

“Um, you can come inside, if you like,” Stiles offered weakly, hoping he would maybe learn more about magic. Oh who was he kidding, he just itched to hear some stories about his mom.

Not to mention that parting ways with Tomasz, so soon after he met his uncle for the first time seemed a bit sad. Plus, yeah, there was a crazy horde of wizards chasing after him and protection or not, he still felt a bit queasy about how that woman went for his throat without even investigating the matter further.

“We have...some food and stuff, I am sure you are starving after all that magicing,” he said, wincing at the weird word his brain chose to use. Maybe the body-snatching really did break his brain in one way or another if he was using stupid words like that.

Tomasz just shook his head gently though and smiled apologetically. “I can nott go into d house. I would disturb d protection magic if I did. I doubt it iz tuned in on my signature.”

“What protection magic?” Stiles frowned, looking at their old battered house that they were proudly calling the Stilinski mansion. There was nothing special to be seen at it, nothing magical at all. No barriers, no runes, no spells. The teen was at lost as to what it could be that his uncle was referring to.

“It iz hard to describe,” Tomasz shrugged and Stiles was about to sigh in defeat, because he was so useless he couldn't even sense magic like apparently everybody around him was able to, but his uncle just grinned and reached back to bring his red pen out again.

He grabbed his left hand and turned it upside down. The pen touched his palm a few times, creating a mess of strokes that might have meant something to a magic user, but which were literally like japanese signs for Stiles - spilled rice. He watched them curiously anyways though.

Up until his uncle clasped his palm to his, entwining their fingers, pressing their skin tightly together. And as they looked up at each other, Stiles noticed his eyes glowing in the similar way, they did when Tomasz fought that witch before. Except this time, the tattoo remained brown, only his irises were the ones that ignited and the teen would have asked why, but suddenly there was warmth seeping into palm and he looked down in surprise.

The warmth spread rapidly up his arm and then over his shoulder, and one would have thought it would be uncomfortable to feel something like it, but it was quite the opposite. It was as if he was slowly sinking into a pleasantly warm water, that suddenly reached all the way to his cheeks.

Stiles looked up at his uncle then and gasped. It was not just the human body that he could see at that moment, it were swirls upon swirls of a golden dust that kept circling from his chest, surrounding Tomasz like a soft tornado - its little tendrils reaching down his uncle's arm and seeping into Stiles, into his veins and warming them gently.

He studied his uncle's eyes for a few moments, because they twinkled like stars and he realized it was not just a simple glow, it was a whole lot more – a sheen made out of his magic, the golden dust accumulating in his irises to enhance his vision. He watched it twirl in his eyes and followed its little particles as they scattered into the air, finding their way back to its host when they flew too far away. It was beautiful.

“Now look,” Tomasz said suddenly, tearing him out of his amazement with a light squeeze through their connected hand.

And Stiles turned his head over to the house and all the words flew out of him, because what he saw was way too wonderful to be described with such mundane means as words. He watched the golden dome enveloping his house like a snug warm blanket, watched it's golden dust swirl in wavy patterns, watched it flow like a gentle river all around it, protecting it, keeping it safe and he felt tears prickle in his eyes.

This was his mom, this was what she left behind for him and his dad and all those things she accused him of back in the hospital must have truly been just disillusions of her sick brain, because there was no way...no way in hell one would create something like this – this intricate web of golden magic that was thrumming with love and affection, if they did not care about the occupants of the house itself, if they did not want to protect them from the great beyond.

“Listen,” Tomasz whispered and Stiles startled and looked up at him, his eyes wide and teary.

“Listen to her song,” his uncle said and then closed his eyes and took a deep breath in, his lips morphing into a fond smile.

And Stiles did the same. He closed his eyes and tried to take a deep breath in, even though he felt like crying right there and then. And as he exhaled, the melody finally reached his ears.

It was a soft tune, a tune he heard his mom hum often but was never able to recognize as an existing song. The magic hummed the same now, it rose steady for a while and then sank again like a small roller coaster and through that main tune, he could hear a gentle swirling sound, as if the wind was scattering sand all over the place. And then it rose again and the tune was suddenly so gentle and so loving, that Stiles could not help it anymore... he sobbed, tears spilling down his cheeks as the song continued to play.

And Tomasz held his hand throughout the whole time, surging more warmth into his body to keep his sisters magic present so that Stiles could listen to it for as long as he wanted. The teen sobbed and then he cried some more... and then he opened his eyes and watched the dust swirl in tune with the rhythm and he felt as if his mom was there with them - her laughter all around, her arms hugging them both, her eyes full on endless love.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The front entrance door at the hospital opened with a quiet whoosh and Stiles walked in, a half-eaten sandwich in one hand and a bottle of sparkling water in the other. He pushed the rest of the food into his mouth and sucked in the rest of the bottle, throwing it into the garbage can near the entrance door. His stomach churned happily and he sighed, walking past the nurse at the front desk and down the corridor just as they did a day before with his dad.

He was glad he decided to take his time and walk all the way to the hospital by foot after his uncle left him at his front door red-eyed and disheveled. It might have taken him for over an hour to reach his destination, true, but the warm sun and gentle wind helped to sooth down his thoughts and feeling well enough.

It wasn't that his uncle did something horrible to upset him by showing him the loving tendrils of his moms magic...he just never thought...he never assumed to see nor feel a good enough proof of her love. Not after what he lived through while she stayed in the hospital. Not after all the accusations, not after seeing the fear in her eyes, not after...Stiles shook his head and thought back on the melody of his moms magic.

And as easy as that the bad memories ebbed away, fading into nothing. Instead of it, he could see her smile and her gentle arms surrounding him in a tight hug and his chest felt warm once again.

He smiled to himself as he walked around the corner and his lips tilted even higher, because his mom loved him so much she erected that beautiful dome around their house. She loved him so much that she carefully constructed it for weeks and weeks before he was born and then left it there to protect them from anybody who would mean any harm to them and that...well of course, Stiles wouldn't know any of that, weren't it for his long lost uncle who could tell how long the dome stood just by looking at it through the magical sheen.

“Magic protetion like dat,” he said before he left Stiles standing in front of his house, “takes long time too konstruct. And it iz old, so old, yu can hear it creeking under d pressure of time if yu listen well enouf. To carve rite sigils in d rite place, to weave deir magic, to harvest potential, to keep it so subtle onlie keen sence will notice...dat iz indeed yor mothers love. And d fact dat it still stands...i sink, dat can onlie mean her love survived here even after she pased on.”

Just thinking back on those kind words made Stiles' chest swell with so much emotion he might have cried all over again, but alas there were no more tears left in his body, not after the waterfalls he wasted in front of his uncle. And so he just sniffled, the smile never leaving his lips and kept on walking to the intensive care wing.

And as he walked around the last corner and the door that he was so afraid of the day before came into view, he noticed a familiar figure standing right in front of them, waiting.

Peter only raised his eyebrow silently and moved the weight of his body from one feet to the other, but Stiles could feel the tension between them anyways. On one hand he was still feeling bitter about the earlier argument, because he was not sure which of all those words were his and which were called out by the curse affecting him.

On the other hand he still felt bad for yelling at Peter like that. I mean look at him, he came to the hospital to obviously check up on Scott, who he didn't even have to care about because even though he might have ended up being a pack member yesterday (Stiles had truly no idea how the whole pack thing worked), he was still a stranger to him.

The teen walked closer and nodded to the Alpha in greeting. Peter just kept staring and waiting and yeah okay, Stiles was never the one for silence and so he took a deep breath in and said, spilling the words fast before he could stop himself: “Look, man, I am not sorry for what I said, because...I guess I should be, but I also think I kinda meant it all and since I know myself well enough...I think I might have said them all without the curse as well, so...yeah.”

“I know,” Peter nodded, putting his hands behind his back. “Curse or not, I meant most of it too, but the bond wouldn't have weakened just because of such a simple argument.”

“It wouldn't?” Stiles frowned, looking at the Alpha curiously. One would have thought it did, because even families fell apart when there was too much strive between the members. So how could this be any different?

“Of course not,” Peter explained, shaking his head. “Packs argue when the situation calls for it. It's healthy even.”

“Yeah? Because I thought it's called an Alpha status, because... ya know,” he said vaguely, gesturing to the man in front of him who just kept staring at him patiently. “The Alpha male and all that...”

Peter scoffed at that, fixing his eyes above his shoulder as he watched a nurse walk nearby suspiciously. Were all supernatural beings this paranoid or was that just Peter and Tomasz?

“Well for your information there are female Alphas as well, so that remark right there was remarkably offensive. Please refrain yourself from using that in front of Kali or any other female Alpha unless you have a death wish. Actually, by all means, feel free to try...”

“I did not mean it like that,” Stiles cut in, but Peter waved his hand around to silence him swiftly and that only made anger bubble inside of him once again, because how could he accuse Stiles of such misogynistic thoughts? How could he assume anything about Stiles at all? He didn't know him, nor did he look like he wanted to know Stiles. He only keeps waiting for the future him to return, hoping in vain, Stiles had to add, because...

“Stiles,” Peter called up to him, his hand shaking his shoulder out of the weird trance of anger he got himself caught up in. “Let's not get carried away again... I apologize for those words. It was uncalled for.”

He then let go of the teen and stepped away from him, hiding his hands behind his back once again. Stiles just stared, taken aback by how easy he got angered about such irrelevant discussion. He frowned and looked down at his sneakers as he ran a hand over his short hair in a futile attempt to get rid of all the anger sizzling through his body near Peter. It must have been a very powerful curse, that had been cast upon him, he was never really one to despise people like this.

“To your question,” Peter said out of nowhere as if trying to diffuse the tense atmosphere. “There are dictatorships as well as democratic countries and it is not different for packs. A clever Alpha listens to his pack though and considers all of the opinions before acting... it strengthens the bond between him and the pack and the packs trust makes the Alpha strong in turn, which all in all makes a pack itself strong.”

Stiles looked up to the right to keep Peter out of his sight for a little while longer. Just until he was able to calm down a little. It seemed like the most logical approach in a situation like this, because if this really was the curses doing, then there had to be a trigger of some sorts and maybe eye contact was exactly what spurred the conflict in the first place.

“Yeah but still,” he muttered, not daring to look anywhere else than the view behind the stale window on the right. “You don't seem like a person one might want to cross.”

He could see Peter move from the corner of his eye, could see him shrug nonchalantly and move a bit further away from the door as a male nurse walked past them and through the door to the intensive care. It also did not escape his attention how Peter snagged the door just before it could close and lock down automatically by sticking a finger between it and the door frame. And yes okay, he only saw it because he finally decided to turn back to Peter and try to look at his shoulder. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to see any of it, true.

“By defending miss Reyes and her companions, you did something for them I am guessing noone did before.” The Alpha explained, beckoning Stiles to follow him inside the intensive care wing. “You stood up for them and that can never be a bad thing for the pack.”

Stiles hesitated only for a second and then followed him inside. The visiting hours started an hour ago anyways, as he could see on the paper glued to the door, so they shouldn't cause any suspicion walking inside anyways. Now normally, one would need to ring the bell and wait for one nurse or another to let them in and show them to the designated room, but Stiles guessed they could just say the male nurse from before had let them in and pointed out Scotts room, just in case somebody decided to question them. And so he followed Peter.

“You say all that now,” he shook his head, catching up to walk next to him. “But before...”

“Yes I know, I overreacted and for that I am sorry,” Peter breathed, walking straight down the corridor as if he knew exactly where they kept Scott, which he probably did, since he was the one who got inside to bite him yesterday.

“Well, technically, it was the curse right, so,” Stiles shrugged, no reacting to the sting of hurt that raced up his ribs.

“No, I did it on purpose, because I felt the bond move prior our conversation,” Peter shook his head, pointing out the door on their right. “But instead of suspecting foul play, I assumed it weakened, because you realized mister Whittemore was in the same pack and I found that reason so petty it angered me. I wrongly assumed you refused the bond in your own accord. ”

“Well Jackson is a jackass,” Stiles grinned and reached over to push the handle on the door down to open it.

“Yes, but I should trust you more,” Peter shrugged and the teen was thinking he might start to count all the times the Alpha shrugged throughout the day just for the fun of it.

He was too distracted by the content of the room to continue that string of thoughts though - there were two beds pushed to the opposite walls of the small room, the tiny bedside tables next to them almost touching. One of the beds was empty and the other one, on their left, was surrounded by beeping machines and a wheezing sound of a breathing person that happened to be Scott.

“I do want to trust you more,” Peter continued, stepping in beside him as they both watched Scott sleep. “But...”

“I am not him, I get it,” Stiles whispered into the beeping too worried to utter any louder words. Looking at the machines he noticed that Scott was obviously doing well, even though he was still unconscious and there were a lot of bandages covering his body. He knew his way around the beeping and the numbers on the numerous screen well enough to know that much, but it still somehow unsettled him in a way seeing a hurt friend in a hospital bed normally would.

Peter did not answer, scanning Scott as well, but the silence was an answer enough. He did not deny wanting the future Stiles back - the Stiles he couldn't even imagine being him no matter what Tomasz told him.

He felt the anger and irritation swell inside his chest once again and forced his hands curl into fists to restrain himself from insulting the Alpha. But the silence was spreading around and he could not take it for a second longer, not when the only noise around them was the methodical beeping of the machines.

“So will they take the bite then?” he asked in a hushed voice, keeping his eyes fixed on Scotts heart line.

“Hmm, they definitely did seem interested,” Peter muttered, glancing at the teen a few times as if he could read all his innermost thoughts and was wondering just how long it will take him to erupt all over again. Probably because he thought Stiles was just a weak human, that can't withstand a simple curse. Probably because he wished he could have the future him back in this weak human body to turn it into an efficient weapon...

“Only time will tell though,” the Alpha continued as he stepped a little bit further away from the teen. “I would rather they decide soon. With all the dangerous entities circling around...”

“You mean the coven?” Stiles wondered, looking up at Peter, his brain too preoccupied with the memories of that woman in the cemetery to focus on his anger.

“I wonder if they were the once who cursed you,” the Alpha mused, looking back at the teen. “Do you have any idea when and who might have done it?”

Stiles thought back on his day and shrugged in frustration. How was he supposed to know that? It's not like he could look at the world through the magical sheen and recognize the supernatural in one swift glance. It was so frustrating.

“None,” he bit off, turning away, “how does one recognize a magical person anyways? It could be anyone right? It could be a man passing me on the street, it could be a kid buying a sandwich in the line in front of me. It could be a woman...” he frowned thinking back to this morning. “There was a woman in school.”

“What woman...?” Peter asked, his eyes suddenly fixed on the teen as if that would pry the image of her out of him and compare it to his mental database of all supernatural villains. (If there was such a database, Stiles would really like to login into it a print out all the details, that was for sure.)

“When Jackson came to pick me up,” Stiles clarified, trying to remember what she looked like, but the only thing he could remember was how sickening her presence felt. “She touched my hand and there was a charge.”

“Doesn't have to mean anything, you know,” Peter informed him, but he had a frown on his face that paranoid people get, when you give them something to think about.

“Yeah well...nobody else stood out,” Stiles shrugged. He would probably get an opportunity to meet her again tomorrow anyways if what she said about being a teacher was true. And up until then he would figure out how to recognize a supernatural beings. Maybe Tomasz could help him with that one later today.

“That either means that the culprit is wicked enough to stay hidden from us or that it's a foolish woman who has no sense of self-preservation,” Peter muttered. “Either one is not to be fooled with.”

“I guess we have to...” Stiles started, but was interrupted by the way Peters head turned to the bed on the side of the room suddenly, his eyes flashing red at the sigh of Scott stirring.

Stiles turned to his friend, who moved a little on the bed, his fingers on the blanket twitching, his eyelashes fluttering a little. He held his breath for a few heartbeats, watching the teen frown and let out a sigh.

And that was when Scott opened his eyes, looked around the room in confusion and relaxed when he noticed that it was Stiles staring down at him with worry all over his silly face, because that meant he was still alive. That meant he was okay.

 

~o~

 

“Uhh,” was the first thing Scott said as he squinted at Stiles, which did not sound reassuring at all, because what did his dad say again? Something about a possible brain injury that could cause a head trauma?

What if the Bite wasn't able to cure that? Or what if it did, but made the tissue grow back together in a very weird way and his best friend would end up as a drooling...okay, let's just not go there right now... let's wait up first, shall we?

“Hey Scotty,” the teen greeted gently, walking slowly closer to the bed. Peter remained where he was, his face oddly satisfied. “Hey man, how are you doing?”

“What?” Scott blinked and frowned. He then slid his hands down his side and pushed them against the bed in a futile attempt to get up.

“Oww,” he moaned, his hand shooting up to clench at his stomach. The blanket fell down from his upper body and revealed a tightly bandaged chest here and there seeped with the evidence of bleeding. It was not a very comforting sight.

“Wait, wait, don't get up yet!” Stiles exclaimed, stumbling to his best friend and seizing him by his shoulders to push him back onto the pillow. It was pretty much the only place on his body that wasn't bandaged heavily. “You got hit by a freaking truck for Pete's sake! There is no way you could be healed yet...or could he?”

He turned around to look at the Alpha as he asked the question and Peter just tilted his head a little as his glowing eyes scanned the teen lying on the bed. He even seemed to be sniffing the air, which was kind of weird, but if it got Stiles his answer, then whatever.

Before he could say anything though, Scott reached over and grabbed Stiles' arm to bring his attention back to him.

“What do you mean, hit by a truck...? I wasn't hit by a...” he started, but his eyes bulged in the middle of the sentence and Scott looked down at his body once again as if making sure he was in one piece.

He ran his fingers over the bandages and then over his head just to be sure, but since he did not find any visible injuries, he turned his eyes back to his best friend and asked: “So was I in a coma for a whole year or are they pumping me full of morphine so I don't feel all the organs missing from my body?”

Stiles snorted at that and a smile spread over his lips, because it seemed that Scotts brain was the same as ever, if not a bit more lucid than normally – not to be mean, but the last time Scott woke up in the hospital after a serious asthma attack, he was pretty out of it, so Stiles was allowed to think that, thank you very much.

“Emm, no, listen, don't freak out,” he said suddenly, clasping Scotts hand in his. “But the reason you seem fine even after being butchered by the front of a huge truck is...well...I got a werewolf to bite you to save your life.”

Ah and that was Scott's “are you bullshitting me?” face alright. He looked up at Stiles, studying his face for a long while and then looked behind his shoulder at Peter and then back at the teen and yep, that went on for a while, but Stiles already knew his best friend well enough to know, that he just needed a minute or two to let it all simmer a while, except the Alpha behind him did not know that and Stiles would hear him sigh loudly.

“So that guy there,” Scott started uncertainly, pointing behind Stiles.

“Hi,” Peter smiled innocently and waved his hand up in front of his body a little. What an actor, he should be starring in Criminal Minds – as a wicked killed of course.

“I am the said werewolf, yes...Peter Hale, a pleasure.” the Alpha continued and then let his eyes flash and his teeth lengthen up until they resembled wolf-like fangs, which made his grin grow wider and somehow more threatening. Honestly, that was exactly how Stiles always imagined the wolf in grandma's clothes greeted the little Red Riding Hood – very creepy and with a light pedophile tint to it.

Scott just stared, his mouth agape as if he had seen a ghost and that was to be expected because even though Peter might not be a ghost, he was still a werewolf and that belonged to the same folder with ghosts and vampires and what nots and was okay to be shocked by.

“Maybe his head really was beyond repair,” Peter muttered as the silence continued and Stiles hissed, waving him away: “That's how he has always been. Let him process it first!”

“Guy I can hear you both, ya know,” Scott grumbled and let his head fall down on the pillow once again, just as the Alpha straightened up and turned around to look at the closed door to the room. He must have heard something behind them, perhaps a person approaching, because he nodded to them.

“And that is my cue to go,” he said and walked out of the room.

They could hear him talking to a woman whose voice unmistakably belonged to Melissa, but they couldn't make up any words, because Peter closed the door behind himself way too fast.

There was silence in the room for a few moments, until Scott spoke up again: “Soo, is the old Stiles gonna come back any time soon? I miss him...also body-snatching is a crime and per an old agreement I have with my Stiles, I will have to call Constantine to exorcise you if you don't bring him back soon.”

“W-what?” Stiles stumbled, his head whipping around to watch Scott fold his arms over his chest, his eyes staring at him begrudgingly.

“Well no offense dude, but... I'd rather have my best friend back for this kind of situation, thanks,” the teen informed him, his face reflecting the mood of an angry puppy, because Scott could never really look angry per se, not with that innocent face of his.

“You believed that future thing?” Stiles wondered aloud.

“Please,” Scott rolled his eyes and shrugged. “I know you well enough to know when you're being serious. Also that guy... that werewolf just turned right in front me. I might have hit my head or smashed it or whatever that truck actually did to me, but I am not that dense, Stiles.”

“Yeah, no I...I know,” the teen muttered, a slight smile playing on his lips after hearing that confession. He sighed and looked around and then ran his hand over his hair as he continued: “The future dude is gone, died or whatever so...it's just me now, the old regular me.”

“And the werewolf super healing bite thing?” Scott questioned, gesturing at his healed up body. Or well, considerably healed, who knew what kind of internal stuff the supernatural power inside him had to heal yet.

“That was his idea?”

Ahh, he knew this was coming, but he did not consider it being this fast. He wasn't ready to answer that yet at all. What should one say in such situations anyways? Looking back at it, it might have been a really bad idea, but he did not think about it too much yesterday, he just wanted his friend to live and that was all.

It didn't even occur to him, how dangerous the supernatural life might be, because it didn't seem that dangerous at that time. But now that he knew there were freaking magicians trying to kill him and those around him and hunters playing supernatural police, not caring about anything else than humans? Well it seemed rather cruel of him to agree to this all. He turned his best friend into a werewolf. A werewolf.

Stiles shuddered, looking down at his lap. Scott kept staring at him intently, he could feel his gaze upon him and the urge in it and that's why he decided to confess right away rather than later. He was very bad with secrets anyways, especially if he had to keep them from Scott.

“Emm no, that one was all my idea actually...,” he managed to say at. “I asked Peter to do it.”

There was silence and Stiles' lips thinned as he clenched his jaw tightly together. “I know you might hate me now or so, b-but...”

“Hate you?” Scott repeated surprised. It made Stiles look up at his confused expression in wonder. Could it be?

“Because you saved my life?” his best friend exclaimed in exasperation. “I do remember what happened man, all of it...or well as much as one does remember when a freaking truck rams into you. It hurt a lot and I...yeah, I would have died, if you didn't bring that werewolf to bite me, right?”

“Probably yeah,” Stiles nodded, his fingers playing with the sheets folded into a heap next to his thigh. “It's what the doctors said at least...”

“See? And I mean, it's not like I was bitten against my will or something, right?” Okay, well now he was just shooting blindly to cheer up Stiles as always. The irony of it did not help to improve his mood this time though.

“Uhh, well technically you were...”

“Yeah okay, but that's still better than being dead,” Scott argued, his lips stretched in that friendly smile that he got to first see when he shared his Mars bar with him on the playground all those years ago. It made Stiles' heart clench painfully.

“And Peter seems okay enough,” his best friend continued, gesturing at the closed door. “He even went to talk to my mom.”

“I guess,” Stiles muttered, not willing to discuss the Alpha right now. It was weird, because he logically knew Peter was a good guy in one way or another, but he somehow couldn't bring himself to see him in that light right now? It was probably the curse, he thought to himself secretly, once it faded, they might be on good terms once again. But what if it doesn't fade off? Didn't Tomasz say it was impossible to fix by magic? So how was he supposed to...? Did he even want to...?

“Plus, I get to be a werewolf, how cool is that?” Scott continued eagerly, his puppy eyes boring into his own, silently telling him to cheer up. Oh and seeing that, Stiles realized the horrible truth – Scott was a member of Peters pack now, was he not? Stiles is going to lose him as well. They won't be best friends anymore and...

“Uh...yeah,” he gulped trying to not think about it any longer.

“Duude, I will have superpowers thanks to you!” Scott exclaimed and Stiles couldn't help to think...but his thoughts were interrupted, when Scott pushed himself up to sit on the bed next to him with a slight wince and then put him arm around his shoulder, looking at him with a very conspiratory glint in his eyes.

“You can be my sidekick,” he whispered in glee and Stiles spluttered in shock, his worries forgotten in a blink of an eye.

“The hell I will!” he cried out, pushing Scott off him immediately. “I will have you know, I am a super badass wizard and if anyone will be the sidekick in this story, it will be you! I am the main character here, dude...the allmighty wizard! Or well, I might be in the future or something...well, at least...everybody keeps saying so, but yeah...”

Scott snorted gently at that, leaning back in his bed once again. “But what? Don't ya want to be a wizard?

“Well...” he shrugged, looking around the room sheepishly. It was more complicated than that.

Scott gasped after hearing such a vague answer and waved his hand in front of his chest, drawing a cross sign over his bandages and then extended his hand toward him, chanting in a haunting voice: “The real Stiles would never say anything like that! You foolish creature...I exorcise you, Demon, be gone!”

“The fuck, get that off my face!” Stiles yelped, knocking the fingers away from his face with a pretended disgust. Scott started to laugh at that and the teen next to him got infected by the jolly feeling as well and they both ended up giggling for a few minutes.

Only when their laughter subsided, did Stiles look up at his best friend and asked carefully: “So you're fine with it? The werewolf thing...”

Scott hummed under his breath and looked up at the ceiling, his face thoughtful. “I will freak out at some point for sure, man,” he answered honestly, shrugging. “But for now... I'm just glad I survived.”

“I'm there, if you need to,” Stiles nodded soberly and was about to say something more, but a voice from the door interrupted him before he could utter anything more.

“That goes for me as well,” Peter noted as he walked into the room once again. Melissa was only a few steps behind him, but she ran to the bed as soon as she spotted Scott smiling at her from his bed. Stiles barely managed to get out of the way in time, when the mass of curly dark hair assaulted his best friend.

He stood watching them fondly – Melissa checking Scotts vitals and asking him all sorts of questions to assure there was no damage to his brain and Scott just grinning happily as he nodded and shook his head when needed. It made him smile too and the weird guilty pressure over his chest eased up a little.

The teen stepped a bit further away from the happy couple and found himself side by side to Peter once again. The Alpha looked over at him, his eyes traveling up and down his body and then turned back to watch Melissa, who started to unwrap the bandages over Scotts chest to reveal the healed skin beneath it. She hummed in wonder a few times and then glanced in Peters direction who just shrugged.

“You told her everything...?” Stiles mused as he watched their exchange.

“The basics at least,” Peter nodded, his eyes returning to the teen all over again. Stiles kept his eyes glued to back of Melissas head though, just in case the curse would want to act up again.

“I turned in front of her and told her what I did to her son. That is pretty much the best way of persuasion in my line of work anyways.”

“And she was fine with it..?” Stiles wondered, watching Scotts mom run her fingertips over the pinkish skin on his stomach, that looked like it had just been healed recently. There were still bruises in that section of his stomach, as if the internal damage wasn't properly healed yet, but it looked a lot better than Stiles could have imagined yesterday.

“Well she wasn't fine with it per se, I got quite a scolding for not conferring with her before jumping into action,” Peter tsked, rolling his shoulders. “But I suppose the urgent life and death situation spoke in my favor. There was no denying that I did save her sons life with deciding to bite him right away.”

Stiles frowned and looked over at Peter for the first time since he entered the hospital room, because something was not right about how he put those particular words together. And in the next second, he realized what that weird thing was.

“You didn't tell her I demanded it.” he spoke in a hushed voice, shock painting his features. “You didn't tell her I was involved at all, why?”

“Because it is not your responsibility,” Peter shrugged as he looked back at him. “I am the Alpha. I decided to bite him. And any possible consequences of that decision fall on my head, not on yours, so there is no need for you to feel guilty about any of this...ever.”

Stiles didn't know what to say to that and that was a first for him. It could have been the nicest thing Peter did for him since he got to know him or it could have been a direct order to stay away from his pack. Either way, the teen was not sure... he was not sure about anything anymore when it came to Peter.

He looked down and then back at Melissa and Scott who were chatting silently about some accident Scott had as a child, the atmosphere turning endearingly nostalgic and Stiles felt oddly out of place in this little room with Peter and the two of them.

“I'll be going now then,” he blurted out suddenly. It seemed like the only good solution anyways.

“Feel free to...I need to stay behind for the werewolf 101 anyways,” the Alpha said dismissively as he locked his eyes with Melissa who nodded sternly.

And so Stiles waved to Scott who nodded and smiled back and then turned around to walk out of the room without any goodbye whatsoever. He was still too confused about their relationship, being pulled away from the Alpha by the curse, as he knew he was, but he somehow couldn't help it. Was it really the curse thought?

What if it was just him, he wondered over and over again, maybe it was him who didn't fit into the pack. And maybe he wouldn't have fit into it anyways – cursed or not. And now... now Scott was in it as well and judging by the recent events even a whole bunch of other teens and Stiles...well he wasn't exactly a werewolf, nor could he do any magic...so what good was he for? Of course they didn't want him.

“I am lending you some of my lores, by the way,” Peter spoke from behind him just as he opened the door to walk out of the room.“Derek will bring them over later.”

Stiles looked back at him and frowned.

“Please refrain from spilling coffee all over them,” Peter noted, turned halfway to him, his eyes full of something Stiles wasn't able to decipher at that time. “Some of them are the last existing exemplars and are therefore worth a fortune.”

“Why would you give them to me then?” Stiles wondered, not able to hold the question back.

“Hmmm, why indeed,” the Alpha smiled and turned back to Scott and Melissa who were eagerly awaiting his lecture.

 

~o~

 

The sun was still shining down at the ground although its angle was a little bit different than few hours ago as Stiles got back home and stopped in the driveway to turn his face to the warmth of its rays. He closed his eyes to the brightness and smiled, letting the sunshine illuminate his face and make him see red.

It was a long day full of ups and downs but somehow at the metaphorical end of it (because it was barely evening yet) he felt calm. Somehow all found its rightful place – Tomasz showed him his mom surviving love, Peter somehow managed to soothe the hurt created by the curse and although it wasn't fixed totally, Stiles actually started to have the feeling it might be fixed sooner rather than later, because Peter wanted him around.

And he didn't even count the fact that Scott was alright and Lydia was obviously too. He managed to catch a glimpse of her back at the hospital as he was leaving the building. She was getting into Jacksons new car, a huge old-looking book pressed tightly against her chest and a resolute look on her face. She seemed as beautiful as ever.

With all of this in his mind, Stiles' smile widened as he glanced away from the sun. Life might actually be finally heading the right way, he thought giddily. So of course that was when everything went to hell, because something huge tackled him to the grass.

He yelped and fell down urged by the mass of flesh and muscles. The fall was painful, because he somehow managed to twist his body into a weird position and ended up on his side with an loud “oomph” only to have his head pushed into the ground by a strong hand.

Pain exploded on the side of his face as if somebody punched him and he wheezed as the weight crushed down on top of him, smashing him deeper into the grass. His arm was snatched away immediately and twisted behind his back which forced him to roll onto his stomach and Stiles groaned, hurt and disoriented.

He didn't even get to open his mouth to say a single word, because the dude on top of him started to chant without prompting and the only response to that Stiles was able to offer at the moment he realized what was happening was an opened mouth full of dirt and a blanched face of pure fear, because how the fuck was this his luck, being attacked twice in a fucking day?

“No, wait,” he wheezed, but his words were silenced by a particularly painful twist of his arm, which made him suck a startled breath and moan. And just to silence him further the man leaned onto his skull with a lot more force than necessary and his face got literally shoved deeper into the ground under that pressure. He tried to wriggle free or maybe kick the man hard enough to get him off his back but all his efforts were futile. He was trapped under a freaking boulder and no matter how much he strained his muscles there was no way out of the situation.

And the man kept chanting without an interruption and Stiles had the feeling he might have been reaching the end of the spell which meant he was toast this time for sure. He made one last try to get the man off him, but the brute just picked up the volume of his words and if laughing at his weakness.

There was no way out this time, Stiles knew, no way out at all. The man had him pinned to the ground, had him down by the throat and his chant was nearing the end for sure, because there was no way that whatever he was chanting for would take way too long to materialize. It would have to be something very effective and something very, very painful.

Stiles gulped and a sob welded up his throat as he felt some sort of pressure building up around him. He was no good with magic, not yet, but somehow he knew that that couldn't have been a good thing, not with the way how triumphant the dudes voice sounded. It was exhilarated, almost breathless and the teen got ready to feel some kinda of pain in that following second.

But nothing of the sort came. Mainly because the chanting was suddenly interrupted by a loud and viscous growl that made Stiles' hair stand up in terror, even though he recognized that growl as Dereks. It was just an automatic reaction of a possible prey.

And the man must have noticed the noise too, because the turned slightly, sliding a little lower on his back, but not nearly fast enough, because from what the teen could glimpse from the corner of his eye, a super fast mass of black fur hurtled towards itself forward and rammed into the dude on top of him with full force of a wrecking ball.

And in the next instant, the weight above him disappeared with a loud smack as the momentum carried the man and the wolf further down the driveway and Stiles was free. He still felt the ghost of the mans hand on the back of his skull and the pain that flared through his shoulder as he pulled his arm back to the front was real, but at least Derek got the man off him before he could finish whatever curse he was getting ready to use.

Stiles whipped his head around to look at the wolf dancing around the bulky huge man that was bald and had a very weird tattoo on the right side of his neck. His eyes were glowing too, pulsing with the magic he did not get to use, but the wolf ignored the threatening potential of the magic and snapped at him with his huge fangs from this side and then from the other, whirling around him to make it harder for the man to hit him with his curled fists.

The teen made a mistake of trying to stand up then and the mans attention was right back at him just when Derek moved to the side, which meant there was nothing hindering the wizard to harm Stiles in any way possible. He grinned and made a few steps in his direction, ignoring the wolf.

And with that Derek thought he got the opportunity, well who wouldn't, the mans eyes were fixed on Stiles after all, but that was obviously a ruse, because right when Derek jumped to bite of the mans throat out, the man turned with a far bigger velocity that it could be possibly participated and punched the wolf square in the jaw.

There was a sickening crunch and the wolf fell down, rolling over the grass with blood spattering all over the green leaves. Stiles' legs twitched as he watched it all, wanting to help but not sure how.

Sure, his dad kept a spare gun in the back of the house, right under the loose floor wood, but there was no way the teen would be able to run there and be back in time to shoot the bastard, nor was there a guarantee he would manage to shoot at all, because no matter how threatening the man was, no matter how much he tried to hurt Stiles, the teen wouldn't probably able to hurt him in self-defence either. The man was a freaking wizard after all. And also...he couldn't leave Derek alone here... not when the man seemed stronger than a freaking Hulk.

Despite all the blood, Derek did not seem too injured when thee jumped to his feet and growled threateningly. Sure, his jaw seemed a bit out of place but as he snapped his teeth at the man, it seemed to have repaired itself super fast, which only meant that it was true that werewolves healed very fast.

Stiles watched the wolf skitter away from the man and run a full circle all around him in such a speed that be was barely able to follow, up until Derk wedged himself between him and the man. A stunt like that, as impressive as it was though gave the wizard time to push his fingers into the pockets on his washed out jeans and pull out gleaming runes, similar to the ones the woman had too.

“Be careful!” the teen called over, watching the wolfs ears tilt in his direction for a second as he stood rigidly between them.

The man laughed at that, his voice hoarse and deep. He threw the runes on the ground before any of them could even blink and then there were vines suddenly erupting from in between the grass all around him. They plunged themselves into Dereks direction without any hesitation, hell bent on twisting around his limbs.

And the wolf was fast, fast to jump out of the way at least, there was no doubt about it. The only problem lied in the way he did it though – always trying to stay between the man and Stiles, always trying to avoid the vines without jumping too far away or being forced to move out of the mans way.

But the vines kept getting longer and longer and their number kept growing and avoiding him without side-stepping was getting more harder with every passing second. Stiles looked up at the wizard and saw him trace small almost invisible tattoos oder his knuckles. He grinned and his eyes flashed and the teen could almost feel the crunch of the almost white knuckles when he was done with the spell. And although he knew that was probably a very bad sigh, he somehow couldn't make his feet move away or run, not with Derek in danger.

Just as if his thought summoned such a possibility, the wolf stumbled and a vine wrapped itself all around his front right leg and hindered his escape. That was when the man jumped in close and kicked Dereks side so hard, the wolf flew back into the bushed, the vine around his leg torn off by the whiplash.

The grin on the wizards face widened as he turned his face to Stiles, his eyes ablaze with a violet glow. The look gave the teen goosebumps and made him stumble back a few feet, his hands outstretched in front of him protectively. As if that could help him...

“Look,” he shook his head frantically, deciding to keep the mans attention on him with words to give Derek the time to shake off the broken ribs and what not. “This is all a misunderstanding.”

He does not look in the direction of the bushes, bu he does notice Derek creeping from behind them silently from the corned of his eyes and that much is enough.

“Leave us alone and we will leave you alive,” he exclaimed loudly, trying to make his voice as confident as possible although he knew it was all just a bluff, but if that wa all he could do he will do it. There was no other way for him to help Derek at that moment anyways, no matter how much he wished he could use magic.

“Or suffer the consequences of attacking us,” he warned the approaching man, raising his hand in the same matter he had seen his uncle in the previous fight. Of course his eyes did not flash at all, so the man just chuckled and kept approaching, but at least it kept the attention on him and Derek was able to sneak up directly behind the wizard and leap up, his jaws opening to dig into the back of his neck.

Stiles knew something was wrong when he heard a snort come out from the man. And he knew something is about it get even worse when the wizard span around and tilted so that Derek flew past him. And he knew it got the worst just when the man whirled around once more before Derek could land and snatched his opened snout his his right hand, bringing the trashing wolf up over his head.

The wolf enclosed the mouth as to chew off his hand off completely just to get free, but the mans skin was suddenly as tough as a diamond and his teeth shattered at the contact, the broken parts raining down on the grass. He snapped his jaw uselessly a few times and then tried to kick his way free, but the wizard was like a stone, unmoving and merciless.

He even dared to laugh at Dereks ministrations and hearing that deep sound emitting from his throat, Stiles shuddered, because he was holding the wolf aloft effortlessly, his fist clenching his snout tighter and tighter with every passing second up until there was a crunch and then another and the wolf whined in pain, wiggling around, trying to kick of scratch the man just enough to loosen the hold on his nuzzle.

It did not help though. I didn't help at all and Stiles was getting too desperate to keep watching the uneven fight, bu what else could he do? He did not have awesome magical skills like his uncle! He couldn't turn this huge bulky man into a rock any more than he could... the man was a walking rock already for Pete's sake!

But he had to help, he desperately needer to help no matter what his self-preservation urged him to do, he couldn't just leave Derek and he didn't have time to call over Peter or Tomasz. It was just him, the boring human him without any active magic whatsoever, but it did not matter, because Derek saved his life just a few minuted ago and was about to pay the highest price for his good deed.

And so Stiles launched himself forward (yes, okay, it was probably the most stupid thing he could have done, but he had to do something, anything) and jump at the mans extended arm, hoping that his weight at least might cause the hold on Derek to loosen at least enough so that the wolf could scramble free then with his own strength.

The man didn't even look at him as he stood there turning Derek's snout into mashed potatoes, didn't even blink at the look of blood oozing out of it and definitely didn't even react when Stiles jumped at his arm like a freaking monkey. The hand didn't move at all and the hold maybe even got stronger than before and Stiles would have contemplated biting the mans skin, if he didn't see what it did to Dereks own teeth.

“Let him go, you fucker!” he yelled, when the wolfs eyes flashed like a dying bulb and his legs stopped fighting as ferociously as they did just a second ago. Seeing Derek give up, seeing the last look the wolf gave him before his eyes rolled back into his skull with pain, Stiles was suddenly overwhelmed with a strong desire... with a desire to turn this asshole into a pile of dust that he could scatter in the winds, just as his uncle did to the woman previously.

And suddenly, as if the wish was strong enough to call out a genie, there was a warmth spreading all over his chest, as it magma broke the surface of his heart, spilling out through his veins. And there was light blinding his vision and then was a burn numbing his right hand, the one he had plastered to the mans forearm and the light grew and grew, enfolding their linked flesh up until it shrunk back on itself and released a powerful explosion that threw Stiles back onto the lawn.

Derek got thrown back together with him and they both landed only a few feet away from the house. They have hit the ground with a painful gasps, both rolling back to their feet as fast as they possibly could just in case the man didn't suffer any harm from the way Stiles somehow managed to blast light out of his hand or whatever the fuck that weird thing was.

The wolf next to him took a quick step forward to situate himself between him and the enemy once again but Stiles reached out his left hand and grabbed his fur to pull him back a few steps, but Derek did not bulge.

“There is an invisible magical protection around the house just a few steps behind,” he explained quickly, tugging at the wolfs fur insistently. “Come on, move it!”

And this time, Derek did listen and they stumbled back a few steps up until Stiles legs hit the front porch and he was sure they were behind the barrier. He could not feel it per se, but he did see it only earlier today and the sight of it was not something one could so easily forget.

Only then, when they were safely behind the barrier, did he look up at the wizard crunching on the grass down the driveway and what he saw made him twist his face in disgust. The man was gripping his forearm, his mouth twisted in a painful grimace as the skin slowly crumbled beneath, falling between his fingers like sand.

That wasn't the worst of it though. Stiles obviously wasn't able to turn him into a stone well enough, he only managed to infect his forearm and so his hand and upper arm remained fleshy, which in turn meant that his hand got no supply of blood and was rapidly turning purple and his upper arm had nowhere to send the blood cruising through it so it started seeping through the sand, spilling in huge chunks. It was disgusting and Stiles could barely watch it.

What was even weirder was the fact that the wizard didn't even say a word throughout this whole encounter and he still didn't as he cradled his arm closer to his body and glared up at them. His violet eyes were flickering on and off as he scanned them, obviously seeing the barrier behind which they were hiding.

And then he spat on the grass, turned around and ran away. Derek was about to follow him to probably deliver the final blow or something, but Stiles whined and tightened the hold on his fur when he felt a painful spasm run through his shoulder and down his arm where it suddenly stopped at his elbow. He tried to move his wrist to stretch the muscle and chase the spasm away, but his hand did not move. It...didn't move at all.

He looked down at it and blanched, his lower lip trembling as he brought his right hand up closer. It was petrified, the skin gray like a stones surface, unresponsive and dead.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Having the lower part of your arm turn into stone felt as if one slept on it the whole night and woke up without any feeling in it whatsoever. This was kind of the same. Except the feeling usually returned into it once you let the blood flow back into it. That was not what happened this time and no matter how much Stiles stared at his dead hand, it did not move.

It did not move when he frowned and tried to force the muscles to flinch by the simple command issued by his brain, it did not move when he knelt down and pushed the hand against the moist soil. He couldn't even feel it. Stiles pushed it into the ground, making a little hole into its surface and his lips thinned as he pursed them to keep the panic at bay. This couldn't be happening, could it?

He brought the hand up to his face again studying it with a look of disbelief painting his features. This couldn't be real, Stiles thought, grabbing his elbow to make sure he still had some feeling in his upper arm at least. And there it was, the strong pressure against his skin below the elbow, the warm fingertips grasping at the pliant skin. At least something.

He stared at the greyish skin for a while longer, afraid to touch it in case it would be contagious, watching the border between his normal skin and the stoney surface of his now dead forearm.

This staring contest was interrupted by Derek in mere seconds though, when the bloodied wolf shuffled closer and tried to sniff at his petrified hand in concern. Before the wolfs nuzzle could touch the surface of his harm though, Stiles jerked out of the reach in fright.

“Duuude, don't,” he hissed, scrambling to his feet to put more distance between him and the curious wolf. “What if it spreads by touch of something, we need to-”

He did not finish the sentence though, because he didn't exactly know what they needed to do. Is he going to turn into stone now or not? Does he still have time to try and reverse it? Is it even possible or will his arm crumble like an old decayed house just as the witches body did? He exhaled loudly, suppressing the panic that arose inside of him together with these thoughts. He needed to concentrate, he needed to...

Derek whined worriedly and pushed his nuzzle into his side, which snapped him out of his panic-induced state once again. He noticed his heart beating way too loudly in his ears, his fingers trembling, his forehead coated in sweat and shook his head to clear it.

The border between the stone and flesh did not move, nor did his elbow turn blue because of the cut-off blood flow – that might actually be a good thing. There might be hope for him, probably. He just needed to get help.

Stiles batted away Dereks nuzzle gently because the wolf seemed to be set on inspecting his hand and then reached into his back pocket to bring out the phone. Except then he remembered that it was till out of power.

“Shit, okay, I need a recharger, come on,” he swore, turning around and ran to the house. The stuffed the dead phone back inside his pocket, so that he could bring out his key and open the front door. It jingled briefly, before he managed to push it inside properly, because his healthy hand was trembling slightly he missed the lock a few times.

The door finally gave in and he stumbled inside, discharging his shoes in the process and leaped up the stairs with the wolf dead on his heels. They ran up in silence, Stiles panting, but not because of the hard battle nor because of his first magic use ever, not even because he had to run up the stairs – it was the panic, consuming him, pressing onto his lungs and making him want to faint right there in the hallway.

But Derek nipped at his ankle, making him yelp and continue with his journey. It might have been effective to snap those slowly growing teeth in the general direction of his fragile skin, but it still made Stiles glare profoundly, because what the hell, he was not a sheep to be herded through a corridor like that.

As soon as they reached his room, Stiles grabbed the recharger that sat waiting for him on the bedside table and stuck one end into the socket. He then pulled out his phone and stuffed the other end inside it.

“Come on, come on,” he urged the phone, tapping his foot. Derek joined him in the next second, leaning against his leg and Stiles moved his left hand higher just to be sure it did not come into contact with anything, especially not the wolf. Yes, he was obnoxious life that, stop complaining.

Waiting wasn't one of Stiles' strong suits. In fact, he hated it and weren't it for Dereks head rubbing against his thigh in a very calming measure, he would have probably blacked out by now, because yeah, his hand and his forearm turned into a fucking solid stone and not in a cool “Winter Soldier” soldier way, but in a “I have just lost a half of my arm” way, which yeah... it wasn't exactly a pleasant experience.

The phone finally came on, the battery icon flashing on its surface briefly and Stiles reached over to press the button on the top of it, waiting for it to turn on. Right after it did, he slid his fingertip over it, typing in the pin code and was surprised by it starting to flash almost immediately after it found the signal.

“Gandalf,” he breathed, reading the name on it. Seeing it worked as a charm - the panic spinning inside his body slowed down a little, he felt himself relax a tiny bit and decided to put the phone on the speaker.

“Wat happen to yor left arm?” demanded his uncles voice almost immediately after he picked up the call.

“How do you...?” Stiles frowned, looking around and expecting to see some cameras. “I...”

“Wee are stil connected,” Tomasz explained with a very obvious tone of dismissal in his voice. “Wat happen...?”

“Uh, well... there was this wizard and he attacked us and I... I don't exactly know what happened, but he was hurting Derek and...,” the teen gulped looking down at the wolf, whose nuzzle covered in drying blood, was still in a weird shape after the man crushed it so violently. Just thinking back on it made him want to run into the bathroom and puke.

“I don't know what happened,” he whispered weakly, when Derek looked back at him questioningly. “It just...”

“Oh I sink I know,” came a reassuring voice from the speakers. “I fed yu a lot of magic earlier wenn showed yu haus. Dere must have bean ghost of stone magic left inside it, like imprint. Yor iskra just had to spark a little to fuel it. Yu onlie turned druid arm, rite?”

“Yes, but,” Stiles whined looking at his left arm once again. It only made him cringe – that dead cold stone that used to be a warm pliant arm. “But it turned my arm too...”

“Ah, no worrie,” Tomasz said jumping into his sentence to calm him own before he could enter the panic mode properly. “It iz whiplash. An arm for an arm. Magic waz too raw and yu did nott now how to controll, dat is why it repayed.”

“Oh my god, please just tell me it can be cured or reversed or something, because I only have like seconds before I reach the point of no return in my panic attack schedule,” he wheezed as his knees gave out, forcing him to sit down on his bed.

His biceps was starting to hurt and treble of the strain he put on it holding his arm above his head, but he couldn't not help it. It needed to be as far away from him as possible. And if truth be told, feeling pain was hundred times better than feeling nothing at all. If it hurt then he could at least tell it was still there.

“I sink wee can heel it overnight,” Tomasz said and Stiles sobbed in relief as he fell back onto his bed, stretching the dead arm over his head. Derek put his head onto his thigh and whined gently, which made the teen reach over with his healthy hand and stroked his head.

“I can do ritual,” his uncle continued, explaining the plan. “It will send healing over to yu. Wee are lucky I connected, dat way we shared damage and yor forearm did not suffer full whiplash. I am guessing it iz just surface, just like mine, just skin.”

“What?” Stiles shot up, staring at his phone worriedly. “I hurt you with it too? I'm so sorry... I didn't mean to... I just wanted to help Derek...”

He looked down at the wolf guiltily, still carting his fingers through the fur on his head.

“I didn't mean for it to...” he whispered, but Derek just shook his head resolutely and cuddled his thigh in a silent message of comfort. Tomasz joined in with his own words as well.

“Yu did great,” he praised him, but Stiles did not feel like it was true. It couldn't be. He messed up the first magic he ever did and brought it upon his uncle to share the curse, because he was just that fucking useless. What a mess.

“Przemko,” Tomasz raised his voice to bring the teens attention back to him. Stiles glanced up at the phone and sniffled.

“Yu did well.”

“Did I? Because to me it looks like I messed everything up! If it wasn't for me then...” he looked at his hand and imagined the same ordeal on his uncle. He would have rather the curse only hit him, but no... of course he would cause distress to his uncle as well. That was how he rolled, wasn't it? First his mom and now his...

“How iz Derek?” asked Tomasz suddenly, startling him out of his thoughts.

“Emm...” He looked down at the wolf, surveying the crusted blood all over his nuzzle. Derek yawned at that, the bones inside his snout rearranging slightly at the stretch with a few popping sounds. That did not make him feel any better.

“I can nott sence him, but Petr wuld, so he must be all rite, rite?” Tomasz continued relentlessly, his statement making Derek howl in answer, which was joined by laughter at the other side of the speakers.

“It's his snout, it's-” Stiled mumbled the answer.

“Hez wat?

“Emm, like the nuzzle? The nose and mouth and that whole area, it's still not healed,” he explained and reached over to touch the wolfs nose gently, sliding his fingertip oder the wet surface. “The dude crushed it with his fingers. He just grabbed him out of the air and didn't want to let go. I did not know wizards were that strong.”

“Strenght magic iz eazy,” Tomas hummed, his voice accompanied by a feint sound of rummaging around. “We must have bean weeker dan woman.”

“Ah so,” Stiles noted, distracted by the blood on his fingertip.

“I sink she was strongest and now dere are onlie weak left, dat is good news,” his uncle continued a distant clanking reaching Stiles' ears from over the speakers.

“Is it...?” he muttered, not feeling any better after knowing any of that. He wished he knew how to stop endangering all the people that were close to him instead.

He knew, that he should be glad that things ended up the way they ended up – Derek was healing, Stiles will be healing soon enough, Tomasz would be fit in no time - but his mind was not being logical, because of the suppressed panic attack and the fading adrenaline. He just felt like curling in his bed, under the warm blankets, preferably with Derek by his side and sleeping for like a week. At least.

“Yez, druids always attack from strongest, rest should be too afraid and will run away and hide,” Tomasz clarified, exhaling deeply. “I will talk Peter about scarecrows dough. Just in case, but yu should be safe for now.”

Stiles just nodded silently at that, even though he knew his uncle would not be able to see it.

“Okej, I will send yu picture of sigil. Yu need to paint it on back of yor hand with blood, I will do the same and perform ritual to heal skin, allrite?” his uncle instructed in a gentle voice.

He must have sensed Stiles still being unconvinced even after the pep talk though, because after a few silent seconds he added: “I now yu must feel bad, butt give it time. Rest. It will hurt to get feeling back in yor arm, butt Derek will help, I am sure. Take no medication, dat wuld onlie slow down process... and Przemko?”

“Yeah...?” Stiles sighed, reaching over to touch his petrified hand. Now that he was sure, it won't spread, he dared to run his fingertips over the hard surface of it. It was weird how he couldn't even feel the touch. It felt alien.

“I sink yu will not belief me, butt dat was a great first use of iskra,” his uncle added cheerfully, making Stiles snort in disbelief.

“No, reallie,” Tomazs laughed, the speaker crackling. “First time I used, I burned Klaudias hairs off. She was not happie about dat, not at all.”

“What...?” Stiles puffed out a strained laugh.

“Yeez, imagine d horror. I had to bee her slave for four months to make up for it. Thos were some hard timez, chlapče,“ his uncle answered in a grave voice, making the teen giggle a little, before he could stop himself.

“I will teach yu how too use magic safely, I will,” Tomasz promised. “But yu need to rest now. Draw dat sigil, use Dereks blood. I will see yu in morning. Arm will be okej till denn.”

“Okay,” Stiles nodded. “Thanks.”

“What iz familie for,” Tomasz said and then ended the call.

They sat there in silence for a few seconds, Stiles looking at nothing at all, lost in his thoughts and Derek leaning against his thigh, his tail waggling here and there. Only when his phone pinged with a received text message did the teen move to grab it off the bedside table.

He opened the message and peered at the picture of a simple sign on the back of Tomasz' greyish skin. There were also outlines of some circle drawn on the carpet to be seen in the background and a few pebbles scattered along it, but the most of the screen was taken up by the petrified hand his uncle ended up sharing with him.

Derek nudged at his hand, urging him to copy the sign as fast as possible. He slid the side of his bloodied nuzzle against his healthy hand to paint it in as much blood as possible and Stiles nodded in thanks (although it was kinda disgusting) and put the phone on his right thigh to keep it in sight as a reference.

Coating his forefinger in blood, he started to draw on the back of his petrified hand. It was not hard. Just a few lines here and there and circle around it, no harder than his first calligraphy lesson online.

Once he was done, there was a wave of something warmth running up his arm, as if he submerged his arm into a bath full of hot water for a second and then it was gone and he was left with his limb being unresponsive again.

He glanced over at Derek who grinned up at him and cocked his head to the side, which would have looked super cute, weren't it for the smudges of blood painting his nuzzle. And obviously Stiles couldn't leave it like that.

“Come on, buddy,” he snorted, getting up from the bed. “Let's get rid of that blood, it's disgusting and unsanitary.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles pulled off his dirtied clothes, throwing the shirt and his pants into the basket they used for laundry, because his dad would probably kill him if he left it on the floor once again. He then washed his face and his healthy arm, avoiding his other hand because he was worried he would wash off the sigil as well. Taking a clean towel from the shelf he then dried himself and looked over at Derek who was sitting patiently near the bathtub.

As his eyes landed on him, the wolf opened his mouth and stuck his tongue out of it to lick his nuzzle. It did clean him up a bit, but it kinda made Stiles cringe in disgust as well. So he just shook his head, turned around to wet the towel and then walked over to the wolf to crouch in front of him.

Derek kept watching him silently and yes okay, he could only watch him silently, because he was a wolf and could not talk, but let's not get into details right now, shall we? Stiles had more important things to do than to argue semantics with his own brain.

“Is it still healing?” he wondered as he reached over and tapped the towel gently against his jaw. Derek nodded, then yawned to make his bones crack a little again and that was when Stiles noticed his fangs already grew like halfways already, but were still nowhere near the huge sharp things that he knew the wolf possessed before.

“Does that hurt?” he asked tentatively, patting the wet towel carefully over the fur around his nose to wash off the blood. He couldn't see any opened wounds and the blood was mostly dried up by now, but still, he did not want to cause the wolf any more pain.

Derek whined silently in answer and Stiles could not help to be overwhelmed by quilt any longer. He leaned over with the bloodied towel still in his hands and hugged the wolf.

“I am so sorry, thanks for saving me, Derek,” he whispered, pressing his face into the wolfs fur. He could feel Derek cuddling him back and giggled as the wolf licked over his neck in a silent thanks back.

“We are quite a cool team, man,” he grinned, pulling back. He rolled his hand into a fist then and presented it to the wolf who just kept staring at it unimpressed.

“Fist bump, dude, come on,” the teen urged him, but Derek only lifted his eyebrows, which yes okay, Stiles knew should be impossible for a wolf, since they don't exactly have eyebrows per se, but he could tell just by looking at Dereks face okay? He could tell it was a lifted eyebrow and he could tell by the look the wolf was giving him, that he either wanted to point out the fact, that he had no fists or the ridiculousness of the whole action.

But Stiles just nodded his head in the direction of his fist and waited, making Derek roll his eyes after a few seconds and bump his nuzzle to his curled fingers in defeat.

“Hell yeaaah,” he grinned, waggling his fingers in the air playfully. Derek growled and snapped his small teeth at them, but that only made Stiles giggle and press his fingers against his nose in a teasing sort of way, which the wolf obviously didn't enjoy for some reason.

“I am soooo not afraid,” Stiles teased, shuffling in closer to poke the wolfs head. “You are just a cute puppy.”

Derek growled more viscously then and bared his baby teeth at him, making the teen laugh and lean in close to poke his nose this time, on which the wolf leaped forward and tackled him to the ground. It would have been scary, were it some other random wolf, but since it was Derek, who only growled playfully and licked his ear... it was okay.

Well alright, not okay, because there was saliva dripping from Stiles' ear right then, but whatever, he just used his healthy hand to push the wolf off him and wiped it off with the towel, that he intended to throw away afterwards, because there was no way he could wash off all that blood of it anyway.

The main point though – it was all okay and it will stay that way, if he has all these precious people in his life.

 

~o~

 

When John got home from his shift, he found Stiles clad in his boxers and a short sleeved shirt, sprawled on his bed, surrounded by old books and sheets of papers which were highlighted in crazy flashing colours.

“That is not for school, is it?” he asked dubiously, glancing over the piles of clothes and things lying all over the carpet. He sighed and proceeded to ignore the mess in the sake of his own sanity. There was no way he could bring his son to clean that all up anyways. He learned that the hard way.

“Nawh,” Stiles hummed, the pink highlighter stuffed between his teeth as he continued to read the file prodded on his thighs.

“It's time travel research,” he explained after he spat out the marker.

“Still?” the sheriff mused, surprised that his son could actually concentrate on one topic for a whole week or how long has it been anyways. He tended to lose count of the days when he worked as much as he did recently.

Now, don't get him wrong, he knew his son had a huge brain capacity and an immerse amount of intelligence to that, but his ADHD made it difficult for him to keep interest in one topic for too long. It was like that when he was a child as well – one day it were dinosaurs, the other spaceships and then something totally different before he circled back to the dinosaurs.

That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, not really, but it was hard for John to adjust everything to his son's flimsy whims on such a short notice and... well, he had Claudia for that before. She was the only one who could keep up with Stiles' way of thinking, but that was all in the past now, wasn't it?

He just learned to leave Stiles to his own devices, because that way they could both coexist without too much frustration around, which was beneficial for sheriff as well. He had responsibilities outside of this little family of theirs, after all he was the sheriff of Beacon Hills and even though he loved Stiles beyond everything, on days like this, when he was tired and frustrated, he just couldn't help but feel a painful pang when he looked at his son.

He was like a constant reminder, that his wife was long dead and he was never gonna get her back.

“Yeah, that and werewolves and magic and well... all sorts of supernatural stuff,” Stiles shrugged, his eyes never leaving the pages in front of him. He was so engrossed in then he did not notice the look John was giving him for a few seconds before he managed to lock the sadness away.

“You should do some school work too, ya know,” the sheriff remarked and started to unbutton his uniform in a preparation to go shower after his long day in work.

“Yep, will do,” Stiles hummed, turning the page in the file and then frowning as he started to read it.

“I am serious, kiddo,” John warned, letting the tone of his voice sink lower to attract the teens attention. It worked like a miracle, because Stiles looked up and eyed him curiously.

“Everything okay, dad?” he asked suddenly as if he sensed the frustration that was seeping out of his father.

Well, he could tell easily just by looking at his tired posture and the bags under his eyes that something must have happened, because his dad was never this irritated...well only if he drank too much, of course, but that was a whole different story. One that Stiles was unwilling to exploit right then.

“It rained a lot today,” his dad sighed, looking up at his son as he finished unbuttoning his shirt.

Stiles watched him for a few seconds longer, wrecking his brain for possible causes of his dads irritation and then spoke up, voicing his suspicions: “Is this about the ruckus that Whittemore caused down at the station before or about Raf being a jerk again?”

“Both,” John confirmed, shaking his head. “Whittemore feels like pressing charges because of the way, that the sheriff department handled the disappearance of his son and Rafael barred me from visiting Scott earlier today, telling me I have nothing to do there, because I am not part of the family, so...”

“Did you flash your badge and tell him it's official sheriff business and that he should step aside unless he wants to be arrested for obstruction of a criminal investigation?” Stiles grinned wickedly.

“Yes I did,” John snorted, running his hand over his hair just like Stiles did sometimes when he was feeling sheepish.

They kept smiling for a while in silence and then Stiles spoke up again: “Who cares about Raf the ass, I bet Scott and Melissa were super happy to see you.”

“Yeah,” John nodded, exhaling deeply. The look on his face was still a bit depressed, but his stance wasn't as tense as it was when Stiles looked up at him before. It was more relaxed, more happy and the teen was glad for that. It was the least he could do.

“And don't worry about Whittemore,” he added, feeling as if he was putting a cherry on top of a cake. “I will talk to Jackson about it and I bet he will persuade his dad to drop the charges.”

John was already halfway in the corridor when he finished that sentence but its content made him scoot back and peer at his son suspiciously.

“Say what?” he frowned as he squinted over at his son.

“I will talk to Jackson,” Stiles repeated seriously. Or at least he was trying to look serious, but hell if that was even possible with the face he had.

“You will talk...,” John repeated dubiously, his eyes getting that glint they always got when he sensed a lie in the air. “Is that a metaphor for finding some dirt on him and blackmailing him until he gives in?”

“Maybe?” Stiles shrugged innocently, thinking more along the lines of asking Peter to Alpha his ass into submission, not that he could make demands like that in the first place, but a man could dream, could he not?

“This conversation never happened,” John informed him with a poker face that settled across his features.

“Indeed, it didn't,” Stiles grinned and waved to his father as he departed to go enjoy his long-awaited shower.

 

~o~

 

When the sheriff was out of sight and Stiles' ears could hear the sound of the closing door on their shared bathroom, Derek stuck his head from behind his bed and trotted over to the door to push at it until it closed with a satisfying click.

He then came back and jumped onto his bed to cuddle close to the teen in a warm heap of fur, his body pressed against the petrified arm that lay unmoving next to his body. They somehow ended up like this, chilling in his bed, after they stopped playing on the floor in the bathroom.

Just thinking back on it made Stiles smile fondly and reach over to poke Dereks side in retaliation for the previous tackle. He expected the wolf to at least growl back at him but he just flicked his tail and moved his head lazily to peer at him from under his paws.

Stiles watched those green eyes stare at him for a few heartbeats and then shook his head and returned to his notes. It was time he read through them – through each and every page, before something else that he wouldn't able to understand might happen. And then he would jump to those lores Peter send him by Derek, who stashed them under his window before leaping into action.

He glanced at them sitting on the edge of the bed next to each other, each and every one of them looking old and thick, overflowing with sheets of paper stuck in between the pages, swelling with knowledge about the supernatural.

And seeing them there, knowing full well that they were above priceless made Stiles wonder why would Peter lend them to him in the first place. Okay, well he wasn't so stupid, he knew what it meant, he knew that Peter was bound on building up their bond once again for who knows what reason, but Stiles... was not sure about anything right then.

He would just have to give it time, he guessed. To see how it all ended up with the pack growing so rapidly, with teens being turned into werewolves in a fashion that seemed reckless to him, with all those enemies lurking behind their windows – were it the wizards or the other ones Peter talked about before.

And then there was Derek as well that had a fair share of his mind occupied already. He looked at the wolf sleeping pressed against his side and then turned the page of his file to the front again, reading the words contained in the third point.

He didn't get the chance to think about it calmly before and if truth be told it was hard to even think of it that way, what with Derek being stuck in a wolfy form. It kind of seemed impossible for Stiles to have a future husband in him.

Sure they saved each others life just now and they seemed to have fun being around each other as well, but Stiles... well he could barely remember what the man looked like, so of course it was hard for him for imagine anything of that sort.

He couldn't use the memory of the older student that he went with to the same school, because...yes well okay, he did notice him before as well, who didn't? He was well-known as a basketball player before the fire killed off most of his family, not to mention Stiles got to see the files that his dad left on the table one night and remembered crying after he got a glimpse of the happy family portrait accompanied by the charred remains of their bodies.

But still... judging by the faint memory he had of the dream, the boy that he knew as Derek changed a lot. He grew up, packed a few muscles here and there and lost that cocky look his face contorted with after every scored point – knowing all this did not mean a thing though, because it did not tell Stiles if he was really someone that he might be interested in in such a way.

Definitely not in a husbandy way, well... Stiles knew it for a while already, that he was an equal-kind-of-opportunity guy or he at least suspected it given his inclinations when looking for a suitable porn for the night, but either way... he never did test it in praxis so there was no way to be sure. Nor was there a way to be sure if he and Derek would ever...

Wait, wasn't this like a self-fulfilling prophecy though? Now that the future him told him what was going to happen, he would have to make it happen even if he did not want to – just like in that one episode from Doctor Who about angels taking over Manhattan where River had to break her wrist because Amy read it in the book about the future.

Isn't that the same as when he reads these notes then? Except the notes did not contain any plot whatsoever, not really. They just told him Derek and he had the potential to be in love... or whatever. And it also stated that they had a choice... unless that was some foil to make him... no wait, he was totally misinterpreting something here.

Luckily he was saved by the pain flaring inside his arm before he could investigate his thoughts any further. His skin contorted, making his arm twitch under the fur blanket and he grunted, closing his eyes and leaning his head back onto the bed post.

The spasms were getting more and more frequent and Stiles had to say he did not enjoy them at all. It was as if someone stabbed a ton of needles into his skin and he supposed it gave sense it hurt like that, because there were a lot of nerves that ended in his hand and turning them back into nerves when they were stoney before couldn't have been that easy, but yeah... pain was not his favorite way of spending time in bed. Definitely not.

Derek moved at that, lying down on top of his arm for who knows what reason, but Stiles did not have it in him to complain, not when it made the pain subside noticeably. The arm felt lifeless once again and that was even worse.

He exhaled deeply and looked down at the wolf who just put his giant head on his chest, his ears twitching here and there as if he was listening in on what his dad was doing just in case he decided to invade his room unexpectedly.

“Is this some werewolfy magic, you're doing or a mere coincidence?” Stiles wondered aloud, pulling on Dereks ear gently.

The wolf just shook his head as if he just got off the river and wanted to get his fur rid of water and then settled back onto his chest without as much as a glance.

“Thanks if yeah,” Stiles murmured, pulling the file to his face again to read the rest of it and prodded it on the back of Dereks head so he could turn the pages with his free hand when he needed to.

They must have spent hours like that, Stiles reading and Derek napping on his arm, occasionally shaking his head to disrupt the teens reading because he was a mischievous ass, that hated reading and if Stiles would let him, he would totally chew on all of his notes and swallow the books and then... yeah okay, that was all just his imagination speaking but it was annoying when he did that and Stiles was not gonna be silent about how much exactly it annoyed the hell out of him.

No matter what kind of magic Derek had at his disposal though, it did not cancel out the pain altogether. There were still spasms racing through his skin every few minutes, making him cringe and exhale loudly, but it could have been worse, because as soon as they started, they started to subside as if being sucked out by some invisible force and Stiles could breathe out easily, being at ease once again.

They spend the rest of the evening that way, cuddling on the bed while Stiles read through the notes and then jumped on the nearest lore that was filled with tons and tons of information that his brain felt like absorbing like a dry sponge.

He did have to get up once or twice to go to the bathroom or go get some snacks and something to drink for him and the wolf as well, but other than that, they remained silent, which would have been weird for Stiles if it was around anyone else, but Derek seemed to be okay with the silence - judging by the fact, that he refused when the teen offered to put on a movie for him.

And so Stiles felt himself relax in the presence of the wolf, let himself be lulled by the darkness creeping behind the window and dozed off with his fingers playing with Dereks ear.

 

~o~

 

Stiles emerged from his sleep gradually. He first noticed the hard edge of a book digging into his left side, then realized he was obviously lucky enough to have no nightmare obscuring his mind this time and that it was still kind of dark around so he did not have to jump of the bed and hurry to pretend going to school in front of his dad.

The last thing he became aware of, was the weight sprawled half on top of him. He was unwilling to even open his eyes just yet though, so he just exhaled deeply and sank his fingers into the fur on Dereks head and stroked through it gently, playing with the strands until he regained full consciousness.

Only then did something weird occur to him. Something that had surprisingly nothing to do with his petrified arm although it should have had, because what more important could there have been, that his brain would assign a higher priority to, that his dead arm? Well...

It was when Stiles' hand slid lower to scratch behind the wolfs ear that he realized there was something not quite normal going on, because the ear did not only change shape overnight, but it was also no longer furry and that on itself made Stiles pry his eyes open for a fraction and look down at his companion... which was no longer a wolf, but a full grown naked man... in Stiles' bed... draped halfway over him... a naked man.

Yes, okay, Stiles realized his brain might have been a bit slow processing that all, but he wasn't exactly embarrassed by it, because come on... a naked man in his bed and that meant goodbye to all logical sense that his brain might have mustered up at such an early hour.

It was then when Derek took a deep breath in and stirred from his sleep, as if sensing his awakening, which could have been quite possible because his heart was skyrocketing like a freaking flying humming bird.

The man lifted his head and looked up at Stiles and yeah, the teen had no words to offer him. Not even a freaking good morning or something, nope, nothing, nada.

He just held his breath and watched Dereks eyes skim over his face, watched those green orbs travel lower onto his neck as he gulped silently, saw them slide down his shoulder and then over his right arm. It was then the teen remembered the state his arm was in yesterday.

And so he pulled his arm out from between their bodies and for a second got scared that nothing changed because he could barely feel it, but then he noticed the pinking skin and the tingling that came from the blood returning into the veins after his arm was being squished beneath them and a slight smile spread along his lips.

He glanced over at Derek, who was surveying his arm as well, his eyes skidding over the skin as if he was looking for some traces of the stone, but there were none to be found, not even by the highly perceptive eyes of a werewolf.

Stiles flexed his fingers and they moved and he then turned his hand and it turned in tandem with his thoughts and a silent laughter escaped his lips, that made Derek smile gently as well and boy, what a view that was. It made Stiles stare at the other man in wonder.

He watched him lean onto his other elbow and reach over to run his fingertips over Stiles' forearm as if fascinated by the healed skin. He followed the gentle movement of Dereks fingers with his eyes, watching them draw an invisible pattern onto his skin, spreading warmth, tickling the newly healed nerve endings.

Dereks fingertips traveled slowly up his forearm and then encircled his wrist carefully, pulling the hand close to his face. He looked up at Stiles, properly looked at him and then closed his eyes to push his face onto his palm, letting the tip of his nose graze over his middle finger, pressing his cheek into his palm just the way a wolf would and Stiles felt his heart clench at the sight of it.

He took a few deep breaths in, trying to be as silent as possible as if to not disturb the weirdly intimate moment they found themselves in and then pulled his hand away from Dereks careful hold.

The other man glanced up at him with a small perplexed frown on his face and Stiles felt so bad from moving his hand away from him that he threw all logic away and reached over to run his fingertips over Dereks cheek, that was covered by a thick stubble.

He looked up into his eyes, feeling them on him and opened his mouth to say something... anything, but his brain was not able to give him any help and so he closed him mouth again and only smiled sheepishly, which made Derek put his hand on his own for a second before entwining their fingers together.

“Hi,” Derek murmured then, his voice a little hoarse, a little growly in a very nice sort of way and Stiles was not sure if it was because he was stuck in a wolfs body for such a long time or because he just woke up or if he really had such a voice, but he did not care at all, since the look Derek was giving him was so full of love and relief that it made him feel things.

A lot of things at once in different parts of his body, okay, it was really hard to concentrate on each and every one of them right then and even harder to describe it properly. He decided to do the logical thing, opened his mouth, licking over his dry lips and whispered: “Hey...”

And then suddenly Derek was moving slowly up closer, pinning their hands down onto his heart. Once he was close enough, he leaned down over him and oh shit was this really happening or was he still dreaming?

Please let this not be a dream, because Stiles wanted to remember this when he woke up clearly, he wanted to remember it for forever, until he died because oh my freaking hell, Derek was pushing his lips to Stiles' in the most gentle kiss that had ever taken place anywhere on this planet and in this universe and if that was really real, as in real, then it was pretty much the best thing that happened to him ever since he woke up on the cursed clearing. Or maybe even in his entire life.

And Derek did not stop after the first gentle press of his lips, no, he gave him another lingering kiss and then another, until Stiles responded. If a little late then excuse him, but this was definitely not something he was accustomed to.

Their lips slid over each other slowly, pressing gentle kisses here and there, either into the corner of their lips or the upper lip, until Derek licked over his lower lip with his warm tongue and Stiles gasped, because at the same time, Derek slid his thigh between his legs and settled on almost on top of him, kissing him so lovingly, that Stiles felt his heart swell close to bursting and let's not be coy, that was definitely not the only part of him swelling at that moment, not with that thigh moving between his legs slowly, applying just the right amount of pressure.

It was then when Derek slid his lips over his once again, enjoying the wet slide of them, that Stiles' brain registered the hardness pressing against his own thigh and with that revelation came a new wave of arousal, that spread across his body like wildfire. Yes okay, bisexuality confirmed in praxis, thank you very much, brain. Now go and do something more useful.

Stiles let out a moan when Derek's naked body slid over his and he instantly regretted putting on clothes when they got back into his room, because who needed clothes, who the hell needed them, not him, definitely not.

Actually, as Derek pressed their joined hands into the pillow next to his head and slid over him once again, moaning as he nudged his tongue into his mouth and skidded with it over the inside of his upper lip, Stiles wanted to have some magic that would help him out of his clothes in an instant. Now wouldn't that be handy...

He pushed his hips forward in answer to the rolling muscles of the man on top of him, but it was still not enough, because Derk was gentle, way too gentle for it to lead anywhere and Stiles was everything but not a patient teen.

Not when Derek pushed away from him to look him into the eyes, which was way too intimate for someone Stiles barely knew and which he was not ready for in his excited state of mind and so he reached over and grabbed the back of Derek neck to pull him back, but that ended up being a huge mistake.

Derek tensed and his eyes flashed accompanied with the loudest scared intake of breath Stiles has ever heard. It was even worse than the one John let out when he saw him crying next to his moms empty hospital bed. What followed was a deep scary growl and then everything went to hell.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

As the snarl reached his ears and the drops of saliva splattered all across his face, Stiles felt his heart rate spike. He blinked, staring up at the elongating teeth and blazing icy-bue eyes, watching entranced as the features of Derek's face changed into an angry mixture between a wolf and a human.

He wished his brain would be able to restart from the shock that it was set into by that display of ferociousness, because it would have been a great time to just get as far away from this vicious creature as possible. The fact that he was only able to let go of Derek's neck and plaster his hands on the bed next to his his body was a well enough proof that this was quite impossible though. He could only stare, his mind blank.

“D-ude,” he breathed silently, a drop of sweat sliding down the side of his forehead.

Derek growled at that, slapping the palm of his hand against his cheek, pushing his head to the side to reveal the full expanse of his pale neck. Stiles gulped, fear flooding his system, because not only was the pillow making it harder for him to breathe (which was already hard enough before Derek started to smuggle him), but he could also feel the hot breath against the skin over his artery and that was as scary as hell.

“Could-” he started, but was cut off by the sharp claws pressing warningly against the skin on his face.

He exhaled harshly and tried to move away by instinct but that only made Derek shift over him to pin him to the surface of his bed more efficiently, which... yeah, he really hated the way, the werewolf had his thigh nudged right between his legs, because that might have some really bad consequences for his future shenanigans.

Although it could have still been worse, if this happened in the middle of a blowjob, his brain supplied. Yes, leave it to Stiles' stupid brain to worry about such things, when there was a freaking werewolf ready to tear his throat out and kill him. Because... why not, thanks for the help.

“Could you just-” he wheezed then, trying to get out of the situation using words. What other options did he have anyways? A weak human like him? None.

“Derek, just-”

His words were cut off by the loud growl, that made the hair on his skin stand up in terror. He felt the body above him shift once again, saw the taloned arm being raised from the corner of his eyes and blanched, closing his eyes. He knew full well what was to follow, but there was nothing he could do about it and there was nobody to save him this time either. What a freaking irony his death will be. Well...fuck.

But before the claws could connect with the delicate skin on his throat, just as they were inches away from the main artery, because that is just Stiles' luck apparently, there was a faint click on the far side of his room and a voice rang in the space strong and determined:

“Careful son, we wouldn't want anybody to get hurt now, would we?” John warned and hearing his dad's voice, Stiles let out a sigh of relief, which was immediately followed by fear for his dad's life instead.

Werewolves were not as affected by normal weapons after all and that click before was definitely the sheriff's gun, which might irritate the werewolf just enough to attack his dad and then...

“Wait, dad, don't-” Stiles stumbled, lifting his hand a little to wave in the general direction of the door from were the voice was coming.

But it was too late, Derek already shifted to turn around and growl threateningly at the intruder, his hand left hand pushing Stiles' head even deeper into the pillow as he leaned into it more, the fingers over his cheek tightening to a very uncomfortable level.

The atmosphere was so tense, one could cut it with a knife. Although Stiles was pretty sure not even a knife would cut through, maybe like a laser chainsaw would have been better.

“Stand down,” John commanded when Derek turned to face him, but the only response he got from him was an even louder growl.

“Dad,” Stiles said, hoping he could convey enough through that simple word - the warning, the worry, the fear not only for John's life, but also for his own and to some extent for Derek's as well, because this was a very weird situation. Of course he did not want Derek dead, but what if the sheriff did manage to kill him somehow? They would be safe, true, but Derek... he would...Stiles did not want that to happen either.

“This is my last warming, son,” the sheriff urged and Stiles thought, that there was no turning back anymore, shit was gonna hit the fan right in the next second, no matter what any of them did. Except he did not anticipate the entry of a fourth player.

“Oh goody, right on time” he heard from the direction of the window, registering the unmistakable voice of Peter Hale, who judging by the creak just climbed in through his window and Stiles was so done with this day, so done.

The only thing that could make this situation crazier would be the rest of the murderous coven waltzing in through the ceiling or aliens teleporting in. Maybe this was actually a really fucked up dream, he thought and weren't it for the pain he felt on his face and some other parts of his body, he would have believed that, but alas, one fells no pain in dreams so...yep, that was just the reality fucked up beyond repair right there.

“Hale,” his dad said, the source of the voice indicating he didn't move to greet the man, nor did he level the weapon in his hand. This was just Stiles' logical assumption, though, because he was unable to see a thing with his face pressed into the pillow as it was.

“I am guessing this one is yours, so feel free to take care of him before anybody could get hurt.”

“I doubt you could do any damage either way,” Peter noted, his feet creaking on the floor as he stepped in fully into the room. His presence made Derek's growl subside altogether, but the hold he had on Stiles unfortunately didn't weaken at all. Luckily Stiles was a glass half full type of a person, so he counted that as an improvement.

“Just for your information, the bullets are laced with wolfsbane,” John informed the Alpha casually. “Now call him off.”

Silence filled the room for like a two seconds, in which Peter must have been contemplating sheriff's words and in which Stiles had a minor freak out about how and why did his dad know what wolfsbane was - other than a plant, of course.

“Very well,” Peter said at last, a nod probably accompanying that statement. “Would you mind, Derek...?”

Stiles held his breath, waiting for the weight above him to disappear in an instant, but nothing of sorts happened. The werewolf just shifted a little, his hold on the teen's body never lessening.

“Shut up, I'm on it!” Peter yelled and judging by how his voice went in the opposite direction than the bed was, he must have turned around to the window to yell at somebody in the back yard and that somebody must have been Tomasz.

As on some unspoken command or a comment Stiles wasn't able to hear from beyond the window, Peter snarled and... yes, okay, Stiles couldn't exactly see what happened, but he imagined Peter changing into the same wolfy coctail Derek did just a few minutes ago and launch himself across the room at his nephew.

He yanked the werewolf off him in a blur of a movement that the teen was able to catch from the corner of his eye and shoved him against his bookcase. Derek grunted as he collided with the wood and the shelves trembled, books clattering down on the floor.

Stiles whipped his head around to watch Peter lock his forearm under Derek's jaw, pushing with it onto his neck, before his nephew could find his bearings and slip away. The Alpha growled menacingly under his breath, his eyes blazing like red twin suns and issued a more serious command:

“I said stand down, beta!”

Derek just growled, his fingers digging into the flesh on Peter's forearm desperately, but the Alpha did not give in. He pushed in harder, snarling into Derek's face, his teeth only inches away from his nose.

And at that, Derek's features melted slowly back into his human ones and his posture went from rigid to relaxed in a blink of an eye. He sighed, blinking rapidly to chase away the bluish glow and then sagged against the now half-empty bookcase.

Peter studied him for a few seconds more and so did Stiles and probably even the sheriff who was still pointing the gun in the werewolf's direction, his hand steady and unmoving.

After that, Peter just shook his head and let go of his nephew, stepping a bit out of the way to point at the window through which he came just a few minutes ago. His face was no longer contorted either and his eyes didn't glow anymore, although Stiles had a feeling, that that red glow was still seared at the back of his retinas because he had two white spots dancing in his vision angrily.

“Get lost,” Peter ordered, his head jerking to the left. He didn't particularly look mad or anything. Stiles would have written him off as merely exasperated, but he barely knew the man so he couldn't exactly be sure now, could he?

“Peter,” Derek whispered defensively. He opened his mouth to probably explain himself, but the uncle just shook his head.

“Go back to my place, before the sheriff shoots you, which would be in his right, if I may add,” he stated, his eyes landing on John who was still standing there with a raised gun.

Stiles sat up on his bed and glanced over at his dad as well. John was not so strung anymore and the calmness emitting from him wasn't as strained as before, but he was still cautious, which was to be expected. He didn't know Peter or Derek that well...heck, Stiles himself barely knew them. How was he this calm about this all then thugh? He should be totally freaking out by now.

The teen saw Derek nod sadly from the corner of his eye and then walk to the window dejectedly. He didn't even look at Stiles, nor did he glance up at the sheriff, although the gun kept following him mercilessly. Only once he reached the window, did he hesitate a little, his lips pursing and a flush painting his features for who knows what reason. Stiles had an idea about who might have been waiting down in the back yard, but he kept quiet.

Peter snorted and Derek flushed even darker, embarrassment obviously flooding his system at something none of the humans were able to pick up with their weak hearing. He then climbed through the window with the agility of a cat and disappeared from the view.

Silence fell over the room. The only thing to be heard was the breathing of three people, the creak of the bed as Stiles scrambled to put his feet on the floor and then the silent swoosh of air as the sheriff trained the gun onto the said floor. He did not pocket it back into the holster yet though, which was an enough proclamation as it was, but Stiles barely paid attention to his dad, because his mind was swimming with questions.

He tore his eyes from the window and glanced at Peter who was looking at the mess of books on the floor disapprovingly. The silence was getting uncomfortable.

“What the hell was that?” Stiles wondered, bringing his fingers up to his face to check the skin on his cheek tentatively. It did not feel as if Derek's claws pierced through anything, but it still felt sore and bruised.

Peter sighed at his question and turned to look at him.

“That, my dear, that was Katie,” he said with disgust painted all over the name. “Or at least the consequences of her acts.”

“As in Kate Argent?” sheriff jumped in, studying the werewolf as if he knew what he was talking about, which was very unnerving because Stiles didn't even recognize the name himself. What the hell? How did his dad know more than him anyways? Let's ask not beat around and bush and ask, shall we?

“Wait,” he cried out, trusting his hands in the air. “You know about all of this?”

The sheriff opened his mouth to answer, but Peter beat him to it: “What kind of a stupid strategy would it be to not include the sheriff into the pack's trusted circle? There are things that are bound to happen when a pack lives in an area, you know.”

Stiles just stared, his eyebrows climbing up his forehead, the expression making Peter roll his eyes.

“The previous sheriff was quite close to Talia, the former Alpha of my pack, so I imagine you got the memo from him?” the werewolf mused, turning to look at the sheriff, who half-shrugged and half-nodded at the statement.

“He mentioned something like that, when I wanted to investigate the Hale fire further, yes,” John confirmed, applying the safety catch on his gun and stuffing it back into the holster.

“Ah right,” Peter nodded, which seemed to be more of an approval of the act than a thought that came back to him, but one could never be sure. “I suppose the sheriff wanted to you to back off, didn't he?

“Yes,” John agreed. “I had no reason to believe his words at that time because of the lack of proof at his hand, but...”

“But your wife was a magic user and one could never be careful enough these days, right?” Peter grinned, making Stiles and his dad glance at each other fleetingly and oh hell no, there was something in his dad's eyes that suggested he knew about his mom and he must have known all this time, because that right there looked a lot like guilt of keeping it a secret.

And that... well that hurt a little, because Stiles thought they didn't have any secrets between them, at east not secrets like that - hidden porn folders and broken flowerpots did not count, okay?

Was it because they barely ever talked about mom? Was it because every time the talk turned to Claudia, they just mumbled something about work or food and left the topic lie there on the cold flood, walking around it in a huge circle, as if it was radioactive? Or was it because... whatever the reason, Stiles felt a little more than betrayed at that moment - his dad knew.

The look in his eyes must have been a message enough, because the sheriff glanced back at Peter and refocused at him, since he was a lot easier alternative than his angered son.

“Nevertheless,” John said, his voice gaining that investigatory undertone. “I see your niece did not take you to New York with her, mister Hale,” which seemed more of a statement that a question.

Peter looked at him, his expression changing into a polite version of a poker face.

“Since being dead, she can't exactly take me anywhere now, can she?” he mused a forced smile spreading his lips. “At least not somewhere I am ready to go yet either way.”

“And the body?” the sheriff asked right away, his hand wondering to the gun holstered on his hip in a preventative measure.

“Buried back at our sacred place. With the rest of the pack... as it well should be.” Peter answered, taking a random book from the shelf next to his shoulder and Stiles was certain that was a preventative measure on the werewolf's side as well, because it did made him a smaller target would John decide to start shooting.

“And the killer...?” John wondered aloud, his fingers twitching.

“Gone,” Peter hummed, opening the book to skim through it.

“What about the two arsonists in the preserve...?” John went on, side-stepping a little to the right to have a better view at the other man.

Peter looked up from his book then, his eyebrows raised in a mocking kind of surprise. “What two arsonists?”

“The dead ones,” sheriff pushed, his eyes roaming over the werewolf's face as if he was looking for some traces of truth that might be printed there.

“Dead ones?” Peter asked, closing the book with a silent thud.

“Echoing my statements can only get you that far,” John countered, watching him sternly now.

“You don't say,” the Alpha wondered, as he shrugged and put the book back into the shelf. Only now did Stiles notice that it was the polish dictionary that his mom gave him a long time ago.

“The Argents came to talk to me, you know. Twice,“ the sheriff said as he straightened up and Stiles frowned, because there it was again. Argent. He felt as if he should know that name and subconsciously he maybe even did, but he could not recall where he had heard it.

“I expected as much,” Peter commented, waving his hand around in a nonchalant matter. “Let me guess... the first time was a warning to not get in their way of indisposing of wild animals and the second was a “we got it all under control” infomercial.”

“Well...something like that,” John nodded.

“Never trust a hunter, though,” the Alpha stated, before the sheriff could continue.

Stiles perked up at that, because that seemed to be a valuable information after all. If those Argents really were hunters, then that would explain why Derek freaked out because of that Kate Argent... why did that happen while they were kissing was beyond him, but maybe...what if she seduced him or something and then tried to kill him? No, that was way too dramatic... or was it?

“Never trust a werewolf,” John countered while his son was busy thinking of all the possible scenarios, each and every one of them more crazy than the other. This was no movie after all, this was just life...stuff like that did not happen in real life.

“Touché,” Peter admitted, the corner of his lips twitching a little.

“So the two-” started his dad again, but the Alpha sighed and pointed out of the window, silencing him effectively. “I apologize for the interruption, sheriff, but mind if we take this downstairs so Tomasz can join us as well? He is most eager to talk to you.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles hurried to the front door, where Tomasz was supposed to be already waiting impatiently, but as he opened them, his uncle was nowhere to be seen, at least not on first glance. The teen stuck his head through the door frame and spotted him a few steps further own to the right, talking to his ancient phone. How did that brick still work was beyond him.

Tomasz looked over as the door creaked and his smile widened. He waved his fingers a little and then struck up his forefinger, returning to the phone call, his voice gentle and loving. Stiles wondered who he was talking to, wondered if he had a wife or something... there were still things he did not know about his uncle at all.

He tried to catch what they were talking about, but the language did not seem as familiar. At least not as Polish usually was. It was either something very similar to it like Russian or so or they were talking in riddles, because it sounded muddled and mixed with the wrong kind of suffixes.

Peter came to stand next to him. He glanced over at Tomasz who nodded a few times and then finally ended the call with a very long sigh. It was one of those positive ones though. One of those that make you realize how deep in love the other person is, just as his dad sometimes did when he was watching his mom.

Stiles ended up thinking the future him might have sighed like that too, when it came to Derek, but to him it just seemed like a too complex concept. He felt too young for such a deep commitment.

“Yu are in luck I waz on fone with Leni, else yor nefew would have gotten one over hiz head,” Tomasz greeted Peter, whipping his hand through the air in annoyance. “I will buy him a...dat sing for dogs...on deir mouse.”

“A muzzle?” Stiles supplied, as Peter just rolled his eyes and retreated back inside the house without a single word.

“Iz dat how yu call cage for mouse?” Tomasz frowned, as he walked in closer. He pocketed his old-school phone and shrugged. “Den yez.”

Stiles couldn't help but smile at the weird word game his uncle had going on, but ended up cringing at the sting in his right cheek.

“Yu alrite?” Tomasz scowled, surveying the bruise that must have formed across his cheek. He reached over to nudge Stiles' jaw gently to the side and expose his neck a little more to his inspecting eyes, as if he was expecting to see a bite there.

“I'm fine,” the teen sighed in irritation, because he had just gotten the same treatment from his father three minutes ago.

He batted the hand from his face and looked away, but that didn't mean he missed the way Tomasz pursed his lips nor how the look on his face turned hard for a second - threatening and unforgiving at the same time.

Stiles felt a shiver run own his spine as the air grew dense with something akin to an electric charge.

“I told yu diz would happen,” Tomasz said to somebody behind him and when the teen looked around, he noticed Peter standing by the opposite wall, arms folded defensively.

“Nothing did happen though, did it?” the werewolf countered, his eyes getting a weirdly reddish tint in them. “I was just on time to prevent it.”

“No, yu were nott, he waz,” Tomasz pointed at John who was looking at them from the living room, his face nursing a slightly confused look as he watched Stiles' uncle.

“If he wazn't...”

“Why are you complaining now all of a sudden?” Peter wondered. “You never said anything before, you were happy with-”

“It waz diferent befor,” Tomasz shook his head, gesturing at Stiles, who was just silently watching them. “He knew how to protekt himself befor.”

The Alpha pursed his lips at that, pushing himself from the wall to stalk in closer.

“I would never let Derek go that far, now would he ever consciously-”

“Are you talking about how your werewolfy nephew almost tore my son's throat out?” the sheriff jumped in, standing next to the doorway leading into the living room.

Peter stopped in his tracks to turn around to look at him, his eyes back to their normal greenish color. Stiles moved a little back to look at his dad over the werewolf's shoulder and Tomasz just glanced ahead, studying the man that his sister married with a fond smile on his lips.

“Because I would love to be included in that conversation as well,” John continued. “Being his dad and all...”

Stiles could hear Peter sigh and turn around fully to nod at the man. “Let's go inside then, shall we? It would be better we all sit down for this one.”

He then walked down the hallway and into the living room, passing sheriff on his way through the doorway as if it was his own house and he had to lead the way. Maybe he needed to feel like an Alpha once again, because Tomasz did seem to irritate him a lot when he jumped into his territory like that, Stile guessed.

Tomasz kept standing in front of the door with a thoughtful look on his face, contemplating the walls of the house silently

“I have a gun full of wolfsbane bullets,” John greeted Tomasz, patting the holster bound to his hips.

“Gut for yu,” the other man chuckled, pulling his sleeves higher up his forearms to reveal the lines of his brown tattoo that climbed up his skin. “Butt I am not a vlkolak. If yu would like some magic-bloking bullets dough, denn et me now. I could be of assistance dere.”

John didn't even look down at the tattoo, he just kept scanning Tomasz' features uncertainly, probably seeing the similarities with his wife, but not sure how to deal with the fact that this stranger reminded him of her that much. He seemed to be trying to file that under coincidence and failing.

“I am like Klaudia,” Tomasz nodded, confirming his suspicions without a second thought.

“Oh,” John nodded back, the accent making his head turn. He then frowned though, because how could this stranger possibly know her name, unless...

“You knew my wife...?” the sheriff asked and Stiles held his breath as he watched the conversation unfold.

“I shall hope so,” Tomasz grinned, bracing his hands on his hips in a jovial matter. “I am her brater, after all.”

“Uhuh, okay,” John nodded, turning around to follow Peter into the living room as if Tomasz just said he knew Claudia from some summer camp or so.

He then whipped his head around and stared blankly back as Tomasz, who just smiled back cheekily.

“Wait what....?” the sheriff gaped.

“Tomasz Stilinski as yor servise,” he beamed, bowing his head a little as he clasped his hands behind his back. “I am glad yu took our name, it iz rader a nice name.”

“I thought the resemblance was just a coincidence,” John breathed, stepping in closer as he watched his brother in law as if he was a freaking unicorn that appeared in a pink cloud in their doorway.

“More like luck,” Tomasz shrugged smiling. “Who would nott want to look like my pretty sestra.”

And with that, he stepped in through the threshold.

 

~o~

 

“So...” the sheriff started, sitting down into his armchair to stare at Peter and Tomasz who were sitting next to each other on the couch to his right. Stiles smartly chose to sit down on the little table near the television, so that he could still listen to the conversation while scrolling through his phone slightly out of the view.

He figured he might find Derek's phone number there and text him... or something? Well okay, he didn't actually have a plan of what to do if he happened to find the number on his phone, but he would totally cross that bridge when he got to it. For now, he just tapped on his contact list and scrolled through, while his dad interviewed the two men on the couch.

“By all means,” Peter cut in, leaning into the couch as he gesticulated with his hand in front of him to encourage the sheriff to continue. “No need to be shy.”

“Right, well,” John said, glancing at Tomasz who reached over for some newspaper lying on the table near the couch and looked at the front page. They didn't really talk beyond the introduction, but Stiles was sure, that was to follow soon too, because there was no way his dad wouldn't be curious about his wife's younger brother.

An another thing that the teen was curious about was how did the magical barrier react when Tomasz stepped inside the house. He kinda already crossed it standing on the front porch, didn't he? How was that suddenly okay? He filed that flood of confusing facts in the back of his head to ask later.

Peter hummed under his breath to break the silence as they waited to sheriff to gather his thoughts.

“You might want to clear out the situation starting with how your nephew happened to stumble upon my son... in his bedroom of all places,” John nodded, folding his arms in front of his chest, his face adopting the sheriff's expressions it always did when he asked questions. Stiles used to hate that expression. He hated it even now. That's why he decided to jump in.

“Not gonna say anything about how naked he was?” Stiles smiled gleefully, watching his dad tear his eyes from the two on the couch and frown at him.

“Stiles, please,” he warned, lifting his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose in exasperation.

“What...?” the teen pouted, pushing the button on top of his phone to lock the screen. He then stretched his legs in front of him and shrugged sheepishly.

“Stop pretending to be gay just to bring me off topic,” John shook his head and put his hands on his knees as if to steady himself. “This is serious business right here.”

“Wha-,” Stiles gasped, bringing up his hand to clench the front of his shirt. “I could be...!”

“Not with those clothes you couldn't,” the sheriff noted, pointedly looking up and down Stiles' attire which consisted of a green Hulk shirt, cinnamon orange pants and yellow socks. So what? He was cute in a nerdish kind of way!

He noticed Peter and Tomasz sharing a confused look at that, before Tom leaned closer, bracing his elbows on his knees and asked: “Wat do closes have to do wis dat?”

“Uhh, well you know,” John frowned waving them off without any more words. Instead he continued his conversation with Stiles: “You liked Lydia all your life, after all.”

And that was when Peter decided to say: “Bisexuality is a pretty common preference. In fact most werewolves...”

“Okay, enough!” John cried out, lifting his hands in front of him to stop them all from talking. “I get your point, but can we concentrate on the important thing here?”

“Just saying,” Peter shrugged, clasping his hands in front of him to calmly. Tomasz didn't even bother saying anything, he just squinted as if he was trying to figure out something that he didn't understand and then shrugged, leaning back into the couch to listen to Peter and John talking.

Stiles watched his dad for a few seconds longer, making sure the expression on his dad's face stayed casual and only then did he pull his phone back in front of him to continue scrolling through it.

“Now...your nephew,” John nodded, waving his hand around for Peter to finally get on with the explanation.

“...was guarding Stiles against the pack's enemies.” Peter said, smoothing the fabric on his trousers. “I might have underestimated his mental state in some situations, true, but I can promise you that will definitely not happen again.”

Tomasz nodded at that and leaned his head back to grin at the ceiling in satisfaction, at which Peter glanced at him, his eyes skimming over the exposed neck and copied the same kind of smile.

Seeing that made Stiles remember something he read in the lores and the notes yesterday. Up until now, he was too busy either kissing a hot dude or being frightened for his life, so his brain wasn't exactly in mood to supply this information, but wasn't there something about werewolves and necks? Yes, there was! And wasn't there something about not touch Derek's neck freely in the notes? Even emphasized with tons of exclamation marks? Yes, there was... shit.

Stiles flushed at that realization, his fingers stopping above Derek's phone number. He actually managed to break the first and most important rule the future him laid down for their relationship!

Damn him and his libido, he totally forgot about reading that! Fuck... this was all his fault, wasn't it? He tried to warn himself...or well, his future self tried to warn him, but he was too concentrated on other things to heed the warning.

“Guarding against what?” he heard his dad ask, while he stared down at the screen of his phone.

“When the future Stiles-“ Peter started, but was interrupted by the sheriff who gaped at him in disbelief. „Wait.. that was all true?”

He looked over at his son, waiting to confirm or deny the information but Stiles just shrugged – it wasn't like he knew anything about it anyways. Besides he was too busy trying to swallow down quilt.

“Yes, now,” Peter nodded calmly and then set on explaining it further. “When he returned, he managed to indispose of a strong coven leader, that threatened my pack and so...”

“Indispose of... how exactly?” John questioned, turning his head to look at Stiles once again, on which he just put his hands up in an innocent gesture.

“Don't look at me,” he muttered, shaking his head. “I have no memories of the past week or so.”

John stared at him for a while, letting it all set in. He was a clever man, a practical one at that and ever though he might have not completely understand or believe what was going on, he must have picked up the signs, he must have been able to recognize them by now and filter out the most important things.

And that was exactly what was happening inside his brain right there and then. Stiles knew him way too well to be wrong about that, especially considering John's following words:

“Alright, I will need a more detailed explanation later, let's just bookmark it for now though,” he nodded, turning back to Peter. “What I need to know now is: Is Stiles still in any active danger?”

“From the coven, yes,” the Alpha answered without a single second filled with hesitation.

Stiles just looked back at his phone, because this was all old news for him and concentrated on the blank field that he needed to fill with words. Preferably with something, that would make Derek forgive him for his stupid ignorance or so.

“Anybody else?“ the sheriff continued as Stiles typed in a lame “sorry” and deleted it all again almost immediately.

“Well, basically anyone who might be enthusiastic enough to take our territory or to deem us unworthy of it.”

The teen looked up at that, seeing Tomasz glance warnigly in Peter's direction for some reason. John noticed that as well, because his eyes jumped from his brother in law to the Alpha a few times back and forth, until they settled on Peter again.

“He is marked as a pack member after all,” the Alpha added, before the sheriff could ask what the look was all about.

“Huh, when did that happen...?“ Stiles frowned curiously, but he didn't get any answer to his question although he was sure Peter heard him because his eyebrows itched slightly closer together.

The Alpha obviously decided to ignore his claims he didn't belong in the pack, which in turn made Stiles wonder what kind of a strategy that was. Maybe reversed psychology?

“No matter,” Peter said, waving his hand around in a nonchalant gesture. „We will protect him against any threat.”

John shook his head and leaned back in his chair. “What if he just stopped associating with any of that supernatural-”

“I do nott agree,” Tomasz jumped in suddenly. „He needs to learn, nott forget.“

“Besides,“ Peter added, shaking his head. „one can't just stop being a pack member. There are traces of us everywhere and if the Alpha pack-”

“Stiles won't be using any magic,” John argued, folding his arms in front of his chest. “That is what Claudia...”

“Exaktlie wat killed her, yu mean?” Tomasz exclaimed, slapping his palm against his thigh, his voice harsh. “Nott using magic? He would end up like her, no magic imunity, no resistance, there would be nosing to guard him from bad worms like ghosts or betr yet kicunes...“

„Not to mention Stiles is already our Emmisary so there is no point really in arguing about things that have already been decided now, is there?” Peter joined in, his voice so confident, so sure that he was right, that Stiles couldn't help but saying: „That wasn't me.”

They all looked at him, as if they have only then noticed he was still there with them, a question in their eyes and the teen was unsure for a second. Unsure why he actually said it, why did he actually feel as if he had to say it or else.

It might have been the weird curse, it might have been his own head trying to figure out a way of treating this whole business about the future him laying down a path for him. A path he might not want and that's why he had to speak up, before this would get any further.

“Not that I want to quote a song or whatever,” Stiles said, scratching the back of his head. “But it wasn't me who...”

“Technically you and the future you are one and-” Peter started but the teen just waved his hand around and pushed himself off the small table to stand up in all height in front of them.

“You know what... fuck the future me,” Stiles exclaimed, putting his hands on his hips. “Uh yes, sorry for the language dad, but someone had to finally say it. This isn't some weird predestination case, okay? And even if it were, none of you can persuade me anyways...I have to figure this out for myself, I will either follow the path the future me showed me or I will choose my own or I don't know...maybe a meteor strikes me, but nor you Peter, nor you Tomasz and I'm sorry but not even you, dad, can make me do it your way. This is it, this is me, not the future me, me here and now and we are resetting the score.”

Stiles exhaled deeply and then glanced at the watch on the screen of his phone, realizing that if he hurried he might still make it in time for school and since he definitely did not want to spend the rest of the day locked inside with these three politicians, he decided to head out to school, even though he actually had the permit to not to. He needed a bit of normalcy and he needed it now.

“Now if you excuse me, I will be late if I don't head out right away,“ he summarized and then walked out of the living room, before anybody could stop him.

„Well that went well,“ he managed to hear his dad say.

„He iz rite tho.“ agreed Tomasz

Peter was surprisingly quiet. Or maybe he did say something, but Stiles did not head anymore, because he was too busy putting on his shoes and walking out of the house towards his jeep.

 

~o~

 

“Stiles,” he heard right next to his ear as he was holding the door to the driver's seat opened. He yelped and jumped away, colliding with the said door and probably making a really big bruise on his upper arm.

“Oh... bejeezus!” he exclaimed, pushed from the door handle that jabbed him into the soft skin on his side. He looked up at Peter staring calmly next to him and rubbed at his forearm with a pout on his lips.

The Alpha just raised his right eyebrow at that in such a Derek-like manner that Stiles felt compelled to just roll his eyes, but the fact that he even knew how Derek raised his eyebrows made him stop and frown instead.

“What?” he muttered irritably, holding sliding his fingers over his forearm and prodding the skin there for any forming bruises. “Of course I am jumpy. I've been attacked twice already. A little consideration would be nice, ya know.”

Peter blinked at that, staring at him incredulously. He was probably just stifling the laugh that was threatening to escape from between his teeth, because he totally did it on purpose, that sneaky bastard.

“Speaking of the attacks,” the Alpha started, waving his arm around with flourish. “It would be unwise to walk around alone without any protection, don't you think so as well?”

Stiles pulled his eyebrows together and his pout intensified. “Are you on the babysitting duty, because Derek is too busy avoiding me now?”

“Not exactly,” Peter shrugged, leaning against the jeep as he folded his arms over his chest. “Contrary to popular belief, I don't exactly enjoy stalking teens in my free time. Believe it or not, I do have more important things to do.”

“Could have fooled me,” the teen snorted, pulling his left arm closer to his body to glance down and the sin, which was already changing it's colour in a very slow pace but changing nonetheless.

“Now,” Peter spoke up, pushing himself off the car's side with a serious look on his face, that signalized the end of pleasantries. “I have something else for you instead.”

He stuck his left hand into the front pocket on his tight black jeans and flourished a long silver chain on which end was the most ugly looking pendant Stiles has ever seen. Like seriously, it look as it somebody just found a few rusty screws on the junkyard, welded them together, bore a hole through if for the chain to go through and painted it silver. Or ya know, just used that chrome spray from Mad Max on it, whichever description you like more.

“What is that?” Stiles asked, his lips moving under a wrinkled nose. Why would anybody make a hideous thing like that was beyond him.

“This little pal will render all magic void in the radius of approximately ten meters,” Peter explained and jingled with the necklace right in front of the teen's face as if he was growing impatient and wanted him to accept it already, to which Stiles had no courage.

Not because it was ugly, he wasn't that vain, but because it posed a health danger to him. If he started to wear it and happened to fall down, then he would totally manage to impale himself on it in one way or another and that... well yes, he was too young to die. Way too young. True.

“I will get blood poisoning if that touches my skin in any way,” he complained, wondering if Peter didn't mess with his just for the fun of it.

“And it's ugly,” he added, trying to fill in the silence that was created between them, because the Alpha just stared at him expectantly, jingling with the chain every now and then.

“If it's so helpful, then why didn't I get this before?” he wondered, moving in closed to squint at the bizarrely fused metal. “Are there some horrible backlash possibilities, that you were too scared to risk with the future me, perhaps?”

He glanced up at Peter and saw his lips thin, which was a confirmation enough, even if the Alpha did not decide to answer at all.

“Actually yes,” he nodded solemnly. “It would be useless to the future you because it turns off the magic of the wearer as well.”

“But since my magic is as useful as a molding potato-”

But,” Peter jumped in, “since you are not able to wake up nor control your Spark, it might actually be helpful to the present you.”

Stiles was still not persuaded. The thing looked way too weird and way too dreadful to consider the risk of wearing it, even though it did block magic. There were other dangers to consider after all.

“What if they decide to strangle me then?” he noted, shaking his head. “Or better yet, shoot me in the head. This thing ain't gonna be helpful at all, will it?”

“There is no perfect protection,” Peter sighed impatiently, jiggling the pendant with a renewed strength. “But given that we are dealing with a coven of druids, I would say, feel free to prove me wrong, but I would be sure to claim, that they will be prone to magical methods instead of normal human ones.”

“That probability is very low, ya know,” Stiles countered, putting his hands on his hips to show that magical or not, he was not gonna touch that horrendous thing. “The witch back at the cemetery had a gun and the dude back here was about the punch the life out of me. Magic or not, I am not deluded enough to think I would stand no chance against that mountain of muscles not against an experienced shooter.”

Peter shut him mouth, the corners of his mouth moving slightly down his face as he stared at the defying posture of the teen. His eyes seemed very close to flashing, but then he blinked once and the affinity was gone and Stiles ended up wondering if he had only imagined the whole thing or not.

Suffice to say, Peter seemed calm again in the next second. He shrugged and threw the pendant on the driver's seat of the jeep.

“Wear it or not,” he said turning around to walk back inside the house. “I will leave that decision to you.”

Stiles' eyes following his descent, his mind reeling from all the possible questions that popped up in his brain, but there was this one he could not help but asking as Peter reached the stairs to the front porch.

“And how much do I owe you for this miracle of a protection?” he wondered aloud, knowing fully well the Alpha would hear him even if he didn't yell all across the driveway.

Peter turned around at that, his hand steadying him as he stood up on the first step.

“Write to Derek,” he said loudly, his eyes studying to teen.

“I was going to anyways,” the teen answered, his fingers sliding down over his pocket where the locked phone lay. It was true he did not find the right words to apologize for his ignorance yet, but the lessons in school and teacher relatively blind, so he was planning to compose the perfect text message then.

“Then we're even,” Peter nodded and turned around, walking up the stairs, through he front porch and back into the house, closing the door behind him tightly.

Chapter Text

 

 

Of course Stiles was running late. Of. Fucking. Course. Because it wasn't like supernatural business could wait till after school and okay, he did have the sick leave, so he probably didn't even have to go to school at all this week, but that was actually the decision of the future him, who obviously didn't feel like sitting on his twenty- something ass in school all day. Which Stiles could understand, he really could, but as much as he would like to skip school every freaking day for the rest of his life, he needed to finish it, if he wanted to end up as a decent human being having a decent human life.

Which brings us back to the supernatural crap. Well, not crap per se, because it was actually kinda super cool and Stiles felt excitement bubble inside of him every time he thought about it in general, it was just the present situation of the said supernatural world that was making it rather hard to enjoy the benefits.

And what benefits were there by the way? Well, up until now he learned about a murderous coven that was trying to...well murder him. Then there was his future husband, who was probably more into the future him than into Stiles himself. And don't let us get started on the badass him that he kept hearing about. Like... feeling pathetic compared to everybody else was one thing, but feeling inferior to yourself was simply unfair.

Although one could argue that it was a good thing. Look at that badass wizard that he would become. Look at all that magic he could wield. Look at him. Look. Huh, no, all we can see is this weakling human. What?

No wonder Peter wanted the future him back, Stiles thought, pressing his hand against his chest to stop the pendant from moving under his shirt while he ran over the lawn in front of his school.

Yes, he decided to wear it, because it was the logical thing to do and he valued his safety thank you very much, but that did not stop him from hating that tiny ugly thing wholeheartedly, because it was it's fault he was running late now. It was it's fault, that he couldn't find a damn parking spot and it was it's fault he stumbled on the stairs and almost split his skull open.

And he didn't even get to mention how hungry or thirsty he was, because he forgot all about satisfying his body in the morning, since... well Derek was satisfying his body and then he suddenly wasn't so... which brings us to the fact, that he still needed to set things right with the werewolf. That was a bit easier said than done, because he kinda felt like the victim in this situation as well, given the bruises that painted his cheek.

But Stiles was the type of a person, that lived in the moment and right now his priority was to get to his classroom as soon as possible to avoid detention. And so he sprinted along the hallway on the second floor, slid to a stop in front of the door and tore it opened with a violent yank, his breath ragged and his mouth tasting of iron.

His plan was just to run inside and sit on his designated place, but then he caught the sight of the woman from yesterday standing in front of the blackboard instead f mister Chase and stopped in his tracks, surveying her suspiciously.

The woman looked back at him, a chalk in her right hand and squinted her eyes running them up and down his body as if searching for evidence of murder on his clothes. Having not found it, she frowned and asked the obvious question: “And you would be?”

“Stiles,” he blurted out, stepping into the room and closing the door behind him with a sheepish smile on his lips. He needed a good excuse for running late and he needed it fast. Well, when all came down to it... a little lie never hurt anybody.

„And I am sorry for being late,” he started, “but my best friend is in the hospital...”

“It's alright,” she sighed, interrupting his improvisation. “Just sit down please.”

Stiles turned his head to look at the tables stacked in neat rows around the room, that were occupied by students staring back at him with various levels of interest. Under normal circumstances he would have just found Scott and sat right next to him, because bros always reserved a place for each other.

Alas, Scott was busy... well Stiles did not exactly know with what but it had definitely something to do with the supernatural and... yes okay, back to reality.

In the end, Stiles just trotted over to the first free table that happened to be right in front of Jackson and sat down, watching the woman sit down at her desk and open the attendance file for her literature classes.

“What did you say your name was again?” she wondered, her frown deepening as she scanned the list, undoubtedly searching for a name that did not have a cross under today's date. “McCall maybe?”

“Under S like Stilinski,“ he answered.

“Oh wow, are you Russian? How do I read this?” she mused staring down at the jumbled mess of letters that was his name, the lower lip trapped between her teeth making her look concentrated.

“It's...” Stiles started, ready to go through the same old routine of teaching a new teacher how to pronounce his name only to see them fail and stick to his surname. But something stopped him today – it was the memory of their conversation with Tomasz mixed with a slight paranoia.

The woman looked up at him, the expression on her face vaguely impatient as she lifted her eyebrows waiting for his words to come, but Stiles just shook his head, swallowing. The look she was giving him... reminded him of a cat that was getting ready to jump on a mouse.

“Everybody just calls me Stiles, ma'am,” he decided to say, feeling just a tad silly to avoid the question like that, but it also gave him a slight rush of excitement, because it was the first magical rule Tomasz taught him about and okay... it wasn't any actual magic, but it was something a start.

He watched as the corner of the woman's lips twitched a little upon hearing his answer, although he might have imagined it to justify his actions, because there was only a gentle smile on her lips after he blinked. Weird.

“Alright, Stiles,” she said, taking a pen to mark his attendance. “I will let it all slide for this time, but don't make a habit out of late arrivals, please.”

Stiles nodded as she glanced back at him while closing the attendance book and stood up to finish writing her name at the blackboard: Jennifer Blake, she spelled out with a pleasant smile on her lips.

 

~o~

 

Well, the literature class could have been worse. The new teacher, who proceeded to introduce some book they were supposed to read till the next lesson. Not that Stiles was paying much attention to it in the first place, mind you, but he needed to at least look presentable enough so that miss Blake wouldn't end up giving him a detention even after she said she will let it all slide.

Except, he had no provisions whatsoever. Not only did he forget to stop by his locker to extricate his textbook, but he also neglected to collect his notebook and a pen. The only way he could write something in this state was to either use his nails to scratch the notes into his skin or borrow the stuff from somebody nearby.

And since the first option was of course way too crazy to begin with, he opted to go for the second one and turned around to stare at Jackson.

“Dude, can I borrow a pen?” he whispered, putting a hand next to his lips to muffle the noise even further. Now, he knew, that asking Jackson was a risk, but he could not help but being curious if the newly accepted spot in a werewolf pack changed the boy to some level or not. And that's why the test.

“Get off my face,” Jackson answered, which was rather predictable if you asked Stiles, but... and yes, there was a but, because the usual anger did not manifest in the undertones of his voice and Stiles was really intrigued by that.

“What about some paper?” he inquired relentlessly. “Aren't we like bros now or something? Come on, help a fellow bro out.”

“No,” Jackson said, looking down into his textbook to ignore him even further.

Stiles was about to nag the other teen further, to push him just a little bit more to see the reaction, because he was really fond of experiments like that, even though they mostly ended up with him getting a bloody nose or so. But this time, he wouldn't, because Peter was Jackson's Alpha and Stiles was... well it was hard to say what but the notes from the future him did claim for him to be the Emissary, which was a highly respected position in a pack, which Jackson must have known by now, since he did not even glare at Stiles ever since he walked into the classroom.

Before he could open his mouth again though, there was suddenly a piece of a paper and a pink pen being shoved into his face by nobody else than Lydia herself, who was sitting on Jackson's left.

“Now stop disturbing the class,” she proclaimed, her voice steady and her features oh so beautiful. Not to mention that she was looking right at Stiles, which she never did, not really, because of obvious reasons. But still... as he stared at her with his mouth agape, he could not help but recall somebody else instead, who was... just maybe... a tiny bit more...

“Uh, thanks,” he muttered, feeling a blush creep up his cheeks as he snatched the things from her hand. “I will return them to you after class.. well obviously not the paper... not unless you would want my notes or something right heh...”

Stiles knew he was blabbering and he also knew why he was blubbering which was even more surprising to him, because there she was, Lydia, his goddess of perfection, staring at him as if he was a real human being, but the only thing he could think of at the sight of her eyes was the look Derek gave him when he woke up this morning and that memory only served to fuel the redness of his face.

“Shut up, Stilinski,” Jackson threatened, his eyebrows furrowed. He was glaring at him furiously, his clenched hand snapping his pen in half just when Stiles had the unwelcome memory of Derek creeping into his mind.

Shit, now Jackson must think the obvious thing – that it was his girlfriend who caused this reaction and since he was a werewolf whose senses were heightened and who was possessive by nature, which... Jackson was already as a human... well let's just say it did not look good for Stiles. He really did not want to be attacked by a werewolf twice a day.

“Sorry,” he said, startling Jackson out of his rage, because Stiles did never ever apologize to the other teen. Not even after all those elaborate pranks, even though one ended up with Jackson being chased by a vicious dog, which was a potentially dangerous thing, but Stiles was a real shit as a child and he really did proud himself for never ever being friends with assholes like Jackson, no matter how influential their parents were.

“That being said though,” he whispered, putting the stuff he got from Lydia on his table and turning around to face the werewolf fully. “Could you ask your dad to chill around mine? Because if he keeps on with it, I will have to talk to Peter about restraining your...”

“Stiles,” came a voice from the front of the class and both of them whipped their heads to look at miss Blake, who was tapping her foot impatiently. Oops.

“Since you have your utensils already, could you start using them as well?” she wondered, her voice icy and her eyes hard as steal.

And under normal circumstances Stiles might even risk getting in trouble with some snarky remark or other, but she was new and he did not know where her borders were, so he just nodded, taping the most sheepish smile he could find at such a short notice onto his face.

“Yes, of course. I was just thanking Jackson and Lydia for their immerse generosity,” he lied, which earned him a fierce stab of Jackson's pen into his lower back, but he ignored it and leaned over his paper, writing down the notes about some lame-ass writer.

And since miss Blake decided to keep her eye on him for the rest of the class, he had no other choice than to pretend to write down her useless information all the while thinking about his own problems with his eyes fixed on the pink pen that Lydia gave him. Life sure was complicated.

 

~o~

 

“Stiles!” rang through the corridor after the literature class ended and at the first moment the teen thought that Lydia was calling after him to collect her pen but it wasn't the right tone of a female voice for it to be her. Actually, the voice calling him was one he never really heard before.

He turned around and watched a brown-haired girl race out of the classroom, her stuff slothed messily between her chest and her hands.

She huffed and then stopped right in front of him, reaching up to tuck a rebellious hair strand behind her ear, her smile sheepish.

“Uh...?” he said unable to formulate a coherent sentence. Weird, he did not know this girl. He was pretty sure he had never seen her before, yet she obviously knew his name, which meant he must have gotten to know her in the past week when he was the future self. Jeez. Better play it cool then.

“Uh hi...,” he greeted, wondering what the girl might want from him.

“Allison,” she nodded, making it super easy for him. Thank you universe, Stiles thought happily... up until he remembered an Allison that his future notes mentioned.

“Allison... Argent?” he guessed. She was mentioned among the first people in the file, so there was no way he could have forgotten her. Aside from the fact that she was meant to be Scott's girlfriend, she was also supposed to be from a family of hunters, from which also the infamous Kate Argent descended.

Stiles frowned eying her suspiciously. His notes did say she was a nice person and he should help her out no matter what, but the notes were one thing and the reality was another. And up until now, there was only one real thing he associated with Argents... and that was the damage done to Derek.

Allison did not hear any of his thoughts though, so she just smiled and nodded, when he guessed her name correctly.

“I just wanted to ask,” she started, looking suddenly very nervous. “About Scott...is he... is he okay? I mean I went to the hospital and asked the nurse on the front desk and all, but they did not want to tell me much and they did not want to let me see him, because his state was apparently very critical and I... I mean I know you guys are friends, since he wouldn't stop talking about how close you two are, so I was wondering... please just, could you tell me how he's doing?”

“I'm worried, you know,” she admitted, looking at the lockers to her right and then back at him, giving him such a puppy look that it could compete with Scott's.

And Stiles would have been more suspicious, given what he knew about Kate and Derek, but Allison did not look like it. She did not look like the type to try and seduce a werewolf... wait, Scott actually wasn't a werewolf last week, so her interest couldn't possibly have anything to do with his newly gained werewolf status. Not unless she knew about the future, which was quite unlikely.

That fact made him relax visibly.

“Yeah, no, he's doing better actually,” he said in the end. “It seemed really serious at first, but he did wake up yesterday and there was no damage to his brain... mind you, he was an airhead before already, so there wasn't really much to be damaged in the first place, but...”

“So he's gonna be okay?” she smiled, her eyes glinting from the unshed tears. “I just... I heard about him getting hit by a truck and...”

“Yes, but you see, he's such a man-child, his skeleton is still soft as a baby's,” he nodded, trying to make the accident sound a lot less severe than it was. It would be no good if people started wondering how had Scott gotten into a top form so fast after having his body wrecked by a mass of speeding metal.

“Besides,” he waved his hands nonchalantly, “the truck caught just the back tire and made him fall down. It was no big deal.”

“Ehh, that's great!” she exclaimed and then blushed realizing what she said. “I meant... not the accident but that... you know, that he's fine. I assumed the worst, since he wasn't allowed any visits, but...”

“Yeah... naah,” Stiles tsked. “It's just Melissa... his mom is a nurse and she is super overprotective so she must have asked the front desk... or ya know what nope, it was probs his dad, he's a dick, ya know.”

Allison nodded along, listening intently to what he was saying, because Scott obviously did not introduce her to his family yet and she was curious about them and wow... how sweet was that? She seemed like a super nice girl actually.

“But don't worry,” he smiled, because she has somehow managed to win him over in those few minutes. “I've seen him yesterday and he was totally fine. In fact, I think my dad said they are gonna release him today.”

“So hey, look, here's a thought... why dontcha go over after school and bring him your notes from the classes he missed? I would go myself, but I missed them as well, as you probably noticed... plus, I hate writing down stuff I can actually find on the internet anyways so...”

“Oh,” she breathed, a slight blush crawling up her cheeks and wasn't that just adorable? Scotty, you lucky bastard!

“You know where he lives right...?” he asked casually and then brought out his phone to check if he still had time before the next lesson. He needed to run down a floor to reach the history classroom before the next bell rang, which was in about five minutes. Alright, no time to lose.

“Okay, I guess you don't know where the ice cream stall is, right? The one...”

“... where they sell the blue smurf ice?” she finished, nodding eagerly. “I've actually... I mean, yes, we have been there last week.”

“Awesome,” he exclaimed, resisting the need to roll his eyes, because should have known that Scott would opt for such a sappy first date. “Then you just have to walk up the street, then turn left and find a huge gray house on the right side.”

“Oh, thank you so much, Stiles!” Allison declared, reaching over to bump his shoulder and the teen could not help but let his smile widen as he watched her run off after Lydia to go together to their math class.

 

~o~

 

Stiles barely made it in time to the classroom, but luckily the time was on his side this time (look at that pun) and he arrived a few seconds before the bell rang, which gave him enough time to spot Erica staring at him right next to an empty seat. He grinned and hurried her way.

“Hey,” he greeted her, as their history teacher stood up from his desk and hung up the map of Europe from between the two world wars.

Erica smiled faintly, looking down at the history book and opened it at the said page, her fingers playing with it's corner. Seeing that, Stiles actually realized he never really noticed her that much before, not in such a way that she might have deserved.

Her eyes were red from exhaustion, her hair disheveled, her nails jagged from all the compulsive biting and her complexion way too pale. She was a pretty girl, but her sickness was not doing her any good. What was it that she had again? Didn't he hear something about her collapsing a while ago? Some kids were definitely making fun of it...

“Umm, are you doing okay?”Stiles whispered, leaning over to her curiously. He noticed Boyd stiffen in front of her and incline his head a little so that he could listen in on their conversation for some reason.

Interesting, Stiles though, glancing in his direction. And doing that he also spotted Isaac looking over from the front row, where he sat slumped over his textbook, his hands covered by long sleeves. When did they turn into the Golden trio of BHHS?

Erica nodded silently instead of answering directly, obviously not in the mood to talk much today and Stiles did not know what else to say than to hum under his breath and return back to his paper which was already full of literature notes that gave no sense whatsoever, because he was too distracted to write them properly.

He should have gone to his locker to collect his stuff before the class, but the talk with Allison stopped him from doing so and that's why he was left in the same situation as before. Except now he had a pen, at least. One could call that an improvement.

He sighed, leaning back in his chair and watched the teacher gesticulating as he pointed out different places on the map, explaining the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy that led to the constitution of Czechoslovakia, which caught Stiles' attention. Tomasz mentioned Slovakia a lot after all.

It wasn't just that though. Stiles really liked learning new things about history in general ever since he was a child, which made him glance back to his paper, wondering if he could squish some of that information their teacher was talking about in between the scribbles. Hardly.

There was a swish of paper and a new blank piece landed right in front of him on the top of the other one. He looked up at Erica, who was staring in front of her and followed her gaze to Boyd who just shrugged and turned back to his own notes.

“Thanks,” Stiles whispered, watching the other teen shrug again as if to dismiss his good deed altogether, but Stiles... well he wasn't about to forget any of it. He knew it was stupid to feel overwhelmed by such a stupid little thing, but he could not help himself.

Before the unexpected body-snatching incident, it was always just him and his dad and then Scott and Melissa and now it's so much more, so many people that care and are involved, that... well, Stiles always admired huge families and wished to be a part of one himself. And all this somehow made him remember that childhood dream and smile.

Don't get him wrong, it was still messy as fuck but... kinda in a good way? Ish? The notes did claim that it will be all good once they all settle into their future, which meant they might be on the right path and even though there were still some holes in their way and among those for example the situation with Derek.

Stiles should text him. And not because Peter wanted him to, but because Stiles wanted to clear it out between them as soon as possible. He at owed at least that to the werewolf for all his previous kindness.

He glanced over at the teacher who was turned to the map, pointing out some part around Poland, talking about the regions that the country gained after the splitting of the monarchy.

Stiles used this moment of unawareness to reach inside his pocket and pulled out his phone, sliding it quickly under the desk, before the teacher could notice him. He left his right hand precariously on top of his notes to write down some facts he wanted to read about later on. If he'd find time in his busy schedule, that was.

He saw Erica glance over at him and winked in her direction, sliding his fingers over the screen to unlock the phone. He then tapped his thumb on the right lower corner, knowing full well where the icon for texting was situated.

And since he already tried to write something to Derek back at home, the slot must have been already opened as the last action, so he knew he could type the message right away. Except his thumb did not move and inch. The problem was, of course, the very obvious one – he did not know what to write.

What about: “I'm sorry to have triggered some weird shit that your rapist drilled into you, forgive me?”

Or something along the lines of: “If you could kindly refrain from trying to kill me next time, then that would be great, because I am quite positive that I would not be able to return to the realm of the living again. ”

Or perhaps he should go for the simple general version: “Dude, just talk to me.”

And the dark part of his brain added: “I know what the future me told you, but maybe... just maybe - this might not be such a good idea. Maybe we shouldn't...”

Stiles frowned, drawing an unhappy face in the corner of his paper, right next to the year of the establishment Czechoslovak republic.

This wasn't just about the fact, that Derek was super hot, because that sort of baggage wouldn't be worth to anybody who was after looks only. This was about Derek saving his life and Stiles saving him back. This was about more... about... was this the mate thing the future him kept mentioning on and on? Or did the future him leave some sort of love residue inside his brain? Or...

Well there were a lot of possible answers and a lot of possible scenarios he could try, but for now, he just needed to talk to Derek – to explain, that he never meant to hurt him and if that went well... then they would see from that point on, right? It's not like there was a deadline or something. Maybe if they took things slow, then it might grow into those huge amazing proportions the future him was talking about. But yeah...for now - baby steps.

Except, texting is not going to do the trick, Stiles concluded and pursed his lips. He needed to get Derek to meet him and talk to him, because just written words never had much impact and couldn't encompass any of the emotions he needed to embroider into them.

And so he tapped a few simple words and then waited for a moment when the teacher turned back to the map to glanced down to check if his message didn't end up as a heap of nonsensical words and sent it.

 

'meet u behind school field in 2hrs pls'

 

Stiles stared at the message for a few more seconds, watching the green line progress slowly onto the right side to signalize the sending process. Only when if was finished did the teen lock the phone again and put it back into his pocket.

Now he only had to wait till the lunch break.

 

~o~

 

Stiles looked down at his phone, realizing the class would end in just a few minutes and since he wanted to hurry, he already started to fold his notes into a compatible rectangle that would fit into his back pocket. He then slid the pen right next to them and waited impatiently until the bell rang.

With its first tones, he got up and hurried out of the classroom, his sneakers squeaking throughout the hallway. He ran down the stairs, skipping every second one in favor of the speed and then squished himself through the masses of people heading into the cafeteria, envying their steady income of food.

But there was no time to lose, not if Derek might have been waiting for him already. Not to mention he did not have any money to even stop at the vending machine to grab at least a chocolate bar or something similarly sugary to calm down his crying stomach. He just sighed when he passed it and headed outside.

Luckily it was nothing weird for students to go outside during the lunch break, because Stiles would have probably failed at the whole stealth thing, no matter how hard he would have tried. And he knew that very well, because he already tried to ditch school a few times, but none of those times worked out for him. Maybe that might change in the future, but by then he wouldn't be a student anymore and the skill wouldn't be of use to him.

He walked around the football field the lacrosse team used for his matches as well and crept along the fence, that divided the school's property from the preserve. There was definitely a hole in that fence somewhere, he mused, thinking back on all the younger students that sneaked out to smoke during the lunch break or before a game.

It was a very smart move on their parts, that much was true, because the school and its teachers only cared what you did on the school grounds and whatever shit you got yourself into outside of it was not their responsibility anymore, so nobody really cared. That was probably why nobody tried to stop Stiles now, once he found a loose part of the fence and squeezed through it, his departure covered by a bunch of trees.

He then proceeded to walk deeper into the woods, keeping to the trees to avoid being spotted by some unwanted spectators, that might end up strolling near the fence. Looking down at the phone he took out after entering the preserve's edge, Stiles noted that it was already almost time for Derek to arrive, but he did not see the werewolf anywhere.

Maybe he didn't read the text? Maybe he had something else to do? Nah, he would have told him that, right? Well, not if he did not want to talk to him ever again, which would be kinda childish... it wasn't that, was it?

Stiles started to feel a bit uneasy and the hunger combined with thirst did not really help the situation either. Maybe he should just return to school and join Erica, Boyd and Isaac at the lunch table... maybe he should just give Derek some time to get over his fears himself. It wasn't really his business after all. Except it kinda was, wasn't it?

'Also, if you fucking hurt him in any way,' the notes had claimed, making the teen look around nervously and expecting to see the future him behind the nearest tree to strangle him with his own bare hands. Well, so much for that rule.

Stiles sighed, shaking his head as he walked to the said tree and sat down with his back to it, leaning into the rough wooden surface. Why was this all so complicated?

Just a week ago he would have been totally happy with Lydia looking at him the way she did in the first class, but now, her eyes on him meant nothing special, not after he woke up to Derek staring at him with those loving... no.

He hummed, blinking harshly. He is not going to think about that now. He needed to remain calm and be the adult in this situation, because Derek obviously wasn't going to be, cause if he was gonna be, he would have been here already, ready to talk about his stupid manpain!

Stiles realized he was being dramatic, but the eerie emptiness of the woods made him uncomfortable and it did not get any better when he glanced down at his silent phone. Maybe he should just give this up, he had been here for like half hour already and Derek still didn't find him so maybe... maybe that was an answer enough.

Stiles tsked and slid his finger over his phone to play a game of Angry Birds while he waited, but after a few unsuccessful tries, cause by his inability to concentrate, he just grumbled and locked the phone again, staring up into the crown of the big tree that he was leaning against.

Must be nice, he thought, watching the leaves move gently in the breeze. The time was passing slowly around him. Must be nice to not have a care in the world and just hang on a branch the whole day, he mused, bringing up his hand to watch the sunshine stream through his fingers.

And that was when he heard the rustle from in front of him and a grin pulled the corners of his lips apart.

“You took your time, dude,” he laughed, getting to his feet and patting his backside to get rid of any moss that might have ended up stuck onto his pants. “I thought you would never come.”

He heard the steps approaching, but was way too concerned with his dirt stuck to the side of his pants to look up for a few seconds, but once he got rid of it and did turn his gaze upwards... he blanched, his jaw falling down. Standing right in front of him was the bold wizard with one arm, looking at him with the murderous intent written all over his face.

The phone fell from Stiles' hand at the sight, his heartbeat picking up on speed marginally.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he exclaimed, stepping back as the man took a long step closer, watching him with a confused look on his face.

The wizard brought up his hand then and glanced down at it, clenching and unclenching his fingers as if there was something wrong with the way they moved. He then looked up at thee teen once again, scanning him with his eyes and Stiles took another step back, pressing his palm against the pendant hidden under his shirt. The neutralizer must be working then. Which meant he might actually have a chance to survive this.

And having figured that out, Stiles did not waste a second, he turned on his heels an started to run – no, not deeper into the forest, he wasn't actually that stupid and this wasn't one of those mindless horror movies where the character aka him would stupidly choose to run up the metaphorical stairs.

Stiles had a functioning head on his body, thank you very much and that is why he ran back to the hole in the fence. Because once he got back on the school grounds, the guy would have a smalled chance at killing him without anybody noticing.

“Fuuuck,” he wheezed then, rounding a tree. He glanced around then and saw the man sprinting close behind him, his hands reaching for something behind his back and Stiles had a feeling it will not be a magical wand so he tried to speed up.

“Honestly, who writes this shit? Jeez!” Stiles grumbled exasperated, running around a thin tree and jumping over a log that was in his way. “Is happily ever after so hard to write?”

Really, if he did not die in the next ten minutes, he was gonna complain so hard, even file a restraining order on the person writing the story of his life, because this was not funny anymore, not even a little.

That was when something really sharp pierced his shoulder. He yelped, his carefully calculated route swerving to the right where a tree stood right in his way. Except he was too busy trying to glance over his left shoulder at the little dagger impaled in his flesh to notice it and that was how he ran right into the tree trunk, his side colliding with it at top speed.

He whimpered and rolled around in the air, falling down onto the moss that was entwined with roots, his face hitting one of them in a very painful manner. And there he thought his cheek couldn't get any more bruised. Well he was wrong there, wasn't he?

He quickly ran his tongue over the inside of his teeth, checking if nothing broke and felt a sharp pain as the tip of his tongue came into contact with his front lower tooth, that turned over. Shit, he sobbed, spitting out blood.

Stiles tried to get up then, bracing his hands onto the mushy moss, hoping to be able to scramble up to his feet just in time to maybe run a few meters more, because the hole in the fence was not really that far away anymore.

He really did try. Even though it hurt like hell, because there was no way he was gonna stand around and watch the dude break all of his bones. One after another, slowly and painfully.

Before he could get up though, the man jumped on top of him, all of his weight almost knocking the breath out of his lungs. He cried out, feeling the dagger moving in the flesh on his shoulder, feeling its twist and that was the last straw, the last fucking straw. Why the hell was this happening to him? He did not do anything to deserve this torture.

“Can't you just leave me the fuck alone already?” he yelled in frustration, trashing around although he knew that would only make his shoulder worse, especially when the man kept pushing the dagger deeper with every second. The pain made him erratic and he could not think clearly – that was why he just let his mouth run loose. It was his last line of defense.

“I did not kill your boss! It was that fucking impostor that snatched my body and pretended to be me for a whole week until we managed to get rid of him, you hear me?! Like... could you just stop and use that brain of yours just for a second?”

“Just fuck... just look at me! I don't know how to do magic, I don't know shit. He possessed me, because I had a strong Spark or whatever it's called, but I never knew myself, not before he came, I could not control him, I didn't know a thing about anything. You saw me back there, I turned your hand into stone and mine as well, who would do that willingly? Who?”

“Yes, I am sorry I did that to you, but you were hurting my mate and and I had to defend him somehow. I had to! Why did you have to attack us, why? Not cool, man, not cool at all... we were just defending ourselves, ya know. We mean you no harm. I don't freaking care what you do from now on, but can't you just stopping trying to kill me? Please?”

“Just listen to reason, I can explain it all to you and your coven and you can just go and leave us alone, can't you? Because this is all over for us, the dude that snatched my body was sucked out of my body and now it's just the old useless human me. You can't avenge your boss at all, not with killing me at least. What would be the point?

And I mean I would understand if this was all for that arm incident, but duuude I almost ripped off mine as well and if it weren't for my uncle who shared half of the curse, then... then I would be on the same freaking page as you.”

“And I know, my uncle did kill that motorcycle woman from your coven, but please, I did not want her to die, I tried to explain it to her as well, I really did try, but she did not want to listen and started to shoot at me without thinking and my uncle... I am sorry for that, but she attacked us first!

“So, could you please just listen? Just listen before something horrible happens to me or to you, because I do not want anybody else to die and I am sure you do not want to die either, because I mean who would want to die, right?”

“So, please, please, don't...can't you see I can't even defend myself? Can't you see how fucking useless I am? Just look at me! I have to wear that stupid magic-cancelling amulet to be at least a little safe from all of you, why can't you just...owwww, fuck!”

The dagger was pulled out of his flesh with a quick jerk and Stiles waited for the final blow, that did not come. The weight on his body was lifted and he exhaled shakily, turning a little to the side to look at the other man over his bleeding shoulder.

The wizard stepped away from him then, looking down at him calmly, his was hand holding the bloodied dagger still and Stiles felt himself slump against the roots as he watched him wearily. There was silence for a few moments, throughout which they just stared at each other, up until Stiles couldn't take it anymore.

“Uh,” he started awkwardly, not sure what to say, but knowing he should probably say something, because the wizard did not seem very eager to stat the conversation himself.

“So...thanks,” he said, nodding at the man above him. “Thanks for not killing me.”

The wizard nodded back at him and then sighed, bringing his free hand up to rub his scalp and Stiles could not help but let his glance slide down his arm and onto the dagger once again, which was still dripping with blood. His blood. Ew.

And that was why he missed the woman that crept on them from behind the trees. Up until she spoke up, he voice ringing angrily in the silence of the woods. And he knew that voice because he had listened to it for about an house earlier today. It was his new literature teacher – Jennifer Blake.

“What are you doing?” she barked, as she stepped from behind the tree, her face contorted in a furious expression.

The man tensed and then spun around, before Stiles could even call out a warning. Be threw the dagger with the expert movement, letting the blade spin in miss Blake's direction, aiming for her head.

He eyes widened comically, he arm coming up in a sharp thrust as if that was supposed to stop the knife from impaling itself into her, but nothing of sorts happened. She must have realized that as well, because she jerked her head to the right and the knife missed her eye by mere inches, cutting into her cheek and through her hair as it passed her and got stuck in a tree a few feet behind her.

“How dare you!?” she screamed, bringing her fingers to the wound on her cheek. She gathered the blood seeping from the wound and reached over to draw something on a tree next to her with swift movements.

“You will pay for this,” miss Blake warned him with that icy cold of look of hers and then muttered a word, that Stiles did not understand. Except nothing happened and the man was upon her before she could even blink. He raised his foot and kicked her in the stomach.

She toppled backwards with a yell, her arms flailing uselessly and hit the ground with a loud thump. That did not seem to satisfy the man though, because he kept advancing and there was nothing Stiles could do only watch in confusion. Was the woman a witch as well? She must have been right? Why else would she paint stuff with her blood.

“Turn off that blocking charm, you moron!” yelled miss Blake, gesturing wildly with her hands in the direction of the approaching man. He cracked his knuckles and leaner over to put his hands around the woman's neck. She struggled against him for a while, but could not keep him off for long.

“Turn it... off, I - can't... my magic!!” she wheezed, her hands coming up to scratch the other man's face, but he ignored her, pressing against her neck. So she was a witch as well, true, but why the hell would the man try to strangle her? Was she an enemy of theirs or something?

Just before he could do anything though, a fourth person arrived, sprinting to them from the right. Stiles and the wizard looked into the direction the huffing came from and spotted Derek, who staring at the havoc around him in confusion and rage - Stiles could not be sure which one was the strongest at that very moment, but just knowing such details freaked him out. He did feel himself relax a little at the sight of the werewolf though. He did come after all. He did come...

Derek scanned Stiles and then turned his gaze at the man who stood above the wheezing woman, a growl erupting from between the werewolf's teeth. They became longer in an instant, his nail growing sharper just as fast and the man seemed unsure about what to do.

Stiles turned to him to try and talk him out of it once again, but he noticed a flash of light above the wizard's head and then a spray of blood erupting from the back of his neck as Jeniffer Blake struck his own dagger into his main artery.

The man jerked, his fingers spasming as her let go of the woman and she kicked him off her promptly, causing him to topple onto the ground next to her. He lay there, twisting and turning, bringing up his hands to push against the bleeding wound, but it was no good. The blood kept seeping out, gushing even and the wizard kept gurgling, struggling for each and every breath and Stiles felt sick just watching it.

The man locked his eyes with him, his lips moving silently, trying to form some sort of letters as he twitched on the ground, his eyes bulged and full of fear.

“Do-...nnn...t,” he wheezed, before taking the final breath in. His face froze then, his hands falling down from the wound, the fingers still shivering.

Stiles was in a shock, yes, he must have been, because he could not tear his eyes from the man's frightened expression, from the blood that kept seeping into his blue shirt and he couldn't even start comprehending what just happened. That man died... he stopped trying to kill him and then he died anyways because...

He glanced over at Jennifer Blake. At the woman who was standing over the dead man's body, her expression full of disgust as if he was just a bag of garbage and Stiles felt bile rise in his throat at the sight of her.

“Why the hell did you...,” he pushed through his lips, gesturing at the dead body. “Why...he wasn't gonna...”

“This is all your fault!” she screeched in answer, looking at him savagely. “Why did you think it was a good idea to block all the magic? How was I supposed to save you without my magic? I had... I had no choice, he would have killed us both! He was just about to kill you when I got here...I had to...”

Somewhere halfway the speech, her angry spatting turned into sobs and she let go of the dagger, stepping away from the body a few steps as if in shock. Her body started to shiver and tears welled up in her eyes.

“He was going to strangle me...I had to,” she cried, putting her bloodied hand against her neck, tears sliding down her cheeks and falling onto the ground, splattering all around the moss.

“I promised myself,” she wailed. “After my sister died, I promised myself to move as far away as possible and start anew... I promised myself not to hurt anybody and...but I had to.”

Stiles watched as her back collided with a tree and she slumped into it, crying hysterically and... he did not really feel any sympathy for her, if truth be told. She just killed a man without any provocation, why the hell should he feel bad for her? He had it covered until she came and started killing people.

He looked over at Derek, who was watching Jennifer with a sad look on his face. He didn't even bother looking at Stiles, as he walked over to her and put a hand on her shoulder, talking to her in soothing tones. What the hell? This was not right...

“He wasn't gonna hurt me anymore, you know,” Stiles muttered, pushing himself off the moss, his shoulder protesting vehemently as he strained to remain upright. “You didn't have to kill him.”

“She had to,” Derek glared at him, when Jennifer didn't respond, too busy crying her eyes out and shivering under Derek's gentle hand. Stiles felt a pang in his chest just staring at them. He reached over to grab his bleeding shoulder as if that would help and then looked over at the werewolf defiantly.

“No, she didn't,” he said steadily, ignoring the beads of sweat that kept sliding down the side of his face from the extension.

“You don't know how it goes,” Derek answered, looking away from him to check on Jennifer again. “You know nothing about the supernatural world. You...”

“Me what?” Stiles gritted out, feeling betrayed by the fact that Derek sided with this woman that just happened to be around. Was this sympathy, because he went through something similar earlier in his life? Or was it because he felt inclined helping anybody but Stiles?

Like don't get him wrong, he was not that insensitive. He understood very well that miss Blake might be in some sort of shock after what she did, but... but, it was not like she was bleeding more than Stiles, it was not like she was hurt more than him, it was not like she was human and could not deal with everything with magic after he got the pendant out of her way.

Stiles realized he was jealous of her.

“Say it,” he practically growled, frustration and pain overcoming his mind. We was sick of everything that had happened. So sick. Nobody had to die this time, nobody had to suffer and now that woman was making it sound like this was all his fault and he... he could not bear it. Not with Derek around. Not with him around caring more for her well-being.

“Forget it,” he exhaled, turning and walking away from them without a second glance. He was not going to stand around and wait for the werewolf to notice that he has been badly hurt and needed some medical attention as soon as possible. He was not gonna bleed to death because Derek chose that woman... that woman he barely knew over him. Fuck him.

Stiles rubbed at his eyes angrily, pushing the tears forcefully back into his eyes and then stumbled quickly back, looking for the tree in front of which he had dropped his phone.

He was not gonna panic, he was not gonna break down, he was not gonna cry... he was gonna get out of this mess all without Derek, if he had to, even though his shoulder throbbed and bled, even though his head felt as if it was being splintered into two halves, he was gonna push through. He did not need Derek. He was an efficiently functioning individual.

Luckily he knew his way around this part of the woods and luckily he knew exactly which tree he was leaning against previously, th adrenaline was making him weirdly concentrated.

He walked for a few more minutes, his body moving on autopilot, as he ignored all the warning sighs flashing in the command center up in his brain. Just a little more.

At last, he spotted his phone between the roots of the familiar tree and picked it up, not allowing himself to curl down on the comfortable ground. Just a little bit longer.

He slid his finger calmly over the screen and dialed up his uncle.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles was sitting on the edge of the pavement, curled up with his head pushed between his knees and his hand glued to his shaking shoulder. He chose this pavement on purpose, walking fast from the woods onto the more secluded road that led through the preserve and then around the school back into the town - hardly someone ever came this way at this time of the day. It was the perfect place for him to wait for help without being spotted.

He blinked a few times, staring at the cracked asphalt, trying to chase the beads of sweat away from his eyes, because with his head bowed like this they inevitably managed to slide all the way around his face, filling his eyes.

Not sweating was not really an option though. He had lost way too much blood to not feel oozy, was in too much pain to move to wash his face off with the hem of his shirt and was too tired to even try it. He had one objective only and that was remaining lucid for as long as it took Tomasz to reach him, which should be fairly soon. Just a few seconds more, he was sure of it.

It was true that he could have just called 911 and that would probably get him some medical care sooner than trying to get a hang of Tomasz and then wait for him to find a ride to drive to a place he had never been to, but explaining a stab wound like this would have been a problem.

Yes, he could have thrown the blame Jennifer's way and been done with her, but he wasn't really that mean, even though the thought did cross his mind. She wouldn't deserve it, he thought at first and then frowned.

Something about that thought irked him. Something about a Jennifer Blake, about her as a person with a name like that irked him... it was as if he had heard about her before. But where...

Stiles closed his eyes, trying to block out the sounds of a speeding car to concentrate on the vague memory, that his brain was too sluggish to chase right then. There must have been something he had heard about her or maybe read about her... maybe it the lores, maybe in his notes, yes, that must have been it...it were his notes... he... needed...to....

“Przemko!” he heard, the voice ripping through his lethargy. Or maybe it was the sharp pain that erupted in his shoulder, when his uncle grabbed it, sticking his fingers inside the wound. Now, that was quite disgusting, not to mention freakishly unpleasant.

“Owww, seriously?” he whined, curling into an even tighter ball. If that was even possible.

“Yez, let mee see,“ Tomasz ordered, pulling at his shoulder to bring him back upright to inspect the wound. The unsatisfied look on his face indicated he could barely see a thing through the hole in his shirt that was too covered in dirt and blood to even be any forth-giving.

Stiles glanced at his uncle, catching his eye and watched the eyebrows go even lower as his frown deepened.

“Can you cure me?” the teen wondered shakily, only now realizing how rough his breathing was. Being cured magically was better than being brought to the hospital to endure the long minutes of stitching and who knows what else.

“Yez, butt wee need to get to car befor somebody see us,” Tomasz nodded, looking back to the car to beckon somebody closer. It was Peter. Of course it was him. Who else could it be?

Stiles just had to take one small glance at the Alpha and knew he was screwed, because his eyes were blazing and his posture was aggressive and...yeah, he looked genuinely pissed.

“Yeah, no, just heal me here,” he shook his head, looking away, weird black spots swimming through his vision. His eyes landed on the bronze Nissan parked nearby. It practically sparkled with newness and Stiles felt himself stiffen when he realized how dirty he was, because of all the blood dripping from his wounds and the dirt caking random parts of his body, covering the green splotches painted by moss. If that was his car...

“I'm fine just...” he started feeling himself toppling over into Tomasz' arms like a fainting damsel.

His uncle did not even give him a chance to push himself upright again, he slid his arms under the back of his knees and bolted upright with a grunt.

“Oww, fuck,” Stiles whined, when his hurt shoulder got pushed against Tomasz' chest. The surroundings swayed more and more with every step his uncle took, but luckily he only had to take three to reach the back door of the Nissan.

“It would have hurt less, if you had just gotten into the car when we told you to,” Peter remarked and Stiles noted his eyes were back to normal when he opened the door for Tomasz to deposit the teen onto the seat.

“Dude, I will bleed all over your new car,” the teen struggled, not really wanting to piss his Alpha off with damaging his newly gained property.

“Good, I was told to blood it early,” Peter answered, jerking his head to the right to hurry Tomasz up. His uncle did not waste a second, lowering Stiles onto the car seat and closing the door behind him.

The teen barely had the time to smile lamely, when the opposite back door opened and Tomasz slid in hurriedly, already painting a sigil on his palm with Stiles' blood. Oh, so that's why...

Peter opened the front door and sat down behind the steering wheel, watching them through the rearview mirror and when Stiles looked back at those greenish eyes, he realized the redness was not entirely gone from them, it kinda just seemed to be subdued, waiting patiently behind the irises, unnoticed by somebody who might not know where to look for it.

“So, who did this to you again?” the Alpha asked with a tone that was supposed to sound nonchalant but was everything but that.

“The magical dude,” Stiles sighed, leaning into the seat to, his eyes skimming lazily over the nice interior, his nose picking up on the freshness of the car... and on the copper smell of his own blood but let's focus on the more interesting stuff, which was this car.

“How did you escape him?” Peter wondered, his eyes scanning the surrounding as if he was worried that the guy might jump out from behind a tree. Except he couldn't, could he? Stiles thought bitterly.

“There was this woman. She killed him,” he admitted tiredly, watching his uncle bring out a pocket knife to cut the front of his shirt open. Luckily it wasn't any of his favorites so he wasn't overly sad about it.

“So she saved your life?” Peter continued mercilessly, not leaving Stiles to his own thoughts. Honestly, he just wanted to close his eyes and sleep, but the weird undertone in the Alpha's voice kept him alert. Peter was such an evil asshole.

“No, no,” he shook his head lightly, blinking blearily.

“Lett mee heel first,” Tomasz jumped in, pushing his left hand against Stiles' wound, burying his fingers into the skin around it, his palm pressed tightly into the blood. He blinked once and his eyes started to glow, the light of a melted gold traveling slowly down... and that's when Stiles realized where he had read about a Jennifer Blake.

“Wait, wait, no,” he exhaled, reaching out to grip Tomasz' wrist to pry his hand off him. “I need my notes. Can we go get my notes first?”

“Diz iz shock talking,” Tomasz shook his head, his eyebrows drawn together in concentration. “I need to heel first.”

“But I need...”

“I will go get them once we reach your house,” Peter said from the front of the car and Stiles turned to look there, only now realizing the car must have already been moving for a while because it was just passing the famous ice cream stand.

“Dontcha huv somesin moar import to do?” Stiles slurred, letting go of his uncle's wrist just when the light finished flowing into it through the ignited lines of his tattoo.

Warmth erupted from his wound, making the teen breathe in deeply, his head thrown back onto the car seat. It was pleasantly gentle for the first minute, prodding the raw edges of his wound. Up until the warmth seemed to have been accumulating inside his wound, heating up the flesh, tugging it together and Stiles cringed, feeling as if someone just pressed a shower rod streaking hot water onto his hurt flesh.

He distantly registered Peter mentioning, that the Betas should come over after school, so they still had time, but Stiles' brain had trouble keeping up with it's surroundings, the time around him turning from a calm river into a rushing waterfall.

“Iks-hale,” he heard somewhere far away but he couldn't focus on the words, the letters jumbled in time and space. The only thing he registered, was the warmth spreading from his shoulder, reaching violently for his face to cover it with it's hot hand. It felt like it would melt soon.

He couldn't breathe like that, the air was too hot, it would burn his lungs for sure, it would fry his brain, he couldn't possibly...

“Exhale, Stiles,” ordered a second voice, the command mixing up with the silent chant coming out of a mouth close to his ear.

He took a deep breath in and then exhaled. And all the warmth that had been caught inside his body, streamed out of him, the fires inside his mind disappearing together with the magma racing through his veins and he passed out relieved.

 

~o~

 

When Stiles opened his eyes again, he was sprawled over the back seat, his body covered by a mustard yellow jacket his uncle had been wearing when they came to pick him up. He reached over to trace the skin over his shoulder, expecting to find a bandage or something akin to it covering it, but his fingers only encountered raw flesh of a newly formed scar.

He glanced down, moving a bit on the back seat and saw that his fingertips were not lying to him. It really was scar tissue he felt there. A little bit tense and a little bit tender, but nothing as bad as the wound before was.

“Hej,” Stiles heard from the front seat and he looked up. Tomasz smiled at him from where he sat on the front passenger seat and waved his fingers.

“Uhh, hi,” the teen muttered, frowning in confusion. “How long was I out?”

“Our or so,” his uncle answered, shrugging. “Petr just left to colekt yor notes.”

Stiles pushed himself of the seat and sat up, the jacket falling down from his naked chest. He looked to the left and spotted the said Alpha walking to the back of the house with a quick pace.

Silently, he looked down at the scar on his shoulder and ran his fingers over it again. The muscle throbbed under his fingertips and he cringed a little in reaction.

“It wil be like new soon,” Tomasz said, pushing a bottle of water into his hands and urging him to drink with a wave of his free hand. “Flesh needz to calm down from magic, is all.”

“Uh...okay,” he said, nodding. He then took a large gulp out of the bottle and then another one and somehow he ended up drinking the whole bottle. Luckily there wasn't more than a half liter left, else he would have certainly drowned his organism.

Tomasz smiled at him and then took the bottle from his hand, replacing it with a wrapped hamburger and turned around again to continue munching on his own. Stiles only now noticed the car smelling of the food and his mouth started to water, because he was already hungry before he went to the woods...now he was just starving.

“Thanks,” he breathed after digging in, his mouth full of a perfect mixture of flavors. The shaking of his fingers subsided slightly after he gulped down the first bite.

“Not just for the food...” he added.

“No biggie,” Tomasz shrugged, scrunching the empty wrap paper from his hamburger. He then slid deeper into the front seat, humming gently under his breath as he relaxed. The healing must have exhausted him as well and Stiles felt a pang of guilt pierce through his heart. If only he could do all of this himself, he wouldn't need to bring anybody else in danger.

“Hey Tom?” he asked, his fingers wrapped around the hamburger trembling slightly. “Say if... what is the fastest way to learn magic?”

Tomasz did not turn around to look at him, he just lifted his head to look out of the windshield and hummed in thought. Stiles took anther huge bite of his burger while he waited but his uncle did not let him wait long enough to let him swallow it first.

“To com back to Slowakia wis me and learn from mee,” he said at last.

“You are going back soon then?” Stiles wondered, chewing the last piece of his food. He did not think of that at all, but of course his uncle would be unable to stay with him in America for the rest of his life. It was pretty selfish of him to automatically assume such a thing.

“Evensually,” Tomasz shrugged, pulling out his phone to read something on it. “Can nott leave Lenka for too long, afterr all.”

“Your girlfriend?”

“My wife,” his uncle corrected with a fond smile on his lips. He then stuffed his phone back into the pocket and leaned forward on his seat to pull the hem of his shirt up. The movement revealed his back, that was covered with a huge tattoo of a coiling waterfall.

“Is d tattoo, sea?” he said, tapping his back with his finger as Stiles scrunched his empty wrapping paper as well and glanced around the front seat at the brown lines of his tattoo.

“Waterfall,” Tomasz explained and let go of the hem, the shirt falling down to cover his back once again. “It iz magic to keep our babie from drowning. Butt, it way nott enouf and wee lost him again. Second babie...drowning in her bellie again.”

“Because of the curse?” Stiles guessed, watching his uncle's face from the back of the car. He suddenly seemed so much older than before, the wrinkles around his eyes carved by sadness, the creak of his elbows as he learned forward, the shaky weak breath – that all made him look like ten years older, when he nodded silently.

“Why would you try it if...” the teen asked, before he could even stop the question from sneaking through his opened lips. “I mean...”

“Becoz, she wants child and I can't help butt trying to fullfill her wish. Butt me was foolish and thought this tattoo would do,” Tomasz sighed, his face twisting into an ugly grimace. “It did make my magic stronger, butt dat iz nott enouf. I haf to do it different.”

“Did the future me...” Stiles started uncertainly, as he saw the dangerous glint in his uncle's eyes. It was the same look Peter had when they talked about Kate Argent – a murderous intent.

“He say I had child in future,” Tomasz smiled, the action dispersing the dark clouds covering his face.

“Did he say how?” the teen inquired, leaning in closer. “Aren't you afraid though? Now that the future is changing...what if...”

“Future iz wat wee make happen,” Tomasz noted, turning back to look into his eyes with determination written all over his features. “I will nott give up. I know Lenka will nott give up... and dat iz why wee will have child one day and if I haf to fight my way into the coven's heart to kill deir leader. I will. I will for her... I would do anysink for her.”

 

~o~

 

There was silence in the car after that, both of them busy with their own thoughts. Stiles looked down at his scar once again, brushing his fingers over it and then pushing them against the flesh to test the strength of the muscle beneath it but it barely stung.

He sighed and looked up, staring though the windshield and expecting to see Peter walking back to them with the notes in his hand, but the Alpha was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he stopped to read a few pages of them before he would deliver them to Stiles. Maybe he wanted to read onto Jennifer himself.

Stiles did not mind waiting. Actually, there was something he wanted to discuss with Tomasz in private right then, so it was even convenient for him like that.

“How did you know?” he asked, blurting out the question out of nowhere. “How did you know Lenka was the one...”

“Troble wis Derek?” Tomasz inquired, turning around again to slide his eyes over his face. Stiles just shrugged without an answer, running his fingers over the back of the seat, pushing his fingertips into the seams.

“It's just... I don't know,” he shrugged, looking out of the car to check that Peter was well out of sight. “Sometimes I think... like, I remember some things about him. I had a few glimpses of the past week while I dreamed and it seemed so nice, ya know. Like it wasn't even him...”

Stiles shook his head, sliding his fingers over his hair, feeling the dirt, that was stuck to his scalp crumble under his fingers and fall down his back onto the seat. He cringed, moving on the seat, using his hands to wipe it onto the floor.

“It's weird,” he said thumbing at the dirty spot on the leather to keep his mind occupied with random actions rather than on what happened between him and Derek earlier today. Or maybe it was because he felt Tomasz' eyes on him and did not feel like looking back at him at that moment. So instead he continued:

“When I look at him now, he doesn't seem the same. He doesn't act like that, not like he likes me, but as if... as if I was a nuisance.”

Stiles pursed his lips, thinking back on the glare that Derek kept shooting his way on numerous occasions, on the hurt look he kept giving him. The strange thing was though, he could only recall that look in his human form... it was a different story altogether when he was stuck in a wolf form. Oh he glared alright, but the look wasn't as heavy as it's human alternative somehow.

“Hee iz komplikated fella, iz all,” the teen heard from in front of him. “Beesides, it can nott be same as for future yu, yu need to get dere wis Derek first and dat will take yeers.”

“Yeah, I get that, it's just...” Stiles sighed, shaking his head as he looked up into his uncle's whiskey brown eyes. “I mean, if he really wanted to be with me then... wouldn't he try harder? I tried to talk to him today... to apologize for triggering that shit caused by the Argent woman. I know it was my fault, I just.. was stupid and I forgot...”

“But somehow it just ended up even more messed up than before. I feel like it's just way too messed up now. I don't know if I can...how can I...? He doesn't want it, Tomasz...I think. I barely know if I want it, even though my notes say it's the best thing ever, how can I believe that? This is all so confusing...”

It was kinda weird that he spilled out his heart to Tomasz like that, because let's be real here, he only met his uncle a few days ago and that wasn't exactly the cornerstone of a solid family bond, but he couldn't help it, not when he stared into those brown eyes that reminded him of his mom. It was as if he was talking to her... in a way. If his mom was a guy and a bit younger, that is. Stiles decided to not think about that too hard.

“Look,” Tomasz said, bringing him back to reality. “He must hav used mate bond to share past memories when sleep. So dere must bee somesink, but... look at mee, but yu are d one to decide.”

“Well yeah, but...” Stiles frowned, unsure.

“Do yu want to somesink like dat wis him? If yes, den let him know and try working it out wis him, butt if not... den it does nott matter wat he want,” his uncle waved his hand around in a dismissive matter. “Just as yu said earlier, yor future iz nott somesink anybodie else can decide for yu.”

Stiles hummed and looked down at his fingers. He didn't feel right being selfish like that, but Tomasz was right, heck he himself was right, when he decided to go down this path this morning and look at him now, barely a few hours after he proclaimed to be his own master, he got himself stuck in self-doubt and unsureness again.

Which was quite stupid, because he knew what he wanted to do. He knew what was the most important thing right then, knew it thanks to the incident in the woods, except it had little to do with Derek being a jerk. It was something more... something to help him grown into the man he wanted to become now.

“I want to learn magic,” he blurted out, not waiting for the insecurities and doubt to shut him up. “I don't want to feel like this... so helpless. I want to learn. Could you teach me?”

“Easie peasie lemon...torture,” Tomasz grinned, turning back just in time for him to see Peter walking from behind the house, carrying a bunch of clothes and the notes in his arms.

 

~o~

 

“So, about what happened,” Peter started, once he settled behind the steering wheel. He threw the notes over his head and Stiles scrambled to catch them and failed when they slid down his leg on the floor.

He picked them up and started to browse through them, looking for one Jennifer Blake. Except he couldn't see her under the obvious choices – not under B, nor under J. He frowned. She was in the notes for sure though so, where could he have read it?

He returned to the front, skipping the title page, just as Peter threw the mop of clean clothes into Tomasz' lap, because it would obviously be a waste for Stiles to pull them on right now, he was still caked in dirt and blood.

“Stiles, report!” Peter ordered impatiently, when he turned the key in the ignition and backed the car out of the Stilinski driveway.

“Ah yea, well I went to meet up with Derek and the dude must have been watching me, since he attacked me as soon as I was alone behind the school,” Stiles shrugged, scanning page after page.

He then looked up to see Peter's angry eyes on him and cringed. “I know, going there all alone is a stupid idea, but never mind that right now!” he cried. The Alpha did not seem very convinced though. Figures.

“And he attaked?” Tomasz jumped in, poking Peter's cheek to force him to look back at the road while driving. Not that the werewolf needed to it with the quick reflexes and superior instincts, but it obviously made his uncle a bit uncomfortable.

“Yes, but I managed to persuade him to not stab me to death,” Stiled nodded, turning his attention back to the notes.

“How?” Peter wondered, his voice sounding impressed.

“With words,” Stiles deadpanned. He skimmed over the page on the Alpha pack and then turned the page again. Still nothing. But how could that be? He was sure, he read about her somewhere around the first half of his notes. Could he have been wrong this whole time?

“Now, we reached a fun equilibrium status with my armless friend,” he continued, not distracted by the words on the paper – multitasking came easy to him. “But then the new teacher – Jennifer Blake arrived and fucked it all up. She tried to attack the dude, which she couldn't because of my magic-blocker and so the dude retaliated.”

“Luck was on her side though, because Derek's arrival distracted him long enough for her to pick up his knife and slit his throat... and I know what you'll say. Wow, she saved you, so nice of her, let's give her a medal, but let me just tell you, it was a murder and I know it was!”

Peter and Tomasz glanced at each other, Stiles did not miss that and it only made him angrier. If there two are going to be on her side as well...

“Well, she did defend you, Stiles,” Peter said carefully, watching him in the rear-view mirror.

“Yez, same as me did, back at funeral place,” his uncle joined in, his voice as soothing as possible.

Stiles pursed his lips and shook his head stubbornly: “No, there was more to it, I think... there was definitely... I couldn't place it before because I was too busy bleeding out, but...”

Why didn't anybody get it? There was something fishy about that woman. Something making his skin crawl and making the warning signs in his head flash with red, because he was sure he read something about her or at least saw the name somewhere or...

Stiles turned the page and looked down at notes, exhaling in surprise. There she was! Right there! His prayers have been answered.

“Oh I got it, she is in my notes, see?” he exclaimed victoriously, pointing at the said page. He shook the notes in their direction and grinned. “Right under D as Darach.”

“A dark druid?” Peter supplied, turning the car to the left as they drove around the church. There was a traffic jam on the traffic lights every time they remained red for too long at this time of the day, so the car slowed down while Stiles read on.

“Dat is nott reallie correct,” Tomasz jumped in after Peter's proclamation leaning over to the Alpha. “Druids call Darachs dat, becoz they have no coven. Dey would call me same. It does nott mean...”

“Yes, but listen to this!” Stiles said, listing his hand to shut them both up, because of what he found. “In the old timeline, she captured a bunch of people and sacrificed them to gain nemeton's power!”

He looked up at them, watching Peter and Tomasz stare at him in various stages of disbelief. The car behind them honked and Peter turned back to drive past the already green traffic lights. Tomasz was quiet for a few seconds, as if considering all the options and then said: “Impossible, she would died.”

“What does it matter then? Let her try and die,” the Alpha said, turning the car to drive up past the cemetery. “Did she attack the pack or not?”

“Umm,” Stiles glanced down again, reading aloud. “Keep Derek away from her...” he cringed, well so much for that. “...she will use him to get close to the pack to gain protection from the Alpha pack...”

The teen turned the pages back to the Alpha pack and skimmed fast through the notes on Deucalion, not happy with what he read. Why are there so many enemies swarming around?

“She might be a valuable ally then,” Peter hummed under his breath, but Stiles was not listening to him anymore, because he turned back to the Darach and kept reading where he stopped. The next pair of words produced a few sentences that made chill run down his spine.

“Shit...no,” he breathed, jumping back to read the article once again just in case his eyes were toying with him, but they weren't, because the words remained the same. “She kidnapped my dad and Melissa... and then there is something about five sacrifices of each kind and... what the hell does that mean?”

“Five fivez. It iz ritual to gain more resilience. To become barrel, to bee able to collect much magic into body without consekvences,” Tomasz explained, scratching his jaw in thought.

“Would it work?” Peter asked, looking over at the other man with curiosity and for a second Stiles had a feeling he was considering letting Jennifer do it, if it helped against the Alpha pack in the future. That bastard.

“No,” Tomasz said at the same time as Stiles said the same, but for different reasons. They both looked at each other and then at Peter, who led the car in between the gray apartment houses grimly.

“We can't let her kill anyone,” Stiles said, his voice shaky.

“She would nott be able to controll dat dark tree,” Tomasz shook his head resolutely. “If Przemko from future could nott, denn she won't be able to succeed too. It culd damage tree and have bad results.”

Silence fell over the car, as Peter parked it next to the shining black Camaro. He sighed and then killed the engine.

“We need to keep an eye on her then,” he decided, his eyes landing on Derek's car next to them lost in thought about the next course of actions until he realized what his eyes landed in.

He frowned and turned around to talk to the half-naked teen sitting on the back seat. “Where is Derek?”

And here we go.

“Uh,” Stiles managed, reluctant to talk about what happened in the woods in such a detail. If they wanted to know about Jennifer, then that was okay, he would gladly comply. If they wanted to know about the armless dude? Sure.

He kinda wished he knew more about him either way. Did he have a family, will he be missed after Jennifer murdered him in cold blood like that or was he just a faceless soldier bound to the coven? He might have to consult dad's database once this is all over, those tattoos were quite distinctive...

“With her?” Peter guessed, tearing Stiles out of his thoughts. There was nothing else left for him than to nod slightly, feeling guilty under the Alpha's scrutinizing eyes.

“I'm sorry,” the teen mumbled, closing the notes to clench then in between his fingers. “I knew she was shady and left him there with her, because...”

“You mean he left you hurt in the woods and attended to her instead?” Peter rephrased, the look on his face urging Stiles to be as stupid as to argue with him. And of course Stiles did... sort of anyways.

“Well, I told him to...”

“Lies,” Peter growled, his eyes flashing in anger. He opened the door and clambered out of the car, before he could tear the steering wheel out of it's socket.

Tomasz followed suit, walking around the car to talk to the werewolf, but before he could reach him, Peter already grabbed the mirror on the side of the Camaro and tore it off with one swift motion, squeezing it between his fingers like a can of coke, until it didn't even resemble a mirror anymore but rather a ball of metal.

Tomasz reached over and put his hand on the deformed metal, squeezing gently, his head shaking a little. Stiles was already out of the car as well, standing behind them in uncomfortable silence.

“Peter,” Tomasz said, taking the metallic ball out of the werewolf's hand and throwing it into the opened trash bin not so far away. Well okay, quite far away for Stiles, but he wouldn't be able to hit it even if it was right in front of him, so his estimation of space couldn't be trusted.

“I know,” Peter muttered bitterly, when the ball clinked within the trash bin.

 

~o~

 

They walked to the apartment building in forced silence, Peter too lost in his plotting and Stiles too tired to comment on anything. Yeah, it was quite surprising, he knew as much himself, but he had been threatened by claws, chased around and stabbed today and it was still just early afternoon.

Tomasz healing him should have made him a lot better and if truth be told, it really did, to an extent, but the reality of all the culminated events remained together with all the chaotic thoughts and feelings and all that was just making him more tired than ever.

Not to mention he was walking through the neighborhood only in his pants. A woman standing in front of the apartment building looked at him weirdly, when she spotted his missing clothing and he pressed the notes tighter against his bare chest, hurrying through the entrance door after the two men. Luckily Tomasz held the door opened for him, so he was out of her sight fast enough.

He smiled in thanks and looked forward to a hot shower and those nice clean clothes that his uncle was carrying for him. They almost left them in the car, forgetting all about them in the midst of Peter's outburst, but the cold wind blowing their way reminded them of their existence and so Tomasz ran back for them.

Peter was already pushing the button next to the elevator door when they approached. He looked over at Stiles and beckoned him closer.

“Mind if I read on that woman myself?” he asked tersely, his eyebrows stuck in a frown ever since he left the car.

“Do you even have to ask? I bet you sneaked into my room enough of times for them already,” Stiles snorted, handing them over without complains. It was not as if the future him advised to not do so. Plus, as he already declared a second before, Peter must have read them before anyways.

“Not yet,” the Alpha answered when he took them from him and wow...was he for real? How come he didn't copy it all and read right after the future him disappeared? He certainly had enough opportunities to do so...

The elevator tinged lightly and the door opened. They walked inside, Peter's nose stuck in the notes, reading through Jennifer lineage in which Stiles wasn't exactly interested, because he did not know enough about werewolf packs nor about that Alpha named Kali.

“Yu okay wis elevator?” Tomasz leaned over, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Eh, sure, why wouldn't I be?” he wondered and his uncle just shook his head and turned to look over Peter's shoulder into the notes as well.

 

~o~

 

“Alright,” Peter said after they walked out of the elevator on the fifth floor. He returned the notes to Stiles and nodded in thanks. “First the Betas and then we'll see if we can use this Jennifer in a productive way.”

“In a way, that stops her from killing innocent people,” Stiles added, walking behind Peter. Their small group was closed of by Tomasz at the rear, who was for once silent.

“You know,” Peter said offhandedly. “I think I liked the future you more. He was all for killing guilty specimens, after all.”

He chuckled and turned around to share a laugh with the rest of them, but Stiles couldn't even force his mouth into a smile. This was the biggest insecurity he had ever since he woke up in the preserve. This was why Derek abandoned him – not that it mattered, he chastised himself, they barely...

“Don't remind me,” he forced out, looking down at the notes in his hands a mixture of unpleasant feelings flooding his systems. “If there was a way to...”

Peter looked up at Tomasz and the man just shook his head, waving him to shut up.

“Yu did well,” his uncle said then, trying to reassure him with gentle words and with a hand on his shoulder, but he shook it off, frustration overtaking him.

“No, I bet the future me would-”

“I am going to stop you right here.” Peter exclaimed harshly, ignoring Tomasz' shaking head. He gripped Stiles' shoulder, forcing the teen to look at him.

“New plan. Let's forget about the future you and treat this...” Peter tore the notes from his shaky hands and waved them around. “...like some sort of a prophecy without a specified origin, that might or might not come true. In fact, let's call this the Supernatural 101 and from now on, it will only serve as a dictionary and nothing else.”

“I don't want to hear anything about the future you anymore, that door is long gone, you hear me? You can't insist on making your own path and living your own life, when all you do is turn bitter and frustrated about how the future you was more skilled than you.”

“Take this,” he ordered, pressing the notes back against his chest, until Stiles reached over to re-take them. “Use this, scavenger for all the needed information and follow your own path regardless of what the notes tell you. I don't want a fabricated you, I want you as you are and as you will be, no matter what kind of a pack member that makes you.”

“But the pack...” Stiles managed a croak, his throat dry.

“Is already different,” Peter snorted, straightening up in front of the teen. “Because Derek is not an Alpha, because I am not running rampage, because they all get to have a choice. It would be a waste to live by the notes, those aren't rules of how it is supposed to be, those are pointers to keep us alive. So let's use them that way and that way only.”

Stiles was still unconvinced, the words resonating through his skull, taunting but impossible. He couldn't just forget about the future him or could he? Because the man was him in the future and if he didn't follow his path, if he didn't become him at some point... wouldn't that just destroy the future as it was? Wouldn't that create some weird time paradox causing the while time continuum to explode, wouldn't it just...?

It was one thing to say he will decide it all for himself and it was a totally other thing to actually follow in on that, when he knew where following of the notes will lead them. Aren't they all happy in the future? Aren't they all doing great? Should he really be as selfish and throw all of their happiness out of the window, just because he wants to go his own way?

But Peter was right... things are already on a different path, the future must already be different, no matter if Peter bites the same people or not, no matter what they do, so why cling to the notes? Why...

“What if we mess it all up? What if it ends up a lot worse than it was and...”

“With me as an Alpha?” Peter snorted, shaking his head in disbelief. “Hardly.”

“I am here two, ya know,” Tomasz added, grinning from next him. “I was not hear last time, nott dis soon. Dat has to count for somesink, donchta sink so?”

And maybe they were right. Maybe it wasn't about that one ind of happiness, maybe it wasn't about the future ending up more messed up than before... maybe it was about making the the future better, easier for them all.

Stiles smiled back at them, feeling a lot better. They were right after all. Why dwell on the future, why dwell on anything, if the only result they got from it was to feel pathetic and upset? No more of that from now on. No more.

“Now,” Peter said, waving his hand in the direction of his front door where the three teens were standing, eying them curiously. “We have some work to do, I believe.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles walked out of the shower, his clothes fresh and clean, his head wrapped in a towel that he kept drying off the rest of the water from his hair with. The water pressure was just about perfect in Peter's shower. It made him feel alive again.

Walking down the hallways, he heard the silent murmurs of their Alpha up in the living room, who started to explain the basic to the three teens sitting on the couch. Well actually, he was just repeating what he told them before, right after Stiles argued with him under Jennifer's spell when they first came in to meet him. At least that's what he said he was gonna do.

And thinking of Jennifer, Stiles realized he didn't feel the confusion and hostility against Peter anymore. Because the doubt that had been pressing against his ribs, the fear that had been pushing him out of the pack - out of Peter's reach was gone.

Instead of it, there was a feeling of belongingness, a feeling similar to one people had when spending time with their family... and it might have sounded weird, because some families take years and years to get to this point and some, like his own, never get the chance, but this... this felt right.

It felt as if he was in a protective circle, as if there was always somebody he could count on, were it Tomasz or Peter, and if that was how the pack felt for him in the future, then there was no wonder he decided to die for it. Jennifer's curse was obviously gone, because he would never be able to think like this if the strengthening pack bond didn't shake it off in the meantime.

Stiles smiled, walking into the living room. Peter was sitting in his beloved armchair, facing Erica, Isaac and Vernon who were nervously nodding from the couch. Tomasz was standing near the window, looking out of it curiously. Stiles walked to him, ignoring the conversation going on on his right side.

“So where did you put my amulet, by the way?” he asked silently, reaching out to touch his uncle's shoulder to get his attention.

“You wore it?” came a voice from behind them and Stiles turned around to see Peter to watch him from over his chair. From the corner of his eye he saw three more pair of eyes flicker his way but he payed them no attention.

“Umm yeah, of course I did,” he shrugged, the corner of him mouth twitching mischievously at a thought of what to say next. “My Alpha asked me to, after all.”

There was a red flicker in Peter's eye, his mouth stretching into a grin. He opened his mouth to say something then, but Tomasz beat him to it.

“Butt yu did nott have it on when we come,” he said, stepping away from the window to be closer to the actual conversation.

“What? No, I,” Stiles started but then frowned thinking back on his day. He really did put it on, he definitely still had it on when he left the school and since the dude's magic didn't seem to work, he must have still had it back then too. The only moment when it could have gotten off his neck was when he fell down after the dagger hit him, but then... no, that couldn't be, Jennifer would have been able to use magic then after all.

“That's weird,” he muttered and his frown deepened. “I'm sure she couldn't use any magic after I must have already lost it... does it work off the neck too?”

“No, it has to be in contact with your skin to work,” Peter answered.

“Eww, what? You didn't mention that before. What if I decided to wear it over my shirt,” Stiles cringed, his nose wrinkling automatically.

“Such an ugly thing? I doubt that,” the Alpha shook his head with a snort.

“But then why did she...,” the teen wondered, getting back on the subject. If he really did lose it after being hit by the dagger, then why couldn't Jennifer just fry the dude and be done with it? Was it all just a ploy? But for what reason? Could it be that she knew Derek was about to come?

“She could have lie to appeal Derek,” Tomasz said, voicing the teen's own thoughts. “To appear mor vulnerable. Dat man could have been complice or so too.”

“I don't think,” he started to say, but then he thought back to the whole confrontation and it might have been that they knew each other. It might have been that when the dude decided to not kill Stiles, her plans to come rescue him and appeal to the pack shattered and so she decided to take matters into her own hands. It could have been...

“That bitch!” Stiles breathed in anger. “She dared to curse me and then plot this whole 'rescue mission' and I left Derek with her... we need to...!”

“Let's not do anything rush,” Peter said calmly, but the look on his face did not give off a calm impression. Neither did the nails poking through the cloth of his armchair.

“We do have the advantage here for now. We know what she's planning and we know that she decided to use Derek as her newest objective. She barely knows anything about us, since she is obviously acting on the information she must have gained by observing the pack bonds through the magical sheen only.”

“That must be why she started with you. The departure of the future you weakened all the pack bonds bound to your own person. Even though it might not be the case and we are slowly getting them back again - it made it look like it. It made it look jagged and weak and that is why she saw you as the weakest link.”

“I assume she might even try to compete for your Emissary position, which seems only logical in the current situation, since from her perspective, you are just a naive human with a strong potential. A potential is nothing to a druid like herself after all. Little does she know, you are way more valuable for us than a magical sheen is able to reveal to her right now.”

“So let's use that lack of information to use her for our own plans,” he concluded, leaning back into his chair. “She won't know what hit her.”

Stiles smiled at that, because looking at that vicious grin that spread across the Alpha's lips made him realize, that there was no way Peter would Jennifer walk out of this unpunished. And that... wait.

He startled at that thought right away, pushing it off into the far corner of his mind. That wasn't exactly the justice he claimed to stand for. Not a vicious revenge plot like that... that was not how he was raised to think.

But somehow, it was hard for him to think about Jennifer going to jail or something... she would definitely be able to get out one way or another. Maybe Peter had more interesting plans for her. Plans that suited her abilities more.

 

~o~

 

“Okay, now you lot, since the rest of the pack decided to come in later,” Peter said, turning back to the three teens. “Let's begin with the final round, shall we?”

Erica looked over at Boyd and Isaac nodded, but otherwise they didn't say a word.

“The three of us should be enough to get you all through the Bite ritual, but before we start, I need to know officially what is your decision and... now I know this one will be hard to talk about for all of you, but I will need to hear the reason for accepting the place in the pack as well as the Bite.”

Stiles had to give it to Peter, he did not play any games, nor was his assumption that the Alpha is being reckless in choosing his pack members reckless true. He seemed to be following some weird tradition made out of a few steps before granting the Bite to random people. He seemed to have a system and were it a system inherited from his previous pack or not, it seemed to be a good one.

“So, who wants to go first?” Peter gestured, glancing over the three of them in silence, while Tomasz sat down on the carpet under the flat television, leaning against the wall and opening the laptop, that was lying there from its previous use. Stiles walked over to sit down next to him. They both watched Erica, Isaac and Boyd squirm under their eyes.

“Erica, please,” Peter chose after a few more seconds and the said girl tensed, biting her lower lip, which was already chapped from all the nervousness.

Her eyes zeroed in on Tomasz, who was typing something into the keyboard a loving smile on his lips and that made gather her courage and speak up finally.

“I simply don't want to be sick anymore,” she confessed, looking over at Peter with a newly gained confidence. “Not... not because of the sickness itself. That is not the worst, I am used to that, but it's how people act around me that bothers me the most. It is how they laugh and giggle and make their stupid little videos to put up at their stupid little accounts. It is how they show my most hopeless moments, how they share them with the whole wide world and laugh.”

Peter nodded silently and did not interrupt her. She glanced over at Tomasz again and nodded to herself, before continuing.

“And I know I wouldn't have to become a werewolf to be cured, because mister Stilinski said he would gladly cure me in a few months with that magic thing, but... but when we did this Spark test to see if I might be sick because of that, I... I hoped it would be negative, I hope it wasn't that because if it was then I wouldn't survive the Bite and I... it isn't just about strength, I... I want that pack thing, that... I would really want that on top of being a badass werewolf,” she grinned.

Peter grinned back at that and nodded, waving his hand around in the other teen's direction. “Vernon if you would.”

“I just want to belong, is all,” he shrugged, his eyes looking somewhere beyond Peter's head.

“Now as we spoke before, I advised you to consider joining as a human,” the Alpha nodded, folding his hands into his lap. “Have you considered that?”

“Yes, but,” Vernon sighed and ran his hand over his thigh to wipe off the sweat on it. “I want to be bitten as well. I was... rather reluctant to admit this before, but the reason I asked if the Bite prevents mental illnesses as well was because of my dad... he... has schizophrenia.”

“It's so bad they had to lock him up in Eichen house and my stepmom... well, she is a very ardent Christian so of course she thinks he's been possessed by a demon and that's why I can never go see him, but... yeah, that's that.”

He shrugged and avoided everybody's stares by looking up at Peter, who nodded back and let his eyes slide over to the last teen.

“Isaac,” he said.

“My dad locks me up in a freezer on a monthly basis and more,” he says quickly as if scared he might not get it out if he waited any longer. The palm of his hand pushed up the sleeve on his other arm to reveal the dark bruises on his wrists and Stiles startled, his mouth falling open.

He glances over at Tomasz, who looked sullen, then over at the rest of them who had the same look on their faces and realized he must have been the only one shocked by this revelation. How was he the only one who didn't know?

But then again, his notes did not mention it and he never really talked to Isaac long enough to find out about such a thing, so it was only logically that he didn't notice before now. It made his stomach twist either way. He should have payed more attention to his classmates... he wasn't the only one with problems, now the one to have the worst kind of problems apparently.

He kinda felt bad about it all – about being against them getting a Bite, about opposing Peter as much as he did - it seemed like the future him recommended these three for a reason. It seemed as if he knew exactly who to choose and whose life would it approve to become a part of their pack. It seemed like they were the perfect candidates.

“Well then,” Peter said, breaking the awkward silence. “Let's start right away, shall we? We are not going to wait for the fullmoon, since in contrary to popular belief, I can grant the Bite at any time I choose to.”

“Now the fullmoon does have one major effect of course, because up until that night you won't be able to change into wolfs. Do not be discouraged, if it won't happen on your first fullmoon though neither. Bitten wolves and cubs tend to have a problem with it and it takes them up to five years, if not more, to acquire this ability... if even!”

“And although, I am by no means an expert on bitten wolves, since the former Hale pack was made out of natural werewolves, I do have a few lores on the topic and if the need arises - a few trusted friends in other packs that might have dealt with these issues, so feel free to speak up at any given time.”

“But as I said, the healing, strength and such will manifest within the first few hours,” he added, when Erica kept opening her mouth to ask the obvious question.

“The Bite itself will be administered onto your wrist,” Peter continued bringing up his hand to point at the said part of his body. “The chosen place is important, because it signifies different things – wrist for trusted subordinates, neck for loved equals and the rest for unwanted rogues, which tends to be around the hip area similar to when a lion jumps a running prey... for the obvious reasons.”

Tomasz snorted at that and Stiles just rolled his eyes when he spotted how Peter's mouth turned into a predatory sneer and then quickly back again.

“Either way, it will hurt you. I am not going to lie about that,” he added, his face once again serious. “And we can't give you any morphine, because the initial pain is important, it triggers the change, jolts the organism into action, so you need to bear with it. Unless any of you changed your mind?”

Three head shook at that question.

“You got a last chance to step off the ship,” Peter warned them, his eyes gaining that red glint, which grew into a full on red blaze in a few silent seconds. “Now or never. There is no cure to lycantrophy. No other than death.”

The heads shook again and Peter smiled, his teeth slowly sharpening. The dude had a thing for drama alright.

 

~o~

 

Before the Alpha disappeared into his room with the three teen to have some sort of a privacy while administering a Bite, Stiles watched him take out his phone and hit the speed dial a little bit too forcefully. His eyes were still glowing, but his teeth receded back into their human form, so that he could speak without sounding like lisping child.

Stiles actually found that one observation beyond amusing and it even made him giggle a little when he heard Peter order them all to wait a bit until he would be finished with the call – but the following growl made him put up his serious face again and look away.

It wasn't that Peter was scary per se. Well of course he was. Just as any dude with supernatural power and laser sharp teeth would be, but the fact remained that it was Peter and Stiles felt safe around him, even though he did sometimes wonder why.

The said Alpha put the phone to his ear and looked out of the window while he waited for the person on the other side to pick up. He pushed the curtains aside a little and tapped his fingers over the glass of the window. After a few more seconds he sighed and said:

“Derek, my dear nephew,” there was a mildly dangerous tone underneath all those pleasantries. “You are missing out on pack business again – naughty, naughty. You better come over soon, unless you want to end up rogue.”

Stiles could hear the sharp nail scratching over the surface of the window and blanched even though the anger was not directed at him.

“I am not keen on forgetting your discrepancies any time soon, so by keeping away you are just prolonging the inevitable and by that making me want to do more than just break your arm in two places for abandoning a hurt pack member in favor of a stranger, even though it was under the influence of magic.”

“Do remember, that pack comes first under all circumstances. You wouldn't leave Cora all alone that way. Nor Nick,” his voice cracked a little or maybe it was the glass – Stiles couldn't be sure.

“And this is my final warning,” Peter breather once he regained his bearings again. “Blood relation or not, I will tear you into pieces if you neglect your duties again.”

He pulled the phone from his ear then and turned around pocketing it into his back pocket.

“That was a bit to harsh, don't you think so?” Stiles wondered aloud, looking up at the Alpha from where he sat prodded against the wall. It wasn't that he did not feel any satisfaction hearing Peter kicking Derek's ass in his little monologue, it was just that he somehow started feeling bad for Derek halfway through it. Especially if they operate under the theory, that the werewolf was cursed by Jennifer to lean in onto her own side instead of following Stiles out of the forest.

“If his resolve was any stronger, than miss Blake would not be able to attack him as easily,” Peter answered and walked out of the living room to join the teens behind the closed doors.

Stiles hummed, running his fingers over his thighs and then sighed. Peter might be true... he might be true, but blaming Derek for falling a victim to Jennifer's magic was probably not the right way to go.

He bit his lower lip and took out his own phone, tapping the little envelope icon in the corner of the screen, scrolling lower to find Derek's name and looking through their text messages. There were a few that his future him has traded back on forth with the werewolf, although most of them were one way things to which Derek never wrote back.

Stiles tapped on the empty window and watched the vertical blue line flash for a little while before locking his phone again. He wouldn't know what to write anyways. It's not like they were that close yet.

He looked over at Tomasz who was typing something into a chat bubble on the laptop in a language that Stiles didn't recognize and pursed his lips. His uncle snorted at something Lenka wrote to him then and continued typing in a reply.

Seeing that made Stiles change his mind. He slid his finger over the screen and watched the text message window open once again. He took his time to type in a few words and then looked up through the window to think a bit more before sending it over.

 

“It's not your fault.”

 

~o~

 

“Rite, so,” Tomasz said a few minuted later, when they were standing on the other side. “Wee need to put new betas into protektive sircles. It wil help handle dem if somesink go wrong.”

He rummaged through his huge bag, pulling out a few vials that were in the way and setting hem aside. Stiles studied the glittering liquid inside for them for a few seconds, wondering what it might be, before his attention snaps to the pouch that Tomasz handed over to him.

“So mountain ash then?” the teen guessed, taking the pouch and opening it carefully. He didn't know how mountain ash looked like but since the substance wasn't gray nor black as one would expect ash to be, he concluded that him assumption was wrong.

“Peter's lores mentioned mountain ash for forming protective circles,” he said defensively, shaking the pouch gently here and there to watch the crushed dried leaves of some plant move inside of it. “But this...”

“Nott ash,” Tomasz shook his head, pushing his fingers into the substance and the pulling it out again. The little particles swirled around his fingertip and formed a tiny tornado.

“Americans use it, true, butt we do nott, becoz it does not grow in east Europe by custom,” explained Tomasz, flicking his finger and dissolving the little tornado of dried white flowers with it. “We use flowers from trnka... ashes too, butt dose are nott so potent.”

“Uhh and that is what in English?” Stiles wonders wrecking his brains for a list of plant that bloom with white flowers. Honestly it could be anything – from lilies to the blossoms on an apple tree.

“I do nott now in English,” Tomasz laughed at that, plopping down on the carpet next to his bag and gesturing for Stiles to do the same. “It iz bettr dan mountian ash, stronger when locked down, it work on different principle.”

“Main difference between trnka and mountain ash is dat the sircle of mountain ash can be broken wis enough power,” but trnka nott... it feeds on power so unless yu give a huge amount of it, until yu choose to sacrifice it... and it works with no circle too, if yu learn to move it right. Even if yu haf just little bit, it can stretch as far as your will stretches. Is iz powerful magic.”

“Would it stop Jennifer?” Stiles wondered, sitting down opposite of his uncle, putting the pouch carefully on the floor between them. It moved a bit away from his, creating a little pile that leaned to his uncle and Stiles wondered if that is the magic in Tomasz pulling it in like gravitation or if the thing hates him already. That would be a pretty shitty start of his magical carreer.

“Yez, all supernatural keaturs are week to it,” Tomasz nodded, poking the pouch with his fingers with a slight frown on his face. The pile flattened down, creating a leveled surface.

“Even an Alpha?” Stiles asked, poking the pouch himself in hope something would happen. The content didn't even squirm.

“Yez,” his uncle answered and then cringed. “Well yu haf to be careful wis true Alfas. Dose who did nott gain their power by killing do nott care about loosing it. It dey choose to offer their power to break circle...”

“Well, it's not like they will stop being werewolves, right?” Stiles snorts, shaking his head. “This stuff is not really that potent if one can get out after offering some amount of his own power to it.”

“Do nott underrestimate power, Przemko,” Tomasz said leaning in closer to him to look into his eyes. “Dat is wat makes us wat we are. If we have no power we are onlie human and vlkolak wis no power iz mostlie left wis no status... and no status meanz no pack. It iz important.”

Stiles couldn't even pretend to understand, because status was something he rarely thought about and why should he? He never really had any manageable status himself. He was the sheriff's son, but without that we could have lived. He was the unpopular kid in school – he never cared about that either. He was the Emmisary of this pack and if he wasn't, then...

“Oh, okay, I guess I kinda get it,” he shrugged, pulling on his shoelaces. “Kinda. I mean if Peter wasn't the Alpha then... wait, how does one become an Alpha anyways? Wasn't Derek and Alpha just until recently? If status is that important, then...”

“Yu locked Derek in a sircle befor yu went fighting coven leeder,” Tomasz said as if the result of that action was the most obvious thing in the whole wide world. And Stiles understood the implications well enough, but he just didn't want to believe any of it.

“Well, no wonder I barely won,” Stiles shook his head, snorting at the illogical planning. “I should have taken the Alpha werewolf with me, right? What kind of a poor strategy was that?”

“Would yu take him now?” Tomasz asked, a sly smile spreading over his lips and he leaned back into his hands, watching his nephew intently. “To join in fight dat yu sink will end up with dead. Would yu?”

Stiles stared back at his uncle for a while and then let his shoulders sag. Of course he wouldn't, Not even now, when Derek isn't anything more than a possible... whatever. Not even if he was just a pack mate, not even if he was a stranger... he would rather go into a dangerous situation alone than drag in somebody else too.

“You're right,” he said, pursing his lips. “So what... he just... broke through to...”

“He gave up his Alfa status to cross... gott to yu first thanks to dat,” Tomasz explained. “Good sink too. He kept kanima at bay befor it could hurt yu and dat safed yu.”

“But... you said status is important for werewolves,” Stiles repeated the previous statement carefully, not daring to voice the results of his thinking yet. Not daring to even acknowledge the thoughts themselves yet. “So why...”

“It iz,” his uncle commented, his eyes flicking to the door on Peter's room and then back to his nephew. “And yu now why.”

Stiles was silent at that. He was silent because as full as his head was – it was actually as empty as a bird's nest in December. Even though there were twigs and shit, the bird was just not there. It was chilling somewhere in warm countries, far far away.

And yes okay, that was a freakishly weird metaphor and he himself barely understood what it meant but fuck... what was he supposed to think when he heard stuff like that?

And yes, they protected each other before, when Derek was still a wolf and they did so a lot of times obviously, but this was something else wasn't it? It somehow seemed like it, because... come on, Derek gave up on the whole Alphahood to protect him from dying and maybe somehow got himself stuck in his wolf form as well? Could that be?

So... where did that leave them? Stiles didn't know yet – the betrayal in the forest was making him bitter still, even though it was a spell. Especially since he was a spell... if he was better at magic, he could have countered the spell somehow, he was sure of it. If he was better at magic, Jennifer wouldn't have attacked Derek.

And Stiles owed him quite a bit. He obviously owed him a lot more than he first thought, because of what he heard just now. And still, there was nothing he could do back there in the forest to help him.. .there was nothing he could do right now either. He needed to learn it all first. And maybe then... maybe then he would be...

It was a weird tangle of feelings he had in his chest right now, he had to admit that. On one side knowing that Derek might be the one for him, on the other not sure why he should listen to the self-proclaimed prophecy and follow its path. To that the feeling of being useless and obviously not what Derek would want anyways. Not to mention... was Derek even what Stiles wanted? He didn't know what either.

Stick to the plan, he thought nodding to himself. Stick to it and then we'll see what's gonna happen. After all, if he just ignored the problems for long enough, they will definitely somehow solve themselves in the process. It was no good in dwelling on them while there was no solution to them. And that was what he decided to do from now on.

“Alright,” he said, reaching out for the pouch sitting in front of him. “How do I wield it then? Do I need to do the glowy thing? How do I do that? How do I wake up my Spark?”

Tomasz grins at him and waves his hands over the pouch to make the dried flower-particles swirl out of their container, fly in a loop around Stiles' hand and them back into the pouch.

“Yu do nott need Iskra for dis,” he explained them, leaning back again. “Yu just need strong will. Yu need to belief it will do yor bidding and it naturally wil den.”

“Eh, what? That ain't no magic,” Stiles frowns, putting the pouch back on the floor and crossing his hands over his chest, feeling slightly betrayed by the lack of magic involving his first lesson in magic. “Anybody with a strong enough will could do that, right? That's like...”

“Belief iz essense of magic,” Tomasz explained. “Yu first need to learn to belief in yor magic, yu need to trust it to not fail yu. Yu need to know it will come once yu call it... if yu don't have dat belief den dere is no reason for yu to...”

Tomasz did not get to finish his lecture though, because the door to Peter's room opened and Erica stumbled out of it, holding her wrist.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

"Peter said I am ready for a lockdown," Erica informed them when she walked into the living room closing the door behind her, which Stiles was fairly glad for, since he didn't feel like watching Peter bite teens – it somehow did not sit right with him.

And so he rather didn't even look at Erica's wrist in case it might make him sick or something. Even if he wanted to see it, he wouldn't be able to, because she was covering it with her hand. The only thing he actually could see was the yellow skin spreading further than the wound under her palm – the remnant of the sanitizer.

“Do you need some bandage or so?” Stiles wondered, pointing at the blood seeping through where she didn't press her fingers tightly enough to the wound.

“Nah, I have some,” she said, lifting the small square of a bandage she was pushing to the inside of her wrist, which in turn gave Stiles a full view of the wound - the blood was welling up from the crescent-shaped bite marks in tiny droplets, glistening in the sunlight, the skin around them reddish, irritated.

It didn't make him as sick as he thought it would, since it wasn't his own blood, but it still didn't stop the paleness creeping into his face. Erica must have noticed that, but she just shrugged and pushed the piece of bandage back onto her wrist.

“Peter said to not bandage it so that we could track the progress of the werewolf genes,” she explained, walking over to them. Her hair was woven loosely into a pony tail and her sleeves on the yellow batman shirt were rolled up to her elbows.

“Goot, choose place denn,” Tomasz said, waving his hand around like a gracious king. Erica didn't wait a second before heading for the couch. The dust of dried flowers whirled slowly as she passed Tomasz and then followed after her.

Stiles looked at his uncle and watched him squint a little at the line of particles that sailed through the air like spider webs during Indian summer. He obviously didn't even need to move his hand to command the dust.

“Show-off,” he muttered, making Tomas grin in response.

Erica plopped down on the couch in the meantime, the dried leaves settling down in a neat circle all around her – locking her down behind the protective barrier.

She moved her foot experimentally and the barrier stopped her before she could cross it with her fingers.

“I thought it only works on supernatural beings,” she mused, letting go of her wound to slide her fingers over the dome around her. She even went as far as to push a pillow into it, but the barrier did not budge, just like it didn't with the woman on the cetemery.

“Or am I already considered supernatural?” Erica added, looking over at Tomasz curiously.

“Yu r still human, I am afraid,” Tomasz answered, getting up off the floor and walking over to the flat screen to grab the laptop again. “Dis is just stronger magic... anyways, I will grab food, while we wait for rest. Send next one to kitchen, den.”

He walked out of the living room without saying anything else, but halfways through, he must have realised, that he wanted to instruct Stiles on somethting more so he popped his head back again to say: “Yu try in meantime. Remember, all yu need iz fate....and concentration...but mainly fate.”

“Awesome, you do realize I am a atheistic ADHD kid, right?” Stiles deadpanned, looking down at the pouch as if it personally offended him. There was still enough substance to... well, Tomasz did say it could stretch as far as his mind would, so there must be a lot of it left even though he could visually confirm only the two thirds of it, but still... damn he was already getting sidetracked.

Tomasz just laughed at that, muttering something super motivational, that probably equaled a message from a cat poster, but Stiles was way too busy glaring at the pouch and debating whether or not believing in God would help him move the dust any easier to respond to it.

He glanced up at Erica, who was watching the pouch as well and then sighed. There was no reason to beat around the bush or to be too worried it might not work. He just needed to try until he succeeded.

So what did Tomasz say again? Concentration – he could do that... how long was it since he took his last Adderall anyways? Way too long. In fact he didn't even remember when exactly the last time was. But then again, his life turned upside down in the past few days, each and every thing adding up to it, so the pills wouldn't do much to calm down his racing mind anyways.

Plus, he already slept so little lately, he didn't exactly need the side effects of Adderall to fuel his insomnia any further. Nor did he like the lack of appetite, that only curly fries could beat. Honestly at good days he sometimes wondered why he had to take the pills.. was it because he was really too sick to function or was it because his dad thought he was?

Okay, now he was just getting in way too deep. The pills did help him. At least on bad days they did... and just because he hadn't seem to be needing them in the past few days... that might actually have something to do with his Spark, right? Didn't Tomasz say, that the body gets sicker once one doesn't use magic long enough? Well maybe...

“Are you already trying to do something or are you just staring at it?” Erica said out of nowhere, breaking off his stream of concentration. Granted it wasn't really the concentration he was supposed to work on but still.

“I was thinking to go get my Adderall, if truth be told,” he muttered, bringing up his hand to rub the back of his head in irritation.

“Well maybe you need a different approach then or something,” she remarked and Stiles looked up at her quirking his eyebrow, saying: “Yeah well, be my guest.”

“Well, have you ever seen Doctor Who?” Erica asked, leaning in as much as the protection circle would allow, a grin playing on her lips.

“If I have ever...? Lady, are you suggesting there are people who did not watch every episode like five times at least? Where are those people and how do I punish them for such blasphemy?” he exclaimed, making Erica giggle. They smiled each other for a while, Stiles already giddy from the fact she liked Doctor Who, until Erica nodded and started to explain:

“Well then, remember the password that Sexy sent Rory in that one episode from the bubble universe that was like a smaller bubble sucked onto the bigger bubble not not really like that at all?” she grinned, counting the following words off on her fingers. “Crimson. Eleven. Delight...”

“Petrichor,” they finished together with the most silly grin on their lips of all. Yes, Erica had just gained like hundred point fr remembering actual quotes from the show. If he knew any better, he would have been smitten with her already. But back to the task at hand.

“The smell of dust after rain,” he muttered, burying his fingers into the pouch, feeling out the texture with his fingertips. “So what you're saying is...”

“What I am saying is, that you can't properly imagine it doing anything, let alone force it to do anything, if you don't know what it feels like,” she nodded, folding her arms over her chest... or at least attempting to until she realized that she would have to slide her wound against her batman shirt and changed her mind, putting her hand back onto her thigh.

“Right... that seems like it might work,” he muttered, pushing his fingers deeper into the dust, turning them over to gather some of it and then watching it slide slowly down into his palm. He closed his hand and then opened it again.

With a single burst of breath he made the dust scatter into the air, staring at the tiny particles swirling, committing the flight pattern into memory.

He then took the pouch and brought it up to his face. His nose was hit by an aroma he could not place, by an aroma that he had definitely smelled before... a long time ago, back when his mom was still alive.

And that didn't seem like such an impossible assumption, since she must have known trnka well enough to – if not use it, at least have it close by in case she needed to create a protective circle. He must have been around it a thousand times when he was a child.

Oh yes, he could picture it now. He just had to close his eyes and picture his mom, picture her walking by as he played with his train collection and then...

Stiles put the bag down on the carpet in front of him and moved his hand over it, waving it in the direction of the armchair. Nothing happened. The dust didn't even move, not even a little.

“Well, so much for that,” he sighed, pushing the pouch away from him with a frustrated groan. “I knew it's not gonna work.”

“It was worth a try, though,” Erica shrugged, settling back into the couch nonchalantly. “I am sure you will get the hang of it soon enough.”

“Thanks,” Stiles rolled his eyes, sprawling down on the floor so that he wouldn't have to stare at the stupid dust anymore. He even put an arm over his eyes for a good measure and then sighed again.

There was silence for a while and Stiles was trying hard not to think that he couldn't even get the first task done, which actually had nothing to do with magic at all. If he couldn't do that, then...

“You now, Peter briefed us all in on your situation,” Erica spoke and Stiles was starting to think she knew very well what was going through his mind and tried to distract him somehow. Not that it would help that easily. His brain was like a highway with five lanes, keeping one busy does not roadblock the rest of them. But he was wiling to accept the effort at least.

“Yeah well, then you probably know more than I do,” he answered, rolling over onto his side to stare up at her. “I mean I can't remember shit... which kinda sucks, because according to them... stuff like this? That was nothing.”

“Nasty business alright,” she agreed, lifting the hand she was pressing to the bandage laid over her wrist. “But man, time travel and werewolves,” she grinned back at him before lifting the bandage to sneak a peak at the wound.

“Yeah,” he grinned back, watching her intently. Her face did not tell him anything about the state of the wound and technically there wasn't supposed to be any change this soon, so he asked the second most important question instead:

“Does it hurt?”

“Not much,” Erica said, glancing up at him and then back at her wrist. She then pursed her lips as if unsure about something and then shook her head a little, reaching down to pull up her sweatpants. The movement revealed a few vertical scars along her ankle.

“Not as much,” she corrected.

 

~o~

 

Some things are just better left without a stupid comment. Stiles knew that from way before and was sure that should be a universal law or something, because there simply isn't a good answer to some things. No condolences, that would bring his mom back, no sorries that would... yeah well let's just not go there and agree that sometimes it's better to stay silent.

And Stiles knew how to be silent if he had to be silent. Shut up, yes he did. For a few seconds for sure, for a few minutes if he had to, even for a few hours if you count sleep... so yeah, actually scratch that, no, he couldn't be silent, but luckily he was saved by Vernon exiting Peter's room with a hand over his wrist.

Stiles used that opportunity to get out of the awkward situation before he could ask any prying questions. Because all that mental talk about silence? That was bullshit, okay? He was prone to speak up and ask weird questions at any given time no matter how uncomfortable they might have made his counterpart.

So instead, he did the smart thing – he waved to Erica to stay where she was, because he loved unnecessary gestures (don't question the Stilinski way) and led Boyd to the kitchen, where Tomasz could set up his own protection circle, because apparently they had to be divided to have at least something resembling privacy during the first few hours.

Stiles decided to not ask what would happen if one of them wanted to use the bathroom, although that was probably not such a problem with the way Tomasz was easily making the dust fly over from the living room to circle around Boyd who decided to sit at the small table by the window.

And yeah, Stiles might have been a bit jealous of those abilities and kinda unhappy, that he couldn't even move a speck of the magical substance and so when Tomasz told him to wait with Boyd and practice on his barrier, he just sat down and put his head on the corner of the table moving his hand around randomly without any ambition at all, but still, there were worse things in life, he guessed.

Vernon was silently staring out of the window, his hand lying just a few inches from the barrier. Stiles looked up at him after a few silent seconds and then asked: “So how are you liking the pack life so far?”

The soon-to-be-werewolf looked over at him with a sigh and shrugged. “As good as can be expected.”

“You are taking this rather calmly, considering that a vicious creature just sank his teeth into your flesh,” Stiles remarked, leaning back on the chair and stretching out his leg so that he could nudge at the line of dust at his feet. It did not move at all, of course. Stupid trnka.

“It was all very clinical actually,” Vernon shrugged again and turned back to the window, which was apparently supposed to mark the end of their conversation. Not that Stiles accept it so easily.

He hummed under his breath, tapped his fingers over the kitchen table and then nudged at the barrier again for good measure, even though it brought no effect at all. And then he repeated the whole process step by step all over again. And again... and again, until he was just drumming some weird dubstep mix onto the surface of the table.

“So Peter said you don't remember a thing?” Vernon spoke up, his voice coming out slightly harsh due to the icing made out of irritation.

“Nope,” Stiles answered, popping the “p” in a very obnoxious manner. “Why, did I say something stupid? I already took it all back, remember?”

“You just wanted to be friends, is all,” Vernon shrugged and then turned away again, his eyes fixed on something beyond the window. “In your own annoying way, of course.”

“Oh,” Stiles cringed, searching for something in his mind, that would maybe save the situation, but before he could say anything, Vernon obviously decided to show him mercy and said:

“That was after I repaired your car,” he shrugged again and man, Stiles was kinda starting to wonder it there was something wrong with his shoulder or maybe it was just some weird twitch of his? Who knew.

“You wanted us to go bowling.”

“Okay, first of all,” the teen snorted, putting up his forefinger. “I am shit at bowling so, there is no way...”

“Yes, you said it would be fun to watch at least,” Boyd grinned, glancing back at him. “It's like you knew, that I used to go bowling with my dad and miss it now ans then.”

“Wow well, wooow, okay,” Stiles said putting up a second forefinger to stop Vernon from saying anything else. “I certainly brought out the big guns ,didn't I? And I bet I wanted your help later on? Damn I bet I did, I am such a little shit... also, you repaired my car? What the hell happened to my car?”

“Well, I didn't know at that time, but there were claw marks all over the tires so,” Boyd shrugged and it was kinda getting annoying, but not as annoying as hearing about claw marks on his Jeep... what the hell? Scratch that, it wasn't annoying, it was literally horrifying.

“Fucking hell,” he swore, scrambling out of the chair. He made his way back to the living room but stopped at the threshold to look back at Vernon. “Will you be fine all alone for a few mins?”

“Sure,” the teen answered and Stiles didn't stay to see if he would shrug or not, he just headed along the hallway and through the living room with a quick pace to ask Peter about the claw marks on his Jeep, because what the hell? How dares he?

He tore the door open without thinking and got his eyes full of Peter's sharp teeth deep in Isaac's wrist – just his luck. He blanched and at first, he was kinda unable to move, transfixed, staring as Peter slowly pulled his fangs from the flesh, licking his upper lip in a very bizzare manner and then push the last piece of bandage onto the wounded skin. He looked over at Stiles, his eyes glowing and the teen gulped, his fingers tightening around the door knob. Lovely.

“It wash not me,” the Alpha informed him, his eyebrows climbing up his forehead as he stared down at him expectantly. Stiles kinda had a problem to process the sentence, since it ended up sounding a little bit too lispy because of the huge fangs obscuring the way, so he just asked: “What?”

“The tires on your car – I did not harm your precious Jeep,” Peter clarified, his words more understandable since he pulled back his fangs in. “It were the Fates, trying to manipulate your path, so that you would be late to save Laura.”

“Oh... the Fates... okay, I guess?” he nodded, his mind frozen. “So you would have me believe that these... Fates just appear wherever... fucking up cars for some reason.... possibly causing car accidents to mess with our fate and...”

It was then that Peter stood up, a frown mirroring the one Stiles was sporting right then, because true, his brain might have been frozen and he might have been babbling just to cover the slight disgust he felt watching the fresh wound on Isaac's wrist, but... but wasn't that what just happened a few days ago with Scott?

“Could it be?” Stiles breathed, his frown deepening as he looked up at Peter for some kind of a confirmation.

“It just as well could be,” the Alpha said, his brain running on full capacity by the look of it. He ran the back of his hand over his lips to clean them off even though there wasn't even a speck of blood on them left and then continued: “But who could be controlling them? The coven would certainly be too weak...”

“Are you sure? Maybe they just regrouped and called friends and... fuck, who writes this shit again? It is not original to repeat the same plot twist over and over, dude,” Stiles grumbled, rubbing his forehead – partly because he didn't exactly know all the details and wished to know them, partly because if there was really something like that going on, then how does one shoo an Entity like that away?

This was not like hanging garlic to ward off vampires, nor like anything he ever read in the lores. Now granted there wasn't much that he actually could remember from the lores, since he didn't have much time to study them yet, but the problem remained.

Luckily Tomasz seemed to have been listening in from the living room and had an answer to their questions – or rather a solution to the said problem.

“We can summon after dis,” he said, sitting next to Erica on the couch as they watched some Youtube video. “And den we ask sudičky ourselfs.“

 

~o~

 

“Man, you totally won the lottery for the best place to chill while this whole thing passes,” Stiles told Isaac, sitting with him on the bed, his hip next to the protective barrier.

He had the puch with him, poking the dried flowers with his fingers, but he somehow already gave up on making it do anything for him at that moment. He needed to find a new strategy instead.

“I sure did,” Isaac grinned at that, his eyes glancing through the door to the living room. They weren't able to see the couch from the bed, only the bookcase stuffed with supernatural lores and the whole set of some Japanese books, that Stiles wasn't able to place by the title only, but secretively hoped to be some sort of illustrated tentacle porn to hold over Peter's head if the need to blackmail him ever arose. Sadly, that was probably not the case.

But back to the main topic. Damn, he really needed his Adderall or maybe to learn how to wake up his Spark so that his mind was less preoccupied with random shit. But judging by the fact that he still couldn't even wield Blackthorn (thank you Peter for translating), that might still take a while.

Stiles hummed under his breath, bored with the silence and glanced over the Isaac's exposed wrist. They have been sitting there for at least an hour and the Bite was already starting to heal, the wound not as deep as before but still prominent on the skin.

“It doesn't hurt,” Isaac said when he noticed him staring.

“Not that much, yeah. I think I already heard that one before,” Stiles snorted, gesturing in the direction of the living room where Erica presumably did some sitting around with Peter right now. It was kinda funny how they changed seats in the course of the afternoon. It felt like some blind dating thing.

“You guys are really tough,” Stiles whistled, pushing the stray thoughts into the corner of his mind to concentrate on the conversation with Isaac instead.

“Well, I hear you have been stabbed recently. That's pretty badass,” the teen said, his tone suggesting he might be a bit impressed, but also somehow horrified.

“Yeah, but that was different,” Stiles shrugged, sinking deeper into Peter's pillows. They were freakishly comfy. So comfy that he might even fall asleep given the time. “Tomasz healed it, so it doesn't exactly count.”

“This is gonna heal soon too,” Isaac opposed, running his fingertip over the wound gently. Stiles stared at it for a second and he would have bet it was a little more healed, because the skin around the bite marks wasn't as red as a few minutes ago, but he couldn't be exactly sure.

Before he could think abut it any more, his thoughts were interrupted by a shrill ringtone filling up the room. One would have never thought that such a mundane thing could turn their whole afternoon upside down, but it did. Unfortunately.

 

~o~

 

“Shit,” Isaac exclaimed at the first ring, scrambling from the bed, only to be stopped by the barrier all around him. He frowned, pushing against the invisible wall as if he forgot it was there, as if he forgot why he needed to stay inside. It obviously came back to him a second later, when he turned to the other teen.

“Stiles, can you hand me my phone?” he demanded, as the second ring echoed around the room. “Just hurry.”

Stiles almost got out of the bed to fetch it for him, until he remembered hos the Blackthorn worked. “Dude, I can't, we would have to dissolve the protective circle and Peter said-”

“Stiles, come on, I really need to pick that up,” Isaac said, his voice filling up with panic, his breathing coming out in harsh exhales as he reeled around pressing against the barrier. And that was the third right right there. Hearing it only made Isaac more agitated.

“I am sure it can wait, Is-”

“No, it can't, you don't understand!” Isaac barked out, his voices painted with a light growl. His eyes flickered like a broken bulb when he looked at the other teen and his hands curled into fists. Weren't he safely behind the barrier, Stiles might have started to feel a tiny bit threatened. A tiny bit more.

“Give me my phone, give it to me now! I need to pick it up before...” Isaac didn't finish the sentence because it was interrupted by the fourth ring and that was when he freaked out completely, his eyes flashing as he hit the barrier with his shoulder.

Stiles jumped away by reflex, toppling from the bed, his back hitting the floor rather painfully.

„I need to pick it up!“ the teen growled, his features contorning a little as he growled. „Open the fucking circle!“

Stiles watched Isaac's nails grow into claws, watched him slash against his invisible prison in a fit of panic-indoused fury and watched him hit the barrier once again before the next ring sang through the air. It was all so fast, Stiles' eyes were barely able to catch it all.

„Isaac, you know I can't do so myself, I can't even-“ he got up with a painful sigh on his lips and put his hands up in a calming gesture, but the werewolf didn't even aknowledge him, his eyes fixed on his jacket hanging over the chair on the other side of the rooom.

„Open it! Open it now!!“ he roared, hitting the barrier again and again, no matter what pain it caused him and if truth be told, Stiles was feeling terrified beyond everything just watching it.

„Just calm down, calm down-“

„He will lock me in, if I don't pick it up. He will lock me in and I hate it there, I hate it, I hate it, open the circle!“ Isaac belowed and Stiles was starting to wonder where the heck was the rest of his watcher-team, because there was no way they would have not heard the ruckass in Peter's room.

„He won't lock you in anywhere. Peter will protect you now that you are pack.”

Stiles shuffled a bit further from the bed, his hands still up as if that would help anything and peaked into the living room.

Erica was lying on the floor convulsing as if she was having a very violent seizure, black goo seeping out of her mouth making her choke. Peter was pacing around the barrier and Tomasz was nowhere to be seen and yeah... it generally looked like all hell broke loose. But no, that happened only after the phone stopped ringing.

 

~o~

 

Stiles didn't even realize the phone wasn't ringing anymore in the first few seconds, because he had his eyes fixed on Erica – on the way her body kept trashing around, how she gurgled and spat the black goo in the air and how Peter couldn't do anything than watch because Tomasz must have been busy with whatever was happening to Vernon to come over and dissolve the protection circle.

But then Peter hit the barrier with his fist, his eyes flashing and by some fucking miracle it gave in and opened up to him and he jumped over to roll Erica onto her side, so that she wouldn't choke on it all.

Did he offer the protection circle his power? No, his eyes still glowed red, as he leaned down and bit Erica into her shoulder with a silent grunt. Did Tomasz dissolve it somehow? No, he was nowhere to be seen...

And in those two seconds that this all happened and that he noticed the phone not ringing anymore, he also realized the barrier must have been weak somehow, somewhere... and that if Peter could get through with a single punch, Isaac could probably get out after a few slams.

“Tomasz?” Stiles yelled, as he whirled around to look at Isaac, who was out of his mind, hitting the barrier over and over again. The silence around made it even more frightening.

Isaac roared and slammed into the barrier once again, the impact making Stiles step back. He glanced down at the line of dried flowers. There was no way it would hold another impact like that, he thought, knowing that he was right. He knew Isaac was gonna break through next time he comes into contact with it. He just knew it.

And just like that, the dust moved right when the rabid werewolf was about to hit it again - the barrier dissolved n it's own and let Issac through.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles must have been getting resistant against mortal danger, because he didn't even squeak when the mass of werewolf flesh barreled his way. It was just a second after Isaac broke the protective circle and Stiles only stared at him, his lips apart, his body frozen, because really... what was he supposed to do?

He was no werewolf, he couldn't fight back with strength. He was no wizard either, because he couldn't even make the freaking flower dust move, even though one didn't even need magic to do that. He was only human -147 pounds of pale skin and fragile bones with the wit to outsmart anybody. But words were not gonna help him out of this situation. Like...at all.

And the werewolf kept approaching and Stiles knew that he would be upon him right away and time seemed to have turned into honey, but that was not gonna help anyways. He could just stand there and hope for somebody to help him. Somebody would come, right? It would create a weird time paradox if he died now for sure.... for sure.

And that was when a hand pushed him out of the way and he fell, his body slamming against the floor like a bag of fresh potatoes. He gasped as his head collided with the floor, making him screw his eyes shut and curl into himself.

There was a wham, a growl and a whine somewhere not so far away and then silence fell upon the flat. Stiles opened his eyes and reached up to prod as his head gingerly.

There will definitely be a bump there soon, but for now it looked like he was fairly okay. His outstretched hand slowed down the fall somehow... weakly and he only managed to get a carpet burn on his palm in the process. That was definitely something to be happy about.

He then looked up, expecting to see Peter trying to pacify Isaac, but it was somebody else and Stiles' brain would gladly play the suspense game with anybody to reveal this information at the last possible moment, to side-track by saying it was not Tomasz, by describing each and every detail starting from the sharp fangs all the way to the claws on his outstretched fingers, but it couldn't because Stiles was too mesmerized by the ending fight.

He was too mesmerized by the sheer force of Derek's body who was just leaning over a struggling Isaac, his shoulder bloody from how Isaac must have bitten him when Derek tackled him, but he didn't seem to mind at all – his posture rigid and threatening.

After a few seconds be managed to press his palm against the side of Isaac's face to hold him down and pushed his body down against the fighting werewolf to pacify him even further. Yes if this was a different kind of situation Stiles would be all down for watching this all happening. Actually, scratch that, no, he wouldn't.

“Fuck,” he breathed, pushing himself up onto the elbows to take a better look. It seemed like Isaac stopped struggling by then, looking up at the other werewolf dejectedly.

“And shtay dawn,” Derek threatened, his growl mixed with the presence of sharp teeth making the sentence jumbled. But it was the tone that was important. And that was deadly enough to stop every predator in the hearing vicinity.

Stiles could hear Isaac exhale deeply, his fingers twitching as the sharp nails were pulled back from them, a hiss escaping his lips when the teeth changed back together with the colour of his eyes.

“How did Isaac get out?” Peter asked from the doorway to his room, his face full of concern. Stiles glanced at him, noticing his hands black from the goo, that came out of Erica just a few minutes ago and then whipped his head to look at the girl back in th living room.

He had to sit up properly to see her and even then he couldn't see all of her, because Tomasz' back was blocking the view, but at least she wasn't trashing around anymore.

She was lying calmly on the carpet with the circle locked tightly around her again, with Tomasz inside with her, his eyes glowing golden as he tried to... well Stiles didn't exactly know what it was, but he was guessing his uncle was trying to heal her. That much seemed obviously logical.

The movement in the room made him look back. Peter walked calmly to the bag leaning against the wall under the window, opened the smallest pocket on the front of it and took out a silent phone. He then walked over to the two werewolves on the floor.

“Derek,” he said and the said man got up and backed a few steps, before moving his head in a slow circle to make his Beta featured disappear gradually.

Isaac looked up at the Alpha, fear visible in his eyes, but Peter just nodded, handing him his phone. He had to wait a few seconds before the teen realized the other werewolf is not gonna jump nor yell at him and then took his phone, scrambling on the floor to sit with his back to the rest of them while fumbling over the screen. In a few seconds Stiles could hear the phone ringing in the other side of the line.

“Dad?” Isaac greeted after a few rings and launched into some fabricated story that they must have made up with Peter before it all started because it seemed way too rehearsed.

“Ain't that a bit counterproductive?” Stiles whispered, looking at the haunched up teen.

Peter walked over to him calmly, his eyes scanning for any visible wounds at the teen in front of him. Once he made sure that Stiles wasn't in any danger to get rabies, he reached his hand to pull the teen up to his feet and then answered: “It is his father after all. Would you...?”

“My dad has never...,” Stiles started as he prodded at his shoulder, feeling the bruising under his fingers, but he stopped when he felt the heavy look at him. He looked up at Peter and frowned.

“Not like that he didn't,” Stiles objected, waving his hand around in defense. “It was just... when mom died, he was devastated and...”

“When Isaac's older brother died, his father was devastated as well,” Peter remarked, looking at him as if he just swallowed all the Earth' wisdom. As if he just knew and that... yeah.

That got under Stiles' skin faster than a sharp dagger and he could feel his anger rising up, because how did dare Peter? He might have known a thing or two about the future him but he knew shit about his past, he knew his about his dad and... well fuck him for comparing his situation with Isaac's!

“My dad has never-” he started ready to win this fight because he couldn't just lose this one, not when his dad's honor was at stake.

“Just the Eichen House,” Peter countered and just like that, he had won.

“That was... different,” Stiles protested weakly, his eyes jumping all around the room to avoid seeing pity in the Alpha's eyes even though it might have not be there at all.

He glanced at Isaac, who was still calling his dad an then at Derek who was looking up at him curiously, obviously listening in on the conversation. Fuck... what a timing.

“It was just a week,” he shook his head, trying to brush it all off.

“Issac was in the freezer altogether 8 times. That was always throughout a whole night. So if we just went according to time spent locked down...,” Peter said calmly, looking back at the teen sitting on the floor.

“I just really needed help with my french,” Stiles could hear him say into the phone, nodding along, his fingers playing with the carpet hairs nervously. “I don't want to be mediocre anymore, so I asked mister Hale, who is substituting at school at the moment, for some extra lessons. Yes, I know, sir, I will be back in time for my duties.”

“It was never like this,” Stiles muttered, shaking his head in disgust.

“And it never will be again,” Peter nodded calmly. “But you have to realize, that life can not be divided into black and white, it's-”

“If you mention 50 Shades of Grey, I will smack you, Alpha or not,” the teen barked out, hoping to divert the topic of this conversation into the more shallow waters.

He didn't like reminiscing about his stay in the nut house just as much as he didn't like thinking about his dad as the bad guy who put him there, because really, he had been utterly obnoxious at that time and his ADHD had been acting up like an erupting volcano and it was actually his own fault. Dad did the right thing. But wasn't that just what all kids made themselves believe when it came to their parents?

Stiles looked over at Isaac and felt the corners of his mouth falling down gradually. He understood it to some extent... he understood the need to please the only remaining family one had, because what else was there? Who else was there if not the family...?

“Still,” he muttered, glancing back at Peter who was watching him, his eyes uncompromising.

“Still,” he repeated, looking over at Derek. Their eyes met and Stiles couldn't read what the other man's eyes said at that moment, but it wasn't pity or anything of that sort. It was something else, something... curious.

He caught Peter nodding briefly from the corner of his eyes, a nasty grin spreading over his lips. “Still... that doesn't mean we can't see that mister Lahey knows exactly where the boundaries lie from now on.”

Before Stiles could react on it with a grin on his own, Peter turned around to his to his nephew, the unpleasant expression not leaving his features.

“Nephew, so kind of you to join us,” he greeted. The smile spreading over his lips was nothing but dangerous. “As you can see, we cured Stiles. Hope you weren't too worried.”

Derek frowned at that, taking a cautious step back, his body changing the posture from an intimidating one into a submissive carefulness. It were just subtle changes and if Stiles didn't read about it in one of the lores under the chapter about pack dynamics, he wouldn't have even noticed it at all.

His shoulders curled in on themselves a little, his head moved a little to the side to uncover his neck, the head dipping just a fraction in the process. It were small things, little, unnoticeable, but they were there.

Derek was subconsciously trying to avoid the conflict with his Alpha, but that didn't mean he was just gonna run with the tail between his legs either.

“It was just a scratch, Peter,” he bit off and Stiles somehow knew Peter was only a millisecond just jump at him and break his arm just as he promised on the phone earlier that day. Call it an intuition, call it logic, call it whatever – he just knew it.

His hand sprang up before Peter could even tense his muscles and grabbed the Alpha by the arm. He was sure Peter could have ripped his biceps out of his hold at any given time. Come on, of course he could have, but instead he straightened up, his eyes gaining a chilly glow.

Yes, it seemed impossible for a red Apha glow to be described as chilly. It should be nothing if not hot and scolding but it was hard as ice and just as chilly at that moment. Able to cut steel. Unforgiving. Merciless.

“Humans die from less,” Peter spat, his hands curling up into fists and Stiles was starting to be a little afraid, because this didn't seem like the regular werewolfy anger. It had a slightly crazed-out feel to it. And that... that was definitely dangerous.

“Do try to remember that the next time you leave a pack member bleeding and all alone in the middle of the woods,” he continued.

“He left himself,” Derek argued, his eyes skipping from Peter to the door that was on his right as if he was contemplating the possibility to leave. Or maybe he was just making sure his emergency exit was still free... which it wasn't of course, because Tomasz was standing in it, his arms folded in front of his chest as he watched the situation in the room unravel.

Stiles could hear the silent woosh of the dust as it circled Isaac again, who was still sitting on the floor, clenching the phone in between his fingers and watching them all. He must have finished the call a while ago but Stiles was too busy trying to follow the conversation in front of him to notice.

“And you just let him walk away,” Peter hissed, the muscled under Stiles' arm straining.

“So what?” Derek spat, gesturing around them. “We had a pack, Peter, or did you forget already? You can bite as many children as you want, but you won't be able to replace them! So why bother? Why the fuck-”

He didn't get any further because a fist connected with his cheek, silencing him in an instant. Derek whipped his head around immediately, growling at Tomasz who dared to punch him in the face when he wasn't paying any attention, but the other man just stood there calmly, watching him with his arms already already folded over his chest.

“Dat waz for leeving my nefew dying in woods,” he informed the stunned werewolf, the lines of his tattoo shimmering in the afternoon sun. But other than that, there was no visible trace of magic on him. Even the punch seemed to have carried normal human strength.

“Lucky yu Peter asked nott to kill yu, else I wuld have,” Tomasz finished.

“You are going to let a stranger like that hurt your only remaining pack member?” Derek complained, turning back to Peter, his eyes full of hurt and betrayal. “Are you really that blind Peter?”

“Grow up, Derek.” Peter snorted, relaxing a little as if Tomasz punching Derek instead of him made him feel satisfied enough for now. Stiles let his hand fall down with relief.

“Grow up. The Alpha pack will be upon us soon and if you don't show me, if you don't prove to me that I can trust you to take care of my pack in crucial moments? Then I will rather have you dead than let the enemies use you against my pack again.”

Stiles opened his mouth at that to tell Peter to stop bringing up painful memories, because he knew what the Alpha was getting at thanks for the notes - and that, ladies and gentlemen, that was not cool. But Derek didn't seem to listen.

“You choose follow orders from some teen, rather than listening to your own nephew,” he summarized, his lips peeling off his teeth in a silent growl. “Why is that I wonder.”

“No, Derek, no.” Peter interrupted him, shaking his head in resolution. “Open your eyes and stop being a fool. If you really want him then work for it for the upcoming ten years and you can have him, but don't you dare to accuse me of siding with an outsider. Stiles did more for the pack in the last few days than you ever managed to do.”

Derek took a step back at that, finally registering the hints Peter was throwing around in an untimely fashion and Stiles saw a flash of hurt and confusion in his eyes - he stopped questioning this weird 5th sense he had in deciphering Derek's emotions and just went along with it, because it seemed very helpful in understanding what was going on in the other man's head.

That is why he knew now... Derek was slowly coming to the revelation what nonsense he was sprouting. Will he go as far as to realize it's the spell Jennifer inflicted upon him? Given Stiles' experience that was highly improbable. He might even fight harder now.

“I've found us a better Emissary,” Derek exclaimed and Stiles felt like smiling, because there it was. The last stand.

Peter was obviously expecting that as well, because he smiled and waved his hand around nonchalantly, saying: “Oh, she is more than welcome to compete for the spot. I would even grant her an audit, with Tomasz present of course, but I doubt she could ever be more competent-”

“She has the mate potential for me, Peter,” Derek interrupted him in a rush of embarrassed words and even though Stiles knew that was gonna happen, he still somehow felt a pang of jealousy. Way to go. His resolve to stop caring about what Derek did was obviously very weak.

But this wasn't exactly about that, was it? There was no reason to feel jealous because of Derek's crush, because there was no crush from begin with. It was a spell. And suddenly Stiles knew that what he felt was not jealousy per se. It was anger at the woman ho dared to bewitch not only him but also Derek and kept just fucking things up for all of them.

And Peter obviously felt the same.

“The spell is clouding your senses,” he said.

“There is no spell, Peter,” Derek tried to explain, his voice weirdly desperate. That was definitely the spell talking. Stiles might have not known Derek as long or as personally as Peter or whoever but it didn't seem like the normal silent\grumpy behavior that seemed to be typical for the werewolf.

This? This was only bizarre and it kept getting more bizarre with each following word. So much that Stiles was trying to keep himself from pitying Derek.

“It's not the same,” the werewolf continued. “I thought there was something... meaningful, something deep, but ever since he died, it's not the same anymore. It's weak and hesitant and mostly not even there anymore, but with Jennifer it's like... it's like an anchor.”

Peter cringed at that and Stiles felt the same. What the hell did she do to him? It was as if she possessed him and talked through him or something? Was it even him? Maybe it was an impostor.

“I want to bring her to the pack, Peter. She could join. She is like us. She would be an asset, not like-”

Peter raised his hand at that to stop him. That was probably a good thing to do before Derek could humiliate himself any further. It was not even funny anymore.

“I will consider it,” he said, playing along with the weird conversation, his anger obviously subsided by the realization how far the spell effected his nephew's mind. “But don't except any miracles.”

Arguing with Derek now would bring them nowhere anyways. It would be like trying to persuade a drunk person that he doesn't need another drink, which was pretty impossible. Derek's ears seemed to be sealed with wax and no amount of logic could piece through and reach his brain.

“Building a pack full of children isn't going to help you against the Alpha pack, Peter,” Derek bit off. “She is strong, she could-”

Okay, Stiles just had officially enough of this bullshit. And he knew he shouldn't argue with the werewolf, he knew it, but he just couldn't keep standing around silently. Yeah, he was really bad at silence. Like... really, really bad.

“Tomasz,” he said out of nowhere, making them all move their irises in his direction. “Can't we just zap him out of it somehow? He never talks this much, it's obviously the curse.”

His uncle remained silent, watching the development. Instead Derek decided to repeat the same old song all over again.

“It's not-”

“Yeah, that's what you say,” Stiles jumped into his words, not willing to let Derek talk anymore. “And yet, my case still stands.”

“That's-”

“Yeah, buddy, nope, don't believe it,” the teen shrugged, shaking his head. “Why dontcha just prove it then?”

“What...?”

“You heard me, prove it,” he ordered, taking a step closer to Derek. He wasn't scared, not with Peter and Tomasz present and since he was still riding on the waves of adrenaline, he decided to at least use it up efficiently enough – by bringing Derek to his senses.

It wasn't just because he couldn't tolerate people acting stupid and it wasn't just because he feared for the safety of the pack... it was also to see how deep Jennifer went with her brainwashing. It was a morbid curiosity with a touch of jealousy.

“How...?” Derek asked, his question challenging. Oh hell yeah, here we go, Stiles thought wickedly.

“Kiss me,” he said, uncaring of his surroundings. His ADHD narrowed down his thinking into the one single subjective and he barely even noticed Peter and Tomasz glancing at each other with an entertained look on their faces.

“Uh, what...? Derek frowned, taking a step away from him. No matter, Stiles matched it with a step forward in no time, stepping into Derek's personal space rather forcefully.

“No, I-,” Derek shook his head.

“Yeah I get it, you are still mad about the whole neck fiasco,” Stiled nodded a few times. “I'm sorry about that by the way, I totally forgot about it in the heat of the moment.”

“It's not like you kno-”

“Well, as I said, I am sorry for that neck thing and you are surely sorry about not holding my hand back in the forest to suck my pain with the wolfy mojo till Tomasz could come and cure me,” Stiles rambledon, sliding his fingers over the back of his neck, looking at Derek expectantly “So I guess we are even now, right?”

“Uh-”

“What the big bad wolf doesn't do kissies? I certainly remember that differently,” he grinned, cocking his eyebrow up high.

“No, ju-”

“Oh you thought I am gonna break down and cry, is that it?” Stiles snorted, bracing his hands onto his hips, feeling back to his old self.

You see, he felt weird and confused and miserable ever since he woke up at that clearing, but that wasn't him, not really. This was him – the little shithead who won't back down in the face of danger. Yep. Welcome back Stiles, it was good to be you again.

“I am over that,” he said as if to clarify what had been going through his head. “I don't know everything, of course I don't, but neither do you. Neither does anybody. I have my whole life in front of me to figure out at least the most important fraction of it.”

“But-”

“Yeah, angsty teen shit, happens,” he shrugged again, rolling his eyes. “It's just a coping mechanism applied in stressful situations. I am outgrowing it step by step, but I am done with that for now.... so, time for a kiss?”

“No, Jennifer-” Derek started recoiling a bit further away from the teen. This time, Stiles didn't follow, he just looked up at him with a look full of disbelief and pulled both of his eyebrows up.

“Jennifer what?” he wondered. “Is she afraid I will kiss the curse away perhaps?”

“I am telling you-”

“Well then there would be no harm done, right?” Stiles continued mercilessly. “And it would prove you can still make your own decisions.”

“I don't-”

“Prove it.”

“That's not how-”

“Yes it is, big guy, come on, prove it.”

“I am not-”

“Pfft, chicken.”

“No.”

“Grow some balls, will ya? Did she manage to castrate you with her own teeth while you were gone?” Stiles felt pretty confident about his plan, even though Derek growled and grabbed the front of his shirt forcefully, his teeth growing longer only a few inches away from his face, he still felt weirdly confident.

Peter growled in response, taking a step closer to them just as Tomasz did - except his uncle didn't growl of course – but Stiles just lifted his hand to stop them from approaching closer.

“No,” he said, not tearing his eyes off the werewolf in front of him.

“Stiles,” Peter growled warningly from behind him, being suddenly way closer than before. Stiles just shook his head slightly, waving his hand in the direction of the door.

He wanted to say something more, wanted to somehow explain how right this strategy felt, how good this might be if he succeeded, but he wasn't sure if he could formulate the right words for that. Luckily, Tomasz had him covered.

“Com on, Peter,” he beckoned, the dust around Isaac swirling so that he could move out of the room as well. “Com.”

“If it was my mate,” the Alpha pushed from between his pointy teeth, his expression murderous.

“Yu will nott safe her like dis. Leti it go, Alfa.” Tomasz muttered, grabbing Peter's biceps and pulled him out of the room by some unknown sort of power, which was somehow weird, because he wasn't using any magic, his eyes gently brownish. He managed to pull the Alpha out of the room to leave them alone anyways though.

Meanwhile, Derek let go of Stiles' shirt and turned away to walk out of the room as well.

“Coward,” Stiles muttered, knowing full well the werewolf could hear him. He looked down at his shirt to smooth out the wrinkles left by Derek's hand. And that was when Derek turned back to him, pointing his forefinger at him angrily.

You, I saved you so many times,” he hissed, poking Stiles' chest. “You should be more grateful. You should...”

“I saved you too, you know,” Stiles frowned, looking back at him stubbornly. He wasn't having any of his bullshit. Not anymore.

“That doesn't count, because if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have gotten in trouble in the first place,” Derek said, his voice still a bit growly.

“If it weren't for you meddling kids,” Stiles imitated ans then slapped the fingers off his chest angrily. “Listen to yourself. It's the curse!”

“There. Is. No. Curse. Stiles,” Derek bit off, moving in closer to intimidate him with the icy blue glow in his eyes, but yeah... as if that was gonna work.

“Look, I admit you are mister Grumpy McGrumpy even on good days, but this?” he snorted, waving his hand to gesture at Derek's whole body. “This ain't normal. I am sure you realize that somewhere in the back of your mind, so if you would just...”

“No, Stiles, nothing changed. I just finally realized the truth,” the werewolf shook his head, his tone mocking.

“Then what is blocking that thing?” Stiles exclaimed, not stopping to think about what his brain was talking about. If he did he would probably not understand where it all came from.

“What...?” Derek stared at the teen in confusion.

“That...thing,” Stiles frowned, suddenly realizing he didn't really know what “that thing” was, or did he? There was something between them, there always seemed to have been, ever since Stiles woke up in the preserve – the nagging sense of something in the back of his mind. The peace, the comfort, the...

“The...” he said uncertainly, reaching over to push his palm against Derek's chest as if he was trying to make sure if was really him there and not a hologram.

There was something, he knew. Something he needed to see. Something he will see if he could just take a proper look... his eyes suddenly felt hot and he had to blink a few times, because the warmth made them feel way too dry and that made them itch.

“It's jammed,” he said breathlessly, watching Derek's chest intently after he was done with the blinking. He watched the faint... light spread from behind his fingers, way too weak to shine through them, warm like summer sun.

There were just some little fragments of it, that managed to seep through swirling around his fingertips. Like the ones that flow above a fire and die out in the next instant. Like fireflies. Like... wait, that wasn't right, was it? It wasn't supposed to be this weak. No, it wasn't. He somehow knew it wasn't.

Stiles let his hand slide a little lower to make sure that it wasn't just his hand covering the light but no, there was something else... something weird and wrong and ugly plastered on top of it, something that didn't belong there. Something dampening the light, cutting off the connection, the bond, rendering it useless, forgotten.

“Why...?” he muttered, curling his fingers as if he could scrape off the glue on the werewolf's chest with his nails only. “If it isn't the curse then what is it?”

He looked up, following the path of the dying light/fireflies and realized there was more of it to see all over Derek. It was just the same as when Tomasz pushed his magic into Stiles to let him see the spell around his house, but this was somehow different, because there was no golden magic swirling around Derek. It looked different and yet just as beautiful.

“Wha...?” he exhaled, watching the blue fireflies circle Derek's head in a slow, lazy tornado.

He reached out and ran his hand through them, ignoring the confused look on Derek's face. The fireflies parted as if he ran his fingertips through water.

He watched them reassemble again, swirling a little faster to find their rhythm again. Some of them sped up then, some of them slowed down for the others to catch up to them in the loop and Stiles' breath hitched, because they were forming something – they were gathering into a shape, that looked indistinguishable at first but once they all fell into their space, Stiles finally realized what he was looking at.

It was a wolf made out of tiny blue lights. It turned around to look at him and he moved his hand up to touch the tip of it's ear. The light was just so mesmerizing...

“What are you...?” Derek started to ask, his voice merely a whisper, but he stopped once Stiles touched the ear of the wolf gently.

“Is that...?” Stiles asked as the ear jerked out of the way, disconnecting from his fingers. He couldn't feel it on his fingertips even while he was touching it. It felt as if he was grabbing air. All he could was see it...

He could see the wolf turn his head to whiff his hand and so he turned his hand palm up, enthralled by the level of response, given that it was just a wolf made out of light... who might have been some representation of Derek's werewolfy nature, but it still seemed too real to be that.

It sniffed at Stiles' palm and pushed its nose into it, cuddling to it with its nuzzle.

“Whoa...amazing...can you feel it?” Stiles wondered, not able to tear his eyes away from the glowing wolf, who moved his head around, smearing the little lights over the teen's hand.

They circled around his fingers and then returned into some other part of the wolf. And Stiles wasn't sure what to make of it, but it was probably the most unbelievable thing ever. It was incredible

“It's your wolf,” he informed Derek, the utter amazement seeping into his words.

The werewolf was oddly quiet though. And so Stiles looked down at him, keeping his hand up high to let the wolf cuddle to it a little more, although it was true he couldn't exactly feel any of it and he wouldn't even know it was happening unless he didn't activate his magical vision thing, but it still seemed like the right thing to do.

Speaking of the magical vision thing. Yeah... no, he will have get to that later, because he got distracted by the look Derek was giving him. It was probably the first stare that Stiles couldn't read at all. It might have been something similar to epiphany, because it looked vaguely similar to the face that Derek was usually making when being startled, but since it were all just different types of frowning, one couldn't exactly me sure.

“Uh sorry,” he muttered pulling his hand down again with a sheepish look on his face. The wolf transformed slowly back into the lethargically moving tornado as if embarrassed by it's behavior as well.

“I shouldn't have touched you like that, but... it just...it was so...,” Stiles muttered, wondering why his noted didn't mention the etiquette on touching the spiritual animal made out of magical light. It would have been quite helpful right now.

He thought Derek would just storm out of the room and never look back, but what happened next was a bit surprising. Okay well, more than a bit surprising, but Stiles had no time to think about the right wording, because in one moment, he was staring at Derek who was staring back at him – and the next he was being kissed by the said man.

That was quite... unexpected and Stiles didn't even move at first. Derek just moved to him with that nondescript look in his eyes and leaned over, closing his eyes in the process. He opened his mouth then and enveloped Stiles' lips in a kiss and yeah okay...

At first Stiles couldn't do more than stare at the long lashes flitting in front of his eyes. But then he closed his eyes as well and opened his mouth in response, swiping with the tip of his tongue over Derek's waiting one and that was when all thoughts left him.

He closed his lips, pressing them against Derek's in a brief kiss and then opened them again to touch the other man's tongue because... has it always been this smooth and warm and slippery in the most pleasant way? He couldn't help but wonder about it as he ran his tongue over Derek's, their lips sliding over each other unhurriedly.

Fuck, it was actually kinda intense – yes, more intense than when he woke up next to a naked Derek and they kissed. That was just arousal, just making the best of the moment... but this, this was something totally different. This was deep and meaningful and Stiles could feel it - not only in his lower regions, but also in his head. A connection, a bond... a feeling.

And nothing in the world would make him forget or ignore this ever again.

 

Chapter Text

 

Kissing Derek was the worst, Stiles concluded after the first two seconds and that was not because it felt bad, it was quite the contrary – it was because it felt way too good. He didn't even understand the reason for it, for it was far from perfect. Their lips were somehow way too wet from the open-mouthed contact and he had to keep his hand by his sides as to not reach over to the other man, so there was way too little contact for a heated kiss like that.

Be it as it may, his heart felt way too big for his chest anyways. It felt as if it was about to burst out of his chest and splatter its blood all over Derek to mark him... okay, now hold on, that was a very bad metaphor, a very bad one indeed and Stiles frowned, pulling a little away from Derek.

There was something, something he needed to let go, let loose, let grow over to the other man, but he couldn't. Not at that moment, not any time soon, because... well he couldn't exactly put it into words right there and then, but if he had to, it felt like a seed wanting to grow out of his chest, urging him to let it grow through his ribcage into a huge sturdy tree.

Except, that didn't seem to be a natural thing to do. Trees didn't just grow in a few seconds, no matter how much sun, water and nourishment you gave them. It took them years to grow into the strong monuments they were supposed to be. Not seconds, not minutes and definitely not hours. Years.

Forcing it to grow now would be stupid, Stiles decided, ignoring how weird that whole metaphor was, because he knew it represented something else. Something, he was not ready to admit out loud.

Yes, it indeed was the mating thing, you were right. He just wasn't sure it was for him, nor did he know, if Derek was... let's say “worth it all”. Oh yeah, he was attractive alright and Stiles would be ready to tap that, but his sparse knowledge of the other man was centered about vague flashback and that... that was not enough to fall in love with somebody seriously. Not in that way anyways.

This wasn't something that happened to young teens, who were too fickle to settle down, who were still changing... it was something, that happened to older people. To people who already knew who they were. And Stiles knew none of that. And so he stepped away from Derek, his lips tingling from the kiss, that was just too much of everything at once. It was amazing and it was scary and if he were to dwell on it now, he would probably mess something up.

That's why the rustle of clothes near the door leading into the living room was such a welcomed distraction. He looked over and grinned at Lydia watching them with a calculative look on her face, he perfect body leaning against the door frame.

“You are forgiven for not worshiping me anymore,” she nodded, her eyes sliding to his left and running up and down Derek's body in appreciation.

“Aww Lyds,” Stiles' smile widened at that, his eyes not moving away from her on purpose. “Don't be jealous.”

“In your dream, Stilinski,” she snorted, pushing her body off the door frame with her hips and turning away from him, as she headed back into the living room.

“Speaking of which,” he said, raising his voice so that she would hear him even if she sped up to get out of his sight faster. “I once had this dream...”

“I don't wanna know,” she informed him snappily, but he was so used to that, he barely registered the words. In fact, he basked in the normalcy of it, laughing out loud. Anything but going back to those deep deep feelings that were beginning to stir inside of him just a few minutes again.

“Oh and by the way,” Lydia said suddenly, turning around her head to glance at him over her shoulder. “I told the teachers your fever returned so you went back home, so I do hope you still got the sick leave from Peter.”

He wasn't sure he did, but Lydia didn't wait for the answer and walked further into the living room, her short skirt fluttering behind her.

Stiles gulped, crossing those three steps leading out of the room fastly to catch up to her, talking all the way.

“You know,” he started after the first step. “If you find it that hot watching us, then we could arrange a three-” He spotted Jackson standing right behind the corner with his arms folded over his chest. His face looked menacing.

“A tree-...a trip...to Antarctica...to cool you down, you naughty little thing,” Stiles nodded, trying to cover it up, but it probably just morphed into his cheeky grimace that already earned him a few pushes and shoves from various people.

(In case you were wondering, yes, Jackson was indeed one of them on various occasions and at different places, seen by various people, but yeah, he wasn't the one to remember it till he died to hold a grudge and wait for the best time to get his revenge. Come on, of curse not.)

Jackson didn't react to his slip, nor to his fast recovery for that matter, which was slightly disappointing. Why did Stiles bother correcting himself anyways? He never really did care what he said to Jackson's face. And the fact, that he is a part of his pack now, from whichever point of view you take it, shouldn't stop him either.

“Awh, come on, Jackson,” he cooed, grinning up at him to make up for the last ten seconds of politeness. “I know you don't like me, but if you want to stay, I suggest you at least-”

“Stop threatening me with Peter,” Jackson said flatly, staring at him unimpressed. When did his self/control get this good?

“Say what now...?” Peter quipped from his armchair, where he was sitting the laptop on his lap. Erica, Vernon and Isaac were occupying the couch, the blackthorn swirling gently around them as they settled down in various stages of curiosity.

“Oh nothing, Peter,” Stiles snorted, waving his hand in Jackson's direction. “He is just delirious from all the niceness around here.”

“He threatened to send you after me, if I don't tell my dad to lay off the sheriff,” Jackson jumped into the conversation, his tone gaining that little angry spark, that fueled Stiles' rude cheekiness.

“Oh come on,” he laughed, rolling his eyes excessively. “You and I both know that your-”

“Did you?” Peter interrupted him, pushing the laptop a bit away from him, staring at the teen with his right eyebrow higher than his left one. “Did you, Stiles?”

The teen turned reluctantly to get a better look at the face his Alpha was making and noted, that it in fact wasn't a very satisfied expression, that Peter chose for asking him about bullying Jackson. And come on, it wasn't really bullying... it's not like he...

“Well, I might have hinted something along the lines, but it was obviously not-,” he started defend himself. Against his own thought just as well as against Jackson's accusations.

“Yes it was,” the other teen cut in, turning back to Jackson just to have a clear view of the teen who was apparently a werewolf not and could attack him at any given minute. He wouldn't be able to get to him though, would he? Somebody would surely stop him, so there was nothing to fear.

“Oh, come on,” he frowned, pointing his finger at Jackson, his fear of getting hurt subsiding thanks to his previous reasonings. “Your dad is a total douche!”

Jackson hissed at that and Stiles barely had time to notice how weird that was for somebody who was supposedly a werewolf before was crowded by the other teen.

“Ssssay that again, Stilinski,” Jackson spat into his face and yes he was that close that Stiles could actually feel spit hitting his face. Ew.

“Say that again, I dare you,” the teen repeated threateningly. “Ripping your head off would be a child's play now... or maybe I could just poison you with my venom and laugh about how helpless you are. Well,” he smiled viciously, his teeth getting slightly pointy, “more than usual anyways.”

Stiles could feel goose bumps rising all over his skin, but he wouldn't let himself get threatened that easily. Not when Tomasz was around – leaning onto the wall in the hallway leading into the kitchen and watching them with interest. He would have definitely stepped in, if something or someone would decide to endanger Stiles, right? So what was there to be worried about?

“Pfft,” the teen breathed, lifting his hand to brush off the spit from his cheek with a disgusted look on his face. He turned around to Peter then, knowing full well he is leaving his back totally opened to his enemy, but maaan... what a sweet bait it must have been. Maybe it actually will get Jackson to attack him and then he would definitely be outed out of the pack.

“Why is he in the pack again...?” Stiles drawled, pointing his thumb over his shoulder. “There should have been a vote.”

“Stiles,” Peter poke up warningly.

“I am serious,” the teen continued mercilessly. He was so close. He could feel the menacing aura behind him getting stronger and stronger. Jackson won't be able to control himself any longer and then...

“Jackson,” the Alpha said, standing up in one swift movement, the laptop falling down onto the floor in a noisy clutter. His eyes did not flash and they didn't even have to, because the three newly-made werewolves covered slightly even without having to see the red wolfy headlights.

Stiles grinned and got ready to hear the scolding, but when he turned around to glance at the scared face of the teen behind him he only saw weariness, not fear.

Peter signed and bent down to pick up his laptop.

“Could you try to persuade your father, that going against the sheriff is not beneficial in any way?” he asked politely as he sat down into his armchair again, pushing some button on the keyboard repeatedly. “The sheriff is for now an extension of this pack and so by default on our side. I would prefer to keep it that way.”

Stiles honest to god whipped his head around and gaped at Peter. This was not how he imagined this to continue. And that wasn't even all of it.

“And Stiles,” Peter said, not lifting his eyes from the laptop screen. “Would you mind to not antagonize Jackson anymore? You should know by now, that one can't choose their parents and since mister Whittemore adopted Jackson at a slightly older age when nobody else wanted him anymore, he will of course be very sensitive about the whole topic.”

“Sensitive,” Stiles snorted, looking around to share a laugh with the people around him. Nobody was laughing though. What was the matter with them? This was Jackson! He was born to be antagonized by Stiles. It went against nature to not to.

It...the teen looked over at the other, their eyes meeting for fleeting moment where Jackson refused to avoid his eyes, gazing stubbornly at him, his expression daring him to say anything else about him and his father.

And at that moment... at that moment when Stiles averted his eyes in something akin to shame, he realized that he did exactly what he prided himself in not ever doing to anyone ever. He bullied Jackson back just because so used to it... he was so used repaying all that psychic torture, that he didn't even realize how wrong it was.

And yes, this was Jackson. Jackson, who bad-mouthed Stiles and his dad ever since kindergarden, ever since they first met. But wasn't that the cause of it all? He couldn't have know Stiles back then, he didn't know him at all, he barely knew the sheriff from a few official meetings his father dragged him too. So it only made sense that he just took his father's opinions and paraded them around as his own. Especially if having mister Whittermore in the first place seemed like a slight miracle to a little boy, who was supposedly unwanted for a long time.

Stiles knew that feeling well, didn't he? Probably in not such an extent and of course the feeling was in his case born later in his life. A lot later. When he was lying on the bed in Eichen house, wondering if his dad will ever come back to pick him up or he will stay there forever, because his head could not be fixed.

The main point of it all was though, he knew Peter was right. He was being childish with this all. He was being childish, trying to get back at Jackson for something...yes okay, he was totally guilty of some of the things, since his father definitely didn't force him to make Stiles' life so miserable, but come on... let's think about this logically.

Was it really that bad? Was it really... when he knew for a fact, that teenagers tended to overexaggerate every little thing? Oh and Stiles knew for a fact they did because he was one of them still and life, oh life seemed like a mess of Jackson throwing insults at him at every possible moment, but when he thought back on it...

When he really thought back on it, logically, not through this window of hate that he built after their first meeting, it were really just a few remarks here and there. A few snorts, a few pushes and shoves...which, let's be really honest for a second here. If he were to compare that to what he and Scott had been through, to all the arguments they have had / arguments where they sometimes yelled very hurtful things at each other, mostly because of Scotts unhealthy relationship with his dad and Stiles' obsession of getting them in trouble – well then Jackson's minor teasing seemed like nothing really.

“You are right,” Stiles signed, shaking his head slightly as he turned back to Peter. “I hope you are happy now, not many people get to prove me wrong, ya know.”

“I can imagine,” the Alpha said, grinning up at him. “Now, apologize.”

“What? No,” Stiles frowned, folding his arms over his chest in disagreement. It was one thing to admit that Peter was right about accusing him of acting like an asshole. It was a totally different one being asked to apologize to his ex-enemy for acting like an asshole.

“It's not like he ever apologized for all the fucked up things he said,” the teen argued, waving his hand in Jackson's direction. The werewolf/hissy thing stepped away a little to avoid his long fingers.

“Stiles.”

“Noo, no no, I am serious, Peter,” Stiles said, his eyebrows riding up his forehead. “There is no way I apologize before this asshole of a person does so. Like, you can bark and bite and flash those red eyes of yours, but this is not happening. Not before-”

“I'm sorry,” came from behind Stiles and that made him shut up. Because, no matter how reluctant that sounded, it was an apology alright.

“I beg you pardon,” Stiles gaped, looking behind at Jackson, who frowned back at him silently. “Could you repeat that?”

“You heard me all well, Bilinski,” Jackson sneered. “Now get on with you apology so that we can stop fucking around.”

“Oh if you think I would even fuck-”

“Stiles,” Peter interrupted him once again, quirking his eyebrow as he waved his hand around gracefully – like a king permitting a peasant to speak.

“Oh for fuck's sake,” Stiles groaned, throwing his head back in surrender. He then turned back to Jackson, took a deep breath in and said. “I am sorry, jackass.”

That was when Erica started to clap and laugh loudly from the couch and everybody joined her on some level or another. It wasn't until Stiles smiled too, that he realized, that this pack thing might work out for all of them after all.

 

~o~

 

“So,” Stiles started as he followed into the hallway after the retreating Derek. The rest of their almost-pack settled down into the living room, deciding what movie to watch, because apparently, having the pack around would help the three new members chill.

But Stiles had his eyes on Derek and he was right to do so, because as soon as they all started bickering what movie to watch on Peter's huge flat screen, the said werewolf used the moment of random chaos and slipped out of the room.

“So, I am guessing the kiss didn't work much,” Stiles pointed out, nodding in the direction of Derek's hand that was winded around the door handle.

“No,” the werewolf agreed, not looking up at him.

“Three time might do the trick,” Stiles joked, because the awkward mood that set itself over the hallways was making him ramble. “Three being a magical number and all that.”

“Even if there was a curse, you wouldn't be able to...,” Derek growled, pushing himself off the door to look at the teen finally. His eyes were glowing dimply, a confused look on his face. “You are not my tr-”

“I get it,” Stiles jumped in shrugging. It was easy for him to stay nonchalant about the whole thing now. It was not like he knew what he would lose if Derek decided to catch some other fish in the lake of life after all. Maybe that would be for the best. He wasn't sure he was ready for this kind of a commitment with someone who he didn't know properly. He didn't even know his favorite TV show for Pete's sake.

“I get it, you don't know anything about me, just as I don't know much about you,” Stiles concluded logically. “The fact that kissing you is probably the best... ehm, well none of that means much if we would have to go for the big prize. Is that what you were thinking?”

“Not really,” Derek frowned, the dim light in his eyes dying out as he scanned the teen's face, the confusion deepening for some reason.

“Okay, it does mean something,” Stiles added, his poker-face mask slid tightly onto his own. “I mean chemistry is of course a good thing to have, but that is not everything you guys look for in a mate, right? It's about choosing the most suitable partner for forwarding your genes.”

“What the fu-...no,” Derek argued, his frown deepening so much, Stiles was worried it might get into his eyes somehow. “That wasn't what I was-”

“Well I obviously can't further your line, so-”

That was when Derek, pushed him to the wall and covered his mouth his his palm and Stiles didn't really fight it. Actually, he was kind of hoping for it to happen, that why he set himself on the path of playing the most annoyingly dumb person of all even after reading on on the mates in Peter's lores.

“Do you ever shut up?” Derek snapped, his fingers digging slightly into Stiles' cheek. It didn't hurt though, not at all, it was just a gentle measured movement. But Stiles could still see Tomasz' eyes on them from the edge of the couch which he was occupying.

“I know full well you are trying to reel me up just the way you tried it with that lizard there,” the werewolf whispered harshly, his eyes digging into Stiles'. “But it won't work on me, not like this. I saw you reading the chapters in the books and since you don't strike me as someone that stupid to forget every word of it... stop playing your mind games already, it won't work on me.”

Stiles expected him to walk away angrily at that, but none of that happened. Derek staying right there, towering over him, although he wasn't exactly that higher compared to him and stared at him waiting. Waiting for what?

Oh, for the confirmation that he will stop? Well, two could play that game. In face, Stiles started with licking his hand just like he always did with Scott when they were children. You wouldn't believe how fast Derek's hand let go of him then, nor how loud his growl was.

“Oh come on, don't be such a Sourwolf,” Stiles snorted, watching the werewolf looking at him in disgust, his hand moving over his hip to get rid of the saliva of one annoying teen.

“Don't,” Derek ordered, watching him cautiously as if he was afraid Stiles would jump on his and lick him all ov-...oh. Yeah, no, we are not going there.

“Don't what...? Make up fun nicknames for you? Why? Is the big bad wolf bothered by my silly words?” he grinned, making a step closed to him.

“Or is it the opposite?” Stiles joked, waggling his eyebrows around in a suggestive manner, which might have been more silly than suggestive, but ya know, it's the thought that counts.

“Stop imitating him,” Derek snapped, stepping away from the teen, the angry confusion returning to his face.

“Oh, you mean this?” Stiles challenged, putting his hands on his hips. He tried to recall the situation from just a few minutes ago, when he wanted to see more, when he wanted to see through the normal reality, when he wanted to... and it was easier this time, so much easier, because he already managed to do it once and now that he knew where the switch was hiding, doing the small effort to turn it off was easy.

And so, once he exhaled, he could feel his eyes drying up again and blinked a few times, but there it was again – the lights. The beautiful blue lights swirling all around Derek. He expected them to be agitated, to be angry, but the pattern gave Stiles more of a happy impression for some reason.

“I am him, you know,” he whispered, sliding his eyes down Derek's face and over his tense neck, slowly onto the chest, that still had that disgusting black... smoke covering it.

“And that,” the teen said, pointing at the werewolf's chest, where the dark matter expanded lazily as if it was worried to be ripped from the light if was covering relentlessly. “That is jut a curse.”

Derek looked down at his chest and slid his palm over the front of his shirt, but f course it didn't do a thing to the black substance there. His hand just passed through as if nothing happened.

“I am sure you can feel it too, even if you can't see it. Or at least the wolf seems to,” Stiles said, noticing how the blue lights won't go near Derek's chest, in fact, they went out of their way to avoid stray that way.

Derek's eyes landed on the floor and he frowned, his irises moving from left to right as if he was really concentrating. Stiles was grateful for the benefit of doubts, because it made the werewolf use his brain for once and try to find the truth even if he might have been compelled not to believe it.

It took only a few seconds before he started talking again. “It...it might be,” he said, shaking his head while saying thee words.

“But I... I can't,” he added, tearing his hand from his chest. He then turned and reached for the door handle again, pushing it to open the door. “I have to go.”

“Wait, no, where do you wanna...?” Stiles asked, reaching out of the werewolf, but his hand never touching a thing, because the blackness covering Derek's chest was slowly expanding over his back as well. What the fuck?

“I need to see Jennifer,” Derek answered without any feeling whatsoever and opened the door.

Stiles panicked as he watched him cross the threshold, but not because he was leaving, but because he saw the black matter creating a weird kind of corset around Derek's torso and it felt as if it would suffocated him at any moment and it definitely would if Stiles would stop him, would it?”

The blue lights escaped higher, cruising only above Derek's head. Looking slow and scared and Stiles hated that, he hated it so why was there nothing he could do about it? Obviously not a true-love's kiss, that was a fun joke while it lasted but some magic, something, anything. He couldn't just watch it happen, no matter what the future might be for them, Derek was an innocent man who didn't deserve being enslaved by that woman.

And that's when he saw it. The tiny glimmer of some kind of thread coming out of Derek's retreating back. It was the same exact like that the dark matter was trying to cover and was succeeding at it this whole time, so Stiles didn't notice the really thin fiber of it managing to slide in between the particles of darkness.

But it was there and it was reaching out to him, like a gentle piece of a spider's web floating around in the wind of an Indian summer. Like the last glimpse of sunshine before the stormy clouds covered the sky. And that was all he needed.

Stiles run over and reached out his hand to grab the end if the thread. He grabbed it and it should have gone through his fingers like a ghost, just like all the other lights he had seen through his magical vision, but this time it didn't happen. Maybe because he expected it to, maybe because he was really wishing it wouldn't or maybe because it worked differently with these weird threads leaving people's body. The fact was he was able to somehow grab it between his fingers and pull onto it.

Derek stopped. The nape of his neck moved as he glanced down onto his chest and the brought his hand up to slide over his forehead as if feeling sick. Before he could collect himself again and walk away though, Tomasz appeared next to Stiles, his eyes glowing in the same shade of melted gold glittering on sunlight as his own did.

“Now iz chanse,” Stiles's uncle said and lifted his hand so that the teen could see the sigil on I, which was painted in a red colors that suspiciously reminded him of blood. It probably was blood too.

Stiles wanted to ask what the sign means, he wanted his uncle to explain, but at the same time he was worried that Derek might slip away from them and the moment passes without solving anything and so he just watched his uncle silently asking for guidance.

Tomasz pointed at Derek's shoulder blade and Stiles nodded, lifting his free hand to push it into the darkness. He slid it through and pressed it against the fine material of Derek's shirt. It didn't do anything. Not until his uncle put his hand onto Stiles' and pressed the blood sigil against the back of his hand.

And then there was light. Literally, because Tomasz boosted his tattoo and ran the magic through his hand, which grew warmer. Stiles could feel the skin heating up from underneath his palm, seeping in through their fingers, reaching out, singing silently.

The darkness recoiled like an angry snake, sliding out of the reach of the warmth. Stiles moved his hand together with Tomasz' and slid his fingers over Derek's chasing it even further away up until it disappeared to the front of the werewolf's torso.

And as he wanted to step around to try and destroy it from covering up Derek's metaphorical heart or the chakra center or whatever that glowing thing in the middle of his chest was, Tomazs tore his hand from Derek's shoulder blade, the light gone from his eyes and grabbed Stiles to stop him from chasing after the darkness.

“It can nott bee destroyd like dis,” he said shaking his head sadly. “It would kill host. Dat iz why I could nott do it wis yu too, wenn dat woman jinxed yu. It needz to starve and die it self. We can jut chase away for wile.”

“But,” Stiles said, pulling his hand out of his uncle's hold. “How do we starve it then?”

He could feel Derek moving in front of them, so he reached over and grabbed his shoulder with his freed hand to stop him from running away just in case the black matter compelled him to do so in retaliation.

“It will die wenn she wont have oportunity to feed it.” Tomasz explained, sliding his fingers over his tattoo to shake off the last remains of its magical glow. “Just as iz did wis yu.”

“How long will that take though?” Stiles asked, squeezing Derek's shoulder, as if that would squeeze the curse out of him too.

It wasn't like they could keep the werewolf locked down somewhere, although they could do so technically, the curse would make sure they wouldn't succeed in one way or another. Maybe by suffocating Derek, maybe by...

“Deependz,” his uncle shrugged, tearing Stiles out of the stream of worry. He watched his uncle turn his head and look over at the young werewolf, who was just standing there silently watching them both.

“How are yu feelink?” Tomasz asked and Stiles turned his head as well to have a look at Derek. He was almost afraid to see the results of their magical cleansing or whatever that was. But Derek looked surprisingly okay.

“Better,” he nodded and then rolled his shoulder to shrug off Stiles. The teen let go of him and slid his eyes down the shoulder to his chest, but he couldn't see anything anymore. Not because there wasn't any curse on Derek anymore, but because his eyes gave out right after Tomasz stopped fueling the ritual – he could only see the usual human stuff.

“Oh,” he said, looking down into his palm and opening it up. He kinda hoped to see the glittering thing thread there, but of course he couldn't. He just hoped he didn't tear it out or something.

“Thanks,” Derek said and smiled. That was probably the first time he actually smiled near Stiles and it was a sigh to behold alright, even if it was directed more at Tomasz than at him.

Stiles opened his mouth to say something as well, but then there was a ring at the door and they all startled watching the intercom in the hallway ring a few times before Peter walked over to it and picked up. He pressed the button under the screen and then buzzed the main entrance to the apartment open for somebody.

“You better come inside before the delivery boy sees any of your shenanigans,” Peter said, his voice accompanied by the noise of a summoned elevator.

 

~o~

 

“Honestly, how can you not like mushrooms on your pizza?” Erica complained while nudging Isaac with her own piece covered with heaps of them.

“Ew” Isaac answered, swatting at her hand as he reached over for the one covered in way too much cheese.

“I won't wike mushroom eiwer,” said Vernon with his mouth full of the same pizza as Issac was stuffing his mouth with at that moment.

“You are both death to me,” Erica muttered, leaning away from them to look at Lydia's empty plate.

“Please don't tell me you won't eat because you need to keep your weight in check or I swear to God,” the blonde girl continued, waving the uneaten slice of pizza around like a sword.

“I have a perfect metabolism, mind you,” Lydia said authoritatively, reaching over to pluck a piece of Erica's pizza out of the box and guiding it to her mouth elegantly. She didn't even smear her lipstick as she pushed a huge amount of pizza into her mouth.

“Is that a banshee thing?” Vernon wondered from the other side of the couch, staring at the strawberry blond in a slight disgust, because she was consuming mushrooms as if it was nothing.

“Not everything has to have a supernatural reason,” Jackson rolled his eyes from where he sat on the floor next to Lydia's legs, picking out the corn from his pizza and piling it up on his plate, before biting off his slice.

“What is it like anyways?” Stile wondered from thee carped opposite of the couch. Sadly they were the last to reach the living room so there were no seat free for them anymore, but being exiled to the carpet with a chill Derek was not exactly the worst thing of all.

It reminded him of when they had a movie night at home and he always used to sit on the carpet to be closer to the popcorn bowl.

“Being this amazing? It's draining alright,” Lydia answered, throwing her hair over her shoulder before she reached for another slice of pizza. “Oh, you mean the banshee thing? Nothing I couldn't handle, of course.”

Jackson looked over at her and patted her knee before reaching out to grab another slice from a box.

“Why don't you jut take a different one, that doesn't have any corn on it?” Stiles wondered aloud, grabbing the corn pizza to pull it closer to him before Jackson could munch down all of it.

“Because I want that one, just without corn,” Jackson shrugged and continued picking out the corn. “Got a problem with that, Stilinski?”

“Yes, I do. Especially if it means you waste all that perfectly perfect corn,” he argued, pulling the box off the table to put it into his lap.

“You can have the corn back then,” Jackson said, flicking a little corn seed Stiles' way. It didn't reach the teen though, because Erica kicked into her pizza box and the lid flew up like a shield.

“Whoa, thanks,” Stiles grinned up at her and then glared at Jackson, who grinned back in answer.

“You're welcome, Robin,” Erica winked and then opened her mouth to stuff the whole slice of pizza into her mouth. She didn't manage it, but it was an impressive sight anyways. It was weird how comfortable they all suddenly were around each other.

“Wait a minute!” Stiles jumped up a little, leaning over the edge of the table to glance Erica in the eye. The pizza box slid under the table from his lap. “Robin? Are you kidding me, I ain't no sidekick. I would be Batman if nothing else.”

“Batman is lame,” Vernon said and Stiles gaped at him with an opened mouth, although he still had some uneaten pizza inside.

“I beg you pardon?” he asked after a few seconds. “I beg you pardon?!?”

“Come on, he couldn't even build his own gear the way Tony Stark did, he had to buy it,” Vernon reasoned, biting off the vegetarian pizza slice covered in green stuff.

“But it's the Batman,” Stiles moaned, sitting back down and reaching out under the table to grab his pizza box back. It wasn't there. Jackson already pulled it out from there and put it on the table in front of him. Stiles just rolled his eyes and reached over for the special cheesy one instead.

“Back me up on this guys,” he said after he put his newly acquired slice onto his plate. “This is Batman we are talking about. A superhero extraordinaire.”

“Yeah, but I mean it's DC,” Lydia scoffed and slid a strain of her hair behind her ear. “The whole franchise is kinda lame.”

“Mhmm,” Jackson agreed, nodding as he ate his pizza.

“No waaay, don't tell me you are all Marvel people!” Stiles whined, taking his pizza slice and pointing at Jackson and Lydia who nodded, fueling his despair. This was a whole new level of betrayal, his pack can't be an exclusively Marvel-pack! That would be a scandal.

“Don't look at me,” Erica said as she leaned into the couch, patting her stomach. “I am bi in this one.”

“Isaac? Come on, man,” Stiles pleaded, shaking the slice of pizza in his direction. “Don't you betray me too.”

“I like the Spiderman,” the curly blond teen said, shrugging as if it wasn't a big deal.

“Not you too Brutus!?” Stiles wailed, throwing the slice of pizza back into the box. Boyd reached over into the box, pushed the slice away with his finger and took a different one to munch on.

“Before you accuse me of stabbing you in the back, I am not much into comics so, I don't exactly care,” Vernon said, chewing his pizza peacefully.

“That's even worse!” Stiles exclaimed, turning to his last hope – to the two sitting on the armchair. Or well to Peter hogging the armchair and Tomasz leaning against the armrest on the left side.

“Help me out here guys!” the teen begged, watching them with eyes full of hope, which was crushed instantly when Tomasz shrugged and Peter shook his head.

“I do nott read komixs. I like books bettr,” his uncle explained. “And me wifey readz manga.”

“Okay, that is a plus point for her right there, but we are talking about DC here, guys. I bet you know all like Constantine, huh? That a DC thing too,” he said, trying to sway them to his side.

“Constantine you say?” Peter spoke, taking a napkin to press it against his lips. “That would be the exorcist now would it?”

“Yes! Yes, exactly! See?” Stiles grinned, waving his hands at Peter as he looked around the room triumphantly. He only got sour looks or indifference as an answer.

“Oh, don't look at me,” Peter snorted, kicking his enthusiasm down to the ground. Well it was already on the ground after all the shared looks from the rest of the almost-pack, now it was more like on the bottom of the ocean.

“You should rather look at Derek,” Peter grinned, his perfectly white teeth glinting in the sunlight. “He had a whole room covered in comic posters when he was younger. And if I remember correctly, he even user to paint pentagrams all over room, exorcise me on various occasions and smoke cigarettes behind the shed – all in vain hope to be like that Constantine person.”

Stiles' head whipped around that fast, he almost heard his vertebrae snap.

“No way,” he breathed, watching Derek frown at his uncle, his pizza slice halfway up to his mouth.

“It's true,” Peter sneered. “My-”

He stopped abruptly then, his eyes glazing over in some kind of a weird flashback, but Stiles didn't see that, nor did he concentrate on that, because he was way too focused on Derek being embarrassed by the big revelation.

He also didn't notice Tomasz putting his hand into Peter shoulder and whispering something into his ear, that made the Alpha blink a few times and restore his previous expression in one long exhale.

“You liked Constantine that much?” Stiles grinned at Derek, flailing around. “Then... surely...”

“Yes, I like Batman too,” Derek admitted reluctantly, staring down at his slice of pizza as if it personally offended him.

“Ha, I knew it!” Stiles exclaimed, reaching out his fist to Derek. “Someone here definitely has a good taste in stuff, not like these dorks all around. That deserves a fist bump, man.”

The werewolf didn't react, just lifted his pizza and chewed on it. He then looked over at the teen, lifted his eyebrow as his eyes skidded over the extended hand and kept on chewing.

“Come on, you Sourwolf, one DC fan to another,” Stiles cooed, shaking his fist as he grinned like the freaking teletubbies sun.

“I've never said-”

“It's too late for that! I saw it in your eyes! I saw it in your soul!” the teen argues, moving his fist even closer as he waited for the bump excitedly. “Which one I your DC favorite, aside from Constantine (?), because that is a totally main-stream pick. I bet you got a better one.... based on the comics of course, not on the movies, because we can't blame the movies for messing up with the DC franchise, so... is it the Green Lantern? The Flash? The Nightwing?”

When Derek didn't answer, Stiles decided to use threats. “I won't stop until you name your tribute!”

“I guess the Watchmen then,” the werewolf shrugged, pushing the last piece of his slice into his mouth. “Like Rorschach or Doctor Manhattan.”

“That I one damn good pick,” Stiles grinned, bumping Derek's shoulder gently when he didn't make a move to do so himself. “Damn right it is.”

He turned around to grin at the rest of them in victory but they were already busy talking about other stuff, not paying any attention to him and his DC tirade.

Lydia and Erica were talking about some make up bullshit, that Stiles didn't want to get involved in, while Jackson leaned over to the guys talk over the last season of hockey, which whoa stereotypic much? Isaac seemed to have been thinking the same, given all the shrugs he was giving Jackson. Hockey was obviously not his thing.

“Well, that's just disappointing,” Stiles signed and reached over for the slice of pizza he threw back into the box, nipping on it.

“If that makes you feel better, I also like the Sin City,” Derek admitted, leaning back onto his hands to stare at Stiles.

“No, shut up,” he grinned, turning back to him.

“I do, I had the limited edition of-”

“No freaking way!”

 

~o~

 

Stiles was lying on the carpet as they watched the Notebook, because Lydia is th queen of arguments and somebody should just send her to all war meeting to negotiate peace. Derek was sitting on his right, his knee touching Stiles' arm when he moved it around and Tomasz was sitting on his left, reading something on Peter's laptop. It was all quite chill. Actually Stiles could actually get used to such a chill atmosphere every now and then.

He pushed himself of the carpet with his elbows and leaned onto them as he stared onto Tomasz' screen. And the fact that it required him to push his arm against Derek's knee was just a slight bonus.

“What's that you're reading?” he whispered his questions, not wanting to distract people from the movie. Even if it wasn't his style of a movie, one just wasn't supposed to talk too much while being in the same room as people enjoying it. That was just common sense.

“It iz new ritual friend from Ostria tried,” his uncle answered, his concentration trained on the screen. It seemed to have been something important enough, that he was so focused.

“What kind of a-” he started to ask, leaning in closer to glance at the text. He only managed to spot a few German words, before Tomasz closed the laptop and smiles.

“Well aren't yu curios,” he said, pushing him a bit to the side, which made Derek move away awkwardly, else Stiles would have ended up in his lap in one way or another. “First yu need learn more. Waking iskra iz eazy, using it properlie iz nott.”

“It was definitely easier than moving Blackthorn around,” Stiles muttered, extending his arm upwards under the table to poke at the dust lying there in a neat oval around the couch where the three new werewolves sat dozing off.

“Dat iz even mor eezy,” Tomasz nodded, looking back at the line of dust and making it swirl a little around Stiles' fingers.

“Yeah well,” Stiles pouted, sliding his fingers through the dust. “I will learn how to do it one day, dontcha worry about that. It's just... it's the simplest things that I have always problem with, ya know. Take chemistry: Hit me up on any decay chain, I can start reciting that right now, but write down a simple reaction of burning? I stood there for % minutes before I figured that out.”

“Yu sink so?” Tomasz grinned, putting the laptop aside to stretch down next to him. He looked under the table to watch the dust swirl around Stiles' fingers and pointed at it. “en how are yu doing dat?”

“Eh, what?” Stiles frowned, looking over at his fingers as the dust settled around them without any movement.

“I wasn't...,” He moved his index finger and a part of Blackthors followed, swirling around it. He then moved his pinky and the dust stopped, sliding into his palm and curling there like a sleepy snake.”

“But...how?” Stiles looked over at Tomasz, who was leaning his cheek against his folded arms. “I couldn't even.”

“Who do yu sink opened Izaaks sirkle?” his uncle mused, his eyebrows rising up in questions.

“Uh, nobody?” Stiles frowned, turning his hand to spill the Blackthorn on the carpet. It swiveled up to the line and settled on it. “I thought it just broke on itself?”
“Impossible,” snorted Tomasz.

“But Erica's-”

“I open dat one for Peter,” his uncle explained, looking up at the Alpha, who was tapping something onto his phone. He looked a bit concerned, but Stiles was submerged into his conversation with Tomasz way too much to notice.

“But if it can't be broken by a werewolf and you didn't break it then,” Stiles repeated aloud, feeling very stupid. “How did I...? I didn't... what?”

“I guessed yu did nott belief it would hold,” Tomasz shrugged looking back at him, his legs dangling in the air as he lied on his stomach.

“Huh,” Stiles mused, putting his head onto his folded arms as well. “So... that's all it takes?”

He looked up and flicked is finger, making a part of the line swoosh away from the line and then back into it.

„Yez, onse yor brain knows how to do it,“ Tomasz commented distractedly, looking up at Peter again, who was frowning now. “It iz no big... wat iz wrong? Peter?”

“It would seem,” the Alpha muttered, looking at the screen of his phone as if he did not believe what he saw. “It would seem the Alpha pack decided to pay us a visit.”

Chapter Text

 

 

The Alpha pack. One of the things listed in his notes under the biggest threads for their pack. Other than that, he haven't been able to read up on them into detail in Peter's lores yet, so Erica's immediate question came in handy

“The Alpha pack? The self-established werewolfy police?” she asked from where she was cuddled against Isaac, her questions echoing in the suffocatingly deep silence. “Didn't you say they'll come some day for sure? And that's why you invited them. Why is that so surprising then?”

“Dey said coming later,” Tomasz explained, getting up from the carpet to look at Peter's smartphone over him shoulder. “So why now alreadie?”

“They did, but my contacts told me otherwise. They wouldn't be lying, not about this,” he said, frowning down at his phone as if the information on it would change by some miracle.

“Louis could be paying us a visit tomorrow already. With all his Alphas,” Peter growled. “This is the information about the flight tickets and rented room in a hotel in San Francisco.”

“Butt dat does nott meen-” Tomasz, started, but was interrupted by an impatient wave of the Alpha's hand.

“It does, trust me,” he said, locking the phone and trowing it onto the small table in front of him, his mood brooding. “I should have known this would happen. Extending a polite invitation to them... I should have known they would go behind my back to try to catch me off-guard.”

He got up from the armchair and started pacing in front of the flat screen, his face distorted in concentration.

The Notebook played in the background in silence, because Lydia pushed the silencing button as soon as she heard the words “Alpha pack” and nobody else dared to say anything, as if they were all scared to interrupt Peter's thinking, which made Stiles realize, they have all already known this all.

They all knew what risks it would bring to accept a place in the pack and one of the biggest risks, which was a meeting with an Alpha pack, was obviously unavoidable at this point. It was probably especially dangerous, because the Alpha pack thought of themselves as some kind of a werewolf police, that needed to have everything under control. Every born wolf, every turned wolf and every rogue and such?

That was all Stiles could figure out till now, given that he didn't have much information to begin with. It was not like that made him feel any better.

“Wee haw to play dis smart, Peter,” Tomasz said urgently, breaking the void of sounds, which made some of them relax slightly. The silence was starting to draw them crazy.

“Do nott panik now,” Stiles' uncle added, his voice laced with a command. Even if it didn't have such a strong impact as when Peter turned on his supernatural mojo, it was still something that made the Alpha's eyes flash in irritation.

“I am not panicking,” he bit out, stopping in front of the edge of the flat screen. “I am thinking. There is a difference. The one leads to our destruction and the other gives us a chance. Now would you just-”

“We need Jennifer,” Derek jumped in, pushing himself to his feet as well, his eyes desperate. “We need her.”

“Derek,” Stiles said, shaking his head slightly as he reached out for him. But the werewolf moved out of his reach without even looking at him and Stiles could only imagine the black matter spreading over his chest once again, using the situation to breed conflict between them and Derek.

“We do need her. I told you she wants to join us. She wants to help. She would be an asset,” the werewolf continued, his voice urgent. “She would helps us against the Alpha pack. With her help, they wouldn't even...”

Peter and Tomasz shared a look at that and Stiles got worried they might even consider it because the situation would push them into the corner that much. He hoped that would not be the case though. He hoped. There wasn't really anything else he could do after all, was there? Or maybe...

“Can we help somehow?” Lydia spoke up, looking up at them from over a file, styling her nails.

It might have looked like she wasn't taking it all serious, but Stiles knew better. He knew she used to bite her nails when she was nervous back in the kindergarden and this was probably just some healthier alternative. He was infatuated with he for such a long time, that he didn't even found it weird knowing a tidbit like this. What did make him feel weird was the past tense he automatically labeled the feeling with just now.

“I mean,” she continued. “Alphas or not they are still werewolves, so it can't be that-”

“I can't take any of you,” Peter shook his head, his eyes sliding over the members of his pack with something akin to... what was it? Nostalgia? Regret? Stiles couldn't really pinpoint it, but it wasn't very pleasant.

“But we want to help,” Erica joined, pushing herself into a sitting position, her back straight and confident. There was a murmur of agreement erupting all over the room.

“No,” Peter repeated, harshly this time. “You are all way too new for this, way too vulnerable, way too unexperienced.”

“We can fight,” Vernon said calmly. “It's not like we have never-”

“Dis is different,” Tomasz jumped in to side with Peter.

“You know nothing about werewolf fighting, they would tear you apart,” Peter added, not sugar-coating anything for them. He even bared his slightly pointed teeth by pulling his lips apart to add some visual stimuli to it all. Stiles gulped imagining it.

“We could learn-” someone picked it up again.

“No, there is not enough time,” the Alpha said, his patience with them quite remarkable at this point. “If I were to take you, you would only be in the way. He would use it and go for you first - I know, because I would do that same if I was him.”

“You said they might not want to fight,” Isaac joined the conversation for the first time. “They might just-”

“Yeah, we might be worrying for nothing,” Jackson agreed, flicking the corn from one side of his plate to the other.

“Don't be so naive,” Peter snorted. “I have not smeared honey around your mouth when I explained the situation. There is a chance he won't attack us, of course there is. But Louis is vicious and he is dangerous and the fact that he is coming earlier, unannounced, is not exactly him waving a white flag. It's meant to caught us off guard.”

“And if we all go to the surprise meeting, if we all show up, ready to fight? He will take that as a provocation, trust me. And he will eradicate us. Supernatural creatures or not – Alphas are stronger, faster and more experienced than any of you. Vicious and dangerous.”

Hearing those word, Stiles had a sudden déjà vu feeling of already hearing them. Except it wasn't exactly déjà vu if it really did happen, was it? So where did he... he tried to think back on where he saw that expression before and his mind supplied a picture of a piece of paper stuck inside a folder. Ah, there we go... his notes from the future. Duh, what else.

“Just vicious and dangerous,” Stiles said out of nowhere, making most of them look his way, because it was neither a question, nor a sarcastic comment and that seemed weird for such a constellation of words. Not to mention the pack was already talking about something else.

“That's what I said before, yes,” Peter frowned. The teen's comment must have thrown him off tracks because he didn't manage to dismiss it in time and Stiles could easily continue.

“No, I mean,” he shook his head, lifting his finger to add an air comma to his sentence by bending it after the first word. “Just, vicious and dangerous. Just as in... honorable, righteous. It's what my notes said. The only thing they said about them. 'Just' being underlined three times, if I might add.”

Since that was the only thing his notes revealed about the Alpha pack, it mus have been a very relevant information. More important than the actual explanation. Future Stiles' priorities always had a logical reason, so there must be some hidden reason behind this revelation as well. Unless it was just because the future Stiles ran out of time to write something more. But still, what were the odds?

Peter signed, looking away from him like an parent that ran out of patience with what their kid was saying because it was simply nonsense. And the teen knew that look well, far too well, because it was similar to the one his dad used to give him, when he was babbling.

That didn't manage to silence him though. A flashback of a childhood memory never could. Not even if it was slightly emotionally jarring. Not this time. Not when it could actually help them – well fuck, colour him surprised, he was really gonna go along with the notes, is he?

“No, Peter, it does mean something,” he said, his voice as hard as steel. Shit, he was really doing it. But he had to. It was him, it will be him writing those notes in the future, he can't ignore the lead. He can't ignore his own sacrifice much longer.

“It has to,” he added desperately when he saw the tone didn't exactly work out the way he wanted it to. Come on.

The Alpha shook his head as he ran his fingers through his hair. He looked truly troubled and for a second, Stiles felt bad for being such an annoying little shit that he was and if he was any less of a pushover, he would have definitely backed off and left the adults to their own planning.

But that was not him now, was it? Not at all. Besides, he had to do this... why have a book full of kinda-prophecies when one wouldn't use it? Except that wasn't the real reason he decided to go along with it now, was it? There was more.

Peter must have seen that resistance in his eyes, because he looked him straight in the eye and uttered: “I can not base my whole strategy on the fact, that a power-hungry Alpha of all Alphas is just, Stiles.”

“Well then a part of it, at least,” the teen argued. He was right, he knew he was. The notes were right. He knew that now, because they were right about all the other things, that helped them along the way and this one – this little fact about the nature of a werewolf that could potentially kill them all, was definitely essential to their survival.

“You said you trusted him.” Stiles was sure of it all now, even though he didn't know where all that belief came from. But it was rather obvious. Up until recently he didn't believe he was the one the notes were talking about – a strong magician ,if a magician at all.

But there he was doing some magic himself just a few moments ago, even if it was just moving around the ash of some dried flowers.

“I am him. You can trust me too.”

It was. Him and only him. Tomasz didn't have to hold his hand, he didn't have to surge his own magic into it, it was Stiles and Stiles alone who moved it. He could actually be him. He was him. He was.

“You need to take me with you,” Stiles blurred out then, the surge of ecstatic mood making him more bold. “I am sure I could persuade...”

“No,” came from behind Peter, the icy blue eyes glaring from behind the Alpha's right shoulder.

“Shut up Derek, you have no authority over me,” Stiles said offhandedly, not letting his eyes slide off Peter. “I can help, I know I can... if the notes were right and he... and what did you call the Alpha-squared dude again?

“Louis,” came the answer. “At least that is the name I knew him under. I would recommend calling him Deucalion though unless he tells you otherwise. He seems to be very sensitive about that since he became the Alpha of Alphas.”

Stiles nodded without thinking about what Peter said and continued: „Well if the notes are right and Deucalion – wait, seriously?” He frowned, when it finally caught up to him. He watched Peter nod with a recognizable level of skepticism.

“Why...was Lord Voldemort already taken?” he snorted, but then just shook his head and waved his hand to dismiss it all in favor of having a chance of persuading Peter.

“Nevermind now. If... Deucalion is just as the notes say, then the only way how to confer with him is by being direct and honest. We need to prove to him that we are no threat, that we are in no way breaking any supernatural laws, because... oh my god, are we breaking some supernatural laws? Is that why he decided to come? Was it even legal to...” he glanced over at the teens sitting on the couch, who have recently been on a receiving end of some werewolfy genes and grimaced. “No offense guys.”

“None taken,” Vernon shrugged. “I had the same question before agreeing to the Bite, ya know.”

“In other words,” Peter said shaking his head confidently. “There aren't really any official laws on the topic turning a willing individual. Nor about turning an unwilling individual for that matter. Not in between werewolves. Now if you would ask about any treaties between us and the hunters for example, that would be a whole different case, but as it is...”

“But why would they...”

“You have read about the Alpha pack, yes?” Peter asked, looking around at the teens sitting on the couch. Stiles had no idea they all got such a complex introduction into the supernatural world, so the fact that they all nodded was a pretty big surprise to him.

He really hated being the one uninformed. But then again one night of reading his notes and some parts of Peter's lores were in no way going to make him a wise magician, so it wasn't something to feel bad about. Still...

“It's a territory thing, isn't it?” Lydia spoke up, answering the question without any doubt in her voice just as confidently as she handled questions in the class – when she was sure that people weren't paying attention, that is.

„This is their territory?“ Stiles looked over at her. Watching her roll her eyes was like a blast from the past. It was good to know some things didn't change with the establishment of their pack. Not yet. And hopefully not ever. He somehow liked the way he and Lydia were competing with each other in the area of general knowledge, even when she was clearly winning this time.

“No,” Peter answered before Lydia could open her mouth to do so herself. “And if it were any other territory, they surely wouldn't hurry to check up on it, unless we were invading other territories or conspiring with other packs to join and create a suspicious alliance, but you are right,” he nodded to Lydia. “It is partly because of the territory – the nemeton has always been a very powerful magnet even back in my days.”

“What is the other part?” Erica spoke up, sliding her feet off the couch, her socks touching the border of the protection circle slightly. “You said our territory is just a part of it. I get that they might worry about a strong pack on the territory, but there is no way they would think we are a strong pack, is there? So why the change of mind?”

Stiles had to give her that, she was right. Even if the Alpha pack thought Peter's pack might become a strong pack because they heard Peter was back and started to assemble his own pack, it wouldn't be a reason for them to come over, right? There must have been stronger packs around, bigger, brighter, better (or something) and the Alpha pack definitely didn't race over to eradicate them. At least from what Stiles knew from the lores on recent packs around the America.

“Alphas get power from their pack, you all know that well,” Peter nodded, scanning the room once again as if to make sure they were all listening to him. Not that he needed to check that. Their ears were glued to his lips. Metaphorically, of course.

“You all know, that one of the reasons why I took you into my pack, why I offered you the Bite was, among others, indeed because of the way it would influence my Alpha power.” They nodded again. All except Stiles. He was too busy turning the facts over in his head to move any parts of his body.

„Now what I didn't tell you, not because I wanted to keep it secret, but because it didn't seem relevant at that point was, that there are two ways an Alpha can gain power from his pack.”

Peter lifted his forefinger to visually mark the first option. “There is the peaceful way, the harder way – it's by building ties with each and every one in ones pack. The more ties, the stronger the Alpha. The shorter ties, the thicker, the more refined ones, the stronger the Alpha. Humans took this concept of a pack and called it a family. It's as old as creation, this one. And just as universal.”

“But there is a second option as well. A newer one - maybe because it only works with werewolves,” Peter said, lifting his middle fingers to join the first one in the universal sign for the number two. He straightened up, his voice gaining a ice-cold tone.

“A more brutal one, a more efficient one when it comes to hoarding a excessive amount of power in a very short time.” There was a pause to add a more dramatic effect to the whole statement. Not that it was needed though. Stiles already felt goosebumps rise up his spine, which didn't really give much sense because goosebumps were exclusive to skin, right? Well, there you have it.

“You just need to severe all those precious ties in one act of a mass homicide,” Peter concluded and then there was silence for a few second in which nobody dared to say a thing. Until Tomasz spoke up, because he was obviously wasn't effected by Peter's words, having had lived through it back in his youth.

“Dat actuallie works for magiks two,” he added, his academic tone making them all relax slightly. “And vampirs... and some other kreaturs. As long as dey have strong supernatural groop bond dat is...butt nobodie way dat foolish to make it happen in at liest a...”

“Wait,” Stiles frowned, unable to handle the lack of logic of what he was hearing. There was something bothering him about the whole Alpha pack thing right from when he read it the first time in his future notes. Something he pushed away at that time, in favor of reading and memorizing all the threats to their pack, but it now came gushing back from his mouth in a chaotic swarm of words, creating a wave of questions:

“How is that even possible? An Alpha pack? An Alpha-squared? Wouldn't an individual strong enough to kill his whole pack end up without a pack and so by default without the possibility of being an Alpha?”

“Even if he could keep the Alpha status, which doesn't give any sense whatsoever, because you did just say the Alpha pulls power from his pack and since they have none anymore, but okay... “

“It's just, if they actually have a pack, as you said and there is a leader...wouldn't they all just turn into his Beta wolves or something? Like how are there even more Alphas in one pack? Doesn't that clash with the whole idea of being an Alpha? How do they even-”

“Yu ar rite,” Tomasz nodded, cutting off his stream of questions. “It iz unnatural.”

“I understand your doubts. I had them as well when I first heard it,” Peter admitted, stroking his beard while he thought of a better explanation. Nobody jumped in fear of distracting him from thinking, because they were obviously wondering about the same things as Stiles was and wanted to know the answer.

“There are cases of lone, stray Alphas among the werewolves. It's not a new concept at all,” he started, looking over at Stiles as he continued to stroke his chin. “No matter how rare a true Alpha is, it does happen, so it's not really such an illogical thing to be an Alpha without a real pack.”

“Dat is vlkolad, dat turns to Alfa on hiz own strongness,” Tomasz explained quickly.

“So they all are...?”

“No,” Peter shook his head, folding his arms over his chest. “This is much more complicated. Loosing pack bonds forcefully, whether it's because of a natural death or a forced departure by a hand of an enemy or a friend, does not make them disappear altogether.”

“Werewolves can still feel the ragged ends of all the threads,” Peter confessed, looking over at Derek. “We can still feel all of them, each and every day and in fact, that on it's own is enough to drive werewolves crazy or... in most cases, to commit a suicide. Especially when there is little to no one left to trim down the ends of the threads.”

Hearing that Stiles had a very strong feeling, that both of them – Peter and Derek actually knew all that from the first-hand experience, which made his lips thin and his hands clench tightly. He knew what it felt like – loosing somebody important to him, but he could not imagine it being a whole family, because he never had a big family to begin with. It seemed horrifying, though.

“S-so the bonds, that make you an Alpha remain, although they are not active anymore and... you just keep being an Alpha?” Stiles stuttered, hoping to leave the depressing waters with this comment.

“If you do the right blood ritual to fool your wolf that they are still active, yes,” Peter explained, looking over at Tomasz who just nodded in agreement.

“I heard of vlkolaks in Azia doing dat,” he confirmed. “Yu just need blood from each pack member, which iz not so hard, when yu kill dem all, is it?”

“So then...”

“You are right, when the Alpha has no pack whatsoever, no ties to nourish him, he does slip into an Omega status.” Peter said. “For example if you wouldn't have cured me of my poisoning and I in fact would have killed Laura in my crazed state, I would be very careful to keep Derek alive. One active tie would have been enough to sustain the status.”

Stiles could feel movement behind his shoulder as he listened to this part of the explanation. He could imagine it all making Derek very restless.

“Okay,” he nodded, deciding to carry on the conversation, before the werewolf behind him could decide to say or do something. “I can get behind that, I guess, but still...that does not explain how a bunch of Alphas would be able to create a pack, unless they were all equal? If they have one of them being an Alpha, then logically...ya know what I mean?”

“Even it they are frozen in their state, why would they succumb to a leadership of any kind? Doesn't that just beat the purpose of being an Alpha?”

“And if they did, wouldn't joining a pack just make them Betas? Like don't got me wrong, I dig the whole Alpha-squared thing and it looks awesome on paper, but whoever wrote allowed this possibility did not think it through. It can't be that easy.”

Peter and Tomasz exchanged a look at that, which they have been doing a lot today and it made Stiles suspect that there were some things that the two men discussed only between themselves without bothering to include anyone else, but the thought was dissolved as fast as it appears because Tomasz explained the look with his next input.

“We do nott now, how Dukalion did it,” he admitted with a pained expression on his face. “It should nott bee possible to be Alfa of Alfas. Just like yu told... are just three possible vlkolak stages - Alfa, Beta, Omega – leader, follower and stray,” he said lifting his fingers one by one to enunciate the three types visually as well. “Dis is not kaste system, were yu can just add new status over all rest when yu want to rule dem.”

“We will figure out how he did it, eventually,” Peter shook his head, cutting him off sufficiently. “Bottom line is, they are either coming to check if the Hale fire wasn't my first attempt to create my own Alpha pack... or they think I am trying to gain a lot of power as soon as possible to throw them off the throne.”

“By planning to add as many members to your pack as possible in such a short time and then killing us all off?” Stiles breathed, looking over at Derek to reassure himself that Peter was in fact not planning to do that. The fact that the werewolf seemed calmed and collected (for as long as he didn't count the flinch at the mention of the Hale fire, of course) reassured Stiles that they were more or less safe.

“Butt do dey want to recruit him or do dey want to get rid of possiblie competision?” Tomasz asked aloud, managing to close off the whole topic with that simple question. “And will dey belief wenn he say its none of dose?”

 

~o~

 

“I am coming with you,” Stiles said right away without even considering it. What was there to consider anyways? He knew he had to go.

Peter looked him over from the armchair into which he sat down again just a few moments ago. He leaned back and put his hands into his lap, before asking the one questions that Stiles was not expecting: “Why?”

“Huh?” Was his poor reaction. Cut him some slack, will ya? He expected Peter to either argue with him or forbid it, but not to handle him in such a logical and curious matter. He should have know better by now obviously.

“Why should I take you specifically, Stiles?” the Alpha asked again, gesturing at all the other possible choices in a very non-arrogant way.

Stiles understood his concern, he really did. Were he his future version, he could definitely offer something in return for the seat at the front row and it definitely wouldn't be as dangerous for the super magician than it will be for a learning muggle like him, but...but.

“I am coming with you, Peter,” he repeated, his voice louder to drown out the low grumble coming from behind him from around the spot where Derek was presumably standing with a very sour expression on his face.

Peter regarded the teen and folded his arms in front of his chest. “Did the notes say you had to be there for some reason?”

“No. The notes only serve as a dictionary for interpreting the situation,” Stiles snorted repeating the words Peter told him himself not so long ago. That made the Alpha squint his eyes slightly in consideration. Good, he almost had him, jut a bit more.

“They only help us to avoid serious trouble and by serious trouble I mean the violent death, that might be inflicted upon us unless we manage to stall Deucalion for long enough to persuade him otherwise.”

“And who else would be less threatening than me? A weak human teenager? Point out any of you that he might have a second of doubt before attacking. The Alpha werewolf? Any other supernatural being here? Or a strong foreign magic user? I seriously doubt he will stop to consider any of you only for a second, if he is already coming here with the intent to kill you all off.”

“But... if he really is just as my notes say, he will listen to me, even if it's just a second, because I pose the littlest threat to him. And that is all we need, don't we? It's the chance that could save us all, is it not?”

Peter squinted his eyes at him for a little while longer and then blinked, looking to his right at Stiles' uncle. They shared a look without nodding or shaking their heads, which was a bit unnerving since it didn't give the teen a hint about the result of their brief exchange at all.

Luckily, the answer didn't let him wait long.

“Alright,” Peter agreed, turning back to the teen. “But bear in mind that I am taking you so that Tomasz can have a valid reason to attend as well, even if he is not a direct pack member.”

“Assigning him the role of an Emissary mentor makes him a formal extension of the pack, thus allows him to join us and keep an eye on you and the rest of the... speaking of which, Lydia, your attendance would be smart as well.”

“Of course,” Lydia spoke up, sliding her fingers through her long strawberry-blond hair.

“You have to take me too then,” Jackson ordered, pushing the plate away from his as he stood up to look at Peter from above.

Posturing like that rarely got douchebags like Jackson what they wanted, especially not when facing a higher ranked individual such as a werewolf Alpha was, so it was all just a fun thing to watch, that should have no effect at all. The corner of Stiles' mouth was slowly pulling upwards into a grin.

“Under one condition,” Peter smiled and Stiles' grin froze, because what? Is he gonna take Jackson just like that? As if it was clear right from the beginning whereas he had to beg down on his knees to go? What the fuck?

Jackson didn't ask what condition that was, he only folded his arms over his chest and waited to further instructions.

“You will have to turn,” The Alpha said, the glint in his eyes strangely excited. Was it because... wait didn't Peter say turning as a bitten werewolf was hard? Then how come... and back up again – Jackson wasn't a werewolf per se, if Stiles remembered correctly. What did Peter call him before? It was so long ago he did not remember the correct name, but there was definitely some gene mutation involved.

Stiles looked over and watched the weird greenish complexion glint on Jackson's cheeks and his spine suddenly felt way too rigid... it was caused by the sudden flashback he had. Didn't Tomasz say something about Derek keeping a kanima at bay before it could hurt him? And then there was that vague memory from before he woke up completely back on the clearing – some restless hissing noises... Stiles gulped. No wonder Peter wants Jackson to turn.

“Done,” the said teen nodded, sitting back down to Lydia.

“Lovely,” the Alpha said, glancing at Derek briefly before he was interrupted by Erica's harsh voice: “What about us?”

“Next time. We need to keep you out of reach for this time,” Peter answered, his eyes traveling back to his nephew. “Derek will take you to a safe place and stay there with you. We need to call Scott and let him join you as well.”

“Now, Tomasz,” he said suddenly, without letting anyone discuss this crucial decision aloud. Re-directing his attention like that was a pretty good way of not giving them any space to complain. He sure was a smart Alpha, Stiles had to give him that.

“What we talked about...,” the Alpha continued vaguely.

“Wil do,” Tomasz nodded seriously. “It wil take while to...”

“Go now then,” Peter nodded back at him and waved his hand in the direction of the door a nasty sneer spreading over his lips.

“Roger dat,” Stiles' uncle said, bending over to lift his backpack. He slid it over his right shoulder and left the apartment, leaving Stiles as clueless about what their plan was as ever.

This was gradually becoming a thing. He couldn't help but wondering if his future self had the same problems as him when he occupied his body. Probably not. And this was all just the beginning.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

“I am not gonna play the babysitter,” Derek said before Stiles could even ask where did his uncle go. “You are taking me too.”

The teen side-stepped, watching the front door close behind Tomasz and frowned, being angry at himself for not reacting faster. He could have ran after his uncle and ask him to either take him with him or simply inquire what was this plan that they are evoking behind their backs.

But as it was, the opportunity passed as quickly as it came into being and Stiles was left in Peter's living room alone with the rest of the pack. So not exactly alone. Not really alone at all. This was him pack now after all. No matter how awkward the start seemed, the notes promised a glorious continuation and Stiles was nothing if not patient. When he wanted to be. Rarely. Well with this at least.

“You have to,” Derek repeated, making Stiles glance over at the two werewolves who were at the beginning of a seemingly huge argument.

“I don't have to do anything you tell me, my dear nephew,” Peter reminded the other werewolf, reaching over for his mug full of cold coffee, that was waiting for him at the shelf on the left of him. “Especially not if I have a better use for you. Now, you might think it's not-”

“Peter-” Derek stated but was interrupted by Peter lifting his hand while sipping from his coffee.”

“No, I need someone to take care of the rest of the pack. To lead them to a safe place and keep an eye on them in case something went haywire,” he explained, putting the mug back on the shelf. He seemed a lot calmer now that they some sort of a vague strategy.

Which is to say, that was what Stiles called in it in his head, but it was obviously a lot more thought-through in Peter's for sure, especially since it involved his uncle.

“The Hale vault under BHHS might be the best choice, I would say,” The Alpha continued, looking over at Erica, who gaped at the mention of their school. “Your scent is all over the place already, so it won't be suspicious and even if they did decide to lead some of their forces that way, there is no way they would find you on the premises. Given that it's not in the building per see, but underground.”

“No, I said I need to come too,” Derek argued. “I will come and we will take Jennifer and-”

“Derek,” Peter shook his head.

“You can't tell me you would rather take them?” the werewolf gestured at Lydia, who just raised her eyebrow and Jackson who simply snorted at the indication that he might not be of benefit.

Derek ignored their reactions and then pointed rudely in Stiles' direction. “Or him? When you could have me at your side? When you could have a powerful druid-”

“Stiles is our Emissary, he needs to come. If not for any other reason, then for the fact that without him, Tomasz can't come near our meeting without antagonizing the Alpha pack,” Peter explained sharply. “Lydia is a banshee – I am sure I don't need to explain the importance of her being there. And Jackson still bears the kanima's appearance...”

“And I do need Louis to see that we are not to be messed with, but at the same time, I need him to see that it's nothing to be worried about in the whole picture. It's a very fragile balance of appearances we have to create.” the Alpha admitted. “A wild card, you might say, yes, because if that doesn't intimidate him just the right amount, we are all dead.”

“And that is why,” he said, his eyes suddenly blazing as he leaned forward in the armchair. “ And that is exactly why I can't have you prance around, causing inner tension. We need to look strong and we need to look solid... and with the curse Jennifer placed on you, there is no way of predicting what you will do if the situation escalated.”

He was obviously referring to how Derek left Stiles alone and hurt before and that made the teen wince and glance over at the werewolf apologetically, hoping that did not hit any nerve. Derek did not look offended though. He looked as if that did not mean anything to him and as if Peter was just talking bullshit. Figures.

Stiles grimaced recognizing that slightly crazed expression Derek got whenever the curse seemed to grow in strength. It must have been stronger than the one Jennifer placed upon him before, probably because it was bound together with some kind of an infatuation for her as well. Still, he had hoped it would only get weaker after he and Tomasz repelled it.

That was obviously not the case though and judging by the fact that it took a lot Peter's care to build up their own bond all over again... well, it certainly wasn't as tight as it could be. But since it wasn't that strong at to begin with, it didn't need that much work to build back to it's previous form again.

Stiles might still have some faint traces of Jennifer's curse on himself, but it didn't make him illogically opposed to an idea of agreeing with Peter, nor did it force him to distrust anybody in the pack or feel wrong by the fact, that Peter might prefer some other pack member. Especially not when if made sense. He was a rather logical person after all.

But what about Derek? How should they bring him back? Would they always have to use the ritual until the curse decided to fade?

Stiles started to wonder if he would be able to recreate the ritual all by himself to bring the normal Derek back, when Peter got up, his features turning ice-cold.

“And let's face it,” he said, walking slowly closer to his nephew, who froze at the sight of the menacing aura around his uncle. “You owe it to the pack. You owe more than you could repay in a whole life-time, so you better start working on redeeming yourself right now, before I do what I was supposed to do right after the fire-”

“Peter,” Stiles frowned, stepping in between the Alpha and his Beta, when he saw the lengthening claws. He probably shouldn't have done it, not when the werewolf could have turned against him for entering his personal space that unexpectedly, but he did not think about it, okay? He was too busy staring at Derek who went sickly pale, any signs of the growing curse subsiding in an instant.

“That's enough, I think,” Stiles said, blackthorn rustling slightly as he moved to stay between them. “This is exactly what Jennifer wants. She wants to tear you two apart to mess with us, remember? You are only pouring fuel into the fire by acting like this.”

Saying that, he thought it will either take the Alpha a while to process what had been said or he might just dismiss it and attack, but Peter just smiles, straightening up, his expression and appearance back to normal in a blink of an eye.

“Quite on the contrary, Stiles,” the Alpha said, nodding in Derek's direction. “The fire, no matter how painful to talk about, it's what connects us. Not even a curse could erase that from Derek's mind, could it?”

Stiles glanced behind and saw Derek shake his head, his lips pressed in a thin line. And although he did lose that mad glint in his eye, the teen still wasn't sure if it was a better alternative – using a family tragedy seemed way too painful to him and he couldn't imagine doing that to his dad for example, definitely not like this. It would kill the old man.

“Still, you want me to just sit back and do nothing?” Derek spoke up when he got the hold of himself, which was pretty quick. “I am the strongest here right after you.”

“Yes, you are,” Peter agreed. “That is why I need you with those who are, no offense, the weakest. I need you to protect them... this is not about you playing a babysitter, nor is this about getting rid of you. This is about dividing our forces to keep our pack safe and I trust you to do so just as you did on the day of the fire for Laura.”

Derek was stubbornly quiet under the eyes of all the assembled teens, the silence making Peter sign in exasperation. “But if you don't want to, then guess I will just find some other-”

“Fine!” His nephew barked. “Fine... jut stop playing these stupid psychological games with me already. It's fucking annoying.”

Peter shrugged at that and smile sleazily, making Stiles wonder what all of this argument was just an act and what was a real argument. With a hindsight, it somehow looked like just family banter.

“Not that that wasn't fun and all,” Erica called from the couch, munching on a partway eaten slice of a cold pizza. “But do we actually have some solid plan on how to survive this all or not? Because I am totally not ready to die... obviously.”

Stiles nodded along with her words, together with the rest of the group, because that was exactly what he was worried about as well. Tomasz going on some secret mission was all fine and swell, but that whole layer of secrecy around it was rather unnerving.

“I was about the ask the same,” Lydia said, sliding her palms over her thighs leisurely. “We do need a good plan if we are to meet with the Alpha pack.”

“One thing after another,” Peter said, walking over to grab his phone from the table. “I need you to make sure that there won't be any scared family members running around and searching for you till the end of the weekend at least.”

“No problem,” Lydia shrugged. “My parents went to France anyways.”

“Mine don't care that much,” Jackson nodded, taking out his phone to tap on the screen. “I will just send a message to mum, that I am staying at someone's place and that should be enough.”

“Splendid,” the Alpha nodded, turning over to the rest of the teens. “What about the rest?”

“You already talked to my aunt,” Erica shrugged. “I can just call her, that the supposed treatment in the hospital will take up the whole weekend, whatever. She will be so glad to have some time without having to keep an eye on me, that she won't question it.”

The eyes moved over to Vernon who opened his mouth next: “Well, that is a slight problem because I do have to attend the church, not that I would want to, but my stepmother will get suspicious if I don't show up on Sunday morning.”

“Hmm, we will figure out what to do with that when the time comes,” Peter said, stroking his chin, “since it might be over by then.”

“I hope so,” Vernon said. “She won't let a stone unturned till she finds me, you know and if she won't be able to, she might ban me from seeing my dad ever again and I would rather not have to go through that... not to mention, she might cut me off the will. So I am trying to keep low for the past three years. Very low.

“I wouldn't exactly call this keeping low,” Stiles snorted, gesturing around.

“I would say, you chose well,” Peter contradicted. “Belonging to a pack does come with it's own benefits of course. We could maybe, once this primary threat passes of course, arrange your mother take your father's place in the Eichen house, were it your wish. I certainly know a few lawyers that are still active to help us with that.”

“No, that... is not really necessary,” Vernon shook his head with a slight frown on his forehead. “She is not that bad, I just don't want to live with her anymore. I just don't want to base my every action on how she might view it, is all...”

“I assume you lac the recourses for such an act, though, am I correct?” Peter asked, his question making the teen nod back in confirmation.

“I will get there,” he answered promptly. “I have been saving money for quite a long time now – working part-time, doing some odd job or another.”

“I am sure we can arrange-”

“No offense,” Vernon jumped into Peter's words. “But I am sure I can handle this, you don't have to-”

“I am not doing this just for your sake, Vernon. That would be a slight overkill, if I might say so myself,” Peter nodded, folding his arms over his chest. “But pack does need some main residency and since our old one burned down, we will have to look for a different alternative eventually.

Now the best place for it would of course be somewhere in the preserve, but that option won't solve this problem immediately, so in the meantime, I will be looking for some proper alternatives in the town. You don't all necessarily have to live there, of course,” he added after Lydia opened her mouth to jump into his monologue.”

“Oh okay, then sure,” Vernon shrugged.

“And you have that kind of money?” Jackson wondered, leaning on his elbows against the couch, his eyebrows raising with the uttered question.

“Yes, of course we do,” Peter said, something akin to a snort accompanying his answer. “The Hale pack owned and up until this day still owns the whole preserve and some other properties around the town, all of which insured against every possible situation – not to mention all of former members were insured as well. It's actually a quite beneficial deal to make, what with the high death rate of the werewolves and what not and I will make sure to do all that for you as well.”

“Better not right away though,” Stiles said. “Wouldn't want the insurers get an impression you killed us for money like the last time.”

“Indeed,” Peter nodded, scrolling through his phone and then tapping away on the screen, as if he was writing down a reminder to not forget about the insurance. “I was lucky last time. Ne can not call a comatose person to a court now can they? Now what about...” he started, turning his eyes to the last teen. Isaac fidgeted under his stare and then looked up defiantly.

“I can just wait it out at home,” he said, his fingers moving over his wristwatch as if he was worried to forget the exact time he needed to go home. “There is no need to...”

“I will go with you to to talk to your father then,” Peter nodded and then spread his arms to address all of them before Isaac could object. “For the rest of you, you can all go home to pick up your bare necessities while I am gone. We are gonna spend the night here – the couch it retractable and I do have some inflatable mattresses that my... that I bought a long time ago for the previous pack so... hmm, let's say we can meet back here in two hours?”

“And what then?” Stiles asked curiously. “I mean, don't get me wrong, a sleepover sounds just brilliant, but... how are we gonna...?”

“I've got a tracker on the Alpha pack since I came back to the land of sanity-”

“Partially,” Derek added.

Rest assured,“ Peter rolled his eyes at his nephew, planting his hands on his hips. “Their moves are under surveillance and once they set a foot in our direction, we will know.”

“Who...?” Derek wondered, frowning at his uncle.

“Yes, but what will we do once they reach BH then?” Stiles asked, his questions louder than Derek's inquiries, because he didn't care who their source of information was at that moment. There were more urgent matters to be discussed.

“They won't, we will intercept them before they get into the city. Somewhere hallways through the preserve and... exchange the pleasantries there,” Peter scowled. “With a bit of luck, we might be able to negotiate something right there and then. Otherwise we will schedule some...”

“Honestly, Peter, I don't want to barge in on your plans,” Lydia said out of nowhere, folding her arms over her chest. “But that sounds like a suicide mission.”

“Or like the end of the Twilight series,” Erica offered, her face not-believing.

“Shouldn't we just attack them?” Derek asked. “Or we could all hide.”

“That doesn't sound like such a bad idea,” Isaac added, glancing down at his wristwatch. “Maybe they will just get bored and go away once...”

“If they won't find us, they will track down everybody we love and cherish by scent,” Peter explained, his jar of patience obviously getting fuller by every minute. “We need to intercept them were no one can get hurt-”

“No one but us you mean,” Jackson spoke up, quirking his eyebrow.

“Alright, let me just get this straight before we spend the next few hours arguing about the best course of action here, shall we?” Peter announced, waving his hand at all of them. “I know what I am doing. I have been trained in pack politics before any of you were even born. I was the Second in the Hale pack throughout many dangerous situations and we survived each and every time-”

Almost every time,” Jackson corrected earning a vicious growl from Derek's direction and a flash of red eyes from Peter's. Not to mention all of them just stared at him with a lot of disapproval - much to Stiles' chagrin.

“You have two choices here and two choices only,” the Alpha proclaimed, his voice suddenly vibrating with resolution. “You will either join me, Tomasz and Stiles... or you will go to the safehouse with the rest of the pack. Feel free to choose whichever you deem more profitable for you, but mark my words, there is no third option and there never will be, no matter how much you... or any of you,” he said gesturing around, “would like there to be a third one.”

“I know this is difficult for you all, but trust me. I am choosing this strategy to keep you all safe. Otherwise I would have just strolled with Derek into the sunshine and left you here to take care of it however you would have wanted.. all of which would end up with you being dead and the nemeton being taken over by either the Alpha pack or by the druid coven, so This is the plan we are going to be executing whether you approve of it or not.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles didn't even understand how he ended up going with Peter to Isaac's house. One minute, he was listening to Isaac bluntly refusing to go with them anywhere, the other Peter smartly offered a ride, because it was getting pretty late, the sun behind the windows sinking dangerously low and Isaac realized he actually had no choice if he wanted to come home before it gets completely dark.

And he obviously really had to be home before that – the threat of the Alpha pack making him forget about that momentarily, but the need risen up as fast as thee sun began to sink and Isaac than no other choice than to accept the Alpha's offer.

Though the reason why Stiles had to be present still eluded the teen. Peter did not offer any explanation either. He just grabbed his arm and manhandled Stiles (and Derek for that matter) out of his apartment under the ruse of... what exactly? That everybody was leaving anyways? That they couldn't stay behind on their own in his own apartment?

On another hand, staying behind with Derek probably wouldn't have been a good idea anyways, especially if there would have been an another severe case of his curse acting up. Stiles was sure he wouldn't have been able to avoid Derek leaving the apartment this time and walk straight into Jennifer's arms.

He was sure he couldn't, at least. He couldn't recreate Tomasz' magical interference, nor could he just randomly start mentioning the Hale fire to snap the werewolf out of his possible trance. And so, all in all, it was good they all actually went with Isaac in Peter's new car.

The only awkward part came upon them when... yeah okay, actually there were more awkward parts and it started when they walked out of the apartment building, Lydia and Jackson heading for his car and Erica and Boyd joining them... it was right then when Derek looked over at his Camaro and noticed the side-view mirror on his car missing.

And at first it was actually funny to watch him slide over the car with an automatic glance of a seasoned owner and then freeze and do a double take – his eyebrows were doing crazy stuff while he surveyed the damage. Stiles was sure that one day he could write an essay, if not a book, about the way the different shapes of Derek's eyebrows reflected his inner state of mind. Yes, for some if would just be angry frowning all the time, but the teen knew better.

“What...?” Derek breathed in utter disbelief, gesturing at his car. Stiles understood his confusion – were the mirror torn on the left, then it could have been possible for a trespassing car to be the source of that damage, but since it was on the other side, which was parked neatly against thee pedestrian walk, then there was only one conclusion to be taken from that.

“Peter,” the werewolf growled, turning to his uncle, who was walking calmly to the driver's side of his own car.

“Yes, dear nephew?” Peter smiled, opening his door with a single smooth movement, gesturing to Isaac to sit next to him on the front eat.

“What the fuck?!” Derek snapped, his hand still pointing at his missing mirror, his voice sounding a bit more than just hurt. Stiles glanced over at Isaac, who got into the car fast to avoid getting in the middle of the confrontation. The other teen was considering the same, but he somehow ended up watching the argument unfold instead.

“You do realize that car is Leo's?” Derek barked, stalking to his uncle, waves of anger oozing from him like radioactivity from a nuclear blast.

Peter waves his hand to stop his nephew from continuing and then leaned over to open the passenger door for him. It might have been just to bring some kind of a wall between then.

It worked. Derek stopped in his tracks and his eyes got distracted by the door and the inside of the car, but the anger obviously couldn't disappear from his system that fast, judging by his flaring nostrils.

“Better a side mirror than you own arm, now, isn't that true? That was not an empty threat, you know,” Peter answered, his voice as sweet as honey. A tad too sweet for Stiles' liking. He was obviously enjoying the look of shock that had crossed Derek's face at that moment.

The teen frowned, his eyes skipping between the two werewolves. Derek was suddenly way too pale – was it because they mentioned this Leo dude? Was he worried he might do something, if he finds out his precious car was damaged?

“I am sure it can be repaired,” Stiles spoke up, somehow inclined to try and ease the horrified look on Derek's face.

“And I am sure, Derek realized it was well deserved,” Peter added, the smile spread across his lips widening as he watched his nephew for a second longer.

He then nodded in sadistic satisfaction, tapped the roof of his car as if to signalize the end of their conversation and then got inside of his car.

Derek looked over at Stiles, watching him intently over the said roof and the teen ended up staring back into his eyes. The moment stretched into an eerily long one.

“What...?” The teen managed after a while, his fingers curling around the door handle but hating before his hand could pull the door open. The something in Derek's eyes made him stop.

“I did not realize,” the werewolf said, his eyes burrowing into Stiles'. They then slid down the teen's neck to his shoulder, which was the same exact place where the bald magical dude stabbed him back in the preserve.

Stiles felt like covering it up with his hand, but instead he just tore his eyes from the werewolf, opened the door and climbed inside.

He made sure to check the state of the leather seats, but Peter or Tomasz must have sneaked out while he was showering and cleaned the insides of the car of his DNA residue. Obviously not good enough, since Derek was able to smell it with his werewolfy superpowers. Ew.

“Let's just get going,” he said, concentrating on pulling the seatbelt into the right position. “Isaac is in a hurry.”

“They got a point, you know,” the said teen said from the front seat, when Derek got inside of the car and Peter turned the engine, leading the car from the parking lot. “The car reeks of your blood.”

“Dude, no kinkshaming!” Stiles snorted, kicking the seat in front of him, making Peter hake his head in a fun mixture of a warning and amused disbelief.

“Just saying,” Isaac shrugged and settled into his seat, his eyes darting to the clock on the panel in the middle every few seconds. Not that Stiles could see that. He just assumed it from the way his head moved every once in a while.

The car was gliding down the sight rise on which Peter's apartment building was situated, passing the cemetery and Stiles could still feel Derek watching him from under his eyelids – his fringe was too far away from his eyes for that metaphor, so Stiles improvised with this one. Sue him. It was too unnerving for him to concentrate on proper sentences at that moment.

“I will call Scott,” he muttered, getting an approving hum from Peter.

He took out his phone and fumbled with the screen for a few seconds with an annoyed look on his face. He didn't know if it was because Derek was only now able to acknowledge what happened back in the preserve or because he didn't evn think to apologize, which he wasn't even obligated to do, since it was all just a curse...arrrgh, Stiles needed a distraction from these frustrating thoughts.

He hit Scott's number in his favorite folder and then tapped on the speaker as he counted the rings. The car drove past the cinema in the meanwhile, turning left on it' corner to head into the suburbs area on the other side of the town.

The phone rang way too long for it to be normal and Stiles was starting to worry, but then it got picked up. Phew.

“Stiles?” he hears the confused tone in the other teen's voice.

“Scotty, my man, wolfy business - come over to Peter with your mom. And go get my dad as well, please, he should be home by now,” he spilled, sliding his fingers over his knee and focusing on the view from the window. He decided to ignore the looks Derek was throwing his way. Stuff he ignored tended to disappear after a while, so this seemed like a good strategy for this situation as well.

“What?” came back to him, the words accompanied by wild fumbling.

“There is a vicious Alpha pack coming,” Stiles explained shortly. “So-”

“Wait, Stiles...”

“No time,” he continued. “Pack your stuff, take Mellisa, get my dad and come over ASAP.”

“But...”

“Do as he said, Scott,” Peter jumped in from the front seat, not missing the exit from the main road to turn into the suburb area. They were obviously getting close, because Isaac started to fidget slightly, his eyes locked onto the small family houses they were passing.

“Mr. Hale? This isn't really the right ti-”

“Giddy up, mate! Your girlfriend can wait!” Stiles interrupted him, tapping the red button on his screen as soon as he finished saying the sentence. He then pushed the phone back into his pocket and smiled into Peter's eyes watching him skeptically in the rear view mirror.

“That was in no way informative enough to convince anybody,” the Alpha remarked, parking the car in front of a shady-looking small house.

“On the contrary,” Stiles shrugged, looking at the said house with interest. Is this where Isaac lived? “Scott is better without too much time to think about stuff. He usually rebels against my plans anyways. I thought to do you a favor to avoid that this time.”

“I will keep that in mind,” Peter answered, turning off the engine, when the car stopped moving altogether. They arrived to their destination.

 

~o~

 

Nobody moved out of the car, waiting for Isaac to make the first step. His shoulders pulled together under their gazes, his face hidden by the darkness enveloping the surroundings. The sun set completely and the only light reaching them was that of a street light not so far away.

“Mr. Hale, I really think...,” he started, his words cautious as if he was expecting to be interrupted at any given moment. But since neither Peter, nor the two sitting in the back tried to do so, he just pursed his lips and looked up at his newly acquired Alpha.

“I really don't think...,” he muttered, waving his hand in the direction of the house.

“I know,” Peter answered nodding calmly. “I am not forcing you to betray your father. And were this any other situation... but the circumstances changed and the possibility to use gentle approach has passed with the Alpha threat. I need to keep you safe...and not only from them. You are a part of my pack. My responsibility.”

Isaac nodded at that, looking a little embarrassed. H looked down at his lap, nodding again and then slid his fingers over his wrist. The bruises were not visible anymore due to hi werewolfy healing powers, but Stiles was sure he could still feel the phantom pain inside of him.

“W-what are you going to do?” Isaac breathed, circling the right wrist with his fingers to hold in tightly in his lap. “He doesn't deserve to... it was my fault...”

“Wh-” Stiles started, grabbing the back of Isaac's seat to pull himself closer. He wanted to interfere. He wanted to tell Isaac that it was not his fault that is dad was a violent asshole. He wanted to shake the teen and make him understand. But alas, Peter did not let him.

“Stiles, now is not the time for your input,” he chastised, pushing the teen's face back with the flat of his palm. Which, that the hell?

“Isn't it? Because I am fairly sure...,” he started, his voice muffles by the hand pushed against his mouth. He lifted his hand and tore it from his face, watching as Peter pulled it back with a stern look on his face.

“And I am fairly sure, you ought to be a bit more respectful,” the Alpha said, shaking his head. “This is not about you. Not about your journey to acceptance that you are not at fault for your father's actions under alcohol's influence, which I still think is a pretentious lie on your side, so please, understand that this story is not about you all the time and choose your moments accordingly.”

“But Isaac,” Stiles gestured, making Derek grab his shoulder to pull him back against the leather surface of the back seat. He shrugged the hand and glared at the werewolf.

“I would actually prefer if this wasn't about me,” Isaac said from the front seat, his head turned to Stiles. “I really would so...”

Those words made Stiles push his lips tightly against each other and shake his head. He realized he was just distracting them all from their own problems, pushing himself way too much into the plot. This was not his story, he was not some great hero, who would inspire all the rest to follow his path of success.

Peter was right, he never put the experience with his drunken father behind him properly like he wanted Isaac to do now. So why was he pushing it so hard? It made no sense. Perhaps he hoped to see Isaac be strong enough to do it, to admit that it was not his fault, to admit that parents sometimes make mistakes too.

To make Stiles believe that his dad was no exception and that he closing him in Eichen house was as unjustified as Stiles logically knew it was... but then again, there is no way he could cross that line right now either. He loved his father. He loved him so much that he told himself that it was all his fault. And Isaac was the same.

“Look, it's all under control, alright?” the curly-haired teen said, calming them down as if they were the ones who needed that. “Just give me a few minutes. I will go talk to him... I will... I will try to explain.”

Peter was about to say something, but he just signed then, his eyes suddenly glowing as he looked over Isaac's shoulder, where the front door to the Lahey residence was.

“I fear it is too late for any kind agreement about the correct strategy,” he said, forcing his eyes to go back to their normal color. “We will have to go along with my plan.”

“Wha-? What are you...?” Isaac gasped, his head whipping around in an instant.

Stiles followed their gazes and his eyes landed on the front door, which opened just then, a drunk Mr. Lahey staggering out on unsteady feet.

Chapter Text

 

Stiles gulped as Mr. Lahey's palm connected with the roof of Peter's bronze Nissan. His own hand twitched in response, as if to reach for something to ease him out of the initial shock. He shouldn't be this freaked out just because there was a drunken man banging on the car. He shouldn't be. He knew that on some level and yet the logic failed him - he couldn't keep his brain from letting a few unpleasant memories resurface. Memories of his dad in the same state, that he thought he permanently repressed a long time ago.

He watched Isaac's dad, the way his bloodshot eyes tracked Isaac's shivering form on the front seat with that unfocused sort of sheen over them, the way he swayed on the spot every one in a while, the way his following words slurred into a mess of words:

“Boy I t'd y'o,” he started, banging his hand over the top of the car once more for good measure. Isaac flinched, his hand jumping away from the door handle, that he kept clinging to for the past few seconds. He probably wanted to go out right away to meet his curfew, but his dad beat him to it.

“G't out!” Mr. Lahey shouted, lowering himself down to peer through the window on Isaac's side. He seemed to be unable to focus on anything other than his son, but Stiles didn't want to move anyways, just in case it would divert the man's attention to him. What the hell was wrong with him, he wondered, as his fingers dug in deeper into the leather of the backseat.

It was then when Mr. Lahey's hand slid over the glass, down to the door handle from the outside of the car, when Isaac's breath hitched and Stiles edged away, his hand sliding over the leather seat to clutch at some less pliant material.

Isaac averted his eyes, which was a complete opposite of what Stiles was able to do at that moment – stare wide, as Mr. Lahey pulled at the door handle. It did not budge though. And so he pulled again, but the door remained closed no matter how many times he tried to pry it open, his expression at first puzzled, then frustrated and in the end angry.

The teens looked over at Peter, whose hand was hovering over the button on his door. They both felt a wave of relief flood their system, only to be taken away by the loud slam against Isaac's door.

“Gedda boy!” Lahey barked, banging at the window with all his might, his face contorted in a crazy kind of anger. “Gedda! Yu dare! Be a man...be a man! I t'ld yu!”

Stiles' eyes slipped away from Isaac's hunched shaking back, going over his face which was covered in sweat, to the glass on the window – he imagined it cracking, Mr. Lahey pushing his hand through the cracked glass, getting a hold on the poor innocent boy who sat there, quivering...

And then he recalled his dad walking to the cruiser with the same kind of sway, banging at the window as Stiles hid between the seats in the locked-down car, not even fighting the panic attack... he remembered his dad giving up after two loud bangs, sliding down to sit on the gravel and cry for his mom – his wife. And he revived the moment, when the little him calmed down, got out of the car and helped his broken dad walk back to the living room, where he put a blanket over him, letting him sleep off the alcohol.

Here though, in this moment, he could not imagine going out of the car. This was not the sad and frustrated kind of a drunken haze that struck you like an arrow aiming for your heart. This was the scary one – the one you needed to run away from as soon as you saw it approaching.

Stiles' fingers hurt from how tight he was clenching his fist. That was good though. It grounded him in the moment – this was obviously not his dad, his dad never did anything to hurt him. He said stuff, true, he broke a few bottles, also true, but he never really... nothing except letting them lock him in the Eichen house for a week.

Oh no, he wasn't going to think of that... the banging on the car window did not remind him of his mad roommate trashing on the old hospital bed, the straps around him straining, the metal construction clacking, the heavy breaths mixed together with screams... Stiles was not gonna... oh shit...oh sh-...

A warm hand pried his fingers from the material under his nails, the pressure on his wrist way too similar to the constrains they put him in in the Eichen house. He took a strangled breath in, tearing his hand from the hold in one desperate jerky movement.

But when he looked up, there was no ward clerk ready to hold him down as they administered a dosage of numbing drugs – it was only Derek with his hand outstretched as if he was unsure of what to do.

“Uh-” Stiles started, not sure how to explain the whole situation normally. Luckily (but actually quite the opposite), he was interrupted by the drunken slur of Isaac's father.

“Yo'r bro'er...would hav'. H' was man! Yu shoul' died, not him!” Mr. Lahey yelled, kicking the door violently. “Now.. stuck wit' such sissy of a...Be a m'n. You ar' n't my s-”

“That's just about enough,” Peter said out of nowhere, opening the front door in one swift movement.

Isaac didn't even get time to react, not only to reach out for the Alpha to stop him, but he tried anyways, his hand reaching out into the empty space, his words stuck at the back of his throat – he was clearly way too torn, not sure what to do in these kind of moments, used to just covering away in some far-away corner – in the freezer, Stiles shuddered.

Peter stalked around the front of the car, toward Mr. Lahey, who ignored him, his eyes fixated on Isaac as he proceeded to kick Peter's car. Boy, Peter must be pissed because of that, no, Stiles knew that was not why their Alpha looked so menacing, but he was too illogical at the moment to know any better. He needed to breathe and get rid of this irrational fear. And so he did.

When Peter put his hand over Mr. Lahey's shoulder, there was no response – similar to as if a fly landed on the man's shoulder.

But that did not last long, because the Alpha yanked him from the car with a measured force, tripping his heavy body backwards before Mr. Lahey could even blink – he definitely wasn't in the state to do anything against the agile movements of the werewolf anyways and so he sprawled on the grass in front of his house like a upturned turtle and just started up at the other man dumbly.

“Wha-” he started, when Isaac jumped out of the car, probably either trying to stop his dad or Peter – one of those for sure.

Stiles, who was almost back to his old self, watched them for two seconds longer and then followed Derek out of the car almost embarrassed about his small freak-out.

“It's time for you to sober up, Mr. Lahey,” Peter informed the man as he stood above the sprawled mess of a human.

Isaac stepped in closer, partially hiding behind his Alpha, partially ready to help his father up if he demanded so. His signals were all mixed up, from what Stiles could see where he stood beside the car.

None of them dare to interfere with Peter's... was this justice? For now it seemed like it. Were Peter to do something more than this though...

Stiles glanced over at Derek who was standing next to him, his arms folded over his chest, his expression just as grumpy as always. But there was something in his eye, the way he focused on Isaac's movement, that made Stiles think he was haywire.

He then checked where he was standing in the whole pack's constellation and realized Peter was covering him from one side and Derek was standing on his other, in case Mr. Lahey would have managed to slip out of Peter's reach to the right.

Stiles was slightly impressed by how easily they coordinated the positions and the solutions to possible conflicts just then – basically without any words. Was that instinct for the werewolves or was that more of a general strategy?

While Stiles was wondering about all this, feeling safe enough for such musings now that Peter obviously had it all under control, Mr. Lahey pushed himself into a crouch, muttering something way too illegible for them to understand.

He didn't get up all the way though. Instead he launched himself against Peter's waist with a sharp intake of a breath. It was almost soundless, his military training taking over his clouded mind. They both toppled on the ground with a loud thud, ground and grass scattering around.

“Dad, no!” Isaac yelped, just a second before Mr. Lahey's fist connected with Peter's stomach. He was sitting on the Alpha's legs as if trying to prevent him from getting up and even though he still seemed to have the drunk case of swaying, his fist connected with the desired place without any problem whatsoever. A second time. And a third time.

Stiles took a step forward at that (it was a weird kind a courage he was equipped with, he was more capable of fighting for others than for himself), then glanced over at Derek, but the werewolf just shrugged when he noticed him staring and beckoned his head in the direction of the fight. If one could still call it that, though.

Peter was kneeling above Mr. Lahey who kept trying to wiggle out of his grasp, but the hand on the back of his neck that kept pushing him into the ground did not budge and the drunk man could only whine and swear as Peter squeezed the arm twisted behind his back.

“Peter,” Isaac whined in response to his father's discomfort and stepped in closer to reach out for the struggling man.

“It's okay, Isaac,” the Alpha said with a surprisingly calm voice. He didn't even look angry because Mr. Lahey tackled him to the ground. On the other hand, he might have let himself be tackled for some reason on other, Stiles realized, so of course he had no reason to have been angry at the human, who so foolishly thought he could win against him.

Peter then hauled Mr. Lahey up to his feet – careful to use just about the right amount of strength. He seemed to have been keeping an exact check on his werewolfy advantages - on his hold to be just strong enough to withstand the squirming and trashing, but weak enough not to break the bone, on his fang to remain teeth, on his nails to not turn into claws and slash Mr. Lahey's skin and all the other deadly weapons his body would offer at a moment's notice.

“Let's go, boys,” he said, gesturing to the house in front of them with his chin, because his hands here too busy leading Mr. Lahey back inside. The drunk man did not struggle much, but the Alpha was still keeping his right arm locked firmly behind his back, guiding him in with a hand placed on the back of his neck.

Every once in a while, when Mr. Lahey's struggles got too violent (he did try to jerk his body forward a few times or kick Peter), he would just squeeze the muscles there to calm the man like a lioness would her kittens. Weird metaphor, Stiles was aware of that, but it kinda seemed descriptive enough to him at that moment.

The rest of them followed after Peter wordlessly. Once they got to the front porch though, Mr. Lahey somehow (Peter probably let him) managed to break free, stumbling away. His foot got caught on the last stair and he tumbled right into the half-opened door, forcing it to bounce open with a loud crash.

The way Mr Lahey landed was not exactly silent either. A pitiful grunt escaped his mouth as his hands connected with the floor, his head hitting the wooden parquets because of the slight whiplash.

He swore then, the curse a sign of him being okay, and scrambled ahead on all four. And he swore again as the carpet further down the hallway started to collect under his knees. It was just downright ridiculous compared to how collected and strong Peter seemed at that moment.

The Alpha followed after him slowly, gesturing for them all to get inside too and as Stiles entered the house, just before he closed the door, he dared to turn his back to the hallway to glance out of the house at the neighboring houses, wondering how many prying eyes would meet his own – but all the curtains were closed tight.

Could it be? Yes, it probably could. He would bet they were all ignoring the ruckus, just as they did every time when Mr. Lahey decided to have his outburst. Thus, it was all their fault too - cowards.

Stiles turned back inside when the door clicked shut and saw Peter haul Mr. Lahey to his feet despite his loud slurred complains. He then pushed him through the nearby door that led into the living room and deposited him on the couch, where the man remained sprawled, gesturing at them and slurring words even more.

Strangely enough, he fell asleep only mere seconds after.

 

~o~

 

“Are we just gonna leave him here?” Stiles asked gesturing at the slumped form of Mr. Lahey who kept sleeping soundly on the couch. He probably won't wake up anymore until morning, just as drunk people usually did in his experience, but still... it seemed somehow anticlimactic after all that pushing and shoving to get him inside.

“Of course not,” Peter answered almost immediately, taking a step closer to the couch.

“No, wait, what are you-” Isaac started, jumping between them. “I know he... but it's not like this... not always, he just...” he gestured vaguely behind him, unsure about how to continue.

“Calm down,” Peter ordered, his eyes glinting red, which Stiles couldn't see since he was standing in the doorway behind him, but he could easily spot the reflection in the empty bottle standing on the table in front of Mr. Lahey.

“I want to help you and hurting him will not help you, not really,” the Alpha explained logically, lifting his hands in surrender.

“Then what-”

“You told me, it wouldn't have been that bad if your brother wouldn't have died,” Peter started, making Stiles frown. Where was he going with this? Could he maybe resurrect the dead or something? Stiles felt as if he heard Peter say something like that before... and if it was true, could he do it for other people as well...?

“Now, I can't bring back dead people, not like that,” Peter continued. Well of course he couldn't, Stiles was a naive fool to considering anything remotely close to a resurrection.

“But, I can manipulate your father's memory and make him forget,” the Alpha concluded, watching Isaac intently.

“What?” Isaac asked, as if not understanding the inquiry at all. And Stiles had to admit, he barely understood what Peter was talking about either.

He glanced over at Derek, his eyebrows quirked in a question, but the werewolf didn't react, watching Mr. Lahey, as if he was in charge of keeping an eye on him now. It was a curious thing indeed – pack dynamics. Stiles would have to look into it once the situation calms down a little.

“I am offering to remove the memory of your brother Camden from his head altogether,” Peter explained.

“What, but...”

“You can do that?” Stiles jumped in, his voice full of disbelief mixed with a quite big amount of interest – with all the magic happening all around him, he shouldn't have been surprised, that a werewolf could do something like that – it just wasn't something one would expect to be on the list of wolfy superpowers, that was all.

“Yes,” the Alpha confirmed as he turned to him, the nails on his lifted hand sharpening. “With these.”

“But you can't just...you can't,” Isaac muttered, his eyes traveling into the corner of the room where a few photo's remained stacked on each other with their pictures down. They must have been full of the smiling face of his brother, Stiles realized with a painful jolt – he knew that feeling of loss well. He still felt it himself, albeit weaker by now.

“Yes, I can,” Peter said. “The question that reminds here is whether or not you-”

“But you can't just erase Cam...h-he... that's just,” Isaac shook his head.

“How is that going to help anyways?” Stiles said, feeling like he had to help to defend Isaac's cause somehow.

Don't get him wrong, he would be all for stopping Mr. Lahey from freaking out ever again, but if he had to choose to apply the same for his dad or himself, he would rather suffer the loss than never be able to remember his mom ever again. “Won't he notice something is amiss? There would be a lot of stuff missing in his memories, ya know, things tied to Isaac himself? Thing tied to experiences that shaped his dad as a person.”

“Not if he is such a heavy alcoholic,” Peter shrugged. “Memories fade after a while, some of them are already forgotten anyways. His brain will adjust to it. It might take a while and there will definitely be a noticeable hole in his mind, but it might help him to get back to his old self.”

“Won't that change him though?” Stiles wondered, catching a curious glint in Isaac's eye, who was watching them with interest. He might have been unsilling to ask his own questions, but Stiles would be dammed if he couldn't help out with that. He was never afraid to ask questions of any kind after all.

“That is exactly what he want to achieve though, isn't it?” the Alpha said out loud, his lips quirking a bit as if his logic was impenetrable. And it was. On some level. But was that really enough of a reason to delete somebody's most precious memories? And for such selfish reasons at that?

Isaac must have been wondering the same, because he finally found the courage to speak for himself: “But you can't just erase Camden, you can't just take everything that-”

“Again, yes I can,” Peter said, his voice harder this time to bring his point across more...well, more pointedly. “It's hurting your father and in turn hurting you and everybody around him. This is the only good solution I can give you.”

“But-”

“You will still remember him,” Peter insisted. “You will and you can remember him for the both of you, because your memories are not poisonous for you, nor for the ones around you, but he? His memories are like acid. They corrupt everything.”

“You asked me for a peaceful solution to your problem, you begged me not to hurt your father before you shared your story with me. You admitted yourself what the memories do to you father... now, granted you didn't know I had the ability to take them from your father, but you do know now and...”

“What if somebody else mentions Isaac's brother?” Stiles jumped in, not wanting Isaac to be too much under pressure when deciding about such an important thing. “Won't he get suspicious, that he doesn't remember his own son?”

“Nobody would,” Isaac spoke up, his voice barely hearable even in the silence around them. “People who could, they won't, because they know it's a trigger... so nobody really mentions Camden anymore, just...just us and I don't really...”

“Still, he could just check some official documents,” Stiles countered, looking up at Peter with some kind of a challenge in his eyes. The Alpha's logic obviously wasn't as impenetrable as he thought. “And all these photos and... other things. The grave for starters...even if we manage to get rid of all the-”

“No, we can't just get rid of-” Isaac added, more sure of himself this time.

“Enough,” Peter cut off both of their frantic voices. “Of course we will not get rid of any evidence, that would take us way too long and we are under a slight time pressure right now as you might know. But I have been thinking about this for a while now and as a precaution, I will put a memory of myself into Mr.. Lahey's brain,...”

“Like inception?” Stiles gaped.

“Yes, now stop interrupting,” Peter waved his hand in dismissal, turning back to Isaac. “Your father was a soldier so having a strong case of PTSD will not surprise him. I will make him believe it was triggered by the death of his oldest son... I don't need any supernatural abilities to convince him of that, I am sure.”

“So before that, I will just remove the memories of his son – it would be as if his brain tried to heal itself by making him forget Camden in the latest outburst... he will still remember what he did, how he treated you, but he will also remember contacting me prior to this event...”

“Why would he contact you of all people? And how...?” Stiles wondered, unable to shut his pie hole.

“Stiles, please,” Peter frowned, rising his eyebrows, his forefinger tapping the expensive-looking watch on his wrist. “Must I remind you this mission is highly time-sensitive every few seconds?”

“Still,” Stiles shrugged, non-pulsed.

Peter sighed, looking over at Derek who jut kept staring at Mr. Lahey's snoring face, and then lifted his hand up to squeeze the bridge of his nose with his fingertips.

“I need to remove the memories to bring some of his logic back, he will not let go of his grief, from what I heard he seems unable to do so in his present state, so removing the memories is a given,” he explained quickly. “Also I need to have some kind of an authority established to be able to take Isaac away. Posing as an ex-military, that has been entrusted with his PTSD problems seems like the logical option. I can say I came to check up on his I found him midst a severe outburst, drunken and aggressive.”

“But-”

“Peter was in the army,” Derek spoke up for the first time, not turning away from his objective. “So the story would match up.”

“You were?” Stiles asked astonished – not that the man did not look like it, the teen just couldn't imagine him ever leaving Beacon Hills. He somehow assumed being in a pack included physically being in it all the time.

“Special Forces, yes,” Peter confirmed dismissively, muttering something about a task force group that was made entirely out of werewolves back in his days. “Derek has probably...”

“I refused to join,” Derek snapped, his jaw setting. “I am not into killing people.”

“Ah,” Peter breathed, his eyebrows lifting as if to challenge that statement, but before he could continue Stiles decided it would be better to jump in and end the conversation – if not for the sake of avoiding an argument, then at least for the sake of keeping on the right track with it. Although he would have loved to hear more about the werewolf military.

“Best lies are spun around truth,” he said, when Derek and Peter were staring at each other for way too long for his liking. Especially their eyer were beginning to glint slightly.

Luckily, his words seemed to have snapped them out of it.

“Indeed they are,” Peter nodded in agreement and turned away from Derek and Stiles to look back at the sleeping Mr. Lahey and then on Isaac, who was standing in between them nervously. His posture half protecting, half scared.

“Did you come to an decision?” He asked finally.

There was silence for a second as Isaac kept glancing all over the floor, his brain busy thinking, waging one argument against each other, but in the end, there was no other possibility for him. He would obviously choose to...

“Do it,” he nodded, his back straightening slightly under the encouraging eyes from his Alpha. “Help him.”

 

~o~

 

They did not stay to watch the procedure, not this time, although Stiles was immensely curious about it – after Isaac agreed (a little too readily for Stiles' liking, but it wasn't his decision to make so he kept his mouth shut, although yeah, sick fascination), Peter ushered them out of the living room to go pack, so that they could leave immediately after he was done with Mr. Lahey.

Isaac was walking up the stairs, his shoulders more relaxed than Stiles ever saw them and his mouth could not help twist at the thought of what they were doing to Mr. Lahey downstairs at the moment.

He only caught sight of Derek pulling the drunken man up on the couch into a normal seated positions, so that his head was sticking out and Peter standing behind him with his claws all out, his eyes glowing, exactly when the said man began to stir to awareness – it did not seem like something he would ever allow them to do to his own dad, no matter how bad he would have gotten.

“I know what you're thinking,” Isaac said once they reached the first floor and the sounds of a short struggle reached their ears. The other teen must have heard them more vividly, since he was a werewolf now, but it only made the corner of his mouth twitch a little before he seemed to calm down again.

“But you don't know anything...you don't know how he was.”

“I know I wouldn't want that for my dad,” Stiles answered, looking up to see the other teen walk further and push open the door to his own room. “I wouldn't want him to forget mom.”

“Even if he hurt you because of it?” Isaac said, his lips pursing as he glanced to the other side off the hallway, to a door that presumably lead to his brother's old room.

“He wouldn't...,” Stiles said, following Isaac's gaze. He could see inside through the parted crack between the door and the door frame. Could see a few posters on the wall and a small collection of little car models on a shelf right under them, everything as maintained as if there was still somebody living there.

Isaac's own room was nothing like it. It was ordered in a military sort of precision and it was clean up to the lamp on the ceiling, and it wasn't homey in the way Candem's room had seemed to be - it had nothing personal in it, just blank white sheets, neatly folded clothes, a generic alarm clock, a stack of assorted books and a bunch of yellow pencils in a glass on the table. There was nothing more to it and Stiles pursed his lips, feeling ashamed by the fact he ever thought to compare himself to Isaac.

“I just wanted him to realize I was his son as well. I wanted him to be the same as he was before. To stop... to realize,” Isaac admitted shrugging as he walked to the worn-down wardrobe.

He opened it with a creak and stuffed the few clothes he had there into a gray backpack, that he carried to school every day. “I know it's selfish from me, but... honestly, I thought this solution was rather nice, compared to what Peter would have liked to do.”

Stiles shuddered at the thought – it's true he could not imagine Peter as a vicious werewolf, he did not get to see him like that yet, not totally, but still... he could sense this haze of danger around him... sometimes even a somehow crazed-out manner that made him re-consider this whole werewolf business, but the Alpha seemed to have been keeping himself in check well enough in front of them so Stiles easily slipped back into nonchalance. The fact remained though. Peter did not refrain from doing illegal things.

“That would be illegal, ya know,” Stiles argued, picking up a pencil from the glass and pointing at the other teen with it.

“Peter said it wouldn't be, not for us,” Isaac said, glancing back at Stiles. “It falls under the protection of the pack and an Alpha is allowed to-”

“Isaac, come on, did the wolfy genes mess up your morals or what?” Stiles snorted. “It's one thing to fight supernatural forces with supernatural, I can get behind that by now, I get that it is fair, but letting a werewolf kill an inno-... a human? That is just way too much.”

Isaac forcefully closed the zipped on his bag, throwing it over his shoulder. “Why should I care about morals? Nothing about my last few years was morally correct, not that you would understand it, Stiles, so you have no saying in any of this.”

“Wow, dude, does Peter have steroids in his saliva as well?” Stiles rolled his eyes, knowing full well he is antagonizing the other teen, but that was what won his arguments in most cases - making the other side too angry to be able to think clearly. Not that he couldn't win against a skilled talker, this was just easier, more like him.

Isaac's eyes flashed and he looked dangerously close to just lifting his fist and punching Stiles in the face, but he then realized what he is doing and took a scared step back. He sighed and leaned against his table.

“I would never let Peter hurt him... not really. No matter what he had done to me. He is my d-dad,” his voice cracked. “I didn't have anybody else before. But I.. sometimes I wished. And now...this,” he waved his hand in the direction of the door. “This might help him in the long run. He might realize... I don't want to live with him anymore even so, but I want him to realize what... I want him to... I don't know... what would you have done?”

Stiles opened his mouth before he could think about it and... then closed it again.

“I could have just left, true,” Isaac nodded, following his thoughts on some kind of a mental level. “But I am a minor...it would end up with him trying to get me back by force... I already ran away once and... besides my dad needed a freaking wake-up kick in the balls.”

Stiles watched his fingers curl around the edge of the table, his knuckles turning white.

“He is not like your dad... he wouldn't have snapped out of it, no manner how much I begged, he wouldn't have stopped, he...” he hiccuped. “Sometimes I just wished him dead instead of Cam, but I wouldn't have... wanted... it's my dad.”

The wood under his fingers cracked a little, small batched of dust trickling down onto the overly-clean carpet.

Stiles stepped in closer and reached over to grab the other teen's arm gently to offer at least some kind of a support. “I would have had him locked in the prison with all the memories intact. That is... that would have been the right thing to do here... but, Peter was right,” he admitted begrudgingly. “We don't have that much time and... it might wouldn't have worked anyways given how corrupted the system might be sometimes.”

“So why did you...?,” Isaac cried unable to voice his questions till the end, his voice strangled. He wanted to know why Stiles was fighting so hard against Peter brainwashing Mr. Lahey and at first, the teen did not know - he could not explain it, but then I dawned on him. The truth more surprising than ever.

“Because it is a way too small price to pay for hurting you like this,” Stiles said, his eyes wide. “He shouldn't be running around enjoying the freedom, not for what he did. He should be freaking locked down and suffer for what he did to you and... I am sorry, I was comparing him to my own dad before, but you are right... this is a totally different situation and you... you were way too nice to him with this decision. He did not deserve it. An eye for an eye would have been more just.”

It was then when Isaac broke down into a full-on crying, tears sliding down his cheeks as he put his arms around Stiles, hugging him tightly as he cried... cried for the justice that he was not able to allow his dad endure, not even after all this time full of abuse and hatred.

Stiles could feel his eyes sting in response to Isaac's as he gripped him tight, trying to sooth his emotions. He realized at that moment, that he indeed still had a lot to learn about life, because not everything was simply black and white and not every thing could be judged with the laws he was used to follow.

And that in this case, Isaac seemed to be more mature than him, even though he was the one crying in his friend's arms. Yes, Stiles thought of him as a friend – one did not get to see somebody else's deepest parts of soul without bonding for the rest of the life.

 

~o~

 

When they reached downstairs, Isaac stopped at the last step and craned his head to look into the living room from a safe distance. He probably didn't see much though. Stiles was standing way ahead of him and even he couldn't see the two men sitting on the couch and quietly murmuring to themselves, because Derek was leaning against the door frame leisurely, his posture stiffening slightly as Stiles moved in closer.

Derek looked at him and then over his shoulder at Isaac, but did not bother stepping away. It seemed he decided to play some kind of a wall this time and Stiles, knowing how Isaac shivered when leaving his bare room, was thankful. Isaac might have seemed ballsy at some moments, but he was definitely not ready to be left alone with his dad, especially since he didn't know if the whole 'treatment' worked and how it worked.

“How did it go?” Stiles asked in a quiet voice. It was probably loud enough for the werewolves, but Mr. Lahey weren't to be disturbed by it. And he wasn't, because he kept talking to Peter, his palm pressing against his face with a tired kind of expression.

“Good,” Derek answered silently. “Peter is a master of memory art after all.”

“Right, Special Forces must have enjoyed that ability,” Stiles muttered, hoping to draw more out of Derek, but the other man remained silent.

They both turned their looks in the directions of the couch and watched Peter reach over and grip the other man's shoulder, shaking it a bit more forcefully than might have been necessary. Mr. Lahey seemed sober.

And it probably felt like grounding gesture, but Stiles could see the anger in Peter's eyes quite clearly to know it wasn't. Peter was just doing what Isaac asked him to do – he probably would have killed the man on the spot right when they arrived.

No scratch that, he would have done it smartly, like a skilled killer. Stiles had no problem imagining that. It kinda made him wary of the man and unthinking he took a step closer to Derek.

“Is he... is he okay?” Isaac asked from behind them, his words cutting through the relative silence like a sharp knife through butter. It even made the two men on the couch lift their faces and look in the direction of the stairs.

Stiles could make out the moment, Mr. Lahey's eyes zeroed in on his son, because he stiffened for a second and then got up from the couch in an attempt to walk to him.

And that was when a few things happened at once. For starters, Isaac took a step back and his elbow collided with the wall as he clenched the gray back in front of his chest. Derek moved to block the doorway, Stiles lifted his arm to push Isaac behind himself even is he could not reach him anymore and Peter put a hand on Mr. Lahey's shoulder.

It was quite an impressive choreography, one had to give them that.

There was a wrinkle visible in the middle of Mr. Lahey's forehead as he watched them move into position almost automatically. It wasn't the deep-angry one that he had on his face before, it was a more of a confused, shocked one. It was similar to a person invited to a party and not enjoying it, not sure where to sit, how to move along the music, how to...

“Not yet,” Peter told him, gesturing to Derek to take the teen's out of the house.

Mr. Lahey did not say a word as they got ushered down the hallway by a stoic Derek. He didn't say a word as they exited through the front door and he didn't say a word as the door shut tight behind them neither.

And nor did Isaac. But the grip on his backpack lessened and his breath calmed, and Stiles couldn't help but smile at Derek, who smiled back at him with a sightly less grumpy-looking expression.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles couldn't sleep. It wasn't that he wasn't sleepy enough or tired enough, he definitely was, because the day felt like a week if not a month. He just couldn't sleep. Simple as that. And just as frustrating.

He rolled on his right side, pulling the sleeping bag higher to press it against his neck where he felt the cold breeze from the opened window above him tickle his skin and opened his eyes again with a heavy but silent sigh. He just couldn't fall asleep, even though he was tired as hell.

He thought back oh how they left Isaac's house with Peter in tow, how they climbed back into the Alpha's Nissan and drove back. Not in silence this time, although one might thought that it was in silence – no, it wasn't, because Stiles' brain could not stop working, they gears in his head turning and turning and turning, faster with every second and honestly: Wasn't that just what was keeping him up right now as well?

“So what happens to Isaac's dad now?” he remembered himself asking.

Peter shrugged behind the front wheel. “I did recommend a therapy. I know a decent psychiatrist.”

“You would,” Derek snorted, but Peter did not deem that to be worth answering because he just shrugged again and drove the car kept on driving.

“We don't have that kind of money,” they heard Isaac mutter after a few minutes and look out of the window as they drove past the church. Whether he squeezed his fingers in some prayer to the one and only or whether he just felt nervous and embarrassed to admit the truth behind their family allowance seemed unclear at that moment.

We do,” Peter answered calmly, driving up next to the cemetery.

“But...” Isaac started, making the Alpha lift his hand and wave him off before turning the car to enter the parking lot in front of the building. He was going rather fast this time, because they have reached his place in record time.

“Most packs pool money,” Peter explained. “At least a considerable amount of it. We will decide on your percentage as well, once you have some steady income, that is.”

“But-”

“Isaac is right,” Stiles chimed in. “Most of us are just teens, ya know, steady income is a thing of a far future.”

“Yes,” the Alpha nodded, backing his Nissan into a parking space right n front of the Camaro, making Derek wince as the parking helper started to beep frantically because they were getting way too close for his precious ride.

“A pack is a long-time commitment, so any of my investments are bound to be long-term as well,” he explain and cut the engine, just when they were about to nudge Derek's car.

“Still-,” Stiles started, but Peter turned back to him, his look silencing him momentarily. Which the Alpha wasn't too shy to use: “Yes, I do realize I might go bankrupt, before you all finish high school, what with all the underage unemployed children and the vast damage the fire did to our property all those years ago, but... but I made my peace with it. I have wells to use once my own one gets dry.”

“Illegal ones?” Stiles wondered aloud, making Derek give him a entertained look.

“Of course not,” he said, his tone suggesting otherwise. And that seemed to have concluded their conversation on the topic of Mr. Lahey.

So that was that, right? They could just go up to Peter's flat and since it was nearing midnight, Stiles could finally catch some sleep, right? It was a long day and he deserved it, right? Right? Well no, of course not, because his life hated him and the situation did not get any better once they have reached the flat. Actually it might have went from “this is not so bad” to full on “oh shit how did we get into this situation”.

Because, let us just pause for a dramatic effect here, Scott decided to bring Allison Argent with him and it might have actually been Stiles' fault, but ya know - one thing after another...

 

~o~

 

Stiles should have known something was amiss right when they stepped out of the elevator. Derek gave him a slightly weird glance when he said there was no way he is gonna use the stairs and trotted over to the elevator with Isaac in tow, but that was not the sign that should have tipped him off.

It was what happened when he stepped out of the elevator, Derek already on top of the stairs, staring at the slightly opened door with dread in his eyes, his stance either ready to attack or ready to fleet – the teen was not exactly, because his attention was drawn by Peter going up the last set of stairs, his eyes growing angry red, a growl vibrating inside his chest.

“The little arsonist spawn dares to,” he muttered, his words barely understandable.

“What-” he started, stopping next to Derek, who put his palm over his chest pushing him behind his huge body. Stiles glanced over at Isaac, who looked jut as confused as he did – well maybe a little less, because he could actually hear what's happening inside of the flat.

Stiles cocked an eyebrow at him.

“Dunno,” Isaac muttered, stepping out of the way, so Peter could stalk around him and push the door to his flat open.

“Derek?” Stiles asked, pushing the hand off his chest and slipping inside the flat quickly before the werewolf could stop him.

In hindsight, he shouldn't have let Derek stall him at all, because it made him miss the beginning of the confrontation and a lot of things might have been avoided, but yeah, nobody is perfect and at least he got there in time to see Scott standing in front of a bleach pale Allison, the pack standing along the walls out of the way as Peter growled at the girl from the hallway, his face contorted with his Beta features – which were way too close to what he learns was an Alpha werewolf's full transformation – he looked like a thing from a horror movie.

“What the hell?” Stiles breathed, reevaluating his life-choices. “Scott?”

“I don't know,” his best friend whined, side-stepping slightly as the Alpha stalked in closer, saliva dripping down his jaw.

But Stiles did not exactly need an explanation of the situation, not after hearing Peter's remark just a few seconds before entering his own flat - Argents here hunters and the woman called Kate Argent did a fucked up number on Derek and Peter got this murderous glint in his eye every time it came up and it always got mentioned around the Hale fire – mix that together with Peter calling Allison an “arsonist spawn” and well... Stiles had no problem to put two and two together.

The problem was his notes said, that Allison was okay and that he should make whatever needed for her. It looked like the time had come now. But what was it that he could to to stop Peter from mauling her? There wasn't much a human like him could do.

A click of a safety on a gun brought him back to the scene in front of him. He might have retreated into his ming palace for only a second, but even that was enough for the scales of power to move.

“Hale,” the sheriff said, his tone making the warning obvious – especially with the gun trained at the Alpha. “You might want to calm down before somebody gets hurt.”

The sheriff was standing around the corner, at the end of the couch, his gun upright, his stance rigid as he watched the Alpha through the front sight of his glock.

Peter's right ear twitched a little, turning to the sheriff, but the words did not seem to register, he was way too concentrated on Allison. She moved a little and he moved as well, making sure she was always in his sight, the growl getting louder and louder. Fuck.

Scott obviously didn't know what to do. He looked scared, but ready to defend Allison. The rest of the pack seemed too shocked to move. Derek was standing behind Stiles, sweat running down the side of his face, his hands shaking as he stared at Allison, his eyes flickering from bright blue to his normal greenish colour and Stiles... well, he knew he had to do something, because at this rate, his dad would definitely try to stop Peter together with Scott and the antagonized werewolf might just maul them without a second thought just to get to the target of his rage.

There was no way in hell Stiles would let that happen. No. Way. In. Hell. But the problem remained – there wasn't much he himself could do to stop the Alpha, if Tomasz had been here he would have.... wait, fuck, of course!

Before Stiles could do anything though, Peter's paw sprung and knocked the gun out of the sheriff's hand before he could even push the trigger. He did so, but too late and the shot fired at Peter's head swooshing through the air to smack into something invisible and falling harmlessly down. Allison gasped and a few people yelled, but the Alpha payed them no heed, bounding from the floor and hitting the same invisible barrier a the bullet before.

The teen exhaled in relief, his hand stretched out in front of him – the protection barrier he created around the passage way from the hallway to the living room from the Blackthorn remaining under the table held. And it held even after the second time Peter slammed onto it and it held after the third and fourth time as well.

That was all it took for Peter to realize he was obviously not getting to Allison and turned around to look who was causing these problems for him. The look he gave Stiles was full of betrayal and hatred, but the teen did not stop to look on the jaws that snapped in a threatening manner, instead he concentrated on the Blackthorn and closed his hand into a fist, making the dust extend between him and the Alpha as well, to close the werewolf in a circle.

Peter glanced down at the barrier, stalked to Stiles and hit the invisible wall with his paw, before turning back and growling at Allison. Stiles glanced her way as well, seeing his dad got the hold on his gun back, standing between the rest of the pack and the murderous Alpha. Not that it would do any damage, because the Blackthorn barrier obviously wouldn't even let a gun pass through it, which was a relief, because Peter might have been dead by now.

“I got him, no worries,” he said, raising his voice, so that his dad and the rest of them in the living room could hear him through the growling. “Got it under control.”

“Under control.” The sheriff obviously did not believe him, griping the gun tighter as he followed the pacing werewolf inside the circle with it. “Son, that is not exactly-”

“No, it's fine, you can put it down now,” Stiles said.

“Stiles,” John frowned, gesturing at the beast trapped between them and the teen had to give it to him – Peter really did look highly dangerous, but at the same time, Stiles somehow felt safe, now that he trapped him in the circle made out of Blackthorn. There was no way the barrier would snap, not this time.

“Derek, how do we calm him down?” the teen asked, turning around to look at the other werewolf, who still didn't snap out of his initial shock. He was still shaking and his breath turned really shallow in those few seconds that Stiles fought off a vicious Alpha so.. well so much for that.

“Derek for fuck's sake!” he stepped to him, grasping his shoulder to shake it as strongly as he could.

The werewolf gulped and his eyes slid to the teen, but his eyes still looked hazed and unfocused, and so Stiles squeezed his biceps and poked the werewolf's neck briefly, which again, in hindsight was probably a pretty stupid move, but it worked, judging by the fact, that Derek tore himself from his hold, stepping a bit bad, his eyes wide and concerned.

“How do we get Peter back?” the teen questioned almost instantly, ignoring the hurt look in the werewolf's eyes. He even went as far as to lift his hand to cover his throat but fuck, Stiles had a more important business to deal with.

He gestured at Peter growling behind the barrier and Derek glanced up, his eyebrows rising as it that was the first time he actually registered the Alpha prowling the hallway between him and Allison.

“Well?” Stiles asked and Derek jut nodded, turning around to run to the kitchen. He emerged a few seconds later with a plastic box full of yellow powder and Stiles at first thought it was just curry and wondered how the hell is that supposed to help, but Derek opened the lid then and Isaac recoiled – did he hate curry that much? Dully noted.

But back to being serious.

“Open the circle, when I tell you to,” Derek said, stepping right to the barrier. He poured some of the powder into his hand and it started to sizzle onto his skin a little, but he ignored it. Peter stiffened and looked around with a startled look in his eyes.

“Now!” Derek yelled and Stiles moved his hand in one short jerk to make a little gap in the Blackthorn. Before Peter could react, his nephew jumped right in front of his face, blowing the power around his head.

Peter howled, jerking back and accidentally tripped over his own feet or maybe just simply fell down, Stiles was not so sure. What he was sure of though was that Peter fell, his back hitting the barrier dividing him from the living room with a loud thud. He slipped down on it, clawing at his eyes and whining in pain.

“Was that really necessary?” Stiles frowned, stepping in into the ¾ circle, watching Peter writhe on the floor before curling into a tight ball, his features ebbing away quickly. „Oh, okay, nevermind.”

He glanced over at his dad, who let his gun fall down a bit, the safety back on and then looked around the room, seeing the rest of the pack calm down marginally, Scott glancing behind his shoulder a Allison, who smiled encouragingly. His best friend grinned back at her and something in that irked Stiles irrationally.

“What the hell, Scott?” he wondered accusingly, stepping closer to Peter, who still whined at the ground like a hurt puppy. Derek materialized net to him, pushing a wet towel into Peter's face, washing the powder off him as fast as possible. “Why would you bring her here?”

“She has just as much right to be here...”

“Did you know she was a huntress?” Stiles demands, his accusation making the werewolves in the living room step back to the wall, their eyes watching the girl in front of them in disbelief.

“Well I don't see how that is...”

“A problem? Scott, I don't care how nice she is. Why would you bring her into Peter's place?” the teen cried, flailing his arms around. “No offense, Allison,” he added quickly then. “I have on good authority that you are okay, but this is not exactly the right timing to be socializing. Or entering a private werewolf's territory for that matter.”

“I know, but...” she started, pushing forward with her head held high. “I heard what you guys were talking about about the threat and I came to offer...”

“You heard? Scott, did you just tell her everything? Just like that?” Stiles gaped in disbelief. “What part of a secret arrangement did you not-”

“Well in my defense, she heard some of it from you too,” Scott grumbled, flushing red. “I told you it wasn't the right time to call me... I was just in the middle of explaining-”

“It's not his fault. You think I wouldn't notice my boyfriend was turned into a werewolf? What kind of a hunter you take me for?” Allison jumped in, shaking her head. “We all carry around an amulet that indicates the presence of a werewolf, of course.”

She pulled out a necklace from under her shirt, that looked like a lump of rock with some ugly carvings on them – Stiles couldn't exactly see what it was, nor how it was supposed to be reacting to the pack of werewolves around her, but he didn't really care much.

“I came here to offer help,” she continued, explaining her reason for being here, but honestly, Stiles did not see how it ever made any logical sense for her to go inside. She could have just waited in front of the apartment building on a more neutral territory, could she not? Or was she not trained in dealing with werewolves? Maybe she wasn't yet, being so young. That would actually explain a lot...

“And there you just go attacking me out of nowhere...” she continued bitterly, pushing the amulet back under her shirt as if worried they might try and steal it from her. .

“Even I am not stupid enough to walk into a-” Stiles started to object, right at the same time as Scott decided to defend his decision: “I would have told her what I was anyways, I love her, I want her to be a part of this.”

“Scott” Stiles sighed. He wouldn't have expected anything else from his best friend, but Allison shouldn't be such a big part in his life already – how can Scott just jump right into it with a stranger he met a few days ago. Especially when Stiles himself was not able to do so with Derek and they actually had some past (future) to build on already. Wasn't Stiles supposed to be the reckless one here?

“You are being manipulated by her,” Derek said out of nowhere as he got up, the wet cloth covered in wolfsbane shaking in his burned hand. It looked as if somebody spilled acid onto his skin and Stiles reached over to take the poisonous cloth from his hand automatically.

“She is the same as her aunt,” Derek whispered threateningly. “She will wrap you around her delicate middle finger and then shove it up your ass-”

“We did not need that visual,” Vernon scrunched his nose from the couch where he was sitting with Erica. Stiles did not see Jackson and Lydia anywhere, but guessed they were probably still packing their shit for the sleepover, so he wasn't worried much.

I mean,” Derek gritted out miserably. “She might have already have hunters all around ready to kill us all.

“I now her family burned down the Hale house, but my notes said...”

“Stiles you don't know what you are talking about,” Derek shut him up, his eyes watching Allison's every movement. “How long have you even know her?”

“Time doesn't matter,” Scott pouts and grabs Allison's hand, squeezing it encouragingly. “I love her.”

“You are not in love!” Derek bellows, his eyes flashing angrily. “You're 16 years old, you're a child!

“Why don't we all just calm down?” his dad suggested, holstering the gun onto his hip, patting it a few times for good measure to remind all the angry werewolves around that he has a way their life pretty miserable if they don't calm down.

Derek did not seem to care, because he either didn't notice the sheriff dropping hints like nukes or he didn't care. Stiles pretty much thought it was the second one.

“You exposed us all to danger.” Derek growled, his eyes no longer flashing but retaining that steady electric blue colour, that bathed his skin in a sickly-looking sheen. “For your stupid little teenage crush that means absolutely nothing!”

Scott's eyes flashed back, his hands trembling as his nail grew sharper and Derek braced himself for a fight, his teeth doing the same and Stiles was seriously wondering if he should invest into some scented candles to burn whenever things got violent, but luckily Peter managed to recover well enough to gt up and put a hand on Derek's shoulder to stop him from disrupting the fragile peace Stiles managed to acquire not so long ago.

“I would say we listen to the sheriff and calm down a bit now,” Peter announced seriously, his voice scratchy from inhaling the wolfsbane. His face was almost healed though, if still a bit red, there were no more blisters – which compared to Derek's hands was indeed a very fast recovery. It seemed like it was sometimes pretty handy to be an Alpha.

“Miss Argent,” the said man continued, pulling Derek back and stepping ahead of them both. His posture was as nonthreatening as humanly possible, even Stiles noticed that. “I apologize for the commotion upon our entrance, but I did not expect you or any other hunter to not be properly schooled in the way of negotiating with a werewolf pack. I must say, it took me a little by surprise.”

“A little,” Erica snorted from the couch, which made the corner of Allison's mouth twitch a little, but otherwise she gave no inclination to accept the apology.

“Not more that would be expected, considering the fact that your aunt-”

“I have no association with my aunt anymore,” Allison interrupted him forcefully, her eyes as hard as steel. “It's true we... we were close, but that was before dad explained to be our business a few days ago. I knew nothing of it before, which explains why I am not trained in the supernatural etiquette, s excuse my rudeness I guess, but I can assure you I mean no harm.”

“That is hard to believe from an Argent,” Peter admitted, looking over at Stiles for some reason as if he would be able to vouch for her. He just decided to shrug though – the fact that the notes said to be nice to her did not mean they should totally drop their guard.

We go our own way, follow our own morals, our own Code if you will – we only hunt those who hunt us, which means, no, there are no hunters waiting to attack you outside the flat,” Allison explained, her hand in Scott's holding on tightly. “And there won't be any-”

“Humor me miss Argent and answer one simple question,” Peter drawled, looking down at his nails, that bore resemblance with the horribly huge and sharp talons there were plastered there just a few minutes ago. “Does this new Code honored by all the hunter of you division?”

Allison's lips thinned at that and she suddenly looked very uncomfortable even though she could hold her own in the company of a whole pack of werewolf up until now.

“Sadly my grandfather is still holding the majority in out division but we are working on-”

“Ah... well, there goes the most sacred law of the hunters... right out of the window. How should one trust you when you can't even follow your own rules?” Peter sneered, crossing his arms over his chest. He then sighed regretfully and shrugged.

“But we can discuss the matters of the sovereignty of matrimony among the hunters some other time, I am sure.” His tone indicated that he actually did not want to talk to Allison ever again, if he could help it.

“I'm afraid it's time for you to leave now,” he added curtly.

Before Allison could make a move to extricate herself from Scott and walk out of the flat though, Peter pulled out his phone and waved it around for her to see. “Before that though, I would appreciate if you could deliver my personal number to your father. I am sure he would like to hear more about the imminent threat that is the Alpha pack and I am sure we could strike a deal or two about the possible benefits of... let's say, collaborating.”

 

 

~o~

 

Stiles counted himself lucky, because he was in a pack, that actually had an Alpha mainly focused on strategics and not on petty revenge plots and grudges, although one never knew with Peter right? Maybe it really was some elaborate plan to become a packless Alpha – maybe he will mange to kill them all somehow and... yeah okay, his brain was obviously way too tired to be logical.

The bottom line was, that Peter planed to use the Hunters as an advantage against the Alphas as well. Which actually gave them higher chances to survive. So really, there wasn't a reason for him to be still up right? There was nothing super important to think about just then, nor was there was urgent problem to solve, so he could have just settled just as the rest of the pack did – all around Peter's living room and his bedroom in various stages of disarray.

And Stiles could guess what you would be thinking, but it wasn't actually as chaotic as one would imagine, it - sure there was a slight fight over the couch, but once Lydia said she and Erica were absolutely taking it, nobody dared to contradict. And since it was Peter's flat, he called dibs - actually just simply informed them, that he is entitled to his own bed and the rest of them should make do with the sleeping bags and spare blankets.

Which yeah... was not so bad, not really. Most of the pack fell asleep after a few hushed discussions, tired from the day's exertion. Actually, Vernon was probably the first to go off into the dreamland, judging by the silent snoring coming from his direction only mere seconds after he settled in. Lucky him.

But not Stiles, of course not. He turned on his back and looked up at the frame of the opened window, watching the curtain sway gently in the breeze. It did not lull him to sleep, not at all – he felt way too wired, his brain unable to stop processing all that happened to him since he had woken up back in the clearing.

Well, there was only one thing he could do at a time like this. He slowly undid the zipper on his sleeping bag, stopping a few times in the process when Isaac stirred and then slipped out of it, intent to go at least walk up and down the stairs – it would not equal a ride around the town in his dad's cruiser but it might make his legs sleepy enough to pull him under. He was too restless.

He tiptoed between the sleeping people, suspecting that Isaac was still up from the way his hand moved out of the way when we walked around him, but he was not gonna call him out on that. Stiles did not want to alert anybody of his own plans. They might force him to stay cooped up here and he just wanted to go for a little walk on the hallway to calm his mind.

When he got to the door, he noticed it was slightly ajar. He moved it to open more and slipped in between, knowing full well what or rather who was he about to meet outside.

“Derek,” he whispered to the man sitting on top of the staircase with his back to him and his eyes trained to the moon, that was visible through the large window on the other side of the hallway.

“The magic,” the man answered in a hushed voice. “Don't close the door.”

Stiles stopped with his hand on the door frame and trailed his fingers over it's surface. It was covered in runes carved in the wood, that would probably make them forget there even was a door once they closed it.

And so he left the door exactly as he found them - ajar and walked slowly to the other man, his fingers connected to the wall to know which way to go. It was eerily silent and dark on the hallway, which was slightly weird considering the lights should have been automatic (why did they not turn on when he moved in their vicinity like this?), but Stiles did not let that bother him – he actually preferred it that way.

He sat down right next to Derek, stretching his legs in front of him and leaning back on his arms. He was content to just sit there in silence and stare at the bright moon and they did so for a few minutes or maybe even hours – the teen was not sure whether there even was a concept of time between them at that moment.

The atmosphere was broken by Derek sighing and leaning forward to rest his chin into his palms. The movement attracted Stiles' eyes almost automatically and he let them trail over Derek's shoulder and up his neck to stare at his ear blearily. There was no heat behind the stare, no purpose, no meaning, just a simple innocent stare.

“Can't sleep?” he asked, when the werewolf's ear stopped being interesting enough. He let his eyes fall back on the moon behind the window and relaxed even more - if that was even possible considering he was feeling pretty chill by then.

Derek shook his head and of course, Stiles could not exactly see him but he recognized the horizontal movement of his head from the corner of his eye and that was enough for him.

“Is it because of the Argent thing or because of the curse?” he wondered, turning his head a little to ease the pain that started to shoot up from his shoulder blades. It helped.

“Don't... don't call it that,” the werewolf answered, a bit more forcefully that the situation called for. “It makes me... weir- uncomfortable.”

“Oh, okay, sorry,” Stiles shrugged non-pulsed, keeping his attention on the moon. It was so bright... Derek turned back to him, his eyes glinting blue, his hair framed by the bright silver glow. It was mesmerizing.

“But yeah,” he confirmed, watching Stiles carefully as he admitted the truth. “I do want to go see... her, but I know. I mean logically, I do know, but I somehow still can't shake it off.”

Maybe it was the darkness surrounding them, making the truth easier to share. Maybe it was the moon bathing the hallway in a slight glow so that they could see each other, but at the same time hide their emotions (at least Derek could, because Stiles was just a weak human and had no supernatural lie detector), but they both seemed calm enough to talk about anything. It was... a surprisingly comfortable situation.

“Want me to call Tomasz?” Stiles asked, pushing himself to sit more upright, just in case the werewolf neeed him to hurry. „I have his number...”

“No, I... I think I am fine for now,” Derek answered quickly, his right hand jerking a little as if he wanted to reach out to the teen and stop him. He did not do it though, turning away to watch the moon instead. “I should be... for as long as I don't get to really see her or so... I think.”

“Hmm'kay,” Stiles hummed, pulling his legs up to his body. He put his arms over his knees and leaned his head onto the hollow created by his elbow pit. His cheek got mushed to his skin, which would make it harder for him to talk normally, but he didn't exactly come here to talk – he just wanted a silent company while he chased the thoughts away and got sleepy enough to attempt... well, sleeping again.

“Why can't you sleep?” Derek asked out of nowhere, pulling Stiles away from his whirling thoughts. He tore his eyes from the moon and looked over at Derek who did not move at all.

“What?” the teen asked, because he did not quite catch the question on the first go.

“Sleep,” the werewolf repeated.

“Oh... yeah,” Stiles sighed, sliding his cheek over the skin on his forearm and turning his head slightly to press his forehead against it instead. He knew he was hiding his face with the move, but he did not care. It's not like Derek had to see his face, he wasn't even looking his way.

“Hmmm, yeah, I don't know,” the teen muttered, lifting his left hand to stroke the back of his neck. “A lot of stuff happening all at once, I guess.”

“Hmm,” Derek exhaled, the interjection somehow prompting Stiles to continue talking, although he really did not feel like it at the moment.

“It's... hard to deal with it all, I guess,” he confessed, glancing at the other man over his forearm. But Derek was still turned away and so Stiles decided to continue: “I can feel it all changing me...”

“People change,” the werewolf said, shrugging off the importance of his statement. It was more than that though and Stiles could not resist explaining it: “Yes, but hmm... it's more like forced adjusting. I am doing my best to adjust as fast as possible, but... I am still so far behind. I don't know if I am...”

“You are doing fine,” Derek interrupted him calmly. “Considering...”

“Considering I ain't you badass wizard lover from the future?” Stiles snorted, digging his nails into the skin at the back of his neck. The cold of his fingertips felt chilly on his warm skin.

“Considering it's been... what? Three day since you got thrown into this madness,” Derek reasoned, even turning his face partly to him to show him those famous raised eyebrows to make his statement stick better. “The future you had it easy.”

“Heh,” Stiles snorted, watching the other man over his eyelashes. “You flatter me, dude.”

“I don't do flattery,” the werewolf huffed, turning back to the front, but not before Stiles could catch the corner of his mouth twitching. Alright, alright, he might have been imagining it, but still.

“Seemed like flattery to me,” he argued just for the sake of arguing. He had a feeling Derek would enjoy that and he was not wrong.

“Trust me, I don't,” the werewolf countered, his head shaking in denial, though it seemed way too cheerful to be meant as an argument.

“Heh,” Stiles smiled, mushing his face back into his elbow pit, wiggling the toes on his feet in delight. This was... nice. Talking like this with Derek was... nice. The teen could definitely see the allure of having him around.

He closed his eyes for a second, breathing deeply for a few seconds and he could even feel himself slipping a little from the reality and start his short walk through the Dream Valley, but Derek decided to continue their conversation and his next words pulled the teen out of the sleepy haze:

“The pack is helping too.”

“With what...?” Stiles wondered, opening his eyes again to stare line of Derek's shoulder.

“With the... the Jennifer thing,” the werewolf admits in a hushed voice, her name just a silent mumble that Stiles almost overheard.

“I thought you didn't want any of us in your pack,” Stiles noted, lifting his head to take a better look at the other man. His shoulders hunched slightly at first, but then relaxed quickly again.

“I don't,” he breathed silently. “But I actually do.”

“Huh, m'kay,” Stiles shrugged, stretching his arms in front of him with a satisfied grunt.

“It's complicated,” Derek elaborated, which could barely be considered an elaboration at all – maybe just from the other side of a black hole... by a deaf alien. Stiles did not need an explanation though, he understood the meaning behind those scarce words.

“It's not. I get it,” he said. “It's like... I like Melissa, Scott's mom. I like her, but she would never be my mom, no matter how many pies she'd bake, no matter if she would get together with my dad or not... she can't ever replace my own mum, but I do... I would want a mum, but I don't want one. Well it's something like that I guess. Just, Melissa would be a group of strange teens, which... a weird metaphor, yeah.”

Derek nodded, the exhale of his breath almost too close to a startled laugh. “Something like that, yeah.”

“Mhmm,” Stiles hummed, mushing his face against his arm again. He found that being not only super comfy, but also very strategically effective when being pulled into such deep conversations – it put him on ease, it made him content even as he was talking about his mom.

“I just,” Derek went on. “I shouldn't have... argued or so.”

“You probably wouldn't have if it weren't for that c-... ya know, that thing,” the teen shrugged, speaking from his own previous experience, his eyes gravitating to the werewolf's ear again. Weird. It was just a normal ear.

“I definitely would have,” Derek snorted, shaking his head. The moon's light seeped through the moving strands of his dark hair. A peculiar thing to notice indeed.

Stiles blinked. “Yeah I noticed you and Peter bickering a lot,” he said tearing his eyes from the werewolf. He decided to look down the stairs instead, wondering if something supernatural might have been hiding there, listening to them.

“We always did,” Derek confessed, something like fondness creeping into his voice. Stiles couldn't help but smile a little. “Not this much though... not... not like this.”

“When you say it like that it seems pretty sweet,” the teen grinned.

“No, definitely not.”

Stiles snickered at that and silence fell upon the couple again. It was a calm, welcoming sort of silence and the teen felt himself lean against the wall on his right, as his eyes watched the darkness under the stairs - unfocused and only halfway opened.

He breathed out and stroke his fingers over his scalp, his nose muffled by his elbow pit, where it ended up trapped. His fingertips traveled. He scratched the top of his head and then inhaled, his cheek sliding over the forehand again to get more comfortable.

“I am sorry you know,” Derek said so silently, Stiles was barely able to hear him. He actually first thought he had only imagined the words coming out of the werewolf's mouth but when he looked up and saw him watching him with an unsure look on his face... it didn't seem like it was just in his head after all.

“Huh?” he frowned.

“You heard me,” the werewolf frowned back.

“Yes, but,” Stiles shrugged, lifting his head from his arm, shaking it slightly as he rubbed at his eyes. “It's fine, ya know.”

“It's not,” Derek's frown deepened as he leaned it close as if he wanted to study Stiles' expression, but could not see him properly through the darkness, which was a pretty ridiculous thought actually. He was a werewolf. What would he need to get close for?

“It's not fine... I... before I just didn't...” he started, his frown easing up a little as he tried to explain the situation to the teen next to him. “And now...”

“It's fine, man, no harm done... no lasting harm anyways,” Stile shrugged. And it was true. He was healthy enough by now and besides, he really didn't care anymore, because he wasn't the type to hold grudges till the end of the line. Life was too short to spend it on hating people because of some stupid mistake. In Derek's case, it wasn't even a mistake, nor his fault for that matter, it was all Jennifer. It was all her.

“But it was-” the werewolf tried again.

“All fine now, promise” Stiles waved him off. “But if you still feel bad, you could... I don't know, buy me issue 27 of the Detective Comics.”

“Pffft,” Derek rolled his eyes and yep, you were right if you were thinking that Stiles was getting dangerously close to making him full on laugh on this fine night - not that that was his goal or anything. Of course it wasn't. It did feel helluva great though, seeing the other man like that.

“Not gonna happen,” the werewolf said, his voice a little more somber than a second ago. “Buy it yourself.”

“I don't have the money,” Stiles whined, leaning in closer to Derek to poke under his ribs. The werewolf swatted his hand away before the finger could reach it's destination, but it achieved it's purpose anyways – Derek was definitely smiling. Enough for Stiles to be able to see it in the sparse light of the moon, which was something alright.

“Even if I had that kind of a money,” the werewolf said. “I would not buy it for you. I am not a spoiler.”

“A spoilerrrrr hahah,” Stiles drawled, laughing silently as he tried to poke Derek a few more times. All of the tries were unsuccessful and the last one even ended with the werewolf grabbing his wrist and pushing it down onto the cold floor. Not that that was any uncomfortable.

“A daddy, you mean,” the teen snickered.

Derek tore his hand from Stiles' in an instant and frowned. “Tss, stop it,” he grumbled.

The teen could see from the form his cheeks were pulling off against the moon though, that he was still smiling and that was why he decided to make the bold move and lean in closer to his ear, whispering: “Come on, daddy.”

“Seriously, Stiles,” Derek growled a little, shoving him playfully away. Stiles felt almost giddy - being at the receiving end of such a gesture. And there he thought the werewolf was just one huge grumpy cat. Would you look at that.

“Just kidding, come on,” Stiles snickered, pushing back at him, his hand sliding over other man's shoulder, lingering there maybe for a tad longer that necessary, but none of them would have admitted it anyways, so what was the point of... pointing it out.

“You say that now,” Derek answered, turning back to him, a grin playing on his lips. “And one day I will come home and you will be wearing a collar or someth-” he stopped abruptly, the corners of his lips slipping down a little. “Ehm, that... nevermind.”

Stiles gulped - his throat suddenly felt way too dry, as the werewolf shook his head a little, turning away from his to stare resolutely out of the window again.

And the silence did not feel so welcoming anymore, instead it squeezed his neck so tightly he almost gave up sitting there, wanting nothing else than to stumble away.

“Ah, yeah, no,” he muttered, his voice strangely tight. “Ya know this whole-” he tried, hoping to restore their banter all over again, but his attempt had been futile, because Derek shook his head briskly, saying:

“I can't talk about that now, not,” a sigh of frustration divided the answer. “Not when I am like this, it's... fuck, I just want to go and find... her now and you fuckin-...”

“No, it's fine I...,” Stiles said reaching over as if to hold Derek there in case he decided to stand up and walk away from him, from the pack, right into the arms of that... that woman. He couldn't let that happen. He couldn't. And yet his hand did not dare to get closer. Not close enough to touch at least. Ahh, what a mess. This is not what he imagined his midnight AKA early morning walk would be like. This is not what he wanted it to be like... well then why won't he jut turn it all around?

He pushed the tightness in his throat down, swallowing it and made himself relax with a deep exhale. It was as if Derek felt the calmness he tried to restore and responded to it by relaxing slightly as well. The teen could almost see the tendrils of the magical goo, pulling back from the surface of his body to slip into a dormant state again. He just needed to say one more thing for it to be completely asleep again. And so he did.

“I don't want to talk about that now either,” he whispered, knowing that it was the truth. “Not now, maybe not ever so... so it's fine, right? It's fine.”

The worst thing was, that he actually meant it – he was sick of discussing the same old song over and over again, he was sick of dissecting the lyrics, of listening to the music on a loop, of hearing everybody humming it under their breath all around him. He just wanted something easy. And things... well they were as easy as one made them, right? So maybe...

“Kissing you is nice though,” he said out of nowhere, right at the same time as Derek decided to nod and say “Good”, which startled the werewolf so much his eyebrows climbed up his forehead all the way into space, close to the furthest star in the sky and... back to reality.

“Really?” the werewolf asked, obviously unimpressed. “I say... all that and you just decide to blurt out... that?”

“Well,” Stiles shrugged calmly. This was the way to deal with the whole situation, he was more than sure of it. “Just thought I will get it out there ya know, cuz...”

“Stiles, just shut up,” Derek said, shaking his head in disbelief, but his eyes looked more entertained than annoyed.

Because,” Stiles pushed, his tone persistent. Yes, this was definitely the right approach. “It's a thing we could do without actually having to talk about the whole...”

“No,” Derek sighed and rubbed his eyes a little too forcefully, which should have been a warning for the teen to stop, but he thought... just a tiny bit before the werewolf closed his eyes, he thought he saw something in them. Something... well, he didn't know what it was, but it... was something. No, it was probably nothing.

“Yeah, of course not,” he huffed, sliding his hand over the back of his neck. “What was I think-”

“Exactly,” Derek nodded, looking at him again, but Stiles kept his eyes trained on the floor. He didn't want to see that mirage of something again – it would make him too reckless and he had just decided to handle things calmly. And there was nothing there, anyways... but what if...?

The teen looked up, his eyes connecting with Derek's and he said, oh god he really decided to argue about it right there and then, didn't he? Somebody should sew his mouth shut right away. Abort. Abort.

“We kissed before though.” Oh well too late. “Twice. Let's say three times, because wolfy kisses totally count too.”

“Yeah, that...”

“A mistake, I know,” Stiles offered, watching the expression on the other man's face go through a few mixed emotions, until it settled on an unsure frown.

“I don't... know,” Derek frowned gesturing to himself as if it was all clear and he didn't have to explain himself to anybody else and definitely not to Stiles. And Stiles, yeah, he knew the werewolf was talking about the curse disrupting his thought process, making him doubt everything, but he decided to ignore it all.

“Well... if you are not sure, then there is only one way to know for sure,” he said offhandedly, putting his head on his knees. He, of course, did not expect Derek to complete his suggestion, so what was the harm in saying anything – he will probably just tell him to shut up again and things will be back to normal.

“Hmm,” came from next to him and he didn't really know how to react to that. And so he just shrugged, closing his eyes, content with the situation as it was. The darkness really did tamper it all down for him, or maybe it was the late hour making him less affected to denial, but seriously it was fin-

“Like this you mean?” Derek said suddenly, his voice coming out way too close to Stiles. He startled, turning his face to the right, a flush rising on his cheeks as he saw the werewolf lean in even closer than he was before – when did he scoot that close?

“Ah,” Stiles breathed, trying to come up with some smart response, but Derek's lips were way too close and he just couldn't come up with something short enough to fit into the distance between them, because it was shortening with each nanosecond and he really... there was no way he could think of something right then, because holy shit... Derek just pushed his opened lips to his own.

It was a brief kiss, a short one, just a few swipes of lips pushing against each other gently, so it felt like the most innocent thing of all and Stiles trembled, warmth flooding his body because this was it, this was how first kisses felt like, was it not?

Unsure imprecise movements, periods of holding your breath and that one startled exhale through your lips, that flooded your mouth with warm air, that was in no way warm enough to make you forget about the other lips brushing your own and... well fuck.

He kissed Derek before, of course he did, but he could feel the memory of the future him lingering between them. He knew that Derek was just copying how kissing the future him was like and even though it turned Stiles on way behind his usual level of excitement, this...? This was... as if he never...

It was silly, because their movements did not match properly and it was cute, because Derek's mouth was way too open for someone who just wanted to steal a brief kiss, but it was not a half-asleep kiss for somebody else, nor an angry one responding to a similarity between him and the other him. It was just... as if this one was only for him - Derek decided to give him a kiss as they were sitting on the cold stairs outside of a flat full of sleeping people.

And that somehow made Stiles way too happy, so when Derek pulled away, he leaned in again, kissing the slightly upturned corner of the werewolf's lips and grinned, watching Derek roll his eyes as he definitely pulled away from the teen.

“Uhuh, or yeah... yeah,” Stiles giggled a little – yes he did and he was not embarrassed to admit that. He turned away and put his hand over his mouth so that Derek could not see his ridiculously wide grin but damn, the last time he felt this giddy was when he got drunk in the preserve for the first time.

His smile widened, as soon as he heard the werewolf huff out in a silent laugh. “Oh boy,” Derek muttered, his voice hinting on some good old eye-rolling being involved in the visuals accompanying these words as well.

“I can't help it,” Stiles snickered, weirdly ecstatic from the whole situation. Blame it on the bright moon “ I feel like a teen kissing an older dude in secret behind some...”

“You are a teen,” Derek snorted, turning away even more as if to hide his own smile – or maybe Stiles just imagined hearing it in his tone, who knew.

“And I'll have you know I am not old, ” the werewolf insisted, shaking his head.

“Whatever you say, Ancient One,” Stiles gleamed, nudging the Derek under his ribs, which made him recoil slightly and grab his hand to keep it from doing more tickling.

“You are such a child,” the werewolf complained, holding his hand tightly in his own. Stiles tried to get it free a few times, but nothing he tried was successful at first

“That insult only proofs you realize how much older you are,” he answered, turning his wrist to help his hand slip from the hold easier, which worked and he grinned, lifting his arms in victory.

“I will never kiss you again, jeezus, so not worth it,” Derek shook his head, feigning annoyance,but leaning in closer anyways, which made Stiles warm just from the anticipation.

“Heh, if you say so,” he breathed, savoring the moment as the distance between them got shorter and shorter.

“Yeah I....ah fuck!” Derek blanched, his face scrunching as he plastered his palm to his chest. He staggered back and then slid stair lower, curling into a ball.

“Derek...?” Stiles whispered worriedly, reaching out.

“Don't!” came the warning, the werewolf shying away from him. “Don't... it's fine, but don't... “

“I don't understand, it didn't hurt when I had it,” Stiles frowned, standing up just in case he needed to call Peter over. He didn't have to though, because the Alpha was suddenly standing right behind him as if he just pulled off the Invisibility cloak. Stiles didn't want to think how he knew when exactly to appear - what a Creeperwolf.

“It doesn't hurt,” Derek hissed, reaching out to clench the wooden part of the railing, crushing it beneath his fingers. “I just... I want to stay.”

Peter pushed Stiles gently out of the way to get closer and knelt in front of him, putting him palm onto his Beta's sweaty forehead, his eyes glowing red. “It's okay now. It's okay. You're with you pack. You can stay. Stay.”

Derek shook his head, the muscles on his arms tensing and relaxing as if they couldn't make up their mind. Stiles could see him struggle to get up and then slide back on the floor, his breath erratic. He didn't understand.

“We suspect it's not the same curse as you had,” Peter muttered, answering the internal question although nobody asked him to. “Shhh, it's fine now. She must have simulated the creation of a mate bond and corrupted it with the curse. It must be tearing him in half to be around you, since you have such a strong mate potential for him and being bonded with her. Plus all the while understanding that it's most likely fake. Derek really hates being manipulated, as you might have noticed.”

Stiles pursed his lips, nodding. This is obviously just one more thing that Kate left behind. He never really met the woman but was beginning to hate her with a bit to much passion for the likes of him.

Derek managed to get a hold on himself pretty fast - the railing in a poor state as he slid his hand of it - the bleeding skin beneath it already healing. But he still looked wrecked. Torn, just a Peter said.

And although his hand looked to be in a perfect state after a few seconds – he even grabbed Peter's forearm in some kind of a thankful gesture and nodded at him, it still didn't make Stiles feel any better. On the contrary.

“I'm sorry,” he offered, not sure what to say.

“Don't be,” Derek said, his voice hoarse. He looked up at Stiles, his eyes slowly fading from the bright blue to the greenish color. “Don't be. This was nothing compared to how it felt back in the preserve. It was weaker and that... that is definitely a good thing.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles was just smiling back at Derek in response to his encouraging statement – honestly, it was a weirdly nice morning for him and that rarely happened before he had his coffee, so why not just enjoy it while it lasted. And it sadly only lasted a few seconds longer.

Up until a fierce ring echoed down the hallway. It was Peter's phone hidden in his pocket, the ringtone a blaring siren disturbing the perfectly content morning they could have ended up having.

And Stiles would have teased him for the weird choice of a ringtone or even outright laughed out loud, weren't it for the fact, that he caught a sight of Peter's face just mere seconds before he wanted to do to – the corners of his mouth stiffened in the half smile, his eyes widening. And for a second, he looked ashen like a walking corpse.

He regained his composure pretty quickly, just before the third ring would have sounded – he blinked, looked down and took out his phone, his face morphing into a determined mask as he stood up to take the call.

"Yes?" he answered sternly, his voice a bit too steely. Combined with the fact that Stiles barely registered his hand moving, as he took out his phone – it definitely did not bode well for them all.

The teen watched Peter's eyes squint and looked over at Derek who was sitting on his spot rigidly, his head inclined as if he was listening in to the caller. And for the umpteenth time, Stiles wished he could have some practical superpowers as well, because all he was able to do at that moment was stare with his mouth hanging slightly opened and with his curiosity on a very short leash.

"When?" the Alpha asked sharply, looking out of the window as if the position of the sun could tell him something about the present time. Which it could of course, but Stiles was not sure if Peter was that...

Stiles didn't even have time to finish his thought, before Peter answered to the mysterious caller: "Thank you for your services. You will receive the promised payment as soon a I hang up."

While he was saying that, Derek lifted his left arm and glanced down at the watch around his wrist. He tsked under his breath, standing up in one sharp movement.

Stiles followed suit unsure what to do because he of course did not hear the conversation – not that he needed to. By then he was fairly sure it had something to do with the Alphas. Or was there some other enemy he did not know about? It couldn't have been Tomasz, could it? No, wait, of course not, stop side-tracking this poor lad's mind, brain.

He looked over at Peter who lowered his phone to type something on it quickly, his fingers tapping the surface of his phone like a light rain. The teen guessed he must be directing the said amount of money to the caller for... for what? For informing Peter that the Alphas are on their way to Beacon Hills? So how much time did they have before the threat would be standing at their door?

Judging by the fast pace Derek adopted when heading back inside, it probably wasn't a lot of time. The sheer determination in his eyes and the intent hidden under that was clear as the rays of sun seeping trough the window – he was gonna take the pack and lead them to safety, before the Alphas could get to them. Shit just got real.

"The Alphas?" he asked the other man when Derek disappeared behind the door.

Peter looked up at him, his silhouette surrounded by a halo of sunlight and nodded silently. "They will be here in an hour and half. Time to execute our plan."

 

~o~

 

They did have a plan of course. Kinda. Well, let's just say they had a solid cornerstone of a possible plan which started with them separating into two groups, from which one would head out to the hiding place lead by Derek and from which the other would head out to meet the Alphas and hope for the best.

And then there were all those little subplots that Peter kept adding to it, but didn't explain to any of them. It only managed to make Stiles feel like he wasn't the main character of this whole story. And honestly, if he thought about it properly, it kinda gave sense... who would want to read about the weak human, who just ran around confused most of the time, if one can read about Peter or maybe Tomasz.

Which in turn made his thoughts circle back to the initial inquiry – where was his uncle? Did Peter manage to arrange some kind of a fail safe with the hunters? Well... he was about to get briefed soon, right? A little patience wouldn't kill him now would it?

“So what's the plan now?” he asked. So much for patience.

Peter waved his hand to silence him and tapped his phone again, dialing some number on a speed dial – how was that still a thing in this century, he didn't understand. Nobody used that feature anymore, Stiles scrutinized as his eyes locked on the glowing arrow going up on the elevator.

How funny would it be if those were the Alphas? Would the enchanted door work on them? Even if it would, it probably wouldn't work on whatever druid they have with them. From what his notes mentioned before, there was one acting as an Emissary. Stiles didn't remember her name...

The Alpha sighed in frustration, lowering his phone and typed out some longer message before putting the phone back to his ear. This time, it seemed, it went through.

“Yes, indeed,” he said curtly as the elevator stopped and the door opened revealing Melissa standing inside of it.

“You might be interested in knowing that the Alpha pack is on their way here,” Peter continued, but Stiles zoned him out for the favor of waving to Scott's mom. She was still wearing her nurse clothes, neatly ironed and as good as new, though he expression was that of a tired person.

“Stiles,” she greeted him hurrying over. “Is everything alright? Scott called me he won't be able to come home over the weekend? That I need to come here as quick as possible?What the hell is going on? Is he alright?”

“Uhh well,” Stiles cringed, glancing over at Peter who was still busy, presumably talking to the Argents. “He's fine, but...”

He looked back at Scott's mom and pursed his lips. He wasn't exactly sure how much he was supposed to reveal to Melissa – his default setting with parents was that the less they knew the better and that didn't actually help him find the right words for the woman in front of him.

“Stiles,” she said in warning, her gaze stern.

“Ehh... you better wait for Peter's explanation or you know...some more adept adult,” he shrugged, looking down at his socks – yes, he did not put on his shoes as he recklessly decided to wander out of the warded apartment. Happens.

Melissa followed his gaze and rolled her eyes at the state or his attire. At least Stiles imagined her doing so.

“My dad is inside” he said, beckoning to the slightly opened door and she slipped inside without another word. That was actually a better alternative than doing all the explaining himself. Let's just let the sheriff explain or someone... anyone. As long as he did not have to deal with it.

“I have the sheriff's department diverting them to come in through the preserve on the west,” Peter was saying. “We will intercept them before they could reach the populated area, somewhere under the...yes exactly... well closer would of course be preferable, but... well of course I would not expect that of you. Let's just hope it will not come to that and we...”

The Alpha grew silent suddenly, lowering his phone to look at it with a mixture of disgust and something akin to anger. Stiles was wondering if he is going to crush the phone in between his fingers for a second, but Peter just sighed deeply and pocketed his phone.

“I swear if the future you wouldn't have made it clear that they were a reliable alliance, I would have,” he gritted through his teeth, leaving the end unsaid. Not that it was needed to be said.

“Isn't that good though? Won't that give us an advantage?” Stiles wondered aloud, shrugging as Peter walked past him. He was grumbling under his breath like... actually like Derek was often heard doing in these past few days. And that included his wolfy form too, by the way.

“Advantage?” Peter snorted, pulling his door open wide to step through the threshold. “There is no advantage for my pack when they hang back and act as a kind of a safe net for the humans in case it goes haywire and the Alphas are not satisfied enough with our own demise.”

“Well, I am a human so wouldn't that technically count as human protection if the Alphas...” Stiles started following after Peter to keep up with the conversation. Or at least that is what he wanted to do, because his curiosity was killing him and he needed to pull some more information out of the Alpha despite the time pressure, but he decided to rethink that as soon as he saw the sheriff standing in the hallway with his hands folded over his chest – he knew what was coming and his mouth shut itself automatically.

“Just why to you think it is wise to take children with you to meet the werewolf equivalent of mafia?” his dad asked sternly, his voice rising over the general ruckus back in the living room. Stiles caught a few people changing their clothes hurriedly and packing a few things back in their bags.

“If this is a potentially lethal situation at that,” the sheriff continued. In his defense, they didn't really talk about this part of the plan yesterday. There was enough to do after Allison left and the sleep did not let them run away from it for too long, so of course his father didn't really know what the exact plan contained. Up until not apparently.

“Dad-”

“It will not come to that. Nobody will come to harm,” Peter said, glancing over John's shoulder to assess the state of the packing and give a little shrug to his nephew.

“How sure are you about that on a scale-”

“Sheriff I can assure you-” he said distractedly, shaking his head. The Alphas seemed to be heavy on his mind.

“And I am telling you, that there is no way that I, not only as an police deputy, but also as a parent, am willing to stand here and let you take Stiles nor any of these children with you,” the sheriff said sternly, his arms unfolding so that he could put his hand on the holster on his right side.

Stiles saw Peter refocus on the person in front of him in a blink of an eye. The Alpha glanced quickly to the holster and then back up into the other man's eyes, returning the stern stare.

“Not happening Hale,” the sheriff repeated, but in much less words this time. There was a movement behind him and Melissa appeared there, nodding along with his words.

Peter straightened up at that, regarding them for a few seconds. “On the contrary, I agree with you,” he said then, nodding. “And that it why I am sending them to a safe place.”

Stiles could see he was suddenly way too calm, as if he was pressing the annoyance caused by their sudden time pressure into the back of his head.

“Not all of them though,” Melissa stated, gesturing at Lydia, who was standing over Jackson pointing at something he packed wrong.

“No, not all of them,” Peter agreed. “I need Lydia with me because she is a banshee, I need Jackson because he is a kanima and I definitely need Stiles, because without him Tomazs can not attend the meeting and his presence would be considered an insult to the Alpha pack, who could then in turn raise a havoc in Beacon Hills and claim the territory for their own if they wished. And that... my dear uninformed friends, that would lead to the pack eradication. Even much worse...”

“Still-” Melissa started, looking over at the sheriff, who still didn't look very happy about the situation. Stiles could tell so by the tight grip his fingers had on his gun.

“Tomasz will be there?” John asked, narrowing his eyes at the Alpha in a very distrusting way. “Where is he anyways?”

“On his way,” Peter assured them. “I understand that you of all sheriff, would not trust me on that. But I wouldn't have expected something like that from you Ms. McCall.”

Melissa looked away from him, a guilty look flashing over her face before she managed to steel herself and look back.

“I am thankful to you for saving my son,” she said, pointing her fingers towards the Alpha. “But that does not mean you own his life.”

“No, it does not,” Peter confirmed. “And he is free to go and choose some other pack to protect him from the threats of the supernatural world, but until that happens, I am responsible for his well-being. For the well-being of all the pack members in fact.”

“As are we,” the sheriff jumped in, seeing that Melissa's resolve was weakening under the pressure of Peter's persuasive reasoning. “We have the right to protect them, we have the right to decide for them-”

“Not for me you don't,” Jackson said from behind them as he heaped his bag up to his shoulder.

Sheriff and Melissa turned around to look at the teen, that decided to speak up first - first from the group of teens already standing behind them - ready to go.

“Your father, Jackson, he would-”

“My adoptive father you mean,” Jackson corrected the sheriff rudely. “Well, let me tell you right now, that my father let's me do whatever I want... and before you interrupt me with some legal bullshit, I will have you know that that includes things that are indeed against the law. And you know about that, I am sure, you have seen him covering for me enough times before.”

“He still wouldn't wish you to come to any harm, I'm sure,” Melissa argued. “Nor would any of your parents.”

Stiles could see Isaac, standing next to Boyd with his little ragged backpack in his right hand, twitch. Peter must have notices too, because he sighed and opened his mouth to presumably just order Melissa to shut the hell up already, because she was not only stalling the evacuation, but also keeping them from following their tight schedule, but...

Before he could do that, Lydia spoke up. “With all due respect, sheriff. The only one of us that can be actually be forbidden to go is him.” She pointed to Stiles. “The rest of us are either in the process of being guided to a safe house, which you are now preventing them to do, causing the risk of their death rising by each and every second, which means it would not be Peter's fault if something would have happened to them.”

“The rest of us,” she nodded to herself and Jackson, “are in fact out of your reach. So then, please turn around and discuss the needed matters with the one and only individual that is actually required to listen to you. We have some affairs to attend to.”

Jackson smirked at Lydia, who didn't even bat an eyelash while putting the sheriff off his supposed pedestal and Stiles could finally understand why they fit so good together. It was a very weird match still, but it kinda made sense. And he thought the day would never come, when he would have even the slightest understanding as to what kept those two together except for high school status. Well there you have it – we learn something new each day.

“Thank you Lydia,” Peter smirked, his eyes never leaving the hand placed on the sheriff's holster. “Now, if you would kindly refrain from shooting inside my apartment, then that would be most appreciated. The magical warding does shield us from the outside world, true, but I would rather avoid my paint getting destroyed any more. It is, after all, one of the last reminders of my wife's life.”

And just like that he stepped around them and proceeded to the living room – the two adults way to stunned to say anything. At least to the rest of the group. Melissa moved away from the sheriff patting him on the shoulder encouragingly as she went over to talk to Scott and sheriff... well, let's just say he turned around to address the only individual in the room he had some power over.

 

~o~

 

“Dad,” he started, wanting to overwhelm his dad with a lot of words to maybe... somehow, get out of this mess before Peter could leave without him.

The Alpha didn't want him there at the beginning and the fact that he only wanted him there as an invitation for Tomasz didn't really have a value when the said man was nowhere to be found. But his dad knew him well. He didn't let him speak for long enough.

“Stiles, no,” John interrupted him. “I understand you want to go, because it's a supernatural affair and... it's great, that you are always ready to jump fearlessly into everything with your head first but... this time, I am really...”

“Dad, come on,” the teen whined, making Jackson who was just walking past them, snicker. Stiles frowned at him – he was indeed considering to stick out his tongue as well, but that would only serve as a proof for his dad that he was still too young.

“I need to go,” Stiles started again, watching the leaving teens wistfully. Erica gave him a wink and then hurried after Isaac and Vernon.

“You can, but you have to go with Derek to-”

“No, I won't,” Stiles shook his head in exasperation. The said werewolf stopped next to the sheriff as he was walking behind the golden trio and frowned at him. Which didn't have to mean he was annoyed with what Stiles said – ater all, the man was just a human version grumpy cat when it came to expressions, but still...

“No offense Derek,” he said hurriedly, glancing at Peter who passed them without a word and slid out of the apartment without a second glance. Derek's shrug went unnoticed, but the fact that he stayed behind with them didn't. At least not entirely.

“Son-”

“No, dad, no,” Stiles argued urgently. “I need to go, they need me there to secure Tomasz a spot in the front line, so I-”

“I am sure Peter will figure it out somehow,” the sheriff waved his hand in dismissal, not understanding how important traditions were in the supernatural world.

“No, he won't and if everybody dies that that will be your f-”

“I will have my officers with wolfsbane bullets nearby and ready, nothing is going to happen to them,” sheriff reasoned, patting the holster on his side confidently.

“Well then I might as well-” he started.

“Stiles, you will stay out of this even if I'd have to handcuff you-”

“You mean like they did in the Eichen house?” he asked. In his defense, Stiles already knew that he couldn't use the small guns to guilt his dad into letting him go and that was why he decided to pull out the Death Star instead. Albeit unwillingly. “That was you making decisions for me too.”

There was a flash of something in akin to grief, that reflected in John's eyes and Stiles had a short flashback of his dad looking like that when he got too drunk and started to talk about his mom's death, but the sheriff managed to pull himself together from that blow remarkably fast.

“This is not going to work to guilt-trip me into letting you go,” he pushed out from between his lips, his voice not as calm as he no doubt meant it to be. “But we can discuss that-”

Stiles pursed his lips for a second and then opened them up again to say: “Mom would have let me go.”

“She wouldn't have,” John snorted, rolling his eyes. “Stiles, why don't you just give up. There is nothing you can say to change my mind on this and you know tha-”

“The dust circle magic you saw him doing earlier,” Derek spoke up out of nowhere. They both turned their heads to look at him, Stiles surprised and John confused. “When Peter had his minor fr-”

“Son, this is a personal conversation between me and my-”

“It can imprison any creature, even a non-magical one,” Derek continued relentlessly, leaning into the wall with his eyes drifting over to the living room where the bag of stored Blackthorn sat on the table. “It can keep them from moving out of the circle, keep them locked inside for an unspecified amount of time so that they could not interfere with other people's business.”

John's eyes grew wider as he followed the direction of the werewolf's stare.

“I know that, because I tried to stop Stiles to meet a deadly enemy earlier this week,” Derek said bitterly. “I tried and failed.”

The pause that followed the statement was as pregnant as an elephant after two years of... or you know, simply put very meaningful.

Stiles made sure he did not comment on the fact that the future him actually died after that, because that would have probably spoiled his chances right there and then. Derek must have decided to withhold that information as well, because he was quiet.

The sheriff sighed and Stiles felt a little smile pulling at his lips. Derek glanced at him and lifted his eyebrows in question making sure to be as subtle as possible, which, dude, hardly possible with those eyebrows. But Stiles decided to cut him some slack and grinned at him, because he knew... he knew where this is leading...

“Alright,” John said at last. Which honestly was no surprise at all, Stiles knew his old man well enough to know that they had him when Derek spoke up.

“Yes!” Stiles cheered, lifting his hand to offer a high five to Derek who sadly did not react to it. Instead he turned and started to walk to the entrance door to catch up to the rest of their pack. He should probably...

“But,” the sheriff said, grabbing his wrist to pull it down, the gesture pulling the teen's attention over to him again. “You will promise me to be extra careful.”

“I will be,” he smiled, prying his hand out of his dad's hold to run quickly back to the living room and grab the bag of Blackthorn sitting there.

“I promise.” he grinned, running out with the bag safely hidden in the front pocket of his jeans.

The sheriff just shook his head and followed his son out of Peter's flat, the door shutting with a barely perceptible thud.

 

~o~

 

Once they exited Peter's apartment building, Stiles saw that the pack already divided to sit with their designated drivers. Peter's silver Nissan was humming right in front of the entrance door with Lydia sitting in the front seat next to the Alpha and Jackson sprawled in the back with a cocky grin on his face. Not that Stiles could see him properly through the tinted glass in the back, he just imagined him sitting like that.

Melissa's car was still neatly parked next to Derek's Camaro, but Scott was already sitting inside with Erica and Isaac in the back. It was Peter's idea to add a nurse to Derek's team and Stiles suspected it was because Isaac might get a bit nervous if not fully freaked out by the close-up space. Now, Stiles had no idea how big the place might actually be, but it seemed like a logical assumption.

Stiles spotted Vernon hovering near the Camaro, obviously waiting for Derek and... okay, it made sense that he wanted to drive with the werewolf, I mean, look at that fine ride - Stiles could at least give him that, he definitely had a good taste in cars if nothing else. (Oh there was more of those good traits in Derek, he was sure, but let's just focus on other stuff than a man's ass, when standing near his dad, shall we?)

Lydia's window went down as they approached.

“All settled?” Peter asked from across of her, his fingers tapping at the steering wheel impatiently as if he was counting the seconds.

“Yeah,” Stiles nodded, pulling the back door open to step in. Before he could though, Derek grabbed his shoulder and pushed him aside slightly, popping his head inside of the car.

“You will listen to Peter's instructions as if they were my own,” he told Jackson, but honestly Stiles was not listening because of the rigid body pressing against him from the back.

“I know,” Jackson tsked, rolling his eyes.

“That's an order,” Derek added, flashing his irises, which looked a bit weird in the shaded space - it highlighted the interior of the car as if he took a photo with a blue flashlight.

Jackson's eyes gleamed yellow in response and he nodded silently, averting his head then to look out of the window on his side. Derek nodded at Peter, who motioned for him to go already and just as that, the werewolf pulled back, squeezing Stiles' shoulder in the process and walked away to his car.

The teen looked back conflicted, his shoulder still slightly hurting, but then decided to drop it and climbed into the car. He gave his dad and wave and before he could even close properly, the car was speeding down the parking lot and then to the right to go out of the town and head for the woods of the Beacon Hills Preserve.

 

~o~

 

After five minutes of silence, Lydia just decided to reach over and turn on the radio to some romantic wailing, which Stiles would be fine with, but Jackson kept sighing heavily next to him as he watched the passing surroundings with a brooding look on his face. Was it because of what Derek said to him? Why would he...

Stiles frowned and glanced over at Jackson. He could definitely recall some conversation about a master back in the clearing, could it be that Derek was... the other teen caught his eye, a nasty glare twisted his features and Stiles was forced to look away to stare through the windshield instead. He would really prefer not to get into a fight with Jackson right then and obviously neither did the other teen because he kept quiet too.

The phone plastered to the center console made a little “Ting!” sound and lighted up. Peter tapped at it impatiently and then locked it up again after he read what looked like a really short message. Actually from what Stiles could see it was just two letters or so.

“Was that Tomasz?” he asked curiously.

“Yes, I texted him where to meet us,” Peter answered turning the car left and pushing the gas a bit lower because they started to climb uphill. The car hummed a bit louder.

“That is some last-minute planing right there,” the teen remarked, glancing to the right to see Lydia take a lipstick from her purse and apply it on her lips carefully. The fact that she didn't smudge any outside of the lines seemed like a small miracle on this bumpy road.

“Well yes,” Peter admitted, tapping the steering wheel. “Apparently the package did not arrive on time.”

“The package? Drama queen much?” Stiles snorted, leaning back again to stare out of his own window. He was getting slightly nervous and needed more space for his right leg to jitter.

“I would prefer to call myself a cardinal instead,” the Alpha shrugged with a smug smile on his face as they were entering the preserve. Stiles knew that because his eyes slid over the sign next to the road.

“Speaking of which,” Peter continued. “Jackson, you need to turn and remain hidden in between the trees until they come out of the cars. Once I greet them, you will...”

“Don't tell me posturing is the best strategy you have,” Stiles frowned, leaning forward to have a better view of the side of Peter's face.

“We need to stall them in case Tomasz is late with his package,” the Alpha answered, his face more calculating than worried. “Remember what I told you about rituals between meeting packs - there is always a valuable gift included. The more unique the better.”

“Can't we just give them, I don't know,” he mused, thinking back on one particular Doctor Who episode. “The air from our lungs or something similarly symbolic?”

“Ridiculous,” Lydia muttered under her breath, applying her mascara with the help of a tiny round mirror.

“Not unless we want to insult them and thus give them a legitimate reason to attack us,” Peter answered, steering the car around a small rest stop near the road.

There were a lot of those scattered all around the preserve - sometimes they were just little side-way extensions in the road, where one could park his car. Other times, they were even equipped with a few benches and a trash can. Stiles suspected they were heading to one of those, unless Peter wanted to bar the road literally as well and use the car as some kind of a barricade.

“Lovely, so you've what... sent Tomasz to go fetch something from your vault or...? Stiles wondered.

“You might say that, yes,” Peter admitted, but there was something more in his tone, which sparked the teen's curiosity – there was some sort of anger in it too suddenly... but why?

Up until then he was only keeping the conversation alive not for the sake of the conversation itself, but so that he wouldn't be too nervous about the upcoming meeting. But now it was all about what Tomasz could be bringing over. Was the vault so far away that he couldn't do it quickly? Was it something too heavy perhaps?

“So why exactly is he delayed...?” Stiles wondered aloud, hoping to lure the truth out of Peter with a simple question. The simpler the plan the better – straightforwardness seemed to be working with their Alpha after all. Turned out, he didn't really know the answer himself.

“I am not entirely sure,” Peter frowned, glancing at his inactive phone and then back at the road. “But he is on the way... the question is only if he will be able to get there in time with such a...”

“Fingers crossed? Man, that is some shitty strategy right there,” Stiles remarked, which made Lydia and Jackson both exhale in exasperation. She was the first one to speak up: “Would you shut up about the bad strategy already? You have no right to judge it. You didn't come up with anything better either.”

“Still,” the teen shrugged, looking out of the window just as they were passing a man dressed in a leather jacket holding a chainsaw. He frowned and turned around as they rode past him and saw a bunch of men and women – roughly twelve of them – stepping out onto the road.

Right in the middle was a tall man, not older than Peter, with short hair and a beard, holding a rifle gun. And next to him was the girl he new as Allison, but she didn't look anything like that sweet girl he saw with Scott yesterday. She wore a leather jacket as well, he long hair bound tightly in a high ponytail and over her shoulder hang a crossbow. They all looked as if they just came out of a Walking Dead episode.

“Are those...” he started, squinting in the distance to see properly, but then a thick tree fell down on the road in front of them, obscuring his view. Stiles gulped.

“Yes, the hunters,” Peter growled, driving on as if nothing had happened. “There will be a police barricade somewhere further behind them, so the Beacon Hills folks will be safe no matter what would happen to us.”

“That is not reassuring at all,” Stiles muttered, turning back around.

“Just shut up, Stiles,” Lydia barked, stuffing her make-up bag back into her purse. “Nobody here wants to hear your opinion right now, so keep it to yourself.”

“Speaking of which, Stiles,” Peter jumped in before the teen could say something for his own defense. “You will continue keeping your thoughts to yourself even throughout the meeting, are we clear?”

“Why? Because I am just a mere human?” Stiles glared at Jackson who flashed his eyes at him in retaliation. That didn't really improve his mood at all.

Because, if you start being a smartass,” Peter explained, guiding the car onto a nearby resting stop, that was in this case just a small part of a widened road on the left, “and talk back to me or anything of that sort, my status will drop instantly and there will be nothing to hold them back from attacking us.”

The Alpha cut off the engine and turned around to face Stiles. Jackson did not wait for them to continue talking. He got out right when they stopped, followed shortly by his girlfriend. Their doors banged closed at the same time.

“There is nothing to hold them back at the moment either, though, is there?” Stiles reasoned, folding his arms over his chest. “And am I not your Emissary? Shouldn't I be allowed to talk?”

Peter regarded him for a few seconds and then nodded. “Alright, any logical input is okay, but you will address me and only me, understood?”

“Deal,” Stiles grinned and grabbed the door handle to get out of the car a well.

 

~o~

 

“Lydia,” Peter called out to the girl walking to Jackson, who was standing awkwardly at the edge of the woods, as if he was too afraid to dive in.

“Yes?” She stopped and turned around but made no effort to walk back to them.

“Try to remain silent, dear,” the Alpha reminded her, as he walked around the back of his Nissan. Stiles looked up the empty road and then back to the Alpha.

“Because if I they would think I am holding off a Scream, they would take it as a sign to attack?” she guessed, lifting her hand to brush the stray hair from her face. The wind was picking up. And it was pretty cold so Stiles zipped up his hoodie and then looked up the road again just to be sure they weren't going to miss the arrival of the Alphas.

“Yes. Full awoken Banshees can't resists the urge to scream when death is near. They thrive and feed on it,” Peter explained, leaning against the trunk, his phone staged in front of him a if he was waiting for something. “Their Emissary will sense who you are and expect you to be fully aware of the death-”

“But I am awaken,” she stated, her hair tangling around her face.

“I already told you, those were just your genes reacting to the Bite. Your ancestors rising to help you get rid of the alien cells. Nothing else,” Peter answered, dismissing her statement as if she knew nothing. “Else you would have gone bonkers at the hospital.”

Stiles could see her nostrils flaring angrily as Peter talked, but it was gone in the blink on an eye. Anybody else would have thought that was just a wind, he was sure, but Stiles knew better, he knew Lydia did not appreciate being contradicted when she was sure to be right.

She raised her head and said: “Well maybe I can control myself better than you thought.”

“Well, may it as it be-”

“I am not going to lose control in public,” she assured them. “Under no circumstances. Now, if you excuse me...”

She walked off to rejoin with Jackson, grabbed his hand and pulled him behind the trees. Stiles wondered what that was about and if they were going to have a quick make-out session before they go to meet their possible death, but he really didn't feel like pointing anything out right there and then, because Peter's phone flashed again and the werewolf slid it into his back pocket hurriedly as he stepped into the road.

“The Alphas?” Stiles wondered, looking up the empty road for the umpteenth time. There was nothing to be seen up to the part where the road turned slightly right and the trees obscured their view. That didn't mean they were far away though.

“They have just passed a police outpost,” Peter informed him, rooting his feet in the middle of the road, right on the white dividing line. “At their current speed, they should reach us in approximately 7 minutes.”

Stiles gulped. “Shit.” And took a step back with his eyes glued to the end of the road. “So... remind me. How many of them are coming again?”

“Depends on how you count it,” Peter answered, the wind ripping his words from his mouth and carrying them way behind them. It was as if the Alphas themselves were being carried over by a hurricane.

“The twins could also be counted as one person from what I heard.”

“Peter-”

“There are two cars with seven people approaching,” the Alpha said. “Five Alphas, one Emissary and somebody else.”

“And there are four of us. Five if Tomasz comes on time,” Stiles whispered. He was at first worried Peter will ask him to repeat what he said due to the rippling wind, but he obviously underestimated the super-senses, because his Alpha heard him well enough.

“Six if he brings my package,” Peter corrected him.

“Still,” Stiles breathed, rubbing his sweaty hands over the front of his jeans. He could feel Blackthorn inside of them and that calmed him down a little but still.

On the other hand, he guessed that being this nervous will play out well for his own strategy – for him being considered a weak inexperienced young human who would be too scared to do anything. An easy prey, a useless ally and an even worse Emissary. So if they would attack... if they would try to hurt any of them, the Blackthorn might be a surprising advantage to.. well not save them, but to at least stall the Alphas for long enough so that either Tomasz could arrive or they could escape.

At least that was his plan, if it would work out or not was beyond him at that moment. Will he be able to concentrate well enough to use it properly? Will the dust listen to his command, if he is too panicky or too scared to summon it? He would have to wait and see.

“There aren't nearly enough of us you realize,” Stiles whispered nervously. How many minutes passed since the text message from the paroling officer? Wasn't it nearly time already?

“I did... I do,” Peter answered. He seemed a lot calmer than he ought to be.

“Do you think the hunters...?” Stiles wondered aloud, glancing quickly behind them. The road was as empty as it was in front of them, but he still did not waste any time studying it in detail for too long and returned his eyes to the end of the road. He expected to see a car there already, but it was still empty. For how long though?

“No” Peter snorted, his jacket flapping in the strengthening wind. “They will watch from a safe distance. For as long as there will be no human, that could potentially get hurt, there is no reason for them to interfere.”

“What about me...?

“I tried to pull that card with Argent believe me,” Peter sneered back at him. Stiles notice his eyes had an odd red tint in them. It wasn't exactly the glow he was used to, but it wasn't the Derek-green color either.

“Well, good to know my fellow humans don't give a shit ab-,” Stiles remarked, scratching the back of his head.

“Then again, you are not exactly human,” Peter stated, turning back to the front.

“Yeah well-”

“And you are our Emissary,” the Alpha added before the teen could finish his sentence.

Something moved behind them, a click-clack of high heels accompanying the movement, and Stiles breathed out harshly at the sight of Lydia. Well of course it was her. She walked to the other side of the road to mirror Stiles' position. She looked as confident and as beautiful as ever. It just didn't do the same to his insides anymore, he would need to get used to that.

“Ready,” she said, her hair tangling behind her reminding him of a flag on fire. Stiles blinked, mesmerized by the movement.

“Right on time,” Peter stated somewhere in front of him. He looked over and saw his Alpha beckon his hand in the direction of the two black cars approaching them.

The Alphas.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The two black Land Rovers glided down the road silently, as if the engine wasn't even on, as if the wind kept pushing them forwards on it's own. Or maybe Stiles just couldn't hear it because of the blood roaring in his ears. He took a tiny step back, blaming it on the strong wind that stung in his eyes, but he knew the real cause of his fearful retreat.

If the cars themselves, which looked like custom-made monstrosities with blackened windows and matte paint, could have this kind of effect on him, then what are the Alphas themselves going to cause?

It was rather terrifying to think about. There were four of them at this particular moment – and Stiles wasn't even sure if he should count in himself or Lydia, because he was pretty much useless if one did not count that fancy pouch of Blackthorn in his pocket and Lydia was a banshee. Really, what kind of a strength could a banshee possess against a savage Alpha?

So basically, there was Peter, who Stiles was sure could stand on his own and Jackson, who... Stiles guessed could hold his own ground judging by the fact that we was some kind of a lizard mutation of a werewolf. Even so, was that even a match for a full-grown Alpha? Wasn't Jackson just a Beta by default then as well? It might not even matter, that he had some venom or whatever, if it didn't exactly do anything to an Alpha.

Stiles gulped and glanced over at Lydia who stood on the other side of the road fearlessly and for a second the teen couldn't help but admire her boldness – or was it just a game of pretend to her like always? Although there was so much more at stake than at a typical high school? Or perhaps she really did have some aces up her sleeves. Perhaps she really did acquire some awesome supernatural skill and the only person out of place on this meeting was actually only Stiles himself.

Fuck this, he was not going to be a burden. Just no.

He took a step forward to get back to his original position and zeroed in on the cars that had just slowed down into a halt in front of them.

The wind seized to ripple ruthlessly in the exact same moment as the front door of the left car opened and an older man with a shortly cropped brown hair stepped out. His eyes were covered by sunglasses and he had a cane in this hand, which tapped awkwardly over the surface of the car before his feet made connection with it.

The door on the other side opened then as well and a tall woman with short blonde hair got out, her eyes flashing briefly as she scanned her surroundings, going slowly over each and every one of them. She then walked around the front of the car hurriedly and grabbed the man who Stiles guessed to be Deucalion by the biceps, guiding him their way.

Peter's eyes narrowed as he watched the car on the right. Nobody moved to get out from that one and Stiles could see the silhouettes of three more people there. Curious. He counted again just to be sure. Even curiouser.

He looked back at the left car and watched a vicious looking darker woman get out from the back - her bare, clawed feet drawing his attention immediately. Accompanying her was a huge almost-bold extra large body. Well. This looked promising.

Their eyes connected as the male Alpha zeroed in on Stiles as if searching for the weakest prey in the pack and Stiles could not help but step a bit back to create some distance between them. The man smirked and flashed his eyes at him playfully. The teen couldn't do more than gulp and run his sweaty palms over his jeans, feeling at the pouch of Blackthorn. That managed to calm him down a little. A little.

“Ah Peter,” Deucalion said as he stepped in close enough, his cane tapping the ground merrily. “So good to see you again my friend.”

“Louis,” their Alpha nodded.

“It's Deucalion now,” the other man said with a pleasant smile, that looked nothing but threatening to Stiles. He payed little attention to the blind man though. Not because he underestimated him but because he was not moving anymore – the teen's eyes were pulled to the other two werewolves walking to the sides of the road leisurely – the smirking man who he recognized as Ennis and the barefoot woman who he knew for sure was Kali.

“Right well, forgive me,” Peter shrugged, returning the pleasant smile. “It's still rather hard for me to keep up with the present situation on all the fronts.”

“Oh yes, I understand,” Deucalion nodded, his mouth still smiling. “It must be very confusing... coming back after all these years. Not to mention after losing ones pack. That is quite a... well let's say a harrowing experience.”

“That it is,” Peter nodded, his head turning a bit to the right as the hissing behind Stiles warned the teen about Jackson's appearance on the stage. Their Alpha continued as if nothing had happened: “I am sure you of all know best.”

It was then that the blond woman leaned over to Deucalion, whispering into his ear as she watched what was presumably Jackson stalking over to Lydia, his hissing too loud to be overheard even by a blind man.

Stiles was curious to look for himself, but he did not dare to turn his back to any of the Alphas in front of them not with Ennis watching him from the opposite side. Did he really have to choose to mirror him of all people? Stiles was starting to get creeps from the dude, seriously, and it was only what... a minute?

“Ah I see you brought your...,” more whispers. “Oh, but that is not all of them now, is it? Little birds told me...”

Stiles can't help but snort upon hearing those words. He didn't mean to, but it was that sort of automatic response he has to amusing things and well... that did sound like a replica from the Game of Thrones, so.

Deucalion's head twitched in his direction as he did so, resulting in a growl from Ennis, but Stiles was running high on adrenaline by then and a little growling was nothing to him anymore. He knew that well enough from Derek. Maybe werewolves that growled did not bite – or was it barking?

“Yes, I will be honest,” Peter explained, shrugging apologetically. “We did not exactly have time to prepare the whole welcoming committee as per custom and some of my pack members were rather indisposed at the time I learned about your planed visit.”

Stiles had to give him that – their Alpha was a strategic genius with a very delicate phrasing skills. Not everyone could pull off complaining this loudly to a higher-up and get away with it. But the way he acknowledged that the Alpha pack did not even announce their arrival was a masterpiece in few words in his opinion, because it sounded apologetic as fuck but was actually downright rude.

And Deucalion definitely understood the implications as well. His smile widened. “After receiving your invitation, I must say, I was rather excited to come and see it all for myself. I must apologize for the rather rush execution and the lack of general planing... it's not one of my strong suits, you see.”

“No bother,” Peter said, flashing his teeth. “Luckily, I have a few birds of my own.”

“Remarkable,” the Alpha of the Alphas praised, tapping his cane onto the ground. “For the man of your-”

“Old ties,” Peter interrupted him and Stiles got the feeling he did it on purpose. It made the tapping of Deucalion's cane stop as he forced in a rather amused smile full off white teeth.

Kali, on the other side, did not look amused at all. She paced slowly closer to the trees, Jackson walking on the line with her, mirroring each of her steps. Stiles dared to glance over and catch a glimpse of the lizard, which made him a bit more sure about being relatively safe at that particular moment.

“And your pack,” Deucalion exclaimed, raising his cane to swing it around in a mid-circle, encompassing them all. “So diverse... I have never seen anything quite like it.”

It sounded rather stupid of him to use the word “see” over and over again as if he was taunting Peter to ridicule him or hint at his blindness in one way or another, especially since his head did not move an inch as he talked – only when he inclined it in the direction of the blond woman, who Stiles expected to be his Emissary.

But Peter stayed tactfully silent.

“Ah apologies,” Deucalion continued as if he only now realized what he was doing. It was all so fake, Stiles felt like watching a very eccentric theater play enfolding in front of him. He wondered if all the pack meet-and-greets go like this.

“I forget sometimes,” the man continued. He raised a hand to his glasses and tapped them gently. “With all my other senses on such a high level, I sometimes barely notice. Hunters. I am sure you have had the experience.”

“Yes,” Peter answered curtly, not letting his eyes drift from the Alpha.

Stiles was not as stiff with his eyes. He couldn't watch the werewolf on the opposite side of him because the man was downright scary to watch. His clawed fingers were hidden from Peter's view, but well visible to Stiles. It was not something he wanted to focus on.

The teen glanced over at Kali nervously, wondering if Lydia is experiencing the same. The pacing Kali did earlier stopped. Now she was just standing there somehow sulkily, watching the strawberry-blonde.

He searched for Jackson quickly, but he could not see the lizard anywhere. Not until he heard a menacing hissing from behind him. Stiles tried not to startle too much, because it was actually a good thing, Jackson coming over - Ennis' smirk fell down and his nose scrounged in distaste as he saw the Kanima making a circle around Stiles.

As a result of that, he finally looked away from teen to share a look of disgust with Kali. Stiles thanked Jackson mentally for taking off the pressure a little before he heard him stalk back to Lydia, his tail swishing around menacingly.

“You know,” Deucalion continued meanwhile as if there was no power posturing happening all around and he was just sitting in a coffee shop with an old friend. “They came to us... a while ago. Offering a, as they called it, mutually beneficial agreement.”

He placed the cane in front of him, putting both of his hands over the top and waited for the response from Peter.

“Did they now?” Their Alpha asked helpfully. He was taking a while to fuel the conversation and Stiles could literally see him stretching the time as politely as possible. Whether Deucalion noticed him purposefully doing it or not was another question, but for now, the teen was sure it pleased the Alpha of all Alphas to boast a little.

“Oh yes,” he said. “It's a rather exhilarating feeling to be on the other side of the power range. To look down at those who were above you all those year ago. Those who are now covering before you, begging for a peace treaty.”

Peter was silent this time as well, he seemed almost uninterested.

“I killed them all of course,” Deucalion grinned, the eyes behind his glasses turning gradually into dim red orbs. “Although, pardon me for my faulty phrasing - I only gave one simple sign,” his cane tapped the ground twice and the two Alphas flashed their eyes in response, tensing on the spot. “Signs prove to be useful for those trained to see and obey them.”

Oh no, Stiles was wrong in assuming the blabbering Deucalion did was all for boasting. It was quite the opposite. It was a statement of power... of supremacy. It was meant to scare them and to trap Peter in a hopeless situation. And honestly, it was downright fucked up as hell.

“Nobody in their right mind would side with hunters,” the man said resentfully. As if he knew. As if he was searching for a way to end this before the greeting ritual could even begin. What an asshole.

“Such a werewolf would not be worthy of a pack, nor a territory...” he continued, the cane under his hands rigid.

This was it. This was when they would attack, Stiles was sure of it. They only had till Deucalion would complete his sentence and they would jump at them, the three remaining Alphas sitting in the car cozily still was a statement enough – they did not need them to eradicate the pack, they didn't even need a proper reason, just a whim... and Stiles, Stiles was actually getting pissed as fuck. Forget about being scared. People like this should not hold such a immerse power. People like this should...

“That's easy for such a strong pack to say,” he said out of nowhere, turning to Peter to make it sound as if he was addressing his own Alpha, not trying to ridicule the other by jumping in without a prior summon. “Right? Packs like ours... we need to scramble for treaties to get by, hoping the hunters that live on our territory won't go turning in on us.”

“The Argents,” Stiles added mercifully without letting them speak up, “are hard to live with, after all.” The cane in Deucalion's hand twitched

“Stiles,” Peter growled, but the teen could see he did it just to play along. Same went for the apology issued to the other party: “Forgive him. My Emissary is still in training.”

Ennis and Kali both looked over at Deucalion as if waiting for some sort of a sign that did not came n the end. Quite on the contrary, the glow behind the other man's glasses receded and the hold on his cane grew slack.

“Well,” the Alpha of all Alphas said, his head turning slightly to Stiles as if he was studying him with his senses. “He is not incorrect. We certainly have an advantage in strength. It is a smart thing to...” his Emissary moved in to whisper into his ear. “Ah a Spark only? Is that so? I can't help but wonder now, who is training you, boy?”

The blonde woman next to him was staring his way shamelessly too, a perplexed look in her searching eyes as if she couldn't believe it that was all that was to Stiles. Didn't Tomasz say that a lot of normal humans had a strong Iskra? Maybe she was wondering if that was all... maybe she was wondering if that was some kind of a foul play and he was hiding behind some deceiving charm. Or at least Stiles hoped she would think that, but judging by how her eyes moved back to their Alpha, Stiles guessed there wasn't anything interesting for her to watch out for from his side.

Well, she was right. There wasn't. Not yet anyways.

“That would be a recently acquired friend of mine,” Peter answered avoiding the answer as good as he could.

The Emissary leaned in to Deucalion and whispered one word into his ear. He waved her off, gesturing to Peter to continue. “That wouldn't be Deaton now, would it? Or perhaps... his sister?”

Peter actually smirked at that, his posture changing a little bit into an offensive one. This was a chance to stall a bit more and he took it in gladly. “That is certainly an interesting question... is that why you seem to have a new Emissary? After all...”

But he must have been too eager, because Deucalion pulled back in an instant. “Enough of the pleasantries, I would say. Let's proceed with...”

Oh no you don't. Two could play that game.

“Peter, I think it would be wise to be a bit bolder and ask directly if the Alpha pack knows something about the attacks in the past week? They certainly seem to be asking the right questions... and I find that extremely curious. Maybe they could help us out, since we still don't know why Deaton and his band of hooligans,” the Emissary glared at him, “decided to target us of all people.”

“Stiles-” Peter lifted his hand to silence him, but the teen was not about to listen. They needed more time. They needed to make more time for Tomasz to get to them with the welcoming gift. He was not going to die without trying his best for the pack, no matter how much the Alphas were scaring him.

“I know you don't want to insult them by asking if they know anything about the matter,” Stiles added quickly. “But I am sure they are just as reasonable as powerful they are. I think we should-”

“Oh, you got a feisty little human there,” Ennis grinned, his fangs glinting in the dim sun. “I would enjoy-”

There was a loud tap. “Ennis, my friend, manners,” Deucalion said calmly. His cane moved around as if he was contemplating something. He then beckoned to their Alpha. “Is that right? Have there been... “

“Yes,” Peter nodded, the fingers on his hand outstretched a bit in Stiles' direction as if he was silencing him wordlessly. The teen followed the unspoken instruction this time.

“Still...” Kali spoke up for the first time, her voice harsh and angry. She was looking at Stiles as if he personally threw a dagger into her left eyes or something. As if he had no right to speak up in the first place.

“Excuse my Emissary,” Peter said in a tone that was literally the embodiment of rolling ones eyes. But then it got serious. “He is the son of a local sheriff, you see. I am afraid it runs in his blood.”

Kali just shrugged at that, but Stiles could see her trading a glance behind them and take a deep breath in as if she was a hunter searching for prey. Could she perhaps... wait no, his dad and the police road block were way to far away. All the way behind the hunters. If she actually could smell something, it would be the hunters, but the wind blew in a bad direction for her to smell anything but the preserve behind her. They got lucky with that.

Deucalion picked up the conversation again. “Well then I think it would be courteous or me to assure you, that the druid and his sister, our former Emissary, acted on their own and without any...”

“I assumed as much of course,” Peter nodded solemnly. But Stiles wasn't as sure as his Alpha's words sounded – could this all have been Deucalions ploy all along or was Stiles just seeing ghosts?

“And they of course will be punished accord-”

“Oh, then you will be pleased to hear that that had been taken care of,” Peter jumped into his sentence. That was already the second time in a row and Deucalion did not look happy about it. Not in the slightest.

Their Alpha did not seem to be bothered by that though. He even took a small step forward before continuing resolutely: “There is no way I would tolerate any kinds of advances towards my pack. Even if it would seem hopeless against a big coven like that.”

Stiles could swear, if Deucalion could see or if he even had his sunglasses off, he would have definitely been squinting in Peter's direction assessing the statement for it's own credibility. It were the longest two seconds filled with silence Stiles ever had to suffer through.

“That is only natural,” Deucalion then said at last, bowing his head in agreement and maybe even in a little tiny bit of respect.

Was it...? It might have been. No way. They actually seemed to have been saved for the time being. Right? It definitely seemed so. It might actually be alrig-

“Well then, why don't we just proceed straight to the gifts. I have been itching to present mine. I have managed to acquire something profoundly special. I can barely wait to see-”

Well... fuck – Stiles didn't even need to hear the rest or the opening speech. He knew they were screwed unless Tomasz would teleport with his gift next to them right in the following 2 minutes.

 

~o~

 

Now, if this was any kind of a proper story and Stiles would actually be the writer of it, he would stall the shit out of revealing what kind of gift Deucalion decided to bring. He would build up the suspense by describing the long shadows traveling over the road and the way the air seemed to stop moving as thee door of the Rover opened – even though the clouds were moving, yes, even so there was no air movement this close to the road.

It wouldn't give any sense and the readers would be confused and agitated because they would, same as everybody else, be hella curious about the gift. And Stiles would thrive in it, because it would have been reflecting his own feelings at that moment. But.

But this definitely wasn't that kind of a story. And there was no time to even take a second to breathe. Not when Deucalion jumped straight at it, eager to proceed with the ceremony.

“Bring her out, my dears,” he said, his cane swinging cheerfully from side to side. Stiles could see a predatory grin expanding over the faces of each Alpha pack member – some of them wider, some barely noticeable but they were there.

He also noticed all the attention moving on to Peter for some reason. They were watching him with sick kind of anticipation. Why?

The door on the other black Rover opened and Peter stiffened right away, his nostrils flaring like those of an animal sensing prey. Stiles glanced over at Lydia and Jackson, but they were looking ahead, tense and nervous, so he wasn't able to catch their eye. And so he turned his eyes back to the front, unsure what to expect, worried...

There they were – the twins – Aiden (?) standing next to an opened door on the left, his hand clutching the frame. Stiles followed the line of his sight to his twin brother Ethan who was on the other side, pulling somebody out of the car. It was... a woman. Her arms bound and her mouth gagged, but nevertheless a normal-looking woman.

That seemed a bit anticlimactic. What kind of a gift was that? Scratch that, if werewolves were giving each other people as gifts than that was actually pretty sick. Was she meant to be a slave for the pack or something? The hell?

The teen frowned, looking back at Peter, who had his glowing eyes glued on her, his muscles straining under his clothes as if he wanted to tear the cloth by simply flexing, but... Stiles still didn't understand.

His thoughts were interrupted by the muted guttural howl the woman let out once she spotted Peter. She trashed and tried to kick Ethan (or Aiden) to escape, but the Alpha was holding her too tightly. He grinned at her theatrics.

Deucalion grinned as well, even though he couldn't possibly see what was happening. He then said: “Ladies and gentlemen,” the cane swung to encompass his audience. “May I present to you,” he pointed the cane at the woman. “The one and only...”

That was when Stiles realized who that woman must be and as if to signalize the metaphorical bulb flashing a lit above his head a silent ding came out of Peter's back pocket. Just his luck – even the universe felt like pointing out that he was dumb. Of course it was her.

“...Kate Argent,” Deucalion finished and smacked his cane onto the road. The huntress reacted to that with even more trashing and this time, curiously, she was actually successful. She broke free and sprinted right off the road, vanishing between the trees. The Alphas did nothing to stop her, not even Kali who the huntress passed by centimeters. They just kept watching Peter.

“Enjoy the hunt,” Deucalion nodded and their Alpha didn't lose a second. He sprinted right after Kate Argent disappearing between the same set of trees in a blink of an eye, leaving them all alone with the whole Alpha pack.

Well... so much for that.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

So let's do the math again. There they were – the five Alphas and their Emissary standing against three mismatched Betas, who couldn't actually be counted for proper Betas - Stiles barely knew how to handle his magic, Lydia was a banshee so the best she could do was probably just announce that they are all gonna die in the next few minutes and Jackson... yes, we already established that he was the only capable fighter there.

And then there was Peter, of course, but their Alpha selfishly left them behind on their own for the sake of what? Finally getting his revenge on the woman that conspired to kill his whole previous pack? His family? Stiles couldn't even bring himself to judge that decision. If only it didn't mean his own doom crept nearer than anticipated.

"I am very disappointed, that Peter didn't bring his whole pack to this meeting," Deucalion spoke up, his cane tapping cheerfully. "But then again..." Stiles glanced at Lydia and they both took a step back, Jackson stalking in front of his girlfriend, his tail swishing menacingly.

"...it doesn't really matter," the Alpha of all Alphas finished with a sharp twist of his cane.

"That fancy Camaro won't be hard to find, Deucalion, don't you worry," Kali grinned gleefully, moving slightly closer to Jackson, her features transforming into a Beta werewolf.

"An appetizer before the main meal," Ennis growled at Stiles, his teeth long and sharp.

The twins just stood there by the car, as if they weren't even needed, which they probably weren't, but ya know, it would made Stiles feel better if the glorious Alpha pack had to use all of other resources to deal with them. Like this... they just seemed like a weak pack not worthy their attentions, which.. they actually were.

"Shit," Stiles breathed, reaching into his pocket to bring out the pouch with Blackthorn. He needed to use it to create the ...fuck, he blinked, his eyes unable to slide from the huge transformed werewolf opposite of him.

Ennis looked like a thing from nightmares. And when he took two steps closer to Stiles, he knew he won't be able to move a muscle, let alone commandeer the dust to slide into the correct place to create the protective barrier.

"Mountain ash won't save you little Emissary," the blonde woman spoke up as she watched him from beside Deucalion. She didn't even move to step away from the Alpha, but her eyes flashed golden and her hand extended in front of her – and there it was, the wind picking up again, tearing at his clothes.

But this wasn't mountain ash in his hand, was it? And Blackthorn worked as a barrier for anything, even for bullets as he learned yesterday and so there would be nothing to worry about. He just needed to force it to move under this tremendous amount of pressure. He could do that though, couldn't he?

He could and... wait a minute. That was not the strategy he had decided on before. But was it worth the risk to pretend weakness at this point in the battle? They would overrun them in a second, unless... unless the ding in Peter's back pocket meant that Tomasz was close. In that case, they could play it up a bit still.

And so based on that assumption, Stiles decided to do something crazy. Something that would play out right in the long run - if there ever was a chance for a long run here. Maybe there wasn't. And maybe they would all die in the next second, because this was utterly stupid, but Stiles was past thinking clearly – he unclenched his fingers... and let the pouch with Blackthorn fall down on the ground.

Ennis cackled, Kali grinned with him and the blonde Emissary put down her hand with triumph. They thought they had won, but Stiles knew better, he could feel in on the surface of his skin now - a barely noticeable crack of electricity in the air around them, a silent song approaching them.

“Stiles,” Lydia said urgently, her voice more shrill than usually as the hiss from Jackson got louder and louder.

Deucalion's cane moved around in a half-circle and Stiles watched the twins move forward as well – the four Alphas approaching them, their muscles straining under their tight clothes, their features changing into something akin to a demonic mutilation of their usual faces and any second now... any second... they would jump on them and tear them to pieces.

But the air cracked louder by then and the hair on Stiles' skin stood up. He looked over at Lydia, who had some of her hair plastered to her cheek due to the higher voltage in the air and even Jackson realized what was happening and stepped back a little.

It looked like they were so scared that they all started to unconsciously back away, which in turn drove the Alpha's slightly insane – they surely seemed to like a prey running away, the excitement of a possible chase glinting in their eyes, saliva dripping from their mouths.

But just a they were about to break into a run, just as they were about to jump in close to get them to run away and so in turn enjoy their deserved chase, there was a hum in the air and a long line of dust was drawn in front of them accompanied by a song Stiles knew well. The wind stopped, the blonde Emissary looked confused, frowning to wave her hand more wildly but nothing got through the invisible wall.

More importantly, Stiles heard the magical song of his uncle's magic even without having to turn on his own Spark this time. It was right there – all around him, even if as jumpy as if somebody turned on radio with a bad reception, it was there. He must have been attuned to it ever since Tomasz showed it to him. There. Right there.

Kali frowned and glanced down at the line, Ennis touched it pushing against it with who-knew-how-much power and the twins stopped before they could even reach it, glancing over at Deucalion who tilted his head in confusion.

And that was when a woman stepped ut from between the trees. A woman with long dark hair and a face full of painted sigils and a viscous stare in her eyes. A woman that Stiles knew as Jennifer Blake.

 

~o~

 

For a second Stiles didn't understand a thing. Up until a circuit in his brain managed to connect the dots and he noticed Jennifer had her arm tied behind her back and her steps were way too reluctant to be a part of an attack. Right then, Tomasz appeared behind her, the trees letting him through only a few seconds later. His eyes were ablaze and his tattoo was glowing just as strong. The static in the air cracked.

It was a great relief to finally see him and it was an even bigger relief to see Deucalion turn his head to his blonde Emissary, listening in as his cane retreated back together with the rest of the Alpha's. They turned back to their human forms, their eyes glued to the cane in Deucalions hand as if waiting for instructions. But they did not came. Not yet. The Alpha of all Alpha's was distracted by listening in to the following words:

“Apologiez for d delay,” Tomasz said as he reached Stiles, nodding to him. He lifted his hand and Jennifer collapsed to her knees right in front of the magical wall made out of Blackthorn, just centimeters from Ennis' reach. “Gulia here did nott want cooperate. At all. I had bee kreativ.”

The woman in front of them tried to struggle, but the sigils on her cheeks just glowed, not allowing her to move nor say anything. It was like a full magical body bind.

“And who-” Deucalion spoke up, but was interrupted by a voice of a man rejoining them from the right.

“Ah I see you've met the teacher of my Emissary while I was gone,” Peter said from between the trees, his voice a mixture of growling, lisping and illegible wolfy sounds. Honestly, it was a miracle they understood him at all.

His form was at that time merely a huge Alpha shadow from between the trees as he was returning back to them – one hand noticeably bigger than the other and Stiles had to think back on his Hellboy comics, because it looked just as if the superhero himself was approaching them. But Peter was no superhero and his hand didn't suddenly grow huge from a radioactive bee sting or something similar, no.

As his form shrunk back to his normal height and mass, the hand remained the same and suddenly it looked like a satchel Peter was clenching between his fingers. But that was also not correct either. Stiles' brain was just trying to compensate for the horrifying truth that he would be forced to acknowledge a second later.

Because when Peter came up to the road (yes, naked as a newborn baby), covered in streaks of blood and the thing in his hand soared through the air as he threw it and landed in front of the silent Deucalion with a sickening wet splat, he knew. He knew what it was. It was the head of Kate Argent. It was... her head – Stiles would have reeled back with his hand over his mouth, if Tomasz didn't grab his shoulder, holding him steady. (Though it was kinda unsure to presume which of them needed the support more, both of them were shaking slightly for one reason or another.)

“Just in time to deliver my gift to you, dear Alpha,” Peter continued, blood dripping from his soft fingers, as he stopped in the middle of the road in front of them, back to his original position, albeit a few meters backwards due to their uneasy shuffling a few minutes previously. The Blackthorn that let him through was already back to a solid wall.

“And that would be?” Deucalion inquired, reminding them of his blindness rather obviously.

“It would seem we had a similar idea about our mutual gifts,” Peter smiled, stepping in closer to pat Jennifer's shoulder. She grunted but otherwise did not move, no matter how much her limbs trebled. “Allow me to present, Julia Baccari, the former Emissary of your dear Kali.”

Stiles had to give Deucalion that, he was a very good actor if nothing else. He only took a deep breath in, smiled and gripped the cane a bit tighter, before turning to Kali with his unseeing eyes.

“Kali, dear,” he said, jerking his cane to the right. The twins positioned themselves behind the female Alpha almost immediately after that. “It would seem, you actually failed to complete your application.”

She had her eyes on the woman kneeling in front of them ever since she stepped out of the trees, her expression haunted. Of course, Stiles could not be exactly sure about that, since he was barely able to refocus his eyes from Kate's bloodied head lying motionless in the middle of the road – there was a tiny puddle of blood gathering under it, the dirty, astray hair plastered to thee scalp, the skin purplish and dead.

Tomasz squeezed his shoulder and a weird sort of electricity traveling down the teen's hand and refocus on the female Alpha, who was just saying, her tone slightly desperate: “This can't be, I slashed her up, I severed our bond, you know I did. You know I did. Else I wouldn't be able to...”

“If that is really the case,” Deucalion said, lifting his cane a little. “She would have some scars on her, wouldn't she? I don't see any.”

The twins grabbed Kali by her shoulders, but she tore out from under her hands, growling at each of them under her breath.

“This can't be,” she argued, pointing at the woman kneeling in front of them. “I did as you asked, I butchered her and...”

Stiles glanced over at Tomazs who stood there oozing power and light and then looked over at Peter, who seemed like an opposite to all of that, the blood covering him darkening with each passing second, drying, soaking into his skin like brand of superiority. And then there was Kate's head, the face slapped on the warm ground, hiding behind the wet cascades of tangled hair... the...

“...the final blow, Kali?” asked Deucalion. Stiles caught only the end of the questions, too busy counting the hair strands on Kate's head. Shit. He needed to pull himself together.

Kali's teeth clicked at that, she went rigid. “She was as good as dead. To me, she-”

“Ah, there we go,” Deucalion smiled, shaking his head sadly. He then turned back to Peter, waving his cane in the direction of the protective barrier. “If you wouldn't mind...”

“By all means, she is all yours,” Peter beckoned to Tomasz nonchalantly, whipping the blood from his mouth in one fluid movement. Tomasz nodded, closing his eyes, but before he could do anything the blonde Emmisary stopped him. “Wait,” she turned urgently to Deucalion. “If she really is who they say, then I won't be able to hold her down. I need to connect with my coven. One druid is not enough to subdue a darach, they are...”

Tomasz snorted at that, making the blonde Emissary stop talking and glare his way. Stiles' uncle just grinned back at her, nearly blinding her with his magical glow.

“Do that,” Deucalion ordered, this cane tapping the ground shortly, interrupting the staring contest between the two magics. He seemed impatient.

“But-” she turned back to the Alpha.

“Do it, Lana, now,” Deucalion repeated more sternly this time, his head turning to the woman as if he wanted to look at her. There were faint red orbs glinting behind his sunglasses.

Lana gulped, stepped back and then nodded with her eyes trained to the ground. “As you wish, Alpha.” She then reached back into her bag, pulling out a huge chunk of a pink chalk, squatting down to draw a circle around her. Only after it was complete did she sit down and close her already glowing eyes.

Jennifer turned her pupils away from Deucalion to watch the proceedings and seeing the blonde Emissary sit down, she trashed and howled through her closed lips. But there was a crack in the air and the hand on Stiles' shoulder convulsed slightly, gripping his flesh tighter and then Jennifer was motionless once again.

“Yu bettr call dem all, wich,” Tomasz noted, his voice laced with magic. “Dis one iz strong.”

He sounded full of energy. Almost unstoppable. But when Stiles glanced over at him without having his sight obscured by the glowing magic's pattern, he saw sweat rolling from his forehead, his lips pursed uncertainly and a raggedly rising chest.

Lana was taking her sweet time and the teen was not sure how much longer could his uncle hold the darach. It seemed like not much longer from the way he was squeezing his shoulder. It hurt a lot. But he didn't say anything, not wanting to pull attention to it. He suspected nobody else could see directly through the pattern of Tomasz' magic, but to Stiles, it was the same as when he watched the house through his mom's magic. He could see right through it. And he knew his uncle wouldn't be able to continue much longer.

It was indeed taking for Lana way too long to make the connection with her coven circle. So long that even Deucalion himself must have grown tired of waiting silently. He turned back to Peter, nodding in appreciation. “You did me a great favor, Peter. I must admit, I did not expect the events to turn his way.”

“You flatter me, Deucalion,” the Alpha answered, rolling his shoulders and head slowly. It looked like just another nonchalant gesture, but Stiles saw him throw a short, assessing glance back at Tomasz.

Weirdly, the other Alphas did not move a bit during the short conversation. Not even Kali, who seemed to have gone past her initial shock. She just stood there rigidly, waiting – she reminded Stiles of a mindless monster waiting for his master to give an order.

All the Alphas looked the same in fact, just standing there, waiting for Deucalion to decide about the next course of action. How could their trust be so strong? How could they be so obedient? Didn't that go against their Alpha genes?

Stiles couldn't help but being terrified and impressed at the same time by the way the Alpha pack worked. If an enemy were to bring a person he knew as good as Kali did What's-her-real-name-again-Jennifer, then he wouldn't be able to just stand around while they would be hurting. How was it that the Alpha pack's loyalty was this strong? If it was him...

Stiles looked over at Lydia and their eyes connected briefly. There was some message in her eyes, but Stiles didn't understand it at all, so she shook her head, turning her attention back to the Alphas and the moment was over. Was she thinking the same as him? Did she figure it out somehow or was it really just a simple wolf thing that he would never understand? Pack ties over any other, it seemed impossible to him. Especially when his Alpha would want such horrible things from him.

“...an Alpha like you...” Stiles caught Deucalion saying, before being rudely interrupted by Lana's announcement:

“The circle is ready. Send her over, darach.”

 

~o~

 

The invisible wall opened again (of course, it didn't remain open this entire time, that would be way too dangerous with Ennis looming close to it) and Jennifer staggered to her feet as if guided by invisible ropes. Stiles wondered how many more “invisible” words he would be able to cram into that sentence if he continued it. He couldn't exactly be blamed for that, standing behind an impenetrable wall with Tomasz at his side made his adrenaline levels drop significantly. It just felt as if he was watching a movie on a cinema screen, as if the immediate danger had passed and his mind was compelled to wonder.

As soon as Jennifer passed the barrier it closed up again and when Lana grabber her shoulder, the sigils over her skin evaporated and Tomasz sagged back silently. One would expect a huge sigh of relief coming off him by the way his face relaxed in that moment, but he probably didn't allow himself to look weak in front of the Alpha pack, not when Lana was watching him as closely as she was.

Her glowing eyes remained glued to him up until he released Jennifer. After that, she was luckily way to preoccupied with the darach to study him any closer.

She might have been able to see through his magical glow given time, but Jennifer started to yell and trash for her dear life, trying to free herself and run away, so the blonde Emissary had no choice but to clasp the other woman's head and send a burst of some sort of magic through her, rendering her unconscious.

Jennifer sagged down and Ennis reached over to grab her before she could hit the ground, holding her up for Deucalion to see. Well not to literally see, of course. But still.

“Now then Kali,” he gestured, his cane still. “Why don't you finish what you started, dear...?”

 

~o~

 

Stiles was going to be sick. He was definitely going to be sick if Kali would do what Deucalion wanted from her and from the looks of it, the female Alpha might actually be sick as well. She was standing there, blinking off the confusion, rooted on the spot with some sort of shock.

“Well...?” Deucalion prompted, making Stiles sick to his stomach. He looked over at Tomasz and then Peter, willing them to say something, but they both remained silent, as if glad the attention turned to the now unconscious darach. That might have actually been the plan from the start, Stiles realized suddenly, but it was the most twisted self-defense idea he ever heard of, so... it couldn't have been true, could it? They would just...?

Kali staggered back a little, her upper lip revealing the teeth underneath them as she growled. Her right shoulder collided with one of the twins' and she blinked up at them, hissing like an angry cat. Hearing Deucalion sign impatiently though, she glanced down at his cane and then back up at him and then her look became as hard as steel and she nodded, walking elegantly to Jennifer.

“I should have ripped your head off,” she said as she reached the limp body in Ennis' arms. Her voice sounded angry, but also weirdly hurt to Stiles.

She then pursed her lips and reached over for the darach's cheeks. It looked like a gentle caress at first, but then it turned into a tight grip, the claws digging into Jennifer's flushed cheeks, making blood tickle down onto her sagged shoulders.

Stiles gulped, waiting for somebody to stop the murder happening in front of him, but no hunters jumped from behind them, no police siren sounded to stop Kali's intent. No, he actually realized that all the Alphas were grinning in anticipation, as if they were watching the newest Game of Thrones episode. And Lydia was staring at the kanima sitting at her feet. Tomasz' gaze was fixed with Lana's in some silent staring contest all over again. But none of them seemed to care about the unconscious woman.

Well okay, there might be no point for them to care about her, she was after them probably and she had caused quite a few problems for them and Stiles... oh, how he hated her for treating Derek like a blow-up doll, but... but, that wasn't really enough for him to let them murder her right there and then. Right in front of him.

“This is sick,” Stiles muttered before he could stop himself. “Is this what the Alpha pack is about?” His voice grew in volume. “Who would want to be a part of that? I would rather die than hurt somebody in my pack just to please somebody's sick wishes.”

Deucalion's cane tapped silently at that as he tsked in annoyance, the gesture making Kali's grip on Jennifer's head ease. The darach's head dropped on her chest, her cheeks bloody and swollen.

“Stiles,” Peter chastised, his hand moving up, but seeing the blood on it made the teen even angrier.

“Yeah, no, you know what? Fuck this logic,” Stiles laughed bitterly, shaking his head. “I don't care who it offends, this is seriously fucked up... people say that the Alpha pack is like the supernatural police, but this?” he gestured at the werewolves behind the barrier. “This is nothing but a band of terrorists.”

“Stiles,” Peter growled, stepping closer to grip his shoulder. The teen turned to a bit so that his bloodied hand wouldn't be able to grab him, though.

“Don't you fucking dare tell me I am wrong just to keep licking up his ass,” Stiles growled back, knocking the Alpha's hand off its path before it could get closer again. “I could understand self-defense, I could understand pure revenge, because that is how the supernatural laws obviously work, but this...? She is freaking unconscious! Don't you dare to tell me that is not murder! A bloodthirsty execution!”

“St-”

“And you,” he exclaimed, turning to the Alpha of all Alphas who was just standing there silently as if enjoying the fucking show. “All this posturing, all these fake displays of power... you are not really that powerful though, are you? It's all just a-”

Stiles wanted to continue, but a slap across his face stopped him. His head tilted slightly to one side from the impact and he was ready to jump at the attacker with all he had right after he found his bearings again, but... it was Lydia. She was standing close to him, though he never noticed her walking close, her hair tangled and her face contorted in rage.

“Not a word more,” she ordered with a lifted finger, her eyes blazing with anger. Stiles had never seen her like this. It honestly shocked him to silence.

“Uhh...”

“Not. A. Word.” She barked out into his face, gabbing his jaw and squishing his cheeks between her polished red nails. “Understand?” Stiles could feel them digging into his cheeks, but it was nowhere as strong as the grip Kali had on Jennifer's cheeks just a few minutes ago. Actually the grip Tomasz had on his shoulder was more painful than that.

Lydia sighed then and let go of his face, turning around with an elegant hair whip. “Why did you allow him to come Peter,” she drawled in mock annoyance. “I told you he was gonna get us all killed. What an idiot.”

Their Alpha shrugged, his sigh deep and annoyed: „I needed to have the sheriff department on my side. Them and their excessive amount of wolfsbane bullets.“

He then turned back to the Alpha pack again and shrugged again as if embarrassed for a child who stupidly caused a faux pas. “Children these days.” he said only, watching them closely. He must have mentioned the sheriff's department on purpose, but it still stung.

Deucalion just sighed, his exasperation rooted deep in the sound. “And people wonder why I got rid of my pack... well,” he looked around as if he got suddenly bored by the whole thing, “why don't we arrange a more intimate meeting for tomorrow? I must say I grew slightly weary standing in the middle of a forest and listening to naive children talk about things they don't understand. This pack of yours seems to be rather a challenge, I see. So diverse, so uneven, so young...”

Stiles frowned, but didn't say anything this time. The way Jackson was hissing behind him made him way too nervous to say anything. Not to mention the tail, that had been oscillating around him for the last thirty seconds.

“Just you and me, Peter? Tomorrow in our hotel's restaurant? I am sure you know which one it is,” Deucalion prompted.

“Gladly,” The Alpha nodded without hesitation.

“Splendid,” Deucalion nodded back, beckoning to Ennis, who hefted Jennifer's body like a bag of potatoes and walked with her back to the black Land Rover where he deposited her roughly onto the back seat. Lana followed him, her eyes still glowing. She climbed into the back seat to the unconscious woman.

“I am sure we will have a lot to discuss,” Deucalion added before tapping his cane in a half-circle. He then turned around and walked to his car. “About your future.”

“It would be my pleasure,” Peter smiled and watched as Deucalion got into the passenger seat and shut the door. It all seemed so abrupt, Stiles wasn't sure if the world was on fast forward or if his brain just got damaged by a slap from Lydia freaking Martin.

The twins and Kali were already in their respective car, engine running, when the first black Rover backed onto the side and then turned around to speed up the road. The second car followed behind a few seconds later, the fumes dissipating behind them like the last reminder of a warm weather during Indian summer.

Their pack just stood there motionlessly while they were driving away. As if they couldn't believe what was happening. As if that had been way too easy to be true (not that it was, they did almost die, but still.)

Peter was the only one who wasn't baffled enough by the situation. He already had his phone out, talking.

“Please ask your patrol outside to escort them back out of Beacon Hills and make sure they don't weer from their route or stop somewhere,” he said to the speaker right when the two cars disappeared behind the curve of the road further up the Preserve. “One never knows with Louis.”

Chapter Text

 

"We did it," Stiles breathed out, a relieved smile tugging at his lips. It seemed almost impossible that they have survived the encounter with the Alphas this easily, but they did and... Stiles still couldn't really believe it.

"We did it," he repeated a bit louder this time, grinning at the approaching Peter who (by the way) was still naked. Sun-dried streaks of blood painted his skin coloring it into an artificial shade, but not even a droplet of it was his. He had no injuries and neither did any of them. Who would have thought...? Who would have thought it would end up like this? This good?

"We-" he started again, amazement seeping into his tone.

“You mean we did it,” Peter corrected him. He forcefully pushed the teen out of the way and hurried to kneel down next to a sitting Tomasz who looked as pale as a ghost. It actually looked as if the light was passing right through him when Stiles zeroed in on his features, as if he wasn't even supposed to have a shadow at all, as if he wasn't even there. Compared to the radiant feeling he kept emanating throughout the whole meeting, this was like watching a star turn into a white dwarf.

Wait, what? Stiles frowned grabbing his still aching shoulder. When did his uncle...? But he was standing next to him just now. He was holding onto him so hard, there was definitely gonna be a bruise. He could even still feel the ghost of the touch pressing onto on his skin. When did he...? And how come Stiles didn't even notice? Was something weird happening to his perception of time of was he just so drunk on victory that he didn't stop to notice.

Tomasz's body shook and he crumbled on the road as if pressed down by an avalanche. His head would have hit the asphalt if it wasn't for Peter who grabbed him and cushioned his fall.

“'m okej,” his uncle slurred, pushing himself off Peter's skin. He then turned his head to face the ground and vomited out the whole content of his stomach, shaking and coughing uncontrollably.

Stiles took a few steps back, his nose scrunching at the smell. It was the exact opposite of what Peter did in the same moment. He actually moved in closer as if not caring that the vomit might streak his naked knee, which it indeed did.

“This doesn't look like okay,” their Alpha argued.

Stiles looked away by a reflex. He couldn't cope with people throwing up around him. It reminded him of his mom too much and made him in turn want to throw up as well.

“But we won,” he reminded himself numbly. He somehow couldn't stop repeating the phrase as if his brain was stuck in an endless loop. As if it wanted to convince itself. But why would it need to do that? They clearly did win this battle if not the whole war. Obviously.

“I told you to retreat, if she was too much for you,” Peter muttered, his bloodied fingers holding Tomasz' hair out of his face as he heaved. “Why the hell did you...?”

“Okay, ok-y,” Tomasz wheezed, spitting onto the ground when he was done. He turned his head away from the pile of -insert some disgusting description here- and took a few deep breaths in as if to steady himself.

“I nott used to dis tattoo yett,” he explained weakly, as Peter carefully pulled him a bit further from the vomit. “It iz...a lot. She was...a lot handling...”

“I told you...” Peter started again, his voice getting chastising. It didn't grow to its full potential though, because Tomasz keeled over again and after a few breathy huffs that sounded as if he was choking, he began to vomit again.

When Stiles tried to look anywhere else, his eyes landed on Lydia who was standing off in the middle of the road, a look of concern painting her features – it was such an unusual look for her and it didn't make any sense at that point at all to him. They were fine, after all. They survived. She should be...

“You can go turn back, Jackson,” Peter called out from where he was kneeling over Tomasz' shivering form.

The kamina, who was sitting at Lydia's feet looked up at her and she returned the look by leaning down a bit and stroking her fingers over the scales on the top of its head. As she nodded, the kanima stood up and walked past Stiles to disappear quickly between the trees on the side of the road. Stiles guessed Jackson must have stored his clothes somewhere around that place. He was obviously not as keen on displaying his naked body as Peter was everybody around.

Lydia followed after him, her eyes glued on the trees. She seemed intent on ignoring him for some reason, but it wouldn't be him if he didn't try to pull Lydia's attention back to his humble self in one way or another.

“We won...,” he said to her as she crossed his spot on the road. “We...,” he continued, unsure what he wanted to accomplish with repeating the same phrase over and over again. Maybe he just wanted her to acknowledge it and stop looking so tense and distressed. Maybe he just wanted...

“We almost lost because of you, you moron,” she hissed at him, her eyes still fixed on the place between the trees through which Jackson disappears a second earlier. “You are barking up the wrong tree if you want somebody to praise you.”

And just like that, she walked away, disappearing behind the trees and Stiles... well, he was left standing there in the middle of the road, as flabbergasted as ever.

“I can't believe you guys,” he muttered, shaking his head. “I was right...it was unfair...and we...we won...they left. They left so fast... as if...”

He turned around to Peter and Tomasz, the wheels inside his brain suddenly turning again. There was a weird sort of realization dawning in on him, he just couldn't seem to get a hold of it yet.

Tomasz heaved again, the sound coming out of his mouth painful and then there was blood forcing itself from between his lips, the droplets splattering the ground under him.

“Shit,” Peter breathed, gripping him tighter. “Shit.”

Stiles stared at the blood, but he didn't really see it. His attention was turned inside out, his eyes darting slightly over the ground, his face pensive... there was something about how the Alpha pack left so hastily that didn't feel right. Something that irked him, that made him paranoid and suspicious toward Deucalions' actions.

It was as if he suddenly got what he wanted and there was no reason for him to remain chatting here with them. At first Stiles thought it was the fact they had the protective Blackthorn all around them and it might have been partly that. It might have to some extend been the fact that the whose Jennifer thing was just a game to see how they would react – he maybe didn't even want to kill her right away... why would he? She was a great source of information to him. She could have told him many things – if he would be able to persuade her to talk, that was. But Stiles had no doubt Deucalion could find a way.

And maybe it was just that, maybe he just wanted to subdue her fast and bring her to his hideout to questions her. It was an unexpected opportunity for him – he wanted the nemeton, she had her own plans for it - maybe he wanted to extract the knowledge from her before she could...

But still, the way they suddenly left as if that was the plan all along. As if... as if... they must have known, that Peter would watch their every move. He was the one who got into contact with them first. He was the one to reach out to them, to bring it all into motion, as if to tell them they could not surprise him.

Deucalion was not so stupid as to think he would surprise them much by arriving so fast, not when he actually got an invitation. They were expecting the Alpha pack in one way or another. So what would he do? What would he...

Stiles' heart began to beat harder, because... that was it wasn't it? It was right there in front of them this whole time. The Alpha pack, as bright as a danger that they were, there was no doubt everybody available would be looking their way. So... Deucalion used that to his own advantage. He used the Alpha pack as the most effective distraction for the whole cavalry of Beacon Hills.

“We didn't win,” Stiles breathed, cold spreading down his body, chilling his spine and making him feel as if winter came months too early. “We didn't...”

He turned to Peter, who was bend over erratically breathing Tomasz - blood was still dripping down his uncle's chin and there was a sick sheen over his face, but he was still lucid enough to knock the phone out of Peter's hand.

“I need to call the ambulance,” the Alpha growled as his phone fell onto the ground with a thud. “Look at you.”

“No,” Tomasz argued weakly, his fingers gripping Peter's wrist from reaching out to get his phone again.

“Peter, we didn't win,” Stiles whispered, taking a step closed to the two men kneeling on the ground in front of him. They ignored him though. How could they ignore him at a time like this?

“Do nott,” his uncle coughed, blood splattering the werewolf's chest. “Kathe dead, dey wil see... and...”

“Are you fucking kidding me,” Peter pried his wrist carefully off Tomasz' hold. “Let them see whatever they want, as long as we get you treated.” He pushed at the man to make sure he couldn't reach him anymore and leaned over to get his phone again. It was lying only a few inches away from him and it would have been no hard task to pick it up again and call whoever he pleased but Tomasz gripped at his biceps with a bit more strength than he should have been able to muster at this current state..

“No, prizon,” he shook his head. “I am fajn now,” he tried to reassure the werewolf, but the way the blood still dripped down his chin only served as a confirmation of his lie.

“Peter,” Stiles called out a bit louder to interrupt their conversation, his head in a totally different dimension. What was is that Kali said about Derek's car again? What was it? “Where did Derek park his car?”

“Not now, Stiles,” Peter growled, when Tomasz collapsed onto the ground, the blood covering the ground seeping into his light blond hair almost instantly.

“Fuck,” Peter cursed and leaned over Tomasz' suddenly very still body. “Fuck, just...” He looked panicked. Stiles never saw him this irrational before. It was as if he wasn't sure what to do, even though the right course of action was obvious – check for living signs, make sure Tomasz wouldn't choke to death and call the ambulance. Yet, not even Stiles could make himself move to follow those steps, so he wasn't the one to blame other people.

So instead of all that, Peter tapped at Tomasz' cheek, which shouldn't have worked, but surprisingly enough the man opened his eyes as if the gentle touch was calling him back.

“Red fial,” he whispered, his eyes turning to the trees, “...bag...” His hand twitched.

The werewolf just nodded and got up to run for the trees just as Tomasz' eyes fluttered closed, his lower lip quivering as the rest of his body lay there motionlessly.

“Peter,” Stiles called out, not able to concentrate on anything else but his new discovery. He should be helping Peter cure his uncle he knew, but there was no time, he was sure of it, he knew that there was something else unfolding elsewhere and it was potentially way too disastrous to ignore. “Deucalion...”

“I said not now, Stiles,” Peter yelled as he leaped for the trees, his voice angry and laced with such a heavy command that the teen's mouth shut closed with a painful cling of his teeth.

He glanced down the his pale uncle, then at Peter who ran out of the trees with a bag in his hand and then to the trees where he saw Lydia bending over a crumpled form next to a tree trunk. They were all too busy to acknowledge his discovery. And rightfully so, that much was true, but... if the Alpha's targeted the rest of the pack, someone needed to do something about it and quickly.

And so he made his decision and he made it fast. He grabbed Peter's phone from the ground, collected the pouch of Blackthorn and ran for the car. He tore the driver's door open and climbed inside. Luckily the key was inside the ignition, probably in case they wanted to retreat fast and so Stiles just turned it, pushed down the clutch, wiggled the control lever where he wanted it and prompted the car to move forward with loud squeak of the tires.

And just in that moment when he pressed down the gas pedal, the realization of what he was speeding from caught up to him. He couldn't believe how hard his brain pushed the thought of a seriously injured Tomasz from his brain. It was as if there was some magic on him, that made the state of his uncle's health unable to pierce through his mind.

What the fuck. He looked into the rear-view mirror so quickly that his eyes needed a second to readjust to the new angle. How could have he been so cold-hearted to the only relative he knew from his mom's side? How could he have disregarded the life-threatening situation that had been unfolding in front of him? Was he really that messed up? He had no problem jumping into the Alpha's business when it came to Jennifer (or whatever her real name was), but he couldn't move a single digit when his own uncle was vomiting blood all over the road?

He gulped down the bile rising in his throat and focused his eyes on the rear-view mirror. Luckily the road was relatively straight and there was nothing blocking it, so he could concentrate on the picture of Peter pouring something into Tomasz' mouth. He forced his brain to take that as a reassurance that his uncle was going to be alright and sped up the car even more.

There was no time for hesitation now. He already decided. Derek and the rest of the pack were in danger and he was going to make sure they stay save from whatever nefarious plan Deucalion came up with.

 

~o~

 

If someone were to ask Stiles about the ride to the BHHS the next day, he would have said he doesn't remember much of it. He would have claimed it to have passed around him in a blur. If he was feeling a bit more chatty in that moment he would have probably described it as a deep concentration mixed with a few visual flashes from the outside world.

Like the big trees being pulled off the road by two roaring motorbikes and the hunters standing all around leisurely. His concentration stuttered a bit at that, because he couldn't understand how somebody could be so calm at a time like that. Something bad was happening in Beacon Hills and he was the only one aware of that. He really hoped he was, since if Derek already knew, then that meant that Stiles was way too late.

Next he would have described having passed the sheriff's car on the way back to the town. His dad was in it and for a brief second when they locked eyes, he saw what he thought was a flash of relief and confusion in his dad's eyes. Or he might have just imagined reading something along the lines in the shadow of the car. Who knew.

The only thing he was sure off was that he definitely lifted his hand and motioned to his dad to hurry to where Peter was. At least he hoped his dad understood what he wanted to tell him with that simple gesture. By the way the cruiser's blue light started flashing and the sirens filled the preserve, he guessed his father understood him well enough.

Not a moment later, Stiles entered Beacon Hills. He ignored the first red light, knowing the surroundings well enough to know that there was not enough traffic for that to be dangerous and sped across the suburbs.

He got lucky on the second intersection, catching the green light, but the next one made him stop behind a huge truck that was going too slow to slip before the traffic light jumped to red. He exhaled in frustration and reached for Peter's phone, that was lying on the passenger seat where he threw it together with the pouch full of blackthorn.

He pushed the button at the bottom of the phone and the screen lit up, showing an unread text message from Tomasz. “Alsmot dere,” it said. But that was all he could do (only read the text) because as he slid his fingers over the screen to unlock it, the phone displayed a set of nine dots and the instructions to draw an unlock pattern.

“Fuck,” Stiles cursed, biting his lower lip. The only reason he grabbed the phone from the ground was to maybe try and call Derek to warn him about the impending dangers. He guessed the chances of the hideout having reception was pretty low, but it seemed like a good idea to at least try.

Well, so much for that. Frustration welled inside of him and he was inclined to just throw the phone out of the window, but he recalled an article that he read once on the internet about the most common unlock patterns and decided to try a few first. The Z shape didn't do a thing, nor did any other common letter.

“Come on, jeez!”

Groaning he wrecked his head for the most complicated ones he read about and tried those as well, because that seemed to fit Peter more, but it all came out red. What a surprise.

“Fucking useless,” he muttered, throwing the phone back on the passenger seat just as the traffic lights switched. He turned the car left, leading it around the park and then turned right, going up the small hill to reach the BHHS parking lot.

Upon entering the school's premises, Stiles scanned the whole area with one quick, encompassing look. The parking lot itself was pretty empty so he had no problem locating Derek's Camaro – it stood partially hidden next to the caretaker's old rusty Honda that had been some sort of a mascot of their school for over a decade. Other than that, he couldn't really see anything suspicious. Yes, there were a few stray cars parked here and there, but it was nothing out ordinary for a Saturday.

Still, he decided to not take any chances. He ignored the Camaro altogether and drew up as close to the main entrance door as he could – to the parking spot near the BHHS sign, right under the big oak tree.

Now, he knew that was basically the worst parking spot in the whole BHHS because the birds residing in the tree's branches loved to take revenge on the huge and noisy metal monsters that were forced to sleep beneath it by bombarding them with their excrements, but Stiles couldn't care any less about the well-being of Peter's car at that moment. It was all about convenience.

With a final glance through the windshield and into the rear-view mirror, he pulled the door handle and stepped out of the car. Before he could close the door though, he remembered the pouch was still on the passenger seat so he reached back for it and in the last moment decided to grab Peter's phone as well just in case he needed to call the emergency hotline – that option was after all available even without knowing the unlock pattern.

Now he could finally lock the car and...

“Excuse me,” he heard out of nowhere right from behind him. Stiles startled, his pulse skyrocketing in under a second and whipped his head around with a silent: “Shit, dude...”

There was a man standing not more than two long steps behind him - bold (Stiles was sensing a pattern with the lack of hair on dangerous people), with a skin few shades darker than Scott's and a muscled body of a wrestler. He was wearing a leather jacket over a thin hoodie, which seemed like a weird combination of Stiles' and Derek's wardrobe, but the teen had no time to dwell on that thought, because the man spoke up again.

“That black Camaro there,” he said, his head jerking in the proper direction. “You know who it belongs to?”

“Huh?” Stiles faked, frowning as he glanced over at Derek's car. Now, he couldn't help feeling a bit victorious, knowing that he had been right seeing the proof of his theory right there and then in front of him.

But the bad thing about it was... well exactly the same one – the werewolf Deucalion used to find the rest of the pack was indeed standing right in front of him. And Stiles was alone... all alone against a full-grown werewolf. Funnily enough, it never even crossed his mind that the guy in front of him wouldn't be a werewolf, even though he couldn't possibly be sure.

He clenched the pouch in his hand and let out a deep breath. Well, maybe (most-likely) this hadn't been such a good idea. He shouldn't have rushed here without stopping to think first.

Though, on the other hand, the guy was just asking about the car, nothing else, which meant he didn't find the rest of their pack yet, nor will he if Stiles would have any say in it.

“You mean Derek Hale?” he said trying to sound nonchalant. “The dude who suddenly appeared back in BH roaming the streets on his expensive car? Why? Did he steal it from you or something?”

“No,” the man answered, his eyes roaming over Stiles, studying him, assessing him. And the teen studied back shamelessly, just like a mistrusting kid would.

“Do you know him?” the man added.

“Dude, you are suspicious as hell, lurking on a high school parking lot all alone on a satuday,” Stiles said, letting his mouth ramble on purpose. He was just a teen on a school parking lot. He was no one. No one. “Like, I feel I should call the police or child's services on you, but at the same time I am worried you might decide to gut me and then rape me – in no given order.”

The man's mouth tilted in disgust and he glanced away from Stiles as if checking if there wasn't somebody less annoying to talk to. Good. He was no one, remember? Just let him keep thinking that.

“What business do you have with Derek Hale anyways? Where was he all this time? I heard New York? So... what, is he like... your boyfriend or something?” he asked, knowing full well, that using sex as a distraction is just as good strategy as any, even if it's just through an indirect question. He didn't mind playing dirty like this. Especially given the disadvantegous power balance.

The guy didn't even look back at him, but judging by how the corner's of his mouth tilted even lower, he was getting fed up with listening to Stiles' assumptions.

“High school is not really a romantic place for a rendezvous,” Stiles pushed, lifting his empty hand to scratch his chin. “Unless this is some sorta nostalgic trip through childhood memories, then I guess having a quickie in the back-”

“So, you don't know where I could find him,” the man interrupted him, his eyes scanning the surroundings.

“No, not really,” and that was the truth, since he didn't exactly know where the vault was. “But I guess waiting around his car is a good idea... unless he, ya know, hypothetically, abandoned it here to get you off his track,” he said adding a little shrug to the end of the sentence.

He glanced at the entrance door and then back at the phone, making the gesture very obvious, so that the guy knew he was checking the time. “Well, gotta go,” he announced, locking the car and stepping onto the pavement. The man didn't follow. “But yeah lots of luck to you or whatever.”

Stiles watched the man nod and then turn away to walk to a faraway corner of the parking lot to a green beaten-up mustang with two white stripes going down the middle. It would have been a nice peace of a vehicle weren't it so poorly taken care of. What a shame.

Either way, seeing the man get further and further away from the teen did not exactly reassure him yet, but it was a start - a damn good one at that. The best course of action now would be to get into the car and head away, but what if the pack comes out too soon because they might get the memo that the Alphas are gone and the dude gets them? Granted, it was just one werewolf, but there could be more... he better scout for more, just in case. Besides, who would be better for such a task? Nobody would suspect a normal human teen.

He was almost at the door, stepping over the last few steps, when Peter's phone rang. Stiles almost let it fall from his hand, but then just glanced down and seeing Derek's name, his pulse quickened again. He looked behind the shoulder but the man was rummaging in the back of his car and did not pay him any attention. Still, better safe than sorry and so he hurried to cross the few steps, pushed the door open and stepped inside of the school.

He didn't exactly stop to think why the main entrance was opened on a saturday, even though it would have seemed a bit suspicious to him under normal circumstances. Important to him at that moment was to be out of sight and out of the hearing range of Deucalion's spy and that he got there fast enough so Derek wouldn't have the change to terminate the call before Stiles could pick up.

And so Stiles ran down the empty corridor, just to be 100% sure of his own safety and as he rounded the corner, gripping the corner of a locker, he slid his fingers over the screen and accepted the call

„Derek,“ he greeted, his breath coming out in puffs even after such a short run.

„Stiles, where the fuck are you?!“ the werewolf barked at him from the other side of the line, his voice a mixture of anger and fatigue. „Lydia called that you....“

„There is a werewolf on the school grounds,“ he explained quickly. By then he caught his breath well enough, so he could talk faster. „I don't know if it's an Alpha or a Beta or what, but he is...“

„What?“ Derek said as if he didn't understand. „How would you...?“

„I met him just now,“ Stiles explained, walking slowly down the corridor. Talking about the werewolf made him paranoid and it toyed with his brain so much that he even thought he heard a soft thud of a front door a few times. Stop panicking, you doofus, he told himself a few times, but he couldn't get his feet to stop moving away anyways.

„I met him just now, he is out on the BHHS parking lot,“ he said, his feet unconsciously speeding up as his paranoia increased even more. He wasn't so keen on making it so obvious as to what he was talking about, so he switched to a code just in case there really was somebody listening in. „Such a weirdo I tell you, searching for Derek Hale, ya know that dude?“

„Stiles, what are you...?“

„Yeah I know, right, dad?“

„Uhh.“

„I know, I...,“ did he hear some steps just now or was that just his imagination? He sped up even more, causing his breath to speed up again, making his words sound a bit more panicked.

„Just stay at home dad, you have a fever, so stay where you are,“ he said, making sure to cover enough of the instructions with a metaphor.

„Stiles, were are you right now? Don't tell me...“ Derek started, his voice urgent, pleading almost.

„At school dad, but honestly, don't worry and stay in bed,“ the teen laughed, trying to make it sound as careless as possible. It sounded fake to his ears. „I will just get my stuff and drive back home, so there is no need...“

What was that? He turned around as he walked, but the corridor behind him was empty. He thought he heard... Stiles looked back in front of him, but all he could see were the lockers on the opposite wall. It must have been just his imagin-

And just as he rounded the corner, there was the dude again, standing as if he was a man waiting patiently in a line for the most boring new piece of technology ever. Like a rubber duck made out of-

„Fuck,“ he yelped, stopping dead in his tracks. His fingers trembled at the sight of the werewolf, but he just gulped and forced his muscles to grip the phone tighter before it could fall to the ground. „What the hell is wroong with you, dude?“

The man did not answer his question though. He looked around again, just as he did back at the parking lot a few times and then zeroed in on him again. „Where is the rest of your pack?“

„Stiles?“ Derek asked from the speaker, making the guy grin in response.

„Where are they...?“ he asked, his expression still looking patient though Stiles knew there was more hidden behind that look and not only on a metaphorical level, but also on a literal one – that red seeping into his dark eyes was an undeniable proof. Shit.

„What are you even talking about?“ Stiles tsked, grasping the straws for survival. Maybe the dude was just bluffing, maybe if he played it cool or something...

„Please,“ the man said, shaking his head in disapproval. He made a step closer to Stiles, making the teen step away in reaction. „You speed in with the stench of a pack, with traces of magic,,“ his eyes started glowing all the way, „with the stench of the Alpha pack all around you,“ his nails got longer, „panicked and you honestly try to make me believe,“ he chuckled, showing off his sharp teeth. „that you didn't come to check up on the children, Emmisary?“

„Stiles, get the fuck out of there!“ came from the phone as the teen was slowly backing up the corridor. Derek was right, he should be running for his life, but he somehow didn't want to give the werewolf exactly what he wanted. Not to mention he had the blacthorn, maybe he could just make a circle and wait it out. Shit, he needed more time to think.

„You are not from the Alpha pack,“ he tried, while he busied himself with possible tactics. In this kind of a situation, with adrenaline running high through his veins, it wasn't exactly hard. Luckily.

The man kept approaching silently. Way too slowly for somebody who was instructed to kill. He could have been upon the teen already, tearing him to pieces, yet he was moving at a snail's pace... now Stiles wished to have even more time to think to figure out if it was all just some ploy or just a sadist desire.

„Who are you?“ he asked, hoping to win a few more seconds with some kind of a decent conversation. That always seemed to have been working in movies or tv shows, but it of course didn't work now, because the man did not answer. He had his own thing to say instead.

„Why don't you speak up,“ a growl,“ so that your pack can find you faster. Or do I have to rough you up a bit to force them out of the closet?“

It was quite possibly just a rhetorical question, because he jumped at Stiles before the teen could even realize what was happening. Unfortunately before he could even command his brain to stop thinking and concentrate of wielding the blackthorn.

They thumbled onto the hard floor, Stiles getting his breath knocked out of him as his side and a big part of his back collided with the floor. He felt his head snap back, but luckily he had enough decency to wrap his arms around his head so only the fingers clenching the back of his skull suffered from the collision.

He was vaguely aware of the eerily silent phone that slid across the tiled floor and also of the weight of a huge person that was about to settle on him while he was slightly out of it.

Luckily he was as agile and quick-thinking as he was. Thanks to that Stiles was able to twist and pull himself further up the corridor even if just a few inches, but like that, he got from between the werewolf's knees and managed to land a heel in his neither areas.

Or well, tried to. The man grabbed his foot though and twisted it viciously, which made him yelp angrily and hit his forehead on the flood by some stupid accident. Fuck, if he could just have a second to make the blackthorn so what he wanted and wait till the pack... wait, the pack was probably on the way and this Alpha would then.

„Wait, just-,“ he squeeled as the Alpha pulled him closer and raised his clawed hand. The man just chuckled, curled his fingers into a fist to hide his claws and punched him across the cheek. Somehow though, it didn't really hurt as much as Stiles thought it would considering the man was an Alpha werewolf, but it still was pretty much the most painful thing he felt on his face.

Before he could blink the darkness from his eyes or spit out the blood building in his mouth, the Alpha grabbed him by the neck and squeezed. Stiles' hands flew up in an instant, clawing at the flesh to pry it off his throat, but he could barely get a hold of anything, even when using his nails.

He coughed and looked up at the man with anger in his eyes. Fuck, if he could just get him to listen... he needed the dude to take him prisoner and take him to Deucalion so that the rest of the pack was safe. Or something... but how? And how long did he have until Erica or the rest would reach them? How much time to...

“Wai-” he wheezed.

„Wait I indeed will,“ the man answered. „Your friends better be here soon, else I might accidentally...“ he didn't have to finish the sentence for Stiles to catch the drift - the hand squeezing his throat tighter for a second was enough to paint him a proper picture with all the colors and what-nots.

Oddly enough, there was no sign of claws on his throat. Maybe he wanted him alive... although, why? Even his dead body could lure out the rest of the pack... or maybe Deucalion needed somebody alive to get Peter where he wanted. A hostage of sorts and by logic a weak human like Stiles would have been the easiest to force to be docile. Or maybe this was his brain lacking the oxygen. Maybe there was no logic behind it. Maybe the dude just didn't want to risk turning him or enjoyed slow torturing.

Stiles could feel his chest heave as the lungs tried to get some air in them, he could feel the back of his tongue going numb and the heartbeat booming under the werewolf's tight hold. His jaw opened and closed a few times as he gurgled and then the hold suddenly lessened and he was finally able to take in some oxygen.

His relieved gasp was accompanied by a deep growl that came from down the corridor and a set of feet slapping against the floor. Stiles saw the man above him lift himself up a little to face the approaching person with a viciously triumphant smile on his face.

There was a smashing gust of air above him, a heavy object stomping on his knee and a stray hand glazing his forehead. And then the ball of werewolves fell down to his right, fighting, growling and snapping at each other.

Stiles luckily had enough wits about him to know to get out of the way as soon as possible, before any of those flying body parts could hurt him further. He crawled to the opposite wall and leaned against the wall, lifting his hand to feel at his neck and along his jaw. It hurt like hell.

„Fuck.“ He honestly just wanted to curl down in a fetus position and cry until the pain stopped, but this was not the right time to do it. Instead, he decided to asses the situation.

Derek was trying to land a hit on the Alpha, who just punched him out of the way and then brought up his other hand to slash at his neck with his claws. The Beta stepped back just in time to only get a shallow wound from it, which should heal fast enough.

But as Stiles kept watching for the next few seconds, the Alpha kept landing more and more hits, wounding Derek as easily as a sharp knife cutting through soft butter and the worst thing was - even though those wounds were shallow, because Derek was swift enough to mostly move out of the way, they were not healing. Shit, they were not healing. Derek was going to lose.

And just as Stiles thought that, the Alpha landed a very bad hit across Derek's head, sending him sprawling onto the floor. The man jumped at the werewolf then before he could even realize where was up and where down. He lifted his hand to slash at Derek's throat and-

„Don't you need a hostage?!“ Stiles yelled from across the corridor, making the Alpha hesitate. Derek used that to push himself off the floor and put his arms around the other man's waist to avoid the possibility of getting his neck clawed.

„I only need one hostage, boy,“ the man answered punching the side of Derek's head. The werewolf did not let go of him anyways though and Stiles had to admire his resistance - he was sure were he to get a punch like that, he would already be severely brain-damaged. Or straight out empty-headed.

„Yeah, I get it, you want me,“ Stiles nodded, walking slowly to the tangled men, hoping to make the man stop. Blackthorn won't help him in a situation like this, at least he didn't know how since they were so close together, there was no way he could somehow make a wall between them. So the only thing he could actually do now was to use his words.

„But I am not-“ he started, building up to some logical argument. Except before he could finish it, the Alpha lifted his left hand, extending his claws as much as they would go and rammed his hand into Derek's side. The hand sank into the flesh as if it was a pointy dagger. And the rest of Stiles' sentence got lost in the droplets of blood spraying through the air.

 

Chapter Text

 

The time seemed to have slowed down. Derek tried to struggle free when the Alpha sank his claws under his skin, he tried to flee as the man kept pulling his hand upwards, widening the gaping hole on his side, but even his werewolf strength didn't seem to be enough to pry the enemy off him. The man grabbed the back of his neck as the Beta tried to bite him and ignored Derek's claws digging into his back. Why should he care about those, his wounds were healing right away anyways.

"Oh my god," Stiles gulped, shaking. He should look away or close his eyes to give his brain some distance from all the blood, otherwise it would not be able to restart and help in this situation, but he couldn't make himself look away – it was Kate's head all over again.

“Don't kill him, jeezus,” Stiles pleaded unable to move. He caught the sight of Derek's irises flickering blue. They were watching him, full of pain. He tried to say something, his mouth moving, but the syllables swallowed down by a moan.

“Please just... fuck. You can't kill him!” Stiles cried.

“Why?” the man wondered, clearly enjoying his carving. Derek shook as the claws hit something inside and the sound that escaped his mouth when it happened... Stiles wanted to cry.

“Just... for fuck's sake!” He took a step closer, shaking just as much as Derek did. “Just... you need a hostage, don't you? Peter doesn't care about me, he doesn't... that's his only living relative left after the fire right there. He is the best leverage you can offer to Deucalion. I won't-”

“Shut up,” Derek wheezed weakly, blinking sweat out of his eyes. “Just run, you moron...”

“I can't,” Stiles realized. “I won't.” He could feel the Alpha's eyes on him, but he didn't care how it looked like - there was no way he was gonna run away to leave Derek alone with this sadistic torturer. No way. It was the same as when he remained near his mom in the last minutes of her life. It was the same force rooting him to the spot right now.

Though, he tried to tell himself it was not just quilt, if he were being illogically honest with himself, then it was quilt, because Stiles just ends up getting people killed. It happened with his mom, it will happen with Derek too. Shit. Shit. No matter what Tomasz told him about it not being his fault, he just couldn't shake it off. Not yes.

“I can't,” he repeated to cut off the stream of poisonous thoughts.

“No,” Derek argued defiantly. “Not again, not-” but he didn't get to finish the sentence because the Alpha decided to headbutt him fiercely, making the werewolf's mouth shut with a snap and blood sprout from between his lips. He must have bit his tongue. Stiles couldn't watch it anymore.

“You should learn not to reveal all your secrets in front of the enemy, boys, instead-” the Alpha said calmly, opening his mouth to continue with his lecture, but fuck if Stiles was gonna be silent and just watch another person die all over again – that was not what he fucking rushed here for, damn it.

Yes, he was all nice and silent when he watched his mom die in a fit of anger and confusion. He just sat there and listened to her words and then to the beeping of the machines and then to the yells of the nurses, but he was not going to this time. Not this time. There had to be something he could do. Something... ah, right.

“I won't go with you, unless he's alive,” he spit. “And what will you do then?”

“I will wait for the rest of the pack to show up and pick somebody else,” the man shrugged and Stiles had to purse his lips, because how the hell did the guy think he could beat a whole pack of werewolves? How was he that confident?

“But,” the Alpha continued. “This would be more convenient, true.”

He nodded in satisfaction as the hole was as long as his forearm and then glanced up at the teen, his hand still inside of Derek's body, coated with blood and... Stiles didn't want to know what else, he honestly didn't.

“Alright,” the Alpha nodded, jerking his head in the teen's direction. “I accept your conditions, for as long as you follow my instructions to the last dot,” Stiles nodded eagerly. “Undress,” the man ordered.

“...what...?” Were his ears messing with him?

“Take off your clothes. All of them. I would be crazy to take an Emissary without checking for magical tattoos,” the man explained prying his hand out of the wound, which started to bleed even more as he did so. “If you happen to have any, we will have to carve those out, otherwise you can't come.” The Alpha pressed his hand against the wound to block the bleeding (and other things that were threatening to leave the body), but Derek turned paler anyways, his breath ragged and his body weak.

“And do it quickly. This one doesn't have much time left,” he warned, looking at him with as if he knew that Stiles would do almost anything to save Derek. But this, oh goddamn it, was he really gonna go there now? He didn't have time to contemplate shit like being shy or whatever right then, not when Derek was rapidly bleeding out.

Blocking his modesty, he kicked off his shoes, yanked the shirt off his body and threw it on the floor in front of him. Then proceeded with unbuttoning his pants to pull those off together with his underwear and his socks in what he thought was one gracefully swift movement (just to have it behind him as fast as possible), which was far from it, because it included way too much tugging and hopping.

Undignified as it may have been, standing all naked in the middle of an empty school hallway was probably even worse. Especially when he could see the Alpha scan his skin for any kind of hidden enchantment. He tried not to think of that though, not to think of the guy watching his dick or any other part of his flimsy human body.

His teeth clenched together as he waited for him to be done. He was not a delicate damsel, that would be scarred from this sort of thing forever. Just think clinical, he told himself, but it was hard to feel anything else than the angry embarrassment.

That was, up until he checked in on Derek with a quick glance and saw the werewolf's head turned away, not watching at all, trying to give him as much privacy as he could and that... well that did brought redness into his cheeks even though he desperately tried to avoid that to not give the Alpha any satisfaction in it.

“Turn around,” the Alpha instructed then, lifting his hand from Derek's wound to twirl his finger. Blood trickled down onto the floor, some inside organs about to fall out and Stiles gestured angrily for him to put his fucking hand where it was before. Only when the man did so, did Stiles turn around.

“Feet soles,” he heard.

“For fucks sake,” Stiles said, hopping on the floor in annoyance to give the man what he wanted. “Good enough?” He wasn't really that keen on revealing every inch of his body to some fucking Alpha pervert, definitely not when Derek was the one to witness the meticulous inspection, but there wasn't exactly time to argue, not if he wanted them both to survive this.

Another instruction followed. “Arms up.” And under any other circumstances, he would have drawled it out, being deliberately slow and clumsy until the rest of the pack could arrive or maybe until Peter would decide to speed over with his dad the sheriff, but he didn't have that sort of space now. Nor did he want them to burst in while he was twirling around naked – not that that mattered in the grand scheme of things really. Damn it, he was so petty.

And so he followed each instruction quickly and methodically, dismissing the fact that he was actually parading around naked. It was nothing. It didn't mean anything. It was just a few seconds of his life he was going to forget about right after they'll be over.

Still, when the Alpha nodded in approval and he was finally allowed to pick up his clothes, he couldn't even conceal his relief. Maybe he should have because the man snorted and added: “Only the underpants, boy. Take the shirt and hurry over.”

Stiles gulped down the anger and hunted for the said article of clothing in the pile in front of him. He then slipped into his underpants, snatched up his shirt and walked quickly over to the pair of werewolves still sitting in a tight and painful embrace.

And before you get to wonder, the bag of blackthorn was bundled tightly in the shirt - there was no way he would forget it there. He would have taken the phone too, but it was too far away from him and it would of course be more obvious if he went to retrieve it. Pity.

“Here,” the Alpha said, lifting his hand from Derek's wound, which began to bleed quickly again.

Stiles did not hesitate and scrunched the cloth even more to push it against the gap (it came to him later, that by doing that, he had lost the access to the blackthorn), blocking the trickling blood as good as he could. Derek didn't exactly like it, because he almost fell over with a painful exhale – the Alpha let go off him and pushed against Stiles' hands to show him how to keep the pressure as strong as possible, which wasn't really helpful at all, because it made Derek tip over even more. The teen grabbed at his body with his left hand and pulled him over to his side. It wasn't really as easy as it sounded.

“Now you better hold that properly, otherwise I will have one hostage less, if you know what I mean,” the man said mockingly as he rose up to his feet. He glanced down at his bloodied hoodie and tsked, straightening his jacket to cover the blotches of red.

Derek's pressed his head against Stiles' shoulder, breathing heavily, his arms limb, his skin wet from sweat and blood. He had his eyes closed and his eyebrows pulled it a deep frown, not that the teen could see much through the hair tickling the side of his face. He had enough work to hold the man more or less upright and keep the pressure on the wound steady enough.

“Let's go,” the Alpha motioned with his hand, pointing down the hallway – the way from which he originally came, which wasn't that far away from the front door.

“The fuck...?” Stiles looked up. “What do you mean let's go?”

“To my car,” the man grinned as if it wasn't clear right from the start. “And you will hurry, otherwise I will kill him and drag you with me - wiling or not. You obviously don't want us to wait for any other pack members.”

“Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to...”

Or we can sit here and wait for them to come. Maybe I will find some better candidates for Deucalion among them,” the man threatened, non-pulsed by Stiles' complains.

“Well, maybe you will die fighting them and I-”

You and Derek here,” the man squatted down next to him to pat his cheek.”You won't live to know.” His fingers slid down his neck, turning into claws to push against the sensitive skin there. Derek's hand twitched, but he didn't manage to bring it up to stop. He only let out a silent growl that amused the other werewolf even more than he already was amused. Good for him.

“Your choice,” the Alpha said and got up again.

Stiles pursed his lips and just nodded silently, but try it as he may, the couldn't get Derek's almost limp body to move, not without compromising the pressure on his wound and the werewolf himself did not exactly help either.

“Come on,” Stiles tried again, but the werewolf did not react.

“Fuck,” he cried after the third time, getting halfway up to his knees and feeling the shirt slide from the gap in Derek's side. At least it didn't seem to be bleeding that much anymore or well, not as much as one would think from such a wound – his shirt wasn't soaking wet yet, at least. But there was still a huge gap that didn't do anything to seal itself, so if he really were to put the shirt away and attempt to move the body, not only would Derek probably bleed out but something might f-fall out... jeezus.

He glared up at the Alpha and seeing the grin on his lips he spat: “You are enjoying this, are you not?” Fuck, what kind of a sick bastard was this? Or rather, what was he trying to prove? “Look, I can't... shit! You proved you point, I am just a weak human and I got nothing on you... and there is obviously no way for me to run away with Derek in this state. You got us both cornered. I get it. I get it, so...”

“I am glad we understand each other,” the man nodded in appreciation. He then sighed and reached over for Derek's biceps to haul him up. “But enough playing.” He bent to grab Derek's waist and haul him up on his shoulder. “Keep up, I am not keen on carrying a corpse.”

Stiles nodded grimly, ignoring the fact that he only had his underwear on and moved alongside the Alpha as they walked swiftly out of school. It was the pinnacle of his coordination, that he managed to keep both of his hands on the shirt, pressing it against the wound and didn't stumble over his feet at all when trying to keep up with the Alpha's long strides.

He kept an eye on Derek, who was still breathing erratically throughout the whole walk, but seemed to be totally out of it the whole time, judging by the closed eyes and unmoving body parts. Stiles wondered when was it that he had actually lost his consciousness and why did he not notice right away, but seeing as there was a fucking Alpha werewolf threatening both of their lives and their survival was hanging on a thread... well, it wasn't really relevant at that time.

As they reached the Alpha's Mustang, every hope that they might somehow get saved in the last possible second and won't have to go meet Deucalion evaporated like a drop of water on a dessert – there was nobody around, no cars rushing in, no pack miraculously appearing from behind the tree in front of BH, nobody.

And Stiles was kinda glad for that, but at the same time, he wasn't. He didn't know what to feel, his mind was eerily blank, focusing only on holding Derek in one piece... what would happen were he to pull the shirt away and use his blackthorn? Would Derek die because his entrails would spill out of him and the lack of blood would reach the critical level? He didn't know, he couldn't think clearly enough, he was too scared and too emotional to even think properly at the time.

The Alpha opened the driver's door, reached over to move his seat out of the way with his foot - it made Derek's back push against the frame and Stiles could feel the blood being squeezed out of the body quicker, but he only bit his lower lip and stayed quiet.

“Now, you will have to be quick, you understand?” the Alpha said, pulling Derek's body off him and grabbing him under the armpits, his arms encircling his chest. Stiles had to bent a bit to be able to keep the shirt on its place. Nothing else was important at that time – keep the pressure, he kept telling himself. Just keep the press-

“Do you understand?” the man barked, kicking him in the shin. “Do you?”

“Yes,” he nodded, but it only then dawned on him what was about to happen. He didn't really get a chance to protest though, because the Alpha lowered Derek's body pushed it into the car head on. Or more like threw it.

Being as strong as he was, he managed to do it more or less effortlessly and on the first try, but it did not go without a damage – Derek landed on the back seat, his head bumping into the side, his legs hanging awkwardly out over the lowered driver's seat and the wound fully opened to the world and there was... oh shit, shit shit shit.

“In you go,” the Alpha snorted, as he watched Stiles jump into the car without any delay. He climbed in, his hands trembling way too much to be effective, but he did what he could to press the shirt against the wound and so in turn push the intestines back inside the werewolf's body. It probably wouldn't have spilled out, but Stiles was not gonna... he gulped, getting sick and sobbed a bit as he managed to secure the shirt over the wound again.

He could feel the Alpha fold Derek's legs inside and could hear him put the seat back to its position and close the door right after that, but he did not pay any attention to it nor to the engine humming, nor to the movement around him, nor to the whistling coming from the front seat. He had his eyes only for Derek – his eyes were trained at the pale, sickly color his skin was becoming, at the red liquid that he refused to call blood any longer and for the twitching fingertips. It didn't look any good, if truth be told.

“You'll be fine,” Stiles whispered, readjusting his sitting arrangements. He was sprawled over Derek, his hand way too weak to support him properly ad so he moved aside a bit, wedging himself between the back seat in the middle and the console dividing him from the Alpha.

 

And the last thing he saw before sinking way loo low to see anything proper outside were the shrinking premises of BHHS and the sheriff's cruiser heading up the road to the school. It didn't exactly make him feel any better, but then again he was still conflicted on that matter.

 

~o~

 

There were a hundred things Stiles could have done differently in the last hour. A hundred different paths he could have taken, a hundred different way he could have approached his future and this, sitting in the back of the Alpha's car clad in his underwear with an unconscious Derek suffering from a deep wound, was not really his preferred state of matters. Especially since the werewolf was not healing at all. At least not from what he could see.

The teen pulled the edge of his makeshift bandage out of the way to check the outskirts of the wound again, but it seemed just the same as before. Shouldn't the body heal the skin first and then the internal damage so that the environment is more secure? Was he supposed to maybe hold the edges closer together to help Derek heal a little more?

“Why are you not healing?” Stiles muttered, glancing up at Derek's frowny face. He didn't know... and he would bet his liver that the future him knew these kind of things. He should have been here to help Derek survive this, not him. On the other hand, they would have never gotten into this situation if the future him was here. The future him was not this stupid.

“Wounds inflicted by an Alpha heal a lot slower than any other, if at all,” the man said out of nowhere. “What kind of an Emissary are you not knowing that?”

“A very rubbish one,” Stiles admitted, not even turning around to face their capturer. It would have been impossible in the tight space anyways. He needed to keep his hands pressed against Derek's side.

“Now that you mention it, you don't even have any tattoos, true. I must say, I was quite surprised seeing that,” the Alpha admitted, curiousness seeping into his voice. “How long exactly...?”

“Few days,” Stiles answered grumpily, rolling his shoulder because his arm was already starting to hurt from being in such a weird position. He was not gonna blush like a freaking virgin remembering the embarrassing undressing scene. “What's it to you?”

“Well, we have a long way to go and my radio is not working,” the Alpha explained. There was a sound as if he was fiddling with something in the front, probably the buttons on his broken radio to justify his chattiness, but Stiles was not having any of it – he was not going to blabber all of the information over to an enemy just because he was allowed to talk. But still. He couldn't really remain silent either.

“Yeah, well,” he said, felling the rush of adrenaline leaving his body. They were out of any immediate danger and talking had always calmed him down. Though, maybe that was the Alpha's plan all along - to get him calm and then reach over and tear out his spine while driving.

Stiles gulped and shook his head, trying to shake off those kind of thoughts. They were unproductive and he might as well try to pry the information out of the Alpha as well, since such a good opportunity presented itself.

“So who are you anyways? You are not a part of the Alpha pack,” Stiles waged. “Not that I know of anyways. Not that my Alpha knows...and he knows quite a lot, ya know.”

“One-sided conversations are not your thing, are they?” The Alpha wondered from the front, guiding the car to the left. They were leaving the town, Stiles knew. This kind of turn is only at the east end of Beacon Hills.

“Not really.” He also saw the signs of the shopping center earlier, so he knew which way out of the city it was as well. The one that went around the Preserve, in a totally different direction, so the Alpha was either trying to avoid the territories and go to Deucalion using the longer route or he was heading elsewhere – where would that be then though? The first option was more realistic.

The man sighed, leaning deeper into his seat. “I am not a part of the Alpha pack, not yet anyways, but that will hopefully change once I bring you two over. That was the deal.”

Stiles hummed and bit his lower lip. Maybe this was a good thing, him not being a part of Deucalion's pac. Maybe he could sway him to their side. He was a good talked after all.

“And before you say anything, no, I am not gonna double cross Deucalion,” the man snorted, as if reading his thoughts. “Only a fool would do that.”

“Only a fool would want to join them,” Stiles countered. “Like, I barely know anything about them, but from what I saw at the meeting...”

“A place in such a pack is worth a lot, not that a human would understand these things,” the Alpha answered, speeding up the car. So they have reached the highway. If his dad was smart and Stiles could bet on his dad being just that, he will check the police cameras at the start of the highway. They should be able to identify the Alpha's car by their departure time window - that should not be so hard – it will only take a long while, gaining access to all of this. Stiles sighed.

“But the price you have to-”

“Well, I already killed my whole pack, so it's too late for that talk,” the Alpha said, the words rolling down Stiles' spine like a winter chill. He held his breath until his heart calmed down enough for him to hear other noises around him and then glanced around to make sure the man had both of his arms on the steering wheel. He did. Good.

“I would never-” he started.

“That's because you don't understand the value of power and position in the werewolf world,” the man said, shrugging. “You seem to barely understand anything if truth be told. Can't blame you for that, I guess. Can only blame the your own Alpha for appointing such an untrained Emissary.”

Stiles wanted to argue and he wanted to stand up for his Alpha, but the truth was that at the end of the day, the dude was actually right. Stiles shouldn't have continued being the Emissary. They could have just switched to somebody more experienced, to somebody stronger... they should have appointed Tomasz instead or called up on some favor that Peter undoubtedly had with some other suitable candidate.

The only thing Stiles managed to do in those few days is bring chaos into the pack and the world around them and lead them astray and... oh gods, he really wished he knew what he was doing. He really wished he could at least do some of the things his future self could. Maybe, if Tomasz' offer was still on the table, maybe he should just accept it and take some time to become what he really needs to before being someone's emissary. If he survived this, that was.

“Well, I do understand the value of a pack, I think,” he said, looking up at Derek's face. His forehead was wet with sweat, his fringe glued to the skin, his lips here slightly open as the erratic breath surged in and out of them and his eyes, though they did flutter open every once in a while just a tiny bit, seemed as though clouded by fog. He did not look so well.

“And the thing is,” he continued, looking away from the werewolf's body and up through the back window to watch the clouds chasing each other on the sky. “No matter how much power they might offer, your own pack should-”

“Well, lucky me, I decided to join the pack a month before I eradicated them all. It was a strategical choice, you see. The pack was small and weak and all the way south,” the man jumped in, his words careless as if he was talking about the quality of today's weather. “They didn't stand a chance against me.”

“Confident much?” Stiles muttered, leaning into the console that was behind his back. It was uncomfortable, but it was better than keep pressing against the wound and trying to stay upright at the same time – his lower back was already hurting. (Well, it was hurting ever since he toppled down with the Alpha on him, but still.)

“You do know werewolves can hear extra well, right?” the Alpha wondered amusingly. “And yet you choose to talk or pick up phone calls,” Stiles could hear see him shake his head from the corner of his right eye.

“Is that how you knew?” he wondered, looking at the soaking red shirt under his fingers. It was definitely not getting better and the only good thing about it was that the Alpha will have blood all over his seats soon.

“It was the smell really,” the Alpha answered. “Nothing a quick cleansing charm wouldn't have fixed.”

“Oh...” Well of course he didn't know how to do that either.

“I was actually more suspicious of you for not having used it,” the man chuckled. “Thought the whole thing was some very elaborate trap. I was actually disappointed that it wasn't.”

Hearing his words, Stiles realized he decided on a wrong strategy with this Alpha, probably with any Alpha really – he couldn't appeal to his humanity, but the other way around. Maybe he could-

Suddenly, there was a ring coming out of Derek's back pocket, his phone vibrating and playing a soft melody, that he could have maybe drowned if Stiles started to talk a bit louder, but since he was in the car with a werewolf – not much chance there.

“Hand it over,” the Alpha ordered, reaching his hand over his shoulder. “And don't even think about picking it up.”

Stiles considered this. “I won't get to it,” he said at last. If the phone stayed in Derek's pocket, then the sheriff or Peter or somebody could definitely trace it back to them, right? So it would be most helpful to keep it where it was, even if he wouldn't be able to pick it up.

“Take it out now,” the Alpha said, his thoughts obviously circling the same area as his own. “If you won't manage that before it stops ringing, I will stop the car and help you myself.”

And so Stiles had no choice really (well, he did, but better if he tried to do it gently, than to let the Alpha put his hands on Derek again), but to let go of the soaking red shirt on Derek's wound and slip his hand between the seat and the werewolf's lower back, trying to fish out the ringing phone.

Derek groaned silently as his skin stretched, some blood trickling down the back seat. Stiles could smell the iron and some sort of foul thing that reminded him of a rotting corpse, but damn, he hoped that was just his brain messing with him.

“I'm sorry,” he whispered as he caught Derek's eyes fluttering open, his breath coming out in a harsh exhale. “I'm almost done, shhh.”

Luckily, the phone was located in the right pocket, which was the one closer to Stiles and so he didn't have to struggle for too long. Still, he felt sorry for the way his fingernails dug into the bruised skin on the werewolf's lower back. The way he had to wriggle his hand, pressing his wrist against the back of the wound, before he was finally able to grab the phone by the edge and slide it out of the pocket and then out from under the shaking body.

“It's over now, it's fine,” he kept muttering when he saw the claws extend on Derek's hands, his eyes looking around in some sort of feverish dream as if he was searching for the one that was hurting him, planing to slash some throats just for the pain to finally stop.

“It's okay,” he hushed, throwing the still ringing phone over his shoulder, not caring if the Alpha caught it or not. He leaned over Derek, one of his hands on the claws, so that he might not hurt Stiles in some outburst of hallucinations. “Derek...?”

“He won't hear you,” the Alpha cut in. “The healing-” His words were drowned out by the sound of air rushing into the car and the ringing suddenly cutting off as if it flew away in the wind.

Stiles glanced to the front and saw the man close the window. The phone was gone. Well so much for that advantage, damn, who was it that was calling again? He thought he saw a familiar name on the screen, but the fact that Derek actually opened his eyes properly for the first time distracted him way too much to remember it.

“Derek...?” he tried again, squeezing the werewolf's hand to make him react somehow.

“I am telling you,” the Alpha started again, but Stiles was nothing if not stubborn. It wouldn't matter if an army of doctors held a referendum about Derek's state of sickness with a negative result, he would still try and talk the man out of it somehow. Trying was the only this he could do at that moment anyways.

Derek didn't react of course, just as the Alpha said he wouldn't. He just breathed out and scrunched his eyebrows in pain as a cough made him spit out some sort of black goo. Was this normal? Stiles wondered for the umpteenth time. He didn't know and Derek wouldn't tell him either, because he once again fell unconscious.

Discouraged, Stiles settled back onto his tiny place and allowed his left hand to join the right in holding his makeshift bandage tightly against the wound again. This was the worst. He sighed and pressed his forehead against his fingers, not caring that he might get blood all over his face. What should he do? Please, somebody just tell him.

“Told you...” The Alpha started.

“If you are so knowledgeable,” Stiles bit out bitterly. “Then you might enlighten me... how does the Alpha pack work again? How can it even exist as a constellation of Alphas with one above them all, telling them what to do, ordering them around...basically having them around as Betas, but keeping their Alpha status? How is that even possible?”

“I don't really care how it works as long as it works,” the Alpha said, leading the car a bit more forcefully than before. They have entered some other town because Stiles could see the roofs of houses from where he was sitting as opposed to the trees and a cloudy sky, but he couldn't exactly settle his mind on where they exactly were anymore. Nor on how long they have been driving.

“You don't care,” he summarized. “You keep telling me it's all about power - the Alpha pack, the werewolves, the whole psychology - and you don't care how it works? How come Deucalion has all those Alpha on such a short leash? Making them do whatever he freaking wants at any given moment?”

“That's not-”

“I saw them,” he pressed. “And I bet you did as well. They didn't make a step without him making a sign or other to allow it. Is that what you really want? Being a mindless slave?Where is the power in that?”

There was silence as the man kept processing his words, but it didn't take long before the car slowed down and with that, he ended up saying: “It doesn't matter what you say, I won't let you free.”

Stiles snorted. “I won't hold my breath. One way or another I will find out how he does it. And if it is by watching you be enslaved, well you do deserve it for butchering Derek, so... be my guest.”

“Well you can ask Deucalion soon enough,| the man said with a heavy sadistic tinting in his voice as the car slowed down to a halt. “We are here.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

A whirling mechanical sound echoed outside of the car, coming from in front of them and the Alpha forcefully chaperoning Stiles and Derek to their doom, pressed the gas pedal lower and led the car into a spacious garage. And as Stiles watched the last bits of sky disappear from his view through the back window, he realized...

What exactly did he realize back then? That they are entering the den of a vicious Alpha pack and nobody is coming to save them any time soon? That Derek might bleed out to a death in the next few minutes? That was, if he didn't suffocate on the black goo collecting in his mouth first of course.

He couldn't allow them to move or separate them. They wouldn't care for his injuries just as their Alpha capturer did not care about them before. And Stiles was set on not letting Derek suffer any more injuries. Not anymore. Ever.

Sadly, he was nowhere near capable enough of providing such security for Derek. The only triumph he held in his hands at that very moment was the small pouch of Blackthorn bundled in the shirt soaked with blood from being so close to the wound. That was probably the only reason why the Alpha did not discover its scent till now. The blood must have been masking it. Talk abut luck right there.

Well that settled it then, didn't it? Stiles glanced above his shoulder to scan the garage for any imminent danger. He could see one of the twins standing near the automatic door closing slowly behind them, his clawed finger pressing against a red button. But other than that, there was nobody else around.

He tried not to let his heart betray his secret strategy, tried to remain as calm as possible, but he wasn't really trained for this kind of shit now, was he? His eardrums echoed with every beat, he held his breath and looked down at the shirt in between his fingers. He needed to be ready for when the opportunity would present itself, but his long fingers felt too stiff to even move.

“Not so brave now, are we?” The Alpha chuckled from the front seat, just as the car stopped. The absence of sounds caused by the door sliding shut at the same moment as the engine was cut made Stiles' ears ring.

He gulped and looked up through the back window. The twin grinned down at him, his hand falling off the button and other any other circumstances, Stiles would have been terrified, but his eyes felt blind. He only concentrated on the sounds behind him.

Click, slide of a tiny piece of metal, jingle, sigh, silent crack of leather.

Stiles took a small breath in, his mouth dry. He pried his fingers of the mangled shirt, watching it hold its shape in spite of him not pressing against it anymore. Blood slowly dropped down from it, staining the leather seats and sliding down Stiles' legs.

A barely noticeable whoosh, click, swoosh of air and then creaking. The first thud, creaking, the second thud.

Reaching for a fold on his shirt, Stiles blinked the sweat off his left eye and pulled at the piece of cloth to reveal only more folds. He cursed inwardly, his fingers trembling even more. Where was it?

Chuckle, creak, clink,whoosh of air, thud.

Come on.

His left hand peeled off another layer of cloth. There was a string mixed in within it leading deeper into the bloodied mess of a shirt.

Swish of fabric, creaking, clack, thud, thud.

Now!

Stiles grabbed the string, wrenching the shirt open wildly. The pouch slid out of the revealed part and Stiles tore it open. He didn't know if it would be harder to handle with the blood soaking it all the way, nor if it was even good enough to do its job, but luckily there was no time to think. He trusted it to work. It had to. It will. There is no way it wouldn't.

The Blackthorn did as he wished without any delay, as if steeled by his strong will mixed with desperation. It poured out of the pouch, sliding down between the seats and out of the slightly opened door and then circled the car just as he envisioned. He urged it to hurry. Hurry. Hurry more.

Once the circle closed, there was a whizz in the air and Stiles grabbed the shirt to push it back against Derek's wound, the pouch lying gaping in his lap almost. Only when this all was done, did he look up.

Not more than two seconds could have passed after their Alpha capturer left the car. Good. Just on time.

“Stiles,” greeted Deucalion standing in the door, his eyebrows drawn together. The fact that he did not hesitate calling his by his proper nickname did not surprise Stiles at all somehow.

Instead of keeping his focus on the Alpha of all Alphas he looked around the car and noticed that both twins were not standing very close to the car, their hands resting against the magical barrier. They didn't try to get any further.

Stiles glanced to the other side and saw his Alpha capturer watching the floor with interest, his foot coming forward to prod at the circle.

Then, a growl came from behind him and as he turned to see, he saw Ennis hitting the invisible wall around the car. The barrier flickered golden in the second of the impact and then went back to the clearly colorless substance, protecting them perfectly.

They were safe. For now that was.

“So nice of you to join us,” Deucalion raised his voice, demanding the teen's attention.

Stiles straightened a bit, feeling a million ants crawl up his legs and fixed the Alpha leader with an unimpressed look. The Blackthorn's safety gave him a bit of his confidence back.

“Thank you for the invitation,” he said, curling his mouth into a sneer, though he knew it was more like some sort of weird warped grimace. “Honestly though, just add me on facebook next time you need to talk or ya know, send a mail if you are into that sort of old-school stuff. Or a raven even. This sort of...”

“Oh and I see you are not alone,” Deucalion continued, his voice filling the space. Not only did he ignore Stiles' remark, but also the silent snort the teen dared to utter at the word “see”. Or he simply just didn't care what he said, which was even worse because his chances of talking himself out of the situation were thus below zero.

“And that would be...,” the leader of Alphas stepped in closer and took in a deep breath. “Ah, Derek Hale.”

Stiles moved to shield Derek's wound, though he had no reason to do it. It wasn't like the man could see it. It wasn't like it would matter even if he did. But somehow the thought of showing how vulnerable the werewolf was at that moment made him move without thinking. That and... the sting of guilt, of course. He didn't want it to serve as a proof of his incompetence.

“Splendid.” Deucalion took another deep breath and the irises behind his dark glasses glowed red in reaction to the scent. He turned to their capturer. “He is not in a very good condition though. So much blood and expel.”

The man only shrugged. “Your instructions said one-”

The Alpha's cane tapped against the concrete floor in annoyance and all the werewolves in the garage stiffened except for their capturer. He just glanced around and frowned.

“Hmmm,” Deucalion nodded a few times, his cane swinging softly. “Well, why bring a bleeding corpse then?”

Stiles just bit his lips, glancing at Derek's chest to make sure he was still breathing. He was. Even though it was quite shallow, his chest did rise a bit and then fell down. Frequently enough at that.

He looked up at his white face and reached over to wipe the black goo trickling out of the corner of his face and then turned his attention back to the Alphas.

He would rather help Derek, true, but he needed to make sure Deucalion did not have some secret weapon to get behind the protective barrier first. He needed to watch them a bit first...maybe that will help him find a way to get out of the situation. Maybe their capturer would...

“It was easier to use one against the other,” the said Alpha said and yeah okay, no, Stiles lost any hope of the man ever coming over to their side. Shit, well then, there must be some other way for them to escape.

“Right, well,” Deucalion turned back to Stiles, his smile creepily knowing. “Why don't you open the circle, so that we can give Derek there the treatment he needs.”

Stiles pursed his lips. “No chance. We are the safest here.”

“You mean you are the safest,” Deucalion teased, lifting his cane. Seeing some ancient-like scriptures on it, Stiles stiffened and waited for the impact, but the end of the cane only tapped lightly against the barrier making it flash golden at the contact. Otherwise it seemed to have been holding steady – judging by the fact that the other Alphas still couldn't get past it.

“I am sure Derek could need a bit care though,” the leader of Alphas continued, trying to coerce Stiles with his stupid words. As if that would work. “As an Emissary, you should-”

“I will not open it,” Stiles said.

“He will die. Don't you-”

“I won't,” the teen repeated. He wasn't that stupid. He knew very well what would happen if he opened the circle... well not exactly, no he didn't, but he could imagine a few ways it would go and none of them seemed better than the current situation no matter how awful it might have looked like already.

“Well if Mohamed won't be coming to the mountain....” Deucalion turned over to one of the twins, the cane moving in a circular motion to point at the door. “Go get Samantha.”

The twin did not wait for any further instructions, he just nodded and stalked out of the garage quickly. So obedient, Stiles thought glancing over at their capturer. He seemed to have been thinking the same judging by the calculative look in his face as he watched the door. Maybe there was some hope for Stiles still.

 

~o~

 

With the blonde druid on her way, Stiles wasn't that sure about the protective circle anymore. Could she break it somehow? She probably could, couldn't she? How could he have forgotten about her? How stupid was that? Alright, he thought to himself, well if she would be somehow able to break it, he needed to have some sort of plan B to stop her, right?

He leaned over to the window, keeping one of his palms pressed against the shirt and glanced down to check out how the line of Blackthorn actually looked. Could he maybe make two circles out of it?

He bit his lip, frowned and halved the amount of Blackthorn, letting a little to a half of it move closer to the car and build up a second, thinner circle. He then glanced around checking that none of the werewolves got closed to the car even if they had their hands pressed against the walls - they were still where he saw them last, scowling at him.

Alright, this way if that Samantha person manages to break the first circle, he would still have the other. And he could then use the Blackthorn from the first to make a third one before the second got destroyed and so on – that would at eat buy him some time, he hoped. If it would work in reality was yet to be seen though.

“I wouldn't worry about whatever he does,” Stiles' ears registered. He was ignoring the ongoing conversation for the sake of concentrating on the Blackthorn.

“He knows very little about...” the Alpha continued.

“Kincaid,” Deucalion tsked, motioning with his cane. “Why don't you go with Ethan there upstairs. I am sure we can use you for something more-”

“What about my...,” the Alpha tried to interrupt, but the annoyed thud of a cane against the floor cut off his sentence. The remaining two Alphas in the room Ennis and Ethan moved in closer, watching him carefully. Kincaid's frown deepened.

“Your work here is done,” Deucalion bit off, his head held high. The cane moved in his hand like a snake enchanted by a song. Stiles glanced at Ennis and saw him watching the cane, enthralled. Hmmm...

“We had a-” Kincaid tried again.

Deucalion took in a annoyed breath and the cane in his hand made a sharp movement in the direction of their capturer. Ethan moved in closer and grabbed his shoulder. Kincaid just glared at Deucalion and then down at his cane and then shared a look with Stiles. The teen just raised his eyebrows wondering if they were thinking the same.

“You did enough,” the leader of the Alphas said, sighing in annoyance. “Letting him build a circle... well, I must proclaim your initiation mission for an incompetent failure.”

“What?! But-,” Kincaid barked, shaking Ethan's hand off his shoulder with an angry movement. “I did what you-”

“No need to worry,” Deucalion smiled mercifully. “There will be another chance for your, dear friend. Now-”

“We had an-”

“Ethan,” Deucalion ordered sweetly, a nasty smile spreading across his lips. The werewolf grabbed Kincaid's biceps and showed him in the direction of the door.

It looked like Kincaid might actually choose to start a fight but the red glowing eyes on Deucalion's shielded face persuaded him otherwise. He pulled a face, then spared one last glance for Stiles and turned around, leaving the garage without a word. Ethan followed tightly behind him.

 

~o~

 

The gurgling sound that escaped Derek's mouth in the next second pulled Stiles' attention faster than an exploding airplane hovering above him. A weird analogy, true, but his brain was already way too stressed as it was, a weird metaphor was not gonna throw him off balance any more than he already was. Derek dying on a backseat of a kidnapper's car would definitely though.

He jumped up, turning the werewolf's head to the side so that he could cough out the black goo and at the same time, pushed against his chest to try and stop him from rolling to his side completely, since that would probably not go well with his gaping side.

Derek's eyes opened a tiny bit. Their blue glow made Stiles blink a few times and in that moment, he heard Deucalion say to the newly arrived Samantha:

“Yes, I did call.”

“Break the circle.”

Stiles turned around to watch her approaching the car, her eyes fixed on the two lines on the floor. He couldn't keep watching her proceedings though, because Derek heaved, his body curving to the side.

The fact that Stiles was half sitting over his thighs with his hands pressed against the side of his head and the side of his middle area did not stop him from turning over. In fact in somehow encouraged him in some weird shock of the alien over him to even push the teen to slide down into the space between the front seats.

Stiles yelped, hitting his shoulder on the back of the driver's seat. His butt collided painfully with the console. His legs dangled over the back seat with Derek growling and trashing around. Well, fuck. So much for letting the wound heal first.

“Derek,” he gasped painfully when the werewolf growled his way, his body pressing against the flailing teen.

“Shit, just,” Stile pushed against him, desperately trying to avoid burrying his palm into the wound. It gaped, staring at him, bulging out of Derek's body as he trashed around in some kind of a seizure.

“I know, I know,” he breathed, scrambling out from between the seats. He needed to do something about the wound as soon as possible. He needed to calm Derek down and close it off somehow... if he only had a needle or a bandage or freaking whatever that could close...

Derek's clawed hand flew at him and he ducked out of the way and pressed himself against the door. Something got stuck to his hand. It was some small piece of cloth. He lifted his hand to look at what it was and recognized the shape of the pouch, soaked in blood and blackthorn and an idea occurred to him.

He climbed on top of Derek. Luckily, the strength with which he was trashing before was decreasing. If nothing else he actually looked tired and delirious.

“It's okay, Sourwolf, it's okay,” Stiles hushed him as he started to growl again. “It's okay.”

He straightened the pouch without scraping off the blackthorn and put it between his teeth. He then reached over and grabbed the wound with his both hands, pulling the skin together as well as possible. Derek did not like that at all, but Stiles just shushed him a few times, humming softly and that somehow seemed to have done the trick. (Thought, Stiles guessed Derek was more like getting too weak to move actually.)

He pulled the skin together as good as he could, pushing the entrails back inside. Damn, if Derek wasn't a werewolf... but he was not gonna think of that now. Having closed off the wound as well as he could, he pinched the skin in place with his fingers and took the pouch cloth from between his teeth. Without any preamble he slapped it against the wound.

“You will hold it closed now,” he said, sliding his hand over the top of the cloth. “Won't you?” He could feel the dust rearranging, leveling out. And when he breathed out and slowly raised his hand, the cloth remained there, holding the wound closed.

“Holly shshhh,” he sighed, barely believing that this bizarre plan even worked. He looked up at Derek. The werewolf's eyes were fixed on the teen but Stiles guessed he didn't really see him. They flickered back to their ordinary green and then closed.

“I can't break this,” Stiles heard Samantha say from the outside of the car. He glanced over, his body tilting awkwardly and saw her crouch down with her back to the car, facing Deucalion. He hands was almost touching the barrier on the floor, but the magical borders did not let her go any closer. Good.

Stiles glanced back at the wound. The pouch was holding it well. There wasn't even any blood seeping out. Great.

“I beg your pardon?” Deucalion asked, his eyebrows climbing slightly up his forehead.

“I said, I cannot break it,” the female druid repeated in exasperation. “This is the same substance the darach used at the preserve earlier. Plus it's mixed with what I expect to be the werewolf's blood there. I don't know how to break this, I have never even seen anything like it.”

“Well then access your coven's circle,” the leader of Alphas suggested, his cane waiting stiffly at his side.

“We are already busy holding the woman you secured earlier,” the woman said bitterly. “I can't strain the circle any-”

“I don't pay you for complaining, Samantha,” Deucalion bit off, his mouth twisted with discontent. “I pay you for solutions. So what do you propose?”

“I don't know yet,” she shrugged, exasperated. “I can't tell what the substance is actually. This... can't be any kind of mountain ash, it's something more potent, but I have never heard of a-”

“So, what do I need to do to pry these sardines out of the can?” Deucalion wondered, lifting his hand to stare directly at Stiles. It was hella creepy, because the teen couldn't even tell where he was looking because of the sunglasses but he still somehow knew the Alpha was looking straight into his eyes. Was he really blind? Stiles wondered for the umpteenth time.

“Maybe I could just use one of my Alphas,” he mused, his cane swinging from left to right. Stiles glanced over at Ennis and then at Aiden who was standing at the other side of the car but none of them reacted to the proposition.

If the position really was one of the most important things for a werewolf, why would they just stand around and let Deucalion decide who and when gets to offer their Alpha status to break a barrier. Would it even work? Stiles guessed it would, but...still. How was Deucalion doing it? How was he enslaving them like this? Could it have something to do with the cane?

“Hmm, that's probably what Hale wants me to do though. Getting rid of as many Alphas as possible,” the Alpha added, considering the overall strategy. His cane stopped and the two Alphas turned back to the car. Stiles kept watching Aiden and looking for some sign that the cane was somehow controlling him, but he couldn't tell.

“There must be another way.”

“Well, maybe once the werewolf dies-”

“A quicker way-”

“This is darach magic, I don't-”

“Well, lucky for us, we do have a darach in our midst,” Deucalion nodded, beckoning to the door. “Go get Julia. I am sure she will be more than willing to help us out by now.”

 

~o~

 

It took exactly twelve seconds after Samantha's departure for Stiles to speak up. It wasn't exactly his fault though, you see, he just couldn't shake off the weird feeling of Deucalion's blind eyes boring into the side of his skull. Even if it was through the combined thickness of his lenses and the car's window. It still felt like his mere presence was drilling holes into his brain - trying to dissect as much as possible.

Also, he was curious still, okay? How many times do normal humans like him get to talk to the Alpha of all Alphas? Can't exactly blame him for not staying silent once the opportunity for a nice little chit-chat arose.

“You pay your Emissary?” Stiles wondered, leaning between the two front seats to get in line with the crack of the front door. It seemed easier to hear like that.

“If you thought you could weaken me by killing my own Emissary, then you are as foolish as you are young,” Deucalion answered straightening to his full height to inspire even more... whatever he wanted to inspire by posturing. Fear? Respect? Nothing within Stiles that was. Not while the Blackthorn was working anyways.

“Was just wondering if the position is usually paid,” he shrugged, putting his chin onto the seat to take a better look at the Alpha. “Could be Peter was ripping me off or so.”

Deucalion frowned, the fingers around his cane twitching slightly. It was a weird thing to notice, but Stiles had his own theories about that cane of his, so he made sure to watch its movements carefully and dissect him right back.

“This might be entertaining to you, Stiles,” Deucalion started. “But once your protection is gone, you will beg for the opportunity to talk to me and it will not be granted anymore, not before you-”

Stiles nodded to himself, leaning closer to the crack in the door. “Well then I better ask you right away, how do you control all the Alphas?”

“With power,” Deucalion smirked. “With-”

“What about that cane of yours?” he interrupted, tapping his fingers over the seat as he watched the Alpha's reaction. He couldn't see through the poker face though.

“Contrary to the general belief I really am blind,” Deucalion said evenly, lifting his hand to push his sunglasses up his nose.

“Same goes for Daredevil and yet,” Stiles countered, though bringing up comic-related stuff in front of adults never really did bring any fruit into the conversation and same went for Deucalion.

“Now about Hale's plans...”

“Myeah, I won't tell you anything,” Stiles snorted, watching the cane twitch to the right. Ennis adjusted his stance and growled. Not that that meant anything.

“Oh, but you will,” the leader of the Alphas said, a nasty smirk spreading over his lips. “Everybody does in the end...”

“Maybe. Maybe not,” Stiles muttered, shaking his head still. “I mean, when you think about it... what do you expect me to even know at this point? I've only learned about the supernatural this week. I barely know anything as you must have noticed by now.”

Deucalion remained silent, deep in thought. As if listening in to his heartbeat. The teen wasn't really worried though. It's not like he could spot a lie because there wasn't really any lie among what Stiles had said. Not that a paranoid individual like Duke could actually believe any of that.

“So, Hale really did took you in just because of your father, the sheriff,” the Alpha summarized knowingly, when he realized he had only heard truth till then.

Before Stiles could answer that with some snarky comment, Deucalion continued, his teeth gleaming with malice. “Oh there is no point in denying it. He made sure to mention the sheriff's department was behind him. And now... now I will know who to target first to hurt you, Stiles. And you will only have that weak Alpha of yours to blame, because he gave me that information freely... maybe he actually wanted to turn my attention elsewhere. Using your own father as a decoy, he...”

It took everything Stiles had to remain silent. This dude was trying to rile him up, he knew that much. He was trying to get him to talk, to force him to act in anger and without thinking. He can't do that, not after what happened to Derek. The werewolf's life was depending on him, he was in no way going to cause him any more harm. Not now, not ever again.

And so he shut his mouth and decided to ignore the poisonous words coming out of the Alpha's mouth. Instead he glanced back at Derek, making sure his improvised bandage was still holding (it was), then checked if the circle was still in place and working (it was) and then started to pull himself to the front of the car.

It was time to get out of this place. Plan or no plan.

“I just have to ask Ennis here to go get your sweet innocent daddy and let him do what he does the best. And he will make sure to prolong it as much as he can if you will not cooperate...”

“You don't even have my dad, what kind of a stupid leverage is that,” Stiles muttered defiantly, settling down into the driver's seat. He reached up to pull the visor lover and then opened the drawer at the passenger's seat to rummage through it. No keys. Of course. The dude took them with him. Still. It was worth a short.

“Oh, I can be a very resourceful man, Stiles,” Deucalion warned him. Stiles could tell he moved in closer, because the voice sounded like coming right from behind the barrier, only mere inches away from the slightly opened door. And still, he did not look around to check, no matter how much his instincts screamed back at him.

Stiles slid his fingers over the column under the steering wheel. He tapped at it and then nudged his nails into the crack to pull it open. How lucky was he, that this was actually an older model, that even might have already been stolen judging by the fact how easily the plastic casing fell out.

He leaned in closer, scanning through the mess of electrical wires. It was a long time ago and he wasn't even sure he can still remember what exactly his mom did to hotwire the Baby. She definitely put some wires together, Stiles was sure of that much, but which... oh, there they were, served to him on a dinning plate, already stripped and ready to use. He will have to thanks their capturer one day. He couldn't have picked a better car for them to escape in. Now, if he could just figure out how to open the garage door and...

“Julia, dear,” Deucalion spoke up and Stiles' head whipped around to stare at the bruised and bloodied woman being pushed through the door. She stumbled and fell to her knees hard, as if the gravity was pulling down at her stronger than normally. Samantha stared down at her mercilessly.

“I am so glad you could join us here,” Deucalion said without turning to her. She lifted her head with obvious difficulty. The movement exposed a purple rune glowing on her left cheek, bathing the bruises in an eerie light.

“I was wondering, dear Julia,” the Alpha continued, ignoring how she glared at him – not that he would be able to see it from behind him even if he did have functioning eyes. “I was wondering, how you feel about my proposition now.”

Without a hesitation, Jennifer spat in the Alpha's direction, her dispersed saliva hitting the back of his jeans and the ground around his feet.

“Now, now,” he smirked, “you didn't even hear the latest edition. I thought about it some more, you see, and realized there is an another way still.”

Stiles watched Jennifer struggle to remain upright, her previously wavy hair pointing straight down as if holding her in place, her shoulders sinking lower and lower with each second. And though it seemed like an excruciating predicament, she remained silent still. The only sound escaping her were the huffs of anger and strain.

“I am what you can call and expert on hidden potential. I found it on the most unusual places, in the most unusual individuals,” he said waving the cane around to encompass his pack. “And I always managed to harvest it to my own good. I see the same in you,” he said turning around. “And that's why I want you to put aside your vendetta against me, repent and join the Alpha pack as our new Emissary.”

Stiles gaped at that and he wasn't the only one. The look of disbelief crossed not only Jennifer's face but also that of Samantha. She reeled back and her features morphed into that of a murderous vulture.

“What!?” she spat, her blond hair gleaning menacingly in the light coming from the hallway. ”You want to nominate a darach into such a sacred position? Are you a fool? She should be no more than a rug to wash your dirty shoes on. Not to mention she is dangerous.”

Deucalion shook his head. “Well, as you proved twice already, darachs are more knowledgeable and stronger than any of you druids will ever be. I could use that sort of power on my side.”

“That's because they gamble with dark forces! Because they don't have a coven to keep them stable!” Samantha growled, her face just a shade lighter than a ripe tomato. She pointed down at Jennifer. “She is no more than an equivalent of an Omega!”

“Now that's very unkind from you,” Deucalion shook his head again, his tone disapproving. “I think Julia here has been through a lot and deserves a bit compassion from us. Besides, I am a very charitable-”

“You are power-hungry, that's what you are!” Samantha scowled, her whole body rigid with anger.

Stiles wondered if he could use the escalating conflict somehow to his own benefit. Deucalion was distracted and so were the other werewolves in the garage. Jennifer was harmless at that moment and Samantha was way too focused on yelling to notice whatever he would be doing.

The teen looked back, checking out the garage door. Could he possibly drive through those somehow? He of course saw many movies where a driver busted not only through a garage door but also through a fence or even a wall... how much of that was a carefully planned stunt that would only lead you to getting hurt in the real life was up to testing though. Should he risk it? He bit his lips and glanced back at the arguing couple on his left.

“...insulting the counsel of druids!” Samantha finished angrily. Stiles must have missed the most of her rant but he didn't exactly care about that anyways at that moment. Instead he glanced down at Jennifer whose eyes... they were already on him. She frowned and then started to slowly get up, her hand on her knee.

“I don't need the fools to-”

“You crazy motherfuck-”

“Do your job, dear, or I will kill you,” Deucalion warned, finally silencing Samantha. She stared at him with rage flickering across her face, but then decided it was obviously not worth losing a life over and closed her mouth nodding.

Deucalion nodded in satisfaction and turned to say something to Jennifer, but before he could, the darach managed to rise high enough finally to see the inside of the car.

She gasped as she spotted Derek's unmoving body. “Derek? Derek!” He knees buckled again, slamming against the garage floor. She cringed in pain, but did not stop calling the werewolf's name. It was like a chant, like a...

Stiles glanced around and saw Derek's eyes flutter open. They did not flicked anymore. They were solid electric blue. What the...

“Derek,” Jennifer pleaded. All traces of anger were left from her face and she... honestly she just looked like an innocent woman caught in the middle of something that wasn't even her fault – the perfect damsel in distress. She just needed a prince that wouldn't hesitate to leap to her rescue.

Derek's body twitched in response. He grabbed the top rail of the back seat and started to pull himself up.

“Shiiit,” Stiles cursed, seeing the delighted smile on Deucalion's face from the corner of his eye. “Shit,” he cursed again, scrambling to get to the back of the car.

“Derek, my love,” the darach cried desperately, which only prompted the said werewolf to push himself even higher though he was obviously struggling. Beads of sweat were rolling down his forehead, the black goo dry on his lips and down his chin, his muscles straining.

Still, Stiles was happy to see the cloth still keeping the wound sealed enough, although if it was any normal cloth, it would have fallen down from the skin long ago.

Either way, he needed to stop the werewolf from moving. He reached over to push his hand against Derek's rising body as he climbed over.

“Don't get up,” he ordered, but the werewolf didn't listen to him. He didn't even seem to hear him.

“Don't,” he repeated, pushing against the chest more forcefully once he managed to steady his knees on the back seat.

A cry for help and a silent sniffling plead came from Jennifer and Derek pushed back stronger than before.

“Shut the fuck up!” Stiles barked, sitting down on top of Derek to use his entire weight to push him back down. He had to do it even if it did hurt his wound. There was no way he could let Derek step out of the car, nor... wait the circle wouldn't let him get through, would it?

Somewhere behind him he could hear Deucalion chuckling gleefully and suddenly he wasn't so sure anymore. What if the fact that the Blackthorn was mixed with Derek's blood meant that he and only he could break the circle? What if Jennifer knew that... was that why she was using her curse to...shit, shit. He couldn't let that happen.

“Shut the fuck up, you bitch!” he yelled almost into Derek's face as she continued. The werewolf managed to get up as far as he could, the pressure against his chest obviously doing nothing. He also didn't even react to Stiles' words, focused on something or rather someone beyond the car.

“J-jennifer...?” He wheezed into the teen's face, the foul stench of decay present in his breath. Stiles scrunched his face in disgust but did not move away. Instead he jammed his feet against the door and pushed against the werewolf with all he had.

“Come on, buddy,” he muttered soothingly though he would bet that it sounded nothing like. “It's just the curse...it's just the curse...come on. Get down.”

“Derek.”

“Dereeek”

Derek...

There was a push and before Stiles could realize what was happening, his back collided painfully with the back of the driver's seat, knocking the air out of him. And, oh yeah, there was a clawed hand pressed against his chest hkeeping him out of the way. Lovely. Fucking lovely. And to make things even better Deucalion started to outright laugh. Perfect.

There wasn't really much he could do at that moment except reach over and grab the side of Derek's neck. He didn't want to do it, he really didn't want to, but he couldn't think of anything else to do.

And so he latched his fingers onto the tender skin on Derek's neck and squeezed as hard as he could. It worked as a good “snap-out-of-it” charm before, though the situation was marginally different, so why shouldn't it work now?

And he was right. Derek flinched back to escape the hold on his neck, his unhurt side colliding against the seat. His hand snapped from Stiles' chest to bat his outstretched hand to prevent it from grabbing the werewolf's neck again. Their eyes found each other - green orbs staring into the amber ones with shock and some sort of dawning betrayal.

Stiles opened his mouth to apologize and preferably explain, but the commotion on the outside caught his attention. There was a crack in the air – like a hair tie pulled to its limits that tore. He glanced over and saw Jennifer standing up, her hair floating around her face, the rune gone.

Deucalion roared, the cane swinging in the direction of the door. Ennis jumped through it, his features already morphed into the Beta mode. His cane whirled around again and a huge wolf leaped from behind the car, jumping at Jennifer. She blasted the wolf away before it's jaws could close around her head. The blast threw Deucalion off his feet as well, but he was already standing up, his featured changing fast.

Stiles decided to not wait around and see who would win. He made a gesture for Derek to stay where he was and scrambled to the front of the car.

There was a howl, a second wolf joining the fight through the door, blood dripping down his snout. Stiles blinked, closed the front door with a loud slam and turned from the window. He settled down into the driver's as quickly as possible and reached into the mess of wires and grabbed the ones striped of insulation, careful not to touch the bare wires with his fingers. He moved them closer. Sparks flew and the engine kick-started.

The engine's roar was joined by a number of howls. Stiles glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw a huge distorted-sort of... wolf-like creature holding a cane. Was that... Deucalion? The monster roared again and Stiles blanched. There was no way he could blast through the garage door with that... that thing barring the way.

There was a flash on their side, a spell of sorts slaming to their invisible protection together with a bloodied mess of a wolf. Jennifer stood there in all her glory, her hand missing fingers but still glowing with some sigil on her palm. Her eyes glinted with murderous rage.

And then some sort of shape rose from behind her, looking like two wolves merged together in some sort of weird Frankenstein's monster with eight canine legs. She tried to blast it away as well, but it bit off her hand in one precise leap before she could find the right angle.

Jennifer was obviously loosing and she was loosing fast. Fuck.

“Hold on!” Stiles yelled hoping that Derek was lucid enough to understand and closed his eyes. He concentrated on the Blackthorn lying in a motionless circle to move...pushed it round and round the car, urged it to move faster and faster and faster. It was his only weapon, the only trick he had, so there was no way he was gonna let it fail.

It only took a few heartbeats and when he opened his eyes, he could see Blackthorn circle around their car like a small tornado, the flowing dried dust building a golden oval dome.

Stiles glanced into the rear-view mirror and saw Deucalion's huge form still blocking the way, it looked even more monstrous through his magical vision-thing, but that didn't stop him.

He slammed the pedal and sped the car right into him. And the Blackthorn followed, creating a protective bubble that upon colliding with Deucalion at the top speed blasted the werewolf's monstrous form out through the garage door as if it was just a sheet of a wet paper.

Stiles did not waste any time to see if Deucalion was fine. He backed the car through the created hole, out into the driveway in some suburban neighborhood street. Red light bathed the car as the sun kissed the peaks in the distance.

How nobody came to check on the ruckus, Stiles had no idea nor did he care, because as he glanced back at the house, he saw Jennifer stumbling out through the hole as well, some sort of red scripture glowing purple all over her skin and a broken half of Deucalion's cane in her remaining hand.

Yeah, no, time to leave, Stiles decided as he jammed the gas pedal into the ground and sped down the street. The last thing he saw before he lost the sight of the house in the rear-view mirror was the huge shadow of a misshaped monster leaping our of the heap of trashcans and jumping at Jennifer. And then the whole street exploded with a blinding violet light.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

He was a man on a mission. Not as much was the fact important that he felt in no way as a man, but the mission, that was a thing his brain could focus on well enough. It didn't question it. It didn't defy it. He had a plan and he was gonna stick with it until they were safe.

He wouldn't believe his eyes anymore, he wouldn't believe his blind hope that everything might turn out well, he was not going to be absurdly courageous anymore – not now, not until he knew how to get out of the situation if all the stakes were against him. He had learned his lesson.

The surroundings passed around the car in a blur - the road a labyrinth which had to be solved. It was easy - finding the highway and head back to Beacons Hills. And he had a plan. A plan that involved speeding over the concrete without a care for the speed limit. A plan that involved focusing on the road and the cars around him. Careful and calculated.

A plan, that would keep them safe from the possible pursuers, because there was no way in hell he was going to believe they all vanished in that flash of light – it was just light, it could have been.

Stiles knew nothing about magic. He couldn't even begin guessing what had happened and who might be on their heels at this point. It could be all of them. It could be one of them... any of those options was in no way something worth the risk.

He could still see it at the back of his brain, the monstrous silhouette of a mutated form - the Alpha of all Alphas. And oh boy, he was not gonna wait for that... that thing to catch up to them.

Nor was he gonna hope that the druid vanished in the explosion. She was more likely to have won with that final act he got to witness. And he was definitely not ready to witness any other of her magic tricks.

The car sped up even more, the engine of the old, stolen car growling in front of them. He focused his eyes, his eyebrows scrunching closer together. The only thing he needed right now was...

“Stiles,” came a weak voice from behind him. “Slow down, Stiles.”

It was no more than a whispered plead and he could easily pretend he did not register it over the roar of the engine mixing with the air gliding around the car and his own heartbeat. He had no inclination to listen to it anyways.

“Stiles,” came out just a tad stronger, but he didn't even hear it. It wasn't because his ear went deaf from the explosion, nor because his brain was otherwise preoccupied. He just chose to not hear the silent calling. Instead he just focused on his own mute chant – faster, go faster, you need to-

And in-between that, he heard a faint sound of a creaking, leather constraining and a soft tired sign – his frown just deepened as he tried to pointedly ignore it. This was not the time to-

“Stiles,” he heard closer to his ear now. Gentle fingertips slid over his shoulder. “You-”

“You need to lie down, man,” Stiles said readily, jerking his shoulder from under the fingers. “You are hurt.”

His own fingers were clenching painfully over the steering wheel. He couldn't let anything distract him, not when executing his plan in this speed. He needed to focus on the road. He needed to-

“Slow down.” The hand was back on his shoulder. It was gripping it tightly enough for him to not be able to shake it off that easily again. He just pursed his lips in response.

“It's fine,” Derek said, squeezing his shoulder as if that would force him to listen, to accept his words or to at least acknowledge them. “They are not following us.”

“They could be,” Stiles insisted. “We need to get-”

“Stiles, you are going way too fast,” he heard from behind. Derek obviously thought he was the one being reasonable, but the truth was elsewhere entirely. At least for Stiles. He was gonna have to explain then.

“Yes, I know,” he said irritably, his foot pressing the gas pedal lower to make a point. “That's the plan. We just need to get the attention of some patrol car or any radar really and then instruct them to get info on one Przemyslaw Stilinski, who has by now been definitely proclaimed kidnapped by the BH sheriff. How lucky have we been to escape? Just gotta mention some fucking nutso who was on a revenge mission against my dad... and voilá, a guarded patrol back to BH. Special bullets or not, any wall between us and potential maniacs following us is a good thing. Yes. That's the plan.“

There was a silent pause and Stiles thought he actually won the argument with his logical reasoning. It was a good plan. A good plan indeed. All they had to do was see it through. Except Derek obviously had a different opinion on the matters on hand.

„There is no need for that,“ he said squeezing the teen's shoulder again. „They are not following. We should not attract any more attention than needed. A patrol...“

Stiles tsked. „You need a doctor. The sooner the better. And my plan-“

„Stop at the nearest resting place,“ Derek said, his hand letting go of his shoulder to point at the traffic sign alerting the drivers that there will be a resting stop coming up in a few miles.

„What? No. Derek. You need-

„I am better now,“ the werewolf said calmly. „The wound is sealed and I will slowly keep healing. I can't walk into any hospital, ever. Not with this kind of 'magical' healing. They would never let me out again.“

„If we would just-“

„Stiles-“

Derek.“

„I really need to piss,“ Derek admitted, his breath ghosting over Stiles' neck. He must have prodded his chin on the seat, leaning it against the head rest. The sitting up was obviously not such a good idea of his. Stiles should have tied him down or something.

„You-...what?“ He glanced back, not moving his hands on the steering wheel to keep them in a straight enough line. The car has no problem to copy the highway like this for as long at the road remained straight. He wouldn't stop driving on. „Seriously?“

„Yes, seriously,“ Derek answered, his voice solemn and well... surprisingly serious.

Stiles would have expected him to be embarrassed making such a childish demand, but... let's be honest here if Peter wasn't embarrassed promenading naked in front of the whole Alpha pack then it could just be concluded that werewolves simply knew no body-related shame.

„Can't you just... I don't know, hold it?“ Stiles tried, his eyes returning to the road. How was it nobody noticed them speeding like madmen yet? Maybe he needed to go faster. „We can't be stopping now.“ They needed to follow the plan. It was the most important thing now, because if they wouldn't... if they wouldn't... Stiles wasn't sure his brain could handle side-tracking now.

„I know,“ Derek nodded, his hair tickling the side of Stiles' neck. „I know. Just for a sec and then we can continue, yeah? A sec... and then the road is all yours again.“

Stiles pursed his lips, his jaw moving forward as he analyzed the situation. No car had been following them ever since they left the suburbs, at least not that he'd noticed. There wasn't any imminent thread around, that much he was sure of glancing in the rear-view mirror – though sometimes he thought he saw a monstrous kind of – but no, that was just the locked part of his head, poking his brain without consent.

So really, a little detour might be okay. They could just stop and open the side door and once Derek did his business – it was just a minor detour to his plan, but once that little task would be completed, he could return to his bulletproof plan. So really... the plan would still be... on the plan. Yeah.

„Okay,“ he nodded, changing the lanes and slowing down to a normal highway level. He could hear Derek mumbling something like a thanks behind him, but his head was already too busy thinking about other possible ways to attract attention of a patrol.

He cursed himself for not knowing the patrolling plan for the outside of Beacon Hills – he should have had it memorized just as a precaution. Shit. Shit. Another thing he was oblivious about. Another thing, that might cause failure. How many time was he gonna allow himself to be faced things he has no way of solving? How long? Stiles hated being uninformed. Hated not knowing. Unfortunately Wikipedia was not enough to cover it these days anymore.

It only took a few seconds until the opportunity arose to lead the car onto a resting place at the right side of the highway. Stiles slowed down even more and then turned the car a tad to the right to slip right into place.

It was a mostly empty extension of the right lane if one didn't count an over-flowing trashcan. Good. But the trees were way too close. He glanced over them as he cut off the engine, scanning them for any possible danger – how fast did werewolves run? Could druids somehow magically teleport? There were so many things he still didn't know.

“A little help here?” Derek groaned, leaning back into the back seat.

Stiles glanced back at him briefly, noticing the strained expression on his face, the hand pressed against his side. He then scanned the surroundings again and nodded silently – what a pity he forgot the Blackthorn somewhere along the way. Another mistake he should have avoided.

He stepped out of the car, his eyes never leaving the line of trees, except for glancing back at the road. The random cars just kept passing them in a rush of air mixed with sounds of different engines. None of them ever slowed down.

He opened the passenger's door and leaned in, forcing his eyes to remain alert. One quick fleeting look down at Derek and then back at the trees again. Check the road. Reach over for Derek. The treeline. The highway. Grab Derek's armpits gently. The space between the trees. The cars. And so on.

So really it was more than a surprise for him when Derek grabbed his torso into some sort of bear hug and pulled him onto the back seat. Stiles yelped as he landed on the warm body, his hands flailing minutely before they scraped over the leather on the seats.

“Oh shit, did I...?” he cursed, trying to push himself off Derek with his hands. His brain somehow still didn't register that he was being held down forcefully. He automatically assumed he fell down or something similarly stupid. That would be much more like him.

Up until he finally noticed what was holding him in place.

“What...?” He frowned up at Derek. “Dude, you...”

“It's fine,” the werewolf muttered softly, looking up at him with a slight frown of his own. The wound was probably screaming at him to relieve the pressure on it. The pressure caused by Stiles' heavy body.

“Oh shit, sorry I...” Stiles flailed, trying to push himself off the flesh cushion, trying to climb out of the car, trying to... but there were arms around him locking him in place, making it unable to him to move in any way. And the worst of it wasn't that he was causing Derek pain by remaining, the worst was that he could only see the tips of the trees and hear the passing cars, but he couldn't... he needed to... vigilance was the key now, he couldn't allow himself to mess up again.

“Wait, I can't...” he said struggling. “I have to... wait.” He lifted his head to glance over the edge of the door, but that only transferred his weight even more to him stomach, making Derek exhale painfully.

“Just let go, you moron,” Stiles complained, reaching over to press against Derek's shoulder to tip his body more to the side. That way he was gonna slide off Derek's body into the room between the seats and he would be free to push himself up without hurting anybody.

No matter how hard he tried though, it seemed impossible to move.

“Derek, just...”

He reached back, wedging his fingers under the arms encircling him and somehow managed to pry one arm off his middle body. Derek must have been coming slowly back to his senses. “Yeah, come on, we...”

Except, that was not the case. Not really anyways, because the freed hand grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him down with more force than he could except.

His chin bumped against Derek's shoulder, his nose pushing against the hot skin. Oh yeah, he was shirtless and covered in blood. Perfect for cuddling. Not to mention they had more important things to do. What was this? Some aftermath of Jennifer's spell? Some... did she somehow manage to turn Derek against him again?

“Let go, man,” Stiles ordered pressing against the body holding him. There was a painful sign from underneath him that he was barely able to ignore.

Derek didn't respond, he just held him tighter.

“Let go, god dammit!” Stiles growled. It seemed to be impossible to shake off the hold and that made him even more panicked. What if this really was some spell? What if Jennifer was on her way here? What if she was closer by each second he allowed Derek to hold him down like this?

“Just-”

“It's fine now, it's fine,” Derek muttered info his ear, his words gentle and comforting. If this was a spell would they be gentle like this or more violent? Stiles realized he didn't know, because he didn't know Derek, not really... he barely knew anything of value about... about anything really.

“Derek-”

“Stiles, it's fine. Nobody is following us.” Derek whispered, his fingers tracing some random patterns over the skin on the back of his neck and Stiles realized with some sort of morbid fascination that he was shaking. What the hell. How long...?

“We're safe now,” Derek breathed, hugging him even tighter although it must have been hurting him. “It's over, we are safe.”

Stiles gulped down, his mouth dry as he finally exhaled a long unsteady breath. And then it all came to him. He was shaking like a leaf in the wind, cold sweat coating his skin – making it disgustingly moist. The clothes stuck to him like a diving suit. He exhaled again but this time noticed that it was actually a sob. He was sobbing.

“Jesus Christ,” he wheezed, burying his face in the bloodied skin. He felt dizzy as if he was under the water way too long and finally managed to emerge with the help of Derek's strong pull.

“Jesus fucking-” he sobbed, closing his eyes tightly. There were tears and snot streaming down, mixing with the werewolf's blood and Stiles just didn't understand why he couldn't stop. It was just like a tidal wave that had overwhelmed the beaches that were his cheeks.

“It's fine,” Derek repeated, his hands traveling soothingly up and down his back. “It's-”

“It's not fine, jeezus, why...,” Stiles shook his head, probably spreading his snot everywhere, but that was the least of his problems now. He needed to make Derek understand. It was not okay. Nothing was okay. Nothing. And it was all his fault.

“I am such a fucking retard,” he confessed, balling his right hand into a fist that could hit the leather next to Derek's head. He then turned his head away in shame, sobbing. “Such a-”

“It's fine,” Derek repeated again, like a broken record, stroking over his head, his fingers traveling gently over the shell of his ear.

“How can you even... you almost died, you... almost,” Stiles whined, pressing his forehead against the inviting shoulder again. He did not deserve the touch. He did not deserve the comfort.

Shit. He would have wanted to control himself better, to get them to safety with a cool head and that was the plan originally and it would have been the smartest for them to resume it's execution, but Stiles knew, oh he knew, that it was impossible by now. It was impossible. He was lost.

“It's fine,” Derek said again.

“It's not, it's so not man, you almost... you almost died. And it was all my f-”

“It's fine.”

“No, jeezus. I almost fucking died myself. How would I... what about my dad...? How could I have been so recklessly stup-”

“It's fine.”

“How can you say that...? How can you even... your guts were fucking spilled on the floor... jeezus.”

“It's fine.”

“And then you... and then he... and then she... and fucking hell...”

“It's fine.”

“Fucking hell,” Stiles repeated caught up in a loop of useless words. He couldn't handle them anymore. There was so much he would want to say – an elaborate apology for causing this whole situation, for being stupid, for knowing jack about supernatural, for not being the person that would have winged it, for not being strong enough to keep people from getting hurt, for not... for all of the fucking things he did wrong.

“He should have stayed... why the fuck did he... this would have never...” Stiles whined, regretting the fact he ever woke up in that clearing a week ago. Stiles would bet his future self could have protected everybody much better.

He could have healed Derek... no, scratch that, Derek wouldn't have been hurt in the first place. None of them would be... he was all wrong – the Stiles now was all wrong – unfinished, under-developed, horribly horrifyingly flawed. If he won't do something about it and fast, he was gonna get more people killed... more than just his mom. Shit.

Derek murmured something illegible that sounded comforting though it had no effect and nuzzled to the side of his face, his arms holding him together.

“It's fine... it's fine now,” he kept on, muttering this gentle mantra as if he was a record that got stuck on repeat, as if his brain was hitting the replay button every few seconds.

Stiles did not register the words anyways, it was only the calm gentle tone that he fixated on, as the thoughts got pushed to the back of his head, as the sobs subsided, as he relaxed against the warm body, as his fingers stopped twitching in the span of a few minutes.

He couldn't keep wailing about this forever. Nobody is gonna help him if he doesn't help himself. If he doesn't do his best to become who he needs to be.

 

~o~

 

 

“You didn't need to piss,” he murmured into Derek's skin as he lay, his voice raw and still sloghtly emotional.

“No, I didn't,” the werewolf nodded, his nose pressed against the side of Stiles' face. Breathing gently against it, tickling it with it's tip. He had been all kinds of gentle while Stiles cried like a freaking newborn.

It made Stiles' heart clench in a new kind of way when he thought about it. He could have this one day if he just became worthy of it.

“Well, you wouldn't listen to me, so,” Derek shrugged a little, his palm smoothing down Stiles damp sweaty hair - not that there was much to smooth down, he had very short hair after all. But still... the motion felt nice... calming.

“I should have known,” Stiles snorted, turning his head a bit to glance Derek in the eye. He was met with a green that reminded him of someone he might have known before, but he couldn't exactly place it. He supposed it was similar to Peter's eyes. Probably anyway. He never noticed the color or Peter's eyes before.

“I should have...,” Stiles started again, but the amount of all the things he should and shouldn't have done came rushing back at him, clogging his throat. It made him swallow painfully, trying to force it down. Not that that seemed to work. Instead it seemed to have made the tsunami rise inside of him again.

“I should have...,” Stiles repeated, his eyes searching in Derek's for an answer. The only thing he found though were little specs of brown surrounding the dark pupils.

“I should have...,” he said again, feeling like he got stuck on the words. He didn't know what he had wanted to say anymore. He couldn't even think properly anymore... just stare into Derek's eyes, feel the heat emitting from his warm body, feel the fingers sliding up and down his spine, feel the push of Derek's palm against the back of his head, guiding him down.

And suddenly their lips were pushing gently against each other.

Stiles took a startled breath in and then pulled back.

“Dude, not to burst your bubble, but eww,” he complained scrunching his face. He didn't dare to lick off the black remains of the goo that got stuck there after the contact with Derek's mouth. It would probably taste like a dead rat enjoying a sunny day in the middle of a highway, after being sprayed by a smoothie made out of a decaying zombie.

Derek just snorted, pushing at him gently, as he reached up to rub the remains of the black goo from his lips. “Won't argue about that. I would rather kiss a mummy than repeating this experience.”

“Asshole,” Stiles laughed, rolling his eyes. Since the werewolf let go off him, he moved a bit to the side to press against his wound as little as possible.

They looked at each other for a while, smiles tugging at their lips, until Derek sighed and glanced at the sky darkening as they sat there.

“Let's just head home, Stiles,” he said, his face suddenly exhausted. “Without too much ruckus.”

“Myeah. Okay. Without too much ruckus.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

It took the car a while to reach Beacon Hills. Especially since Stiles wasn't about to speed any time soon again. Still, that did not stop him from glancing into the rear-view mirror every once in a while to assess the situation behind them, but the cars were exchanging frequently enough and none of them was following them, so he could rest assured.

His mind was blank and tired. He really didn't feel like dealing with anything anymore. Ever since he'd woken up in that god-forsaken clearing it had been one adrenaline-filled situation after another and his brain just couldn't handle more of it. At least not yet.

The only thing he allowed through his frontal lobe was the worry for Derek. The man did not move to sit up for the whole length of the ride, he barely even managed to lift his hand to put it over his face and when questioned (or poked for that matter), he just waved his fingers weakly and ordered Stiles to keep his eyes on the road.

And that worries Stiles. He glanced a few times back at the pouch still stuck to the side of Derek's torso and it seemed to be holding fine. There was no blood leaking out, nor any other substance, Stiles noted thinking back at the black goo. Nor was there was coughing or trembling or shaking or whatever else that might indicate Derek getting worse.

But still. He grew paler as they progressed closer and closer to Beacon Hills. And there were these twitches... like, it didn't seem like much when Stiles first caught the sight of it in the corner of his eye, but once he could hear his stomach giving off weird rumbling-like sounds, it got a whole lot of more suspicious.

“You okay?” Stiles asked as they entered Beacon Hills from the south. There wasn't much to be seen there, just huge parking lots leading to a few supermarkets and a smaller shopping mall down the road, but he still planned to keep vigilant, scanning for cars that peeled off the parking lots as they passed by. He was so focused he barely realized that Derek didn't answer.

“Derek? You okay?” he repeated, slowing down the car to glance back.

“I am fine,” the werewolf said, his voice strained. Stiles could have sworn he saw a blue tint coming from under his hand. He frowned and his eyes jumped back to the road ahead.

“You don't seem fine.”

“I am fine considering I was skewered like a razhnichi just a few hour ago,” Derek bit off.

“Like a... what?”

“Just keep driving, Stiles.”

And so Stiles did. He figured it was the best he could do at that moment anyways.

 

~o~

 

As the car was climbing up the hill a few minutes later, Stiles tried to ignore the cemetery on the left as best as he could. He hated that place and morbidly loved it at the same time, since it was where his mom was sleeping her eternal sleep, which damn, sounded like she was some kind of a vampire... and there he was again thinking about mom.

He had tried not to for the past few years, he tried to bury her as deep as he could, avoiding to even mention her to dad. If he would, Stiles knew his dad might slip back into the endless spiral of alcohol and that was not what he wanted for the sheriff of Beacon Hills. It was not what he wanted for his dad.

Recently though, she kept coming up from the land of forgotten. She kept emerging when he least expected it, when he though she was all but buried under piles and piles of concrete – in Tomasz, in all the magic around him, in is thoughts.

If only she hadn't