The packs fall out after Jackson comes back to life. Stiles blames this mostly on Jackson, because it was their desire to stop him that brought them together, but seriously, who wanted to actually be in a pack with Jackson?
So Scott ends their temporary truce and they call it quits. Somehow, they end up with Isaac in the divorce. Stiles tries to rally for Lydia, but she remains stubbornly neutral, not even joining up with Jackson despite their renewed relationship.
It ends up three (two and half if you figure in that Stiles isn't a werewolf, but Stiles objects to that sort of biased accounting) to four once Erica and Boyd come crawling back (four and half if you count Derek's zombie uncle, but who does?). Not the best odds, really, but Stiles figures it only makes victory all the sweeter—and they almost always win.
The Alpha Pack? Yeah, that was all them, with a little help from Allison. Stiles figures Allison's help is okay though, because that just gives them even odds, even if Erica likes to call it cheating. Stiles was proud of his plan, which was beautiful in its simplicity. Scott and Isaac had corralled the Alpha pack where they wanted them, and Stiles had trapped them within a circle of mountain ash. Then Allison had loaded her crossbow and told them she could either pick them off one by one or they could leave and not come back.
Allison is sort of terrifying, so they understandably took Door #2.
Derek and Co. arrived five minutes later, angry at having missed out on the fun.
And thus the real war was begun.
* * * * *
He'd heard about the reports of drowning deaths from his father's police radio, and the circumstances had struck him as strange. He'd pulled up Google and the Bestiary and got to work. When he came across references to the evil water spirit from Aboriginal mythology, it seemed to fit the bill. He doesn't know what his life is that these wild guesses of his are right like 99% of the time.
He had called Scott, of course. Scott had given him some hurried account of being in the middle of something with Isaac and then had hung up. So nothing new there.
But the Bunyip waits for no man. There had been three deaths so far, always four days apart. Tonight was the fourth night since the last drowning, so Stiles had piled into his Jeep with a flashlight and the water goggles his father had bought him for his best-not-remembered try out for the swim team.
Now, as he jerks to the surface of the Preserve's river, struggling for breath, he thinks he probably should have tried to reach Isaac. Isaac wouldn't have hung up on him. Probably.
It's not that Stiles isn't capable, because he totally found the Bunyip. On the first try, even.
The problem with that was, he'd found the Bunyip.
Stiles tries to kick himself loose, but the Bunyip wraps its slippery, fin-like hands around his ankle and tugs him back beneath the water. With the moonlight giving the water a strange glow, the goggles provide him with a perfect view. Its strange, dog-like face looks sad, and Stiles feels a moment of pity for it just before the water washes over with red.
The Bunyip's grip loosens and there are suddenly arms around his waist, dragging him up from the water. Stiles gasps for breath, twisting in his captor's grip as he pulls the goggles off in a panic. Then he hears a gruff command, just a short, "stay still," and he relaxes even though he probably shouldn't find Derek's voice reassuring.
"You killed it," Stiles says, after Derek pulls him back on land. He moves the moment Derek releases him, leaning over the water to look down. Derek grabs him and drags him back.
"It's a Bunyip, Stiles. It was going to kill you," he growls.
"Right, I know. He was just sort of cute. He reminded me of my dog when I was a kid, Boba Fett," Stiles says, sighing heavily. "But thanks, I guess. For saving my life."
"This isn't—this isn't a game!" Derek narrows his eyes, and crosses his arms. "Where's the rest of your little pack?"
"Huh?" Stiles asks, glancing up. "Oh, I came alone."
"You came alone," Derek repeats slowly, sounding furious. Stiles doesn't really pay much attention to the tone, because Derek usually sounds furious. "Scott just let you come here by yourself?"
"Scott doesn't let me do anything," Stiles says. He shivers a little as the wind brushes his wet clothes across his skin. "Just who do you think is the one coming up with all the plans? I do whatever I want."
"No," Derek says, stubbornly setting his jaw.
Stiles gapes at him for a moment. "What do you mean, no?" he asks.
"You don't go off alone," Derek growls. "That's the whole point of having a pack."
"Really? Well, where are the three musketeers then?" Stiles asks.
"Close enough they'd come if I called," Derek says. "Can you say the same?"
Stiles glares at him, but he can't think of good counter-argument for that. Scott's a lot of things, but the best phone conversationalist, he is not. Stiles has been hung up on more than once. He knows the answer to that question is probably no.
"Look, thanks for your help," Stiles says. "This round goes to you. But I've got to get home, my dad will be expecting me."
"Your dad's out of town for a conference in Napa," Derek says.
"You are such a creeper!" Stiles cries. "How do you even know that?"
"I'm done standing by while Scott screws around," Derek snaps, stalking closer to Stiles. He grabs his arm. "You're coming with me."
"What do you mean, I'm coming with you?" Stiles demands.
"Scott needs to learn how to take care of his pack," Derek says. "I'm going to teach him a lesson."
"How exactly?" he asks. "Because I'm wet and miserable and Scott's not exactly what I'd call a model student."
"I'm kidnapping you," Derek informs him. "For the greater good."
"I’m a little worried that you seem to believe what you're saying right now," Stiles says. "I was just almost drowned, hasn't my night been traumatic enough?"
"Do you promise never to involve yourself in these matters again?" Derek demands seriously.
"I'd like to," Stiles says. "But it would probably be an exercise in futility, since you'll know when I lie."
"Then I'm sorry, but I'm kidnapping you," Derek says, and then he grabs Stiles and throws him over his shoulder.
Stiles squawks in disbelief, angrily slapping Derek's back. "Put me down!" he demands.
"No," Derek says. "Consider this protective custody."
"Scott's going to notice I'm missing eventually," Stiles says, which is perhaps not as a good of an argument as it sounded in his head. He stops struggling with a sigh when Derek tightens his grip. "This is totally breaking our unspoken non-interference pact."
"Non-interference?" Derek asks incredulously. "You idiots get yourselves involved in our business all the time."
"But not directly! We go behind your backs, that's totally different," Stiles says. "This is a declaration of war. Scott may be easily distracted, but he is loyal to the end! He'll come for me!"
"That's what I’m counting on," Derek says, and then he dumps Stiles unceremoniously into the trunk of the Camaro and locks him in.
"I would have rather spent my night with the Bunyip!" Stiles shouts angrily through the trunk.
Derek laughs as he slides into the driver's seat and takes off down the road, heading straight out of Beacon Hills.