“Stiles, this has got to be the worst idea you’ve ever had!” Scott says, running an agitated hand through his dark hair. Stiles rolls his eyes animatedly, watching as his partner continues to pace.
“Worst idea ever, huh? You remember that summer I decided I wanted to become a superhero? I set myself on fire, got bit by a black widow, jumped off of my roof, and…my favorite, managed to actually locate and buy nuclear waste. If my dad hadn’t caught me I probably woulda bathed in the shit.” Stiles gives Scott a pointed look, one eyebrow arched arrogantly.
Stiles vividly remembers the look on his father’s face when the Dom found him paying for the yellow barrel, grinning from ear to ear. John promptly arrested the man and grounded Stiles for eternity. A dull ache starts up in Stiles’ chest, spreading through him. It happens every time he thinks about his father, threatening to destroy him.
Fuck. He needs to be put down, needs it bad.
“Okay, fine, so maybe it’s not the worst idea you’ve ever had. But, it’s pretty fuckin’ stupid!” Scott takes a step towards him, brows furrowing in concern. Stiles takes a cautious step back, careful to keep his distance. He knows Scott just wants what’s best for him, but Stiles doesn’t need to be coddled. “I know you’re hurting, but taking down the Blood Wolves isn’t going to bring him back.”
Stiles clenches his hands into tight fists, eyes narrowing. Scott may be his best friend and his partner, but he’s not his Dom. He has no right to tell Stiles what to do. “You don’t think I know that! He’s dead, Scott! Nothing’s gonna bring him back!” Stiles yells, closing the distance between them and fixing Scott with a vicious glare. The Dom squares up, studying Stiles with practiced ease.
“When’s the last time someone put you down?” Scott asks, voice low and even.
Stiles crosses his arms over his chest and takes a step back, defensive. “That’s none of your business,” he says forcefully, arching his neck. And yeah, it kind of is Scott’s business, but damn if Stiles is going to admit it. They aren’t kids anymore. Scott doesn’t need to watch out for him.
“Yes, it is! You’re my partner! You and I both know what happens to a Sub if they aren’t taken down regularly. Dammit, Stiles, it could kill you!” The ache in Scott’s voice cuts away at Stiles’ resolve. He knows he’s being stubborn, but if Scott finds out how he’s been putting himself down, he’ll kill him.
“I’m fine!” Stiles says, shrugging it off like Scott’s overreacting.
“No, you’re not! You’ve been on edge for months, jittery and impulsive. And now you tell me you’ve talked Deaton into sending you undercover! With the fucking Blood Wolves! None of this is okay!” Scott forces himself to exhale, taking a precautionary step away from Stiles. It’s rare that they get into it like this. They’re both normally so easy going, personalities playing off of one another effortlessly.
“You can’t stop me,” Stiles says, jaw clenched. Their partnership is equal, just because Scott’s a Dom, doesn’t mean he’s in charge.
“You’re losing it, Stiles. I can see it; everyone can see it! All I have to do is tell Deaton that I’m worried about you and he’ll take you off the case. No questions asked.” Scott grits his teeth and sighs, shoulders curled protectively around the Sub.
Stiles takes a step towards him, practically vibrating with anger. Who the fuck does Scott think he is? He has no right to take this from Stiles. It’s his revenge. His. “You wouldn’t fucking dare!” he growls, glaring at his partner.
“I’m not gonna let you get yourself killed! You’re too close to this! At the very least, it’s a conflict of interest! That’s more than enough to get you thrown off the case. I can’t believe Deaton signed off on it,” Scott says, shaking his head in disbelief. Their captain is usually so mindful of them, especially Stiles and Lydia, who are the only Subs in the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I need this! He knows that,” Stiles says, teeth clenched.
“No! What you need is to be dropped!” The anger slips from Scott’s face, quickly replaced by concern. They’ve been best friends since kindergarten and have remained so through high school, college, and the past two years in the LAPD. “Seriously Stiles, how long has it been? You look like shit.”
Stiles swallows, dropping his gaze to hide the guilt in his eyes. The answer to that question honestly depends on your definition. If you’re talking being dropped in a purely chemical sense, Stiles dropped last night. One tiny prick of a needle and he was on his knees. But as for being dropped naturally, without the aide of drugs, Stiles hasn’t been down since his father was killed. And that was eight months ago.
“I can take care of myself,” Stiles says, worrying his bottom lip anxiously. He’s not sure if he’s lying. Because in an effort to ‘take care’ of himself, he’s been putting himself in danger. The only drug capable of forcing a Sub down is illegal. And for good reason.
They call it Babydoll, the endearment easy to slip into casual conversations. It’s a play on the chemical formula, one Stiles doesn’t know and doesn’t care to know. After his father was killed, he managed to make it almost a month without dropping. But his world slowly started to crumble, everything around him becoming too much. Too much noise, too much pressure, all weighing down on him. Eventually, he broke. He combed through his father’s records, found the nearest dealer, and set up a meet.
For the first few months, everything was fine. Babydoll kept him level without the aide of a Dom. But eventually, his tolerance grew. He had to up his dosage and, with that came the irritability, the mood swings, the loss of appetite, and the fifty or so other pain in the ass side effects. If he weren’t so worried about overdosing, he’d have upped the dosage again a few months back, but he’s already using more than he probably should.
“I’m not saying you can’t take care of yourself, Stiles. Fuck.” Scott exhales unsteadily, carding his fingers through his hair. “We both know you’ve always been able to do that. But, you shouldn’t have to! You deserve to be taken care of.”
Stiles scoff, rolling his eyes. This isn’t the first time they have had this talk. Every year or so Scott gives him the ‘you deserve a good Dom who takes care of you’ speech. And every year Stiles brushes him off and struggles to ignore the growing void in his chest. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to find someone, but level 10 Doms aren’t easy to come by. Other than his father, Stiles has never met one.
“It’s not like I can just go to a bar and pick up a level 10! They’re as rare as I am,” he says, throwing his arms up in the air. As a level 10 Sub, nothing less than a level 10 Dom will work. Lower levels don’t have enough dominance to affect Stiles.
“Yeah, they’re rare, but they exist,” Scott says with an irritated groan.
“You sound like you’re talking about a fuckin’ unicorn,” Stiles says with a dry laugh, rolling his eyes. It’s not like he hasn’t tried dropping with other levels, even other Subs, but nothing works, nothing except the Babydoll. “I’m good, Scott. Lay off.”
Scott shakes his head in disbelief. Arguing with Stiles is like arguing with a brick wall, utterly useless. Stiles is stubborn, opinionated, brilliant, and ruthless, all traits that make him an excellent detective…and an awful Submissive. A fact that Stiles is painfully aware of.
“Fine I’ll back off, but I’m not letting you go undercover. No way!”
“Not letting me?” Stiles scoffs, laughing humorlessly. “Fuck you, Scott! I’ve already got clearance! I didn’t come over to ask for your permission, I came to say goodbye!” Stiles yells, advancing on Scott. The Dom holds his ground, but only just. The knowledge that Stiles is about to infiltrate the most bloodthirsty gang on the west coast is like a knife to his stomach. And he’s doing it alone, not because it’s his job…but to get revenge for the murder of his father.
“Don’t do this. You’re gonna get yourself killed,” Scott mutters, pleading with Stiles.
“Take good care of Kira, she needs you…” Stiles says as he stalks past Scott. The Dom watches his partner leave, terrified that it’s the last time he will ever see him.
Stiles gets into his car, slamming the door shut behind him. His body starts to shake as he loses control, the fragile hold he has on his emotions slipping. Submissives need Doms to keep them grounded, to keep them sane. Without one, Stiles constantly feels like he is drowning. Taking Babydoll helps, but only for a few hours. After that, the he’s left feeling paranoid, alone, with the weight of the world crushing him.
“Fuck,” he says, fisting his shaking hands. He knows that Scott’s right, he shouldn’t be going undercover right now. What he should be doing is finding a stable Dom and a good therapist…but he can’t. Not after seeing what those fuckers did to his father, bones broken, skin slashed, the Blood Wolf brand burned into his back.
Stiles clenches his eyes shut and fishes his keys out of his pocket, starting up his car. Somehow, he manages to make it home without crashing. Stumbling inside, he falls to his knees before his bed. He opens the side table, grabbing the Batman lunchbox that his dad gave him on his first day of kindergarten. Inside, carefully labeled, are two vials of Babydoll and number of clean needles.
Exhaling in relief, Stiles opens up one of the needles, fills it, and sets it down next to him. He fists a hand around the neck of his shirt and shrugs it over his head, tossing it into the hamper. Something inside of him breaks when he glances down at the track marks that pockmark his arms. His chest constricts and he can’t breathe.
Aware that he’s painfully close to a panic attack, he grabs the needle and sticks it into his arms, pressing down on the plunger. The drug floods his system, calming him in seconds. He feels himself dropping, the ache in his chest fading away like it was never even there. The hurt, the disappointment, are gone and he can just breathe.
He comes to a few hours later, knees screaming at him. One of the downsides of Babydoll, no one can bring you out of a drop. With a Dom, they can ease you out of it in a matter of seconds. But with Babydoll, the length of drop time depends on how much you take. And Stiles needs more than just a few minutes worth.
Groaning, he stands up and slumps down onto the bed. He’s bound to have bruises on his knees tomorrow. Guess that’s what he gets for not bothering to grab a pillow. If he had a Dom, he wouldn’t have to remember things like that. But that’s never going to happen. Even if he could find a level 10 Dom, chances are the Dom wouldn’t want him. It’s not like Stiles is well behaved. He’s mouthy, stubborn, and a total workaholic. No Dom wants a Sub that they can’t control…and Stiles isn’t about to let someone control him.
Stiles walks into his living room, grabbing his phone off of the counter. A text from Allison, who will be acting as his handler, gives him the go ahead. They’ve been planning this op for months, gathering as much information as possible before bringing it to Deaton.
The Blood Wolves’ territory covers half of California, but is based in LA. They run everything from guns to drugs to prostitutes. And, up until recently, the LAPD had no idea who was in charge. That is until Stiles’ father cracked the case open by discovering that the last name of the family at the heart of the gang, the Hales.
All he knew was their last name, nothing else. But it was more than enough to get him tortured and killed. That’s who these people are, ruthless, murdering psychopaths. A family of serial killers.
And they are a family, related by blood and everything. It’s taken Stiles eight months, but he finally figured it out. At the head of the family is a man named Peter, who, as far as Stiles can tell, is a fucking ghost. No one’s ever even seen him. Below Peter, is his nephew, Derek, a tattooed hitman who does his uncle’s dirty work. Below Derek are the twins, his sisters Laura and Cora, one who runs the city’s prostitution ring and the other who controls the drug trade.
Once he figured out the layout of the Hale family, Stiles started working his dealer for a meeting. At first Marcus was obstinate. But he caved when Stiles brought him twelve thousand dollars and a couple pounds of weed. He’s supposed to meet Cora tomorrow at noon, Santa Monica pier.
Stiles’ plans on making her an offer she can’t refuse. Though Cora runs a lucrative business, she has trouble getting her hands on cocaine. A few months back Stiles and Scott destroyed the pipeline from Mexico, ridding LA of the shit. The cocaine they raided from store houses and drug dens is still sitting in lock up, ready for Stiles to use. Cora needs the cocaine. If he goes in a supplier, she’ll have no choice but to welcome him.
Glancing at alarm clock, Stiles carefully places his Batman lunch box into his duffle and zips it up. Allison wants him at the apartment by 10. Which gives him just under half an hour to get there. He shoulders his bag, glances down at the photo of his parents on his nightstand, and makes his way outside.
Allison meets him at the apartment he’ll be living in for the next God knows how long. They ride up the elevator together and she hands him the key to the door. He unlocks it and steps inside. The apartments small, but nice. It says that he has money, but isn’t a total douchebag about spending it.
“Nice digs,” Stiles say, shrugging off his duffle.
“Took it off a mobster,” Allison says with a smirk. “Lydia insisted on having it refurnished, said she wouldn’t have you living in…” she pauses, thinking. “I think she called it a pimped out godfather crack den.” Stiles laughs, endlessly enthused by the other Sub. He and Lydia have been friends since high school. He had a crush on her for a while. When she finally found out, she very gently told him that, while she did love him, dick did absolutely nothing for her. A few years later she met Allison and the two have been in love ever since.
“She may be insane, but Liddy’s got taste,” Stiles says, circling around the living room. It’s decorated in dark colors, burgundy and charcoal. A large TV sits on the far wall, facing a grey sofa and a coffee table.
Allison rolls her eyes at him, too in love with Lydia to care that she can be a bit neurotic. “She’s worried about you, you know. I’m worried about you,” Allison says rapidly, brows furrowing in concern. Stiles twists around to face her, smirking playfully. He’s already got Scott on his case, he doesn’t need Allison and Lydia too.
“I’m fine, Ali,” he says, shrugging.
She exhales resignedly, studying him. “I’m not gonna push you, Stiles, but I’m trusting you to be honest with me. I’m your handler. I need to know if you aren’t okay.” She keeps her voice easy, but stern. Stiles nods curtly, turning and walking into the dining room.
“We got anything to eat,” he says, opening the fridge. Inside, is a plastic bag full of Chinese takeout. Stiles groans, pulling it out and turning to face her. She grins at him, watching as he fishes out the boxes and sets them down on the counter. “You, Allison Argent, are a fuckin’ goddess!”
“I try,” she says sheepishly, smirking. She hasn’t seen him like this since before his father died. It’s nice to know that the Stiles she loves is still somewhere inside of him, the Stiles that’s constantly making jokes and never stops eating.
Stiles takes a massive bite of sesame chicken and moans, closing his eyes to relish in the taste. He so rarely gets hungry anymore, thanks to the Babydoll. Eating has become something of a chore for him. But right now, he’s fucking starving, and Chinese is his favorite. He grabs an eggroll, tearing into it animatedly.
“Let’s go over your cover one more time,” Allison says, seating herself on a barstool and grabbing an eggroll.
Stiles finishes chewing and swallows, annoyed. They’ve gone over it a million times, he knows his cover identity better than his real one. Allison fixes him with a forceful look and he caves, exhaling. “My name is Stiles, no that’s not my real name, I grew up in San Diego. My parents are dead and I’m an only child. I started dealing in high school, made some connections across the boarder. I dropped out of high school and made cocaine my full time job. There, good enough for you?” Stiles asks, shoving another piece of chicken into his mouth.
“You’re an idiot,” Allison says with a laugh, earning a grin from Stiles. She wishes Lydia and Scott were here to see him like this. It’s been a long time since she’s seen him smile. “Okay, I’m gonna head home. Call me after your meet with Cora tomorrow.”
“Yes, mom,” Stiles says as she stands up. She pulls a Glock from her purse, double checking to make sure that the serial numbers are gone, and sets it down on the counter.
“Please be careful,” she says, holding Stiles’ gaze. The quiet yearning in her ebony eyes cuts away at Stiles. Because, to be completely honest, being careful is the last thing on his mind. He doesn’t care if this op costs him his life, as long as he finds out who killed his father and makes the bastard pay.
“I will,” he mutters, and it’s a lie. She pulls him into her arms, holding him tight. He stiffens for a moment, but then exhales into it. It’s been a long time since someone held him, in any way. He drinks in her soft touch, the sensation calming his aching muscles. When she pulls back he has to bite his lip to keep from whimpering. He didn’t realize how touch starved he was, in desperate need of contact.
She flashes him a smile and disappears around the corner, the door closing behind her. Stiles glances down at his food, his sudden appetite gone. Stuffing the leftovers back into the fridge, he exits the kitchen and grabs his duffle.
It only takes him a few minutes to unpack, Allison made it painfully clear he was only to bring essentials. He tried to tell her that his box set of Harry Potter DVDs were ‘essential,’ but she didn’t buy it. Once he’s finished, he settles himself down on the couch, grabbing the remote from the coffee table.
He pulls up Netflix and locates Criminal Minds, pressing play on an episode he’s already seen. Letting it play in the background, he turns and lays down on the couch. Trouble sleeping isn’t a side effect of the Babydoll, but Stiles is sure that it’s a side effect of something. Maybe he’s got PTSD or maybe he’s just fucked up. Either way, his nightmares make it almost impossible to get any sleep. Almost every night he dreams about his father being torn apart by wolves, a nice fuck you from his subconscious.
Stiles is sure that if he can just find the person who killed his father, everything else will figure itself out. He’ll find a Dom he can trust, get leveled out, and maybe see a few dozen therapists. He tries not to worry about kicking the Babydoll, a drug notoriously hard to get clean from. Without the helps of a Dom, the process can kill a Submissive.
“Fuck,” Stiles mutter, running an exhausted hand down his face. He glances over the clock. It’s been hours and he’s still awake, the television playing in the background. He’s not sure what’s worse, closing his eyes and accepting the nightmares, or keeping them open in fear. God, he’s fucked up.
Teeth clenched, he forces himself to close his eyes. He tries to conger up his father’s voice, deep and soft. Listening to his dad talk always used to help him sleep. It was like a comforting weight on his body, a warm blanket. But now, now there’s nothing…he can’t remember and he hates himself for it. What kind of son forgets his father’s voice? Before long, he’ll forget everything else.
Tears brimming in his eyes, he turns into the couch and curls up in a tight ball. As his body starts to shake, he thinks about doing more Babydoll. But he quickly decides against it, he’s already more than addicted to the shit. And it would just put him down. What he really needs is to sleep. But he can’t.
His father would be ashamed of him; of what he’s let himself become. He used to be someone his father could be proud of, a good detective and a good man. But now, now he’s just an angry cop, strung out on drugs, and desperate for his revenge.