Fate was a fickle mistress. What she gave you with one hand, she took with the other. She dangled food in front of the starving, water in front of the thirsting, love in front of the lonely, unreachable through distance, time and death. She spun her threads of gold and her threads of silver, interwove them, separated them and in the end cutting them with cold eyes and colder heart. Pity for those that Fate paid special attention to, for their lives were short and wrought with pain, strife and suffering. But Fate didn’t care – could not, would not – for she was the supreme being of the universe itself: Time, Death and even God himself bowed down to her and when existence itself would come undone one day, she would be the last to end. But until then she would weave and they would dance on her strings like the puppets they were.
i. scene one: epitasis
“Do you want the bite, Stiles?” the man asked. Once upon a time – before fire and pain and loss – he had been called Peter Hale (“Uncle Pete,” Anne, his niece would call him, even as the fire burnt away her hair and then her skin, even as her tongue turned into a charred piece of meat. “It hurts, Uncle Pete, make it stop, make it stop, UNCLE PETE!”) but that man had died first in the fire and then, bit by bit by bit, in the hospital as insanity slowly chipped away what the fire had not cared to destroy. The being that now stood on the parking lot, wearing Peter´s face, smiling Peter´s smile, speaking with Peter´s voice was held together by rage, hate and the unquenchable thirst for revenge (Tear, rip, destroy, kill! The Darkness screamed and Peter smiled as his niece´s blood splattered over the forest ground and the red in her eyes faded the same as it had in his sister´s eyes). “If it doesn’t kill you – and it could – you´ll become like us.”
“Like you,” Stiles repeated. He looked into Peter´s eyes and saw nothing staring back but hate, rage and the cold will to make the ones he thought responsible suffer a fate worse than death. Stiles looked into these eyes and for the first time wondered if one day someone else would stare into his and see the same emotions looking back at them. If the Supernatural would tear, twist and warp himself into the same thing that Peter was now.
“Yes, a werewolf. Would you like me to draw you a picture?” Peter taunted. “That first night in the woods, I took Scott because I needed a new pack. It could've easily been you. You'd be every bit as powerful as him. No more standing by his side, watching him become stronger, and quicker, more popular, watching him get the girl. You'd be equals. Maybe more. Yes or no?” He took Stiles’ arm and held his wrist on the same height as his mouth.
It would be a lie to say that Stiles wasn’t tempted. Like it was a lie when Stiles told his father that it was fine that he was pulling so many shifts at the station, leaving him alone most of the time; like when he told Scott that it was fine when he chose Allison over him again and again; like when he told himself that he was fine when he was always the one giving away himself piece by piece while others were only always taking.
Stiles imagined himself strong and powerful, unstoppable and unshakable. Imagined himself finally stepping out of the skin of the spastic ADHD kid with the dead mother, the kid who was too smart for his own good and finally being there only for himself. Imagined himself free of fears, expectations and the pressure of his identity.
He imagined someone else. A stranger; someone who wasn’t him.
“I don’t wanna be like you,” was Stiles’ answer.
In one version of events Fate would unlink their threads now: Stiles would walk away unscathed and Peter would walk into his second death that would be like his first: fire, heat and the smell of burning flesh (this time only his own, a small mercy at last). The last thing he would see would be his nephew´s eyes bleeding from icy blue into fiery red as Derek slashed his throat. The next-to-last, eyes coloured golden-brown like whiskey, looking at him filled with an untold apology for what their owner was about to do. The hand holding the Molotov cocktail didn’t shake as Stile aimed – and he aimed true, like Kate had with the match that took his family (“Make it stop, Uncle Pete!”) – and shoot. Fate would cut his thread, but it would not fall into the abyss, one fibre holding it together. One fibre on which Peter would claw himself back to life; that and the little Banshee that he had infused with his essence.
But this version of events Fate didn’t like. She looked at her threads and where they would lead and found the story they would tell her lacking. So, she took one thread – Stiles’, the boy whose mother she had taken and whose father she would take in a few years as well, but not before she had robbed the boy of everything else – and spun it anew.
One heartbeat was all it took to derail the story. One little heartbeat, such a small, inconsequential thing in the great scheme of life. One heartbeat and everything changed.
“Do you know what I head just then?” Peter asked. Stiles tried to wrangle his hand out of the other man´s grip, but he was just a boy while his opponent was a full-grown werewolf. “Your heart beating slightly faster over the words ‘I don’t want’. You may believe that you´re telling the truth, but you are lying to yourself.” And then, before Stiles even had the chance to process Peter´s word, his fangs had already sunken down, piercing his skin.
Pain surged through Stiles’ body, setting every single nerve in his body alight. He saw pieces of memories flashing before his mind – a dark-haired woman smiling at him. Fire. A baby in his arms, staring at him with wide, green eyes. Fire. Another woman leaning in for a kiss. Fire. Screams. Fire. Pain. Fire. Fire. Fire.
Stiles staggered back, holding his bleeding wrist to his body, breathing sharply as he tried to get his mind back under control.
“I´d love to stay and see if you survive the night,” Peter spoke, apparently unaffected by what had just transpired. “But one way or another, it all ends tonight. Maybe we shall see each other again when all this is over.” Then he turned around and walked away.
ii. scene two: peripety
Some things didn’t need changing. They were set in stone, meant to happen no matter what, thousands of different circumstances preluding them, yet all leading up to the same configuration of characters, place and time. Aristoteles couldn’t have written it better.
The opsis: the burnt down husk of the Hale house, looming in the dark preserve, surrounded by trees, their branches like the bony arms of the damned, reaching for salvation, yet never finding it. The broken and shattered windows, the particles of dust and hush that still hung in the air, the moon that hung above it all, unobscured by clouds, bearing witness to what would unfold underneath. The ground covered in leaves – brown, red, golden – underneath which the secrets of the Hales laid buried.
The ethos: Peter Hale as the antagonist, the beast in the shadows that had haunted the city of Beacon Hills. Derek Hale, the mysterious stranger whose motives no one seemed to know. Scott McCall, the dashing hero, pulled into this play on Fate´s whims and his fair maiden Allison Argent. Chris Argent, the father who just wanted to protect his daughter from the truth but hadn’t been able to starve off the inevitable and his sister Kate, the evil queen disguised as noble warrior whose machinations had all brought them here. And at last, Stiles Stilinski, the loyal friend, of whom everyone else thought as supporting character but who was a main lead on his own. Everyone was here, all their plot lines finally brought together.
The mythos: One was here to protect his love. One was here for justice and revenge. One wanted to finish what she started all those years ago when she lit the match. One was here for his daughter, the other for his friend and the last one for his dead sister. Their motives all contradicted each other and one way or another, one would have to give in – to die – in order to preserve the others.
The spotlights were switched on. The stage was set, the curtains drawn open. The audience watched with bated breath.
“Allison, I can explain,” Scott exclaimed, his eyes beseeching his girlfriend to just stop for a moment and listen to him. But Allison wouldn’t. A few weeks ago, hers had been the life of a normal teenager with naught a worry but the choice of dress for the winter formal (after long consideration her decision had fallen on lilac, strapless, clinging tight to the right spots) but that naïve girl had not survived Kate Argent. In front of Scott now stood a girl that had watched the fundament of her life crumble down, turning into ashes in front of her very eyes. Everything was a lie, so who said that the sweet boy that had lent her his pen on the first day of school wasn’t?
“Stop lying,” Allison pressed out between clenched teeth. “For once stop lying.”
“I was gonna tell you the truth at the formal,” Scott continued speaking. “I was gonna tell you everything. Because everything that I said, everything that I did…”
“Was to protect me?” Allison finished for him.
“Yes,” Scott replied earnestly. Allison looked at him, her expression closed off. A small part of her wanted to believe Scott, wanted to trust in his earnest eyes that even now looked at her as if she was his whole world, the moon and the sun, but she couldn’t allow that part to take control of her again. She had been lied to enough, been used enough. Never again, she had sworn to herself.
“I don’t believe you.”
“Thank God,” Kate interjected, rolling her eyes. “Now shoot him before I have to shoot myself.”
“You…you said we were just gonna catch them!” Allison exclaimed stunned.
“We did that,” Kate replied nonchalantly. “Now we´re gonna kill them. See? Not that hard.” She looked at Allison and for the first time Allison saw not the aunt that had given her piggyback rides as young child; the aunt who had listened to her when her parents wouldn’t, but the ruthless killer that didn’t care for the guilt of her victims, only for their race. “Oh, no – I know that look. That´s the ‘you´re gonna have to do it yourself’ look.” Kate reloaded her gun and strode towards Scott who was still lying on the ground.
“Kate, Kate, what are you doing?” Allison shouted frantically, but her aunt ignored her words.
“I love those brown eyes,” she taunted Scott as she grazed his cheek with her left hand, making the young werewolf shudder under her touch. Then the click of a gun released and Chris Argent entered the clearing.
“Kate!” he bellowed. “I know what you did. Put the gun down!”
“I did what I was told to do!” Kate retorted.
“No one asked you to murder innocent people!” Chris shouted. “There were children in that house, ones who were human. Look what you´re doing now: You´re holding a gun at a 16-years-old boy with no proof he spilled human blood. We go by the code, Kate – Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent.”
“’We hunt those who hunt us’,” Allison whispered.
“Put the gun down,” Chris pleaded, one brother to his younger sister who he still thought he could save. “Before I put you down.” Kate looked torn – the desire to kill Scott wrestling with her self-preservation – but before she could do anything, a roar pierced through the atmosphere around them.
“It´s the Alpha!” Scott exclaimed fearfully, his eyes glowing yellow in response to his sire´s call. Before anyone could react, a shadow sprung forth from the remnants of the Hale house, darting around them faster than they could see, throwing Chris Argent against a tree and finally wrapping his hand around Kate´s throat and pulling her with him.
“She is beautiful Kate,” Peter taunted his gaze landing on Allison. “She looks like you, probably not as damaged, though. So, I´m going to give you a chance to save her. Apologise. Say that you´re sorry for decimating my family, for leaving me burned and broken for six years. Say it – And I´ll let her live.”
Kate looks at Allison and it was at her that she directed her words to: “I´m sorry.” Then without a warning Peter ripped her throat out. Allison opened her mouth in a silent scream and was only held back from running towards her aunt´s corpse by Scott´s arms wrapping themselves around her.
It was a cynic irony of Fate that Kate Argent´s blood would soak the same ground as the blood of those that she had murdered.
“I don’t know about you, Allison, but that apology didn’t sound very sincere,” Peter spoke, his face contorting itself into a grotesque parody of a smile as he advanced towards Allison and Scott.
“Peter, stop, please.” Broken and battered, Derek slowly stepped out of the house, his body still showing signs of the abuse Kate and her accomplices and inflicted upon it, despite Derek´s werewolf healing. “You´ve had your revenge. Just let them go.”
“Au contrair, dear nephew,” Peter jeered. “I´m just getting started.”
iii. scene three: retardation
In the original version of events, Stiles would enter the scene on the passenger seat of Jackson´s Porsche, pulling in motion the sequence of events that would lead to Derek slashing the throat of his own uncle and taking the mantle of Alphahood for himself. In this alternate version of events, Fate had different plans.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Jackson cursed as Stiles hid another bump on the trail that led up to the Hale mansion. “This isn’t exactly an all-terrain vehicle.” Stiles sent his archenemy (such a strong term for such a small rivalry. There were bigger things out there, things much viler and more deserving of that term than Jackson Whittemore) a venomous glare.
“Did you pay for it?” he asked.
“No,” Jackson replied sullenly.
“Then shut up,” Stiles gritted out. It was in this moment that they hit another bump on the road, only that this time the car didn’t move any further. Instead smoke began to ooze from underneath the engine hood.
“You wrecked my car!” Jackson exclaimed, his eyes wide.
“Oh my fucking God, will you shut up about your stupid car!” Stiles shouted at him. The bite on his right wrist, temporally bandaged with his shirt, was throbbing. “Right now my best friend´s facing a crazy werewolf and I couldn’t care less about your car.” He opened the seatbelt and exited the car, one hand clasped around one of Lydia´s Molotov cocktails. Stiles didn’t know how far away they were from the Hale house or what he would find once he reached it, but he pushed these thoughts out of his mind, instead focusing on just setting on foot in front of the other. He didn’t know what Jackson was doing – if he was following Stiles or stayed at his car – but it didn’t really matter to Stiles either way.
Stiles didn’t know how long he had been walking through the preserve – everything around him looked the same; the trees, the ground, the sky with its stars that only managed to sparsely illuminate the foliage around him – but there came a point when he could make out the faintest traces of voices. They were muted by distance, but Stiles was sure that he wasn’t far from the Hale house anymore.
With renewed vigour in his steps, he walked forward, the voices becoming clearer as he came closer to his destination. He could make out the outline of the Hale house against the moon light from above, could see the shapes of Chris Argent, Allison, Scott, Derek and Kate Argent´s lifeless body on the ground. One problem less to take care of.
Stiles stopped at the edge of the forest, shrouded in darkness, the wind blowing against him and carrying his scent downhill, away from the sensible werewolf noses. High on finally getting his revenge, revelling in the death of Kate Argent, Peter didn’t hear Stiles ragged breathing nor the snapping of dead branches underneath Stiles’ feet. He didn’t notice the Molotov cocktail leaving Stiles hand.
The bottle sailed through the air. Only now did the others notice. Peter´s head snapped around, his crazed eyes widening as he recognised what was flying towards him. For a short moment, a trickle of eternity, time seemed to stop. Scott and Allison lying on the ground, clutching each other, wide eyes directed at Peter. The Alpha himself, frozen mid-motion as he turned around to face Stiles. A drop of blood suspended mid-air, flakes of ash and dust dispersed all around, glittering in the moonlight.
Then time restarted. Peter roared, but he couldn’t prevent the Molotov cocktail from reaching him. It shattered against his head and engulfed it in a fiery inferno. If Stiles had hit anything else – arms, legs, torso – Peter could have survived. Severely burnt, but still alive. But to the head? It was an especially cruel way to kill someone. Peter was still alive when the flames engulfed his head, when they burnt down his hair and flaked the skin off his face and boiled his brain in its own fluids.
When Peter finally died, it was salvation for a tortured soul.
After Peter´s body stopped trashing, silence settled over the clearing as if everyone expected the Alpha to just stand up and continue his rampage. But when nothing happened, the dead body continued to stay dead, the tension left their shoulders and the breath they were all holding was released.
“Stiles!” Scott exclaimed and ran towards him. “You killed him! Oh my God, you killed him.” To Stiles it seemed as if his best friend needed a few seconds to process what had just happened. Behind them Chris Argent engulfed his daughter in a fierce hug, probably intending to never let go of her again, while Derek crouched down next his uncle´s corpse, looking down on what remained of his last family member with an undecipherable expression.
A pang of pity and sadness shot through Stiles as he realised that Derek was truly alone in this world now. Crazy mass murderer or not, Peter had been his last remaining relative, but Stiles had robbed him of even that as well. He didn’t regret it, not when it had saved Scott, but Derek didn’t deserve this. No one did.
Before Stiles could do anything, though, Derek had already taken off, his silhouette vanishing behind the tree line.
“Are you alright?” Scott asked. “What happened with your arm?”
“I cut myself,” Stiles answered and bless Scott for his purity of character, for he took Stiles excuse without any doubt. Sometimes Stiles wondered how he had deserved someone as good as Scott as friend, but usually he managed not to question his good fortunes.
“I´ll never get the chance to turn back human, though,” Scott added forlornly.
“Scott,” Stiles began, laying his undamaged hand on his best friend´s shoulder. “Killing your Alpha to turn back into a human? You don’t know if it´s even true.”
“It could´ve been!” Scott protested.
“But what if not?” Stiles retorted. “Would you have wanted to be Alpha? You barely managed to scrap by as normal werewolf, imagine everything that you went through only thousand times worse.” Scott grimaced at the thought of it. “Besides, I know you, Scottie. Remember when you stepped on a snail and cried for a whole day because you destroyed its house?” Scott nodded. “So do you really think that you would´ve been able to kill someone in cold blood?”
“No,” Scott whispered. “But you could.” Before Stiles could reply anything, Chris Argent and Allison were walking towards them.
“You´re alright, boys?” Chris asked.
“What does it look like?” Stiles snapped at the man. “Are you gonna kill Scott now?”
“No!” Chris denied, taken back by the venom in Stiles’ voice. “We have a code.”
“Yeah,” Stiles sneered. “Much good it did to the innocent your crazy bitch of a sister burned down, wouldn’t you say.” He glowered at Argent, silently daring the man to say anything, but the Hunter didn’t raise to Stiles’ bait.
“I´ll bring you back to your parents,” he finally spoke. “They´re probably sick with worry for you.”
iv. scene four: dénoument
Stiles opened the front door to a deserted house. He didn’t expect anything else, his dad was probably out and cleaning up the mess left of Peter´s rampage. And for once Stiles was glad for it, because it meant that his father wasn’t there to question him about the blood splatters on his clothes, or the blood-soaked makeshift bandaged around his right wrist. Didn’t ask why Stiles looked like a soldier coming back from battle instead of a teenager spending time with his friends. Didn’t see the haunted look in Stiles’ eyes or noticing the uncontrolled shaking of his hands, the shallowness of his breathing.
Stiles managed to make it into the bathroom before he sank to the ground, head grasped between his hands. He tried to breath, but it was as if his lungs had suddenly stopped working, inhaling the air and yet he felt as if he was suffocating. The walls seemed to close in on him, making him feel as if he was buried alive. A sudden pressure was weighting him down, and there were black spots dancing in front of his eyes. He could hear his heart beating, could hear the blood rushing through his veins. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Stiles didn’t know how long it lasted – it could have been a few seconds or a few hours – but when he finally felt like he could breathe again his hands were still shaking. He had just killed a man. Now that the adrenaline was receding, the enormity of what he had done slowly began to sank in. He had murdered someone, had taken the time to think about the most gruesome way to go about it and then had done it. He had become like the people his father caught and locked away for the safety of others. If he knew – if he had seen – what Stiles had done, would there even be one single spark of love beneath the contempt and disgust his father would surely feel if he knew?
Stiles couldn’t think about that right now. If he continued, he would shatter, of that he was sure. It had started to rain. Stiles hadn’t noticed, but now he could see the rain through the window, could hear its rhythmic beating on the roof. Maybe it would wash away the blood, would wash away the taint that clung to Stiles like a second skin.
Stiles shook his head, trying to banish these dark thoughts from his mind. Instead he turned his gaze to his bandaged hand.
Slowly, Stiles unwrapped his right wrist, afraid of what would be revealed underneath it. If the wound was healing, it meant that the Bite had taken and he would turn into a werewolf, if not he would not survive the night. When the last shred of his shirt fell to the ground, Stiles looked at his wrist and saw nothing but unblemished skin.
He closed his eyes and leaned back.
When Stiles opened his eyes again, they were red.