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It's his worst nightmare come true as he struggles uselessly to help his father. There is blood seeping out of his body and Stiles can only stare in horror. Despair washes trough him and a sudden jolt of utter hate. He wants to scream but his body seizes up so badly, trying too hard to move, that it comes out mostly silent.

Scott and Derek arrive, but it's too late. Too fucking late. 

And then the two of them are gone chasing the Kanima and Matt, not knowing that Stiles has watched everything. That he is still there lying helpless and hidden on the floor and still can't move properly. Mrs. McCall is at his father's side now, performing first aid, crying and whispering, "Come on, Stilinski, come on," in between breaths. 

Stiles somehow knows it's too late, can feel it in his bones. He knows his worst nightmare has just come true. He's killed his father like he killed his mother. His body starts to feel numb again, but this time not from the poison. This time it starts from within, like a slow fire burning him up.

It's only later, after they found him, after Melissa McCall took him to their house instead of his own home, that Scott realizes Stiles has seen it all.

Scott says he is sorry and doesn't know what else to say and Stiles can't bring himself to care or to answer. 

The next days Scott looks guilty and averts his eyes quickly when he looks in Stiles direction. On the first day he only whispers. On the second day he tries to make a small, pointless joke. On the third day he says that he is scared, because his best friend hasn't said a word. Stiles is never quiet, not even in his sleep. Now he is utterly silenced.

Mrs. McCall doesn't talk to her son about what happened either, most of the time avoiding Scott altogether, instead putting all her energy into Stiles. Part of him thinks she uses him as an excuse to not have to interact with her son, but another part knows that she genuinely cares about him.

It's her, too, who takes care of the funeral. She wants him to go, but Stiles doesn't. Can't. It'll just destroy the tiny bit of himself he has still left. He hadn't been able to go to his mother's funeral either, because the mere thought of going had brought on a panic attack. In the end his Dad had agreed to leave him at home, the old lady from next door watching him. She had died too, four years ago, he remembers dimly. 

When Scott wants to stay with him because nothing can make Stiles move out of the house, he pushes him away and storms into the guestroom set up for him. He bangs the door shut, right in Scott's face and locks it. It takes Scott half an hour to realize that his presence is not wanted at all. 

Stiles eats and he sleeps and he dresses himself and helps around the house, all the while not talking and feeling empty, except for the burning feeling of being utterly worthless and the raging hatred that grows with every passing hour.

In his nightmares he watches his father die over and over again, and then starts watching himself tearing into Matt and ripping him apart, tearing out his still beating heart with his bare, human hands.

It should matter that he knows Matt is dead, that he drowned and Stiles can't take his revenge no matter what, but it doesn't. It should quell the urge to kill, but does so only momentarily. Stiles thinks too much and talks too little, his mouth still shut. Mrs. McCall forces him to get professional help but it doesn't help much, he doesn't say a word there either and is given meds he doesn't take. 

When he thinks about Matt and killing him, his thoughts circle to what brought the whole mess on in the first place. Matt using the Kanima for revenge. Jackson turning into the Kanima because Derek bit him. Derek biting Jackson because he was the new Alpha and needed a pack. Derek being the Alpha after killing Peter. Peter who had tried to kill them all because he wanted revenge on Kate Argent. Kate Argent burning down the Hale house and killing almost everyone inside because of the beliefs she was raised with. Gerard Argent raising his daughter to be a monster. It's a chain reaction inside Stiles head and his hatred shifts from Matt to Gerard. But he is still too human, too helpless to do anything.

It's the night of the Lacrosse championship, some time after they found Matt's body, when Peter Hale stands in the McCall's spare bedroom at night. Scott isn't there, neither is Mrs. McCall and Stiles knows that Peter knew that too. They are at the game, Scott because Jackson is playing and Melissa because she finally decided to support her son, and probably because Stiles' silence starts to weigh on her too.

He thinks he should be surprised seeing Peter alive and well, but isn't. For a moment he thinks that he has finally gone mad but deep down he knows he hasn't entirely lost it and that Peter is real.

"Hello Stiles," Peter greets him nonchalantly and smiles pleasantly. Stiles just stares at him, still mute and Peter sighs. "You know, I hoped for... well any reaction at all, I have to admit. Especially from someone who is usually as expressive as you." Stiles stays silent, because there are too many things he wants to say and nothing seems worth breaking his silence for. But he sits up from lying on the bed, eyes fixed on Peter.

Peter quirks his eyebrow at him and keeps talking for the both of them. "You know, after I had to watch my entire family die, I was in a catatonic state. Unable to speak, to move or to do anything, unwilling even. The chance of getting revenge, though, now that enabled me to break the spell, as they say," Peter continues and kneels in front of him looking intensely at him. "Is that what it would take to get you back to talking?" he murmurs.

Stiles takes a shaky breath, head buzzing with questions of why and how, mouth moving, but still no words coming out.

"Do you know why I am here?" Peter asks and Stiles nods and then shakes his head. Because, yes, he knows that Peter is here to offer the bite again and no, he has no idea why Peter would do that, after everything. Killing Stiles for throwing a Molotov cocktail at him seems to be a more logical approach than this.

Peter just hums and takes Stiles' hand, lifting it up gently and moving Stiles' wrist towards his head. "I like you, Stiles. You are clever and resourceful and I think after what you had to witness you might just be a bit more sympathetic towards my own motives," he mutters against Stiles' skin and Stiles can't help but shiver in anticipation at the breath ghosting over his skin.

"You know I need a new pack and I know what you need, what you want, so the question is simple: Yes or no, Stiles?"

Stiles watches in fascination as Peter's fangs come out and he doesn't pull his hand away this time. He licks his lips and finally a word comes out of his mouth.


Peter bites down.

That night Peter doesn't let him take his revenge. Doesn't use him to regain control in Beacon Hills. 

Peter is still weak and no match for either Derek or Gerard and the Kanima. He is, however, still strong enough to make Stiles do what he wants. Stiles learns that one fast. He'll learn how to fight back too, but that almost comes too late. Peter wants to regain his power and return when he is strong enough to reclaim Beacon Hills. He never will. 

After all, why reclaim something that couldn't measure up to the pack and territory he and Stiles created?




Ten Years Later


The first thing Stiles did when he came back to Beacon Hills, was to call Scott.

Of course Scott didn't answer.

He could have called before, he had been on the road for two days straight after all, but every time he had tried to make himself dial the number that was still stuck in his head, he had never been able to go through with it. Always thinking that Scott had probably changed it anyway after ten years or perhaps he wouldn't pick up when he saw a number that he didn't know; that perhaps the number Stiles remembered wasn't the right one and he would end up talking to some stranger, or worse someone he did know, and he really wasn't in the mood for that.

In the end though, Stiles knew himself well enough to know that he just hadn't called because he had feared that Scott would pick up, and he really had no idea what to say or how his best friend (former best friend?) would react.

It was really ironic, he mused, how he was afraid of Scott's reaction, when he could face rabid, murderous Alphas and things ten times worse than that without breaking a sweat.

But, well, Scott didn't answer.

His voice-mail however did.

Stiles swallowed and left a message. "Hey Scott, uhh, at least I hope this is still Scott's number, if not, never mind. So yeah, it's me Stiles, hope you remember me, I guess you do though. Listen, I'm sort of coming home, well actually I'm already back in Beacon Hills. I want to – have to talk to you, well...just call me back, okay? Call me back, please."

Smooth, Stiles, smooth, he thought and rolled his shoulders to get some of the tension out of them. Spending several hours non-stop in a car wasn't exactly the most relaxing thing in the world. Being back also didn't help much. At least he was alone for now, so it didn't really matter if he was a bit more clumsy with his words than usual.

Two of the three members from their pack Peter had insisted on sending with him were staying one town over, because Stiles had the distinct feeling that it was better if he showed up alone at first. No need to bring everyone if you weren't even sure there would be a fight. He had already sent Jameson to Beacon Hills beforehand, just in case he needed some help after all. 

There was a war going on already, but so far it hadn't reached California. And if they played it right, it wouldn't ever get here. Or at least it wouldn't stay here. It was the main reason why Stiles had come back.

He parked right in front of the welcome sign to get his head clear before going anywhere else. It wasn't like he was just here for fun or no other reason than to visit old friends, even though he wasn't sure if he could call any of them friends anymore, not even Scott. He had a plan to carry out.

It would be easier, he thought, if he knew what place Scott held in Derek's pack. But since he hadn't been in contact with any of them for the past few years, and Beacon Hills, like the rest of California, had been left out of the war so far, Stiles had no idea how things were.

The only one who had been in contact with Derek was Esther, but she hadn't gotten much out of him. Except a big no, without any thanks, for her question whether he wanted to join the Alliance. At least some things never change.

That Esther hadn't gotten much more out of him surprised Stiles. After all, the old Alpha knew how to get something out of everyone. He respected her for that, but never allowed himself to let his guard down around her, less so in the last time than usual. Despite her old age, she was the perfect nominal leader for the Alliance, with her cunning mind and iron control. He used to trust her, had started to during his years in college spent in her territory, but as of late he couldn't anymore.

From what Stiles knew, Derek had built a relatively small, but stable pack. He also had his pack secluded from pretty much everyone else and thanks to the geographic location of Beacon Hills, the Hale name and the presence of the Argents, he had managed to hold his territory and keep everyone else out. The last major attack on his authority lay years in the past, when an-Alpha pack had challenged him. Stiles had never really gotten the appeal of an Alpha pack, because hello Alphas, but whatever.

It was hard enough to get the Alphas leading the Alliance to work together and usually it was their Second-in-Commands leading the interactions between packs. This way no one felt treated disrespectfully, left out or, most importantly, threatened. So far. Stiles shuddered to think about a pack consisting of only Alphas, especially if it involved Peter. It would have turned out pretty ugly and bloody for everyone involved.

To play intermediary had put a lot of pressure on Stiles, even though he wasn't officially Peter's Second. Peter's actual Second, Alex, had enough to do as it was with the rest of the pack and everyone else always assumed that it was Stiles' position either way. Not that Stiles complained. He got around and could observe how other packs functioned, met different people with wildly different characters and histories and had learned how to sneakily guide them into the direction he needed them to follow. It also gave him an occasional break from Peter, which he sometimes needed.

At the moment, though, it wasn't exactly what he wanted or needed. Ever since Amber Lake they had spent too much time separated from each other and there always seemed to be someone from another pack present when they were together. Stiles would have been fine with it, if Amber Lake hadn't also forced them to separate from most of the pack to keep them safe. If Amber Lake hadn't changed so fucking much. Changed things they needed to talk about, if not now at least when everything was over and until then they had to find a way to make it through, without breaking. The silent communication thing they had going on, the silent way of making plans together without needing to talk, wasn't going to cut this one.

He played absentmindedly with the thin bracelets on his right wrist and reminded himself that this wasn't the time to think about it. He had to concentrate on what he had to do in Beacon Hills instead.

When he finished his mission here, he would take a time out from Alliance business for at least a few day, he swore to himself, and get Peter to spend some time with him, to talk a few things through. That was, if neither of them died. Stiles felt something tighten around his heart. He pushed the thought aside of how much danger Peter was in right now. Besides, he reminded himself staring at the welcome sign of Beacon Hills, Peter wasn't exactly easy to kill.

But first things first. Deciding where to go.

Alan Hart, the youngest of the Alliance leaders, had found out that Scott McCall and Allison Argent had never really left town but Stiles he had no idea if the two had somehow mended their relationship or if it had all gone down in flames. Sadly Hart's computer skills only got him so far, when clearly someone else had purged the Internet of most traces concerning the Beacon Hills pack. Danny. probably, which brought up several question that Stiles quelled, because they weren't important at the moment.

He hoped the best for his best friend.

He also had no idea how the relationship was between the local hunters and werewolves, or how it would affect his mission. But since apparently the Argents and Derek's pack hadn't killed each other by now, he took an educated guess and figured that it would be at least okay-ish.

Another thing he did knew was that Lydia had stayed as well instead of going to university and being on her way to winning the Fields Medal. Stiles only hoped that she had recovered from the the things Peter had done to her. That, too, was something Stiles really didn't want to think about too much.

Then of course there was Jackson, who was still in Beacon Hills as well, and, if the website of the school was anything to go by, he was coaching the lacrosse team and teaching biology (and if that wasn't sufficiently terrifying – those poor kids). It was a bit surprising, considering that Jackson had always seemed like he would grow up to be a successful and nasty businessman. Perhaps it was part of his self-discovery process and if so Stiles wasn't one to judge unusual life choices.

At least it meant Jackson wasn't the Kanima anymore and Derek had followed Peter's suggestion in the end. Though Stiles had no idea whether that meant Jackson was now a werewolf, part of Derek's pack or perhaps even dating Lydia again. The last thing wasn't really on his priority list of interest, still, the thought came up. He had spent his entire youth with having a crush on Lydia Martin after all and hey, if he wasn't allowed to be a bit shallow from time to time, he might as well go crazy.

Stiles ran his hand over his short hair in frustration. Too many unknown variables to make a solid plan on how to go on. Then again, he wasn't exactly the person who made a plan and then jumped into action, but with the whole war going on he had come to appreciate having a good solid plan before shit happened. And a back-up plan. Always have a back-up plan. And a back-up plan for the back-up plan.

All that didn't exactly help him to decide where he should go first, but since he actually only had three viable options, Stiles came up with a rather short list either way. He could go to the old Hale House, to see if Derek had rebuilt it and jump right into business. Somehow that didn't seem like the best option. The Animal Clinic seemed like a slightly better idea, but then again it was rather late and he wasn't sure if Deaton was still there or would be willing to give some advise. Then there was of course Scott's old home and even if Scott didn't live there anymore, perhaps Mrs. McCall still did.

The thought of seeing either of them again after ten years made his stomach churn and he was afraid of how they might react to him.

As much as he wanted to pretend that there was a choice as to where to go, there really wasn't and he was just stalling for time, when there really wasn't any left. He knew where he wanted and needed to go first but it didn't make the tight knot in his stomach loosen in the least.

He texted Jameson the McCall address before finally, after so long, driving back into Beacon Hills.