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SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh

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SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh - 1/?

The thing is… the thing is he actually knows things.

Except not all things apparently because Erica and Boyd are dead and Derek’s sister Cora is alive. Jackson fled town after the whole Kanima thing and the Alpha’s are either dead or on the run with the exception of the twins who had apparently ended up siding with Derek and Scott because of…

Well love, Scott tells him.

Love conquers all or some absolute crap like that and it should settle something within him that some of the stuff that he saw actually happened, but then he wonders why he saw some of it but not all.

What he did differently in that reality that he didn’t do in this one… besides be kidnapped for a year by unknown evil forces.

He concentrates on the simple things like living, breathing, ignoring the fact that SHIELD has people watching his house to make sure he doesn’t snap and kill everyone he knows.

Things are the same and things are different.

Derek’s sister Cora is alive.

Erica is dead, Boyd is dead, Jackson is gone.

 

********************************************************

 

Both his therapists agree that he needs to write things down.

They have different reasons behind that request. One knows pretty much everything; the other one knows that he was kidnapped and held for a year and not much more.

It’s a good idea though, and he has his dad buy a bunch of notebooks. Mostly because if he puts it on some form of electronic equipment he can’t trust that Tony Stark who is probably tearing apart the tech that he was hooked up to won’t find a way to hack it if he feels that Stiles might be hiding something.

So he does, except he writes it all out in code, his entire history, his life as he remembers it from before they woke him up and told that this was his life again.

He writes it out in SHIELD code in Arabic, because… well because he can.

And because if for some reason someone gets their hands on it they would need to play nice with SHIELD and know someone who spoke Arabic. Anyone that he personally knows playing nice with SHIELD seems unlikely considering his dad apparently came into his hospital room when they were putting those god awful restraints back on him… he thinks that pigs will fly and they’ll end up with double moons first.

 

********************************************************

 

Of all the people that he would have thought would have been stepping up to help him along in trying to acclimate back into his life, Lydia hadn’t even cracked the top five.

But when he hobbles into the school, Scott and Isaac hovering close enough that if he falters one or both of them will catch him, he finds her waiting by his locker. She looks beautiful, immaculately put together. He ignores the looks, the whispers and keeps his head down. Scott wouldn’t even let him carry his backpack so he just kind of hunches his shoulders.

Maybe he should have taken the time that his dad had offered.

She dismisses Scott and Isaac with a look and a hand wave, opens his locker for him and waits for him to speak.

“Maybe I should have…”

“Nonsense, keep your head up, smile and remember that these people are less than important in the grand scheme of things,” Lydia says, which is her way of saying that he should just get back on the fucking horse before it kicks him in the stomach again, she arches a perfectly sculpted eye brow at him. “Where are your books?”

“You sent them away with Scott,” Stiles rubs a hand over his wrist, his body aches and he hadn’t taken anything stronger than ibuprofen that morning because he didn’t want to fall asleep in any one of his classes.

Lydia looks startled for a second but recovers quickly. “Well it’s not like they’re expecting you to actually know any of the material,” she decides. “You’ve got one of us in each one of your classes and I’ll introduce you to Ethan and Aiden so that you don’t try and attack one of them.”

 

********************************************************

 

Apparently there was an actual pack of Alpha werewolves, the twins, Ethan and Aiden are the only ones left. The others are dead or fled town. There was also apparently a Darach and Derek in his quest to apparently try and date as many homicidal lunatics as possible, had done exactly that.

“I’m really sorry about Jackson,” he says, because honestly he can’t process any of the other stuff at the moment.

“No, you’re not, but it’s very sweet of you to say so.”

 

********************************************************

 

Isaac and Danny are in first period with him and the teacher is someone he doesn’t recognize.

“Temp for Ms. Blake,” Isaac murmurs, Stiles just looks at him because he doesn’t know who Ms. Blake is or why he should.

His teachers sort of let him coast through the day (except Mr. Harris who asks him pointed questions about material he very obviously wasn’t present to learn and then sneers at him when he can’t answer, Stiles draws the SHIELD emblem on the cover of his notebook and tries not to make eye contact) the pack plays bodyguards and shuffling him between classes.

Allison and one of the twins, Stiles doesn’t know which one are in his last class of the day. The teacher is writing on the board, long loopy spirals. The day has been a blur of stuff and the teacher when she turns around is vaguely familiar in a way that Stiles thinks means he should know her but he doesn’t know how (or from which line) and when her eyes meet his he shivers because there’s something cold and empty there that he doesn’t like.

He rubs at his forehead and counts as he breathes.

“Mr. Stilinski?” she says and he looks up to see her looking at him expectantly.

“Um, what?” he says, his voice sounds kind of hollow to his own ears; he can see Allison looking him worriedly from the corner of his eye.

“Do you need to go to the nurses’ office?” she asks kindly, her voice is lyrical and sweet sounding; it’s a contradiction to the look in her eyes that screams ‘I want to disembowel you’.

“No,” he coughs. “No, I’m okay.”

She looks at him and he can tell she doesn’t believe him.

And that she’s pleased by that fact.

 

********************************************************

 

Rayden is gone, it’s hard enough to deal with things with Liu there and people wanting to ask questions like who this guy is and how does he know our Sheriff? Without Rayden and his, well his Rayden-ness, things dial back a bit and he stops worrying about attacks and starts worrying about his son.

“Has he said anything?” Liu asks, Stiles is at school. John doesn’t look at the clock, he knows one of the pack will bring him home, probably the whole pack will bring him home and then John will have to feed them.

He should probably go grocery shopping.

“No,” he sits there instead, at the kitchen table with a contraband soda and hot-pocket in front of him. “He’s writing in a journal like his therapists want him to, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it when I snuck a peek.”

“Code of some sort?” Liu’s brow furrows.

“Code, maybe another language to boot,” John takes a bite and makes a face; he tries not to picture Stiles’ disapproving look if he were to walk in and see his father eating it. Then he puts it down and lays a napkin over it.

There was a year where he would have given up everything he had and was to have Stiles sitting on the other side of the table looking at him with disapproval and worry.

“You want me to take a look at it?” Liu asks, John just raises an eyebrow at him. “It was a thought; don’t look at me like that.”

 

********************************************************

 

Derek had made a command decision when Stiles was found and brought home looking like a stiff wind would break him in two, that he would keep his distance.

If he kept his distance then anything else that would want to harm Stiles would keep its distance.

“I don’t remember him being this quiet,” Cora says, she has a book open in front of her. Derek and Peter have instituted pretty firm homework rules. It’s about the only thing they could agree on.

Derek just looks at her, Peter is quietly getting a drink out of the fridge, he doesn’t trust him and honestly he would rather Peter be anywhere but here, but Derek doesn’t have much in the way of a pack anymore. Himself, Cora and Peter.

He loses them he’s an Omega and he’s sure his mom would figure out a way to resurrect herself to kick his ass.

So he deals with the possibility that Peter will show his true colors and stab him in the back and is just as on his guard as he can be considering they share a bathroom.

“That was years ago,” Derek says, “people change.”

“Scott’s worried about him,” Cora continues, like Derek hadn’t even spoken.

He would make a face but Cora’s not looking at him and Peter is digging through the freezer looking for what he doesn’t know. His phone buzzes in his hand and when he looks down at it he can see a text from Stiles waiting there.

know any werewolves in Laurentville Kansas?

He looks at it for a moment, just stares at his phone because…

no why

It takes five minutes for Stiles to text him back, during that time Derek watches Cora watch him from the corner of her eye, watches Peter scrub some potatoes in the sink.

no reason

Derek narrows his eyes at the tiny little screen and doesn’t type ‘I don’t believe you’ but only because the keys are too fucking tiny and he’s just not going there.

“We know any packs in Kansas?” he asks, Cora shakes her head but looks at him with interest. Peter turns and the look on his face is calculating.

“There’s a fairly large one in Laurentville,” he says after Derek doesn’t say anything else. “Why? Are we planning a road trip?”

“No.”

He looks down at the phone and wonders how Stiles knows that there’s a pack in Kansas.

 

********************************************************

 

Clint has found four different pictures at four different holes. All him with that kid that has Stark muttering to himself and Steve asking Fury for surveillance footage.

They’re safe for now; he’ll move them somewhere where Natasha can’t get her hands on them when he’s able. The kid is…

Well he’s a kid, so Clint doesn’t think about anything else. Because Kate is older than him but not by a large margin and Clint wouldn’t have thought he was the type but…

But the pictures say something different, if they’re even real. He’s putting money on some elaborate scheme by some at the moment unknown villain for some at the moment unknown reason.

“What do we know about the tech?” Fury is asking, Stark is basically frothing at the mouth to start talking and Fury holds up his hand, “just the bullet points, I have another meeting in an hour.”

He doesn’t and Stark probably knows that but also knows he can’t say anything unless he wants to prove that he has access to a system he shouldn’t.

“It’s AU tech,” Stark says. That’s all he says, and then he sits there with his hands folded together and looks at the room as if he’s just revealed the existence of, well something amazing.

Fury sighs, “okay how about a bit more than that.”

Stark smirks at him, touches his tablet a couple of times and a series of pictures pop up on the screens.

“AU tech, alternate reality bridge tech,” Stark waves his hand and the pictures scatter. “It shouldn’t actually exist and I’m still working on how exactly it was being powered but…”

“And how did you deduce that?” Fury asks, when Clint looks over he’s leaning forward, arms folded together on the top of the table. Steve looks like he wants to say something but he bites his lip and looks over at Stark instead.

Stark flicks his fingers at two pictures and there’s one of Crawford and another of Pepper.

“Because of Crawford and Pep, mostly Crawford though,” Stark frowns. “Peps a public figure, so he might have known about her, but Crawford, he’s not, the kid, Stiles, shouldn’t have known anything about it.”

“So what? They were using the kid to…”

“The kid was the point, SHIELD and us, we were just, I don’t know… window dressing for them. But the tech was focused on the kid and his reactions, what they were looking for I don’t know. There was some demon that Crawford and AU Stiles were researching,” Tony glances down at his tablet. “A’kresh, or something, but they’d not even really dug into that yet.”

“So should we be watching the kid?” Fury asks. “He said he didn’t remember anything.”

Stark and Steve look at each other, Clint can tell, from the expressions on their faces that they think the same thing he does.

The kid remembers everything, getting him to admit to any of it is the trick.

 

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Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 2/?

“Scott, what do I owe the pleasure,” Derek says, he’d really rather slam the door in the kids face, but Scott has that ‘lost my only friend in the world’ expression on his face. Stiles is back so he’s not sure why that expression is still even in existence.

“There’s something going on with Stiles,” Scott says, he kind of shoulders his way into the house, sparing a brief smile for Cora, a sneer at Peter. It’s all half-hearted though.

“I thought he was getting better,” Derek says.

“He’s not using his computer at home, and he’s spending a lot of time with Danny and Lydia, Ethan and Aiden are getting that snarly glare thing back and I’m half afraid that they’ll try and kill him.”

“He looks like strong breeze will tear him to pieces, they can’t really see him as a realistic threat,” Peter says idly. He sounds bored with the conversation already and Derek wonders if he can get Scott into another room before Peter becomes interested in it again.

“I think it’s more they don’t really know him, and don’t understand what…” Scott’s hands wave around and Derek just barely restrains himself from rolling his eyes.

“What does he have Danny looking for?” Cora asks, Scott turns to look at her, brow furrowing slightly. Like he’s wondering how Cora would know that Scott knows what Stiles is looking for.

“Information about some pack in Laurentville,” Scott says, Derek straightens and Peter’s eyes light up.

“Interesting,” Peter says slowly.

“Not really, the whole pack, plus the Hunters that lived in the area were wiped out about two months ago by something,” Scott’s hands wave again and Derek uses his annoyance at Scott’s inability to say what he means without hand gestures to drive his heart back down into his chest.

“Well they don’t know what, something supernatural definitely.”

Something awful, horrible and unbearably strong, Derek hopes that whatever it is isn’t making its way to Beacon Hills.

 

********************************************************

 

In a time long past, Crawford would have been one of those people working for SHIELD that Clint wouldn’t have time for.

He was a paper pusher.

Except now he was a paper pusher that had fairly significant ties to Stiles and Clint is all about the ties to Stiles since Fury has said that they can’t be involved in whatever surveillance is being done.

“I…” Crawford manages to spit out. He looks kind of pale, Clint looks at him and wonders how he managed to make it into SHIELD if he can look that terrified at someone appearing in front of him.

“I need you to do something for me,” he says. Direct and to the point, Natasha says he needs to work on that because most people can’t nuance what he wants from his frown. He thinks that’s kind of stupid, but whatever, if he’s frowning he’s not happy. Everyone should know that.

Crawford blinks at him, he appears to be doing some type of breathing exercise so Clint waits.

“What do you need?” Crawford asks, he sounds calm, his color not as ‘close to imminent death’ as it was a few minutes prior.

“The kid, the one that Cap and Carter found alive…”

“Stilinski,” Crawford says, he nods his head. “What about him? Director Fury has already said we’re not allowed to put any type of surveillance on him, magical or mechanical, so…”

“I wouldn’t have thought of the magical thing, someone must have…”

“Thor.”

“Right, anyway I don’t want to put surveillance on him.”

“Okay,” Crawford is looking at him with a quizzical expression; it’s a step up from the terror and the hyperventilating so Clint is going to call it progress.

“I want you to make friends with him,” Clint nods once and then frowns when he realizes that Crawford is looking at him like he’s a crazy person. Sometimes he really misses the days when people were terrified of him.

“Okay,” Crawford says slowly, very slowly, he’d probably be trying to back away as well if there wasn’t a closed door and a wall behind him. “You know it doesn’t work like that, right? You can’t just order someone to make friends with someone else.”

“Sure it is, he’s spending a lot of time on-line with some friends of his researching a werewolf pack in Laurentville, Kansas, that’s right up your alley.”

“I’m only doing this because of the werewolves.”

 

********************************************************

 

John wonders at times, how different his life would have been if he’d never met Claudia.

He would have been called back to Mortal Kombat, that he’s sure of. He’d probably still be chasing after Sonya, he might even still be acting, though roles for a man his age…

Well they’re fairly slim, he still has an agent that sends him scripts once a year, hoping that if he manages to find the perfect one that John Stilinski will allow Johnny Cage out to play.

He’s happy with his life, he’d be happier if his wife was alive, if there weren’t werewolves and demons, if his son hadn’t been missing for a year. But those are all things he can’t change.

“You can’t change the past,” Rayden says, John doesn’t jump but only because he’s used to Rayden popping out of nowhere.

“Don’t read my mind,” John says, he rubs at his temples, pressing his fingers against them in an attempt to stave off the headache he can feel forming.

“He’s not getting better,” he says.

“He’s talking to the therapists,” Rayden says, his tone indicates that he thinks this exercise futile and pointless.

“But he’s not really telling them anything anymore,” the one that Liu had found, the one that treated survivors of Kombat, that was in the know about the seedy supernatural underbelly had been the only one that Stiles would really talk to. But he’s not even saying much to her anymore and she won’t tell them what Stiles was talking to her about, citing doctor patient confidentiality and making a face at Liu like he should have known that.

 

********************************************************

 

Stiles is walking the lines, Hale territory is fairly large even though the pack itself is small. He doesn’t know how that works, to have so many Alpha’s in one territory. If that makes them the new Alpha Pack.

He stops when he feels the lines shudder, takes a step back until the lines reassert themselves. There’s an old pine tree to the left and he flips open the switchblade he’s been carrying.

The rune is simple protection one, once he’s marked the area completely encircling the territory that is Derek’s (and apparently Ethan’s and Aiden’s and Scott’s, what the fuck) he hopes he’ll feel slightly more at ease.

“What are you doing?” he hears from behind him, Derek’s voice is gruff and low. He’s not growling so Stiles doesn’t stop.

“I’m carving a protection rune into this tree,” Stiles says.

“I see this, why?”

“Because,” he touches the rough bark and the smooth place where he’s carved the rune. He pulls his hand back and shaded by his body he presses the blade into the tip of his pointer finger, squeezes until blood wells up and then presses it to the center of the rune.

Derek makes a noise behind him and then his hand is pulled away from the tree and Derek is holding his hand and there’s a lot of things that Stiles is used to seeing, annoyance, anger, barely veiled antipathy… never the worry that he sees there now.

The lines shudder again and then the wards snap into place, joining the ones that he’s already put up, Derek’s eyes widen and Stiles know that he felt them go up.

He twists his hand and wraps his fingers around Derek’s wrist. It’s easier, it continues to get easier every time he lays the mark. He has a sudden vivid memory of sketching this in sharpie on Crawford and Darla’s wrists, he hopes its still there, hopes that it translates over because he doesn’t think he’ll get close to either of them to lay it again. They have no reason to seek him out, not like Clint had.

Derek shivers and his eyes flash at him.

“I just want to protect us,” Stiles says.

“You shouldn’t need to.”

Stiles smiles unhappily and Derek makes a noise low in his throat. “I have 5 more miles to go, you’re welcome to follow along behind if you want. If you’re a good boy and don’t try and get in my way I might even have a treat for you back in my jeep.”

Derek sighs heavily and his eyes scream, you’re doing this just to annoy me, but after a moment’s hesitation he follows alongside him.

 

********************************************************

 

She feels the wards, the final ones snap into place and there’s some small measure of alarm. With the wards in place…

He hasn’t activated them yet, the Pack’s line still protects the land. But when he does…

Well she knows that when he activates those wards it will shield this entire town, the only way in and out of the wards will be by the mark of the Witch and he would have to be the one to place that mark.

She will never be one of those trusted ones, she’d let her true feelings shine too brightly that first day he sat in her class. Now he’s wary and watchful, he knows there’s something off about her, but he won’t strike unless she strikes first.

So she bides her time and waits, until the wards are activated they’re just a glimmering line of light that warns any supernatural predator that the land of Beacon Hills is protected by a Witch of power. That alone will be enough to deter some from even crossing the line.

As far as she can tell, standing in front of endless classes of sniveling children that don’t understand true power in any way, shape or form, he’s marked only two of the humans and one of the wolves so far.

She can see it gleaming bright on their wrists and she wants to gnash her teeth and snarl.

But she doesn’t, she waits, because the time will come.

 

********************************************************

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 3/?

After Agent Barton’s fairly inappropriate request he waits. It’s not that he doesn’t want to make contact with the young man in question.

If the symbols etched into the restraints found on him are to be believed the young man is a witch. If nothing else he comes from a town where the supernatural elements seem to have free reign.

It’s just…

He’s been through hell and Crawford doesn’t want to add to that.

Doesn’t want to add to his own notebook full of questions to the pile already stacking up on the young man.

He rubs at his wrist, fingers scratching idly and if he doesn’t look, if he just glances down out of the corner of his eye very quickly, he swears sometimes he can see the faint markings of black ink. Can feel the phantom brush of it being marked onto his skin.

If he looks, if he presses his fingers there and really looks he can’t see anything. And the mark that he doesn’t have isn’t the only thing; he has dreams of an office where he doesn’t have a panic attacks just thinking about Agent Markoff’s desks and tables.

Instead he has dreams of the young man sitting at the desk, of filing cabinets stuffed full of papers just waiting to crush them when they’re unaware.

“Crawford,” he hears barked from the door and he fumbles his coffee mug and slams his knee into the open drawer on his desk as he comes to his feet.

“Sir,” he says and Director Fury sweeps into the room, it’s always so warm on the Helicarrier, he’s never sure why he wears the coat everywhere except for the fact that it makes a statement.

Director Fury’s eye sweeps the room.

“Agent Markoff is dead,” Director Fury says, short and to the point. Crawford opens his mouth to say something, ask a question, offer his condolences.

“They found him in at his desk about 0130,” Director Fury says and Crawford’s mouth snaps shut.

Because Agent Markoff was many things, but a workaholic was definitely not one of them. He popped into the office at about 0700 or a few minutes thereafter and was always gone no later than 1600. He was never, not in the entire time (1 year, 2 months, 14 days) that Crawford had worked with him found at any other time in the office.

Crawford doesn’t say any of that because Director Fury had hired the man and what if they’d been friends?

He likes his job, he doesn’t want to leave his job, even though this means that he’s going to have to figure out how to keep the office open and running until such a time as Stiles is in a position to come back.

He doesn’t say that either, because it makes him sound crazy.

 

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Stiles shows up at the Hale house with a laptop, a bandage wrapped around his hand and a notebook written in symbols and numbers that are incomprehensible at first look.

Peter only gets one brief look at it before Stiles shuffles it under some other stuff, Derek is hovering and Cora is studying him with narrowed eyes.

“Did you hurt yourself?” he asks, because Derek’s hovering got old about ten minutes after Stiles appeared and Cora’s suspicion is amusing but boring because she’s not doing anything about it.

“I was walking the lines,” Stiles says, he’s blinking up at Peter with wide innocent eyes, his shoulders aren’t hunched so Peter knows after a second that he’s just messing with him.

“Ley or Pack?” Peter asks, Derek narrows his eyes at him and Cora is looking between all of them like she doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

“Ward lines,” Stiles says after a moment, his mouth twitches into an expression that screams that he doesn’t want to actually be saying the words to Peter.

“There aren’t any ward lines,” he says, he has vague recollections of Talia asking Deaton to find a witch that could cast ward lines. She’d died days later, well before Deaton even had the opportunity to begin the search.

Stiles just stares at him, unblinking. It’s unnerving, it’s like Stiles is seeing him but not seeing him. He doesn’t like it at all.

“There are now,” Stiles says finally, softly.

“Hmm, which symbol are you using?” Peter asks, there’d been one particular one that Talia had been interested in using, it had been part of the problem. The witch casting it had to have ties to the community guarded within it and there were no witches of any significant power to be had within the limits of Beacon Hills.

Stiles looks at Derek and Derek studies Peter with narrowed eyes, judging him, probably finding him unworthy even though Peter hasn’t tried to kill him or any of the other numerous Alpha’s within their pack in seven months or so.

He’s… content… for the moment, as he is. It probably won’t last, but for now…

“It’s a two prong symbol,” Stiles says, he pulls his notebook full of the strange symbols out and flips a few pages, the symbols on each page are mirror images of each other. One is the symbol the other…

“Is the other one a mark?” he asks.

Stiles bites his lip, worrying it between his teeth for a minute or so. “Once the wards are activated the only way to pass through them will be if you have the mark.”

“They’re not activated yet?” even though he knows they’re not, if they were he, like all the other wolves would feel the hum of them.

“No,” Stiles shakes his head. “We don’t need them yet.”

He sounds so decisive, so sure that there is going to be a time in the near future that they’ll need those active wards to protect themselves.

“I guess I’ll start stocking up on toilet paper and water,” he decides. “We might need more shelving in the basement.”

 

********************************************************

 

Agent Barton had given him a list of chatrooms and sites that Stiles had visited; he gives them a cursory glance while he’s trying to keep himself from using an entire can of Lysol on their, his office.

The problem with the rooms and sites, is if you aren’t recommended by someone then you have to go through an interview process and a vetting process and it looks like it takes months for anyone to get through it that way.

He jots down a 10 digit number absently. Then draws a line through it. If he calls the number and Stiles answers he’s crazy, if he doesn’t answer he’s crazy.

He’s going crazy either way, he rubs at his wrist, the mark isn’t visibly there, but he can feel it burning.

He picks up the phone and stares at the numbers and then sets it back down.

It’s not time yet.

 

********************************************************

 

He has a list of names, they’re not written in any order. Not alphabetically or by age or by importance to him.

He’s crossed some of the names off; his dad, Lydia and Danny, Scott, Derek, Isaac who had looked at him with wide hurt eyes and rubbed at his wrist and thankfully didn’t ask questions even though Stiles could see them burning in his eyes.

There’s Clint; there’s Crawford and Darla if their marks had stayed.

There’s people that will happen eventually as they get closer to having to lock the town down; Allison, her dad, Melissa, Deaton, Peter, Cora.

Jackson if he comes back to town before it becomes an issue.

The twins he’s not sure of; he’s just… he’s not sure. And he wants to believe that Lydia and Danny are good judges of character. Wants to believe that Derek and Scott would have kicked them to the curb if they weren’t to be trusted.

They haven’t, and they’re still there. It looks like they’ve stood with Derek and Scott and protected Beacon Hills, carving out a little piece of it for themselves and not asking for anything more.

 

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“If you want to talk,” his dad says, Stiles is sitting at the kitchen table working on a history report that is so boring that he’s baking his grandma’s double chocolate-chocolate chip cookies as a reward for himself when he finishes.

His dad stops and sniffs, eyes darting to the oven.

“You can have one,” Stiles says, his dad’s mouth twists, “and maybe I’ll put some in a baggie for your lunch tomorrow.”

“Do I smell your grandma’s double chocolaty goodness?” Scott comes barreling through the back door, his eyes are wide, nostrils flaring and he’s got his hands out in front of him like he expects Stiles to just drop cookies in them.

“They’re baking,” Stiles says, he taps his pen against his paper.

“I get first dibs,” his dad says, Scott opens his mouth. “He’s my son; I’m half responsible for the fact that he even exists so that he can make them.”

Stiles snorts a laugh and goes back to his homework.

Only his dad would use genetics to procure cookies.

 

********************************************************

 

The symbols are etched into every seventh tree. John doesn’t like it.

He also doesn’t like the way Rayden is sniffing, fingers brushing over them and making a face.

“You said he doesn’t remember anything,” Rayden says finally.

“I said that he said he doesn’t remember anything,” John corrects. “That’s not the same thing.” He never said that Stiles didn’t remember anything except to SHIELD and that was mostly because Stiles had told them he didn’t remember.

Rayden looks at him with that look that makes him feel ten and lacking in everything but a knack for martial arts.

“They’re just symbols,” Liu says, trying to break the tension.

“Symbols are important, these symbols have been infused with blood and run the boundary of Beacon Hills,” Rayden drags his fingers across the mark and then sniffs them again. It’s disturbing.

“You’re telling me that my son walked the entirety of Beacon Hills carving symbols into trees and then bled on them, by himself.”

“He had the wolf, one of the Alpha’s with him,” Rayden says, that actually doesn't make John feel any better. He lays a lot of what happened at Derek’s feet. Scott’s as well.

“I think our more pressing concern,” he continues. “Is what your son feels he needs to be warding Beacon Hills from.”

 

********************************************************

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 4/?

The pack in Laurentville had been wiped out by a demon. Stiles learns this because he’d asked some not so discreet queries and someone who knew someone who was friends with someone who was maybe passing through Laurentville at the time had heard stuff.

A man had come into town and he’d befriended the packs Alpha and one thing led to another and all Stiles remembers is the fact that Darren had been a dick kind of but he’d never actually wished death on him.

But Darren had proved that Derek wasn’t the only Alpha that had shitty taste in partners. The man had turned out to be a demon and he’d wiped out the pack within a day, wiped out the hunters that tried to come to the packs aid as well.

He writes notes in his notebook and scratches Darren off his list of potential allies.

He’s dead, not a lot of potential for an ally there anymore.

 

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The teacher at school, the one that had looked at him like she wanted to kill him and bathe in his blood is still there. For some reason he thought that once he’d set the wards up, etched all the symbols and blooded them all up that she’d pack up her bags and depart town like the hounds of hell were nipping at her heels.

She hasn’t, she’s still teaching their class and looking at him with dark eyes that promise death and destruction when no one else is looking.

He needs to figure out some way to get in touch with Crawford and Darla and not be labeled a crazy person or stalker at the same time.

He could probably let SHIELD know that he does in fact remember everything from when he was under, but he hasn’t actually figured out a way to do that in a way that won’t have him institutionalized as a result.

 

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“So Allison is dating Isaac?” Stiles asks, Scott is looking at him with wide eyes and… well he doesn’t think that Scott actually wanted to tell him.

He kind of didn’t have a choice though, not when Stiles had walked into a make-up chemistry lab that Lydia was going to work with him on and instead of finding Lydia he found Isaac backed up against a wall with Allison holding him there.

He would have thought attack but unless Allison had turned into some sort of soul sucking demon that did so by attaching her mouth to her victims he had dismissed that right off.

He’d still yelled and waved his hands a lot and maybe had the tiniest of breakdowns. There are constants that are meant to be adhered to… Derek has lousy taste in romantic partners and Scott and Allison are meant to be.

“Dude…” he breathes. “And you’re okay with this?”

Because Scott, a year ago, would have thrown the most epic of tantrums.

“It’s been almost four months,” Scott says, he’s got his earnest face on.

“That doesn’t actually tell me that you’re okay with this.”

 

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It’s a dream, Crawford knows this because this is not his office. This has a window view and a G. Stilinski on the nameplate and… it’s clean. Orderly.

“I didn’t want to do it this way,” the kid, Stiles is saying. Except Crawford thinks he’s not a kid. SHIELD doesn’t hire kids and this kid, man, person, is wearing a SHIELD uniform.

“I don’t understand,” Crawford says, he rubs at his head, he’s fairly sure that he fell asleep in his room at 2300 and there’s sun coming through the windows. Bright sun, he kind of wants some sunglasses or a shade to dim it some.

Stiles leans against his desk and looks at both of them. Darla crosses her arms over her chest and looks young.

“I’ve put wards up around Beacon Hills,” he says. Crawford nods like he understands, except…

“I don’t understand,” he says and Stiles just looks at him with a patient expression on his face, though his eyes look kind of desperate. For what he doesn’t know.

“War is coming,” Stiles says.

“A’kresh,” Darla says in a soft voice, Stiles nods once. “I’m not at SHIELD,” she says.

Stiles takes a step forward, wraps a hand around her wrist, Crawford can see the black lines on it and Darla makes a noise of surprise. He reaches out his own hand, the one with the black lines that he normally can’t see and Stiles grins at him as he does the same to him.

It feels like a jolt of electricity, like a static electric shock. It doesn’t hurt; it’s more the surprise of it actually feeling like anything at all considering this is a dream.

Stiles looks at both of them, there’s a faint, pleased smile on his face and it’s relaxed some. Crawford wonders what he’d been worried about.

“Beacon Hills.”

 

********************************************************

 

“Can I talk to Rayden?” Stiles asks him and it catches him off guard.

John looks at him, then at the door. Rayden has been itching to talk to Stiles about the new wards and John had told him to back off in that way that said if he didn’t John had no problem trying to kick his ass.

Liu would probably even try and help.

Rayden doesn’t appear though, probably waiting for John to actually make the request because he can be a contrary asshole that way.

“Why?”

Stiles looks at him with those young-old eyes that make him want to hug and hide him in equal measures.

“I want to ask him some questions about a demon,” Stiles says calmly. John looks back at him just as calmly, inside his heart is beating like a freight train and if this is the thing that finally triggers the heart attack that Stiles has been trying to ward off with vegetables and food John hates he’ll never forgive himself.

“Rayden,” he says, just as calmly, he feels a hand on his shoulder and he knows it’s Liu because Rayden is sitting across from Stiles at the kitchen table.

“Deep breaths,” Liu says softly. John breathes.

Stiles puts a notebook on the table, it looks like one of the ones that John had bought for him to write in. The one written in code that he couldn't break. He flips it open until there’s one page showing and a symbol taking up the whole page.

No writing, just the symbol.

He pushes it across the table at Rayden and John and Liu both take steps forward so they can better see it.

“The symbol of A’kresh,” Rayden says, his voice rumbles slightly, “where did you see this?”

Stiles folds his fingers together and squeezes, John can see the skin turn white with the force that he’s squeezing and when he makes a noise, Stiles takes a breath and releases it. When he finally looks at Rayden he looks calm and collected.

“When they had me,” he starts, his voice is very soft, barely above a whisper and John wonders if Stiles is trying to keep the wolves from hearing or if there’s someone else.

He jerks a head at the sketch, “A’kresh,” he says, “the symbols kept popping up, when the Avengers found me we’d just found four symbols that formed a lock to keep a witch contained.”

Rayden looks at him, “the seals were etched onto your restraints,” he says. John doesn't ask how he knows that because he’s never told anyone, not even Liu what he saw on the restraints that the Avengers were marking through when they took them off Stiles.

“Yes.”

“The demon A’kresh,” Rayden says, he touches a finger to the symbol that Stiles has sketched in the book. “He’s a lower level demon, not one of the ones that I would normally worry myself with.”

Stiles nods, like he knows this. Like he knows that if this demon is a threat in any way to their realm that Rayden would have already called on people to deal with him.

“He’s coming into power,” Stiles says, he rolls his shoulders. “They took me and the others because he’s got a psychic with an ability for telling the future and we were apparently the ones who were going to stand between him and this power that he wants.”

“There are demons stronger then he that would smack him down before he even made that kind of play,” Rayden murmurs. He looks… well he looks uncertain and John’s never seen him look like that. He doesn’t like it.

“He has followers, one of them is in town, teaching at my school,” Stiles says it so matter-of-factly that it takes a moment for John to actually understand what he said.

He snarls wordlessly, phone already in his hand, Liu stops him.

“What would you like me to do?” Rayden asks.

“If I activate the wards, anyone who hasn’t already been marked with the key won’t be able to pass through them, right?”

“Yes, though when you activate the wards there’s also the issue of anyone who hasn’t been marked not being able to leave,” Rayden says

Stiles smiles, it’s not a nice one and John doesn’t want to know where he learned it.

 

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Crawford is on his computer when he comes in, tapping away at his keyboard and ignoring his presence, Clint goes to open his mouth and speak and Crawford holds up a hand and when Clint doesn’t say anything he goes back to typing.

Clint narrows his eyes.

Crawford is looking intent on his monitor and when Clint rounds it he can see he’s writing a letter. He’s a nosy bastard so he just reads it over his shoulder which seems to be what Crawford had intended.

It’s a list, with bullet points, of things that Crawford needs done, the first of which is:

1. Do not say a word. When I ask, when you’re done reading, just tell me that you understand.

He reads the rest of the list, committing each of the items on it to memory as he feels the muscles in his body begin that familiar tensing before a mission goes live.

He finishes reading, relaxes his shoulder and goes back around to the front of the desk.

Crawford has the fingers of one hand wrapped around the others wrist, it’s a familiar motion, he finds himself doing it at times. Has seen Steve and Tony doing the same at others.

“Do you understand?” Crawford asks, Clint smiles at him and doesn’t ask the ten thousand questions hammering around his head.

“Yes,” Clint nods once and the relief on Crawford’s face speaks volumes. “I guess we’ll see you in the tower.”

 

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It starts with a fight, Stiles hadn’t even been part of it but he’d still managed to get hauled into detention. He’s not quite clear on how, he’s fairly sure that Harris was involved in some way though.

The teacher, the one who hates him down the very fiber of his being and would like nothing more than to destroy him and everything he loves is standing at the front of the classroom.

He shivers, Scott opens his mouth to say something and nothing comes.

When Stiles slowly turns his head he can see Scott sitting there, mouth open eyes frantically blinking. He makes a slow perusal of the room and he can see no one is moving, they’re all blinking and not moving and he slowly rises from his desk. Putting as much space between him and her as he can.

It’s not enough, when he backs into the door he twists frantically at the handle and nothing happens.

Her hand closes around his neck, lifting him just a bit off the ground, he smiles at her and she snarls at him.

“Such a puny insignificant thing,” she mutters. “You’re not even the most powerful witch that I’ve met, yet I’m here and not where I could actually be doing some good.”

Stiles shows her his teeth, “It’s not about power,” he says and she snaps her teeth at him tossing him to the side.

It’s a good aim for him, he hits a picture on the wall and it’s one of ones with real glass that shatters when it hits the ground.

It’s going to hurt, he knows it’s going to hurt but he still grabs one of the bigger pieces and drags it across his palm.

When he turns back to her she’s stalking across the room and he wraps his bloody palm around the wrist of the other hand and he smiles at her.

“It’s about blood and the will to survive.”

 

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Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 5/?

He’s just stepping off the jet heading on foot towards the tower when he feels the wards that Stiles had placed around Beacon Hills go up, it’s like a vise wrapping around the wrist with the mark and a spark of static electricity running the length of his body.

He runs a shaking hand over his head because he feels like his hair should be standing on end even though he knows that’s not how this works.

The phone in his pocket has Stiles’ number programmed into it; he knows that if he tries to call it right now it won’t work.

It won’t work until the wards come down, Stiles has essentially cut off Beacon Hills from the rest of the world.

He needs to get to Clint and the others, needs to figure out if SHIELD was compromised and if so how badly. The Avengers are good, they’ll all be good, he doesn't know how he knows this, but he knows this in his bones like he knows that besides himself and Darla, Clint was the only one that Stiles had actually marked.

 

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She’s coming out of her Political Science class, shoving a notebook into her bag and trying to decide if she has enough time to grab a latté before her next class. She’s already made the decision that there is always time for caffeine and is capping her pen when the wards go up.

She drops the pen with a gasp, hand wrapping around her wrist and he never mentioned how much it would hurt. She might have said no if he’d told her about the pain.

“Darla, are you okay?” one of her classmates is kneeling in front of her, eyes worried and focused on her when she opens her own.

She takes a breath, then another.

“I’m okay,” she says. “I’m okay.”

 

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Clint flexes the fingers of his hands; he’s been counting from 100 down in Russian in his head. His wrist still hurts, little pin pricks of pain that spark periodically, he rotates his wrist and breathes.

The biggest spike of pain, what had felt like hand wrapping around his wrist wrapping it in fire had happened before Fury had called this meeting.

It’s just him, Steve, Tony and Bruce in the room with him, Natasha is noticeably absent, her chair sitting empty and Clint tries not to look at it.

He should probably be focusing on the meeting but he’s really not. He’s thinking about Crawford’s list and the fact that he hasn't seen or heard anything about Stiles in almost two months.

Fury clicks something and a map populates the screen, pictures going up around it. He draws a breath and opens his mouth but the door opens before he can say anything.

“Crawford,” Fury’s voice is harsh, he doesn't like being interrupted. “This is a private meeting how did you get in here?”

“Um,” Crawford’s gone pale, he looks like he’s going to drop the books in his arms and Steve being Captain America pushes out of his chair and takes them from him, setting them on the edge of the table.

“Can we help you son?” Steve asks kindly, Fury just shakes his head and looks at the ceiling.

Crawford just kind of stands there, he has a backpack slung over one shoulder, not a SHIELD issue because it’s brown with red stripes instead of the standard black and blue.

Crawford looks at him, eyes kind of imploring him to step up and save him. Crawford isn't Stiles, he can’t just walk into a room full of people in the upper ranks of SHIELD and just start talking.

Except Stiles kind of didn't like doing that either, he rubs at his wrist and Crawford’s eyes narrow in on that.

He straightens his shoulders and clears his throat. His voice is still soft when he speaks though, like even though he’s steeled himself he really doesn't want to be there.

“The wards have gone up around Beacon Hills.”

 

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There are pictures, trees with strange symbols carved into them and smudged with something dark that Fury says is blood.

Stiles’ blood, he doesn't know if the others can see it, but those trees marked with that symbol are forming a circle.

“We can’t get in,” Crawford is saying, Steve ignores the fact that his hand is shaking, ignores the fact that he’s lying. Stiles would have found a way for them to get in.

If they weren't compromised.

“How do we help them then?” Tony asks, he’s tapping at his phone but from a glance at earlier Steve knows he’s playing games on it. He’s acting like he’s bored, but he’s paying attention which means this matters.

“We don’t,” Crawford says, Clint makes a noise that sounds like protest. “We don’t need to, they’re not the ones in trouble; Beacon Hills is effectively the safest place on Earth right now.”

“Except for the werewolves,” Bruce murmurs, Crawford just shrugs his shoulders a little.

“The werewolves in Beacon Hills are on our side, mostly.”

“If you have something to share…” Fury begins.

Crawford slides a book further into the middle of the table, it’s already flipped open and the symbol on the page is one that he’s seen before.

He know he has.

He just can’t remember…

“A’Kresh is a demon,” Crawford says. “But demons don’t work alone, and they’re not like on TV or whatever, they’re not black smoke…”

“Supernatural,” Steve says, because Tony forced him to sit through an episode once and mocked the entire hour including commercials for its inaccuracies.

“Yeah, not like that. Demons are called, they inhabit the body of someone, yes, but there’s a whole ceremony to make sure the right demon is called forward and the human host is marked with a symbol and that’s where they stay.”

“So point us at the demon and we’ll take care of it, no muss, no fuss,” Tony says, he stretches slightly.

Crawford winces. “It’s not actually that easy, it’ll be protected by, like, supernatural stuff and we might have another problem besides,” he looks down at the table. Taps a finger and takes a breath.

“Stiles thinks it was raised somewhere else,” Clint says slowly, “using the bridge tech stuff that Stark has been trying to figure out. Does he have a theory on who it’s working for?”

There’s a couple of organizations that are thorns in SHIELD’s side; he can think of at least four right off the top of his head.

“Hydra,” Crawford winces at the explosion of noise. Fury is swearing and Tony is muttering and Bruce is doing some deep breathing exercise from the look of it.

Funny, that hadn't been one of them, and from the look on Steve’s face he hadn't been expecting that response either.

“Alrighty then.”

 

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Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 6/?

Six months later:

Crawford has a gun, Clint isn’t sure how or when he came to have a gun, but he has a gun now.

“Where did the gun come from?” he asks, he’s pushing at his side, he probably needs stitches, he definitely needs someone other than Crawford for that though. The one time that he mentioned it Crawford had looked horrified and then kind of nauseous.

Crawford sighs at him and turns his back; he’s looking for something though Clint can’t think of what.

“We’re in the middle of fucking nowhere,” he mutters. He leans his head back against the tree that Crawford helpfully put right behind him. He thinks he might have actually fallen over already if it weren’t there.

“You gave me the gun,” Crawford says, he turns in a circle and looks confused.

“Why would I give you a gun? Do you even know how to shoot one, did we at least practice?” he doesn’t remember actually handing a gun to Crawford, that’s probably more worrisome.

“I have to certify on the range just like everyone else,” Crawford says, he turns to look at him, “plus,” he steps forward and jabs him in the arm.

It’s not even a hard one, barely even a tap but it sends flames of pain up and down his arm and holy hell.

“You can’t even hold a gun at the moment let alone shoot one, so…” Crawford shrugs and Clint pants shallowly to keep from throwing up on him in revenge.

“Where are we even going?” he manages instead.

“Someplace,” he shakes his head, “we’re going somewhere safe.”

“Safe,” Clint says, he uses the tree to pull himself into a standing position, mostly, “the world itself is going fucking off the rails, SHIELD is in complete shambles, we’re all scattered to the fucking wind… but you’re taking us somewhere safe…”

“I had a dream,” Crawford says slowly, he turns so his back is to Clint, like he can’t look him in the face and see him judging him. Clint can judge him from the side just as easily but he doesn’t tell the kid that.

“A dream.”

“Stiles says it’s time to come to Beacon Hills, so…”

“We’re going to Beacon Hills.”

 

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Isaac should be in school, but he’s got a free period and besides it’s his turn to walk the wards that Stiles had put up to protect Beacon Hills.

He’s never sure what he’s supposed to be looking for, he can feel the wards brush along his skin, seeking out the mark that hums in response and his, their (because he’s not the only tasked with doing this) only direction was ‘look for anything weird’.

He’s just not completely sure what constitutes weird in Beacon Hills anymore.

Because it’s Beacon Hills and they’ve got werewolves and some sort of god (or whatever the hell Rayden actually is).

They’ve got martial artists that have apparently saved the world a time or two (and of which Stiles’ dad can be counted among).

They’ve got a demon (just a minion really Stiles tells them) chained up in a cell in the police station and periodically they’ve got new people because apparently whatever is going on is global and Stiles isn’t the only witch marking people as safe.

There seems to be whole bubbles of towns that were warded as safe havens prior to whatever happened in the school happening.

Only two sets of wards didn’t go up, Stiles told them this at the beginning. That means that the demons that were in those towns managed to kill the witches off before they activated them.

He sees them from the safe side of the wards, two men, they look sort of battered and the one is leaning against the tree like it’s the only thing holding him up.

“Can I help you?” he calls and the younger of the two spins, gun in hand, eyes wide.

“Isaac,” the younger one breathes and his eyes widen slightly because how the hell does this guy know his name?

“Do I know you?” he asks, politely because they’re on the other side of the wards so he can afford the effort it takes to be polite.

“My name is Crawford,” the one says, his eyes are looking at him like he’s Scott or Derek and he doesn’t like it.

“Okay,” he nods, he doesn’t know him though the disappointment in the guy’s eyes is twinging some chord within him. Like he should know him somehow.

“Right,” the guy, Crawford mutters, the other one is leaning against a tree looking pale and, Isaac sniffs the air, he can’t smell it because of the barrier but he’s pretty sure the guy is bleeding out.

“Stiles told me it was time to come to Beacon Hills,” Crawford says, like that’s supposed to mean something. Which maybe it does, anyone else that had been marked just kind of shows up in town, wandering through the streets aimlessly, looking completely lost and out of their depths.

They all had come through the wards though; these two are still on the other side.

“See the thing is, if Stiles told you to come, you’d be able to pass through the wards already,” Isaac says, he tries to say it kindly but his lip curls a little.

Crawford narrows his eyes at him and makes a low noise of distaste in the back of his throat. He’s muttering and pulling at the guy leaning against the three, who looks familiar now. Like Isaac has seen him somewhere.

They stumble slowly, Crawford more pulling him along and he holds out his arm, the one that should probably bear the mark and walks the two of them right through the wards.

The other guy, kind of falls to his knees heaving breaths.

“Well that sucked.”

Isaac snorts because he’s never crossed the wards, not since Stiles activated them in the classroom with his own blood and everyone frozen and unable to help while he’d been attacked.

He thinks that Scott still has the occasional nightmare about it. Derek too, though he would never, except under the pain of death even considering admitting to it.

“Put a fork in me Crawford, I’m done.”

Crawford huffs a laugh, “I’m assuming you have a hospital in town?”

“All fully stocked with doctors, nurses, healers and witches,” Isaac nods, “We probably have whatever your friend needs.”

“What I need is to see Stiles,” the guy who Crawford still hasn’t identified mutters. Then he passes out and Isaac sighs, someone’s going to have to carry him and he’s fairly sure it’s not going to be the human.

 

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Stiles is pushing pins into the map and muttering under his breath, Derek learned fairly early on to just stay back and let Stiles do whatever it is he’s doing. Otherwise he ends up with push pins embedded in his skin and while they’re not overly painful, they can be fairly annoying.

So he leans against the wall and he waits, periodically he moves forward to look at the map and Stiles will make a noise under his breath and scowl at him until he backs away.

The map is of the US, it’s battered and worn, tape holding whole sections of it together. Derek’s not sure where it came from, he knows Stiles asked about one and two days later it appeared on the Sheriff’s desk.

Scott comes in and leans against the wall next to him, he’s got his arms crossed over his chest, mirroring Derek’s exact pose.

“Isaac found someone outside the wards,” Scott says finally when Derek doesn’t say anything and Scott gets tired of waiting.

Stiles looks up, eyes narrowing, Scott grins at him and Stiles sighs.

“If they were outside the wards…” Derek starts.

“They were marked, one of them was injured but they both mentioned Stiles by name.”

Stiles drops the pins on the table and comes around it.

“The one they dropped off at the hospital, the other Isaac is bringing here,” Scott says, there’s a commotion behind them, coming closer and Derek can smell pack so he knows Isaac is here. The other is an unknown.

“Crawford,” Stiles breathes, then laughs. “Oh my god, dude, you made it,” he hugs him, the other one, Crawford kind of latching onto him.

“By the skin of my teeth, but yeah.”

“Who came in with you?” Stiles asks, he backs off, patting Crawford on the arms like he’s checking for injuries, and looking past him, out the door, like he’s looking for whoever came through the wards with him.

Crawford fidgets, rolling his shoulders and momentarily looking like he’d rather be anywhere but where he is.

“Clint,” he says finally, “He’s the one that got me here.”

“Where?”

“If he’s that other guy we dropped him off at the hospital, he wasn’t looking so great,” Isaac says, kind of carelessly Derek thinks, considering the way that Stiles’ face is losing all trace of color.

 

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Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 7/?

The hospital is quiet when they get there, it’s always quiet because they’re fairly well contained here. Sometimes they’ll get people through the barriers that are injured in some way, but most of the time those people are super naturals in some way and heal pretty quick after getting into the safe environment.

“Whoa,” Melissa holds up her hands to stop them. “I don’t see anyone bleeding…”

“Isaac dropped off…”

“Agent Barton,” Melissa nods, “Agent Romanoff already vouched for him.”

“I want to see him,” Stiles says, he thinks it’s actually pretty admirable that his voice is as even as it is.

“I don’t think he’s up to being interrogated right now.”

“I just want to see him, I won’t even try and start a conversation with him,” Stiles says, Melissa makes a noise of disbelief and Stiles keeps his face as earnest as possible. Melissa, unfortunately knows him really fucking well, because she rolls her eyes even as she turns to escort them down the hallway.

Natasha is already in the room, leaning against a wall, arms crossed. It’s Clint that Stiles really focuses on though, looking pale and kind of worn in the bed. He looks tired, like most of the people that come through the barriers do. Like they push and push themselves to get to one of the havens and then once they get there they’re so exhausted it takes days upon days to get rested enough to even function.

Stiles has seen pictures of what’s going on outside the havens, A’kresh is using the human population as sacrifices to open portals to the demon underworlds, those things coming out of the portals once he opens them are fed others.

Rayden keeps talking about Kombat and how A’kresh is definitely not operating within the rules set up to govern it, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it though. Or maybe he can’t do anything about it, Stiles knows, but he also knows that he’s not sending his dad off to fight in some crazy death match with a bunch of demons either.

Just because he’s already done it once, well that only means that Stiles wasn’t born yet and couldn’t stop him.

“Stiles,” Clint’s eyes are opened just enough that he can apparently see Stiles futzing at the foot of his bed.

He ignores the noise the werewolves and Melissa are making at the door, because the amount of people that he grew up with who know about Clint and who he is to Stiles is Lydia and she’s probably buried nose deep in four books at the Argents.

“Hey, you’re looking a little…”

“I’m okay,” Clint mutters. “Just a flesh wound, it wasn’t even bleeding all that much, not sure why Crawford brought me here.”

Natasha snorts and Clint scowls at her.

“Probably because of the actual blood loss,” Stiles says, he wraps his hands around the bars at the foot of the bed. “And the fact that you were, I don’t know, unconscious when they brought you in.”

“Do we have a plan?” Clint asks. “I really just want to know if we have a plan.”

Stiles clears his throat, flicks his eyes to the group at the door, Derek looks intently focused on the conversation, it’s kind of off putting to be honest. Stiles has had to be really focusing himself on what’s going on here and not what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future.

It’s harder than it should be.

“We have a plan,” Stiles says. “It’s not my plan, I’m not really involved in the execution of it or anything, because A’kresh has been kind of really focused on us, me so…”

“So what? The coven is planning on keeping his focus on here while they, what, try and do something somewhere else?”

“We’re not a coven here, here we’re just sparks and wiccans and…” Stiles shrugs, waves a hand. “We don’t have the kind of strength here that we had over there.”

“Stiles…” Derek says from the door, whether to stop him from saying anything or in confusion that Stiles knows Clint and is conversing with him like an old friend.

“We’re going to merge the realities,” Stiles says. He stares at him, wills Clint to understand.

“You were on the Helicarrier,” Clint says, he holds his hand out and Stiles comes around the bed, links their fingers together and grips tightly.

“I don’t remember a whole lot of what was happening, what we’ve managed to piece together,” him and Crawford and Darla, he’s sure Tony will come up with some pithy name for them if they make it through this without dying. “They’d found symbols to contain a witch, me and we think that there was about to be an attack against me either in the works or happening right then.”

Clint stares at him.

“When it happens, it’ll happen fast, like really fucking fast, like there’s not going to be a whole lot of time to actually come up with a plan there because my pack will be in Beacon Hills, the Avengers were dark on some mission that the Director didn’t tell me about, I’m going to be on the Helicarrier with Crawford and Darla,” Stiles takes a breath, “We, really, really, really need you to remember that we need help.”

“I’m not going to let anything happen to you,” Clint says, and it sounds like as close to a promise as Stiles is going to get.

 

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Clint refuses to stay in the hospital which Stiles could have told someone would happen. He can vividly remember Clint showing up in his room on the Helicarrier when he should have been lying in a hospital bed getting the good drugs and sleeping the sleep of the righteous.

He stays with Natasha, wherever she happens to have holed up since his dad would probably have a mild coronary if Stiles insisted he stay with them, not counting what the pack would do.

He still appears at their door each morning, eats breakfast with them and then goes to the Sheriff’s station with them. He joins Derek and Scott against the wall and watches while they focus on the maps.

The maps are their escape route out of Beacon Hills; their ‘just in case whatever the other witches are doing doesn’t work’.

It’s basically just a list of where everyone needs to go, he’s not sending them all together, splitting them up and sending them all in completely opposite directions means that at least some of them have a chance of survival. The group leaders are assigned, typically whichever werewolf is traveling with them, and since Stiles will be the focus of whatever is going to happen (even though he’s not directly involved, which he absolutely hates with every fiber of his being) he has not included himself in those evacuation plans.

If it goes bad wrong, it’s going to burn him out and his barrier with him. He’ll be deader than dead, no bite of a werewolf is going to save him from his spark being snuffed out like that.

Derek and Scott haven’t figured it out yet, he’s fairly sure that Clint has an inkling and Crawford definitely knows.

He hasn’t said anything thankfully. And he might think he’s being sneaky, but Stiles is a Sheriff’s son and has been sneaking out from under his dads nose to do things that his dad would ground him from the rest of eternity for, Crawford isn’t even close to being competition.

Crawford doesn’t affix himself to any of the groups and he can’t draw attention to it without Crawford selling him out.

Bastard.

So Stiles keeps his mouth shut and Crawford keeps his mouth shut and Clint’s frown gets progressively deeper as he moves closer to the table and starts actually looking at their plans.

There’s nothing Stiles can do about it now. The pieces are already in motion.

 

********************************************************

 

“If this works…” Rayden starts, John looks over at him.

Liu is leaning in the doorway and looking expectant, John already knows what he’s going to say.

“You’re going to call for Mortal Kombat,” he says, it’s no less than he expected. He’s not sure who Rayden has in the pipeline for the fights, they could probably still kick a whole bunch of demonic ass if it came down to it. But neither he or Liu are as young as they used to be.

The spirits willing, but the body might give up the ghost.

They would both go if it came to it. Stiles might put up a fight, but John thinks that Stiles is reaching his capacity for what he can worry about at one time. He might be able to slip it by him.

“Don’t give me that look, I’ve got fighters in reserve,” Rayden says without looking at him. “Besides the fact that I think that if I were to call you to Kombat that your son might actually figure out a way to kill me.”

John smirks, just a little and hidden by his hand and the fact that Rayden isn’t looking directly at him.

“I’ll call for Kombat, and A’kresh, depending on how badly he wants to stay in this world will be honor bound to observe the formalities. He normally would have amassed his own fighters I’m sure, but for the sake of this realm and all the ones linked to it I’ll operate under the assumption that he’s really as bad at strategic planning as he seems to be.”

John raises an eyebrow at him.

“He had your son in his grasp, and instead of killing him and ending his opposition he allowed him a glimpse of another world that he’d yet to put a secure foothold in and thereby gave him the tools by which to destroy him,” Rayden shrugs. “It’s almost as if he wants to commit suicide by teenage angst, and if he doesn’t he’s certainly making a decent appearance of it.”

 

********************************************************

 

Crawford’s making notes in a little spiral bound notebook that one of the deputies had found for him.

He’s not sure why, nothing that he does, nothing he writes in this book is going to have any bearing on what ends up happening if they succeed.

If they succeed, Stiles, Darla and himself are going to end up back on the Helicarrier, in the middle of the ocean, completely isolated from the others.

The Avengers had been on a mission, Stiles’ pack is both landlocked and in Beacon Hills.

It’s going to be just him and Darla and Stiles and praying that they’re not under attack. That they’ll set down in that reality and things will be calm.

He doesn’t think that likely, someone had been trying to bind a witch on the Helicarrier, whether that witch was Stiles or someone completely different. There’s hope that symbols were wash through of the restraints being used on the Stiles in this reality, Crawford himself is hoping for that.

But he’s also planning an escape route for all of them…

Just to be on the safe side.

 

********************************************************

 

Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 8/?

“I need you to promise me…” Stiles starts and stops, his dad looks at them, one brow cocked, fork lowering. Breakfast is one of the few meals that they eat together, alone.

No Clint or Derek or Liu hovering, no Crawford looking at him with knowing eyes and making notes in his little notebook that aren’t going to mean anything because the notebook won’t go with them.

They’ll pop right back onto the Helicarrier, so unless Crawford’d had some sort of psychic vision on the other side that he hadn’t bothered to tell Stiles about and then wrote all this down...

Not going to mean anything.

“Promise you?” his dad prompts.

“Don’t let Rayden talk you into Kombat,” he says, his dad huffs a laugh and when he looks over at him he’s rolling his eyes as well.

“Rayden’s already got fighters lined up if it comes to that,” his dad says, he sounds slightly perturbed about that fact. “You’ll be pleased to note that I am, at the moment, not counted among them.”

Stiles grins.

 

********************************************************

 

“So is it your dad still over here?” Crawford asks, it’s quiet, no one’s leaning over a map and sketching out escape routes and memorizing plans because they’ve already done everything they can.

When it happens, it’ll happen and no amount of planning is going to change the fact that Crawford, Stiles and Darla are going to end up on the Helicarrier.

“What do you mean?” Stiles asks, he’s bent over the table doing something with paperclips, rubber bands and a pencil. Crawford is pretty sure he’s constructing some sort of rudimentary sling shot that he’s going to use to fire projectiles at people.

He’s bored it seems.

“Over there it was your dad that was the reason for the…” he waves his hand to encompass the whole witch thing without saying the words because he doesn’t want to get into another 30 minute argument on the difference between witches and warlocks and wiccans and sparks and how they’re all just enough different that they can’t be lumped together.

“I’m not a witch here,” Stiles says, Derek makes a noise that sounds a lot like disbelief by the door and Crawford glances over at him in surprise. He’d kind of forgotten that Derek was still there, Clint is off with Natasha checking on town security with the Argents and Stiles’ dad.

“Don’t make that noise,” Stiles says, Derek’s rolling his eyes at Stiles which Stiles seems to find amusing because he laughs a little.

“You, uh,” Crawford rubs a hand over his head, twists his mouth. “You put up the barrier.”

“I’m not a witch here, I’m considered a spark because I’m not trained or anything. If we weren’t going to merge the universes I’d probably end up Emissary of the pack, take over for Deaton though I’d probably never be able to pull off the enigmatic telling the pack things without actually telling them anything thing that Deaton manages to pull off.”

“But the spark had to come from somewhere right? So still your dad, or was it your mom here?”

“Still my dad,” Stiles says, he fiddles with something on the pencil and when he spins in his chair Crawford can see that he was right and Stiles has constructed a makeshift slingshot.

He shoots a rubber band at Derek and it goes wide, pinging off a window two inches to Derek’s left. Derek raises an eyebrow at him and Stiles smiles winningly.

“If you’re bored…” Derek starts and Stiles laughs.

“I’m not bored, I’m just…” Stiles shrugs and drops the slingshot on the table behind him, the thing falls apart and Stiles looks at it like it betrayed him.

“I don’t like the waiting.”

 

********************************************************

 

The barrier is holding but John can see places where it’s starting to wear thin, he makes mental notes so he can updates the map when they get back.

“There’s two places where it could break first,” he says. Chris looks at him sharply, the two SHIELD agents watching on with practiced disinterest.

“You can see the barrier?”

John shrugs, “you thought Stiles was just some naturally occurring first time in a generation spark? He’s a fifth generation spark, my mom would be thrilled to know that he’s actually utilizing it, she always thought I was kind of a waste of the spark because I didn’t train.”

He supposes if she can see him now she’d be proud, he’s still not using the spark but he doesn’t deny it’s there anymore.

Baby steps, it’s all baby steps. Maybe in the other universe he’ll actually do something more with it.

 

********************************************************

 

Clint hasn’t been able to get in touch with anyone else, not Steve or Bruce or Fury or Stark with his fucking high-tech radios. He allows Nat to worry about that though and focuses on Stiles and his apparent disregard for his own safety and continued existence.

“I noticed something interesting about the maps,” he says, it’s just the two of them, Stiles has wheedled enough that Scott and Derek went after food. He wouldn’t say anything in front of the others, they’re both overprotective enough, evidence that Stiles hasn’t planned himself into any of the escape groups might actually put one or both over the edge.

“There’s no point really,” Stiles says almost absently, he’s got a ruler in one hand and is drawing straight lines between the towns and the barriers they know are still functional.

Clint really has no idea what he’s doing it for, he’s sure it has a purpose, just about 90% of the things that Stiles does are for a some reason typically only known to him.

“I beg to differ.”

“If the others succeed and for some crazy ass reason the realities don’t merge, it’s not going to make a bit of difference, not for me. The barrier falling is going to burn me out, the only thing putting me in one of those groups is going to make me people I care about watch it happen.”

“Stiles…”

“It’s okay,” Stiles’ lips twist into a wry grin that doesn’t reach his eyes which just look sad. “I’ve kind of resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to be a shit storm either way, I either die here or I end up on the Helicarrier where there is possibly people waiting to kill me there.”

 

********************************************************

 

The barrier starts to crumple on a Monday, Stiles can feel it happening the second it starts and as much as he wants to lock himself in a room and just wait for whatever is going to happen to happen…

Well he can’t, there’s people he need to protect.

“Get the groups together,” he manages to get out before he puts his hands over his ears, closes his eyes and does not scream, no matter how badly he wants to.

He just breathes and breathes, he startles when he feels a hand on the back of his neck, the pain, a small portion dims and when he manages to pry his eyes open he can see Derek standing in front of him.

Clint kneels next to him, a gentle hand on his back.

“Tell us what you need us to do.”

“Get the groups ready to go, make sure they’re armed in some fashion,” the Argents have been handing out knives and guns and he’s sure that the arrows and bow that Clint has been carrying around with him came from there.” Don’t worry about me.”

Derek snorts and if he managed to peel his eyes open he would probably see Clint rolling his at him.

He doesn’t though, just lets Derek leech away some of the pain and Clint’s presence steady him and doesn’t think about what’s to come.

 

********************************************************

 

Stiles is passed out on the couch in the Sheriff’s office, face still twisted in pain and Derek’s not sure why they don’t have him loaded in one of the cars hightailing it out of town against his express wishes.

He’s unconscious now, they could just evacuate him and deal with his anger later.

“Someone needs to stay with him,” Clint is saying, Derek doesn’t like him.

Not just because Stiles does but because every word that comes out of his mouth everyone seems to agree with.

“I’m staying with him,” Crawford says, Clint goes to say something and Crawford just shoots him a look. “No arguments, Stiles and I discussed this, we’re going to end up on the Helicarrier together, it makes sense for me to be here when the realities snap together.”

“Darla’s not here,” Clint says.”

“She doesn’t need to be, because technically it doesn’t really matter where any of us are. You’ll end up on your mission, and you guys will end up in Beacon Hills and Stiles, Darla and I will end up on the Helicarrier. That fact of the matter is Stiles doesn’t want any of you around if the realities don’t merge and he ends up burning out along with his wards.”

Everyone is silent and then Scott makes a small noise that sounds like a wounded animal. “No one said anything about Stiles dying.”

“Because he’s not going to,” Crawford says emphatically. “I have faith that everything is going to happen exactly as it’s supposed to, because the alternative is not something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.”

 

********************************************************

 

Stiles starts muttering at around two in the morning on Tuesday, all the transports are loaded up and staged with their occupants at a variety of points leading out of town.

Crawford can’t decipher what he’s muttering, it sounds like the words to a spell in either Russian, either way Crawford prefers the muttering to the screaming that starts about an hour later.

He spends most of that hour with his fingers in his ears and praying to a god he hasn’t really believed in since he was fourteen.

The screaming stops abruptly and Crawford pulls Stiles into his lap, holding onto him for whatever is going to happen next.

“I really, really hope…

… this…

…works…

 

********************************************************

 

Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 9/?

The snap, when it happens, into his other body is painful. It feels like he thinks a rubber band (if a rubber band were a sentient creature) would feel when it gets snapped against a hard surface.

It’s jarring and there’s a brief moment of panic where he thinks he’s going to ricochet right through into some other crazy universe that is getting ready to burn down into ash.

He doesn’t, it takes a moment and he has to close his eyes against the double vision before he throws up but when he feels settled enough he cracks open his eyes and Darla has just begun grinning and Crawford is staring at him in frank disbelief.

“Oh my god it actually fucking worked,” he breathes and Stiles just laughs at him. Relief flooding him, he reaches for his phone and it hits all of them at the same time.

“We need to get off the Helicarrier,” he says and Crawford nods, Darla is already halfway to the door.

“Five minutes,” they both look back at him. “Grab everything you can, five minutes.”

Crawford nods and Stiles circles his desk. He’s got a secondary laptop that houses the database he’s been working on with Lydia and Danny, he keys open his SHIELD issued computer and sets it to auto backup its contents to the network that the three of them have been working off of.

He shoves his laptop into a backpack, his phone goes in his pocket, he’s not even sure if he’s going to be able to get off the Helicarrier with the symbols still locked up. He could send Crawford and Darla off to scratch through one but he wants to keep all three of them together.

He’ll just have to hope that Clint remembers, that someone remembers and is taking care of it.

“We’re ready,” Crawford appears in front of him, snapping him out of the ‘what if’ scenarios that are quite frankly, freaking him the fuck out.

“Okay,” the backup is chugging along slowly but the virus that Danny wrote is a masterpiece, Stiles has been looking for a good excuse to use it and it’ll follow along behind the backup only erasing data after it’s already been saved.

Once the backup is done it’ll ignore the computers that Danny had identified as safe havens in its programming and it’ll corrupt any other computer that tries to access that information.

Stiles is not embarrassed to admit that he has a little bit of a crush on the programming.

 

********************************************************

 

Stiles is treating it like an exercise in acting normal, walking down the hallways of the Helicarrier with Crawford and Darla trailing him like ducklings.

Crawford has his phone to his ear trying to get a hold of someone, none of the Avengers are answering which is not worrisome since they were supposed to be on a mission of some sort but he’s also not able to get anyone in Beacon Hills and that does actually worry him.

“Agent Stilinski,” Agent Coulson appears in front of him, and Stiles doesn’t jump only because he’s used to Natasha and Clint doing things like that so he’s fairly desensitized to people just appearing out of nowhere, it still makes him stutter out a breath though which he thinks just proves he’s not a robot.

Crawford has stopped scrolling through his contacts but he doesn’t look any more startled then Stiles did, just sort of relieved. Darla makes a squeaking noise, but that’s probably only because she hasn’t been with them long enough yet.

“Bells,” Stiles says, “bells on all of you.”

Agent Coulson doesn’t respond to that besides raising an eyebrow about 1/4 of an inch.

“Where are the three of you off to in such a hurry?”

“Meeting,” Stiles says decisively, “which we’re going to be late for.”

“Hmm,” Coulson twists his mouth and Stiles doesn’t fidget or run but only because if Agent Coulson is not on his side anymore they’re already dead.

“Hawkeye would like me to tell you that just because the plan worked doesn’t mean that it was a good plan in the first place and if you try anything like it again he reserves a right to handcuff you to him,” Agent Coulson just looks at him. “I told him that typically bondage is a one year anniversary type thing.”

Stiles gawks at him for a moment, then laughs, just a little, he’d hug him but he’s fairly sure that Agent Coulson would shoot him if he so much as made a motion to do so.

 

********************************************************

 

With Agent Coulson leading the way they make quick time through the Helicarrier, the jet that he ushers them onto isn’t like any that he’s seen before, it’s tiny, if they end up with more the 4 people on it someone might have to sit on someone else’s lap.

“Agent May,” Agent Coulson calls out as he hits a couple of buttons, the stairs fold up into the door and the door slides closed with a soft click.

“We all accounted for? I’m just asking because I’ve had three different communications from Hawkeye in the ten minutes you’ve been off the plane,” a female voice that Stiles doesn’t recognize asks, he’s assuming it’s the pilot and not say some computerized version of Jarvis that Tony built and hasn’t told anyone but Agent Coulson about.

“Tell Hawkeye that Agent Stilinski and his team are accounted for and we’re on the move, let him know we’ll be going dark and if he could try and focus on his mission now that would be fantastic.”

 

********************************************************

 

“Do we get to know where we’re going?” Stiles asks. He’s not sure where he wants to go, if the Avengers weren’t off doing whatever it is they’re doing he’d ask to go to the tower, but he’s not sure how safe he’d feel there with just Crawford, Darla and Jarvis.

He’d ask to go to Beacon Hills but he’s also fairly sure that he’s in a lot of trouble and he doesn’t put it past his dad to try and ground him even though he’s an adult and everything.

“Voicemails,” Crawford mutters. “Doesn’t anyone answer their phones anymore?”

“At least you’re getting voicemail, it’s better than we were able to do on the carrier,” Darla says sensibly, she has her tablet out and Stiles peers over her shoulder to see she’s playing a game of some sort. “I don’t want to try and connect with anything just yet in case someone is trying to track us.”

“Beacon Hills,” Coulson says. “That’s where Barton asked me to take the three of you, we’ve already touched base with the local authorities so they know we’re enroute.”

“I’m so getting locked in a jail cell,” Stiles mutters.

“Your father did mention something like that,” Coulson raises an eyebrow at him, “I think he’s classing it ‘for your own safety’.”

“You know, I saved the world,” Stiles says. “You’d think that would buy me a little leeway.”

“Technically I don’t think you can classify it as saving the world when it’s more like you died in Beacon Hills while a bunch of witches synced up the universes so we wouldn’t all be like possessed by demons or something,” Crawford says, he’s not looking at him so he doesn’t see the glare that Stiles shoots in his direction. Stiles thinks he’s texting angry things at someone with the way that he’s stabbing at his phone screen.

“I’ve decided from this day forward that Darla is my favorite,” Stiles decides.

“Can I refuse? It seems like that position means more blood then I’m normally comfortable with,” Darla says. “There’s the bonus of you know, the eye candy, but I don’t know if that’s enough to offset all the blood.”

 

********************************************************

 

They touch down in Beacon Hills and there’s only one car waiting which Stiles thanks whatever deity is watching out for him today for.

His dad is in uniform and looking all sorts of ‘not happy’ with him when he gets out.

“I’m an adult,” Stiles says, hoping to pre-empt any grounding that his dad thinks he might feel like he needs to do on that grounds that his alternate universe counterpart had been very definitely a minor.

His dad makes a face but still pulls him into a manly hug and Stiles tries to not look like he’s clinging to him.

“Agent Coulson,” his dad does the head bob of greeting, “Crawford, young lady who I don’t know.”

“Darla, sir,” Darla beams at his dad, stepping forward to offer her hand. “I’m Agent Stilinski’s and Crawford’s assistant.”

“Nice to meet you,” his dad says. “I’d say anyone that can keep my son on the straight and narrow deserves a sainthood or at the very least a medal. But no one’s offered me any of those so I’ll just give you some tips instead.”

“Dad!”

“Copious amounts of caffeine and electronic gadgetry that he doesn’t already have,” Darla says. “Sometimes supernatural texts that he also doesn’t already have, but he seems to have an endless supply of people already sending him those so they only work for the really hard to find ones.”

“Crawford, I’ve changed my mind, you are my favorite again,” Stiles says casting a betrayed look in Darla’s direction.

“I’m all aflutter with joy.”

 

********************************************************

 

Agent May stays with the plane, but Coulson follows them into town, verifying the security on his dads house. Stiles could have told him it was fine, he checked the wards the minute they stepped foot on Beacon Hills soil, but Coulson already seems a little jumpy so he lets it go.

“What kind of mission are they on?” he asks, his dad has gone off to be the Sheriff, Darla’s taking a shower and Crawford had stepped out on the porch to make a phone call that he thinks Stiles doesn’t know is to Isaac.

It’s the most privacy he’s going to get to ask the questions that Coulson won’t answer in front of the others.

Coulson looks at him, then places his phone in the middle of the table, hitting a couple of buttons before folding his hands together in front of him.

“They’re trying to bring in the Winter Soldier,” Coulson says, he looks expectantly at Stiles, like he’s supposed to already know this. Stiles is sure his face looks blank, maybe slightly confused.

“I have to say I’m surprised that Barton didn’t tell you, they’ve been on three different ops trying to lure him into a trap, the last time he almost killed Director Fury and Steve.”

“I’m assuming the Winter Soldier is a code name for someone?”

“I can’t tell you any more than that,” Coulson says, there’s just the barest hint of disbelief in his voice so whoever this Winter Soldier is supposed to be Coulson must have knew him somehow.

Stiles resolves to do some searching as soon as he doesn’t have Coulson looking over his shoulder making sure he’s not doing that.

 

********************************************************

 

Chapter Text

SS:AOS: The Rise of A’kresh 10/10

The Winter Soldier is a myth, that’s pretty much all that any of their data can tell him.

A myth and not the type of myth that Stiles normally deals with so it’s not something that would have been uploaded to his server to be classified and dumped into the appropriate files.

If they were still on the Helicarrier there are searches that he could be running or filing cabinets he could be dumping out, because he’s absolutely positive that somewhere there is hard copy documentation lost in a filing cabinet.

Which only makes it more frustrating that he’s been kind of banished to Beacon Hills for ‘security reason’s and these hypothetical hard copies are somewhere decidedly else.

Derek shows on his doorstep about five hours after they arrive, Stiles is honestly surprised Scott and him weren’t there with his dad when the jet came in.

He would say that out loud but he’s pretty sure all he’d get is a glower and he feels like maybe he and Derek have grown as people and he doesn’t want to upset that balance.

“So how ‘bout that alternate universe where Scott was an Alpha, crazy, right?” he says brightly instead.

He still gets a glower.

“How about that alternate universe where you died screaming,” Derek counters, his face is doing some weird thing that Stiles can’t classify. And how he even knows that Stiles doesn’t know because Derek was supposed to be with a group like two hundred miles away.

“Other you was a lot nicer to me,” he complains, Derek raises an eyebrow at him and doesn’t look at all impressed by the other him.

 

********************************************************

 

They watch the destruction on TV, every person with a device that can record is taking video of the Helicarriers falling out of the sky.

The only reason Stiles isn’t going completely crazy is Clint had called two days prior to assure him he wasn’t in DC. Stiles didn’t know the point of that until the Helicarriers falling, SHIELD was revealed to have been the home for Hydra and every single classified document that SHIELD had on their servers was on the internet for the world to look at.

It still didn’t tell him who the Winter Soldier was or why the Avengers were hunting for him, but he’s pretty sure they’ve now got bigger problems to worry about.

Crawford and Darla both look shell shocked so Stiles is fairly sure they didn’t know anything more than he did about any of this. Which also means that they’re hopefully not moles for whatever remains of Hydra.

“Guess I’m going to be looking for a new job.”

 

********************************************************

 

Clint arrives in town three days after the big dramatic ‘SHIELD is Hydra’ news hits, well everything that can report on it. He looks decidedly worse for wear but however bad Clint looks Steve looks a thousand times worse.

Clint just looks like maybe some rest and a little time off with Stiles cuddling him would put him to rights, Steve looks completely haunted and maybe like some therapy wouldn’t exactly be remiss.

“What the actual fuck?” he hisses at Clint after Steve turns down seconds and goes to sullenly stare at the trees in the backyard. “Do we need to put Captain America on suicide watch or something?”

Clint busies himself by shoving food in his mouth, reaching for another piece of bread that he’d already turned down.

“We’re going to talk about this,” Stiles states, he crosses his arms over his chest and doesn’t look at where Darla looks close to tears and Crawford is staring at his plate like maybe it’ll erase the image of a grief-stricken Captain America if he just stares at it long enough.

Thankfully his dad is at the station, but Steve actually talks to his dad, about what neither of them will say, so maybe his dad being there would be helpful.

Stiles resolves to get him home at the earliest opportunity, he’s pretty sure that Steve isn’t planning on sleeping at all so he’ll probably still be up.

 

********************************************************

 

“You need to leave it alone,” his dad says, Stiles can see Steve in the backyard still morosely huddled in on himself.

“Dad…” he starts and his dad shakes his head and glares at him a little.

“Leave it alone, Stiles…” his dad rubs a hand over his face and glances over his shoulder at where Steve has his hands over his face and Stiles thinks he might be crying.

There is something totally wrong in this world where Captain America is sitting in his backyard crying and his dad is telling him to leave it alone.

Maybe he didn’t make it to the right universe.

“He asked me if there was spell for helping people remember who they were,” his dad says finally.

“Like for amnesia or something?”

“I guess, I had the coven look and there isn’t one written or anything,” his dad sighs. “I told him we’d help him in whatever way we could, but that spells of any sort were most likely going to be out. He still wouldn’t say what it was all about but he’ll talk to someone eventually. Until then, you need to give it, give him some time.”

“You know waiting is not exactly my strong suit,” Stiles reminds him.

“I am quite aware,” his dad says wryly, rolling his eyes at him even as he pulls him into a hug. Stiles goes easily because his dads hugs are the absolute best.

“Have you tried maybe hugging him? Dad hugs are the best,” he says, just in case

His father snorts like Stiles is an idiot.

 

********************************************************

 

Darla has a tiny bit of a crush on Danny, Stiles can understand that, Danny is the absolute best of them. He thinks it’s a rite of passage for everyone to have just the tiniest crush on Danny.

But Danny has a really great boyfriend who’s not any sort of creature of the night. Stiles has checked, then he had Derek check just to be sure.

Totally human, he hasn’t figured out how to have his dad run a thoroughly illegal background check but he’s fairly sure that Danny has that side covered so Stiles tries to not worry too much about it.

 

********************************************************

 

The house is quiet when he gets back from lunch with Scott.

His dad has taken Steve somewhere to beat things up, he’s fairly sure that it’s the same place that his dad and Liu go to, though he’s also almost positive that he’d heard Rayden’s voice that morning.

They’ll have words if Rayden has taken them someplace to beat up actual demons, Stiles has made his feelings on his dad being involved in even mock Kombat very well known.

He’s not sure where Clint disappeared to, normally it would mean assignment, but with SHIELD not gainfully employing them anymore he’s not sure what it means now. He was gone when Stiles got up, no note or message which he knows in Clint’s minds means he doesn’t plan on being gone long enough to leave one.

He’s got a bag of snacks, a can of Red Bull and the vaguest notion that he’s going to put on some headphones and do some serious logging on their database of monsters now that he doesn’t have to worry about actual work anymore.

He’d much rather be actually working.

All that is completely shelved when he walks into the dining room and there’s a homeless man sitting at the table. There’s a gun on the table right next to his hand. Stiles drops the bags with the snacks and Red Bull but manages to keep a grip on his phone.

“Uh,” he manages.

“Don’t scream,” the homeless man says.

“I’m,” he clears his throat and tries to pitch his voice lower so he doesn’t sound absolutely panicked. If there’s a wolf within three blocks of the house they’ll be there in like 90 seconds. “I’m not going to scream.”

He stands there and stares at this scraggly looking man, if he cleaned up; shaved and cut his hair he’d look exactly like…

His mind skitters away from even the idea, because that’s a crazy thought and…

“Can I, uh, help you… with, um, something?” he manages to ask. He glances over his shoulder at the door, and the man flexes his hand just a fraction. He’s wearing gloves and long sleeves, probably to hide the blood splatter when he inevitably kills Stiles.

The man just looks at him, his eyes are kind of blank, but there’s just a hint of desperation there.

“It’s just, you’re, um in my house? And there’s no one here, which means you had to break in so you could sit yourself down at my dining room table. I’m pretty sure you’re not here for my dad… or for me I guess, I mean I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure you’re not here for us.”

“SHIELD,” the man says, a finger taps against the table.

“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement & Logistics Division,” Stiles shifts on his feet, he thinks he could make a run for the door and yell loud enough in the process of being tackled to the ground and probably having a rib or an arm broken that the pack would hear him and come running.

It’s only the thought that there might be wolfsbane bullets in that gun that stops him.

“You work for them,” it’s a statement, not a question so Stiles doesn’t try and lie or anything. This guy doesn’t know him but he’s pretty sure that he’ll be able to tell Stiles is lying.

“Um, I did work for them, but they’re,” Stiles waves a hand to try and encompass the whole SHIELD, Hydra debacle that he thankfully only got to witness via television and not live and right there.

He’s sure the next question is going to be about the Avengers, whenever someone asks about him working at SHIELD there’s an almost 90% chance that the follow up question is about the Avengers. He’s got a standard comment about Thor’s hair that he almost always goes with.

“Do you work for Hydra?”

Stiles blinks at him.

“Excuse me?”

“Hydra.”

“No, I don’t work for Hydra,” Stiles says, he keeps his voice even and careful even though the thought that somebody might think he’d work for Hydra knowingly kind of pisses him off.

“Look can we put the gun away and I don’t know, like just sit here quietly and wait for my dad and Steve to come back. Or Clint, Clint will probably be back before my dad and Steve. Because, I don’t know you or anything, but the thing is there are werewolves that patrol this area because you get kidnapped a time or two and all of a sudden you need a supernatural babysitter to make sure you don’t end up getting kidnapped again. If they come within 3 blocks of the house and can hear my heartbeat being all panicked and stuff they’re going to come barreling through the door with claws and teeth out and my dad will be so extremely pissed off if we have to replace the door, or a wall or window again.”

The man blinks at him and slides the gun off the table and into his pocket, Stiles imagines he can probably still get to it faster than he could get to the door but it’s a slight amount of progress and honestly he’ll take what he can get at this point.

As long as it doesn’t end up with him being shot or broken in any way. He doesn’t have a job at the moment, which means he’s not sure what his medical insurance situation looks like other then he probably doesn’t have any.

“Now how about a name? I’ve just been calling you scraggly looking homeless man in my head but it’s kind of long and I definitely can’t introduce you like that.”

The man looks at him, mouth doing something weird like it’s trying to form words but they won’t come. “James,” he finally ends up saying. “James Buchanan Barnes, I guess,” he reaches up and rubs fingers against his forehead like he’s in pain, “I guess people used to call me Bucky.”

“No. fucking. way.”

 

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“Hey Steve, it’s Stiles, so um, when you and dad are finished demolishing bags or demons or whatever, you uh, might want to come back. Like soon, or something. Right, bye.”

 

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