- Work in Progress
- Disturbing Imagery
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
There was blood at the bottom of the stone stairs.
The iron stench of it was sharp in Stiles’ nose, hovering in the damp air wafting up from the darkness seeping out of the Hale Vault.
“Stiles?” Lydia whispered.
Gripping his bat tight, Stiles put a restraining hand on Lydia behind him. “Stay behind me.”
His Converse covered feet were just a whisper against the stone as he continued down into the dark. The blood was black, lit only by the halogen lights of the school grounds streaming in at their backs. Stiles carefully stepped over the puddle bat at the ready in his hands. He was glad he had it and that Lydia had listened to him and halted her descent. She was stubborn though, so he wasn’t sure she would stay put for long.
The vault wasn’t as dark as it first seemed. Weak light was coming from various areas of the ceiling illuminating the dank space enough for his human eyes to see a headless body sprawled just beyond the entrance. It wasn’t the first bloody body he’d seen in the last year but each one sent a sharp slice of fear through his breast bone. And he knew, this body would feature in the black of his dreams, as had the others for months.
Though, dead bodies were better than the waking dreams concocted by Void.
“Who is it?” The click of Lydia’s booted-heels started their way down the stone steps.
“Wait…” Stiles said, hoping to halt her stubborn bravery.
Breathing deeply his gaze roamed up the body, female, to a head with long hair dark in the low light, which seemed to have been thrown across the room to settle at the bottom of a blood-spattered safe. Stiles moved silently closer, kneeling. Swallowing the bile in his throat he gingerly rolled the head face up.
“It’s Kate.” Relief flooded through him, louder he called, “Lydia, it’s Kate Argent.”
“Stiles?” The tremble in her voice pulled his attention away from the horror death had brought to Kate’s face.
Lydia was standing over another body, the flashlight app on her phone illuminating the undignified sprawl of it. It could only be Peter, Stiles’ thought, bile coming back into his throat as he moved to see more clearly. Lydia was practically hyperventilating, standing there trembling.
Taking Lydia’s phone to stop the strobe light effect from her shakes. Stiles’ took in the familiar face.
It wasn’t Peter.
Stiles didn’t know why he was comforted by that.
Stiles hesitated for a moment, shocked. “It’s Brunski, he’s an orderly at Eichen House, or he was.”
Brunski was definitely dead with a large knife sticking out of his breastbone. The handle looked like stone, or was that jade? Stiles couldn’t tell in the low light but the handle had various symbols on it including the triskelion. Past, Present, Future. Alpha, Beta, Omega.
“What was he doing here?” Lydia asked.
Stiles shook his head. “I have no idea.”
Brunski’s death mask was a hideous sight, his face still in shock with wide eyes and an open mouth. Not that Stiles would mourn the man who’d tormented him for three days in that evil nut house.
A slight gasp behind them had Stiles dropping Lydia’s phone with a clatter and bringing his bat up ready to swing. The hairs on his neck prickled when he spied a pair of boots sticking out from behind a walled corridor. Hesitating for a second, Stiles breathed deeply again, ready to swing his bat as he cautiously approached eating up the fifty feet between him and the figure faster than he would have liked.
Blood glistened darkly over the shadowed form until Lydia brought the light back.
It was Peter.
He had a hand over a seeping wound in his neck and his torso was riddled with gouges. Claw marks no doubt from the fight with Kate. He was breathing but it was shallow.
“Shit!” His bat fell from his hands with a clatter. Stiles dropped down at Peter’s side. His hands hovered for a moment not sure what to do. “Call Scott, and Derek.”
Stiles’ indecision lasted only seconds when Peter’s eyes popped open with a startled snarl passing his lips. The snarl gave way to a quiet moan as his beta-blue eyes took in Stiles hovering above him. Pulling off his hoodie, Stiles decided the most pressing matter was the blood coming from Peter’s neck wound.
A bloody clawed hand grabbed at Stiles weakly, clutching the front of his t-shirt as Stiles pressed the cloth against the gash.
Pressing hard, but trying not to inadvertently cut off Peter’s air supply, Stiles said, “Move your hand, Peter.”
Wary blue eyes assessed him for a moment before he did as he’d been told. He clutched Stiles’ wrist anyway, his claws out still. Stiles figured he’d ignore them for the time being and just hope Peter wouldn’t slash his wrist. It was hit or miss to predict what Peter Hale would do in any situation.
“Why aren’t you healing?” And he wasn’t healing, at all. The wounds were open, and oozing blood, though the blood seemed to still be red, rather than the sickly black he’d seen previously on werewolves who were having trouble healing for whatever reason.
“Weak… Still.” Peter’s breath hitched. “From dying the first time.”
“Oh… You’ll heal eventually, right?”
Peter didn’t answer just closed his eyes with a grimace. The claws digging into Stiles’ wrist retracted.
This was not good, not good at all. Stiles wasn’t sure what to do. They had two bodies, at least one mystery to solve, and a wounded and possibly dying Peter to deal with. Oh, and Saturday school activities were going to start in the morning. Where the fuck was Scott and Derek?
Speak of the devil, Stiles heard pounding of feet down the stairs.
Pressing harder against Peter’s neck, Stiles called, “Over here!”
“Is he dead?”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “No, Scott, I’m just trying to stop the bleeding for nothing.”
He didn’t want to think too much about the relief he’d heard in his best friend’s voice over the possibility Peter could be dead. Scott was all optimism and sunshine unless it was related to Peter Hale.
“What happened?” Derek asked, his voice his usual grumpy rumble.
“Oh, thank god, you’re grownup again. Get overhear and help me!”
Derek didn’t look any worse for wear than he usually did after a fight, so Stiles figured he could get his Sourwolf ass over and help with his uncle. Derek loomed for a moment before moving around Stiles to crouch down near Peter’s head.
“Let me see.”
Stiles hesitated for a second, not sure if he should take the pressure off of Peter’s neck wound.
“If it squirts blood all over me, I’m gonna be pissed.”
Derek rolled his eyes. “Just let me see, Stiles.”
Peter must have still been conscious because he winched when Stiles pulled his bloody hoodie away. The wound didn’t spurt all over them, but it was still bleeding sluggishly. Derek assessed the wound for a moment before nodding for Stiles to apply pressure again.
“He’s healing but slowly.”
“Yeah, that’s what he said.”
“Is he dying?” Scott asked, and Stiles was reminded his friend was being useless standing over them. Granted he was relieved Scott was okay but standing around as a spectator wasn’t going to deal with the situation.
“No,” Derek replied. “Though we need to get him out of here so he can heal. Stiles, can you make that into a pressure bandage?”
“Yes, I think so, though it’s in an awkward spot, so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.”
“Do what you can.”
“Can you find me a pair of scissors or a knife? You know, one that isn’t covered in the blood of Peter’s enemies?”
Derek huffed with a slight curl to his lips. “Give me a minute.”
“We can use my belt to put pressure on the chest wounds,” Lydia said, taking Derek’s place at Stiles’ side. Stiles appreciated Lydia’s willingness to ruin her designer belt, especially for Peter, since he was not her favorite person, werewolf, at all.
Derek a knife in hand, a very old, sharp and decorative one, returned. The white handle seemed very warm once it was placed in Stiles’ hand. It almost vibrated, and Stiles’ wondered if it had some sort of magical power. If so, he hoped it was good or benign. Since Derek didn’t seem concerned about it, he either didn’t feel it or he knew the knife wasn’t a threat. It was hit or miss with Sourwolf giving away any information on the supernatural, much to Stiles’ continued frustration.
Lydia replaced Stiles to hold the pressure along the wound in Peter’s neck with her bare hands and his hand fell away from Stiles’ wrist. He worked to cut his poor hoodie into pieces to use as pressure bandages. Her belt was too small to go around Peter’s torso, so Stiles cut the cloth into some long thick strips to wrap about his chest and stomach. Tightening the cloth, Peter grunted a bit at the pressure, but never opened his eyes or protested what they were doing to him.
Peter’s neck wound was a bit trickier but they were able to wrap thick pads on it, just tightening Lydia’s belt enough to keep pressure on the wound but not restrict his breathing.
“I’ll stay with him,” Lydia said, looking at the still clawed hand tangled in the front of Stiles’ t-shirt, “figure out what needs to be done with the others.”
“Thanks, I know he’s not your favorite person.”
“No he isn’t, but I do understand him.”
Startled, Stiles looked up from trying to gently detangle Peter’s still clawed fingers from his shirt. Lydia, for all that he’d thought she hated Peter, she seemed fine with her hands on him. As if, Peter wasn’t her enemy, the way Stiles had thought she perceived him. Lydia Martin could hold a grudge, but it seemed that any grudge she had against Peter was no more or greatly reduced in the big scheme of things. That knowledge discombobulated him a bit and he hoped, at some point soon, he’d be able to badger Lydia to reveal what she knew about Peter. It would be good information to have.
His t-shirt was as lost a cause as his hoodie, so Stiles just pulled away with the sound of ripping cotton. Now he had a nipple showing and no hoodie to cover it up. Not that he was body shy per se, but with Derek, the abs man, Scott, and the rest of the pack, Stiles was hopelessly outclassed in the beauty department.
He stood and wiped the blood off his hands as best he could against his trousers before moving back into the main part of the cavernous vault where Derek, Scott, Malia, and Kira were standing in a huddle. Stiles was glad they were all okay, a little bloody, but their wounds were healed except for Kira. The gash on her head looked painful still bleeding a bit down her pretty face.
“What happened to those bone warrior things?” He asked.
“They just left, probably when Peter killed Kate,” Scott replied.
“They’re Berserkers and don’t have their master anymore, so they’ll likely make their way back to the church in Mexico, to wait for another,” Derek said. “Peter knows more about them then I do, so we’ll have to check with him when he’s able to talk. If they’re still here in Beacon Hills, we’re going to have to find a way to deal with them.”
“Did you guys figure out what we’re gonna do with these bodies?” Stiles, asked, keeping his gaze on Derek and Scott rather than the corpses surrounding them. Though, Malia was frowning toward Brunski’s corpse.
“We’ll take Kate’s body and burn it. She’s dead, but I want to make sure she’ll never come back.” Derek’s voice was fierce, broking no argument.
“Could she come back from having her head torn off, really?” Scott said in disbelief.
“Probably not, but she’s done enough damage and I want to be sure.”
“I couldn’t agree more, big guy,” Stiles returned, placing a hand on Derek’s shoulder. Grounding himself as much as Derek in that moment. Kate had done so much damage to Derek and the rest of them really, but she had destroyed Derek, Peter, and the Hale Pack. The bitch needed to stay dead and burning her seemed to be the right kind of justice, in Stiles’ opinion.
“What about Brunski?” Malia asked. “I’m glad he’s dead, but what was he doing here? Did he come with Kate?”
“I don’t know, but that mystery will have to be figured out later,” Stiles said, “My dad can investigate it.”
“We can’t have the cops find the vault,” Derek said, “we’ll have to take the body with us and dump it someplace. We could burn it along with Kate and he’d never be found.”
“No… no, we need to figure out why he was here. My dad can investigate Brunski legally since he’s obviously been murdered. Of course, his murder will go unsolved but maybe we can figure out what he was doing here tonight. We just need to get his body out of here and someplace else. Call in an anonymous tip. I can tell my dad what happened later.”
“Peter didn’t need to kill him,” Scott stated. “He could have just knocked him out then we’d be able to ask him what he was doing here.”
“Scott! Really,” Stiles said, exasperated. “Trust me, he wasn’t a good person and with Peter fighting Kate as hard as he did, he probably didn’t have a choice. We don’t know why Brunski was here, but Peter used a knife instead of claws on him. Maybe he was here to kill Peter? Maybe he was here to kill Derek—”
“Maybe he was here to take something,” Malia cut in. “I’m fine with him being dead, he sucked and was just cruel at Eichen House.”
“There ya go,” Stiles said, working his jazz hands. “We just don’t know and until Peter heals up and talks, there’s no point in arguing about it.”
Scott’s eyes flared red for a moment but Kira’s hand on his arm seemed to shake him out of whatever protest he was about to voice. Stiles didn’t have the time to deal with Scott’s morals at the moment or his ongoing grudge against Peter Hale. Granted, Stiles understood his best friend’s point of view, not that he agreed with it at all. Peter, creeper wolf that he was, had been helping them a lot lately. Well… as long as it didn’t threaten his own life again.
“We need to get moving it’ll be dawn in a few hours,” Derek said. “Stiles can you and Lydia get Peter to Deaton’s? The rest of us will clean up here.”
“Dump Brunski where he’ll be found but hopefully not by any kids, okay?” Stiles replied. “We’re gonna need help getting Peter to my Jeep.”
Derek nodded. He was calm, and Stiles didn’t know if that was because Kate was finally deceased or if Derek was learning to compartmentalize his trauma. He’d just been manipulated and used by Kate again, as a teenager again. Stiles wondered how the trauma of that would show itself in the future.
Scott and Kira didn’t seem thrilled to have to deal with the corpses but Malia was her usual pragmatic self. Stiles was glad she was on their side. Her ruthlessness, tempered just a bit, was great to have in the big scheme of crazy that was Beacon Hills.
Stiles followed Derek back to Lydia and Peter. Stiles did a double-take when he noticed she was holding Peter’s hand. His claws were retracted. Derek kneeled at Peter’s head, his hands along the side of his uncle’s face. The black veins of werewolf pain drain ran up Derek’s strong arms. It looked to Stiles like a lot of pain to take based on the solid darkness of the lines and the hard twisting of Derek’s face.
Peter gasped a deep breath, his wolf eye’s popping open for a second before he relaxed into his nephew’s hands.
“I’ll have to carry him,” Derek gasped, the lines dying down to a dull gray on his arms until they were no more. “He should be healed enough to walk with support when you get him to Deaton’s—”
“No! Not Deaton’s,” Peter slurred.
“… the loft. If not, call me and I’ll come as soon as I can to help.”
“Okay, sounds like a plan,” Stiles replied.
“How long with the pain drain last?” Lydia asked. She rose to her feet, smoothing invisible wrinkles in her skirt then shook her head at the blood from her hands left behind on the fabric.
Taking her place at Peter’s side, Derek hefted him bridal carry style in his arms. Peter’s head lolled for a moment before settling on Derek’s shoulder. “Only about an hour.”
“Thank you,” Peter mouthed, against Derek’s neck. His eyes remained closed.
Stiles figured Peter must be at death’s door to trust any of them to take care of him, even his nephew. He was always on the fringes of the pack. Stiles didn’t think he actually was part of the pack in the traditional sense of the word. Stiles didn’t actually know if Derek was part of the pack either. Scott had seemed to claim them all after he’d become an Alpha. Well… except for Peter.
The pain was still a low throb but was starting to rise back into becoming excruciating.
He wasn’t looking forward to it. Couldn’t trust his nephew or McCall to continue to take it. Not that he blamed Derek for the lack of caring. It just wasn’t how wolf packs, and werewolf packs were supposed to be. Of course, Peter was an Omega wolf and not part of any pack, hadn’t been since his family was destroyed.
He wished he wasn’t conscious at the moment as Stiles jostled him a bit opening the large metal door to Derek’s loft. He didn’t even have the energy, concentrating on just staying upright, to snark at Stiles and Lydia as they struggled under his weight.
“Almost there.” Stiles huffed and puffed. “Peter? You still with us?”
“Barely,” he gasped as the pain he’d been expecting surged throughout his body. His legs gave out going down the stairs.
“Stiles!” Lydia yelled, buckling with the added weight.
“Whoa, whoa! I got him! I got him!” Stiles gasped, flailing down to the bottom of the steps and dropping Peter from his arms, unfortunately, to the floor. “Well, I thought I had him.”
Peter hissed at the pain. Lydia and Stiles’ concerned faces were floating blurry above him.
“Sorry… sorry,” Stiles muttered, grabbing him under the arms pulling him to sit upright. “Can you get back on your feet?”
Peter didn’t think so and grunted in the negative. He just didn’t have any stamina left and with only Stiles and Lydia to help him, there were no others with the strength to get him off the floor. It was too bad Derek stayed behind to clean up. It was selfish of him to think, but Peter would really like to be carried rather than dragged to Derek’s bed. And bed it would be, not the damn couch, which was where Stiles and Lydia were currently heading.
“What?” Stiles asked, and the pulling under his arms ceased.
“If you’re going to drag me across the floor get me to the damn bed,” Peter said, “Derek won’t care.”
“Oh, oh! Right, good idea. Though, if he gets more sour than usual with me, I’m going to blame you. Which would be true anyway.”
“Stiles… just shut up and get me to the bed.”
“Right, right. Lydia, can you grab his feet? I think I can pull him over there with the two of us.” Stiles’ hands tightened under his armpits. It was a less than pleasant feeling with the amount of pain slicing through him. “You sure you can’t get up?”
“I’m sure, it’s not like I want to be on the floor,” he hissed, irritated. Stiles was muttering under his breath but Peter could care less what the boy was saying. Peter’s shoulders were still intact but it hurt having them drag him in fits and spurts across the loft to the far corner of the room. Lydia kept losing hold of his feet before giving up to just stand out of Stiles’ way.
He was healing much too slowly, including the bruising he knew was under his skin from being thrown around the vault in the fight.
It seemed like an age to Peter but finally, the pair got him to Derek’s bed.
“Come on,” Stiles squeaked, breaths coming fast. Peter worked to get his feet sorted while Stiles pulled him up and finally he was rolled on to the soft surface. Stiles pushed and shoved his body fully onto Derek’s bed and Peter didn’t have the energy to protest the rough treatment more than giving out a pained whine from the depth of this throat.
“Sorry,” Stiles muttered, “I’ll be right back.” And then he was gone.
Peter felt a slight weight next to him then a small warm hand on his arm. He didn’t know why Lydia was touching him. He knew he wasn’t in her good books in any fashion, so he tried to ignore the warmth that settled in his chest at not being alone with his pain for once.
Drifting, hoping he’d leave the pain and healing behind with sleep, he was surprised when she spoke. “I knew someone was going to die tonight. I’m glad it wasn’t you.”
“Did you want to scream?” He murmured, opening his eyes taking her in before closing them again, seeking the darkness. She seemed unsettled, perhaps a bit traumatized by what had happened. A bit disheveled from her excursions, pensive with flakes of his blood dotting her creamy cheeks.
“Yes, but it wasn’t pressing.” She hesitated. “Like it was with Allison or when we were trying to find Kira after Barrow had taken her.”
“Mmm, perhaps when death is closest to you is when your power is at its peak.” Peter grimaced with a surge of aching pain. “Something to think about.”
“Peter,” she whispered, leaning in close, “do you know more about banshees than you told me before?”
“You know I do.”
“You said you’d teach me, in exchange for the memories Talia stole from you. Is there more you can teach me?”
“Yes.” He sighed, the information exchange inadvertent. He blamed the slices of pain and exhaustion he was dealing with for his admission. From neck to stomach the pain carved deep and thorough, almost blended making his wounds indistinguishable from each other.
She was quiet then, allowing him to drift.
At least, he finally had dealt Kate Argent the final deathblow. It was about fucking time.
If he hadn’t been out of his mind then buried under the floorboards of his previous home, he would have double-checked she wasn’t turning from his claws ten months ago. He would have burned her body then.
He wondered what she thought when she first woke up with the Calaveras and turning. Peter hoped she’d been horrified but since the bitch had embraced the Jaguar in her, she probably relished the power. Of course, she’d become the hunted instead of the hunter, so Peter figured there was some poetic justice in that.
Either way, Kate Argent was a psychopathic serial killer, as a human or shifter and he was extremely satisfied he’d held his own, as weak as he was, against her long enough to rip her pretty head from her shoulders. She had known how to fight a werewolf as a human but not as another shifter. It had made her fast but clumsy and careless, particularly a new shifter whose senses had been diminished by the stranger’s flash grenades. And with her Berserkers occupied with his nephew and McCall, on her own against him and his rage, she’d wounded him badly but in the end, hadn’t kept him from killing her. Her hot blood and the shock on her face when he ripped her head off her shoulders had been more satisfying than tearing her throat out.
Sanity, made it much more gratifying the second time around.
He was startled out of his thoughts at the banging and clumsy flailing sounds of Stiles’ frenetic energy inflicting itself on Derek’s quiet space.
“He still alive?” Stiles asked, hefting up something onto the bed with a bounce.
Peter growled a bit with the jostling opening his eyes to see what was going on around him. He was used to being left alone, not having anyone around him while he was vulnerable. He didn’t like the feeling, except, it was Stiles and Lydia. Not that they couldn’t hurt him but even if he wasn’t their favorite wolf, he didn’t think they’d actually try to. If it had been McCall trying to help him or if he’d been taken to Deaton’s for care, Peter wouldn’t be as trusting or relaxed as he was considering the amount of pain he was in.
“Oh, good, you’re still awake.” Stiles looked relieved as if he’d expected Peter to expire in the minutes it had taken him to get whatever he was getting from his jeep. Which is where Peter had assumed Stiles went.
Lydia released his arm to move out of Stiles’ way and kneeled on Peter’s other side on the bed as he pulled a huge red professional-grade medical kit to him to rummage through.
Peter felt the pressure bandages being released one by one by Lydia’s hands. The blood was still wet so it didn’t pull at his skin. He kept his eyes on Stiles, though, wondering what the kid was thinking. He could heal enough on his own. It would just take time.
Was that iodine? And a jug of distilled water? What the hell?
“Stiles,” Peter moaned, at feeling cool soft cloths gently running over his wounds. “What are you doing?”
“We’re cleaning you up, dude.” And they were, both of them removing the blood and dirt from the gouges in his chest, stomach, and neck. It was painful but not any more so than earlier in the evening. “Oh, good they’ve stopped bleeding… and I think you’re starting to heal.”
Stiles had been squinting close to his chest, assessing the injuries. He pulled back and worked quietly with Lydia to finish. Peter’s fingers twitched a bit with the pounding ache that accompanied the careful hands of the two teens. They were tending to him like he was a wounded packmate. He’d not been touched in so long in that way he reveled in the feeling, watching them, seeing them seem to care for him. It was strange but wonderful, like being touched by Derek for the first time since his nephew’s claws had torn out his throat. The scent of family that had permitted in his nose when Derek had carried him from the vault had been the first time that comfort had been with him since before the fire. Since his whole world had ended that terrible night.
The sting of disinfectant brought Peter out of his watchful daze, wincing away from Stiles’ steady fingers swiping saturated cloths across his torso. Peter captured Stiles’ wrist. “You don’t need to do anymore, I’ll heal.”
“Let go of me, Peter,” Stiles said, his mouth set in a hard mulish line.
Peter squeezed the bones under his palm, not hard, not enough to hurt, but enough to give a warning if Stiles decided to take advantage. Assessing him for a moment, Peter let him go and relaxed. He didn’t know what Stiles and Lydia were playing at and didn’t want to let hope grow in his chest that at least someone was on his side in the shit show that was McCall’s supposed ‘pack’.
“What happened in the vault, Peter?” Lydia asked, working her own disinfectant cloths on him.
He stared at the ceiling. “Kate was after the triskelion, unable to control her shift. After Derek left to help Scott and the others, we fought. I won.”
“There’s more to it than that,” Stiles stated. “What happened with Brunski?”
“The other guy, he’s an orderly from Eichen House.”
Stiles’s tone suggested he did not hold the man… Brunski in high regard at all. Peter mulled over the new information but it didn’t shed any light on the events.
“I don’t think he was with Kate if that’s what you mean. I don’t know why he was there. He threw down some flash grenades that disoriented us during the fight. It did allow me to get the upper hand with Kate, though, so I’m grateful for that.”
“Upper hand.” Stiles snorted derisively. “She did a number on you, dude.”
“Perhaps.” And Peter could feel the smile on his face was a bit feral at thinking about Kate’s end. “Regardless, I was able to neutralize her. By the time he came down into the vault, I wasn’t very mobile.”
“Do you know what he wanted?”
“No, he didn’t speak to me, just aimed a gun that I have no doubt had wolfsbane bullets in it, at me. Why he hesitated to shoot me, I don’t know but it gave me enough time to grab a knife from the shelf above me. I threw it at him, hoping for a distraction, I didn’t actually think my aim would be so true and kill him. I wanted to know why he was there. Information is always valuable.”
“Word,” Stiles shook his head, handing the last of the dirty cloths to Lydia. “It’s a mystery, I didn’t see a gun, but there was blood everywhere!”
Peter heard a scraping sound and it distracted his contemplation of the loft’s ceiling. Stiles was mixing some sort of lavender colored paste in a glass jar. He flinched when the concoction was spread over his neck wound. Whatever it was, the effect was immediate, the pain ebbed and dulled significantly.
“What is that?”
“Oh, I made a salve from the Nine Herbs,” Stiles replied, distracted, fully concentrating on spreading the mixture to Peter’s other wounds. “There’s a lot of injuries, I hope I brought enough to cover them all.”
“How in the world do you know about the Nine Herbs?”
Stiles’ eyes flicked to meet his for just a second before skittering away. “I’ve been studying what I can of the supernatural. I saw a reference to them on the internet. Did you know that nine and three are significant numbers in Germanic paganism?”
“Stiles, don’t deflect. How are you getting information just from the internet? Knowledge of that nature doesn’t come from the ether, you know.” Peter persisted. It was fascinating that Stiles knew about the herbs. They were referenced only in Lacnunga a tenth-century Anglo-Saxon text in the British Library. Of course, a book that was available for public consumption anyway. “Have you been studying herbology with Deaton?”
“No…” Stiles finished, having used most of his salve. “Deaton doesn’t give information away even when we need it the most.”
“You don’t trust him, do you?” Lydia stated. She was still at Peter’s side on the bed, and it registered she was holding his hand again as she’d done in the vault. He didn’t pull away, more interested in her assertion, though he made a note of it. Deaton wasn’t trustworthy but he’d been the only one, or so he thought to realize that.
Stiles was silent, under Lydia’s stare.
Her eyes lit. “That’s why you didn’t want me to stay alone at the vet clinic with Derek and Deaton when we got back from Mexico! It wasn’t Derek you were worried about, was it?”
Peter thought for a moment Stiles wasn’t going to answer her. The struggle on Stiles’ face was evident enough that he knew something had happened to make Deaton seem like the threat Peter knew he was to the boy, to all of them.
He looked at Peter, arrested for a moment. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened last year with the Alpha Pack and the Nogistune. And I think… Deaton had an agenda of his own and we were all so trusting of him, maybe because Scott trusts him, that we couldn’t see the bigger picture.”
“Stiles,” Peter said, slowly a bit alarmed by the darkness in Stiles’ eyes. “What’s the bigger picture?”
He blinked, pensive. “That the Darach wasn’t the only magic user who wanted power returned to the Nemeton.”