- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Murder
- Disturbing Imagery
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
He tried to be quiet sneaking in not wanting to wake his dad if he was home. The house was dark except for the light in the kitchen, which his dad sometimes forgot to turn off before he left for a night shift. The last two days had been so hectic, Stiles couldn’t remember what his dad’s schedule was at the moment.
The door closed with a near-silent click and Stiles locked it for good measure. The tension in his shoulder’s eased a bit with the scent of old wood that permeated his home. The house wasn’t as old as Melissa’s Victorian, but the turn of the century Neo-classical style home was up there in age, at least to Stiles, it was old. His mom had loved the architecture of the post-Victorian pre-Art Deco period of the early nineteen hundreds, so the house had been a dream of her’s when his parents had purchased it.
Stiles’ mind was still on Peter and the first time he’d actually worked with the herbs he’d been studying. He’d been able to help, if not his friends against Kate and Berserkers, but at least one of their own who’d been hurt. It was a good feeling, being able to do more than just research a problem. And in Peter’s case, ease his pain somewhat and help him to heal. He knew he was valuable to his friends and the pack in that regard, able to solve mysteries and get everyone going in the right direction to deal with the threats they’d experienced since Scott became a werewolf. It did feel good to be able to do more, help as much as he could as a human who couldn’t physically fight supernatural creatures. Granted he had his trusty bat, but in the big scheme of things, it was all for show.
By the time Derek had gotten to the loft, Peter had been resting comfortably, asleep with his wounds closing faster than they’d been. Stiles’ Nine Herb salve doing its healing magic. Derek had complained a bit about the smell, which to Stiles just smelled lovely, and the fact Peter had bloodied his bed. Stiles just figured it was Derek’s way of deflecting from his relief that Peter hadn’t died on them.
The times Derek manhandled him seemed to be no more, his distrust, at least of Stiles had ebbed over the last year. The grief from his family’s loss was all still there for Derek but the anger had eased to a certain extent, as well. He seemed to trust Stiles the most out of all of the pack, even after the Void’s ease in possessing him. Just another weakness, Stiles worried would be used against his friends, and Allison was no more because of that weakness. Stiles didn’t want to be a werewolf but he also didn’t want to be a burden. It was a conundrum he’d been mulling for months and knew the only thing he could do was educate himself about the supernatural as much as he possibly could or take a chance that the bite wouldn’t kill him.
Peter was right. Information was power and the less Deaton knew about what Stiles knew the safer he and his dad and friends would be.
He was so lost in thought walking down the front hall, he yelped and flailed landing on his butt on the hardwood floor when a light in the living room clicked on.
“Stiles,” Noah said, in a measured tone, which turned to alarmed as he rushed forward. “Are you hurt?”
“No! No…” Stiles’s arms waved giving his dad a shooing motion. “The blood’s not mine, I swear!”
Noah relaxed his hovering before straightening up and crossing his arms over his chest with a frown. “Stiles.”
And the measured tone was back. Stiles knew he was in for a parental lecture if not downright grounding. Though, to be fair, his dad had been pretty cool about the whole werewolf supernatural situation since he’d found out last September.
“Hey, Pops!” As usual, Stiles decided to wing it and see how much trouble he was actually in before he gave anything away. “You’re up late, crime scene at the gas station take awhile?”
His dad was a silent frowning crossed armed vision standing in his pj’s. Stiles experienced a bit of déjà vu. Except for the lack of uniform or interrogation setting, his dad had the — I’ve had enough of your shenanigans and you’re going to stop your nonsense right now —countenance he’d experienced at the station when Jackson had taken out a restraining order on him and Scott last year.
“We talked about this, Stiles. You’re supposed to keep me in the loop.”
“Dad, honestly there wasn’t time—”
“No!” He said, with a hand slicing through the air. “Don’t even go there, son. Not after lying about camping when instead you were actually in Mexico.”
Stiles deflated under that stare and got himself off of the floor.
“I know, I’m sorry. But dad, sometimes things happen fast and you can’t be there, not as my dad or the sheriff.”
Noah rubbed his face with a sigh. “Sit down, tell me what happened tonight, and no lying or you’ll be grounded for the rest of the school year, regardless of the fact you’re eighteen in a week.”
It was going to be okay. His dad being exasperated with him was always a good thing. A loving thing he’d experienced since he first got into serious trouble getting stuck high in the tree in their back yard when he was four.
Stiles worked to keep the smile off his face. There was no sense in aggravating his father further just because Noah was a complete marshmallow when it came to Stiles.
Once seated, it took some time but Stiles got out everything that happened, as he knew it, with minimal interjections from Noah to clarify a point. He could tell, all of it scared his dad. It scared him too and he didn’t want his father anywhere near that type of situation now or in the future. He didn’t have a chance in hell of that not happening though. Noah would be in the crosshairs just due to his job alone, but at least if there was something hinky in a supernatural way, Noah would seek the pack’s help for it, or at least Derek’s assistance.
“So, Derek is back to normal and Kate Argent is dead again?”
“Yeah, well, I think Derek is back to normal.” Stiles shifted, thinking. “I’m not sure if there’s any lingering effects of the magic Kate did on him, but he seemed alright when we left the loft.”
“And you’re sure Kate Argent killed the gas station attendant and I’m going to get an anonymous tip on Brunski’s body? Peter has no idea why the man was there?”
Stiles nodded. “It was definitely Kate who killed the attendant. Peter said she was looking for a Hale artifact that would teach her control. And no, he didn’t know Brunski, at all. He wasn’t lying about that.” Frowning, Stiles’s mind was going a mile a minute about that. “Dad, it’s strange. He must have wanted something from the vault and I can’t think whatever it was is a good thing.”
Noah pinched the bridge of his nose. “It’s like Peter’s nurse, the angel of death, all over again. An investigation of someone killed by an animal attack, but with more to be revealed. That’s just great. I’m going to need to have a conversation with Peter Hale, as soon as possible.”
“What do you mean? Angel of death? Oh, and Peter killed Brunski with a knife, so a straight-up murder for you to investigate, though, it was self-defense on Peter’s part.”
Noah’s gaze on him was wiry, but he ignored the killed with a knife comment, which Stiles thought was a good sign. “After her body was found, during the investigation, we discovered evidence that she was regularly killing patients in the long term care unit for about four years before her death.”
Stiles could feel his mouth drop open, before he sputtered, “What?”
Noah ignored his hand flapping and the question. “Besides, how much time exactly are you spending with Peter Hale? Peter Hale, who was crazy as a bed bug, a feral werewolf, as you called it, who killed his niece and all of the people involved in the Hale fire?”
Shit! He really should have learned by now not to underestimate his Dad’s ability to confound Stiles by accosting him with logic and a wily investigative brain. He stupidly, as usual, figured he could fly under the radar with his plans. Particularly, after tonight, since he and Lydia were already plotting how they would pick Peter’s brain about his knowledge of the supernatural world, banshees and werewolf culture specifically. Scott certainly seemed to have no interest in doing so, except for when it came to the powers he now had and he always asked Derek rather than Peter for information.
“Uh, well Dad, probably more than you’d like.”
“What? I’m sorry but Peter has been helpful and he knows all about this supernatural shit!”
“What about talking to Deaton?”
Stiles blurted, “I don’t trust him, Dad.”
And then wanted to kick himself for his lack of filter when confronted by Noah’s dogged determination to extract information from him. He was usually more on his game at deflecting his Pops, but it had been a long ass night of blood and terror, so Stiles figured he was still out of sorts about the whole Derek being a teenager, Kate being undead, and an undead Peter Hale dying in the vault thing.
“And the reason for that is?” Noah leaned forward in his chair, arresting Stiles with the intensity of his gaze.
Stiles opened then closed his mouth, wondering if he should reveal what had been on his mind since Allison’s death.
“I’ve just… been thinking a lot about the whole sacrifice thing when we were dealing with the Alpha Pack and the Darach,” Stiles replied, not caving under paternal pressure per se, but he needed his dad to believe him and start being wary of Deaton. “And I don’t think it should have been necessary.”
“What do you mean? Not that I like the fact the man drowned you to find me. Was there another way to find us?”
“I’m not sure, Peter and Derek couldn’t remember where it was. But dad, Deaton was supposedly an ‘advisor’ to Talia Hale.” Stiles frowned, emphasizing his point with air quotes. “Which I think in the vague terms Deaton enjoys using so much meant he was her emissary. I’m pretty sure he’s a druid, though he’s never outright said that he is. But if he is a druid and if he was her emissary, and knows all sorts of stuff about the supernatural in Beacon Hills, wouldn’t he have known where the Nemeton was located? Wouldn’t his sister Marin? She was confirmed to be Deucalion’s emissary. Looking back on it, it makes no sense to me that he didn’t know or that she didn’t know.”
“So you’re saying the sacrifice wasn’t necessary and therefore what you went through being possessed by the, what do you call it, demon fox spirit shouldn’t have happened?” Noah’s brow had the beginnings of that thunderous frown on it. The one he got when Stiles was hurt and there was something he could do about it or would be doing about it.
“Nogitsune, yeah.” Stiles shook his head, as a slice of alarm skittered up his spine. “I don’t know what his deal is but I think he wanted us to do the sacrifice. He should have been able to tell us hours and days earlier after you where taken where that damn tree stump was.”
“Peter nor Derek have confirmed he was Talia’s emissary?”
“No, I don’t think they know for sure. The emissary position is usually only known to the Alpha, as I understand it.”
Noah sat back, contemplating for a moment and Stiles could practically see the wheels turning in his dad’s brain. “So we need to figure out what Brunski was doing in the vault and what Deaton’s agenda is when it comes to you kids.”
“Dad, it’s so dangerous—”
“Stiles, it’s my job as your father and as the sheriff. You can’t keep me out of the loop and assume I’m going to be safe. You know that’s not the case.”
“I know,” Stiles replied, wringing his hands, “but I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“And I don’t want you to get hurt, son.”
And they were at an impasse. Stiles thought for a moment but he was just too tired to work all the angles to keep his dad away from investigating Deaton. He did need his dad’s help to investigate Brunski, so perhaps they could work together on both.
“Can I help with the investigations, though?”
Stiles tried not to fidget more than he already was waiting for his dad to answer.
“Yes,” Noah said, and Stiles relaxed back into the cushions under his back. His dad was going to let him help. He’d be able to keep an eye on his Pops and hopefully, keep him safe. “But, we both need to be careful, Stiles. I need to talk to Derek and Peter and you do as well on your suspicions about Deaton.”
Noah paused. “Should we bring Scott in on this?”
“No.” Stiles shook his head. “He sees Deaton as his mentor and trusts him, and based on some of the things he’s kept from me in the past, he trusts Deaton more than me.”
Noah raised his brow in a silent question.
“Well… he’s kept things from me,” Stiles said, he looked down and saw that there was blood underneath his fingernails still, small bits of Peter’s blood stuck in the crevices of his hands. He needed to take a shower, he thought. “I think he didn’t tell me about the Oni for my own good, probably because he thought I was delusional. But, dad, if he had, maybe I could have figured out that I wasn’t losing my mind earlier before we thought I was sick like mom was. He also didn’t tell me about his plans with Gerard Argent or that Argent was controlling Jackson the lizard man. I had no clue until he forced Derek to bite him. He was working with Deaton on that plan and if he trusted me, I think he would’ve let me know about it. I can understand he didn’t trust Derek at the time since he wasn’t doing a good job being Alpha, but he should have trusted me.”
Noah sighed, frowning. “Okay, we’ll keep Scott out of it, if we can. Now that the threat of Kate Argent is dealt with. Do you think he’ll be interested in the Brunski investigation?”
“Don’t know.” Stiles shrugged. “He’s curious about it, but since it doesn’t affect him personally, I think he won’t be too focused on it.”
“Good,” Noah replied, getting to his feet. “Anything else you need to tell me before we get our asses to bed? You’re lucky tomorrow’s Saturday kiddo, even with the late-night, don’t think I would have called you out of school.”
Stiles laughed, he knew his old man would have called him out to let him sleep if it had been a school night. Noah’s lips were twitching as if he was trying not to smile. Stiles got up and relaxed into his father’s arms. Stilinski hugs were just the best feeling in the world. Stiles squeezed his dad tight, he couldn’t lose him.
“Yeah, I think that’s, oh!” Stiles pulled back. “Kate had these two monster things with her. I think they were humans possessed by some sort of animal spirit covered in armor made out of bones. They had some sort of animal skulls for masks. The wolves didn’t do well against them. Derek called them Berserkers, but that’s all I know. I’ll have to do some research this weekend.”
“What happened to them?”
“They took off after Kate died. Derek thinks they might go back to Mexico but we don’t know for sure.”
“Great,” Noah said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I suppose if they’re sighted a call will come into the station. We can’t worry about it tonight. Go shower and get to bed, son and no research until you’ve gotten at least six hours.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Stiles hugged his dad again.
No matter what happens with Brunski or Deaton, Stiles would do everything he could to keep his dad safe.
Even if it meant working with and trusting Peter Hale.
Leaves and sticks scattered and shattered under his pounding feet. The cold wind chilled his skin, whipping hard then soft through his flannel shirt with the scent of old loam, pine, and rotted wood heavy in the damp air. The blur of the dark forest was all around him as he ran.
Ran from the moaning cartography in his ears that crested in a wild and horrid shriek close behind.
Stiles could feel the cold breath of the darkness closing in mixing with his panting breaths, freezing his lungs. The shrieking unlike the scream of Lydia’s banshee cry, or the moaning howl unlike the howl of a werewolf. Strong enough to feel slicing cold and black through his brain.
He thought his eardrums were going to burst when the moaning rose toward that horrible screeching shriek, again and again.
Heart pounding, he kept on without the full moon to guide him, to keep him from stumbling in the darkness of the night. He didn’t understand how he could see. He didn’t have a light but the dark of the woods was brilliant in front of him. It was as if he had werewolf sight, tinged in blue rather than deep red as Scott had described to him when he first became a werewolf.
Clicking… he could hear clicking or was it metal tapping against metal? Tap, tap, tap under the screeching cries closing in.
Where was he? Where was he?
Stiles could hardly think under the pounding in his chest and the shrieking moan sliding in close behind. He was going to die here, he just knew it, leaving his dad alone. Tears, at the thought, at his terror were cold running rivers down his cheeks.
“No!” He yelled when knives raked down his back. The pain of it was as intense as his screams. His screams meeting the moaning shrieking thing in harmony as it lifted him up and sent his body flying through the air.
The Nemeton’s mossy black stump rushed up to meet him.
Stiles jerked and fell out of his bed with a holler onto the soft carpet of his bedroom floor.
“Stiles? Did I claw you again?” It was Malia, he could see her leaning over the side of the bed, frowning at him from the corner of his eye, her russet hair a messy halo framing her face.
There were some serious dust bunnies under his bed. He should vacuum under there, he thought, still panting from the dream.
“Stiles? You okay down there?”
“Yeah…” The word was just a breathe but he knew Malia would hear it.
The dust bunnies were starting to blur, he couldn’t breathe. He pulled in as much air as he could and held it, screwing his eyes shut. It wasn’t much, not nearly what he needed. He was on the verge of a panic attack. Stiles knew the longer he could hold his breath the better for holding off the attack.
“Stiles?” Malia’s hand gripped his shoulder, squeezing hard, grounding him and he was able to let the air held in his lungs out slowly, able to breathe deeper the second time. The lurching vision of the dust bunnies settled and finally, he could catch air again. He was still panting a bit as if he’d really been running through the Preserve. His heart was still thundering in his chest, the beat of his pulse a low sound in his ears still.
Stiles groaned and flopped over on his back, wiping the cold sweat and tears from this face. He peaked through his fingers at his bedmate.
“I’m okay.” His voice was a bit muffled through his hands.
“You don’t look okay,” Malia said, then gave an obvious sniff to the air. “And you stink of fear.”
Damn were-people and their sense of smell, Stiles thought. It wasn’t right that almost everyone around him could sniff out his emotions. Particularly, when he was of the mind to keep that shit to himself.
“Just a nightmare,” he replied, his arms flopping down at his sides.
Malia’s claws had woke him up, he could feel the light sting from scratches down the middle of his back. Luckily, she never fully shifted into her beta form in her sleep otherwise he’d be torn apart on the regular.
Stiles thought she must still dream of being a coyote. He knew she mourned her inability to shift fully into her coyote form and often snuck into this bed in the middle of the night smelling of the woods. He’d not asked her but he thought she must run through the Preserve at night, visiting her old haunts. Stiles didn’t think she disliked being in her human form again except she missed her fur coat, and the heightened senses she’d had as a coyote. And chasing down small furry creatures to eat raw, probably.
Not that her senses where anything to sneeze at in her human form.
He lied on the floor for another minute trying to ignore the black weight in his chest. It had been there since their sacrifice. Deaton had at least been truthful about the darkness around his heart. Scott and Allison had felt it too but it hadn’t seemed to bother them all that much. Though Stiles had been tormented and possessed by Void soon after the ritual, so perhaps he’d just not noticed if his friends were suffering as much as he was with the dark scar inside the center of his chest.
He wished it would go away.
Stiles’ breathing was back to normal, the panic attack stopped, so he figured he probably should get up off the floor.
“What time is it?”
“Ten-thirty ish,” she said with a hand wiggle.
Malia was sitting crossed legged on his bed in a tank top and panties, her long brown hair wild around her head. Stiles was glad he seemed to be immune now to her physical charms. She was a beautiful girl and sexy really, but Stiles was glad he wasn’t so attracted to her that her nighttime visits were uncomfortable in the teenage boy and boners department. Granted, his morning wood was a regular thing but thankfully, Malia knew it wasn’t about her so ignored it most of the time.
Thank christ it was Saturday and they didn’t have school after last night’s terror-ridden shenanigans. Stiles had no clue what was on the agenda for him today but he did want to check in with Derek to see if both Hales were alright.
“Did Peter heal up?”
Stiles shook his head, getting up from the floor to sit next to her.. “I don’t know how he’s doing, I need to get in touch with Derek to find out. He was starting to heal and was sleeping when Lydia and I left.”
“What’s his deal?” Malia asked, blunt as always.
“You mean, Peter?”
“Yeah, Scott seemed threatened by him, his heart was pounding out of his chest when we went to see him about Derek. I know the guy killed a lot of people but they were the people who killed his family, right?”
“Yes,” Stiles replied, rubbing the back of his head. Though he might have been worried Peter would tell you, he’s your dad. “But he was the one who bit Scott, and you know how Scott feels about killing anything, even if some people deserve killing.”
Malia frowned. “What?”
“Stiles.” She growled. “Who else deserved killing?”
Stiles grimaced, he’d said too much. He didn’t want to get into his issues with Scott. Stiles loved him like a brother and appreciated all he’d done to help save him from Void. But, there were just some things Scott had done or not done over the last year he had problems with and over the last few months was finding hard to ignore.
Malia was right up in his business, in his personal space bubble completely invaded. She wouldn’t even let him avoid her gaze. Her wild electric blue coyote gaze.
“Shit, fine!” Stiles jumped up practically tripping over his feet to get away from her laser eyes. “I don’t know how he could forgive Deucalion for killing Erica and Boyd, as well as countless other innocent werewolves and then just let him go! He loathes Peter, and yeah, the guy sought revenge but in thinking about it, I do know that the only innocent person he ever killed was his niece, Laura. I’m sure of it. Scott can forgive and forget the Demon Wolf, but not Peter crazy with serious issues Hale? I don’t get it, that’s all.”
“Have you talked to him about it?”
“No!” Stiles tugged on his hair in frustration. “You know how he is.”
“No, I don’t. I haven’t known him long. Not any of you guys.”
Stiles stopped pulling on his hair and sighed, sitting in his desk chair. “Scott is… naive and kind-hearted most of the time. But, I think his priorities sometimes are out of wack, you know? Like, yeah, Deucalion was nuts, but unlike Peter, he killed for power.”
“Didn’t Peter kill, Laura for her Alpha power?”
“Yeah, he did but I don’t buy into Scott’s view that he knew exactly what he was doing. I don’t have proof yet, but I don’t think he knew it was Laura.”
“What does Derek think?”
“I have no idea. The guy is so bad at using words and until recently was really angry and impatient, I didn’t have the balls to ask him about it.”
“Maybe you should,” she said.
“You don’t trust, Scott, do you?”
Stiles stilled. It almost felt like she’d punched him in the gut because it was true and why had he not seen it before?
“You don’t have to say anything, Stiles. I just know you don’t trust him. And if you don’t trust him that’s good enough for me.”
He had no idea what to say and it was an unusual feeling. He always had plenty of things to say. At least a lot of people often told him to shut up on a regular basis.
He cleared his throat and decided, he wasn’t going to deal with all that at the moment. Maybe later, but not right now. He hadn’t even had any coffee yet. He wasn’t firing on all cylinders, so tackling his trust issues with Scott in a heart to heart with Malia was a no go. At least for this morning.
“How did body disposal go last night?” Stiles asked, determined to change the topic as quickly as possible.
“It was fine.” She shrugged. “Not something I want to have to help with on a regular basis.”
She was so matter of fact about it that Stiles had a bit of trouble keeping a straight face.
“I need to go,” she said, jumping off the bed and grabbing her clothes from the pile she’d left them in under his window. “My dad wants me home for lunch.”
“Okay, I’ll see you later.”
Stiles watched her dress, she didn’t put her shoes on and looking around he realized, she didn’t have shoes. Rolling his eyes, now he was going to have to change his sheets again. There was probably leaf litter all under the covers. That was going to make it the third time this week.
“Tomorrow, studying?” Malia finished shrugging her sweatshirt on, though Stiles thought it was funny she wore a sweatshirt and jeans but was barefoot in early January.
“Yeah, come by in the afternoon.”
“Okay, see you.” And she was gone out his window in a single jump. Like supergirl, he thought with a smile before sobering.
Body disposal. It wasn’t something the pack had had to do often and thinking about it, Stiles realized that last night was the first time. He wondered, how his dad was dealing with drowning in bodies on a fairly regular basis. Even with Peter’s murder spree, Matt’s and then Gerard’s body count with Jackson as the kanima, and Jennifer Blake and the Alpha Pack leaving bodies in their wake the pack not had to deal with disposal.
The murders committed in his body by Void too hadn’t had to be hidden. Stiles knew he wasn’t immune to the trauma of all that he and his friends had gone through. Death had followed their steps since Scott was bitten, but in all that time dealing with the vessels left by death, the pack hadn’t been the ones dealing with them. His dad had to, and Derek when he remembered Erica and Boyd, still listed as missing to their families.
The faces of the dead haunted his dreams, always there in the darkness of his mind, in the space that Void had left and the black hole sitting on his heart from the sacrifice.
Somehow he had to figure out how to stop the carnage that had infiltrated his friends and family. It wasn’t just caused by the supernatural or magic, werewolves or other creatures. The Argent’s had done more damage to his home and loved ones than any supernatural creature had so far. The mayhem in Beacon Hills had started with the Argent’s and the Hale House fire.
It needed to stop.
Before the fire, and the time in-between Peter’s waking from the coma, Beacon Hills had been a relatively quiet place, even with a pack of werewolves living in the townfolk’s midst. Perhaps he was being naive, he really didn’t know what had gone on before the Hale family was destroyed.
He needed information. He needed to talk to Derek and Peter.
Something wasn’t right, not with what happened with Kate or anything that had gone on before. It was like the supernatural in Beacon Hills was trying to become exposed to the wider world. It didn’t make sense, Stiles thought unless someone wanted it exposed or needed the supernatural to converge in his town for a purpose.
Stiles needed to figure out what that purpose was.