Title: Do Something
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Characters/Pairings: Pre-Stiles/Peter & Derek/Paige
Genre: AU, Time Travel, Mystery, Angst, Apocalypse
Warnings: Canon-Typical-Violence, Discussion-Murder,
Word Count: 11,365
“This is wrong Scott,” Stiles ran his hands through his hair, pulling at the ends as he paced the small room in the vet’s office. “You know that you can’t do this.”
“It isn’t wrong,” Scott disagreed, self-righteous indignation dripping from every word, exuding from every breath. “Deaton says it’s the only way to set things right, to restore the balance that we messed up.”
“Deaton says?” Stiles turned suddenly, stepping up into Scott’s space, forcing the true alpha to take a step back, despite the fact that Stiles was a mere human in Scott’s eyes. “When Scott, when did we screw up the balance?” He gestured what was left of the pack that huddled in the room around them.
The world was at war. It had been for the last four years since the night that Scott and Deaton had attempted a cleansing ritual at the nematon and ended up exposing the supernatural world in a single instant by forcing shifts and destroying glamours across the globe.
The lines weren’t clear-cut either. Humans had been a part of the supernatural world since the beginning, and there were certain supernaturals that the mundane world currently accepted at their side as allies; druids, mages, and any that could claim a less monstrous visage.
Beacon Hills had briefly become a refuge for supernaturals and their families when the bombing of Bialowieza Forest occurred six months after the reveal. Someone had discovered that packs were living in and near the forests and preserves across the world. Now it was just as desolate and lawless as the rest of the world.
The Beacon Hills pack had taken shelter in the vet clinic two days ago when the Erinyes had appeared; no one knew why they’d shown up. Now Deaton was suggesting the most asinine plan Stiles had ever heard of.
“Of course we upset the balance Stiles,” Scott insisted, “Deaton would know, he’s our emissary and a druid. It’s our fault that the world is like this. We just need to do this and everything will be better.”
“Scott,” Stiles closed his eyes, reigning in his fraying temper, feeling his magic sparking in his chest. He swallowed it down, now wasn’t the time for Deaton to discover just how much power he had, and it had been a long time since he’d trusted Scott to know the true extent of his power. “You want to capture a furie and ritually sacrifice it so that you can somehow put a spell on the world to make them stop fighting, really?” He asked incredulously. “You seriously don’t see the problem with this?”
“We have to Stiles,” Scott set his jaw. “Besides, I’m the true alpha and I’ve made my decision. This is for the good of the world. They need to have peace and learn to get along, whether they want to or not.” With that, Scott turned and left the room.
Stiles stared after him. He didn’t know exactly when Scott had gone so far off the rails, but he decided it wasn’t too long after he’d been bitten. He shook his head and took a last look at those gathered in the room.
“He’s making a mistake,” Stiles said, knowing it was a lost cause. None of the people in here had been around in the beginning. None of them had known Scott before his elevation to the vaunted true alpha status. While Stiles thought it was bullshit at this point, it carried some weight among the supernatural world that he would never understand, mostly because it was Scott who had attained it at sixteen and newly bitten.
“He’s the alpha,” Tomek, a werecat from Poland, said with a shrug. “What choice do we have anymore, the world…there is nothing left Mieczysław.”
Stiles looked at the rest of them and thought suddenly of his dad with an ache that took his breath away. “Good men do nothing,” He murmured.
“What was that Stiles?” Deaton asked from the doorway.
“Nothing,” Stiles said, waving him off. “I’m going to head out and see if I can make it home.”
“It isn’t safe out there,” Deaton cautioned.
“I’m not going to be a part of this Deaton,” Stiles said. “I can’t stop you or the ‘true alpha,’ but I’m not going to take part in this farce, and I’m not going to pull your asses out of the fire when it blows up in your faces this time. I’m done.”
“The balance must be restored, Stiles,” Deaton responded solemnly. “We all have our parts to play, I’m sure that you’ll play your part when the time comes.”
Stiles felt a chill skitter up his back and forced a tight smile, “I’m sure I’ll do what I have to do when the time comes, but I’m done cleaning up Scott’s messes.”
He turned, leaving without another word, suddenly in a hurry to get home and see what the devices he’d stuck in the clinic a few months before had been recording. He thought the conversation currently going on would be relevant to his state of health.
He managed to make his way across town and into his house on foot, avoiding both the furies and anyone who might be looking to take out alone human. Stiles’ house was fortified well. Due to some creative rune work, it would stand against just about anything short of a siege.
“Fuck, I could really use you right now Peter.” Stiles leaned his head back on the door closing his eyes, trying not to think about the death of the wolf.
He’d given his life so Stiles and Derek could escape a hunter’s trap three years before, the ultimate redemption Stiles guessed, but Stiles could use Peter’s viciously intelligent mind right now.
Stiles pushed off the door, setting the emergency warding, making sure nobody could enter the house without his invitation, and headed towards his dad’s old office to turn on the listening devices. If they weren’t talking now, he’d see what had been recorded for the previous days. He needed to know what was being hidden because what he’d been told was already bad enough.
He clicked the desk lamp on, forgoing the overhead light, and took a seat in the desk chair before pulling out his keys to unlock the desk drawers. Pulling the largest of them open, he turned the device on and pulled on the headphones. He doubted that Rafe McCall had meant for him to use the equipment in this manner when he’d smuggled it to him before he’d been killed.
“We need him, Scott,” Deaton’s voice was coming through clear. There was a rustle of papers. Stiles guessed they were in the office in the back of the clinic. It was warded and soundproofed, so the rest of the pack wouldn’t be able to hear them if the door was closed.
“Why do we need Stiles for this?” Scott’s asked, close to whining. “He’ll just get in the way. He said he doesn’t want to do this, and you know how stubborn he can be, he’d mess it all up, and you said we need to do this so that everyone will be balanced and peaceful under me.”
“We do need to do the ritual,” Deaton agreed, “You can see how out of balance the world is. You’re the true alpha, and I believe that this is what you’re destined for, to bring balance and peace to our world, to rule the balance.”
“So why do we need Stiles?”
Stiles could practically see the stubborn jut of Scott’s wonky jaw and his scrunched nose as he glared at the wall because he’d never dare glare directly at Deaton.
“Stiles is a spark,” Deaton said patiently, “He harbored the nogitsune in his body and soul. The dichotomy of the two created a false balance in him that can help feed the ritual, give it the power it needs to boost it to the level it needs to cover the entire world and not just our corner of it.”
“You’re not going to kill Stiles?”
At least Scott sounded shocked and appalled by that, Stiles thought with a bitter twist of his mouth.
“He should be fine,” Deaton dismissed Scott’s worries, “You must remember he’s been corrupted by the nogitsune, even though that helps our cause, it might be what dooms him in the end.”
There was silence, and all Stiles heard was his heartbeat in his ears; he closed his eyes as he leaned forward, feeling his heartbreaking.
“Come on, Scotty shut the bastard down. Be the Scott McCall I know you are,” He whispered helplessly, feeling tears begin to drip from his eyelashes.
“I guess you’re right,” Scott responded. “We have to do what is best for the world. If Stiles was in his right mind, if he wasn’t poisoned by the nogitsune so long ago, he wouldn’t be fighting me on everything. He’d be the first one to help me with this.”
“I’m sure he would be,” Deaton agreed. “He doesn’t need to be awake for the ritual. We can put him to sleep. He doesn’t even need to know about it until it’s over.”
“Yeah,” Scott enthused. There was a smacking sound. Stiles guessed that Scott had clapped his hands together in his enthusiasm at the idea. “That’s perfect. When he wakes up, he’ll see I was right, and if he doesn’t wake up, he’ll never know.”
“Then you know what to do,” Deaton advised. “Get your pack together and set your trap for the fury and get Stiles to the ritual site in three days before the new moon rises.”
“Of course, Deaton,” Scott said earnestly. “I won’t let you down. You’re doing important work. I’ll make sure that everyone knows that once I’m the true alpha of the world.”
Stiles heard a door slam shut a minute later and waited to see if Deaton would say anything else. When the line remained silent, barring the rustle of paper, he turned off the audible sound and set it back to record only. He took off the headphones and put his head in his hands, allowing himself a brief moment to sob as the final death knell to his friendship was made.
Gathering himself, he wiped his face with the tail of his shirt and stood straightening his spine. The Scott McCall he knew was dead, he’d died long ago, and the time to mourn him was long past, now it was time to act. He knew what they had planned, or at least what Deaton had told Scott. Stiles doubted that Deaton had told Scott the truth of the ritual he had planned, just as he doubted that any of them barring Deaton would be coming out of it alive.
“I’m not dying for that bastard again,” Stiles stated with conviction, letting his voice echo around the room. There was nobody to hear him but the ghosts of memory that lingered in the walls and furnishings anyway.
He turned to the bookshelf behind the desk and grabbed the books he needed. He had a few emergency plans in place. He’d expected to be including Scott and the pack in them, but needs must, and he’s made contingencies for this scenario. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen the crumbling of their friendship. He’d been holding onto it with his fingertip because, at this point, it was all he’d had left. Everyone else was dead or as good as.
Derek and Cora had disappeared a couple years back, his dad had died in the first year of the fighting, and the original pack members had gone down early on too. They’d been too young, not one of them prepared for what had come. New pack members had come and died over the years.
For all, the Beacon Hills was a refuge. It was also a death trap; it was still a beacon for the deadly and the power-hungry among the supernatural. Those looking to harvest what they could from the nematon or the power sleeping still in the Hale territory that neither Scott nor Deaton had been able to harvest.
Stiles set the books on the desk and sat back in the chair. He flipped a few open to the pages he was looking for, coming to the spells he wanted. He pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling a headache coming on. He suddenly felt tired and so much older than his twenty-two years. He’d barely made it out of high school before the rest of the world had gone to shit.
Sighing, he went back to what he needed to do. There wasn’t anything left here for him to save and that narrowed down the spells he’d used. He set aside some of the books since they’d been about protecting the town as a whole. He pulled another forward, tracing his fingers over the page. It was so old that he knew the only thing holding it together was magic. He refused to speculate about what the book was made out of because going in that direction led to horror and things best left buried in the past of supernatural terrors.
This spell would require a great sacrifice and, ironically, his death. There was no guarantee that he’d succeed in his goal, but if he did, it would be worth it. He wondered if he could go back far enough. Stiles studied the spell and contemplated the math. He could, in theory, try for the Hale fire, but he didn’t know if his spark would carry him that far. He knew that he could make it to the point of Laura Hale’s death and Peter’s ascension to alpha.
He’d have to choose a nexus point; luckily, there were a few during the periods he was looking at. He could be overly ambitious and go for Paige’s death, the peace summit, the Hale fire, Laura’s death, or Scott’s bite. He didn’t want to wait until later than that, and he definitely wasn’t going to allow Scott to get bitten again if he could prevent it.
He thought of Derek and of Peter and decided to aim for the peace summit. If he could stop or delay the formation of the alpha pack and stop the Hale fire, he might be able to prepare for the outing of the supernatural world better.
His radio crackled while he contemplated how he would complete his preparations without anyone catching on.
“Stiles, you there,” Scott hissed and sputtered over the connection. They’d lost cell towers a few months ago and didn’t expect them to be back up any time soon. “Stiles, answer the radio. This is important.”
Stiles sighed, rolling away from the desk to the cabinet that held the radio. He pressed the button and leaned into the microphone.
“I’m here Scott,” He replied, not bothering to hide his irritation. “I don’t have long to talk, I have things to do. Radio communication is for emergencies only.”
“I know Stiles,” Scott responded a second later, either oblivious to Stiles’ irritation or it didn’t get through over the radio. “I wanted to talk to you about our plans.”
Stiles scoffed; at least Scott had learned how to be circumspect to some degree. “I have nothing more to say about it, Scott.”
“I know, but maybe you have another idea,” Scott pleaded. “Let’s just get together and talk this out. Like old times, we used to be able to figure out a solution together.”
Stiles scrubbed his hands through his hair, ignoring the dust that shook loose. They hadn’t done that in so long that Stiles didn’t know who Scott thought he was actually going to fool with this line of thought. Did Scott think that he was this ignorant and blind to have ignored everything that had happened all the way back to when they were in high school?
In all likelihood, he did. Scott had a habit, deeply ingrained, of thinking that what he wanted to be real was indeed reality. That’s what this ritual he wanted to perform was all about in the end, a reality that Scott thought was right being forced on everyone else for some sick version of ‘the greater good.’
“But this isn’t fucking Harry Potter,” Stiles muttered and leaned into the mic. Despite his feelings, he knew the part he had to play. “I suppose we could meet up and talk, if you’re willing to hear me out this time.”
“Yeah,” Scott said after a long pause, “Of course, we can meet in the morning for breakfast at the loft. Deaton said it’s safe and the pack is headed back there tonight.”
“What about our new guests?” Stiles asked. He’d been careful on his way home and hadn’t seen anyone, but he hadn’t gone looking for them either.
“Deaton is going to set up a spell so we can track them down,” Scott answered quickly this time. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Sure,” Stiles reassured. “Tomorrow at the loft. Over and out.”
He listened to Scott sign off and sat back in the chair with a sigh, so that was his timeline. He’d expected a little more time, he didn’t know how Scott expected to keep him incapacitated for three days, but that wasn’t his problem, he supposed. He had tonight to get what he needed done.
He clapped his hands together, “Right, nothing to do but to do.” He rolled the chair back to the desk and stood up to stretch. He’d found himself repeating the phrases he’d learned from his dad more and more these days. Stiles found that he had one for any situation at this point.
He thought back to the clinic and the quote he remembered from his childhood. He couldn’t remember what had made his dad say it, only the disgust in his father’s voice.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for a good man to do nothing,” Noah Stilinski said, glaring out the window, a glass of whiskey in his hand.
His mother had wrapped her arms around his waist, “It’s a good thing then, that you’re a good man doing something.”
Stiles had watched from his seat on the stairs as his father’s shoulders slumped. He’d turned and let Claudia take the whiskey and hold him. They’d eventually come and taken Stiles from the stairs, and everything had been all right in the end.
Stiles had never forgotten that moment, though, maybe because it had been so near the end of his mother’s lucidity, and it had driven home his father’s reliance on her in those moments.
Stiles then decided that he wanted to be a good man doing something. He didn’t know when he became one who did nothing. He didn’t think he was a bad man, but he didn’t know that he could call himself a good one any longer. Looking back, there had been moments where he could have stopped Scott, but he hadn’t, he’d sat back, and things were playing out this way because of it.
He left the office, now wasn’t the time to stew over his failures. He had a chance to get this right, to ‘do something. He didn’t know if that would make him a good man or not, but at least he could stop the world from coming to this.
Grabbing a couple protein bars, he ate quickly, washing them down with a bottle of water. Heading down into the basement, he began to set out what he needed for the spell. It would take much in terms of external elements since it would be powered almost entirely by his will and his spark.
He thought back to what Deaton had said about the nogitsune and his possession. He didn’t know if that would play a part or how much, so he factored it in as a contingency but didn’t make it part of the main spell component.
“Okay, thistle, bay leaf, some iris,” He muttered as he sorted through the herbs and flowers drying over his head before heading to the fresh plants in stasis on the shelves. Another secret from Scott and Deaton. He grabbed a wide assortment of components that would offer protection, power, and most of all, luck. “I’m going to need all the luck I can get.”
He started up the stairs with his arms full and laid his haul out on the kitchen table before heading back to the office to grab the spellbook. The kitchen would be the easiest room to set up since it had a door to the backyard where he’d perform the spell.
It would be better at the nemeton, but he didn’t think he could take that risk, and he doubted there was an inch of the tree or root system left untainted by Deaton. Stiles hadn’t been allowed near it in close to a year. He hadn’t fought Scott on it because, at the time, there had been other things to worry about, but he’d wondered.
He thumped the book down on the table before heading out to the garage. He’d been living on the lower floor almost exclusively since his dad had died. He couldn’t face the empty rooms upstairs.
There was a shower set up just off the mudroom between the garage and the house. He washed quickly, changing into a relatively clean pair of jeans and a grey henley that had once belonged to Derek if he remembered correctly.
He took another bottle of water with him to the table and sat so he could read over the spell one last time. Brushing his hair back out of his face, he tied it back to keep it out of the way. It needed to be cut, but he hadn’t had the time for it lately, and there wasn’t anyone he trusted to come near him with scissors.
“Okay,” He said softly, finishing his water. “I can do this.”
Reading through the spell again, he realized just what he’d be losing when he went through with it. He wouldn’t be able to be himself if he wanted to prevent anything, so he couldn’t simply send his consciousness back.
The spell didn’t account for that, but Stiles was used to throwing his spark at something until it did what he wanted. He wasn’t sure how things would turn out in this case, but since one of the pillars of his magic had started out as belief, he knew he’d get his way this time as long as he didn’t waver during the spell.
“There isn’t time to change it anyway,” Stiles muttered, rubbing both hands over his face, pushing his exhaustion away. He didn’t have any more time. It had officially run out.
Stiles prepared the herbs, spices, and other ingredients, infusing them with as much of his magic as possible. He was glowing as his spark worked with the ingredients in his direction, his fingers sparking when he spoke the ritual words over the bowl before he went barefoot into the backyard, bowl in hand and spellbook under his arm.
He settled on the ground comfortably with his back to the trunk of the only tree in his wards. The bowl was in front of him, and he set the book next to it, open to the correct spell ritual. Twisting his fingers, he caught the spell components alight and began to chant.
The air shivered, shuddering around him, the fabric of the universe slipping by, and he caught it with the tips of his nails. Stiles tilted to the side, rolling to his feet and adjusting his grip on the invisible edges of time and reality. His magic and the magic he’d called swirled around him. Tongue tripping steadily over the words, mind fixed on what he wanted to do, Stiles pushed and pulled with his will and his magic.
Pressure building, Stiles found himself gasping out the last few words of the spell.
The world broke apart, shattering like crystal on concrete.
“What have you done?” Lydia whispered, breath icy against his neck, as she circled around to face him in the dark nothingness. “Stiles this can not be undone.”
“The other options were worse,” He shrugged, trying to focus on the hazy outline of his dead friend and not the ache in his chest. “Looking good Lyds.”
“Don’t change the subject Mieczysław,” She snapped, the blueish light outlining her crackled.
“I wouldn’t dare,” Stiles smiled. “It is good to see you Lydia.”
Lydia sniffed, “You always managed the impossible, Stiles,” She sighed, reaching forward to take his hand; in the vast darkness, she was the only source of light.
“I wasn’t trying for impossible,” Stiles argued. “The world was dying Lyds, and what Deaton planned with Scott–” He shivered at the horror of what would have happened if they’d succeeded.
“I’m aware,” She looked over her shoulder. “They’re aware, but Stiles no one is granted the scope of what you are demanding.”
“I wouldn’t call it a demand,” He replied, trying to scuff his toe, but he was standing on nothing and floating in nothing. “It was a very sincere request.”
“Sell your bullshit to someone who hasn’t slept with you,” Lydia rolled her eyes, but she was smiling. “Seriously though Stiles, this is all or nothing. Is it worth it?”
Stiles let the smile slip from his face, the laughter from his voice, “It was worth everything just to try Lydia, if I’m granted even half of what I ask for I’ll count it a win.”
The nothing around them pulsed for three beats, and the light that had been emanating from Lydia expanded to encompass them both. Stiles blinked, raising his hands against the sudden brightness. When he lowered his arm, he saw that Lydia had been joined by three shapeless figures who stood arrayed behind her.
“Mieczysław Stilinski,” They intoned, and Stiles couldn’t tell if it was only one or all of them that spoke. “You will be granted your petition. In payment, you will become as you are named, a sword where it is needed.”
“I’m going to need a little more detail on this sword business,” Stiles protested, holding his hands out in front of him, ignoring Lydia’s sharp look. “I won’t be anyone’s hitman, especially some amorphous supernatural power.”
There was silence, and then a strangled choking sound echoed around them. It took a minute for Stiles to realize that they were laughing.
“We will right the wrongs that we were blinded to the first time, when we reset, we shall be blind again until you can undo the spells. One of ours betrayed us and we wish to see him punished, You are mortal Mieczysław, you can move where we can not.”
“So I only need to agree to take care of this betrayer and you’ll send me back like I’d planned?” Stiles asked suspiciously, feeling his eyebrows climb up his forehead. “That sounds too easy.”
“You forget mortal,” They spoke, swaying forward to a rhythm that he couldn’t make out. “Once you change one event, you change them all.”
“You’d be wise to listen, Stiles,” Lydia interjected, face set in severe lines. “I know you probably won’t, but try. Pick the events that are the most important to change, the most important to avoid. You won’t be able to avoid everything, no matter when you end up.”
“I want to save them all Lydia,” Stiles said helplessly, rubbing his hands over his face. “I have to try.”
“I know you do,” Lydia said, sighing. “Be wary though, you are going to cause a ripple, and while most won’t notice it, there will be a few that’ll notice the ripples and investigate.”
“I’m guessing they won’t all be friendly,” Stiles replied, smirking.
“They will not,” The beings said, looming closer still. “They will want to eat the spark out of your heart and attempt to master time and fate for themselves. Power like this is a heady meal for those that can find it.”
“Wonderful,” Stiles said, thinking to how attractive a treat he’d been to outsiders coming into Beacon Hills as just the lone human in the pack there at the end. “Fine, I agree to your deal. I’ll take care of your betrayer, and you’ll send me back with no other strings?”
“Only the knowledge that you will be given this opportunity alone,” They intoned. “You will not be allowed a second petition should you fail in your self appointed tasks.”
“So get it right the first time,” Stiles replied, nodding. “Gotcha.”
“Stiles,” Lydia glided forward, cupping his face and pressing her forehead to his. “It isn’t about getting it right. You know you won’t be able to save everyone, no matter where or when you end up. Don’t worry about being right, just try and be a good man like you wanted to be.”
“Does a good man have blood on his hands, Lydia?” He whispered, closing his eyes and trying to breathe in her scent but finding only the strange fragrance of lake water and lightening lingering around them.
“If that man is you, then I would say yes,” Lydia replied, rolling back from the tips of her toes, brushing his lips with hers as she went. “Just remember we make better friends than lovers, okay.”
Stiles barked out a laugh, “Maybe, but it was fun while it lasted.”
“I didn’t say it wasn’t,” She winked, smiling. “Are you ready?”
Stiles drew in a breath, closing his eyes and centering himself. Stiles opened his eyes, facing Lydia and the beings, “I’m ready.”
The world around them pulsed, and the beings disappeared with a soft popping sound.
“Don’t forget to take care of yourself Stiles,” Lydia said quietly, her voice carrying between them on another pulsing of light before she too disappeared.
The light faded with Lydia, but Stiles could still feel the steady pulsing. It was like a heartbeat, but not exactly.
It thudded through until it was all he could feel, all he could hear. He felt himself move through the ripples they’d made for him. Sliding from one side of time to the other, the jagged edges catching at him, carving marks on his skin, scars that would remain to mark his passing. He could just make out the rifts closing behind him as he passed through and the reality that there would be no return pierced his heart. Everything was about to change, and only he would know. Darkness swallowed him, and he knew no more.
“Who are you?”
Stiles came awake to claws at his throat and the roots of the nemeton at his back. Blinking, he found himself looking into the angry and devastated eyes of a young Derek Hale. He looked to the right, ignoring the scraping of Derek’s claws against the skin at his neck when he heard a whimpering cough and saw Paige Krasikeva laying on the ground coughing up the black poison that would lead to her death. He’d never met her, of course, but he didn’t imagine that Derek had been in this situation more than once.
“Huh,” He said, reaching up a pushing Derek’s hand away from his throat without taking his eyes off the dying girl. He’d missed his mark, but not by much. He wondered why they thought he should be dropped here at this precise moment, was he supposed to comfort Derek or kill Paige for him?
“I said–” Derek interposed himself between Stiles and Paige, his teeth bared and eyes flashing. “Who are you and what are you doing here? I won’t let you hurt her.”
“I couldn’t hurt her any more than she already is, kid,” Stiles said, glancing at this very young version of the Derek he’d known. He really was just a kid right now, and he looked like his whole world was being ripped apart. “She’s dying from that bite.”
Derek whined but held steady between Stiles and Paige. “Who are you, and where did you come from?” Derek was also behaving more like Scott than Stiles had suspected he ever would, but Stiles supposed Derek was justified to be concerned about his girlfriend in this situation. He was only fifteen if Stiles remembered the timeline correctly.
“Is that what it looked like?” Stiles mused. He simply sidestepped Derek, moving to the girl on the ground. Derek had folded a jacket under her head, but that was the only comfort she had. Her body was curled against the pain that was wracking her body with shivers. She was coughing the black blood up, so he knew the poison response had reached her lungs. “Hello, young lady. You don’t look so well.”
“It hurts a little,” Paige gasped, her eyes sliding over his shoulder to Derek. “Just a little.”
“Lying doesn’t help anyone right now,” Stiles reproached with a tsk, laying a hand over her heart and letting his spark warm. “He can tell when you lie if he’s had enough training.”
“Oh,” Paige frowned, a wrinkle forming between her eyes. “That’s not fair.”
“Werewolves never are,” Stiles huffed a laugh. “Now hold still, let’s see what we can do.”
“Can you help her?” Derek asked hopefully, coming to crouch on her other side and hold her hand.
“I don’t know,” Stiles answered honestly. He’d never heard of trying to cure a bite rejection. “Do me a favor and don’t try and pull her pain right now. I need to get a clear reading on her first.”
“Okay,” Derek nodded fervently, obviously willing to do anything that might help Paige.
Stiles marveled at this Derek for a brief minute, at how trusting he was. One second demanding to know how a stranger appeared out of thin air, and the next willing to do whatever he asked because he seemed to be helping. Yes, definitely a little too much like a young Scott before he’d been tempered by life. Unfortunately, Scott hadn’t changed with his hardships. It had brought out his flaws and made them worse, destroying them all in the end. Stiles shook his head and focused on Paige, trying to read her reaction to the bite.
Her body was rejecting Ennis’ bite. That was obvious, but why? He dug deeper with his magic, moving swiftly but with delicate footsteps through her system. He saw the source of the poison wreaking havoc on her body. She’d taken a tincture of mistletoe and rowan. It took everything in him not to jerk back in shock. That was a failsafe mixture that hunters were known to use when they went into the field so that a bite wouldn’t take. It meant death through bite rejection. Which was what was happening here.
“Huh,” Stiles murmured; he lifted up her shirt to inspect the bite wound but was unable to see anything because of the mess from the black blood. “Get me something clean this off.”
“Uh, here,” Derek said, quickly stripping off his shirt tossing it to Stiles. “It’s a little dirty already.”
“It’ll be fine.” Stiles wiped gently at the wound near Paige’s left hip, ignoring her gasps of pain. He inspected the oozing wound before laying his hands on either side of it. Why did this seemingly ordinary girl have a hunter’s remedy in her system? And it was flooding her system, he saw. It wasn’t the bite that was killing her; it was the hunter’s remedy poisoning her to keep the bite from taking root.
“Can you help her?” Derek asked quietly, his voice breaking — cracking from youth and the strain of the moment.
Stiles sat back, absently wiping his hands on Derek’s discarded shirt before tossing it back at the kid. He studied the girl on the ground and thought back to what he knew about her. Stiles had never delved very far into the story of her bite and death. It was an event that had obviously devastated Derek and left him open to the manipulations of Kate, but it had never seemed important enough to investigate beyond that. Now though–now, there appeared to be more to the story than he’d guessed.
“I don’t know,” Stiles answered honestly. He reached down and tilted the girl’s face towards him. “I might, but I need to ask a few questions first.”
“We don’t have time!” Derek growled, eyes flashing gold, his emotions swinging again, and Stiles felt a sudden sympathy for the Derek in his time having to deal with a teenage Stiles and Scott.
“We’ll have to make time or any attempt I make will be for nothing when we’re all murdered leaving here,” Stiles responded coldly, not taking his eyes off Paige. “Now sit down and shut up.”
“What?” Derek sucked in a breath on the question, choking on the confusion.
“Shut up,” Stiles repeated. He tapped Paige’s cheek, getting her to open her eyes. “Hey there, I need to ask you some questions. It’s essential that you don’t lie to me, or I won’t be able to help you. Do you understand?”
Paige nodded weakly, “I’ll try.”
“Good,” Stiles smiled sharply. “What do you know about werewolves?”
Beneath the pain, she looked startled, “Not much, always knew there was more to Beacon Hills than what could be seen. More to Derek and his family, but no one talks about what that is.”
“Have you been taking any medications lately?” Stiles asked, watching her closely. “Herbal supplements, vitamins?”
“Um,” She furrowed her brow in thought, coughing harshly.
Derek repositioned them until he had her head in his lap; Derek brushed his hands over her hair, “How does this help?” He tried to glare at Stiles, but the fear in his eyes made it less than effective.
“What did I say?” Stiles raised a brow at Derek. He wondered if he’d been this much trouble for Derek when they’d first met and decided he’s probably been more. Now Stiles was a decade older than Derek and had little patience for his interruptions right now.
“I just started some supplements a few weeks ago,” Paige murmured.
Stiles got the impression that if the poison hadn’t left her so pale, she’s have been blushing tomato red. “Supplements?”
“They were suggested to me for–” She cut her eyes up to Derek, “stuff. I was given a whole month supply, they said if it didn’t work then I wouldn’t need to buy any.”
“Who, Paige,” Stiles asked, leaning closer, “Who suggested and gave you these supplements?”
“A friend of the Hales,” She whispered, grasping Derek’s hand. “Dr. Deaton.”
“The vet?” Derek asked, confused.
“Huh,” Stiles said. He had a feeling he’d just discovered why he’d been dropped in this time and place. “Okay, so here’s the thing, kids. Those supplements wouldn’t have hurt you on their own, but pairing them with the bite creates a poison because they are not werewolf friendly. You with me so far?”
“So she’s not rejecting the bite. She’s being poisoned?” Derek asked, clutching at Paige’s hands.
“Pretty much,” Stiles agreed, nodding. “Now enough time has passed that the magic of the bite and the herbs have intertwined. I can pull it all out, but it will be excruciatingly painful, and it still might kill you. It also means that you can never take the bite in the future, or you will reject it.”
“If you don’t do it,” Paige coughed up more black blood, her body quivering with the strain. “I’ll die anyway.”
“Yes,” Stiles said, meeting her eyes. “But you should always have as much information as possible before you make your choice. Sometimes death isn’t the worst option.”
Both teens looked at him like he’d lost his mind, but he supposed they were a little too young to have learned that lesson yet.
“Do it,” Paige said firmly before another coughing fit overtook her. “I want to live.”
“If you’re sure,” Stiles said, but he was already moving. He shoved Derek out of his way and laid Paige flat on the ground, uncurling her from the fetal position she’s curled into. “You’ll need to hold her down so she doesn’t hurt herself, can you do that?”
“Yeah,” Derek replied, shakily swallowing visibly. “Yeah, I can do that.”
Stiles directed the boy to hold down Paige’s arms, “Carefully, she’s going to thrash around and you want to avoid dislocating her shoulder if possible, so hold her here near the bicep, not the shoulder or collar bone.” He adjusted Derek’s grip and then straightened the girl’s body back out from where it had begun to curl back up.
“It hurts,” Paige whispered, but it was clear that she wasn’t speaking to either of them. Her eyes were beginning to glass over, and the poisoning was seeping from her pores now.
Stiles narrowed his eyes. He didn’t have much time. He’d told them the truth. This could end up killing her; what he didn’t tell them is that even if he succeeded, there could be some damage left behind if he didn’t get all the poison out. This was going to be exhausting.
“Derek,” He said, getting the kid’s attention. “When I’m done here, I need you to stand guard. You are to let no one, and I mean no one, near me. Not your mother, not your emissary, not god himself if he were to come down for a visit. Do you understand?”
“Why?” Derek asked, his face scrunched up and head tilted. “My mom can help you if you need it.”
“Maybe she can, kid,” Stiles shrugged, moving to straddle Paige’s lower body. He hoped to keep her thrashing too much this way while Derek held her upper body down. “But it isn’t wise to allow anyone unknown near a vulnerable mage, okay?” He’d keep the fact that he was a spark hidden for as long as possible, no sense in letting the world know what a tasty treat he was.
“I guess,” Derek said hesitantly, firming his grip on Paige at Stiles’ direction.
“Can I count on you, Derek?” Stiles asked, knowing it wouldn’t make any difference. He was going to attempt to heal Paige regardless of Derek’s answer, but he thought he knew Derek well enough that he trusted him even as a fifteen-year-old to try and follow through if he said he’d do something.
“Yeah, I’ll keep watch if you need me to,” He said, nodding, his eyes slipping away from Stiles to Paige when she whimpered again.
“I’m going to start,” Stiles warned them both. “It’s going to hurt and she’s probably going to scream Derek, watch your control.”
“Okay,” Derek said, his voice small in the underground cellar beneath the nemeton.
Stiles just nodded and began. He lifted Paige’s shirt to bare her stomach and the bite mark. Placing one hand just to the right of the mark, near her navel and the other on her forehead, he began to feed his spark into the girl. He first directed it into her bloodstream to hunt out and destroy what remained of the hunter’s remedy. Getting rid of the poison wouldn’t do him any good if the magic of the bite and the remedy were still creating more.
“It’s burning,” Paige cried, her body arched and twisted once. Derek held her as her head turned side to side. “I’m burning.”
“No, you’re not,” Stiles murmured absently as his magic snuffed out the last of the remedy, and he set to work negating the magic of the wolf bite, something that was only possible because of the false rejection and how close to death the girl was. He didn’t know of anyone else who’d ever been able to do it, and he wasn’t sure that he’d be successful, but a large portion of his ability was based in belief. So Stiles willed himself to believe, sweat began to trickle down his forehead and off the tip of his nose.
“You’re bleeding,” Derek said, sounding horrified.
“Yeah, it happens,” Stiles gritted out, sliding his hand directly over the bite, the source of the wolf magic in Paige’s system and staging an all-out assault on it. He imagined that his nose was bleeding as it tended to do when he did things like this, which is why he rarely did them.
Paige was thrashing violently; her whimpers had become shouts as her body fought back against Stiles physically as well as magically. That was a surprise. Paige had a well of magic in her. It wasn’t a deep well, and she wouldn’t ever be more than the equivalent of a hedgewitch, but Stiles had seen hedge witches do some incredible things in his day.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Stiles mumbled, coughing up blood from his lungs and spitting it to the side. He purposefully ignored the way he felt the nemeton greedily sucking it down.
“What?” Derek demanded, in between whispering reassurances into Paige’s hair. He was bent nearly in half, holding her down, his face curved into her neck when she wasn’t rolling her head violently back and forth.
“Nevermind, for now, I’m busy,” Stiles said, shoving his spark deeper into the girl, eating away at the wolf’s magic, but using was delicacy he had to preserve her well of magic. That might just be enough to save her life, and it might answer the questions Stiles had about why she’d been targeted in the first place. Derek wanting her to be changed so he could keep her had always seemed a bit odd and out of character to him. The fact that the story had come from a post-fire, post-resurrection, and bitter Peter Hale had left him taking the story as fact-filled with fiction. Now he had to wonder if the story had been fiction peppered with a couple of facts.
“Stop, it hurts!” Paige was twisting so violently that she almost dislodged Stiles. “Derek!”
“I’m here, Paige,” Derek responded, kissing her forehead when she stopped tossing her head about briefly. He looked up at Stiles. “How much longer?”
Stiles was drenched now, exhaustion creeping over him in a slow but steady wave. “I’ve neutralized the medication and the bite, now for the poison,” He said grimly, meeting Derek’s eyes. “This will be the worst part, you’re going to have to have a steel spine for this kid, or all this will be for nothing.”
“I can do it,” Derek replied, smoothing back Paige’s hair as she settled once more, sweaty and pale on the ground. “Anything mister.”
Stiles smiled grimly, “Alright then, here we go. Hold her down again.” He waited for Derek to get into position once again before putting both of his hands on Paige’s abdomen and pressing down.
Paige screamed, muted as it was by the earthen cellar they were in; it still echoed around them.
Stiles fed his spark into the well of her magic, giving it the ability to fight off the poison, the infection on its own. He simply provided the energy, so to speak, bolstering the system. Since Paige had some magic, it was better to let her system use what was familiar to her to fight off the poison than ram through it with his own magic. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t have worked with the wolf magic since it would have naturally subsumed Paige’s small well if she hadn’t been drugged.
“I can’t, I can’t do it,” Paige begged, twisting, tears turning red with blood. “Please make it stop.”
“You can, Paige,” Derek replied harshly with tears in his voice. “You can. You’re so strong. I’m so sorry, Paige. I’m so sorry.”
“Paige, I need you to concentrate,” Stiles snapped out; he removed his hands from her stomach and gripped her chin, holding her still. Even as her eyes rolled in her head, he tried to get her attention, smacking her on the cheek just hard enough to shock her but not enough to leave a mark. “Paige.”
“It hurts. Make it stop,” She begged, focusing on him now.
“I will, but you have to do something first,” Stiles promised. He’d changed his plans once he’d realized her magic, and now he needed her cooperation. “I know this is hard, but do you feel that fire in your navel here?” He pressed the palm of his hand to the spot.
Her eyes rolled for a second, “It burns,” She murmured, brow furrowed. “But it doesn’t hurt, not like the rest.”
“Right,” Stiles nodded, even though she wasn’t looking at him. “I need you to focus on that fire and imagine it burning away all the pain.”
“How can she–” Derek began leaning forward to look at Paige’s stomach.
“Just pet her hair and help her focus Derek,” Stiles said, waving him away. “This isn’t something for werewolves, just hold her.”
“Burn away the pain?” Paige shivered, biting her bleeding lip and closing her eyes, her face so pale the veins could be seen just below the surface. “I can do that.”
“I know you can,” Stiles agreed; he leaned down just enough to put one hand on the ground beside them and left the other on her stomach. “Keep your eyes closed. I’m going to lead you through this, okay.”
“Okay,” Paige replied softly; bloody tears soaked her dark hair, and Derek just rested his head on her’s. “Okay.”
Stiles closed his eyes and threaded a strand of his magic into Paige. He waited for a minute and felt her focus on her well of magic. “Now, imagine that fire as a deep well filled with molten gold. Can you do that?” He never imagined that he’d be teaching magic 101 on the fly to some kid in the past when he’d been given these lessons, but he was suddenly grateful to the teachers he’d managed to find and their unconventional training methods.
“I-yes, I see it,” Paige murmured, awe overcoming the pain in her voice briefly. “It’s beautiful. Are you doing that?”
“That is all you kiddo,” Stiles said, drawing power from the earth and the nemeton to keep him going through what was to come. “Now comes the hard part, I’m going to throw you a line, do you think you can catch it and add it into your well there?”
“Maybe,” Paige said tiredly, shifting restlessly.
“What are you doing?” Derek muttered eyes narrowed suspiciously when Stiles glanced at him.
“Hush pup,” Stiles murmured, “We’re doing delicate work, stop interrupting.”
“Hmph.” Derek’s brows furrowed, but he subsided, worried eyes going back to Paige.
“Okay, Paige, here it comes,” Stiles warned, and closing his eyes, he gently spooled out his magic, tossing a line towards her magical well. He could have forced his way in like he’d done earlier, but this way was better for the both of them if she could catch it and direct her own purging and healing.
“I see it!” Paige gasped, and she caught the line.
Stiles chuckled despite the gravity of the situation. The girl was enthusiastic. She’d definitely caught it, practically yanking it into the well. “Excellent, Paige. Now we’re going to burn out the poison in your body and get you back to the picture of health.”
“Yeah?” Derek asked, and then he cringed back when Stiles frowned at him.
“Okay, I want you to imagine that well of molten gold expanding until it floods your whole body,” Stiles instructed, and when she did just what he thought she would, he cautioned her, “Slowly, you don’t want to miss anything. Think a slow syrup over a fast flood.”
“Adagio, not presto,” Paige breathed, reaching over blindly to clutch at Derek’s hand.
“If that means slow and not fast, then sure,” Stiles agreed, opening his eyes, allowing magesight to fall over his vision for the first time and taking in the whole world around them, not just the focal point of the girl. She was directing the purification of her body like a natural, and unless something drew it off course, he didn’t need to give it all of his attention anymore.
Stiles focused on the roots that took up one wall of the make-shift cellar, and using the hand that was still on the ground, he dug his fingers into the earth. Stiles drew more power from the earth at the same time as he sent out queries to the area around the nemeton. He discovered that the tree was still housing the nogitsune and fought off the full-body shudder he wanted to give. He made a note to add that to the top of his to-do list, though.
“Mister,” Derek said, drawing Stiles’ attention away from his assessment of the nemeton and the current threats of the territory.
“Yeah?” Stiles cocked his head and looked at the kid, aware his eyes were glowing only when Derek winced back. “Ah, sorry about that. What is it?”
“Paige fell asleep, but she seems better?” Derek asked, frowning but using gentle hands to brush Paige’s hair back from her face and using the shirt that he’d stripped off for Stiles to use earlier to clean her up as well as he could.
Stiles turned his full attention back to the girl. He knew that nothing had gone wrong, or his magic would have pulled him out of his communing with the ley lines. He saw that her magic was cleaning up the last of the poison, but she had excised what was killing her for the most part. Stiles began the steady process of unweaving his magic from hers and retracting it from the well.
“Is she okay?” Derek asked softly.
“She’ll be fine,” Stiles reassured once he’d finished retracting the rest of his magic, re-spooling back into his spark. He rolled off the girl, feeling the muscles cramp in his back and legs. He forced himself to ignore it, to finish the roll until he was on his feet, trying to shake off the cramps and numbness. “She just about done healing, only a few minor patches left. Her own magic should have those taken care of while she sleeps.”
“She has magic?” Derek stared at Stiles, eyes wide, mouth slack.
“She has some,” Stiles shrugged, rolling his neck to work out the stiffness. He didn’t know how long he’d been down in the cellar or how long he’d been working on Paige, but his body felt like it had that time he’d had to heal older future Derek from a wolfsbane bullet and a wendigo bite at the same time. That had not been a fun crash afterward. “It isn’t enough to make her much of a target, but it’s enough to train up if she’s interested, and it’s what saved her life here tonight.”
“I knew she was special,” Derek whispered, leaning over and pressing his lips to her hair.
“Derek,” Stiles rebuked, getting the teen’s attention. Stiles frowned and crossed his arms when Derek looked up at him with those wide hazel eyes. “She would have been special without magic, as a human with no supernatural gifts. Her magic didn’t make her special.”
“I know,” Derek protested. “It’s just, with this Mom and the others will like her, right?”
Stiles stared at Derek, feeling exhausted in a way that had nothing to do with the magic he’d used. He spared a brief moment to wonder if future Derek had ever felt this way back in the beginning and realized that he must have. “Is that why you arranged for Ennis to bite her?”
“What?!” Derek sat up so quickly that Paige murmured and rolled into a more comfortable position but didn’t wake up. “I didn’t arrange for anyone to bite her,” Derek hissed at him, getting to his feet.
“Then how about you tell me what happened to her?” Stiles asked, wondering how much of the story that Peter had spun was true and what he’d gained by the blend of fact and fiction he’d woven together.
“I was supposed to meet her after practice tonight and then we were going to go meet my mom,” Derek glanced over his shoulder at Paige. “I was going to see if Peter was right, if Mom would be willing to tell Paige after getting to know her or if I was going to have to keep it a secret forever.”
“Peter,” Stiles murmured. This was quite a bit different from the story he’d been told. There was nothing about the bite in this version.
“Yeah, my uncle,” Derek said, shrugging. “He’s only a few years older than me, I think maybe your age?”
“Okay,” Stiles waved that away. He didn’t need to tell Derek that he knew precisely how old Peter was right now. “Go on, practice was over and–”
“Well,” Derek shrugged one shoulder. “After I changed, I was waiting for Peter in the locker room. He was our ride. Paige was supposed to meet us at the front of the school. I heard her scream and ran; Ennis was there, she was on the floor and when I attacked him, but he was so much bigger than me.” Derek’s shoulders hunched, and he looked so small.
Stiles was suddenly reminded just how young and naive this Derek was, how little he’d lived, “I’’m sure you did what you could Derek. Ennis is an Alpha. A large and brutal one at that.”
“Yeah,” Derek stayed hunched and continued his tale. “He flung me into a wall and left, I was too late. Paige had already been bitten. She was rejecting the bite and I brought her here, I don’t know why it just felt like this would be the safest place for her.”
“Right,” Stiles said. He turned to the roots, narrowing his eyes and placing a hand on them. The nemeton pulsed back at him. “Right, so did you see Peter?” He turned back around to look at Derek, fighting the wave of dizzy exhaustion that threatened to swamp him. He didn’t know when or if Talia would show up, and he’d like to be conscious when she did or long gone.
“I–uh–I didn’t look for him after I found Paige,” Derek said, looking startled.
Stiles imagined he hadn’t thought of much since he’d found Paige, “Okay, well, she’s going to be fine, and I think you can get her back home or to your mom now. I’m going to head out.” He gave the area another cursory glance to orient himself, the only real-time he’d been down there it had been in the midst of rescuing his dad, and the cellar had been near collapse. He located the way out and headed towards it.
“Wait,” Derek said, grabbing his arm. “My mom will want to meet you. We don’t even know your name and she’ll want to thank you. I want to thank you.”
“You’re welcome kid,” Stiles said, pulling his arm from Derek’s grip gently but firmly. “But I need to be going, there are things I have to take care of. I have promises I have to keep.”
“I-” Derek reached for him again but pulled his hand back before grabbing him when Stiles glared. “I just want to know what to tell them. Who do I say that you are?”
Stiles stared at Derek. That was a good question. He was going to be around the area, and he had no doubt that he’d be in and out of Beacon Hills if he didn’t outright settle in the territory with the way the land and the nemeton were both trying to latch onto him. He’d need to give Derek something to tell his mom, the alpha, that wouldn’t mark him as an immediate threat.
Paige moaned, drawing Derek’s attention, and he was immediately at her side, helping her sit up.
“Paige,” Derek said, pulling her gently into his arms and rubbing his cheek over the top of her head. “Are you okay?”
“That was a stupid question,” Paige replied softly, voice cracking. “I don’t hurt as much, but I feel like one big bruise.”
“You’ll feel like for a while,” Stiles said. He scanned her one last time and saw that the poison was gone as he’d expected. “You’ll be exhausted for a few days, but your energy will replenish soon with food and rest.” He turned to leave again, now that Derek was distracted with the girl.
“Wait please,” Derek called. “Just your name.”
Stiles sighed. He knew that he had to give them something, but he hated coming up with something like this on the fly. He knew that his younger self was out there, and while he wasn’t going by Stiles yet, he would be soon. “Mieczysław,” Stiles finally replied, going with his full name. No one used it, and he’d never gone by it in the past; not even his mother had managed it past his first year.
“What?” Derek frowned, looking up from where he’d been staring at Paige.
“My name,” Stiles-no he had better start to think of himself as Mieczysław. “You can call me Mietek, that should be easier.”
“Mietek,” Derek rolled the name over, almost getting it right. “Okay, thanks.”
Stiles regretted not telling Derek to just call him Stiles at this point. “Take care of her, make sure she gets some rest and that no one messes with her magic until I can get back and assess her.”
“I will thanks Mietek,” Derek replied earnestly, even as he tightened his grip on Paige.
“Yes, thank you,” Paige said softly, leaning back onto Derek’s bare chest and smiling weakly.
Stiles waved and left the cellar before they could stop him again, emerging into the dark woods. Stiles shivered as the breeze brushed over him as he moved through the trees.
“I don’t know if this makes me a good man dad,” Stiles muttered into the night, using a touch of magic to enhance his sight enough so that he wasn’t stumbling over the rough forest floor. “But I definitely changed things here. Only time will tell how much. I really wish you were here to tell me I was doing the right things.”
With what he’d just discovered, Stiles was certain that the event of Paige’s death was a more significant event than they’d ever considered. Paige had had magic, and she’d been given herbs to make her reject the bite, and not just any herbs but the specific formulation known as the hunter’s remedy. Then someone had sent Ennis after her.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” He repeated his earlier thoughts. Deaton had a hand in this, but what had he hoped to gain by having Paige killed and in this manner? “No one could have expected Derek to be the one who actually killed her or for him to do it at the Nemeton, not originally.” He moved a couple branches out of his way as he stepped out of the woods and onto the edge of the high school property. “And I have to stop talking to myself.” He gave himself an internal shake before he made his way along the edge of the property. Stiles slowly let his vision edge closer to normal now that he had the property lights around the school.
“Where are they?”
Stiles had made it to the parking lot and turned to face yet another ghost. He tilted his head and studied a young Peter Hale. The man was currently about the same age as Stiles, somewhere in his early twenties, good-looking, dressed in jeans and already wearing the v-neck he’d become famous for in the future. Peter was looking a little rough around the edges. His hair mussed, eyes a little wild, and for all that he was trying to look both nonchalant and threatening, Stiles had faced off with Peter on multiple occasions after he’d been hardened by the death of his pack and driven insane by the loss of pack bonds. This baby-faced version of the ruthless Hale left hand didn’t worry Stiles. Besides, Stiles had learned to read Peter a long time ago.
‘Hell, I think he’s younger than I am,’ Stiles thought with not a little hysterical humor. This night had gone on too long already, and Stiles needed to find a place to curl up and process it or sleep. Probably both.
“Yeah, I heard you creeper,” Stiles replied, waving him off as he thought. “I’m just trying to figure out why you’re accosting me and who exactly you’re looking for.” Stiles didn’t bother putting any effort into keeping his heart rate steady or using the other tricks to hide deception because, truthfully, he didn’t know why Peter was coming after him or why Peter was even still at the school.
Peter took a step forward in a way that would have been threatening if Stiles hadn’t faced off with a feral version of him in a parking garage and walked away relatively unscathed. “My nephew, where is he?” There was a definite growl underlying the words now.
Stiles stared at Peter and wondered if the man was really going to expose werewolves to him on the assumption that Stiles already knew about the supernatural. Despite what the man might scent on Stiles, there was nothing to prove what Stiles might know or who Stiles was.
“How am I supposed to know who your nephew is?”
Stiles could almost hear Peter’s teeth grind in the cool night air, and he tried not to grin, even as he wondered when Peter really started to learn how to be a left hand. Despite his situation, Stiles found himself enjoying talking with this version of Peter even if Peter didn’t seem to be appreciating it very much right now.
“Derek Hale,” Peter replied with deliberate calm as he took another step closer. “Where is Derek Hale.”
“Oh,” Stiles said, nodding, pursing his mouth as if in thought. He kept his body loose, arms at his sides, though. For all that Stiles enjoyed seeing Peter alive and young, he was aware that this Peter didn’t know him and that Stiles had ended up in the past with only the clothes on his back and his magic. While his magic was a formidable weapon, he’d used quite a bit of it to heal Paige, so he didn’t want to be caught by surprise if Peter decided to attack. “Derek Hale, yes. Young kid, earnest, has a few anger issues. Cute girlfriend?”
“Where are they?”
“Well,” Stiles sighed suddenly, serious, and as much as he wanted to stick his hands in his pockets, he didn’t. They were still sticky with the black blood from Paige’s wound, and he was surprised that Peter hadn’t said anything about that, but maybe Peter was more cautious than Stiles had been taking him for. “I just left them beneath the roots of the nemeton. Both alive and set to stay that way. For now.”
Peter’s eyes flashed for just a second before he closed them, “What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means,” Stiles said, his voice dripping with venom and ice as he leaned forward and into Peter’s space disregarding his earlier caution to emphasize his point. “Someone tried to kill the girl and your nephew almost got caught in the crossfire.”
“A bite…” Peter bit off whatever he was about to say and turned his head away from Stiles to look over at the tree line.
Stiles turned with him, reaching out with his own magic. “Hello, Alpha Hale.”
Derek and Peter had been right. Talia Hale had a presence. She walked like a queen out of the preserve and onto the parking lot’s asphalt. Stiles briefly wondered how many more of his life-changing moments would occur at this high school before shoving the thought aside.
“You know me,” Talia said, looking at Stiles in a way that made Stiles feel like she was trying to look through him. “But I don’t know you.”
“No,” Stiles agreed with a shrug. He moved until he had both Peter and Talia in front of him and no one at his back. “I don’t know you, but I know of you and I would be very surprised if you’d ever heard of me. Flabbergasted to be honest.”