I'm losing my mind, Stiles thinks, and he tries to ignore how grating the hateful looks Scott's trying to ruthlessly suppress are, he tries to ignore the way his dreams and reality are an enmeshed tangled interweaving thing that stains him black-charcoal-shadow, he tries to ignore how his dad shoots him wounded, worried looks as the empty whiskey bottles pile up.
I'm losing my mind, he thinks, as he goes, barefooted and bare-chested into the Preserve one night and he walks, and walks, and walks until daylight comes and his feet are blood-soaked and aching. When he finds the old, burned wreck of the Hale house, he walks inside, he lays in the char, curls in on himself, and cries as quietly as possible.
I'm losing control of myself, his mind is telling him, when he wakes up and he's so numb that he needs to claw his way back to feeling somehow, and the only way he can think to do it is to bite down hard on his wrist until pain and blood blooms and he can breathe again.
He goes home.
Darkness bubbles and wells inside of him.
The Nogitsune is gone but it's ghost remains and Stiles wants it out.
He thinks it should maybe worry him when he secrets away a razor blade and starts using it to carefully carve delicate lines into the flesh of his thigh, but it doesn't. Instead he just wants more. Because the pain takes it away, sometimes, leaves him okay, for just a moment. But he needs more each time, and sometimes he doesn't even want it like that.
Sometimes he holds the razor blade in his hand and he thinks long and hard about the veins he could split open, in his feet, under his ear, in his wrists. How many, before he loses enough blood, never to sleep, never to dream again, just to go?
Because he's done enough now, hasn't he?
And Scott, his friend tries, not to blame or to hate, but Stiles can feel it rolling off of him in waves.
And his dad sees him, and all he wants to do is drink.
No one would care, would they? If he just...
Oh, it dawns on him suddenly, I'm losing control of everything, aren't I?
He's sitting there, thinking that, numb and dissonant and lonely when his cell phone chimes. He'd had Danny help him (even though Danny had been bemused and reluctant) learn some about hacking and programming, enough that Stiles had, almost absently, created an algorithm to track Derek and Peter, along with the rest of the Pack.
It's almost funny, that Peter and Derek Hale getting captured by hunters in Mexico would be the thing to save his life.
Peter watches Derek groan awake, open his eyes blearily to the unforgiving situation they're in.
"You know," Peter says, "I've always hated being tortured."
"It does horrible things for your complexion."
Sighing, Peter does. They've been held captive for days now, chained to fencing, decked out with jumper cables and copper wire, tortured for information on their Pack. They don't even have a Pack, anymore, technically. Well, unless you count Cora, but Cora's a Beta to a relatively powerful Alpha in Brazil somewhere, so, even then.
They've been Omegas ever since Scott became the Alpha and Derek gave up his power, not that he didn't give it up for a good cause. But two Omegas do not a Pack make, and running away from Beacon Hills and all of the bad memories it holds, well... It did feel good, to get away, but playing human when neither of them were at full capacity in the first place? It made them soft.
It made it easy for the hunters to grab them.
And of course, saying they don't have a Pack doesn't register as truth with these bastards, just obstinance.
Peter hears the tell-tale footsteps of their captors thudding through the hall and growls. Derek isn't in any condition to handle any more of this. His healing has already slowed to an almost complete stop, he's just hanging, rugged, bloody, from his restraints, and he won't last if they focus on him again.
"Showtime," Peter murmurs around elongated teeth, prepared for the agony he will no doubt receive if he goads them on as he plans to, not enough to make them unorganized, just enough to steal their attention. Derek lolls his head to the side, eying Peter warily, Peter winks at him as the door opens, Derek huffs.
Araya Calavera walks in, two hulking men flanking her, and says in her melodious gravel tone, "I know you have an Alpha. You're too sane to be Packless, as you claim. And I will not allow a Pack in my territory. We follow the Code, boys, you needn't be afraid.
"Just tell us where your Pack is, and I'll have a nice, little discussion with your Alpha, hmm?"
"Or," Peter drawls, "you could just listen to us. What would you know of wolves, anyway? You may hunt us, but that doesn't give you any exclusive knowledge."
"Oh, I beg to differ," she purrs, eyebrows raised, and motions for one of her goons to go to him. The first deep, unforgiving stab of the knife is expected, but it still hurts like a bitch.
Then they're turning the electricity on, and he can feel Derek beside him tense, then scream, then howl. Peter bites his tongue until it bleeds as his wolf is forced to surface, but he will not howl for them, he won't.
His howl belongs to memories and ghosts and the moon, and they will never wrench it from his lungs.
Just as she turns the electricity on her bloody torture device down, Peter hears a distant alarm sound, and Araya and her goons snap their attention to it.
"Ah, that would be your non-existant Pack, now, wouldn't it?" She tosses a smug smile over her shoulder as she leaves the room. Derek actually laughs, it's a wretched, wet, coughing thing, and it sets Peter's teeth on edge.
"What?" He grits out, eying the handle of the blade still stuck in his abdomen.
"We're Packless, Uncle Peter," Derek slurs, and Peter hates that the familiar appellation only spills from his lips in this circumstance when it wouldn't anywhere else, "no one's coming for us."
"Which also means she'll be angrier when she gets back to torturing us," Peter muses.
Derek giggles, manic, lost, delirious. Peter shivers, hates that sound with a vengeance, knows what madness looks like, knows that Derek is cutting it close. But it's not as if they're making it out of here alive, and maybe laughter is better than terror and agony, so he lets it go.
Closes his eyes, tries to ignore the sandpaper, rasping, death knell.
Then there are footsteps, so, so quiet, the alarm still blaring, Derek still snickering, but Peter just barely manages to hear someone coming. He can't smell them, of course, not over blood and rot and mold and ozone-burn, and not when they're so far away, but the closer they get, the easier it is to hear their heartbeat.
Hummingbird fast, familiar.
"That's impossible," he says out loud.
"What?" Derek breathes, his mania finally, finally, dying down, though it isn't gone completely.
The heart gets closer, then there's a snick, shift, the buzz of wires being cut, and the door opens to reveal him. Pale skin, fragile bones, sarcasm, Stiles.
But, somehow, he looks worse than they do, too skinny, oatmeal pallor instead of fair milk, whiskey eyes sunken and hollow. His mouth presses in a firm line as he surveys the both of them, but he doesn't say anything, just assesses the room, then he's moving, unhooking the jumper cables from the fence, stopping the constant destabilizing hum of electricity.
"Stiles?" Derek slurs, Peter can't even form words.
Of all the people, of course, of course it would be Stiles to save them. Why is he even surprised? Stiles slides his eyes over Derek's form, and even Peter knows that Derek's worse off than he.
"I'm cutting Peter down first," he whispers, "because I need super strength and he actually looks like he's healing. You hang in there for just one more minute, Sourwolf. I'm gonna get you guys out of here."
Then he turns eyes, fierce but teased soft around the edges with concern and something else, something Peter can't name. His hand wraps around the handle jutting out of Peter's stomach.
"You're gonna have to be quiet, Peter," he says softly, and Peter swallows, nods, and braces. The knife slides out with a squish and a splatter as viscera cascades from it to the floor, Stiles pockets the bloody thing, and then puts his hand on the manacles that bind Peter's wrists, laced with wolfsbane and mountain ash.
It takes a lot more than it should to repress the shocked gasp that wants to escape him when Stiles' eyes flash a murky sloe-blue, and for just a second, Peter can see the fiery over-lay of a fox encapsulating the boy's form. Derek takes in a hissing breath of surprise. The manacles snap, then turn to sand in Stiles' grasp.
Peter falls into him as gracefully as he can, considering. Stiles grunts before depositing him on the floor.
"You're a kitsune?"
"Something like that," Stiles murmurs, before moving to Derek and doing the same to his shackles.
"The distraction I gave them won't keep them for long, we've gotta go," Stiles whispers urgently, glancing at the door and trying to maneuver them both into upright sitting positions.
"What distraction did you give them, exactly?" Peter asks, making himself stand on shaky legs as he helps Stiles hoist his mostly unconscious nephew toward escape.
"I stole a few chimpanzees from a zoo," Stiles says, nonchalant and dismissive, shrugging, "and maybe a lion. C'mon, let's go. I also put kanima venom in their sprinkler system, and hacked all of their electronics to go haywire. It was a blitz attack, best I could come up with, but not fool-proof, so c'mon, let's get the fuck out of here."
Peter chuckles. Only Stiles.
Stiles lets Peter drive his jeep, which, as far as he knows, is uncharacteristic of the boy, as he stays in the back to tend to Derek. He has a few tricks up his sleeve he learned from Deaton, enough to at least enable the healing somewhat.
"So," Peter says, after an hour or so of driving in tense silence, "I assume we're going back to your beloved Beacon Hills?"
"No," Stiles tells him, without even looking up from the restorative paste he's administering to Derek's wounds. And isn't that surprising?
"I took the GPS out of Roscoe and I hacked into some of your accounts to get him travel-ready. I don't care where we go Peter, but I don't want to go back to Beacon Hills," there's a desperation in his voice that makes Peter's skin crawl, though he has no idea why, "please."
"Okay," Peter agrees softly.
He thinks it's extremely telling that Stiles stays silent for the rest of the ride, and he wonders what the hell happened to the boy while they were away. He knows, of course, about the Nogitsune, assumes that whatever the demon left is what allowed for the powers Stiles displayed earlier, but that isn't all this is.
As the day passes by, relief eases into him, because they got away, free and clear.
Derek wakes in slow, terrible increments, and Stiles pushes his hands through his hair, shushes him when he groans.
"Rest, big guy. I've got you."
"Where are we?" Derek asks blearily, then, "Stiles?"
"We're safe," Stiles tells him, "now, sleep."
Derek huffs, but he closes his eyes easily enough.
Stiles, the only one with clothes not shredded and covered in viscera, pays for the motel room with one of Peter's credit cards.
"How did you even get that?" Peter wonders as they enter the room, two beds and a comfy looking chair. Stiles looks as exhausted as Peter feels, Derek is still barely aware of anything. Peter hauls his nephew to a bed and dumps him there.
"Sticky fingers, mostly," Stiles tells him, before unceremoniously hauling a sheet and a pillow off of the bed Derek isn't currently in and plopping down in the floor space between them. "Make sure the door is locked."
Peter cocks an eyebrow, he would've thought the boy would've demanded one of the beds for himself, but perhaps he thinks it rude under the circumstances? No matter. He locks the door, and is asleep before his head even hits the pillow.
They stay there for three days, Derek heals, they all take much-needed showers, Stiles goes out to buy them both cheap new clothes that Peter will definitely be replacing later. The boy, he finds out, smells like blood and pain and depression, his usual scent, like sugar and sunshine, damp and callous and filled with iron, now.
Peter hates it.
"You can't use us to run away, Stiles," Derek says, on the third day when the boy has suggested they probably need to get moving and has told him that he's coming with, wherever they go.
Stiles blinks at him, but... doesn't say anything, just walks over to him, sits beside him on the bed and leans his head on his shoulder. Closes his eyes. Breathes. Quiet like he should never be.
"Stiles?" Derek asks, soft, and suddenly full of terrified worry. And he should be. Stiles doesn't smell right, he's not acting right, he's barely even a ghost of himself. The boy's heartbeat slowly evens out, he leans further into Derek, wraps his arms around Derek's arm.
For a moment he stays like that, utterly still where he should be fidgeting and flailing and fucking talking, and maybe it's because he's being so uncharacteristic that Derek allows the closeness, that he doesn't pull away.
For a moment Peter wonders if the boy's fallen asleep. He hasn't slept once that Peter knows of, he'll lay in that spot he made for himself, for around twenty minutes each night before he gets up and starts using his computer or reading or making new pastes and tonics and spells. Derek shoots Peter a lost look, like he has no idea what to do with Stiles seeking comfort from him, and he seems so wrong-footed and confused that Peter's actually about to step in when Stiles murmurs:
"I'm an Omega."
Derek's eyes go wide, and he goes utterly still, because that could only mean one thing, couldn't it? That Scott and all the others, Malia, Lydia, Kira, Danny, a small Pack, but a Pack nevertheless, pushed him out, pushed him away.
A boy who would steal animals from zoos and keep tabs on wayward werewolf acquaintances, a boy who is so, so clever and loyal and, normally, brighter than any ember, than any star. Someone Scott always took for granted, and has now, it seems, disowned entirely.
"I need a Pack, Der," his voice is pleading, desperate, quiet and slow, almost like a prayer. "Don't make me go. Please."
The scent of tears fills the air as Stiles turns his face, hides it in the crook of Derek's neck, his breath hitching.
"He stole a lion for us," Peter informs amicably, "and sicced it on the Calaveras. I vote he stays." He's also the only person Peter has ever considered being anywhere close to Pack, the only person out of all those pathetic teenagers, even considering his daughter, even considering his niece, who he respects.
"Okay," Derek says, his voice thick with emotions he's probably having trouble processing. "Jesus, Stiles, okay."
Derek isn't yet in walking shape, let alone driving shape, and Stiles doesn't look much better despite the fact that, as far as they know, he hasn't been tortured for the past two weeks.
So Peter, once again, ends up driving, Derek in the passenger seat and Stiles in the back furiously concentrated on his phone. The silence is pervasive, and Derek keeps sending worried looks back at the boy, who notices them (they're so obvious) and ignores them. Peter is going to kill someone if this maintains much longer, he can already feel the itch of his claws coming to the surface, a growl prepared in the back of his throat.
"There's an Alpha in Dallas who's been turning kids and letting them go feral, then he kills the hunters who kill them..." Stiles murmurs, almost to himself.
"How do you know that?" Derek asks, vaguely horrified, at the same time Peter asks, "Why're you looking into reprehensible Alphas, little fox?"
"Danny taught me how to hack into literally all the databases, with my phone. As soon as I got it down, and I learned how to program algorithms and... it was actually pretty easy, after he told me what to do. As for why," Stiles looks up from his phone, dark bruises under his eyes, sharp cheekbones, it hurts to look at him, sometimes, "we need an Alpha.
"And I'm not willing to trust anyone besides you two. And, before you ask Peter, no, I don't want the job, I'll gladly be your Beta, or Derek's, I don't care, you guys decide."
Peter chuckles. Oh, this boy. So clever and loyal, knowing exactly what to do in order to make them stronger and safer, they're better for having him already. Fox may well fit him better than wolf, though he still half refuses to talk about how exactly that happened and what exactly he can do, now.
Derek is pensively quiet for a moment, giving Peter side-long glances and constipated looks for the next ten minutes as Stiles continues to rattle off Alphas he finds that his sense of justice would permit him allowing them to kill, and really, adhering to his ethics is a small price to pay for a gift such as this.
"So, Derek," Peter purrs, he doesn't want to fight over this, but he has a feeling his nephew isn't just going to let him have the mantle of Alpha again. It's understandable, considering how he came into power the first time around, and, well, it wouldn't necessarily be fun to give up the idea of being Alpha again, but. He doesn't want to lose the only family he has left, the only Pack he could be accepted in.
So he'll let Derek have it, he will.
But he's going to fuck with him perilously first.
"I think it should be you," Derek grits out, extremely discomfited.
Peter swerves off the road and brakes the Jeep so fast it whines in retaliation. Stiles catches himself on the shoulders of their seats and takes a long, deep breath before scooting back in his own seat and putting his phone in his lap. Apparently perfectly comfortable with watching the show.
"Really?" Peter breathes, tossing Derek an unbelieving look. Derek shifts in his seat, constipated face in full force, scowl painted across his lips.
"I wasn't meant to be an Alpha," Derek finally explains haltingly with a shrug and a grimace. "I grew up a Beta, and. I was never taught any of. That stuff."
"You did kind of do a bit of a shit job," Stiles says, and though the words are blunt, the tone is soothing, kind, Stiles' hand reaches out and squeezes Derek's shoulder. Peter wonders, not for the first time, if a kitsune's instincts make them as tactile as a wolf's.
"Yeah," Derek breathes, runs a hand through his hair, "and you'll be better, now, Uncle Peter."
"Especially since your noggin is fully intact," Stiles chimes, amusement laced in his voice. Then, surprisingly, he leans forward in the gap between the seats, kisses Derek on the cheek and says, "Good job using your words, Sourwolf."
Then he swivels his head and kisses Peter on the cheek, looks at him with his whiskey eyes sparkling, it's the first time he's really looked alive since they reunited.
"Now let's go make you an Alpha."
Peter is kind of knocked breathless by that, by the both of them, trusting him, after all he's done.
He feels a little bit like he's floating when he moves to start the car again.
As far as Peter's told him, and to his own knowledge, Stiles hasn't slept for over a week now, not since he saved them. So Derek breathes a sigh of relief when, telling him that he's fine now and that Stiles should really take the bed at least once (it doesn't even occur to them to get separate rooms), the kid finally falls asleep.
Peter even seems proud of him for it, happy that Stiles might actually be getting some much needed rest.
Their victory is short-lived, however, when barely two hours later, Stiles starts screaming, at the top of his lungs. Shreiking indecipherable things while he thrashes in the blankets, the room begins to shake, the lights flicker, the floor begins to shift, turning from carpet to glittering pitch-black sand as the boy wails.
"Stiles!" Derek shouts, jumping up from what's quickly turning into quick-sand onto Stiles' bed, Peter growls, gets up into a crouch on his own bed before vaulting over.
"Stiles," the older man roars, "WAKE UP!"
Stiles' eyes open, flashing that murky, shadowed blue, his teeth elongating even as he whimpers out one more pathetic, terrible scream before he shoves his own wrist into his mouth and bites down.
Derek watches in stunned, horrified silence as the scent of iron thickens in the air, and blood runs in rivulets down his small, fragile wrist, bubbling out of his mouth mingled with spit. He's still biting, his eyes squeezed shut, when the floor slowly returns to normal, all the lightbulbs shatter under the strain, and the room goes still and quiet again.
Peter recovers faster than he, and gently cups Stiles' cheek, pressing a thumb into the hinge of his jaw until his teeth unlatch, Peter pulling the abused limb away and inspecting it with a carefully blank face. But Stiles' other hand, claws out, is digging viciously into the meat of his thigh, blood gushing up under his fingers, hot and gleaming in the darkness.
"Stiles," Derek whispers, wrecked and raw and rough, scared, "please, Stiles. Stop. Jesus, just-" he laces his fingers with Stiles', pulls his hand, claws and all, toward his own chest. Blood drips from Stiles' wrist, held fast in Peter's hand, from his fingers, in Derek's.
"Stiles," Peter murmurs, still staring at the arm he's half-cradling, "how often does that happen?"
Stiles blinks his eyes open, he looks dazed, not entirely there, he's breathing heavily, tears are falling heavily from his cheeks, he blinks, slowly, his breathing slows, his heartbeat does too, he sways.
"Stiles." Peter says, and Stiles does look at him then, blinks wearily, licks blood stained lips, but words don't come. Peter rubs small circles along Stiles' cheekbone with his thumb, glancing from the healing wound to Stiles' eyes, a deadened amber. "Where are you right now?" He asks, Stiles blinks, Peter frowns.
A sharp knock and an unfamiliar authoritative voice barking "Everything all right in there?" startles the two Hales out of the deep focus Stiles had pulled them into. Derek whines low in the back of his throat, Stiles doesn't even respond.
"Take him to the bathroom," Peter urges, pushing the boy into Derek's arms, "I'll deal with whoever's at the door."
Derek nods, maneuvers Stiles so that he's not bleeding onto the bed or the floor, and hurries to the bathroom, setting Stiles in the tub and closing the door behind him. It takes Peter around thirteen minutes to appease the hotel manager with perfectly fleshed out lies that Derek wouldn't have thought of in a million years, and near the very end of it Stiles lets his claws out again, starts absent-mindedly raking them up his thighs.
Derek hisses and grabs his wrists, pinning the offending hands above Stiles' head. When Peter comes in Derek doesn't hesitate to tell him, "He started doing it again."
Peter growls, prowls over to the nozzles and turns the shower on, freezing cold. Derek yelps and gets out of the way so as not to get soaked. Stiles shivers, but he starts coming back to awareness, not as quickly as Derek would like, but he does.
"Peter?" The boy slurs, "Der? Why- What's happening?"
Peter shuts off the shower and crosses his arms over his chest, frowning, gaze sharp.
"Stiles," Derek cuts in first, worried that Peter might be too agitated right now to explain this with the empathy it seems to deserve, "you had a nightmare. It was- bad." He rubs a hand over Stiles' damaged, still healing thigh, Stiles shudders, then frowns himself when Derek pulls away, shows him the watered down blood now staining his hand red, before some sort of understanding dawns.
He sits up in the tub and sighs, "Ah."
"Does that happen often?" Peter asks again, voice as even as he can make it, eyes narrowed, he looks frustrated and upset, Derek kind of feels the same way.
The smile Stiles offers them is a small harrowed, sad little thing.
"It's not a big deal," he says, and Derek can't help the growl that vibrates his throat.
"Stiles," Peter rumbles, "you were screaming, you lost complete control of your abilities and only managed to come down via hurting yourself, and then, you were so far down that even with an ice cold shower it took you two full minutes to come out of it."
Stiles is looking up at them with wide eyes, and it makes Derek's blood turn to ice when he says, "Oh. Normally I just wake up bloody and alone. I never remember so I didn't..." He looks down at his hands in his lap, strands of wet hair falling into his face, and his voice sounds small and broken when he shrugs and murmurs: "Sorry."
Derek whines high in his throat, and before he even has time to react, Peter's bent over the side of the tub and hauling a shivering, frail boy into his arms, pulling him out and into his lap in one smooth motion. Derek doesn't even hesitate, crawling over to them and cuddling into Stiles' back and Peter's side simultaneously, Stiles sitting sideways in Peter's lap, his head settled half on Peter's shoulder and half on Derek's.
"How long?" Peter asks lowly, hand going to wrap loosely around the now-healed wrist that Stiles had bitten so savagely before, Derek reaches up to brush his fingers through Stiles' hair.
"Ever since the Nogitsune," Stiles whispers, a little choked, a little sleepy.
Derek and Peter both still at that, exchanging a look over Stiles' head.
"And no one noticed?" Derek mutters, Peter's eyes flash a deadly, furious blue. Even the hotel manager came to check on them after what happened.
"Ever since dad found out he's been-" Stiles chokes a little, shakes his head, swallows- "drinking. And ever since Allison. Scott can't even look me in the eyes anymore." Stiles hiccoughs, whimpers, shivers with cold as sobs start to rack through him. Derek whines, curling into the boy, Peter wrapping himself protectively around both of them.
"Fuck all of them," Peter growls, and Stiles barks a laugh, it's a choked, innocent yet bitter thing.
"You're our Pack," murmurs Derek, pressing into both of them more firmly, "we'll help you, Stiles."
"Yes," Peter agrees, "we will."
Stiles sniffles, trembles, turns to better cling to both of them, as if he's desperate for the comfort.
The nightmares are something, they learn later, that happen every time he sleeps. A ceaseless afterthought of torture the ghost of the Nogitsune left him, something that corrupts the creature he now is, a Shadow Kitsune, Stiles and Peter find out after a considerable amount of research.
Even when they upgrade to a one-bed room, and both the Hales cuddle into either side, and Stiles falls asleep purring (because he does purr, now, it's a fox thing), he still wakes up completely distressed and sobbing and trying to hurt himself.
Peter finally, exhausted in his own right, and fed up, asks, whilst he and Derek are forcing Stiles to eat something because he needs more meat on his fucking bones- he asks: "What are they about, Stiles?"
Stiles blinks up at him, feigning ignorance. Peter does not growl, but it's a close thing. Derek shovels food into Stiles' mouth, Stiles accepts it silently. He's always quiet these days, but he's getting better, around them at least, if they are around anyone who isn't Pack he immediately goes still and hushed and morose.
"Your nightmares, Stiles. How am I supposed to help you if I don't know what's wrong? We've been over this already." And they have, with what species he was, because how do you control your 'spirit animal' when you don't know what it presents as?
Admittedly, Shadow Fox had been a surprise, filled with Chaos Magic and the ability to summon Demons with his Tails, if and when he acquires them.
Stiles sighs, and he seems a little scared and a lot resigned. Peter represses the smug grin that threatens to overtake him, Derek, the much more empathetic Hale, just grabs Stiles (who yelps) and hauls the boy into his lap. After the first nightmare, all tactile boundaries between the three of them seem to have crashed and burned. Peter can't complain, really, he hasn't been touched this much since the fire. It's nice.
So he isn't surprised when Stiles, sitting sideways in Derek's lap, head pillowed on his shoulder, plants his legs in Peter's lap and snatches his hand to lace their fingers together. Peter leans into Derek's side to make it more comfortable for him.
"The Nogitsune left echoes," Stiles begins quietly, "all of its memories. Thousands upon thousands of years of just... playing with people. Torturing whole towns, cities, armies. Starting wars when it got bored. And my brain, it tries to keep up, but it can't. I may be kitsune now, but I was human first, and I still don't even know how that whole species transferrence thing works- but. Those memories, paired with the fact that I was posessed, that sometimes I genuinely can't tell if I'm awake or asleep or even real-"
Stiles chokes up, Peter runs a soothing hand up and down his legs, Derek scrapes fingernails against his scalp. Stiles sighs, calms.
"We really need to make me an Alpha," Peter murmurs, "as soon as possible."
"What do you mean?" Derek asks, Stiles looking at him with a furrowed brow, confused.
"An Alpha's claws," Peter says, slow and deliberate, "can take memories away. I wouldn't want to take what happened, because it did happen, and maybe you'll need a whole fuckton of therapy to ever be able to properly move on," Stiles snorts, Derek smiles a fond smile down at him, "but you shouldn't be forced to endure that bastard's ghost, it's memories. And as soon as I'm Alpha-"
"-you'll be able to take them away," Stiles breathes, awed, whiskey eyes wide and sparkling with something angelic and childish and vulnerable and trusting. Peter's breath hitches, he nods, Stiles wraps his arms around Peter's neck and pulls him into the most awkward-angled hug Peter has ever been subjected to.
Derek actually has the audacity to giggle when he grunts under the strain of it, then he's moving around in his chair to make it more comfortable, and wrapping his arms deftly around Stiles and Peter both.
In the end, they did decide to go after the Alpha in Dallas. They talked some, on the way, about where they should actually settle when they were done, and Derek suggested some obscure town in Canada, a place that he knew from memory had a Nemeton and was overrun with supernatural creatures, with no stable Pack and no Hunters.
"It's always been the responsibility of the Hale Pack to protect places like that, and, it'll be easy to find powerful Beta's there," Derek reasons.
"It'll also be easy to find fights, and, no offense Peter, but having things to kill on (and sometimes off) the full moon might help you transition into your Alphahood more easily. You're not exactly tame," Stiles says, leaning in the space between their seats. Derek's finally well enough to drive, so Peter has full authority to jump from the passenger's seat and playfully growl as he tackles Stiles into the back.
Stiles laughs, Derek snorts- not even semi-distracted from driving- and Peter tells them, "You two are both brats!"
Stiles smiles beatifically under him, reaches up to frame his face with his soft hands, pulling him down to press their foreheads together.
"But we're your brats," Stiles says, and for the first time, the first time in months he smells like sunshine and sugar, happiness and curiosity, instead of rain and terror and depression and blood and tears. Peter wants to memorize it, wants to revel in it, just in case it goes away again, and some part of him knows it probably will.
So he shifts, his hips are bracketed by Stiles' legs, Stiles' head bracketed by his own arms, he lets his body become more of a weight on Stiles', and leans his head toward the side of Stiles' neck, gulps in deep, greedy breaths.
The boy underneath him squirms, his breath catches, and suddenly his scent becomes sun-soaked earth, rich, musky soil, pure sugarcane, like arousal, the aroma is so strong and he can feel the lyrical thrum as Stiles begins to purr. Saliva pools in his mouth. He lets his tongue dart out, just to taste, sweet-warmth-Stiles blooms across his tongue as the boy lets out a little mewl, his arms wrapping almost naturally around Peter's neck.
Derek whimpers from the front seat of the car, responsibly deciding to pull over.
"Der," Stiles whines as Peter thinks fuck it, and bites a mark, right along his pulse point, Stiles gasps, moans, Peter can hear Derek shuffling restlessly in the front seat, panting out harsh breaths, his pinecone tree-sap scent filling with musk and lust and need, Peter smiles to himself.
"Want both of you," Stiles murmurs breathlessly, and Peter raises himself on his arms to look down at the little fox, whose pupils are blown wide, his spirit shining through, red and cunning and wrapped around him like a shield.
"Okay, baby," Peter agrees, because they've been building up to this for awhile now, and because he's pretty sure that Derek is in love with Stiles, and while he's pretty sure he is too, and that Stiles, though he's never said it (although wanting them both in this way may well prove it), is in love with the both of them- he knows his nephew, all brooding and martyrdom, he knows that Derek would've let Stiles just have Peter and, and run away from it all, in his own way.
And it would've hurt him irrevocably.
Besides, he's willing to admit, Stiles has bridged a lot of the gap that had formed between the two men, and maybe it's unfair to bind Derek to him like this, with Stiles (it's definitely unhealthy). But Peter wants both of them, too, in his own way, for his own reasons, and with his entire fucking being.
"Whatever you need," he tells Stiles, before licking into his mouth, exploring it, only pulling away when Stiles is writhing and desperate and Peter can feel the intensity of Derek's stare on them, can hear his nephew's heartbeat fast and erratic.
"Derek," Peter whispers, his voice sounding hoarse to his own ears, "if you want this, like we do, and I have a feeling you do, you should get us to a hotel posthaste. I am not having a threesome in the back of this godforsaken Jeep."
Stiles giggles breathlessly, "Hey! It's not Roscoe's fault!"
Derek looks at them through the mirror, licks his lips as they quirk up into a smile, and drives.
Derek kisses Stiles, sucks at his tongue, nibbles at his bottom lip, feels the bed underneath them shift with the uncontrollable squirming of Stiles' hips as Peter disposes of the boy's clothing, sucking marks into his hip, his thigh, and then Peter stills, for just a moment.
"Oh, Stiles," Peter murmurs, Derek pulls away from Stiles' very sinful mouth, and the boy looks up at him with a soft, sad smile, Derek looks down at the boy's bare thighs, at the deep, sharp lines that marr him there, the scars Peter is kissing tenderly. Peter looks up at him through his eyelashes and Derek can feel the promise there, that they will protect him, keep him safe, as happy as they are able.
Stiles releases a loud keening moan when Peter licks a stripe up his thigh to lave at his balls, the underside of his cock which is hard and weeping. Stiles' hand fists in Derek's shirt, distracting his attention from the mesmerizing sight.
"Take it off, Der," Stiles orders, voice sex-rough and wobbling with desire. Derek kisses him and obliges, tossing his shirt off, kicking off his pants and boxers before climbing back onto the bed. Peter laves teasingly at the tip of Stiles' dick, wetting his tongue with precome before hauling Derek into a filthy, wonderful, dominating kiss. He can taste Stiles on Peter's tongue, can taste Peter, and he chases the mix fervently, wrapping his hand around the back of his Uncle's neck and deepening the kiss.
Peter devours the moan he makes when he feels delicate fingers wrap around him, the whimper when a wet-rough tongue teases his foreskin. When Peter pulls away Derek is breathing in harsh, ragged gasps, his hips twitching abortively as he tries not to fuck into Stiles' mouth. Peter's eyes get dark when he takes in the sight, and he tangles his fingers in Stiles' hair, wrapping one clawed hand around Derek's hip, though he does nothing to help still him.
"Stiles," Peter murmurs, then, bending down to whisper, voice barely more than a growl, against the shell of Stiles' ear, "can you feel him? How much he wants you?"
Stiles shivers, moans against his dick, then twirls his tongue, hollows his cheeks and sucks, Derek groans, his muscles contracting, desperate for more.
"But he's holding himself back, isn't he?" Peter purrs, "We don't want him to do that, baby. You want him to fuck your mouth, don't you?" Stiles shivers and Peter nibbles at his ear, teeth gently scraping across the skin there.
"Relax your throat baby," Peter says, squeezing Derek's hip before wrapping that hand, claws still out, around Stiles' neck, massaging his adam's apple lightly, Stiles whimpers. "That's it, there you are. I've got you."
And then he pushes Stiles' mouth down further, hand fisted in the boy's chestnut locks. Derek feels Stiles' throat flutter around the head of his dick, and loses any and all sense of rational thought, his hand lacing with Peter's in Stiles' hair as he thrusts deep into his tight, wet, hot mouth, Stiles' tongue twirling and teasing as he sucks and groans around the intrusion.
"Baby," Peter growls, and it's a harsh, rough, wrecked sounding thing, "are you going to come just from this? Just from his cock in your mouth?"
Stiles whines, the sound reverberating through him as the boy trembles, that along with the sudden scent of musky semen now thick in the air pushes him over the edge, the burn steadily growing in his gut taking him over as he spills his seed into Stiles' mouth and groans, whines when Stiles just swallows it down, keeps sucking until he's too oversensitive and soft against Stiles' tongue.
Peter tugs Stiles away from his cock, bruised spit-slick lips making an audible pop, and then Peter is diving into Stiles' mouth, rumbling out a needy, lust-addled growl. Derek, still panting, watches them for a moment before he can retain enough clarity to think about the lube Peter surreptitiously set on the nightstand. When he picks it up, and opens it, Peter's head snaps up from where he was pinning Stiles down and kissing him breathless.
Stiles' eyes move to follow Peter's and then he's whining, "Want you inside me, please, please. Need you, want. Please."
Peter's eyes lock with Derek's, he looks as disheveled and debauched as Stiles does, his hand comes to wrap behind Derek's neck, pulling him into a deep, passionate, sweet kiss as he takes the lube from his hands. His eyes sparkle with mischief and lust when he pulls away and says, "Put your mouth to good use, dear Nephew," with a smirk that makes Derek shiver.
He watches, for a moment, fascinated, as Peter slicks up his fingers, before pressing one into Stiles, Stiles gasping and mewling, before he bends over the boy and laps up the come pooling on his belly, leaves little kitten-licks at his soft dick, taking it into his hand and stroking gently. Stiles is keening, writhing, tears spilling down his cheeks as Peter presses in another finger, scissors him open.
Derek kisses the head of Stiles' cock before he goes up, hand still stroking, and licks away the tears, presses his lips against salty wet fluttering eyelashes.
"Look at me," he whispers, and Stiles moans, his dick starting to get hard again before he opens his eyes heavy-lidded, irises all smoked-honey sex-bliss. "Look at Peter," he instructs, and Stiles' eyes shift their gaze to his Uncle, the boy's cheeks turning an attractive pink when he gasps at the sight, "we've got you, my love."
Stiles whines, trembles, wet eyes turning back to him.
"We're not going to let you go, sweetheart. We're going to take care of you," he punctuates the words with kisses along Stiles' jaw, a chaste kiss to his ravaged lips that turns filthy and sensuous the moment Stiles opens for more.
Derek's hand strokes faster, with more purpose when Stiles jerks, Peter finding his prostate and teasing it. He hears the slick, slippery sounds of Peter weaving his fingers in and out, the sweet slide of his own hand against Stiles' skin over the rough, soothing, tender words he murmurs softly against Stiles' lips as he kisses him.
Stiles whimpers at the loss of Peter's fingers at the same time Peter presses his fist under Derek's chin, lifting him up to face him, Peter's eyes, dark and mad with frustrated pleasure, search his face, before he kisses him, a slow, tender, sweet, needy thing.
"I love you," Peter whispers when he pulls away, and Derek's eyes go wide, his breath catches, he blinks away the sting of tears. Watches awe-struck as Peter bends down, his cock breaching Stiles' hole as he kisses the boy in much the same way, thrusting in shallowly until he finally bottoms out.
"I love you," he tells Stiles, shaking when he pulls away from the kiss, and Derek feels overwhelmed, his heart beating a fast thundering tattoo against his chest, but Stiles, beautiful, damaged Stiles, just wraps his legs around Peter's hips, reaches out and grabs Derek and hauls him down until they're all literally tangled in each other.
Derek's hand is trapped, fingers curled around Stiles' hard, throbbing cock, in between Peter and Stiles' bellies, he's half on top of Stiles and half under Peter while Peter is inside of Stiles and is half on top of both of them, and Stiles has one arm wrapped around Peter's neck and one around Derek's. It's oddly comfortable, oddly sweet.
"My Der," Stiles pants, saccharine and sex-rough and somehow angelic, innocent, even like this, "My Peter. I love you, I love you both so much," and then he kisses both of them before grinning up at them beatific and sweaty and flushed and fucking gorgeous.
"I love you, too," Derek whispers, answers, without hesitation, because he does, "both of you."
He feels Peter shiver, feels the rumble of a contented growl, and then Stiles has his head thrown back and he's panting through moans and mewls and keens, crying both of their names in breathy pleas as Peter thrusts into him, hard. Derek strokes shallowly, not capable of much motion considering the way their bodies are pressed flush all against each other. Stiles writhes, bucks back on Peter's cock, tries to fuck into Derek's hand, wanton in his pleasure and unable to find a rhythm between the two of them.
Peter grunts, pants, kisses Stiles all tongue and teeth and bite, then bites into the junction of Derek's shoulder, making Derek cry out with the pleasure-pain of it, as the fast snap of his hips starts to stutter, becoming fast and erratic.
"Stiles," Derek breathes, "sweetheart, come for him- god, he's so close- for me. For us."
Stiles whimpers, whines as the muscles in his abdomen tense, his whole body convulses, twitches and curls as he comes in between all of them, Peter muffles a howl of pleasure into Derek's shoulder as he succumbs to his own orgasm, the smell of their sweat and semen combining, smells like sex and love and Pack.
Peter presses and apologetic kiss to the bite he's left on Derek's shoulder, before ducking down to kiss Stiles, who's smiling and fucked-out and still trembling with after-shocks, and Derek respectively.
"That was amazing," Stiles slurs as Peter pulls out of him, flops down on his back beside them both.
Peter laughs, breathless.
"Feeling good, Stiles?" Derek asks, amusement laced in his voice. Stiles just hums, turns to curl into Peter's side, grabs Derek and drags him down so he's spooning up behind the boy, and snuggles pleased into the both of them.
"We're disgusting," Peter points out, wrinkling his nose. Stiles laces his fingers with Derek's and throws their arms across the man's chest, tangles his legs with one of Peter's, keeping him from getting up.
"We're disgusting together," the boy crows in a breathless whisper. Then giggles, the smell of sunshine-sugarcane gushing off of him. Derek smiles into his hair, locks eyes with Peter over his head and shrugs, he's certainly not moving anytime soon.
"Ugh, fine," Peter gives in, "we'll all fall asleep in this sticky mess and wake up tomorrow morning crusty and gross and it'll be all your fault."
"Yep!" Stiles agrees, grinning.
Killing the Alpha in Dallas is... easier, than Stiles expected. Peter forms a plan, has Stiles play their wild card, the two 'were's blitzing the damnable Alpha, and while she's distracted by them and already on the defense, putting up an admirable fight- and she is a challenge for the two Omegas- Stiles slinks in, uses the kitsune powers he's been practicing to turn the ground beneath her feet to quick-sand.
She roars, turns to fight the new threat, and that is her fatal mistake, because as soon as she does, Peter is on her, tearing into her back with his claws as his fangs go directly for that artery, next to her throat. She screams, scrambles, but her feet are already caught in the pitch-black sand, and she falls.
Peter's eyes finally, finally flash red, and his smile, however bloody and murderous, is a victory in and of itself.
"Before you take those memories," Stiles says, sitting on the edge of the motel bed, phone twisting in his nervous hands, "there's something I need to tell you. Both of you."
Derek and Peter trade a look before they sit on either side of him, Derek leaning in, resting his head on Stiles' shoulder, Peter taking one of his hands in his and lacing their fingers together.
"What is it, baby?"
Stiles chews on the inside of his cheek for a second, staring at his toes, before taking a deep shaky breath. He opens his text messages, goes to the text that told him they'd been caught by hunters and slides the phone into Peter's hand.
"I was going to kill myself," Stiles whispers, voice crackling around the edges from disuse and emotion, both. Derek sucks in a deep breath, Peter growls, loud and low and fierce. "I was. And then I got that text," he looks up at Peter, whose eyes are flashing a dark, protective vermillion, "I got that text and it was the first time since the Nogitsune that anyone needed me."
Derek whines, presses himself harder against Stiles' side.
"You two both saved me, from myself, from Beacon Hills, from everything. And look at you, about to save me all over again." Stiles sniffs, swallows, offers a tremulous smile, "I'm not gonna say sorry, because sorries are pointless, and for so many other reasons. But I want. I need to say:
"Thank you. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for letting me be here with you both. Thank you for giving me reasons to live again. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for letting me love you."
Peter makes an odd little noise in the back of his throat before he launches across the space between them, kisses him hard and desperate. Derek pressing his lips insistently along the expanse of Stiles and Peter's jaws.
"You saved us, too," Peter breathes when he pulls away, and Derek makes a humming little sound of agreement. "And you've given us both more than I could ever put into words."
"You gave us family," Derek whispers, and when Stiles looks at him, he's smiling, sad and fond, "and you gave us yourself."
Stiles sniffs, smiles back even as tears come tumbling down his cheeks. Peter brushes them away with his knuckles, kisses his temple.
"I love you," Stiles says, to both of them, feeling overwhelmingly full of affection and warmth and hope.
"I love you, little fox," Peter tells him, "and I am so, so glad you're alive."
"Yeah," Derek agrees, beaming, as he leans in to steal a kiss of his own, "ditto."
A Few Months Later
John had long since stopped drinking. It had gotten pretty bad after Stiles left with nothing other than a note saying that he was dying, here, in Beacon Hills, and that he was sorry, but he just had to go. He'd almost lost his job, but Deputy Parrish and Melissa had come barreling in and sobered him up before dragging him to an AA meeting.
Melissa had told him, succinct and mildly ashamed, that Stiles leaving might have to do with the way Scott had been treating him after what happened to Allison, and Jordan had told him, fierce and devoted, that if John's drinking did have anything to do with it that drinking more wasn't going to help anybody.
And John had listened.
It was the wakeup-call he'd needed.
But he still needed his son, to know if he was safe, if he was all right, at least. So he called the number Chris had given him before he'd gone off to France with Isaac, and he asked the older man to please, please, just look. And if he did find him, to tell him that John loved and missed him, that he'd stopped drinking, that he wanted to know if he was okay.
A few days later, when an unknown number calls his phone, he doesn't actually think anything of it at first, just answers and says:
"Hey, dad," Stiles greets across the line, and John's heart nearly stops.
"Stiles," John breathes, and then all of the questions that have been boiling underneath his skin all come bubbling up at once: "Where are you? Are you okay? What about school? Has anything-- supernatural happened? Do you need money? You're okay, ri-"
"Yeah, yeah, dad." And he can hear the smile in his son's voice, the laughter, the happiness. "I'm fine. I'm in Canada, I'm going to College, and I'm with Derek and Peter. They're loaded, so money hasn't been a problem. Well. And I've also maybe started a tiny side-business for magic users with limited access to things like Faerie dust and Pheonix feathers-- point is. Money isn't tight. At all.
"And. I've got a Pack here, a family, and I love them. And I'm happy."
"Oh," John sighs, "that's good. That's great, kid, I'm happy for you."
"Thank you," Stiles says, then, "A little birdie told me you missed me."
"Chris," John agrees with a tear-soaked laugh. "Son, of course I've missed you. I love you."
"I know. I love you, too. And I've missed you, I have, so much... But I can't. I can't go back there, daddy. I just can't."
"I understand," John says, and he does. He remembers what his son looked like before he ran away, he remembers how this town, how his life here was swallowing him whole. It kills him a little, but he does understand. And he loves how his son sounds now, so full of life and joy.
"Okay... Hey, dad?"
"This is my number. You can call me whenever. And. If you get some time off, we can mail you tickets. If you'd want to come-"
"Yes, yeah. Of course. I'd love to come visit you."
"That's great, daddy."
John grins, feels warmth spreading throughout his chest, isn't even exasperated when Stiles moves on to start talking about his eating habits, just laughs and clutches his phone like it's a fucking lifeline.
When he does go to visit, and finds Stiles happy and settled within himself, within his Pack, apparently gleefully dating both the Hale men... John just accepts it, revels in the company, tells both Peter and Derek that if they ever hurt his son they'll have wolfsbane bullets with their names on them, and thinks, quietly, about moving.