There were rumours up and down the country of two powerful fox spirit supernaturals, and despite a reputation for fox spirits being the tricky villains of most stories, these two were not.
Kira was a born Kitsune, her kitsune spirit tied to her so tightly that nothing could separate them. She sought to help both her friends and strangers. Stiles though, he’d been possessed and fought for control with the help of Kira and her family’s shapeshifter ancestors. Stiles had to be much more careful when using his Nogitsune powers because of this; the dark fox spirit eagerly leapt to take control. He sought to punish wrongdoing and serve and people their just deserts. The shapeshifted had told him to always maintain a gap between his consciousness and the nogitsune to ensure that he would always know the difference between his desires and the fox spirit’s. They’d told him that in the years ahead of him he may find a soulmate of sorts. That the lucky would find someone who would fit in that neutral mindspace, hold the mental barriers in place and anchor his thoughts in humanity.
Until then they gave him a blessed pendant around his neck to keep the nogitsune in check and sent him out into the wide world with their youngest kit and Stiles’ best friend, Kira.
The two foxes worked in balance with one another, when Kira might be too trusting and want to help those who would take advantage of her Stiles would intervene, as Kira would if Stiles were to seek retribution above and beyond what might be considered reasonable.
They travelled all the world seeking the new and exciting experiences and along their way, helping people when and wherever they could. They sought the knowledge of the world and when they learnt of a hidden library filled with secrets they loaded their packs and set out in pursuit of it. Across the land deep in a mysterious forest there was another supernatural, a werewolf who had been driven from his home by hunters, and fire, and left behind by his family. Over many years he had collected knowledge, books and spells and insight into the world around him but he would not share it as he believed the world did not deserve to know what lay beneath their very noses. His library held it all deep out of sight and he intended that it would die with him.
That was too much of temptation for two curious curious foxes to pass by.
“Come on we only have to steal one book from his library to prove that we can,” Stiles said in a hushed voice as they crept closed to the house through the trees.
“We don’t have to steal anything, we could just ask him,” She insisted.
“If we ask him and he says no then he’ll know our scents and we won’t get within five miles of the place,” Stiles said.
“Or he says yes and we might sleep somewhere other than muddy forest floor.”
“It’s authentic, and we could have stopped in town but someone said we’d get distracted,”
“I said that you’d get distracted. Just like now,”
“I always keep my eyes firmly on the-,” Stiles looked back at the house and found himself looking straight into the glowing red eyes of a gigantic wolf, “Prize. Wow…” Stiles stared back for a long moment and then without thinking raised his hand towards it’s cheek.
The wolf growled low and Stiles froze. Behind him Kira readied herself to protect him and a prickle of static shot through the air.
“Uh, hi,” Stiles said and he took a tentative step backwards.
“If he could speak he’d probably say back away slowly,” Kira said
The wolf chuffed, snorted and then turned on it’s heel and seemed to disappear into the trees and heathers.
“Come on,” Kira said pushing past Stiles as he stood staring after the wolf dumbstruck.
“He didn’t attack us and that was hardly a threatening attack was it? That was not the big bad wolf,” Kira said.
“Says the big bad Kitsune,” Stiles muttered but followed after Kira as she skipped ahead.
They followed the wolf towards the house and once inside the front door they followed it down the hallway until it hesitated after nudging open a door.
“It wants us to go into the room that it’s not going into,” Stiles said and shot the werewolf a glare.
Kira stepped forwards reached out a hand and show a tiny electrical pulse through the room. The werewolf startled and it’s claws scratched the floorboards as he pulled back sharply.
“It’s safe,” Kira said and stepped inside.
“You knew we weren’t human,” Stiles said and grinned as he stepped up to the wolf who watched him cautiously, “What did you think we were?” Stiles crouched in front of the wolf, the same level he’d been at when he’d first caught sight of the glowing red eyes.
“I’m not afraid of you.” The wolf lurched forwards quickly and Stiles yelped and overbalanced, hitting both the floor and the doorframe hard.
As Stiles scrambled to his feet the wolf chuffed and padded away into another room. Stiles watched it go before turning to join Kira.
The open space around the sofa, coffee table and fireplace was relatively small but behind them on both sides were shelves of bookcases and cabinets stretching out of sight.
“There’s definitely something in here I need to know,” Stiles said as he dropped onto the sofa and toed off his sodden converse. They fell onto the rug with a heavy thud.
“Are you feet soaked through?” Kira asked with mock sympathy which was shortly followed by a laugh and glint in her eyes.
“Not all of us can pull off combat boots,” Stiles said as waved a hand towards Kira’s heavy duty footwear.
“Well neither can I. Gimme a hand?” Kira slumped back into the chair opposite and held out her leg up. Stiles lent forward and grabbed one shoe, dropped it to the floor and then reached for her to hold out the other.
“Do you reckon the werewolf would have a spare pair of socks I could borrow?” Stiles asked
“I thought you were in the habit of stealing not borrowing.” Kira and Stiles both looked up sharply to see a man in slacks and an unbuttoned shirt standing just inside the doorway. His feet were bare and barely made a sound as he stepped across the polished wooden floor.
“Rumour has it you don’t run a lending library,” Stiles said.
“I’m Kira, this is Stiles. Who are you?” Kira asked.
“Peter, and I know fox spirits can dream walk. Is that how you found me?” He asked.
“Followed our noses.” Stiles nodded to the library “We love a good book,”
“We want to use what you have here, to help people,” Kira said. She stepped forwards, “We won’t stay long.”
“You can both stay,” Peter said. Stiles and Kira shot each other a look.
“That was easy.” Stiles said and narrowed his eyes as he looked back at the werewolf, “What’s the catch?”
“You’re going to have to sate my curiosity.”
“Deal.” Kira and Stiles answered simultaneously. Peter cocked his head to one side and a smile pulled at his lips.
“Are you always quite so in sync?”
“Different motivations,” Kira volunteered
“Same outcome,” Stiles added with a shrug.
Stiles suggested that Kira sleep first. Even in relative safety they take turns keeping watch just in case. Kira objected; Peter hadn’t acted like a threat so far but Stiles’ mum had told him so many stories of Baba Yaga and terrifying warlocks who could change a man’s intentions with a snap of their fingers to turn a good man into a beast.
Stiles believed his suspicions proved right when the huge black wolf nosed open the door to the study and padded inside. Stiles stood up slowly and his nogitsune spirit nipped at the back of his mind to let it out, let it bite and cut and tear.
The wolf padded forwards and when it rounded the corner of the sofa it barely spared him a glance before it hopped up onto the sofa and lay down on one end, it lay it’s head in it’s paws looking up at Stiles and it’s tail swayed over the cushions and towards the floor. It snorted and shut its eyes in two long blinks.
“If you bite me I will cut off your paws.”
The wolf shut its eyes and let out a long steady breath. Stiles imagines he might trust the wolf for a moment at least and he sat back down in the space left for him on the sofa. The wolf huffed and without opening its eyes shifted it’s head so that it lay heavily on Stiles’ leg.
“I’m not going to bare my soul just because you can’t talk back,” Stiles muttered.
“Are you talking to me?” Kira muttered as she rolled over to face them
“No, go back to sleep.”
“Don’t tell him you always wanted a dog,” Kira said, “Or that you think he’s hot.” Stiles grabbed a still damp sock from the fireguard and threw it at her. Kira laughed into her pillow and rolled back over away from them. Stiles glanced down at the wolf who’s even breathing against his thigh suggested that it too was attempting to sleep.
“I still think you’re dangerous,” Stiles told the wolf.
The wolf didn’t respond.
Stiles read, and read and read. Somewhere in the house Kira was practicing her martial arts and from the snippets of conversation he overheard Kira was learning as much from Peter as Peter was from her.
Stiles lost himself in the words that would have been otherwise lost to the world. Twisted facts or other worlds and supernaturals Stiles had never imagined could be true.
His concentration as broken when a plate of sandwiches and fruit was pushed into his line of sight. He looked up to see Peter.
“No wonder you’re so thin if you’ll skip meals as often as take them.”
“Thanks.” Stiles rested the plate on his leg, grabbed a sandwich and took a bite big enough to reduce its size by half.
“I should have made a wolf’s portion for you,” Peter said as he stepped away to face the big arched window across the room. “Though I should be at least glad you don’t expect me to poison you.”
“We don’t exactly stick around for three course meals when people are chasing us out of towns,” Stiles said as he took another large bite.
“I told you that you could stay,” Peter said.
“Kira won’t want to stay here long. There’s no point in knowing things if you can’t use them,”
“Where will you go?” Peter asked.
“North, The rumours of shapeshifters up there are growing. Louder the rumour the more likely there’ll be trouble. We like trouble.” Stiles said through a mouthful of food.
“Then I know just what you’ll need,” Peter said. Stiles expected him to fetch the book he was referring to but Peter didn’t move except to raise his glass of water to his mouth and back.
“What do I need?” Stiles snapped. Behind him the door opened and neither of them looked up from one another.
“Stiles, come run with me.”
Stiles tore his eyes away from Peter’s, grabbed the remaining sandwich and stuffed it into his mouth as he fled the room past Kira.
“Why did you do that?” Stiles hissed as they set off at slow jog.
“Have you forgotten how well I know you? You were going to hurt him,” Kira said and immediately dodged out of the way as Stiles threw a hand out to shove her away.
“I wasn’t going to hurt him. I don’t know what I was going to do!” Kira shot him a look and picked up speed until they reached a ridge overlooking miles of forestland. They were a couple of miles from Peter’s house and the view was spectacular. The town far down in the valley and the trees stretching out for miles in between. Stiles could understand exactly why Peter or any wolf would want to stay here in this wilderness playground.
“What’s he taught you?” Stiles asked
“He’s got this really weird control over his shift. He feels the moon’s pull constantly but he’s pulling against it all on his own. I think not having a pack has something to do with it. I don’t know. He might talk to you,” Kira said and shot him a long look.
“Are we here to help him too? Really?” Stiles bemoaned.
She leant in and rested her head on Stiles’ collarbone and he lifted an arm to hold her close.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about leaving. I’ve never had that before,”
“So we don’t leave yet. Peter’s our new pet project. I don’t mind,”
“I dare you to say that to his face,” Kira said and laughed.
“I see how it is. You want me to be gutted?” Stiles asked lightly.
“He likes you, or, I trust him with you. I’m not sure,” Kira said and shrugged.
“So you saying you don’t know twice in as many sentences is…” Stiles trailed off as Kira sighed heavily
“I think I need to meditate. My fox doesn’t feel very surefooted, like there’s a change coming and I can’t see round the corner,” Kira said
“Won’t be anything changing between us though will it? I’ve always been too heavy footed according to your fox,” Stiles said
“I just know you too well,” Kira said.
“Did you have a good run?” Peter asked as he set the washed plates on the draining rack.
“Yeah, Kira’s gonna meditate for a bit. I wanted to talk to you,” Stiles said. Peter glanced over his shoulder as he dried off his hands on a towel.
“Presumably there’s something specific on your mind.”
“Why do you hide out here?” Stiles asked.
“You’re out here on your own. Why don’t you find a pack?” Stiles asked again. Peter rounded on him so fast that Stiles took a hasty step back and was ready to defend himself.
“How could you be here and not know?” Peter sneered. Stiles held his ground, “You have haunted my dreams for decades. When I couldn’t bare to sleep for so long that I hallucinated or passed out and every sense tricked me into believing I was still trapped in the fire that killed my pack, you were there!”
“Who else could it have possibly been?” Peter snarled he whipped around and clutched at the countertop so hard his nails dug into the wood.
“Show me.” Stiles asked. He stepped up behind Peter and reached a hand up to his shoulder.
“You don’t know?” Peter asked. Stiles turned Peter towards him and Peter couldn’t or wouldn’t meet his eye.
“No, but I can,” Stiles stepped forwards and reached up to cup the back of Peter’s head and pressed their foreheads together. “Focus on what you want me to know. I’ll see it if you let me.”
Peer’s every muscle was tense and Stiles kept his steady gaze on Peter’s eyes until they fell shut and Stiles nudged his way into Peter’s conscious.... And Peter’s wolf jumped up to meet him.
He was overcome by the force of painful moments from Peter’s memory and every time Peter was thrown to the ground and lost his pack, his home, his sanity a silver fox had appeared in Peter’s darkest moments and told him to stay where he was, to hold on and promised him that it was coming for him. A silver fox that spoke in Stiles’ own voice.
Stiles had seen flashes of those memories in his own dreams. When he’s first been possessed he’d seen that fire and woken up screaming. He’d thought it was the nogitsune torturing his mind and then after that, the injuries and the pain, loneliness; he and Kira had chased all that pain down to other sources and restored order when His soulmate was the one that had been in pain all along. Stiles felt as though he’d been so selfish fixing only the problems in front of him when the person he shared this connection with was the one who had needed him most.
“I knew you before I met you. I expected…” Peter started and then ducked his head and Stiles felt a pain rip through his chest at the sight.
“A soulmate,” Stiles said cutting him off. Peter looked up and held Stiles’ gaze. “I was supposed to save you.” Stiles said. Peter averted his eyes and looked away with a scowl.
“No. I was supposed to save myself. My pack-, Peter said.
“I’m sorry,” Stiles said and pulled Peter’s head back to press his forehead against his own again, “How do I fix it?”
It was forceful and not entirely welcomed this time. Peter grabbed his hands and his claws dug painfully into Stiles’ wrists.
Peter’s thoughts jumped desperately from fear, the fire, his loss of his pack, his twisted rage and hate for the hunters who left him and his pack for dead and the deluded hope that his saviour would be this fox spirit who visited him when he was losing his mind. He’d killed anyone who’d come near him and his territory for years and the ghosts of his pack haunted him in his isolation.
But there were always threats nearby too. The hunters who had a base of operations in the town just a few miles from Peter’s hidden home and they made themselves known all too often with traps left throughout the woods and wolfsbane scents left through the trees to drive Peter back into his isolation.
Stiles’ anger grew in his chest and his dark fox spirit surged up to the surface.
He pulled back from Peter and saw the wolf’s eyes flash blue for a brief moment.
Stiles tore the pendant from his neck and pushed it into Peter’s hand.
“I’ll be back for this.” Stiles said quickly before he turned and fled the house.
He didn’t initially know where he was going, and then as his ideas floated to the surface his Nogitsune fox spirit nipped eagerly at his heels and he picked up speed towards the town.
When he neared to town and headed for the industrial estates he had a plan in mind but it didn’t feel like his plan. It didn’t need to be a voice whispered and the nogitsune’s power surged through him as he ripped the warehouse doors apart and two dozen hunters inside jumped to their feet and reached for their weapons.
“Now don’t tell me you didn’t see this day coming,” Stiles said. He glanced around the room with a smirk.
The shots started firing overhead and Stiles threw out his hands and the hunters flew backwards into the walls on all sides. A woman stepped out from the shadows in the corner of his vision and as he turned she levelled a taser on him and fired. He caught it and the electricity crackled in his hands. He’d never had Kira’s skill with electricity but he could subdue it easily enough. He yanked the taser from the woman’s hands and dropped it to the ground.
“You could at least try to-.” A dozen flashes lit up the other side of the room and Stiles ducked for cover as the blinding light gave the hunters chance to shoot. He landed hard on his shoulder and darted around the corner. The nogitsune itched under his skin. He raised a hand to his mouth as he caught the taste of blood on his lips. He’d bitten his lip as he fell but the dustraction gave a hunter enough time to hit him over the back of the head with something sharp and heavy. His concentration broke and the nogitsune breached the surface of his mind and took control.
“Playtime, finally.” It said and Stiles could only listen, watch and feel. The nogitsune flooded his body with power as he ploughed into the first hunter, grabbed the gun from the next and shoved it into their chest. The next three dropped nearly as quickly and with every burst of pain from the broken bones and twisted limbs Stiles felt the thrill until the only rush to top it was the snap of each broken neck and thump of dead bodies falling to the floor.
The nogitsune stood and surveyed the room. The sight should have been sickening but with the nogitsune’s encouragement Stiles started to enjoy the resolution they’d brought to a room of bad people.
The nogitsune turned slowly and glared at the young kitsune rushing to her friend’s aide and Stiles felt it try to lock him down inside.
“Stiles, you’ve got to fight this. You can’t let him win,” Kira shouted to him.
“You think you can stop me now? He practically begged me to come out and play. This meant more to him than me you know,” The nogitsune teased.
“You probably want this back,” Peter held out the chain and the pendant swung low beneath it.
“A pathetic tricket,” The nogitsune sneered.
“I’ve got to admit, you seem like an interesting spirit, but I’m not sure you’re the best one to be in charge of this relationship,” Peter said, “This is more than a trinket. You won’t last long without this, will you? And legend has it I’m owed a request for possession of this.”
“Lies,” The Nogitsune hissed.
“Then prove it, cause my request is a fight.” Peter said as he wrapped the pendant in his hand and pressed it into his pocket, “Ready?” Peter cocked his head to one side as his features twisted into a beta form.
The nogitsune watched eagerly and spoke quietly to Stiles who struggled at the back of his own mind.
“Could it have been that he was waiting for you all these years, for us to kill him.” It mused for only Stiles to hear.
“Don’t hurt him. Don’t hurt him.” Stiles repeated, over and over though he couldn’t make a sound.
“You haven’t learnt anything from us have you.”
Peter launched forwards and the nogitsune grabbed for him but as his back was turned an electric crack shot through the air behind him and wrapped around Stiles’ arm. It burned white but the Nogitsune kept its grip on Peter’s shoulder and threw him away as he turned to confront Kira. The fiery outline of her kitsune spirit flared up around her.
“What could you possibly do to stop me now?”
“I don’t need to talk so much.” Kira said. She leapt forwards, her katana raised and the nogitsune only had a few moments without the electricity paralysing him before he summoned his own blade.
The nogitsune met Kira strike for strike and he was aware of Peter gathering himself for another attack from behind. As Peter approached the nogitsune surged forward against Kira until Pater’s arm caught him in a choke hold from behind. The nogitsune dropped one hand from the katana and wrapped his hand around Peter’s wrist. Stiles felt him get ready to duck and rolled Peter clear over their head.
Stiles focussed all he could on moving his hand and reached for the pendant in Peter’s pocket and as he felt his fingers close around it the nogitsune snarled and threw away Kira and Peter in a burst of energy so he could return his focus to Stiles but it was too late and Stiles was wrenching back control.
“Wait! Wait it’s me, I’ve got this!” Stiles yelled but Kira and Peter both were already charging back towards him. The ploughed into him and as he stumbled backwards Peter dove away and Kira twisted them both to the concrete floor.
Stiles hit his head against a wooden crate and his vision blacked out for a moment but he kept his iron grip around the pendant and pulled it in to his chest. His heart was racing and he could barely look up without his head spinning.
“Stiles?” Kira’s voice was quiet and tentative.
“Yeah,” He gasped, “Yeah, it’s me,”
“Don’t ever do that again!” Kira as she tackled him in a hug. He held her tightly and hazarded a glance over her shoulder to Peter. He’d steadied himself against the wall as he stood doubled over catching his breath. He looked back at Stiles and mouthed something Stiles couldn’t understand. Kira pushed back sharply and held him at arms length.
“Why in the hells did you give him your hoshi no tama?” Kira asked and smacked Stiles’ shoulder as he fell back against the packing crate.
“He’d been waiting for me. It’s him,” Stiles said. He blinked hard as the lightheadedness and dizziness made it hard to think.
“What do you mean him? Him him?” Kira asked and shot a glance back at Peter. “You’re going to have to get over here. You’re gonna have to learn how to stabilise him,” She snapped.
Peter nodded and stepped up to Stiles’ side though Stiles doubted he’d know what Kira was referring to. His lifted Stiles’ hand with his own and as he pressed the pendant back into Stiles’ hand a twist of silver-grey smoke twisted up and a fox and wolf chased each other in the air for a brief moment before dissipating.
Kira gasped and grasped Stiles’ other hand. Stiles tipped his head towards her and smiled.
“It’s definitely him.” Stiles smiled and shut his eyes for a long moment as a wave of nausea rolled in his gut. He heard his name being repeated but he couldn’t focus on it.
Stiles remained unconscious for two days and yet the moment he woke up it was to Kira crashing through the door.
Only after being thoroughly interrogated she announced that she needed to call her Mom again and over her shoulder she called that she’d be sending in Peter to keep an eye on him.
Stiles didn’t have to wait long for PEter to appear at the door. He knocked gently on the panelling and hesitated, his eyes trained on Stiles.
“Did I freak you out?” Stiles asked.
“Kira explained, hastily. Most of it had to be seen to be believed,” Peter said and folded his arms over his chest. He seemed uncomfortable with the reaction, unfolded his arms and sat at the foot of the bed.
“If you’re my uh, whatever you are, you’ll uh,” Stiles trailed off. He pulled at the cuff of his shirt, at a loss of how to describe it the way that Kira’s shapeshifter ancestors had. It seemed like a fairytale to describe it as a soulmate, or that they were made for each other. “It’s hard to explain.”
“I’ll keep you sane. Keep your human part human and help your spirit part act freely.” Peter said.
“You won’t change me,” Stiles said quickly, “I have a dark fox spirit in me. I enjoy causing pain and hurt and I want to go everywhere getting retribution and revenge.”
“It’s always the smart ones,” Peter said and shook his head, “I’ve waited for you all my life. I don’t want to change you, and I don’t want to rush you.” Peter stood up and crossed to the desk.
“Something for when you leave, for your journey,” Peter said and when he turned back to Stiles he had a book in his hands. He held it out and Stiles grabbed for it eagerly.
He turned it in his hands to read the title only to find that there wasn’t one. He flipped open the pages and they were blank too.
“I really don’t know you as well as I’d like to,” Peter added, “Maybe you could fill in a few gaps in my knowledge.”
“If I fill this book, and come back, are you going to be here or will you..” Stiles hesitated before saying, “Will you come with us?”
“How long will it take you to fill this, do you think?” Peter asked.
“I’ll write big. I’ll draw pictures and stick flowers and leaves and paint whole pages with colour. A week, a month. What works for you?” Stiles asked eagerly
“It’s a date, whenever you’re ready.” Peter said.