Sometimes, Stiles forgot that he was the most unlikely person in the pack to have a happy ending.
It struck him like a blow to the chest whenever he remembered that he was a human among wolves. Between the hunters, the constant threats, and the of the things that they faced on the daily, Stiles was the most likely to not make it through the fights.
He didn’t have super healing. He had a baseball bat and his wits and sometimes he realized that one day, that wasn’t going to be enough.
So yeah, Stiles always knew there was a chance he lost his happy ending. But he didn’t like to stop and focus on that.
It was a little depressing when he did.
Sitting bound in a dingy warehouse, Stiles once more reflected on these things. One day, he was so going to get out of Beacon Hills. He was going to get out of Beacon Hills and go somewhere far, far away where there were no hunters and no supernatural assholes to put him in the hospital every other week.
Stiles was not a fan.
He was very firmly trying to avoid looking at the werewolf opposite him, but that wasn’t easy. Stiles didn’t understand how whenever he was kidnapped, Derek seemed to be there with him. The man had supernatural strength; Stiles didn’t. Derek was supposed to be the big badass that got them out of this, not hung in chains opposite of him.
Derek’s shirt hung off him in tatters and he was still unconscious. Stiles didn’t like looking at the empty bullet wound in his shoulder, where one of the hunters had dug the bullet out— much to Stiles’s retching.
Stiles just… he just… he was tired. Of this, of Beacon Hills. Shifting in his position on the floor, he worked his bound hands for a moment before sighing. Stiles was tired. Yeah, that’s what he was.
It took Derek a little longer to wake up.
The man came back to consciousness angry, snarling, and flashing his red eyes. Stiles waited in his spot until Derek’s fight had died down and then he sighed, raising an eyebrow at the man.
“Why good morning, Sleeping Beauty.”
“Stiles, what the hell is this?”
“A good question,” Stiles said. Then he furrowed his brows and backtracked. “Actually, no it’s not. I totally get being kidnapped out of the literal school parking lot for this token human but dude, what the hell? How did they get you?”
Derek shifted again and then winced. He flexed his arm and Stiles flinched away as the bullet wound in his shoulder started to bleed again. “I was shot.”
“Shut up, Sourwolf, I got to watch the whole ‘digging it out’ process, so you don’t even have room to talk. I’m pretty sure was more painful for me than it was for you because you were unconscious and I was retching.”
Derek rolled his eyes. He moved again and the chains clanged together. The man tugged on them, shifted around once more, and then sighed.
“Have they hurt you?”
Stiles snorted. The man gave him a flat look.
“When they come, don’t fight back.”
“I’m well-rehearsed on being kidnapped every other week, dude. I know the basics of not getting myself killed.”
“I’m serious, Stiles.”
“So am I!”
A little bit of red leaked into the man’s eyes. But before he could say another word, the door of the warehouse opened and Stiles straightened as a new hunter came into sight. Stiles didn’t recognize him from earlier, but he did recognize the cattle prod in his hand and that sent a jolt of fear shuddering down his spine.
The hunter didn’t even acknowledge him, though. He went straight to Derek, head tilting as he studied the man’s shoulder. Then he pressed a thumb into it and Stiles shied back as Derek snarled.
“Oh,” the man said. “That looks painful.”
Stiles hadn’t really meant to say that aloud but it slipped out anyway. The hunter turned around, one eyebrow raising, and Stiles cursed himself silently.
“The boy who runs with wolves,” the man said, moving closer. “Don’t like seeing your mutt get hurt?”
“Can we skip the back and forth and jump straight into why the hell we’re here?” Stiles said, raising his chin despite Derek’s soft growls. “Cause I’m a teenager and not a werewolf, and I’m pretty sure you hunters are supposed to have a code.”
“Not a werewolf,” the man said, waving a hand through the air. “Not a mutt. Just a boy in over his head playing with the wolves.”
Stiles glared. The man smirked.
“You’re not here for much. A little bit of incentive, a little bit of bait. I’m hoping your dog will talk when I ask him about the rest of his pack but we can’t count on that, now can we?”
Stiles only got a thin-lipped smile. The hunter turned back toward Derek, who snarled again. Suddenly, the cattle prod was pressing against the man’s shoulder, Stiles heard the buzz of electricity, and he screwed his eyes tightly shut as Derek screamed.
“Tell me about the rest of the mutts,” the hunter said. “I’m curious.”
Silence reigned. Then Stiles heard the spark of electricity again and flinched automatically as Derek’s shout filled the air once more.
“I’m not a terribly patient man, Hale.”
When Stiles opened his eyes again, Derek was just glaring. The hunter smirked and let the prod buzz again, his smirk widening at Derek’s wince. Stiles tried to swallow down a litany of curses, meeting Derek’s eyes from over the hunter’s shoulder. He offered his best nod and could’ve sworn Derek’s glare softened a little.
Stiles wasn’t sure how many hours passed after that.
He kept thinking that sooner or later, Scott and the rest of the pack would come bursting through the warehouse doors and everything would be okay. But that never happened. By the time Derek was hanging heavy and limp in the chairs, and the hunter turned toward Stiles with a sick grin, hours had passed. And Stiles was pretty sure they were alone.
They were alone in this.
He finally let himself curse as the hunter untied the ropes and pulled Stiles to his feet. The man dragged him across the room and shoved him back to his knees in front of Derek, and Stiles really tried to not let his panic show. But he was pretty sure he failed as red bled into Derek’s eyes and once more, the man yanked on his chains.
“Come on, Hale,” the hunter said. “Do you really want me to make you choose? I hate to make you choose.”
“Don’t touch him.”
“And there you have it. So, tell me. The human or the pack?”
“Don’t,” Stiles said. “Don’t, Derek, dammit—”
He cut off as something buzzed and then Stiles screamed, unable to hold it in. The electricity that jumped through his body like fire and he’d never wanted to experience something like this. Ever. Derek roared and yanked forward, chains clanging, and Stiles was pretty sure it was only the hunter’s grip that kept him from dropping sideways.
His vision spotted. He wondered if this was what happened when someone put a fork in a power outlet. The hunter carded a hand through Stiles’s hair and tightened his grip, pulling his chin up a little.
“Got anything to say, Hale?”
“Don’t,” Stiles said, cutting him off. “Don’t, Derek. I’m fine, I’m okay, and I—”
Electricity jolted through his entire body again. Stiles bit down another scream, just making a warbling noise of pain this time. Derek looked utterly broken.
Stiles’s chest rose and fell in pants. He was definitely only being held up by the hunter’s grip on his hair now. He was pretty sure he could taste something iron in his mouth. Or maybe that was just his heart pounding all the way up in his skull.
“I don’t think the boy can take as many of these as you can, Hale,” the hunter said, dragging the cattle prod across Stiles’s shoulder but not turning it on. Stiles smothered a whimper and Derek flinched. “Do you really want to play this game?”
Derek didn’t say a word. His eyes never left Stiles’s face.
The hunter sighed and Stiles tensed. But the man only pulled the cattle prod back. For a moment, all he could do was blink in confusion.
Then there was a click and Stiles went stock-still as the cool muzzle of a handgun touched his temple. His heart leaped into his throat and Derek yanked forward again, teeth snapping.
“I don’t want to, mutt. Don’t make me shoot a teenager.”
“Please,” Derek said. “Don’t.”
“Tell me about the rest of the werewolves in Beacon Hills.”
Derek looked back at Stiles with terror in his eyes. Stiles tried to shake his head but then the hunter pressed the gun more firmly against his head and all he could do was close his eyes, body tensing up. For a moment, silence reigned.
The hunter sighed. Stiles shivered at the sound.
But suddenly, there was the distant ringing of gunshots and a series of shouts. The hunter straightened, pulling the gun away, and Stiles took that moment to leap for his abandoned cattle prod. Derek shouted his name, Stiles rolled, and then electricity cut through the air once more.
The hunter hit the ground. Stiles shoved himself up, racing toward Derek as the warehouse doors burst open and the fighting spilled in.
“Stiles, go,” Derek said, pulling away as he approached. “Get out of here!”
“Shut up, Sourwolf.” Stiles looked over the chains and then retreated back toward the hunter, searching him for the key. The man groaned and Stiles jabbed the cattle prod back into his gut, turning it on again. The man convulsed a few times before going still again.
Stiles turned back toward Derek, quickly unlocking his chains. The man all but dropped and Stiles only just managed to catch him. Derek leaned heavily against his side, one arm slung over Stiles’s shoulder.
“Okay, big guy. Let’s get you out of here. Yeah?”
Derek just grunted, face turned into Stiles’s neck. Then he tensed. Stiles gave him a confused look before he heard the click of a trigger. The echo of a gunshot.
Stiles’s blood went cold.
Derek shouted his name as he moved without thinking, dropping the man and angling his body sideways. For a moment, Stiles felt nothing. And then he felt everything— it was like he’d been punched in the stomach. Stiles gasped, stumbling back, and when he placed a hand to his stomach, it came back wet. Red. The smell of iron filled his nose.
Stiles dropped to the floor, gasping in pain.
Faintly, he could hear the sound of the fighting going on a little ways away. Derek roared, there was a blur of movement, and then a scream that cut off. Stiles closed his eyes, clawing at the wound, and then Derek dropped down beside him, gentle fingers cupping his head.
“Stiles, fuck, Stiles.”
“That was dumb,” Stiles said, snorting weakly. “Oh my god, that was so dumb, right? I don’t think the bullet was wolfsbane.”
“It’s still in you.”
“Oh. That’s… that’s not good, right?”
Derek looked downright terrified. Stiles still tried to find the wound, fingers scrabbling weakly, but his stomach was slippery with blood now. And it hurt. It hurt so bad.
“I’m sorry,” Derek said, and Stiles realized he’d said all of that out loud. He tried to laugh but ended up gasping in pain, the taste of iron filling his mouth.
“I’m not used to the unhappy endings,” Stiles said, blood staining his teeth. He was terrified, to be honest, heart pounding against his chest as fear crashed over him. But he still offered up his best grin, before squeezing his eyes tightly shut and taking another gasping breath. “I always hoped I’d get someone other than an unhappy ending. Kinda stupid, right?”
“Shut up,” Derek growled. The man’s eyes searched him up and down, very obviously ignoring the bullet wound. “Shut up, you’re going to be fine.”
Stiles didn’t think so. His throat tightened and he realized he wasn’t going to be fine. This didn’t have a simple solution. This didn’t have an easy way out. And it… it was going to kill his dad.
This was going to kill his dad.
Derek’s voice brought him back to reality, hand squeezing Stiles’s tightly as he looked back up at the man’s face. Stiles didn’t understand why Derek looked so pained until he realized his cheeks were damp, tears sliding down in streaks. Stiles barked a shuddering laugh, before taking a gasping breath again.
“Sorry, Sourwolf. I’m not being emotional, I swear.”
“Stop talking, Stiles.”
“You don’t want me to stop talking,” Stiles said. “What if this is the last time you get to hear me ramble again? You’d regret telling me to shut up. You know you would.”
“It’s not the last of anything.”
“I’m just human, buddy,” Stiles said. His heart twisted and he held onto Derek’s hand tighter, like a life force. “I’m just human.”
“I know, Stiles.”
“I don’t heal like you do.”
“I’m dying, Derek.”
The man’s face twisted. Around them, the fighting had quieted, and Stiles startled when he heard the sound of approaching footsteps. But they cut off sharply a little ways away and when he heard the croaky “S-Stiles?” he knew there was no way he was going to survive this.
“Scott could give you the bite,” Derek said quietly. Stiles blinked.
“He doesn’t want it,” Scott said. “I won’t.”
“I didn’t want the bite,” Stiles said quietly, searching Derek’s face. “I never did.”
“You’re going to die, Stiles.”
One of the betas whined; Stiles wasn’t sure which. He curled his fingers into Derek’s sleeve and tried to shake his head, but he felt a little woozy now. Like he wasn’t fully there. Derek said something that he didn’t catch and he gripped the man’s hand tighter.
He didn’t want to die, Stiles realized. He didn’t want to leave his dad.
Scott could do it. But Stiles didn’t want that. He searched Derek’s face, swallowing hard.
Words formed in his mouth but his tongue felt heavy. Sentences of ‘I want you to do it’ and ‘I don’t want to go’ all melded together. When Stiles finally managed to speak, a dozen things spinning through the heavy fog of his brain, the only thing that came out was ‘Want you’ and Derek’s eyes widened.
Stiles was pretty sure that’s not what he’d meant. But he couldn’t get anything else out. The world was dipping to grey around him. Stiles felt his eyelids fluttering closed, fingers curling into Derek’s sleeve even tighter until they slipped off.
He was dying and he was terrified.
He was terrified and unable to form words as Derek said his name over and over again. There was the sound of movement. Derek barked something that Stiles didn’t catch. And then he was being pulled into the man’s chest.
There was a pinch of something right above his collar bone. Stiles thought he cried out, but he wasn’t sure. He thought he felt blood trickle down his shoulder, as if he hadn’t already lost enough.
Someone was yelling.
And his last thought before everything dipped to black was ‘Want you’.
He wanted Derek.