As he caught up to Peter, an eerie calm fell over Stiles. He'd panic later. He had to let his training take over for now.
"Liam, call my dad," he directed to the staring beta. When Liam didn't move, Stiles snapped, "NOW!"
Startled, Liam fumbled in his pocket for his phone. He almost dropped it before stepping a few feet away to call the Sheriff. They were on the edge of the Preserve and still had reasonable phone reception.
"Peter? You okay?" Stiles asked the man standing behind him, without turning.
Stiles heard Peter take several deep breaths before answering roughly. "I'll be fine. Do what you need to do."
Stiles felt the pull of the Nemeton. Something he hadn't felt in years.
"Liam!" Stiles called. "Tell my dad to send someone to Deaton's."
Liam's eyes got wide but he nodded and passed on that message.
Stiles looked at the remaining betas. He didn't know most of them -- they were part of Scott's pack and it had changed in the years he had been away. Liam was the only one he could identify at the moment, which is why he had him call this in.
If Stiles called, he knew he'd get distracted and he needed to keep an eye on everyone. Especially Peter.
"Okay, I need everyone to chill for a moment until my dad gets here," Stiles directed.
"On his way," Liam reported.
Stiles clapped his hands to get everyone to focus on him.
"Thanks. Everyone! Pay attention! We're going to do this by the book," Stiles said firmly. "No one is in trouble. No one will be blamed for anything that went wrong here. You'll each be interviewed, and it's interviewed and not interrogated! Tell the truth. When you don't know something, it's okay to say that. If you need help, admit it. And you'll be interviewed by people in the know. So you can tell the entire truth." While he could lie to 'weres when he needed to, he let his guard down so they could hear his heart. He hoped they knew enough to know what to listen for.
"You can't just decide that!" someone called.
"Actually, you'll find I can," Stiles said calmly as he held up the FBI badge that had been in a pocket. "I know I've been away from Beacon Hills for some time, and most of you don't know me, but I've spent much of that time working for the FBI in a special division to handle things exactly like this." Stiles waved his hand at the carnage around him.
Liam's head went up. "Your dad is here."
"Help him find us, please," Stiles said. They were off the path and the cruiser could only get so far into the woods.
Liam nodded and dashed off.
Stiles pointed at a young woman. "What's your name?"
"Sydney, do you know everyone else here?" Stiles asked.
"Good." Stiles got a spiral notebook out of his back pocket; it had a small pencil in the coil that she could use. "Write down everyone's name and ask them for contact information. A phone number and an email address is best."
There was some grumbling in the background. "You all need to talk to the authorities! Cooperate and you'll probably spend like ten minutes with a Beacon Hills deputy. Fight it and it'll be with an FBI agent, who won't go so easy on you."
"I've been trying to get Scott to work more with the Sheriff's department," Sydney said.
"So have I. So have I." John walked into the small clearing. He stopped near Stiles, looked at the bodies on the ground and then at the hovering pack and sighed. "Aw, hell, kid."
"I know!" Stiles flailed a bit before setting down.
"What's with Deaton?" John asked. "I sent Parish to check on him."
"I can... feel the Nemeton and I couldn't earlier," Stiles shrugged. "Something's going on there."
"Oh, great," John groaned. "Okay, what happened here?"
"Peter and I have been tracking this Omega across a couple of states. His name is Rhory McInnis from a pack in southern Canada. He tried to take out his Alpha and when that didn't work, rather than take his lumps and stay with his original pack, he fled south. He's been sniping at smaller packs and took out a couple of young betas along the way. We were able to warn the Oregon and northern California packs to be on the lookout for him. Satomi called and said she thought he was here."
Sydney spoke up at that point. "Scott had a meeting with this guy two days ago and told him to be on his way. The guy said all the right things and promised to leave, but I didn't trust him. Scott ignored me and I called Satomi's pack to warn them."
"Thank you for doing that," John nodded. "Sydney, isn't it?"
"Yes, Sheriff." she replied. She held out Stiles' notebook. "I have everyone's information for you."
Stiles took the notebook. "Thanks," he said. He looked at John. "Contact information for the pack, we'll share that part but since this is multi-state, I have to take jurisdiction."
"Not a problem," John agreed. "My people can interview the pack, if that helps."
"It would," Stiles replied. "The rest of my team is a day behind us, working on one of the earlier killings. But Peter and I came as soon as we got the call from Satomi's pack. And with Peter involved, I'll need someone else to double check my reports."
"What happened?" John asked.
"We were going out for a run," Sydney answered. "Just fooling around, mostly. With everyone working, it's rare that we're all off on a nice day like this. We had just gotten started and this guy jumped us. He took a swipe at Liam, since he was the nearest."
"You hurt?" Stiles asked.
Liam shrugged. "It wasn't deep and it's mostly healed. I'm fine."
"Okay, what then?" John asked.
"Scott stepped in and started to yell at the guy," Sydney went on. "Said he had promised to leave. The guy laughed, and it was a real ugly laugh. He said that Scott must be a weak-ass Alpha to just send him on his way with only a warning. Then he leaped at Scott and they started to fight. He's bigger and older than Scott even if he's only a beta, and had Scott on the ground with his claws in Scott's stomach before we could do anything. Then he--" she pointed at Peter "--came out of nowhere."
"Peter," John said.
"John," Peter stepped forward.
"You okay?" John asked.
"I need to... adjust but I'll be fine," Peter said.
"What happened?" John asked.
"Scott evidently had just died because McInnis froze for a moment," Peter said. "The headiness of the Alpha spark is... indescribable." He took a breath. "I took advantage of the moment and took him out."
Stiles looked down at the bodies at his feet. Scott's eyes were wide, as if he was surprised that a beta would be able to beat him. McInnis was close by since Peter had broken the man's neck as his hands were still entangled in Scott's abdomen. McInnis had fallen backwards but still had Scott's blood all over his hands.
John's phone rang at that point. "Sheriff Stilinski." He listened for a moment and nodded. "If everything else looks quiet, I'll get a small crew out to you. I need a crew here, also." He listened some more. "Okay, let me know if you need anything."
He turned to Stiles. "Deaton's dead. An educated guess is that this guy took out Deaton first, hoping to weaken Scott."
"Sometimes a good tactic," Peter nodded. "Take out the Emissary and the Alpha might be more vulnerable."
"Scott had said he was trying to get away from Deaton," Liam offered. "He thought Syd might be a better Emissary when she got some more training."
Stiles looked at Sydney and considered. "Witch?" he hazarded.
"We think so," she shrugged.
"I'll get someone to talk to you about that," Stiles promised. "We have to straighten this out first, but if you don't hear from me in a couple of weeks, call the Sheriff and he can get you in contact with me."
She smiled. "Thanks!"
"More people coming," Liam warned.
"Probably my people," John said. "I'll get them."
"Can we leave?" Sydney asked, looking around at the hovering Pack.
John looked at Stiles. "Your call."
"Sure," Stiles nodded. "Give us a chance to notify his mom. Also, don't leave town for a couple of days and be ready to make a statement."
"Thanks," Sydney said. She took a small step closer to Scott's body. "Take care of him."
"We will," Stiles promised.
John led the coroner and the team from the area crime lab to the area.
"Do you want to let Melissa know?" Stiles asked. "I warned the Pack to let us do that."
"Damn." He looked around. "Yeah, I'll do it." He went over to a deputy Stiles didn't know and evidently put him in charge. "Meet up with you later?"
"I'll call you when I can," Stiles said. "Peter and I need to do a few things first."
"Good enough," John said.
Stiles got his phone out and called for help. Teams like his that dealt with the Supernatural had a central office that handled whatever they needed. "This is Agent Stilinski from Special Projects. My partner and I have apprehended a fugitive and my partner was involved in the fugitive's death. I need a team from Special Projects at my location to work with us in closing the case."
"You're in Beacon Hills?" the operative asked.
"Yes. We'll be staying here for a few days," Stiles acknowledged.
"Okay, there's a team a couple hours away," the voice said. "Do you need anything sooner than that?"
"No, the situation is stable and we have the locals looped in," Stiles said. "Just need to follow the protocol for Agent-involved deaths."
"I'll have someone bring them up to date and they'll contact you once they're close to you," the voice assured him.
"Send them to the Beacon Hills Sheriff's Department," Stiles decided. "They'll have a space we can use and it'll be easier to coordinate."
"Will do! Anything else?"
"No, thanks," Stiles said.
He called Matias, who was working the death of the beta about one hundred and fifty miles away. "Angel. We got McInnes."
"Good to know," Matias said. "You both okay?"
"Peter's kinda rough," Stiles admitted. "McInnes took out the Alpha after taking out the local Druid. Peter took him out right after that. So he's dealing with multiple Alpha sparks."
"Ouch!" Matias winced. "Wait. Didn't you know that Alpha?"
"Yeah," Stiles sighed. "I have a team coming from downstate to support us here. But we got the local Sheriff's department to help us out, so we're all set."
"We can finish this up and come to you," Matias offered. "Otherwise, it'll be tomorrow before we can get there."
"Nah, the Pack there deserves closure," Stiles assured him. "You can let them know we got the killer, though. It doesn't give them their beta back but it's closure."
"That will help," Matias agreed. "But you call if you guys need anything!"
"Will do," Stiles replied. "I need to take care of Peter first, and then deal with the Nemeton."
"Julie's going to kill you if you do that alone," Matias laughed.
"I know, I know," Stiles sighed. "But it's feeling needy and I don't think it can wait."
"On your head," Matias warned.
"Hopefully, I can get it settled down tonight and then when you-all get here, we can do it as a team," Stiles replied.
"Good luck," Matias said.
"Thanks," Stiles said.
As the coroner examined the bodies, Stiles put his arms around Peter. "You okay?"
Peter tucked his nose into Stiles' neck. "Managing." They stood together for a moment. "Sorry about Scott."
"Thanks." It was all Stiles could say at the moment. "What do you need?"
Peter took a deep breath before he took a step back. "Just this for the moment."
"We need to visit the Nemeton," Stiles reminded Peter. "It feels funky."
Peter gave a wry laugh, which has been Stiles' goal. "Funky?"
"Best I got at the moment," Stiles admitted with a shrug.
"Okay, lead on," Peter said.
Stiles held out a hand. "Going to take both of us."
Peter took the hand. "Like that's a surprise."
Stiles let himself wander mentally as they walked through the Preserve, knowing the Nemeton would call him to it. Peter held his hand as they walked in silence.
"Ah! There you are!" Stiles said as they stood in front of a huge tree stump. He reached out a hand to touch it...
Peter tugged him back. "Not sure you should do that!"
Stiles looked at him. "Not sure I should do this, either. Not sure anyone else can do it."
Peter shook his head and sighed. "Only you. Julie will have your head. Go ahead." Peter didn't let go of his hand.
Stiles put his free hand on the Nemeton and felt a connection blossom. Hard and fast. "Oh, fuck." And then everything went black.
The all-too-familiar beeping noise let Stiles know he was in a hospital. He groaned.
"Hey, sweetheart," Peter said softly. "Back with me?"
"Wha' happen?" Stiles muttered.
"You tell me," Peter said. "You touched the Nemeton, stiffened and then passed out. You wouldn't waken and I carried you out of the Preserve. Your dad and I decided the hospital was the best option."
"Three days. You've had me worried."
Peter leaned in and pressed a kiss to the side of his head. "Go back to sleep. It's three in the morning and now that you've wakened, they'll want to poke at you some more."
Stiles sighed. Peter put his hand on Stiles' arm and pulled what little pain there was. Stiles closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep.
Waking in the morning brought more awareness. He had an IV in one elbow and a catheter up his dick. The IV was probably for fluids and the catheter was for pee. Another day and they'd probably start IV feeding. It was kinda sad that he knew that without having to ask.
"Hey, kiddo," his dad said.
"Hey." Then coughed roughly.
"Wait, they left some water for you," John said. He raised the head of the bed some more and held out a cup with a straw. Stiles took a drink.
"Thanks," he said. "Where's Peter?"
"Sent him to the house to get a shower and some clean clothes," John replied. "He refused to leave until you came to, but I didn't fight him on that."
"Yeah, he has to be feeling pretty protective at the moment," Stiles admitted.
"I figured as much, which is why I let him be," John grinned.
"Good to know," Stiles grinned back. "What's going on?"
"The team you called in first showed up and we got them going on Deaton's case," John reported. "There was enough evidence to prove that McInnis killed him, despite the wards and mountain ash Deaton had at his place."
"He'd gotten complacent," Stiles suggested. "And if Scott was really in the process of looking for a new Emissary, that was Deaton's suggestion. He always liked to be the 'power behind the throne' but I'm guessing that he wasn't too happy with how Scott turned out."
"Sounds reasonable," John nodded in agreement. "I loved Scott like another kid but he really wasn't the brightest. Time has let me see more of his true nature and, well, I can't say he was a truly good person."
"I told Mel, she certainly was sad but she wasn't surprised," John added. "Your Sydney had been keeping her in the loop on what was going on with the Pack. So she knew about the Omega being told to move on."
Stiles shook his head. "I'm surprised neither of them would have told you anything."
"I'm going to go with some meddling by Deaton," John said. "That lets Mel blame a dead man for the death of her son and we're essentially off the hook."
"How did they decide to spin it?" Stiles asked.
"Oh, Scott gets to be the hero this time," John replied. "McInnis was a fugitive the FBI was tracking and he threatened Scott and his friends. When McInnis started to get rough with Liam, Scott jumped in and didn't know McInnis had a knife. Luckily, you and Peter had gotten a tip you were following up on and were able to take McInnis out but not before he had killed Scott."
"The truth, pretty much," Stiles nodded. "If Scott had paid any attention to the alerts we had been sending out, he might still be alive."
"Don't go there," John said. "That maybe sort of thinking is dangerous."
"I know, I know," Stiles sighed. "Okay. When can I get out of here?"
"Not until the doc checks you over and Peter gets back," John said firmly. "I promised Peter I wouldn't leave until he got back. So no sneaking out!"
"Got it!" Stiles grinned.
Once released from the hospital, Stiles let Peter 'manage' him. He knew the additional Alpha spark pushed Peter into an even more protective mode and letting Peter control their surroundings was easy enough to do. They settled into John's house while the rest of the team was in a nearby hotel.
Julie, Angel, and Rob settled around the dining room table.
"What do we have?" Stiles asked.
"With McInnis dead, that's settled a number of cases the FBI has been working on," Angel reported. "We shouldn't be surprised if we find he took out a couple of mundanes along the way, incidents that the locals haven't brought to our attention. I called that in last night and the geek squad will be looking for that sort of thing."
"Good, always good to clean up where we can," Stiles nodded.
"And you! Going to a Nemeton alone!" Julie chided.
"Hey! Peter was with me," Stiles defended. "And it was feeling funky. It feels better now."
"What did it do?" Julie asked.
"Not sure," Stiles admitted. "I hoped you'd want to help with that."
"Damn right I do!" Julie nodded. Julie was an apprentice Druid and areas with Nemetons were her growing specialty.
"Stiles needs at least another day of rest before we're going anywhere," Peter declared.
"So that gives us a chance to get the reports done and check for any incidents that got missed!" Stiles said. "But take tonight off. Get some food and some sleep."
Everyone nodded. Having a couple of good nights sleep was always welcome.
"Come by tomorrow and we'll finish de-briefing," Stiles decided. "We'll go out to the Nemeton the next morning."
"I'm going to check out Deaton's," Julie said.
"Make sure Rob goes with you," Stiles said. Rob was as non-magical person as there could be. As Stiles knew from his early years of being involved in the Supernatural, there were advantages to being purely 'human.'
"No problem," Rob nodded.
"Let me know if you need anything," Stiles said.
"You'll be resting," Peter said firmly.
Stiles rolled his eyes but grinned. "Okay, then! Let Peter know if you need anything."
Julie and Rob came back with a small cache of books and supplies.
"I didn't want to leave these things in the house, in case someone tried to break in," she said.
"There's probably more at the vet's office," Stiles said.
"Your dad got a temporary vet to take over there," Angel said. "Through Satomi, I think. He wanted someone supernatural in case there were things at the vet's office that needed to be handled carefully. We'll have to check with the woman that's taken over and see if she's found anything we should know about."
"Think she'll stay?" Stiles asked.
Angel shook his head. "No, she has a practice of her own as well as family and kids back home," he said. "So the town needs to find another vet to take over the practice."
"Good to know!" Stiles nodded.
Peter cooked them a hearty breakfast before they piled into cars to drive out to the Preserve. They parked in a wooded area and got out.
"Which way?" Angel asked.
Stiles stood and then turned in a circle. "Huh. Peter, hold my hand?"
Peter came over and took Stiles' hand. "Better. This way..."
Stiles let the pull of the tree lead the group to it.
"Damn!" Julie breathed. "What did they do to you?"
"Aww... it likes you!" Stiles teased as the leaves in the trees around them rustled in a light breeze. "Umm... don't touch it yet. I need to..." Stiles closed his eyes and just let himself breathe for a moment.
"Oh!" He turned to Peter. "We need to seal the connection first."
"More blood magic?" Angel asked.
"Of course, what else?" Stiles nodded. He held out his other hand, the one not entwined with Peter's. "Peter, it doesn't need much but it needs blood from both of us."
Peter flicked out a claw and put a small slice in Stiles' fingertip. He flexed his hand and pricked his own finger. Stiles put the two cuts together, to gather blood from both of them. He lay the bloody finger on the tree.
This time Peter stiffened and swayed. But Stiles didn't remove his hand from the tree or from Peter. A sharp, white glow flowed over both of them and then snapped out of existence.
"Ah!" Peter sighed. "I didn't realize how chaotic that was!"
"What was?" Julie asked.
"The so-called 'True Alpha' spark had no Pack bonds," Peter said slowly, looking for a way to explain but also in amazement.
"How is that possible?" Stiles frowned.
Peter shrugged. "The only Pack bond Scott ever had was to me, as the Alpha that bit him. And that was tenuous at best. It was broken when I died and I never forced one back on him. You know he never wanted to know anything about Pack lore."
"But he bit at least Liam!" Stiles protested. "Not even a bond to him?"
Peter shook his head. "Not that I can find. If there ever was one, it was broken early."
"No wonder his pack was so... uneven," Stiles said. "But I'm going to guess Deaton had something to do with that."
Peter considered. "That may be true. Scott was getting what he needed from Deaton and the Pack was small enough that just being around Scott was enough to ground them." He sighed. "We may never really know."
"Now what?" Julie asked.
"We'll have to meet up with Scott's pack and see what we can do for them," Stiles said. "Oh, right, the Nemeton had decided we're to be its Guardians and, while we can travel relatively freely, it's going to take a couple of months before we can go too far for more than a day or two. Which means we'll need to make Beacon Hills our home base."
Angel shrugged. "So we work out of the West Coast," he said. "All this traveling around is getting a bit old."
"Will it let me hang out?" Julie asked eagerly.
Stiles nodded. "Sure. Just never come alone."
"Easy enough!" she agreed.
"There are worse places to call home," Rob agreed. "And to get off the road for a while will be good."
"My dad can help us find places to stay, if you want some help," Stiles said.
"You're Pack," Peter reminded them. "We should look for a neighborhood we can all live in together."
"We could build..." Stiles suggested.
"We could," Peter nodded. "Let me think about that."
Knowing to not push, Stiles turned to the others. "Okay, dad will know a realtor that can find us some homes not too far apart. He'll be glad to have us."
"Ooohhh... I can have a garden!" Julie grinned.
"Hey. I've lived in apartments so long, I don't know much about living in a house on my own!" Angel warned.
"We'll be nearby, if nothing else," Peter said. "I'll arrange for lawn service and a cleaning service, since we don't know when we'll be called away."
"I suspect my dad would have you, if you want," Stiles said.
Rob lightly punched Angel in the arm. "Don't be silly. We can share, at least to get started."
"Really?" Angel's face lit up.
"Really." Rob nodded.
"Okay, now that that's settled, I have to report in and let Lisbon know about our new circumstances," Stiles said.
"She's probably dealt with worse," Julie said.
"Too true," Peter agreed.
Stiles looked around at his team... his family. They'd get to build a home!