Actions

Work Header

Time Gone By

Chapter Text

 

The house was finally devoid of everything that had been accumulating in it over the years. Stiles looked around his old room, his amber eyes gliding over the bare slate blue walls, lingering for few seconds on the surface near the corner, where his bed used to stand. A slight nostalgic smile crept over his lips.

He remembered the day he put on his green hoodie and pretended to be a dragon. Crawling under the bed, into his dark cave, grabbing mom's hand whenever she'd dare to stick it under to try and steal his precious treasure. Which was actually just a bowl of caramel candy.

He remembered, how she’d lied in bed with him every evening, stroking the hair away from his forehead, reading from an old fairy tale book. He used to adore the colorful pictures, listening to his mother's voice as he closed his eyes and fell asleep enveloped by her warmth.

His heart clenched a bit more looking at those blue walls. It was as if all her traces had been removed from the place. It no longer felt like a home.

Stiles felt his eyes sting a little. But his phone rang, before any of the tears could slip free. He pulled it out of his back pocket and accepted the call without even checking the screen.

“I'm fine,” he forced out, looking out of the window.

“I know...just...if you needed me over...”

Stiles ran his hand over the short hair on his scalp, frowning to himself slightly. The buzz cut made him involuntary think of the reason why he’d cut it so short again after all these years. He sighed, letting his hand fall to his side.

“Scott, I'm fine. Really. Well not, ya know, but...as fine as I can be right now, I suppose,” he looked around again. “If you could relay that to everyone so they don't try to call me every ten minutes, that would be grand.”

“Yea, sure buddy,” Scott did sound a bit sheepish at that. Stiles would bet they were all listening in on the phone call in the pack house anyways. He counted on that either way. Damn werewolves.

“But you'll owe me like -... ,” his best friend's voice was suddenly interrupted by a loud clatter followed by a high pitched whine and hurried shuffling. “Ah jeez, I told you not to climb on that...wait! Stiles, I'll see ya later okay...I need to....” The call ended abruptly.

Stiles would have been more worried, wasn't it for the fact that this occurred in the pack house a lot lately. Scott's little werewolf daughter was apparently in a 'climbing phase' and tried to conquer every surface that went higher than her knees. Which was basically all of the furniture.

So Stiles just smiled fondly and pocketed his phone. He left his old room with one last look and closed the door behind him. The hallway led straight to the stairs and Stiles passed the bathroom and the spare room without a second thought, stopping only a few steps before the stairs, looking right.

He imagined his dad's room was...well, pretty much same as his at that moment. Blank. Stiles let this fingertips slide over the wooden door and down to the golden-like handle, but didn't dare to open it. He only tapped the door few times, hoping he'd change his mind, but he didn't. It was still too raw.

So he flung his way down the stairs, relishing in the way they creaked, avoiding the living room and heading straight to the kitchen. He touched the door frame and stared at it for a while.

It was probably very stupid of him, but he liked this part of the kitchen the most. Because every year on his birthday his parents would take a pen or a sharpie, let him stand with his back to the door frame and note his height with a short horizontal line. It was always fun to compare how much he'd grown over the years.

He traced the highest one. It was an inch lower than his present height. The number '2011' was written right next to it. The year the crazy show started. Not something one could forget that easily, especially since he was the one who started the whole roller coaster. He was the one that had gotten them all involved....

The fond smile slid off his face, replaced by a guilty grimace. He wasn't gonna think of it. He wasn't... just as he thought he was indeed gonna slip into the painful past, his phone chimed again. This time just barking twice like a happy puppy, announcing a new text message.

He pulled it out and glanced at the time. Yep, just on time for the next check up. Not sure if he was annoyed or glad, he slid a finger over the screen and opened the message.

 

Husband<3 Stiles.

 

Rolling his eyes, he sat on the wooden floor like many times before and typed back his answer.

 

'M ok! Tell Scotty I owe him shit'

 

Husband<3 Can't. On patrol.

 

'Explains y u dunno that this numbr has been pack-banned for the next hour. AT LEAST!!!'

 

Husband<3 I am just some random stranger texting you from in the middle of the woods then.

 

Stiles sniggered, staring at the screen. Not that that was hard to imagine. God knows that happened way too often right after they met. 2011 suddenly seemed like a pretty good year.

 

'Ur such a creeper msgin random ppl, man :P'

'Sides, d be weird for a married man to cuddle a random stranger'

'Better yet, sex him up'

 

Husband<3 'I'll make you a good price.'

 

'Duude, thats so not fair! Nu-uh you crossed the holy line of our marriage agreement'

 

Husband<3 'Unless I'd give you a husband discount. That would be probably like 50% off.'

 

Stiles rolled his eyes, catching a glimpse of his wedding ring. It was a simple smooth thing that enveloped his finger just right. Of course the band was made of silver, come on, that was like the best joke of the century. He could always claim his husband couldn't possibly be a werewolf, since he's obviously wearing silver. That thought cheered him up immediately.

He turned his hand so it was palm up, using his thumb to push the ring up his finger, not pushing it off completely, just to uncover the skin usually hidden behind the band. He traced a part of the thin black tattooed line with his fingertip.

 

'Combined with mate discount its 100 pct off, am sure!'

 

Husband<3 ' Pleasure doing business with you.'

 

'Freeeee pleasure!'

'Can feel ur eyes rolling right now.'

'R they?'

'Did they get stuck?'

'Can u even read dis?'

 

Husband<3 'Stiles.'

 

‘Wut?'

 

Husband<3 'Need to run. Take your time. Stay safe. Say goodbye from me too.'

 

'Okie dokie.'

 

With nothing else left to do with his phone, he just let it hang loose in his hand, swinging it gently from one side to the other. He should’ve probably gone back then anyways. Left fast. Like pulling off a band aid. The same pain, but in a short burst.

And yet he didn't move, simply breathing in the lingering scents of his lost home. But he couldn't smell mom's apple pies, nor dad's liquor. He couldn't smell spring flowers, or greasy curly fries either.

His lips thinned. It was just an empty shell now. It didn’t even belong to him anymore. He was just saying goodbye and then handing the keys to the new owners the next morning.

Stiles sighed as he got up from the dusty floor and patted his hand lightly over his pants, removing the dust that might have gotten stuck to the dark blue fabric. There was no point staying here anymore, really. He checked the place twice already, just in case something was left behind. Not to mention the pack had already done so two days prior. Nothing could escape those keen werewolf noses after all.

Felling the logic pushing him gently out of the house, Stiles walked slowly to the door and opened it. He felt his heart clench tightly as he looked back into the empty space.

“Goodbye...” he croaked, feeling his throat turn dry. He swallowed reflexively. Then he closed the door behind him and locked it properly, pocketing the keys next to his phone, which immediately started ringing again. He couldn't tell who exactly was calling this time, nor did he really care, so he ignored it until it stopped.

The driveway was also empty. Stiles didn't want to park there anymore. It was meant for his dad's sheriff cruiser after all. And as he walked to his baby blue jeep standing on the right side of the road, he couldn't help but remember all the times his dad drove him around in that car.

The way they smiled at each other over junk food, the one night he let him turn on the lights on the roof, the times they drove around in the middle of the night until Stiles shook off his latest panic attack...and well, there was the one time dad locked him in the back. Well okay, it might have been more than once, but who's counting...

Of course, that's when his phone rang again. Just as he was getting into his jeep. Alright, it was starting to get a tiny bit annoying. He pulled out his phone, glaring at the screen flashing 'Lydia' and threw it on the passenger seat next to his. He would be in the pack house soon anyways.

Stiles naturally forgot he should only lean carefully onto the seat, not to slide around like a seal on a beach. That's why he was instantly rewarded by the slight irritation on his lower back. He huffed and pressed the clutch, turning the key in the ignition. He shifted gears before driving away from the house with his foot on the gas pedal.

The fact that he was fairly distracted by his tattoo probably helped. He only glanced in the rear-view mirror once before turning left, heading for the preserve.

And yes his phone did start to ring once again, but no, he didn't turn his gaze from the road, nor did he let go of the steering wheel. The emo check-up could wait for a few more minutes, thank you very much. He was fine.

Stiles just patiently followed the road up the woods, calming himself with the picture of his finally finished brown tattoo. Mentally tracing the lines covering his body always steadied his mind effectively.

He started under his palm, imagining the two thicker lines spinning right next to each other, filled with a lightning shape zig-zagging between them. They climbed up around both of his arms symmetrically, like snakes sliding over his back, right under his shoulders and meeting in the middle.

A bit higher up his spine, right under the nape of his neck, sat a triskelion that was barely covered by his shirt. Nothing much surprising about that, he guessed, sliding with his mind over it's three interlocked spirals. It made him inadvertently think of his husband's triskelion too. His magic tinkled slightly along the lines.

The rest of his back was covered by an image of a tree. It's trunk sliding down his spine in thick vertical lines, spilling onto his lower back into thin intertwined lines representing roots. Right now the brownish roots did fade into nothing right above his backside. With the right amount of particular magic, they would glow and extend down his legs and into his soles, connecting him with the earth.

His shoulder blades were all covered in branches. All of them curled inwardly, supporting the triskelion in their design. The tree didn't even have any leaves, it just looked as if somebody stacked snail shells onto the trunk. Stiles sniggered at that.

And before he could continue with his mental and literal journey, guess what? The phone started ringing again. For the love of everything magical, seriously? They couldn't wait like 10 more minutes, could they? Stiles grabbed the phone, sliding his fingertip over the screen, barely noticing Lydia's name flickering over it.

“What in the name of-...” he started, pushing the gas pedal a bit lower, hearing his engine roar angrily. Supporting his mood. Perfect. He wanted to continue the sentence of course, but today was apparently the international day of unfinished sentences, so Lydia interrupted with a stern and slightly shrill voice: “Stiles, you need to-!“

It didn't really surprise him that her sentence didn't even continue. What did surprise him though, and rather unpleasantly to be honest, was the sound of an ear-piercing panicked howl that was carried to him over the treetops on his right side.

And Stiles knew that howl. And he knew all those other howls that joined the havoc in that instant too. He slammed on the breaks, his tires squealing on the asphalt in protest.

“What the hell is going on!?” He spat into his phone, jumping out of the car after grabbing his supply bag from the back seat and shouldering it in a hurry. He didn't even bother closing the door, (nobody would dare steal his car anyways) running in the direction the howls came from.

“Not so sure...,” Lydia wheezed, obviously running too. “Derek called... caught... weird scent... went to check with... Isaac... we're almost there!”

Stiles wasn't even sure he registered what was said after the first word. The fact that Derek howled for the whole pack to come could only mean it was something really dangerous. Something that couldn't be stopped by two huge wolves.

“Keep them safe!” He yelled into the phone, clutching it in his hand as he ran between the trees. Well, at least he ran reasonably fast thanks to all those years of running away from dangerous beasts. Not to mention the intense werewolf training.

But it still wasn't fast enough. Not when he heard the howls again. A command to gather ASAP. They were further away from him than he first thought. Shit. He wanted to swear aloud, but it would only disturb his breathing, so he quickly swallowed the words, reaching back and grabbing a tiny plastic packet from his rucksack with his free hand.

“Stiles!” He heard Lydia’s voice shriek from his phone.

“I'm on it!!” He yelled back.

Stiles moved his left hand closer to his ear so he could hear more, perhaps catch some clues about what was actually going on, but there was only vicious growling in the background followed by a low pitched whine. Isaac, his brain supplied.

With no time to spare he squeezed the small plastic bag, which popped open from the pressure, red liquid spilling over the inside of his hand. He needed to be faster. As fast as a werewolf, at least.

Stiles brought the thumb to his mouth, licking over the tip covered in the red liquid, tasting iron. Yes, he was going to stubbornly call it 'the red liquid'', not the obvious 'blood of my werewolf mate'. He wouldn't wanna get sick thinking about it too much right then, thanks. He just needed his magic to imitate the pattern of a werewolf’s speed.

With that in mind, he took in a steadying breath, smearing his fingers down the nape of his neck in a precise motion, not caring if the collar of his shirt got dirty or not. It might have looked like a smudge to an untrained eye, but it was in fact a sigil that signified speed. He felt a jolt of magic surge through his body which was being emitted from the triskelion.

Faster, he thought.Faster,” he whispered, pushing his muscles, rushing his magic, mentally picturing Derek as he ran, his muscles moving effortlessly. It made the tattoo glow golden down his spine, no doubt extending the tree's roots down his legs.

Stiles opened his eyes, irises glowing. Well, at least the pack claimed they glowed golden sometimes when he did magic. Barely anything changed from his point of view, unless you count the blur that suddenly swallowed the surroundings. He would have enhanced his sight too, but there was no time now. He just needed to be faster.

So he ran, weaving his way between the trees, avoiding the roots rather successfully. His breathing didn't even speed up, muscles leaking the energy from the magic within him. He could feel the parts of the tattoo falling together like a well oiled machine, strengthening his Spark remarkably. It took him ages to find the right combination, to design the perfect mosaic, but finally he had succeeded just a few days prior. Well, he had hoped for a test run first, true, but this would have to do.

Stiles was rather relieved when he started to hear snarls, whimpers and shouts, echoed by his phone. He pushed his legs ever harder, eager to see for himself. Finally the trees opened up to a fairly spacious clearing. Ah yes, he knew it well. Just last winter, the pack had had the most epic snowball fight in the history of snowball fights right here.

Running out from between the trees, he stopped swiftly and scanned the scene in front of him. Well, it did look quite bad for them, sadly. It made him cringe inwardly. Seven wolves were scattered around the space, most of them circling the weird hovering creature that looked like a...well it was pretty much a dementor with long sharp claws.

He spotted Lydia kneeling in the grass on the other side of the clearing with her hand on a sandy wolf. So he ran to her, keeping to the trees, not letting his eyes slide off the monster. It was trying to slash at the chocolate brown wolf – Boyd, who jumped out of the way, while the charcoal black one circled around the dementor, snapping at its body.

It was like the creature knew what was going to happen, it easily avoided the razor-sharp teeth with a drunk slide to the right, letting Derek land on the ground unharmed. The wolves just circled around it, regrouping, while it tried to slash them with its claws. He could see Derek moving his body so he would always stand between Stiles and the dementor. Reassured, he tore his eyes from the fight and latched them on the strawberry blonde next to him.

“Lydia!” Stiles knelt next to her, touching her shoulder. “What the hell is going on? What the fuck is that weirdo thing there? Are you okay? Is Isaac alright?”

He had a lot more questions that threatened to spill out of his mouth, but Lydia stopped him with one fierce look.

“I was hoping you'd know.”

“I've never seen anything like that. It looks kinda like a dementor. Could it be a dementor? A soul-sucking vampire dude?” He laid his hand on Isaac's motionless body, surging his magic into his fingertips. He could feel the blood rush inside the wolf's body, the heart evenly pumping. Much to his relief, it seemed Isaac was simply unconscious.

“I have no idea. I tried everything I had at hand - mountain ash, poppy, fairy dust...but nothing worked on it! I don't know what it is Stiles. I don't know. I should know, I should...” she shook her head, looking at him with her wide panicked eyes. “I am a horrible Emissary...”

“Now, now...ya know that's not-...did you try to talk to it or something, maybe it's only attacking, cuz of all those angry wolves around.” Well he could hope for an easy solution, couldn't he?

“I don't think it came over for a friendly chat, Stiles. It was already trying to claw out Isaac, when we arrived,” Lydia spat out, putting her hand protectively over the slumped mass of sandy brown fur. “And Derek wouldn't attack nor howl like that without a reason. You must know that!”

“Just covering all the bases,” he shrugged and then caught her hand in his own. “Let's see what happened then, shall we?”

After scribbling a connection sigil into his palm, Stiles put his hand flat on the ground. It was still covered with the remains of the 'red liquid'. He dug his fingers into the moss, flashing a worried look at the wolves, but dismissing it quickly. They were holding their ground well enough and this would only take a few seconds anyways. So he closed his eyes (Lydia doing the same without a second thought) and let a wave of his magic descend down his arm, over his hand, into the earth.

Well, it wasn't the most reliable source of what happened, but Derek was too busy defending the pack to let them know the details and Isaac was pretty much out of it, so the memories would be almost impossible for him to find.

Stiles could see his tattoo glow from behind his eyelids, bright red melting into white as the flashback hit him. It was like a wave that flooded his senses, rendering him helpless against the possible danger in the real world, but he trusted the pack to protect him if necessary.

He tried to ignore all the different smells infused in the memory before they could overwhelm him and turned his head to the right, as he heard a wolf approaching. Isaac emerged as a sandy wolf from between the trees, looking around with focused eyes, shifting his ears as if he was trying to find a sound that wasn't really there. He bowed his head and sniffed, looking confused for a second.

As he trotted into the clearing, the dementor-like creature appeared out of nowhere and towered over him. It brought down its claws at an alarmingly high speed, aiming for the wolf's head. Isaac managed to duck out of the way somehow, probably purely by instinct, although he only succeeded partially. His body slumped with a pitiful whine, warm blood seeping into the fur on his head.

The creature started to approach him once again, but was interrupted by a thundering howl, accompanied by a huge black ball that leaped out of the woods, slamming at full speed into the frail body that was covered in a raggedy black robe. An attack like that would have probably broken lots of bones under normal circumstances, but normal obviously didn't apply.

Derek positioned himself in front of Isaac's slumped body and snarled threateningly. Just as the creature was about to attack again, Lydia grabbed his arm forcefully, pulling him out of the flashback. Fingers squeezed his biceps with far more strength than she should’ve been able to muster. The blue manicured nails dug into his bare skin.

“Stiles, I...” she started, her voice turning grim. “I feel like screaming.”

A chill ran down his spine, the flashback dismissed immediately. He glimpsed ears turning their way and postures stiffening. And that was when a pained wail tore through the dreadful silence, led with a barely noticeable whoosh. The white wolf fell to the ground and the dementor turned his hollowed eye sockets in Lydia's direction, lifting his bloodied claws into their line of sight, as if it wanted to force her to finally let out her scream.

It only lasted a fraction of a second though, because the coffee brown wolf roared, red eyes glowing ferociously. All the wolves shifted their stances, snarling loudly and attacking from different angles. The creature was forced to slide away from the white bloodied heap on the ground to successfully avoid all the attacks.

Cora could meanwhile grab her mate's unmoving body, pulling it carefully to Stiles and Lydia, whining pleadingly. The strawberry blonde hurriedly took out few vials from her purse and assessed the wound carefully. It was a really deep cut that, for some reason, wouldn't stop bleeding.

“It's okay, it's okay, Brandon,” she mumbled, opening the vial containing a white liquid serum, letting few drops land on the wound. “I will not scream. I refuse to.”

Stiles put his hand on the white wolf's hip, surging a wave of his magic to enhance the force of the healing draught. The bleeding stopped at once. Lydia smirked triumphantly and put each hand flat on either side of the wound, bringing the ragged edges together so it could seal itself faster. It was a significantly slower process than usual though, similar to wounds afflicted by an Alpha.

Stiles glanced up and saw a furious Cora leap back into the battle, jumping and then sinking her teeth into the creature’s wrist, yanking on it with a mighty force. She should have ripped it all off, considering the arm seemed like just thin bones held together by sickly-colored skin. But something in the air shifted and Cora lost her hold on the wrist, toppling backwards.

“We need a different plan, werewolf strength doesn't seem to affect it. It either avoids the attack or cancels it somehow, see?” Stiles pointed at Scott's unsuccessful attempt to get under the creature and strike from that seemingly vulnerable point, while the others posed as a very dangerous distraction.

“And as you pointed out, none of the magical weapons seem to work either,” he added, his mind whirling frantically. “If we had more time to research...”

“Peter might know. But he stayed behind with Chris to protect the others. Maybe if I called him-...” Lydia suggested holding Brandon's slowly healing injury.

“There's no time for that! That thing can injure them, but they can't injure it. We can't keep healing one wolf after another...we need a way to buy us some time, at least.” He could feel the solution on the tip of his tongue, but wasn't able to spit it out.

Thinking aimlessly, he glanced to the fight and saw the creature slip out of the tight knot of wolves with some weird shift in the air, heading straight for them. Stiles wished for some amazing shield that would protect them, but since Lydia already mentioned mountain ash not working it was all in vain.

The dementor raised his claws, but three of the wolves bound for him at top speed and locked their jaws into his robe, yanking him back forcefully. The momentum carried it few meters back involuntarily, the sudden movement wrenching away the floaty hood, uncovering the bold head for Derek's huge opened jaw. The teeth snapped shut over its skull. But the crack didn't come.

Stiles must have blinked or something. Because in one second the head was right there, ready to be crushed like a melon, or better yet - a chicken egg. But in the next second, its whole body shifted like hot air, appearing behind the black wolf. Well fuck.

Derek's teeth clamped painfully as he barreled into the ground at full speed, rolling over the moss. Stiles was sure he heard some bones crack, seeing the front leg dislodge slightly, making the wolf's shoulder stick out rather obviously. Anger bubbled inside of him, restarting his brain.

He would have run to check on Derek, but the wolf was already getting up, moving his front leg into the correct formation, fractures probably healed already. He leapt between them and the creature, ready to defend them, if necessary.

“Okay so I've got an idea. It's a bit far-fetched but...what if I tried to banish it?” He mused, squinting his eyes at the signs on the side of dementor's head. Nothing he had ever seen before, but he might as well try to remember them. “I still have that shell that your parents got me from the Mediterranean Sea. I could use it as an anchor.”

“No, you've seen how easily it transports,” Lydia countered, smearing some salve over Brandon's healing pink scar. “It would just pop back in.”

“Well, that would suggest it's here for some special reason. Maybe if I banish it elsewhere, it'd just...I don't know... try to kill some fish instead?” He wished for more time. Time to think. Time to...wait a second.

“Maybe I could combine the banishing sigil with the one for future time and send him...into the future?” It did sound way too insane, didn't it? It was true, he was good at combining the sigils to achieve two or three things at once, but messing with time was a whole new level.

“How far into the future could you send him?” The strawberry blonde frowned.

“No idea, no freaking idea. I would need something to symbolize the exact future, but...not sure...do we have some other plan? Like, anything?” He asked, examining the clearing desperately. The wolves weren't doing so well. Boyd got caught on his leg, hobbling out of the way, Jackson's ear was hanging loose and bleeding over his left eye.

“Maybe I could use the triskelion. It might not be good enough though.” Stiles opened his backpack, pulling out a bag of small, white, flat stones. He'd use them for the magic circle, or well, the elliptic shape he'd manage to put them in anyhow. It had never ended up being a perfect circle, but luckily, it didn't matter much.

Lydia stuck her hand into her purse as well, pulling out a white plastic piece. Kind of like a weirdly shaped sharpie with a blue top. “Use this as the future symbol.”

He took it, eying the plastic piece incredulously for a few seconds. And then he took in a sharp breath. Oh. There was a little plus sign on it. Oh. He shot a glance between her and Jackson. The carmel brown wolf circled behind Scott, paying them no attention at that moment. Although, he was obviously aware of their location for he growled at the creature every time it moved closer to them.

“Does he know...?” Stiles whispered, forgetting they were under a huge time pressure.

“Stiles, really? Are we gonna do this now?!” She barked impatiently. Right, well so much for that. He didn't even comment on her outburst as he turned his back to her, unlacing the knot on the satchel. Then he just pulled out the little white pebbles, putting them around in a relatively loose circle that was big enough for him to sit in. He sat in cross-legged, putting the positive pregnancy test carefully on his lap.

While he was drawing the swiftly designed combination of two sigils on his palm (just with an ordinary blue pen this time), he caught sight of Lydia informing Scott about the plan. The wolf just nodded slightly, looking around at the other wolves who obviously got the memo because they all re-arranged once again. Stiles never got how they understood themselves in their wolf forms, but yeah okay, no time for musings now.

Gold glowed down his arm, following the outlines of his tattoo, lighting it on fire like dry grass. The tidal wave made out of pure magic reached his wrist almost instantly, attacking the blue lines he had just written. The sigil was illuminated without delay, singing with magic. The little pebbles shivered slightly and turned over. Right, here we go.

He took the pregnancy test into his other hand and stood up, his eyes probably gleaming golden, looking for the target. Which was suddenly nowhere to be found. What the-... Stiles looked around frantically, catching a glimpse of a blurry shape to his right. He thought he heard some panicked growls, pawns hitting the ground, scattering the grass or moss or even dirt...

All he could feel was the painful spasm in his right hand as its claws hit it. His muscles contracted uncomfortably, fingers shaking numbly. But the creature was right there in his reach. How stupid of a move was that, he mused, did it really think one small injury would distract his magic that effectively? Well, that was not how it worked, buddy.

He pulled the injured hand away a little, tearing the claws from his flesh, encircling his bloody fingers around its talons, pulling the creature closer with a grunt. His tattoo glowed even brighter with the added blood sacrifice. It made him smirk victoriously.

He locked his eyes on the dementor's expressionless face, kicking the little pebbles his way, extending the circle around it too. “Don't mess with my pack,” he snarled smashing his left palm into the creature's forehead, surging his magic through the sigil. It burned up his spine as if he was hit by a lightning bolt, not that he knew how that felt, he just assumed so.

And then there was light. A light way too bright for his eyes. So he let his eyelids fall down, dropping the monster's talons from his grip and covering his eyes with his forearm instead. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, something grabbed his spine. It jerked him forcefully down and he fell, his body burning unnaturally. Oh yeah, that wasn’t really normal, he thought, fear blocking his brain's ability to think clearly.

The fall took ages. It couldn't have possibly been that way though, could have it? It's not like he got stuck in some Alice in Wonderland fantasy. It just felt like it took forever. It was weird. He was weird. Like he couldn't reach his body, like he couldn't connect his brain to his muscles. He didn't know what to do with the out-of-body experience, but he vaguely hoped he wouldn’t break his spine hitting the ground. Derek wouldn't be super happy about that. No, scratch that, he'd be quite furious...

Lost in thought and totally out of the focus, Stiles' back finally connected with the ground. And yep, it hurt quite a lot, but at least he could feel his body once again, so that was a plus. He wasn't so fortunate though, feeling his head snap in the momentum which resulted in him hitting the back of his skull on the mossy surface. Pain exploded in the back of his head and he immediately grabbed for it, curling onto his side. Fuuuck.

He let a violent sob escape his lips, dry heaving severely from all the dizziness. He couldn't even make out his surroundings anymore, his vision was swimming like that of a drunken sailor, on a boat, in a freaking shit storm.

Seconds ticked away and luckily he felt the pain subdue slowly, although the lightheadedness remained. Careful as to not irritate his head bump, he traced it lightly with his fingertips, but the skull itself seemed relatively stable. There wasn't even any blood. He pulled himself up slowly, resisting the urge to throw up all over himself.

He was in his room. Oh my God, did he just fall off his own chair? He glanced at the fallen chair begrudgingly, seeing its little wheels still turning around in lazy circles. He shouldn't have followed that with his eyes, seriously, because it made him dry-heave uncontrollably.

Stiles rose shakily to his feet, stumbling out of the room into the bathroom across the hall, reaching the toilet just in time to empty his stomach into it. His body shook wildly, stomach clenching painfully. He felt tears slide down his cheeks. What the hell? He seemed to be suffering from a serious concussion. Maybe he should’ve considered calling his dad, or well...an ambulance?

He drew a raggedy breath, tasting the disgustingly sour tang in his mouth. He was still really dizzy, so not caring any longer, he pressed his head to the cold toilet rim, praying for relief. It did help a bit, Stiles had to admit, as he managed to flush the toilet, letting his hands fall down into his lap. He stared at them numbly, hoping he wouldn’t throw up anymore.

Okay, well this might be the concussion speaking, but his left hand looked very disturbing for some reason. He couldn't quite muster his thoughts, but… there was something about his hand that irked him. He glared at it, flexing his fingers easily, turning it palm up, palm down, repeatedly. Stiles feared he might have somehow gotten retarded. Can a severe concussion cause a brain meltdown? Probably. He was in so much trouble.

But still, he frowned at the hand. Wasn't there a finger missing or something? He counted them a few times. Nope, all five in place. His eyes slid involuntarily over his wrist and up the pale skin of his arm. Well uh...that was kinda weird too, although it was completely normal. Lovely oxymoron there, doofus. His arm was totally fine, except maybe a bit lanky, covered with moles and a thin layer of hair as any other human. If he was a wolf, he'd probably freeze his ass off. He almost huffed out a laugh, but stopped himself when he became confused.

His brain suddenly felt way too full, actually it felt like that since the freaking chair tried to murder him, but he only now noticed, thanks to the subdued pain which had made his brain automatically restart. Wait! What the hell!? Okay, this whole thing was getting really weird, like really, really weird.

Did the spell transport him into his old house? He groaned, raising his head from the toilet rim. Yep, this was totally the bathroom he used to share with dad.... And then he stopped cold in his tracks, holding his breath as his thoughts raced with lighting speed.

He did just run out of his old room, which was far from empty and looked the same as it had in his teenage years, at least from what he could see through his swimming vision. Even the bathroom was full of stuff. Oh no, no no...

He glanced at his arms again, his mouth hanging open in shock. No wonder it seemed so weird to him, his tattoo was gone! It couldn’t be true, he thought, sliding his arms disbelievingly over his fair skin. It took years for him to undergo the whole process - it hurt like freaking hell and he almost fainted once! And now it was gone? Just like that?

He couldn't believe it. It had to be some kind of a lunatic dream, a fever delirium, a concussion hallucination perhaps. His breath came out in a huff, speeding up as he reached for the sink, pulling himself up to stand properly in front of the mirror. Stiles had to make sure, so he pulled up his shirt, turning around slightly so he could sneak a peek at his back. Nothing. He could feel cold sweat forming on his face, a chill running down his spine.

He caught the horrified look in his own reflection and paled significantly, realizing his face looked young. He ran his hand over his features. It definitely wasn't the mirror, it was his face! He could suddenly feel his heart beating against his ribcage, trying to jump out of it like a bird escaping a cage.

Okay, so he wasn't exactly that stupid. The spell must have malfunctioned and sent him back into the past, that much was obvious. Why the young body though? It didn't make any sense. Did the spell age him backwards? Why would it do that… he thought back distressed, trying to remember the sigils. His memories were so blurry, he couldn't recall much.

He did combine banish with future, so he could banish the creature into the future, right. And he used the...oh shit. So that's why the fucker sliced up his hand, to disrupt the ritual! He must have dropped the pregnancy test from Lydia. So what did it leave him then! What did he use his magic for? Why the past...

And then it hit him. Banish, future...did he just accidentally banish his future? His heart clenched painfully, as he bent over the washbasin heaving again. He coughed few times, spitting into the drain. So, he got himself sent accidentally back in time and erased the future in the process? Was he gonna have to relive the whole thing once again? He could be already stuck in a huge time loop for all he knew.

Stiles felt his head throb, his thoughts scattering around his head anxiously. His skull might’ve jumped apart at any moment and pressing onto it with the palm of his hand wouldn’t help much, would it. He couldn't stop fearing that he'd have to live through all those years once again.

Stiles tried to calm down, breathing in deeply, but the oxygen didn't reach his lungs. His head throbbed again, like water pushing onto the dam, holding it together. And then the dam broke and he could literally feel his memories slip. It made the panic attack inevitable. Trapped in the young body, his brain clearly couldn’t even sustain the memories, because it was lacking all the connections created over the years.

He would lose it. He would lose it all. All the pack memories, his dad, oh hell, even Derek! No, no, no, please...his breath came in way too short. Actually, there wasn't even breathing of any kind involved, he knew. His chest just kept rising and sinking uselessly. The room turned left, jerked right and he found himself clenching the basin on instinct to not sprawl on the floor.

He needed to stop the panic attack, his brain supplied, red lights flashing behind his eyelids as he closed his eyes. Well thanks, brain, how would you propose I do that? He mused feeling the full blown panic attack reaching its slimy numbing fingers into his head.

Reflexively he reached for his wedding ring in vain hope, because it obviously wasn't there. He wasn't happily married. No husband at all. His eyes latched themselves on the ring finger, looking for the tattooed line. Nothing. No mate either. No huge pack. He...was lost. With that thought his knees gave way, black invading his sight, eating out the light at the edge of his vision while he desperately tried to get some oxygen into his deprived lungs.

He would faint soon, that much was true. He would faint and then all his memories would be gone and the whole roller coaster would start again. He should’ve fought it, but he was so tired, his whole body hurt, why wouldn’t he just let the dark swallow his mind and...wait, what? No, no, can't, Derek would kill him, he would...probably rip his throat out...Stiles searched desperately for his breath, managing a shallow gulp at last.

“With his teeth...” he huffed weakly, trying to catch more air, succeeding only partially. But it was a start. He just needed to strengthen his anchor, which was ridiculously hard, considering all the memories of his anchor were slipping between his fingers like chinese noodles. His brain couldn't keep them, but maybe his magic could.

Stiles grunted, taking a deep breath that helped his vision clear a bit more. He pulled himself upwards again with the help of the washbasin and stumbled back into the hallway, his head only nearly missing the door frame. He needed his anchor and he needed it now, else the slight control over the breathing he regained would slip away again.

His body ended uncomfortably stretched over the table, just because it was the closest thing to hold onto. He slid his shaking hand over the mess on it, finding a black pen. It would have to do.

Stiles gritted his teeth, pressing the tip onto the base of his ring finger, drawing a uneven line as he tried to retrace the black tattoo that once sat there. It wasn't straight at all, it wasn't even continuous, but it was there. A reminder of his anchor. He turned his hand over, repeating the process, feeling the dizziness edge away slightly as he drew one breath after another, the next steadier than the previous.

His head still throbbed, leaking, but at least he was sure he wouldn’t faint anymore. He ignored everything else, concentrating on the band drawn around his ring finger. There were still some memories left, he just needed to contain them. With no idea how to exactly do that, he drew a circle on the back of his left hand and drew the same sigil for future as before. Now came the hardest part.

Sadly, his younger body only had a dormant Spark, which meant there might not have even been enough strength in it to work the sigil. Come on, he thought. It had to work, he knew how to do it, he just had to teach this body to respond to the mental command. “Come on,” he wheezed, closing his eyes in concentration. Nothing happened and the panic used that to latch itself onto him again.

Stiles grabbed his ring finger desperately, so tightly it was almost more painful than his head. He imagined Derek standing in front of him breathing evenly, so he matched his breath to his. He pictured his wolf, restless under the scrutiny of the full moon, his eyes glowing with radiant blue, his fangs and talons extending with a perfect example of discipline. He could control his powers, he could control his gifts. They belonged to him, so he could command them on will.

The Spark burst alive in his chest, spreading its thin. warm tendrils through his blood. Stiles' amber eyes flashed as he moaned happily, arching his body, surging the lazy magic down his arm into the sigil. His head stopped hurting, a numb, tired feeling settling over it. He took a steadying breath smiling to himself just a little bit to celebrate this small victory.

Utterly exhausted, he slid down the table onto the carpet, his body feeling like an over-cooked spaghetti pasta. Mustering the last drops of his strength, he brought his left hand to his mouth, kissing the jagged line of the mate ring and letting his mind be finally swallowed by darkness.

 

 

Chapter Text

Stiles stood in the fairly spacious bathroom of the pack house, staring intensely into the mirror in front of him. It was quite clean, he supposed, except...he reached his hand across the washbasin, thumbing at a dried drop of water. He only smudged it further, to his annoyance. Slightly irritated, he turned the tap, gathering some water onto his fingers, sliding it over the lower part of the mirror. Great, now it was all wet. He frowned, staring at his reflection again, ignoring the wet smear.

His frown deepened, as he slid his eyes up and down his body, enveloped by black pants and a white shirt, trying to evaluate the accuracy of his clothes. He tucked the shirt into his pants. Fastened the two highest buttons. Well, that wasn't any better, was it? It just felt like he was choking even more. So he unbuttoned it again, his fingers trembling slightly. It didn't get any better. It seemed to worsen the situation, actually.

Letting out a strangled sigh, he gripped the washbasin, staring into it's depths. Maybe, if he'd stick his finger inside it, it would suck him in like a black hole and he wouldn't have to go anywhere. He pushed his fingertip inside. No such luck.

He ran his wet hand over his pants, until he realized, what a stupid idea that was. He needs to look representative, not like some hobo, who just rose from a ditch. He grabbed the towel from a nearby hanger, wiping the cloth over his pants. Frustrated, that it didn't work, he just threw the towel grimly to the left and watched it land in the toilet partially. Today was really not his day. Not his day at all.

Stiles leered at his reflection again. He looked like a zombie, dressed in a suit. He could just go lie down straight into a casket and nobody would notice. Maybe he could just go and lay down beside his ...he gulped, sobbing once. Don't think about it! Just to bring the point over, he grabbed his hair, pulling onto it slightly. That's what you get for thinking about it, he chastised himself. He let his hand fall from his hair tiredly, trying to smooth out his wrinkled forehead.

As he glanced into the mirror, he noticed his hair, which was in a huge disarray now. Well, that was just unacceptable! What would everybody think of him, if he showed up with such hair? He threaded his fingers through it. Even worse. He wet his fingers again, trying to smooth down the bird's nest crowning his head. Nothing. Frowning angrily, he grabbed his husband's expensive hair gel and swooped a general amount onto his fingers, sliding them over the hair. Now he just looked like a Draco freaking Malfoy!

He gazed at his watch. There was still time to fix his hair, wasn't there? Are two hours even enough to fix people's hair? He suddenly wasn't sure. His brain was obviously on standby.

“It's not possible to make connection with the number you have dialed, try again later, please,” he mumbled, grabbing the shower head and bending his head over the bathtub. He put on the water then, keeping it cold, as if it would help to wake up his brain and poured it over his head, hopefully getting rid of the gel. After that, he realized, he should probably wash it with shampoo too, so he also did that.

Stiles couldn't even recall, how he got a towel over his head, but silently hoped, he didn't pull it out of the toilet. Ah no, that one was still there, luckily. He took a deep breath and swallowed, turning his eyes to the mirror, watching his wet hair hang down uselessly. He could feel the water, that the towel didn't manage to catch, dropping down onto his shoulders, not caring.

It was hopeless. His hair officially sucked. He should call Lydia to take care of it. Or better yet, Derek. He was the king of perfectly styled hair. But he couldn't do it. A tear spilled out of his left eye and he wheezed. He couldn't even get himself ready without freaking out, for Christ's sake, how is he gonna survive the whole...and then the... He rubbed at his eyes, taking a deep breath in through his nose, which made his lips thin considerably, as he observed the damn noodles on his head.

And then, without thinking, he opened the drawer and pulled out an electric trimmer. The hair had to go. It had to go, he couldn't even look at it. It made him involuntarily think of all the times his...his dad ruffled his hair, for example. Just as his mommy did. And now, he couldn't bare the memories anymore. He grimaced, feeling the tears pushing at his eyelids. It had to go, it definitely had to go.

He pushed the switch and listened to the soothing buzzing of the device. Luckily, it seemed fully recharged. He didn't have time to look for a recharger or a battery or whatever this thing needed.

Stiles might have been a bit worried about, how his hand trembled, or about the trimming length setup, if it was under normal circumstances, but it wasn't, was it? Plus, he already did it once as a kid, right? He knew for a fact, that he managed to do it, without setting up anything. So this would all work out somehow, not?

His hand was stopped halfway to his head. He glanced to the right, feeling somebody stand next to him. Huh, weird, he didn't even hear the door opening, nor the footsteps. The hair trimmer was gently pulled out of his hand, as he continued to stare dumbly at it.

“Stiles?” He managed to catch through the loud buzzing in his ears. That was pretty weird too. He would have bet the person, that removed the machine, also turned it off, but he could still hear the buzzing, taunting him.

“Stiles?” Somebody shook his shoulder. He turned his eyes to the person.

“Oh, hey, Derek,” he said lightly, staring at him unfocused.

“What are you doing?” Derek asked, eying him suspiciously, tightening his grip on the turned off trimmer.

“Just...,” Stiles didn't finish, jerking his hand vaguely in the direction of his head, then the mirror, waving it around the room, as if that explained everything. His husband's eyebrows rose, letting him know, it doesn't give any sense at all. He didn't say anything, though, waiting for a proper explanation. Stiles felt like a mute lunatic. What was he thinking? Waving around like that, he didn't even understand anything himself anymore. Maybe he broke his brain or something.

The werewolf just reached for his left hand, tangling their fingers together, pulling onto them gently. Green eyes dug into his, but Stiles didn't pay them much attention at the moment. He just slid his gaze down the stoic face, along the shoulder and the arm, seeing his own hand enveloped by Derek's and the lines of their mate rings tattooed onto the skin covered by silver wedding rings. It calmed him down considerably and Derek knew it would.

He took a deep breath, letting it all out in a long sigh, as he looked back into the mirror. “It needs to go,” he croaked. “The hair...all of it...it's...it's a bother.” That was a lie, of course, and they both knew it, but nobody said anything. Derek just stepped in closer to him, so close Stiles could feel his warmth through his shirt, and pushed his lips gently to the side of his head.

Stiles jerked away by reflex, grimacing slightly, as he muttered: “It's wet.” Derek just rolled his eyes fondly at the stupidity of that remark, grabbed his head, pulling it closer again and laid a second kiss into the hair.

“Let's get rid of this monstrosity, before it attacks me,” he smiled lightly, pushing Stiles to sit down on the edge of the bathtub. He did so, slumping slightly and cringed. “My pants are wet too now.” Because he was obviously klutz enough to soak the whole bathtub, when washing his hair.

Derek didn't comment on it, he just lifted one eyebrow, clearly amused by that statement, which made Stiles huff out a slight laugh: “Not like that.”

“Yet,” replied Derek grabbing the hair trimmer from the shelf next to the washbasin, where he put it before. They both knew those were just idle proposals at this moment, but it did lighten the mood, so Stiles was thankful.

Derek grasped the sides of the comb attachment, moving it to set it up and then put the machine on. The bathroom was filled with buzzing once again, but this time, it didn't swallow all the other noises. Stiles could hear his mate humming something, that's how he knew. He hummed, as he stepped in between his legs, moving Stiles' head slightly for his own comfort. And he hummed, as he pushed the trimmer through the wet hair, cutting it off his head.

Stiles listened to him, as he brought his own hand to Derek's hip, sliding his fingers over the cloth aimlessly. It was soothing. Just buzzing and humming and the smooth pattern of his husband's black pants.

None of them said anything, as the minutes ticked by, so Stiles was quite surprised to hear the trimmer being turned off. He felt Derek's hand stroke over his short hair tenderly. “Shhh, it's done now, see?” He patted his head lightly to put more emphasis onto it.

And that's when Stiles realized, he was crying. He felt tears trickling down his cheeks, he heard the silent sobs, he felt his hand clench around Derek's hips, as he pulled him closely. He was enveloped in a hug, as he wept. Gentle hands stroked slowly over his head again and again, following the skin down his neck and his shoulders every once in a while. Maybe Derek was just brushing off the hair, that got stuck there, his mind supplied logically. Of course he wasn't.

“I ruined my suit,” Stiles complained after a few minutes, sulking, his voice hoarse from crying.

“You can wear the other one,” Derek answered.

“That one is not...it's not good enough,” he moved away from Derek slightly, rubbing over his eyes with his fingers. “It needs to be representative.”

“It is,” his husband started, unbuttoning Stiles' shirt slowly. “It's even better than this one. This one has barely visible gray stripes on them, see? The other one is black. Black is more representative, more respectful.”

Stiles just nodded, staring at his pants. He didn't see any gray stripes himself, but if the werewolf said so, then it must be true. He almost went to a funeral dressed like a clown.

“Now, shower the hair off, so you won't get itchy later, I'll prepare the suit, alright?” Derek looked at him expectantly, so he just nodded again, pushing himself up and sliding the unbuttoned shirt from his shoulders.

He could hear his husband's voice from their bedroom (“Lydia is keeping an eye on everything, so we still got an hour left, before we need to leave. No need to hurry, don't slip in that shower, please, you're such a klutz sometimes...”), but he let it turn into a comforting background noise, as he stripped, stepped into the shower and ran hot water over his body. No way, he'll repeat the cold water experiment from before. He was brought to his senses already.

As he walked into their bedroom, a towel wrapped around his hips, he noticed his suit, laid down neatly on the double bed. All black, except his shirt, which was white with long sleeves, that would cover his tattoo thoroughly. He bent down, running his fingertips over the charcoal tie and then straightened again.

“You'll lend me your tie?” Stiles asked incredulously, as he felt arms encircling him.

“Mhmm,” hummed his husband. He could feel soft lips pressing lower the nape of his neck, where his triskelion sat, warmth spreading over his chest at the gesture. It might have been the magic, reacting to the touch or he was just moved by the tender manner of his mate. Probably both.

Derek let go of him then, making his way to the closet and pulling out his jacket. He was also dressed in a black suit and a white shirt, wearing his black tie tied perfectly around his neck. All his ties were black actually, Stiles knew, except the one, he wore for their wedding. That one was light green, matching his eyes completely. Lydia got it for him.

Stiles fumbled with his black boxers for a while, slipping on the socks also. He pulled on the black suit pants after, staring at the contrast between his skin and the black cloth. He will look like a dead man walking. He grimaced at the choice of words, but else continued the clothing uninterrupted.

After he buttoned up the white shirt, he turned around, ready to pick up the black tie, only to find it lying in Derek's hand. “Come here,” he beckoned him closer with his hand. Then he slid the material around Stiles' neck, tying it neatly.

“There,” he smiled slightly, dragging his fingertips down the tie. “As black as my soul.”

Stiles snorted, amused, running his hand over his buzz cut and asked, suddenly aware of the change: “Does it look weird? No, no, don't say anything! My head looks like an egg, doesn't it? I look like an awkward turtle, don't I? Everybody said so, when I did this to my hair as a child.”

“Are you insulting my hair cutting skills, lover?” Derek stared at him, being all dramatic, pulling him closer by the tie, his huge eyebrows daring him to speak up.

“Uh, no?” He tried, seeing the eyebrows rise even higher. Maybe they would fly off one of these days. “No, I mean... noooo, of course not. You got mad skills, sweetums. I bet, I look like sex on the stick.”

Derek smiled, ignoring the nickname as always and pressed a fleeting kiss onto his mouth. “We should go.”

Stiles just nodded, running his hand down his husband's arm and then grabbed a little box from his night stand, sliding it into his pants and followed Derek out of the room. The pack house seemed quite empty, judging by the silence. There were only two voices, trailing to them from downstairs.

“Hannah, sweetheart, you can have some candy, when we get there, if you're all good and quiet, okay?” He heard Allison's soft murmur.

“Buuut, wannaw,” pleaded a child's voice.

“No, you have to wait, till uncle Stiles gets here and then we'll drive to meet daddy and then, if you're nicely quiet, you will get some,” elaborated Allison, which didn't really stop her daughter from whining like a hurt puppy.

“Hey, Hannah,” Stiles greeted the child loudly, running down the stairs to distract her from bursting into tears. Allison smiled at him encouragingly, but he ignored her for the sake of his own sanity, swiping the girl off her feet, turning them both around in a circle. Her black dress flowed in the air.

“Ready to drive with me and uncle Derek in his awesome batmobil?” He grinned at her, as she laughed, heaving her onto his shoulders. “Let's go then, princess!” Stiles neighed as a horse, galloping out of the house and circling his husband's Camaro on the driveway, while Allison walked to them with Derek, both smiling.

“Okay, little bee, come here,” Allison beckoned, taking her from Stiles' arms and pushing her gently into the car seat, pulling the seat belt safely around her. She sat next to her then.

As Stiles was getting into the front seat himself, he heard his phone ring from his husband's direction. He saw Derek pull it out of his pocket, squinting at the screen in the sun.

“Tom,” he informed, sliding into the driver's seat and passing him his phone. He was glad, his mate thought to bring his phone, else he'd probably forget it altogether. He slid his finger over the screen, smiling at Derek in thanks and put it to his ear.

“Hey, Tomasz,” he greeted right away, looking out of the window, his eyes sliding over the trees, as the car moved through the woods.

“Przemko, how iz my fawourite nefew?“ said a voice on the other side with a heavy slavic accent.

“Uh, I'm your only nephew, if I recall right,” he answered annoyed. “And it's Stiles, remember?”

“Yez, yez, rrememberr,” Tomasz answered dismissively. “My fawourite magic den.”

Stiles could hear a second voice, yelling something in the background at his uncle and then there were footsteps and a female voice joining the conversation: “Heya, Stiles, doing alright there? I think, I heard somebody calling you your real name just to annoy ya again.”

There was a muffled voice protesting something, obviously his uncle's (“It iz hiz name, rite...”), followed by a light slap across the head, he imagined.

“Hey Lenka,” Stiles greeted, satisfied, the heresy of calling his real name was avenged. “I'm...yeah, it's fine.”

“I do hope my dope husband didn't call in a bad time, I just wanted to apologize, we couldn't come for the funeral,” she murmured, he voice sad.

“Nawh, it's alright, don't worry about it.”

Derek reached over the gear case, putting his hand on his thigh, stroking lightly over the black material with his thumb, as the car rolled along the dry road.

“So, bak to buzinez,” jumped in Tomasz, snatching the phone from his wife's hand presumably, “we probablie have enouf moni to wisit in free moons. To finisz yor tattoo.”

“No way, really?” gaped Stiles. He shouldn't be grinning right now, but he couldn't help himself. That was like the best news of... pretty much the whole week.

“Yez, yez, onlie yor left forarm iz left, rite?”

“Yeah, hah,” Stiles confirmed, rolling his eyes, because of the weird sentence, but still feeling pretty happy. His tattoo will be finished soon and then he can do magic full power. He could still feel his left arm shaking sometimes, not able to muster enough strength to amplify his magic in certain rituals. He can't get balanced very well without the rest of the design.

“Rite, rite, so we call laterr, okey?” He could hear Lenka's voice reaching his ears as well in hurried goodbyes.

“Sure, thanks, am looking forward already.”

“And Stilez?” Tomasz added, his voice turning serious for that little while. “Yu are nott alone.”

“I know...,” he managed to squeeze out of himself, before his uncle hanged up. He was reminded of the Doctor in that one episode with the Master.

The rest of the drive passed in a relative silence, except for few times, when Hannah glimpsed something interesting behind the window, pointing at it and explaining to her mommy, that that's where they went for ice cream with auntie Cora last time, or that's where daddy bought flowers for mommy last time. Those, she couldn't stop sneezing after. Well, she did explain it in less words than that, but they got the meaning anyways.

Stiles had a sense of dread crawling over his whole body, as the Camaro stopped at the parking lot near the funeral house. He didn't move, even after Scott opened the door for Allison, grabbing an eager Hannah out of the car seat.

“I don't think, I can do this,” he whispered, pointing his wide panicked eyes at his husband, who stayed in the car with him, waiting.

“Yes, you can,” answered Derek calmly.

“But...,” he started, only to be interrupted right away.

“Stiles, if you'll run away, like I did after the fire...,“ he gripped the steering wheel tightly. “You're just gonna regret it later, trust me.”

Stiles reached over, sliding his fingers over Derek's white straining knuckles, sighing softly, when the muscles under his fingertips relaxed reflexively.

“Yeah, you're right,” he agreed, opening the black car's door, getting out of it swiftly. “Let's get this over with.”

Derek followed him from the car, flanking his body from one side, as if he was worried, he might faint or something. Stiles hoped, he wouldn't. He did survive burying one parent already, surely he would survive this one too... He was not alone, his uncle was right. He just needs to keep telling himself that.

They reached the funeral house way too fast and Stiles gulped, eying the massive opened door, framed by white pillars. He felt Derek grab his hand and squeeze it encouragingly. It helped to make his legs move inside, as they made their way through a quite impressive amount of people.

Scattered around the hallway stood officers from the Beacon Hill's Sheriff Station, talking silently to some officials with important looking faces. He just smiled at them politely, nodding his head, the smile not reaching his eyes. Further down the hall, stood various members of the pack, either eying him carefully or whispering to each other. He saw Scott glance at him worriedly, sneaking Hannah little yellow pieces of candy behind her mother's back. Allison was busy talking to Lydia, who just waved at them, as they passed her, phone by her ear.

The room, where the service was being held, was quite vast. But it shrank considerably, as Stiles laid his eyes on the opened casket in front of it. He averted his eyes immediately, dropping the neutral mask, that covered his face through the whole walk. His lower lip trembled and he sniffed, stepping a bit back, holding Derek's hand tightly, as if he would drown without it. His husband didn't say a word, standing there with a sad look on his face.

Stiles closed his eyes, trying to hold back his tears, sniffling even more. Ah, he was such a wuss. He rubbed his fingers over his eye, annoyed, he couldn't even stand in the same room as his dad's casket without weeping like a child.

“You okay, uncle Stilesss?” asked a little boy behind him, pulling onto his black jacket lightly.

“He's okay, Liam,” Derek turned around, kneeling down to him, not letting go of Stiles' hand, though. “He's just sad for his daddy, you know.”

Another boy, with the same face, appeared behind them, looking curious. He trotted over to stand next to Liam, his thumb in his mouth. “Whaa's wlong?”

“Uncle Stiles is sad for his daddy,” repeated Liam, glancing around, taking in the surroundings eagerly. Erica probably didn't allow them to come inside yet.

“Does uncle need a hug to feel better?” asked Andrew pulling the thumb out of his mouth politely, looking at Derek, as if unsure, what to do with a sad adult.

“Or candy?” Added Liam, done with the room, deciding it was rather boring. “Hannah has candy. I saw it. Yellow jellies.”

Stiles looked at them both, smiling lamely. “Wow, really? I love the jello-yellows, go get some!”

The twins smiled widely, dashing away, eager to lay their little hands onto the sweet lemon candy. But Andrew stopped midway, letting Liam get ahead of him and returned, hugging Stiles fleetingly around his tights, shooting after his brother right after without another word.

“Damn, those two, always running around...,” Stiles shook his head cheered up a bit, although it didn't last long. He was not alone, he knew. Of course he knew that. It's good to be reassured, though.

So he pulled Derek to his feet, dragging him to the casket, before he could change his mind and looked inside. He didn't know, what he expected to see, but it surely wasn't his dad's unmoving body looking as peaceful as it did. He could easily imagine his daddy was just sleeping in a very extravagant bed. They could just pretend he became a vampire. Okay, his brain was running wild again.

Stiles sighed, his lips thinning, as he reached his free hand, patting with it gently over John's chest. Then he let go of Derek's hand, pulling out the little box from his pocket. His husband's hand slid immediately over his lower back, staying there.

It was silent in the room, their breathing careful, as if to not interrupt the dead man's sleep. Stiles opened the little box, looking into it sadly. It held a mangled piece of golden-like metal, once a sheriff's star. He kept it all this time, but now it was time to give it back. So he took it out, his fingers trembling slightly and placed it on his father's chest, silent tears sliding down his cheek.

He felt Derek's hand moving around his lower back in soothing circles and smiled at his dad, weeping over the casket.

 

~o~

 

“Kiddo?” A hand shook his shoulder. Stiles really wasn't ready for any movement. His head hurt, pain banging onto his forehead. His mouth felt like something died in it, and then rotted for few months, and then was joined by a sauce made out of nuclear waste. He shivered against the cold air, seeping in from the presumably opened window.

“Stiles, how many times did I tell you to not sleep on the floor?” He heard a familiar voice say, huffing annoyingly. He froze, recognizing it immediately, although he didn't hear it for few months already and thought not to hear it ever again.

His eyes shot open, trying to focus on the face hovering in front of him and then... his heartbeat increased at the sight. What the...

“D-dad?” he croaked, shocked. Was this one of his nightmares again? He wasn't supposed to have them anymore, not since his tattoo was finished.

“Come on, Stiles, what do you got the bed for?” The person, that looked like his dead father, gestured to the side, where the mentioned object stood in the corner.

“Wha...?” He frowned, looking at the bed. Okay, not one of his brightest moments, but let's cut him some slack, shit like this doesn't happen every day, after all.

“The bed? The furniture people sleep on? The floor can't be that comfortable surely. I just leave the house for two hours and...” John trailed, a slight frown appearing on his forehead, sliding his eyes over his son's shocked face. “Are you okay? You look pale...well, paler than usual.”

Stiles was not okay, he was definitely not okay . Firstly, he was very confused and that doesn't happen often to him. Secondly, he just had a freaking dream/flashback of the second worst day in his life, thank you very much. And thirdly, the main character of the said memory was just kneeling in front of him, looking very much alive. His brain really didn't feel like turning on, did it? Must be his ADHD. He didn't have an active Spark, cruising through his body, balancing him at the moment.

Stiles briefly considered the possibility, he was kidnapped by a shapeshifter with a very morbid sense of humor. But then he noticed the shaky sigil on his hand, written with a blue pen and blanched. Ah right, this is the past, after all. His father being alive shouldn't be so shocking. He should probably play along, to not let his dad notice, that his real son was body-snatched.

“Oh, no, am fine, yeah,” he cleared his throat. “I was just...napping. Napping is very important for the brain. It uh..boosts your memory and cognitive skills, makes you less sleepy. Well, it obviously didn't work that well on my brain, so...I'll just stick to Adderall for the time being mhmm...”

John eyed him suspiciously. He knew his son well enough to know, when he was babbling to cause a distraction. “Are you trying to cover the fact, you were up all night researching God knows what?” he guessed, contemplating the mess of papers on the floor and the running laptop on the table, which was covered by everything possible. Even more than the floor.

“What, noo...well yes?” Stiles jumped at the opportunity, trying to think of some weird topic, that his dad wouldn't wanna know about under no circumstances. “Did you know...,” he started, flailing his hands for good measure, loosing himself in his 'explaining' mode.

“Kiddo, no,” John stopped him, raising his hand in protest. “You promised to keep the topics of your research to yourself after the circumcision lecture.”

“Oh, right,” Stiles answered dumbly. He still couldn't believe it. This whole situation was so bizarre. He would have given anything to have his dad back, but he didn't plan on what to talk about with him, if he got him back, at all. Surely not about circumcision. Knowing him, it would be something even weirder, though.

“Okay, so you better pull yourself together, because I brought an amazing dinner - burgers and curly fries,” smiled his dad, getting up. Stiles' hand shot up on reflex, grabbing him, before he could get up. John looked at him expectantly.

“Dad, I...,” he could feel his eyes filling with tears. Damn it, get yourself together, Stilinski. “I just.... you should rather have a salad instead, dontcha think?”

John groaned, swatting Stiles' hand away. “Not this again! I am healthy enough, you know. I could easily outlive you, for instance.”

No, you couldn't, Stiles thought bitterly, watching his dad shake his head dismissively, but he didn't say anything more. His heart clenched sadly. He couldn't make his dad eat healthily in his first time as a teen, why should it be any different this time. He can't save him from the heart attack in few years.

John probably noticed something dreadful in his son's face, because he knelt back to him, pulling him into a tight hug. “You need to stop worrying about your old man, kiddo. Parents are supposed to worry about their children, not the other way around.”

Stiles latched himself onto his dad's body like a hungry leech, returning his hug. He could feel his body shaking under all those repressed sobs.

“I know, d-dad...is just...I had a nightmare and you were...,” he started lamely. Oh god, how he wished it was just a nightmare and not a horrible memory. But his hand carried the sigil, that otherwise wouldn't be there, if he was just a plain old teen-Stiles.

John didn't say anything, just held his son tighter, swinging him gently, same as he did, when he had nightmares about Claudia. He listened to his son's breathing, hoping silently, Stiles won't get an anxiety attack this time. They were doing so good avoiding those lately.

“Shhh, it's alright,” he whispered calmly, repeating the same words over and over. “I'm here, see? I'm here...”

 

~o~

 

Stiles did calm down after like a half hour of constant weeping. He would be more embarrassed, but he blamed it all on the young body, he possessed. It was way more hormonal, than he could handle. Not to mention, he just went through a horrible magical experience – time traveling. He should be glad, he ain't dead. Just some gross sobbing? That's nothing!

After letting his dad finally descend downstairs to heat up the dinner, he brought, Stiles walked to the bathroom, washing his face with cold water and brushing his teeth for at least ten minutes to get rid of the disgusting taste.

It was time to assess the situation with a clear mind, he thought to himself, putting the toothbrush back into the cupboard behind the mirror. Although a clear mind at this point was quite impossible, considering how his ADHD was acting up. Anyways, how is he gonna get himself back into the future, before he could mess it up somehow and is it even possible?

He traced the sigil on his hand, making his Spark hum sleepily under his skin, so he could think clearly and without distractions his ADHD brain used to provide. There is no way, he could reverse the ritual without his tattoo. He wouldn't be able to focus the magical energy in this body. He barely managed it before. And it made him faint from exhaustion, for peace's sake.

Getting the tattoo took ages and it wasn't a matter of visiting a simple tattoo shop, anyways. It had to be magical after all. It wasn't made with normal ink either. The only person, he knew, that could manage something so excessive and difficult, would be his uncle, who tattooed his body before already. Or well, who will tattoo him in the future. Teen-Stiles didn't even know, he had an uncle at this point.

He tried to think of some other magics around Beacon Hills, but came out empty. Not only was his memory very blurry, but accessing it completetly would require activating his Spark fully again. And then, even if he did remember some strong magics, he wouldn't be able to find them at this point in time. They usually move around a lot, staying hidden, secretive.

He dismissed the idea of trying to find help at Deaton's, before he could even think about it any further. He didn't trust him as an adult neither and was totally right in that assumption, because that bastard just dissappeared with his sister without a word and they never saw them again. Luckily, Cora arranged an exchange program with her old pack's Emmisary, so Lydia could learn, how to be a proper Emmisary.

So, all in all, Stiles was pretty much alone in this. He sighed, tracing the line of his shaky mate ring. The original one was much better. It tied him to his mate and by extension also to his pack, but he couldn't feel anything right now. They could be all dead by now. Killed by that weirdo dementor. No, he shook his head. Lydia is practically a genius, she would think of something for sure. The wolves are strong, the pack is strong. Not that it would matter now, there is no pack now. He was really all alone wasn't he?

“Stiles,” he heard his dad's voice yell from downstairs. “I almost forgot to give you the new set of keys, I went to copy before. They're on the kitchen counter. Do try to not lose them this time, okay?”

Stiles stared at the door for a few seconds, disbelievingly. Those must be the same keys, he left in his pocket, before leaving the house at the last day of the future. And those must be the same keys, he still had in his pocket, conducting the ritual. The keys, that were made today. He groaned loudly, and then even swore angrily for a good measure.

So, not only did the fucker made him drop the symbol of future, but he also helped the magic attach itself on the next object, carrying some deep value. It must have been the keys, that sent him back in time. How could he forget them in the pocket? That was such a rookie mistake.

So, the banish sigil reacted to the keys as a symbol and banished him into the past. Into the very day, the keys were made. Right, well...he frowned confused, his eyes sliding onto his left hand and on the encircled sigil of future lazing there passively. The ritual did try to banish all his memories of the future, after he landed here as well, right? Luckily, he got them locked up just in time. He could have been trapped in a time loop and wouldn't even know it, since the ritual would always erase his memories.

There is no way to reverse such a messed up ritual. He wasn't even sure, if he figured out, how exactly he ended up here. His solution did seem a bit raggedy around the edges, so he probably was missing something very important. The only one, who could know, was Tomasz, but should he risk to contact him now?

Stiles walked back to his room, looking around thoughtfully. His eyes landed on his old laptop, humming gently on the table. He moved closer to it, sliding his fingertip over the touch pad, banishing the screen saver.

He didn't see any other way out of this. He'd rather return back into the future as soon as possible. Reliving everything all over again was never on his bucket list. He did shortly consider using his usual mail, which was the same at all times, but decided against it.

Not to waste any more time, because his stomach was growling angrily from hunger, he created a new gmail address, using his webcam to take a picture of the sigil on his hand. It was quite an acrobatic performance, but he managed. He attached the picture to the mail, typing in a very short message: “Pomôž mi, prosím.“ Then he sent it.

He supposed a simple request for help would be the best. Not to mention it would spark the curiosity in his uncle. Especially together with the picture. The fact, that he wrote the message in Slovak, could probably help the cause too. Stiles didn't know, if his uncle understood English at this time, but at least he remembered few phrases from the time he spent in Slovakia over the summer.

Yes, everybody thought his family originated in Poland. And that much was true. His grandma and grandpa – Claudia's parents, lived there for many years with their coven, but then, years before he was born, something happened and they all either died or ran away from Poland. Tomasz never really liked talking about it. Stiles' mom cut all the ties with her family to keep herself safe and so did he. He didn't really stray far from his homeland, though, just crossed the south border to Slovakia and stayed there, because he met Lenka, his wife by now, probably.

He squinted at the little numbers in the right corner. It was almost 6pm. So, it must be like 3am in there now. He couldn't hope for a fast reply then. That's when he realized, he still didn't bother to check the exact date, he was transported to. How stupid was that? So, he moved the arrow on the screen to point at the time and the date appeared.

“7 th January 2011. Friday,” he read. That information pretty much changed his whole plan.

 

~o~

 

John stood in the kitchen, nursing his fresh cup of coffee, while the microwave whirred in the background, re-heating their dinner. They could have eaten it cold, he supposed, it wouldn't taste that bad, but it was friday evening. And friday evening should consist of a warm family dinner. At least, that's what Claudia used to say. So, he just stuck the curly fries with the meat patties from the burgers into the microwave, not caring it would most likely ruin the taste, or something.

He was lost in his thoughts and didn't even notice the microwave beeped softly. He briefly considered exchanging the coffee for a stronger substance, preferably some with a high amount of alcohol, but dismissed it quickly. He shouldn't drink on the job and his shift does start in two hours.

John should maybe reconsider his decision to implement twelve-hour shifts. Not only does he return very tired every morning, but he is pretty much unable to keep an eye at his son some nights. Especially on days like this, when he seems out of the place. What did he dream about, John wondered worryingly.

Before he could figure out the mystery of Stiles' nightmare, the stairs creaked, announcing the arrival of his son. He quickly opened the microwave, putting the burgers back together, assembling the curly fries on each of the respective plates and bringing them to the table. Just for Stiles' own satisfaction, he pulled out a jar of pickles, putting it on the table instead of a salad. Those are veggies too, after all.

He smiled at Stiles, quite proud of the dinner, he pulled off. But his elated smirk dropped slightly, after his son just sat down, staring at the curly fries, as if they hold the secret of the whole universe in them.

John cleaned his throat, sitting down across his son, who didn't even blink, frowning down on his burger. It was probably just the aftershock of the nightmare, right? The sheriff wasn't so sure about that. There was something very weird about his son. He didn't fidget just as much – he only ran his fingers few times over the edge of the table. His leg didn't jump even once yet. And he was quiet. And not eating at all. These were curly fries, normally he would have his mouth stuffed with them, talking with his mouth full, flailing his arms all around the kitchen.

“Stiles,” John started worriedly. “You're alright, kiddo?”

“Huh?” Stiles glanced at him, as if only now noticing his presence. “Sorry, I was...” he frowned again.

“Did you take your pills today?” asked the Sheriff, seeing how hard it was for his son to concentrate. That happened sometimes, when he forgot to administrate his doze. He could basically hear the five-lane highway buzzing behind his forehead, at such days.

“Yeah, no, I mean, I dunno for sure, but dad, I've been thinking,” he reached across the table stealing John's curly fries instead of eating his own. John had to suppress an eye roll. “I've been thinking dad, and this is just some theoretical stuff, I was wondering about, when watching Doctor Who, yesterday night, alright? But dad, if you found yourself traveling back in time...”

“Is this about your nightmare?” John interrupted Stiles, putting the half-eaten burger on the plate carefully.

“No? Yes? Kinda? But listen, I need your opinion on this, like really, so...”

“Stiles, I don't know, I am really not much into this whole sci-fi...business, so...,” John barely understood half of the science fiction genre, actually. He was more of a western person. Some good old sport program could also warm his heart, sometimes. Why couldn't his son ask his opinions on that, he wondered for a second.

“Dad just,” Stiles pleaded, looking at him silently, until his father nodded cautiously. “Okay, so imagine you could actually travel in time. And you'd find yourself like ten years in the past and you would know...well, since you're a sheriff and all, you do kinda remember everything, that happened here in like, ten years or whatever, right? So you would know about all the crimes...so, if you'd know, there would be a murder, you would try to stop it no matter what, right?”

John frowned: “Of course. I would try at least.”

Stiles bit his lower lip, nodding to himself. “But dad,” he looked at him again. “What if, by doing so, you would disrupt the whole space-time continuum?”

“English, please.”

“Right, well, it's just an example, but...you would save this murdered...person and that would most likely change the future...since they were supposed to die, mhm. So, when you'd return back into the future, it could be something completely different.” Stiles swished his hand across the table to emphasize the point. “You might not even be the sheriff, or you would...never get married or have a family or meet some people. Maybe you'd be like...dead already.”

John watched his son flailing around wildly. He might not understand the physics of time traveling, which let's be honest, not many people actually need to understand, but he knew one thing for sure: “I would try to save this person, anyways.”

“But...” Stiles started again, but the Sheriff interrupted him with a wave of his hand. “Who is this person to be saved, by the way?”

Confused silence followed. “What...?”

“Well,” John took a bite of his burger, chewing slowly and then asked. “It's not somebody like the Hitler, or is it?”

“No no no no no, it's just...some random...person,” he answered hurriedly, scratching the nape of his neck wildly. “Umm, let's say a neighbor, for the sake of the argument, right. Not really, is all just a theory, after all, but ya know...”

“Well then I would try to save this person, mhm,” John swallowed the last part of his burger, checking his son's plate, but he didn't even touch the burger, nor his own fries.

“But, what about...?” He countered.

“I would worry about whatever problems, caused by it later, I guess,” John just shrugged dismissively, looking serious for a second. “Look, kiddo, I'd think you already know this, but...every life is important, every one of them, okay? You can't tell me, you'd just stand around doing nothing, if you could help to save a life. Just...don't think about spaces or times or futures...it's all real simple, then. If I had to worry about that all every time, we have a situation down at the station, I would pretty much suck as a sheriff, because I'd never help anybody. Every life counts, every one, you can safe.”

John took his cup, drinking the rest of the coffee, while Stiles nodded to himself. “I know, I know,” he muttered, running his thumb over the inside of his ring finger. Sheriff already noticed the scribbles on his left hand before, but was now reminded of it, so he pointed at them, asking: “Did you run out of paper?”

“Uhhh, no,” Stiles blew an annoyed breath out, staring at his hand, as if he'd rather not have all those scribbles on it. “It's a lucky charm. I am testing it out, mhm.”

John just rolled his eyes, getting up from the table, taking his dishes with him and dumping them into the sink. “As long as you won't tattoo it onto your skin...”

His son just huffed out a strangled laugh, snatching up his plate and standing up too. “I'll just take this upstairs to eat, while I research this whole wibbly wobbly timey wimey thing, but..hey dad?” The sheriff turned around raising this eyebrows, waiting for the rest. “Thanks...for everything, ya know.” And then he bound for the stairs, stumbling on the top a bit, almost dropping the curly fries on the carpet.

Stiles wasn't sure about many things at this moment. But he certainly knew one thing. He will do all, he can, to save Derek's older sister Laura. Everything magically possible. Even if that meant fighting off her crazy werewolf uncle with his bare hands.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Stiles sat down on the carpet, pushing all the papers around him under the table, and pulling out a whole new batch of blank ones, scattering them around in a pattern known only to himself. He grabbed the laptop from his table, pulling it down to him and closing all the tabs teen-Stiles left there a few hours ago. He glanced at the wall, wondering if he could put up the whole scheme there, when he finished it, but dismissed the thought quickly. His dad could walk inside and see it. The next solution was putting it all over his floor, while he was working on it, and then either stack it under the table or glue it on the door of his closet from the inside. He liked the latter more.

Before he started to plan anything he snagged the plate with food from the bed, where he left it before, and stuffed his mouth full with curly fries. They were not so good cold anymore, but they would have to do. He let his eyes slide over the blank paper, munching aggressively.

Alright then, he thought, as he turned to his left. Stage one of the 'Rescue Laura Hale' plan was to figure out the exact schedule. That should be the easiest part, considering Stiles researched it like a mad man all those years ago. He had even snagged dad's files from the table, taking photos on his phone, while his dad was in the shower. Not to mention the first hand experiences Derek and Peter confessed to him over the years. He was still not sure, if Peter was being honest about those, but they did fit the story, so he didn't bother checking them.

As he said, the schedule should be the easiest part, but, when he took a sharpie, holding it on the top of the first paper, he froze, confused. He couldn't recall any details. Shit. Stiles ran a hand over his forehead, thinking hard, but all the memories kept slipping out of his reach, leaving behind only the rough outlines of the event.

Crazy Peter killed Laura, then became a feral Alpha, then Stiles took Scott into the woods, Scott got bitten, Derek found Laura and buried her...that was all he could actually remember. It was, like he hadn’t even read the book, if there was any, like he’d only read some short summary online. He slid his palm over his mouth, squinting at his left hand, where the sigil sat. He could feel it mocking him. That bloody bastard. He would have to activate his Spark to access the memories, wouldn’t he?

He snatched the blue pen from the table - the same as he used for the sigil - and stretched his left forearm in front of him, scribbling messily down his skin. One sign after another, right under each other, the pressure leaving angry red skin around the blue lines. He didn't care. Then, he turned his arm a little, repeating the process while huffing out his breath stubbornly.

He counted four columns of the strengthening charm. It was an old chant, one he used to apply before he got the tattoo. It obviously wasn't as effective, nor as durable, but it would hopefully be enough for the memory access. Just to be sure, the wild Spark wouldn’t harm him, he drew a protection sigil into his left palm. It was really hard to write with a simple pen, since his palm was kind of sweaty right now, but he managed after a few tries.

When he was done, he put the pen to the paper, ready to write down anything that his Spark revealed. He hurriedly glanced at the time, before starting. Half past seven. Friday. Seventh. He took a deep breath in, closing his eyes and holding his breath. That used to help him with his Spark activation before, since he could imagine, he was pushing the magic out of himself, like a breath going out.

As he felt the warmth building in his center, he let the air out slowly, pushing the sleepy Spark down his arm. It wasn't as easy, as he remembered. His arm spasmed painfully, but he just stretched it in front of him, concentrating harder. The pain was only a sign that it was actually working, so, of course, he couldn’t even think about stopping now.

Stiles could feel his groggy magic reaching the strengthening charms, seeping into them and that also wasn't as pleasant as it used to be. It felt, as if somebody was sticking a needle into his skin. Repeatedly. He opened his left eye, glancing at the signs on his forearm. The highest one started sparkling dimly, the light slowly descending down his arm, enveloping one sign after another. The more signs it reached the faster it moved, which was a good thing.

Just as he started to feel the dizziness trying to claim him, the magic finally reached his palm, licking its tongue over the protection sigil, and chasing away the black spots covering his sight. Stiles sighed, pushing the magic a bit harder, through to the circle on his left hand, letting it devour the future sigil completely.

His hand trembled uncontrollably, turning ice cold all at once, but he didn't care - it was working! When the future sigil lit up, twinkling slightly along the edges, Stiles brought it to his forehead, pushing it against the skin, hoping it would simplify the process. At first the entire effort seemed to have been in vain, his brain being flooded by random memories, none of which addressed his need for a timetable. He tried to sort through them, but it was too much.

He cursed, banging the left hand to his forehead slightly, trying to bring up the memories, he needed now. Come on . That phrase was slowly becoming his new mantra, he noticed bitterly.

“Laura Hale,” he spit through his gritted teeth. “Come on, magic, you don't wanna lose to freaking Google, so try harder!” His magic suddenly swirled like a tornado, sending a slight spasm into his fingers, shooting a throb into his forehead and then, without any warning, the light disappeared.

Stiles slumped over, his back hitting the edge of his bed painfully, but as exhausted as he was, he barely noticed. His breath came out labored, his chest heaving repeatedly, but he still felt quite elated. The memories were there, hundreds of tiny little details, he’d imprinted into his brain all those years ago, when he was trying to lead his own investigation behind his dad's back. Success never felt any better, but he silently hoped, he wouldn’t have to repeat this ritual any time soon.

He checked his forearm. The strengthening charm burned away with the magic, leaving only reddened skin behind. He doubted he had any aloe for it in this time, but shrugged. It would disappear sooner or later, anyways. He looked at his palm then, the protection charm was gone also. All the signs were gone, except the future sigil on his left hand. He smirked at it triumphantly. Serves you right, bastard .

The only thing that bothered him, was the brisk retreat of his Spark. He’d used it twice in one day and it had already faded into the background, feeling non-existent. Oh, it was there, he knew, but it was empty. He hoped, he wouldn’t need to use any more magic today and made a mental note to be careful with its use in the future.

Not wasting any more time, Stiles picked up the pen, that he had somehow managed to drop in the process, and pulled the first sheet of paper under it, scribbling a detailed timetable.

Laura Hale took a flight from New York, heading to Los Angeles, California. The flight departed at 4pm today, lasting around 6 hours, which means, she arrived to Los Angeles sometime after 10pm. Or well, will arrive. Stiles shook his head, deciding to think about it in past tense, what did it matter, anyways. He wrote down '10pm, Los Angeles' and continued, mentally tracking Laura's journey.

She waited at the airport for another two hours for a connecting flight to Sacramento, California, where she arrived after an hour and half. Which means, it will be like half past two in the morning, when she leaves the airport in Sacramento hiring a long-distance taxi driver to drive her to Beacon Hills. Stiles cringed, he unconsciously slid into a different tense. Time traveling is so confusing, he shook his head, deciding on the future tense, this time.

The drive should take another two and a half hours, but there will be a minor traffic jam on the highway, caused by a car accident. A drunk driver rams into a truck and corn will spill everywhere. So, the drive takes an hour more. When Laura finally reaches Beacon Hills, it will be a little over 5 am. The officers didn't figure out where she stayed the night, but Derek told him that he tracked her smell into the loft, the same one he used himself later. So that's where she'll stay, probably, until the Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital opens for visiting hours, which is at 11 am.

She was seen before visiting the hospital, in a diner, grabbing breakfast- pancakes. Stiles smiled, remembering the unimportant detail. After those probably super delicious pancakes, Laura visits her uncle Peter, as stated on the visitor's chart in the hospital. Peter will pretend he's freaking comatose, hearing her talk about some new leads on the fire.

Laura takes off around noon after getting a worried call from Derek because she had left without warning. They'll argue, because Laura won't tell him the reason she flew back to Beacon Hills on such a short notice. Derek fears his secret about Kate Argent is being uncovered by Laura so he books the earliest possible flight for him – on Monday, to intercede.

Meanwhile, Laura visits the Beacon Hills Sheriff Station to talk about the investigation with his father, but she'll learn nothing new. By then, it will be around 1 pm. She goes to the diner again for lunch and meets Peter's nurse there, who gives her a note from ‘some man.’ The nurse will claim the man came to the hospital, after she left, leaving the note behind for her, but it was just Peter, staging a meeting north of the burned down Hale house.

Stiles stared at the schedule, scribbling down a few more things Laura did between leaving the diner and getting killed by her freaky uncle in the woods. She did manage quite some investigation in such a short time, like finding out the Argents left the city a few days after the fire, moving away completely, then obtaining a statement from the arsonist specialist, who had claimed the fire was an accident before, but now suddenly changed his mind. It was rather remarkable. He wondered, how she made him confess to that. She even managed to talk to Harris in the evening, learning about the necklace.

Stiles sighed, leaning back for a second and looking at his mate ring's replica, stroking over it gently with his thumb. Laura seemed like a very smart person and an amazing Alpha. Oh, he knew, she was. Derek always said so. She grew up preparing to be the Alpha after her mother Talia, so there was no doubt she would be good at it. Not like Derek. Definitely not like Peter, he only knew one job - being the Second, protecting the pack in any way necessary. The dirty pawn, so to say.

Looking up at the ceiling, his thoughts circled too close to Derek and their future. It would probably change, if he saved his sister, wouldn't it? Maybe the siblings will just leave to continue living in New York afterwards. Or maybe Laura will start a pack here. He could offer her some suggestions, naming Erica, Boyd and Issac as suitable betas. Maybe she would change them.

Stiles shook his head, remembering his dad's advice. He can worry about the consequences later. First, save Laura. Stiles grabbed the schedule, analyzing it. The best time to approach Laura would be probably in the morning at the loft. He knew where that was and they wouldn't be disturbed. Also, it was before she went to see Peter. Stiles knew Peter lured her out of New York, sending her Harris' name anonymously, but Peter couldn't know, when she'll arrive in Beacon Hills to follow that lead, until she visited the hospital. So, if there was no visit, there would be no attack, hopefully.

But Stiles had to be ready for anything. He was always like that. Try to think of the worst scenario and nothing surprises you later. The worst scenario here was the possibility he would have to face Peter at some point tomorrow. He doesn't have any real magic, only his weak Spark. He doesn't even have supplies, magical nor normal. No weapons, no wolfsbane, no mountain ash, no mistletoe, no pixie dust.... basically nothing.

So, stage two of the 'Rescue Laura Hale” plan would be: gather supplies. Part A: magical stock, could be the easier part. After all, Stiles knew one person in Beacon Hills who was a notorious hoarder of magical stuff and luckily, his best friend in the whole wide world worked part time for him right now. Stiles smirked at the prospect of robbing Deaton of his precious collection. He should have thought of that sooner.

It was a little before 8 pm. Scott usually visited the Animal Clinic at nine in the evening, to feed the animals. And he should be there alone, so it would be the best time to strike. Luckily, Stiles still had some time left, since the clinic was only like fifteen minutes away with his jeep, so he decided to take a shower. A shower was always a good idea, especially after a panic attack. Probably after time traveling too.

Stiles rummaged through his messy closet pulling out his batman shirt with a nostalgic smile on his face. It used to be his favorite shirt, back in the day. And just to stick to the theme, he chose batman boxers also. Geesh, he was such a child, sometimes. Before he could leave the room, he grabbed the pen again, retracing the sigil at the back of his hand and the mate ring carefully. He really needs to buy a permanent marker, like the ones he uses in the future. He could try mixing it with something magical to strengthen the effect.

Stiles walked into the bathroom, jumping into the old bathtub and putting the water on. Ah yeah, he missed the spaciousness and the perfect water pressure of the pack house shower, but the hot water felt like heaven anyways. He carefully avoided his left hand, so as to not smudge the sigil in any way, as he rubbed the shower gel onto his skin. He briefly considered doing more, sliding his slick fingers down his stomach towards- but the thought of Derek, which usually spurred him on, made him stop. He prayed their future wouldn’t change much, but knew, he couldn't count on it. And yet, they were mates, surely they would find a way to be with each other, right?

All the future possibilities turned the shower into a quite an unpleasant experience, so he just turned off the water, grabbing the towel, drying his skin quickly, and sliding into his clothes. He would only concentrate on his rescue mission now. Although he told himself that, and he did, a few times too, it didn't help much and his mind kept sliding into various stages of speculations. His Spark was too exhausted to counter the ADHD.

He walked back into his room, grabbing his old phone from the bed, stuffing the detailed schedule under the blankets, and hoping his dad wouldn't investigate there. Though, one could never be sure. His car keys were lying on the table, so he snatched those too. What else did he need? Probably something to carry all the magical treasures away, so that Scott wouldn't notice. He shouldered his school backpack, after effectively emptying it on the ground.

It was time, so he slipped out of the room, following the hallway down the stairs, finding the promised new set of keys on the kitchen counter. His dad was nowhere to be seen, obviously already serving his shift on the Beacon Hills Sheriff Station. Lucky Stiles.

 

~o~

 

The drive itself was quite monotonous, but Stiles tried to contain his eagerness, slowing down to the given speed limits. He was kind of looking forward to seeing Scott. Well, only his younger version, in any case, but it was still Scott, right? His puppy eyed bestie. His future Alpha. Well, probably not his future Alpha if he managed to save Laura. He wasn’t gonna think of that now, he reminded himself, stopping in the private parking spot at the back of the animal clinic.

He got out of his car, locking it carefully, and marched to the back door, rattling it. He did ponder on the fact, he’d locked his car after so many years of not bothering, once again, but yeah, no superhero werewolf would sniff it out for him if somebody decided to steal it. Also, teen-Stiles had many malicious bullies after him. Better to be careful, then.

He banged at the door, which was of course locked, because Scott was probably afraid somebody would come and steal all the little kittens, or something. He saw his best friend approach curiously, until Scott recognized him and rolled his dark eyes.. He unlocked the door grinning.

“Dad on the night shift?” Scott asked, beckoning Stiles inside.

“Yeah,” Stiles smiled back, sliding easily into teen-Stiles' routine. “I thought, why waste time at home, when I could bother you instead.”

“Just don't touch anything,” Scott pleaded, huffing out an annoyed breath, locking the door again. “Deaton is still bummed about that broken water tap.”

Stiles followed his friend into the back, passing around Deaton's office, eying it inconspicuously. “Seriously, I only touched the thing...,” he objected, not sure what had happened with said tap. He couldn't really remember ever messing with Deaton's taps or whatever.

“Duude, the plumber said somebody obviously yanked at it furiously, else it wouldn't have ended up like that,” Scott reasoned, walking into the clinic's examination room after Stiles.

“To-mah-to, to-may-to,” he shrugged, hoping it closed the topic completely, because he didn't have any plausible excuses at the moment. Crazy magical amnesia aside, it was like ten years ago for him, he couldn’t possibly remember everything he'd broken in his untreated state. He should have probably taken Adderall now too, just to be sure.

“So, I just got here. I still got the cages to clean, so you can chill… unless you wanna help me?” Scott asked innocently, eying him with those doe eyes. Stiles just laughed, amused. This was not going to work on him anymore, he’d built up quite a resistance over the almost thirty years of their friendship.

“Nah, man, you need that money, if you ever wanna get that bike, so,” he took out his phone, sitting down on the chair in the corner of the examination room. “Go ahead, I got a score to beat.” Without looking up at his friend, he tapped the Tetris game application, turning off the sound. He could hear Scott's footsteps, as he left the room, dejected.

Stiles eyed the game, not moving, instead listening carefully to the sounds around him. He heard the door to the cat room being opened and closed. Scott probably wouldn’t come out of there for the next half hour, depending on the number of cats that have been accumulated there over the week.

Stiles skidded across the room, creeping back to the door, he’d just come through, stopping in front of Deaton's office.  He tried the door handle just to be sure, but, of course, it was locked. He could unlock it with magic, man, that was always fun to do, but not only would the veterinarian know, but there was also no way he could muster even that amount of magic right now. Not after those two rituals.

He swore under his breath. He didn't even think of the possibility of the door being locked. And his stupid exhausted brain hadn’t even bothered reminding him to bring his lock-picking set. But then he realized, he didn't even have a lock-picking set at home. Well not yet at least, Boyd gave him one for his birthday once and then taught him how to use it, but that hadn’t happened yet.

Stiles strode back to the examination room, looking for something to use. The door knob had obviously a twisting mechanism, so it would be a bit harder to pick, but it was also quite old, so maybe he could manage it with an improvised tool.

He noticed a set of papers on the table to his right, tied together with a heavy-duty paperclip. Perfect. He 'borrowed' it, listening for Scott, but his friend was luckily still busy with the cages, judging by the clacking from behind the cage-room door.

Stiles hurried back to the office, bending the paperclip on the way to create a long, straight bit of metal. He folded one end of it, pressing it gently into an L-shape, which should help to turn the clip easier. Reaching for the knob, he inserted his tool inside, sweeping it around carefully in a twisting motion. He tried it counter-clockwise and clockwise, trying to decide which direction would work the best. It didn't catch on anything the first few times, but then he finally felt it stick, so he pressed against the catch and the knob clicked, unlocking itself.

He let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding, looking into the room, suspiciously. There could be like a freaking dragon waiting to grill him alive, knowing how paranoid and secretive Deaton was. But it looked like a normal office to him. Nor were any signs or sigils visible, but they could always be hidden somewhere under the table, or something. He tried not to think of it. He wasn't some creature that had to be kept out of the office. So even if there was mountain ash or a similar substance in the walls, nothing would happen. He also wasn’t carrying any active magic in him at the moment. At least something good had come out of exhausting his Spark to the very end.

Stiles looked back into the hallway, checking up on Scott and then stepped inside, scanning the room. There was a glass vitrine behind the opened door with various vials and boxes, filled with magical substances. He smirked, seeing the sigil on the handle. No magical creature could open that. How lucky that he was just a mere person. And mere people would never care about a vitrine full of vials that could possibly be only full of some weird samples the veterinarian collected over the years.

Stiles checked on his Spark just in case, it could be too strong for him to touch the vitrine's doors, but he couldn't feel anything. Just a small amount wouldn't matter anyway, this particular sigil wasn't so precise. He snagged the bag down from his shoulder, opening the vitrine, and browsing through the display.

He was really tempted to take everything, but there was too much of it and Deaton would probably notice right away. It's not like he used these every day, so Stiles might avoid problems for few days, maybe even weeks, if he took less. He grabbed one vial of every batch containing more of than a single container, before opening a box of mountain ash, dumping his hand inside, and stuffing some of it into his front pocket. It didn't even seep out of his enclosed palm, Tomasz would be proud.

Then he considered some other vials, trying to estimate their value to him. There were some really rare types of wolfsbane amongst those, but it could be risky to walk around with them in his bag. He chewed on his lower lip, considering the pros and cons. This was Peter, we're talking about, so one couldn’t be ‘too prepared’ and that’s why he snatched them all, stuffing his bag's side pockets with the little vials. He wanted to look for more, but he heard a door open down the hall and footsteps nearing, so he closed the vitrine, hoping it didn't look much emptier at a first glance and shouldered his backpack.

“Stiles?” Scott stepped into the room just a second after Stiles had moved away from the vitrine. “Man, what are you doing here?”

“What?” Stiles shrugged innocently. “I was curious.”

God bless his best friend for knowing his boredom wasn't anything suspicious, because he just rolled his eyes, beckoning him out of the room.

“Deaton forgets to lock it once...,” he muttered, as Stiles just shrugged again, walking swiftly out of the office.

“So you're done?” He asked, changing the topic immediately. “You could invite me over for some late-night gaming, you know. I might be able to change my plans, considering you're my best friend and all.”

Scott nodded eagerly, flashing him a smile. “Always glad to have a drive home.”

“Yup,” Stiles agreed, sliding the backpack carefully over his both shoulders. It tinkled a bit and he dared to sneak a peek at his friend, but Scott didn't seem to notice anything. Oh right, no werewolf hearing. “Let's go then,” he headed for the back door. “We need to stick your bicycle in the back.”

As they walked out of the Animal's Clinic, side by side, Stiles smirked triumphantly. Stage two part A of the “Rescue Laura Hale” plan was successfully completed.

 

~o~

 

On the drive back to Scott's house, which was situated only three streets down from Stiles' home, his friend started talking about some super cute kitten, rescued from under a bridge, missing a tail. It seemed like someone had cut it off or something, so Scott felt bad for her, and was hoping to convince his mother to adopt her. Stiles didn't comment on it. Scott had asthma for Pete’s sake, long exposures to kitten fur made him lose his breath, so adopting a cat obviously wasn't a good idea, no matter how many limbs the little fellow had lost.

Truth be told, Stiles wasn't usually that mean, especially not to cute little kittens, but now that he finally had some free time, at least till 5am, he was starting to feel really tired. It must be the result of his adrenaline levels lowering finally. Or Scott's proximity. No matter how the future worked out, Scott was his brother, and he felt safer and relaxed around him.

They arrived at the house, Stiles parking the jeep in the driveway, next to Melissa's car, which was still missing the side mirror. They wrestled a little with Scott's bicycle, storing it in the half-full garage, but then they finally went inside and Stiles was hit by the most delicious smell ever. Apple pie. They both looked at each other, happiness filling their expressions.

“Hey, guys,” Melissa McCall greeted them warmly, not even pondering on the fact that Stiles was there, pulling a hot steaming apple pie from the over. “Just in time for dessert.”

She put the pie tin on the wooden breadboard, cutting off two pieces and handing one to Stiles on a gray plate. “Dad doing okay?” She asked as always.

“Yep,” he answered automatically, popping the 'p', just like he used to as a teen. Well, let's be honest, he still did it ten years from now too.

They all went to the living room, sitting down on the couch, eating the hot pie, the television murmuring about the weather soothingly in the background.

“This is the best pie of all pies in the whole wide world and even the universe and whatever's behind the universe itself, I sweaaar, you are an apple pie Goddess with a big G,” he moaned, swallowing another spoon of the apple deliciousness. His mind slid involuntarily to his mother and her apple pies, but he dismissed it quickly.

“Well, I'm glad you like it, Stiles,” she smiled, raising her eyebrows at her own son. “See, that's how compliments work.”

“Mooom,” Scott sagged unhappily, his mouth full of pie. “You always complain, that I talk with my mouth full, so...”

“See, he was just doing you a favor,” Stiles smirked, shoveling more pie into his mouth. “Well, I am Scott's spokesman and he agrees with whatever statements I decide to issue on the apple pie topic.”

Scott just nodded eagerly, content to eat his pie in silence. Melissa laughed, getting off the couch: “Okay, guys, I am heading to bed, I am getting up early tomorrow for a shift. You be good.” She didn't even tell them to go to sleep early, knowing it would probably be in vain.

His friend eyed the empty plate, most likely considering if he should go take more, but obviously decided against it at the moment, because he put it down on the table, getting up without it.

“I'll go shower fast and then we can play,” he announced, bolting for the stairs, heading to his room. Stiles just nodded, placing his own empty plate beside him and pulling out his phone. He texted his dad, to let him know he’d be staying overnight at Scott's and set up an alarm for half past five, so he could drive right to Laura's loft in the morning.

Feeling contented, with sweet apple pie warming his stomach, he slid lower on the couch, relaxing his muscles. It was just 10 pm, but he was exhausted, as if he had run a marathon and he might as well have. He ran ten years in time, after all. He smirked sleepily, wondering what Derek would say to that. One year into the past could represent one mile in distance so...his eyelids dropped, as Stiles yawned, falling asleep mere seconds after.

~o~

 

Stiles looked up at the clear night's sky, savoring the sight of the full moon, standing out harshly against the dark background. He couldn't even catch a glimpse of any stars near it. It was as if the moon's light ate them all. He breathed in calmly, feeling the pack's presence all around him.

He was sitting in the woods in the same clearing the dementor-like creature would appear in a year and half into the future, holding a little sleeping bundle. He could hear the baby breathing softly and he could hear the rustling in the woods as the pack ran all around, playing catch to calm the jitters of blood lust.

Allison was probably tracking Scott right now, playing their own weird version of hide and seek. Stiles snorted at the thought. She never lost before. He could hear Boyd howl in the distance, another howl joining him – Derek's – and then all the other wolves answering instinctually. Stiles did a mental count in his head, as he always did, to be sure no one was missing. He knew the wolves did the same, being careful to not lose track of anybody on a full moon night. Okay, well Lydia obviously didn't howl, but Stiles was sure she was alright, Jackson wouldn't let her out of his sight tonight, which means they were probably near the lake where Lydia put her folding chair.

Hannah stirred a little in his arms, scrunching her nose in a very cute way, as a response to the pack's howls. She would normally be a lot more restless, unable to sleep, but Lydia gave her something to ease the full moon's effect on her, else she'd be very unhappy right now. And unhappy babies tend to be very noisy, in a very annoying way.

Stiles caught a glimpse of a white wolf racing between the trees, being closely followed by a light silver one, exciting yipping filling the air. He huffed out a laugh, Cora would probably not catch her mate, even if she had his magic. He was probably the fastest of them all. Although a beta, he could outrun Scott anytime.

Twin high-pitched howls filled the woods and all the other wolves joined them once again. Liam and Andrew finally shifted, Stiles guessed. Derek took them all with Erica and Boyd to the sacrificial tree, which Stiles had planted in the ground where the old Hale house used to stand. Derek didn't want to rebuild it anymore, the ground defiled by far too many deaths.

So Stiles consulted Tomasz on the matter and they both decided to plant a Tilia Cordata there – a small-leaved lime tree, which Tomasz provided from his garden. It was often used for magical protection of big families, defending them all against bad spirits, so planting it helped to balance out the Nemeton's influence on the region. They all hoped it would heal the Nemeton completely in few years, rendering it useless, and draining its power to change it into a normal tree stump.

Stiles sighed, pulling the blanket tighter over the baby, looking into the woods on instinct, and noticing blue glowing eyes staring at him.

“Stop being a creeper, Peter,” he muttered, so silently that normal people probably wouldn't catch it, even if they were standing right next to him. But the glowing eyes blinked in understanding and moved closer. Out from between the trees, Peter emerged dramatically, but not in his dark gray wolf form, but as a human with a perfect posture, his eyes still glowing as a side effect of the full moon.

“What, no shifting this month?” Stiles eyed him suspiciously. It was kinda his default setting around Derek's uncle. “Aren't you a creature of habit?”

Peter didn't comment on it, crossing the clearing, stalking slowly closer and closer to Stiles. He didn't like the predatory look on Peter’s face, but he didn't show any fear. Long gone were the times, he feared a single werewolf.

As if Peter knew, what he was thinking, he stretched his mouth into a threatening smile, exposing his sharp teeth, circling Stiles smoothly. Peter bent his body forward then, ready to attack, as if Stiles or the baby was some kind of a prey, but stopped suddenly mid-stride, eying the ground distastefully.

“You were saying?” Stiles smirked mockingly, kicking at the circle of mountain ash around him, disrupting it. Peter tsked, obviously annoyed.

“Seriously, you trying to catch me off guard is getting old. I'm always on guard,” he rolled his eyes, pulling Hannah closer to his body to share his warmth. Well okay, she was actually warmer than him, being the daughter of a werewolf, but still.

“Except in Derek's bed,” smirked Peter, putting weight on his right leg, side stepping a little. He seemed perfectly in control of his wolf, except for the glowing eyes. Even his teeth retracted now that he was done with taunting Stiles.

“Correction, it's my bed too now,” Stiles wiggled the wedding ring on his left hand. “And for your information, it's got protection sigils carved into the head post, so sorry to disappoint, but you're wrong, I am always on my guard to protect myself and the pack.” Hannah cuddled closer to him, turning her tiny head to his chest, as if to put emphasis on his statement. He smiled proudly at her.

“One never knows,” Peter said, looking up at the moon, lost in thoughts.

“Well, okay, true, I can't predict everything, I am no Seer, after all, but I think I did quite okay, protecting those important to me so far, wouldn't you say?” Maybe the moon was getting to him too, making him edgy. Or maybe it was just the effect Peter had on him. Probably the latter.

“I was doing quite okay too, until the fire, that is,” the werewolf said, tilting his head slightly, giving him a look. Stiles knew that one, it was his crazy one. The one, which made Peter look like a mad lunatic.

“Losing a mate is...well, I don't suppose, you'd understand,” his eyes stared at Stiles, empty. And then he added. “Yet.”

Stiles felt like snarling at Peter, jumping at him and hitting him across the face, even though he knew it wasn't a threat per se. It was probably just a friendly warning, but everything Peter said somehow felt like a threat, especially, if it was aimed at his mate. Luckily for the werewolf, Stiles was holding Hannah and had to restrain himself. That didn't mean, he couldn't attack with his words, though. That was his forte more than fists anyways.

He lifted his chin, answering stubbornly: “I would never hurt anybody from my own pack, even if that did happen.”

“That's what I thought too,” Peter said with a sincere voice, letting his shoulders sag, looking back at the moon, as if it was hypnotizing him. “I often think of that night. The night, when I killed Laura. My own niece. I used to carry her around on the same hands that I put through her... I let them all die that day. In the fire, I didn't protect them. I was the Alpha's Second, same as you are, thinking they were all safe under my protection. But I was wrong. So wrong. I can still hear them, screaming, when I walk through these woods...”

Stiles couldn't tear his eyes away from Peter. There was something morbidly fascinating about his slumped posture tilted towards the moon. His eyes shone even stronger, the glow seeping into his skin, making it look sickly.

“I heard them all the time, lying in that hospital, unable to move, unable to hide from them. Sometimes I thought, I could hear my unborn child too, although I was probably just going crazy by that point...and without my Alpha close, every full moon was a torture. I thought it would stop after I'd regained control over my body, but no such luck, it was even worse... I know, I killed her...my Alpha...my baby niece...”

“I killed many people over the years, as is the Second's duty, but the fact, that I killed Laura... she really liked those blueberry pancakes that I used to make on Sunday mornings... sometimes I think back on it and don't understand, what happened. Was it the need to avenge them that made me do it? Was it something else? I don't know, I don't understand. It's like I wasn't myself at all after I woke up in that hospital. As if I was poisoned, possessed...,” he trailed, frowning slightly, as if only now realizing, what he’d been talking about.

He looked at Stiles, his posture stiffening again, watching him calmly. “I suppose it would have been better if I actually was possessed at that time. But not all of us can use that excuse.”

“I wouldn't know,” Stiles replied shrugging. “Having a strong Spark prevents possessions.”

The werewolf stared at him for a bit more, letting his eyes slide over Stiles’ bare arms, over the lines of his unfinished tattoo curling over his skin. Then, without any final words, Peter transformed, ripping his clothes in the process, and trotted away as a dark gray wolf. Stiles was left there with a sleeping Hannah, feeling very confused.

~o~

 

Stiles subconsciously noticed the point where the flashback/dream slid into a horrible nightmare. One second he was standing calmly in the clearing and in the next he was transported into Deaton's examination room. His whole body was wet. He shivered, looking around, and noticed the hilt of a samurai sword. He ran his fingers over it, fascinated by the knots on it.

He grabbed it and was surprised it fit so well into his hand. His eyes trailed over the hilt, across the shaft, which was being swallowed by an ugly gaping wound. “Please, don't!” He heard somewhere in the background, but his hand didn't listen, twisting the sword greedily, widening the wound, letting the blood spill all over the previously sterile ground.

“You really have to learn not to trust a fox. Nu-uh, no, cuz they're tricksters. They'll fool you. They will fool everyone,” his mouth spilled, as if possessed by some evil spirit. And then he looked up, getting a better look at the writhing body in front of him. It was Scott. His eyes shone red, filled with agony. “Please,” Stiles heard, “please, don't!”

He panicked, letting go of the hilt as if it burned him. It fell down, the sound of its clatter filling the silence. Scott disappeared in a blink of an eye and Stiles didn't feel wet anymore. Only his hands did. He looked at them, seeing red. They were covered in blood. And it wasn't his usual ritual blood, either. He blanched. The blood kept dripping down his fingers, as he looked around again.

Dark shapes appeared all around him, judging him silently. “I would never hurt anybody from my own pack,” he muttered in defense, his breath coming out labored.

There was a little firefly flying around the nearest shape, making it a bit more visible. It was a woman, her long brown hair spilling around her shoulders in lazy curls. The firefly darted to her face and Stiles knew... Allison . She fell down, dead, covered in blood.

“I would never hurt anybody from my own pack,” he repeated weakly, not being able to catch his breath. He was suffocating. The air shifted next to him, but he paid it no attention

The firefly flew to the next shape, spinning around its head in lazy circles. He recognized the face framed by blond hair immediately.

“Erica,” he wheezed. “I would never...,” he started, but she fell down even before he could finish. Covered in blood. So much blood.

“No, no , I would never ...” he spit between his teeth, his head spinning uncontrollably. The air shifted next to him and he glanced there, expecting another bloodied shape.

But it was the dementor-like creature, floating there, its empty eyes swallowing him whole. “Trickster, trickster,” he heard echoing all around him.

“No, no, I... never...” he muttered, feeling the panic attack rise up, filling him up completely.

 

~o~

 

There was a loud splash and his eyes shot open, his chest heaving, as he took a long breath in, trembling. He was wet, his clothes were wet and he could see Scott's face above him. He panicked, remembering the dream, flailing his arms, trying to get as far away from his best friend as possible. He toppled over the edge of the couch, falling down on the carpet, pushing himself further away.

“Stiles,” Scott said, his eyes worried, reaching his hands towards him. Stiles just shook his head, holding up a hand to stop his friend.

“I would never,” he struggled, trying to calm himself, looking at the replica of his mate ring. It was just a nightmare, he reasoned with himself. He dreamt about being possessed by some evil spirit, but it was obviously just a nightmare, he couldn't be possessed. He had a strong Spark. There was no possession happening. Not ever.

“Sorry, man, but I didn't know, what else to do, you were freaking out in your sleep,” he heard a pleading voice from not so far away.

“Huh?” He looked up at Scott, tearing his eyes from the scribbles on his ring finger, feeling a bit calmer. He ran a hand over his wet face. Luckily it was just his palm, so he didn't smudge the sigil on the back of his hand.

His friend was sitting on the couch that Stiles had vacated moments ago, in a greenish shirt and gray boxers. Scott’s hair was dry, so it must be way past when he’d finished his shower. He’d probably noticed Stiles sleeping and laid down on the other side of the couch for a nap too.

“The water,” Scott gestured at the empty cup in his hand. “You were having a panic attack.” It wasn't a question. His friend knew him way too well, after all.

“Uh, yeah, I,” Stiles started, concentrating on his breathing, filling his lungs nicely. He calmed very fast once he realized it was all just a stupid nightmare. He even felt a bit embarrassed about freaking out like that. “I dreamt about stabbing you to death with a katana.” Well it was more or less accurate, wasn't it? Teen-Scott didn't really need to know it all.

“Woow, really?” Scott whistled. “Did I have a katana too?”

“Uh, no,” Stiles answered, seeing his friends face fall sadly with a simple “Oh.”

“But duude,” Stiles grinned, punching him into his shoulder gently. “You were a super bad-ass werewolf.”

His best friend cheered up instantly, offering him a loopy smile in return. They sat there, on the carpet in the dark living room, grinning at each other like a bunch of silly idiots.

“Come on, man, bed will be much comfier, than the couch,” Scott said, hauling him to his feet, pulling him up the stairs towards his room. He didn't ask anything else about the dream, nor about his panic attack. He didn't ask, if Stiles was okay, because of course, he wasn't. Stiles was thankful, in a way, he didn't wanna think about it anymore, he just wanted to forget the whole thing.

As he entered the room there was the nostalgic feeling again, calming him. Scott's teenage room. Even that stupid pull up bar in the doorway. He smiled feeling much better. It was all just a stupid nightmare, anyways, no need to keep reminding himself of it. He couldn't be possessed, after all.

Scott jumped into his bed, as Stiles walked to his friend's closet pulling the wet shirt over his head and throwing it over the chair nearby. At least Scott managed to look sheepish about spilling water all over his face and chest. He would just borrow some old shirt from Scott’s closet, then, not that that was anything unusual.

He pulled out one that from the bottom of the shelf. It was probably very old, because the red color was so faded it seemed pink. He didn't really care about the color as long as it was dry.

After that, he just shimmied out of his jeans, bending to reach under Scott's bed and pulling out his red sleeping bag. He slept over at his friend’s place so many times, that Melissa bought him a sleeping bag for his birthday few years ago.

“No, come on,” Scott looked at him guiltily, moving to one side of his bed, wrapped in his blanket like in a warm burrito, “I can't let you sleep on the floor tonight. Panic attack benefits, remember?”

Stiles didn't say anything, pulling the sleeping bag apart and using it as a blanket to roll in on the free side of Scott's bed.

“Night, Stiles,” he heard his best friend mutter, as he turned his back to him and yawned, falling asleep almost instantly, judging by the slight snore.

“Night, buddy,” he whispered, staring at the ceiling for a while. Stiles thought, he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep anymore, but the bed was comfortable and he could feel Scott's comforting presence next to him. He reached out, touching Scott's shoulder. It didn't wake him, he just wiggled a little and stilled again.

Stiles sighed, he couldn't feel anything, no pack bond. Scott wasn't his Alpha right now. At least he still had his brother, though. He was not as alone as he thought. Lulled by that thought, he let his hand drop between them, exhausted by the difficult day, falling asleep too.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

There was a warm body breathing softly next to him. He moved a bit closer to it, feeling the chill of the room seeping under his rolled up shirt. He must have lost the blanket somewhere again, or maybe Derek stole it, the stealing stealer.

He was already falling asleep again, but something in the back of his mind kept nagging him. It was like when you wake up in the morning and there's that very bright light in the room, because somebody (aka Derek) wanted the windows of the room turned to the north side of the woods. And then there's that stupid morning sun, burning behind your eyelids, and suddenly there is no way in hell you can continue sleeping. You do hope the opposite, though, and try to hide under the blanket, but the sun is making you way too warm to stay there, so you surface after a while, woken up completely – well, that kind of a nagging feeling.

Stiles frowned unhappily. He was so tired. Surely he could sleep in today. He rolled onto his back, annoyed at the disruption, and covered his eyes with his forearm. His skin felt itchy there. The body sleeping next to him stirred, but didn't wake.

“Dereeek,” Stiles whined, reaching over the pillow, poking into the hairy mass there. Did his husband go to bed as a wolf again, he wondered for a second, before he poked the fur again. His finger was swatted away immediately, as if it was an annoying fly.

Huffing, Stiles turned his head to the left, squinting sleepily. He noticed the long dark-brown curls, too curly for his husband, and then it all came back to him. It was really hard to get used to time traveling. He just hoped this wouldn’t happen every morning for the rest of his life, it would get too depressing too fast. He could be having lazy morning sex with his husband right now, after all.

Stiles sat up, trying to blink away the sleep from his eyes. He was really thirsty and needed to pee quite badly. But he felt so lazy, if only he could solve both problems at once, like those survivalist who touted drinking their own pee. His face scrunched in a disgusted grimace. His brain had the most stupid ideas sometimes, especially in the morning.

Oh, wait. He turned around, scrambling on the bed, reaching over Scott, to the night stand, where his friend's phone lay quietly. He hit the one lonely button there, waking it up and his heart almost stopped when he saw the time. It was almost half past nine.

“Are you fucking shitting me,” he swore angrily, jumping out of the bed and leaving a grumbling Scott behind. He stumbled quickly to his pants, splayed where they’d been tossed on the floor, pulling them on and buttoning them up as fast as possible. Meaning: he wasn't able to button shit, at first.

He could see Scott's messy head lift from the pillow, squinting at him. “Stiles?” He asked, puzzled.

“Sorry, Scotty, I gotta run, see you later,” he said over his shoulder as he ran from the room in haste, leaving the door ajar. If there was any time for jokes, right now, he'd ponder on the fact that he had leaped out of the bed as if this was some one-night stand. Which yeah, not only was it the worst time for jokes, but this was Scott we were talking about. Also one-night stands, not his thing obviously. He had a werewolf husband. Or well, will have. Hopefully. When this is all over.

A quick side trip was made to use the downstairs toilet, was long enough of a distraction for him to get lost in his thoughts. Pack closeness was always weird for ordinary people. Like that one time when Cora wedged herself between Derek and him at the beach. His husband couldn't stop sending death glares at a group of giggling teenagers, who whispered all sorts of profanities. But yeah, Scott and he weren't a real werewolf pack, not yet at least. They did swear binding oaths of brotherhood over a piece of a watermelon-flavored gum, though. Semantics.

He shook his head, feeling very distracted. His mind kept running all over the place, it had been doing it from the moment he had woken up, but he didn’t have time to drive home for his Adderall. No matter, he thought, grabbing his traitorous phone from the living room table and his backpack from the couch. It's time to save some buts!

 

~o~

 

Stiles drove as fast as he dared to get to the loft before Laura left. He prayed to all of the Gods he could think of that he would catch her going out of the building, before she reached the diner. It wasn't that late, still only 9:45, after all. He turned left, stopping at the red light and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. He shouldn't have gone to sleep at all. Or no, sleep was necessary, but he should have slept at the loft's door. It would probably be super uncomfortable but this was a rescue mission after all. Nobody cared for comfort. But no, he had to go and be lulled to sleep on a super comfy couch. All hail Stiles, the king of oversleeping.

He cursed again, slamming the gas pedal as soon as the light flickered green. The wheels turned over a few times, sending the Jeep speeding down the street. Few more minutes, he thought, glancing at the clock every three seconds. Well, at least he didn't oversleep through till tomorrow. There was still time to fix everything.

The baby blue Jeep rolled into a stop in front of the old building, which Derek had lived in all those years ago. Or well, would live in few months, Stiles guessed. This whole time travel thinking was starting to get really annoying, since all he did was correct his tenses.

He huffed, jumping out of the Jeep, and locking it behind him once again. He scanned the surroundings before heading for the entrance door. There were no cars, no people, and no greenery. This place seemed even sadder than it had when Derek lived here.

Now that he seemed so close to his goal he started to worry. He didn't really have any kind of explanation prepared to give Laura. He should have been prepared better, but well, no time for that now.

He walked inside not trying to be subtle and stealthy. That would look far too suspicious. So he tried to make as much noise as possible while walking down the hall, which was pretty much his forte either way.

“Hello?” his voice rose slightly, echoing off the walls. Awesome, Stiles thought sarcastically, this was how most horror movies started. But why bother quietly looking for a werewolf, when said werewolf could hear every sound he made throughout the building, no doubt. She'd most likely heard the Jeep coming and maybe if he was obvious in his search, she’d be direct as well and he’d be spared the hide and seek game.

“Laura? Laura Hale?” He tried again, looking around, preparing himself to be jumped just in case his husband picked that particular habit up from her. “Omg, please tell me you didn't leave already.”

Nothing.

“I really do hope, you're not just waiting somewhere in the freaking shadows getting ready to jump me,” he thought out loud. He walked quickly up the stairs. “Because I am under quite a bit of time pressure here, hah, get it, time pressure. Uh, no.  Of course, you don't. You dunno why I need to talk to you yet. Weeell, surprise!  You've been chosen to participate in this year's Hunger games. Your uncle is very hungry for your Alpha power, after all...”

Stiles stopped rambling as he reached the loft's door. He tried to slide it open, but it was locked. Well, of course, it would be locked. But Laura probably wasn't hiding behind it, which meant she had already left.

“Awesome, Stiles,” he rolled his eyes, hurrying back to his Jeep. Today couldn't get any better, he thought, but was obviously wrong. Especially after he noticed, somebody had knifed his Jeep's wheels.

“Nooo, baby,” he squealed, noticing the flat tires and looking around furiously. But there was nobody around. He bent lower, inspecting the cuts more closely and, yep, those were definitely claw marks. So either Laura was still lurking around somewhere or Peter knew he was here trying to save her. Probably the latter. But how could Peter know? He could have heard his rather detailed monologue during the walk up to the loft, if he was around. Maybe he was looking for Laura too...wait, not possible, he didn’t know she was in town, yet, did he?

Well sorry, but not sorry, flat tires were in no way gonna stop him. He grabbed his backpack full of magical stock from the passenger seat, slipping it on over his shoulders, before checking the time again. Almost ten. Laura was probably at the diner by now since she obviously wasn’t here anymore. So, he could walk a few streets over to the nearest bus station and ride to the bakery, which was directly across the diner. That was fifteen minutes for the walk and twenty-five minutes on the bus. He would have to hope there would be a bus waiting for him, else there was no way he'd catch her.

In the end, he decided to run the distance to the bus station. Well, what his lanky teenage body passed off as running. Wow, his younger self was so out of shape it wasn’t even funny. How he had managed to outrun all those dangers in the past, or well in his future now, he had no idea.

By the time he reached the bus station, he was totally out of breath, his heart pounding furiously in his chest, but only eight minutes had passed, so he was a bit proud of himself in spite of the state of his heart. He checked the arrivals on a nearby schedule, which was nothing more than a worn paper handout glued to a metal display case under the bus station sign. Well, they were at the outskirts of Beacon Hills, he should be glad there even was a bus driving around here.

He scanned through the printed times, squinting at the small signs next to them. It wasn't the weekend, was it? No, wait! Yes, today was Saturday. Well that was just amazing, sarcasm most definitely intended, because there was no bus scheduled for another hour. He slapped the palm of his right hand over his forehead, sliding it slowly over his face, before covering his mouth with it.

He could maybe try calling a taxi, but it would take at least twenty minutes for it to get here and then another twenty to reach the diner. He checked the time again.

“Ten ten,” he muttered. No way, he'd catch Laura at the diner. His only chance now was to go directly to the hospital and wait there in front of the entrance. Right, new plan then. He pulled out his phone to call a taxi.

Before he could make the call, though, he noticed a police cruiser driving down the street slowly. He stepped closer to the road and waved at it wildly. It stopped right next to him and Stiles peeked inside curiously. Noticing the driver, he suddenly felt like dancing around happily.

“Tara, hi,” he smiled, watching the window roll down. The dark-haired woman in a uniform sitting behind the steering wheel smiled right back at him.

“Do I even wanna know what you're doing here, all alone on a Saturday morning?” she asked, quirking her left eyebrow.

“Mmm, nope,” Stiles answered, popping the 'p' like the obnoxious young brat he was pretending to still be. “It's top secret FBI business, fate of the whole human race is at stake. So yeah, I can't talk about it.”

“Not even with a deputy?” she pretended to be shocked. Man he loved this woman. She was his favorite person in the whole Beacon Hill's Sheriff Station. Except his dad, of course.

“Especially not with a deputy! They would steal all my Adderall, you know,” he nodded sadly.

“Well, that would be a disaster alright,” she agreed right away, running her fingers over the steering wheel, glancing around quickly, as if to make sure, everything was in order.

“So hey, I could use a ride, though,” Stiles started, but was interrupted by her immediately: “Stiles, you know well enough, I can't do that. We're not a taxi service. Not even for you.”

He knew all that, of course, but that didn't stop him from trying.

“Look, Tara, I umm...,” time to play on her motherly feelings then. It wasn't fair, of course, but he needed that ride. “I uh, my Jeep is just few streets away, but the tires, well, somebody went all Wolverine on them. I just... I need a ride to... I need to fix this, before my dad finds out, please! I don't wanna worry him. It was just a stupid joke anyways.”

She contemplated him for a second, deciding he was telling the truth, and opened the front door for him.

“This never happened, then,” she nodded, changing the gear while he closed the door behind him and snapped his seat belt on.

“Nope, I was at Scott's until noon,” he smirked, the car speeding up along the street. It turned left then heading for the center of town.

“You should really tell your dad about the car, though. It’s a serious act of vandalism,” she said, keeping her eyes on the green lights they passed.

“It's nothing serious, don't worry,” he shrugged, glancing at the center console to check the time. Half past ten, he might make it to the hospital in time, then. Thank God, and Tara, for that.  He would have to buy a super huge chocolate bar to repay her.

“Stiles,” she started to protest, but he cut her off before she could continue. “It was actually werewolves who slashed my tires, so I can't exactly tell him the truth, cuz he wouldn't believe me.”

“Riiight,” she rolled her eyes disbelievingly and continued the drive through the center of town, turning right and slowing down along the road that led to one of the biggest kindergartens in Beacon Hills. She stopped there, letting a group of little children pass in front of the car. Stiles watched them through the front window thinking they'd make a very funny centipede with all of them walking in a neat line like that.

“All I'm saying is, that your dad would wanna know if it was something serious,” she said.

“Which means, if he ever asks you, you'll tell him the truth. I know, I know... I remember the stapler incident well enough.”

Truth be told, he couldn't remember the actual incident, but he knew something like that happened. It was all a little fuzzy, but she certainly told on him to his father. That much, he remembered clearly.

Deputy Graeme just nodded, switching the gear again and turning left this time. Stiles could see some random man waving at her and she nodded back respectfully. He glanced at the clock again, starting to get a bit anxious. Surely Laura wouldn't head to the hospital this soon? They wouldn't let her in until 11am anyways. He tried to calm himself with the knowledge that the time of her visit was 11:05, which meant there was still time to stop her.

The car stopped suddenly, Stiles looking around confused. This was definitely not the hospital. They were standing in front of a service station.

“There ya go,” she looked at him, reaching over to unbuckle his seat belt. “Now run along, I need to get back to the station.”

Stiles sighed, his brain trying to calculate the fastest way to get to the hospital. This was turning out to be a very unlucky day for him.

He jumped out of the car, waving to deputy Graeme as she rolled out from the pavement, riding down the street. He pretended to walk to the service station and unfortunately, she was still not out of the view when he reached the door, so he pushed it open, heading inside. The girl at the front desk looked up, saying: “How can I help you?”

“Uhh,” he said, distracted, seeing the police car disappear around the corner. “I'll be back later, I just remembered...,”he ran out of the service station, pulling out his phone and checking the time. 10:45. There was no time to think, he turned on his heel, running at top speed, trying to not bump into people. He didn't have time for anything more, than running at the moment.

It wasn't that far from the service station. Just across the square, around the white-walled church, past the four-lane road, through the market, up the street, and then he would be at the hospital parking lot. Okay, it wasn't that far away for his older self, who knew some amazing magic tricks. His younger self was struggling quite a bit and he hadn’t even reached the freaking road yet. And when he did, he was suddenly very glad the lights turned red. Yes, there was no time to spare, but no, he couldn't catch his breath just then.

So he stood there, his breath coming in rapid gasps, staring at the passing cars. He noticed a taxi with a young brunette and his eyes went wide. That was her, right in front of him was Laura Hale. She looked exactly like the photos, except yeah, she was more alive than in the crime scene shots, but it was definitely her. If the taxi wasn't passing in a lane farthest from him, he'd consider throwing himself in front of it, but no such luck. The taxi passed, heading for the right turn-lane, which would put it on the road that lead straight to the hospital. She'll be there before him, no doubt, but there was still a chance.

The white “walk” light lit up and Stiles imagined there was a crazy feral Alpha chasing him and sped up as he raced behind the stands of the farmers market, where they usually sold vegetables and fruit. This of course meant it was always full of various crates and boxes, or as Stiles now thought of them, unnecessary obstacles. He ran, trying to avoid them all and just as he thought he'd actually succeed, he tripped over one, scattering round green apples everywhere.

“Sorry, so sorry!” he yelled without even turning around.

When he got to the street, he saw the taxi right at the end of it, in front of the hospital. He really just wanted to stop running, fall to the ground and weep. His mouth was dry filled with a weird iron taste and his breathing was hurried. But she was right there. Laura Hale in her formal clothes, getting out of the taxi and walking determinedly through the small parking lot to the hospital's entrance.

“Wait!” he yelled, trying to catch up to her, but of course she didn't react. Oh, he was sure she’d heard him, but had no reason to think it was meant for her.

“Lau-!” he tried, but the cry was swallowed by a violent cough seizing his lungs. He saw her pushing the entrance door open. That made him stop at the front of the parking lot, breathing heavily and catching his breath. He couldn't manage another step, and his legs gave in, as he crashed down onto the pavement right there, right then.

He felt a shadow fall over him: “Are you alright?” Stiles squinted in the sun, catching the brown hair, but it was just some woman, dressed as a nurse.

“Yeah, yeah,” he wheezed, leaning back on his arms and flashing her a smile. “Just, you know, running...,”

“Oh, okay, take care then, dear,” she smiled, gripping her purse a bit tighter as she walked up to the hospital.

“Thanks, though!” he yelled after her and saw her wave in acknowledgment.

 

~o~

 

Stiles sat there for a few more seconds, but the pavement was pretty cold even with the sun shining down on it, so he stood up, quickly patting the dirt off his jeans. He glanced at the hospital entrance and sighed. Well, so much for his plan. But it was still not all lost, was it? She was still alive, he would just have to make sure it stayed that way.

He walked slowly to the hospital entrance, thinking it would be best to go and wait in front of the Long Term Care Wing, where they kept Peter, but he changed his mind pretty quickly. Nobody was getting him into a hospital now. He hated them. So he just turned, walking over the green grass and sitting down on a shady patch of it under a vast oak tree. Not only could he see the entrance really well from there but the smell of grass and wood calmed him down.

His breathing was still a bit ragged, which was no surprise considering how far he'd run. And he was super thirsty by now, his mouth dry, but now wasn't the time to complain about that. He would not miss Laura, just because his body needed refreshments. He had already missed one opportunity because of sleep.

He let his eyes slide down to his left hand, rubbing at the mate ring gingerly. The pen faded a bit, sticking to his fingertips. Don't worry, he thought, staring at his ring finger. It didn't reassure him much, though.

His eyes caught some movement in front of him, so he snapped them back to the entrance. Some man was hurrying inside, an old woman supported by his strong arms. He watched them for a second, squinting a bit as the door swung open and caught the sunlight just right, flashing bright at Stiles and blinding him temporarily.

He took his phone out, glancing at the screen instead, little black spots dancing in his vision. He probably still had at least a half hour before Laura would emerge from the hospital, so he decided to inspect the contents of his backpack thoroughly and prepare himself, just in case Peter already knew what his plan was.

First thing on his to-do list was to apply another strengthening charm. Otherwise his Spark wouldn't be able to do much. Luckily he had a pen in his backpack. It must have gotten stuck there when he was emptying the pockets yesterday, before leaving for Deaton's. He took it into his left hand, leaning the right forearm onto his knee. It was a bit harder, writing with the left hand, but he wasn't in a hurry.

With some time and effort, he managed four fairly legible columns. He stopped there. Adding one more would only cause him harm. He did wish he could use his right forearm too, just in case, but the skin there was still quite red, which meant, it wouldn't hold and might even scar if he tried to strengthen his Spark through it too.

Stiles sighed, retracing the sigil on his right hand before sticking his fingers into his pocket, which was still full of mountain ash. Nothing had spilled out, even after he took them off yesterday and threw them on the ground messily. Controlling mountain ash was his first lesson with Tomasz, after all. No way he could mess that up, even with his Spark empty.

He held the mountain ash over his right hand then, rubbing his fingers together slowly to sprinkle a small amount, enough to cover the circle around the sigil. The blue lines glowed a bit before rearranging themselves in a perfect fluid circle. Stiles grinned, he didn’t have to worry about the sigil washing out now.  It was permanently shielded behind the small barrier of ash, and would remain so until he wished otherwise.

He opened his backpack then rummaging through the contents. He grabbed the pinkish substance, opening it and sprinkling some over his strengthening charm. The pixie dust would hopefully sustain the magic for longer than the previous charm had lasted. He thought back at his memory ritual, worrying about how fast his Spark had retreated. Sure, this body wasn't really used to magic, nor was his Spark used to being called upon, but his mind retained all his knowledge and memory of how to call upon Spark, it shouldn't be so exhausting, should it?

He took the pen again, retracing his mate ring's replica, again using a little bit of mountain ash on the lines. It looked a bit more like his real tattoo then. Except this had one advantage, he could disperse it any time he wished. Which may come handy, when he had to return to the future.

So, what else did he manage to grab yesterday? He pulled out all the vials, arranging them in a line in front of himself. Lots and lots of wolfsbane, apparently. Then there was one vial, full of some red thick liquid, blood, of course. Stiles had seen enough blood to recognize it at a glance, in the glass vial.

He took the said vial, turning it upside down, and squinting at the content. It didn't move, the center only stretched downward like some kind of gelatin. Definitely not from a werewolf, then. Lydia would surely know better than him. He put the vial into the inside pocket of his backpack, so he wouldn’t grab it accidentally, who knows what it would do to him.

Once he stuffed all the different kinds of wolfsbane into the right side pocket, where he could reach them anytime, he counted the remaining vials, going through the contents. He recognized the silver powder at once. It was ashes from the Bay tree, also known as Laurus Nobilis , which was said to be very useful, if you were trying to predict the future. Well, he didn't need that one, did he? He already knew all there was about the future.

Another vial contained dried leaves of Urtica Urens , commonly known as the Burning Needle. It could be used for treating delusions, if combined with a sigil embodying the number five. Stiles stared at it for a while, wondering if it could work against his nightmares too. Deciding to try it later, he put it into the inside pocket, next to the weird jelly blood.

He recognized the next substance too, dried white flowers from the shrub called Blackthorn. He’d seen it in Tomasz's garden when he visited for his apprenticeship. It was supposed to protect you against any kind of witch, or ' striga ' as they were called there. Since it had the same use as mountain ash, if not stronger, he sprinkled the dust over the sigil and his mate ring's replica as additional protection. It flashed dimly in a bluish glow and faded. He stored the rest of it in his left pocket.

He had two more vials to inspect between his quick glances at the entrance door, but before he could, the door opened again, with Laura Hale striding out of them in a swift pace, with a phone at her ear.

Stiles shot up at a lightning speed, throwing the vials into the backpack and pulling at the zipper hastily before following his target. Now, that he finally had her within his reach, he wasn't sure how to approach her, so he kept trailing after her, keeping a slight distance between them so he didn't seem suspicious, but close enough he could hear her words.

“Derek, no, I said everything's fine, I just have a few errands to run here,” she answered in an irritated tone, which came out with a growling undercurrent.

“Like I said, it's just the Sheriff's station, the realtors, and then the bank, to sign a few things,” Stiles heard while shouldering the backpack, which he had been holding awkwardly in his hand till then.

“No, I couldn't, the bank needed me present for the deposit,” she sighed, obviously annoyed with her brother. She sped up unconsciously, shaking her head at something that was probably being said on the other side of the phone call.

“I care, Derek, I do,” she lowered her voice, running her eyes over the street in front of her, probably looking for a taxi. “I am the Alpha, I have to take care of it. It's mom's heirloom.”

She gave up the search, heading for the market, her strides long and fast. Stiles set off after her without a second thought. The market was quite noisy at this time, so he couldn't exactly catch, what Laura was saying anymore. He heard only few words here and there, as he got closer to her (“We can't run forever.”), but then he let her get a bit ahead of him again, just to be sure she didn't notice him stalking after her.

“Alright,” she huffed as she reached a stand with red apples. Stiles stopped by a box of bananas, inspecting them critically. “But finish your work first and fly from New York, when you're done with it....no, I said fly in after the job...doesn't matter.”

Stiles frowned, wondering where Derek might be then, since he obviously wasn't in New York at this very moment, but couldn't recall anything in particular from past-er future conversations with Derek.  Did he ever mentioned how and when he got from New York to Beacon Hills?   Stiles grimaced unhappily, now wasn't the time to get distracted, but he was really starting to miss his Adderall.

As he turned around to glance at the spot where Laura was standing just few seconds ago, he noticed it was empty. A wave of cold enveloped his body, goose bumps rising over his forearms. He couldn't have lost her so fast, could he? He ran to the red apple stand, discovering a narrow path between the stands that led into a cramped alley full of trashcans. She must have used it as a shortcut to get back to the diner.

Stiles crept into the alley quickly, twisting around the trashcans. It wasn't that long, so he reached the end of it in a few seconds, looking out from behind the corner and onto the street the alley led to. Although the street itself was quite long, he couldn't see Laura anywhere.

“Shi-” he started, feeling something grab his backpack. Abruptly he was whirled around and slammed against the brick wall. He yelped, trying to stop the wall from hitting his face and possibly breaking his nose, but he wasn't that successful, considering the pain that spread over his face.

“Fragile human alert, fragile human!” he squeaked, flailing. Always cover your back, else a werewolf has an easier target to sneak up on, he remembered Derek teaching them. Well a bit too late for that, unfortunately. Thanks, amnesia brain.

“You think I care ?” spat the growling Laura behind him. “Why are you following me?”

“Well, technically, I wasn't...,” he cringed, as she pushed him even harder to the wall. “Okay, okaaay, I was, but...there is a perfectly logical reason for that, you see.”

She didn't really give him the needed time to explain, though. “Who are you, did the hunters send you after me?”

“Are you kidding me? I am not a freaking hunter ,” he cried, thinking of Gerard and the lot.

He felt her yank onto his backpack, still holding his neck, and therefore his face, against the wall. “That's hell of a lot wolfsbane for a not-hunter,” she remarked caustically.

“I can explain that,” he started, moving his hands reflexively, but the action was interrupted by a hard squeeze. He felt her nails lengthen considerably.

“Hands where I can see them, fella, unless you wanna lose them,” she commanded fiercely.  

Stiles didn't even consider disobeying and raised his hands to put them on the wall next to his head. This was getting kind of ridiculous. “Look, I can explain, if you'd just...”

But of course, he was interrupted again. Alphas, always interrupting people, as if they were too busy for the opinions of the lowly peasants. “What is that? Is that some sort of magic?” she asked, probably spying his strengthening charms and the rest of the markings covering his skin. He heard the tale tell inhale of a werewolf nose sniffing for scents. “Trying to catch me with mountain ash, are you? Thought it would be that easy, huh? Poor Hale Alpha, all alone...”

He could basically hear the sneer in her voice, didn't even have to see it. It was the same with Derek, before he gave up his Alpha status. He rolled his eyes. “Would you just freaking listen for a second?! Your life depends on this you know.”

“Succumbing to threats already?” she mused, and Stiles felt one particularly long talon slide over the back of his neck. “I'll show you, how real threats work. Now, tell me why have you been following me or I will rip you throat out...with my teeth.”

“Oh my gooood,” he groaned. “Are you seriously kidding me? This is where Derek got it from? You really need some better threats, because, honestly...” the hand on his neck tightened. “Uh right, anyways, please, Laura, please just let me explain, I swear to all magical, that I am here to help you. All that wolfsbane in my bag? Not for you, really not. Actually, you know what? If it makes you feel better, take it!” He moved his hands slowly, hooking his thumbs on the straps, pulling it off his back. He could feel it being yanked away and thrown somewhere down the alley. He really hoped nothing important broke in it, but it sounded like it had landed on something soft, probably a pile of trash so, hopefully no harm done.

“Now, if you would just let me explain...preferably in a more comfortable position, cuz bricks? Not really comfy, not at all, I must say,” he complained.

“Explain, now,” Laura ordered half growling, but didn't loosen the hold on his neck.

“Okay, okay, well, this might be really hard to believe, but I...well okay, I'll just say it outright, okay? Yeah, well, I’m from the future. Ta-dah! I messed up a freaking magical ritual, there was this dementor thing, attacking my pack, so I tried to send it away, but the spell malfunctioned really, really badly. Obviously. And I wound up sending myself into the past. So I wake up here in 2011 all freaked out, but then I notice the date, right...and the thing is, you're supposed to die tonight. But you're Derek's sister and I can't just stand around, knowing you'll die. I owe him so much and I...thought I could save you?” He finished unsure and a bit out of breathe.

“What are you, some crazy Harry Potter fan? Why should I believe all that nonsense?” she asked in disbelief.

“Yeah, okay, that's logical,” he nodded, his mind racing. “Maybe if I tell you something that will happen in the near future? If you go to that diner, where you went for breakfast, a note to meet in the woods will be sent to you by that anonymous bastard who lured you out here in the first place.”

“Could have been you who lured me out here, so that note could be from you too and it wouldn't be a prediction per se,” she answered briskly.

Stiles was at his wits end. He didn't exactly have a proof, he was from the future, did he? So he tried to think of something, that Laura would find convincing enough.

“Uhh, your sister Cora is alive,” he tried, but a painful squeeze interrupted him. He could feel her moving closer, successfully trapping him against the wall. Her breath tickled his left ear as she whispered dangerously: “Lie again and I will fulfill my threat.”

“Can't you read my heartbeat?! Nothing I said is a lie!” Stiles was getting really frustrated with this situation.

“You are obviously magical. Magical folk have ways around werewolf senses. Do you think I'm that stupid?” she continued whispering calmly into his ear, but that somehow scared him even more. He felt his fingers trembling uncontrollably, his Spark slowly warming up in his chest. He closed his eyes, but before he could do something magical, Laura gasped, grabbing his left hand.

“This...,” she paused her thoughts to run her fingertip over the mate ring's replica. “You're mated? You don't smell claimed.”

“Yeah, but no. I mean uh, I am mated and claimed and all, I am married to a werewolf actually hah, but uhm...when I was transported into the past, I kinda found this body, which ain't mine, so to say... but I needed an anchor so...uh yeah, that's why the temporary mate ring,” he spilled out in one breath.

“Prove it,” she commanded sternly. “Tell me your mating oath.”

Stiles didn't even blink, reciting the two verses from his memory right there and then. “You are mine and I am yours, till into ashes turn our bones.”

The hand on his neck loosened, pulling off completely after short pause. He turned around slowly, bringing his own hand to rub at the bruised spot, glancing at Laura. She was covering her mouth staring at him in shock.

“How did you...no one except pack would know that-it was...,” she trailed off lost in her thoughts.

“Your parent's mating oath. I know,” he nodded. “Derek ...uh, well as I said, Cora is alive. And well, they both joined our pack here in Beacon Hills few years after you...died, sorry. And well we...try to keep some of their traditions. All the other wolves in my pack are bitten, you see so...we didn't really have any werewolf traditions. Well, except Brandon, Cora's mate...and uh, one more,” he trailed off, not wanting to mention Peter just yet.

“So,” she stared at him, unblinking. “You're from the future...,”

“Yep, around ten years in the future. Two thousand twenty-one, the year of...futuristic stuff,” he finished uncertainly, frowning at the description. Ah well, nothing worthwhile from that year came to his mind right now.

“And I am supposed to die today,” she continued, as if needing a confirmation.

“Yeah, well... tonight actually. In the woods. Cut into two halves...,” he stroked the nape of his neck, looking around the alley curiously.

“You're not really being subtle about this, are you?” she snorted, taking a step back and lifting his backpack from the pile of trash, handing it to him, after she patted it over a few times.

“Subtlety is not really my thing, no,” he confirmed, taking the backpack from her hand before nodding in thanks.

“Alright,” she straightened up, offering him a hand. “I am sorry I attacked you, but I'm sure you understand.”

“Yeah, no biggie, I've had worse,” he shrugged dismissively, grabbing her hand and squeezing it fleetingly.

“Such an obnoxious fella like you. And with Derek around? I'm sure you did,” she snorted, which was followed by his own snort and a muttered answer: “You've got no idea.”

Laura looked around then, clasping her hands together. “Okay then, we should head out to some better place to talk more about this murder case, you're offering to solve for me. So... we can go to that diner and see… if I'll get that note. Plus I'm quite hungry, so it will be a win either way.”

“I will love you forever, if you buy me lunch,” Stiles answered with a serious voice, shouldering his backpack and following his companion out of the alley.

“Nobody said anything about me paying,” Laura laughed, flashing her white teeth.

They descended down the street, walking side by side, as the sun shone down on them. Stiles wasn't fooled by the nice weather though, glancing around suspiciously every once in a while. Peter could be watching them right now, so they better stay in public places, just to be sure.

 

~o~

 

Stiles thought the walk to the diner would be quite awkward. A silence loaded with the burden of a death prophecy or something similar. But it was quite the opposite. Before they even reached the end of the street, Laura took a deep breath, clasping her hands behind her back.

“Soo,” she glanced at him, pulling up her left eyebrow in the same manner Derek always did. “What's the future like? And don't say flying cars. You seem like the type who would.”

He shrugged, hearing some vials clatter in his backpack gently. He suddenly felt very nervous about telling her anything about the future, so he just muttered: “Pretty much the same as the present, I guess.”

“No way,” she said, shaking her head. “I might be dead by tomorrow. I think you can give away at least something.”

Stiles wanted to get mad and contradict her, but he was honestly too hungry to even register her poor attempt to lighten the mood.

“It's a lot warmer, I guess, global warming and all that,” he shrugged again, as they turned left, walking around the Beacon Hills Shopping Mall, which wasn't as big as the name led one to believe. It was just a few stores, tightly huddled together under one roof.

“Come on,” she started, her amused expression suddenly going blank. “What's your name anyways?”

“Call me Stiles, everybody does,” he sighed, hoping he wouldn’t have to explain the whole nickname thing all over again.

“Okay, mister mysterious, a nickname it is,” she shrugged, as if it was totally normal for somebody to magically transport themselves from the future and body-snatched their younger self to use a nickname. “So you said you're from a pack?” he nodded. “Are you're like the pack's Emissary, then, or?”

“Eh, no,” he cringed reminded of Deaton, as they slowly walked into the shade of the building, following along it. “I'm the Second, actually. And the magical consultant, so to speak. I didn't feel like doing the Emissary job, I am not really uh...how did you put it? Subtle. Not subtle at all mhmm. So Ly-... uh a friend of mine, she's a banshee, she took the job in the end. She's lots better at the whole delegating thing, anyways.”

Laura just kept nodding, listening carefully. “Seems like a good setup for the pack then.”

“Yeah, it seems to work out pretty well,” Stiles smiled, feeling oddly proud of his pack. They did come a long way, after all.

“And the Alpha...? When I die, Derek should...,” she waved her right hand, looking anywhere but at Stiles. Her eyes suddenly sad and worried for her little brother. He wasn't meant to be an Alpha and they both knew it.

Stiles bit his lower lip, knowing they're both thinking the same thing. “Well, a quick summary then...you see, you've been murdered, so your killer became the Alpha. Couldn't handle it and went feral. Bit my best friend without asking. So we...uh well, we helped Derek kill the feral Alpha and then he was an Alpha for a while. Offered a bite to a few people, they accepted. Cora turned up, but uh...there was an Alpha pack, uh it was all very crazy, but Derek gave up his Alpha mojo to save her. And well, we were lucky. We all survived it in the end, just barely...but we gained a new Alpha, see my bestie, he became an Alpha all on his own, no killing.”

“A true Alpha?” Laura breathed in awe, as he nodded in confirmation. “You seem to have a very strong pack.”

“More like, I could have had it, hah right...,” he started to reach for her to bump into her shoulder playfully, but thought better of it. He couldn't help it, though, she had so much of Derek, he felt comfortable around her, without even trying. “None of that will happen, since I'll keep you safe. But hey, maybe, when this is all over and you feel a super strong need to chew on some nice humans, I could, just, if you felt like it, offer you a few names?”

Laura didn't respond, walking silently next to him for a few seconds, probably contemplating life and such. It was no easy thing to learn about the future, after all. Luckily they reached the diner, so she didn't have to answer anything.

Without further ado, they walked inside, choosing the table in the corner, because Stiles is starting to get freaking paranoid and sitting in the corner gives you best view of any place.

“So,” Laura started, while Stiles got his jug of lemon water, gulping it down thirstily. Yes, the diner offered free refreshments over the weekend. “What now, do we just wait or...”

Before she could finish the question, there was a loud rattle of the entrance door being opened hastily and a young woman in a nurse outfit strolled inside looking around. Her light eyes landed on their table and she started walking closer to them. Stiles kept his eyes on her suspiciously. He wouldn't even blink, if he didn't have to.

“Miss Hale, you left so fast,” she started, slightly out of breath, her red lipstick smeared a little on her front teeth. “I'm glad, I caught up with you. There was a note for you.” She stretched her arm, handing a folded piece of paper to her.

Laura reached out to grab it, but before she could, Stiles snatched it out of the nurse's hand.

“How fortunate,” he mused.

Jennifer's eyebrows moved slightly, as if to frown at him, but then she only smiled pleasantly, as if he was a small child, who managed to use the toilet for the first time ever. Then she turned to Laura again.

“You told me, you were going to this diner for lunch, remember, so I was able to find you,” she explained, glancing at Stiles, who was watching her steadily while twirling the note between his fingers. She nor anybody else would notice, but he was using this distraction to inspect the note magically, just in case it was meant to harm Laura. He found nothing harmful on it, though.

“That was very kind of you Jennifer, thank you,” Laura smiled, playing the charade like a professional.

“Yes, thank you, Jennifer,” Stiles echoed like some broken record. The nurse's eyes slid involuntarily to his face, squinting at him, as if she was trying to figure him out.

“Who is that note from again?” Laura asked, her eyebrows quirking in wonder. “Peter's doctor?” She reached across the table, taking the note from in between Stiles' fingers, opening it and scanning it critically.

“No, there was a man, I didn't really see him. He gave the note to the head nurse Leah and she told me to give it to you. Said it was urgent, somehow,” she smiled, letting her tight pony tail slide down the shoulder with a jerk of her head.

Stiles and Laura both nodded without a word.

“I'll be going then, I'm technically still on a shift,” her smile widened even more, as she nodded her head in goodbye.

“Thanks again, Jennifer,” Laura waved, the look on her face sincerely thankful.

Stiles watched the nurse leave hastily, not letting his eyes slide from her even as the door closed behind her, watching her retreating figure through the huge windows. When she finally disappeared, turning around the corner, he sighed, turning his attention back to Laura. She was inspecting the note, rereading it few times.

“So, the author of this note, lures me to the woods, offering me information and then kills me?” she asked skeptically, as if she didn't even believe such a simple plan could work.

“Yeah, pretty much,” he confirms, grabbing one napkin from the table and ripping it into little pieces. It calmed his mind a little, having something to do with his hands.

“What the...,” she starts, her voice tainted with disbelief. “I am an Alpha...and this note is so shady, I would be suspicious of it even without your warning...it's only one person, how...?”

Stiles lifted his eyes from the napkin puzzle, seeing her bewildered expression. He took a deep breath in, deciding now is probably as good time as any.

“Element of surprise, I'd say. Because the note was sent by somebody you would never expect to show up there? Somebody you just visited in the hospital and believed was comatose? And even if he wasn't, you probably would never suspect him of plotting your murder,” Stiles said, watching Laura's eyes widen in shock.

“That's not possible,” she whispered.

“Yes it is. It was Peter Hale, who killed you.”

 

Chapter Text

The thing about truth is...well, just because something is true, it doesn't really mean, that everybody will automatically believe it. This seemed to be the case of Laura Hale too, Stiles mused, watching different emotions flicker over her face. Just as he foresaw, the expression quickly settled on disbelief.

“Even if he did wake up from his coma, Peter would never hurt anybody from his own pack, your information must be wrong,” she objected, running her fingers through her shoulder long dark hair.

Stiles felt a painful pang in his chest, hearing those exact words. The nightmare was still having an effect on him, although he knew it was just that – a nightmare.

“He confessed it,” he stated, using his most serious tone. Laura frowned, as if he was offending her in some way, her eyes flashing red briefly. Then she shook her head decisively: “No, you're wrong.”

Before he could even realize, what was happening, Laura pushed her chair from the table, getting up and stalking away from him. He shot after her immediately, waving apologetically to the waitress, who was just heading to them. The diner's door slammed, just as he jumped to them, but he just gripped the handle opening it and running out, flailing awkwardly.

“Wait,” he jogged after her, as she walked along the pavement, heading who knows where this time. “Laura, wait.”

She shook her head once again, stopping suddenly and rounding onto him in a threatening manner.

“Look,” she started. “I can believe, you're from the future. I can believe, I will be killed tonight. I can believe a lot, but not this. There is no way Peter would...no way.”

Stiles wasn't so easily threatened anymore, luckily. Else he might have backed down by now. But this all was just posturing, he knew. Derek was the same, when he feared something.

“It was him,” he said, his eyes locking into hers.

“No,” she grit out, her eyes flashing angry red. She lifted her hand, pressing her forefinger onto his chest, as she repeated stubbornly. “No.”

“He lost a mate in that fire, he got badly hurt,” he reasoned, trying to make her believe. Her life literally depended on that, after all. But she didn't seem to listen. And there was something else. Something more than stubbornness in her expression and at first, he couldn't really place it, but then it all clicked, as he thought back on the conversation with Peter.

“You do believe me, don't you?” he asked incredulously, studying her face. “You just don't want to admit it, because, if it were true, you'd be partially responsible too.”

Laura recoiled from him, stepping away, her eyes growing wide. The slight movement made her perfectly styled hair, jump a little, strands tangling with each other.

“You were his Alpha,” he continued mercilessly. “And you left him there, in the hospital, all alone, abandoned. On the edge of becoming an Omega.”

He never thought of it this way. Never thought of blaming anyone else, than Peter himself, for becoming a nut job. But it wasn't him, was it? It was the fire and the coma and his impending Omega status. For someone so attached to his own pack, it must have been quite a shock.

Laura's lips thinned, confirming his suspicions. He could hear a silent growl rising from her throat, as she spoke again, her words measured: “Speak to me like that again and I will have your head.”

He wasn't fooled, though. Definitely not, seeing how pale she became in those few seconds. Guilt was written all over her face. It was like some sorts of twisted déjà-vu, because he knew that face very well, seeing it on Derek every time, they talked about the fire.

He adjusted his posture to look less threatening, baring his neck subtly to calm her down. It wouldn't be a good idea to agitate her in the middle of the street. Some people, walking by them, already craned their necks to listen in on the conversation innocently.

“I want to save your life, Laura,” he started, whispering sternly. “I am not threatening your status, nor your pack. I am doing this to keep you alive. The sooner you accept the truth about Peter, the sooner we can stop him.”

“Why do you care?” she spat and he could see her teeth, sharpening slightly in the mouth. “And don't give me that 'I owe Derek' shit. You are willing to change the whole future. You are willing to lose that perfect pack of yours, why?”

Stiles let his eyes slide from her face, looking down at his left hand, where the mate ring's replica glowed dimly in the afternoon sun. He rubbed it gently with the pads of his fingers, looking back at her with a sad expression.

“I'm doing this for my mate,” he whispered fiercely, his voice wavering slightly. “I might lose him like this, true...but I'd rather die trying, than let him suffer your loss all over again.”

Laura's eyes flickered to his finger and then back to his face, widening. He could literally see the wheels turning behind them, as they clicked into understanding.

The sun shining down at them was covered by a particularly big cloud, hiding them in a shadow.

“Derek...?” she breathed, a slight whine intertwined in that short question. “All this... for him...?”

“Yeah,” he just shrugged, as if it wasn't anything special, watching the people pass them leisurely. The sun was still covered by the cloud. Hopefully it would soon resurface, because he was starting to feel chilly.

Laura stared at him, the corner of her lips twitching a little, probably as a side effect of changing her teeth back to their human state. He looked back at her, trying to stay silent to give her the needed time to adjust to the situation. Hey, he could be silent, if it was needed. That much he'd learned in ten years, alright.

“I knew Paige wasn't Derek's mate,” she said smugly after a few seconds, changing the serious current of their conversation. Stiles quirked an eyebrow at her and she laughed. “You even do the same eyebrow thing! I should have known!”

“Learned from the best,” he smiled back at her, shrugging nonchalantly.

“Let me take a look at you,” she said, suddenly awed, reaching her hands to him, sliding them over his cheeks, her eyes roaming his face excitedly. Her palms felt warm on his skin and he was suddenly very nervous. This was Derek's sister after all. He always wondered, if she'd approve.

She frowned and Stiles' lips thinned reflexively. “What?”

“Well,” she grimaced, letting go of his cheeks and waving her hand up and down his body. “You might be super cute, but this ain't your body, right? You said so before.”

“Oh uh,” he startled, running his hand down his chest self-consciously. “Well technically, it's my body from ten years ago. My older body is much cooler, trust me. I got this bad-ass magical tattoo all over...”

Laura just laughed, rolling her eyes. She sobered right away though, sighing and running her fingers through her hair. It seemed like a nervous habit of hers.

“So, Peter,” she looked at him, as the sun came out from behind the cloud.

“Yeah,” Stiles confirmed once again, side-stepping to the right to not squint at her through the sun.

There was silence between them for few seconds. The only sounds were coming from the chattering groups of people, enjoying the saturday's sunny weather outside and from the gentle breeze whooshing between the buildings.

“Okay,” Laura sighed, nodding to herself. “I am gonna go to the woods, confront Peter and bring him back to senses.”

“What?!” Stiles blurted, not understanding anything anymore. “Are you out of your mind? He will kill you. And by kill you, I mean to death...finito! Haven't you been listening to me?”

“Yes, I was,” she answered sternly. “You said, it was all in the element of surprise. Well, that is off the table now, isn't it? So-”

“It's only a guess!” he jumped into her sentence, flailing his hands, exasperated.

“He is my Beta. I will not run away. Not this time,” she put her hands on her waist, looking very determined. “It is my duty as an Alpha. It's what mother taught me. I will not defile her memory by ignoring my duties any longer.”

Stiles wasn't sure, if he was supposed to be impressed by her strength or smack his forehead at the stupidity. Could she do it, though, he mused. Could she really bring Peter to his senses? He was after revenge. He wanted the Alpha status only for that sole purpose, didn't he? Maybe he could strike a deal with him, if all Laura's means fail.

“Okay, but I'm coming with you,” he decided, folding his arms in front of him, ready to fight with her, so he'd be allowed to go. But apparently she wasn't about to oppose him in that decision.

“Alright,” she nodded, winking at him. “You'll be my personal Emissary.”

 

~o~

 

And that's how they ended up in the public library. Laura did want to take him back to her loft at first, but as soon as Stiles voiced his suspicions about that place, not to mention the claw marks on his jeep, she agreed, letting him decide, where they'd set up the temporary camp.

Stiles led her right to the hidden corner, where his favorite table stood. It was the best place in the whole library. Not only, because it was out of the sight of the library desk (but still public enough, so that Peter wouldn't dare to attack them) and he could sneak food from the buffet downstairs, but also because it was close to the mythological section.

They sat down there, Stiles unloading the snacks, he smartly hid in his backpack. Laura grabbed a Snickers bar, smirking at him approvingly.

“So,” she started, ripping the wrapping with her teeth. “Tell me all about it.”

Stiles nodded, snatching the packet of potato chips, opening them and stuffing a full hand of chips into him mouth. He had to give some credit to Laura, because she didn't even blink at his manners.

“Okay, you-” he began, trying to organize all the events of Laura's death in his head, but was immediately stopped by Laura's dismissive waving.

“Not my murder, silly. We got all afternoon to come up with a perfect plan,” she bit onto the chocolate bar, wiggling her eyebrows at him. “Tell me about you and Derek.”

Oh. Well that was quite unexpected. Stiles opened and closed his mouth few times like a fish on a dry sand, but no sound came out. He didn't really wanna be reminded of the fact, he was no longer happily married. It turned his insides all bitter.

He coughed, looking around, as if searching for some help, but none came. Those stupid books on the shelves there probably just silently laughed at his discomfort.

“We should probably come out with the defensive plan instead,” he rubbed his hand over his buzz cut, trying to avoid her request.

“You know,” she said suddenly, munching on the last piece of Snickers and rolling the wrapping into a tube between her fingers. “With Page, we all knew it wouldn't work out. Especially mom, she could sense his wolf's refusal to accept her. But Derek, well...he's really stubborn, when he sets his mind on something. He didn't want to listen to anybody.”

“I could see him in school with her every day. But he wasn't really himself with her, not really. Always tried to hide his wolf from her, wanting to be a 'normal' teen. And then.. the desperate attempt to make a werewolf out of her too, so his wolf would accept her once and for all,” she sighed, shaking her head.

“And after that... he was really at his lowest. Didn't care about anything... avoided us all... and then the fire happened and everything went to shit. He's still not over it. I guess he never will be. I tried, I really did...to make it better for him, easier, but...”

“You see, after the fire, I took him as far as I could. I was supposed to enroll to an university in New York anyways that year, to start working on my law degree. Same as my dad. So I took him with me. That might have been my first mistake, though. I made it seem like we're running away from everything. But I didn't know, what else to do. I was still hoping to continue my life just the same, as I planned before the fire.”

“I anticipated the nightmares and the quilt and the depression, but I hoped it would pass after a while. I attended the university as planned, I made a truce with the two packs living in New York. It wasn't that hard, to be honest. They heard about the fire and pitied us. I mean, two lone wolves all alone in the big city. We weren't a threat for anyone. We weren't even a real pack.”

“I thought, considering everything, that we were doing quite alright. But... I was being foolish and selfish, ignoring my pack's needs, ignoring everything my mother tried to teach me about being a good Alpha. I thought, if we'd just kept going, if we forget about what happened, then everything would just be okay again.”

“And for two years, I naively thought it was working. But, then I came home from a seminar earlier one day and...Derek, he..., “ she stopped her throat suddenly full and looked at Stiles with a pained expression.

“I know,” he nodded sympathetically, pushing a bag of chocolate candy to her. She smiled through her tears, sniffling a little, as she took the bag, looking at it.

“It wasn't your fault,” he tried to assure her.

“But yes it was, I ignored all the signs, I ignored it all, but it was there, I should have been paying more attention. I could smell the desperation and the overwhelming guilt, but I dismissed it all,” she pushed the candy around in the packet with her thumbs, her eyes full of tears.

“It wasn't your fault, Derek told me about it and...,” Stiles started, desperately trying to recall, what Derek actually told him about the incident. He surely wasn't blaming Laura for anything, he was only blaming himself as always.

“No, Stiles, it may sound horrible of me, but I am glad now, it happened. It was the wake up call, I needed. I left the law school, I got a reasonable job and we...we started to build our little pack with Derek. We visited the other packs on full moons. We finally went to see Peter after those two years. It was better, I could feel it was better, all the way here,” she pointed to her heart, shaking her head right after.

“Of course, I couldn't do anything about Peter. Maybe I should have tried harder...then we wouldn't have to be planning my own rescue mission,” she laughed bitterly. “Even so, six years later and I can still feel Derek's not being truly happy,” she looked at him, her eyes pleading. “I just want to know, he's happy.”

“Uh, I can't really guarantee that. I mean, being stuck with a 'hyperactive spaz' like me can be very tiring,” he shrugged. He's been shrugging a lot today for some reason.

“Humor me,” she smiled, stealing some of his potato chips.

Stiles looked at his left hand, tracing the mate ring with his fingers nervously, trying to find some suitable memory. But all his effort was in vain.

“I can't,” his mouth twisted downwards, as he looked up at her, eyes full of sadness. “I... it's all so fuzzy, since I landed in this body. Like... I remember, we tore down the Hale house and planted a sacrificial tree there, but... I can't even recall, if Derek was there or not... I don't know, if he was glad, that we finally got rid of the burned skeleton of a house or if he couldn't even look me in the eyes, because I was the one who made him do it.”

Stiles could feel hot tears stinging his eyes and sniffed, looking away from Laura. He took at deep breath in through his nose, trying to calm himself.

“It's all in this sigil,” he lifted his left hand. “It's all locked here for safe keeping, but I can't access it, not entirely, unless I'd wanna tire out my Spark. So... I would love to tell you, Derek is happy, but... I am not even sure myself right now.”

It made him feel all bitter, admitting, he can't even remember his husband properly. Oh sure, he can recall some bits and pieces, something here and there. Those memories, which were too significant and his Spark kept sneaking them past the barrier into his head, when he slept. But it's just a like a box labeled on the outside, which content, he can't view. It's all way too random to build a coherent picture.

He rubbed his fingers over his eyes, sniffling a little. This whole time travel thing was turning out to be a lot more frustrating, that he'd think it could be.

“But Laura,” he said suddenly, realizing they skipped the most important thing in this conversation. “None of it all was your fault. I had to work hard to make Derek believe the same. And it took long, but in the end, I think...I hope he did believe it.”

She just shook her head, the atmosphere around them way too emotional for any words. But after a few seconds, she opened the bag of chocolate candy, muttering under her breath. “It's what I came here for, you know, to find somebody real to blame. To prove the fire wasn't an accident. But I guess Peter just sent me false trails to get me here.”

“Laura,” Stiles suddenly went all serious, reaching over to her, putting his left hand on hers, which were crumpling the plastic bag. She lifted her eyes to him silently. “It was no accident.”

“What...?” she breathed, her voice so small, Stiles almost didn't catch it.

“It was no accident,” he repeated, squeezing her fingers reassuringly. He could hear her swallow audibly, but she made no noise otherwise, her eyes boring holes into his skull. “It was a huntress, Kate Argent and some other two guys. They placed a mountain ash barrier around the house and set it on fire. She must have gotten hold of a magical kind of fire, like the one they used in Europe to burn witches, else it wouldn't have spread so fast and all.”

He counted a few heartbeats, before Laura squeezed his hand, putting her forehead down on it, breaking down completely. “I knew it,” she cried, shoulders shaking under the violent sobs. “I knew, it wasn't an accident.”

Stiles didn't say anything for a while, occupying his mouth with potato chips and some chocolate candy from Laura's opened bag. She did calm down rather quickly, letting go of his hand and pulling tissues from her bag, blowing her nose in a very elegant way.

“Thanks for telling me,” she nodded, dabbing a tissue over her eyes, trying to see, if her mascara ran over or not. It didn't surprisingly. “First we have to deal with Peter, though.”

Stiles nodded in agreement just as his phone rang unexpectedly. He took it out from his back pocket, seeing his dad's picture flashing on the screen. He slid his fingertip over it, smiling reassuringly at Laura, as he stood up, bringing the phone to his ear.

“H-hey, daddy-o,” he coughed, clearing his voice from the ball, that got stuck in his throat.

“Stiles, where are you?” he heard a worried voice from the other side. He didn't answer right away, considering his options. His dad is obviously worried, he didn't come home yet. What was the time anyways? Must be somewhere after two, he guessed. He could still be at Scott's, but Sheriff already knew that, so he wouldn't ask, where he was, if he believed that. Which means, he knows, Stiles is not at Scott's. Oh no, he probably found out about the jeep.

“Stiles?” repeated his dad sternly.

“You know about the jeep,” Stiles guessed, face-palming himself. He should have called the service station and let them handle it right away, but he totally forgot about it. Oh well, too late for that now, anyways.

“Yes,” his dad replied. “Now will you explain to me, what was your jeep doing in the suburbs with slashed tires?”

“Who told you that?” Stiles blurted, stalling. He also wanted to know, if he should buy Tara that chocolate or not. If she blabbed him out to his dad, then he won't have to bother.

“Answer the questions, Stiles,” John grumbled.

“I'm at the library and...,” he started, his mind whirling. “...someone must have stolen my jeep. It was probably just a stupid joke, dad. I'm glad you found it, though.”

“Deputy Lawrence found it on his round and reported back to me,” his dad stated, his voice a bit less worried and a bit more angry now. “I had it sent to the service station.”

“Thanks, dad,” Stiles muttered.

“You know, Stiles, the weird thing is, you didn't even react, when I told you, your precious jeep's tires were sliced to ribbons,” John said, his voice catching a slight interrogating tone.

“Uh, I pretty much thought it will end up worse, to be honest. Since, you know, somebody stole it...and all that,” he breathed. “I was looking for it.”

“At the library,” the Sheriff deadpanned and Stiles cringed, trying to think of some logical reason, he'd be at the library, after his jeep was stolen. Nothing much came to his mind, because, of course, he wouldn't be at the library, but running around, calling all the arms to find his baby. Except, he knew, she was waiting for him patiently at the parking lot near Derek's loft, so of course no panic was happening at this moment.

“Yes?” he just said, knowing it was a very stupid answer, but his brain didn't offer anything better.

“Stay there, I'll come pick you up,” John commanded, using his 'Sheriff voice', which meant, he had gone from angry to pissed. Oh damn.

“No, dad, I'm okay, I just... I can't come home yet,” Stiles panicked, gripping the phone tightly. He needed to keep an eye on Laura and his dad can't know anything about his secret mission or about his time travels or about anything of that sort. “Could I please...”

“No way, kiddo, you've got some explaining to do,” interrupted him the stern voice over the phone. He could hear the car keys jingling in the background.

He groaned loudly, hoping to come up with some plan to get rid of his dad for the time being. It wasn't meant bad, he loved his dad, but right now, he needed to do other things, than being grounded for forever. Not to mention, he wasn't supposed to get grounded anymore. He was twenty-seven, for piece's sake. Being a freaking teenager again sucked really much.

His phone was suddenly snatched away from his hand by Laura. He attempted to grab it back from her, but she just swatted his hand away, bringing the phone to her ear.

“Hello? Is this Stiles' dad?” she asked, pitching her voice a bit higher. She sounded much younger. Stiles' eyes widened, watching her twist her hair around her forefinger.

“I'm Leah, hi. Does Stiles really have to go already?” she quizzed, her voice a combination of innocence, sadness and nervousness. “You see, he was asking around the library about his jeep and umm... we started to talk about time travel and he seemed nice enough, so...well, I was hoping to go grab some ice cream and maybe an afternoon movie, but...,”

Stiles just gaped at her. Honest to God, slack jaw, wide eyes and everything, as she paced around, ignoring his reaction, talking to his phone.

“Mhm, mhmm, yes, ah okay, okay...was nice to hear you too, sir. Okay, I'll give him back to you. Sorry to interrupt. Aha okay. Bye bye,” she grinned, handing the phone back to Stiles. He took it, smashing it automatically to his cheek, not being able to process, what exactly just happened.

“Uh, so...,” he started, staring at Laura, who eyed him triumphantly, smirk playing along her mouth, her arms folded in front of her.

“She seems like a nice girl,” Sheriff said in a praising voice. Uh, eww, weird, this was Derek's sister, after all. Or well, her weird alter-ego. “Okay, adjournment for this time only. Enjoy yourself, kiddo. We'll talk about the jeep tomorrow, because I gotta start my shift early in the evening. Be home till ten, alright?” he could hear over the speaker.

“Um sure, thanks,” he muttered, oddly embarrassed for no freaking reason. 'Leah' wasn't even real, but he still felt somewhat bad for cheating on his husband in such a minor way. It wasn't cheating, after all. Derek would probably laugh at his thoughts. Stupid Adderall deprivation, making him think stupid stuff.

After a quick goodbye, Stiles looked up at Laura again, still holding his phone to his ear. She lifted her right eyebrow questioningly.

“Duuude, you did not,” he exclaimed, pointing his phone at her, his face showing, how astonished he was at the moment. She just shrugged and continued looking very smug.

“You're welcome,” she winged at him playfully.

“Oh my God! Well, thanks a lot, Leah! My dad thinks, I'm on some hot date now!” he complained, shaking his head.

Laura just laughed, obviously not caring, that she just lied to the freaking Sheriff. She walked back to their table, trying to suppress the giggles, and snatched a pack of jelly candy, tearing the package with her teeth. She offered him the sweet with a smile and beckoned him to sit down again.

“Well, I'll need my personal bodyguard with me tonight so,” she threw a piece of lemon jello in the shape of a fish into her mouth, aiming perfectly. “So, don't complain. I just got you the perfect alibi.”

Stiles didn't comment on it. She was right, after all. He just grabbed a few jellos from the package, stuffing his mouth with the lemon deliciousness and huffed out: “Let's get on with the planning then.”

 

~o~

 

“Alright then,” Stiles pulled his backpack into his lap, opening the side pocket in one swift movement. “I have enough mountain ash for the whole Beacon Hills, if it was needed, so that's no prob.”

Laura rested her elbows on the table, peaking into his opened bag. The snacks were piled up on one side, stacked up in a neat pyramid. How did it hold in that shape, Stiles had no idea. It must have been some werewolf superpower, he didn't know about yet – stacking random packages into pyramids.

“Then there's the wolfsbane,” he continued, trying to concentrate on the topic. He took out the vials, putting them next to each other on the table. “But I suppose, we don't want to kill Peter?”

Laura shook her head silently, scanning over the different types of wolfsbane. “We won't be needing these three,” she pointed at the dark ones in the middle, containing a very deadly mixture.

“Right,” Stiles nodded, putting them into the inside pocket, right next to the jelly blood and the other vial, he put there earlier. “Okay, well, we could try restraining him with some rope soaked in the green one. I used it before once and it was quite effective. We'd need to catch him first, though. That will be the tricky part. Maybe you could try using the Alpha voice, that could puzzle him long enough and then...what?”

Laura looked suddenly very unsure of herself, which made Stiles stop in his proceedings. She reached for the snack pyramid, knocking it over, obviously annoyed, pulling out some salty crackers from beneath it.

“What is it?” Stiles repeated, watching her open the package and stuff three crackers into her mouth at once.

“I can't do it,” she mumbled, chewing, her eyes trailing to the right, roaming over the shelves full of books.

“Oh, like the Alpha voice? I thought-” he started, but was interrupted by her dismissive shrug. Her brows knit together, as she spoke: “Well, I can't. There are some things, you can't really learn and practice, before you actually become an Alpha. And by the time it happened, there was nobody to teach me.”

“But... I heard you on the market,” Stiles reasoned. “On the phone with Derek? I'm sure, I heard the-”

“Yes, yes,” she waved her hand, taking another cracker out of the package and then deciding otherwise, as she stuffed it back inside, huffing in frustration. “It happens sometimes, when I'm frustrated, but... I can't really do it on command.”

“Actually, that's quite a common problem, when it comes to ordering your own pack members. Scott couldn't do it at all, at first, hah, unless it came to Jackson,” Stiles grinned, feeling his Spark seep a little into the sigil on his left hand to help him remember. He realized that must be happening every time, he tries to recall anything from his future. He just doesn't always feel it, since this young body isn't so familiar with magic.

“We need some other plan, then,” she sighed, going with her fingers through her hair, parting the strands carefully.

Stiles ignored the statement, putting the backpack on an empty chair next to him, leaning over the table a bit, as he slipped into his 'teaching mode'.

“Maybe I can teach you. You see, there is a huge difference between using the Alpha voice on a pack member and some random wolf or threat,” he started, moving his fingers around in random gestures. He took the crackers from her, pulling them all out and putting them on the table in a lose circle. Then he put one piece inside the circle, placing it in it's center.

“As an Alpha you have your own inner circle of people, aka the pack, for which you use, what I like to call the 'Inner Alpha voice'” he explained, nudging the crackers around the center piece with his fingertip. “And then there's everybody else, “ he spread his fingers waving around the cracker circle. “Those individuals are influenced by the 'Outer Alpha voice' – that's how I started calling it, at least. I am sure you could, under the right circumstances, use it on a stranger without much effort. It's a instinctive thing, when trying to protect your pack. It's basically a tool, with which a wolf demonstrates it's strength to the outside circle.”

“There is no conflict in your conscience about using the Alpha voice on the outside circle. First of all, they mostly pose a threat to the pack, which you have to protect, so stopping them with an roar or whichever variety of the Alpha voice seems fitting. Secondly, you don't know them, you have no attachments to them, you don't care about making them do something against their will or possibly hurting them with it.”

The corner of Laura's mouth twitched to the side a bit, as if she was hiding her guilt, but she just shrugged fast to cover it. Although quite unsuccessfully, Stiles thought, but he continued without delay.

“Using the Alpha voice basically means, trying to imprint your own will with displaying your superiority, which of course is a necessity against foreign threats, but it is often something, that one would not wanna do to their own packmates. So the problem here can only be some kind of a block inside your head. And we just need to disperse it.”

At least, that's what it was with Scott, Stiles recalled, thinking about the future once again. Scott never did want to order people around, especially not his friends, but teaching him, how to do it, was essential for his Alpha duties. Keeping Jackson in line was just a little bonus.

Laura took a breath, sighing while rolling her eyes. “Okay, you're right, I do not want to order my pack around. They've been through a lot and they don't deserve such treatment. I am an Alpha, not a dictator.”

“But your mom did use it, didn't she?” he asked.

“Yes, but that was different,” she shook her head, looking down at her palms, her fingers twitching, as if she was trying to conceal her claws. “She actually knew, what she was doing.”

“And you don't...?” Stiles quizzed, guessing the source of her uncertainty. But she didn't answer, she didn't even look at him. She just shrugged, chewing on her lower lip from the inside, running her tongue over her upper set of teeth then.

“Okay, no dictatorship then. What if you thought of it as a prank instead?” he looked at her, lifting his eyebrows, waiting.

“A prank?” she frowned, not understanding, what he meant.

“Yeah,” he shrugged, shaking his head a bit, his lips quirking in a half smile. “Did you never prank your pack members?”

Laura pursed her lips, trying to hide her smile as she looked up at him. Oh, he knew that mischievous glint in her eyes, it was all the confirmation, he needed.

“See, thinking of it as a prank, takes off the seriousness of ordering your own pack around. Maybe we can start with that,” he suggested, waving his hand to her.

She squinted her eyes at him, thinking and then she reached for her purse, taking out her mobile phone. She unlocked it with a slide of her manicured forefinger, tapping at the screen few times.

“Okay, prank time,” she smirked, her nose scrunching in a cute manner, her eyes full of hidden playfulness.

“Just remember, you want them to do your biding, your voice needs to be strong enough to force an action,” he said, moving his fingers down his throat. “It needs to come from within, so try to concentrate on your throat, same as when you growl, but pitching it a bit higher to emit the needed vibrations inside the command.”

Laura kept nodding, staring at the screen, growling a bit to know which place exactly Stiles meant in his explanation. She could feel the vibrations filling her throat, sliding down her chest, so she tried to concentrate on bringing them up instead of down and she could feel it. She could feel the red seeping into her eyes, as she pressed the green call button.

She set it up on a speaker, so Stiles could hear it too and waited, listening to the ringing. And Stiles only then realized whose name, he was seeing flashing on the screen and wave of nausea passed through him. Before he could react though, there was a click of somebody picking up and a grumpy voice, he knew way too well, answered the call.

“What?” Derek said, his voice coming through the speaker, with a machinery noise in the background.

Laura took a deep breath in, her eyes glowing red, her throat vibrating subtly all the way up to her mouth. “Stop!” she commanded, voice dripping with Alpha power. Even Stiles' hands stopped tapping a nervous rhythm onto the table.

There was a loud crash from the other side of the phone call and an echo of some very profound curses filled their ears. Derek's phone seemed to have hit the floor then, the clank of it's plastic cover clacking over the speaker. Then there was a huff, as Derek probably reached for it to pick it up again and smashed it to his cheek, covered in stumble. At least, that's how Stiles imagined it, frozen in awe. This was young Derek.

“What the hell, Laura!?” he whined, his voice pitched slightly higher than normally. “I dropped the whole load!”

Laura, didn't react to it, her eyes still flashing red, as she looked triumphantly at Stiles. He smiled back at her proudly, bringing his thumbs up. Then she smirked mischievously and commanded once again: “Howl!”

Stiles' eyes widened comically, as a howl filled the air, accompanied by multiple voices echoing with laughter in the background. The machine noise stopped suddenly, Derek growling over the phone at his sister.

“Are you done?” he asked, his voice full of embarrassment and annoyance. Laura giggled and Stiles tried to stiffen his laughter with his hand, as Derek continued: “This is far from funny.”

“Awwh, Derrie,” Laura cooed. “Don't be such a spoil sport.”

Derek just grunted something illegible, but Laura frowned, hearing something else in the background, that Stiles didn't catch. Oh, there were some other voices, he was sure, but he couldn't make out the words, even if he tried.

“Shut up, Leo,” Laura barked, he eyes flickering slightly in annoyance. “Or I will alpha your ass too.”

Derek just sighed over the phone, somebody talking in the background and Laura's mouth twitched a bit in a smile, but she bit it back fast enough, when her brother groaned.

Stiles was a bit overwhelmed at the moment, hearing Derek and all that, but he noticed there was something going on between Laura and that Leo dude. Something with a very flirtatious subtext.

“Laura,” Derek grunted, as if complaining about the turn of the conversation.

“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” she rolled her eyes. “It was just a prank, I was bored waiting here. Talk ya later, sweet brother.”

“Bye, Laura,” Derek mumbled, just as Stiles finally heard the other voice yelling “Bye Laur!” over the speaker. And then the call ended.

“You did it!” Stiles jumped from the chair all excited, as she threw her phone into her bag. Although, truth be told, half of his excitement came from the fact, that Derek was a participator in this experiment and Stiles got to hear it all.

“I sure did!” she grinned, jumping up too, enveloping him in a hug, her laugh breathless, as if her throat suffered a bit in the process too. It probably did, since she wasn't used to the Alpha voice and it's vibrations over her vocals.

She let go if him then, snatching everything from the table and stuffing it into his opened backpack. She handed it to him, taking her bag from the chair and smiled. “Come on, we need to celebrate this with ice cream. I promised your dad to treat you to one, after all.”

 

~o~

 

They wandered down the street in a quite euphoric mood, as the sun shone all around them. Stiles couldn't help but smile, as Laura put her arm around his shoulders, pulling him close to her gently.

“You're welcome,” she said, knowing that hearing his husband's voice helped to cheer him up, even though the said person wasn't his husband yet. But even so, Stiles did feel better. He actually got to remind himself, why he was doing all this in the first place.

“You're welcome too,” he countered. His smile widened, as Laura stuck her tongue out of her mouth, grinning like a fool. They both laughed then, feeling giddy, thanks to her prank.

As they reached the ice cream stand, Stiles heard the unmistakable rhythm of expensive heels click-clacking over the street's whitish tiles. He turned around in a circle, trying to find, where it came from and spied exactly, what he was expecting to see - Lydia Martin was striding down the street, he arms full of shopping bags.

He smiled at the fact, she bluntly ignored his presence and then his ears caught her old ringtone. He watched her, taking the phone from her purse, bringing it to her ear.

“Jackson, I said to wait for me down the street, but I don't see your car anywhere,” she complained, stopping in her tracks few meters away from the ice stand. Her heels clacked as she tsked, scanning the road, where cars usually parked, but she didn't find, what she was looking for.

“Just get here,” she commanded, terminating the call. Stiles snickered, looking at Laura next to him, who eyed Lydia suspiciously. There was something that quirked her about that strawberry blonde.

Lydia turned then unexpectedly, her eyes sliding over Stiles, as if he was just a piece of furniture and stopping at Laura. They both stared at each other for a fraction of a second, when Lydia's eyes snapped back to Stiles, as if to make sure, she saw right. Then she squinted, assessing Laura again.

Laura quirked the eyebrow at her, sliding her hand over Stiles' arm, grabbing him by the wrist and pulling him closer to the ice stand. She flashed Lydia a ferocious smile, turning away, as if she wasn't even worthy of any attention from her and angled herself to stand face to face with Stiles.

“So pick any, it's on me,” she smiled, waving over the display with her free hand.

“That was some weird girly showdown, wasn't it?” Stiles whispered conspiratory, moving closer to her, while checking out the rows of ice cream boxes in front of it.

“Yep,” she nodded, pointing to the lemon flavor and then the chocolate, so the teen girl can scoop it up into her cornet.

“I'm guessing you won then,” he eyed her, as she took her cornet, smirking back at him.

“Of course, I did, I'm the Alpha, after all,” she winked at him, laughing maniacally. Stiles joined her, rolling his eyes and then looked back at Lydia. But she was already getting into a silver Porsche, flashing them one last look. And then the car's door slammed and the Porsche sped up, turning behind the corner and disappearing from his sight.

“She a friend of yours, I assume?” Laura inquired, while he chose his own flavors – the green pistachio and light brown whole nut. He just nodded, taking his cornet from the teen girl, licking up the cold substance.

Laura payed the girl and eyed him for a second, before digging into her own ice cream. “She didn't feel right,” she commented offhandedly, as they walked over the road, continuing down a different street. They agreed to stop by the bank after the ice cream, so Laura can access her deposit, just as she planned, before she met him.

“Of course, she didn't,” Stiles said, scanning the surroundings, because he was apparently a paranoid schizophrenic maniac. “She's a banshee, after all.”

“Ah, your future Emissary?” Laura recalled, looking into a display of a store, they were just passing, which was full of different kinds of shoes.

Stiles only nodded at first, but then he realized she was looking into a different direction and probably didn't see him at all. So he repeated it aloud: “Yeah.”

“Hmmm, I see,” Laura mused, not saying anything more, as they walked slowly, enjoying the ice cream. They passed a few couples, holding hands. Saw a little puppy and a child running after it, trying to grab it's tail. After few minutes the silence got the best of Stiles and he couldn't take it any longer.

“Soooo,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows at his companion. “Leo?”

Laura startled, frowning slightly. “What about him?” she asked tersely, going with her fingers over the side of her head, fixing her hair to not fall into her face, tucking it safely behind her ear.

Stiles just shrugged, not sure what exactly he wanted to know, now that she asked. He didn't really want to make her feel like he was interrogating her. He just wanted to know more about this mysterious guy, who hanged around with Derek.

“It's a were' from the Mitchell pack back in NY,” she sighed, staring at her ice cream. “Their pack owns a construction company and they often ask Derek to help out... for a fair wage, of course. And Leo, he...he mostly handles the import of wood for the houses. Or well, it's mostly cabins and such... they usually work for werewolves, ya know. He travels around, taking care of the felling and transport of wood from different places around America. And yeah, Derek helps him with that, I guess.”

Stiles stared at her dumbfounded for a second. He couldn't remember Derek, ever saying he was a woodcutter or however was the profession called, before Laura died. But maybe it was just his swiss cheese memory, full of holes, as if some freaking mouses ate it all out.

“Well, no wonder Derek hated me calling him Wolverine,” Stiles said to lighten the mood, but he still felt unsure about the whole situation. Was his memory access getting worse? He dismissed it quickly, while Laura chuckled under her breath.

“Well, like I said,” she cleared her throat, which was probably still kinda soar from the use of the Alpha voice. “Is just a were', who works with Derek.”

“But...?” Stiles quirked his eyebrows, studying her expression. Nothing important was ever said before the word 'but', Game of Thrones taught him that.

“But nothing,” she rolled her eyes. “He's a bit of an ass, ya know, driving that freaking black Camaro all around.”

“Wait what...?” Stiles' eyes widened and he choke a bit on his ice cream. Don't ask him how, obviously, he could choke on nothing too, given the moment.

“Yeah yeah, I know, it's an amazing car, blah blah,” she grumbled, licking at her ice few times. “Cars are not everything, you know.”

Stiles didn't comment on it, his brain on overload. Did Derek get his black Camaro from Leo or did he just happen to buy the same type of a car? And why couldn't Stiles remember ever hearing about Leo or about the wood cutting stuff? A cold wave enveloped his body, as he stared at his mate ring's replica. This wasn't... what was he was thinking? His mind whirled with possibilities and every one of them seemed worse than the last.

But,” Laura continued, not noticing his internal turmoil. “There is something about him. Something that makes me think of pack...”

Stiles just nodded not listening anymore. He wished he could use his Spark to dab into the sigil once again, to search for any mentions of Leo Mitchell, but knew it was probably a very bad idea. He will need all the magic he can collect, when they set out to meet Peter.

 

~o~

 

As they reached the bank, Laura stuffed the last piece of her sweet cornet into her mouth, chewing it down quickly. Stiles suddenly noticed, his cornet was still full of the pistachio ice cream, because he was obviously too lost in thought to eat it all before Laura did. It was starting to melt down, sliding down his cornet, so he licked at it to prevent the ice to drip down all over his fingers.

Laura eyed him for a second, shaking her head fondly for some reason. “Wait here, I'll be right back,” she ordered, walking swiftly into the building of the bank. Stiles kept following her with his eyes, seeing her reach the window and talk to some lady behind the counter. The lady pointed to the right after a while and Laura headed there, disappearing from his sight.

Stiles looked around, finding a quite nice looking bench few yards to the left. He walked to it, checking it's state and after he decided it wasn't so bad after all, he sat down, stuffing all the remains of the cornet into his mouth.

He sat there in silence for a second, taking out his phone. It was a bit before four. They would probably need to head out to the woods after this, because the sun will go down in about an hour, he realized.

To save some time, he decided to buy some more supplies before Laura returned. The hardware store wasn't so far away from the bank and they would certainly need the rope, if nothing else. With that thought he stood up fast, walking swiftly up the street into the a small hardware shop his dad often visited.

He made it out in record time, with a shopping bag full with different supplies. It only took him few minutes and as he reached his bench, he realized with relief, Laura was still not back from the bank. So he dumped the shopping bag on the ground between his legs, pulling down his backpack and putting it next to him on the bench.

He took out everything from the plastic shopping bag, leaving only the thick rope, coiled like a sleeping snake, inside. He grabbed the green vial from his backpack then, where Laura dumped it, pouring the whole content over the rope. He hold his breath as the substance soaked in, to not breathe in the wolfsbane's vapor. The air would carry it far enough until Laura reemerged from the bank, so that was nothing to worry about.

Stiles rolled the plastic bag carefully down to close it off and seal the poisoned rope inside. He couldn't risk it affecting Laura in any way and the plastic, wrapped around itself would be enough to keep it out of anybody's harm, until he needed to use it.

He put the bundle into his backpack, stacking the vials full of wolsbane back into the side pockets. He eyed the folding camp knife, he bought too. He unsheathed it, holding it carefully in front of him with his left hand. Picking out a vial with yellowish wolfsbane crystals, he poured them carefully over the edge of the blade, trying to not spill any.

He watched the crystals melt down gradually, fusing with the blade and leaving little yellow stains in the metal. After that was done, he put the knife back in the sheath, stacking it in his other side pocket on the backpack.

Not much more was left from the supplies, he gathered in the hardware store. Only the industrial flashlight with an orange case. He thought it might come handy, since he wasn't able to see in the dark. Of course, he did consider getting an axe or a chainsaw just in case it all went out of hands, but after some thinking, he had to admit to himself, he wasn't really a weapon type after all. He couldn't even chop off Derek's arm all those years ago, that much didn't change.

Stiles grimaced, realizing he's been thinking about Derek once again. Or of the few vague things, he actually could remember right now. He shook his head violently, as if trying to get rid of his thoughts with the centrifugal force. Not that it helped much, but at least it pushed the thoughts into a corner for the time being.

As the last thing on his mental preparation list, he took out the pen, which was luckily still in his backpack. It might have been a miracle with all that loading and unloading. He let his head fall down, pressing the point into the nape of his neck, scribbling a small sigil into his skin. He felt his Spark reacting to it sluggishly, spreading in a very small amount all over his skin. This sigil didn't need much magic, thanks for that.

He took out some of the Blackthorn from his left pocket, sprinkling it all over the sigil on his neck. He felt it flashing warmth over the skin there and closed his eyes for a second, moving his head from side to side.

“Stiles?” he heard from in front of him. His eyes snapped open, looking up at Laura frowning at him.

“What's that? You... I can't...,” she stuttered, as her frown deepened. She sniffed the air once, listening in a bit more carefully. But she couldn't catch anything, that would suggest, there is someone sitting right in front of her. If she didn't see him with her own eyes, she wouldn't believe he was there.

“It's a 'notice me not' sigil,” she could hear Stiles telling, but his heartbeat was lost to her. “It's not perfect, since my Spark is like the freaking Internet Explorer, but still.... it might be of use.”

Laura watched him for a second, then she reached her hand, touching his shoulder, as if to make sure, he was still there. “That's handy,” she muttered, her senses confused at first, but gradually she got used to it. Of course, she would be worried, if this was somebody else, but she came to trust this boy. He did smell like a faint promise of a pack member, after all. Well, before he applied that weird sigil in any case.

“It's time,” she said then, staring at the sun, which was approaching the mountain tops quite rapidly. Stiles followed her line of sight, his eyes squinting, when the sunlight blinded him. He could feel jitters in his body, anticipation filling him up completely.

“Yeah,” he nodded. “It's time.”

Chapter Text

 

 

A taxi weaved it's way up into the Beacon Hills' woods, it's lights cutting through the evening darkness, that's been creeping in the view, as the sun slowly descended. So basically, they're riding into the sunset. Stiles would have found it funny, but he didn't. He really did not. He drummed his fingers distractingly over his knee, glancing at Laura from the corner of his eye. She seemed calm and determined. Well good, at least one of them was mentally ready to face a crazy feral werewolf.

Well, facing some random feral wouldn't be such a problem. God knows, he'd faced a few already, although he did have more backup and a storage full of magic at his side that time. The problem here was, that this was Peter Hale. In his untreated state. And their plan was to bring him to his senses, so that he'll change his mind about murdering Laura and a bunch of other people.

So yeah, he was nervous alright. He looked out of the window, seeing the last rays of sunshine shine onto the road through the trees. This was it. He ran his fingers over the mate ring, trying to concentrate on the mission. But it didn't help him much in the end, he just felt ever more under pressure than before.

He felt a hand slide down the nape of his neck, fingers brushing over the 'notice me not' sigil, up into his short hair. Stiles turned his head a bit, to give it more access and sighed. He recognized the gesture, Laura spreading her scent over his neck to show any attacker, that he will have to go through her first to get to him. It reassured him somehow. Having an Alpha, although it wasn't Scott.

He smiled at Laura, as she ran her hand over his hair, ruffling it, but of course, there was no way she could mess up such short hair. But it was a sign of affection anyways.

“Stop here,” she ordered the driver, pointing at a nearby parking space. Well it wasn't a proper parking space, just a piece of dried ground near the road, but it was as good as any.

The taxi stopped, the driver eying them suspiciously, but he held his mouth shut, seeing the amount of money, Laura stuffed into his waiting palm. They got out of the car, closing the door behind them and the taxi sped away immediately. They watched it's tail lights disappear behind the trees, swallowed by the woods.

“Ready?” Laura asked, keeping her eyes directed to the trees, scanning them thoroughly. Stiles pulled out the flashlight, put his backpack over his shoulders, securing it tightly and lifted his arm back to it, checking the vials of wolfsbane on the right side and the knife in the left one. All there. He slid the fingers of his free hand into his right pocket, grabbing some mountain ash into his palm, holding it there, focusing on it, so he would be ready to use it anytime.

“Yeah,” he nodded, seeing Laura change into her Beta form, her eyes glowing vivid red. He teeth grew sharper, as she barred them, her face changing, looking more ferocious, ears peaking up from under her dark straight hair. Her perfectly manicured nails lengthened into pointy claws. She sniffed the air then, leading them straight into the darkening woods.

Stiles followed closely behind her, trying to watch the trees and to not fall over at the same time. Unfortunately, this was his lanky teen body, so there were no guarantees, he wouldn't face-palm right into the dry leaves, covering the cold ground.

After few minutes, when the darkness fell over them and he couldn't make out the shapes anymore, he decided to put on the flashlight. As he did so, he realized it wasn't much help, because the ray of light didn't cover that much ground, so he was basically half blind anyways. He should have bought something better, like a torch, or a freaking helicopter, that would light the whole area, or maybe like a spaceship, that would pull the sun up again. Stiles frowned trying to concentrate again.

They walked in silence for a while, listening for any sort of noise, that would let them know Peter's approaching. But nothing seemed to be coming their way. Or at least Stiles thought so. And obviously, he was wrong, because Laura growled under her breath suddenly, the noise very loud in the silent woods. He pointed his light to follow her red eyes, turned to the left and saw a shadow creeping slowly between the trees, blue eyes pointing at them like lasers from a sniper's gun.

Stiles lifted his hand to his right instantly, letting the mountain ash seep from his palm a little. Then he threw it in a half circular motion in front of him and Laura, willing it to extend around them in a perfect protective circle.

Laura side-stepped, feeling the mountain ash settling and locking them inside the barrier. He knew, she wasn't very happy about being trapped inside a mountain ash circle, considering the truth about how her family died, but hoped she trusted him enough, to not get distracted by the situation.

She stepped a little more to the right, slowly, not letting her eyes drop from the moving form. It put her a little in front of Stiles, as if to protect him. Her growl grew louder, her eyes blazing red, as she stood up straight, watching the approaching shadow.

And from between the trees came out the figure of Peter Hale in the same dramatic manner, as at the full moon's night, when he tried to catch Stiles off guard years in the future. His eyes glowed, his posture threatening, but he wasn't turned. No, his features were fully human, burned flesh of his face highlighted with the glow of his eyes.

“Ah,” he said, smiling wickedly, baring his human teeth, as his eyes slid from Laura to Stiles behind her. “I heard you brought a friend.”

None of them said anything, watching Peter sniff the air, frowning, then angling his head trying to catch some sound, he was obviously missing. He looked at Stiles for a second, his eyes following down his body, to the line of mountain ash on the ground. “A very skilled helper, indeed.”

All that attention made Laura step to the right, covering Stiles fully. But that wasn't good for him. He needed to see it all, so he side-stepped too, keeping his eyes on Peter, his light flashing over his body. He was dressed in a loose white shirt, which only had short sleeves, his legs covered in sweat pants, feet bare. It was so unlike Peter, it made him wanna laugh, except then he caught the look of the werewolf's face and changed his mind.

For a second, he couldn't even tear his eyes from the reddish burns, covering the right side. His ear was only a grotesque lump of dead tissue and his hair, which didn't even grow over the burns, was disheveled, strands tangled like a bird's nest.

“I know, what you were planning to do, uncle,” Laura started, pulling Stiles from the hypnotized state. She used to word 'uncle' as they agreed - to put emphasis on their family connection. Which was pretty smart to do, but didn't seem to have the wanted effect on the werewolf.

“Oh, do you?” Peter raised his eyebrows, looking even more crazy, than anytime before. His head twitched a bit, as he moved his shoulders around, struggling to keep control of his human state. “Tsk tsk tsk, did that little birdy of yours tell you that? Naughty naughty.”

He circled them slowly then, getting closer, as if trying to find the best point, from which to attack Stiles. That wasn't really anything to worry about, though. As long as they had a functional mountain ash barrier, nobody's attacking anybody.

“I will kill him first, just for the fun of it then,” Peter grinned, his head moving jerkily in an unnatural motion for a human. Like a snake, getting ready to attack.

Laura growled threateningly, stepping closer to the ash line, almost a yard away from her uncle, but Stiles stopped her with a hand on her biceps. “Don't. He's trying to provoke you.”

“Hmmm,” Peter hummed, eying him in interest. He might have wanted to say something more, but Laura straightened up, flashing her red eyes at him. Stiles could hear the vibrations of a growl starting to rise in her throat.

“Stand down,” she ordered, her voice coming out with that commanding undercurrent, that Alphas possess. But Stiles realized, this wasn't the 'Inner Alpha voice', he was talking about before. It sounded a bit more like the outer version - as if it was used to intimidate a thread to the pack instead.

Peter's right arm twitched, his eyes widening, because he probably noticed it too. Laura was protecting Stiles on Peter's expenses and she probably didn't even realize it herself. Stiles blanched, glancing fleetingly at her, but she just bared her teeth at her uncle. This wasn't good. At least not, if they wanted to bring Peter back to his senses. With that single protective act, she just excluded her uncle from her pack.

“I will kill you, Alpha,” he whispered fiercely, as if he didn't even recognize his niece anymore. His eyes flashed brighter blue, as his nails extended, transforming into sharp claws. His grin seemed to resemble more a shark's mouth, than a human's after those few second. He continued then: “I will rip you into pieces, which I will then scatter around these woods for everyone to see.”

Laura just growled back at the threat, jumping at him right there and then. Well, luckily Stiles' barrier was good enough to hold her off. She slammed into it in full force and bounced back, her breath being knocked out of her in the instant. Peter didn't move, taunting her with his grin from behind the barrier, watching the proceedings silently.

“Laura, stop it!” Stiles grabbed her shoulder, as she got up, breathing heavily, trying to slam into the barrier once again. “What the hell, come on, calm down!”

“Open it!” she barked, her voice dripping with Alpha's strength, her eyes burning in the darkness like twin suns. It didn't work on him in the slightest. So she growled fiercely, grabbing his shirt and hauling him closer to the mountain ash barrier. “Open it now! I will teach him not to challenge an Alpha!”

“The hell...? Are you out of your fucking mind?!” he snapped at her, trying to push her hands off him. She didn't even notice, as she rattled him, trying to make him do her bidding. Stiles wasn't scared per se, he was just a bit worried, she might try to push him out of the circle right into Peter's waiting embrace. That would be quite unpleasant.

“Did you forget, what we came here for in the first place? Snap out of it!” he yelled. He could hear Peter muttering something under his breath over and over again, but wasn't exactly sure, what he was saying. Well, obviously it wasn't anything nice, since Laura let go of him and roared savagely, transforming a bit more into her Alpha form.

In his moment of desperation, Stiles let the flashlight fall from his hand, which fell down shining straight onto a nearby tree. He reached into his right side pocket, pulling a few vials of wolfsbane. He slid over them with his eyes, his mind racing. He finally spotted the brownish powder inside one of them, as Laura attempted to break the circle with prude force for the third time.

As she bounced off the barrier, landing on her back, same as before, he stepped closer to her quickly, sprinkling a very slight amount of the powder into the air around her. She took a deep breath in, not noticing the powder of wolfsbane and choked, a violent cough seizing her. The red colour seeped away from her eyes, as she slowly let go of her Alpha form, retaining only few Beta features, like her sharp teeth and claws.

“What the hell, Stiles,” she coughed again, spitting into the moss, covering the ground. Stiles glanced back at Peter meanwhile, seeing him crouch close to the mountain ash, eying it visibly annoyed.

“You'll be fine,” Stiles waved his hand, hauling her back to her feet, as she continued to spit onto the ground, trying to get rid of the wolfsbane powder in her mouth and nose. “It's just a mild poison. I had to snap you out of it somehow.”

“What...?” she muttered confused, as she looked around.

“You didn't want to kill Peter. We're here to save him, remember?” he explained, frowning at her. He still didn't fully understand, what happened. His best guess was, that Laura obviously wasn't an experienced enough Alpha and every freaking challenge made her lose her mind. It didn't seem like a good explanation, but nothing else made much sense right now.

“Save me?” Peter repeated, laughing maniacally, as he got up from his crouch, sliding his claws over the barrier, he couldn't cross. The barrier flickered, repelling him without effort and he pulled his hand back, assessing it.

“Yes, I came to make an offer to you,” Stiles stepped in front of the confused Laura, looking at Peter determinedly. Laura obviously wasn't in her best state right now and will not be for the next few minutes, until her system gets rid of the wolfsbane powder, so it's his turn to take the reins.

“You have nothing to offer to me,” Peter said, baring his teeth in a threatening manner. His left arm twitched again, as he growled under his breath. “Unless you're offering the Alpha.”

“No, Peter,” Stiles answered, keeping his voice calm and collected, because it was the only thing, that his opponent could read right now, thanks to the sigil. He also corrected his posture, straightening up high and lifting his chin. Peter's eyes slid from him to Laura, distracted by her weak state. He knew, it would be a great time to attack and kill her now, but he wouldn't be able to get past the barrier, even if her tried, so Stiles wasn't worried.

“If you agree to stand down and leave Laura alone,” he said, moving to block Peter's view of her. “I will give you Kate Argent.”

Peter squinted at him, as if trying to refocus his attention, but having difficulties with it somehow. So Stiles just continued quickly, moving his hand closer to the barrier and sliding his fingers over it, just as Peter did before, to make it flash briefly. It seemed to work. The werewolf's glowing blue calculative eyes slid onto his face immediately.

“That's what you want, isn't it?” Stiles said, his tone tantalizing. “You want the Alpha power to get revenge. I will give you your revenge. You don't need the power. I will give you the names and locations of all, who conspired to kill your pack. I will give you the two guys, who placed the mountain ash around the house. And I will give you the huntress Kate Argent, who lit the Hale house on fire. And you can kill them however you please.”

Peter shuddered at that, his extended fingers trembling, as if caught in some violent spasm. Stiles tried to ignore it, concentrating on the werewolf's face instead. He could see different emotions flickering over it so fast, it made him unable to read them. Peter shook his head then, his eyes uncertain.

“I have to...kill the Alpha,” he objected, moving around a bit to get her into view.

Stiles blocked it, side-stepping too, trying to reason with the madman. “You don't need to kill this girl. It's just your niece Laura, remember? She really likes the pancakes you used to make her on sundays.”

“I have to kill the Alpha,” Peter repeated like a broken record, circling the mountain ash barrier way too fast for Stiles to follow. He caught a sight of Laura, his eyes flashing fiercely. “I have to tear the Alpha into pieces and scatter them...”

“And then what...?!” exclaimed Stiles, getting frustrated. “You will be the Alpha, yes, for a brief moment, before we kill you. And we will kill you! And I will make sure you won't ever succeed at getting resurrected.”

The werewolf's eyes flickered briefly to him, squinting in confusion.

“Oh yes,” he continued mercilessly, jumping in front of him, before he could zero in on the coughing Laura again. “I know all about your secret plans to survive. And you are a true survivor, aren't you, Peter? So, you better listen to me now. I wouldn't want to have to put you down like a rabid dog.”

Stiles could see just talking wasn't gonna do much in this situation. Peter obviously wasn't in his right mind to be intimidated by threatening words only. So he took out his wolfbane-stained knife, flicking it open and closed his eyes, concentrating on waking up his Spark for a little show. The best thing about showing off his magic was it didn't actually burn any of it.

He took a deep breath in, feeling his hair stand up on his arms, as the Spark woke up, stirring in his chest. The air was immediately filled with crisp electricity. He opened his eyes then, seeing their glow extending into Peter's direction, who stepped back a little, baring his teeth.

“Stiles,” Laura wheezed a little. The wolfsbane should be out of her system by now, Stiles knew, he didn't use that much of the poisonous powder. She kept coughing only, because it woke up her gag reflex.

“Stiles,” she repeated, handing him something. “Try this.”

He didn't even turn around, watching Peter glaring at him in disgust, as he reached back, taking something like a thin metal noodle from her hand. He brought it to his eyes and saw a golden chain with two rings on it.

“It's Peter's anchor,” she said from behind him, her breath slowly returning to her along with her senses. “I took it from the deposit earlier today. It's his and aunts...”

“Wedding bands,” Stiles finished for her. His Spark still weaving lazily through his body, waiting for some purpose. He knew, he wouldn't be able to keep it up too long without consequences, so he jingled the chain instantly.

“Peter, come on,” he said, stepping as close to the mountain ash line as possible, holding the wedding bands in front of him. “You would never hurt your own pack, right? Remember?”

The said werewolf jerked away from him, his wide eyes, sliding down the chain to the two golden rings, moving slightly. Stiles could somehow see all this, thanks to the ray of light from the fallen flashlight nearby. He could also see Peter's arms trembling, as a tiny whine rose from his chest.

“I have to...,” he started, his head twitching to one side. Then he growled in frustration, his eyes flashing on and off like a dying bulb. Something wasn't right. Stiles frowned, oddly reminded of his nightmare.

“This is not Peter,” Laura said, growling back at the said man, as she laid a hand on Stiles' shoulder, pulling him back as much as the circle allowed. “Stiles, this is not him, he's not like this, he would never,...”

“There is something fishy about it, alright,” Stiles agreed, scanning Peter suspiciously. He was acting very weird, indeed. All that compulsive twitching, all that thoughtless repeating...

“I still smell wolfsbane,” Laura added, breathing in, while clenching his shoulder.

“Yeah, I already said sorry,” Stiles cringed. “I had to snap you out-”

“No, you don't get it,” she countered, interrupting him with a slight shake, as she pointed to Peter, who kept pacing in front of the protective circle like a wild wolf in a cage. “I can smell some strong wolfsbane on Peter. That's why I freaked out earlier, when I stepped closer to him. I caught a whiff of it and it... it did something... I can't explain it, I couldn't think right, until you bombed me with that powder. Don't do that again, by the way. Ever. Was not nice. Not at all.”

“Wolfsbane...?” Stiles froze, his brain slowly connecting the dots. In the flashback, Peter did mention suspecting poisoning, but Stiles didn't take him seriously at that time. Plus all that crazy behavior, all that twitching... could he really be poisoned? Who could have done it? The nurse Jennifer? Someone else?

“Oh my God, look!” Laura exclaimed, manhandling him to make a few steps to the left. Peter followed, mirroring their position by some reflex and so was forced to step into the ray of Stiles' flashlight, which was still lying on the ground. Stiles squinted, following the line of Laura's pointing finger, which led his eyes to the line of Peter's arm.

He didn't notice this before, because he was too busy staring at the said man's glowing eyes, plus he was never so good positioned, with the light bathing his pale skin in whitish glow – but there were purple veins, twisting all over his arm, stretching all the way up to his sleeve and disappearing under the fabric. He could see them peaking from under his collar, going up the side of his neck to his face. He thought the violet strings were just a part of the burns before, but now he knew, he was wrong in that assumption. It was wolfsbane. Wolfsbane, someone must have injected into his blood. And the purple colour could only mean one thing – a slow delirious poison.

“See?” Laura asked, rattling him a bit. “What do we do? I can't get too close to him, it will affect me too, if I do. We can't wait here, it could kill him anytime.”

“It won't kill him. At least not fast,” Stiles added, studying the colour, while Peter moved his head like a cobra being charmed with music. “It's uh...I think, it's the one you guys use to spike alcohol. But much more concentrated and a bigger doze too probably.”

“So that's why-” Laura started, hope filling her voice instantly. She was still hoping, Stiles wasn't right, after all. But he shook his head, interrupting her, before she could finish. “I don't know, okay? Let's not jump to conclusions just yet. But... I could try curing him and then... then we'll see.”

He didn't wait for her answer, pulling his backpack down from his shoulders, rummaging through it, the knife landing on the ground next to him. Not even Peter scratching over the barrier with his sharp claws could distract him right now. He reached into the inside pocket of his backpack, pulling out the vial full of Burning Needle's dry leaves, thanking to all that's magical for the coincidence of grabbing it from Deaton's vitrine.

“What are you doing?” Laura asked, peaking over his shoulder.

“Saving your uncle apparently,” he muttered, taking out his pen and drawing a flower on the back of his right hand, right under the strengthening charm. He counted the petals under his breath, as he drew them, stopping when he hit the number five.

“Find that purple wolfsbane,” he commanded, handing his backpack to Laura. “I'm sure, it's in one of those vials. This might take few secs.”

He sat down, crossing his feet under him to not feel the cold ground and pulled the right hand in front of him. “Right,” he mumbled, breathing in and out few times. He wasn't looking forward to the consequences of the ritual. He was fainting way too often lately, but there wasn't any other way out of this situation, so he might as well risk it, hoping Laura would take care of him.

He glanced fleetingly at Peter and saw him staring at him, squinting suspiciously at the marks on his arm. Then he stepped a bit further away from them, watching them silently from the shadows. Stiles had to be fast to not scare him away, Peter might be delusional right now, but he was not stupid. He might retreat and then they'll never cure him.

“Here we go,” he said, gritting his teeth, as he felt his Spark twist in his chest, changing it's direction and heading for the flower drawn on the back of his hand. He sprinkled the dry leaves over it, just as the magic reached the strengthening charm, pushing it over the signs as fast as he mentally could. It seeped through the blue lines, making them glow dimly with a pinkish shade in the forest's darkness and then, as it flooded the flower, the dry leaves got sucked into the glow, disappearing from the sight.

Stiles jumped to his feet, snatching the purple vial from Laura's hand and darted to the right as fast as he could. He crossed the mountain ash barrier before his female companion even realized, what he was doing and leaped into the woods, her distressed voice and a ferocious howl following close behind.

 

~o~

 

As he ran a few yards through the darkness, he realized, this probably wasn't one of his brightest ideas. The moon wasn't really offering much light in the forest, even though the sky was clear like a newly bought plate. He squinted, avoiding a slim tree just by few inches.

Okay, well maybe running out of the protective circle like that, was a bit reckless. But he couldn't see any other option. He had to keep Laura safe, so leaving her behind the mountain ash barrier, in case this didn't work, seemed like a good idea at that very moment.

He caught a slight noise right behind him and turned sharply left. If this was ten years ago, he surely wouldn't have recognized the almost soundless rustling signalizing a leaping werewolf, but luckily, he ran with wolves often enough to know all the possible sounds. He turned around a tree, guiding himself with a hand, sliding it across it's trunk. Just as he did so, he heard a body swish by the tree, growling menacingly, as he ran in the other direction, keeping the ray of light from his flashlight in the view. He heard Laura shout angrily from between the trees, but ignored it.

He gripped the glass vial in his right hand, applying way too much pressure on the fragile container. The glass broke, spilling the purple wolfsbane over his palm, mixing with his blood in the process. It wasn't that much blood, he only broke the vial partially, slicing his skin a little. He let the pieces fall down, as he ran, circling Laura's position, keeping her in his peripheral vision.

He was ready, the flower sigil with five petals overflowing with magic, the purple wolfsbane dripping down his hand. He turned around, slamming his back to a tree, just as Peter leaped at him again, his claws stretched out in an attack.

Stiles flailed, leaping to the side, just at Peter's claws slashed over the tree truck, splinters flying over Stiles's head.

He attempted to grab Peter's right arm then, right at the the point, where the purple veins seemed to have their source. Or at least more or less there, since he couldn't see that much. He only guessed the culprit must have injected the wolfsbane through the same vein, as they usually take blood from. It would spread the fastest.

Stiles almost had it, but it slipped from him, his fingers sliding over the werewolf's skin. Peter hissed, as a few drops of wolfsbane sizzled down his arm and roared in outrage. Stiles didn't wait around to see more. He turned, ready to run again, but something caught his foot and he landed on the ground with his face buried in the moss.

“Stiles!” he heard Laura yell, as he lifted his head quickly, looking at her. The mountain ash circle was only few yards from him. Maybe he could crawl back inside fast or possibly make his own circle from the remaining mountain ash, before Peter could kill him.

But something interrupted his thoughts. Something, his eye caught next to Laura, right where the flashlight was pointing. There was a weird movement in the air. And Stiles froze in shock, the scream catching in his throat, as a dark shadow appeared out of nowhere right next to Laura. The shape took a second to materialize completely, but he knew, what it was, even before it did. The hollow-eyed skeleton, covered in a floaty black robe, turned it's head to him, boring into his skull. It must have been transported into past with him, how could he not consider that option before?!

“Look around!” he yelled, forgetting all about Peter, watching as the dementor-like creature stretched it's clawed arms back a little, slashing quick as a lightning at Laura's vulnerable body. She heard his warning luckily and jumped out of the way, but the mountain ash didn't allow her to avoid the attack all the way. The dementor's claw caught her on the arm and she roared, transforming back into her Alpha form.

Forgetting Peter was a very bad thing, Stiles learned in the next minute, as he felt something heavy land on his calf, the bone cracking instantly. He cried out in pain, but instead of dealing with Peter, he reached his left hand, flicking it in a sweeping motion. The mountain ash around Laura dispersed and she leaped out of it in a second, circling around the creature, obviously looking for some weak point to attack.

“Save Peter!” she yelled over her shoulder, the words barely recognizable through the vicious growls. “I'll take care of this thing!”

“No, run!” Stiles yelled, feeling a clawed hand land on the nape of his neck, pushing him to the ground. There was a growl behind him and Stiles thought... honest to God, he thought, he would die right there and then. But...

“The Alpha,” Peter muttered, looking up from Stiles, catching sight of the scattered mountain ash, which no longer contained his target. He scanned the trees, hovering over Stiles' back, ignoring him completely. “I have to...”

Stiles didn't let him finish, though. He turned a bit to the right, swiping his hand down from in front of him, latching it onto Peter's right arm, which was supporting him on the ground, few inches from Stiles' shoulder. He squeezed the flesh, pushing his magic through and Peter yelped at the first contact, trying to snatch his arm away.

He only managed to roll off Stiles, collapsing on his back, as Stiles pushed his whole arm to the ground, surging his magic into the access wound. The purple poisonous liquid evaporated from his palm, turning into a barely visible purple cloud. As it rose in the air, it slowly started to pull the wolfsbane out of Peter's veins too. Magic helping the process.

Peter's whole body convulsed and he roared, his eyes flickering and Stiles wouldn't have been able to hold him down, weren't it for the magic doing it for him. He heard a grunt not far away from him and looked up, seeing Laura's body slide down a tree trunk.

“Laura!” he yelled distracted, the flow of his magic slowing down. The dementor approached her lifeless body slowly, as if having all the time in the world and Stiles was starting to panic. “Laura!!”

Just as the creature reached her and Stiles was ready to stop the cleansing ritual and leap to Laura's rescue, she snapped, jumping at it, catching it's wrist between her mighty jaws, tearing it off. Except she didn't, not really. She landed on the ground behind the creature with air between her jaws. She roared, turning around immediately.

Stiles turned back to Peter, looking at him writhing on the ground, his Spark pulsing erratically through the werewolf's body. Then he glanced up at Laura avoiding the creature's claws just by an inch again. There is no way Laura can defeat the dementor, his whole pack couldn't. But maybe...Stiles' eyes slid back to Peter...if he healed him, quickly enough...

He then came to the decision, locking his fingers harder around the werewolf's arm and forcing all his magic down through the strengthening charm. He could feel the lines of the charm burning off, sign by sign, his skin sending painful stabs up his arm. The glow intensified, his heart beating rapidly, as the magic began to pull the wolfsbane out of Peter's blood faster than before.

He could see the purple veins descending down Peter's face, disappearing under the collar of his loose shirt. Then he felt the dizziness hit him full force, but he just grunted, pushing harder. His arm trembled, caught in a spasm and he closed his eyes to not get more sick of the seemingly moving ground.

But he could still hear Peter howling in agony. He could feel him unsuccessfully trying to wrench his arm from his hold. He could smell the purple vapors of wolfsbane being emitted out of the werewolf's body. And his arm burned and shook, as he sobbed, clenching his eyelids together.

And then, out of nowhere, it all stopped. Stiles' muscles gave in, letting him fall onto the ground with a pained whine, breathing heavily into the moss. He coughed few times, as if choking on something, but there was nothing obscuring his breathing. He opened his eyes, unable to move, as the wave on exhaustion swept over his body.

And there was Peter lying next to him in his human form. No burns on his face whatsoever, no purple veins anywhere, his head turned in his direction, staring him in the eyes. Stiles squeezed his arm, since he was still holding onto it with all his remaining strength.

“Help her,” he wheezed, his voice rough for some reason. Peter frowned at him, looking confused, his arm twitched a bit under Stiles', but else he didn't move.

“Peter,” Stiles breathed, shaking his arm a bit, as if to get his attention, which he already had, so it was a quite pointless gesture. His breath came out aborted. “Please, help her.”

Peter's frown deepened, as he pushed himself off the ground, looking around still confused about the whole situation. Stiles could see him, as he caught the sight of the fight, going on somewhere behind them. His eyes scanned the situation widening.

“Laura...?” he breathed, his face a mixture of shock and disbelief.

Stiles turned around, too weak to stand up and his heart almost stopped at what he saw. The light of the dropped torchlight was streaming over Laura's twitching human body, which was hanging in the air. Her feet were dangling uselessly, as she watched them, a smile carved into her lips. The creature was holding her up with it's claws stuck in her abdomen, around which she curled her hands, as if trying to push the claws out of her body. It was all in vain. Blood dripped down into the moss.

“No, no,” Stiles whispered, watching the creature rip Laura apart right in front of them. “This was not supposed to happen. No...”

Laura's upper body landed on the ground with a disgusting smash, her eyes flickering, as the red seeped out of them, leaving only dark green irises staring at them, her lips frozen in a half smile.

Stiles choked on a sob, hearing Peter's whine behind him transform into an agonized howl. The dementor looked up at them, his hollow eyes meeting Stiles' once again. There was nothing in them. No feelings, no remorse whatsoever. It kept hovering there for a second, it's claws still holding Laura's lower part in the air, as if taunting them.

And Peter didn't even hesitate, leaping over Stiles, transforming into his Beta form, before he even landed. He pushed his bare soles off the ground, running at top speed, his claws aimed at the creature's head. But the dementor just flickered in the air, Peter's sharp claws passing through it, as if it was made out of pure air.

It materialized few yards further to the right, staring at Peter now, scanning him thoroughly. It moved jerkily to him, as if to attack, but then pulled back, not even noticing Laura's lower body still hanging on it's talons.

“Peter! Peter, don't!” Stiles yelled, trying to push himself to his feet, but his yell was swallowed by Peter's ferocious roar, as he leaped into the darkness after the dementor.

Stiles lost them from his sight then, but tried to follow, moving his right leg under him to stand up. He only then realized his leg was broken, due to his fight with Peter. His body was too busy operating the Spark to let him feel the pain, but it now returner in full force. He blanched, crying out and grabbed his calf, grimacing.

His right arm also hurt, the skin red, the strengthening charm burned off. He only managed to crawl few yards into the darkness, before he gave up, rolling onto his side, curling up into the fetus position, the dizziness from the overdone magic use overwhelming him.

There is no way he could catch up to Peter in this state. There is no way he could move anywhere right now. Not even back to his backpack. That's where the body was, wasn't it? One part of it anyways. Stiles heaved, choking on his sobs then. He was so tired, so exhausted, as the adrenaline levels fell down to minimum and a lethargy fell over his mind.

He fucked up and Laura died because of him. And Peter might be dead too by now. They died and he could not save them. He killed them, bringing the creature with him into the past. He killed them. And with that thought, the darkness seized his exhausted body, creeping into the forest too, as the flashlight flickered few times, turning off completely.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

"Stiles!" someone shook his shoulder, making his head move from side to side on some uncomfortable surface. There was definitely something jabbing into his cheek, as his head fell to the right. He hated that something from all his heart in an instant.

"Stiles!" repeated this persistent voice, shaking him even harder. He groaned, because waking up completely, brought up the horrible pain in his left leg. He tried to move it a bit, his brain trying to assess the situation. Feeling the pain increase, he moaned and opened his eyes, squinting into the sunlight.

There was a blurry shape hanging over him. And as he focused on the shape, he noticed, it actualy resebled his mate very much. He blinked few times, squeezing tears from his eyes, which were obsuring his view and making it all bleaky.

"Derek...?" he frowned, trying to get up, but was immediately pushed back down by his mate, who just shook his head.

"Stay lying," he shushed him right away. Stiles just opened his mouth, confused. There was some fight, wasn't there? Did he got hurt? Well obviously, he thought, rolling his eyes. Except, he didn't roll his eyes on his own accord, it happened on itself and he fainted for a second again, until Derek brought him back to his senses, slapping him across his face.

"Did you just slap me?!" Stiles yelped in disbelief, bringing his palm to his right cheek, totally awake at last. He noticed his leg didn't hurt anymore and let a long breath out, relieved. It must have been just some weirdo hallucination then.

Derek didn't answer, just glanced behind, motioning something with his hand. Stiles was too confused and frustrated to care, to be honest.

"Seriously, Derek? Is this, how you treat your fiance?" he pouted, bringing the attention of his mate back to him.

“Not now, Stiles,” Derek chastised him like some small child and turned around again, growling under his breath. It made Stiles realize, there were some rather disturbing sounds around them.

He lifted his head, overwhelmed by the weird dizziness seizing his vision. The trees danced around the ground for a while, until he steadied himself. He could see the whole scene over Derek's tense shoulder. A feral Omega werewolf howling in pain, scratching at his eyes and his pack circling him in safe distance, growling back threateningly. And then he remembered, what happened, his eyes sliding down to his left leg, where Derek's hand lied gently.

“Awwh, fuuuck,” he groaned, letting his head fall down again.

“Shhh, it's nothing,” Derek whispered under his breath, as if trying to reassure himself too. He slid his free hand over Stiles' forehead, stroking his slick hair away from his eyes.

“Der, dontcha freaking tell me, it's nothing,” Stiles swatted his hand away, closing his eyes. “I could see that freaking bone sticking out of my flesh quite good for myself, thank you very much!”

Now he knew, why he didn't feel any pain anymore. Derek was obviously leaking it all away through his touch. When he concentrated on it completely, he could feel the tingling, the pain-sucking left behind. It was, as if there was an army of tiny ants marching up his leg. Not comfortable at all, but at least nothing hurt.

"Lydia!” Derek yelled, ignoring Stiles' outburst. “You got it?”

There was a loud thud from beside them and Stiles' backpack landed right next to his arm. He opened his eyes seeing the strawberry Goddess appear in his line of sight. Her hair a bit more disheveled, than usually, but still beautiful.

“Yes,” she wheezed, not even looking at them, as she wrenched the backpack open, rummaging through it quickly. Stiles zoned out for few seconds, his eyes closing again. He just really wanted to go back to sleep, even if the ground was as comfortable as a seat on an packed airplane.

“No, no, Stiles!” he heard Derek again, his cheeks being squeezed by a large hand. He just grumbled, but didn't open his eyes at all.

“Come on, lover, no sleeping yet,” his mate commanded, pinching his cheeks in a really painful way and Stiles' eyes flew open, just so he could throw a super annoyed frown at his fiance.

“Dereeek,” Stiles whined, lifting his head a bit, just to make sure his injury wasn't just some kind of a bad dream. Nope, it wasn't. There was his leg, his jeans torn off from knee down and an ugly gaping wound staring back at him, leaking blood around the splintered bone, which was sticking out rather awkwardly. Stiles almost fainted again, at the sight of it, but Derek pushed his head back down, leaving one hand on his forehead.

“Calm down, now,” he said, his words measured. “I need you to concentrate.”

Stiles could feel his heart thudding erratically in his chest, his breath disappearing somewhere halfway to his lungs. Horrible gaping wounds were not really his forte, especially if it were his horrible gaping wounds.

“I can't..,” Stiles sobbed, out of his breath, his eyes wandering over the tree branches hanging over them.

“Yes, you can,” Derek responded calmly, taking something from Lydia's hands and pressing it along Stiles's leg. It were probably birch twigs from his backpack, which should help him with the healing ritual, but Stiles wasn't really in a right state of mind for any magical performances.

“Take care of the sigil, I'll give him the blood,” his mate muttered, a flurry of movements filling Stiles' peripheral vision. Before he could realize, what was happening, there was some liquid dripping onto his closed lips.

He looked up, seeing Derek's hand, blood trickling down his fingers from a self-inflicted cut on the palm.

“Ew, Derek,” Stiles scrunched his face, turning it away from the dripping blood. It landed on his cheek instead and he could feel it sliding down to his lips anyways. “I have some vials with your blood in my backpack. I told you not to do it like this, it's-”

“Well don't waste it, then,” Derek interrupted, smearing the blood down his cheek and over his lips. Stiles opened his mouth on reflex, sliding the tip of his tongue over his upper lip, tasting iron.

“Can't you just kiss me instead,” Stiles complained, looking up at his mate, who just shook his head, glancing behind them once again. The ruckus in the back seemed to have calmed down in the meantime. They probably pacified the intruder, then.

“The sigil is ready,” Lydia informed somewhere from his side. Stiles didn't even feel her drawing it onto his skin. The werewolf pain-sucking thingy must have dulled all the senses in his leg thoroughly.

“Will his tattoo withstand it?” the strawberry blonde continued, her voice full of concern. He could feel her eyes on him, but didn't react, staring up at the blue sky, which was turning around in an alarming speed.

“I think so,” Derek said, pushing up Stiles' sleeves, as if to make sure the tattoo was still there. “It's not as balanced yet, but he did this ritual with less, right?”

“Yeah,” Lydia agreed, he voice coming from quite a distance for Stiles, because he wasn't focusing at them at all. He was actually busy being dizzy from the blood loss.

“Alright, I need somebody to correct the bone first, while I leak the pain,” said Derek and Stiles' eyes snapped back into coherency. He flailed, grabbing Derek's arm, his eyes wild with panic.

“No no, nobody touches that,” he breathed, trying to get up, which was a quite unsuccessful attempt, considering his mate still had a hand on his forehead. He gave up after few tries and sighed. “Hospital. Mellisa can-”

“No, you're loosing too much blood already,” Derek countered, his voice a combination of severity and worry.

“But Derek-”

“I said no!” he interrupted. “We are gonna do it now. Unless you wanna bail on me already?”

Stiles could feel Derek's fingers tightening over his forehead, his lips a thin line of worry. The pressure on his head calmed him down a little, so he sighed, his eyes trailing over his mate's features for a second.

“Okay,” he nodded at last, trying to relax his body. His mate's hand slid over his forehead comfortingly, stroking his cheek few times in a gentle manner.

“It will hurt a bit, since I won't be able to leak the new pain right away,” said Derek informatively, his palm wandering down Stiles' neck and reaching behind, his fingers tracing the nape of his neck.

“Let's just get this over with,” Stiles muttered, trying to think of something else, than the act of pushing the bone back inside his flesh, so he could try to regrow it back together. It sounded quite dreadful to him in any case.

There was some shuffling around him, voices squabbling about this and that, which he payed no attention to. He just brought his hand up to Derek's wrist, circling his long fingers around it.

“Jeez, out of the way!” snapped a determined voice, obviously annoyed with all the bickering. “I'll do it!”

Stiles looked up at Jackson, seeing him kneel down and putting his palms on his leg. Or at least he assumed that's, where he put them, considering he couldn't feel his leg at all.

Of course that changed in a moment, Jackson pushed down on it, trying to bring the two pieces back together. He probably did it few times with the wolves before already, because he didn't even blink, pushing it inside the flesh. That act only sent spiking pain up into Stiles' spine and he sobbed, not even trying to stifle it.

But Stiles could see the black veins appearing on Derek's hand, as he leaked away the pain with his both hands. One on his knee, the other on the nape of his neck. Except new pains kept jumping out of the injury every time Jackson pushed at it. It was quite maddening and Stiles had a feeling it took ages to correct his leg to Jackson's satisfaction. He felt sweat rolling down his face, as he clenched Derek's wrist, groaning in pain. He might have even passed out for a second again.

“Okay, done, Stiles? Stiles!” His head was suddenly wrenched down a bit, green eyes staring into his own. “You need to concentrate and use your Spark, okay? We got the sigil in place and you got the blood, now be a good boy and concentrate.”

Stiles tried, he honest to God did, but everything was becoming a bit too blurry for his liking and then there was that horrible nausea making him just wanna slide back into the blissful unconsciousness and sleep for three days. He groaned, closing his eyes, but nothing happened.

“Anytime now, Stiles,” said his mate's voice from somewhere above with a slightly annoyed undercurrent. Stiles didn't appreciate the tone right now. Not at all.

“I'm trying,” he muttered, breathing in and out few times, searching for his magic, but it was way too hard to concentrate now.

“Stiles, come on,” gritted the threatening voice. And okay, Stiles definitely didn't appreciate this neither. Not the tone, nor the threatening manner, nor the hand grabbing his jaw to make him do his bidding.

“Fuck you, Sourwolf. You think this is so easy?” he whined, whacking his mate's hand away from his jaw. His leg twitched uncontrollably and he could feel the pain shooting up his spine once again, stronger than before, because he knocked Derek's pain-sucking palm away. “Why dontcha just do it yourself then?!”

“Stop being such a baby,” Jackson's voice countered, pushing onto his leg in annoyance. Well that didn't make it any better. It just made him more angry.

“Go to hell, Jackson!” he wailed, kicking his side with his healthy leg. He would have done it again, not caring, what the movement did to his injury, but then there were hands on his face, guiding him to look slightly to the left in Derek's direction.

“Shh, Stiles... I know it hurts and you're dizzy and annoyed. But please, please try again, okay?” his mate whispered, begging, as he slid his thumbs over his cheeks. “You have to do this yourself, you promised you would heal yourself, if something happened. No bite, remember? Under no circumstances... I am following my part of the deal, follow yours too.”

Stiles could feel his heart clench painfully in his chest, as he stared at Derek's expression, suddenly full of worry and grief. He must have been hiding it under that calm facade up until now and Stiles felt even worse for not recognizing it right away. Granted he was busy ignoring the gaping wound on his leg, but that was no excuse.

He just nodded wordlessly, watching Derek's lips lift a little in a gentle smile. It was the last thing he saw, before his flashback slid into a nightmare once again.

 

~o~

 

Stiles woke up in the dark woods, sprawled on the cold ground, a child's laughter echoing around him. He was a bit disoriented at first, not sure if this was a dream or reality. So he tried to move his legs slightly, checking for any injuries, but no pain came. He looked at them and didn't see any gaping wounds, which was a plus indeed, in his opinion.

He got up effortlessly then, looking around the clearing. It was the same clearing, where the dementor-like creature attacked his pack, when this whole thing started. And there, right at the edge of the tree line was a little girl in a white dress, her face looking up at him solemnly.

He stared back for a while, not able to process. Then his mouth opened on it's own accord, words coming out of it: “I would never...” he started, not even sure, why he was telling that to this bald little girl. Why was she bold anyways, was she some leukemia patient? Stiles glanced at her dress again, but it didn't resemble a hospital gown at all. It was full of laces and cute little bows.

She turned her head a little in wonder and squinted, assessing him from head to toes. The echoes of a child's laughter returned, but they didn't originate in the girl's mouth. They just flew around to creep Stiles even more.

He stepped a bit closer to the girl, an ominous feeling filling his chest. The forest didn't seem safe any longer. He reached for the girl, as if to protect her from the unknown danger, but she just stared, not moving. There was something bad roaming these woods. He was even more sure now.

Stiles looked around, trying to peer between the trees, but saw nothing, only darkness. He glanced back at the girl, who regarded him once again, her eyes empty of any feelings, which seemed very wrong for a little girl like that. Then she lifted her hand, pointing wordlessly to her right.

“I would never...” Stiles said again, aborting the sentence in the middle, slightly annoyed. Why was he only limited to these words once again? He surely had a better vocabulary than that.

He followed the girl's pointing finger and found only darkness. Awesome. But wait... he squinted, moving a bit closed to the edge of the clearing. There was something more.

In that moment, the child's laughter disappeared, along with the little girl, who just flickered into nothingness, as if her image was just a TV screen with a bad reception. The laughter was immediately replaced by a ferocious growl and two red eyes staring at him from between the trees.

Stiles felt goose bumps running across his skin, chills creeping into his bones, but even though, he could feel the imminent thread, he didn't move. Or actually, he couldn't, even if he tried. He stood there frozen, as a huge form of a fully transformed feral Alpha stepped out from the woods. He recognized him right away.

“Derek...?” he choked, staring at the twisted wolfish features on his face.

The said werewolf just growled, his muscles tensing, saliva dripping from his half opened toothy jaws. Stiles wanted to step away a bit, just to put more distance between them, but remembered, he couldn't. So he just turned his head a bit lower in submission.

“You did this,” snapped the Alpha, his eyes blazing red with anger.

“No, I would never..,” Stiles started again, his breath catching painfully in his chest.

“You. Did. This.” Derek spit, baring his sharp teeth and growling savagely. He didn't even wait for an answer and jumped at Stiles, who couldn't even blink, not to mention try to deflect or cover away from the attack.

Stiles could feel his mate's jaws locking around his neck, the claws piercing his abdomen, blood spurting everywhere, as he fell to the ground, the furry mass of the feral werewolf landing right on top of him, ripping him to pieces.

 

~o~

 

Stiles woke up with a silent gasp, his fingers clawing at his neck immediately, as if trying to put it back together. But his neck was alright, his fingertips encountered nothing but smooth skin. It didn't calm down his pounding heart anyways.

He looked around, disoriented once again, afraid some feral Alpha will jump at him any time, but the forest seemed silent for now. He lifted his eyes to the sky. It was obviously dawning, because the sky didn't look as dark as it did, when they arrived to the woods.

Stiles shivered from the cold. The ground wasn't such a warm place, especially not overnight. His forearm itched, as if he burned it and his broken calf hummed with pain, swollen dreadfully, but he was alive. Probably thanks to his Spark - that flashback about healing must have woken it up unconsciously, even though it was nearly drained. It must have been the only thing keeping him alive over the hours.

He sat up slowly, fighting the dizziness once again. It steadied after a few minutes and he could assess his surroundings a bit better then.

There was a tree nearby, so he dragged himself to it slowly, careful not to irritate his leg too much. He grabbed it for support then, pulling himself up a bit. His breath came out labored already and he didn't even stand up properly yet. He only leaned onto the tree, supported by his healthy leg. It hurt, it hurt like hell, but he went through worse. This wasn't even an opened wound, he could manage this somehow. Except he was all alone this time. Or wasn't he?

There was a noise from ahead of him. A sad whine of a hurt animal. Stiles frowned, pushing himself a bit further along the tree, glancing from behind it. He gasped then, but not because he moved his broken leg and the pain exploded like a woken up volcano, no – it was because of what he got to see in front of him at that moment.

Few yards away from him, lying in the moist moss, was the body of Laura Hale. Or well, what was left of it, at least - the upper part with her head turned into Stiles' direction, the wide green eyes and the slight smile on her lips. Her naked back was covered with tiny leaves, which must have fallen down on her overnight and died blood. He didn't dare to travel lower her body, afraid of seeing all her internal organs spilled over the ground.

And then there was a man kneeling over her, his eyes shining red, tears sliding down his cheeks. Stiles could hear the sobs wrenching out of him, his shoulders heaving with every breath. He slid his fingers over her back, stroking it comfortingly and wailed even harder, when she didn't react. He stroked her hair then, as if soothing her into sleep. He pushed it away from her eyes and her forehead, crying relentlessly.

Stiles gripped the tree trunk tighter, his Adam's Apple bobbing, when he swallowed hard, his heart ready to jump from his chest. No, this can't be...this has to be a nightmare...

“Derek...,” he breathed out, his lips forming the letters, but no sound escaped him. He was afraid to disturb the moment.

The man lifted his head quickly then, face drained in tears and scanned the surroundings, sniffing the air. His eyes landed on Stiles almost immediately.

Before Stiles could even open his mouth to actually say something this time, Derek was on him, transformed in his Beta form, knocking him down on the ground. He hit it quite painfully, his broken leg under the werewolf's weight. He choked out a painful cry, gripping at his neck once again, as Derek's clawed hands pushed against it.

“You thought I wouldn't notice you through that magical concealment?” he spat into his face, pushing onto his neck a bit harder. “You reek of her, you fool!”

Stiles fought to catch his breath properly, but didn't succeed at all. Not only was it knocked out of him in the fall, but Derek kept pushing against his throat, claws ready to tear it out of him. Suddenly the threat of ripping his throat out with his own teeth didn't sound as funny as it once did.

He grimaced, trying to pull the werewolf's hands off his neck, but it was all in vain. He was hurt and human. There was no chance, he would be able to overpower anybody right now.

“Please,” he breathed out, barely able to formulate the words. This was horrible, this was the worst. He wished it to be a nightmare. He wished to just wake up. He wanted his husband back, he wanted his pack and he wanted to go back home. But apparently his wish could not be granted right now. Nor any time soon.

“What happened here!?” Derek growled, the Alpha voice sending shivers down Stiles' spine. Or maybe the fall just damaged it. Maybe he's just a cripple now. He definitely felt like one.

“What. Happened. To her?!” snarled the werewolf, shaking him viciously, as if the answer would just fall out of him.

“I... can't...,” Stiles whined, gesturing at his neck, trying to tear Derek's hands off him. He finally succeeded, because the werewolf let go of his neck, making the breathing much easier for him. He seized his head instead and pushed it to one side, uncovering Stiles' neck totally. Stiles didn't feel very comfortable with that, although it was such a familiar gesture.

“Talk!”

“I...uh,” Stiles started, trying to find the best way to explain the whole situation. It was way more complicated, that he would like it to be. Plus he was under loads of pressure right now. Even literally, with the werewolf pushing him down with his weight.

What was he supposed to say anyways? How was he supposed to explain all this? He felt so guilty, he was ready to confess, he killed Laura himself. It was true, though, wasn't it? It was his fault Laura got killed by the creature. He brought it with him to the past, he was responsible for it all either way. It was his fault Derek was in so much pain right now.

“I...,” he started again, sobbing. “I'm sorry. I tried...I tried to save her. I really...”

“Liar!” Derek cut him off, pressing his head deeper into the dirt. Stiles could feel his breath on his neck, sending unpleasant chills down his spine.

“Maybe you'll be more willing to tell me everything,” the werewolf started slowly, saliva dripping down on Stiles' neck, “if I favor you with a bite.”

It was, as if time stopped right there and then. But Derek didn't notice any change and kept talking: “You'll be my Beta then...”, but it was all just white noise to Stiles. How could he have said that? This was not his husband. He had to stop thinking it was, this was an Alpha, who he just met. An Alpha, who was ready to change him without consent.

“Get the fuck off me!” he gritted his teeth suddenly, using his left hand to push Derek's face away from him. He didn't succeed per se, but at least he got something between him and the teeth.

“I said, get off me!” he spat, flailing angrily. “What makes you think I would ever accept something like that from you, when I didn't from my own Alpha?”

Derek just stared at him, amusement playing on his face. “It wasn't an offer,” he smirked, wrenching Stiles' hand from his face and gripping his wrist, bringing it close to his mouth. There was no escaping him. The werewolf was obviously stronger than him. His only weapon left were words, so he decided to use them as best he could.

“And you call yourself a Hale?” Stiles whispered, anger filling his body. He could feel it shaking through him. Or maybe it was fear. “Your mom would never force anybody to take the Bite.”

Derek froze, the red light in his eyes flickering slightly and then disappearing, as he frowned. His hold on Stiles weakened, letting go of his left hand. But before he could react to what's been said, another voice joined them.

“Derek!”

They both turned their heads to the right. Peter Hale was slowly approaching them through the woods, his hair even more disheveled than before, his feet dirty from dry mud, but he looked well enough, considering.

“Uncle Peter?” Derek breathed, staring at him in disbelief. “You're awake!” And at the same time Stiles whispered in wonder: “You're alive.” Nobody payed attention to his silent outburst though.

Derek got up, leaving Stiles on the ground, as if he didn't even care about him. Well logically, not that he could go anywhere or escape, right, his freaking leg was broken and his whole body still ached from the impact.

The werewolf strode quickly to Peter, laughter emitting from his lungs. They met in an embrace, Peter pulling him close, while Derek slid his hand over his uncle's head, through his hair, onto the nape of his neck, scenting the only remaining member of his pack.

As touching as that was, Stiles had other priorities in his mind right now, than watching them reminiscent. Right now, he was far more concerned about his own safety. And he unfortunately had no weapons, nor any backup and his leg was broken. Yes, he will repeat it over and over, because it frustrated him so much. There seemed to be no escape from this situation.

He glanced at the pair of werewolves, sliding his fingers into his right pocket and sighed in relief. There was still some mountain ash left there, even though it was just a tiny bit. He made a circle with less, after all.

He flicked his fingers, sending the black substance out, letting it circle the ground, on which he was sprawled. It wouldn't have been enough for a full blown protection circle, but he willed it to be. That was the beauty of magic.

As it set down, sliding into place and creating an impenetrable barrier, both werewolves turned to him, feeling the magic settle. Derek frowned, letting go of his uncle and stepped closer to Stiles once again, who pushed himself into a sitting position.

“This is a private property of my pack, how dare you come here?” Derek barked, showing off his sharp teeth. They didn't seem so impressive behind the protective barrier anymore.

Stiles just rolled his eyes, feeling his fear subsiding considerably. “No shit. I came here with Laura, you know.”

It seemed like Derek was about to say something else too, maybe spit more idle threats or similar word constellations, but Peter stepped up to him, putting his hand on the werewolf's arm.

“You must be Stiles,” he greeted, eying him curiously.

“Some things don't change, do they?” Stiles commented, his tone amused. He straightened up a bit, looking back at the two men. “Now, let's not beat around the bush, shall we? You must excuse my rudeness, I will stay sitting inside this mountain ash circle for the time being. You surely understand. Also, I seem to have encountered a feral, so, myea, no standing possible anyways, sadly. It could have been a helluva better introduction, if this puppy wasn't broken right now.”

He stopped talking for a second, waiting for some smart input, but none came, so he continued, stroking his right knee, as if trying to soothe the pain. It was quite a distraction. “Anyhow,” he said. “Ten years from now, my pack, which you two are part of too, by the way...well, we encountered a creature, that didn't seem to respond to any combat techniques. So we tried to banish it with some magic. Unfortunately, the ritual backfired and I was sent back in time, into this body. As it is, the creature got here with me and...uh, well... killed... your current Alpha.”

“So basically, it's your fault, that Laura died, just as I suspected,” Derek grumbled, his voice full of disgust. He turned away, as if he wasn't even able to look at Stiles anymore, his eyes searching out Laura's cold body.

Stiles' lips thinned and he slid his finger over his mate ring nervously. Well this wasn't a really good beginning of their relationship. Actually the original one was far better. It made his stomach twist unpleasantly. Maybe he shouldn't have tried to change anything.

“We should just kill him and be done with it,” Derek mumbled, locking his arms in front of him, still not looking at them.

“I disagree,” Stiles countered right away, lifting his left hand, like some preschooler in class.

“I agree to disagree,” Peter joined, brushing his fingers through his hair, smoothing it down a bit. Derek turned to him suddenly, a betrayed look on his face.

“Don't listen to that child,” he started, frustration seeping into his voice. “He killed Laura.”

“Actually,” Stiles jumped in, lifting his voice a little, so he could interrupt the werewolf efficiently. “I am older than you. I just... woke up in this younger body, so...”

Nobody was listening to him, though. Peter just shook his head, looking back at Derek, whose eyes kept flickering red every once in a while.

“He didn't kill her,” Peter responded calmly. “I saw that...creature, as he calls it. It tore Laura apart. I tried to track it, as it disappeared with her other half, but didn't manage to catch the scent, nor follow it to retrieve the rest of her body.”

“It was his fault!” Derek growled, reaching out his hand and scratching over the surface of the flashing barrier with his sharp claws in frustration. “He admitted to have brought it here!”

“Yes,” his uncle agreed, turning his head to look at Stiles, scanning him calculatingly. “but Laura obviously scented him and he also admitted to be a part of our future pack. And he seems to be mated too. I personally don't think he-”

“Mated?” Derek sneered, waving his clawed hand in Stiles' direction, his face mirroring his revulsion towards him. “Look at him, he doesn't even smell like it. (“Not my body,” Stiles muttered.) He's human, for God's sake. He freaked out, when I offered to bite-”

“Oh yes, what a gracious offer, you fucking asshole!” Stiles picked up a little stone lying nearby and threw it at Derek's knee, who didn't even bother to dodge the little pebble, looking even angrier. But Stiles didn't care, he just continued relentlessly. “A strong Spark is prone to refusing possessions and other forced modifications. You would have most likely killed me! Besides, you got something against humans in a werewolf pack? Peter's mate was a human too and it seemed to have worked quite alright, as far as I know...no offense, Peter.”

“None taken,” the said werewolf shrugged, an amused twitch pulling the corner of his mouth into a slight smile.

Derek just growled infuriated, mumbling something about tearing his throat out with his teeth. Stiles just sighed, still annoyed with his future husband. He wasn't this dumb in his time, was he? Must be the recently gained Alpha status messing with his head.

They were quiet for a few seconds, the only sounds were coming from the rustling leaves. Peter sighed then, saying: “I would strongly advice you to keep him alive. Not only is he the only one, who can help us annihilate the 'creature' to achieve our revenge, but also...I highly doubt any of us would be able to get through the mountain ash. He seems skilled in magic use enough, to be able to let the barrier follow him around, while he changes locations.”

Derek just huffed angrily and turned, stalking away from them, muttering something about more important things to deal with right now. Peter followed him few yards back to Laura's body without a second glance. Stiles watched them silently, seeing Derek pick up the remains and huddle them closely to his own body, holding Laura tenderly. They started to walk away then and Stiles blanched.

“Uh, wait!” he yelped. “What about me?”

Derek didn't even bother answering, walking away silently and disappearing between the trees. Peter turned around, though, shrugging.

“You kinda owe me, man,” Stiles pleaded, hoping, he wouldn't be left alone in the woods with a broken leg.

“The dept has been payed, when I convinced my nephew to not kill you,” he answered, turning his back to him once again and following his Alpha. “I'll find you, when we need you. We're even now,” he added, his voice reaching Stiles from the distance.

“Just keep an eye on him and we will be,” he yelled, knowing Peter probably still heard him, even thought he couldn't see any of them anymore.

 

~o~

 

Stiles sat there for a few little while more, staring between the trees, where his... no it were not his pack members and thinking of them that way will only make him more miserable. They did technically just abandon him here, after all. Stiles sighed, stroking over his forehead, taking three deep steadying breaths. He decided to let his body go on autopilot, not thinking about the situation at all. It seemed like the best idea anyways.

So he glanced around, seeing his backpack lying on the ground not far away from him. He crawled to it, his face scrunching from pain ever so often, when he moved his leg in a bad way. Which included pretty much all the movements, he attempted to make with it. The mountain ash line swiveled around him, following him on it's own accord. He was glad for that at least, because he wasn't sure, he was ready to disperse it just yet.

He finally reached the opened backpack, grabbing it's straps to pull it closer to him. He should take care of his leg first, but there was definitely not enough magic in him right now to heal such an injury, not to mention he lacked all of the needed supplies, so he will have to improvise.

Stiles pulled out the plastic bag containing the poisonous rope saturated in wolfsbane and ruffled around the leaves, until he stumbled upon the pocket knife, he put there the day before. He cut the rope apart then, untwisting in into few thinner long strands.

Methodically he scanned the ground around him thereafter, ignoring the large splodges of blood only few feet to his left. He grabbed a few random branches, that were straight enough to fit to his leg. He put some of them along his calf, tying it tightly together with those loose threads from the thick rope. It seemed to be holding together quite effectively, so hopefully it will give him enough support to at least shuffle around.

He knew from his previous experiences, that this injury wasn't as serious as some of those, he had before. Nothing was sticking, no blood was escaping him, although his calf was swelled rather alarmingly, which meant there were some serious leaks into his tissue spaces. He didn't have any ice with him at the moment to reduce it, so he just decided to ignore it for the sake of returning home. He could raid the freezer, when he got there.

He rummaged through his backpack a little more, pulling out his phone. It was precariously turned off, so he powered it back up, staring at the company logo flash on his black screen once. He sighed in relief noticing nobody was trying to get a hold off him overnight, the sheriff probably too busy at the station.

He glanced at the time then, which showed few minutes to seven, estimating he still had an hour, before his dad would return home. Stiles will have to make sure to be home by then. He called the taxi service right there then, knowing it won't take him more than a half hour to wobble back to the road, which would be kinda around the time the taxi would reach the interception, he'd be heading for. Luckily, he more or less recognized where he was, considering he lived in these woods for ten years.

After the brief call, in which he made sure to contact a different taxi company, than he and Laura used before, he got up tenderly, his hand gripping the nearby tree. He tested, how much of his weight would his leg be willing to support and was vaguely surprised, it could indeed hold his weight without a problem, if one didn't count the horrible pain, that exploded inside it every time he stepped forward.

There was also that very uncomfortable crunchy feeling, when the broken bits of bone rubbed together. It felt like rubbing the broken ends of a piece of sidewalk chalk together. That was okay, though, it was all okay - he kinda deserve it for messing up, anyways.

He shouldered the bag with all his stuff safely inside and set up north without a word, concentrating on putting one leg in front of another. He didn't dare to stop, worried his resolve might falter, so he just walked mindlessly, as the minutes ticked by. The mountain ash slithered around him like a snake, hushing gently in the morning breeze.

He reached the crossing quite quickly considering his state, but it did take him more than a half hour. The green car of a taxi service was patiently waiting by a small birch tree near the forest, it's engine humming peacefully. Stiles dispersed the mountain ash circle and limped to it, stopping by the birch to break off a few branches and opened the passenger door of the taxi, still holding them in his hand.

The driver eyed him suspiciously and Stiles just smiled, gesturing at his leg. “I am done with hiking and camping for the next few years, I swear. Worst idea ever.”

The middle aged man just snorted, gesturing him inside and after the doors were closed, he only asked the directions and didn't comment on anything any further. Stiles counted himself lucky for scoring such a reserved driver. He didn't even argue with him about going to the hospital, for which Stiles planned to leave him a considerably big tip.

As the taxi started, making a U turn on the crossroads and heading back to Beacon Hills, Stiles took out his phone once again and tapped at the screen few times, finding a little white envelope.

But then he stopped, staring at the empty box for the phone number. He did knew Derek's number, right? Come on, he memorized it long ago and it was still the same one. It couldn't be that hard to remember. But there was nothing and he could feel the panic rising in him once again.

He seemed to be able to remember less and less, but the sigil should be holding all his memories intact. Maybe it's just his exhausted Spark. Maybe it just can't access the memories right now. He tried to calm himself, breathing in deeply. Yeah, that must be it, he thought. It's not like he changed the future and the number got erased from his head. Nah, that's definitely not it. He's just too weak right now.

But either way, the information is still there somewhere, so he just needs to find it. So he closed his eyes, forcing the little there was left from his Spark to access the information for him. And there is was. Relief washed over him and he smiled, adding Derek's number into the box. Then he started writing.

 

'Hey derek, bet u still wanna know, wut happened n well since I kno ur numbr from the future, decided to write ya. U probs wouldnt wanna talk me right now anyway. But please read this, at least...if u want...or not, idk.'

 

Stiles looked out of the window, searching for the right words. They didn't seem to come to him and he frowned. He just wanted to drive to the Hale house, confront Derek and explain everything, possibly beg for his forgiveness.

He wanted to tell him, how sorry he is, he wanted to dry his tears from his cheeks, he wanted to help him bury his sister respectfully and stand by his side as an unmoving pillar, as an anchor. Same as his husband did for him, when his father died. But it wasn't possible. Not with how their positions changed. So he decided to be as objective as possible describing the past events.

 

'I got here on friday night n realized it was just the day before ur sister was supposed to be murdered. See, in my timeline, she came back to BH and got killed in the woods by ur uncle Peter. I know is hard to believe, but pls keep reading.'

'Peter woke up from his catatonic state feral, and killed her, is all I knew,, so I thought...maybe I could save her. I met with her and explained the situation to her, but she didnt back down. She insisted on goin to the woods and saving ur uncle.'

'so I went with her, we met peter. I protected her with a mountain ash circle and attempted to cure peter, cuz he was obviously out of his mind and poisoned on top of that.'

'I thought she was safe, but then the creature appeared and attacked her. I disprsed the circle and she ordered me to cure peter, while she fought it... I probably shouldnt have listened to her, but it seemed like our best change to survive, to get peter back, to help us. but...by the time I cured him...'

'you were right, it is my fault, I brought the fucker here and I know sayin sorry wont change anything. but I wanted you to know the truth. so there it is. The truth.'

 

Stiles frowned, re-reading it all few times, not sure if it was satisfactory enough. He glanced up to his right, seeing them enter Beacon Hills once again. They still had a few minutes, before they would reach his street, so he leaned into the passenger seat, thinking of something else to add to his explanation. 'Bye, love you' probably wasn't a good idea.

He sighed, running his fingers over his forehead and up into his hair. He stroked over them for a while, staring at the roof of the taxi, trying to keep himself calm. His autopilot setting was starting to falter, but he punched it back on. His hand slid down his head, returning to the phone and restarted typing, deciding to keep it short.

 

'n thanks btw, for not killing me earlier. I appreciate it.'

'stay safe. u n peter both.'

 

He wanted to type more, but after a few erased sentences, he gave up and just watched the empty line fill itself with a green color, sneaking into it from left to right, as it was delivered. The phone beeped with the accomplished task, just as they arrived in front of his house.

Stiles got out without a word, giving the driver his last money. He didn't even count it, it was obviously more than the drive was worth, but Stiles didn't care. He just smiled, thanked the man and limped to his house. It was exactly eight o'clock, when he reached it. His dad will be here in about five minutes. There was no time to lose.

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles hurried inside his house, fumbling with the keys for an annoyingly long minute. He threw the backpack and his red sneakers in the corner and stumbled into the kitchen. Putting on the water in the sink, he washed the dirt off his face and head, splashing the water along his arms too. The red irritated skin along his forearms tingled slightly, but the cold water calmed it down after a while.

He hobbled to the freezer then, taking out a pack of peas and headed for the couch in the living room. On the way to the couch, he snatched an old hoodie, that was folded over the armchair and pulled it on, covering his injuries effectively.

He eased himself down on it next, pulling his right leg up on the little table in front of the couch, lying the freezing cold bag on it. Grabbing the nearby folded blanket hastily, he pulled it over his legs, hiding not only his swollen calf, but also his dirty jeans with it.

After he made sure, everything compromising was successfully covered and nothing looked out of place, he took the remote, jumping over few channels. He heard the car arrive into the driveway and then the front door opened, sheriff walking inside, exhausted from the long shift.

“Hey kiddo,” he greeted, his voice reaching him from the hallway. “It was a busy night, I'll tell you. First that missing comatose patient, then a car accident and we had to go over to the Jungle again. Anyways,...”

Sheriff walked into the living room. “How's my time-traveling superhero doing?”

Stiles thought, he could handle this conversation with no fuss, but that comment only made his insides turn, reminding him of the past night's events. He grimaced, looking up at his dad.

“I'm no hero, dad,” he muttered, turning his head back to the TV screen, switching through some channels to distract himself from the tears threatening to spill.

“Did something happen?” the sheriff's voice became concerned, as he sat down on the little table in front of the couch to face Stiles. He was also sitting really close to Stiles' covered feet, which unsettled their owner quite a bit.

“Your date didn't go well?” dad guessed, putting his hand around Stiles' foot. He squeezed it lightly to comfort his son.

“No, she's...she's gone, dad,” Stiles gulped, trying to swallow the gunk stuck in his throat.

“Awh, she seemed like a nice girl,” John said, giving him an apologetic smile, but his son just nodded, not even looking at him. His eyes were trained on the TV screen, but he was obviously not watching the fishing documentary running on it.

“Look, I get it, you're upset,” sheriff continued, running his hand over his hair. “But you're still young. There's plenty of fish in the sea, as they say.”

“I know,” Stiles shook his head, straining to put a smile on his face. “I know, dad. I just... I slept really bad and my jeep got messed up yesterday along with the date and...”

“The jeep is fine,” John rolled his eyes, intercepting the emo tirade. “I would still wanna know, how it ended up in the suburbs, though.”

“I honestly dunno,” his son sighed, looking very tired. And he was. Tired of making up new lies to shield his father's eyes. But this was, how it had to be. He didn't dare to change any more of the past. “I left Scott's in the morning to ride to the library, cuz I wanted to borrow some books from the reading list for the next term. Ya know, how hard it is to get to them, after it starts and I don't wanna resolve to buying the kindle versions all over again, so...I swear I locked the jeep...but...I did leave all my stuff on the table and forgotten myself in the biology section for a few hours. I didn't even know... my keys were still on the table, when I finally returned, but I always go to check on my baby from the window down the hallway and...it just, it was gone and I freaked out...”

Stiles looked utterly miserable at that moment and he didn't even have to fake it. He was miserable, even though it was for different reasons. Not that he didn't care for his jeep, mind you, there were just more important things bothering him right now.

“So, somebody took your keys, drove the jeep away, slashed the tires and returned the keys, before you could notice?” sheriff summarized doubtfully. “That seems like a pretty elaborate plan for a simple prank.”

“No, dad, I'm lying,” Stiles muttered, slightly annoyed. He couldn't help it, he was in quite some pain and he always sucked at hiding injuries. “I drove there myself, cuz I am a murdering psycho and I enjoy creeping around weird old empty suburban warehouses. But I got attacked by a horde of werewolves, who slashed my tires, so I couldn't escape. I ran all the way back to the library, because...I don't know. It's a sacred anti-werewolf place...”

“I thought werewolves can't go out, when it's sunny,” his dad frowned, lifting one eyebrow at him.

“That's vampires, dad,” Stiles sighed, rolling his eyes excessively. “Unless it's those lame sparkling suck-vamps, I guess those can go anywhere anytime.”

They both smiled at each other then, sitting there in comfortable silence for a few seconds. Stiles didn't mind, though. It was better than spilling lies and trying to distract his father with uncoordinated babbling.

“Any idea, who could have done that to your jeep?” sheriff sighed after a while, obviously giving up on the interrogation.

“No idea, dad,” Stiles shrugged. “Maybe we could search for fingerprints? Or check the surveillance cameras? Call FBI, CIA... or NASA?”

John just rolled his eyes, shaking his head and his sons attics. But at least, he seemed a bit less like a walking corpse now. “Lawrence is on the case, but I doubt anything will come out of it. There aren't any eye witnesses. Plus, it's just a minor violation and would be written off as a prank by any judge anyways, so I've been advised to let it drop and let the insurance pay for the repairs.”

“But daaad,” Stiles whined. “They mutilated my babieh!”

“Well you obviously weren't cautious enough, leaving your keys around for them to grab like that,” the sheriff commented, getting up from the table to reach over and ruffle Stiles' short hair. “You be more careful and if something like that happens again, you call me right away, okay?”

“Myeah, okay,” Stiles pouted. “As long as you shoot them in the leg next time, I am willing to withdraw the whining.”

John snorted, a smile playing along his lips. “Deal... I'll head straight to bed now, so I'll have enough energy to shoot them all later.”

“Awesooome,” Stiles shouted after his retreating figure, watching him leave the living room and trot up the stairs tiredly. At least he had his dad back, if nothing else.

 

~o~

 

Stiles didn't dare to move for another half hour, listening gingerly to the sounds of the house over the muted TV's commentary. His leg still hurt like hell, but the bag of frozen peas and the elevated position made him feel much better. Although the subsided pain of his calf, got him to realize, he definitely had more injuries all over his body, either from fighting feral Peter or from getting knocked down by Derek. He got bruised up pretty bad and was dreading the moment, he'll get to inspect it all in a mirror.

At the thought of Derek, he pulled out his phone, checking, if he got any text messages. There was really no point in checking it all manually. If there was a new message, he would have heard the ringtone.

So Derek didn't write back, not that he thought he will. Of course he won't, Stiles shook his head, putting the phone away. He chastised himself for being so naively hopeful.

He strained his ears again to listen more carefully, but the whole house seemed silent. His dad was probably already asleep, so Stiles grabbed his leg and eased it down from the table. He pushed himself off the couch, his weak teen muscles almost giving up, but he gritted his teeth willing them to work, as he stepped forward, heading for the stairs.

It hurt, it really did and he should probably have gone right to the hospital at least for the teen-Stiles' sake. It's his body after all. But he was sure, he just needed to survive tops two days like this and he would certainly accumulate enough magic to heal the injury himself. Explaining, how his broken leg miraculously healed after two days to the doctors would be quite the challenge.

He decided to wait till tomorrow morning to see, how his magic storage regenerates. If it didn't, he could always stage a fall from the stairs in the morning and his dad would let him skip school to visit the hospital.

With that, he moved slowly up the stairs, hissing under his breath every now and then at the uncomfortable gritting inside his calf. Oh the pain, he could handle, he was kidnapped by a mean witch once and she really did enjoy torturing for some reason, so... yeah, physical pain he could handle, he was good at just ignoring it, unless the blood loss or something similar clouded his mind too excessively.

He finally hobbled to his room, but didn't go inside. Instead he turned and headed for the bathroom. He couldn't stay so dirty all day and night till tomorrow, he needed to clean and disinfect his forearms and put some healing shit on it, if he wanted the skin to handle a strengthening charm any time soon.

With that in mind, he lowered himself on the closed toilet seat, puling off his hoodie with his shirt in one go. He threw it down on the tiled floor and sighed, catching a sight of his forearms. The skin was angry red all around the burned off signs. If he left it like this, it would probably inflame and try to explain that to other people.

He just sat there for a second to relax after the horrible trip up the stairs. Sitting down on the toilet wasn't really the brightest idea. The washbasin was on the other side of the little room, together with the water faucets. And there is no way, he'll be able to pull off his pants sitting down, so he used the opportunity to untie his makeshift cast, letting the twigs clatter on the floor.

Stiles just sighed then, pushing himself up again and stumbled the needed three steps to the washbasin. He steadied himself on it's rim, unbuttoning his pants and shimmied a bit, trying to get rid of them. Not that it worked that much, but he eventually got rid of his pants and boxers equally, yanking the cloth around with his free hand, putting as little weight on his broken leg as possible.

His calf was so swollen, he had to yank a bit harder, but he didn't even care at this point anymore. He observed the leg for a while, pressing his fingers over the injured part. Yeah, he'll make due today, it wasn't anything life-threatening. What was worrying though, were the bruises all over his skin. God, he was really beaten up.

Stiles closed his eyes for a second, trying to not think, who gave him half of these and put the cold water on, letting it trickle carefully over his forearms. Rummaging in the cabinet behind the mirror, he pulled out a disinfectant, spraying it down the reddened skin. It burned like fire and he whined a little, letting a sob escape out of his throat.

He decided, letting the skin breathe would be the best idea, since he didn't have any healing salve. He would give up a lot for having one right now. Lydia always made him some to use after burning through the strengthening charm. He dismissed the thought quickly. It was not good to marvel on things, he couldn't have, anyways.

He grabbed a clean towel, hanging nearby and wet it under the spray of water. He used it to rub down his skin to clean himself as good as he could. He had to be specially gentle over the bruises. There were some quite dark ones over his shoulder, where Derek gripped him, stretching up to his neck and down onto his right shoulder blade, on which he landed. Luckily the strategically laid out hood obscured his dad's view of his neck.

Another series of darkening bruises was spreading up his thigh, on which Derek pressed, holding him down with his weight. Stiles whimpered involuntary, sliding his fingers down the abused skin. He should count himself lucky nothing was broken in the fall. His fingers trembled slightly and he sniffled. He glanced at his left wrist, where his mate gripped it so tight, it left another bruise. He sobbed once, his eyes locking on the mate ring's replica.

And then he couldn't hold it any longer and started to cry, silent sobs wrenching out of his mouth. It's not like he couldn't handle pain. It's not like he couldn't handle injuries. He wouldn't even shed a tear, if it was just the aftermath of fighting feral Peter. But this was Derek, this was his husband and this was his mate and it made him feel, as if he was being held in some horrible nightmare, that he couldn't escape.

He gripped the washbasin even harder, tears spilling down his face, as he tried to stifle his sobs. He just wanted to go back home. Why can't he just go back home? Why can't he go back to his pack, to his family? Stiles whined under his breath, his arms shuddering along with his shoulders.

He missed Scott - his Alpha. He missed the cheerfulness, the waggling of his metaphorical tail every time he cooked them steaks on barbeque nights. He missed, how Scott would scent him unconsciously, to weave him deeper into their pack, to let him feel the protectiveness. The feeling of never being truly alone, although there was nobody around. The bond, that made him feel safe, even while being tortured in a witches lair.

He missed Allison. He missed, how she would playfully ruffle his hair and then snatch one of the chips, he would be eating. Or how she'd sit with him in front of the fireplace, while she hummed lullabies from Stiles' childhood to her baby. Or how she would barricade herself with Melissa in the kitchen and bake the most delicious pies ever.

He missed the little Hannah and her cute puppy eyes, which she inherited from Scott. Her cheerful laugh. Her two pigtails full of dark hair. How she would always demand to braid her hair and carry her up on his shoulders.

He missed Erica, his ferocious Catwoman and their late-night Batman marathons. And their bickering over the most effective combat techniques. How she taught him self-defense and other fighting moves. How she would always try to playfully trip him, sticking her long legs in his way, so he would be always ready for an attack.

He missed Boyd. He missed his steady hand on his shoulder, every time he was too buzzed to stay still. His calm demeanor even in the sight of an eminent danger. His strength to break every freaking wall, that was standing in his way. And his booming laughter.

He missed their twins – the gentle Andrew, who always gave him a tight hug, when he seemed upset. Who used to bring him books to read from. Who used to turn into a small wolf and cuddle with them in their bed to sleep better.

And the mischievous Liam, who would trot around the house, bringing him in all sorts of wild animals, from green lizards up to hairy squirrels. Who would laugh at his jokes and pull him out to play tag on warm Sunday afternoons.

He missed Lydia, his strawberry blond Goddess and her genius brain, that was always better than his own, mainly because of her determined concentration. He missed, her rare smiles and her gentle hands, when spreading the healing salve onto his reddened skin. He even missed, how she would order them around bossily.

He surprisingly missed Jackson too, that slimy lizard-ass. He missed, how he appeared to have no feeling for them at all, but once he became a true part of their pack, he cared for them all tremendously, because they were the only family, he'll ever have.

He missed Isaac and his freaking curly hair. He missed, how they would conquer his fears and go swim into the indoor swimming pool every week. How he always patted his shoulder on the way for his night's shift. He missed, how he'd trot to him in his wolf form and nuzzle his snout to his palm.

And he missed Cora, that snarky little devious wolf-girl. He missed, how she would grab his arm and pull him out for clubbing. He missed, how she'd always kiss his cheek, just to annoy Derek. How she would bring him fresh apples, making fun of his job.

He missed her mate Brandon, who would force him to run around the preserve every morning to keep his stamina up. Who would smile his toothy grin at everybody and howl like a madman even in public. He missed to see him in his wolf form, lounging near his feet, while he read on the front porch.

He supposed, he can't exactly miss Peter, since he is right here...but Derek... his Derek, that was a completely different story. His green eyes full of love and that full-on smile with bunny teeth and those cuddly nights in his wolf form and those gentle hands stroking down his skin...

Stiles blinked, feeling his eyes run dry and looked up into the mirror. He stared at his reflection for a long time, eyes boring into his own, feeling hypnotized. Suddenly, he realized, why Peter went ahead with his murderous vendetta. The hunters took everything from him, everything. And what was left were only empty shells of his last two pack members. And so he knew, what he had to do, although taking an example in Peter, was the last thing, he'd ever imagined to do.

He needs to find that creature. That monster, that managed to destroy everything. And he needs to kill it. And if by any chance, he'd manage to repair his future and return there with everything intact, then he would count himself lucky.

 

~o~

 

It was later that morning, after Stiles took care of his bodily functions, fed himself some toasts with jam, drank at least two bottles of water and took some strong pain killers, throwing some Adderall into the mix too, that he sat down on his bed, pulling his laptop over. His broken leg was securely elevated on a little pile of pillows, few of the birch twigs, he obtained on his way back home, tied together in a makeshift cast. He decided to only put on shorts to keep a better track of the injury. Also the birch did more, if it came in contact the skin.

He felt a lot better now, that he let himself cry over everything, that happened. Holding back feelings was never really his forte anyways and he was certainly not embarrassed to cry, when the situation called for it. Logically, he seemed to have come in terms with what happened to Laura, although it still hurt to know, it was kinda his fault.

Her death in the past didn't mean much to him, but now, that he actually got to meet her and witness it from the front seat, he felt like it was horrendous by all means. But still, she died, and then she died again. He was inclined to believe the fate probably wanted it that way, but he didn't believe in such nonsense.

He saw the little envelope in the right corner of his desktop flash, announcing a new mail. Stiles clicked it and the app opened a mail box with a very short message from Tomazs. It included a Skype username and a string of random numbers. Stiles didn't even think further, creating a new Skype account, adding the random numbers as his username and a combination of three different things, he spotted around, as his password.

After he managed to log into the account, he searched for Tomasz and added him as a new Skype contact. He was ready to wait some time, but it got accepted right away, Tomasz' status switched from a question mark to a green circle and then his screen flashed with an incoming call.

Stiles reached for a pen first, scribbling a sigil onto the wall left of him and then satisfied, he clicked to accept the call. The webcam light flashed, turning on the video feed and a young man appeared on the screen, his eyes amber like his mom's, his dirty blond hair tied in a ponytail on his head and a messy beard covered half his face. The background was dark.

“Anglichky? Slovenchina mi moc nejde,” Stiles said, asking his uncle to speak English in a very funny accent. He didn't really feel like trying to remember something, he learned a while ago, his future memory was pretty gappy already. Like a freaking Swiss cheese, actually.

“Me English nott very well. Butt I try,” Tomazs answered, nodding his head once. The video wasn't really HQ, but Stiles could still see, he looked quite exhausted, because there were some quite pronounced bags under his eyes.

“Call Lenka then, she could interpret,” he proposed, pronouncing every word clearly. He saw his uncle frown and stare back at him begrudgingly.

“She nott here,” he grumbled and Stiles' eyes widened at that, remembering the reason. “Wat do yu want?

“She is going to be alright, you know,” he said, his voice wavering a little at the thought of Laura.

“And yu now, becoz yu are Seer?” Tomasz squinted at him, mistrust in his voice, but also a tiny bit of hope.

“I know, because I'm from the future and she is still alive ten years from now,” Stiles nodded, grinning. “Also, I'm your nephew.”

“Me wat?” Tomasz asked, standing up in front of his camera and turning around to face his bookcase. He took a book from the shelf, presumably a dictionary, but then froze , as Stiles answered: “Claudia's son. Your long lost sister?”

Tomasz stalked closer to the screen again, squinting at his face through the camera. He reached over, sliding two fingers over his screen, as if he was able to magically evaluate the lever of truth coming out of Stiles.

“Wat iz yor name?” he asked then, still frowning.

“Przemyslaw Stilinski,” he answered promptly. “Not a very fun name for an American teenager.”

His uncle burst out laughing, his eyes crinkling in their corners. “Me sestra alwayz has good senze of humor. Wheer iz she? I wantt talk herr.”

“She's dead,” Stiles said, sighing, as he tore his eyes from the camera, looking around the room. “Look, not to be insensitive, but this is not really a social call. I need your help.”

Tomasz looked at him through the camera for a few seconds, his face solemn, but then he nodded, taking a printed out paper from his table, showing it to the camera.

“Too return bak?” he asked, gesturing at the sigil, Stiles sent him. “How did yu do it? Explain.”

“There was a creature. I tried to banish it into the future with a ritual. I combined that sigil with a banish sigil and used a friends pregnancy test as an anchor. But the creature made me drop the anchor and the ritual latched itself onto my old home keys, that were made ten years ago. But I am still not sure, how -”

“Yuuu are nott my nef- dat!” Tomasz yelled suddenly, interrupting his explanation, his hand gesturing wildly at the printed out sigil. “Dere iz no way me blood wud be so stoopid!”

“What...?” Stiles blurted, not understanding, what could anger his uncle so much.

“Dat iz nott future sidgil, yu stoopid pako!” he scolded, tapping at the screen with his fingers. It made the video feed tremble, as he tapped. One, two, three times.

Stiles cringed, looking at his left hand to trace the strokes, imagining their drawing sequence.

“No, I'm sure...,” he started, but didn't finish, thinking back on, where he read it. His eyes flashed briefly, the Spark accessing the memories effortlessly. His uncle calmed down at that, watching him with interest.

“No, you sent me that script. It must have been translated wrongly,” he said then. “A text from the Russian coven, you said, it described the sigil as the 'time to come'.”

“No, no, no. Dat iz wron,” Tomasz shook his head, but didn't seem angry anymore. He actually looked like it was suddenly all giving sense to him. “I meanz 'time gon by'.”

“Time gone...? Awh man, okay, at least it gives sense now,” Stiles sighed, running a hand over his face. “That's why I ended up here. Lost in translation my ass.”

He ran his hand through his short hair few times, trying to stroke his frustration out of his fingers. It surprisingly didn't help much. It still made him wanna drum the whole Thunderstruck song on his healthy knee. He sighed, looking at the video feed. His uncle was browsing through the dictionary, probably looking for some words.

“I can't go back, can I?” he asked, dreading the answer. “I don't have my tattoo, so I can't channel my magic. I got no anchoring object for future, anyways. And I can't make you come over to help me, since your tattoo is not done yet either. But also because of Lenka being in the hospital. You need to stay with her....I already changed the past too much for it to work, even if I did have your help.”

Tomasz looked up from behind the table, putting a finger between the pages, he was browsing through before.

“Yu changed? Wat did yu do?” he asked, curiosity filling his eyes.

“I tried to save my future mate's sister from being murdered by her feral uncle,” he muttered, fiddling with the hem of his orange shirt. “I know, I probably shouldn't have tried to change the past. It didn't work either way. I just messed it up.”

“Wait,” his uncle squinted, looking up and down on the screen. “Yu are vlkolak?”

“No, I'm not a werewolf,” he sighed, pressing his left hand's fingers to the camera to show his mate ring's replica. “My mate is. And my best friend is...was our Alpha. And bunch of other people. I had...a pack.”

“Oh, so yu'r like missionar,” Tomasz nodded.

“Emissary? No, no, I'm not,” Stiles shook his head, getting a bit lost in the story of his own life. It sure must seem complicated to somebody, who doesn't know him. “We have a banshee in our pack. She's the Emmisary. I just study slavic magic for the fun of it.”

“Oh, banshi! I wuld like to mett her!” he exclaimed rather elated, but then he caught himself and added: “...one day of corse.”

“You will,” Stiles muttered.

There was silence for a while, because Tomasz resumed his browsing, flipping through the pages of the dictionary, muttering to himself and Stiles waited impatiently for the final verdict. Whatever his uncle pronounced would definitely be, how this is gonna go, after all.

“I do nott now bout time travel. Butt...,” he started and Stiles braced himself for the inevitable,” I do now bout magic. And dis? I am sorry, butt I do nott sink yu can return bak.”

“So I will... what? Live this life all over again?” Stiles whispered, his voice strained.

“No, I fear...yu, future yu, will,” he turned over a few pages, reading from the dictionary, “disappear.”

“What...?” Stiles breathed, shocked by the statement. This was even worse, than he feared. This possibility wasn't even in the long list of all possibilities, that he braced himself for.

“No, I have the sigil,” he objected, pointing at the back of his left hand. “It will-”

“Dat sidgil only slowed proces,” Tomasz said looking very sad suddenly. “Past already changing, right? So future memorys yu locked in sidgil not true anymore. They change. They are... (he glanced into the dictionary) ...different. All future different. Memorys from yor sidgil should change too, disappear and be (another glance) replaced by new. But they can not, they are fixed in sidgil. So it all just dissappear. And when yor memorys disappear, yor future (another glance) conscience will disappear to.”

“So I'll just die,” Stiles summarized, his fingers trembling slightly at the statement along with his lower lip. This is not really the end, he imagined for himself. It reminded him of his mother way too much.

“No, yu alive. Just not remember. Yu will be old yu,” Tomazs corrected, looking into the camera seriously, his amber eyes full of sadness. They were just like his mom's.

“And there is no way to reverse it?” he tried, clutching at any straw he could find, but he already knew it was in vain. His days were obviously numbered.

“I do nott sink,” his uncle started, stroking his fingers over his forehead full of wrinkles from all that frowning. “Memorys can not change in sidgil. Only in brain. But brain will not hold the future memorys. Yu try, yu probablie go crazy.”

Stiles grimaced, gulping down hard. He survived so much in his almost thirty years. Sometimes, he was even surprised, he managed to end up having such a good life. He guessed, he finally got to see the other shoe drop and there was nothing much to do with it unfortunately.

“Okay, when...?” he asked, not even looking at the screen anymore. “When will it happen.”

“I do nott now. Day by day, less and less memorys, until no memory,” Tomasz explained. “I am sorry. I can nott help yu. I can onlie promise, I will find yu and teach yu again. Is wat I did before rite? I came to yu.”

“Yes,” Stiles nodded, remembering, how surprised he was, when he learned, he actually had some family left from his mother's side. Not to mention it was a magical family. His uncle just came one day and knocked at their door out of the blue. Well, he guessed, at least now he knew, how they found him in the first place. He was indeed caught in some horrible time loop.

“I need one more favor, though,” he said, his voice suddenly determined and his uncle nodded without a second thought. “I need to find that creature and kill it, before I fade away.”

“Yu took it wis yu?” Tomasz asked puzzled.

“Yes, by accident. I took it with me and it killed my mate's sister, before I could save her. I need to get rid of it. I can't allow it to kill anybody else. But first I need to find out, what it is, so I can track it down somehow,” he started to explain, but stopped, seeing the sigil, he drew on the wall before, flash once.

“Tomasz,” he said, talking into the camera hastily, not even looking at the screen anymore. The sigil started flashing more alarmingly. “I have to go. There's a visitor nearby. But...I will send you the description of the creature as soon as I can, so you can check the bestiaries you got from your old coven. And you can send me the newest password for the EU covens online bestiary library, so I can do some research meanwhile too. We can talk more later, alright?”

“Okej Przemko, I will contact soon,” he waved and the call ended.

Stiles closed the laptop, trowing it on the blanket next to him and stumbled to the backpack, he brought back up before. He pulled out the wolfsbane-covered pocket knife, not taking any chances and sneaked to the half opened window. He couldn't see anyone, when he glanced outside carefully, but his senses were not super good anyways. Plus, if his sigil blinked like a broken traffic light, which got sped up five times, then there is definitely something supernatural there. And it's very close.

He decided to take a risk and opened the window wider, stepping away from it.

“Are you gonna creep there for the whole day, or are you gonna come in?” he asked, keeping his voice at a normal level.

There was a very silent creek somewhere above him, which he wouldn't have heard, unless he was waiting for it, and then a man jumped through the window, feet first, landing on his carpet right between the scattered sheets of paper.

“I told you to stay with Derek,” Stiles grumbled, recognizing that V-neck shirt right away. Only one guy in the whole Beacon Hills wore those monstrosities and that man was Peter Hale. He must have changed his clothes on his way here.

“The fact, that you think, you have any influence on my decision-making is very amusing,” he stated, looking around Stiles' room with a slight distaste on his face. “Besides, Derek is brooding in the burned-down ruin, to the surprise of all. He won't be going anywhere anytime soon.”

Stiles just sighed, guessing that much is true about the past Derek and slid down on his chair not able to stand on his hurting leg. He motioned to Peter to sit on his bed, if he wanted, but the werewolf remained standing, eying the knife in his hand.

“Did Derek get my texts?” he asked, not putting the knife down.

“Yes, he did,” Peter answered, his smile a mocking smirk. “I must add, they were not exactly necessary, considering I explained everything to him on our way back to the house, but I suppose it was rather helpful to have a written confirmation of the events from an independent observer.”

“Right,” Stiles rolled his eyes, sliding the edge of the knife over the table just to distract himself a bit. “So what are you doing here then...?”

Peter pretended not to be bothered by the knife, not even in the slightest, but Stiles knew him. He knew those glances and he knew that twitch in his fingers.

The werewolf pulled out a little bag then and threw it at Stiles, who just looked at him unimpressed, as the little bag landed in his lap. Peter obviously hoped to distract him enough, so he'd drop the blade. It amused Stiles, how he tried to catch him off guard even now.

“I just thought,” Peter started, looking quite bored, “that you might need some help healing that broken leg of yours. I should take responsibility for my actions like a proper gentleman, after all.”

Stiles eyed the little bag for a while, glancing up at the werewolf again. “Come on, I know you, remember? Where's the catch?”

“No catch,” Peter shrugged nonchalantly. “It's just a token of my good will, to help you remember our agreement about one Kate Argent and her lot.”

“I don't remember that being mutual,” Stiles grumbled, shaking his head.

“Hmm,” the werewolf seemed to contemplate that for a second and then decided to voice a following offer: “I could always break your other leg too, to help you remember?”

Stiles just sighed, throwing the pocket knife on the table and grabbed the little bag from his lap. “Guess I better accept the bribe then,” he muttered, studying the sigils on the bag.

“That would be a wise choice indeed,” Peter nodded, clasping his hands behind his back.

Stiles frowned, recognizing some signs on the cloth. He brought the little bag to his nose, sniffing at it suspiciously a his eyes widened in awe. It was a magic storage unit.

“Where did you get this?” he asked immediately.

“I have my sources,” Peter answered, obviously trying to be mysterious, but come on. There is no way that would work. Stiles was from the future, he knew all the secrets already. True, he couldn't remember all of them anymore and some others were probably slipping his memory already, but he refused to dwell on that fact for now.

“Was it the secret vault under BHH?” he guessed, turning the bag around between his fingers. “Or the other one in the preserve?”

Peter just lifted his eyebrows, not answering.

“Okay,” Stiles said, putting the little bag on the table next to his knife. “I will give you Kate Argent and the two other guys...all in due time though...and you'll add your blood to the bribe. I need it for the ritual.”

“There were more culprits,” Peter countered, side-stepping a little, his eyes never leaving Stiles. “I could smell the woman and three other men, when I tore out the entrance door to kill them. I could not cross the mountain ash line around the house, of course, but I am sure, there were four people outside the house. Not to mention those, who helped to conspire – the investigator, the contractor, any possible informants.”

“Alright,” Stiles nodded, clicking his tongue once. “I'll add that sick bastard, that brought them the magical fire and watched the house burn too. He ain't really innocent in the whole scheme of things, so... But others get to stay alive.”

Peter walked to him, leaning onto his chair, looking at him from above. His eyes flashed blue briefly.

“I want them all,” he whispered, his nails lengthening into claws, which tore into Stiles' chair.

“The fire investigator was blackmailed to sign it off as an accident by Kate Argent. She threatened to kill his baby daughter,” Stiles looked up into Peter's eyes, keeping the eye contact. “He felt so guilty afterwards, he quit his job and tried to deliver the truth to the police station. Argent killed his daughter, making it look like an accident, before, he could reach them and he ended up divorced, doing a mediocre job, worried she might return for his ex-wife any time, if he as much as sneezed in her direction. You will not kill him, he suffered enough.”

Peter stared at him for a long while and Stiles could literally see the wheels turning behind his eyes. Then he straightened again, his claws gone. He walked around the room, saying: “Argent must have had a consultant specialized in arson.”

“Our primary research pointed to a chemistry teacher, who tried to impress her in a bar,” Stiles explained. “But, after I woke my magic, I could feel the presence of magic on the house ruins themselves, so Kate must have got a hold of a vicious magical fire. She obviously got it from the man I am willing to offer you in addition to the two others. But I never really learned the true source of the fire. It were all dead ends.”

Peter walked slowly to the window, looking out of it, his thoughts lost in contemplation. Stiles didn't let him think it all through for long, he needed to close off the deal, after all.

“Kate Argent, Frank Reddick, Lance Unger and Austin Anderson at your disposal,” he pronounced, counting them off on his fingers. “For the magical storage unit and a taste of your blood.”

Peter looked at him, his eyes squinted in suspicion.

“You just told me all their names,” he purred. “I don't really need to bribe you anymore.”

“True,” Stiles shrugged, glancing at the little bag on his table. “Call it a token of my good will.”

Peter just smirked, lifting his hands in front of him. Stiles watched as his forefinger's nail changed into a sharp claw and then it was pressed into the werewolf's wrist, tearing the skin to create a bleeding wound.

 

~o~

 

“Any idea, who could have poisoned you?” asked Stiles offhandedly, while sitting on the floor near Peter and drawing a healing sigil onto his calf with a blue pen.

“Unfortunately, I don't exactly remember my stay in the hospital. I was somehow conscious enough to remember, what happened in the preserve. But I do have a few guesses about the possible perpetrator. One of them seems a bit more likely, that the others,” the werewolf answered, studying the wound on his wrist, that kept healing over and over, so he just jabbed a claw inside to prevent the tissue regrowing.

“The nurse?” Stiles guessed, pulling his shorts higher, revealing the dark huge bruise there and drawing a sigil over it too. “I suppose, she could have been the pawn used to inject the wolfsbane. She definitely had enough opportunities for that. Can't be more, than a hench-...woman though.”

“Shouldn't you know that?” Peter questioned, his eyes sliding over Stiles' bruise. “Being from the future must grant you some knowledge about my state as well.”

“Believe it or not, nobody knew you were poisoned and brainwashed in my time. We all assumed you were just a murderous crazy villain, to be honest,” Stiles shrugged, pulling his shirt off and scribbling over his shoulder. He couldn't even make out the line of the blue pen on the dark brown bruise.

“What makes you think I am not?” Peter smirked, flashing his blue eyes, as if to emphasize his proclamation.

“Oh, I bet you are,” Stiles muttered, bringing the pen to his reddened forearms, drawing the sigils over the wounds too. He was lucky there was enough magic in the storage unit to heal his whole body. He just needed to direct the healing, set out it's priorities. “All the Seconds are in a way, when it comes to protecting their pack, although they all have different means to use. I hardly believe, that poisoning yourself in a comatose state was a part of your nefarious long-term plan - is all.”

“It could have been,” Peter responded calmly.

“Yeah, whatever man,” Stiles murmured, obviously not paying attention anymore, as he finished the last sigil. He whooped in delight, throwing the pen across the room, where it bounced off the wall.

“Blood,” Stiles ordered, reaching his right hand up to Peter. The werewolf just rolled his eyes, tearing the skin even further with the jabbed-in claw and angled the wrist to let the blood drip into Stiles' waiting palm.

“Who is your Alpha then? I gathered, it's not Derek,” he asked conversationally, as if bleeding for a magical ritual was just another normal day in his life.

“It's not you either, if that's what you wanna know,” Stiles glanced up at him and winked, pulling the bloodied hand back to him. “This is so unsanitary. Ah well...desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“It was only logical to assume, I might be the Alpha. I obviously killed my niece in your time line,” Peter shrugged, flexing his healed wrist.

Stiles rolled his eyes, licking slowly up his palm, gathering as much blood as he could. “Yeah, you were an Alpha for a while,” he replied, grabbing the little bag, that Peter gave him into the right hand, which still carried some remains of blood.

“And after you were done with your vendetta, we killed you,” he added, closing his eyes and squeezing the bag few times.

“And by 'we' you mean...your pack, I assume?” Peter questioned further, watching in interest, as Stiles' body went rigid and the air around the room gained that gentle electrical charge, he remembered from yesterday evening.

Stiles just nodded, not even bothering to answer his question anymore. Also he didn't really feel like revealing more information than necessary. His Spark stirred restlessly in his chest and he squeezed the bag once more, activating the transfer. A rush of wild magic spilled into his veins, traveling up through his arm and streaming into his heart, where it reinforced his Spark. He nudged at it experimentally, grinning happily, when it sang back to him.

His heart pumped few times, spreading the magic all over his body, pushing into his fingertips and all the way down into his toes. There was a silent moment, where he felt it drum through his veins, the strength of it overwhelming him slightly. And then it whirled, latching itself onto all the healing sigils on his body.

His right leg got caught in a painless spasm, magic straightening it and correcting his bones in a second. The swell around his calf deflated immediately, followed by a tingle traveling up his forearms, which removed all the reddened scribbles of both strengthening charms. Last on the list were his bruises. The magic wavered a little inside him like a drunk pirate, but he pushed it into his shoulder, forcing it to travel all the way up his neck.

There wasn't much of it left anymore, he knew, but he had to use it for the bruise on his thigh too. There is no way, he would keep that one, he'd rather keep that broken leg, if he had to choose. Stiles pushed a little more, coercing the rest to trickle down his thigh, until there was nothing more left than pale skin.

He opened his eyes then, sighing in content as the magic died out. He let go of the empty storage unit and looked up at Peter, who obviously didn't move all this time, his eyes latched onto him. Stiles laughed, sprawling on the ground in a happy lethargy. His breathing did get a bit shallow, but there were no other consequences. Finally something, that worked out for him.

“Awh maan,” Stiles sighed, rubbing his hand over his buzz cut, the feeling of elation subsiding gradually together with the loss of magic. “I owe you so much more than four murders for this,” he joked.

“You owe me nothing,” Peter said, his eyes ranking over the healed skin. He was marginally impressed. “On the contrary, I don't think you understand, how much I value my own sanity. You could have left me to my own devices and try to help Laura, but instead you cured me. Does that mean nothing to you?”

Stiles sobered at that, pulling himself into a sitting position, not quite ready to test his leg. “Only time will tell, if my investment was lucrative,” he said, his eyes trained back at Peter.

“I bet you're my favorite human in the future,” the werewolf commented, his eyes twinkling with mischief. Stiles just shrugged, a smile playing on his lips. He always liked to play these mind games with Peter – he was the only one, that could keep up with him, most of the times, after all.

“It's not me, is it?” Peter asked suddenly, his eyebrows quirking in an amused manner. “Your mate, I mean...you disguised your scent with that sigil on the nape of your neck quite effectively, so it's hard to tell...”

Stiles laughed at that, shaking his head. He knew right away, it was just a ruse, that was supposed to make him reveal the true identity of his mate. He obviously knew better than that, though.

“Pity,” Peter sighed, smirking back at the boy. “We could have been unstoppable.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles looked up, seeing the black Camaro arrive into their street, just as he put the finishing touches on the strengthening charms on his both forearms. Now, that the skin was all healed and smooth once again, he could use them all over. It will come in handy very soon, he assumed.

He had to admit, though, it wasn't really easy to persuade Peter to agree to his plan and call his nephew over, but after using enough of his highly logical arguments, the werewolf agreed rather quickly. Stiles wasn't sure, what to think of that. This Peter definitely seemed closer to the one, they voted to accept into their pack few years prior, but Stiles couldn't stop being a bit cautious around him either way. The werewolf was supposed to be on a crazy murdering spree right now and no amount of obvious sanity could persuade Stiles to let his guard down around him. At least not yet, anyways.

Peter glanced back at him from where he was standing in the Stilinski driveway, as if he knew, what Stiles was thinking about, but Stiles didn't even acknowledge it, watching the Camaro ride up into their driveway. The engine was cut off rather suddenly and then Derek got out of the car, his face a permanent scowl. Stiles didn't let that bother him though. It was actually such a familiar expression, he took comfort in it.

“What is the meaning of this?” Derek snapped, rounding onto his uncle and totally ignoring Stiles by default.

“I called you over, because Stiles here needs a ride,” Peter shrugged, his eyes sliding to the said teen. “His jeep's tires seemed to have encountered some extensively sharp objects, which I must add once again, were definitely not my claws. As I stated before, I wasn't lucid, until the evening, when I set out to find you in the preserve and even then...I wouldn't exactly call it a lucid moment per se.”

Stiles stared back at him unimpressed. Peter was obviously trying to make him apologize for the scolding earlier. Well, he was not sorry for suspecting him. Not even one bit. He got up, walking slowly closer to them.

“Whatever you say Peter,” he answered, pocketing the pen. If it Peter didn't slash his tired though, then who did? This was just another weird mystery to add to the whole list of freaking mysteries. What did he do to deserve all this, he had no idea, but he is gonna figure it all, before he disappears, that much he knew.

“So, I am to... what? Play a taxi driver...? For him?” Derek frowned, his voice full of disbelief. “Peter, seriously? Are you out of your mind? Conspiring against me with him? Do you wanna be an Alpha that desperately?

“We reached a mutually beneficial agreement,” Peter said, side-stepping a little to be out of his Alpha's range just in case, he lost his temper. Better to be safe than sorry. “We will help him with his cause and he will help us with ours.”

“I don't care about your games,” Derek spat, stepping closer to his uncle, nails lengthening. “I will not-”

“Okay, enough,” Stiles jumped into the conversation, irritation obvious in his tone. “We only have so much time for posturing. You are the mighty Alpha, we are all your peasants, better? Now, there are things, that need to be done ASAP, so we better get started now.”

Derek's eyes flashed red at being commanded even so indirectly, but Stiles paid him no attention. He was just honestly glad his dad's windows weren't turned into the driveway. There was no way for him to overhear this bickering. He sighed then, turning to Peter.

“You know, where you gotta go? Like I said, I am not sure, but it is, where they found her the last time and we desperately need to avoid the public's attention, because once the authorities know, the hunters won't be far behind.” Peter just nodded at that, an amused twinkle playing in his eyes.

“Alright,” Stiles nodded back at him. “If you won't be able to find anything, let us know. You got my phone, so just call Derek, if...,” he wanted to continue, but he was interrupted by a growl, as a hand seized his shoulder, turning him around. Luckily, there was no vertical surface to throw him into, so Derek just clenched his shoulder painfully, stepping into his personal space.

“You are not the Alpha, nor a part of my pack,” he snarled, his eyes blazing. “You don't get to-”

“Do you want the rest of your sister back or not?” Stiles snapped, trying to wring away from the werewolf's hold, but all his efforts were somehow unsuccessful. Not much surprise in that. “Do you want your 'pack' safe from hunters? Do you want revenge? Yes? Well then you better listen to me, cuz your brain is all mushy from the Alpha hormones and you wouldn't be able to get shit done without me!”

Derek flashed his pointy teeth and drew his claws into his right shoulder. Stiles winced at the pain, that ran up his nerves, the muscles of his arm twitching reflexively. He felt like saying something insulting, but decided against it, his lips thinning considerably instead. The Alpha just kept going, not paying any attention to his internal struggle to remain collected. “I don't need you, you little shit-,”

“Derek,” Peter said sternly and reached out to pry his nephew's claws from the teen's flesh. Derek looked at him begrudgingly and snatched his hand away, the claws turning back into nails.

“Thanks,” Stiles sighed, bringing his left hand up to rub at his shoulder. He didn't even look at the Alpha, taking a deep breath, deciding on a different approach.

“The plan itself is rather simple,” he started, looking down at his red sneakers. “Peter will go and try to retrieve the rest of the body. Last time I lived through this, it was found and there was a huge uproar. We can avoid the investigation and hunters freaking out by removing the evidence.”

Stiles could see Peter lifting both his hands in a placating gesture, but didn't look up to figure out, what Derek's been doing, to trigger such an action. He just swallowed and continued. “Me and Derek would go to the hospital and settle things down by saying Laura found out about nurse Jennifer's mistreatment and decided to take Peter with her to sign him in a hospital in New York, where she could keep an eye on him. That way Peter won't be on the list of missing people and hunters won't come look for him, thinking he ran away feral. Which will in turn make us all relatively free to pursue our vendetta...”

There was silence between them, as Stiles looked up. Peter seemed to be already bored, hearing the plan for the second time, although it was just a super short summary for Derek's benefit. And Derek was frowning, his arms locked in front of him, as he watched the house, obviously being too stubborn to even say something right now.

“An Alpha should be looking out for his pack, should he not?” Stiles whispered, his voice pleading. “This is a way to keep you both under the radar. But it's your call, of course, so...”

“Alright, come on,” Derek gave one short nod, before stalking back to his car. Stiles grinned and winked at Peter, relishing in his success. He knew it would work out in the end, he knew his mate way too well. The accomplishment made some kind of an odd pride swell in his chest, but he tried not to get fooled. There is no way, it would mean anything more. Derek wasn't doing this for him, he was doing it for his pack. And Stiles wasn't pack for him right now, not in the slightest.

“You know,” Peter stated, his eyes glued to Derek's back. “I am starting to think you might actually be the future Alpha. I could have bitten you by instinct while being feral, so after your pack killed me, you'd have the chance to become one. True, you did say the Spark would probably refuse the Bite, but if you would have survived...”

Stiles just grinned, waving Peter off without a comment and trailed after Derek to jump into his car.

 

~o~

 

The ride was quite a silent one. Stiles just sat in the passenger seat, staring out of the window and rubbing his fingers over his shoulder absentmindedly. He tried to concentrate on the task, tried to go over the steps, they would have to take, once they reach the hospital, but his mind kept sliding back to Derek. It would be so easy to just reach over and touch him, but of course, he didn't dare. The longing was so strong for a second, that he started to get worried Derek might notice, even though the notice-me-not sigil was still in place, making it all unrecognizable even for the super werewolf senses.

Stiles frowned, letting a sigh escape his body. He needs to stop being so distracted by this whole situation. There is a mission, that he needs to accomplish, a vendetta he needs to finish, before it's too late, before he disappears with all the memories. Distracting himself with his long lost life won't help to achieve anything. It will only turn him bitter and sad. He needed to accept, that his old life was over, but it was easier said than done, when the said main character was sitting right here, next to him.

They were just crossing the traffic lights near the market, when Derek's voice brought him out of his thoughts suddenly.

“Your injury is gone,” he stated, glancing at Stiles' leg fleetingly, as if he only now noticed. That was so considerable of him, Stiles wanted to yell and break the front window.

Instead, he just nodded, keeping his head turned away from him out of spite. He didn't need to be reminded of his injuries, nor did he need the confirmation, that Derek didn't care, that he caused some of them himself. But since he obviously only considered his broken leg as an injury, well, the message in that statement was quite obvious in his opinion.

“Peter offered a magical storage unit to help me heal, so I traded it for some info, he wanted,” he explained after a few heartbeats, just because he couldn't handle the silence for any longer. Silence was always like an itch under his skin, that couldn't be soothed, unless he started to babble.

“What kind of information?” Derek questioned, his voice measured, but Stiles didn't have to look at him to know, he got stiff and nervous.

“Ask him,” Stiles answered, shrugging. He was being intentionally unhelpful. He figured, that as long as he'll treat Derek like some random Alpha, he should be able to retain the focus, he needed. It's not his mate, he repeated to himself over and over, his mate is back in the future and Stiles will never see him again. But that doesn't mean Stiles was gonna stifle his curiosity.

“So anyways,” he started, trying to keep his tone neutral, while sliding his long fingers over the dashboard. “I heard Leo Mitchell has a car just like this.”

Derek just huffed, driving the car up into the hospital's small parking lot and Stiles wasn't surprised seeing him park in the back, covering two parking spots. He was obviously worried, that some other car would decide to park way too close to the gleaming Camaro and accidentally scratch the paint job or something.

They unbuckled swiftly and got out of the car in an instant, heading for the hospital's entrance door. Stiles looked around the parking lot, not seeing a police cruiser anywhere, so the assigned deputies were probably skimming the surroundings now, looking for the missing comatose patient.

“Soo?” he prodded, reaching for the door and opening it for Derek, gesturing for him to step inside, while he holds it. The werewolf just frowned at him, but went inside either way.

“So what...?” he grunted, looking around the hospital foyer and then heading straight for the Long Term Care Wing.

“The Camaro,” Stiles rolled his eyes, following him, lengthening his steps to keep up with the werewolf. “Does it belong to the Mitchell were'?”

“Yes, why?” Derek questioned, turning left, walking hastily through a long airy hallway. It felt like he was running away from Stiles, eager to leave this whole forced cooperation behind them.

“I just...,” Stiles fumbled, taking a deep breath in, because he wasn't really the guy for a power walk right now. “I didn't know about that.”

“We're obviously not as close in the future, as you thought we were,” Derek murmured, just as they reached the entrance into the wing. He swung the door open and stepped through it, not even waiting for Stiles. It clicked shut once again and Stiles just stared at it for a while, before grasping the handle and opening it for himself. There were more important things to do, that wallowing in misery.

Derek was standing right in front of him then, frowning at the door of the main office for this wing. The head doctor was there no doubt, so that's where they needed to go. Stiles didn't even hesitate and knocked at the door. A muffled “Come in” reached his ears and he clutched the door knob, twisting it to access the office.

There was an older woman with kind eyes, sitting behind a large sturdy desk full of various papers. Her hair was tied back in a strict bun and she was wearing a white coat. Once she spotted them, she pulled her glasses off her nose, folding them neatly on the table and greeted them with the obvious question. “How may I help you?”

“This is Derek Hale,” Stiles said, waving behind him. “He's here on behalf of his uncle. The sheriff contacted us and we heard, he's gone missing...?”

“Yes, yes,” the doctor stood up quickly, walking around the table. She reached out for Derek, grasping his hand. “We didn't know, how to contact you. Miss Hale was here yesterday, so we told the deputy to let her know. She could have been back to New York by then for all that we knew. Oh, such a tragedy.”

Derek looked very uncomfortable at that moment, so he just nodded, obviously in lack of some proper response. Stiles didn't care, he was glad the werewolf's presence distracted the doctor for long enough, so that he could grab the pen from his pocket and draw a shaky sigil onto his right palm. It was done rather quickly this time, since he wasn't sweating like a pig.

He closed his eyes for a second, letting the one-sided conversation in front of him mule over his ears and woke up his Spark once again. It burned through the strengthening charm faster this time - to his own surprise. And luckily his body was turned so, that the doctor wouldn't spot the dim light spreading over his skin. But Derek noticed, he certainly did, because his eyes jumped from the doctor's face to his arm right away, widening.

Just as the magic spilled into the sigil, Stiles' arm twitched a bit and he lifted his hand, putting it on the doctor's shoulder. She stopped talking right away, letting go of Derek's hand and looked at him, as if he just hypnotized her. He looked back into her eyes and spoke.

“Laura Hale was indeed here yesterday,” he started, his words swimming in the sterile white office like a swarm of tuna fish. “She was here and found out, that the personal nurse Jennifer Crane not only neglected her duties to the patient, but also mistreated poor comatose mister Hale. You were very shocked, when you heard that, but it gave sense to you. You were suspicious about Jennifer for a longer time already, but had no real evidence against her.”

“Yes, yes, I was...,” the doctor mumbled, staring into the pools of light, that were his eyes now. “I already suspected...something...”

“Yes, that's right,” Stiles nodded smiling, as he surged another wave of magic into the sigil, forcing his voice to be even more compelling.

“You weren't here over the night, were you?” he asked, coercing the answer out of her way too easily.

“No, I... left before the sundown... called me at night.. didn't pick up...sleeping pills...,” she stammered, her forehead creasing a bit, as if she wasn't sure herself, until Stiles nodded in agreement. He let her keep those memories, since they fit well into the story. Also, he learned that weaving his suggestions into the already existing memories, made his story fit into the brain easier.

“And then?” he asked, keeping the glow of the sigil as steady as he could, otherwise it could harm the woman's brain and that's not what he wanted right now.

“Came to work...late...the doctor on night shift... handled it all,” she said, not blinking once.

“Yes,” Stiles nodded and the woman nodded in sync with him, “you heard about the missing person, but you only now realized it was actually Peter Hale. The same Peter Hale, that Laura took out of your care just yesterday. She was very upset to learn about her uncle's mistreatment and demanded you let her sign the documents to have her uncle released into her care immediately, remember?”

The woman kept nodding her head, never turning her eyes away from him. “Immediately...,” she breathed. “Yes, yes...,”

“I think you must have lost the signed release forms, though, right?” Stiles continued, feeling the magic close to dissolving again. Luckily he was almost done. “But since Derek Hale came to pick up his uncle's stuff, he can sign another one right now and you can call the Sheriff's Station to tell them all about the misunderstanding.”

“Yes...misunderstanding,” the doctor agreed, blinking few times, as Stiles let go of her shoulder, the glow in his eyes fading together with the sigil on his palm. He stumbled a bit backwards, catching himself on the table, breath labored.

“Oh, dear,” the doctor said, jumping closer to him right away, concern written all over her face. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he waved his hand, trying to look nonchalant and not losing his consciousness right there and then, like some damsel in distress. “I just... hospitals make me a bit dizzy.”

The doctor didn't even hesitate, stepping to the little washbasin in the corner and filling it with fresh, cold water. She quickly strode back to Stiles then, pushing him to sit down and putting the plastic cup into his trembling fingers. “Stay here, drink this, you will feel much better.”

Then she turned around, regarding Derek, who was standing there, his body rigid, his face a mixture of disbelief and amazement at what he just witnessed.

“You came to pick up your uncle's possessions, right?” the woman asked, beckoning him to follow her out of the office and then further down the hallway.

 

~o~

 

“How did you do it?” Derek asked, after they left the office with a signed off copy of the release forms and a box of Peter's belongings. Stiles could still heard the doctor's voice, trying to explain, what a misunderstanding the whole missing person situation was through the phone.

He walked though the hospital's hallways, supporting himself heavily on the wall nearby. He wasn't in his best shape right now, that much was true, the ritual exhausted him quite considerably and his arm still trembled from the repeated overuse, because unfortunately, he couldn't use the protection sigil this time. It would obscure the flow of his magic into the other participant. He can only apply it, when he uses the ritual on himself.

“How? Magic, of course,” he sighed, forcing his legs to move faster. It wasn't really necessary, because Derek wasn't speed-walking away from him this time, which was really nice somehow.

“It's not that hard to do, to be honest,” Stiles continued, flailing his free hand to explain the process better. Why would flailing help with that, he had no idea, but this body was way too freaking twitchy all the time, anyways. “Weaving fake memories into people's head, I mean. It's not like normal memories are the most solid thing there is, right? They're full of holes and blurry places, sometimes the carrier even changes things or adds a few on his own, unconsciously, so...”

“I've had a lot of practice with it, although with a bigger magic conductor, true,” he shrugged, looking at the burned off charm at his forearm once again. He just sighed, dismissing it and pushed his legs further. “You wouldn't believe, how many times I had to do it, when one of you guys got hospitalized. I mean, seriously, if I had to correct a doctor's memories one more time, just cuz Cora wanted to ride in a freaking ambulance-”

There was a loud crash from beside him, as the cardboard box landed on the ground, Peter's few belongings scattering all over the hallway.

“Jeez,” Stiles grumbled, sinking down to his knees without seconds thoughts. He pulled the box upright, reaching out for a old looking book, putting it back inside it.

“You mean like...my little sister Cora?” he heard from above him, as he reached for the black frame. He glanced at the family picture full of happy faces and cringed, realizing what he just said.

“Uh, yeah,” he nodded, putting the picture frame inside the box too and sat up, looking at Derek. “Right umm...she's alive, I guess I forgot to mention that in the whole...” but he didn't finish, since a flurry of movement trapped him against the wall. There was a huge fist clenching the front of his hoodie and red eyes burning holes into his skull.

“Where is she, then? Where is Cora?!” Derek spat rattling him so hard, his head bumped the wall few times. But Stiles had just about enough of this shit. He didn't get derailed from his tracks by the rough treatment and slid his hand into his pockets, pulling out a vial with the leftover wolfsbane powder. He uncorked it with his thumbs and threw it's content into Derek's half turned face.

The Alpha howled, letting go of him in an instant. He stumbled back, sprawling onto his ass, sliding his fingers over his eyes, coughing violently. His features were no longer one of a Beta wolf though, so Stiles wasn't worried about the nurse running down the hallway to them.

“Harass me again,” he said calmly, getting to his feet, “and I will not hesitate to honor you with a more potent wolfsbane.” The nurse was suddenly by them, asking Derek, if he needed some help worriedly. They both ignored her though.

“Now, get yourself together and pick up all Peter's crap. I'll wait by the car.” Stiles muttered just for Derek to hear, which he obviously did, because he managed to open his left eye to glare at him.

“And the next time you wanna know something? Just ask nicely. You'll catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar, you know,” Stiles shook his head visibly annoyed and turned his back to him. He didn't wait for an answer and stalked away, anger still boiling inside him, which made his body forget all about the previous exhaustion. How dares Derek treat him like a fucking chew toy? Serves that assholes right.

 

~o~

 

The fresh air outside calmed him down a bit. He took a breath in, letting it out in a deep sigh. He was too old for this shit, he though, stroking with fingers over his buzzcut, his eyes scanning the parking lot. There was a police cruiser driving up the street, cutting through the parking lot to stop in front of the hospital.

“Deputy Lawrence,” Stiles smiled, waving at the man, who getting out of the passenger seat. The blond man with a square jaw smiled back right away, bringing his forefinger to his temple in a gesture of greeting.

He closed the door behind him, walking to the entrance door and at the same time closer to Stiles too. His partner, a stern looking older man, who was probably called Reeds, locked the door following behind.

“Stiles,” Lawrence eyed him. “Another accident?”

“Not at all,” the teen grinned, waving his fingers to show off their healthy state. “Was just helping out a friend. Anyways, thanks for taking care of my baby yesterday. You're my hero.”

The deputy just laughed, nodding in goodbye and followed his partner inside the hospital, presumably being called over by the head doctor in the Long Term Care Wing.

Stiles watched him disappear, walking the same way, he just came out. Then he turned again, striding around the cruiser and between the different types of cars, standing all over the parking lot. He finally caught the view of Derek's black Camaro, when he was approximately halfway between the entrance door and the car, and noticed a man standing next to it.

“Peter,” Stiles greeted, knowing the man would hear him from the distance too. Well, he probably heard him, before he even emerged from the hospital. That wasn't the problem here, though. Stiles looked down at his hoodie, patting it few times and saw the little particles of brownish dust rise from it.

“Shit,” he swore, pulling the hoddie off him, careful to not touch the compromised cloth. He held his sleeves down first, pulling his arm off them one by one and then used his fingers to push the collar up over his head. He then bundled the hoodie into a ball and threw it into the closest trashcan. The fresh air made him shiver a little, but he ignored it, walking to the black Camaro.

“How nice of you,” Peter greeted him, eying the goose bumps rising over Stiles' skin, as he handed him back his phone. The teen pocketed it right away.

“Well, wouldn't wanna poison you. On that note,” Stiles pulled his shirt higher, revealing the piece of paper stuck halfway down his pants. He pulled it out then, handing it over to Peter. “Jennifer's personal information along with her address. Thought we could go check out her place.”

There was a smirk playing along Peter's lips and Stiles couldn't help but smirk back at him too, the anger simmering down a bit finally.

“I assume you found, what you were looking for?” Stiles guessed then. Why else would Peter be already waiting for them by the Camaro, if that wasn't the case. And a sharp nod from the werewolf only confirmed his assumption.

He frowned then. “That is so weird, that she was left behind at the same place as before. There's...Oh, by the way, you didn't bury her next to the old house again, or did you?”

“That would be quite counter-productive, considering we don't want anybody to find her body, don't you think?” Peter asked, puzzled, his eyes sliding from Stiles to something behind his shoulder. Stiles turned around to see, what caught the werewolf's attention and saw Derek stalking to them with the box under his arm, anger obvious on his face.

He shouldered past Stiles without a word, his hair wet from water. He must have tried to get rid of all the wolfsbane powder with water. That was the best way to get rid of it anyways.

“I found Laura's body,” Peter informed him, after Derek shoved the box into his arms and opened the door on the driver's side of his black car, nodding in acknowledgment.

“I gather everything worked out according to the plan here too?” Peter continued, knowing the answer to that question already. Derek stopped in his tracks, his fingers curling over the door's rims. He looked up for a second and nodded again.

“Splendid,” his uncle continued, looking down at the content of the box, oblivious of the growing suspense between Derek and Stiles. Or he more likely didn't even care.

“I shall excuse myself now then,” he said, handing the box back to Derek over the car's opened door. “I have a very important meeting to attend.”

After Derek grabbed the box securely, Peter turned back to Stiles, snatching the paper away from him, regarding the information printed on it with care.

“I'm coming with you,” Stiles said, folding his arms in front of his chest. It was a dare for any of them to speak against that idea, but both werewolves remained silent. Well obviously nobody is going to object against his involvement in dangerous situations, because nobody actually cared. He guessed that was even worse, than if they tried to argue with him.

Derek shrugged, throwing the box over onto the passenger seat and muttered something only Peter could hear. Which he obviously did, because he nodded and stepped away from the car, still reading through the print on the paper.

Derek shut the door behind him, starting the engine and threw one last hateful glare at Stiles. The teen just stuck his tongue out at him in the most childish gesture ever and stepped out of the way too, so that the Camaro could slid out of the parking spot, speeding away from the hospital.

 

~o~

 

Since Jennifer Crane's residence didn't seem to be that far away from the hospital, they decided, it would be the best to just walk over by foot. Stiles had to admit, he was quite surprised, that Peter agreed with him. It wasn't like his future Peter never did share the same opinion on few things, of course he did, but it wasn't like he exactly relied on Stiles in regards of anything. This past Peter seemed to be a bit more trusting. Well, all things considered, Stiles guessed it gave sense, though. He didn't try to burn him with a Molotov cocktail in this time line, after all.

“So, I was wondering,” Peter started after they left the hospital's parking lot, heading in the opposite direction than the market lied. But he didn't get to continue, because Stiles' phone started ringing. He took it out of his back pocket, gesturing with a finger for Peter to wait, as they kept walking.

Looking at the phone, he noticed it was just after two PM. Who would be calling him right now? Well it wasn't a mystery for long. Seeing his dad's picture flash on the screen, he tapped it eagerly, bringing it up to his ear.

“Hey dad,” he greeted, glancing at Peter. The werewolf didn't seem to be listening, his gaze suddenly fixed on the paper about Jennifer, which Stiles stole from the head doctor's office. Of course, he heard everything, though, he was just being courteous.

“Stiles,” his dad sighed in a tired voice, which indicated he obviously just woke and didn't get to drink his coffee yet. “Where did you run off to again?”

“Uh,” Stiles shrugged, looking around reflexively. Well, not like he's gonna tell his dad, where he actually went, so looking around was quite pointless at the moment. “Out. Enjoying the last free day and all.”

“You don't say,” sheriff deadpanned, sensing his son's lie. “It's sunday, remember? The day we go to Melissa's for late lunch together?”

“Right,” Stiles cringed, feeling guilty right away. He shouldn't be neglecting his father. Especially not, since his time with him was so limited, but he couldn't help it. There was so much to do, so enjoying his dad being alive got moved down, at the end of his priorities.

“Well, you see,” the teen flailed. “I needed a distraction and got curious about that comatose patient missing you mentioned in the morning, so...”

“So let me guess,” John sighed again, “you went to investigate yourself.”

“Yeaaah, kinda,” Stiles nodded, making it sound sheepish enough. “But hey...I met deputy Lawrence and it ain't no riddle. The comatose dude was just picked up by his niece yesterday and nobody cared to inform the night shift.”

“That's good to hear,” the sheriff replied, his voice full of relief. “I was kinda worried it might have been an abduction, to be honest.”

“An abduction?” Stiles quizzed, his eyes wandering to his companion. Peter looked back at him, his eyebrows going up and shrugged. “Why would anybody abduct a comatose dude, dad?”

“It was just one of the theories I was working with, Stiles,” John answered, obviously dismissing the idea entirely now. “I mean, it's not like he could have walked out himself.”

There was a snort from beside him and Stiles flailed his arm, trying to smack Peter over his shoulder. But the werewolf skittered out of the way with supernatural speed, avoiding the contact. Stiles just rolled his eyes, trying to not snicker himself.

“I guess so. Well anyways,” the teen said, deciding it was time to end this conversation. “Why dontcha go over for lunch yourself. We can have some one-on-one pizza movie evening together instead.”

“I get to choose the toppings?” John questioned immediately.

“I guess I could make an exception, since I ditched you for the lunch,” Stiles muttered, hoping his dad wouldn't notice he was essentially just distracting him with unhealthy food.

“Awesome,” his dad said, obviously not caring as long as he got the pizza. “Oh, by the way, since you're already out... They called your jeep's tires are replaced already, so you can go pick it up on your way home.”

“Okay, dad, bye,” Stiles waved his hand, although John couldn't see it. “Say hey to Melissa.”

“Sure, bye,” echoed the sheriff and the line went dead. Stiles just sighed, pocketing his phone once again and glanced at Peter, who was walking next to him.

“You were saying?” he asked, wondering, what the werewolf wanted to ask, before the phone call came.

“Your father is the sheriff,” Peter stated, just as they reached the high apartment building at the end of the street. There was a small rock garden in front of it on each side of the entrance with a tiny empty pond on the left.

“Yeah, so?” Stiles stepped closer to the entrance door, pushing at it. It was locked of course, which didn't surprise him at all. Right next to the entrance door was a constellation with little door bells labeled with names of the owners. He found Jennifer's, seeing her apartment was obviously located on the fifth floor, left from the elevator.

“Well, I wouldn't have expected somebody, who grew up in such a rightful environment to just hand over four people for slaughter,” Peter commented, pushing some random door bell.

“Why, worried you won't get, what I promised?” Stiles quirked an eyebrow at the werewolf, staring at him for a second. The intercom crackled a little, breaking the moment and an elderly voice reached them. “Hello?”

“Post,” Peter answered, pushing the entrance open, when it buzzed slightly. Stiles followed him into the hallway, eying the mailboxes hanging in two rows on the wall to the right. He walked to the elevator, watching the werewolf to push the button.

“But to soothe your worries,” Stiles said, while they waited for the elevator to arrive. “I might have been brought up to respect the laws of men, true, but I came to honor the supernatural laws too. One should be judged according to those, which he breaks, dontcha think so?”

Peter just smiled at that, his human teeth gleaming maliciously in the afternoon shadow, as the elevator arrived.

 

~o~

 

Stiles eyed the door for a while, bringing his fingertips up, close to the wooden surface, without actually touching it, to see, if there were some wards or similar magical reinforcements, but the feeling remained dull. He glanced back at Peter, who just shook his head. “No heartbeat.”

“What about the other places?” he asked, waving to gesture at the two doors across the hallway. They all had peepholes on the doors, so better to be sure no one was spying on them, while they break into somebody else's home.

Peter turned around, rotating his head a little in turn for every door. “Three in that one,” he pointed to the left, “watching the television, I presume. Next one empty. The last has one pleasuring himself in the shower.”

“TMI, dude, TMI,” Stiles shook his head, a snort escaping his mouth. He took out the pen and knelt in front of Jennifer's door, scribbling a small string of sigils around the key hole. It didn't matter, the pen didn't leave any marks on the metal itself, what mattered was the intent behind them, since this was a fairly mild magic. He pressed the point of the pen into the key hole, closed his eyes and forced his Spark to compel the lock into thinking his pen was the rightful key. He turned the pen over few times, hearing the clicks and the door opened.

He got up to his feet, grinning back at Peter triumphantly, as he notched the door with his foot to open it more without actually touching the door itself. They wouldn't wanna leave any fingerprints around. He gestured for the werewolf to step inside, but Peter just frowned, looking inside the apartment.

“Something's wrong,” the werewolf muttered, angling his head a bit and taking a deep breath in. Stiles glanced inside, but didn't see, nor feel, nor smell anything, but his senses were inferior in every aspect, so he wouldn't bet on it.

“Well, that's rather unfortunate,” Peter sighed, stepping into the apartment leisurely. “I fear my meeting has been permanently canceled.”

“What?” Stiles asked, his forehead creasing, as he followed the werewolf inside, nudging the door again to close it effectively.

They walked slowly through the small hallway and the kitchen, which was full of dirty dishes. Stiles eyed the fixed plate of spaghetti with meatballs and the cup full of cold tea. And just as he turned to proceed into the living room, he caught a glimpse of a female body, lying face down on the ground behind the dining table, the cutlery lying scattered around her.

“Is that...?” he started, stepping into the living room, right next to Peter, who was eying the body, as if it was an interesting painting.

“I'm afraid so,” the werewolf nodded after a while.

“She's not supposed to be dead yet,” Stiles frowned, kneeling down next to body. He wanted to move it to see, if it was really her, but decided it was a pretty bad idea. He looked around the room, seeing nothing out of the ordinary and glanced back down on Jennifer's dead body. There didn't seem to be any injuries on it, that would hint out the cause of death.

“Yet?” Peter quizzed, not moving from where he was standing in the living room.

“Well yeah, she was supposed to die, true,” Stiles nodded, waving his hand over the body, wondering about the possibility of a magical cause. “But, uh...later, I thought.”

“Well maybe her murderer got to her sooner this time,” Peter shrugged, looking around curiously, his hands clasped behind his back.

“I dunno,” Stiles muttered, not feeling any magic, not around her, nor anywhere else. He looked up at Peter, quirking his eyebrow. “Did you?”

“This woman was killed by some poison,” Peter stated, squatting down to the body and sniffing at it. His nose scrunched at the smell and he straightened back up, disappointment playing on his face. “Although I do have to admit, it would be fairly poetic to poison her just as she did me, I must confess somebody obviously beat me to it.”

“Are you sure it was me last time too?” he added, walking through the living room to reach the bedroom. The door was opened and Stiles could see a little table with papers scattered all over it. “I don't kill people unnecessary.”

“Well, you had her dead body in the trunk,” Stiles said, watching as the werewolf skimmed through the documents on her table.

“But did I actually kill her or not?” Peter added, taking a tissue out of the box on the table and using it to open the drawers on it. “I am definitely not dismissing the possibility I did, especially, if she was the one administering wolfsbane into my bloodstream. I might have gotten better and then killed her out of revenge. I might have still been under her influence and rebelled. Or I might have simply found her dead and used it to my own benefit.”

“Uh,” Stiles cringed, getting back up. Knowing him he probably did investigate Jennifer's death or maybe Peter even told him, if he killed her or not, but he couldn't recall anything. Only the death body folded up in the car's trunk.

“Well, like I said,” he shrugged nonchalantly, so Peter wouldn't notice his distress. He was glad for the sigil on the nape of his neck in these kind of situations. “We all thought you're a crazy murderous villain.”

 

~o~

 

“Found anything?” Stiles wondered, walking by Jennifer's bedroom. Peter was just leisurely browsing through the lowest drawer, pulling out some documents to look at them closely.

“Nothing out of the ordinary, I fear,” he muttered, shoving them all back in. He stood up then, surveying the room and frowned. “No computer?”

“I didn't see any in the living room,” Stiles remarked, frowning at the fact too. He stuck his head into the bathroom, scanning the content of the small green room.

There was nothing weird about the bathroom, if one didn't count the few orange bottles stocked on the sink. They were all empty. Like literally empty, there wasn't even a description, nor the name of the medication, nor anything of that sort. It was just a clean white sticker around a translucent orange bottle.

“Peter,” Stiles called and in the next second the werewolf joined him in the bathroom. It was a really narrow bathroom with only a shower corner on one side and a sink on the other, so they couldn't even stand next to each other. Stiles went out of the way, so Peter could step in closer and sniff at the bottles.

“Nothing,” he said, puzzled.

“Nothing at all?” Stiles asked, trying to make sure. He glances at the bottles again, but there was nothing much to see except...well the empty bottles. He decided then: “There must be some residue inside them.”

“I can't smell anything, though, which is very curious,” Peter said, looking back at the teen. “I would bet on the same scent, that the body is carrying, at least. But there is nothing.”

“So what?” Stiles gestured, baffled by the situation. “Somebody poisoned her and planted these empty bottles to make it look like overdose? That doesn't make any sense, the autopsy would have revealed the truth.”

Peter walked past Stiles, heading back to the living room without an answer. The teen followed him right away and saw the werewolf go down to all four and sniff the nape of Jennifer's neck.

“Unless the culprit gave her something special. Something that the forensics would view as medical overdose.” Peter said, sniffing the body once again. “Indeed, it does smell like some medications, but there is something else too. I'm quite sure, that's the actual cause of death, but I am not familiar with this scent, so I can't tell you, what it is.”

“Okay, well let's assume, she was overdosed by the culprit, as you call him or her, whatever,” Stiles flailed, looking back into the kitchen. “How do you explain she obviously dropped dead in the middle of preparing her dinner? I don't think your culprit just materialized in her apartment out of nowhere and stuffed her mouth full, before she could lay down her knife and shit.”

Peter got up once again, folding his arms in front of him, listening intently. “What is your opinion on this then?”

“Well, if I was the investigator, I'd probably assume, she stole some unmarked meds from the hospital and then took them, because she was accused of mistreatment and probably fired. I bet they will find some familiar components in her stomach,” Stiles explained. “And then she dropped dead in the middle of it, because she underestimated the actual time, she had left, before her last supper.”

“Except, I am certain none of what I smell, was in the bottles,” Peter countered immediately. “So we might be dealing with someone magical?”

“No, I would feel, if there was magic involved,” Stiles shook his head and bit his lower lip in frustration.

Peter sighed then, running a hand over his head. “Isn't there some ritual for you to use in situations like this?”

“Yeah, I could go back in time and...no wait, I already did that and it didn't help at all,” Stiles commented, pacing along the bookcase. “This is no lead, the thread's been cut off way too well. I don't think, we can find the mastermind behind your poisoning through this. Also, we should probably leave, before somebody finds us here.”

Just as Stiles finished the sentence, there was a ring. The teen looked sharply behind him, seeing a mobile phone lying on the bookshelf. It vibrated few times, never stopping to ring. Stiles glanced at the screen and recognized the name of the head doctor from the hospital, who he talked to today. She must be calling to inform her about the filed complains.

“We should go. Now,” Stiles said, walking hastily back to the door. Peter followed him like a shadow without a word. And so they left the apartment. Just the way they found it, including the former nurse's body. Stiles even locked it back up just as it was, using his magic.

They left the building without anybody noticing or questioning their presence, partly thanks to Peter's werewolf senses, because he did stop Stiles once, before he could cross the path of a child returning back home.

To be honest Stiles did feel a bit dejected. Not only did they encounter a dead end in this particular case, but also he had no idea, where to start researching the weird creature, that killed Laura and in addition to all that, he realized he's missing quite some bits of his memory already.

It should all be somewhere in the sigil on his hand, he thought, but his Spark was strong enough now to help him recall at least the outlines, but there was nothing about the few things, he's been pondering on recently. And he only now realized, it's been gradually happening from the moment he landed in the past. Some things just came out blank.

Like he couldn't remember ever hearing about the Mitchell pack, although the Hales seemed to be so close to them. He was certain his husband wouldn't conceal something so banal.

And then there was the fact, that he couldn't remember anything else about Jennifer's death. There was definitely more about her, that he should know. His dad certainly investigated her, so Stiles should know, he should know everything, but... there was nothing.

It was different this time, Different than when he couldn't remember Laura's schedule. That time he could feel the presence of the memories in the sigil, he could feel it pulsing with knowledge, so he was able to pull it back out with his magic. But when he concentrated on it now, there was nothing. It was empty. And it would stay empty no matter how much magic he had at his disposal.

And if Stiles was being honest with himself, it scared the shit out of him, because these were only two things, he actually noticed missing, but what if there were more? What if he already lost a bunch of stuff, but he doesn't know, because he can't even remember them?

It was just as Tomasz said. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, the memories keep gradually disappearing and there is nothing he can do to stop it. He most likely won't even notice it, until he withers away into his old self.

 

Chapter Text

Stiles walked down the street from Jennifer's apartment building in silence, the wheels in his brain turning. He was mentally trying to summarize his life, or at least the future ten years. Hoping it would help him recognize the possible holes in his memory, he skimmed over all the major events, but the problem with lost memories was, that they were very hard to pinpoint, unless there's some interference, that makes the owner recognize the missing parts. It was very hard to find something, that didn't exist anymore, without knowing, that it should exist.

He sighed, running a hand over his buzz cut, walking along the pavement, until a voice pulled him out of his mind castle.

“You're oddly quiet,” Peter remarked, glancing at him sideways. They passed the hospital with it's parking lot and headed down the street towards the market. It was busting with customers, as it always was over the weekend.

“Uh, yeah, there's lots to think about, I guess,” Stiles shrugged, looking at the stands overflowing with fresh fruit and vegetables absentmindedly.

“Well, I do hope the topic of your silent contemplation includes the ways of murder too,” the werewolf added. “I would prefer not to fall behind on anything right now.”

Stiles wished it would be all that easy, wished there was just vendetta on his mind right now and nothing else. He did promise himself to only concentrate on the creature, but there were so many things cruising through his brain, that he had no idea where to turn first. And with the metaphorical sword of Damocles looming over his head, which was of course his limited time of existence, he really started to have enough of Peter's mannerism.

“Look, I'm gonna be frank with you,” he stopped, turning to face the werewolf. There were way too many chattering people around them to worry about somebody overhearing anyways. “We can't just jump into everything head on, we need to be careful and we need to divide our priorities accordingly. Honestly, there are just too many fronts to fight on right now and we can't do it all at once. There's your poisoning, there's the creature mystery... the Kate Argent thing waited for six years already, it can wait a little bit longer, dontcha think?”

“I wouldn't say patience is exactly a virtue of mine,” Peter grit out, looking suddenly murderous, but Stiles didn't back down, diffusing the tension with a wave of his hand and a shake of his head. “It's not? Could have fooled me. Well, ya know what they say: Patience might be bitter, but it's fruit is sweet.”

“I honestly couldn't care less about the fruit's sweetness in Kate Argent's case,” Peter responded, his words measured. “As long as she ends up dead.”

“She will, trust me,” Stiles nodded, “but why bother rushing into it, when we can just sit back and watch her walk into our waiting arms.”

Peter just lifted one eyebrow, looking dubious for a second, but Stiles smirked back at him, nodding once again to reassure the werewolf, his words meant exactly, what he's thinking.

“Why would she come here?” Peter questioned perplexed. “We just covered all the tracks.”

“She will come, after she realizes all her accomplices are dead,” Stiles shrugged, looking around out of habit. “And even if she wouldn't realize a thing, she would definitely end up in BH at some point, because her brother is moving back into town tonight together with his family.”

“So that's where we'll strike then,” Peter grinned ferociously, his teeth getting a bit sharper.

“No,” the teen answered, lifting a finger in a warning. “You will not harm them... no way. We need them.”

“I don't-” the werewolf started, but was interrupted by another rejection. “No. Peter, just trust me. I've got a plan. So, you will not go near them.”

He didn't wait for a response and started walking again, finding a way between two vegetable stands, which led him right to the traffic lights on the big crossroad. And sadly they just turned red, so he had to stop.

“Well aren't you a domineering little fella,” he could hear next to him, as Peter caught up to him with no effort whatsoever. “I find it amusing times and times again.”

“I think I gained that right being the one from the future and all,” Stiles sighed, feeling quite tired of everything suddenly, which kinda gave sense, because he was mostly driving on adrenaline, after using up his strengthening charm back in the hospital. And now, that the adrenaline was gone, there was nothing else to fuel him.

The lights changed into green and they both stepped onto the zebra crossing, walking through the road.

“Don't get me wrong,” Stiles started, rubbing his left ring finger distractingly. “I am just trying to look out for you... for both of you. You're pretty much the only thing I have left from my pack and I... screwed up, so...”

Peter didn't answer, until they reached the end of the zebra crossing and stepped onto the pavement. He hummed, lifting his hand and ran his fingers gently down Stiles' neck, lingering for a second on his pulse point. Stiles froze, his hand still clenching the ring finger.

“I suppose you are right,” the werewolf muttered, letting his hand fall down from Stiles' neck. “I would prefer not to be reckless executing this sensitive matter.... go retrieve your jeep now. It will be convenient to have one more vehicle at our disposal.”

And without another word, he turned from the teen and wandered away. Stiles watched his retreating figure, still not moving. Only when he lost the sight of Peter, after the said man turned around the corner of the church, his lower lip trembled a little and he sniffled. His fingers shot up and caressed the spot, where the werewolf scented him and he closed his eyes, because he didn't want to break apart and cry over such a banal thing.

It shouldn't mean that much to him. This was just Peter after all. It would be quite different and fairly more meaningful, if Derek decided to scent him. But still. It was a connection to his long lost pack and yes, he was just human, so according to some sources, he wouldn't suffer through the separation anxiety. Neither from his pack, nor from his mate. But Peter's scenting touch still made him feel more grounded . It anchored him inside the small Hale pack, for which he was immensely grateful. Because the teen-Stiles might have his family and his friends, but the future Stiles had nothing here. Nothing, just the past, that won't even lead into his future anymore.

 

~o~

 

Stiles walked across the square to reach the repair shop, where his jeep was supposed to wait for him. Not that there was much doubt about that, since there was only one good repair shop in the whole town of Beacon Hills, if one didn't count those two or three people, that decided to earn money by repairing cars in their own garages. Not that those were any bad, but Stiles couldn't possibly bring the car there for repairs, if he wanted the insurance to cover the costs.

He looked along the road, wondering, if he'll see Tara coming back from her patrol, since this was her part of the town to guard, but there was no police cruiser in sight. So he pushed the door of the repair shop open, walking inside. He looked around curiously, noticing the lobby was a quite small room with only a tiny front desk right in the middle of it.

“How can I help you?” asked the girl, sitting behind the desk. She smiled a little, tucking a strand of her short blond hair behind her ear. She looked kinda familiar.

“Oh, you've been here yesterday morning!” she exhaled, recognizing him. “The guy, who said he'll come later, but never showed up?”

“Uh, yeah,” Stiles said, waving his hand in hello. So that's, where he knew her from. He totally forgot, he was here yesterday already. It seemed like a million years ago. So much happened in between, that it must have slipped his mind or that's just, how that freaking magical amnesia worked.

“Well yeah, I came to pick up my jeep,” he announced, trying to diffuse the weird atmosphere with a change of the topic.

“Oh, right, the baby blue jeep?” she questioned, looking at the computer screen on her right. She laid her hand on the mouse and clicked few times.

“A deputy brought it over yesterday,” she added, curiosity obvious in her tone, as she brought up the file.

“Yep, that's the one. Deputy Lawrence did me a huge favor,” Stiles nodded immediately and then shrugged, hoping he made it look as nonchalant as possible. He surely wouldn't wanna be suspected of some crime, given the fact that his tires were so heavily damaged and a deputy was involved.

“Right,” she said, clearly dismissing her curiosity in favor of her job. “All the tires needed replacement. The insurance will cover it all, so you can just go to the back and retrieve it.”

“Okay,” he said, his eyes following her pointing finger to a door, that led to the garage, where his jeep has been stored apparently.

“Sign here first, though,” she smiled, sliding a document his way. It was just a standard form, confirming he picked up his jeep and all that stuff, so he signed it, thanked the girl for her services and bounded for the door, eager to see his baby.

The first thing he saw, when he walked into the huge room was a brownish van hoisted up in the air. It was missing all it's tires and it's front hood was opened wide to provide access to the engine bay. Stiles couldn't detect any noticeable damage on the car, but then again, he was no mechanic either.

“Uh, hello?” he said to the seemingly empty room. “I came to pick up my jeep.”

“Yeah, come over,” answered a deep voice from behind a wrecked silver car in the back of the huge room. Stiles trotted over hastily, eying the heap of scrap, that was once some nice car so intensely, that he didn't even notice the guy emerging from behind it.

Once he finally lifted his eyes, laying them on the mechanic in front of him, he startled so much, he almost fell over some spare part, that was just lying around. Why was it lying exactly in his way was a mystery to him though. Is that what all repair shops were like? Full of hidden traps and randomly laid out objects?

“Your jeep is outside, in the back, Stilinski,” said the guy in front of him, without a hint of a smile.

“Boyd!” Stiles exclaimed, his hand extending over automatically, to pat the teen on his shoulder. “I forgot you worked here.”

Vernon just squinted at him, perplexed by that proclamation, but he obviously decided to ignore the weirdness, because it was kinda normal for that Stilinski kid.

“You had no way of knowing, I work here, so,” he answered, shrugging. He eyed the hand latched onto his shoulder warily and then looked back at Stiles.

“Uh, true, true,” frowned Stiles, pulling his hand away from his shoulder. His smile seemed to fall for a second, but then it was on again in full force. “We should... maybe we could hang out sometimes. I... heard you like bowling. Scott sucks at it, but it's fun to watch, ya know.”

“I am not giving you any discount, Stilinski, if that's what you're aiming for,” Boyd said unamused. He folded his arms in front of his chest, staring into the teen's eyes with determination.

“Wh-whaa, I would neverrrr,” Stiles stuttered, flailing his hands in a placating gesture.

“Well, why else would you want to 'hang out' with me? We've never even talked together before now,” Boyd reminded him, his eyebrows lifting up, waiting for an explanation.

“Dude, paranoid much?” Stiles rolled his eyes, putting his both hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Plus, just so ya know, my insurance already covered everything, so I obviously have no possible ulterior motives.”

“Right,” Boyd answered, turning to the left and walking to the garage door on the wall. He pressed a red button next to it and the door started to go up, the mechanic sound of wheels turning adjoining the process.

The door was only halfway up, but Stiles already spotted the familiar baby blue paint job and slithered under the garage door with more grace, than should have been possible for him. He leaped to his beloved vehicle, running his fingers over the hood and the headlights, then he sank down, eying the new black tires.

“Your tires were pretty fucked up,” Boyd remarked from behind him, standing in front of the already fully opened garage door.

“They sure were,” Stiles answered, distracted by the shiny new disks, that he otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. At least not yet, as a teenager. Suddenly the sliced up tires didn't seem like such a disaster. Although he still had to figure out, who dared to touch his baby in such a threatening manner.

“Okay, you're good to go,” informed him Boyd, evidently not eager enough to find out, what caused the horrible state of Stiles' tires. He turned around, walking back into the repair shop and pushed the button again to close the garage door.

Stiles' head whipped in his direction, seeing the door already halfway down, with Boyd walking back to the silver car wreck.

“Thanks, Boyd!” Stiles yelled, before the door could block his view. “And I meant that bowling invitation, by the way. I will-” but he was cut off by a soft bang, when the garage door slid down completely.

 

~o~

 

The ride back home was quite quick, partially thanks to the blaring radio in the car. Stiles turned it up all high, thrumming his fingers over the steering wheel in rhythm with the music. The beats resonated through his body, making his head swing up and down in time with them. It made the driving nicely mindless and automatic.

He turned into their street, leading the jeep into the driveway and turned the radio off. He grabbed the keys then, jumping out of the car and locking the doors carefully. Kneeling down to the front tire, he ran his fingers over the shiny new disc and smiled, patting it affectionately.

Maybe he could watch the new Ironman movie with his dad tonight. He downloaded it illegally just the day before, although he's already seen it in the cinema twice. But he only did it, because his dad was never free, when they played it. So, he didn't even feel bad for pirating it.

Stiles didn't even get to use his keys to open the door, because it was suddenly opened, when he reached it. His dad was standing there, adjusting the tie on his uniform, the gun holster sitting comfortable on his hip.

“We'll have to move the movie night, kiddo,” John apologized, patting the badge pinned to his chest. “I got a call.”

“What happened?” Stiles asked, suddenly eager to find out the newest crime committed in Beacon Hills. “Can I come with?”

“None of your business,” the sheriff shook his head, running his hand over Stiles' buzz cut, walking past him through the doorway. “Plus, you've got school tomorrow, so you better go to sleep early this time.”

“Awwh, come on,” Stiles pleaded, sliding his fingers over the door rim and turning to watch his dad. “At least a little hint.”

Sheriff just shook his head, pulling the car keys from his right pocket. He chose the one from the police cruiser with a gentle cling-clang and opened the driver's door. “And no eavesdropping on the frequency, I know you still got that old radio under your bed.”

Stiles just grinned, deciding not to react to that comment. His dad would have taken the radio away, if he really didn't want him to listen on the conversations between the deputies. He knew all the station's frequencies after all.

The police cruiser backed out of the driveway and slid down the street, until it was gone. Stiles tapped his thigh few times, closing the main entrance and headed into the kitchen. He settled on making a quick sandwich with ham and cheese, adding a generous portion of ketchup into the mix, humming under his breath. Stuffing it all into his mouth, he walked out of the kitchen, going up the stairs.

Chewing furiously, he strolled around dad's room, heading straight into the bathroom. He felt like taking a shower and maybe he could incorporate a long wank into it too. Since he was all alone, he wouldn't have to keep all the gasps to himself and he surely preferred being able to moan as much as he wanted, when he pleasured himself. It kinda made the whole session a lot more enjoyable.

Stiles started to pull off his clothes immediately, while swallowing the last remains of the sandwich. The orange shirt ended up on the floor first, joined by the reddish jeans in an instance. He leaned onto the sink to pull off each of his socks and lastly his boxers too. He stepped into the bathtub then, eager to get under the spray of hot water. His body literally ached for it right then.

He took off the shower head, pointing it away from his naked body and fumbled with the faucets for a while to get the best possible mixture of hot and cold. Dipping his fingers into the water, he waited until it was pleasurably hot and put the shower head back up into the holder. He stepped under it then, turning around and letting the spray of hot water hit the nape of his neck and slide down his back.

Stiles moaned appreciatively, moving his head from side to side, while the water relaxed his neck and thereafter also his back. That was much better. Why did he feel, as if he ran a very long marathon today? He never runs, not even at lacrosse practice. Although that might be because he was faulty sentenced to warm the bench for the last few terms. Maybe that would all change next week during the trial though. Stiles frowned, deciding to concentrate more on the task in front of him.

Grabbing the shower gel from the nearby shelf, he coated his hands with it, rubbing it over his skin slowly, sliding his fingers down his neck and over his chest. He washed each of his arms in turn then. His left forearm stinged a little at the contact with the shower gel, but he dismissed it quickly enough. He closed his eyes and turned around, the spray of water hitting his chest. The teen stepped even closer to the wall then, letting the drops fall down over his head and then ran his slick fingers down his stomach teasingly.

Mentally flipping through his best collection of sexual fantasies, he brought up the image of Lydia's long legs, feeling his cock respond immediately, as by any other healthy teen. He slid his fingertips over the hardening flesh between his legs, feeling the soft skin under the pads of his fingers. His breath hitched slightly, his member swelling with anticipation, so he braced himself with his left hand on the wall in front of him and leaned into it a little more to prevent falling down in the bathtub later.

He put his fingers around his cock then, stroking slowly up and down his skin, the fingers on his left hand pressing onto the wall, while his imagination skimmed over Lydia's breasts, although he never actually saw them. Stiles took a deep breath in, blinking through the water. His left hand was right in front of him. He frowned, catching sight of a black line on his ring finger. What...

His dick was back to it's initial state, as soft as an overcooked noodle in a blink of an eye and he let go of it immediately, bile rising up his throat. He stumbled backwards in the bathtub, escaping the spray of water. After a few quick deep stuttering breaths, he managed to lower himself down to sit inside the bathtub. He grabbed the edge of the bathtub, dry-heaving once again, but managed to keep it all down.

What the hell just happened, he wondered, cold running through his body. He shuddered, sobbing once. Did he just reverse back into his past self for the few minutes it took him to drive back home and start the wanking session? He glanced at his left hand, seeing the black line of the mate ring, seeing the 'future' sigil on the back of it... He kept staring at it for what seemed like an eternity, not blinking once. It was there, it was there, he repeated to himself in his mind.

“I'm here,” he whispered, his breathing becoming uneven, heart stammering. It looked pretty much like a panic attack was brewing inside his chest, but he tried to calm himself, letting the relief of his present existence wash over the panicky jitters.

“I'm here,” he repeated a bit louder this time. “I have a mate, I have a pack. I am the future me.”

Stiles leaned into the bathtub, staring at the ceiling, ignoring the warm spray of water hitting his legs persistently. He took a few deep breaths in and out, steadying himself.

“I am the future me,” he parroted few times, clenching his left hand between his fingers. “The future me.”

Without a warning, he pulled himself up again, reaching for the water faucets. He turned them, putting the water off and stepped out of the bathtub, dripping water everywhere. Stiles grabbed a nearby hanging green towel, drying the droplets of water from his skin with it, but only managing to get half of them, since his hands were trembling a lot and he was in a hurry.

Tying the towel securely around his hips, he stumbled hastily out of the bathroom and into his room, shutting the door behind him firmly. Stiles grabbed the first writing instrument, he could find, which ended up being a green pen and sprawled onto the floor, pulling the scattered blank sheets of paper closer and then shook his left hand, activating the strengthening charm right away to access all his memories. He will write down as much as possible, before it could disappear, he promised himself, feeling his Spark break through the circle around the 'future' sigil.

He wrote and wrote, until his hand hurt, until his Spark got utterly exhausted and he couldn't even keep his eyes open anymore, although it was only few minutes past midnight. And then the darkness engulfed his mind and he slid into a restless sleep.

 

~o~

 

Stiles was standing inside Derek's empty loft, the air was full of milky fog, only few rays of the setting sun cutting through the thick white substance. He waved his hand around, trying to disperse it a little, to drive it away from him and noticed his hands had way too many fingers on them. He counted six fingers on each hand and frowned. That's not right, is it? He wasn't sure, but his contemplation was interrupted right at the beginning by a noise.

“Where is the she-wolf?” questioned a far away male voice and Stiles squinted to see something through the thick fog, but he couldn't see a thing.

“Where is the she-wolf?” came an echo back to him, the voice slightly more hushed than before. He stepped into the mist, letting it engulf him and walked in the direction, where he thought he heard the voice talk from.

“Where is the she-wolf?” he heard from a totally different direction, so he side-stepped, frowning. He turned around, walking for a while, feeling more and more lost as the seconds ticked by. He couldn't see anything through the fog.

“Where is the she-wolf?” repeated the voice and Stiles stopped in his tracks, seeing a bold lady in a long gray dress. She stared at him intensely, not needing to blink even once and then without a warning she opened her mouth and the phrase came out again like some recording on repeat. She didn't even bother moving her lips, the words just spilled out of them on their own, a male voice asking: “Where is the she-wolf?”

“Who...?” Stiles asked, frowning in confusion. He was ready to step closer to the lady in gray, but there was a loud gunshot right behind him and he whipped his head around, not seeing anything. Few more gunshots were fired all around him and then it was silent for a while, but as he turned his head back to the gray lady, she was gone.

“It's real,” stated a new voice not far away from him, sounding a little too breathless. And he knew that voice immediately, he knew it by heart.

“Der?” he panicked, stumbling through the fog, not even caring, he couldn't see anything anymore. He followed the voice and as he kept walking, the fog kept getting thinner and thinner until he could see the outlines of a male figure kneeling on the floor.

“Derek?!” Stiles yelled, noticing the blood, spilling down the werewolf's chest. There was a huge hole, where his heart was supposed to be, gaping at him. Derek looked up then, looking to the left, his eyes not even seeing the teen. “It's real,” he muttered, his eyes wide in shock.

“It's not real!” Stiles yelled back, trying to run to his mate, but he couldn't move his legs properly and ended up staying on the same place, no matter, how hard he tried to get his muscles to work.

There was a movement to their right and Stiles' head whipped over, seeing a shape of a woman walking through the fog to them. He tried to get closer to her too, but it was all in vain. He could only remain on the same spot, it didn't matter to which direction he tried to move.

“You're real,” wheezed Derek, his fingers ranking at his chest, as if he could pull the blood back inside his veins, but it was an impossible task, and the red liquid kept sliding between his fingers, leaking on the floor.

Stiles' eyes went wide, as the fog around the woman dispersed, revealing the one and only Kate Argent. She had a cruel smirk on her face, her eyes full of hatred.

“You're not real,” the teen whispered, aware of the weird antimony game, that his statements were playing with Derek's.

Kate Argent just laughed, opening her mouth to say something, but it was drowned by an old echo reaching him once again. “Where is the she-wolf?” came from behind him and there she was again. The bold woman in gray. What the hell were these random bold people doing in his nightmares? Because yes, Stiles knew it was a nightmare, it had to be, he had more fingers on his hand, than was normal.

A vicious roar reached from in front of him and he looked back again, zeroing in on Kate Argent right away, because she was the imminent thread. But instead of her, there was a weird bluish jaguar-like creature, baring it's long pointy fangs in Derek's direction.

And Stiles could only watch the jaguar-like human, as it pounced on his wounded mate. He tried to run to him, but couldn't. He tried to yell for help, but couldn't. He tried to tear his eyes away from the uneven fight, but couldn't. The jaguar-like human bit into Derek's neck, tearing out his throat with it's teeth and his mate just gurgled, blood spurting through the wound. And then he crumbled on a heap on the floor and was methodically torn into pieces, limb by limb.

 

~o~

 

 

Stiles woke up wide eyed, cold sweat covering his naked body, his breath even wilder, than in the shower earlier today. The table lamp was shining right into his eyes and he could feel tears running down his cheeks from it's brightness. Of course, there were other reasons for the tears also, but now was not the time to remind himself.

He tried to push himself off the floor, where he'd fallen asleep, nestled right between the papers, he manages to fill with his memories, but his arms were too shaky. His muscles trembled, the skin ached from the burned off strengthening charms. He couldn't even calm his pounding heart.

It was just a nightmare, he tried to convince himself, rewinding the scene over and over in his head. Kate Argent was dead, after all, she couldn't hurt his mate anymore. Peter killed her and she never came back, definitely not as a bluish jaguar. What was this, the Avatar? Except, he was in the past now and Kate Argent was actually still alive, he realized after a few seconds.

Making up his mind, he reached for the green pen, scribbling a strengthening charm down both his thighs. It was something, he wasn't used to do, but desperate times call for desperate measures and he might need the extra strength boost. He scrambled hastily onto his feet then, stumbling to his closet and pulled out some clothes, He couldn't even see properly, what his hands found, but he didn't actually care right now. He pulled it all on, pocketed the pen, snatched his backpack and ran into the bathroom, to pull his keys out from the red pants, he left there on a heap earlier.

He ran down the stairs then and through the door, leaping to his jeep as fast as he could. To his further annoyance, he did struggle with the keys for a second, since his hands were still shaking in aftermath of the nightmare, but in the end, he got it right, crawling inside. He settled on the seat, taking a few steadying breaths. Stiles was gone far too much, so that couldn't possibly calm him down at the moment, but at least it stopped the unnerving twitching in his fingers.

He stomped down on the clutch, turning the key in the ignition and switched the gear to back out of the driveway. The tires squeaked a little at the gravel and Stiles cringed internally. Those were his new tires after all. He dismissed the thought pretty quickly though, recognizing the patterns of teen-Stiles in those worries. He didn't want that dude around right now.

Getting to the old Hale house took only a couple of minutes, he did run over a red light once, speeding through the crossroad near the hospital, but it was like three in the morning and all the roads were empty anyways. He also ignored all the stop sighs and counted himself lucky, that no deputy was on patrol near the preserve, else would have been stopped for crossing the speed limit repeatedly.

Stiles stopped the car in front of the burned down ruin, running his eyes frantically over it's outlines, which were visible thanks to the jeep's headlights. He turned his head to the left, eying the darkness, until his eyes adjusted and he found the black Camaro, exactly where he bet it would be. He leaped out of the jeep immediately, not even turning off the engine and stumbled across the scattered dry leaves to the car.

Pulling out the pen, he crouched down to the front wheel, scribbling over the tires. He was interrupted in an instant by a furious growl behind him, but he didn't let that disturb him, drawing one protection sign after another.

“What are you doing here?” he heard Derek snarl from behind him, his steps getting closer and closer.

“Protection sigils,” Stiles muttered, not even turning around to face the werewolf. “I can't just let her-”

“I don't need-” started Derek, irritation obvious in his tone, but the teen didn't let him finish the sentence.

“I don't fucking care, Der, shut up,” Stiles spat, pushing the tip of the pen even harder into the surface of the front tire. “You know nothing. I can't just let her.... I can't...”

A strong hand gripped his shoulder, pulling him up with such strength, he couldn't do anything to stop it, just clutch the pen and stare disbelievingly at the unfinished sigil.

“I told you not to-” started Stiles, his voice angry, as his hand trembled, aching to finish the sigil.

“Hunters,” shook him Derek, waving into the darkness of the forest surrounding them. “We need to go. Get into the car.”

“Hunters?” Stiles echoed, turning to stare between the trees. He couldn't see a thing, because the jeep's headlights were pointing in a different direction – at the Hale house.

“Yes, get into the car,” the werewolf gritted his teeth, opening the passenger door with one swift movement and pushing him inside. “We're leaving.”

Stiles put a hand on the door, his feet rooted into the ground. He could feel anger bubbling inside his stomach, calming down the fear he was feeling after the nightmare, turning it into cold determination.

“How many?” he asked, scanning the treeline. He clenched the door so tight, his knuckles were no doubt turning white. But it was the only way to prevent Derek from pushing him inside the car.

“Three,” the werewolf answered automatically, nudging him closer to the seat, but Stiles didn't bulge this time.

“Where?” he questioned insistently, watching Derek stare in front of them for a second, then turn his head to the right and eventually to the left. They were surrounded then. The fact only made his anger grow stronger. All the frustration from the time travel adding into it's strength.

“Male or female?” he asked hurriedly, knowing they still had some time to spare. Under normal circumstances, werewolves could sense a human from very far, no matter what kind of an experienced hunter it was.

“What...?” Derek frowned, stopping in his tracks.

“Male of female?!” Stiles insisted, looking back at the werewolf.

“All male,” Derek answered puzzled. The teen smirked at that, flashing his teeth like only a werewolf ever would, when displaying his viciousness and Derek froze, confused by the action.

Stiles used that second to rip his shoulder out of the werewolf's grasp, and forcing his way from between him and the car under the werewolf's arm. He walked few steps away from the car, jabbing the pen in the dry ground there. He pulled it through the dirt, drawing an uninterrupted line, lengthening it all around Derek, who was just staring at him. Then his face melted into one of rage, realizing the hunters are upon them and they had no ways of escaping now anymore.

“I've just had about enough of time fucking me over,” Stiles muttered, stepping inside the circle, right in front of Derek. He knelt hastily, pushing his pants higher and drawing some more onto his skin of his right leg. He stood up then, hearing the werewolf's growl intensifying and stomped down with his right foot. “No hunter is gonna get to you. Not under my watch.”

He could feel the Spark turning on again, as he said that, swimming lazily until it latched itself on the strengthening charm on his right thigh. It burned right down through it, seeping into the sigil there and down into the ground, erecting a shield along the line, he drew.

Suddenly there was a dome glittering golden all around them. Stiles managed it just in time too, judging from the loud thump, that came from in front of him. There was an arrow on the ground behind the barrier, obviously hitting it just after he erected it.

Another arrow swished from behind, hitting the barrier and bouncing of it, as if it was made out of rubber. Derek turned around, standing back to back with Stiles, his features distorted into Beta mode, his eyes blazing red. He roared at the hunter hiding behind the tree and Stiles could feel the vibrations of the Alpha roar in his bones.

The teen could see Derek getting ready to pounce through the barrier right into the forest and he couldn't let that happen. They were safe inside the magical dome. So he turned, extending his arm and placing his palm on the werewolf's shoulder. He dispersed the notice-me-not sigil on the nape of his neck partially, letting the mate bond overflow with calm. Derek tensed even more at first, but then his muscles relaxed, as he turned his head, eying the hand on his shoulder. The werewolf's features switched automatically back into human ones, confusion pulling his eyebrows together.

Stiles let go of his mate's shoulder then, stepping closer to the barrier, his eyes watching the treeline sharply, zeroing on the exact spot the first arrow flew from.

“Is this, how the hunters do it, nowadays?” he proclaimed, his voice strong and unwavering, his hand curling in a fist. “Attacking innocent? I would have thought more of you, Chris.”

As expected, there was movement in the darkness and the man stepped out from between the trees, a crossbow in his arms aimed at them. Derek stiffened again and snarled, but didn't try to cross the barrier anymore, thanks to Stiles, who was sending soothing vibes through the subdued mate bond. His mate just kept alternating between growling and confused staring.

“You're trespassing,” Stiles said, as Chris Argent walked closer, together with the other two hunters, forming a loose circle around them, staying far enough from the dome's barrier. Derek's head twitched to the side, eying them, but he didn't react otherwise.

“We are not,” Chris commented, ranking his eyes over the dome.

“According to the agreement signed between the Hales and the Argents fifty four years prior, this land and all surroundings belong to the Hale pack,” the teen recited, side-stepping a little to cover Derek just in case his magic wouldn't hold the dome up for long. “And neither the Argents, nor any other hunters are allowed to step inside the property, unless they have a permit from the current Hale Alpha.”

“The Hales don't live here anymore,” Chris snorted, tilting his crossbow in the direction of the burned down house.

Stiles bowed his head a little, acknowledging it and pointed behind him. “Allow me to introduce then - Derek Hale, the current Alpha of the Hale pack, whose presence here is clearly restoring the agreement.”

The hunters eyed Derek, not sure what to do now and Chris scowled, his jaw clenching and unclenching few times. He nodded then, lowering the crossbow. The two other hunters followed suit in an instant.

“I don't think we met before,” the hunter said then, stepping closer to the barrier, his head tilting to get a better look at the teen. “Yet, you seem to know me.”

“I know all sorts of things (at least for now, he added in his head). Anyways, I am the new Hale's Emissary. Appointed by the previous Hale Alpha before her untimely demise,” Stiles answered, nodding sadly, but else not moving from where he was standing. “It's only temporary.”

“What happened to Deaton?” Chris frowned, his hand holding the crossbow twitching, as if he suspected some crime or similar unclean proceedings.

“Nothing,” Stiles shrugged. “He wasn't much fun to have around... with all that cryptic shit and what not.”

Argent snorted at that, motioning at the remaining hunters with his crossbow. They both nodded, stepping away from the dome, turning around and walking down the driveway next to each other. Derek glanced back, seeing them retreat slowly, following the road out of the preserve.

“There was a body,” Chris started to explain, putting the crossbow on his shoulder. “We were inclined to believe, she was killed by a feral werewolf.”

“Whose body?” Stiles quizzed, trying to remain calm. That couldn't be Laura's body all over again, could it? Where did Peter say he buried her again? Is the whole history somehow repeating itself, even through his interference?

“Jennifer Crane,” the hunter answered, his eyes jumping from Stiles to Derek and then back, searching for some kind of a reaction. “It was Peter Hale's nurse.... your Beta?”

“What exactly made you think the overdosing was committed by a were'?” Stiles deadpanned, folding his arms over his chest. “And before you accuse me of anything, you should know, I am the sheriff's son, so I do have more or less free access to such information.”

“We just assumed-” the hunter started, but Stiles just waved his hand, rolling his eyes. “Yes, yes, I can imagine. You heard the vegetable Peter Hale disappeared from the hospital out of the blue and the next day his nurse is found dead. So the obvious explanation for you guys is Peter going feral. I get it...I do... it's a very weak excuse though. Please do your research properly next time or you know...ask first.”

Derek shifted behind him, turning back to Chris, which meant the two hunters left the property, just as they were supposed to. He continued without a break though.

“But...I like you, Chris, I think you're a proper hunter and we value the Code, so...you're officially forgiven for trespassing and attacking us... we could have killed you all, you know and we would have been in the right,” Stiles said, the barrier shimmering slightly letting him know, there wasn't much magic left in him anymore, the strengthening charm was starting to burn off his skin.

Argent frowned, eying him with mistrust. “And I am to believe there will be no retribution?”

“Your family is safe. (More or less, he thought privately.) All humans are...as they always were living alongside the Hale pack,” the teen nodded, stepping to the barrier and moving his foot through the line, dispersing the glittering dome. He ran out of magic just as the last golden tendrils disappeared.

“But,” Stiles added and Chris tensed at that, the hand landing on his crossbow hanging over his shoulder. Derek growled, his hand twitching, but Stiles grabbed his forearm, the mate's touch soothing the werewolf. Derek glanced at him, even more puzzled, than he was before, but that was alright with Stiles, as long as he didn't attack anybody.

“I request a briefing of sorts... on a neutral ground.” the teen stated, running his hand over his short hair, “since I would like to formally request the permission to enact the Code.”

“What?” the hunter questioned, not understanding. Derek glanced to his left, staring between the trees for a while, before he brought his eyes back to Chris. Stiles realized Peter must have arrived just now, hearing his Alpha's howl. He remained hidden in the darkness of the woods in case something went haywire obviously.

“We hunt those, who hunt us, right,” Stiles recited, shrugging. “The Hale pack had been hunted down and we have the right to persecute those responsible for the crime according to the law.”

Derek tensed at that, his hands clenching into fists, looking to the right, where the old Hale house stood in all it's morbid glory. Chris looked there as well. There was silence for a few heartbeats, but the hunter turned back to the teen then, nodding.

“You'll get your 'briefing'. Tomorrow at four, the coffee shop under the art gallery” he confirmed, looking serious. “But I want solid proof, before I agree to anything and Deaton will join us too.”

“Done and done,” Stiles smiled, reaching a hand over to the hunter. Chris grasped it immediately, squeezing it a little, before letting go of it. He walked around them in a wide circle then, following the way down the driveway and along to road, just as the other two hunters did.

Just as they lost him out of sight, Peter walked out of the darkness, a smirk playing on his lips.

“Good job,” he praised, stopping next to them. Derek reached over to him on reflex, running his hand down the side of his neck in a slow motion. Stiles watched the action, feeling the prickling of jealousy in his throat. He dismissed it quickly, willing the notice-me-not sigil reform in full force again.

Just as he did that, the attention of both werewolves jumped back to him, the absence of his scent and heartbeat alarming them slightly. Stiles just waved his hand, a loopy smiles playing on his lips, to reassure them, he was alright, but it was obviously way too early for such assumptions. His right knee gave out and he stumbled to the ground, sprawling into the dirt. His head throbbed violently.

“Oh fuck, what the-,” he swore, not sure, if he should grab his right leg or his head. But there was something else too. A void spreading over his mind. His left hand twitched wildly, the sigil on it flashing brightly once, as if trying to fight off something, but then it turned back black and Stiles blanched, when he realized, what just happened.

“Shiiiit, we have a problem,” Stiles groaned, rubbing his left hand, where the 'future' sigil lied. His face screwed up, the headache overwhelming him for a few long seconds.

“I can't...oh fuck...no,” he mumbled, trying to remember something, that was obviously missing now. The werewolves watched him worriedly.

“Peter, shit,” Stiles moaned, his hand covering his mouth. He really didn't want to throw up now, but the situation was making him sick. “I can't remember...the fire...who...”

“Oh, you're such an imbecile,” Peter sighed, stepping in closer and kneeling down to him. He ran his hand over his shoulder. “You'd really think, I would just take the names from you and do nothing? I pulled a few strings here and there right away and gathered all the evidence.”

“Uh, how?” Stiles frowned, the headache subsiding a bit. Although he still felt really tired. Using his Spark through the strengthening charms does that to a person.

He suddenly realized, it was quite a stupid question. Even the feral Peter somehow figured, who the culprits were after all. It should be no surprise he figured it now too.

“It was quite easy, after you gave me the names,” Peter shook his head, counting them off on his fingers, “Austin Anderson, Frank Reddick, Lance Unger, and Kate Argent. Remember now?”

There was a silent gasp from above them and their heads whipped over right away, catching Derek's wide eyes. He didn't wait for anything more, but turned around, running off into the woods.

“Damn,” Stiles swore, staring at the spot, where Derek disappeared. He nudged at Peter's arm. “Go after him.”

“Huh, why?” the werewolf's eyes slid back to him, his hand falling down from his shoulder. Stiles pushed at his chest, but it didn't accomplish anything.

“Go, he needs you,” he muttered, as Peter lifted his both eyebrows, the look obviously saying Stiles is in a way worse shape, than Derek right now.

“Just go, I'll be fine,” he persisted stubbornly. “I...did you say Kate Argent? Oh shit, she was...and Derek...you need to go after him, now. I would, but..” he waved his hand, not even attempting to explain the situation to the werewolf. It was all so fucked up, he didn't even have the energy to care anymore.

Peter stared at him for a while, as if trying to estimate the range of Stiles' mental and physical injuries combined. Then he nodded, obviously deciding Stiles would be able to take care of himself. He stood up hastily, running off into the darkness after his nephew and leaving the exhausted teen sprawled on the cold ground.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The dawn came. And with it, hundrets of chirruping voices all over the preserve. Stiles turned his head up to stare at the treetops over him, wondering if he'll be able to see a bird or two, but they remained hidden. He waited for a while longer, sitting there on the cold ground, just breathing in the chilly morning air. It felt quite good on his skin, especially on the burned off parts.

As if feeling the thoughts running through his head, his left thigh decided to get caught in a spasm and he groaned, extending the leg in front of him quickly to stretch it properly. He reached for his toes, grabbing them between his fingers and pulled them closer, stretching out the leg's muscles. It helped a bit and he felt the pain subside right away.

Stiles got up then. He felt so tired, he could practically just lie back down in the dirt and fall asleep right away, which was quite surprising, because his ADHD usually kept him quite alert, although he was mostly way too distracted by everything. But strengthening charms always did that to him, after he used them up. They left him dried out of any energy, they didn't leave anything for the body.

He probably shouldn't have wasted the one on his thigh for the hunters. He could have just let Derek pull him into the car and avoid them altogether. But he was way too angry, way too restless, way too scared to even consider that possibility. And in the end, it did serve it's purpose. He did get the briefing alright. Except now he couldn't even remember, what he wanted to discuss in there.

Stiles frowned, pulling himself to his feet. Something about the Code, was it? We hunt those, who hunt us. Ah right, the Hale fire. Peter did tell him, who did it, right? He couldn't remember the other names, but there was definitely one Kate Argent on that list. And he knew, who that was. It was Derek's lover, before the fire. The huntress must have seduced him to gain access into the territory. But how did she do it? And where does he begin to look for solid proof? He needs it all for the briefing later today, but he had nothing. Nothing.

He grumbled angrily, bringing his knuckles to his forehead and knocked on it, hoping it would somehow magically help him remember. But he knew, those memories were long gone. They've disappeared from the 'future' sigil and there was no way to retrieve them. The whole place, where they should have been, was hollow. The time paradox swallowed a chuck of his memories just like that.

Stiles thought back on it, while he walked over to his jeep. The driver's door was opened wide, the engine still running. He should be glad, he didn't run out of the fuel, letting it on for over an hour like this. Any more longer and it could run dry and how would he get home then? The jeep would just die on him and he wouldn't be able to recover it all by himself anymore.

He climbed inside, staring at the windshield. There was something about that thought, that irked him. His frown deepened, as he stared ahead, watching the lights illuminate the old Hale house. His fingers traced random patterns over his left thigh. He could feel it down to his sensitive skin, feel the line of the burned off charm.

He realized then, that using the strengthening charms made his memories go faster and in bigger chunks. Tomasz did say the memories will gradually disappear, but they never went that way, they always just huddled all together and got torn out without a trace. And that always happened after he used up his Spark, whether he noticed it or not.

That revelation didn't exactly make him happy, because it meant, the less he'll use his Spark, the longer will the sigil on his hand hold the memories. Which in turn meant, he needed to stop using the Spark. But what was he supposed to do instead? Should he just bring his old bat and try swinging it at the creature? That would surely help, Stiles thought bitterly. With no solution in sight, he turned the jeep around, heading out of the preserve.

 

~o~

 

Parking his jeep in the Stilinski driveway, he noticed the front door opening slowly, sheriff standing there eying his car. Stiles grimaced, cutting off the engine and getting out of the jeep. He left his backpack on the passenger seat, closing the door and locking it behind him. As he walked do the entrance, he noticed his father holding a steaming cup of, what he assumed was, coffee. He slurped at it once, lifting his eyebrows.

“Uh,” Stiles started, trying to look as sheepish as possible. “Went to drive off a nightmare.” Which was technically true.

John just nodded at that and let him pass through the door without a further explanation. It used to happen a lot to Stiles, when he was a child and only a long ride around the dark neighborhood could calm him enough to not get a panic attack, so his dad always understood the need to get out of the room, where he actually had the said nightmare.

“Myea, I thought so,” the sheriff nodded again, following his son into the kitchen, where the fresh batch of coffee waited. “I woke up to you trampling down the stairs in the middle of the night, you know...and then the engine.”

“Yeah, uh,” Stiles shrugged, filling a huge cup with coffee and slurping it all out in one go. “I don't suppose I could stay at home today?” he added hopefully.

“No chance, pal,” John rolled his eyes, sipping his hot beverage in the kitchen's corner.

“Could you at least drive me, then?” Stiles asked, pouring himself another cup. His father walked over immediately, covering the cup with his hand, as if to say he's had enough. Stiles just sighed, letting go of the cup. “The jeep is low on fuel and I don't have time to go get more anymore.”

“Yeah sure, go get ready,” John replied, taking the cup and tipping it over into the sink. Stiles watched the caffeine slip down into the hole, secretly hoping, he'll have time to get some more from the automatic coffee machine in school. Speaking of school, he finally realized, why the vamps from Twilight always looked so super miserable. Going to high school all over again sounded like the worst idea ever.

Feeling tired already, (because one stupid cup of coffee is not gonna do the job it was made for apparently,) Stiles walked up the stairs into his room, where he just sat down on the chair, leaning into it for a second. He noticed his computer was still on, sitting comfortably on the table, the screensaver's fireflies flying around the black space.

He scowled at them, remembering one of his nightmares – the one, where the fireflies kept circling around the dead members of his pack. Disgusted with them, he slid his middle fingers over the touchpad and watched the regular screen jump back on. There was a notification about a new mail in the it's corner and Stiles clicked it curiously. It was an e-mail from Tomasz.

 

'Przemko! Sending you passwords for library. Will now go hospital, but will contact you, when I get back. We have to discover creature. Stay safe, nefew.'

 

Stiles smirked, eying the misspelled word. It certainly made him feel better, seeing that familiar word, especially in that particular letter combination. It took his uncle ages to start spelling it correctly and even after that he mostly didn't, because he decided it was a special way to spell the word in Stiles' case.

He turned around in his chair, feeling a bit better and his eyes fell down on the scattered notes, he wrote the previous night. From what he could see, there were pages and pages full of all the memories, he found important in his delirium. Stiles glanced at the nearest one and noticed something interesting. He grabbed it from the carpet, bringing it closer.

On it throned a huge exclamation point circled with a shaky line. Right next to it, was the name 'Kate Argent' followed by 'cam' and few more exclamation marks. Stiles glanced under it, trying to find something more, but the other stuff was all offtopic, there was nothing more about Kate Argent. But before he could fall into a full analysis of those three words, sheriff's voice reached him from downstairs. “Stiles! Hope you're getting ready, we need to leave soon.”

The teen groaned, folding the paper in halves few times so it would fit into his back pocket and got up from the chair. The prospect of going to school was less appealing, than...well anything he ever had to do. And that included... well okay, it didn't include his father's funeral, but still.

He crawled under the table hurriedly, pulling out all the things, he stuffed there, after he emptied his backpack the other day. And he thought he'll stuff it back in, but his backpack was, of course, in the jeep. And he couldn't go take it out, because his dad would notice it right away and probably get suspicious. Why would Stiles take a whole backpack with him, if it was just a calming ride around the neighborhood?

Okay, maybe it wasn't such a big deal, maybe Stiles was just super paranoid by now. But he still refused to go get his backpack and stalked to his wardrobe, rummaging through it's content. He grinned triumphantly, as his fingers stumbled over his old backpack. It was blue and a bit ragged around the zipper, but it would have to do.

He stuffed everything inside, totally forgetting his lacrosse stick lying in the corner, and hurried down the stairs. His dad was already waiting in the police cruiser, judging by the sound of an engine outside, so he decided to not grab any food and headed straight outside. He wasn't much hungry anyways. To be honest, he threw up way too much lately, so he'd rather keep his stomach empty, just in case it would occur again.

Walking down the driveway, he pulled out his phone, checking it, but there was just the usual wallpaper – the picture of his mom from the trip to the lake. Stiles smiled back at her sadly, wondering if this was, what she was going through too, when the sickness started. It wasn't so bad for now, there were just few holes here and there and he was mostly able to connect the dots anyways.

It was the uncertainty, that scared him the most. What if, one day, he just wakes up and there won't be any memories left? What if he won't remember his pack, what if he won't know Derek is his mate? He took a deep breath in, getting inside the police cruiser. His dad smiles at him and he tried to smile back, but his gut twisted viciously at the thought of Derek.

As John pulled the car out of the driveway, Stiles let his mind slip back to his husband. Or was it an ex-husband now? That can't be right. He was his mate, he clearly was. He must be, considering how he reacted, when he dropped the notice-me-not sigil. He clearly felt it, although he probably had no idea, what it was.

They would end up together, even if Stiles didn't have his memories, right? Except, he thought, sliding his fingers over the mate ring, he didn't kill his sister in the original time line...

“So the nightmare,” started his dad, interupting his thought process, which was probably for the best.

“What about it?” Stiles muttered, looking out of the side window. They have just passed Scott's empty house.

“Something serious?” John asked carefully and reached over the console to put his hand on Stiles' thigh. The teen was just glad, it wasn't his hurt thigh.

“I don't wanna talk about it now,” he muttered and that was the end of the topic. The sheriff took his hand off his thigh to switch gears and Stiles sighed, sliding his fingers over his phone's screen and tapping at the little envelope on it. He brought up the conversation with Derek, which was in every way one-sided and typed in a short text message.

 

'we gotta meet b4 the briefing n initiate the emissary contract, else its void n deaton will knock me off the board'

'pick me up after school? 2ish? Will skip practice'

'thx'

 

Stiles thought about writing more, but decided against it. What was he supposed to say anyways? 'That thing about your ex burning down most of your pack sucks dude, but you'll kind of get over it and lead a pretty happy life with me in the future?' Hardly acceptable. Besides, bringing up Kate fucking Argent is an obvious suicide mission.

The police cruiser stopped suddenly and Stiles' head shot up, eyes squinting through the windshield. They've reached the high school and he didn't even notice. He saw his dad from the corner of his eye, staring at him thoughtfully, but ignored it. He opened the door, fumbling with it for a second and then stumbled out.

“Thanks, dad,” he waved into the car, seeing his dad wave back and then closed the door. The cruiser backed out of the parking spot and drove away. Stiles looked at it, feeling a wave of nostalgia creeping into his chest, but he pushed it down, looking at his phone again. Derek, of course, didn't write back. Yay. So he just turned off all the sounds.

He turned around, dismissing all the upsetting thoughts, and spotted Scott almost instantly. He was standing by his bicycle, putting a lock on it. Stiles cringed internally realizing he totally forgot about his best friend, who was supposed to become a werewolf yesterday night. Was there even a way to make it happen in this time line?

Peter didn't end up a feral Alpha and Derek...well, he didn't get to continue that thought, because Scott's eyes bulged out of their sockets, a look of shock painting his features. Stiles followed the line of his sight, spotting the yellow school bus and a very irritated guy getting out of it. Stiles hurried to Scott's side to get a better view.

“Is that...?” he asked, staring in disbelief.

“Yep,” Scott answered a confused frown appearing on his forehead. He shouldered his bag, the lacrosse stick almost hitting Stiles over his head, but he didn't even notice, watching as Jackson Whittemore walked out of the school bus, disgust obvious on his face.

“What the hell,” Stiles muttered, not understanding anything anymore. Did this also happen in the original time line? Well, he could wonder, how much he wanted, but he couldn't remember at all and unfortunately he didn't even bring his notes with him. But his guts told him this was all wrong.

“This might be the best day of my life,” Scott grinned, slapping Stiles over his shoulder. “Jackson in a school bus, dude.”

“Yeah, that,” the teen answered, busy trying to remember, if this was a normal occurrence or not. The memories were there, he could still feel them stirring in the sigil, but he'd have to active his Spark to access them. Although, if he did that, some other memories would probably disappear altogether.

This was like some sick game in the movie Saw. Either cut out your liver or be crushed to death. In this case Jackson was the liver, so Stiles just pursed his lips, deciding he'd rather not get crushed to death using the strengthening charm to access these particular memories.

“What do you think happened?” Stiles quizzed, as Jackson walked inside the school building.

“Uh, no idea,” Scott shrugged, walking up the pavement. “Who cares, Stiles. This is probs the first morning, he didn't try to run me over with his Porsche, so...”

“Yeah,” Stiles agreed, still distracted. He followed after his best friend, clutching the phone in his hand and staring at the ground, lost in his thoughts.

“Did you forget your Adderall again?” Scott wondered, grasping his shoulder and shaking it slightly. Stiles hissed, since it was the very shoulder, Derek grabbed the previous day and sank his claws in.

“Stiles, what's wrong?” panicked his best friend, letting go of his shoulder immediately.

“Nothing man, you've just hit a nerve,” Stiles shook his head, trying to disperse the worry on the other teen's face. Scott just eyed him for a second, letting people pass between them to reach the entrance door.

“Jeez Stiles, it's that suicide, isn't it?” Scott groaned, slapping his palm over his face. “I was quite surprised you didn't pick me up yesterday to investigate.”

“Suicide?” Stiles asked, playing dumb.

“Don't play dumb, man.” Well, so much for that. “I heard all about that dead nurse found in her locked down apartment. My mom knew her from the hospital, ya know.”

“Uh yeah,” Stiles shrugged, resuming their walk. He looked behind himself, as if feeling there was somebody familiar behind him, but there was no one, just a horde of freshmen. “Suicides are boring. Nothing to investigate and all that.”

“Right,” Scott shook his head exasperated. He grabbed Stiles' arm, pulling him inside, when the first bell rang. “Then don't get distracted by such a boring thing.”

 

~o~

 

After stopping by their lockers, they headed for the classroom, but Stiles was barely paying any attention. His head was starting to hurt from all the mysteries, he needed to solve and he was under a huge time pressure, which didn't make the solving itself any easier. He followed Scott mindlessly through the hallways and into the said classroom and sat down in the corner, way out of the teacher's sight, which was pretty much a habit of his.

“Stiles, got a pen to borrow?” Scott leaned over, his hand reaching for the corner of his desk.

“What?” Stiles tore his eyes away from the 'future' sigil, rubbing his fingers over the lines, as if any of that would help to recover his memories.

“A pen,” Scott repeated, eying him worriedly.

“Yeah, sure,” Stiles answered, picking up his backpack, undoing the zipper and sliding his hand inside, grabbing blindly for random objects. He managed to find a few pens, he stuffed there in the morning and gave two of them to Scott.

“Only need one,” his friend complained, trying to return one back to him.

“No no, man, trust me,” Stiles grinned, pushing his hand away from him. “You need two.”

He definitely didn't want the history to repeat itself. Scott would borrow only one, give it to Allison, charmed by her pretty face and then have nothing else to write with, because he would be too embarrassed to ask Stiles. He'd avoid it altogether, sitting silently through the class, not wanting Allison to find out, he gave her his only pen. And so he's just end up without any notes.

Stiles blinked, his grin widening. He could feel the familiar warmth of his magic curling inside him happily, half-awake from it's sleep. The presence of his Spark reassured him. He didn't have to activate it to access some information, it was doing it for him automatically, just by existing and that made him somehow giddy. His memories were not totally lost for now.

He could suddenly feel his phone vibrate in his pocket, just as the teacher started the lesson. Mister Simons turned to the white board talking something about this term's curriculum, his beige vest contrasting the deep red shirt weirdly. Stiles didn't pay much attention though, taking out the phone from his pocket, eying the screen. There was a text message staring back at him from a number, he'd never seen before, but it was already labeled by a name.

 

Peter 'We need to have an Emissary initiation before the briefing with hunters. Unless you do not wish to participate?'

 

Stiles read it once again, lifting his eyes to stare at the white board to feign attention. He tapped onto the screen under the desk, quite proud of himself for being able to type out a message without actually looking at the keyboard. It always came handy in a situation like this.

 

'u been goin thru my phone, u creep? did u change my ringtone too?'

 

Peter 'Yes. I assumed it would be handy for you to have my number, considering our Alpha is prone to ignoring. And no, I haven't tampered with anything else. Maybe next time.'

 

'it starts with my phone, ends with my porn folder lol'

'btw u said u investigated the fire yesterday. all solid for the brief?'

 

Peter 'More or less. There is no real proof against Kate Argent, unfortunately. She knows, how to cover her tracks sufficiently. I would suggest torturing the others for a confession, but I'm guessing, that would be against your code of honor.'

 

'argent won't let us enact the code at all. it NEEDS to be bulletproof.'

'i found a clue in my notes. CAM? rings a bell?'

 

Peter 'We did have security cameras all over the preserve in addition to those inside the house. They were all destroyed though. Either by the fire or by other means.'

 

'no footage left?'

 

Peter 'I did check, if any footage survived, but it must have been attacked by a virus, because there was no trace of it. Not even on our backup servers. They all seem to be wiped out. I could pay an IT specialist to try to retrieve it, but I think it would be pointless. Also, we do not have enough time for that.'

 

'well chris did say tomorrow but it was like wut...4 or 5am? so tomorrow like today or like tomorrow idk.'

 

Peter 'Today, of course. They already made a reservation at the coffee house. I checked.'

 

'oooh, smart : P '

 

Peter 'I can always testify it was Kate Argent, who I saw in front of the house with the others.'

 

'a burning werewolf is definitely not the the most reliable witness dude'

'look, I must ve had a reason to write it down'

'just cant remember anymore'

 

Peter 'I suppose, that's a side effect of time travel? Should I be worried?'

 

'no lets just figure this out. some other cam? traffic? anything?'

 

Peter 'No. I suspect she approached the house from the mountains. There is no record of her even arriving into BH that time. We didn't even notice her until she set the house on fire and by then it was too late.'

 

There was a commotion in front of the classroom. The door opened and in walked Allison, fiddling nervously with her blue scarf. She had an endearing shy smile on her face and Stiles saw Scott freeze, his pen hovering uncertainly over his notepad.

“Class, this is our new student – Allison Argent,” stated the director's assistant, stuffing his hands into his suit's pockets. “Do your best to make her feel welcome.”

The assistant, whose name Stiles couldn't remember, beckoned Allison to go sit down and of course, the only free spot was right behind Scott's, who just stared lovingly at her. As she walked over, their eyes connected briefly and Stiles noticed redness creeping into their cheeks. Ah, young love.

Allison sat down behind her desk and looked to her left, where Stiles was sitting. He looked back at her, lifting his eyebrows in question. Well, this was certainly a new development. She cleared her throat and asked. “Hey, I...um, I guess it's kinda lame, but I forgot my pen...would you happen to have a spare one?”

“Nah,” he shook his head, pointing at his best friend. “But Scott does. I'm sure, he'll lend you one.”

She looked in front of her expectantly, reflecting Scott's smile, as he handed her the orange pen. She took it and her smile widened. Both of their smiles widened, to be precise. It was so sweet, Stiles was betting he just got at least two cavities in his teeth.

“Thanks,” she nodded and put the pen on the desk. She then reached her hand over to Scott. “I'm Allison.”

“Scott,” he grinned back, flushing deep red. He took her hand gently in his, shaking it just a little.

Allison looked to her left, her eyes basically screaming out the question. She couldn't reach the hand over to Stiles too, because Scott was still holding it.

“Stiles,” he waved his free hand, sliding his fingers over the phone's screen to avoid it getting locked automatically under the desk. He registered the puzzlement on Allison's face and added. “It's a nickname. Nobody can pronounce my polish name.”

They were interrupted by mister Simons, who welcomed Allison into her new school and reminded everybody to open their textbooks to the page hundred and thirty-three to read about Kafka's Metamorphosis. Scott let go of Allison's hand, finally turning his doe eyes away from her. He grinned back at Stiles, (who gave him a thumbs up) and turned back to his textbook.

Man, Stiles couldn't believe, he witnessed the start of this Disney romance once again. The only thing, that was missing were tons and tons of friendly looking forest animals, who would jump around happily. Maybe he should...he froze at that thought, looking down at his phone.

 

Peter 'There might be many reasons, why we were unable to notice her presence. A partial lunar eclipse that night. It does affect us in a way, makes our senses weaker. Plus, it was an early sunday morning – we always used to sleep in on that day. And I am certain, she must have been carrying a similar sigil to yours, to keep her unnoticeable. Derek already confessed to have scented her before that, so that explains, why I only smelled him around the house. I simply assumed he went for a morning run. He often did that.'

 

'dude'

'camera trap'

'there used to be one on the other side of the preserve.

'triggered by heat signature.'

'it would record vid feeds to docu animals'

'was it there that time already?'

 

Peter 'Yes. I'll take care of it right away.'

 

'wrote derek to pick me up 2ish but...

 

Peter 'I'll take care of that too.'

 

'is he ok? u guys talked rite?'

 

Peter 'I suppose he will be, given the time. We'll pick you up around 2pm then. Enjoy the teenage hormones, Stiles.

 

Stiles snorted, pressing the button on top of his phone, locking it down. The screen turned black and the bell rang to mark the end of their English lesson. The teen looked down at the black notebook page in front of him, wondering, if it was a bad thing, that he didn't write anything down for teen-Stiles. He shrugged then, stuffing the notepad and his pen inside his blue backpack, thinking that interpretations of Kafka's works are always overrated anyways.

 

~o~

 

Stiles really didn't feel like doing any math today. Nor any day in the next few years, but he didn't have much choice, now that he was a freaking teen once again. At least he was responsible enough to think of the consequences of ditching the whole high school, while he's here. Poor teen-Stiles would have to suffer through that then and well... he won't let that happen, he owed it to his own younger self.

With this new resolve, he waved to Scott, who was forced to stop talking about how beautiful the new girl was and Stiles was free to go into the classroom. His best friend of course had a bit different curriculum, because Stiles, although he didn't like math per se, got placed in the advanced class anyways.

He walked inside the room, scanning the teens mingling between the desks and sitting down and spotted a familiar face. So he walked over quickly, taking the desk next to him, before anybody else could claim it.

“Heya Boyd,” he grinned mischievously, when the said teen made a pained expression, after noticing him. “How are ya doing on this fine day?”

“Hello, Stiles,” Boyd answered, turning his head away from him to stare at the white board.

“Awh, come on, man,” Stiles leaned over the desk to get a better view of Vernon's face. “Don't ignore me, we're practically friends now.”

“I only repaired your car,” the other teen shrugged nonchalantly, his face remaining expressionless.

“Correction, you saved my baby from being crippled,” Stiles exclaimed, reaching over to pat Boyd's shoulder. Vernon didn't really look amused by that, looking at the hand, as if it was personally offending him. Stiles just grinned, pulling the hand back.

“Well, whatever you say, big guy,” he shrugged then, leaning back into his chair. “I will pull you over to my side sooner or later, trust me.”

“Right,” Boyd muttered, opening the notepad on his desk. He turned a few pages, obviously finding the one, he was looking for after a few seconds, and took the pen between his fingers. He wrote something down then, presumably the date, by the looks of it.

Since Stiles was obviously being ignored, he turned his attention back to the front of the classroom. He scanned the front row of desks by some weird reflex and frowned. The desk in the front left corner was empty. He glanced out of the window, as if somebody would climb through it and claim the seat, but nobody did. His frown deepened.

“Where is Lydia?” he wondered aloud, pulling out his pen. He rolled it nervously between his fingers, perplexed by something, that he couldn't zero in on.

“What, didn't you hear yet?” Boyd grumbled from next to him, writing down who knows what. “Jackson rammed his car yesterday and Lydia ended up in a hospital. The whole school knows already.”

“What!?” Stiles shot out of his seat, staring at the other teen in disbelief.

“Well yeah,” Vernon shrugged, looking back at him. “I have his Porsche in the repair shop. Didn't you notice the heap of silver scrap yesterday?”

Stiles wanted to say, he didn't, but when he thought back on it, he really did see it, except he didn't realize, what it was at that time. And now, that he thought about it, he could even clearly remember his dad mentioning a car accident too.

“How is she? Lydia,” he breathed, watching Boyd's face. Normally his stoic face would calm him, but seeing the indifference in the other teen's expression stung way too much.

“No idea.”

Stiles swore grabbing his bag and leaping out of the classroom. He didn't give a damn about missing the advanced math lesson. He needed to go and check on Lydia. What if...no, he couldn't think that way. He just couldn't.

He jogged down the hallway, glancing around, hoping he wouldn't encounter Harris, because that would be the end of his attempt to ditch. Plus, he would probably even score a detention and miss his supernatural briefing, so yeah, being stealthy was important now.

Thankfully today must have been his lucky day, because he reached the door without any complications. He pushed it open, but froze, staring into the hallway to his left. There was a loud bump and a rather big crowd assembled around something, the snapping of cameras reaching his ears.

Stiles frowned and looked at the door in front of him, trying to decide what to do next. But then somebody from the crowd snickered and that made Stiles let go of the door and jog over.

He pushed his way past half of the lacrosse team and a few freshmen, who were all holding their phones, recording something on the ground. Seeing the mop of blond wavy hair, he blanched.

Erica was lying on the floor, her body caught in an uncontrollable seizure. Her limbs were jerking, as her head lolled over the ground, being dangerously close to the scattered content of her bag. And her jeans were all wet, because she lost the control of her bladder.

Stiles didn't waste a second, leaping closer to her. He threw his backpack on the floor and pulled off his sweatshirt in a hurry, folding it messily under her head and pushed a few books out of the way, so she won't hit herself on them. He glanced at her lips, which were tinted blue, due to her irregular breathing, but there was nothing else to do, only wait till the seizure passed. Stiles did hope it will be under those appointed sixty seconds though, he didn't want her so suffocate, so he started counting in his head. Except he was interrupted, when he heard another snap of a camera from in front of him and looked up, seeing Greenberg, snickering behind his phone.

“You sick piece of shit,” he snarled, leaping up to the lacrosse player. He snatched the phone from his hand faster than the speed of light and threw it over the crowd, putting all his strength into the throw. A loud snap reached them, as the phone broke, hitting the wall and landing on the tiled floor then. It's pieces fell apart and slid in every direction.

“Anybody else, who wants their phone gone?” Stiles snapped, seeing the people around them look hesitantly at each other. But they all retracted their phones, stepping a bit further away from them, smiles disappearing from their faces.

Stiles glanced back at Greenberg, ready to fight off the attack, that was definitely coming, but the lacrosse player was suddenly busy staring at the huge hand on his shoulder.

“Leave it, man,” states Boyd calmly, squeezing Greenberg's shoulder menacingly. It reminded Stiles of a picture he saw once on the internet – a huge grizzly bear staring down at the dead prey. Greenberg must have noticed it too, because his lips thinned and he stepped back.

He glanced back at Stiles then, a promise of future revenge looming in his eyes, as he shrugged off Boyd's hand off his shoulder and turned to walk away, his loud footsteps echoing all around the hallway.

Stiles' eyes slid to Erica again and saw her twitching subside considerably and then altogether, her lips parting in a shallow breath, so he knelt down to her again and grabbed her left arm and her left leg, pulling her gently over onto her side. Once she was in this recovery position, her breathing slowly returning to normal, her eyes opened a little.

“Erica?” Stiles whispered, pushing her long blond hair out of her face. Her lips were back to their normal color, which was reassuring enough. “It's Stiles. You had a seizure."

“Wha...?” she mumbled breathlessly, her fingers twitching, as if she wanted to reach over for something, but then decided not to. She just blinked a few times sleepily, regarding Stiles through her thick blond lashes.

The teen looked up around the crowd, seeing it disperse, after Erica woke up.

“Hey, did she hit her head, when she fell down?” he asked nobody in particular and all of them at the same time. He reached over and slid his fingers over Erica's skull, but couldn't feel anything.

“No, I don't think so,” said a freshman girl, standing nearby. “Greenberg he... uh, yanked at her backpack and the zipper gave away, so all her stuff scattered over the floor. She was just kneeling down, when the...the seizure hit her.”

“Oh, thanks,” Stiles nodded at the girl, before she grabbed some books from her locker and hurried away. There was almost nobody left on the hallway. Just him, Erica and Boyd, who knelt down and started to pick up Erica's things and stuff them all inside her backpack again.

“Thanks to you too, Boyd,” Stiles breathed, watching Erica blink a few times, coming slowly back to herself. “I would have probably ended up with a broken limb again, weren't it for you.”

Boyd's eyebrows furrowed at that, but he just shrugged it off later, pushing Erica's now full backpack to the lockers.

“I thought, you stayed in the classroom, though,” Stiles added suspiciously.

“You left this behind,” Boyd reached back, pulling a pink pen from his back pocket. It was the same one, he was fiddling with, before he learned the horrible news about Lydia.

“Ah...thanks,” Stiles reached over, gripping the pen between his fingers. It was kinda ridiculous of Boyd to run after him all the way to the entrance door just for one lame pen, but he was somehow glad the guy did so. Stiles' day might be lucky, after all.

“We should bring her to the infirmary,” Boyd said, scanning Erica with his eyes for some obvious injuries. “Can I carry her? Or does she need to stay like that?”

“Nah, I think she's ready to be moved,” Stiles answered, looking down at the blond girl, who was already breathing normally. “She's just sleepy and a bit out of it. That's normal, I think.”

“Alright,” nodded Boyd, gathering Erica's limp body gently into his arms and pushing up to his feet. Stiles grabbed his and Erica's backpack, spotting Boyd already had his draped over his back.

“No...I'm...,” Erica mumbled, waving her hand around and nudging at Boyd's shoulder, as if she wanted to force him to let go of her, so she could walk by herself.

“Not happening, princess,” Boyd chastised her, shaking his head. He headed down the hallway into the infirmary, holding her close to his chest and Stiles followed closely behind.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles walked into the infirmary, his bag strung over his shoulders and a bundle of clothes in his arms. Nobody turned to look at him, not even Boyd, who was standing in the corner patiently. They were all focused on Erica, sitting on the plastic chair, next to the nurse, who was measuring her pressure.

"Did this seizure feel the same as prior ones?” asked the nurse pushing a button on the machine, which started to whirl softly, building up the pressure around Erica's arm.

“Myeah,” she nodded, her shoulders slumped, a tired expression settling itself into he features. Stiles edged closer to the nurse's opened cabinet and risked a fast glance inside.

“Longer or shorter that average?” continued the nurse, when the machine under her hands started to beep, counting down Erica's heartbeats.

Meanwhile Stiles sneaked a hand behind his back, pulling the first drawer out a little and snatching a few syringes from it, together with a little pack of sterile cotton balls and slid them into his half opened backpack. How nobody noticed him, was a mystery. Or maybe just pure luck.

“I...uh,” Erica looked up, struggling with the answer. She looked at Boyd, a question obvious in her eyes, because she wasn't sure how long it took herself.

Stiles could see her mouth open, ready to ask the question, but then close again without saying a word. She must have been embarrassed, which honestly was the most ridiculous thing ever. She couldn't help having a seizure, so it was no point in being embarrassed about it. Also, this kind of information was vital for her well-being, so he spoke up himself.

“Uh, about three-four minutes, I think,” he said, walking further into the room. “I can't be sure. When I got to her, she was already in her 'tonic' phase, since the convulsing was very forceful and rhythmic. I did start counting down the seconds, but I was...uh distracted.”

The nurse nodded at him, before she turned back to Erica, who kept looking at Stiles, as if he's just spurted a third arm.

“Is that the average?” the nurse asked, unstrapping Erica's arm, because the machine stopped it's measurements a few seconds prion to her question.

“Um...yes, pretty much,” she muttered, nodding, her eyes flickering between Stiles and Boyd, as if she wasn't sure, what they were still doing there.

“Any recent changes in medication, that could have caused this?” the nurse continued, walking back to her table, where Erica's file lied. She looked it through, presumably checking, when the last recorded seizure occurred or the dosage of medication.

“No, I take everything on time just as I am supposed to,” Erica answered exasperated.

“Any other possible trigger? Alcohol? Caffeine? Drugs? Stress?” questioned the nurse and Stiles noticed Erica cringing at the last one. What did the freshman girl tell him before? Greenberg yanked on her bag and all it's content scattered across the ground and who knows what else – that was an exemplary case of bullying right there, which can't be exactly calming for anyone. Stiles suddenly didn't feel that calm himself, just thinking back on it. He should have fried Greenberg's brain with magic, he definitely deserved it.

“No,” Erica just shook her head, her voice wavering, as if she was about to cry and Stiles couldn't bear watching this interrogation anymore so he turned to the nurse, waving Erica's spare clothes to get her attention.

“I brought her stuff, so she can change into something clean,” he informed the nurse in a stern voice. “She needs to change before she gets released home, right?”

“Oh, right, yes,” the nurse nodded, writing something down in Erica's file. “You can change in the bathroom, miss Reyes. But I am afraid, I can't let you go home. Your parent's said, they're too busy to come pick you up, so you will have to stay in the infirmary until they finish work, since I can't obviously let you go home alone.”

Erica just nodded, looking into her lap, her messy blond curls falling over her face and obscuring the view of her defeated expression.

“Ah, no, nurse Jenkins, we can take her home,” Stiles interjected suddenly. “We're her friends after all.”

He walked to Erica and forced the bundle of clothes into her arms. “You heard the nurse, go change. We will take you home then, right Boyd?” he smiled, turning back to look at the other teen, who didn't move this whole time, standing peacefully in his corner.

“Of course,” he answered, scanning Stiles' whole body up and down, as if he was expecting to see some alien emerge from a body suit.

“See, all cleared,” Stiles grinned at the nurse, putting his most innocent look on his face. The nurse squinted at him, obviously considering her options, but then nodded and seeing that, Stiles wanted to dance around happily. “Go change miss Reyes, your friends will escort you home.”

After Erica disappeared behind the bathroom's door, the nurse pushed Stiles and Boyd out of the infirmary to wait outside with the wave of her hand and the two teens shuffled into the hallway.

“How exactly did you get into Erica's locker again?” Boyd asked suddenly, turning his body to face Stiles. He folded his arms in front of his body, his eyes watching him suspiciously.

“Went to ask the director’s assistant,” Stiles answered quickly and then realized his answer was probably way too rushed to be believable.

“You arrived into the infirmary like two minutes after us,” Boyd stated, his eyebrows rising, as if to emphasize the impossibility of his previous statement. “Even if you'd run...”

“Okay, you got me,” Stiles shook his head, giving up on lies. “I know her combination.”

“How?” Boyd questioned, looking around to see if anybody was lurking around to overheard their concersation, but there was nobody, since it was in the middle of a lesson.

“We're friends,” Stiles shrugged, getting kinda tired of explaining, that he is actually from future, so of course he knows Erica's locker combination, come on, she used the same one for everything.

“Like we are?” the other teen asked. “Do you know my locker combination too?”

“What, don't be silly,” Stiles exclaimed, his hands flailing in front of him. But Boyd obviously wasn't persuaded by his denial. “Wow, man, you're even more paranoid, that I am and that...well that is a great achievement, but dude...”

“What's that on your forearms?” Boyd interrupted him suddenly, frowning at the exposed reddish skin covered by the burned off scribbles, the strengthening charms left behind.

Stiles looked down at his arms and realized he forgot to put his sweatshirt back on, after he took it from the floor. It was still hanging over his shoulder, not covering any of his injuries.

“Well, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night,” he gestured wildly. “And have these most amazing ideas, that I just need to write down so...”

“And you can't just write them down on a piece of paper, or your phone?” Boyd asked, basically just stating the obvious thing, Stiles would normally do, if he'd actually woken up with some great idea.

“No man,” he shook his head, pretending Boyd's question was the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard. “That would totally make it lose it's magic, you know.”

“Right,” the other teen concluded, his tone suggesting he is not eating up anything of this lie. His stare was fixed onto Stiles' forearms, which made him feel very self-conscious, but he didn't try to hide them. That would only make him look more guilty.

“You're not hurting yourself, right?” Boyd asked, looking back up at Stiles, who was so shocked by that assumption, he just opened his mouth gaping.

“Whaaat?” he let out in disbelief. “I faint at the sight of blood, I could hardly hurt myself. Besides-”

Stiles' pocket started to vibrate at that and he pushed his hand into it, taking out his phone and seeing Peter's name flash over the screen. Why would he call him now, he wondered, it's not even eleven o'clock yet.

He slid his thumb over the screen to pick up the call and put the phone to his ear, gesturing to Boyd to wait a second, while he talks.

“We are waiting for you in front of the school,” informed him Peter's voice on the other side of the line.

“Dude, what?” Stiles exclaimed. “I said two-ish, not right away?!”

“Now, Stiles,” answered the werewolf calmly.

“But the briefing ain't till four, I still have time, first I have to...,” he started thinking back on the promise to take Erica home and then on the whole situation with Lydia and the car accident. He also had to take care of his best buddy Scott, who would probably fail hard at the lacrosse training today and what if Allie won't fall in love with him then and the whole time disrupts like a soap bubble?

“Now,” Peter repeated, his voice commanding.

“Shit,” Stiles swore, his foot moving to kick the nearest wall. “Okay, okay, I'll be outside in a sec.”

He ended the call with a tap of his fingertip on the screen and locked it with the side button. Then he looked up at Boyd, who was watching him with his arms still folded over his chest.

“I have to go,” Stiles informed the other teen. “Can you get Erica home safely? Please man, I have to... this is important, okay?”

Boyd didn't answer and Stiles fidgeted nervously, worrying there was something wrong with Derek or Peter. Why else would they come pick him up so soon? He needed to go, but he was torn between all the future members of his pack. Who needed his help more right now? He had no idea what to do.

“Go,” Boyd sighed, seeing him edge down the hallway unconsciously. Stiles turned around to run out of the school, but then he jerked back to Boyd, his arms failing to keep him balanced.

“You're sure?” he asked worriedly.

“Yes, just go, I'll take care of her,” the other teen nodded, glancing at the door of the infirmary, behind which they both heard the approaching footsteps.

“Thanks, you're the best,” Stiles breathed, bolting to run along the hallway, turning behind the corner and disappearing from Boyd's sight, just as the infirmary's door opened and Erica walked out in her clean clothes.

 

~o~

 

Stiles ran through the empty hallways, passing a classroom after classroom, heading for the entrance door. He was only few long steps away from it, when something huge crashed into him, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Luckily he was quite used to being thrown around, so he recovered pretty quickly, pushing himself up on his elbows. That was when he noticed a familiar shadow looming over him threateningly.

“You think you can just bust my phone, Bilinski?” Greenberg spat from above him, his hands balled into fists.

“Did you wait by the entrance this whole time or what? I mean, what kind of plan was this...?” Stiles wondered suddenly, hoping the off-topic would distract the giant oaf for long enough, so that he could at least stand up. Which worked pretty well, because Greenberg frowned, stopping in his tracks.

“Oh, I get it,” Stiles clasped his hands together, when he managed to pull himself back to his feet. There will be some quite nice bruises to add to the collection from the fall, but that was nothing – he's had worse, or well, he could remember being in a worse state in the future.

“You thought I would have to pass this entrance door at some point today, cuz all students do and thought you'd just simply wait here for me to beat me up for your phone?” he guessed, seeing on Greenberg's face, he was right in that assumption. “Dude, that would so not work, if I wouldn't have to leave school right now. I mean, someone would notice you hovering here all day and send you back to class or...”

But his explanation was interrupted, when Greenberg jumped at him, grasping the front of his shirt and smashing him against the lockers, which rattled in protest.

“You will pay for my phone,” he snarled, rattling Stiles' body.

“Don't do this, man,” the other teen warned, his tone serious and unfazed by the prospect of being beaten up by the huge lacrosse player. “Seriously don't. I can only use full power right now. It's either all or nothing with these puppies. I could zap you dead just like that, but I'd rather not use it up on a low human like you.”

“What are you yapping about?” Greenberg snapped, shoving him against the lockers once again, as if that would rattle the answer out of him.

“I am warning you, you buffoon,” Stiles answered calmly, waking the Spark inside him. It circled lazily around his heart, making his eyes glow. “Now get out of the way. I have an important appointment.”

“What the fuck,” Greenberg muttered, the glow of Stiles' eyes burning a hole into his pupils. His hold slackened by the shock and Stiles used that to slap the huge hands off him. He tried to slip away from between the lacrosse player and the lockers, which would have been a successful move, were he ten years in the future. But his teen body was nor as fast, nor as trained as his adult one and Greenberg managed to grab his backpack, pulling him back in.

Luckily, he expected that to happen, easing one strap of of the bag off his shoulder, before the lacrosse player grabbed him, which gave him more freedom to move, how he wanted. He turned around, using the momentum of being pulled back and slammed the heel of his hand into Greenberg's face, right between his upper lip and his nose, just as Erica taught him all those years ago.

He missed the spot by far though, as Greenberg's instincts kicked in, but he was ready for that too, locking his legs and swinging his other hand out straight into the target. Stiles could hear the teeth smashing against each other painfully, as the heel of his hand connected with Greengerg's face. It made his head snap back and he cluttered to the floor, groaning.

“I warned you to let it go, pal,” Stiles said from above him, shouldered his backpack again and walked to the entrance door hurriedly. There would be people swarming up this place any minute now, probably hearing the ruckus from up the hallway and he definitely didn't want to stay around for that. There was no time.

Reaching the door, he brought out the pink pen, Boyd returned to him and scribbled the wanted sigil quickly onto the lock. He touched it with the pen's point, using a little part of his woken up Spark to unlock the front door and after it did, he pushed it open fast and slid out of the school.

The black Camaro was waiting for him right in front of the building, which he was genuinely glad for. He jogged to it, hoping nobody would notice his escape and yanked the back door open, before jumping inside.

Derek was sitting behind the steering wheel, his knuckles white from how hard he was gripping it. He looked very grumpy, but Stiles payed him, nor Peter, who was lounging on the front passenger seat, no attention, closing the back door in a hurry.

“Go,” he said, watching the school door worriedly, but fortunately nobody tried to open them and check the outside, probably assuming they were still locked. But was still not over, he knew, he'd probably just opened a tab with Greenberg and so with the whole lacrosse team, which meant the school was gonna be a lot more difficult, than he assumed at first.

Stiles sighed, leaning back into the seat, as the Camaro sped out of the high school's parking lot and down the street. He closed his eyes, trying to calm down his Spark, before it would latch itself onto his last strengthening charm and burn through it. he managed to send it back to sleep after a few heartbeats, just as they drove through the crossroads by the church.

“That was quite a performance,” Peter remarked, breaking the silence. “At least from what we could hear.”

“Thanks for the help, man,” Stiles muttered, sliding the backpack from his shoulders, so that he could lean into the seat more comfortably.

“Not like you needed it,” Derek answered, his voice clipped and grumpy. Stiles had some smart-ass retort ready on his tongue, but reigned himself, remembering the events of the last night. Derek was still hurting and lashing out when in pain was the main character attribute of every Hale, after all.

“Yes, right, well,” he shrugged it off, scooting to the edge of the seat, so that he could stick his head between the two seats at the front of the car. “So what's the pressing matter? You picked me up five hours earlier for a reason, right?”

“Yes,” Peter nodded, when the car turned to the right, passing the hotel. “I managed to secure the footage and thought it would be better, if we watched it and prepared for the briefing accordingly.”

“So my notes were correct then,” Stiles nodded, pulling the piece of paper from his back pocket, where he folded it this morning. He looked at the exclamation points near Kate's name and smirked.

“They indeed were,” confirmed Peter and glanced at Derek, who remained silent and brooding. Stiles looked at him too, studying his face for a few seconds, but then he caught a sight of their surroundings through the windshield and frowned.

“So where are we going now?” he questioned, seeing them pass the large Beacon Hills' cemetery, following the road up the hill to a set of buildings.

“Why my apartment of course,” Peter answered, waving gracefully at the ordinary apartment complex ahead of them, as if it was some million dollar mansion.

 

~o~

 

“Dude,” Stiles exclaimed, shouldering his bag and getting out of the Camaro. He gaped at the building, then down the road at the cemetery and shook his head in disbelief. “This is where you live?”

“Shouldn't you know that?” Derek grumbled from across the car, shutting the door a bit too forcefully. Peter got out of the car after him and started to walk to the apartment complex right away.

“Nah, I knew he lives in some apartment downtown alright, but I've never actually seen it,” Stiles answered, looking back at the semi-tall gray building. “There was no need to, he mostly lurked in your loft at first and then in the house we built in the preserve.”

“A house?” Derek questioned, something like a desperate yearning passing through his eyes, but he steered himself in time, the want gone in a blink of an eye.

“Yeah, the pack house,” Stiles answered automatically and bound off to follow after Peter, who was already at the entrance door.

“Nice neighborhood, Peter,” he teased, waving at the cemetery in the background. “Thematic.”

“Well, we can't all live in an underground network of caves hidden deep in the woods,” he answered and pushed the little chip on his key ring to the door, which opened automatically. Stiles followed him inside, snickering, but before he would step further down the hallway, he stopped, holding the door open for Derek, who was just reaching the entrance.

He waved for him to pass with a charming smile on his lips and was rewarded by a murderous scowl, which somehow managed to warm his heart more, than a smile back would have. Peter was already waiting on them by the elevator and suddenly Stiles blanched.

“Uh,” he said eying the elevator door. “Which floor is your place on again?”

“Sixth,” answered Peter immediately, his eyes turning to him. “Why?”

“I... have this thing with elevators, long story,” he waved his hand nonchalantly, even though his heart was starting to accelerate frantically. “Actually an accumulation of all kinds of stories really. Starting with my mate almost dying in one, ending with being held hostage in one by a freaking vampire for a few hours so...no, thanks, I'll walk up the stairs and meet you there.”

“But you were fine with the elevator at Jennifer's place?” Peter wondered, his eyebrows moving up his forehead.

“I... forget these things sometimes,” Stiles admitted after a short hesitation. “Sometimes they come back, sometimes not...in any case, I am not using that elevator, so...”

He turned around, heading for the staircase, the elevator behind him eliciting a little clink at it's arrival, as if it was mocking him.

“Go with him, so he won't get lost,” he heard Peter say to his nephew, who just grumbled and followed him up the staircase, after Peter stepped inside the elevator and headed up.

“You don't have to babysit me, you know,” Stiles muttered, taking the stairs by two, but even that pace didn't prevent Derek from catching up to him. “I mean, you're an Alpha. No need to listen to what Peter says.”

“He's my uncle. I trust his judgment,” Derek remarked, his tone hinting there was more to that sentence. Probably something along the lines of 'I don't trust you at all, you evil gnome'. Which he would have found unbelievable back in the future, but alas...this was obviously his life now.

“Also...about yesterday,” he added and whacked Stiles over the back of his head.

“What the hell, dude,” Stiles whimpered, stopping in his track and lifting his hands to cover the back of his head, in case Derek wanted to hit him more. “Why would you hit me?”

“You know why,” Derek growled, crowding him against the wall while pointing a finger at him accusingly. Stiles probably shouldn't think of kissing him. Nope. He shouldn't.

“I do not know why,” the teen argued, standing up to the werewolf. The Alpha inside Derek recognized the rivarly in that and flashed his eyes threateningly, but Stiles didn't back off.

“Do you hurt people for protecting you, is that it?” Stiles questioned sarcastically.

“The magic,” spat Derek, pushing his hand against the teen's chest to prevent him from running away. Not that Stiles would, even if he could.

“Eh? What magic?” he frowned, not understanding. “The protection circle was harmless. It would never...”

“No, not that, the magic inside the circle,” Derek clarified, as if it was obvious, but Stiles still didn't understand, what he meant. There was no magic inside the protection circle itself. “You cursed me with something through touch, don't you deny it. I... felt something. It clouded my head and I wasn't able to concentrate properly. It all wrong.”

Understanding dawned in on Stiles and his eyes bulged in disbelief. So Derek noticed the presence of their bond. That on itself wasn't a surprise, Stiles saw him react to it, he saw the confusion and wonder, alright. But he'd have never thought Derek would think of it as a curse. Not in a million years would he guess that.

“W...wrong?” he repeated, his voice hollow.

“Yes, wrong ,” Derek snarled, letting go of him in disgust, as if Stiles was dirty somehow. “Playing such a dirty trick to cripple me to confer with a hunter... do that again and I will kill you.”

Stiles' lips thinned at that, as he eyed the Alpha in front of him, who obviously waited for an answer, preferably a promise to not curse him ever again. Stiles felt like crying or bursting out laughing – maybe both at the same time. He decided to just let it all go. What was the point to pursue something, he knew, he won't be able to achieve before he disappears anyways?

“Are you done?” he said, proud of himself, his voice barely wavered. Derek frowned. That probably wasn't the answer, he was expecting.

“Good. Let's go then,” Stiles nodded, his face a mask of indifference, as he turned and headed up the stairs. “I've got things to do before I die and you're just wasting my time right now.”

 

~o~

 

When they finally reached the sixth floor, Stiles didn't even stop to catch his breath, which he would have normally done. He headed straight down the hallway, his breath ragged, his side hurting, as if he'd run a marathon, but he didn't care.

Locating Peter's apartment was easy, because the werewolf left his door half-opened. And Stiles didn't hesitate stepping inside. Ne noticed the collection of stylish shoes, stored in a nice row to the left of the door, so he stopped and reached down to pull off his sneakers and put them in an empty place in the said row, just as Derek stepped in beside him.

As he straightened up, he noticed a kitchen to his right. It was quite spacious for an apartment. The black tiles on the floor gave it a very modern look, but there was also something homey about the way the sun poured in through the curtains, which had little purple butterflies on them.

“The living room,” came Peter's voice from the left side of the apartment and Stiles side-stepped to walk around Derek without touching him and headed down the short hallway, which led to the living room.

It was nothing special really. A gray couch curled around a corner on one side and a huge flatscreen hanging on the opposite wall. Next to it was a little bar full of alcohol and on the other side was a huge bookcase stacked with books.

Peter was sitting on the couch, a remote control pointed at the TV. The DVD player under it started to hum lazily, when he pressed play and the screen changed from blue to a black and white picture of a deer trotting through the forest. There were pieces of leaves framing the picture, which indicated the camera trap was probably hidden in some bushes, so the passing by animals wouldn't notice it. The right corner was dedicated to the time and date of the recording: 16.10.2005 – 01:36 and counting.

Stiles sat down on the couch without prompting and watched Peter rewind the DVD forward. The deer trotted quickly out of the frame, only to be followed by a running herd of does and fawns. The feed ended in a black screen just when the last of them disappeared from the camera's range.

It jumped back on again, showing a little squirrel running to the tree on the right and climbing up in a super speed. Which, of course, only seemed so, because Peter was still holding the rewind button. The squirrel climbed out of the range and the screen went black again.

But then it came on to a man sneaking in through the trees and Peter hit the regular play button. He was tall and black and had a cap on his head, which was turned around, the same way jocks at his school used to wear it to look cool.

The man creeped closer to the camera, not noticing it's presence and stopped by the tree, on which the squirrel climbed just few minutes earlier. He took a cigarette out from behind his ear and a lighter from his pocket. A second later, a little flame shot out of the lighter and he watched it for a while, as if mesmerized by it's movement.

“That would be Frank Reddick,” Peter murmured from beside him, his eyes darting over the screen. “The first arsonist.”

Then there was a second man, who ran into the screen and stopped right next to Frank, obviously catching a breath after the long run through the preserve. He reached over and slapped Frank's shoulder, pointing at the little flame and saying something, Stiles couldn't hear, with a happy grin.

“That is nothing compared to the fire, we'll get to enjoy today,” Peter translated, reading the words out from the other man's lips. “Lance Unger no doubt... I am really looking forward to killing you.”

Stiles felt a chill run down his spine, when he heard that proclamation, but he just swallowed, trying to get rid of the sense of dread. It wasn't turned onto him, so there was nothing to fear.

Instead he decided to focus on the screen and he was soon rewarded by a third person stepping into the view. He recognized Kate Argent instantly, not only because of her face, which was visible on the camera feed. He would have known, she emerged from the trees, even if he couldn't see anything, because Derek whined from the threshold, where he was standing – a painful sad sound, which made him forgive his mate for everything he did on the staircase.

There she was, walking confidently to the two arsonist like it was some weird group date – the woman who broke his mate, the woman who used him, who played him over, who lied and cheated and killed... The woman, who made him unable to recognize his mate, even when he was standing right in front of him with no barriers at all.

If destroying the flatscreen were enough to get rid of her, he would have activated his strengthening charm right away and zap it with all he's got, but he knew it would be for nothing, because she was still out there, roaming the world, enjoying her life. But not for long, he thought.

Focusing back onto the screen, he saw a thin man, following closely behind Kate Argent, clenching a small wooden box in his hands. Noticing it, he got up and walked closer to the screen unfazed by the glowing eyes and vicious growls emerging from the both werewolves.

“Fire is a good servant, but a horrible master,” he whispered, reading the sigils on the wooden box and reached out to slide his fingers over the screen, while Kate Argent gesticulated wildly, as if trying to explain something to the two arsonists, but Stiles payed her no attention, his eyes glued to the box.

“It will serve burning until there is nothing left,” he whispered. “And it will continue burning even after everything's gone and so abandon his place as a servant and become the master of nonexistence.”

The growling faded, when he started to talk and now there was silence in the living room, the feed jumping to a boar, sniffing the ground. Stiles turned around from the screen, looking at Peter in horror.

“How did you manage to survive?” he asked, not believing the werewolf was sitting in front of him still alive, even after being in contact with that fire.

“Why, what was in the box?” Peter asked frowning, as if he didn't understand, he was supposed to be long dead, burned into ashes and then burned even more into nothingness. But he was there and so was the skeleton of the Hale house and the ashes – there was supposed to be nothing left in the circle Kate Argent created around the house. Not if she used the content of that box.

“The eternal flame from the Karakum Desert,” Stiles explained, his voice grave.

“That hole in Turkmenistan, that keeps burning, because a bunch of geologists thought it would be fun to set an underground natural gas reserve on fire?” Peter quizzed, not understanding, what that place had to do with anything.

“Yes, except that story was just a cover-up for a powerful ritual that backfired... literally,” Stiles explained. “It devoured the whole coven with their magic and became, what it is now – the eternal fire. The only thing keeping it inside that crater is a combination of magical runes spread all around it. At least the coven was smart enough to make some precautions. But how did get here...? Who and how contained a segment of it in that wooden box?”

“Couldn't that have been the man holding the said box - Austin Anderson?” asked Peter, choosing the logical approach. He looked to his left, eying his sickly pale nephew, who was standing silently by the door, still staring at the flatscreen and the boar turning over the soil with it's tusks.

“I have no idea. In any case, he must have at least known, what's inside, but...” Stiles concluded, running a hand through his buzzcut in frustration. He wished, he could just solve all the mysteries in one day, but that was too much to wish for. Instead, there were just more and more questions piling up with no solution whatsoever.

“One step at a time,” he decided, glancing at the DVD played behind him to see the time. It was just something after noon. “We have our bulletproof evidence for the briefing. Next we need to go through with the initiation.”

Peter and Stiles both looked at Derek, except each of them for a different reason. Peter wanted to beckon his nephew inside the living room, so they could finally begin with the ritual, because the sooner they will get this all done, the sooner he will get his revenge. Stiles glanced at Derek, with a question in his eyes, wondering, if the Alpha will even agree to tie himself to Stiles in such a way. He wasn't sure, he would.

“I don't exactly have much of a choice, do I?” Derek remarked, his eyes falling at his uncle.

“We need him on that briefing,” Peter said, applying logic once again. “So either you'll bite him (Stiles shook his head warningly at that) and he becomes a pack member or we'll make him our Emissary.”

“Can't we just keep Deaton, he-”

“No!” Stiles interrupted him, his exclamation a horrified gasp, which he didn't understand himself. Sure, he didn't like Deaton, that guy was a cryptic jackass and never actually helped anybody, but that wasn't exactly a reason to sound so scared. But it wasn't about Deaton, was it? This was about Stiles getting rejected by Derek and no matter how many times he told himself, he is over him or that this Derek is not his Derek, he still couldn't bear the thought of simply lying down without a fight. That just wasn't him.

“Why not, Deaton is more than qualified-”

“No,” Stiles jumped into the sentence again.

“He's been the Hale's Emissary for more, than-” Derek tried to bring up his argument again, but failed.

“I don't fucking care,” Stiles spat, anger rising inside of him. “He can't protect you, he can't protect shit. He doesn't do anything, just sit on his ass in that fucking clinic of his. What did he ever do, that makes you trust him more, than you trust me Derek, huh? I would do anything for you... for the pack... and you still don't trust me. I know, I messed up big times... there is no apology in this world to make up for failing to save Laura. And I will have to live with that for the rest of my short life, but I'll be dammed, if I'll let your stubbornness keep me from helping with everything I can until my last breath. So I don't care what you say - neither you nor Peter can stop me from trying to help you.”

“Oh, don't you worry, it's quite the contrary in my case,” Peter commented, watching their stand-off calmly from his sofa. “I am not trying to stop any of this. I would gladly make you our Emissary, if I was the Alpha. But hence I am not, I can only hope my nephew is smart enough to heed the Second's advice and take you in.”

They both glanced at him, when he spoke up, his calm tone breaking up the angry tension between them. And then, after he was done, they looked at each other again, until Derek gave the tiniest nod in the history of nods.

“Alright,” he said, looking back at Peter, who smirked approvingly. “But... you will take off that sigil on the nape of your neck, that makes everything about you so hazy while we preform the ritual. I need to be able to judge you properly.”

Stiles glanced at Peter instinctively, wondering about his opinion on that matter, but the werewolf just shrugged indifferently. But since Stiles didn't want to give Derek any more reasons to change his decision, he nodded in agreement, hoping the ritual itself will mask their bond sufficiently enough. He wouldn't want Derek breaking the whole initiation, because he caught a whiff of that 'weird magic' again.

 

~o~

 

Stiles pulled the backpack off his shoulders, putting it on the couch next to Peter, who was eying it curiously. He saw the teen pull out a syringe wrapped in a plastic cover and hand it to him.

“I stole this from the infirmary at school, since we need my blood for the initiation,” he explained, waving the small narrow package in front of Peter. “Could you be so kind and... uh, you know...”

“Using a knife would be easier,” the werewolf stated, his eyes gliding over Stiles' arms, as if he was tracking all the veins there.

“Uh, maybe, but no, I learned that lesson long ago, thank you very much,” he shook his head, throwing the wrapped syringe into Peter's lap to free his left hand. He then stuck out his little finger and moved it around. “Cut into my palm once, hit a nerve and lost the feeling in my little finger. I ain't a werewolf, so the tissue doesn't just grow back right away. One of the perks of being human I guess, so no, no cutting my hand, I treasure my nerves. Also, dude it hurts like hell.”

Peter smirked at that, ripping the plastic cover with ease, while Stiles pulled out the sterile cotton balls, he stole too and the disinfectant, that he threw into his bag this morning. Derek was standing in front of them, watching the proceedings with his arms folded over his chest, as Stiles sat down on the couch once again and stretched his right arm in front of him, pressing the wrist into his knee, like so many time before.

Except in his future, Lydia or Derek usually did this for him. Or sometimes even Mellisa. But never Peter. He would have never trusted him with anything like this before traveling back in time, so being here and asking the werewolf to draw his blood, was a bit surreal to him.

“You're a lot less crazy, than in my time line, Peter,” he concluded aloud, watching the werewolf spray some of the disinfectant into the sterile cotton ball and run it over Stiles' exposed skin. He uncapped the syringe then.

“Must be the lack of wolfsbane coursing through my veins,” Peter deadpanned, edging closer to Stiles and circling his elbow with his fingers to hold his arm steady.

“Right,” Stiles said, turning his head away in discomfort. He felt a sting of the needle, piercing through his skin and that was, when looked back at it, seeing Peter pull the plunger to draw out his blood expertly.

“I imagine, the resurrection cleared the wolfbane effectively enough,” Peter muttered, obviously still caught in that topic. “But it couldn't have helped me back into sanity.”

“True,” Stiles concluded, watching Derek's uncle press another cotton ball onto the place, where the syringe met with Stiles' skin and pull the needle out quickly. The teen reached out and replaced his fingers on the cotton ball, pressing it down onto his pierced skin to stop any possible flow.

“You're surprisingly good at this,” Stiles praised, folding his arm upwards, so that his fingers touched his shoulder.

“Necessary skill for a Second,” Peter shrugged nonchalantly, eying the blood in the syringe. “Comes in handy, if I need to torture somebody.”

“Ugh, no details, please,” Stiles cringed, straightening his arm again to look under the cotton ball. There was a bit blood stuck to it, but else it looked like a perfect pierce.

“Alright, let's get this party started,” he grinned, throwing the cotton ball into the empty cover left from the syringe. He stood up then, walking to Derek, who looked a bit uneasy suddenly, probably because he had never done such a ritual before, which was quite understandable.

“Okay, so,” he started the explanation, stopping in front of the werewolf. “It's quite simple actually. It starts with the candidate for the Emissary position, who will paint a string of sigils around the Alpha's neck. Neck is a very vulnerable place for all wolves so the fact, that an Alpha lets the candidate touch him in that way means, he trusts him not only with his life, but also with the lives of all the pack members.”

Stiles saw Peter lean into the couch from the corner of his eye, studying the syringe full off blood with a boring expression. Derek looked even worse, obviously not happy with anybody touching his neck.

Which yeah, Stiles understood, because he knew Kate fucking Argent liked to play weird games with Derek and one of them included slight strangling. It was just one of the many triggers, Stiles had to learn to be careful about.

“I know you don't trust me,” he shrugged, averting his eyes from Derek. “But the ritual is not going to work, unless you do, so...well anyways. I draw on your neck with my blood, you do the same for me...we shake on it and then you have to say: With this I appoint you Przemyslav Stilinski for the Emissary of the Hale pack and I will accept it. And bam! Marks appear and the initiation is done.”

“Pr- what's your name again?” the Alpha frowned, glaring at Peter, who began to snicker in amusement. “Wait, marks?”

“Yes, the one you've got with Deaton now will disappear,” Stiles waved his hand, gesturing at Derek's left arm. “And the one, we will share, will take it's place.”

Derek glanced at his arm, as if horrified, there will be some new tattoo, he'd never noticed before, but there was nothing suspicious anywhere on his skin. His frown deepened at that, as he looked back at the teen confused.

“Over your elbow see? A bit to the right,” Stiles clarified. “It looks like a mole, unless you'd look at it through a magical sheet, then it's like the beginning of a thread connecting you with your Emissary.”

Derek cringed, eying the little brown dot on his left arm. He couldn't exactly grasp the concept, but one thing was clear to him.

“This connects me to Deaton right now?” he asked, seeing Stiles nod begrudgingly. “So what, it's like some GPS tracker?”

“Ish? I mean I dunno, I've never been an Emissary before,” Stiles grimaced, rubbing his fingers against each other nervously. “From what I heard, it's like an echo of the pack imprinted inside of you. I don't think Deaton could track you down right now, but maybe he could sense you being close enough or if something happened? I mean...it obviously isn't as strong a mate bond, but...”

“Okay, enough of the boring talk,” Peter interrupted him. He got up from the sofa and handed the syringe to Stiles. “We don't have time for the whole history of werewolf packs now. If Derek wants to know more, he can always borrow a book from me. Now...just get on with it.”

Stiles nodded, as Peter walked away from the room, heading for the kitchen and pushed the plunger on the syringe to let a few drops land on the end of his right index and ring finger. He looked up at Derek, who tensed visibly, eying his hands with distrust.

“Drop the disguise first,” the werewolf grumbled, his head jerking in the direction of Stiles' neck. And the teen was suddenly very reluctant to do so. He swallowed empty, running his fingers over his mate ring's replica, hesitation obvious in his features. He looked up at Derek then and damn, he realized, he was in a full-blown stalling mode.

So he took a deep breath in, lifted the fingers stained with blood and ran them across the notice-me-not sigil drawn onto his skin there. His Spark reacted surprisingly fast, disrupting the sheen of magic covering him. With his eyes still glowing, he stepped in closer to Derek, who just watched him carefully.

“I will start on the right side of your neck...uh your left,” he corrected himself, blinking few times to calm his Spark back down into his chest. Stiles coated his fingers then with blood from his syringe and lifted it slowly to Derek's neck.

Pressing his fingers gently to the skin there, he eyed the werewolf's face for some kind of revulsion, but none came. Derek kept looking back at him, his eyes tracking every movement he made, but there was nothing negative in those green irises of his, only caution. Stiles exhaled in relief seeing that and forced his middle finger to move across the skin to draw the first sigil, adding more blood on his fingertip every once in a while.

“Trust,” be breathed, finishing the last few strokes. “Now for the commitment.”

He moved his hand carefully over Derek's neck, extending the last stroke in a vertical line across the narrow space to connect it with the second sigil. The werewolf's eyelids dropped halfway down, when he grazed his finger over his Adam's apple, but they didn't close all the way, observing Stiles' movement guardedly.

“Okay, commitment completed,” the teen informed, looking up at Derek for a second. He had to force himself to tear his eyes from those green wells and look back down to drop more blood onto his fingers. “Next is wisdom on the left...uh, right for you mhm.”

Derek moved his head at that automatically, exposing the right side of his neck a little more, to give Stiles better access and his heart clenched seeing that, longing to press a kiss onto the skin there. But of course, he didn't. He merely lifted his fingers and pressed his fingertips onto the side of Derek's neck, drawing the sigil.

The werewolf exhaled deeply, his eyes still tracking Stiles' hands, but then he let them slide lazily up his arm and onto his own neck, lingering there for a heartbeat, before they snapped back to his hand.

“Alrighties uhm,” Stiles muttered, feeling the redness creep into his cheeks, his heart pounding nervously in his ears. “Trust, commitment, wisdom... next is strength. Um, but I will have to go behind you to draw the remaining two so...”

“Okay,” Derek answered, rolling his shoulders. His head turned, as Stiles shuffled around him, until it couldn't turn any more, but he was obviously listening, judging by the way his head tilted into the most effective position.

“Right, so strength,” Stiles muttered, his traitorous mind suddenly supplying the most explicit pictures of the last time Derek had his back turned to him like this. Of course, he was naked that time...and moaning and yes, Stiles had to stop himself from thinking about that. Right away. Yep.

But it was hard to do, because of the faint thrum of their mate bond, which was ready to settle itself between them. The possibility was there, Stiles knew. And it was strong, he knew that too. But it needed a consent of both parties and until Derek realized what that 'weird magic' was and accepted the proposal, there was no way the bond would completely materialize. For now it was just an itch, pulling him to Derek's side, but since Stiles was so used to having the bond and feel it's full effects, this lack of anything made him sad. With that feeling he finished another sigil.

“Now for the last - fairness, or well...righteousness or something. Never knew, how to translate this one,” Stiles muttered, covering his feeling with rambling. “Of course there is more to being an Emissary, but this is the traditional ritual from hundreds of years ago, so...rules were a lot simpler that time, I guess.”

“Okay, all done,” Stiles nodded, connecting the last sigil with a first one. Now it was a full circle made out of a combination of the five most important things of this connection between an Emissary and an Alpha.

“I think, I will make pictures of the sigils on my phone, so you can redraw it accordingly,” he decided, taking out his phone and snapping a picture of every sigil.

He finished the task quickly, holding out the first sigil for Derek to see. The werewolf looked at it, his eyes flashing red as his nails changed into claws. He used those to cut into his fingertip, letting the blood swell into a drop, before the wound healed.

“Showoff,” Stiles muttered, eliciting a snort out of the werewolf. The teen turned his head to the side then, in case Derek would forget which side to paint the sigil on and waited, holding up his phone.

The first soft touch of Derek's fingertips made him shiver involuntarily and he sighed, closing his eyes in total surrender. It felt so good to have his mate touch him in such a gentle way once again, that he didn't even care this wasn't his Derek yet and that he is only doing it for the ritual. Whatever. He is just gonna enjoy it while it lasts.

Of course he realized, that his opinion on this whole matter kept changing with every freaking minute. But how could it not, his heart and his mind were split all over the time line. Was he supposed to keep living in the future? It would be hard to keep his head in the game, if he'd just succumb to the sadness over the loss of his pack and his mate. He could try to rebuild the future, but there was no time for that, of course. The only thing, he can do is try to correct all he could, before he would disappear forever.

He sighed dejected, as Derek moved behind him and snatched the phone to take it with him.

“Are you okay?” the werewolf asked suddenly concerned. He must have smelt his emotions changing into the deep deep blue as the time progressed.

“Am fine,” the teen muttered, running his fingers along his lips, sniffling a little.

“You sure?” Derek asked from behind him and it almost felt, as if Stiles was transported back into the future. As if Derek would just lean closer and put a soft kiss onto the nape of his neck and maybe even put his arms around him and pull him into a tight embrace. But of course that wasn't the case and Derek finished the sigils without touching him more, that he had to.

Stiles made him snap a picture of them all, so he could check them and after he was satisfied with the work Derek's done, he reached his right hand over to the werewolf and grasped his forearm.

“Right,” Derek muttered and grabbed Stiles' forearm too. “With this I appoint you, Pr-...do I have to say that name of yours?”

“Yes, Derek, true names carry magic and all that shit,” Stiles nodded impatiently. He was starting to get his own version of cabin fever, his ADHD gnawing at his mind persistently for the last few minutes. Also, being so close and yet so far to his mate - all the contradictory feelings annoyed him already. “Man, I'm so glad we don't actually need any magic from my side for this. I am too drained for any rituals now. But luckily, the Emissary position is opened to any kind of creature so...okay, repeat after me prsh-eh-mee-ss-love.”

Derek nodded at that, his hold on Stiles' forearm tightening slightly. “With this,” the werewolf spoke, “I appoint you Pr-...Przemyslav Stilinski for the Emissary of the Hale pack.”

“I accept your offer, Derek Hale,” Stiles answered and gasped, when the ritual started to form a bond between then. It felt surreal, as if his right forearm melted into Derek's and became one weirdly deformed pawn. The sigils on their necks slid beneath their skin, disappearing. And then there was suddenly a faint presence in his head and he knew, the pack he had to take care of and counsel was very small, because only two little lights appeared in the distance of his brain. But at the same time, their brightness was constant, it did not waver, which made him realize, they were strong and they were both his.

Is this how Lydia felt all the time? Being responsible for so many lights must have been very exhausting, not to mention stressful, but she never complained, nor mentioned any pressure of her position. But then again this was Lydia Martin – she was perfect in anything, she's ever tried. Also, after a few seconds, when his mind settled, he realized the lights are not exactly that distracting. It was just a very faint presence in the corner of his skull, reminding him of his responsibilities.

“I think it worked,” Stiles breathed, his hold on Derek's forearm going slack. The werewolf let go of him, scanning his arms for any changes, but Stiles payed him no attention, he just let his eyes drop to his forearm, finding the patch of skin, where Derek's palm touched him. And right there, in the middle of the area, was a small mole. The teen ran a finger over it, not detecting anything weird about it.

Wondering, he woke up his Spark and activated the notice-me-not sigil once again. Feeling the rush of magic made his eyes flash and there it was – a very thin glowing thread going out from the mole, stretching across the space between him and his new Alpha, where it disappeared into the werewolf's forearm. He backed a few steps wondering, if he'd feel a tug, but the thread just grew longer without any side effect.

He reached out his fingers, going through the thread then, but they only passed through, as if the thread was just some golden glowing ghost. Stiles waved his arms from one side to another, wondering if the thread would ripple and curve, but it did not change, it simply stayed straight, connecting the two dots on their forearms.

“Oh good, you're all done,” he heard Peter approach from the living room and looked behind him to grin at the werewolf, his eyes still glowing. The werewolf's eyes flashed back in recognition and a smirk formed on his lips. “Welcome to the Hale pack, Stiles.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

After the initiation, Stiles practically begged Peter to let him take a look at all the treaties the Hale pack ever signed, preferably in their original state, so he would be ready for the briefing. Sitting there on the couch in the werewolf's living room, with Peter on his right playing around his laptop, and Derek on the armchair opposite of him reading a book, it kinda felt like home. Not to mention the thrum on his Emmisary bond in the back of his head, which kept him connected to the pack itself.

So Stiles should be in a rather good mood, but somehow he wasn't. Looking down at the documents, he frowned, his eyes scanning the words over and over. None of the content was even remotely familiar, which it should have been, because he was the Second of the 'future' Hale pack. He already read through all the treaties a hundred times with Lydia for sure.

But reading it now, it felt like the first time ever. He went over the treaties with the neighborhood packs first, since it would probably be the easiest to restore into his memory, but alas none of it rang a bell and going through it just made him more frustrated, that he was in the beginning.

He came to hate the agreement between the Argents and Hales the most, because he knew for certain, he used some information from it talking with Chris only yesterday, but now it was, as if he'd never even heard about it before.

He knew, he shouldn't be complaining, his brain was completely healthy and ready to absorb all sorts of stuff like a sponge, but still... it were the disappearing future memories, that bothered him. He couldn't even tell, how much he's lost already, since he didn't have his notes with him – those were all still scattered over the carpet in his room back at home. But even those won't help him forever.

Stiles was just starting to consider tattooing the words 'mate', 'pack', 'future' onto his right hand as a last line of defense against the magical amnesia, when his phone started to vibrate in his pants persistently. Taking it out, he glanced at the screen and sighed resignedly, seeing who's calling him.

“Hey, man,” he picked up the phone, pushing the treaty away from him. “Whazzup?”

“Stiles, where did you go?” came a whiny voice from the other side, in which he would have instantly recognized Scott, even if he didn't have it flash on his screen just a few seconds ago.

“I went to take Erica home,” he lied promptly, deciding to stick to the official story.

“Which Erica?” Scott questioned, his tone making Stiles imagine that confused frown of his.

“Erica Reyes – the blond epilepsy girl?” Stiles said, trying to not sound too exasperated. It wasn't his friend's fault he knew nothing of Erica, but Stiles somehow couldn't help it. She was his friend, even if nobody else knew about it just yet. “She had a seizure and had nobody to walk her, so me and Boyd are taking her home.”

“But...you'll miss the lacrosse tryouts!” Scott wheezed, probably too worried about lacrosse to realize, he doesn't know Boyd either. “We wanted to go for the first line together, remember?”

“Uh, yeah,” Stiles cringed, his eyes roaming over the room, as if that would somehow rewind the time back and change the whole reality back to normal. “Sorry about that, but lots of luck to you, man.”

“Thanks,” Scott grumbled, hanging up on him instantly, which made Stiles sign in defeat. He should have been there for his bestie, especially today, since there was no triumph waiting for Scott on the lacrosse field this time. Most likely just all kinds of humiliation.

“A friend of yours?” Peter spoke up, both werewolves watching him intently, as if there was nothing more interesting in this room, which yeah, there probably wasn't at the moment.

“Myeah,” Stiles nodded, putting his phone back into his pocket and pulling the treaty back into his lap.

“Does he have magical properties too?” the werewolf added, leaning closer over his laptop, his fingers curled around the top of the screen.

“No,” the teen shook his head, looking up from the documents, wondering where the questioning will lead this time.

“Part of your future pack, though?” Peter wondered, his eyes scanning his reaction sharply. Luckily Stiles was better at concealing his inner thoughts by now, the sigil on the nape of his neck helping him with concealing the bodily reactions, so there is no way Peter could look through him.

“Yes,” he draws, wiggling his eyebrows. “All my friends are werewolves. In fact, I bit them all myself.”

Both werewolves stared at him in silence for a heartbeat. Derek emitting a low growling sound, as if the possibility of Stiles being an Alpha somehow threatened his imminent status already.

“I don't need my werewolf senses to know that is a lie,” Peter stated, returning back to his laptop. Stiles should be proud of himself for deluding them like that, but truth be told, be barely cared, if they knew or not. That future was obviously long gone by now. So he just shrugged and tried to renew his concentration to study the treaty, which came to be a complete failure.

Not only could he feel his ADHD acting up, as he drummed his fingers over his knee, but he also realized, his forearms were itching like crazy. The itching was probably a sign of the healing, which was a good thing of course, but it didn't make Stiles any more composed. He slid his fingers carefully over the burned of strengthening charms a few times, hoping the touch would calm the skin down, but it did not work.

He knew, he shouldn't be scratching the reddish skin, because then he would only scrape it deeper, which would probably lead to inflammation of the skin, which would pretty much postpone the healing, so no scratching allowed. He had a strong enough will for that, had he not? Well it didn't feel like that and he could feel his fingers twitching agitatedly in anticipation.

Stiles looked up at that, hoping to distract himself with something else. His eyes fell on Derek immediately, who looked up from his book, as if sensing the attention, a frown permanent on his face. Oh, but Stiles knew better, than to think it was something negative, he only saw curiosity in those eyes and was instantly reminded of the time Derek spent hours in his room, hiding from the law. Except back then, he thought Derek hated him, because he didn't exactly know, how to read the werewolf.

“What are you staring at?” Derek grumbled suddenly, pulling him out of the fond memories.

“Just thinking,” he replied automatically, running his fingers soothingly down his forearm.

“About?” the werewolf frowned, his eyes falling to Stiles' hands. Peter looked up from his laptop too at that, watching them curiously.

“How much would the blue and orange combo suit you,” the teen grinned, his voice teasing, as he got reminded of the time, he made Derek change into one of his shirts all those years ago.

Before Derek could react to that, Peter lowered the screen on his laptop and proclaimed: “Orange and blue? That is probably the most tasteless colour combination of all.”

“Says Peter,” Stiles rolled his eyes, grinning, “our fashionista.”

Derek snorted at that, which only made Stiles' grin broaden, sending a wink in his direction, but the good mood was gone as fast as it came, after Peter's next statement: “My...Helena used to say that.”

They both looked back at the said werewolf, concern written on their faces, but Peter's face was surprisingly blank. He stared at the black TV screen intently, probably reminiscing about the long lost past. The silence around them was more than awkward. It was almost painful to breathe in.

“Peter,” Stiles called out, hoping to rouse the werewolf from his trance. He knew that state very well, since it happened to him a lot during every eclipse in the future. He was very prone to lashing out then, feeling weak and powerless, just like at the day of the fire.

The echo of his name made Peter tear his eyes away from the turned off flatscreen and land on the teen himself, who was scratching at his forearm absentmindedly.

“I've never had that with her, you know,” the werewolf whispered, waving his hand in the direction of his left ring finger. “Our mate bond was profoundly strong, once we let it settle, but... her human skin was so soft, I'd have never even considered... “

He trailed off, the sentence ending in a sudden silence as he reached into the collar, pulling out a golden chain with two rings on it.

“At least I've got these back,” he murmured, looking down at his wedding bands, which Laura recovered from the deposit just a few days ago. Peter must have picked them up in the preserve, where Stiles let go of them, preparing to cure him.

“Yeah, uh,” the teen nodded, glancing up at Derek, who didn't react. “Laura thought it will bring you back, but... you were far too gone.”

“I still am in a way,” he admitted, turning the wedding bands between his fingers absentmindedly, his eyes zeroing in on Stiles. “Losing a mate, especially a mate with whom you've got such a strong bond is...well, I am sure you know, what it is like.”

Stiles' chest clenched at that, his hand leaping to cover his mate ring's replica defensively. He saw Derek's eyes squint at his hands, as if trying to see between his fingers, wondering about Got knows what, but he had no time to analyze the man.

“My mate is not dead,” Stiles argued, hoping to convince himself with that statement too. “Just...not here yet.”

“Not here anymore, not here yet,” Peter shrugged, pulling at his collar to let the chain slide back inside. “Semantics.”

Stiles didn't answer, because Peter was right. It was not easy to deal with and well...if Stiles was being honest with himself, he wasn't dealing with it at all. He was just trying to ignore it all, since there were more important things, he should be focusing on. Not that his focus was any consistent, judging by the last few days. It was pretty much a failed attempt.

“Doesn't matter now,” he croaked, rubbing his ring finger defiantly, as if it was all it's fault. “No time for that. First we have to...”

“You said that before,” Derek finally spoke up, cutting him off effectively. He closed the book, putting it on the coffee table in front of him, never letting his eyes drop from the teen. “Back on the stairs. Like you're going to die soon.”

There wasn't exactly concern written all over his face, as it would have been in the future, but there was something. Something like puzzlement, like a need to understand the meaning behind the words.

“Well, are you?” added Peter, his tone concerned.

“Depends on how you guys define dying,” Stiles joked, trying to smile, but it probably came out all wrong. Seeing it didn't amuse anybody, so he decided to just explain it all in one go - like tearing off a plaster.

“Well the thing is,” he started, adopting his teaching voice to build a metaphoric wall between his feelings and the content of his speech. “When I got transported into the past, it was like my mind got wrenched from my older body and then got pushed forcefully inside this young one.”

“But...my young brain didn't have the capacity to hold all the extra memories. It was missing ten years worth of synapses. No magic could replace such an extensive amount of decrease, so I decided to lock those memories elsewhere instead,” he said, lifting his hand to show the 'future' sigil on it.

“It would have worked as a storage place well enough, but...uh, my acts changed the future, so the memories locked in the sigil are not real anymore. Meaning - it's not the actual future anymore and with every step I take into the different future, they disappear. And they will keep disappearing, until there is nothing left anymore. Just the young plain me.”

“So yeah, there is no time for crap,” he added sternly, grabbing some random documents from the coffee table. He didn't even look at the two werewolves, sensing their eyes on him. He just plunged into the words, as if it was some magical ocean that would clear all his problems and began to sort them through.

 

~o~

 

“You wouldn't happen to have any more of those magical storage units, would ya?” Stiles asked suddenly, as they all descended the stairs at half four, the werewolves only a few stairs above the teen.

“Sadly not,” Peter answers, speeding up a little to join Stiles at the front of their marching band. “They are quite rare after all, but maybe I could acquire one more for you, if I'd know, what you need it for.”

The teen glanced guiltily down at his itching forearms, which he was scratching compulsively just a few seconds ago and shrugged. “I only have one strengthening charm left and then I would have to wait till my skin heals, so I would be pretty much useless for the time being.”

“You weren't much useless against that kid in school,” Derek speaks up from behind him, his tone a bit reprimand.

“Yes well, my pack insisted on teaching the frail human, how to take care of himself,” Stiles rolled his eyes, running his fingers over the railing to his left. “But the kid was just a human – a huge muscled mountain, true, but human nonetheless. If I'd have to deal with the creature or any other supernatural being, things might not end up on the sunny side, if you know, what I mean.”

“You're our Emissary now,” Peter stated at that. “We are bound to protect you.”

“Yeah well, thanks, but no thanks,” the teen shook his head, starting to feel a bit exasperated. Yes, he was a part of the Hale pack, but there is no way, he will pull the two werewolves into such a dangerous situation. “You got zero chance against the creature.”

“We are werewolves,” Derek contradicted, as if that was an explanation for everything.

“No shit, man, really?” Stiles rolled his eyes, jumping down the last two stairs. “My whole pack couldn't get a scratch on that thing. There are only two of you.”

“I am an Alpha and Peter...” Derek started defensively, but Stiles cut in, before he could even materialize the next words on his tongue. He turned around at the base of the stairs, looking up at the werewolf.

“Seven full-grown wolves, including my Alpha, couldn't even touch that freaking thing,” he explained, folding his arms in front of him. And when Derek opened his mouth to protest, Stiles decided to continue mercilessly: “If you couldn't do it ten years from now, I doubt you could do it now, Derek.”

The atmosphere around them changed suddenly into a tense silence, as they both stared at each other, daring one another with their postures. Stiles noticed the red light building up behind Derek's irises, but even that didn't make him want to back down.

“That's quite an impressive number of wolves,” Peter declared suddenly, as if trying to diffuse the building up argument, in which of course he immediately succeeded, because their Alpha just huffed in annoyance, letting the red flash in his eyes subside.

“Yeah,” Stiles muttered, his fiery mood deflating at the memory of his pack. He ran a hand over the nape of his neck, turning around to head out of the apartment building. “The pack had more members, of course, but someone had to stay behind to keep an eye on the pups.”

“You don't say,” Peter said amusingly, following him out of the building through the entrance door. “So how big was your previous pack exactly?”

“Why Peter,” Stiles snorted, as they reached the Camaro. “Would you like a full list of all the members or would a simple number be sufficient enough?”

“Well, I would certainly prefer the list, yes,” Peter shrugged, opening the front door, when Derek unlocked his car. “In an alphabetical order, if you would be so kind. Preferably with a composed time line marked with the date of their agreement to join that famous pack of yours.”

“Smartass,” Stiles muttered, opening his own door in the back and stuffing himself inside the black car once again.

“That would really help you, dude,” he deadpanned, after he squirmed to the middle of the back seat, to stick his head between the two front seats. “That future is not valid anymore.”

“Because I didn't bite certain individuals in my feral state?” Peter guessed expertly, ignoring the way Derek's hands clenched around the steering wheel.

“Something like that,” Stiles shrugged, set on staying as cryptic as possible, which inevitably made his brain compare himself to Deaton, but then again, this wasn't a life threatening situation, so being cryptic or not was quite irrelevant.

“Well what didn't happen, still can,” the werewolf stated over the car's engine. Derek pulled out of the parking lot in front of the gray apartment building and headed down the street, passing the large cemetery on the right side.

“You just need to hoard the prospects into a school bus,” Peter continued. “And drive them all into the preserve. And maybe, when you ask Derek very nicely, he might even agree to chew on them a little.”

The Alpha growled under his breath at that, the Camaro cutting the turn in the road roughly. Stiles whelped, barely avoiding being thrown into the door on the left and Peter just shrugged, holding up his hands in a placating gesture.

The car sped up the road, passing the hotel and the cinema along the way and that was when Stiles finally managed to regain his balance in the middle of the back seat, adjusting the straps on his backpack.

“Anyways,” he said, eying Derek's furious profile. He had a faint suspicion there was something more behind that expression, that just anger, but he let his curiosity step away and make place for more important question. “I've got a question on all the briefing participants! There will be some pretty sensitive topics to go through so... will you both be able to stay professionally calm? Cuz I definitely don't have enough wolfsbane or magic to pacify two werewolves.”

“There shouldn't be a problem with that, unless they antagonize us,” Peter shrugged nonchalantly, as the car turned left this time, driving through the street to reach a parking lot near the gallery.

“Derek?” Stiles inquired, looking at the werewolf behind the steering wheel, just as he stopped the car and cut off the engine. The said man just jerked his head a little in a nod and got out of the car.

“Right, well,” the teen continued, following the werewolf out of the car. “I will do the talking, since I am the Emissary, so just... let me talk this through calmly. I would prefer to do this without any complications.”

The both werewolves nodded, flanking Stiles on either side, which made him immediately feel safer, so he pushed his feet to walk over the parking lot, right into the coffee shop under the gallery.

 

~o~

 

The place itself was rather small and Stiles suddenly realized, he didn't think of that, when he agreed to the briefing. He was so used to trust Chris, that he didn't even consider the possibility of this whole set being an eloquent trap. All they would have to do was bar the entrance door and lock them in the back room, which was usually reserved for special reservations.

His step faltered at the thought, looking around suspiciously and the two wolves stopped with him, their bodies tensing in response. There wasn't anything suspicious nearby, at least from what he could sense and since he didn't want to distress Derek and Peter any more, he resumed to walk between the round little tables, passing the counter at the back of the room and through the closed off doorway, where the hunters already awaited them.

Seeing them approach the table, Chris got up politely and waved at the three free chairs standing on the other side of the rectangular table. The three seats on their side were already occupied by Deaton on his right side and his wife Victoria on the other. What an amazing plot twist, Stiles thought bitterly.

“Hope you don't mind my wife joining us too,” Chris started, his lips forcing a smile, as he regarded the trio in front of him, his tone leaving no room left for arguing. “The hierarchy of Hunters...”

“Oh come on, Chris,” Stiles exhaled, sliding into the chair opposite of the hunter. Peter took the seat on his left immediately, leaving the only free seat for Derek to claim on Stiles' right. “We all know the matriarchy propaganda is just a sham, else Gerard wouldn't be in charge.”

Both Argents made a very sour face at his exclamation, a glare settling itself in their eyes.

“He is not in charge of this region,” Victoria spat, slamming her hand onto the table. Derek growled under his breath in warning, but otherwise remained calm.

“Technically he is though,” Stiles shrugged. “All the official Hunters are his underlings, so by default-”

“But,” Peter jumped in, before he could finish the sentence and insult them even more. “We did not come here to discuss the politics, right Stiles?”

“Uh, right,” he mutters, ashamed that his mouth took a hold of him so quickly. It was, as if he was transported back into his teen brain. He needed to be more professional. “Anyhow, what I meant was, it doesn't matter, who you bring, as long as your verdict is valid in all circles.”

“That it is,” Victoria stated, leaning back into her chair, her hands folding back into her lap, when Christopher just nodded.

“You are not Stiles,” Deaton spoke up suddenly, his eyes scanning the new Hale's Emissary thoroughly. He was so quiet until now, that Stiles even forgot, he was there, which only made him more annoyed, since he was supposed to be the better magic user here. He couldn't just let Deaton outsmart him like that.

“I know Stiles,” Deaton continued mercilessly, explaining the situation to the Argents. “He is best friends with my assistant Scott at the veterinary. I just saw him a week ago, but this person's aura does not resemble the original one... in fact, it is so heavily disguised by some warding rune, I can't even get a read on it through the magical sheen. So, what are you?”

Stiles sensed the mistrust coiling around those words, but he didn't want to uncover everything to Deaton and hand it over to him on a freaking golden plate. He did not trust him either. So he just kept his mouth shut, staring at the druid in silence. The Argents looked between Deaton and him, their right hands sliding onto their side in synchrony.

“Could it be... the nogitsune?” inquired Deaton after a few heartbeats, a plain shock written over his face.

“The what?” Stiles frowned, leaning in closer, as if that would help him understand the question. “Oh you mean like a kitsune type? What has a mystical fox to do with any of this?”

“A nogitsune can posses people on top of everything else,” Peter explained from his side, his eyes locked on the two hunters in front of them. “He obviously thinks you're being possessed.”

“Seriously?” Stiles snorted, looking back at the displeased vet. “I can't be possessed due to my strong Spark, Deaton, but you already knew all that, so why don't you drop the act. There is no need to make a show out of this. I am Stiles, a new improved Stiles, thanks to my awoken magical properties, true, but Stiles nonetheless.”

Deaton frowned at that, as if he was somehow displeased with the fact, Stiles was suddenly magical, but the teen ignored it continuing his monologue.

“And since we did not come here to discuss my humble self, I would rather turn the conversation back to the main topic, which is the initiation of the Code,” he said, turning away from the vet to fix his eyes on the hunters again.

“The Code applies to hunters only,” stated Deaton, obviously not ready to shut up just yet, which only helped to annoy Stiles further.

“Does it now?” he let his eyebrows rise in wonder. “The Hale-Argent treaty from the forties states clearly, that both parties are allowed to enact the Code, if the legal point of the crime stands strong.”

He caught a sight of Peter bringing up his briefcase to open it wide on the table. After some shuffling, he brought up a printed copy of the said treaty and pushed it across the table to Deaton. The vet ignored it, his eyes not sliding from Stiles, as if he was set on defeating him somehow.

“That treaty is considered void since the fifties, boy,” he countered. “There was a new treaty in the fifties, that came into validity instead.”

“None of the following treaties deemed the first one void,” Stiles informed him expertly, a grin settling itself on his lips. “And with that, they only stand as extensions of the original one by amending a few things here and there.”

“He is right, Deaton,” Chris commented, trying to divert the conversation back to the main topic.

“Actually,” Peter spoke up suddenly, gesturing in the direction of Deaton's seat. “I don't exactly see a valid reason for Deaton to stay here any longer. He is not a member of any of the said parties, thus being redundant for the briefing itself.”

“I am here to present an impartial individual to help guide you through the briefing,” Deaton insisted sternly, his voice gaining a soft magical undercurrent, which only Stiles noticed. “It's you, who shouldn't be here. Your survival only keeps disturbing the harmony of this fragile world.”

Derek growled menacingly at that statement and the shadows around the room started to lengthen so slowly, it was barely visible. Stiles could feel something stir inside the pocket on the vet's jacket and stood up so quickly, the chair tumbled to the floor.

“Don't,” he warned, his Spark bursting protectively from his chest, making his eyes glow like gold bathed by sunlight.

Stiles could see the other participants around the table from the corner of his eye, realizing they were in various stages of arming themselves – both Argents holding onto their concealed weapons, Derek letting his claws expand fully. Well, all of them, except for Peter, who looked pretty much unaffected.

“Oh, my apologies,” Deaton smiled, patting his jacket and calming down the magical stirrings emitting from there. “It's just a protection rune. Must have reacted to the threats in the room.”

Stiles eyed him suspiciously, trying to extend his magical senses to pierce through the protection around the druid, eager to find out, what else was the man hiding, but his sleepy Spark wouldn't be able to breach a surface of a simple bubble right now, so a protection rune would be a lost effort.

The thick atmosphere was suddenly pierced with the arrival of the waitress, who walked cheerfully into the adjoined room of the coffee shop and smiled at them all. Derek's claws were gone in a second, all magic got pushed back and even the Argents managed to put their hands back into their laps.

“Good afternoon,” she greeted them. “What can I bring you?”

And only at that question, Stiles realized, he had a huge caffeine deficiency. He promised himself to get more of it in school, but didn't get the chance to. Peter had only water or alcohol at his apartment, so that didn't help his deprived state any more, than a week in the woods would.

“Coffee, a lot of coffee. Preferably the whole jug,” he breathed, turning around to pick up his chair. “I was gonna go get you, but my chair disagreed.”

The waitress laughed at that, jutting down their respective orders into the notepad and then skittered away again.

“So, if doctor Deaton is done with his shenanigans, I would like to finally start with the official briefing.” Victoria started, when Stiles sat down again, her eyes regarding the vet for a second and then jumping back to the teen. “If I understand it right, you are set on enacting the Code to hunt those, who caused the Hale fire six years ago.”

“Yes,” the teen agreed and let Peter pull a thick file out of the briefcase with all their proof. Stiles had to give it to him, his investigation was so throughout, it barely left space for doubt. It would definitely send all of the criminals to the jail faster, that Stiles could blink, were they to land in his dad's hands. But alas, they did not want them in jail, they wanted them dead.

“With this,” he gestured at the file now lying in front of them, “the Hale pack is officially requesting the permission to hunt down the four main conspirators of the Hale arson, which cause the death of nine pack members.”

“Our sources stated only eight,” said Victoria, reaching out and opening the file to browse through the official documents.

Stiles was almost afraid to ask Peter, where he got it all from, because it didn't consist of the usual stuff, that his dad's files back at the station consisted of normally. Sure, there were things like a Fire Department Incident Report or the official Coroner’s Report, which wouldn't surprise anybody.

And Stiles could even imagine obtaining the bank account statements somehow and maybe even the phone recodrs, but getting the exact GPS locations of every arsonist at the time of the fire? Well, Stiles is not going to complain about having those, because they condemn those assholes to what they rightfully deserve.

“The coroner states Helena Hale was pregnant that time,” Stiles said, putting his left hand onto Peter's shoulder, just in case the werewolf decided to have an uncontrollable freak out right now, but he looked emotionless, almost detached, when Victoria skimmed over the said document.

“So lets not be insensitive and leave it at nine,” Stiles concluded, purposely leaving out the fact, that Cora was actually alive to not give them any future leverage.

That was when the waitress returned with their order, the biggest cup of coffee of them all landing right in front of Stiles, who gripped it tight and gulped half of it down immediately.

The hunters were still shuffling through the file, not even in the middle of it yet and Stiles was barely able to contain himself. He knew the stuff about Kate Argent was at the end of the file, being added inside in the last few hours of Peter's research, but he still wished they would hurry up.

Victoria glanced at her husband a few times, something meaningful beaming in her eyes, making Chris just nod or shake his head in their of version of a silent conversation. They both knew no whispering whatsoever would help them against the werewolfves' senses, to they must have perfected a very advanced way of communication over the years and unfortunately, Stiles wasn't getting any smarter from watching them.

He gulped down the rest of the coffee to distract himself, his leg jumping up and down nervously, until he felt a hand land on his thigh and push it gently down. He glanced over at Derek, whose hand was currently sitting on his leg in a very calming measure and lifted his eyebrows at him. The werewolf just shrugged, sipping at his sweet strawberry tea in silence.

Stiles let his eye automatically glide over at Deaton, although he would rather keep them on Derek, but his preservation instincts kicked in. The vet was stirring his mint tea, his eyes fixated on the content of the cup, as if he could read the future from the leaves inside.

And yep, the Argents were still reading through the file, which was making him very restless. And yeah, Derek's hand was still on his thigh, which he wasn't sure how he felt about, but it certainly calmed him down to an extent.

“You can keep the file and check all the stuff inside yourself later, by the way,” Stiles proclaimed, because he couldn't help himself. Silence was a horrible ordeal to him.

“It all seems pretty legit,” Chris stated, his wife nodding in affirmation. She looked up at Peter then and added: “If we were police, we might wonder, where you got all this information from, though. Acquiring some of these can only be gained by illegal means.”

“Says the woman, who handles half of their weaponry sale without any official documentation,” Peter replied over his cup of black coffee.

“Touche,” she nodded, returning back to the papers and Stiles was taken aback by her behavior. This was not how he remembered Allison's mother. He's always thought, she was a vicious bitch prejudiced against all werewolves, considering all the things she'd done to Scott, who was forced to bite her. I mean, Stiles thought, she even killed herself after being bitten, what sort of a person would do that?

Well, considering Scott ain't a werewolf in this time line, none of it might happen and she will probably end up living for longer, that in his original past. And Stiles wasn't sure, how he felt about that. He should be glad, he saved another life, even if just by default, but it could still have bad consequences for his pack.

He was brought back from his mind castle by Chris' voice in front of him.

“No,” he muttered, his eyebrows pulled together in a deep frown. “This is not true.”

“Which one?” Stiles inquired, leaning in closer over the table. The hunters were both staring at the papers regarding Kate Argent, a look of disbelief painted on their faces. “Oh, that part about your sister? No, I'm sorry, that is certainly true.”

“She wasn't even in the town around that time,” Chris hissed defensively. “I might believe those three other people being involved and deserving their ordeal, but Kate would never...”

A double growl from the both werewolves buried his words, as they eyes flashed at the lie. There must have been a 'skip in his heart', how they simplified it to children, although it was actually a combination of many factors tied to bodily functions. Obviously Chris didn't believe what he was saying himself.

Stiles raised his hands, hoping to avoid the conflict and was surprised to hear the growling subside. He sighed, looking over at Chris and shook his head. “We have proof, she was staying in a hotel in Sacramento that time.”

“Doesn't prove anything,” Chris cut in, scowling in his direction.

“Don't you find it weird, she was in Sacramento but did not come to visit you?” Stiles wondered aloud, feeling Derek's hand over his tight tighten it's hold. “Or that she pulled money from one of her secret accounts, which was pretty much the same amount, the poor fire inspector was bribed with? Come on, Chris, you know her. You've always suspected, she had her pretty nails...”

“This accusation needs a solid proof no matter what we think,” Victoria spoke up sternly, her hands curling into fists. “If you do not have...”

“Oh, we do,” Peter smirked, pulling out his laptop. It took only a few seconds until it was fully operational, but the werewolf kept talking all the while, enjoying every sweet moment of the victory: “You see, there has always been a camera trap on the other side of the preserve. My mother was the one, who allowed the wildlife experts to install it there many years ago, so naturally we've always avoided the region, even as children. It wouldn't even jar my mind, weren't it for our dear Emissary, who brought it up on out last pack meeting. You wouldn't believe my surprise, when I went to the Preserve Center and borrowed a copy from the day of the fire.”

He turned his laptop around with a menacing smile on his lips, the video feed showing the little squirrel disappearing from the screen. Stiles couldn't see the continuation anymore, since it was turned away from him, but he could definitely see it all playing out on their faces. The exact moment they recognized Frank Reddick from the pictures in the file and when he was joined my Lance Unger.

Deaton was glancing at the screen sideways, his expression unreadable, but even he seemed to blanch a little, when Kate Argent strode confidently into the view, as if she owned the whole preserve, gesturing at the two other arsonists.

Feeling the prickle of claws onto his thigh, Stiles let his hands fall down onto Derek's, which was holding onto his pants, as if it was the only thing keeping him grounded. He entwined his fingers with the werewolf's, gently prying the claws from the material and held onto the hand tightly, without even glancing at the said man.

“I'm sorry Chris, but your sister was obviously in the preserve only mere minutes, before the fire broke out,” Stiles sighed, reaching over to close the laptop. “Plus in the company of the three convinced arsonists. The proof couldn't get any clearer.”

Chris seemed to be unable to tear his eyes away from the laptop. “That can't be true,” he muttered to himself.

“I fear it is,” Stiles said, lifting out his finger in a warning gesture to Peter, who just opened his mouth to say something more. “She was obviously the main conspirator. You saw the profiles of the other three guys. There is no way, they even knew about supernatural beings, so it must have been her, which puts us in a difficult situation, because she is your sister after all and we want no feud with the Hunters.”

“But a crime has been committed and nine people died and it wasn't just werewolves in that house. (He squeezed Derek's hand comfortingly.) Derek's younger brother was human - he was innocent. Our blood calls for vengeance and we will not be stopped, unless there is retribution for the deaths. Be it with your consent or without it.”

“You can't just demand from the Argents to allow you to kill four people,” Deaton argued, clearly distressed by the situation. “Where is the justice in that? Aren't you the Sheriff's son?”

“We can and we are ,” Stiles stressed, looking at Deaton. “If it was the other way around and a werewolf murdered a family of hunters in cold blood, wouldn't they hunt him down and kill him without any second thoughts? They would persecute his entire pack to achieve their vendetta, if they had to, but we only want Kate Argent. Not you, nor any other hunter. We want her to be persecuted according to the laws she broke.”

He looked up at the Argents and pointed at the copy of their first treaty. “And this is the law, she broke in the first place. She broke the treaty knowingly and attacked us without any provocation from our side, which gives us no other choice, than to sentence her to death according to the Code, which you imposed, by the way, so there should be no doubt about it from your side.”

“You should not be talking like that,” Deaton chastised him, his voice full of disappointed. “Every Emissary should nurture the harmony around us, not disrupt it willingly. I know you've only joined the pack officially today, I could feel my bond with the pack disrupting after all...but that is no excuse for such a reckless behavior. A druid should never...”

“Deaton,” Chris raised his voice to silence the vet, just when Stiles wanted to oppose the idea of him ever being in any connection to the druids. Maybe it was for the best, though. The less Deaton knew about his origins the better.

They all looked back at Chris, except for Peter, who didn't even consider letting his eyes drop from Victoria.

“Do you want some time to confer about the decision with your wife?” Stiles asked, dipping back into their conversation. “We can step outside out of the range and wait. In any case, I would rather have your decision today. I know it is quite sudden and you would rather go through the file again and maybe proof all the stuff in it, but there is no way we could have faked the video feed, so I think...I'll be frank with you, I have some other urgent business to attend to and I think six years is a long time to wait for our vengeance, so...if you wouldn't mind.”

“We will sign the consent,” Chris nodded suddenly, which made Victoria stare up at him in shock and grab his forearm.

“You can't just give them Kate,” she spat furiously, ignoring the way Peter's eyes narrowed at that. “She is your sister. She is...”

“A murderer,” Chris finished the sentence, shaking his head in defeat. “And I am not giving her to anybody. I am just allowing them to go after her, which they would do anyways. This is the safer path for us, don't you see?”

“Giving consent to werewolves to murder your own sister,” Victoria summarized, her voice disgusted. Deaton glanced at them, his hand sliding under the table.

“Look at what she's done! Look at it!” Chris barked, his voice dripping with revulsion, as he opened the file, displaying the pictures inside of it. “Look at them, Victoria.”

“Dead monsters,” she argued, the words pushed out of her mouth from between her teeth.

Stiles noticed both werewolves tensing and slammed his hand onto the table faster than a lightning would, flicking his wrist to direct the mountain ash from Deaton's palm around his pack members, who pushed their chairs away, changing into their Beta forms in an instant. Their immediate attack was stopped by the created mountain ash line and Derek howled angrily, slamming onto the barrier once again, his eyes blazing furiously.

The Argents just watched the scene unfold in front of them, shock all over their faces. Chris only managed to bring his gun out of the concealed pocket, but the safety still on, so that wouldn't help him and Victoria had her little poisonous knife out too, but that wouldn't stop an angry Alpha even if she had a dozen of them.

“You just had to say it, didn't you?” Stiles sighed, shaking his head sadly. There was a shuffle from behind them and Peter growled, watching the doorway, as if expecting an army to come through.

“Shit,” Stiles swore, as he realized what was happening – the Argents must have had other hunters posing as customers in the other room, just in case things went south. And those were all heading in their direction now.

Activating his Spark in a record time, he forced it to burn through his last strengthening charm and the air was instantly filled with the familiar cracking electricity.

Unfortunately, he had no time to draw any protection sigils, that would stop the hunters from advancing. There wasn't even a pen around for peace's sake. He was pretty much useless, if he couldn't draw anything, but the only thing around were their drinks and...oh, Stiles grinned, dipping his finger into the sediment left inside his cup.

With a few strokes, he completed the protection sigil inside of it and hurled the cup onto the threshold, where it erupted into a million ceramic pieces, effectively covering the doorway. He caught a sigh of the waitress, who just laughed maliciously, thinking he missed her, but as she tried to step over the shreds, she encountered an invisible protective wall, which he erected only a second ago.

“Now,” he snapped, his magic making the air around him crack furiously. “Could we just all fucking calm down?!”

Victoria's right hand, which was holding the knife jerked, as if she was about to throw it through the mountain ash barrier, making the werewolves growl in unison, but Stiles raised his hand in front of him in a warning, before she could let go of it. “I advice you to think about it first. This is not going to turn into a slaughter. Not under my watch.”

“Calm those beasts of yours first then,” she retorted, pointing her knife at the werewolves behind him, who paced restlessly in the mountain ash circle, ready to tear her into shreds given the opportunity.

“Chris,” Stiles called out, ignoring her remark.

“Put the knife down, Victoria,” he ordered immediately, putting his own gun back into the concealed pocket. When she did not react, he repeated the command more sternly. “I said put it away!”

And since she still didn't follow his instructions, he simply reached over to his wife, snatching it from her hand and folded it inside his pocket. “I apologize for my wife's behavior,” he sighed, lifting his hand in warming, when Victoria tried to say something.

“No,” he said loudly, shaking his head sternly. “That's enough.”

“Told you the matriarchy's just a sham,” Stiles muttered, looking back at Peter, who seemed to have calmed down considerably. “Please change back, guys. I've got this under control.”

Peter regarded his eyes glowing with melted gold and looked back at the barred passage way. The waitress just pulled out a gun, training it at the said werewolf and fired. The barrier shimmered and the bullet got stuck inside without any after effects. That seemed to have reassured Peter and he changed back into his human form, rolling his shoulders.

“Derek?” Stiles inquired, turning to his Alpha, whose eyes were still blazing with a bright red colour. He did not react, growling at the hunters in front of him, his breath ragged. That can't be good, the teen thought and turned fully to him, ignoring the fact, he just laid bare his back to two dangerous hunters.

“Der,” he repeated, trying to make his voice sound as calm as possible. Looking at the world through his flashing eyes, he caught a sight of the thread connecting them and saw it vibrate agitatedly. “It's alright, see? She didn't mean it...”

“She called them monsters!” Derek bellowed, stepping in closer to the mountain ash barrier, his eyes regarding Victoria, as if she was some delicious prey. “I will rip her apart with my bare hands, if I'll have to for insulting them like that.”

Stiles side-stepped resolutely, barring the Alpha's path to the huntress, even though the circle would never let him through. He concentrated on the thread, reaching his fingers over and pulling it a little. He had no idea, how he did it, since it wasn't even solid before, but his instinct told him, it was the right thing to do.

“Derek,” he repeated once again and pulled at the flickering thread, tugging at the werewolf's core. “Change back, Der, please...who cares what she says, she knows nothing. She didn't know them.”

The Beta features on his Alpha's face started to dissipate at that and when he rolled his shoulders, they were suddenly all gone, only a human face looking back at Stiles. He grinned at that. “Welcome back, Alpha.”

“I fear we extended this pointless briefing to it's limits,” Peter spoke up suddenly, watching the Argents, who were standing in front of the table, their back to the wall. “There is no point in negotiating with these people. It's time to leave, Stiles.”

“No, wait,” Stiles begged, turning back to Chris, feeling Deaton watch him carefully from his chair. “Is this really how you want it to be, Chris? We have our differences, true, but the Hales and Argents made it work before and I was hoping we could continue along that road. I know you man, I know we could make this work. If you would just...”

He let the sentence fade into nothingness, hoping it would convey his thoughts better. Chris waved his hand at that, gesturing to the hunters stuck in front of the doorway. They pulled back immediately.

“You spared our lives once again,” Chris nodded, tilting his head in thanks. Victoria was about to say something, but he shot her a warning stare, silencing her effectively. “As I said before, we will both sign the consent and guarantee no retribution for the said enactment of the Code. I hope you can forgive us for the rudeness and help us build such a good relationship, as our predecessors had before us.”

Stiles' face split into a huge grin that at. “You betcha!”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles was honestly hoping the briefing will end soon, because this was his third jumbo cup of coffee and he didn't feel any more energized than before. Using up his last strengthening charm on keeping the peace between the Argents and Hales cost dearly, he knew – he could feel the sigil going emptier, when his Spark finally calmed down, but unfortunately, he had no idea, what disappeared from his memory this time.

It was like opening a very thick book and finding a whole chapter gone. There was no way of knowing, which memories got pushed out of the sigil. At least not, until he'd cross-referenced it with his notes. So he just sat back down on his chair, leaning onto the back and let Peter take over the terms of their vendetta, ignoring the chatter to his left.

Their Alpha obviously wasn't in the mood to sit down again any time soon, since he was still standing behind them, scowling in the direction of the other room. It was all the same to Stiles, though. He was actually glad, that someone was watching the rest of the hunters in the coffee shop, because he was way too drained to keep watch himself. And he trusted Derek to keep them safe, if anything else should happen.

“That was a very interesting display of magic,” Deaton muttered from his seat, his eyes roaming over Stiles' forearms and down to his left hand. He took his cup of tea and sipped at it calmly.

“Thanks for the help, man,” Stiles rolled his eyes, sliding his left hand off the table, hiding it in his lap by some weird reflex.

“It is not my mission to interfere,” Deaton shook his head sadly, putting his cup back down. “I am merely a keeper of the divine balance.”

“Yeah? And how's that going for you?” the teen wondered, not exactly caring about the answer. Stiles wasn't sure, what it was about this druid, that irked him so much, but there was definitely something. Or was there? Maybe it was just his paranoia acting up.

But then he thought back on what the vet just said and his frown deepened realizing something.

“It is not your mission to interfere?” he repeated, fixing the druid with a stern stare, when he nodded. “But you were the Hale's Emissary before me...”

“Yes, I was,” Deaton shrugged and lifted the cup of tea to his lips again to drink some more. Stiles' lips thinned, a horrified expression settling itself on his face.

“So if there had been a threat to your pack...” he whispered, his mouth running dry. He suddenly wished, he hadn't used up his last strengthening charm just an hour ago. Maybe he could just jump over the table and try to throttle that bastard with his bare hands. “You mean, you wouldn't do anything...?”

“Of course not. If you knew, with exact certainty, what is going to happen, would you try to stop it?” Deaton questioned conversationally, as if they were only talking about weather or something similarly mundane.

“You fucking piece of shit!” Stiles snarled, ready to leap out of his chair, but there was suddenly a hand on his shoulder, holding him seated.

“Calm down, Stiles,” Peter ordered and the teen would probably not listen, trying to wiggle free, but suddenly another hand landed on his right shoulder too, trapping him effectively. Derek glanced gravely down at him, shaking his head.

“Did you hear, what he just said?” he snapped, gesturing at Deaton wildly. “He said...”

“Yes, I heard, but being an Emissary does not make him the protector of the pack,” Peter reasoned, gripping his shoulder tighter. “That is the Alpha's responsibility. The Emissary is just an official envoy, an adviser of the pack. He stands above all the...”

“The fuck, Peter?” Stiles interrupted him, his voice fierce. “Are you kidding me? Are you honestly-”

“I am telling you how it is,” the werewolf jumped in, staring at him intently. “Deaton is a druid and their main mission is to keep the world balanced. Now, we might not agree on what the definition of the said balance is, but my mother took him for the Emissary knowing about the nature of his kind. We all knew well enough, that he would stay impartial at any cost. So whatever he knew or not, does not make him any more responsible for the fire, than the fire department is for not being able to extinguish the fire in time.”

Stiles stared at Peter defiantly for a few seconds, his hands folding over his chest automatically. He did not answer, so the werewolf glanced up at his Alpha, obviously agreeing on something without the needed words. He nodded and turned back to the Chris, whose eyes kept jumping from Stiles to Deaton and then back again.

“Now, where were we,” Peter drawled, ignoring the way the teen pouted slumped in his chair. Deaton seemed unfazed by the whole argument, sipping on his tea and Stiles wished, he would just choke on it already.

“For our acceptance of the enactment of the Code, the Hale's Alpha agrees to not give the Bite to any willing or unwilling participant,” Victoria stated, writing it down on the paper in front of her. Derek's hand on Stiles' shoulder gripped tighter at that and the teen looked up at her in puzzlement.

“Now hold on your horses,” he spoke up, but Victoria did not listen, continuing to write it down. That only made him more annoyed and he was already past the high level of annoyance before she opened her mouth. “The original treaty states, that the Hale's Alpha is allowed to give the Bite to any participant, but only under following circumstances, which includes foremost the participant's consent, so... we are in no way giving up on that right.”

Victoria looked up sharply, her hand on the paper finally stilling. “You expect us to agree to such conditions? We will not have you breed like rabid dogs-”

“Now, now, watch your words,” Peter jumped in, his eyes suddenly glowing vivid blue in a very threatening matter. It would pretty much stop anybody from talking, but Victoria was not so easily stopped.

Luckily, Chris was there to put an end to her rude behavior. He snatched the pen from her hand and pulled the paper to his side of the table, scratching out the last few lines, she wrote. He then signed it underneath the main text and pushed it back to his wife with the pen.

“With this document,” he started, glancing over the pack members, “the Hale pack is permitted to enact the Code on the named four criminals without any persecution from the side of the Hunters. Which means we guarantee, that no retribution will come upon you from our side only. If you manage to get caught by the human law or any other organization, that is your problem then and your problem only.”

He looked at Victoria, giving her a short nod. She set the pen down reluctantly, signing the document herself right next to her husband's signature.

“All the treaties remain, how they were,” Chris continued, handing the consent to Peter, who took it, scanning the words thoroughly. “Including the Bite regulations. I trust the new Hale Alpha won't go around biting whoever he wants.”

Stiles looked up at Derek, seeing him nod stiffly. His jaw was set and he was glaring, yes, but there was something more to the look in his eyes. People, who did not know him, would probably not notice the way he looked at Chris – like a deer caught in the headlights, but Stiles knew, Derek was hiding something. Oh no...

 

~o~

 

Stiles didn't waste any time, vacating the coffee house into the wet street. It was obviously raining while they were holding the briefing. It ended quite late and it was already dark outside, so Stiles was glad, he remembered to sent a text message to his dad, that he will stay till late at Scott's, before heading off from Peter's apartment.

He barely noticed any of it, though, nor the rain nor the darkness, pulling out his phone and dialing his best friend with a speed faster than the speed of light. With every passing ring on the line, he felt his panic swell more and more, until there was finally the familiar click of the call being picked up.

“Scott, buddy, hey,” he wheezed, pushing the phone closer to his ear.

“Stiles?” he heard the confused voice from the other side. “All okay? You sound a bit-”

“Just,” Stiles started, watching Chris speed away on his car together with his wife. The other hunters already either left, or stayed in the coffee house with the waitress, so there were no enemies around to overhear this conversation. “I have a very weird question for you, but man just...just answer me, okay? Have you, by any chance, been bit recently?”

“Uh, what?” Scott asked, his voice suddenly sheepish. Stiles almost fainted hearing that tone, because he knew his friend well enough to recognize stalling, when there was some.

“You have?” he gasped, not even understanding, how that could have happened. Is the time really repeating itself, even though he knowingly tried to push it in a different direction?

“How did you know? Did my mom call you?”” Scott whined and Stiles looked up at that, searching for his pack members. They were walking down the street to the waiting Camaro, obviously caught in some fiery conversation. However Stiles wouldn't be fooled by that, he knew they could hear him, but did not care anyways, because the emotions were too strong for him to reign.

“Awh you gotta be kidding me,” he moaned, slapping his right palm to his face. “How the hell did that happen?”

“You see, there was this dog,” Scott started, embarrassment filling his voice.

“A wolf, you mean,” Stiles corrected.

“A wolf? No, Stiles, I'm pretty sure it was a dog,” Scott argued, sounding a bit hurt, that his best friend doubted his ability to recognize breeds. He worked at the veterinary, for peace's sake, he knew how a dog looked like. “Allie kinda ran over her and brought her over, but the dog must have woken up during the ride and got scared being confined in such a small space suddenly, so it lashed out, when I opened the door and bit my hand.”

“Wait what...?” Stiles frowned, confused as hell.

“Well yeah,” Scott confirmed. “But I'm okay now. Had to treat the dog first, of course, because Deaton wasn't picking up his phone, but... Allie took me to the hospital. Just three stitches, no big deal...she was so nice, Allie I mean... stayed with me the whole time. Mom wasn't even mad, when I told her what happened. Man, Stiles, I thought this was a horrible day, cuz the lacrosse tryouts sucked super much, you don't even know, how much, but then this...well I wouldn't call it an improvement per se, but I asked Allison out after it all and she said yes, how cool is that?!”

“Uh,” Stiles pushed out of himself, feeling really stupid suddenly. He got worked out over nothing. Of course, the hurt dog wouldn't succumb to Scott this time. He was no werewolf in this time line after all. He should have thought of that and draw a protection sigil on his wrist in case the dog attacked, but of course he's forgotten all about it. He was too busy trying to help Erica and then Peter and then everybody else, but his best buddy. That didn't really improve him mood. Not at all.

“You rock, Scotty,” he answered weakly, knowing that his best friend was waiting for some acknowledgment. “Look uh... I'm really sorry, I wasn't there for the tryouts, I know it was important for you and I just...”

“Wow man, no big deal,” Scott commented, letting out a breathless laugh. “I mean... maybe it was better you weren't there. No offense dude, but you're even worse at lacrosse than I am and I have asthma. At least you avoided being a joke to the whole audience.”

“You're not a joke, Scotty,” Stiles objected, pushing his legs to walk down the street to the waiting werewolves. “You're like...you're amazing. Who cares, how you did at lacrosse, man. You got the girl anyways!”

“I sure did, didn't I?” his best friend exhaled happily. “Thanks Stiles.”

“No prob, buddy,” the teen grinned, getting closer and closer to the waiting pair. “Look, I gotta go, but...I'll see ya tomorrow, you gotta tell me all about it.”

“Yeah,” Scott replied, happiness radiating from the speaker like a sun on a hot summer day. “See ya, Stiles.”

“Bye,” he said, pocketing his phone right when his friend hung up on him, watching his pack sternly. He might have gotten the worry over Scott out of the table, but the suspicion remained. And if Derek didn't bite Scott, then who? Well, there was only one way to find out, he thought, hurrying to the Camaro.

“Who the hell did you bite?” he demanded to know, reaching his destination. He didn't mean to be so forceful, but he couldn't shake the dread pushing into his ribs, as if trying to tilt them our of his ribcage. He knew something was wrong and his suspicions were confirmed, when Derek frowned, obviously deciding to ignore his question.

The Alpha turned his back to him and handed the document from Argents to Peter standing next to him, who folded it neatly inside the pocket on his jacket, not looking at the teen either.

“Derek!” Stiles barked, grabbing the werewolf's shoulder. The way his future mate just dismissed his question hurt. Didn't they trust him enough to explain what happened? He tried to pull Derek back to face him again, but his arms felt way too weak somehow.

“Peter,” he pleaded, deciding to use the alternative source. He didn't even notice his hands shaking, his breath turning ragged from the way the subsiding adrenaline made place for the magical exhaustion. “Come on, man. I know you guys are hiding something from me.”

“Sorry, Stiles,” the werewolf shook his head, putting his hand on the pocket, where the document lied hidden. “Urgent matters call. And before you say anything, I am thankful for the way you treated this sensitive matter, but it's execution is a job for the Second.”

“You want to go solo?” Stiles quizzed worriedly, momentarily forgetting about the other problem, because Peter's decision caught him by surprise. He honestly thought, he deserved to at least accompany the Second, after trying so hard to gain the safe pass for him. “I can go with you, I can help. I-”

“Stiles, no,” Peter shushed him, grabbing his arm, when the teen stumbled back a little. “You can barely stand on your feet.”

“No, I can...,” Stiles breathed, only now realizing, how dizzy he felt. Was the ground always so shaky or was this some new development, he came to wonder incredulously. “I'm fine.”

But he was not, he knew that much already. Using the strengthening charm didn't only take a part of his memories, it also leaked away his physical strength, making him weak and sleepy. The only reason, he didn't collapse before at the coffee house, was the constant adrenaline, caused by a possible danger to his pack. He suspected the newly formed Emissary bond kept him going. Until now, that is. With the potential death trap passed, with hunters long gone, his body refused to run on fumes and caffeine anymore.

“Take him home, Derek,” Peter said, pushing him to the other werewolf's chest. His nephew reached over to grab the teen's shoulders automatically, before he could collapse onto the ground, but Stiles would not let them baby him. He was stronger than that.

So he mustered up all his strength and pushed himself away from the Alpha's hands, before he could marvel over the cold touch from his future mate and burst out in tears.

“I'm okay. Just... don't go alone, Peter,” he said, straightening himself to look stronger. “Take your Alpha with you. Bet those arsonists heard about your mysterious vanishing stunt from the hospital, before we could set it right. They might be awaiting you...they might have informed Kate. It's better to be safe, than sorry. I can manage to get home safely. Done so under worse circumstances, if truth be told.”

“Stiles,” Peter shook his head, watching him with some weird kind of pity or whatever it was. The teen was too busy trying to stay upright to recognize the real emotions behind the werewolf's irises.

“I mean it,” he insisted, curling his fingers into fists to stop them from trembling. “I am your Emissary, am I not? I am here to...what did you call it before?...ah, advice the pack. So yeah, here I go, advising you to take Derek with you.”

Peter sighed, putting his hands on his waist to think about what's been said. He looked over at his Alpha after a few seconds, lifting his eyebrows in question. Stiles tried to take in deep breaths to fight off the dizziness as best as he could.

“Go,” Derek said, jerking his head in the opposite direction. “I will take him home.”

“What? Derek!” Stiles cried out, flailing his arms in disbelief. Before he could even voice his next argument, Peter's eyes flashed, a predatory grin swelling up on his face and bound for the narrow alley nearby, disappearing in the darkness.

“How could you...?” the teen complained, gesturing to the said alley. “What if something happens to him?”

“Peter can take care of himself,” the werewolf answered calmly, his eyes glowing crimson. He blinked a few times, pushing the redness from his irises and looked over at the teen, eying the sweat rolling down his forehead from all the strain to keep himself standing properly.

“But,” Stiles argued, his voice sounding weak in his ears. He sighed, deciding it wasn't even worth the fight, since he knew Peter and what he was capable of. And getting rid of three human arsonists wouldn't even make him break a sweat, for sure. “You're right man...I am way too tired to argue with my Alpha right now, anyways.”

The teen looked up at Derek and somehow they ended up staring at each other for a few heartbeats. It was quite confusing – the way the werewolf kept looking into his eyes and if he didn't know any better, he might even try to label it like some kind of an affection. It couldn't be though, could it?

“What?” he frowned, not able to stop himself from blurting out the question. Derek frowned back, averting his eyes to stare into the darkness surrounding them.

“Nothing,” he muttered, jerking his head in the direction of the car, which was only a few yards away from them. “Let's go.”

“But there is still the one thing, we need to talk about,” Stiles nodded, forcing his legs to hurry after the werewolf. He kept his eyes so focused on the said man's nape, staring and wondering, what that all meant, that he did not notice a curb on the ground. His leg got caught up on the edge of it and he toppled on the ground in an impressive heap.

Later, when he thought back on it, he realized, how weird the whole falling was on itself, because it felt like some slow motion scene. He felt his foot connect with the edge and realized he will have to stumble around like a fool, which wouldn't be good for his image of a strong Emisarry. Luckily nobody was watching.

But after a millisecond later, he realized, there was no way for him to balance it out anymore and that he was heading for the floor at a rather alarming speed. He had his bag slung over the right shoulder and there was no way he could allow himself to fall on that side. There were some pretty dangerous glass vials in his backpack, after all.

So Stiles twisted his body to the left, reaching out his left hand to bring himself into an effective roll. The only problem now was to not let his left knee get scraped, which seemed pretty unavoidable. And since he favored his left hand more than the knee, he decided to just let it happen.

And so he fell, his knee scraping over the pavement as he used his hand to roll onto his left side, keeping his backpack out of the harms way. And a second later, he was staring up at the sky in a total surrender. This could only happen to him, for sure. Only he could beat a whole horde of hunters but kill himself on a freaking pavement.

“Shit,” be sighed, feeling the rush of air leave his rigid body. He considered to just curl up and sleep right there and then, but then there was a man staring down at him and this man was Derek and well, who was he to say no to his mate's waiting hand.

“You fall over nothing a lot, don't you?” Derek asked, when he grasped his hand and pulled him back to his feet.

“Yeah, no...well maybe,” Stiles shrugged. The movement also helped him test out, if his left shoulder survived the fall, which it apparently did. Good. “My younger self was always weirdly clumsy. I once tried to pry a Reese's out of the vending machine by shaking it and it just...fell down, the giant machine, would you believe it? Accidentally of course.”

Derek snorted at that, the corners of his lips turning up a little. It was really nice to see and Stiles wished he could just stay there for a while longer, but the werewolf glanced at his left knee then. “You're hurt.”

“Yeah uh,” he looked down too, lifting his leg a little to stare at the hole in his pants. “It's nothing.”

“There's blood,” Derek informed him, sniffing the air like some freaking hungry jaguar. Stiles didn't need to tell him, he already knew, there was blood, because he felt it trickling down his leg. But it didn't seem to be much, only a drop or two, so no problem.

“Let's get you home, before you get blood poisoning or something,” the werewolf mumbled, opening the passenger seat for him. He left the doors opened walking around the car to get in himself.

“It was just gravel, man,” Stiles reminded him, folding himself into the passenger seat. And okay, it stung quite a lot, when he bent his knee, but whatever. “It's not like I stumbled into a heap of used needles.”

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek warned from beside him, shutting the door behind him. And as the engine roared to life, Stiles felt himself relax into the familiar embrace of the Camaro's seat, even though his knee stung with pain.

He watched the road roll under them for a few seconds, breathing in the nostalgic smell of the car. He glanced at Derek's hands on the steering wheel and then at the man himself, until his eyelids fell down and he let himself drift to sleep.

 

~o~

 

The next time Stiles opened his eyes, it was still dark around him, but he was lying in his bed, cuddled around his pillow and he was so comfortable, that he couldn't wrap his head around the fact, that he woke up. Did something wake him up? That seemed like a good explanation, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

He tried to turn to look around the room, but the arm encircling his body tightened, pulling him closer to a warm chest.

“Sh'eep,” Derek muttered, pressing his nose to the nape of Stiles' neck, rubbing the skin sleepily with the tip of his nose.

“Sheep?” Stiles quizzed, whispering amusingly into the darkness. He ran his fingers over the other man's forearm, a gentle smile appearing on his lips.

“Mmmno,” the werewolf answered, taking a deep breath in and brushing his lips over the tender skin on Stiles' neck. “Sleeeeep.”

Stiles smiled, letting out a silent laugh. He let his fingers trace over Derek's arm, which was pressed to his heart and laced his fingers through the werewolf's. He lifted the hand to his lips and pressed a little kiss onto the palm, pressing it to his face then, breathing in the familiar scent. It always calmed him down, waking up next to his mate.

“Mmmkay...?” came a sleepy question from behind him and he sighed, hearing worry laced through every letter.

“I don't know,” Stiles answered, rubbing his cheek over the big palm with his eyes closed. He could feel Derek lift his head, leaning onto his left shoulder tiredly.

“Nightmare?” his mate asked, his voice still grumpy from being woken up in the middle of the night, but a little less slurred, than few seconds ago.

“I.. don't know,” Stiles repeated, confused by the whole situation. Derek rubbed his cheek over his shoulder soothingly, breathing out deeply, as if trying to shake off the sleep.

“Is this real?” Stiles asked suddenly, a sense of dread almost overwhelming him. He tensed, his grip on his mate's hand going slack, his heartbeat sky rocketing fasted than a NASA's spaceship. “Der, is...this is real, right...? Not a dream?”

“Of course it's real, lover,” Derek answered sternly, pressing his freed hand to Stiles' collar bone to remind him to breathe properly, but that did not help the other man to calm down, it only made his breath more ragged – feeling the soft press of his mate's hand onto his skin. It seemed weird somehow. Like it wasn't supposed to be like that. And that thought scared the shit out of him.

“I had a super weird dream,” he whispered harshly, his breath caught up in his chest. Or rather, it wasn't his breath, it was some huge bulge of who knows what worming it's way up into his throat, making him want to cry.

“Shhh,” Derek soothed, cradling him in his arms, holding him close. He even started to rock a little, as if that would help to settle the panic attack inside his mate. “It was just a nightmare...shhh, it's not real.”

“No?” Stiles asked, as the events of the past days rushed into his brain. It couldn't have been a dream, it seemed way too real and vivid to be a dream. “I...so I didn't travel back in time? And I didn't end up killing Laura? Derek, so...I did not lose you along with the whole pack?”

“Of course not, Stiles,” Derek shook his head, pressing a kiss onto his shoulder. “I am here, right? I am right here, you did not lose me...”

“But Der-,” he started once again, tears rolling down his cheeks. He hiccuped compulsively and turned his head into the mattress, unable to continue.

“Shhh, I'm right here,” Derek whispered, leaning over to push his lips against the other man's ear. He slid his lips softly over the shell, letting them travel down to the earlobe, which he automatically graced with another tender kiss.

“Come back to me, Przemyslaw,“ he whispered then, his pronunciation prefect in every way possible. It made Stiles' heart clench painfully in his chest and it made him forget about the weird nightmare he had at the same time. Because names really did carry some magic in them, especially spoken passionately into a lover's ear.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, turning his head to glance behind his shoulder at the waiting werewolf. Not that he could see anything in the darkness, unless one counted the dark shadow, leaning over him.

“I really need some cuddling now,” Stiles sighed, hearing his mate chuckle over him.

“That can be arranged,” Derek whispered, leaning in closer again and pushing his lips to the skin in between Stiles' neck and shoulder. He opened his lips slowly, pressing the tip of his tongue to the soft surface and sucked onto it a little.

Stiles sighed contently, feeling the shivers run down his body and that made him turn his head away from his mate, to give him better access to his neck.

He could literally hear Derek smile at that gesture, as he nuzzled to Stiles' neck, the tip of his nose following some unknown path up the skin, right under the ear. Stiles sucked in a breath, feeling a rush of excitement.

“Mmmm,” said Derek, but then a different voice replaced the soft rumble of his mate's voice. It was a voice of a young female.

“You smell so goooood,” she moaned, nuzzling to his neck affectionately. Stiles' eyes flew open at that, the shock of the sudden exchange rendering him immobile.

„Mmm, Stilesss,” she whined, licking his neck in a way only a dog would. He tried to squirm free, but her arms were locked around him like a steel cage.

“What the hell?” Stiles wondered, trying to pry her arms from around him, but they would not bulge. “Come on, I don't even...who are you?”

“I love you, Stilesss,” he sighed happily and even if he was unable to see anything in the darkness, he caught the sight of two glowing irises, because their blue light was reflecting on the nearby wall.

“Do you love me too?” she asked gleefully, her fingers reaching out to pull him even closer to her soft breasts and Stiles suddenly felt very nauseated. Not because of the breasts, it wasn't that. It was the fact, this strange woman was suddenly in his bed, acting very much like a crazed werewolf.

“Do you, Stilesss?” she quizzed, her nails lengthening into claws, which she ranked over his chest painfully. “Say it. Say, that you love me too.”

He opened his mouth to tell her off, because come on, he didn't even know her and as he lifted his head to glance behind his shoulder, he saw a familiar shape hovering in the air just at the edge of his vision. It was the creature. It's hollow skeleton eyes watching the proceedings developing in front of it and at that moment Stiles knew with definite certainty, that...

“This is just a nightmare,” he muttered, finalizing his thoughts out loud. He trashed in the woman's arms, trying to get a better view of the creature, but he could barely move, her hold still way too strong for his weak human body.

He looked at her defiantly and blanched, seeing her open her mouth full of sharp fangs.

“This is just a nightmare,” he protested weakly, desperately wishing his Spark would work in the dreamland too, but it didn't seem to be.

“You smell so gooood,” she repeated, ignoring his attempts to get free. Her smile widened seeing his scared expression and then she snapped, sinking her pointy teeth into Stiles' shoulder.

 

~o~

 

Stiles took a sharp breath in, as he woke up in the moving car. He looked around panicky, disoriented and partially afraid that the strange woman would be there with him. So he scanned the line of the windshield, until his eyes landed on Derek, who kept tearing his eyes from the road every once in a while to look back at him.

“You okay?” the werewolf frowned, turning right by the church, which made the teen realize, he must have drifted off only for a minute or so. Awesome. Just awesome. He pulled at the seat belt, feeling it constricting his breathing.

“Yes, yes I...no,” he answered brokenly, glancing in the back of the car reflectively, but there was nobody. That didn't help to ease his panic at all, though. Who was that woman? Why did he dream about being in bed with her? Did he change his future so much, that he would end up being with her, is that it? But what about Derek?

He looked at the werewolf once again, his eyes huge with the fear, that he screwed up everything, that would ever help them end up together. It was just the threatening panic attack affecting his brain. That and the limited intake of oxygen, he was sure, but he could not help it. Everything was so fucked up now.

“It's okay,” Derek muttered, his hand twitching, as if he wanted to reach over and pat Stiles' head. “It was just a nightmare.”

A strangled laugh escaped the teen's mouth at that. He leaned back in the seat, trying to calm himself down, but his heart was jumping furiously all over his chest, hitting his bones with painful jabs. It was no use. He couldn't handle staying in this confined space any longer.

“Can you...” he started, his voice hoarse. “Stop the car, please, I just...need a second.”

“Sure,” Derek answered right away, scanning the road in front of them. Stiles had no idea, what he saw there, but he didn't care, he just wanted out of the damn car...like yesterday. He gripped the seat belt, trying to steady his breathing, but that only made him think back on all the times, Derek put a hand onto his chest to make him breathe properly.

He watched the Camaro park at the side of the road, near a small park full of deciduous trees, tearing the door open, just as it stopped. He leaped out of the seat, totally forgetting about the seat belt and almost strangled himself in the process, until there was a click behind him and the seat belt was gone.

Getting outside into the cold fresh air, Stiles slammed the Camaro's door close again, leaned into it with his back and sobbed, desperation taking over his panicked mind. The park around him was silent, only a few cicadas singing in the background.

“Focus on the important,” he choked out, sliding down the car's surface to sit on the ground, pulling his knees close to his chest. The grass around his was cold.

He lifted his left hand to press it against his face, sobs wrenching themselves out of his weak body. Because he still felt dizzy and weak from the magic use and now even horribly upset over a fucking dream. He was such a crybaby, seriously. He wasn't a teen any longer, he should be able to handle these things better.

“Stiles,” he heard from in front of him, a hand pressing gently down onto his hurt knee out of nowhere. Startled, he lifted his head to see Derek kneeling by his feet, looking very concerned. He didn't even hear him exit the Camaro, nor walk over to him. But the werewolf was right there, black veins curling up his forearm, as he sucked away the stinging pain.

“I'm fine,” Stiles wheezed, feeling his panic subside at the familiar gesture. He waved his hand around nonchalantly, even though there were still tears falling down his cheeks and breathless sobs echoing in his throat. “Is just...every time I fall asleep...my pack...my m-mate...I know it's just nightmares, but...what if I changed the future too much...what if...we will never...”

He looked up at Derek then, searching for something in his eyes, but there was nothing of what he wanted to see there. Dejected, he lifted his left hand rubbing at his eyes fiercely.

“I'm so stupid. Fuck!” he swore, pushing his fingers against his eyes, as if that would stop them from producing any more tears. The reality finally caught up with him and he felt very silly for being overwhelmed by such a ridiculous nightmare. It might as well be the creature's secret plan – to drive him crazy with horrible nightmares. But that was all that they were. Simple nightmares and nothing more. He shouldn't let them affect him so much. What a disgrace. How could he be so weak?

“Uh,” Derek muttered suddenly, looking very uncomfortable, but not letting go of Stiles' knee anyways. He gulped, as if not sure, what to say and then mumbled: “If...if she's your mate, then she will surely find her way back to you.”

“Say what?” he glanced, his face constricted in a confused frown. Did Derek know about the content of his nightmare? No, wait, that was highly unprobable.

“Em, my mate is a guy, though,” he added, watching Derek's face change in a set of different emotions, one more fleeting that the other, so there was no point in keeping any track of them. He let his eyes glide over the trees surrounding them and calmed down more, since there was nothing lurking in them.

“Oh,” the werewolf said, his face finally settling on surprise. “I didn't know you're...gay.”

“Well bi, actually, I guess?” Stiles shrugged, rubbing at his ring finger, still sniffling away his sadness. But this whole conversation was a well enough distraction from the crying. “Although truth be told, I've never really been with any other gender properly, so guess proclaiming me gay ain't far from truth.”

“I... see,” Derek muttered, looking at the ground, while his fingers rubbed around the wound on Stiles' knee unconsciously.

“Why? Is that a problem for you...?” the teen blurted out, his eyebrows pulling together at the last question. He had no idea, why he'd asked that. He certainly didn't feel like hearing the answer now. Derek was far from ready to discuss such a topic at the moment. But Stiles couldn't help himself. He felt rubbed raw from the nightmare and craved at least a tiny bit of comfort.

“Oh, no I...uh sorry,” the werewolf replied, suddenly noticing his hand was still stroking Stiles' knee soothingly. He pulled it away quickly, as if the touch burned him, but then realized it probably didn't really represent his words well enough.

“I could just never imagine it for myself,” he explained promptly. “But I mean, it's not weird or anything, just not my cup of tea.”

“Yeah, I get it, don't worry,” Stiles grimaced, closing his eyes and leaning his head onto the car's door to stop any possible outbursts. Well there goes his vain hope of getting any sort of comfort from his future mate.

“Regardless of the gender, your mate will find you, Stiles,” Derek spoke up once again, which wow, so many words in one conversation must be a new record. Stiles could maybe have an epic meltdown more often, if it gets Derek to talk this much. Not that any of it helped.

“I wish it was that easy,” he answered bitterly, looking up at the stars above them. He couldn't see much through the dark branches, but there were three of four stars visible at least. “But I changed way too much, he will never...”

“Nightmares make people believe the most stupidest things ever, you should know that by now,” Derek interrupted him, probably thinking back on all the sleepless nights after the fire.

“Yeah,” Stiles sniffled, his voice breaking a little in the middle of the simple word. The corners of his lips pulled up a fraction anyways, though. “Think you told me that few times before...or well, in the future.”

“Probably spoke from experience then,” Derek muttered and suddenly there was movement in front of Stiles and a hand reached over to his neck, fingers sliding over his skin gently.

Stiles recognized the familiar pattern of scenting and his eyes widened in shock, as he looked at his Alpha, who was crunching opposite of him. Derek's fingers started to draw over his skin, stroking softly over the surface, the touch soothing, anchoring. He couldn't help but to turn his head a little more to the right, feeling quite emotional, even thought the touch wasn't meant intimate, it still marked him as a valuable member of the Hale's pack.

The Alpha's eyes gleamed crimson, as if he sensed his thoughts. He grabbed the side of Stiles' neck then, compelling him to look into the red irises.

“He will find you, Stiles,” Derek said sternly, letting the sentence linger between for a few heartbeats and then pulling his hand back to his side.

It was pretty weird, but looking into those blazing red eyes calmed Stiles down completely. His breathing finally evened out, his hands stopped shaking, even his vision was a little bit more sharp. His whole body relaxed and the teen was left wondering, if this was some Alpha's power, that he didn't know about yet and came to the conclusion, it must have something to do with the Emissary bond.

“You're being awfully nice in the last few hours, you know,” he muttered suddenly, when Derek blinked away the glow from his eyes. His suspicions were confirmed when Derek actually rubbed his hands together sheepishly, looking into the bushes to their right.

“Actually I... went to check the family's deposit, before we picked you up from school,” he confessed, putting a hand into the inside pocket on his leather jacket.

“The...oh the bank,” Stiles gasped, remembering, how he and Laura visited the bank on the evening of her death. He didn't think that much of it then, but it gained a totally new meaning now.

Derek just nodded silently, pulling a folded sheet of paper from his pocket. The werewolf's name clearly visible on it. “Laura, she...”

“Oh my God! She left you a note, didn't she?” Stiles exhaled, shocked by the revelation. He pulled himself up to his feet to pace around frantically. “No way...don't tell me...she didn't think I could save her, did she?”

Derek got up too at that, nodding gravely. “Yes, but... she didn't blame you or anything, she knew there is no escaping her destiny...at least, uh, that's what she wrote, I mean, I don't know if there was a chance or...”

Stiles was suddenly very angry at Laura for not trusting him to keep her alive. He understood, why she wrote that note, of course. He would have probably done the same, especially if some time traveling stranger told him, he was about to die in few hours, but still... a little faith would have been nice.

“Destiny had nothing to do with any of this,” he proclaimed dismissively, but then stopped in his tracks, thinking back on the content of his nightmares. Derek looked up at him at that, confusion visible on his face.

“No,” the teen whispered, the puzzle pieces sliding slowly into their place, connecting the dots in his brain, that had no significant connection before. “Fuck, how could I have been so stupid? It was all right there, staring in my freaking face!”

“What are you-” Derek started, but was promptly interrupted by Stiles, who grabbed him by the sleeve, pulling him back to the Camaro. “I need to go back home and call Tomasz. I think I might have just figured out the identity of the creature.”

 

Chapter Text

Stiles could barely hold off for those ten minutes, it took Derek's Camaro to reach the Stilinski residence. His fingers kept drumming along his thighs, keeping a ferocious rhythm of a crazy death metal band, but he remained silent, watching the streets pass by them impatiently.

Once they finally arrived into the street and Derek stopped his car in front of the driveway, where the sheriff’s car stood parked, the teen opened the front door hastily, jumping out faster than an energized rabbit.

“I'll go through the main entrance, since dad is home,” he spilled, snatching up his backpack from the seat. “You better park somewhere further to avoid any suspicion and we meet in my room in like ten? I'll keep my window opened.”

The last sentence made Derek look at him, his expression showing more displeasure than usually for some unknown reason.

“You want me to climb in through your window,” he stated, as if making sure he heard correctly.

“Yes,” Stiles nodded, his feet already impatient to start moving in the direction of his house.

“You want me to climb in through your window like some common burglar,” the werewolf elaborated, activating his judgmental eyebrows, which had Stiles rolling his eyes in no time.

“Yes, is climbing through my window suddenly beneath you or what?” he drawled, not thinking about what he was saying. He cursed under his breath realizing the meaning of the words in the next second. Damn, his brain-to-mouth filter was in a horrible state these days.

“I've never-” Derek started, but the teen shut him up with a dismissing wave of his hand.

“I know, my bad, that was Peter,” he exclaimed, shouldering his bag, ready to close the front door to end this pointless conversation as soon as possible. He had more important things to deal with right now, after all.

“But hey, if your werewolf mojo gives up, call nicely and I will let down my hair or something,” he grinned, slamming the front door a tab more forcefully than needed and bolted for the entrance door to the Stilinski mansion.

Reaching the door in a few long steps, he heard the Camaro's engine road angrily and speed down the street, leaving behind only dust and hot air. Stiles snorted at that, shaking his head at the werewolf's theatrics and then opened the front door.

Discarding his shoes, he walked into the living room and spotted the sheriff sitting on the armchair in front of the TV, a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other.

“Hey dad,” he greeted, as John's head turned to him with a gentle smile playing along his lips.

“Hey kiddo,” replied his dad, beckoning him closer with the beer in his hand. He used the same hand to point at the window, which led into the driveway. “That definitely wasn't Scott bringing you over.”

“No, it was my pimp,” Stiles deadpanned, hoping the joke would make his dad let go of the topic. It wasn't the best time to explain the whole business involving Derek.

“Oh, was it now?” John mused, not letting his eyes slip off his son, as he waited for the truth. Seeing that patient look, he knew there is no way of slipping away to his room, until he came up with some believable story. Thanks to all magical, he was already a pro at weaving fake stories by now.

“Nah, it was just Boyd,” Stiles shrugged, pretending to give up on the...pretending? Wow this was getting pretty complicated. “We kinda bonded over a seizure hah.”

“Okay, one thing over another, pal,” John exclaimed, grabbing the remote control from the arm rest a muting the TV. “Go on.”

“Well, Erica Reyes had a seizure in the hallway and all those morons just stared while she trashed around helplessly,” he explained, trying to stick to the truth as much as he could. That was the secret to lies – they needed to be based on truth. “But uh...me and Boyd helped her recover and then volunteered to chaperon her back home, since her parents were way too busy.”

“But your text stated you're spending your eve at Scott's,” John objected, reaching for his phone sitting on the coffee table. He started to flip through it, as if it was some crime evidence book, that would help him convict his son of a deception.

“Yeah, I asked Boyd to come to a game session with me afterwards,” Stiles shrugged, glancing up the stairs, wondering if Derek's already there. “Would you believe he never even played GTA? I mean, come on, that is just outrageous! So of course, I had to invite him to experience the only legal way of stealing cars and stuff.”

The sheriff rolled his eyes at that, but since it also made him put the phone back down, Stiles considered it as a win on his side.

“Does this mean you missed the lacrosse tryouts?” the sheriff asked, as if only now realizing what's been said.

“Yeah,” Stiles shrugged again, hoping his shoulders wouldn't fall off from the excessive strain of shrugging as least fifty times a day.

“Ah, Stiles,” John sighed, shaking his head. “I mean, don't get me wrong, helping a friend is no doubt more important, than lacrosse, but I thought you really wanted on the team, so...”

“Yeah, I know dad,” Stiles grimaced, refusing to shrug ever again. It would just make him look like some weird ragged doll forced to move around by invisible threads. “But since Scott failed miserably, I doubt I would even have a chance at getting into the first line.”

Correction, right now, he would probably have a bigger chance, that Scott, considering he was mentally ten years older and has a lot of werewolf lacrosse behind him, but there was no way in hell he was going to admit that. Not to mention he still had his young body, so attempting any kind of coordination would be in vain anyways.

“Don't sell yourself short, kiddo,” the sheriff said, trying to encourage him, as a proper dad, but before the conversation could turn into a more deeper one, his eyes caught a sight of something and he looked down at Stiles' hurt knee.

“Do I even wanna know?” he asked, gesturing at the torn trousers.

Stiles looked down helplessly, tempted to just shrug it off, but he steeled himself, trying to look sheepish instead. “There was a curb.”

“Uh-huh,” John rolled his eyes, getting up from the armchair in one swift movement. He set to beer on the coffee table and began walking to the kitchen.

“It just came out of nowhere!” Stiles exclaimed, following close behind his dad. He watched him open the cabinet on the right, where they kept the first aid supplies. “I swear, I was just walking leisurely down the pavement and then suddenly...out of nowhere...it's like it just grew into existence from nothing!”

“Riiight,” his dad breathed, gesturing to his son to follow him up the stairs into the bathroom there. So the teen grabbed a package of muffins from the cabinet next to the fridge, trotting up the stairs, while munching on them. His stomach rejoiced at being filled with something at last.

“Yep, it was like magic,” Stiles cried out, walking down the hallway on the first floor. His eyes slid involuntarily through the half-opened door to his room, but it looked empty.

“Must have been leprechauns then,” his dad deadpanned, heading straight for the water faucets. He put the bottle of antiseptic and the rest of it into the sink nearby and glanced expectantly back at his son, who just stood in the threshold, chewing up the last two muffins.

“Come on, kiddo, off with your pants” John ordered, putting his hands on his hips. “That ain't gonna treat itself.”

Stiles just sighed, and rolled his eyes to cover the effects of the overwhelming warmth spreading over his chest at the act of the fatherly care. He was so focused on completing his quest to the past successfully, that he totally dismissed any care for his own body.

Using strengthening charms at every occasion, putting himself deliberately in the harms way with no regards for his own safety – nothing was off limits for him. Because nobody even cared anymore, if he got hurt anyways. Okay, maybe Peter did and hopefully even Derek to some extend, but that was nothing compared to his future pack's devotion. And so he dealt with it as best as he could – with ignoring it.

He ignored the way Erica was cautious around him, he ignored Boyd's suspicious looks, he ignored the way Derek mistrusted him or the way Peter compared his lost to Stiles'. He ignored it everything for the sake of his mission. Or at least tried to ignore it as much as he could. But right now, seeing his dad stand there, alive and caring, he could only feel oddly touched by the gesture.

And so he slipped off his pants, reigning his messy feelings, as he stuck the hurt leg inside the bathtub, so his dad could clean out the gravel from the wound with a soothing spray of water.

The sheriff surveyed the wound afterwards, scanning the scraped skin with his sharp eyes and then put the shower head away, grabbing the bottle with the antiseptic instead. Oh, it stung like hell, after being sprayed onto the raw skin, but Stiles was used to it already, so he didn't even whimper.

“I guess it would be a waste of bandage trying to wrap it around a knee,” John muttered after he was done. “The wound should breathe after all.”

“Yeah, no prob,” Stiles grinned, bending his knee experimentally to see if it would hurt, but it didn't. Of course, that might only be the side effect of Derek's werewolf mojo, so it didn't exactly tell him much about the wound itself. Judging by the look of it though, it was only superficial – few layers of his skin scraped off by the pavement's surface. No big deal, it would heal in two-three weeks. Well, unless he got a hold of a magical storage unit again.

“And here for the rest,” his dad said then, putting a little bottle of Calendula ointment into his hands. “You really should stop writing onto your skin, there is that thing called paper, that will suit the purpose a lot better.”

Stiles just stared at the little bottle, his chest warming up even more, if that was even possible, since it was already so warm with affection it seemed to be ready to burst into a firework.

“I was just uh...trying to see, how I might look with full-body yakuza tattoo,” he mumbled and his dad just shook his head, patting his shoulder fondly.

“Over my dead body Stiles,” he informed him and left the bathroom, presumably heading back down to his beer.

“Thanks dad!” Stiles yelled after him, catching a sight of his hand waving in the air in recognition. His dad was seriously the best. The best.

 

~o~

 

After spreading a generous amount of the Calendula ointment on the abused skin of his forearms and thighs (bye, bye, excruciating itching!), he realized, he was out of places to paint any more strengthening charms. Deciding to not dwell on that problem, he headed back to his room, knowing he was horribly side-tracked by his father.

His room was dark. He walked in hurriedly, closing the door behind him, just in case his dad decided to walk by and glanced around the room. Which was apparently a futile effort, since Derek was standing right in his line of sight. He looked even grumpier that before, glaring at the frantically flashing sigil on the wall nearby.

“That's just a harmless alarm,” Stiles informed him, throwing his backpack onto his bed, where it would land without any dangerous content inside it breaking. “And look at you...you've made it all the way up the tower!”

“You do realize, that makes you the princess, don't you?” the werewolf stated, turning to look at the teen, who was heading for his table clad in boxers and a shirt.

“The real question here is,” Stiles started, a grin settling itself on his lips, as he booted up his laptop. “Are you the prince or the evil witch?

Derek scowled at that, apparently not liking any of those options. He even folded his arms over his chest, trying to threaten the teen into silence with his posture only.

“Definitely the evil witch,” Stiles snickered, as he sat back on his chair, signing into his Skype account. And that was, when the nervous jitters returned in full force.

“We're in luck,” he breathed, checking the time, while Derek sent death glares his way, “It's like after seven morning there, the perfect time to call him.”

“Where the hell does he live?” the werewolf asked, startled out of his anger with the information.

“Slovakia,” the teen answered, pulling up the passwords for the online bestiary, Tomasz send him in the morning. “That's in the...”

“Yes, I know, under Poland,” Derek interrupted him with an annoyed undercurrent apparent in his voice. “I know that.”

“Oh uh, mmmkay,” Stiles commented absentmindedly, dividing his attention between searching through the bestiary and scrowling through Skype. He almost did a victory dance seeing Tomasz' status glow green.

Derek walked closer to him, peering cautiously over his shoulder. Clearing his throat awkwardly, he started again: “So...when you said your mate was not here yet...”

“Yeah?” Stiles wondered, hitting the button, that would initiate the call between him and Tom.

“Did you mean...that guy?” Derek muttered from behind his shoulder, his voice barely drowning out the sound of Skype ringing.

“Eh?” Stiles stopped in his tracks, turning around to look at the werewolf, who was standing right behind him, looking weirdly uncomfortable. Before any of them could say anything though, the call got picked up on the other side and the screen was suddenly full of a young man's face with a beard.

“Przemko!” Tomasz greeted, his eyes a bit less tired, than they were the last time they skyped together. Lenka was obviously getting better. “How iz time treeting yu?”

“Not so well, Tom,” Stiles answered, turning back to the camera. “Listen uh...”

“Iz dat yor frend?” his uncle jumped in suddenly, pointing at Derek, who was standing behind him.

“Uh, that's my new Alpha,” Stiles explained, glancing behind him. The werewolf's glare intensified for some unknown reason, as he stood there unmoving like a pillar fighting against violent waves. “He's from my future pack.”

“Oh, waz hiz sestra, that yu wanted to safe so stoopidly? That vlkolak,” Tomasz asked, as if to make sure. Except by forming the question like this, he only managed to anger the said werewolf, who growled at the screen.

“Yeah, that's uh...him,” Stiles answered, wondering if it was a good idea to ask Derek to come along, after all. It didn't seem like it at the moment. “I'm his Emissary now.”

“Okej first thingz first, listen, yu Alfa,” Tomasz started, his voice stern. “Yu better take good care of Przemko, yu flee...box. If nott, den I will fly overr and skin yu! Underrstud?”

Derek didn't even answer, just growled louder, so it could be heard better across the call, his eyes shooting red laser beams of death at the screen. His uncle did not bulge though, his eyes flashing golden, similar to the way Stiles' did, when he woke up his magic. The atmosphere around turned quite tense.

“Uh, so,” Stiles jumped in, hoping to disrupt their creepy staring contest. “Lenka is doing better, isn't she?”

Tomasz' eyes slid away from Derek by the mention of his wife's name, his forehead smoothing out and his eyes calming down to a gentle amber colour, similar to Stiles'.

“Yez, yez, she recovering good” he nodded, relaxing into his chair. “I am happy.”

Stiles smiled back into the camera, glad hearing at least some news and hoped his revelation wouldn't spoil that moment.

“Right uh well, so back to the main topic,” he announced, pulling all the attention back to himself. “I might have figured out what the creature is, but it might be a pretty crazy theory, so just bear with me.”

The teen opened up a few files from the online bestiary, scanning the pages written in Polish and some in Slovak, searching for the right terms.

“Crazy thingz are most tru,” Tomasz stated, nodding into the camera, as if that was meant to encourage Stiles to continue, but when he did not, his uncle waved his hand and added: “What iz d teory?”

Stiles took a deep breath in, giving up on the bestiary to lead his way and started to explain: “Okay, the thing is...from the exact moment I arrived into the past, I've been getting these weird nightmares, which doesn't sound so groundbreaking, but the creature was always present in them so...that couldn't have been a coincidence, could it?”

“Dere iz no such thing az...koinsidence,” Tomasz agreed, a frown forming itself on his forehead once again. “Yu never dicribed kreatur.”

“Uh, it kinda looks like a dementor,” he shrugged, thinking back on the creature, as he'd first seen it on the clearing. It seemed like years ago, even though it happened only few days past.

“Oh, like smrtka?” questioned his uncle, leaning closer to the camera, twisting his fingers in front of him like claws. “Blak dress, skeleton, dat sharp...ehhh thing.

“Yes, exactly!” Stiles nodded fervently, flailing his hands around him as he continued to explain. “I think it was trying to show me something with those nightmares, is that possible? Because, I mean, it seemed conscious of the dream state. Like, as if it was controlling the dream to turn into a nightmare for some reason.”

“Wat did kreatur show den?” Tomasz wondered, curiosity obvious on his features.

“In the first dream, it showed me getting possessed by some evil spirit...I know, I know,” he lifted his hands in a placating gesture, just as his uncle opened his mouth to contradict that idea. “It's not possible. That's why it's so weird. What was it trying to tell me...showing me something so super impossible...and then even...my pack members dying one by one...I-”

“They really dead in future?” Tomasz interrupted him, his head tilting to one side, as he squinted into the camera.

“No, that's exactly the thing,” Stiles exclaimed, frustration obvious in his tone. He slid his hand over his buzz cut, trying to calm himself down fast. “None of them is dead, or well at least wasn't until I got pulled into the past. Why would the...”

“What bout other dreams?” his uncle questioned, pulling a piece of paper and writing something down on it with a pen that was lying in front of his laptop.

“Derek here, ripping me apart as a feral Alpha,” Stiles recited without any hesitation, completely concentrated on solving the creature's mystery, as he pushed his feelings aside. Letting his academic side prevail in these situations was the best strategy he could use right now.

“And kreatur?” Tomasz asked right away, as if expecting an affirmation.

“Yes,” Stiles answered, but then grimaced. “I mean uh, no...there was this little girl in a white dress, but I think it was just another aspect of the creature itself. Like...in a different state.”

“And next?” his uncle surged him, making a few notes here and there, looking down at the paper in front of him, lost in thoughts.

“A monster raised from the grave killing...my mate,” Stiles gulped around the sentence, forcing himself back to calmness. It were just dreams, just nightmares, none of it was going to happen anyways. It isn't.

Tomasz' eyes shot up at the last word and slid to Derek, who was still standing behind him silently. But his uncle did not comment on anything. He just nodded again, asking: “Kreatur dere too?”

“Yes,” Stiles confirmed, his voice turning a bit hesitant though. “As a woman in a gray dress.”

“Oooh, sigh of sree,” Tomasz exclaimed, lifting his hand to let the fingers slide down his beard. “Dat iz serioos.”

“Yes,” Stiles agreed, just as Derek spoke up from behind him, obviously confused about their conversation. “A sigh of what?”

“Three. A sign of three, Der,” the teen turned back to him, explaining quickly. “Three is a magical number in the slavic folklore. Anything that has to do with it carries a deeper meaning. It's like a sign. My dad always said - one's an incident, two's a coincidence, and three's a pattern and there are three nightmares with three beings present, so logically there must be a connection between all those appearances.”

“What kind of a connection?” the werewolf grumbled, but was interrupted by Tomasz' voice, that has been carried to them over the speakers. “No oder nightmare?”

“Ah yes, one more, just like an hour ago,” Stiles answered, whirling back to the camera. “The dementor form was there and I...my mate was somebody else, a woman.”

“Yu now her?” his uncle quizzed, turning pages of some thick book, that he must have taken from his shelf, while Stiles was turned away from the camera.

“Well I couldn't exactly see her in...uh in the darkness, but no, I don't think so. I have never even heard a voice like that,” he said, rubbing his shoulder, feeling some weird phantom pain from her nightmarish bite. “But uh, she might have been a werewolf or something similar.”

“Wat a kanima?” Tomasz wondered, looking up from his book for a second. Stiles could see Derek shift behind him from the corner of his eye, but the werewolf remained silent.

“No I...honestly have no idea,” he shook his head, clenching harder at his shoulder to stop himself from panicking. “Her eyes were glowing blue though, so probably not a kanima, but...it doesn't matter right now. The point is, I think the creature is showing me the future. The new future or uh...the possibilities of what could happen, now that I have changed it all. The creature must have sensed it and...”

“Sudičky...?“ Tomasz gasped, his face changing into a look of disbelief, when Stiles nodded hesitantly, not sure if his theory was even possible.

“Is that bad?” Derek questioned, his eyes jumping back and forth, from Stiles to his uncle on the screen.

“It's the Fates, Der,” Stiles answered, his voice coming out a little bit breathless, but he couldn't help himself. If he was right, then this whole thing was much more serious, that he'd anticipated. There is no way he could...he shook his head, trying to not let the despair overwhelm him just yet.

So instead he turned his attention back to his Alpha. “The Fates like, not the fairy godmothers, but actual Fates...the three women with the spinning wheel – the youngest spins the threads of life, the middle aspect measures them and the oldest cuts them off, when the time comes for the said life to end. Birth, life, death – all of it in one package.”

“Yez, exaktly,” Tomasz agreed, his face looking a bit ashen. “I sink dat iz most possible. I do nott sink anybody ever met dem, but yu just did and... dat iz nott a good ting, if they decided to meddle.”

“They apparently did, didn't they,” Stiles exclaimed, feeling the panic rise in him like a tide. “It's just...how can we be sure though? Don't they usually appear in the form of three old grannies?”

“Yez in here, they do,” his uncle shrugged, gesturing around helplessly. “But Przemko, peeple see wat they want to see. If they beliive, that sudičky are dree old grans, den they will be. I sink, yu can actually see tru nature thru magic glass, so yu see real dem. But that iz no matter – question is nott how, but why.”

“I do not know why,” Stiles whined, waving his hands in surrender. “Do they want to change the past into what I've seen in the nightmares? Are they really that evil? Aren't they supposed to be impartial? I mean, they can't be...the death attacked my pack, so that must mean it wanted them dead. Oh my God, is that why it only harmed some of my pack members and avoided the others?”

The teen let his hands fall down into his lap, his eyes following them down, as he tried to think back at the scene on the clearing. Who did the creature try to harm, who did it ignore? Who did it attack, who did it pay no attention to?

“Why would it...” he whispered brokenly, his fingers twitching in his lap.

“Yu will have to find outt,” Tomasz ordered, his voice getting a bit louder to reach Stiles' befuddled brain.

“How am I to do that?” he shook his head in disbelief. “I don't have no magic left in me to summon such a powerful creature. I could barely build up a shield to protect my pack earlier today. I...”

He didn't want to say the rest out loud. He didn't want to say how useless he felt, how there was no way he could solve this problem. If the Fates decided to play with their lives, then there was no way of stopping them. This was much bigger than him, he was like an ant staring at a huge shoe, which was about to squish him.

“Yu do nott need magic, yu pako!” his uncle chastised him, his voice hard like a slap over the face. It sort of helped the teen to not drop any deeper into his depression. “They already appear in yor dreams, after all!”

“Uh so,” he frowned, trying to process that information. “I just have to go to sleep and wait till they appear again?”

“Yez,” Tomasz nodded, leaning over closer to his camera. “But yu need to stay fokused. Yu can nott be distrakted, no matter the content of nightmare.”

“Ah shit,” Stiles swore, realizing that's exactly, what he's been doing ever time he ended up in a nightmare these past few days. “I don't know, if I can even fall asleep, let alone...”

“Yor vlkolak will help yu,” his uncle said and the teen could hear the hidden meaning behind those words as well. Your mate was there with you now, the look in his uncle's eyes proclaimed, his presence will help. “Sudičky are trying to kontakt yu, yu just have to allow them.”

Stiles still couldn't believe this whole circus was his life now. A few days ago, he was surrounded by a strong pack and happily married, without any serious threats in his life and now look at him – he was ready to confront the Fates themselves. He could only hope he'll succeed and get his own life back.

“Talk yu in a few hours, Przemko” his uncle nodded, turning off the Skype call.

“Stiles,” the teen corrected automatically, staring at the blank screen in front of him.

“Well shit,” he sighed, leaning back into his chair. This wasn't getting any better.

 

~o~

 

“So, Laura was right, one can not fight against their destiny,” Derek said out of nowhere, his voice slicing through the silence and darkness enveloping them with such an intensity, Stiles felt himself being startled out of his thoughts.

“It were the Fates, who killed her after all,” the werewolf continued bitterly. “The death part of them, right? So...”

“No, I don't believe that,” Stiles shook his head, getting out of the chair to pace around his room, which was dark, except for the laptop screen glowing on his table. “There is something really wrong with the Fates. doing something like that, it can't...why would the creature, uh the death, attack my pack then? It doesn't give any sense.”

“Maybe they were supposed to die too then,” Derek shrugged and Stiles froze on the spot, turning his head to look at the werewolf. “Say what?”

“Maybe they were supposed to be long dead, just like Laura,” Derek repeated, folding his arms on his chest defiantly.

“Take that back,” the teen whispered, his voice dangerously low, as the anger seeped down his body, making it all tremble uncontrollably. “Take that back or I will...rip your guts out with my frail humans hands and strange you with them.”

“It's only logical,” the werewolf stated, ignoring the empty threats.

“Well fuck you, Spock!” Stiles yelled, grabbing the nearby pillow and throwing it at Derek without any second thoughts. The werewolf caught it before it could even hit him, his eyebrows rising mockingly, as he let the pillow slip out of his hands and hit the carpet.

“This is not right,” the teen spat, glaring at his Alpha. “The Fates can't just decide to manifest themselves and kill whoever they wish to kill... they're supposed to be impartial, they're supposed cut the threads on the marked places, not mark them themselves. They are nor evil, nor good...they just...besides, you are supposed to be on my side here, Der- ...Derek, dontcha want your revenge too?”

“Yes, that's the only reason, why I am still here,” the werewolf said, clicking his tongue in distaste, as if he didn't even want to be there. Stiles' heart clenched painfully seeing that expression on his mate's face, but he did not comment on it, averting his eyes to look at his bed.

He walked over to it silently, lying down with his back to the werewolf and sighed, closing his eyes. There was no point in dwelling over their lost relationship, even though Stiles thought Derek might feel something for him after his last nightmare. But he was obviously only nice to him, because Laura told him so in the note.

And so the seconds ticked by and Stiles was starting to get annoyed with the way the sleep kept avoiding him. He was totally exhausted from the last strengthening charm after all, how could he be still awake? He sighed again, rubbing his eyes irritably and opening them again after he was done with it.

The laptop obviously switched to his black screen saver, while her had his eyes closed, because it was totally dark in the room. So he just lied there, staring into the darkness, not even caring if Derek already left the room through the window or just kept standing in front of the window to wait and see, what Stiles found out from the impending nightmare. At least, until the mattress dipped on the other side of his bed and a hand touched his tense shoulder.

“I... didn't mean it like that,” Derek whispered, his voice strangely hoarse in the silent room. Stiles just shrugged wordlessly, which forced the werewolf's hand off his shoulder, and turned his face into the pillow, somehow hoping it would smolder him enough, so that he will lose the consciousness and finally fall into the dreamland.

The mattress moved again, as if Derek turned away from him, leaning onto his knees silently.

“I really didn't mean it like that,” he muttered quietly, sulking on the other side of the bed.

“Well, how did you meant it then?” Stiles asked, anger seeping into his voice. Stupid young Derek and his stupid words, why can't he just grow up and become his old Derek already? But yeah, his life did not work like that. Things didn't get better, they just got worse and worse.

“I...guess what I meant to say was sorry,” the werewolf offered, letting a sigh escape through his lips. “For what I said... I would have gotten mad too, if someone said that about my family...a-about the fire.”

“Yeah,” Stiles snorted, pursing his lips together to avoid a smile blooming on his lips. He turned around, pushing himself up on his elbows, watching the dark silhouette sitting at the edge of his bed. “You would have ripped their throat out...with your teeth.”

“Uh, heh probably,” the werewolf muttered, his shoulders moving up in a shrug. He turned around to look at the teen then. “So uh, did I ever...?”

“Rip somebody's throat out?” Stiles mused, watching the red glint behind Derek's irises. It calmed him down somehow. “Umm let's see, there was this crazy bitch...I mean witch, that kidnapped and tortured me once, because I am so devilishly handsome and all the chicks want me. Alas I have a mate... hence the torture, I guess.”

“Really?” the werewolf wondered and even if the teen could not see his face properly, he knew there was a look of disbelief on it, which usually included his eyebrow going up his forehead, as if they wanted to fly off his face.

“Nah, man, just messing with you. She actually wanted you,” Stiles just sank back to his bed to lie down on his back and stared at the ceiling. Now that Derek calmed the storm of emotions in his heart, he felt like he could maybe finally fall asleep.

“Why would she kidnap you, if she wanted me?” Derek quizzed, watching the teen's face intently, as if there was some secret riddle written all over it, that he had to solve.

“Shit happens, man,” Stiles muttered, closing his eyes for a few seconds, but he opened them again fast, just as the werewolf started to get up from his bed.

The teen reached over and snatched his wrist, fully awake once again.

“Stay,” Stiles whispered, hoping the request did not sound much as begging. Derek's arm twitched a little under his fingers, as if he wanted to rip it out of his hold, but he did not act on it in the end.

“I mean,” the teen groaned, realizing what he's just said. He let go of the werewolf's wrist, slumping back into his bed and continued: “It would help me fall asleep, if my Alpha was around, I guess? It's like reassuring or whatever, in case the creature decides to climb out of my dream, like that crazy girl from the Ring, which yeah... I couldn't even use the VHS after watching that one, seriously.”

“I remember you saying I have no chance against the creature by myself earlier today,” Derek grumbled, but climbed back into the bed, lying down next to Stiles and since the bed wasn't exactly that big, their shoulders ended up touching lightly.

“Myea well, it's more about the general feeling of safety an Alpha can provide,” Stiles shrugged, keeping his eyes on the ceiling above them, ignoring the warmth of his mate's body next to him. “Plus you are plenty capable to at least wake me up, if something bad happens and then my humble self can take care of the rest.”

Derek growled playfully and nudged him with his elbow, aiming for the soft part under his ribs. The teen just snorted and swatted at his arm, turning around to lie on his stomach, because that position always made him fall asleep faster.

He put his head onto his folded arms and looked at Derek's dark profile next to him. Derek looked back at him almost immediately, as if sensing his eyes on him. “You're supposed to sleep, not stare.”

“Dude, it's not that easy,” Stiles complained, closing his eyes, to at least pretend he's trying.

“I could always try hitting you over the head,” Derek mused from beside him.

“Yes please Derek, raise your mighty fist and smash my head like a freaking melon,” Stiles muttered, opening his right eye to look at the werewolf's silhouette. “Or maybe you could read to me for a while.”

“What?” Derek frowned, pulling himself up to his elbows.

“Myeah,” Stiles mumbled through a yawn. “My mate used to do it, when I couldn't sleep. Uh, his voice was very soothing for some reason. Ah well, I will have to settle down with yours, I guess....I bet there is some book ready on my bedside table. ”

There was some rustling from next to him and Stiles felt himself relax, his eyelids falling down contently.

“You want me to read you the third part of Harry Potter?” Derek grumbled, falling back to bed, after picking up the said book from his bedside table. “Seriously?”

“Dude, do you have to question everything I want you to do?” Stiles whined sleepily, hiding his face in his folded arms. “I know you like Harry Potter yourself, so shut it. Plus, I will totally forgive you the earlier slip about my pack, if you just start to read already.”

And so Derek opened the said book, not even needing the light to be able to see the letters and began to read it out loud, his voice still kinda grumpy, but determined to finish the task before him: “Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing..."

“'re you gonna do diff'ent 'oices too?” Stiles slurred, lifting his head a little. The werewolf just clicked his tongue disapprovingly and put a hand on his head, pushing it gently down again, as he started to read at the same exact place, where he stopped before Stiles interrupted him so rudely.

The teen let out a breath, that was kind of supposed to be a laugh, but came out just like a gust of air. He felt his body go heavier and heavier under the charm of his mate's voice. And before he could even notice it, he fell asleep, his mind drifting into the dreamland.

 

~o~

 

There was no flashback this time, as if the future sigil ran out of pleasant memories to leak into his slumbering mind. Instead Stiles opened his eyes and found himself walking down the hospital's hallway, flanked by two samurai demons. His body felt weirdly rigid, as he stepped in closer to the desk and looked up at the male nurse standing behind it.

“Hi there,” he greeted, standing completely still. His body never did that, he realized panicky, but he could not move, trapped in his own body once again.

“Could you page Melissa Mccall for me please?” his mouth asked, the voice way too deep to be his own. The demon on his right suddenly thrust the sword, it was holding in his hands, into the man's body and he crumbled. Stiles just watched, a sick feeling of satisfaction churning inside his chest.

“Well I guess, I'll just find her myself then,” the spirit possessing him muttered and turned his head to the right, to scan the hallway expanding itself in front of them. It waved Stiles' hand to give some kind of a signal to the demons and they stepped in in front of him, slashing their swords through every living body that they could find.

Stiles was so horrified by the action, he felt frozen in time, just watching the slaughter through his own eyes, but unable to do anything at all. He tried to move his fingers, but couldn't. He tried to blink or breathe in, but could not. The body was no longer his.

He almost had a full on panic attack, but he suddenly realized this wasn't real. This was just a nightmare after all. A nightmare caused by the Fates. He needed to stay focused, just as Tomasz said. He needed to stop getting distracted by what he was seeing in front of him.

And so Stiles closed his eyes, concentrating on his real self – his magical self, that would never be possessed by any spirit whatsoever. He took a deep breath in, filling his lungs with oxygen, feeling it spread all the way down his body into every one of his fingertips. He willed the oxygen to take command and turned around.

When he opened his eyes again, the hospital's hallway was empty and dark. Stiles looked around, spotting a movement in the corner of his eyes and saw a heavy wooden door at the end of the hallway, that did not belong. It was slightly opened, hitting the door frame every once in a while, as if there was some draft in the building.

“Bingo,” he grinned, forcing his feet to walk down the hallway to the monstrosity of a door, that only only be seen in some huge Disney castle. He snatched the handle, before he could change his mind, pulling the door open with a creepy creek and stopped at the threshold, surveying the space in front of him.

It was only a small circular room surrounded by walls made out of huge stones, exactly how he imagined the tower, he joked about with Derek before. And right in the middle of it was a wooden spinning wheel, turning around all on it's own. Stiles frowned, stepping inside the room to get a better view at the spinning wheel. The door behind him slammed shut, the image flickered like a bad TV broadcast and the little girl in a white dress appeared sitting behind the spinning wheel in front of him.

She grinned up at him in a very cute way and pulled on the white thread, spinning it between her fingers. The image jumped once again and the woman in gray appeared instead of her, watching him from under her ashen eyelashes, as she measured out the thread and then the whole scene flashed one last time and the dementor appeared, looking very grainy compared to the other two. It lifted it's claws and slashed the thread exactly on the mark the gray lady put there.

“So I was right,” Stiles said, his words echoing around the little room. The Fates changed back into the white aspect, as the process repeated itself. The little girl opened her mouth, while spinning the next thread and three voices came out of it joined in a perfect synchrony.

“We are waiting for you...for you....you....you,” sounded the echo around the room.

Stiles frowned at that, taking a step closer to the spinning wheel. “What do you want from me?” he demanded to know. “Why are you after my pack?”

“We are seeing you in the woods,” said the voices, as the image flickered to the gray woman who kept measuring the thread only by touch apparently, since she was looking right at Stiles, while doing it. “You are surrounded by magic....we are seeing a possibility....we are altering the ritual...”

“Yes I know it was you, who sent me back in time,” Stiles shook his head, gesturing at his left hand irritably. “What I don't know is why? Why would you attack us...why would you try to...”

“You are saving us,” the Fates stated in a complete harmony, just as the black aspect cut off another thread, letting it dissolve into nothingness.

“What?” Stiles asked, not understanding the way, the Fates talked. Could they only use present continuous? He supposed it kinda gave sense, since everything in time was happening at once for them, but it was still hella confusing.

“You are saving us,” the voices repeated persistently and the little girl, who took the dementor's place pulled on the thread a little more fiercely than before, rolling it in tightly between her fingers.

“Saving you from what?” Stiles questioned, the frown on his forehead deepening.

“They are holding us prisoner,” the Fates exclaimed, anger appearing on the gray woman's face. But her fingers kept working anyways.

“One of us....one of us...one of us,” repeated the voices over and over until the three words died out in the echoes.

“Which one?” Stiles asked, even though he already knew the answer to that question. The image flickered and the black aspect appeared in front of him once again, but this time without it's hood. The signs he noticed on it's skull on the first day suddenly glowed menacingly, flashing like the lights on a police cruiser and the aspect's claws slashed through the thread far off the intended mark.

“They are holding us prisoner...one of us,” repeated the echo, as the teen watched the thread dissolve. “They are binding us with their wishes...they are disrupting the time...twisting it...tilting it...bending it...welding it...we are sending you back in time...you are saving us.”

“With all due respect,” Stiles started, but was interrupted by that annoying echo right away: “Saving us...”

“How could I save you? I have no magic left, no scratch that, I have no magic at all in this young body. Even if I did get a hold of a magical storage unit, it still wouldn't be enough,” he objected, flailing his hands around in frustration, because this whole situation just turned from bad to absurd.

“You are dying,” answered the voices nonchalantly.

“Well thanks, that's reassuring as hell,” Stiles muttered angrily.

“You are saving us...you are dying...” insisted the voices, repeating the words over and over like some broken record. And the aspects just kept flickering into one another, continuing spin the wheel.

“I know, I am dying. That doesn't change the fact, that I have no reason to save you. You killed Laura! You attacked my pack!” the teen spat, letting the anger get a hold of him.

“They are holding us prisoner,” the echo returned. “They are twisting the time....rewriting the events...changing them according to their will....”

The skeleton reared in front of him like a panicked horse, trashing under the effect of the glowing signs. The glow extended down it's right arm, spreading over it's claws and then forced it's hand to slash another thread before the gray woman could even mark it.

“Jeez, okay, I get it,” Stiles blanched, stepping a bit further away from the spinning wheel, as if he was afraid, that the creature will attack him next. “Saving you will stop them, right? Who are they anyways? Who is holding you prisoner? How will I...?”

“They are hiding,” the voices explained, the little girl appearing in front of him once again, he face sad and tired.

“So basically you have no idea, who they are,” Stiles mumbled, rubbing his forehead in frustration. “Can't you just look up their thread or something?”

“They are hiding...they are...,” the voices suddenly stopped in the middle of the sentence, the echoed dying off with them. The Fates looked up at him, three pairs of eyes flickering so fast, they seemed like one.

“They are watching,” the voices breathed and that was the last thing Stiles heard, before the whole scene dissolved.

 

~o~

 

Stiles woke up into the darkness suddenly, flailing on the edge of his bed and he would have fallen down no doubt, but a strong hand grasped his shirt and yanked him to the middle of his bed, before he could slide off and break his sitter.

“All okay?” the man lying next to him asked and weirdly Stiles noticed his Harry Potter book lying between them first. Although, how he knew, it was that book, without even being able to see the cover, he had no idea.

“Uh,” he gasped, lifting his eyes to the man, squinting to recognize the features of his face. He knew his from somewhere, he was sure of it, except it didn't want come to him. There was silence for a few heartbeats, the man's hand still gripping the front of his shirt, as if he was afraid, that Stiles would slip away, if he'd let go.

“Well this is awkward,” the teen muttered, totally baffled by the situation. He moved in closer, to get a better look at the said man and then jerked back recognizing him. “Derek Hale? What the hell are you doing in my bed?”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

The only logical explanation for this situation Stiles found himself in, was that he must have gone to the Jungle and got himself roofied, by no other than Derek Hale – the dude who moved away after his house in the preserve burned down with most of his family still inside of it. What other explanation was there for the teen to be lying in bed with him, in the middle of the night, clad only in his boxers and a simple shirt?

In the first moment, he was so surprised, that the only thing his brain managed to do was to scramble away from the bed, just to have some space to think. The Hale let him go without complains, dropping his hand from his shirt. He then turned around and put the bedside lamp on, it's light illuminating him from behind.

Stiles had to admit, in the logical part of his mind, which wasn't so freaked out yet, that he hadn't scored that badly. The guy was as handsome as the teen remembered, if one ignored the look of grumpy confusion on his face. Besides, he was seriously ripped. Ripped like a freaking bouncing castle, that someone pumped full with air, except Stiles doubted any part of him bouncy. It were obviously all hard, tense muscles. Uh, let's not go in that direction now, he chastised himself.

“Stiles?” Hale frowned, his eyes leaping all over his face. The teen wondered, how in the hell was he able to recognize worry in the other man's features, but he dismissed it fast, his brain abandoning the logical approach, jumping right into a slight panic mode.

“Stiles,” repeated the man, lifting his hands in a placating gesture, as if the teen was some cornered animal, which might lash out at any given moment. And wow, when Stiles looked around, he realized the corner of his room was a lot closer to him, than it was before.

Just before Hale was about to say something more, probably call out his name once again, he jumped in: “Yes, we have already established who is who, now let's move on to what the hell is going on in here?” He flailed his hand between them, waving it vaguely in the direction of the bed, on which the man was still sitting silently, as if afraid to move.

“Oh my God,” Stiles breathed out, only now thinking about the whole picture. He glanced at the door and blanched. “We're in my room...you're in my...does my dad know? Or is he at the station? You need to go, you need to...I mean, thanks for not killing me in my drugged state, I bet it was a pleasant experience, although I do not remember a freaking thing. I just assume, given your uh...unbearable hotness, that it must have been good, but...”

“No,” Hale said, not moving from his bed. There was no way, Stiles could push him out of it, even if he wanted to try. Have you seen those mountains of muscles?

“What do you mean no? This isn't- ” Stiles started, but was interrupted, before he could spill out any more questions.

“You are not gone Stiles,” the man said, his voice stern and clipped. “The sigil on your neck is still concealing you. It wouldn't do that for your younger self, would it?”

“What are you talking about?” Stiles frowned, looking back at Hale. And then his frown deepened even more, because he caught a sight of some weird red light reflecting in the other man's pupils. Where was it reflecting from, he had no idea, but it was weirdly captivating.

“Your magic is still active, so you can not be gone, not yet,” Hale explained, which did not help Stiles one bit, because he still had no idea, what the man meant with it. But he stepped in closer, as if being pulled in by that odd glow in Hale's eyes.

“I don't understand,” Stiles mumbled, rubbing his right elbow unconsciously. It felt, as if someone was pulling out stitches out of his skin right under his elbow.

“Look at your left hand,” Hale ordered, his eyes glowing like Rudolf's nose. “Look at it properly. It's your anchor, it keeps you in place, it will help you come back.”

“Come back?” Stiles echoed, his eyes sliding down his forearm. The first weird thing was the fact, that the skin on his forearm was weirdly red and full of some scribbles, as if he wrote on it furiously with a sharpie and then tried to wash it out with a very aggressive nail polish remover.

And then his eyes slipped lower and he noticed the circle on the back of his hand, which was containing a sign, that might have been Chinese, except oh no, it was not. It was something else, something vaguely familiar, something much more important than a random Chinese sign.

And at first Stiles almost panicked, because he thought he might have gotten a tattoo in his roofied state, for which his dad would have probably killed him, but then the thoughts stopped abruptly, as his eyes spotted the dark line on his ring finger.

“What? I don't...” he muttered, transfixed by it.

“It's the connection to your mate, remember?” Hale went on, the persistence in his tone almost painful. The glow in his eyes disappeared. “If that can't bring you back, then...”

“My mate...?” Stiles repeated perplexed, his pupils glued to the mate ring's replica on his ring finger. And with that his eyes widened and he looked up at Derek in front of him. He looked into those green eyes, which were actually more brown in this light. He could look into his eyes for days and wouldn't be able to decide on the colour. Only after a few heated discussions with his mate, they agreed to just call them green and leave it at that.

“Derek?” Stiles croaked suddenly, grabbing his ring finger so tightly it hurt. His hands trembled and he was fighting desperately not to let tears form in his eyes, but he couldn't help being overwhelmed by the situation.

“Hey,” the werewolf replied, relief washing over his face in a gentle tidal wave. There was even a hint of a smile on his lips and Stiles sobbed once, making an aborted movement to hug the other man. But he stopped himself, before he could reach the bed and shook his head, deciding to rub his eyes instead.

“I'm sorry,” the teen mumbled, sniffling into his hand. “I do know you, of course I know you, Der, of course I do...you...you are my...”

Stiles looked up at the werewolf, not sure if he was supposed to give away the big secret or not. Oh, he wanted to, he wanted to do it so badly, that he opened his mouth, his eyes big and vulnerable, but what came out of him was something else completely. “Uh my Alpha, that's what I meant. My Alpha...yeah.”

He looked down and rubbed his head awkwardly. “Sorry for getting so freaked out hah...I uh, it's like getting resurrected every time...”

“Does this happen often to you?” Derek quizzed and Stiles could see in his peripheral vision, that the werewolf finally got up from the bed, walking slowly around it to the teen.

“Uh kinda?” Stiles shrugged, keeping his eyes on the carpet. “Like once a day for now I guess. I mean it happened to me yesterday in the shower too. Luckily I caught a sight of my mate's ring and it pulled me back. But uh, I guess it will happen more and more often until...well I suppose we're safe until there is still that future sigil on my hand. If that is gone, then that means the memories will be gone too and then...”

His voice wavered, unable to complete the sentence, as he looked up at Derek, who was now standing right in front of him. He was so close, Stiles could feel his body warmth washing over him comfortingly.

“Thanks for bringing me back,” the teen whispered, pulling his trembling hands closer to his body to prevent them from reaching out.

“Anytime,” Derek answered, his voice hushed, as he lifted his hand to run it comfortingly over the side of Stiles' neck, just as he did to Peter many times before. It wasn't much, it was not the warm embrace the teen was used to, but it was something. It felt like a promise. A promise, that what he hoped would maybe be possible some day, even if it seemed impossible right now.

Stiles exhaled deeply, closing his eyes and turning his head slightly to the left, so he could run his cheek over Derek's thumb. His eyes filled with tears then once again and to hide them from his mate's curious eyes, he stepped a little closer to the werewolf and put his forehead on his shoulder.

It was still no hug. Just Derek's fingertips tracing the sigil on the nape of his neck, while he rested his forehead on the werewolf's shoulder, taking deep breaths in to calm down. They stood like that for a while, until Derek spoke up quietly, awkwardness all over his face: “Better now?”

“Yeah, thanks,” Stiles sniffled, pulling back from him, to rub at his eyes once again. Man, they were probably all red from the rubbing already. “I mean, the amnesia episodes on themselves are not that bad, since...I knew it's gonna happen sooner or later, it's just...my mom. She suffered from frontotemporal dementia. It's like...her brain kept shrinking and she kept losing all her memories until...she withered away and...being like this, I can't help but think....”

“I know what you mean,” the werewolf nodded, letting go of Stiles' neck to rub at his upper arm self-consciously. The teen watched the action knowing full well, what it meant and shook his head. “It's not like that. We are not supposed to die like our parents did, no matter how much quilt we think we carry for their deaths.”

Derek clenched his upper arm strongly, his lips thinning at that. “You can't say that, you don't know, what I did...it was my...”

“I do know, Derek,” Stiles insisted, reaching over to put his hand on the werewolf's, when he noticed his claws extending to dig into into the skin through the sleeve. “I know all of it. What she did to you, how she used you against your own family, what you suffered through, what you tried to do in New York, while Laura was away...I know about everything. And that's why, Der...and that's why I can say it...you are innocent in this all, just the way I am.”

“If I was, then my eyes wouldn't be blue,” Derek spat, letting his eyes flash angrily. Except they were not blue right now, since the Alpha's red glowed stronger than anything else. But Stiles was still sure he caught a glimpse of a blue flicker somewhere behind it. “Taking a life of an innocent...”

“Innocent in what way? We both know that's just an old saying the hunters implemented, so they would have a reason to kill werewolves,” Stiles shook his head dismissively. “You're just ready to believe it, because you feel guilty about the act itself. And that's what's making your eyes blue – the guilt. All of it. Just as it does with Peter for being unable to save his wife and the unborn child. Would you accuse him of killing an innocent?”

“That is not the same,” Derek argued, pulling away from his touch.

“It is not,” he growled, backing away from Stiles, as if he was on fire, burning him down to a skeleton. “What I did... it is not the same.”

“Perhaps,” Stiles shrugged, watching the werewolf intently. “Perhaps, if I had known about my magic sooner, I could have saved my mom. Perhaps, if I traveled further in time, I could have saved your pack too. Perhaps, if by some chance I were to unchain the Fates, I could save all of us, but I can't and I didn't. Feeling guilty about failing is not going to set things right, it's just going to render me useless. And I will not let that happen. I owe it all of them, to all of those who died. I will keep living for as long as I can and honor their sacrifices with being strong and resilient, with protecting those who survived. We can not continue living with amongst the ghosts, Der. There are living people, who depend on us.”

“Peter doesn't need me,” Derek shook his head stubbornly. He glanced at the window behind him, as if contemplating to just avoid this whole conversation by jumping out of it.

“What about Cora then?” Stiles said, not arguing about how much Peter actually does need him. He didn't have anybody else, he lost his mate and his child and only the connection to his Alpha was keeping him in check. If he lost that too, Stiles feared Peter might turn feral right away even without the help of wolfsbane cursing through his veins.

“She is alive, you know. She will need you, once she finds her way back,” the teen continued, seeing he caught the attention of the werewolf with mentioning his baby sister. “She will come find you in due time and if you were to push her away, because of your guilt, then...”

“How did she even,” Derek interrupted him, pain written all over his face. “How did she survive? I thought...we all thought...”

“She woke up, when you went for a morning run with Laura and decided to sneak out of the house to check the nestbox she built with her dad the previous day,” Stiles explained, happy he could still remember that particular information. “But... seeing the fire scared her, it triggered the change in her and... from what she said, she just ran for days, weeks even, until some other pack found her. They did not know, who she belonged to, but they were good people, they helped her...they took her in.”

Derek watched him for a long moment, obviously trying to process everything. And then he just nodded wordlessly, turned around and leaped out of the window without a second glance.

 

~o~

 

Before Stiles could even digest all that has just happened, his laptop's screen flashed back to life, skype ringing persistently, as if Tomasz somehow knew, he was all free to talk about their situation once again. Stiles glanced at the screen and sighed, suddenly remembering the nightmare he had. He might have gotten a bit closer to his mate, but the situation they were in had still no solution.

He walked to the table and hit the answer button, sitting down on the chair. The screen did not change though. Even after he picked the call, no camera flashed to life. Tomasz probably wasn't able to use his computer this time and settled on skyping through his phone.

“Ahoj Przemko,” his uncle greeted him, his voice being slightly drowned by the background's noise on his side. Stiles guessed his uncle was obviously still in the hospital, but decided to check on him anyways, which made the teen smile sadly.

“Hey Tom,” he answered, leaning in closer to his laptop. He put his head on his folded arms tiredly and then continued: “So uh..”

“Did yu dreem?” Tomasz asked, his voice gaining a worried undertone.

“Yeah,” Stiles answered, feeling too drained emotionally to even freak about it anymore. “I met the Fates and under normal circumstances, that would have been super cool, but...somebody caught the oldest aspect, Tom, and is using it to...cut threats before their time. The Fates can't do anything, because, the captors are keeping an eye on them or something. So... I think they used their awesome time traveling ability to find the best solution to their problem, which was apparently me in the moment of the ritual. So they sent me back here and now...they want me to save them. They want me to free the oldest aspect from whoever has been keeping it chained, hah...I don't...I don't know, this is so beyond anything I have ever...”

“It will be okej, nefew,” Tomasz said, trying to reassure him, but it did not work very well. “I will sink solusion, no worrie.”

“I sure hope so, because I am totally clueless on this one,” Stiles muttered, his eyelids falling down on their own accord. He opened them forcefully, looking up at the time on the screen and noticed it was already five in the morning.

“It will be okej,” his uncle repeated sternly. “I will find way to help. Just need more time.”

“Time waits for noone, sadly,” the teen mumbled into his skin, closing his eyes, which started to sting severely. “The...memory leaks are getting more and more serious. I woke up as my old self tonight, if Derek didn't...”

“Yor mate, rite?” Tomasz asked, sensing his nephew was in no state to continue the sentence.

“Yeah,” Stiles nodded despite the fact, that his uncle could not see him. “He does not know though, not yet.”

“He will wenn need,” his uncle said, the sound of his shuffling reaching over through the speakers. It seemed, as if he was going through some paperwork.

“It will be too late by then, I fear,” Stiles answered meekly, wondering if the paperwork had something to do with Lenka's hospital stay. But he was too tired to ask right now.

“Yu are nott alone, Przemko,” Tomasz said, making Stiles feel very nostalgic with those words. “I can help, give me yor adress I will sent yu help, wenn I find it.”

The teen did, as he was asked, even though he did not believe it would help at all. Even if his uncle sent a whole bag of magical storage units, Stiles felt, he wouldn't be able to do anything anymore. He sighed, as some voice started talking to his uncle in Slovak on the other side, but the teen could not recognize the words through the line.

“None of that can help. I don't even have any magic left, nor to summon the Fates, nor to do a cleansing ritual,” Stiles voiced his fears more to himself, than to anybody else. “How I am gonna...”

“Do nott worrie,” Tomasz said hurriedly, obviously busy with the voice talking to him on the other side. “Will find solusion, butt need to go now, sorrie, will kontakt soon!”

 

~o~

 

Stiles could not sleep anymore. He did not want to sleep anymore. He was too afraid, that he might wake up as his old self and there will be nobody to bring him back this time. So he spent the next hour picking up the sheets of paper all around his carpet which contained notes on his future, arranging them all in a neat folder in alphabetical order, since it would be pointless to do in in the order of occurrence. That future was no longer valid, after all.

His head was so full of buzzing thoughts, that he barely noticed the dawn coming, nor alarm clock ringing over the hallway in his father's room. He didn't even react, when his dad trotted over to the bathroom for his morning shower. Only once John opened his door to wake him up, did Stiles look up from his precious folder.

“Hey, you're already up?” asked his dad, obviously surprised by the fact, that Stiles was not grumbling incoherently from his bed.

“Uh yeah, I could not sleep,” his son shrugged, getting up from the floor, grimacing when he tried to use his wounded knee to get up. His dad noticed right away, looking down at the torn skin.

“Hurts?” he questioned, after he deemed the state of his knee satisfactory enough with a single nod.

“Uh yeah, nothing I couldn't handle though,” Stiles smiled a little, closing his mouth fast, before he could admit he's had worse than scraped knees in his life. That would pretty much send the secrets flying.

“So you were quite noisy here yesterday,” his dad started, leaning onto the door frame, his eyebrows lifting in anticipation. “What in heaven's sake did you watch again?”

“Uh...Star Trek,” the teen answered right away, rolling his eyes excessively. “It was a horrible episode, I'll tell ya. Kirk traveled back in time to save...this woman and Spock was all, no dude, you cannot save her, it's time and blah blah, she will die no matter what you'll do, it's only logical.”

“Uh-huh,” John nodded appreciatively, but judging by his still lifted eyebrows, he was not exactly impressed.

“So you stayed up researching time travel?” his dad guessed, waving his hand in the direction of the file, that Stiles was clenching between his fingers protectively.

“Well, not exactly,” the teen answered, glancing down at the said file, because it were essentially ten years of his life pressed together on few sheets of paper.

“Don't tell me... it has actually something to do with Lydia's accident, doesn't it?” the sheriff said, the undertone of his voice exasperated. “Stiles, I know you are worried about her and honestly I am glad you did not decide to spent the night there with a “Get well” balloon, but... let us take care of the investigation, okay?”

“Oh,” Stiles gasped, suddenly remembering, he was so busy in the last few hours, he totally forgot about the accident Lydia and Jackson were in. He blanched, when an idea struck him. What if it were the Fates, that caused the accident? What if they were deliberately trying to wipe out his future pack?

“How is she, dad?” he blurred out insistently. “I heard she's in the hospital, but I've been too busy...uh doing this research to even go and visit her. But... she is okay, isn't she?”

“Well kiddo uh...she sustained quite some injuries in the crash. They put her in a medically induced coma after the surgery, so she could recover faster,” John said, adopting his sheriff's voice, as if he was trying to explain the situation to a victim's relative. “But she is stable now and should recover properly given the time.”

“What? It was that bad?” Stiles asked, shocked by this revelation. “But...but Jackson was totally fine, I saw him in school yesterday, so I assumed it couldn't have been so bad...how is that even possible?”

The teen could not understand what's been happening around him. Why was everyone he knew getting hurt suddenly? Was it really just the Fates' doing or was that some curse following him through time and space?

“It was quite a miracle for Jackson to end up with no injuries whatsoever, I'll grant you that,” John said, inclining his head sadly. “The car was in pieces, after it hit the tree.”

“How did that happen?” Stiles questioned, his heart frantic. “Do you know what happened? You gotta know, you must have questioned Jackson about it, didn't you?”

“Yes I did, but I did not get anything from him. His father put a stop to the questioning, before Jackson could get to the cause of the crash,” his dad shook his head sadly. “From the investigation of the skid marks, we can only assume something got into their way and they crashed into the tree as they tried to avoid it. The investigation is still ongoing, though.”

“Oh my god,” Stiles breathed, running his fingers over his buzz cut agitatedly. “But you said she will be okay, yeah? You said so, didn't you?”

“Yes Stiles,” John nodded, stepping in closer to him to pull him into a firm hug. “Calm down, she will be just fine.”

That did not reassure Stiles much, since the problem was not something his father could fix. The problem was a supernatural deity with a serious case of a split personality, who could just materialize anywhere it wanted and threaten the lives of his friends. Nobody was safe. At least not until he freed the Fates from the imprisonment and there was no way for him to do that at the moment. He felt quite useless.

“Come on buddy, we got no time for this now,” John said patting his son on the back to encourage him. “You gotta go to school...yes Stiles don't look at me like that...go put on some clothes on and hurry, so you can go buy some fuel for your jeep before the first class.”

“Okay,” Stiles nodded, looking at his left hand, as if he hoped some clothes would suddenly appear there, if he concentrated hard enough.

“Chop chop, kiddo,” his dad said, walking out of his room to go make some breakfast for the both of them.

Stiles just watched him leave wordlessly. And then he gave out a frustrated groan and threw his folder into the nearest wall, where it slid down behind the bed.

Why was this happening to him? He was supposed to be this amazing magic user, that could just flick his fingers and whistle and everything would set itself right! He was supposed to land in the past and pull all his magic with him. He was supposed to save Laura and then make her the Alpha of his future pack!

He was supposed to be able to bring Derek over to him with a blink of his eye, with the bond singing between them and with the said werewolf recognizing it for what it truly was and falling for him right away! He was supposed to be able to free the Fates and capture whoever chained the oldest aspect and...simply said, he should have been able to solve it all fast and painlessly.

But instead he just lied around while Laura got killed and Lydia got smashed into a tree and who knows what else? Who was next to get hurt because of his magical incapability? What is he to do, if the Fates decide to attack Derek next? Or Scott? Or Allie? Or Boyd or Erica or...Stiles blanched suddenly realizing there was some somebody on that list, he did not see in the past yet - Isaac.

He raced for the bathroom, where he left his pants the previous evening, but they were nowhere to be seen. The washing machine was humming silently in the corner. His dad must have put them into the wash before showering, as he always did in the mornings. But luckily, his dad knew about his habit of carrying the phone in the back pocket and Stiles felt relief wash over him, as he spotted his phone sitting neatly on the shelf together with their clean towels.

He grabbed it, speed dialing Scott, tapping his foot over the tiled floor nervously, while the phone rang and rang without an answer. He was starting to get overwhelmed by the fear, that something happened to Scott too, when there was a click of the call being picked up and a sleepy voice reached him over the line.

“Stiles? Really man, it's like what...six?” his best friend whined, his voice muffled by the pillow. “What did I ever do to you?”

“Oh uh...I did not realize...” he started grimacing in embarrassment. If this was the teen him, he'd probably kill anybody who'd try to reach him by phone that early in the morning. And let's be honest here, he really wasn't fond of early mornings himself even in the future.

“Is everything okay?” Scott asked suddenly, his voice clearing up a little bit more, concern washing away the sleepiness. “You keep calling to check up on me a lot lately.”

“No man, I just...wanted to wake up your sorry-ass,” Stiles stuttered, hoping he sounded natural enough. “You wouldn't want to oversleep today, would ya? What would Allie think? She might dump ya before you even go on that date! I am just helping you out man, really...”

“Right, so what did you really want?” Scott mumbled, stiffening a yawn, as he stretched on his bed, by the sound of it.

“Um well, now that you ask, remember Isaac Lahey?” Stiles spilled, the twitch returning to his foot, as he tapped it around the tiles.

“Umm, the curly dude?” his best friend wondered aloud, groaning as he pulled himself out of the bed. “Yeah he was at the lacrosse tryouts yesterday. Didn't do much better than me though.”

“So he was there?” Stiles questioned, running his fingers over the edge of the bathtub. “And um..he looked fine enough?”

“Jee Stiles, well I don't know, I was too busy trying to not let the others score, but I guess?” Scott answered. “He did look kinda tired though, now that you ask. I was curious what was wrong with him, true. Why? Why do you ask?”

“Oh, just so,” Stiles shrugged, feeling relieved. As far as he knew everybody was relatively safe for now. Now he just had to figure out how to keep it that way.

“Okay well thanks, I'll see ya in school soon,” he bid farewell quickly, hoping Scott would forget about this weirdo call as soon as possible. He wouldn't want his friend becoming too nosy and figure out his secret. It could cost him his life, after all.

 

~o~

 

After taking a hurried shower, by which he refused to think about Lydia on principle, Stiles put on some fresh clothes and grabbed his bag, heading downstairs. It was almost seven in the morning and his dad was already sitting by the table, a steaming plate of scrambled eggs sitting half-eaten in front of him together with a large cup of coffee.

“Nuh-uh, don't even think about it,” the sheriff lifted his fingers, as his son walked into the kitchen. “Eggs are healthy in small portions.”

“I wasn't gonna say anything,” Stiles grinned, sitting behind the table opposite of his dad and pulling the plate prepared for him closer.

“Right and I am a vampire,” John muttered, shoveling more eggs into his mouth, as if he was afraid Stiles was going to snatch the plate from him and dump the cholesterol into the drain.

“Mhmm,” Stiles hummed, his mouth too full to respond coherently. He munched through it fast, forcing it down quickly with a gulp of coffee. The caffeine made him feel a lot better, even though it did not restore his magic. At least it pushed away his sleepiness, if nothing else. Plus it was really delicious, since if there was one thing his dad could cook well, it was coffee.

“Stiles, I know you're worried,” the sheriff started suddenly, interpreting the teen's silence as glumness. He put the fork on the empty plate and looked at his son. “But you cannot be there for everyone, you have to think about yourself too. Be a bit selfish.”

“I can't, that's not me, dad,” Stiles shrugged, his appetite gone entirely, when his thoughts started to race between all the pack member, trying to assess their safety.

“Now, I'm not saying you should abandon your friends. What you did for the Reyes girl yesterday - that was a remarkable deed. You set your own goals aside to help her and I am proud at you for that,” his dad stated, his smile forcing the wrinkles around his eyes into visibility. “But you have to know your limits. There is nothing you can do for Lydia right now. Let the doctors take care of her...you have school to focus on.”

“You just don'tm want me to ditch school today, admit it,” Stiles remarked, grinning up at his dad.

“Well yeah, I had to try at least,” John smiled back, grabbing his cup of coffee and draining it all up. “Did it work?”

“Would my words stop you, if I told you to not leave the station, when someone called to be in danger?” the teen wondered, watching his dad strap on his gun holster.

“No, I guess not, kiddo,” his dad muttered, looking down at his phone, as if there was such call coming through any moment now.

“Well, that's your answer then,” Stiles stood up, putting the dishes into the sink. He rolled his sleeves higher up his forearms, put on the water and started to clean the dirty plates and cups.

“Sometimes I think you would be off much better, if you didn't inherit my good characteristics,” John shook his head, waving in goodbye as he headed for the front door.

“You mean the protectiveness or the dashing looks?” the teen yelled after him, grinning to himself, as he put the wet dishes onto the drying rack.

“Both!” his dad yelled back, opening the front door. “And no ditching today. You can go see Lydia after school!” And then there was the sound of the front door closing and the house was enveloped by silence.

 

~o~

 

Being engulfed by silence was not Stiles' favorite way of spending a morning, so he just grabbed all his stuff and headed outside right after his dad did. He climbed inside his jeep, caressing the steering wheel and fiddled with the radio, until he found a station, that played Bruno Mars' Grenade. It made Stiles all nostalgic.

He stuck his key into the ignotion, pushed the clutch down and turned it around. The jeep hummed appreciatively, backing out of the driveway as the teen sang in sync with the radio.

“You know, I would do anythiiiing for ya,” he crooned, turning around and heading down the street. “Oh ooh, I would go through all this pain, take a bullet...what dude, seriously? I could stop the bullet with a magical barrier, that doesn't require more than a strengthening charm.”

Bruno Mars just kept singing without answering, but Stiles lost the drive, wondering about the lyrics. If he were to die for Derek, that would be fine with him, but he would definitely not want the werewolf to do the same for him. That would probably just anger him.

After the second chorus, he just grimaced, putting the radio off. It was getting kinda too personal for his taste. And negative. Stiles would rather not think about doing everything for his mate he could and not getting anything back for all the struggles. He desperately wanted his own future back, after all. And not that bullshit the people, who abducted the Fates, were trying to force them into.

He reached the gas station near the huge supermarket in the outskirts. He'd always preferred this one, because it had the cheapest gas in all Beacon Hills, although unfortunately it was also the furthest one from his house, so maybe it wasn't exactly worth the long ride, but still, Stiles liked it there. That was, until it got closed off after a wave of Alphas.

As the teen got off the car and grabbed the valve from the stand, nudging it into the tank, he lingered at the thought, wondering if it was possible for the Alphas to be behind the capture of the oldest aspect from the Fates. It wouldn't be that far-fetched would it? Deucalion was a crazed mastermind right now either way, so Stiles wouldn't put it past him, if he tried to eradicate his pack with chaining up the Fates.

Stiles paid for the gas and climbed back into his jeep, lost in thought. There was only one thing that irked him about the Alphas being the potential suspects. How would they know about the future? How would they know, who to attack? It would give sense if the victims were only the Hales, but attacking Lydia?

The aggressor must have had a profound knowledge of the future. And that wouldn't be able with the Alphas, unless their Emissary lend them the knowledge and held the Fates captured? Except that was hardly a one man job. Controlling the Fate took a lot of magic. A whole lot of magic, so that rules out the Alphas – they were all about crude force.

That only left one of the witch covens they encountered in the future, didn't it? Stiles wasn't sure. He wrecked his brain to figure out the possible offenders, but the only thing he was able to assemble was a super long list of evil individuals, which was in no way complete thanks to his memory leaks. He knew very well he was missing something important due to them.

He let out a frustrating groan, as he arrived to the high school's parking lot and cut off the engine. He refrained himself from hitting the steering wheel in annoyance, since his baby would definitely not appreciate such an act of violence.

There was a knock on his window and Stiles' head whipped to the left. Scott waved happily at him, gesturing for him to get out of the jeep with a bandaged hand, so the teen decided there was no time for moping right now and climbed out of his baby, locking her properly.

“Dude, look at you,” he exclaimed, grasping Scott's wrist carefully to assess the bandage. “That must have impressed the lady alright.”

“I guess,” Scott shrugged, looking very sheepish, but happy nonetheless. “It was well worth it though. She is so nice, Stiles and her hair...it smells like lavender. I never cared much about lavender, but it is really nice you know.”

“Yeah,” the teen nodded absentmindedly, walking to the school's building right next to his friend, who kept reciting one good attribute after another. It was quite an impressive list, Stiles figured, but he couldn't help getting distracted by something. It was right there in the corner of his eye, on the tip of his tongue, but he was unable to seize it.

The school bus passed in front of them just when Scott started to rhapsodize over Allison's beautiful eyes, and stopped only a few meters away from then. Stiles followed it with his eyes, skirting over the faces, until they stopped on Jackson Whittermore's annoyed features.

And there it was suddenly. The missing piece. Stiles stopped in this tracks, staring at Jackson stupidly. That couldn’t be, could it? He had to know for sure and he had to know right now. So he turned to the left, waving off Scott's attempt to stop him. He marched up to Jackson and stepped right into his path.

“What caused your accident?” he demanded to know, staring up at Jackson determinately. Scott followed after him, stopping a little to the right to watch the proceedings with a frown on his face.

“Get off my face, Stilinski,” Jackson grumbled and side-stepped trying to walk around him, but the teen had none of that. He side-stepped too, barring the passage.

“What was it, Jackson, tell me,” he pressed, but the other teen just shook his head in utter annoyance and tried to push him out of the way. But Stiles did not bulge, not this time. He might have had, true, if he was still the old teen self, cause that dude had some pretty strong self-preservation instincts and got used to running away from dangerous situation, but this was not the case.

He grabbed Jackson's biceps, looking deeply into his eyes. “Jackson, what was it? What was it that wheeled you off the road?”

“Jeez, you're fucking annoying,” Jackson spat, jerking his arm away from Stiles' grasp. “It was some whacko in a shiny black car, if you must know. Flew out of nowhere, speeding like a madman. Now fuck off already!”

Jackson glared at him full scale and stalked away to the entrance door, where he was promptly joined by Danny, who followed the angry teen with concern written all over his face.

“Shit,” Stiles swore, looking after them as they disappeared in the school's building. “I was right...”

“What?” Scott quizzed confused. “What's wrong?”

“No, no, this isn't happening,” Stiles groaned, ignoring his best friend's questions. Instead he fumbled through his pockets, waving Scott off once again as he jogged back to his jeep. He hit the call button under Derek's name, pacing through the parking lot.

“Derek, pick it up, you asshole,” he growled, a nervous energy building itself up in his body. “Pick up your freaking phone.”

“Stiles,” sounded a grumpy voice from the other side, but it did not get to say any more words, because the teen exploded into a volley of words. “It was you, wasn't it? You caused a freaking accident hurrying after Laura that night, didn't you? Remember that? You rammed a silver Porsche, did you not? And don't you lie to me, Derek, not now, don't you dare!”

“I did not ram anything,” the werewolf answered, his voice adopting a defensive undertone, but Stiles recognized, when his mate was hiding something and this was definitely the case.

“Yes, but you caused them to steer off the road and crash into a tree, didn't you? You could have killed them!” he exclaimed, stalking between the parked cars.

“I didn't!” Derek grumbled. “I saved them. They had no business speeding down our preserve road in the middle of the night. I...admit I wasn't in the right state of mind to notice them, but managed to avoid them just in time. Weren't it for the boy twisting the steering wheel in fright, nothing bad would have happened.”

“You saved...” Stiles blanched, thinking back on the conversation they had in front of the coffee house. “Oh no, tell me you didn't...”

“We have more pressuring issues right now,” the werewolf growled. “It's Peter. He got attacked by a kanima.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Before Stiles could even respond to Derek's statement or possibly scold him further for something, that was obviously beyond the werewolf's control, their conversation got interrupted by a stern voice from behind the teen: “The school is in the other direction, if I am not mistaken, mister Stylinski.”

Stiles whipped his head around, the phone still smashed between his ear and his shoulder, as he tried to pry the jeep's door open. His fingers stilled in front of the lock though, when he caught sight of his least favorite teacher and that was something to say, since he met a lot of teachers during his studies and continued to do so during his work on the university.

But yes, Adrian Harris was in fact standing right in front of him. Of course it was him, Stiles would have known without even looking around, because nobody else ever mutilated his name in such a mocking manner. The man sneered, as if hearing his thoughts, his hawk eyes glued to the teen's fingers, which stopped trying to open the door immediately.

 

“I was just gonna...” Stiles started, gesturing for the door. He was suddenly hit by regret. This whole situation wouldn't have been a problem, if he hadn't used up his last strengthening charm yesterday. He would have just activated his Spark and zap the man's brain into oblivion. The most he could do now, was to nudge the teacher's brain into a slightly different direction, which wouldn't have worked at all, since Harris was way too focused on trying to get him inside the school, which confirmed his next statement. “Inside with you and pronto! Surely you wouldn't want to miss my chemistry class now or would you?”

“Uh, of course not,” the teen answered slowly, the wheels behind his eyes turning frantically to solve this situation. Of course, he could just punch the dude and race out of the parking lot, but he had young Stiles' reputation to guard. If he was soon to be gone, he needed to stay careful to not leave any bad consequences for his younger self after all, which meant he had to go and suffer through school first.

“I'll catch up with you guys later,” he muttered into the phone dejectedly and terminated the call right away, even though he was itching to ask, if the both werewolves were actually okay. He will not give Harris the satisfaction of listening in on his personal conversations though.

He pocketed the phone together with the keys, adjusted the straps on his bag, grinned at the teacher just to rile him up and turned around, walking back up the parking lot quickly. Harris let out a satisfied sound, eying the jeep suspiciously, as if it could drive away on itself and then, satisfied seeing it did not move from it's place, headed after Stiles.

He trailed behind him like dog, that herds sheep down the hill, but the teen let that fact not bother him. Honestly, Harris was just human, he's had worse over the years, so he let his mind wander, skimming over the past few events.

Stiles reached the entrance door, pushing it open with a grunt and releasing it right away, not even caring that the teacher was right behind him. Judging by the soft thump and a hiss following his sudden action, the door must have caught Harris in one way or another – well good, he deserved much worse, but Stiles will have to be satisfied with this at least.

His mind got turned in a different direction though, as he walked down the mostly empty hallway filled with only a few stray students, who were hurrying to class. What Stiles couldn't fully comprehend at the moment, was the fact that Peter got attacked by a kanima – where did it come from? He would have understood, if the Fates tried to murder Peter or maybe even some hunters, but kanimas were really rare, since if the werewolf gene mutated like that, the carrier would either be cured or killed by the pack. So how did it get here in the first place?

Plus there was something about the whole thing that irked him. Like a weird sense of déjà vu, as if this has happened before, but he just wasn't able to remember any of it. He glanced down at the future sigil on the back of his left hand and frowned. It was definitely something he's forgotten.

Stiles turned left, walking down around his locker without a second glance. He was too busy waking up his Spark and urging it down into the sigil. He could feel one lazy tendril reach out of his chest and down his arm. It was so thin, he could barely feel it, but it was there and that gave him hope. Hope, which was soon evaporated together with his Spark, because once the magical tendril touched the circle around the future sigil, stretching into it's fullest potential, it snapped back, the Spark dying out like a fire doused with water.

The teen let out a frustrated groan and ran his hand over his short hair. There was obviously no way for him to acquire the needed memories, so there was only one thing left – the logical approach. And so he started to sort through all the information that was available to him, instead of looking for those he did not have.

He thought back on the chapter about the kanimas in the online bestiary, which he certainly read more than once in his supernatural studies. An abomination, they'd all called it, a mutation of a werewolf gene, that could not manifest itself after the administered bite, due to unresolved mental inhibitors.

The walls in the host's mind would stay up, guarding it from the wolf, who keeps attacking the barrier. That's why the wolf himself gets driven mad by this action and mutates into a lizard beast, that seeks it's master, since it unable to find a master in it's new host. If a kanima is unable to find a master, it dies. The wolf inside dies and that equals a bite rejection, which means that this kanima either had a master already or was a recently bitten human.

And Stiles had just learned about two humans, that got bit by his Alpha only few days ago – Lydia Martin and Jackson Whittermore. And since Lydia was blessed with the gift of being a banshee and therefore immune to werewolf's bite, it only left one possible candidate for the post of a kanima – Jackson, whose unresolved past concerning his parents was a perfect soil for the kanima to take roots in.

So the question now was, how are they gonna cure him? Judging by the fact that Jackson was a full blown wolf in the future, that much Stiles could still remember, they must have cured him somehow, right? He must have mutated into a kanima, after Derek bit him in the original time line and they cured him somehow. But the teen had no idea how.

Before he could sink into despair though, there was Harris' stern voice reaching him from behind once again. “Stylinski! Where do you think you're going?”

Stiles looked around, spotting the chemistry teacher standing in front of an opened door. Harris nudged his glasses up his nose, his features gleaming with annoyance, as he gestured at the door to the chemistry classroom, that the teen totally ignored and walked by without even a glance.

“Oh, right, sorry about that sir,” Stiles grinned goofily, turning around hastily to walk into the classroom. “I must have gotten lost in my thoughts back there, hah.”

“Better take your crazy pills then,” Harris scoffed, as he folded his arms on his chest, patting the tiled floor impatiently with his foot. Stiles just shrugged it off, since he was past his teen phase, where he got affected by everything adults said about him and walked inside the classroom.

He spotted Scott right away, since his best friend lit up, lifting his hand to wave at him and then gesture at the empty seat on the lab table next to him. Stiles smiled back and started to walk to him, until a scrawny hand landed on his shoulder, stopping him.

“You will not sit next to McCall, are you taking me for a fool?” Harris scowled, his hold tightening on the teen's shoulder, as he tried to turn him in a different direction. Stiles did not resist, letting himself be turned a little, until he caught a sigh of a different empty seat across the room from Scott, which would have made him a bit upset, weren't it for the mop of blond curly hair occupying the other seat on the said table.

“Oh, thanks sir,” he grinned wider, whirling around to pry his shoulder out of the teacher's grip, which was fairly easy to break and headed for the destined table. Harris stared after him for a few seconds more, until he turned to sit down too.

“Hey, Isaac,” Stiles greeted the other teen. He kept his voice low to not anger Harris any more, since he couldn't afford ending up in detention. Definitely not today.

“Hi,” Isaac whispered back, keeping his eyes at the said chemistry teacher, as he fiddled with the long sleeves on his shirt. He looked very exhausted with dark bags under his eyes, leaning heavily into the table on his elbows, his posture all stiff, as if he was afraid to move too much and his expression guarded.

Stiles pursed his lips, realizing what was going on right away, but he refused to make the teen nervous with his stare, so he just deposited his backpack under his chair and pulled out his pen, quickly adding another point to his already long list of things he was supposed to do before he got sent into the magical amnesia heaven.

That was when Harris looked up from his seat and regarded the whole class with distaste.

“Saponification,” he informed them, before returning his gaze to the documents on his table. “Page twenty-four. I expect the filled lab reports on my table by the end of this double lesson.”

There was a general clatter of students turning one page after another in their chemistry textbooks, until it was interrupted by Scott's shy voice.

“Um, mister Harris,” he called up from his seat, his hand waving a little in the air. “Eh, I do not have a lab partner.”

The chemistry teacher didn't even look up from the papers he was reading, answering with a voice that carried a bored undertone: “Then you will just have to make due by yourself, mister McCall. I would recommend you to start immediately, if you want to be done on time.”

Scott looked down at his opened textbook and nodded dejectedly. He glanced up at Stiles then, who gave him an encouraging smile, before turning back to his own lab partner. Of course, he would rather help his best friend, but there was no way of changing Harris' decision anyways and Scott was a big boy now, he could handle a simple lab experiment himself.

He looked up, seeing Isaac return with their empty lab sheets and smiled up at him, when the teen handed him one copy.

“Thanks,” he nodded, scanning the textbook for the needed ingredients. “Soo, ready to be my lab bro?”

“I don't exactly have a choice now, do I?” Isaac answered, lowering himself slowly down onto his chair. “Just don't blow up anything.”

“That incident two years ago was totally unproven,” Stiles muttered, trying to look serious, but he had a hard time keeping the corners of his lips down. “Sometimes toilets just spontaneously combust, man.”

“Right,” Isaac shrugged, his own lips also turned up a notch. He reached over to put on the low-flame burner.

Stiles took a beaker from the shelf under the lab table, ready to describe all the seven symptoms of how to recognize a toilet was close to a combustion, but he was startled our of his words by a faint vibration in his back pocket. His phone just received a text message. He glanced up at the teacher's desk and spotted Harris' eyes on him, paying close attention to what he was doing. There was no way for Stiles to steal a glance at his phone and read it right now without ending up in detention.

So he just turned back to Isaac, watching him mix the two needed solutions into the beaker he pulled out. They put it onto the burner then and started stirring relentlessly.

“How long do I have to stir this?” Stiles complained after like five minutes, while Isaac wrote down the details of the experiment into his lab record.

“Um, like fifteen more minutes, I guess,” the teen answered, looking up at his lab partner through is wavy fringe.

Stiles merely nodded, sensing another incoming text message inside his pocket. He glanced at Scott, who was stirring the mixture inside his beaker determinedly, while writing down something into his lab report, and then, when Stiles was about to avert his eyes back to his own beaker, he sneaked a glance at Harris, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. The dude was still watching him like a hawk, as if he just knew Stiles was itching to reach back and check his phone.

The teen just pursed his lips, turning back to the beaker, stirring it with a deep frown on his forehead. What if something happened to Peter, and Derek was trying to reach him to help? Nah, he shook his head, if it was that important he'd probably just call or something, right? He was so caught up in stressing over the texts, he didn't even realize the fifteen minutes were over.

Thankfully Isaac was keeping track on the time and turned off the low-flame burner for him. He then took a pH paper and dipped it into the solution to measure it and write down the results.

“You okay, Stiles?” his lab partner whispered from beside him, watching his fingers drum relentlessly over the tabletop with a worried frown on his face.

“Uh what?” Stiles turned to him, pressing his fingers down onto the wooden surface to resist drumming like a crazy man. “Myeah, sorry, just distracted.”

“Oh,” Isaac answered, nodding, as he poured more water into the solution. “It must be hard on you...uh, I mean...that thing with Lydia Martin...first the accident and then her disappearance. You... like her, right?”

“Ah yeah, she's a good friend,” Stiles confirmed, looking down at his still blank lab report. He lifted the pen, ready to start filling it with words, but then stopped in his tracks, when the words actually caught up with him. “Her disappearance? What do you mean?”

“Oh, you didn't know? Sorry, I didn't mean to...” Isaac startled and almost spilled the saturated sodium chloride all over the table. Luckily he reigned himself in time and managed to pour it into an empty beaker without any of it spilling.

“No, no, it's alright,” Stiles shook his head, lifting his hand in a placating gesture. “Just uh...what happened?”

“Well um...it's just from what I've heard,” Isaac muttered, pulling the sleeves on hit shirt down to his fingertips, as Stiles reached over to put the second beaker onto the low-flame burner, which he turned on quickly.

“They say she disappeared from the hospital. The nurse went to check on her in the morning and she was just gone,” the teen explained, stirring the solution inside the beaker. “I uh...thought you knew, given your dad is a...sheriff and all.”

“Uh yeah, no prob, man. Thanks for the info though,” Stiles muttered, waving his hand around dismissively. He stared onto the blackboard in front of them, wondering why Lydia disappeared from the hospital. Didn't his dad say she was in a coma? No, wait, this happened before too, right? Stiles' eyebrows pulled together, as he tried to remember.

His eyes widened, as he recalled the incident with Peter, which also made relief flood his ribcage, not only because he obviously wasn't that amnesiac yet, but also because Lydia was going to be okay. It must have been just her prevailing banshee genes, that woke her up and led her out of the hospital in search of her heritage. She turned out all confused after like two days in the original time line, so she should be fine this time too.

Suddenly, he felt a faint tug near his elbow, as if somebody was pulling on a string glued to his skin, but forgot about in the next second due to the voice of the chemistry teacher.

“Stylinski, should I call the school nurse to double your dose of crazy pills, since you can't seem to concentrate even on the simple task in front of you?” Harris called out suddenly, when he caught him staring blankly in front of him. Stiles startled, as his eyes refocused on the classroom around him.

“Uh, what?” he asked dumbly, feeling a bit sluggish, as his mind always did after he tried to skim through his future memories. Although if truth be told, if felt somehow worse this time.

“I fear not even a tripled dose would help a dumb boy like you, Stylinski,” the chemistry teacher snorted, eying the teen in distaste. “In fact, you might need a brain surgery instead.”

“Oh, you think so?” Stiles glanced at Harris innocently, as all the students looked up from their beakers, watching the conversation enfold.

“Maybe you should call my father then and make that proposal to him, since he is still my legal guardian and all,” the teen continued, arching his eyebrows in question. “Just call the sheriff’s department, I am sure they will put you through anytime.”

All the heads whipped to the front to watch Harris' reaction, but the teacher remained silent, his lips squeezed together so thin, they were creating only a narrow line right under his nose. But Stiles did not wait for an answer. He just turned back to their experiment. Although not before he caught a thumbs up from Scott across the room.

“Good one,” Isaac muttered under his breath, barely moving his lips to avoid getting caught by the still glowering chemistry teacher.

Stiles just grinned, whispering back in something akin to elation: “I am the king of smart retorts, ya know.”

He reached over to retract the beaker from the burner with his bare fingers then, not thinking about it's hot temperature at all, but Isaac's hand grabbed him by reflex, stopping his fingertips only mere inches from the hot surface.

“Don't, it's still hot,” Isaac warned him.

“Oh, right, thanks,” the teen nodded, his hand still stretched in front of him, unmoving. Looking at it, he noticed, Isaac's sleeve rolled up a little by the sudden movement and uncovered the bruised skin over his wrist. But he was only able to catch a fleeting look of it, before Isaac pulled his hand back hastily, stretching his sleeves all the way down over his knuckles.

“Uh sorry,” the blond teen mumbled, snatching up his pen and avoiding Stiles' eyes by scribbling something into his lab report.

Stiles kept watching him for a few more seconds before letting his eyes slip over the table's wooden surface. He felt anger bubble inside of him. Maybe he should consider Peter's proposal after all and haul all the teens into the school bus, bring them over to Derek and beg him to munch on them all, so they can all join the Hale pack and be happy. Derek already started it with biting Lydia and Jackson, so maybe he wouldn't be that opposed to the idea.

But what if it was just Stiles' selfishness speaking? What if the others would not want to be a part of the Hale pack? Being a werewolf might have it's perks, but in reality it's a very dangerous state of being – just look where it brought him. Was Stiles really that selfish to force such a fate on the others too?

The teen shook his head, watching as Isaac carefully pried the beaker from the burner, adding it's content into the other beaker. He took the stirring rod then, mixing the two solutions together, while being careful not to let his sleeves travel up his wrists anymore.

Stiles looked over at Scott who was already measuring the pH of his end product with a pH paper. And since his best buddy could always sense his eyes on his, he lifted his head just in time to catch Stiles' look. Stiles lifted his eyebrows in question and jerked his head in the direction of Scott's experiment and his best friend nodded happily, before returning back to his lab repord.

“Stiles,” whispered Isaac from beside him, just as he was doing the same action, that Stiles caught Scott doing. “You didn't fill your report yet and the class is over in like ten mins.”

“Oh shit,” the teen swore, staring down at his black lab report in panic. Young Stiles was not going to thank him for this, that's for sure.

“Here, hurry, copy mine,” Isaac muttered, nudging his detailed description of their proceedings into his direction.

“Uh, really?” Stiles looked up dumbfounded. He did not think the young version of Isaac, who wasn't even friends with him right now, would wanna help him in any way, but there it was. Even if it was just a lab report, it was sort of touching.

“We're lab bros, after all,” Isaac shrugged.

“Thanks,” the teen grinned, pulling the filled-out lab report closer and copying all the data quickly. “I so owe you. How can I make it up to you? Maybe like a...uh, study session or something? Maybe French or...”

“Stiles you suck at French even more than I do,” Isaac commented, folding his hands over his chest.

“Eh, no I don't, ” Stiles exclaimed, looking up at the teen sitting beside him, his expression full of disbelief. “Well okay maybe, but Scott is almost-dating Allison Argent and she knows lots of French, maybe we can all have a group study-session next time or something.”

“Oh,” the curly blond answered, his shoulders twitching before he looked away nervously. “Then I guess...”

And that's when the bell rang, startling them from their conversation. Everybody started to pack up the equipment and materials and Isaac scrambled to do the same, while Stiles completed his lab report in haste.

“Thanks again, Isaac,” the teen smiled, handing him back his report, because he was done with it and they both completed the clean up. “I meant it with the study session you know. So uh...be ready for that.”

Isaac eyed him for a while, and then just nodded, probably coming in terms with the fact, that there is no way escaping the Stilinski charm. Stiles watched him shoulder his bag and walk to Harris' table to deposit his lab report on the growing heap of reports from the other students. He couldn't help but smile and wave, as Isaac glanced back at him, a little smile blossoming on his lips too.

 

~o~

 

“I did the whole experiment all by myself, Stiles, all by myself,” grinned Scott, as they emerged from the chemistry classroom.

“Good job buddy, you might even end up being a super chemist one day,” joked Stiles, reaching into his back pocket to take out his phone and finally check it.

“Uh, I don't know man, that sounds like a super boring job,” his best friend remarked, shouldering his bag and heading down the hallway inside the torrent of walking students.

“Don't worry, you'll have an awesome job,” Stiles said dismissively, as he glanced down at his phone, unlocking it with a single swipe of his thumb. And just as he thought, there were two messages from Derek waiting for him.

 

Derek 'We made it to Peter's apartment.”

 

Derek 'How long is he supposed to stay paralyzed? It's been a few hours and he can barely talk, let lone breathe. Is that normal? '

 

And that was when Stiles felt the weird tug again. He glanced at his right arm, ready to slap an annoying mosquito, but the only thing his eyes caught was the mark the Emissary initiation left behind. He let his fingertips run over it, feeling it tug insistently once again. That couldn't be a good sign, could it?

Without prompting he dialed out Derek again, stopping his his tracks to listen to the ringing on the other side. But nobody picked up and Stiles' heart started to race faster, if that was even possible. Did something happen to them? Why wouldn't Derek pick up his phone? What if the Fates... Peter was an easy target right now. No, Stiles shook his head sternly, refusing to think about that possibility.

“Okay?” asked Scott, who was watching him with a confused frown on his face. Stiles looked around worriedly, but luckily Harris nor any other teacher were nowhere near them, so he snatched his best friend's biceps and pulled him closer to the window out of the main torrent of the students

“I need to sneak out of the school,” Stiles whispered insistently. “You gotta help me.”

“What? Stiles, really?” Scott rolled his eyes, lifting his eyebrows in disbelief. “I know you are worried about Lydia, but...”

“Scott, listen, I just need to find...” the teen started again, his voice getting more insistent, as the tugging of the Emissary bond stopped.

“Okay, benefit of doubt. What makes you think you could find her, Stiles? The whole sheriff's department is out there searching for her. Plus like a huge group of volunteers,” his best friend countered, waving his hand into Stiles' direction. “And don't say you will use that invisible profound bond you two happen to share, because that is just...”

“No, Scott, would you just listen for once?” Stiles exclaimed, gripping his friend's biceps harder to get his attention, but he then realized he might be hurting the teen, so he let go of his arm, standing there sheepishly.

“Alright,” Scott nodded, folding his arms over his chest. “Why do you really wanna sneak out...an no more bullshit.”

Stiles stared at him for a few heartbeats, as his heart kept drumming loudly in his ears, wondering what lie to wrap around his best friend's eyes. Except Scott knew him way too well. He would know any of his words to be a lie right away, so that left him only one choice.

“Fine, fine , truth time!” he wailed, clasping his hands together in a loud clap. Luckily the students around them were always oblivious of their surroundings, so no one really noticed. “I time-traveled... from ten years in the future, where I am happily married...to a werewolf. And I have my own werewolf pack, but now...some of the members might be in danger, so I need to go and help them.”

Scott stepped closer to him, squinting into his eyes, as if he was listening to his inner lie detector. Then he pulled back again, a slight frown on his face. “Honestly? The fact that you actually think all that to be truth is more creepy, than any of what you just said, but ...”

Stiles just nodded, waiting for the final verdict impatiently.

“One question first,” Scott ordered, sticking out his forefinger to emphasize his point.

“Happily married, a little daughter called Hannah,” Stiles answered promptly a grin forming itself on his lips. His best friend just grinned back at him, particularly glowing with happiness. “Awesome, so what do you need me to do?”

 

~o~

 

Stiles raced through the hallways, until he found the person he was looking for. Vernon Boyd was just rummaging through his locker, a frown visible on his forehead, as if he was unable to find something, that was supposed to be there. The teen did not pay attention to any of that though, as he pushed his way between two giggling girls.

“Vern, hey,” Stiles greeted, adopting his most pleasant smile. He leaned onto the lockers to come into the other teen's view to get his attention.

Boyd just sighed, abandoning his search in favor of looking at Stiles with an exasperated look on his face.

“Stiles,” the teen answered, turning up his tone at the end to make it sound like a half-question, half-greeting.

“So hey, I was wondering...” Stiles started, but was interrupted, before he could even finish the sentence.

“You want the keys from the back entrance, don't you?” Boyd summarized with a completely calm look on his face.

“What? Uh, why would you even think that?” the teen startled, looking around frantically, as if he was afraid everybody else would also be able to see right through him and maybe try to stop him from leaving the school.

“Because that's the only reason anybody ever approaches me,” Vernon stated, looking back into his locker with a slight frown on his face, that let Stiles know he was upset about it more than he would admit. “Plus you had to urgently sneak away from school yesterday too.”

“Right, well hmm...” Stiles shrugged, looking sheepishly down at his sneakers. He concluded, long ago, that there was no way of fighting Boyd's logical thinking.

“We covered for you yesterday, by the way,” the other teen informed him, reaching into his locker to move a few textbooks out of the way. “Since we had to go ask the secretary for the permit to leave and the permission slips, which were to be signed by Erica's folks... got them to sign one in your name too and gave it to the secretary in the morning.”

“You did?” Stiles looked up at the other teen in awe, not even able to believe, what he just heard. “Wow that's...uh, I mean thanks, Boyd. You're a true... friend and all.”

The teen did not answer though. He just rolled his eyes, prying a ring full of keys out of the depth of his locker. After nudging the unimportant ones aside, he slid a fairly long one out of the ring and offered it to Stiles.

“I want it back tomorrow, though,” he stated, stashing the ring of keys behind the heaps of textbooks again. “And if you get caught with it, you did not get it from me, understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Stiles grinned taking the key from the other teen's hand. He reached into his back pocket then, pulling a twenty-dollar bill, which he borrowed from Scott prior, since unfortunately, after all the purchases to save Laura Hale and other minor payments, he was totally broke. Being a teen once again sucked for many reasons and being financially dependable on other people was definitely one of them.

“Keep it,” Boyd stated, before the teen could even hand him the money. He even pushed his hand away in a declining gesture to emphasize his point.

“But...” Stiles started befuddled, stuffing the money back inside his pocket. “What about the payment?”

“One day you're going to tell me what this is all about,” Boyd informed him, closing his locker. “And by one day I don't mean ten years from now, but soon.”

“Of course,” Stiles nodded without hesitation, which seemed to have surprised Boyd for some reason. “I was gonna tell you anyways.”

“Were you?” Boyd asked, arching his eyebrows in disbelief. “Why would you...”

“We're pack, man,” he grinned, reaching over to pat the other teen's shoulder, as he always used to do before. He didn't even think of how weird it must be for Boyd, who was not used to such treatment.

“Just go already, Stilinski,” he rolled his eyes, jerking away from the teen, who was still grinning like a little child on Christmas.

Stiles just nodded, bolting down the hallways without a second glance, not able to smolder the warmth of happiness inside his chest.

 

~o~

 

Reaching the hallway on the other side of the school, he stopped near the lockers, watching the scene in front of him carefully. Mister Manning, and old goodhearted man, who taught history on BHH, was standing near the back entrance door, chatting leisurely with the janitor, their backs turned to the teen. Students kept passing them on their way from the gym class, exiting the changing rooms without any hurry.

There were too many possible eyewitnesses, Stiles concluded, spotting Scott leaning against a wall near the changing rooms with his phone awkwardly positioned in his hand in front of him. He kept glancing down at it, pressing random letters, pretending to be busy writing a text message, but Stiles knew better of course.

Scott lifted his head suddenly, scanning his surroundings quickly, until his eyes landed on Stiles. He grinned, pocketing his phone. And then they both waited for a few seconds, remaining on their respective places, until Jackson Whittermore walked out of the changing rooms with Danny closely behind him.

Scott looked up at Stiles, who was still standing on the other end of the hallway. The teen nodded at him, giving him a clearance to start with the stage whatever-the-number-was of their distraction plan.

Just as Jackson was passing in front of Scott, he set off, colliding with the teen's side like a professional football player. Except Scott wasn't, so he only managed to make Jackson sway on his place like a sturdy tree fighting against strong winds.

“What the fuck, McCall!?” Jackson snarled, pushing the other teen off him, his scowl gaining a murderous intensity. Scott just looked back at him, his expression so innocent and bewildered, that Stiles would have believed it all being an accident and not an elaborated plan.

“Wha, dude, you rammed into me,” Scott answered, repeating what Stiles told him to say to make the most damage in the shortest time. “Do you get off on ramming people in or what?”

Before anybody could even notice, what was going on, Jackson was already launching at Scott with a angry hiss. Luckily Danny managed to stop him with a hand around his shoulder, before he could reach the other teen, who only managed to recoil a little in those few spare seconds.

“Do you have a death wish?” Jackson spat loudly, trying to twist away from Danny's hold. The commotion caused the other students stop in their tracks and stare curiously, which in turn made mister Manning look up from his conversation worriedly.

“You say that again, McCall. Come on, say it to my fucking face. I will...” Jackson growled, finally wrenching his shoulder out of his friend's grasp. That forced mister Manning to run hurriedly to them, his scolding voice stopping Jackson from jumping right on top of Scott.

And that was when Stiles sneaked quickly to the back entrance door, using the moment, when everybody was gathered in a lose circle around Scott and Jackson. He slid the key into the lock and turned it hurriedly. Opening the door, he looked back at the confrontation to make sure his best buddy would not receive the undeserved beating.

He caught Scott's eyes, the look in them urging him to disappear quickly before anybody would get bored by his display and spot him, which would deem all his efforts a waste. And so Stiles grinned, sending his best friend a wink and slipped out of school through the back entrance, locking it back behind him in the process.

 

~o~

 

One would have thought, that after such an elaborate plan to get out of the school's building, the rest would go quite smoothly. But as it was, Stiles' life never actually went as smooth as it could. And he knew all along, that the back entrance was near the gym, since the changing rooms themselves were fairly close to the back entrance door. What he did not know though was the fact, that girls ended up having a double gym lesson outside that day.

That being said, when Stiles slipped through the door and hurried to lock it back up before anybody noticing, a shout from behind him made him bolt behind the nearby bush in something similar to a fright. He looked up from behind it almost instantly, worried he'd been discovered just when two girls ran around at top speed shouting at each other something about a stolen boyfriend.

Stiles watched them ran further and then looked around, searching for more possible witnesses, which were scattered all over the lawn in front of him. Getting out of the school yesterday was a lot more simple, why couldn't it have gone the same way today too? He sighed wondering what the hell was going on with his life lately. He made a quick decision to not dwell on it though and crept along the bushes around a small group of girls playing badminton. He would have loved to enjoy more of the cover the bushes provided for him, but unfortunately, as he reached the corner of the building, he ran out of conveniently placed bushes.

He glanced behind them once again, surveying the terrain around him to calculate the best course of action. What he needed to do now, was cross at least dozen yards of open space and turn around the corner of the adjoined cafeteria and then he could just walk around it safely, since it would be all empty at this time of the day.

There was one hitch in his plan though and that was coach Finstock standing nearby the cafeteria's building, watching and shouting at the girls, when they decided to sit down onto the lawn and check their phones.

“This is not the mall, cupcakes! I don't care what you do, but you will keep using your muscles until the end of the class, unless you want to end up in detention!” he shouted at the pair of girls chatting under a tree in the far-out corner of the property.

Seeing coach Finstock standing there all seething, Stiles wished he was still able to perform magic – any kind of magic really. If he could just expand the intensity on his notice-me-no sigil, then he would be pretty much invisible to any random human and could slip around the coach easily. Alas, this was not his day. Actually the last few days were not exactly his days at all.

That was, until coach startled and started walking briskly away from his position, heading to a blond girl sitting on the grass. Stiles peaked from behind the bushes, spotting Erica only few yards to the left, holding her head in her hands. Coach jogged to her fast, crouching down to put his hand on her shoulder and talking to her urgently. Stiles could not make out the words, but she was nodding to whatever the coach said. He helped her up and led her away carefully.

As they walked away from the bushes, their backs to Stiles, Erica suddenly peaked back over her shoulder and looked right at him, her head jerking into the direction of the cafeteria's building. The teen's eyes widened as he pointed at himself in question and Erica rolled her eyes excessively, waving him away, before turning her head back and stumbling over the grass.

That caught not only the full attention of the coach himself, but also every other girl on the lawn. So stiles used that moment to creep the last remaining yards to the corner of the building, disappearing around it immediately with an elated smile on his face.

 

~o~

 

Reaching the jeep just a few minutes later, he felt like doing a victory dance right there and then at the parking lot. There was no way anybody could spot him from the school building since his parking spot was all the way in the back and he was currently being covered by huge masses of cars. He didn't have time for such behavior right now, even though his future pack members somehow all magically decided to help him get out of the school simultaneously.

Feeling the tug of his Emissary bond once again, Stiles decided to not waste any more time. He jerked the front door on his jeep open and jumped inside, turning the engine with a push of his leg and a turn of the key inside the ignition.

Of course speeding out of the parking lot and then down the road, just as his werewolf mate always did, was out of question. He needed to avoid attracting any attention after all. So he slid out of his parking spot in a relatively fast speed, turning left right away to go around the city center over a road that was mostly secluded and not much scouted by the sheriff's department. That's where he dared to speed for a while.

He tried not to think about all the possible things, that could have happened to Derek and his uncle, but the unwanted thoughts kept creeping inside his skull, making the panic rise and crash insistently into his ribs. He did not let it control him, not yet. There will be no panicking until he got to Peter's place. And so he turned around the cemetery, heading up the road to the gray apartment building.

Arriving at the small parking lot in front of it, he didn't even bother parking inside the marked space, he just stopped in front of the entrance, turned off the engine, jumped out of the car, looking it behind quickly before heading for the entrance door. The luck must have been on his side this time, because the door was wide opened. It looked like somebody stuffed a folded piece of paper under it to keep it open and Stiles silently thanked to every magical deity he knew for this occurrence.

Leaping up the staircase, he took the stairs by two, his breath growing more and more erratic with every floor he ran past. Once he reached the sixth floor, his breath was totally out of control, the inside of his mouth tasted like metal and his throat hurt, but that wasn't what made him feel miserable. What did, were the opened doors to Peter's apartment.

“No,” Stiles whined, as he ran for the door. He pushed at it urgently and raced inside, only to smack into a warm body in the next instant. And he would have bounced back and landed on his sitter right after, weren't it for the strong hand grasping his biceps at a startling speed.

“Derek?!” the teen exclaimed, as he looked up at the brooding werewolf in front of him. He let his eyes scan over his body, feeling relieved, when he couldn't spot any visible wounds.

“Are you okay? Did something happen?” he continued urgently, even when Derek let go of him. Stiles reached over, running his fingertips gently up his arm just as he was used to, grasping the man's shoulder insistently, when his fingers reached it. “You didn't answer my phone...I thought...”

“Why would I answer your call?” Derek scowled, his eyes watching the teen's hand on his shoulder. “What, did you want to pester me more? Is that why you're here?”

“Oh my God, Derek,” Stiles groaned, retrieving his hand to run it over his face. “I am so sorry about that. About that freak out in the morning? None of this is your fault and I totally overreacted on that one, so...I apologize, since you really...you did well. Best that you could actually. Anyways, this ain't about any of that... there was a tug and I thought...wait... where's Peter? Is he okay?”

“Here,” came a weak voice out of the living room on the left. Derek pointed in the same direction, his face a mask carefully hiding the confused bundle of feelings behind it.

Stiles let his fingers skim over Derek's other shoulder too, when he passed him, walking swiftly to the living room, following the sound of shallow breathing. He spotted Peter right away – he was sprawled on the couch, as if he was a puppet, whose strings got cut loose out of nowhere.

“Dude, are you alright?” the teen came over, sitting down on the couch to him right next to his waist. He reached to run his fingers over the side of there werewolf's neck, only only later realizing he had no magic to send through the man's body to check on his health.

Stiles grimaced at that thought, pulling his hand back into his lap. “Heard a kanima attacked you...” he trailed, hoping to distract himself with finding out what exactly happened, that made his Emissary bond freak out three times. It wasn't like Peter or Derek were in any mortal danger. At least it didn't seem like that. True, Peter had a few scratch marks over his body, but nothing that would cause him to bleed out. Plus, he seemed to be still paralyzed, by that also wasn't anything that serious or was it?

“Yeah, I was,” Peter rasped, wrenching Stiles out of his thoughts. “I handled it though.”

“I found him paralyzed near the Nemeton,” Derek stated from behind them, where he was standing near the window, as if he was worried the kanima might fly in through it. Stiles glanced at Derek and then at Peter, a grin forming itself on his lips.

“Oh you clever fox you,” he praised the werewolf, patting his hand gently. “You knew, the dark wibes would keep such a primal creature away, didn't you?”

“I hoped so at least,” Peter stated, his voice still raw, as if he was barely able to push it past his lips. “Luckily it did.”

“What the hell happened though?” the teen questioned, squeezing Peter's fingers, which he obviously couldn't even feel, so it was a quite pointless gesture.

“I was just... in the middle of... enforcing the Code on the two arsonists. Found them on the other side of the preserve...were about to burn a cat alive, we couldn't have that now, could we?” the werewolf explained tiredly. “And that thing appeared out of nowhere...”

“Shit and?” Stiles breathed, eager to find out more.

“Well,” Peter started, trying to take a deep breath in but his chest would not bulge, still paralyzed by the poison, so the werewolf stuttered, taking a few seconds to collect himself. “Uh, I recognized it right away, of course... and decided a tactical retreat was in order. I was in no shape to fight it by myself after all... I mean two human arsonists, that's child's play, but a kanima? You might have sucked the wolfsbane out of my system, but the side effects of such poisoning don't subside that easily.”

Stiles kept only nodding along the words, wondering if he should stop the werewolf from talking or if actually using the few muscles he could was good for fighting off the paralysis.

“Good decision,” he agreed promptly.

“Well of course it was,” Peter rasped, the corners of his lips twitching a tiny bit, as if he was trying to lift them but failed.

“So you ran for the Nemeton...” Stiles started, hoping that the werewolf would fill in the missing pieces.

“Yes, except the kanima caught up to me before I could reach it and... succeeded at infecting me with it's venom. Luckily, I was able to crawl into the Nemeton's... well metaphorical arms, before it took full effect.”

“And that's where I found him, after I left your house,” Derek stated from the window, scowling at the cemetery behind it.

“Sheesh, okay okay, this ain't as bad as I thought,” Stiles sighed, visibly relieved. After all, they were all still alive and if that wasn't a good reason to let relief calm down his thundering heart, then nothing would be.

“But still...the venom shouldn't affect you this much,” he said suddenly, putting his hand on the werewolf's chest to feel the restricted stretch of his muscles. Once again he wished for magic so he could see, what exactly was wrong with Peter.

“Had to restart his breathing three times already,” Derek mumbled from his spot, not turning away from the window.

Stiles' lips thinned at that. He whispered: “I don't understand.”

“My body must be a lot weaker than I though,” Peter guessed, his eyes moving sluggishly over the teen's worried expression. “Coma, wolfbane...I'm just a Beta.”

“No, that can't be the reason, the venom is not this aggressive” Stiles frowned, pushing gently onto the werewolf's chest, as if that would force the magic inside him to react, which it of course didn't. Logical approach it was then. “Unless you'd be allergic to it.”

“That would give sense,” Derek's uncle concluded, unable to nod in agreement. Seeing Stiles look even more worried after his statement, he couldn't help but adding a few reassuring words though. “I'm fine, Stiles. Or will be, when this passes.”

“Yeah I know, just...” the teen shook his head, pressing his fingertips to his closed eye, rubbing at the skin while taking a deep breath in. “You both need to be more careful. Almost gave me a heart attack, seriously.”

“Not that we can tell with the sigil on your neck,” Derek complained, finally stepping away from the window, to walk to the coffee table in front of the couch.

“So,” Peter started, his eyes following his nephew. “What are you going to do about the kanima? I'm guessing it's one of those cute teens Derek bit recently?”

“You knew about that?” Stiles looked up, his voice full of exasperation. “And you didn't tell me...why?”

“We need to figure out which one of them it is,” Derek answered, ignoring the teen's outburst. “And then we kill the kanima in it's human shape, since it's the most vulnerable then.”

“We're not gonna kill anybody, Derek,” Stiles cut in, lifting his hand to stop the werewolf from talking.

“Stiles, the kanima is already after Peter,” the werewolf argued, folding his arms over his chest. “It will not stop. It's obviously on a mission.”

“We are not gonna kill people,” the teen stressed, getting up from the couch, his ADHD forcing him to move frantically.

“Stiles, let's be reasonable here,” Peter joined in, looking at him calmly. The teen just shook his head silently, pacing to the window and back. Derek watched him and his eyebrows suddenly flew up, as he realized something.

“You know which one of them it is,” the werewolf grumbled, his statement an accusation. “Don't you?”

“No,” Stiles shook his head, his frown deepening.

“Oh, but you do,” Peter chimed, spotting the nervous twitch in the teen's fingers.

“Who is it, Stiles?” Derek demanded to know right away, taking two steps into the teen's direction, as if their close proximity might force him to spill the truth. But Stiles just shook his head harder, pointing a finger at him.

“Don't go there, Derek,” he warned. “There will be no killing. Not with me around.”

“Do you have any other solution, Stiles?” Peter wondered, the air coming in and out of his chest a little easier, than it did, when the teen arrived.

“I will just... think of some ritual,” Stiles stuttered, hoping for some idea to magically pop into his brain and solve all their problems. Alas, there was no such thing.

“You have no magic left,” Derek sneered.

“That's true and I don't think I can find any more storage units for you. It's a very rare item, which I am sure you're aware of,” Peter concluded, siding with his nephew.

“So? I'll find a way, I'm sure I will,” Stiles bit off, pacing along the window. There must be a way of saving Jackson. How come, he can't remember, how they saved him the last time? How does this magical amnesia even work? He can still remember, what happened to Lydia, when she ended up in the hospital, after Peter bit her. Wasn't it approximately at the same time, as Jackson tuned into a werewolf too? It must have been.

So the amnesia doesn't devour his oldest memories. But if it doesn't work according to the time of occurrence, then how else? His eyes suddenly landed on Derek and he realized he remembers most of the things about him – their first meeting, their first kiss, their wedding, almost everything without a fail. Could it be, that the deeper roots the given memory had in his heart, the harder it was for the amnesia to swallow it?

He couldn't remember, who Leo Mitchell was, because it held no real significance to him. He couldn't remember, who burned down the Hale house, because the whole case didn't mean much to him. Only the damage Kate Argent caused to his mate was important to him and that remained in his head even after all other memories of the huntress were long gone.

Which actually meant, that as long as he remembered who Derek is and what he meant to him, then he was still alive. As cliched as that seemed, Stiles was glad to have an actual way of keeping himself in check. Although it didn't solve his current problem.

Lost in his mind castle, he barely noticed Peter's phone on the table vibrate and Derek picking it up to read the message. Not until the werewolf looked up at him, a smirk of victory on his lips.

“It's the girl, isn't it? She disappeared from the hospital at night,” Derek concluded, looking very pleased with himself.

“It probably is,” Peter agreed, looking up at the teen, “since you don't even look surprised.

Stiles stopped pacing, looking at them in stubborn silence.

“If they did not find her yet,” Peter turned his eyes back to his nephew. “Then she must be still in the preserve.”

“I will go and find her,” Derek nodded, understanding immediately. “She won't be able to turn with the light outside. Such abominations can only change after the darkness falls, right?”

But before Peter could confirm his statement, Stiles spoke up, his eyes pleading: “Derek, please, there is no need for this.”

“I didn't hear any other proposal from you,” the werewolf shook his head in rejection. “The kanima is after Peter, Stiles. If we don't kill it now, then it will return at night in it's true form and that lowers our chances on killing it. We could all die, if it manages to strike us with that venom.”

“Derek is right, Stiles,” Peter muttered from the couch.

“No, he ain't,” the teen argued, thinking frantically. “I...I could...”

“Then it's decided,” Derek said, closing off the conversation. He walked into the bedroom and took his black leather jacket from the bed, before putting in on over his dark green shirt.

“Okay then...shit, then I will go with you,” Stiles decided suddenly, stepping in the werewolf's way.

“No,” Derek scowled, getting ready to wrestle his way out of the apartment. “Peter needs protection.”

“I will draw a protection circle around him,” the teen answered promptly. “I will use the mountain ash I gathered in the coffee house, that doesn't require any magic.”

“And trap him inside the apartment, unable to move, when his paralysis subsides? I don't think so,” Derek decided, his eyes flashing red. “Now get out of the way, Stiles.”

“He will not be trapped,” the teen insisted. “I will mix the mountain ash with mine and his blood and then he can just disperse the circle on his own. Please, Derek, you have to take me with you.”

The werewolf growled in frustration and Stiles knew he must be riling up the Alpha inside him, fighting with his orders all the time, but what other choice did he have? He needed to go with Derek. He needed to go and protect Lydia, if they stumbled upon her. She was innocent after all. The real kanima was currently in the school.

“Take him,” Peter called out from the bed, the fingers on his stomach twitching. “I will be fine, just take him.”

They kept staring at each other for a while, leading some internal conversation with their eyes until Derek sighed in defeat. “Alright, you can come with me, but no shenanigans.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

"I still can't believe Peter kept that syringe with my blood,” Stiles exclaimed suddenly, as they walked into the woods, the sun high on the sky currently covered by a few grey clouds. The ride to the preserve was so silent, that he was actually glad to get out of the Camaro, even though he loved that car.

“I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, though,” he continued, making his way through the bushes, that lined the road. Derek left the car near the crossroads, Stiles passed with his broken leg just a few days ago, because it was the closest parking spot near the Nemeton, where they were headed now.

“Sometimes I forget what a sneaky bastard he is, cuz he's so... well it's a different situation in this time line, jee, such a mess,” Stiles kept on rambling, his eyes falling on the silent werewolf next to him, who was obviously ignoring him.

“He's like the Collector,” the teen added, watching Derek turn his head away from him, as they stepped in between the trees, leaving the bushes behind them.

“I mean the next thing we'll know, he'll have me chained in a glass vitrine,” he said, raising his voice a little, in case the werewolf didn't hear him well enough. Which of course was a stupid thing to do, because he knew Derek could hear him, he just chose not to listen to him.

Stiles let out a frustrated sigh, as he stopped, watching the werewolf just keep on stalking through the woods. He shook his head sadly and forced his legs to move a little faster to catch up to him.

“You know,” he started, matching his speed to Derek's, walking on his left now. “It's a lot more fun, when you actually participate in my phantasmagorias.”

The werewolf remained silent though, his eyes scanning their surroundings, his ears focused on something beyond them, taking deep breaths through his nose, as if he was a wolf, trying to find his prey.

“It wasn't meant to be offensive, man,” Stiles lamented, as Derek turned sharply right, making his way through the trees, without even looking back. The teen caught up to him with ease though. “I am actually always glad to avoid a needle in my arm.”

There was still no response, but the hell be damned if Stiles couldn't make a conversation work all by himself. It was the most precious of his gifts after all.

“I don't particularly enjoy needles, to be honest,” he added, nodding along. “I know I should be the last to say that, considering ten years from now, I will be sporting a half-body magical tattoo, but man... that's the only thing that actually sucked at being magical, ya know. The Spark needs accelerators, else one would be hardly able to do anything with it. Now normally, that's what a coven is for, of course. One Spark enhances the other, it doubles it, triples it, depending on the headcount... but luckily, Tomasz thought of using a specially crafted tattoo to accelerate the Spark, since he's a lone magic too. That way I could stay with my pack and still be able to perform some rad magic.”

Well, obviously not even that was going to steal Derek's attention from his super important mission. But Stiles had to try, did he not? He had to try talking to his mate, explain the whole situation to him and maybe even try persuading him to drop this wild chase to save the lives of his future pack mates.

“Derek,” he called out softly, reaching out to touch the other man's shoulder. And he would have, if it weren't for the fact, that the werewolf was obviously not in mood for any kind of touching, since he jerked out of the reach almost instantly.

“Dereeeek,” Stiles whined, pulling his hand back to his side, trying to ignore the pain, that flared through his chest. Derek only frowned, as if there was an annoying fly buzzing around his head, not saying anything as they walked side to side.

“Deeeeeer,” Stiles drawled, going for the most irritating tone he could muster up. He even allowed himself to pout, refusing to think, how childish that was of him. He was a teenager now, he could pout as much as he wanted.

“Okay, is this about me pestering you before?” he exclaimed, giving up on courtesy. Was his mate always this stubborn or was this just some recent development? Oh, who was he kidding, of course he was, he was the most pigheaded jerk, he'd ever met.

“I already apologized for that, did I not?” Stiles groaned, flailing his arms in exasperation. “I am sorry I freaked out on you. I was just surprised, which is pretty normal, when I see everything from my past changing... right in front of my eyes. Isn't that kinda understandable? Everything, that shaped my life is changing! I think I am allowed to freak out every once in a while.”

The teen pursed his lips, waiting exactly two seconds for some retort, which did not come and then continued: “You made a good decision biting Lydia and Jackson, you know. They would have died otherwise, would they not?”

Derek did not look at him, nor did he utter a single word, as they weaved their way through the trees, but the teen could see his jaw stiffen and his eyebrows moving into a slight frown and he knew what that meant.

“It's not about that at all, is it? Huh, I see,” he muttered, thinking back on everything he's said from the time he arrived into Peter's apartment up to the point they left Peter behind the magical protection circle.

“Ooooh,” he breathed, when it finally dawned upon him. “This is about me arguing with you about the kanima issue.”

Stiles looked up at Derek, scanning his face, which wouldn't have said much to other people, but the teen knew his mate. He knew all the subtle changes in his expression to figure out he was right in his previous assumption.

“Oh, it is about that,” he grinned, mentally high-fiving his own brain for being still perceptive enough.

“Well, I can't exactly apologize for that one, though,” he grimaced, stepping to the left a bit, to make some space between him and Derek for the approaching tree. “It's just... I can't let you kill any of them. They're my pack, after all. Both of them. Or well... they will be a part of my future pack, once I manage to save them. I mean, what would you do, if someone threatened to... no wait, don't answer that.”

Stiles really didn't want to bring up Kate Argent into this conversation, knowing full well it would only make his mate feel worse. And making Derek feel guilty about the Hale fire and then forcing a decision to put aside his current pack for Stiles' future one? Well that was certainly a very bad idea, which would come back and bite him right into the ass, so he decided to just let it all drop for now.

“You said your future is long gone,” Derek muttered, as his nails sharpened in response to Stiles' previous words. He did not seem angry though, more like curious.

“Uh, well some parts of it for sure, I guess,” Stiles shrugged, running his hand over his short hair. “I am kinda hoping to still make it work somehow, that is... uh I know it sounds, like I am pushing people into it all to make myself happy again, but it's not just that. They were all happy in my time line. Well aside from the stray Omega or something more dangerous every once in a while but... I care about them all and that's why I want them to have such a great future, as they had in the time line that I remember. I can't just let them suffer in misery, as they do know, when I know it could be so much better for them all.”

Derek looked at him then, with a slight frown still visible above his eyes, as if it was way too hard for him to grasp something. They both stopped walking by now.

“More than a family, than a simple pack, it's... I mean it's what you want too right, deep inside?” Stiles insisted, brushing against his mate's most deep desires in hope it would soften him up enough to listen to or at least consider his proposals. “Even though you wouldn't admit it right now, since you think you don't deserve such things.”

Derek scowled at him, his stance going all rigid and Stiles knew right away he chose the wrong words for that, but he did not let that discourage him. He pointed at the werewolf and added: “Well tough luck, Sourwolf! I want you to be happy, so you are gonna be happy!”

The Alpha seemed to relax a little, rolling his eyes as resumed their walk to the Nemeton. “Don't call me that,” he complained grumpily, which was the same tone he used for Laura, when she tried out her Alpha's voice on him. Stiles couldn't help but smile a bit.

“Why not?” he wondered aloud, tapping his fingers against his lips, as if busy thinking about something. “It's your most favorite nickname in the future.”

“I doubt that,” Derek grumbled, shaking his head.

“Oh, but it iiiiis,” the teen nodded, enthusiasm filling his voice. “Oh my God, do you remember that one time Andrew mutilated it horribly and called you a Sorewolf? Hah, which was kindaish true that time, since just the night before we were...”

Stiles suddenly caught himself in the middle of that thought, realizing what he was just about to say. Shit, he got himself lost in the moment for a while there and almost spilled the biggest secret. This wasn't a good time for such a reveal, since Derek would never believe him anyways. He might even get angry and expel him from the pack and Stiles couldn't have that now, could he?

“Uh, yeah, exercising. Right uh, ” he stuttered, looking away from the werewolf, as a blush crept up his cheeks. He searched for a different topic to talk about, which presented itself right away fortunately: “Those twins are always up to no good, I'll tell ya.”

“Twins?” Derek looked at him, his eyes guarded and he muttered the question breathlessly. There was no sign, that he noticed Stiles' cover-up and that helped the teen to relax a bit.

“Oh, uh yeah,” he said looking around, relieved they didn't stumble upon Lydia yet. He secretly hoped it would stay that way and the only way to accomplish it would be with keeping Derek occupied with words and so he kept talking: “It's quite lucky we ended up with so many pups, even though all their parents were either bitten or human. We got like four of them so far...”

“There's Hannah,” Stiles smiled, thinking how lucky he is to still remember these things. “She's the Alpha's daughter – the most vicious were' of them all. And I talk from experience, cuz she totally chewed my sneakers into a mush once. Then there are the twins - Andrew and Liam. You actually helped them change for the first time, we were all so proud of them. Um... and then there's...about Lydia – the girl you wanna kill? She... I've only learned about it like few minutes before the Fates transported me in the past, but...she was finally pregnant. They were trying for a while with her mate already...”

He could see the corners of Derek's mouth twitch as he pulled his lips closer together, forming a thin line under his nose. He knew that nostalgic expression well enough, since it appeared on his face every time he thought of the Hales. He was probably comparing Stiles' pack to his own one, connecting Hannah to Laura, the twins to his two younger brothers, Lydia to Peter's wife Helena.

“There's always a way, Derek, we could just...” he started, reaching for the werewolf's shoulder once again in hope it would help him convince the Alpha. But his hand didn't make it to his mate, because he sensed the source of dark power ahead of them.

He forced his legs to seize their frantic movement forward, turning his head to stare between the trees. And there, several dozen yards in front of them, he caught a sight of the Nemeton, it's power sizzling menacingly over the soil, creeping around in it's vicinity in lazy swirls. It made Stiles shiver, goose bumps rising all over his skin, as he took a step back, suddenly horrified.

Derek kept walking though, as if nothing, oblivious of the state the teen suddenly find himself in, hoping to sniff out the kanima's scent from the last night, when it chased Peter all the way to this point. At least that what Peter recommended him to do, before they left his apartment.

Stiles took another step back, feeling the Nemeton's power stir a little, as if feeling his presence. That certainly wasn't a good thing, he concluded, as he started to back away cautiously. He noticed, he was holding his breath, so he forced himself to take a deep breath in and then stop, closing his eyes to feel out the environment.

He's never felt the Nemeton this strongly and it scared him. Not only did it contain a huge mass of energy, that could just explode without a warming like a nuclear bomb, but it was actually a bad sort of energy, that got created, when some dumbass decided to cut the tree down back in the old days. And from that point on it morphed into a beacon, that was pulling all kinds of supernatural creatures to it like a magnet, so that it could suck out their powers, were they foolish enough to touch it. And a lot of them were, because the temptation was way too strong to fight.

Stiles needed to be very careful to not come any closer, than he was now, although it surely was tempting – maybe he could use the Nemeton's power to boost his magic, maybe he could... if he would just touch it, then he could suck in some of those unending sources of magic and set everything right. Freeing the Fates would be a child's play for him then. Finding the real culprit behind their kidnapping would be even easier. All of this power at his disposal – he could have his pack back, his mate...

“Stiles?” he heard Derek from somewhere around and frowned, looking around in confusion. He was standing right behind Derek, a lot closer to the Nemeton, than before, his hand lifted in front of him in yearning.

“Shit,” he swore, stumbling back immediately, muttering to himself. “It's calling for my magical potential. I can't let it corrupt my Spark...”

He turned around right away, forcing his feet to move from the tree stump, which seemed to be quite hard. It felt as if the ground was made out of mud, every step pulling his feet deeper and deeper, trying to stop his retreat. But Stiles knew it was just in his head and so he pushed further, putting one foot in front of another with determination.

“Go see if you can catch the kanima's scent somewhere around it,” he muttered begrudgingly, as he walked away hurriedly, his steps growing easier to take with every next one. “I can't go near that thing. It's a lot more potent, than it was in the future. I wasn't able to sense magic and crap when I was a teen so it wasn't a prob then, but now that I can... it's a two-way road, it can sense me too. It's... too tempting, so... I'll meet you further down this way in a few.”

 

~o~

 

Stiles was sitting on the cold moss, his back prodded against the trunk of some random tree, knees drawn close to his chest, his arms wined tightly around them. His fingers were still shaking and clutching them in fists didn't seem to do the trick, but he couldn't help it. He almost gave into the Nemeton's temptations, he almost touched it and tried to suck in at the enormous pool of magic. And that was scary even for a seasoned magic user as he was.

First time he was able to sense the Nemeton, was with Tomasz around, guiding him along the way to show him how to feel the currents of magical power around him. They approached the tree stump slowly that time, his uncle's hand holding him in place, in case the Nemeton would whisper his empty promises into his ear.

And it did, but it was just like some background noise he could not understand exactly, because the Nemeton was rather dormant that time, subdued into sleep. But for some reason it was fully awake right now. It's power curling around it, like a snake waiting for the best timing to strike. Could it have been woken up by the Fates' imprisonment?

That did require a huge amount of magic and even more to keep the reigns on the oldest aspect in place for this long... the Nemeton must have sensed it, hoping to draw from the power as well. It's probably trying to lure in the culprits behind the capture of the Fate, eager to suck them in like a large black hole.

Stiles couldn't help but shudder, as he thought about being sucked into the Nemeton. It's power felt black like the deepest parts of the ocean and even colder yet. It was like the void, it was like nothing. And being sucked inside would be the most gruesome death of them all.

The teen was so caught up in the horrifying picture, he barely noticed Derek approaching from the left. Only when the werewolf got closer did he manage to push the anxiety down, getting up from the cold ground.

“I caught something in the direction of the lake,” Derek informed him, as he pointed to the right, eying the teen worriedly.

Stiles just nodded, distracted by his own thoughts. He needed to man up. The danger passed already, after all. Walking out of the close vicinity of the Nemeton did the trick, for which Stiles counted himself lucky, because such strategy didn't usually work with magical trees, since they roots would spread around them for miles, their range of impact a lot bigger than with Nemeton. Except the Nemeton has been cut down, which made his roots die and dissolve, so the only actively dangerous part of it would be the tree stump.

Stiles took a deep breath in at that and started to walk mindlessly in the direction of the lake, which was far up north from the burned down Hale house. He knew that area good enough, they would always spent the hottest summer days there, cooling down in the refreshing water, enjoying the privacy of the private property.

Derek followed him silently, walking a few steps behind him, his eyes glued to the back of the teen's head and Stiles could feel them on him, but he was way too drained to care right now. So they walked quietly like that for a few long minutes. That is, until Derek sped up and placed himself on Stiles' right side once again.

“So your future pack,” he started slowly, frowning, as if he was unhappy to be forced to open his mouth and talk. “Is quite a big one.”

It wasn't exactly a question, not by normal standards. It was more like a statement, but Stiles knew, ii was more like a question, even if it did not hold any attributes of such a sentence. And if this was anybody else wanting to make him talk, he'd just shut down and tell them to fuck off. But this was Derek, after all - Stiles would even pick up bread crumbs from the floor, if that was the only thing the werewolf was willing to give him.

“Um, yeah,” he waved his hand around with a sigh. “Around twenty, I guess? I mean, it's hard to tell exactly, since my dad... uh well he was pack too, right, but...and some others too, but shit happens, ya know.”

He didn't need to look up from the ground to know Derek's eyes were wide with shock and disbelief. Sometimes he himself could not believe, what a big pack they've created – the biggest packs in histories did not go over thirty after all. Well there was one with fifty members for a while, but they split soon after a Beta gained an Alpha position, so it was quite an impressive achievement.

“The sheriff was also...?” Derek asked, a slight astonishment obvious in his tone.

“Yeah, we got the best combo of people in our pack,” Stiles grinned, as they walked up the woods to the lake. The tree crowns above their heads rustled, the sun not reaching them through the thick leaves. “It's not just wolves. We got me, a super awesome magic user hah. Our Emissary is a banshee and we even got hun-... um humans with a good connection to law enforcement like my dad or weaponry like my Alpha's dad and others so...yeah, we are a quite strong pack altogether.”

“Good for you,” Derek commented bitterly, turning away from Stiles to look between the trees, as if to make sure, they were still following the kanima's scent. But it was probably to conceal his expression from Stiles too, since he noticed the teen could read him way too well.

“It's your pack too, you know,” Stiles added persistently, as they walked next to each other leisurely.

“I don't need a new pack,” Derek snapped suddenly, turning back to the teen, the permanent scowl plastered on his face once again. “I had a pack, a perfect pack and it...it's gone now so... I don't need a new one.”

“Myea, the human part says one thing, the Alpha craves another,” Stiles shrugged, bypassing a thorny bush on his left.

“I can control it well enough,” the werewolf objected, his voice growing defensive, as they walked across a small clearing.

“I know you can,” the teen said, rolling his eyes, as he flexed his fingers in front of him like some invisible claws. “You got that superb anchor of yours after all. Grrrr, Derek... angry! I'm just giving you other options, is all.”

Like maybe it's a sign, that I was sent back in time,” Stiles continued, before the werewolf would snap something at him for making fun of his anchor. “Like a fairy godmother or something... I can help you, ya know.”

“Right,” Derek snorted, shaking his head, a faint spark of amusement in his eyes.

“Derek Sebastian Hale! Did you just imagine me in a sparkling pink dress?” Stiles exclaimed, feigning horror, as he watched the Alpha's ears turn red. “You so diiiiid!”

The werewolf glared at him, making his steps longer, so that he was ahead of Stiles in no time. The teen let that not bother him, as he laughed, following behind the brooding man.

As he finally calmed down, after a few minutes of silent chuckles, he caught up to his mate once again a small smile still playing along his lips. He's forgotten all about the Nemeton by now.

“You are happy in the future too, you know,” he stated, swinging his arms around his body like a bored child.

Derek just shook his head, as if not even able to imagine such a situation, as they reached a little creek leading down to the Hale house. The werewolf just jumped over it with ease, while Stiles walked over the few stones, that were big enough to stuck out of the water current.

“You are,” Stiles repeated, as he got on the other side of the creek, following the werewolf. “It might not be the same happiness as it was with your own pack, but... it's happiness nonetheless.”

“How can I be... I don't even,” Derek shook his head, gesturing vaguely in front of himself.

“Oh well, I don't know,” Stiles shrugged, his lips morphing into a broad grin. “Maybe it's that dashingly beautiful mate of yours.”

Derek almost ran into a freaking tree then, his head whipping around to look at the teen.

“W-what?” he stuttered, his eyes wide with disbelief.

“Oh yeah,” Stiles nodded, opening his mouth to continue, but there was suddenly a gust of wind billowing around them from the left, which wouldn't have been that weird, but it was also full of shrill whispering voices. They both looked that way right away and Stiles blanched, seeing the naked strawberry-blond girl walk slowly through the forest in a trance.

His eyes jumped back to Derek, watching his reaction closely just in case. The werewolf seemed to freeze on his spot, staring at Lydia, as if waging his options in his head. He seemed unsure about what to do and Stiles was almost about to relax, knowing she was safe, but Derek's face changed into one full of determination, his muscles growing tense in between his heartbeats and the teen realized he was getting ready to attack the girl anyways. And there was nothing Stiles could do to stop him, except maybe one last thing.

“Don't do it,” he whispered into the wind, his words almost drowning in the song of shrill voices. “Please.”

“You can't stop me,” Derek snapped back, leaning back a bit to gain more leverage for the jump. He couldn't jump on Lydia from this distance of course, but the position helped him change quicker, his face contorting into the Beta's form, his muscles rippling under his clothes.

Stiles reached out and gripped his shoulder, erasing the sigil on the nape of his neck with a single thought. He gripped his mate's shoulder even harder then, directing the little magic he gained from canceling the notice-me-no sigil into his eyes. He hoped that would distract the werewolf for long enough, since the small amount of magic left in him couldn't do anything more, than make a show right now.

“Don't you dare, Derek,” Stiles growled, as his eyes flashed with the color of hot melting gold.

The Alpha turned his head to look right at him, hurt and betrayal in his eyes, that blazed red. He probably thought the teen was trying to manipulate him with his magic again. Stiles had a sudden urge to let go of the werewolf's shoulder in shame, but he did not, staring into the crimson sea of hatred.

“Let go of me,” the Alpha spat between his fangs, his nails lengthening into sharp claws.

“No, Derek just...” Stiles shook his head, feeling the charge of his awoken magic all around them. His Spark was up by now, jerking sluggishly inside his chest, but he knew he only had seconds before it died out once again.

The werewolf grinned wolfishly, probably coming to the same conclusion. He ripped his shoulder from Stiles' grip, turned around and ran for the naked Lydia's form, his thundering roar echoing around the preserve.

Stiles could only watch horrified, as Derek leaped over the creek, running to the banshee, ready to pounce at her and sink his long fangs into her neck. Before he could reach her though, the shrill voices inside the wind grew louder and Lydia's head turned into their direction, her eyes white, lost in the trance.

And that is when she opened her mouth, taking a deep breath in, that seemed to have sucked in the winds gusting around them. And for one millisecond, time seemed to stop in the most utter silence, Stiles ever found himself in – he couldn't even hear his own ragged breathing, nor his pounding heart, nor anything else. That was when Lydia let out a shrill scream of her own, the other voices adding up to the intensity and Stiles lost his consciousness.

 

~o~

 

Pulling himself out of the unconsciousness was hard. For some reason there was this horrible ringing in his ears, as if he had put his head into an airplane's turbine only to pull it out all mashed up. It kinda hurt too. That couldn't have been a good thing now, could it?

And the other weird thing was, that he found himself in the middle of the woods, lying sprawled on the cold ground. His eyes opened only to stare at the leaves, covering the blue sky above him. He managed to experimentally wiggle his toes just to be sure he still had two healthy legs, which seemed like a stupid assumption, but he somehow had a vague feeling something down there was broken, which it definitely wasn't.

Stiles frowned. There was something that he is supposed to do, he just couldn't remember what it was, the memory slipping away from him every time he thought he was close to discovering it beneath his skull. The fingers on his left hand twitched and his frown deepened.

There was a weird sensation in his chest. Warmth coiling inside it, as if there was a ray of sunshine, that managed to sneak past the leaves and land above his stomach. The teen groaned, as he pushed himself upright, leaning onto his elbows, his eyes scanning his chest suspiciously. There was nothing, that could be warming it up and yet it still felt like it was. Weird.

He leaned onto his right side to free his left hand and ran the fingers over his ribcage. His fingers didn't register anything abnormal, but as he let them travel up his shirt, he noticed some weird scribble on the back of his hand. He lifted the hand to his eyes, staring at the sigil.

His eyes widened, as his brain finally caught the memory he was so desperate to find and Stiles let a deep breath out, feeling his Spark fall asleep. He slumped back on the ground, way too tired to get up right now. If he hadn't turned the Spark on only mere moments, before Lydia screamed, then he would have a harder time awakening as his future self once again. Maybe that could do the trick in the future – to keep his Spark on before he went to sleep. If it wasn't used for any magical rituals, just having it on did not cost too much of his energy.

The teen pushed himself up, as if to prove the point and looked around. He glanced over the creek, not seeing Lydia anywhere. He couldn't even hear the shrill voices that accompanied her, so she probably must have been led away by them, after her scream incapacitated them. Which meant, that Derek should be lying unconscious somewhere near the creek.

Looking over, he spotted his mate's slumped body right at the spot, where the banshee stood before. And so headed for it hastily, hoping the werewolf did not suffer from worse after-effects than him, since he was a lot closer to Lydia, when she let our her banshee scream.

He crossed the creek in a hurry, stepping carefully from one stone to another and then knelt down to the Alpha, who was lying on his stomach, his head turned to the right painfully. His werewolf features must have washed away from his face, once he fell unconscious, because he looked like himself again. Meaning: he still had eyebrows.

“Derek?” Stiles called, pulling on the werewolf's shoulder to turn him around. His muscles did not want to listen to him though and he struggled with it for a few seconds, until he was finally able to find some leverage and turn Derek's unmoving body around.

“Dude, wake up,” the teen muttered, poking his cheek gently, then slapping it lightly with his hand. But there was no reaction from the said man.

“Derek!” his voice rose, as he slapped the werewolf over his cheek a bit harder, shaking his shoulder frantically. “Do I freaking have to kiss you to wake you up or what? Come on, dude!”

He raised his right hand, curling his fingers into a fist and was vaguely reminded of that one time in the elevator, that he really did not want to remember right now, because Derek was not dead. Lydia would never hurt them, she didn't hurt him, so his mate must be alright too. He just needed to wake him up somehow.

And so he swung his fist, hoping for the same as before and somehow the Fates must have been on his side, because he was rewarded by the way Derek's eyes suddenly opened, as if his mind sensed the imminent danger and woke him up. He caught Stiles' fist easily and the teen felt a wave of relief wash over him.

That is until Derek jerked at him, pulling him sideways and slammed into his chest to push him down onto his back right next to him. Before Stiles could even realize what was happening, the werewolf was suddenly on top of him, stranding his waist and holding his arms trapped down to the ground.

Stiles was sure it did not go like this in the original time line. Correct him, if he was wrong, but he distinctly remembered helping Derek up and that was that. He definitely didn't end up on the floor too, with an angry looking werewolf on top of him.

“I thought you said no shenanigans,” Stiles remarked, his brain-to-mouth filter unsurprisingly failing him, like it always did, when he was startled. He should probably stop thinking about the time, they were last in this position with Derek. Why couldn't he have forgotten that, instead of the other things. It would have been a lot easier to stay calm then.

“I also said I will kill you the next time you use that magic on me,” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red once, as he gripped Stiles' forearms harder. Okay, his mood was gone, pain was totally not a turn-on for his. “So stop it!”

“Or else what?” Stiles dared, feeling suddenly very hurt and angry, which lead him to finally snap. “It's just as you said before, I have no fucking magic left! I used it all up for you guys and now I am totally useless, it's all your fault, you asshole, if you would have just listened to me, then none of this would have happened! I even used up my last stash and now I can't even activate my magical disguise.. so I am fucking sorry to inconvenience you with my heartbeat and other bodily functions, but damn...just deal with it, for fuck's sake!”

Derek's eyes grew wider and wider with every word, as if he was finally realizing something groundbreaking, but Stiles did not care. He freaking did not care anymore, this was way too much for him and he needed to break free right now, because he was beginning to feel claustrophobic already. But he did not fight, he just looked up into Derek's shocked face and proclaimed sternly: “Now get off me. Only my mate is allowed there.”

It worked like a miracle. The werewolf jerked away, getting off him quickly, not letting his eyes drop, as if he was some scary ghost from the past. Stiles did not look at him though, he just pulled himself up to his feet, glancing around, as he stroked over his forearms.

“That's totally gonna leave bruises,” he muttered angrily, righting up his backpack, that got smashed between him and the ground. Luckily he did not feel any of the vials stuck inside breaking so they were safe for now. Except they might have left some bruises on his back too, when they got jabbed forcefully into the tender flesh around his spine.

He swore under his breath, huffing in annoyance, still not looking up at the other man, who was probably busy with his own thoughts right now anyways. There was nothing to worry about though, Derek was so oblivious, he won't be able to figure it out any time soon.

After all, he thought Paige was his mate all those years ago and she didn't even carry the scent of a potential mate. Derek had no way of recognizing Stiles for what he really was, right? Of course, he didn't. That was kinda depressing now that Stiles thought about it.

“Stiles, you...” Derek started, the words whispered in rush. The teen tensed up and looked over at him, only to catch a different movement right behind the werewolf.

“Well, shit,” Stiles swore, the hissing of the lizard reaching him from over the creek. He watched as the kanima slithered carefully over the thin layer of water and straightened, sensing out the air with it's tongue, it's eyes trained on them, a murderous glint inside the irises.

“Well, double shit.”

 

~o~

 

“Didn't you say abominations cannot change in the daylight?” Stiles complained, gesturing at the bright day around them. He was more annoyed than scared, if truth be told. The Fates are fucking him over way too much lately.

“They can't,” Derek growled, changing into his Beta form in a blink of an eye. And it was a good timing too, because that was when the kanima leaped at him, it's sharp claws aiming for the werewolf's chest.

Stiles reached into his back pocket surprisingly fast, touching the little leftover mountain ash, he saved, after creating the protection circle for Peter. The particles stuck to his middle fingertip right away and followed it even after he forced the hand out of his pocket quickly, throwing the thing layer of mountain ash in front of his mate.

The kanima collided with an invisible wall with a hiss full of pain and bounced off it immediately, rolling down to the creek.

“I though you had no magic left,” Derek muttered begrudgingly from between his fangs.

“I don't,” Stiles answered, waving his hand in front of him to command the mountain ash back onto his fingertips. It was such a small amount, he was worried about every little particle, that got lost in the process. It wouldn't even fill a small tea spoon after all.

“People don't need magic to control mountain ash,” he explained, not letting his eyes slide away from the kanima, which was getting up, it's tail swinging dangerously from one side to another. “It's all about strong will and an existing Spark, which can even be dormant like with every tenth human... plus a lot of practice, I guess.”

Derek frowned, watching the kanima approach again. It kept it's distance for now though, circling around them both, it's tongue feeling out for any more invisible walls.

“We should get out of here,” Stiles muttered, scanning the surroundings for the best route for their tactical retreat. “I don't have enough mountain ash to create a full circle. Am already stretching the little I have to it's maximum. Even the strongest belief can only bring you so far.”

“We are not running,” Derek said sternly, his eyes gaining the crimson light of an Alpha. The kanima's eyes looked up at him, enthralled somehow and the werewolf stepped in forward to face the lizard properly and then roared. Hearing that as his pack mate, Stiles wanted to cower in a corner, but since it was not directed at him, he managed to not move from his place, watching the kanima's reaction.

Except Derek's Alpha roar did not subside the lizard, not even one bit. It only stuck out his tongue again to sense the air around him and then crept in even closer, despite the werewolf's ferocious growling.

“No way, it has a master,” Stiles breathed mortified.

“What...?” Derek frowned, which didn't even show on his face in the beta form, because that face looked as if frowning at all times. He looked around at Stiles, confusion written in his eyes though.

“We need to go,” the teen insisted, watching as the kanima sneaked to their left, preparing to jump at Derek, while he had his back turned to it.

“It's not responding to your Alpha roar, which it normally should, since you bit it, right,” Stiles explained hastily, stepping around the werewolf, to cover his back. “It must have found a master meanwhile.”

The kanima pounced then and Derek turned around, pushing Stiles out of the way, because his reflexes were not fast enough to wield the mountain ash into the barrier. The werewolf growled, ramming his elbow into the kanima's face, but as he did so, stepping way too close to the lizard, the kanima ran it's claws over his side, tearing away the werewolf's shirt and his skin with it. Luckily it's claws were not the ones coated with venom, only the sharp end of his tail was.

Derek just grunted, hitting the lizard even harder, sending it stumbling back into a nearby tree, which broke off under the impact and started to fall down in the other direction.

“Who's the master then?” Derek hissed, looking down at his tattered side.

“No idea,” Stiles jumped to him, pulling the cloth away to asses the damage. Luckily it only looked superficial, healing already. “Must be whoever is forcing the change through daylight too. If we run for it now, we might...”

“No, it's my responsibility as the Alpha,” Derek shook his head, pushing Stiles away, as he turned back to the kanima, who managed to recover already, weaving it's way around the trees, searching for the best attack point impatiently.

“No, Derek,” Stiles started, but that was when the kanima jumped on them again. The teen was prepared for it this time, he flicked his fingers through the air, letting the thin line of mountain ash extend in front of Derek like an invisible pole.

It caught the kanima's shoulder and Derek managed to land another blow on it's head, which made the lizard screech in pain. It recovered way too quickly (fuck Jackson and his thick skull) and the kanima dove it's claws into the werewolf's forearm, before scattering out of the range again.

“Derek,” Stiles demanded, watching the wound on his arm heal slowly.

“No, Stiles, mom wouldn't do that, Laura...she wouldn't do so either. I have to end this,” the Alpha argued, turning to his left, to watch the hissing kanima, who was hiding behind a tree right now, it's mouth pulled up in a nasty grin.

“They would want you to be alive, you moron!” the teen countered, before the kanima sneaked from between the trees, charging at him. Stiles slashed his fingers through the air in front of him, stretching the mountain ash as much as he could to cover the vulnerable parts of his body, but it was too much of a stretch and the invisible wall gave out, when the lizard rammed into it, leaving the teen all opened for a direct attack.

Before the kanima could reach him though, Derek collided with it, sending them both to the ground, rolling around in a messy ball of claws and fangs.

The lizard ended up on the top though, it's claws only mere inches from Derek's face, as the werewolf kept them in a safe distance with his own hands. The kanima stuck out his tongue, touching the Alpha's face with it teasingly and it's tail rose to strike the man under him with venom.

And it would have, but Stiles willed the mountain ash between them, stopping the tip of the tail from reaching his mate. The kanima looked back at him angrily and Derek used that moment to kick it off him, ranking his claws along it's torso in the process.

“Run for the lake!” Stiles yelled suddenly, watching the werewolf get attacked again. It seemed the kanima did not care about being wounded by an Alpha, determined to kill them even if it ended up dead too.

“The lake, Derek,” the teen pointed north over the creek. The lake was not that far away anymore at this point, it could give them the needed tactical advantage. “Kanimas fear water!”

The Alpha just nodded at that, grabbing the kanima's tail, that was about the stab him into the injured side. He hefted it with a strong pull and threw the lizard into the creek, following behind it right away, when it stumbled between the stones, water splashing everywhere.

Stiles ran after them, watching the lizard shudder and run out of the creek with a panicked expression on it's face. That was when Stiles realized something. Maybe there was a reason the kanimas feared water. The only ritual the water was used for as the main essence was the purification ritual. Could that be what would change Jackson back into himself? He needed to get a hold of a magical storage unit and try that out as soon as possible.

But now was not the time to get distracted, he commanded himself, pushing his legs further to follow Derek who was playing some sort of deadly catch game with the kanima.

The Alpha ran through the trees, turning sharply around one of them, the lizard following closely behind him, it's sharp tail slashing the tree in the speed of a lightning. But Derek came out around it, grabbing the kanima by it's neck tightly. Except the kanima was way too slimy for him to hold it. It squirmed, it's tail trying to scrape his mate's skin. Stiles wouldn't let that happen, rising the mountain ash barrier between them every time the tail was about to connect with the werewolf's skin.

The kanima hissed in anger, kicking Derek into his stomach instead and darted up the tree. Stiles did not waste a second though, running around the Alpha and grabbing his arm to pull him to the lake. Derek did not hesitate following closely behind them, covering the teen's back as they raced north.

The kanima followed them, jumping from one tree to another with so much skill, that it would be futile to wish for a little help from the gravity. Luckily the lake was pretty close, the teen could already see it glittering behind the trees.

Seeing that the teen was distracted by his surroundings, the kanima jumped down, ready to land on top of Stiles, but Derek intercepted, grabbing the back of the teen's shirt, pulling him out of the harm's way. The lizard landed in front of them, barring the way to the lake efficiently and it's tail jerked to them, aiming for Stiles' face.

The teen grunted, flicking his fingers to force the mountain ash to obey him by forming a barrier in front of him and then another and another as the kanima's tail tried to hit him over and over. The lizard hissed in annoyance and jumped at them. Derek pulled even harder onto the teen shirt, sending him sprawling behind him and then barreled full speed into the kanima.

The momentum carried them through a few thin trees, which toppled almost immediately. Stiles could hear the cracking from where he was lying on the ground, his breath burning in his throat, his chest heaving painfully. The long run did not improve his state after waking up his Spark. He was almost at the end with his strength.

But he pushed himself up from the ground anyways, trying to overcome the dizziness that came upon him. That' wasn't important right now. He ran through the trees, stumbled through the bushes and made his way over the stoney foundation of a steep cliff, that built the edge of the lake on this side.

Derek was standing with his back to the edge, to keep it safe from any attacks and his claws just sank into the kanima's shoulder, as it got distracted by Stiles' arrival. Except the distraction wasn't as effective as they thought, because the kanima hissed, slashing it's tail over Derek's cheek in retaliation, before the teen could even lift his hand to stop it with the mountain ash.

His mate looked stunned for a second, blood trickling down his cheek, dripping down onto his leather jacket. The kanima jerked it's leg free and the werewolf stumbled back, his features changing back into human ones. It was the last thing Stiles saw, before Derek toppled over the edge, falling down into the water.

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles did not hesitate, he never really did, when it came to Derek's life and it did not matter, that his magic was way too weak to even light a candle right now, or that he didn't have any mountain ash to wield, or that there was a ferocious kanima standing between him and his mate – none of it mattered, not even when the kanima turned around and zeroed in on him, ready to attack.

The moment he heard the splash of water beneath the cliff, the moment that he realized that Derek will be sinking to the bottom of the lake like a stone in his paralyzed state, he knew. He knew what he had to do.

And so Stiles slunk the backpack from his shoulders and flung it into Jackson's face, bolting for the lake. The luck must have been on his side, because the kanima only hissed, stumbling to the left. Later he realized that some of the vials with wolfsbane broke, seeping in through the backpack, which probably wasn't pleasant for the lizard's face, but right now he had more insistent things to think about.

He ran past the kanima and jumped off the cliff, extending his arms in front of him so that they would break the water first. Now that might sound a bit scary, but the cliff wasn't exactly that high – just a few feet, which made it the perfect place to jump into the lake for fun, which they did a lot as a pack in the future.

That's why Stiles wasn't exactly scared of the jump itself, he was only worried what he'll find down at the bottom of the lake. He refused to think about the possibilities to keep his mind concentrated on the one mission only, which was to get Derek above water as soon as possible. And so he just took a deep breath in, holding it in his lungs, while he flew through the air.

The teen hit the water's surface and sank under it, kicking his feet to speed up his descent. Luckily the lake wasn't that deep, so his fingers hit the bottom of it pretty fast. He opened his eyes and looked around, but frowned, not seeing much in the murky waters.

Stiles turned, reaching his hands in front of him to feel around him, but there was nothing. He must have jumped further than Derek fell, which was actually a good thing, because he avoided hitting his mate in the process. Pushing himself from the bottom, he moved a bit back in the direction of the cliff, until his fingertips collided with a warm unmoving body.

He grabbed the werewolf's shoulder, pulling the body closer and then winded his left arm around him, pushing with all his might against the rocky bottom of the lake to swim upright.

It was a lot harder to get to the surface, than it was to the bottom of course. For starters, his wet clothes were restricting his movements, so it wasn't the easiest of tasks to maneuver his legs just as he needed. And the other thing was that he was pulling a really heavy body with him - this was probably the first time he was upset with Derek for having so many muscles. Seriously, he weighted like a ton. or possibly even more.

But nonetheless, few seconds later Stiles broke the water's surface with a stuttering gasp, heaving his mate with him. He immediately slid his hand under the werewolf's right armpit to support his back and used his left hand to press Derek's head onto his shoulder, which helped him to keep him above water.

Before he could even blink the water from his eye,s he heard Derek cough out water, the spit covering his chin and it should have been pretty disgusting, but the teen was way too glad to find his mate alive to complain about any of it.

“Shh, I've got you,” he mumbled over his ragged breathing, pushing Derek's wet fringe out of his face. “I've got you, phew...”

He looked up at the cliff, spotting the kanima at the edge of it, hissing angrily at them. But it did not dare to jump in fortunately, so they were pretty much safe for now.

“You okay?” Stiles asked, his eyes darting away from the lizard to look at Derek's face. He could feel the werewolf's chest heave in search for air and relief washed over him. His mate obviously wasn't having a similar allergic reaction to his uncle's, since his lungs expanded quite effortlessly, together with his eyes which kept blinking away the water and the mouth, that opened all the way to consume more oxygen.

“Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Considering...” Derek wheezed, taking a few more steadying breaths, while Stiles adjusted his hold on his mate a bit to pull his head a bit more onto his shoulder, until he was sure, the position wasn't way too uncomfortable for the werewolf.

“Wow, what do you know,” he sighed, a slight grin sneaking his way onto his lips. “Here we are again – in the water, with you once again paralyzed. History surely likes to repeat itself.”

Derek's eyebrows twitched, as if he wanted to frown in confusion, but since the venom was still inside him, he couldn't. He oped and closed his mouth a few times, probably checking how constricted his face muscles were and then replied, his voice rough: “I thought you can't remember the kanima.”

“Well I can't,” Stiles answered, keeping his shoulders from shrugging dismissively to not make it uncomfortable for his mate. “I can remember you, though. I will always remember you, Derek...I mean, it's not easy to forget those long hours I held your heavy paralyzed sitter above water, when this originally happened.”

“You couldn't have known me back then,” the werewolf reasoned, his eyes trailing every movement the kanima made on the shore.

“Yeah, I barely knew you back then, true,” the teen chuckled, treading the water in synch with the werewolf's heartbeat. “Thought you were this bloodthirsty and scary Alpha. Good times.”

“Then why would you...” Derek blinked, his eyes wandering up to catch a glimpse of Stiles, but he could only see the wet hair glued to his forehead.

“How could I ever not, Der,” the teen whispered, his hold on the werewolf tightening a little. All those years ago, he did not understand why he jumped into the pool to save Derek. Of course he thought it's what his dad taught him, it's something natural, something he would do for anyone, but the truth was he wouldn't bear letting Derek die – not even then.

He sighed, sliding his fingers over the werewolf's cheek to wipe off the blood trickling down the skin there, surveying the opened wound the kanima left behind.

“How's the paralysis?” he asked to change the topic. He poked Derek's chin, before putting his hand back onto his forehead to steady him on his shoulder.

“Better than Peter's,” his mate answered, licking his upper lip as if to see how far his tongue could reach. Stiles forced his eyes to watch the kanima instead.

“My chest seems unaffected by the venom, so is my mouth and my eyes,” the werewolf commented, taking a really deep breath in, which made his chest lift all the way out of the water. Well, that was another thing, that Stiles really did not want to see right now.

“There probably wasn't enough venom to get that deep into your system. Plus as an Alpha, you probably burn through it a lot faster than other werewolves,” he muttered, scanning the shore all around the lake. It was a quite big lake, but not too big to swim to the other side.

“Maybe I could just drag you out on the other side,” he wondered, letting go of Derek's forehead to paddle slowly to the left. But the kanima moved with them, keeping the closest possible distance to them.

“I guess we gotta wait then,” Stiles sighed, not exactly ready to go anywhere near Jackson in this form. Sure, he could try to paddle over to the beach, at least so that he could reach the ground, but there were no guarantees, that the kanima would stay away then.

Being afraid of water didn't mean one could not step into the water, if the possibility of drowning was smaller, so it would be the safest for them to remain in the deep waters. Which kinda did suck, since Stiles was already tired, before he was forced to jump into the lake. Treading water for two people will definitely not improve that state.

“Fuck you, Jackson,” Stiles mumbled unhappily, feeling the burn of his muscles all the way down to his toes. The swearing might have made it a bit more bearable, but it still wasn't comfortable.

“So it is the boy I bit,” Derek said, his breathing finally calming down a bit. His eyes never left the kanima, as if fearing it might decide to take a swim and attack them at any moment.

“Yeah, it's him,” the teen nodded, realizing it would be kinda pointless to hide the truth now. “But don't worry. We will set it right.”

“How?” the werewolf asked promptly. And if truth be told, Stiles did not know the answer to that particular question. He wished, he could still remember, how Jackson got cured in his original time line, but knew it was a lost cause to try to retrieve those memories. They were long gone after all.

Maybe if he had his magic. Maybe then he could try executing the purifying ritual, but that was pretty much out of question too. He was just a useless amnesiac boy right now - not even the remaining knowledge of the future could help with the problems he had to solve. It was more like a burden, he had to carry along the way.

Stiles ended up not answering Derek's question, he got too caught up in his own depressing thoughts. Sometimes he just couldn't help it. Maybe it was the exhaustion messing with his head or the fact, that he didn't eat for a while already, or the cold, or Derek being so close to him, yet so far... there were a lot of reasons for why he was feeling the way he was right now.

“How come your mountain ash works as a wall too?” Derek asked suddenly, pulling him out of his mind.

“What?” he startled, checking quickly, if the kanima was still around. And yes, it was still prowling the shore like a hungry lion caught in a cage, who has to watch sheep sleep behind the bars.

“The mountain ash only works as a circle, I thought,” the werewolf explained.

“Oh, that ehm,” he frowned, stroking absentmindedly through Derek's hair. “I guess a lot of people think it's quite impossible, eh? Learned that from Tomasz, actually... the magics in Europe, they don't exactly use mountain ash to create barriers. Instead they use Blackthorn for that. It's a lot more versatile than mountain ash, because it repels the supernatural in any of it's forms. You can plant it around your house to keep the witches away, or you can dry either the leaves or the flower petals to make barriers that bend to your will. Using the ashes is also possible, although a lot of the potent stuff burns out of it, so it's not exactly recommended.”

“Hmm,” Derek answered, the sound so familiar to the teen, that he couldn't help but turn his head a little and bury his nose into his mate's wet hair. The werewolf wouldn't think much of it, would he? He'd probably just assume Stiles was tired or something.

“Yeah so,” the teen sighed, closing his eyes for a second. “Tomasz taught me how to wield the Blackthorn, how to bend the barriers to my will – it's all about a strong belief, a strong will with these ones, so I used to complain it's not magic. Like, why are we learning this, when we could be...I don't know...summoning bunnies from our hats or so, right? Some real badass magic...”

“But he said..., he said it's the first and the most important step every magic user has to make – one needs to believe his magic is going to work no matter what. He needs to trust his abilities, trust his Spark, that it will never fail him. And by being able to control Blackthorn the way we do... that's how we learn, that magic is a part of our bodies, that it flows through our veins no matter what state we are in, because without that belief, without a strong will, it's not going to listen to our commands.”

“It was the first thing I learned from him...oh man, it was so long ago, I can barely remember. Um myeah...in any case, after I mastered the Blackthorn, I tried to do the same with mountain ash once I laid my hands on it and it worked. It was just like muscle memory. I knew I was able to create such barriers, I trusted my abilities to do so with mountain ash too and it just... happened. No great discovery story there, I'm afraid,” Stiles admitted, his face still partially pressed to Derek's head.

He tried to not dwell on that too much – he was starting to feel really exhausted after all. His right leg felt, as if it could cramp at any moment and that might even end up in a disaster so he kept reminding himself to stretch it as far as it would go with every kick to avoid it. His breath still didn't stabilize from the run to the lake, which he guessed it won't at all. Plus a million other things he was trying to not think about.

The only thing that wasn't bothering him so much was the cold water. Oh he did shivers every once in a while alright, but having Derek's super warm werewolf body so close to his was obviously playing to his benefit. He wished he could just hold his old Derek like this one more time, but the Fates were obviously not available to fulfill his wishes.

For a while there was just gentle splashing of the lake's water and the distant hissing of the kanima, which wasn't about to stop tracking their every movement any time soon, obviously. But Stiles did not feel like talking surprisingly. He'd rather save his breath for...well breathing, which was kind of getting harder and harder to do with every passing minute.

“Uh,” Derek said suddenly. “I think...think I can move my fingers already.”

“Oh, yeah?” Stiles asked, feeling a gentle smile creep along his lips. His hand abandoned the safe place on the werewolf's forehead and slid into the water, tracing his mate's arm all the way down to his wrist. He grabbed it then, pulling the hand above the water.

As they both watched Derek's hand, the fingers twitched a little and then bent hallways and straightened again. The werewolf tried it once again then, bending them all the way this time, balling them into a fist.

“Wow, that's so impressive,” Stiles teased, seeing Derek rolled his eyes in annoyance. The teen wanted nothing more, than to entwine his fingers with his mate's and watch them bend around his knuckles as they did many times before, but instead of doing so, he just let Derek's hand fall down into water and placed his own hand safely back at the werewolf's forehead.

“Sorry,” he apologized after a while. “My brain is not exactly cooperating lately. I don't even know how long we're in the water already, so I can't exactly estimate, if you're burning off the venom fast or if it's just the average speed or whatever...”

He knew, he was babbling, but he did not care, since his toe got stuck in a cramp right then and okay, that wasn't such a huge pain, but it did make him scrunch his face in annoyance. He let go off Derek's head to keep them afloat, while he manages to tumble off his shoes, which was quite a maneuver, but his mate did not complain.

Which okay, that was pretty weird, especially if Stiles compared that to the pool scene from his original time line. This time the werewolf somehow seemed to trust him more, than he did back then. The teen felt himself smile, after he managed to drop the shoes off his feet without drowning them both. He slid his fingers over his mate's cheek again to wash the blood away and noticed the wound halfway closed. Good.

“So, what exactly do you remember then?” the werewolf asked suddenly, curiosity edged around his words. “How does the amnesia work?”

“Wow, that's a lot of words pouring out of your mouth,” Stiles commented, poking his mate's forehead. “You must be bored out of your mind.”

“Stiles,” Derek warned, rolling his eyes excessively. It didn't scare the teen though, it only served to push the corners of his mouth even higher.

“Heh, right well,” he grinned, shrugging a little. “I ain't exactly sure how it works, but...my theory is, that the memories of my future keep disappearing according to the importance my brain assigned to them, or well the magical force in me or whatever...the young me doesn't have the brain capacity for any of my future memories, after all. It would have all disappeared right at the beginning, weren't it for the sigil.”

“So the sigil...” Derek started, obviously needing more details on that one. Well Stiles did not fight it, he would welcome any conversation that would distract him from the way his body would just wanna curl at the bottom of the lake and not deal with any of this shit anymore.

“Well the sigil is like a memory disk stuck inside a computer. The control panel, which is my brain, can access it, for as long as it's plugged in. It just needs to do it manually,which takes off a lot of power so I am mostly left with a vague feeling of having those memories and still being the older me, but I can't exactly remember much.”

“Well if it's all right there,” the werewolf wondered, looking over at the kanima, as if to check the news on that front. Which is to say nothing changed really. The lizard was still there, waiting for them both patiently. Who would have thought Jackson was able to display such a true act of patience. “How can you be forgetting things permanently, if it's all stuck in that sigil?”

“Hmm, how to explain,” the teen mused, leaning onto the side of Derek's head again, not even realizing what he was doing. “Well ya know, there are those cleaning programs, that go through your disk and just...erase one unimportant thing after another? That's what the time paradox does to the sigil. The magic can protect the memories, or well files as we metaphorically call them now, but only for a while.”

“As the time paradox keeps sneaking in deeper and deeper inside, it deletes stuff. And once it reaches the center, that holds my most precious memories... it will...it will just be all gone, deleted,” Stiles explained, feeling his throat constrict painfully at the thought of how he is going to end up. He did not really want to just disappear like a bubble that burst into nothingness.

“I see,” his mate said, his voice quite uneasy. That made Stiles push away his melancholy and grin.

“Aww, Der – Bear, are you worried about me?” he coed, squeezing the werewolf's body in his arms lightly. He barely had the strength to do that, but let's just ignore that for now. The problem might just go away, if we ignore it and Stiles might just end up paddling the water effortlessly up until the kanima leaves and Derek's paralysis subsides.

“Looking for a new Emissary would be a pain,” Derek grunted grumpily.

“Haha, so honest,” the teen smiled, sobering up a little right after that though, because of the turn his thoughts took after that. “Lydia is a great Emissary, you know. Since she can sense death as a banshee, that got us out of many bad situations, before they would even develop. Not to mention she is super professional, not like me...”

His mate just huffed at that, as if it was not even worthy enough to comment. Nostalgia crept upon Stiles, hearing such a retort.

“No need to be upset, right,” he commented, his eyes wondering over the trees surrounding the lake. “You barely know me, right...”

“Yet, you seem to know me way too well,” the werewolf countered, annoyance with this fact almost visible in his undertone.

“Myeah,” Stiles breathed, looking to the right to stretch his neck a little. “We were a pack for almost ten years after all. Although, uh well...not right from the beginning of course.”

“Why? Did I accuse you of killing my sister in your time line too?” Derek guessed and by the way he phrased it, the teen was sure he regrets blaming him for Laura's death, which made him smile sadly.

“No hah,” he shook his head. “It was actually the other way around.”

“What?” Derek frowned in confusion. And yes, Stiles did notice he could frown again already. The paralysis was obviously weakening. Hopefully it would be gone soon, his muscles were burning like hell and the wound on his knee did not appreciate being in such a dirty water for so long.

“Well my dad's the sheriff right,” the teen started explaining. “So I heard about the body found in the preserve listening in on their frequency. And after that, there was suddenly this creepy mysterious dude, sneaking around aka you, a werewolf at that...you pretty much seemed like the only logical culprit at that time.”

“That is the most stupidest assumption of all the assumptions in the history of assumptions,” Derek snorted, trying to shake his head in disbelief, but giving up after achieving a slight jerk only.

“I beg your pardon,” the teen chastised. “Young Stiles was a remarkable detective.”

“Uh-huh,” the werewolf deadpanned.

“Well anyhow,” Stiles waved his hand. Disturning the water in such a way sent ripples all the way to the kanima. “Our friendship went pretty much downhill after that false accusation.”

“Who would have guessed that,” Derek remarked. “Bet you were an annoying little shit.”

“Oh, I sure was,” the teen grinned, patting the werewolf's chest affectionately. “Once even used your body to bribe a gay friend of mine.”

“You did what?!” his mate spluttered, a horrified expression settling itself over his features. Seeing that, Stiles was quite glad his mate was still paralyzed, since he'd probably attempt to drown him, if he wasn't. Not that that would stop him from talking though.

Oh yeah, buddy,” he grinned widely. “You were a fugitive that time, hiding at my place, cuz you know...it is the darkest under the lamp, I guess? We needed to crack into some files so...Danny was great at such things and he could not stop ogling your huge muscles...”

“Are you fucking shitting me,” Derek growled, his eyes flashing red and his muscles tensing, which the teen used immediately, poking at his chest with his fingertip.

“Nope, not kidding at all,” he laughed, the sound of it already foreign to him. “Told him you were my cousin Miguel from Estados Unidos Mexicanos!”

Saying that his mate looked utterly horrified would be an understatement, but that also did not make the teen shut up.

“And I made you strip your shirt right in front of him,” he admitted, snickering quietly.

“Did I break your nose after that?” Derek wondered, moving his head a little to look up at the teen.

“Almost, yeah,” Stiles winked at him, which made the werewolf roll his eyes. He made and exasperated sigh and returned his gaze to the kanima.

“You deserved so much more,” he informed him sternly, but the teen just laughed at that. “It's not even the worst I even did to you, man.”

“Do I even want to know?” Derek quizzed reluctantly, obviously eager to close off this particular topic and so Stiles granted him that at least. “Probs not...”

He let the sentence trail into silence, because he suddenly realized how empty his head felt. He probably wouldn't be able to tell Derek anything more about their past together anyways, so it was a good thing they ended the conversation the way they did. Else Stiles would just stutter around like the amnesiac fool he was.

The teen knew this feeling well – as if his brain was made out of cotton candy, sticking to his fingers uncomfortably. He felt the same when Laura asked about Derek being happy back at the library. Suddenly the access to his memories was denied and Stiles was already on his way into the Land of moping, weren't it for Derek's next words.

“So... about that before,” he started hesitantly.

Stiles adjusted his hold on his mate and spoke: “Are you trying to apologize for being a jerk? Awh, you shouldn't have...”

“Not that,” the werewolf snapped, his shoulder jerking under the teen hand as if he wanted to hit him, but his muscles were still not able to listen to his commands. Lucky him.

“That...about my mate,” Derek clarified hurriedly, looking all kinds of uncomfortable.

“Of course you have one, Der,” Stiles nodded, swallowing nervously. It almost made his hands twitch too, but he forced them not to by holding onto the werewolf's body a bit stronger. He grinned then. “Something to look forward to in the future right?”

“I...,” the werewolf started only to close his mouth again for a few more seconds. “What is she like?”

The teen sighed at that, all the nervousness washing off him only to be replaced by sadness. There was a cold wind blowing suddenly, that made him shiver, goosebumps spreading all over his skin.

“I probably shouldn't tell you, sorry,” he mumbled dejectedly.

“Oh...why not?”

“It's something you need to figure out by yourself,” Stiles shook his head, letting go of the werewolf's forehead to run his hand over his short hair quickly. “I mean, if I would just tell you what your mate is like and who it is...you'd probably just feel like you have no choice, but you do. You can be with whomever you want, if you...actually wanna be with somebody, right. It's okay not to want. Anything is fine..”

The sentence trailed into silence from both participants and Stiles felt like kicking himself in the head if he actually wasn't that exhausted already. Maybe he should have just told Derek. But assuming that he would be ready for such a reveal just because they were able to have one decent conversation, would be foolish. His gender is not Derek's cup of coffee. He said that himself. Stiles needed to stop assuming things.

He stared at the kanima for a while, which kept pacing impatiently up and down the shore, depending on how they drifted through the water. He looked up at the sky then and sighted and then looked back to the kanima, scanning the dry land for his bag, which he found immediately. Then he went back to staring at the sky. Yeah, he really was bored out of his mind and with the conversation between them dead, Stiles had a harder time ignoring his burning muscles, but he kept them working anyways.

“The kanima,” Derek spoke up after what seemed like hours. “It's leaving.”

Stiles glances at the shore, a frown forming itself above his eyes. Seeing the lizard retreat did not necessary mean the lizard was really retreating. They needed to be careful.

“Why would it leave?” he wondered, already considering all the possible scenarios.

“Peter,” his mate answered in a matter of factly, inclining his head to the right a little to listen to the forest around them.

“Thank God for reinforcements,” he exclaimed, as the kanima disappeared between the trees on the right side of the lake. The teen was so glad, that it was gone, that he mustered the last of his strength to swim back to the shore to the place, where the cliff was barely a foot higher than the water's surface.

He stopped, when his back hit the stones, reached back with one hand and grabbed the edge, letting his legs finally rest. He even leaned his head back onto the stones and took a deep breath out in relief.

“Think I am fine now,” Derek muttered, prying himself from his arms clumsily. His limbs twitched and jerked before he could get them to listen to his brain, but else he seemed fine. Even the cut on his cheek was already healed.

“Awws, not being all touchy-feely anymore?” Stiles joked, but his smile slipped away from his face immediately, as his left forearm got caught in a violent spasm. He let go of the stones behind him right away, which were supporting him before and almost slipped under the water, weren't it for Derek's arms, which grabbed him holding him upright.

“Uh,” Stiles stared dumbly, stretching his arm to his left to stop his muscles from spasming violently. His mate was suddenly so close to him and the funny thing was, it was still not enough. He would want him even closer, a lot closer than now.

“Stiles...” Derek whispered, his voice rushed.

“Yeah?” the teen breathed and almost fainted as he caught a sight of the werewolf's eyes flickering down from his wide eyes to his half-opened lips. This was not actually happening, was it? Did he drown in the lake after jumping into it and go to heaven or something? Or was this some sort of hallucination caused by exhaustion? It couldn't be actually happening, could it? Stiles did not know.

“You said I can be with whomever I want?” the werewolf wondered, his eyes traveling slowly back up to his eyes.

“Yes of course,” Stiles answered breathlessly, as their eyes met again. “Of course you can, Der...anyone...”

“I don't care...” he informed him sternly, but Stiles' brain was out of order from the close proximity. His heart was hammering in his chest and he really did try to calm it down, because what the hell? He wasn't a virgin teen anymore, something like this should leave him relatively unfazed, but yet here he was, shivering like a touch deprived puppy.

“I don't care about mates and crap,” Derek elaborated probably realizing the teen was not about to respond any time soon. “I don't care, if there's some woman with a perfect mate potential waiting for me in the future...it doesn't matter, because...the things you do for me...”

“I would do anythi-,” Stiles heard himself say immediately, but he did not get to continue the sentence, because his breath caught up in his throat, when the werewolf reached over and slid his fingers over his cheek, cupping it gently in his palm.

“I know you would,” his mate said, sliding his hand to the nape of the teen's neck, his fingers tracing the skin there. “I also know what you were trying to hide from me all this time...”

“You do...?” Stiles honestly just stopped breathing at that and when he needed the oxygen, he would only do it really quietly, so that he wouldn't miss any of his mate's words. And shit, he also realized why this was all happening, his notice-me-not sigil was still off.

“You hid yourself from me and my wolf with that sigil, didn't you?” Derek said, watching him closely, as if listening to his heartbeat. “So that I wouldn't know you are a potential mate for me. So that the one you chose in the future can come claim you before I could.”

“Um well...” the teen grimaced, realizing Derek got it all wrong. Stiles was definitely not hiding under the sigil to keep himself pure for some other mate, since there was no other mate – it was just Derek, how could the man not see that? Oh right, low self-esteem caused by his last partner. God, he really hated Kate and hoped Peter will shred her to pieces.

“I don't care who your mate is,” the werewolf spat, forcing the teen out of his thoughts as he pressed in closer. “If it's that magic user or some other...I will challenge him to a fucking fight and tear him apart if I have to, because...”

Stiles stopped in his tracks and looked at the werewolf. Properly looked at him for the first time in this time line. All this time, he kept telling himself, this was a different Derek, it was not his Derek yet, but the truth was, it did not matter what time line he was stuck in, his mate's eyes were the same unique shade of green, as they always have been.

And that was when Derek pulled him in closer by the back of his neck and pushed his lips to Stiles' hurriedly. And it should have been awkward, because it was just a sloppy press of Derek's lips, in which their teeth kinda collided, because the werewolf was obviously too nervous to aim correctly, since he never really kissed anybody apart from Paige all those years ago, but it was a kiss. A kiss that Derek initiated and Stiles would never ever complain about it, because it made him feel warm all over and his heart drummed in his ears and...yes it was just a simple press of lips, but it was perfect. Up until it was interrupted by a voice from above them.

“Oh my, should I come by later again?” Peter drawled, putting his hands on his hips as he eyed the couple pressed in closely in the water.

Derek jumped away from Stiles, as if he got burned, letting go of him in the process. He glared at his uncle and then and scrambled to get quickly out of the lake. He did not even look at the teen as he stalked away into the trees, his clothes dripping with water.

“Well guess I can cross another mystery from my secret list of things I want to know before I die,” Peter grinned, winking in Stiles' direction.

The teen looked after his mate for a few seconds more, letting his heart calm down a little in the process too. And then he sighed and looked up at the other werewolf, leaning heavily onto the nearest stone.

“Derek was my ride here,” he pouted, putting his head down on the stony surface. He was really looking forward to curl up in the Camaro and... well not sleep, obviously not sleep, since sleeping might turn him back to his old teen self, but at least relax for a little while perhaps.

Peter inclined his head, as if listening to the sounds behind them and smirked. “Don't worry, he'll be back. Just needs a few.”

“Right,” Stiles mumbled, bracing himself on the edge to pull his body out of the cold water. It was a lot colder now, that he didn't have Derek's soothing warmth around him. He failed though, his muscles just refusing to listen to him any longer.

“The kanima is still out there, you know,” he sighed and ran his fingers over his forearm. It sucked being a weak human boy again.

“It will surely stay out of his way right now,” Peter smiled, showing off his fangs playfully, as he walked closer to the edge, over which Stiles was slumped over. “I know I would.”

“Jackson is not exactly as smart as you are,” the teen opposed, watching as the werewolf reached down to him and grabbed the collar of his hoodie to pull him out of the water.

“Oh no, dearie, no creature would be stupid enough to cross Derek now,” the werewolf reassured him, when Stiles slumped down on the dry ground, sprawling in a useless heap of overused muscles. He let out a deep sigh and blinked tiredly, which was in a way a response too.

“Let's wait for Derek by the Camaro, shall we?” Peter offered, looking down at him with his eyebrows risen. “That way we can make sure he doesn't drive off without us. Not to mention we can get you into some dry clothes before you die.”

“I am not that fragile,” the teen argued, but Derek's uncle just waved his hand in a dismissive gesture, walking to Stiles' backpack, which was lying around few yards away from them. He grabbed it's right strap and lifted it up carefully, keeping it safely away from him.

“Helena always hated the cold you know,” he said suddenly, his voice eerily vulnerable. “Sometimes we had to light the fireplace even in the summer, so she could huddle in front of it. Especially after she got pregnant...”

And when Peter looked down at Stiles once more, he knew that he would not argue with whatever the werewolf would propose for them to do next. Seeing the sadness in his eyes, the feeling of being lost without your anchor, without the love of your life – it seemed quite horrible. Dealing with Peter in such a mood was always dangerous, so he just nodded, getting up onto his wobbly legs and took his backpack from the werewolf, careful to keep the leaked wolfsbane out of his vicinity.

He was mentally preparing himself for the gruesome walk back to the Camaro, while he would shiver and hurt all over, but Peter just knelt down in front of him silently, beckoning him to climb on his back.

“No way, man,” the teen shook his head decisively, when the werewolf looked back at him sternly. “Besides, would get all your fancy clothes wet and stuff. I'm fine, I'll manage.”

“Either like this or bridal, Stiles, I'll have no problem forcing you into it,” Peter informed him, his eyes flashing blue in warning. “You're as weak as a kitten right now. Certainly no match for a werewolf.”

The teen stared at him for a while, realizing the werewolf was pretty much right in his assumption. And so he took off his dripping hoodie and his pants, so that he wouldn't have to shiver in so many wet layers and stuffed the clothes inside his backpack, because leaving them in the middle of the preserve where any creature could sniff it out would be really stupid.

He then strapped the backpack onto his shoulders and slid his arms around Peter's neck, who lifted him up effortlessly and started to walk away from the lake. And Stiles had to admit, this was a lot better then having to walk all the way back. Actually, the only thing that could make it better was, if this was actually his mate carrying him instead. But then again, he was probably busy having some kind of a meltdown right now, so Stiles would rather not be around him. Peter was fine too, he was pack after all.

 

~o~

 

They were halfway to the Camaro, when Peter received the text message. They might have been a lot closer to their destination, but Stiles was smart enough to warn the werewolf to walk a huge circle around the Nemeton, because he doubted his will would be strong enough to refuse it's magic. Even now, he could still feel the pull of it and if he weren't that tired, if he weren't glued to Peter's back, he would have tried to crawl to it and touch it. And that wouldn't have ended well for anybody.

Stiles sighed, looking over the werewolf's shoulder, as he checked his phone quickly.

“Any chances it's about a magical storage unit you miraculously found somewhere?” he asked, knowing the hope was in vain.

“No, I'm sorry,” Peter shook his head, putting the phone back into his pocket, before he grabbed the teen's limp leg once again. “I finally managed to track down Austin Anderson.”

“Congrats,” Stiles mumbled, letting his head down on his arm, too tired to even keep it up.

“He currently resides in LA,” the werewolf informed him, hopping cheerfully over a few roots, that were sticking dangerously above the ground, as if waiting for somebody to trip over.

“You're in luck,” the teen noted, forcing his eyes to stay open. He really didn't wish to fall asleep, not ever. “He could have been long gone. Or moved to China or such.”

“Hmm, true,” Peter nodded, inclining his head, as if listening in on something. He did not slow down nor speed up though, so Stiles guessed he was just checking up on Derek or maybe even on potential threads but found none luckily.

“What about Kate Argent?” the teen asked after a while, hoping the conversation would distract him from the quiet whispers the Nemeton was sending his way. They were even further away from it than they were with Derek, how come it could reach him from that far away, when it did not before?

“With Gerard Argent in his residence in Miami,” the werewolf answered bitterly, his nails extending into claws for a few heartbeats, before he was able to push them back down to not hurt the teen.

“Too risky,” Stiles commented, feeling Peter's head move in a nod. There was no way they could get into the Hunter's headquarters no matter how many werewolves they would gather up for their cause. Nobody would be crazy enough to support such a plan. They needed a better one – one that would get Kate Argent come directly to them and preferably alone. They needed to lure her out of her father's place somehow. And since history keeps repeating itself somehow, Stiles thought they might as well use it for their benefit this one time.

“Where did you kill those two arsonists?” he quizzed insistently.

“Near the camping spot, where I found them,” Peter answered promptly, making his way through a small clearing.

“And I'm guessing you left the bodies there unattended, because the kanima interrupted you?” Stiles continued, a plan forming itself in his head.

“Yea, but I was thinking to go back there, once I get you to safety and take care of the bodies,” the werewolf informed him, his eyebrows drawing a bit closer, as if he was starting to guess, where the teen was going with this.

“No, leave them there,” Stiles grinned. “It's better if they find them.”

“Oh, we are going to lure Katey out,” Peter realized, his mouth splitting into a dangerous smirk.

“Yeah, am I right, when I assume you killed them with your claws to make it look like an animal attack in case their bodies ever get found?” the teen inquired, tapping his fingers over the werewolf's chest.

“Of course I did,” Derek's uncle answered, rolling his eyes at the unnecessary question. “And may I just point out, that if you still don't believe, I had nothing to do with the tires on your jeep, you are free to go find the bodies and mentally compare the marks. I am sure you will enjoy the view.”

“Geh, dude, no thanks,” Stiles grimaced, looking away and forcing his mind to not imagine mangled human bodies. “Actually I am pretty sure it were the Fates, trying to stop me from reaching Laura.”

“That makes sense,” Peter shrugged like that wasn't even his problem, although it seemed the biggest problem of all time to the teen. “Derek told me about that...it's quite an ordeal for you...”

Stiles did not answer. He just kept staring in between the trees, not seeing anything than...well trees, which did not reassure him at all. Did the Fates have any limits? Such a powerful incarnation had probably none, which meant they could just appear in front of them right now and kill them both without a warning. But they still didn't. Maybe their prisoners weren't as powerful as he thought.

That still did not solve the main problem though. Which was how to free the oldest aspect. The pull of Nemeton got momentarily stronger and Stiles blanched realizing what he actually could do. He could potentially...no, the teen shook his head. It were all just empty promises, he shouldn't be listening to them.

“Peter?” he spoke up, eager to distract himself with something. The werewolf lifted his head silently and waited for him to continue.

“I...you know how you said, you owe me for giving you back your sanity?” Stiles started, his hold on the werewolf tightening.

“Yes?” Peter nodded, turning his head a bit to the right to listen more carefully to the words the teen will decide to utter. Werewolves didn't need to look where they're going, they could use their other instincts to avoid roots and other dangerous traps.

“Just...take care of Derek and we're even,” Stiles muttered, something deep inside him aching with sadness. “He'll need somebody after...after I'm gone. His pack is his anchor, even if right now, it's just the anger about what happened. The anger is essentially still linked to the pack itself...”

“I will,” the werewolf answered promptly. “Anything else?”

The teen was somehow really glad, that Peter was not trying to reassure him that everything will be alright. That there will be no need for him to take care of his nephew, because they will figure out a way to keep Stiles anchored in this body. He was relieved the werewolf did not bother giving him false hope, when they both knew there was nothing to be done about his ordeal.

“Yes, I need to you remember a few names for me,” he nodded, a serious look settling itself over his face.

“Rant on,” the werewolf said, pushing through the bushes that were framing the road.

“Scott McCall, Isaac Lahey, Erica Reyes, Vernon Boyd,” the teen recited, taking a deep breath in afterwards, that slowly went out in a sigh.

“Any reason I have to remember those four names?” Peter wondered, after stepping onto the road to cross it. The shiny black car was waiting on them patiently on a resting place on it's other side.

“Not at all.”

 

~o~

 

As they reached the Camaro, Peter flopped him unceremoniously into the grass on it's other side and strolled to the trunk, opening it without any problems. If Stiles wasn't so tired, he might wonder, how come Derek didn't lock it up, but his head was not in the game right now and probably even won't be any time soon.

Peter pulled out a bag full of clothes, unzipped it and after some rummaging pulled out a shirt and basketball shorts, that he threw in the teen's direction together with a small towel. It was kind of a good thing Derek particularly lived in that car. Stiles reached over and pulled them closer, stripping his wet clothes without even caring that the werewolf might catch a sight of his junk. It was a common thing to see in the pack house too and nobody really cared before, so the teen was used to changing clothes in front of other people.

Besides, dry clothes were a lot more important to him than his dignity. Plus, Peter would hardly even glance, since he was too busy taking off his own shirt, which got wet from carrying the teen. And so Stiles pushed off his boxers too, having a hard time pulling the wet material off him, but he managed in the end, and dried himself with the towel. He quickly threw on Derek's black shirt and his even blacker shorts with res stripes on their sides.

He refused to look down at his scraped knee though, because the wound already felt like it was festering horribly from the stay in the murky water and it was probably really disgusting, but he did not want to see it. He might have seen some really disturbing things in his times, but those all concerned other people. He always had a harder time handling things, when it came to his own body and looking at it only made it worse.

That's why he averted his eyes, stuffed his wet clothes into his backpack, the water making it wet, dripping all over, but it was kind of a good thing too, because it pushed the wolfsbane residue from the broken vial out of the material, making it safe for the werewolves again.

Stiles got up then and right on cue, Derek walked out from between the trees, his clothes already dry and clean. He must have reached the car before them and changed then. Well at least he did not drive away without them, the teen guessed, looking at him, as he strode across the road, keeping his eyes sternly on the car. Great, just what he needed, an angry werewolf.

“So nice of you to join us,” Peter grinned, watching his nephew with amusement. Derek did not answer, opening the driver's door and getting inside without a second glance.

And so Stiles pulled the back door open too and crawled inside, followed closely by the other werewolf, who decided to sit at the front with his nephew.

The tires screeched loudly and the Camaro sped down the road, obviously heading for Stiles' house, because else their driver would have made a turn to the right on the next crossroads, which he did not.

“You should drive more carefully, Derek,” Peter spoke up, leaning into his seat, his posture all relaxed even though the car jerked to one side or the other every once in a while. “We have a very precious cargo in the back after all, don't we?”

“Shut up, Peter,” the other werewolf growled, driving the car through a red light.

“Tsk tsk tsk, so eager to get punished by the sheriff’s boy,” Peter teased, a playful smile lifting the corners of his mouth. His nephew did not dignify it with an answer, he only let out a threatening growl, flashing his eyes in his uncle's direction, which made the other werewolf snicker even louder.

Stiles just huffed out a tired laugh, which could have been easily taken for a sigh and leaned onto the Camaro's door, watching the surroundings pass by. The familiar scent made him drowsy and he wished for nothing more than a peaceful sleep, but he was too afraid to sleep. He did not want to forget himself again, but he was so exhausted from the run across the preserve, from using up the last drops of the available magic, from holding Derek above the water for who knows how long...

He moved his leg into a more comfortable position and his knee stung with pain, the wound stretching and opening up. The skin on his forearms and thighs itched horribly, probably inflated once again and his head was thrumming with insistent pain. Combined with the knowledge he still needed to free the Fates, save Jackson and help his future pack mates...

Stiles could not help but let the misery overwhelm him. He knew the werewolves would smell it on him and they obviously did, since they both fell silent, stiffening a little at the front, but the teen did not care right now. Everything felt so wrong, so fucked up and not even the memory of their kiss with Derek could push the sorrow from his chest.

And that's how they arrived to his house and that's also how he planned to spend the rest of his day – wallowing in misery, preferably with a large bag of something sugary. That was, until he looked up and spotted the man sitting on their front porch.

He stared at them, watching the car pull up into the drive way, a smile starting to form itself on his lips, when he spotted Stiles and recognized him. He stood up, abandoning the bag at his feet, the long fair hair tied high on his scalp like that of an samurai, dangling a little at the movement. He spread his arms in a welcoming gesture then, uncovering the brown lines of a magical tattoo and bowed his head.

“Tomasz,” Stiles whispered in shock, as the relief of seeing his uncle washed over him. Maybe there was still a way out of this misery, he thought, as he bolted out of the car and into the other man's embrace.

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles sprinted out of the car faster than Flash trying to stop a tornado or Superman trying to reverse the Earth's... well let's just say really fast and that despite his previous exhaustion, because seeing Tomasz stepping off their own front porch was like a shot of adrenaline for his body. He snatched the door handle, before the Camaro could even stop in the driveway properly, bolted out of it and ran across the lawn to envelope his uncle in a fierce hug.

“Tomasz, what the hell!?” he breathed, tightening his hold on the man's body. “What are you...? How did you...? This is the best thing that happened, since I landed in this goddamned past. I am so glad to see you...”

As he rambled, he felt a hand patting his back and grinned, looking up into his uncle's amber eyes. Tomasz looked a lot like his mother, except his hair was a lot lighter and longer. While his mother's hair was the same light brown as Stiles', his uncle's could be taken for a dirty blond shade.

They shared the same eye colour, even though Tomasz' eyes seemed more like they were set alight by some strong fire, which was mostly only a side effect of the strong magic coursing through his body. They even shared the same upturned nose, so passing for brothers would have been quite easy. Stiles looked a lot like his mother after all and the Stilinski siblings were never that different in their looks.

“How...why are you here?” the teen repeated, his cheeks hurting from the broad smile, that set itself on his face. He let go of his uncle, but remained in his personal space, because he just couldn't help it.

“Yu needed solusion,” Tomasz shrugged, grinning back at him. “I am solusion.”

“But,” Stiles stuttered, shaking his head in disbelief. If he would have focused on his surroundings more, he would have heard the Camaro's engine cutting off, but he did not, his tired mind only had enough concentration for Tomasz right now. “But your tattoo is not even...”

He glanced down at his uncle's forearms, scanning the lines on both of them, which kept stretching from his wrists all the way up his arms, until they disappeared beneath the sleeves of his blue shirt. His eyes widened at that, because he knew full well, that arms were the last to be tattooed in these types of situations.

“It's finished!” Stiles exclaimed, running his fingers over the brown lines twisting and turning on Tomasz' right forearm. They looked exactly like the ones he had in the future. “But how...? They weren't supposed to be...”

“Yu need help, I speed up,” his uncle shrugged dismissively, keeping his left hand on the teen's shoulder.

“How did you even...?” Stiles started, vaguely registering the Camaro's door being slammed shut with a lot more force than it was necessary.

“I told Lenka bout yu and she bought tickets,” Tomasz explained, his eyes traveling up from Stiles' face to look behind the teen. He squinted at something behind him, as if assessing it.

“Uh, who?” Stiles asked, frowning in confusion and then his eyes darted to the sigil on the back of his left hand and his frown deepened even more. Lenka was probably someone he was supposed to know about, was she not? There was a hint of a memory nagging at his brain, but the place where it resided was already empty and the only thing left behind was a dying echo.

Realizing he lost another memory, he felt panic flash through his body, making him exhale deeply, but before he could sink in any further, there was a snap of fingers right in front of his eyes and he startled looking up at Tomasz once again.

“Its okej, chlapče,“ his uncle said soothingly, pulling his hand from the teen's shoulder to grab a black pen from his back pocket. There was movement behind Stiles, but he did not pay attention to anything else, only to his uncle's fingers, which gripped the simple pen and started to draw onto his other palm. He watched the lines form a sigil, that he already used a lot of times before.

“Yor just tiret and hurt,” Tomasz muttered, finishing the sigil with one last swipe of his pen. “Lett mee help.”

Stiles looked into his uncle's glowing eyes and relaxed, as the palm slid across the top of his head. There was warmth spreading from it, enveloping his tired mind, sliding slowly down his arms and healing the itching wounds left behind by the strengthening charms. It did not stop there though, dipping under his skin and soothing his muscles. His skin tingled, as the bruises started to fade and his knee suddenly stopped hurting altogether.

Finally the magic of the healing sigil reached his toes and the teen let out a satisfied sigh, closing his eyes to enjoy the warmth humming through his body completely.

“Betr, rite?” he heard Tomasz' voice from in front of him, as the man dropped his hand from his head, stroking gently over his short hair in the process. Stiles let his head fall a little back, taking a few deep breaths with his eyes still closed, because he couldn't help but enjoy how good he suddenly felt.

He opened his eyes though soon after that, hearing the rustle of a plastic bag and his stomach growled seeing the croissant Tomasz was handing to him. He snatched it up without a word, tore the package open and stuffed a half of it into his mouth in the speed of a lightning.

“You're the best, Tomasz,” Stiles moaned, when he finally managed to swallow it all down. He did not wait for a response though. Instead, he just pushed the other half inside his mouth too and started to chew furiously again.

“Of corse, I am,” his uncle agreed, lifting his eyes over the teen's shoulder, as if to check on something. He looked back at Stiles again then, smiling. “Lett me take look at yu.”

He reached over, his fingers closing around the teen's wrist to bring his arm a bit higher, so that he can look at it properly. Tomasz let his fingers slide carefully over the skin and his smile widened. “Oooh, dey vill be beautiful. Like my.”

“Yeah, I know right,” Stiles nodded, swallowing the remains of the chocolate flavored croissant. His stomach rejoiced at finally receiving some food. When was the last time he ate anyways? He couldn't even remember.

But before he could indulge in his thoughts, Stiles was joined by the two werewolves, each of them standing on either side behind him. The teen looked to his right, spotting Derek's eyes flashing in a bright red color, as the werewolf glared at his uncle. He pursed his lips, wondering what was going on.

“Oh, yor vlkolak frend... Alfa...” Tomasz inclined his head in a polite greeting, not dropping his hand from Stiles' arm, but not because he didn't want to greet the two men properly. He just already knew it would be pointless to offer a hand to a werewolf. They weren't exactly fond of spreading their scent onto random strangers, after all.

“Derek Hale,” the werewolf grunted introducing himself reluctantly. He did not make any welcoming gestures though, only stood there stiffly watching Stiles' uncle in distaste.

Tom seemed to not care much, judging by the careless smile plastered on his lips. His eyes traveled to the right and ended up on Peter.

“And Beta, blod tied too,” his uncle stated, nodding once again. “Pleazure ehh...”

“Peter Hale, uncle and the Second,” the werewolf answered, inclining his head, as if he would be able to see the magic seeping out of the other man's body that way, which would of course be impossible. Stiles just assumed, because the look Peter gave his uncle was rather a curious one, than a hostile one.

“And you would be?” Derek questioned, folding his arms in front of his chest.

“Derek,” Peter chastised him immediately, grabbing his biceps, as if he wanted to stop him from launching at the other man. He turned to Tomasz with a polite smile and said: “I apologize for my nephew. He does not know how rude it is to ask a magic user to reveal his name.”

“Wery rud indeed,” his uncle agreed, locking his eyes into the glowing red irises, his smile dropping for a second until it came up once again. “Butt I forgiwe.”

“I don't see what the big deal is,” Derek shrugged, glaring at Tomasz. “Stiles had no problem revealing his name to me.”

“Uhh, that's different,” the teen shook his head, grimacing a little. Of course it was, Derek was his mate after all, he could trust him with such a sensitive information.

“I don't see how,” the werewolf snapped, looking at Stiles, as he lifted his eyebrows.

“Yu shud trezure dat mor,” Tomasz stated, gripping onto the teen's shoulder. “Onlie perzon, dat I ever told my name were my loved onez. Namez carry powerful magic, if enemies learn it, dey use it in ritual and we can die.“

„So basically I would just have to steal your ID,” Derek stated, obviously unimpressed. Peter rolled his eyes, letting go of his nephew's biceps, but remained silent.

“Magic is mor dan reading letterz, mind yor wordz...” Tomasz started, his eyebrows pulling together into a frown, as his eyes flashed in a challenge.

“Tomasz,” Stiles spoke up, after he shared a glance with Peter, who just shrugged, obviously amused by the conversation. “Don't pick up fights with Derek.”

The serious expression disappeared from his uncle's face in a blink of an eye. “Ale, why nott?” he pouted. “I never fought vlkolak. I wuld want to try!”

“Not now,” the teen shook his head resolutely.

“I bet I wuld win against dis flee box,” his uncle stated, gesturing in Derek's direction. The werewolf growled at that, his jaw stiffening, as his teeth changed into fangs.

Stiles could hear a quiet chuckle from his other side, which obviously meant Peter was enjoying the display a little too much.

“You would surely win, Tomasz,” the teen agreed, raising his hands up in a placating gesture, because Derek let out a deep growl at that. “But could you not. We really have more important things to deal with right now.”

“Butt Przemko, I reallie wantt to now. Never mett tame vlkolak,” his uncle exclaimed with excitement. “Are dey stronger den wild onez? Are dey mor visious? I wonderr...”

Tomasz' eyes were glowing by then, a faint scent of electricity filling the air around them. Derek took a step back and snarled, showing off his sharp fangs. The tension around them could have been cut by a butter knife, if Stiles actually had one.

“Keep Derek out of your experiments,” the teen ordered, poking his uncle into his stomach. Tomasz slapped his hand away and sighed, the glow of his eyes disappearing in a blink of an eye.

“Yu are nott fun,” he complained, running his hand over the nape of his neck to loosen up the tension, that built up in his muscles. He glanced at Peter with renewed interest and then said: “Maybie yu wuld want to give it try late, mister Hale.”

“I would love to,” Peter grinned, flashing his own elongated fangs, his eyes flashing. “Alas, I am quite weak at the moment.”

Tomasz moved his head a little back and squinted, staring into the blue glow of the werewolf's eyes expertly.

“Yu do nott seem to be,” he stated mockingly.

“You surely have sharp eyes, mister...?” Peter answered, letting the glow of his eyes fade, as he side-stepped to the left, positioning himself closer to Stiles for some reason.

“Call mie Tomasz. Ewerybodie doez,” his uncle smiled, seeing through the werewolf's agenda to hear his name from him, but indulging him in it anyways, since he saw Stiles didn't even flinch, when the werewolf stepped in closer to him.

“Well then I shall return the courtesy,” Peter nodded, reaching out his hand over the teen's shoulder. “Call me Peter.”

“Pleazure to make aquintance,” Tomasz answered, grasping the werewolf's hand to shake it strongly. He even turned his neck to the left subtly to reveal more of the vulnerable flesh there in an acknowledging gesture.

“The pleasure is all mine,” the werewolf smirked, inclining his head in the exact same way.

“Seriously guys?” Stiles complained, nudging at their joined hands, which hovered over his shoulder. “This will not end well.”

“Cheer up, Przemko,” Tomasz rolled his eyes, letting go of Peter's hand only to sling it over his nephew's shoulder to pull him in closer to his side. Derek's scowl intensified at that, but he did not seem to be preparing for an attack so nobody cared much. “It is just experiment. Surely Peter wuld nott harm too much...das is, if he actuly culd harm me, rite?”

He grinned up at the other werewolf then playfully, watching as Peter flashed his canine teeth back at him with an amused glint in his eyes.

“Oh boy,” Stils grumbled, pushing Tomasz off him in annoyance. “Stop comparing dicks, guys.”

“I am sure I wuld win dat too,” his uncle answered right away, winking in his direction. “I am sure yu know, dat I...”

“Don't even finish that,” Stiles blurted, raising his finger to poke his uncle under his ribs. Tomasz swatted at his hand and jumped away from his reach quickly, eying his fingers suspiciously.

“Yu now my onlie weekness,” he complained then, folding his arms over his stomach defensively.

“And I am not afraid to use it against you,” Stiles informed him, wiggling his fingers into his uncle's direction in a manner that was not exactly threatening, but it definitely made Tom retreat even further away so it was acceptable enough.

“So meen. And dere I sought yu loved me,” Tomasz shook his head in disapproval.

“I do, but you need to shut up already,” Stiles exclaimed, gesturing between them angrily. “There are things to be done. We don't exactly have much time left.”

That was when Tomasz' face went serious. Not mockingly serious, not even serious in a way he liked to pretend to be just to rile people up. But a deadly serious expression, which he usually wore in times of great danger.

“Yez, I can see,” he confirmed, waving his hand in the direction of the teen's body, as if it was all obvious.

“See what?” Derek barked impatiently from beside Peter, bitterness sneaking into his words. “You already healed him, there is nothing...”

“Hiz sigil iz dying,” Tomasz told them gravely and even though both werewolves knew that very well, they still looked quite stricken by the information. Derek was looking at his uncle, as if he was willing him to admit the lie and Peter glanced at Stiles sadly. The teen could not bear the atmosphere though and so he decided to jump in.

“There are more urgent problems we need to solve right now, Tom, this is nothing,” he waved his left hand around to get all of their attention.

“Ah rite, sudičky,“ his uncle nodded in agreement, watching as Stiles raced to grab his uncle's bag, which was still lying near the front porch.

“Yes, yes, that too,” he mumbled, hefting the bag up and carrying it back to the waiting trio. “But first we need to help Jackson.”

Tomasz was watching him approach and as soon as his nephew stepped in close enough, he snatched his heavy bag out of his arms, dropping it to his feet. He then folded his arms over his chest and pronounced: “No, first we pay respect, den yu rest and den...den I help.”

“But Tomasz,” Stiles tried to argue but was interrupted right away.

“I onlie healed yor outside woundz, but magic inside still too week,” his uncle opposed, somehow knowing that the logical approach would be the best to convince Stiles of his plan. Curse him. “Yu nied rest. Tomorow we start to save world.”

Stiles took a deep breath in and then exhaled it all at once, regarding his uncle in silence for a few seconds. The man was right though and that was the worst about it. Stiles might feel better, his body might be all healed, but his Spark still refused to move, when he tried to nudge it with his mind and they obviously needed to be at their fullest possible strength to free the Fates, so he had no other option than to obey Tomasz.

“Alright,” he conceded, looking at his sneakers in defeat. “Will you at least stay?”

“I can nott go inside dat hous, yu now dat. Not supposed to yet,” his uncle said reluctantly and then grabbed his bag from the grass, as if ready to go look for some cheap motel at the edge of the town. Stiles did not like that idea at all, thank you very much.

“If you have no objections against couches, I've got one in a quite decent state back at my apartment,” Peter quipped from behind them, the both werewolves still standing beside each other. “If you aren't against sleeping in a werewolf's den that is.”

“Nott at all, very generos of yu, Peter,” Tom nodded, looking at him gratefully. He turned back to the teen then and beckoned him to walk to the car, obviously deciding to ignore the fact that it was Derek's car and that he might not agree to drive them anywhere. “We visit Klaudia first and den yu can come bak and rest.”

 

~o~

 

The ride to the cemetery was quite silent. Derek did surprisingly not even complain about the fact, that he had to drive them there. Well, logically there was nothing to complain about, since they were headed back to Peter's apartment anyways and dropping him and Tomasz at the cemetery was no detour for him at all, but Stiles knew better than to bet on reason, when it came to his mate.

The teen would have maybe tried to explain the situation right there and then, but thinking about visiting the cemetery, where his mother slept her eternal sleep was somehow distracting him from the reality, which was quite odd because that did not happen to him for a long time already.

Actually, the last time he dreaded the cemetery this much was back in his teen years. But he was a teenager now again, so maybe his younger self was seeping his own emotions into his old mind and that didn't seem like a good thing. It only meant the border between the future him and the past him was really dissipating.

Stiles blinked few times, looking out of the window as the car passed the church. He could feel Tomasz' body lending warmth to his own from beside him, as he leaned in closer to Peter conversing to him about one thing or another. Oh, well then it was not as quiet inside the Camaro as he first assumed, he was just not paying attention to any uttered words, being too distracted by their destination.

He did not understand what was happening with his mind right at that moment, since he got way too used to the fond and nostalgic feeling he used to have in the future when visiting his mom. Stiles did not feel this, not at all. On the contrary, it was a heavy kind of sorrow nested on his heart like a giant stone. He tapped his fingers over his knee and glanced up at Derek, noticing his eyes trained on him in the rear-view mirror. That calmed him a bit.

Except then the werewolf tore his eyes from the teens and the tires screeched, as he forced the Camaro to stop abruptly in front of the cemetery's entrance. Stiles gulped and looked through window, a sense of dread overwhelming him once again.

His mother lied dead there, her unmoving body trapped inside a dark casket, buried nineteen inches under the ground level, yes Stiles measured it as a child and complained about the inappropriately dug out hole, but of course nobody listened to him that time, since he was a child. He honestly hated that number every time he saw it anywhere around.

“Stiles,” spoke up Peter, wrenching him out of his thoughts. He refocused his eyes to look at the trio inside the car and noticed, that Tomasz was actually not even in the car anymore, the door on his side opened with the man standing in front of it patiently.

The teen nodded wordlessly, waving to the both werewolves inside the car, who might have or might have not been watching and then urged his hand to grab the handle, oped the door and forced his legs to lead his body out of the Camaro.

As he stepped outside and closed the door, he heard the other door close too and Derek sped the car away from them. Stiles watched after the black car until it disappeared inside the complex of apartment buildings all the way up the street, because he was way too reluctant to step inside the cemetery.

“Lets go, chlapče,“ Tomasz said with a calm voice, taking Stiles' hand and leading him through the front gate, his other hand busy carrying his heavy bag. “She waited way too long for my vizit alredy.”

And walking between the tombstones, Stiles secretly wished his mother's was all the way back in the part that bordered the apartment complex, that Peter lived in just so he could have some more time to prepare himself, but it was not like that at all.

It only took them a minute and forty-three seconds to reach her grave, the teen leading the way with jerked movements of his free hand and Tomasz following in the direction he waved in with an intent visible on his face.

And Stiles' chest grew heavier with every step, the sorrow inside him increasing, as if it was yesterday that she'd died. It was not though, was it? It was over a decade ago, he forced himself to think, but his brain seemed to not be able to comprehend it. It was as if it did not believe him. Only a few years ago, it whispered insistently, she died only a few years ago and it was all your fault.

 

~o~

 

If it wasn't for Tomasz' hand pulling him to their destination, Stiles might have not even reached it. But there it was – her tombstone made out of white marble with her name written across it, with the date of her birth and her death underneath it and Stiles hated those numbers with all his soul. He hated them so much, he wanted to step in closer to the tombstone and scratch at it with his nails until the numbers were no longer readable, even it that meant covering them up with his own blood.

“Ahh, sestrička,“ Tomasz sighed, letting go of his bag, which hit the ground with a soft thud and leaving Stiles behind to kneel down next to her tombstone. He ran his fingers over the letter's of her name, down to the numbers, as if he wanted to do exactly the same thing that the teen was just thinking about doing. He whispered a few sentences in a very soothing tone, as if he was coaxing a crying child to drift back into the Dreamland, his face reflecting Stiles' sadness like a mirror.

His uncle closed his eyes then, pressing his forehead onto the cold marble and took a deep breath in, a few tears escaping from underneath his eyelids, even though he tried to prevent that from happening by closing them.

Stiles watched him grieve, realizing this must have been hard for Tomasz too. He lost his whole family, his whole coven in a slaughter all those years ago, but that one thing – his little sister being still alive, safe and happy, living in some far away land with a family of her own – kept him content. And suddenly this teenager calls him out of nowhere, informs him, that his only relative is already long dead and demands to be helped, tears him away from his home and forces him to travel millions of miles away.

The teen tore his eyes from his uncle's unmoving body and looked away in shame. He selfishly used the man's good nature after all, just as he was selfishly using the future members of his pack to help him sneak out of the school, just as he was selfishly using Derek and Peter to help him in his mission. He couldn't do anything alone, he was a useless piece of shit.

“Przemko,“ Tomasz spoke up, looking at him from his kneeling position. It was like he knew Stiles was in a dark place and decided to interrupt him with his questions just to keep the teen's mind out of those parts of his mind.

“How did she die?” he asked, probably repeating the question for the second time already, since Stiles was too busy wallowing in his misery before.

“Uh, magical deprivation,” the teen answered, his voice weirdly hollow. He took a deep breath in to steady himself and nodded.

“Oh, my foolish sestra,” his uncle sighed, running his fingers upwards the tombstone as he stood up to join Stiles at her feet. “She supresed her magic way too long, did she nott?”

“Yeah,” the teen confirmed, running his palm over his face, discovering it was wet from the tears, that spilled from his eyes only a few moments ago. He didn't even notice. “We figured she wanted to stay undetectable to those who...got rid of your coven, but the magic...it literally ate her brain.”

Stiles gulped. “To protect me and dad, s-she...” he stammered, but could not continue. Instead he clasped his right hand against his mouth, his fingers trembling uncontrollably.

What the hell was happening, he wondered in the logical part of his brain, which was way too small to be noticed by the control panel. He was supposed to be long over this after all. It should be all okay now, but to hell if it was, because his brain did not agree with that in the slightest.

“No, no,” Tomasz shook his head, putting his arm on Stiles' back to stroke it comfortingly. “It iz nott yor fault. She made her ovn choise.”

The teen jerked away from the touch and scowled. “But if she did not have me-”

“Den she wuld have died alone,” his uncle said sternly, his eyes locked onto the teens. “Alone, in forein countrie, far from loved onez, abandoned...but she did not, rite?”

“No,” Stiles admitted, thinking back on the horrible hours spent in the hospital. He wasn't supposed to remember it that clearly anymore, but he did. Every freaking second of it. “I was there...the whole time.”

“Den she die happy, “ Tomasz said and smiled gently, stepping in closer again, putting his hand on the teen's shoulder, not breaking the eye contact. Not even for a heartbeat. “Besides, she iz nott dead, not reallie. I can see her in yu. Her iskra....what yu call it in inglish...”

“ A Spark,” Stiles muttered absentmindedly.

“Yes,” his uncle nodded. “Spark. But I sink I told yu all dis a lot of timez alreadie. Yu just hav problemz wis remember, becuz yor tired. Yor head iz...nott in game as dey say, so we betr go now. It waz long day for bos of uz, rite.

And that's how they left the cemetery – with Tomas gently steering Stiles away from the tombstone, sparing a last glance at his beloved sister's grave and walking them both through the front gate, the heavy bag slung over his shoulder.

 

~o~

 

Stiles could not keep quiet, not for a second longer after they crossed the road to get onto the pavement on the other side. He was worried this weird kind of misery, that he got infected with by his younger self would return and so he did what he could do the best – he talked and ignored that nagging sense of dread.

He told his uncle, how he landed in the past, described the ritual in every detail possible and Tomasz did not even scold him for getting the sigil wrong in the end. He just shrugged, giving him one of those mysterious smiles he always kept saving for when he knew more than his nephew. But Stiles did not ask about it, he just kept talking.

They walked around a local pub, which seemed to be quite packed for a tuesday evening just as Stiles got to how he first met Laura, his mate's sister. And Tomasz said she reminded him of his wife and although the teen could not remember his uncle ever having a wife, he just shrugged it off, ignoring the fact that he forgot yet another thing from his future. He had a story to tell after all.

He talked about Peter - how they discovered it was all just the poison forcing him to the brick of insanity and how they still did not know, who was behind it all and Tomasz kept nodding along, offering a short input here and there, but never really interrupting Stiles.

He praised him for a perfectly executed cleansing ritual and pursed his lips, when he heard, that Laura died anyways. He rolled his eyes over Derek's reaction to their first meeting, his eyes bulged in shock, when Stiles explained how he walked back on a broken leg and smiled, when he heard, that Peter came back with the magical storage unit to help him heal.

“Yu now,” he said, pointing at the teen with a grin on his lips. “From what I hear, Peter wuld be far betr mate dan Derek.”

And Stiles laughed at that, remembering that Peter actually said something similar to that statement before too. He pushed onto his uncle's shoulder playfully and the man skidded away with a smile on his face, only to join him again after a few seconds and to ask him to continue the story. And so Stiles went on.

He explained, what kind of preventative measures they took to remain safe, how he became the Emissary of the Hale pack, the way Stiles negotiated the enactment of the Code with the Hunters and Tomasz whistled in amazement at that, interrupting him for a second for the first time, when he got to that part.

“Dis Deeton,” he frowned, watching a red car drive up the road past them. “Hiz druid, rite?”

“Yeah, why?” the teen frowned, stopping mid-stride to look at his uncle.

“If hiz druid, den hiz also magic,” Tomasz wondered aloud, stopping too, his bag swinging around his body. “Maybie culd help? I do nott trust other magics, butt maybie...”

“No,” Stiles shook his head violently, the sense of dread pushing onto the wall of ignorance he built inside his mind. There was no way he would trust Deaton with anything anymore and that's exactly, what he told to his uncle too. And right after that, he told him about the Hale fire and about the druid's role in all of it and Tomasz agreed to not involve the vet in any of their future schemes.

And with that cleared, they resumed their walk towards the apartment complex. They were about halfway there, when Stiles got to the topic of his nightmares and told him about the imprisonment of the oldest aspect of the Fates and his uncle did not complain about hearing it all over again. He merely nodded, promising him, they will solve that one tomorrow with a ritual he planned.

He skimmed over a few facts about his pack mates, just to ease his uncle into the whole problem with Jackson. And his uncle obviously tried to stifle his excitement upon hearing he'll get to see a real-life kanima – purely for Stiles' benefit, but the teen saw it in his eyes anyways.

Just as they reached the side gate of the cemetery, Stiles started to talk about Derek. Their first meeting was an even worse catastrophe, than it was in the original time line, but at least the werewolf did not blame him for his sister's death anymore and Tomasz was quite happy to hear that too. He was even happier, when the teen mentioned blowing a full hand of wolfsbane powder into his face back at the hospital. His uncle almost fell down laughing.

And as he neared the end of their story with Derek, explaining about the notice-me-not sigil and the whole business with the kiss in the lake, Tomasz stopped him and said: “Yu need to tell him.”

“What? I can't,” Stiles protested, waving his hands around in frustration. “Don't get me wrong, I would want him to know, of course I would, but...I cannot force him into it.”

“He nows alreadie, rite?” his uncle reasoned, slipping the bag from one shoulder to put the strap around the other one, because the right one needed some rest. “Yu deny, not confirm...dat iz cruel.”

“But what if...” the teen shook his head, running his hand over his short hair. If truth be told, he knew Tomasz was technically right, but after all this time – yet it were actually only a few days, but Stiles felt like it were years not days.

After all that time, he was more scared to admit the truth to Derek, because it could totally backfire right into his face. And he could not handle such a rejection right now and that's why he kept putting it off... he was a coward, who'd rather cling to a secret hope, than scare his mate off with the truth.

“Let him deside. Wenn he haz all facts...but he needz all of dem, Przemko. Hov do yu want him to deside rite, if yu do nott give him all of it?” Tomasz wondered, as another car passed them on the road – a silver one this time. “Yu wuld nott deside on somesing wisout all facts, or?”

“You're right,” Stiles groaned, slapping his left hand onto his forehead. “It's just-”

“We are in hearing distanse now,” his uncle jumped into his words, as they reached the first building of the apartment complex. Now they just needed to turn right and walk up the road, past Derek's black Camaro and Stiles' baby blue jeep and they would be finally there.

Stiles closed his mouth at that, looking up at the gray building wondering, if Derek was once again standing by the window and watching them approach. It was quite possible and the teen really did not want him to overhear any of this, since he'd rather just tell him face to face. This was a very delicate matter after all. And so they both walked over to the building in silence.

 

~o~

 

The door to Peter's apartment was once again ajar and Stiles would have found it weird, weren't it for the fact, that the occupants were werewolves with super good hearing so of course they knew, when to leave the door opened for them.

The teen pushed at it so that they could pass. He was about to head to the left, down the hallway and into the living room, but as he turned around to check if his uncle was following, he spotted him standing in front of the threshold, caressing the door frame in awe.

“What's wrong?” Stiles frowned, wondering what the man saw in the door frame, that the teen did not. It was just wood, there was nothing interesting about it. Or was there?

His uncle just shrugged, patting the door frame and then passed through it, as if it was nothing. He closed the door carefully behind them and followed Stiles down the hallway. Once they've reached the living room – Derek was surprisingly nowhere to be seen and Peter was sitting behind his laptop on the couch – Tomasz' grin widened and he waved in greeting and pointed back at the front door.

“Dat iz some rare magic protektion, Peter.”

“What?” Stiles looked back bewildered, trying and failing at waking up his Spark to look at the space in front of him through the magical sheen. He sighed in frustration and turned back to his uncle. “I didn't feel anything before.”

“A supernatural repellent,” Peter explained from behind him.

“Yez, yu wuld nott now dere iz flat, if yu were not invited,” Tomasz joined in, waving his hand in the direction of the door.

“Oh,” Stiles looked back at the door, expecting it to disappear into the wall or something, but it looked as solid as it did all those times before, when he crossed it. “That's why it was always ajar, when I came over.”

“Yes,” Peter said, scrolling down on his laptop. He sighed and looked up at them, as if what he saw on the screen did not satisfy him one bit. “Turned out it wasn't the supernatural we were supposed to fear though. It was the other way around...”

“Why was I supposed to place a bloody mountain ash barrier around you in the morning, if you got such an amazing ward all around this place again?” Stiles exclaimed, flailing his arms around in disbelief.

The werewolf just shrugged, closing the laptop. “I figured some extra protection would not hurt.”

“Unbelievable,” the teen grumbled, rolling his eyes while shaking his head. He folded his arms over his chest, turning halfways from Peter to enunciate his point. “Way to make me feel used, man.”

It was quite surprising that Derek used that moment to step out of the bathroom clad only in his boxers. Well, obviously not surprising in a bad way for Stiles, since he was turned exactly the right way to get the best view of all the naked skin, but surprising nonetheless. Not to mention hot as hell. He gulped.

“Derek could surely make it up to you in my stead,” Peter informed him, smirking like the stupid asshole he was, because the teen could bet he'd noticed what that sight did to Stiles.

He turned to Tomasz quickly and noticed him laughing too and damn those two, he couldn't do anything else than glare at his uncle, knowing full well, that Derek would glare at Peter while walking to wherever his clothes were stashed with such an intensity, that it would kill the man, weren't it for the fact, that glares can not exactly kill a person, unless one was called Cyclops.

“We brought up your bag from the car, by the way,” Peter informed him, after he obviously decided he was done with the teasing for the day. He pointed to the bedroom and Stiles glanced inside, only to get a full view of Derek pulling jeans over his perfect ass.

“Very mature, Peter,” the teen grumbled, scowling at the werewolf, knowing full well he was flushing like a maiden on her wedding night. “Very mature.”

“My bad, I meant the sink in the kitchen,” the werewolf answered innocently, waving to his left. “It was all wet, after all. Plus full of wolfsbane.”

The teen just rolled his eyes and stomped down the hallway.

 

~o~

 

After making sure his phone, which was conveniently stashed in the front pocket in his backpack all this time, survived the whole lake incident, he took his bag into his left hand and walked back to the living room. Derek was all dressed once again, than God, staring out of the window like the paranoid stalker he was, and Peter and Tomasz seemed to be caught up in a discussion about wards on the couch in the other corner.

“'kay, I am heading back home then. See you in the morning,” he announced, waving his free hand around in a goodbye. “And Tomasz...no experimental fighting with werewolves.”

“Of corse nott,” his uncle grinned up at him, his eyes glinting with so much mischief, the teen didn't believe him for a second. He lifted his eyebrows and waited – yep, he totally learned that one from his mate.

“Alrite, onlie after I help yu save world,” his uncle clarified, getting up from the couch to envelope Stiles in a hug. He patted his back comfortingly and then slid his hand over his short hair and the teen pushed his hand away playfully. That was when Tomasz turned to the window and pointed at Derek, who kept his eyes at the window all this time, as if it was the most important thing in the world. His face was like a solid mask set in stone with no emotions whatsoever.

“Alfa,” Tomasz said, trying to get his attention. When Derek finally looked at him, he continued. “Yu go wis Przemko.”

“Tom,” Stiles spoke up immediately, a warning in his eyes and at the same time his mate scowled and barked out a resolute no, which made the teen fall silent right away and look up at the werewolf with hurt in his eyes.

“Yu wil go wis him and protekt him,” Tomasz elucidated, his eyes flashing briefly to stress out his point. His mate did not seem bothered by it, he just turned away from the window and folded his arms over his chest defiantly.

“Or else what?” he grumbled, his signifying scowl returning to his face in full strength. Peter straightened up on the couch and watched Tomasz carefully, like a thief trying to figure out the combination to a safe's lock.

“Look, Tomasz, don't...” he started, grabbing his uncle's arm to force him to break eye contact with Derek. Tomasz let himself be manhandled and turned to the teen without any resistance. He scanned him from head to toes and then turned to Peter.

“Sank yu for hospitality, but someone needz to stay wis Przemko,” he informed him. “he iz magickly tired and culd drop dead any moment, so someone reallie needz to watch over him all nite and sinse yor Alfa is a useles puppie...”

He didn't even get to finish the sentence, because Derek seemed to have come to the conclusion he obviously had to other choice, before Tomasz could throw in some more insults. He pushed himself from the window, stomped his way to Stiles, grabbed his biceps and started pulling him toward the front door. The teen had barely time to yell goodbye, before the door slammed behind them forcefully.

 

~o~

 

Derek remained silent throughout the whole trip down the stairs, pulling him grumpily out of the building. But hey, at least he was considerate enough to not stuff him inside an elevator, so Stiles was not complaining. Plus it's not like he wouldn't be able to break the hold on his biceps, if he tried to. His mate's fingers were merely holding onto him lightly, not squeezing his muscles together in a bruising strength. And lastly, he had always enjoyed a healthy dose of possessiveness – it was pretty much a given with werewolves after all.

He was actually quite thankful to Tomasz for making Derek come with him, although on the other hand, thinking back on their conversation, he was quite nervous about it too. He sat down behind the steering wheel of his jeep and watched Derek open the passenger door on the other side and climb inside. The teen gulped opening his mouth to say something, but then closed it again, thinking it might probably be not the best time and place for it.

And so he just drummed his fingers over the steering wheel and pursed his lips, pushing the key into the ignition and turning it to the right, as he pushed down the clutch. The engine hummed inside the jeep and the teen stepped onto the gas pedal, leading the car away from the gray apartment building, down the road winding along the cemetery.

He glanced at Derek, once they turned right, heading down the road around the cinema and then even further. His mate was just sitting there, staring out of the window with a grumpy look on his face. Stiles fidgeted opening his mouth once again, but he could formulate any the words, so the reached out and started to fiddle with the radio instead.

They passed the park near the cinema on their left and Stiles changed the station for at least a dozen times until they reached the local stadium. That was when Derek swatted his hand away from the radio and turned it off again, pointing at the windshield, so that the teen would concentrate on the road instead. Stiles just nodded and kept driving, tapping his fingers nervously over the steering wheel, his leg jumping up and down in a jittery movement.

As they reached his street, he slowed down, clenching the wheel to keep his fingers from moving around so much and turned to Derek to finally confess everything. He could do this, he told himself, but the werewolf did not let him even start, because he opened the passenger door and jumped out, while the car was still moving.

“What? Wait...Derek!” Stiles exclaimed, watching as the werewolf pointed to his house and ran into the nearby trees to go around the houses. The teen frowned and looked through the windshield, spotting the sheriff's car in the driveway. Oh, so that's why Derek got out, he realized, as he parked his car next to his father's and got out, slinging his bag over his shoulder.

 

~o~

 

John was sitting in the kitchen and drinking his coffee while munching on a hamburger. Seeing Stiles walk into the room, he nudged a box of curly fries into his direction ad beckoned his son closer. The teen was too busy thinking about other stuff to even scold his father for his unhealthy choices of nourishment, so he just walked to the sink and poured some water into a very large glass, walking back to the table and slumping into the chair.

The magic might have healed him efficiently enough, but that did not push the exhaustion out of his body. At least not completely. It only made him feel energized for two hours, until it faded and his mind and body felt all heavy once again. He really needed some good night's sleep, that much was true, but there was no way he would be able to sleep. He was too scared to lose himself while sleeping.

“Any luck finding Lydia?” he asked his father, pushing the heavy thoughts aside for the sake of his pack.

“You heard about that, huh?” John glanced up from his burger, obviously thankful, that his son skipped on scolding him this time. Stiles just shrugged at that, picking out a few curly fries to chew on them.

“Well, the most probable theory we got is that she must have woken up from her coma sometimes during the night being really confused, so she wondered off... but the fact that she was able to walk out of the hospital without anybody noticing and at night, when the building is all locked up,” he shook his head in disbelief, using a paper towel to wipe his mouth, even though it was all clean. “The hospital is in big trouble.”

“Oh,” Stiles acknowledged, getting up to pour himself another glass of water. He really should have drank more today, to avoid getting a headache which was slowly edging into his head as they talked. He frowned and looked back at his dad. “Wait, Melissa?”

“No, she wasn't on the shift that night,” the sheriff answered, taking a large bite from his hamburger.

“Oh, good,” the teen nodded, sitting back onto the chair and grabbing some more curly fries. He didn't actually have any appetite right now, even though this was still his most favorite thing to eat, but he forced them down anyways. He needed a lot of energy for the ritual tomorrow after all.

“You went to look for her after school, am I right?” John guessed, stuffing the last remains of his hamburger into his mouth, flushing it down with a large gulp of coffee.

“Uh yeah... could not find her though,” he lied promptly, poking a curly fry with his fingertip with disinterest. “I couldn't just sit around and do nothing though, dad, you know me...”

He wished he could just tell his father, that Lydia will be okay, once the joined voices of banshees lead her to her heritage. It wasn't exactly a real place per se and Stiles was never really sure he understood what it meant, when the strawberry blonde tried to explain it all those years ago, but the main point was - she was safe, guided by her ancestors and will return back home soon enough.

“And those clothes?” the sheriff questioned, pointing at the black shirt and shorts his son was wearing, which were in no way his own, because Stiles definitely did not own any black clothes, unless they had Batman on them.

“Oh uh,” Stiles looked down at his attire, totally forgetting he was still wearing Derek's clothes. He was so used to sharing them with his mate, he barely even noticed it. “We went to look into the preserve and I tripped over a root into a creek?”

“Stiles,” John rolled his eyes.

“It wasn't my fault,” the teen argued, gesturing around wildly, as he got up from his chair to fill his glass once again. “The tree was trying to kill me. It was an evil tree! And evil tree of darkness, that probably emerged from Mordor itself!”

“Right, just be more care-...wait,” his dad frowned suddenly, looking down at his knee, which was in a perfect shape. Stiles blanched and looked down at it too. Uh-oh.

“Your knee...” John's frown deepened as he squinted at it to make sure, he was actually seeing what he was seeing.

“It looks much better now, right?” the teen stammered, moving his leg around to show off the good state of it. “As if I didn't even scrape it yesterday and all thanks to your treatment. You are a magical healer, dad!”

“And the arms?” his father quizzed, waving in the direction of his forearms, which did not have those angry scribbles left behind by the strengthening charms on them anymore.

“That was thanks to the Calendula ointment, works miracles, I'll tell you,” Stiles shrugged, waving his arms around nonchalantly, although he knew his dad would be still suspicious about the quick recovery.

And yep, he certainly was, judging by the look on his face, but luckily he decided to ignore the weirdness of it, since his son was actually in a better state than before and that was really not a bad thing, so he just let it all drop and stood up from the table.

“I'll head for the shower then,” he informed his son, putting his empty coffee mug into the sink and gesturing at Stiles to eat up the rest of the food, which he left on the table – one more burger and that box of curly fries, that the teen still didn't eat up surprisingly. And then he waved, walking out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

Stiles thought he'll just gather all the food and stuff it inside the refrigerator, so that he could head to his room right away, but then adjusted the plan and took the food with him, just in case Derek would be hungry or something.

The previous jitters have calmed down while he talked to his dad and he was left with only his exhaustion, which wasn't exactly a win either. He walked up the stairs, down the hallway and pushed his door open, spotting Derek, who was unsurprisingly standing by the window and glaring out of it. What was it with his mate and windows in this time line?

“Got some food, if you want,” he informed the werewolf and dumped the packages onto his table. Derek did not move from the window, nor made any inclinations of wanting the food, obviously ignoring the shit out of him.

The teen sighed and sprawled onto his bed, mashing his face into the pillow. He was so freakishly tired, it was not even possible. It must be more than a normal exhaustion, he reasoned, wondering if it had something to do with the declining sigil. It probably did. His future self must be having a harder time fighting against the time paradox to stay anchored inside this young body.

Well at least his bed was comfortable, even though he was too afraid to close his eyes for way too long in case he would accidentally fall asleep. He turned his head to the right and looked at Derek, who still didn't move from the window.

“Not gonna read me again?” Stiles asked hopefully, trying to coax the werewolf to look at him.

“No,” Derek grunted, keeping his eyes pointedly on the window.

Stiles pursed his lips and looked at the shelves full of books on the left, wondering if he had any of his mate's favorites in there. And surely, his eyes stumbled upon one of them right away.

“Not even Going Postal?” he wondered aloud.

“No,” his mate answered stiffly.

“What about any of the Incarnations of Immortality?” Stiles pressed on, thinking back on the one trip to lake, where Derek spent the whole day reading one of that series. “On a Pale Horse was your favorite, not?”

“No, Stiles,” the werewolf denied it angrily.

“What about The Song of Ice and Fire, you loved those,” he started, getting lost in his thoughts, as he tried to desperately remember all the titles his mate loved to read over the years. That was quite an impressive amount of books, mind you, so of course he could not remember them all right away. It had nothing to do with the magical amnesia, it were just a normal memory problems, right? He ignored that thought. “Um, I do not have those here yet, but I am sure I could-”

“Stiles,” Derek stressed, his jaw stiffening, but the teen did not pay attention anymore, he kept looking down at the sigil on his left hand thinking frantically.

“Oh I know, Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch, you read that one in one go,” Stiles exclaimed happily, as he remembered the title.

“Shut up!” Derek snapped angrily, turning around to look at the teen. “I am not going to read to you! What are you... a child? If you need somebody to read to you, why don't you just call that Thomas of yours...”

Stiles opened his mouth to correct the werewolf's pronunciation, but closed it up again, when he actually realized what Derek said and his mate apparently realized that too, because he let the sentence fade into nothingness, a look of confusion and embarrassment settling itself over his features.

“Okay, we really need to talk,” the teen stated sternly, pushing himself up from his pillow to sit on his bed. He took a deep breath to steel himself for the conversation that was to come and started. “Tomasz said...”

Derek barked out a laugh at that, making Stiles frown in reaction to it. “Right, to him you listen...”

“Of course I do,” the teen flailed his arms around in exasperation. “Look, this is all a huge misunderstanding and if you would just let me explain it then...”

“No need to,” Derek snapped, folding his arms over his chest protectively, as he edged closer to the window again. Stiles got worried he might jump out of it to avoid this conversation altogether and that thought urged him to spill the beans.

“Tomasz is my uncle, my dead mom's big brother? So of course I listen to him, jeez, get a hold on yourself! I know I...this whole situation? It's crazy for me too, you know? So just shut up and let me explain this properly, please,” he begged, stressing out the last word.

“I don't...” Derek started to say, but Stiles has just had enough of it all. He's had enough of hiding the truth from his mate, enough of pretending he did not care what the werewolf thought of him, enough of ignoring the pull of their mate bond.

“Yes, you do, you do need an explanation! The sigil thing,” he blurted out gesturing to the nape of his neck. “I did not mean to hide my potential from you. It wasn't about that at all. I drew it before we headed to the preserve with Laura, because I thought...well any strategic advantage is an advantage and double so against a feral werewolf. And then after it all I just...I can't just walk around unprotected, doncha get it?”

“Being magical is not safe. There are people and creatures that can smell that from miles away. Now normally, that wouldn't be such a problem, because I would actually have magic on me to defend myself, but I do not have it right now, do I? They would sense me, they would smell the magic and not only that....they would also see, that I am not my younger self, but that there is more inside...so staying hidden seemed like the logical thing to do, alright?”

“But I would lie, if I didn't admit, that I kinda wanted to hide from you too. I am not so confident about this all apparently and, oh my God, you were so not ready to face it all. I mean, the first time I dropped the sigil, you actually thought I was bewitching you in some horrible way!”

“I just did not... I didn't want to be like them. Tell you that we are meant to be, make you feel things, that you are not ready to feel, lure you in, hurt you? I... but Tomasz is right and you deserve to know the truth. Because even though I did not exactly lie to you, I definitely did not admit the truth and that might be even worse, so...”

Stiles gulped and looked up at the werewolf, forcing his mouth to keep talking. “I... I do have a mate in the future, who is also my husband, who is also a werewolf and pretty much the love of my life and...and...it's actually you Derek.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Stiles kept his eyes locked onto Derek the whole time, watching his eyes widen in shock, seeing his body jerk lightly back, as he moved unconsciously closer to the opened window behind him. He noticed his muscles tense and his throat constrict with an empty gulp, his fingers twitch, as if they tried to change into claws and his jaw tighten, rendering him silent and he knew what it all meant.

The teen sighed, tearing his eyes from the werewolf standing frozen in front of him. He slumped back, sitting on the bed with his feet tangling over the edge, turning halfways away from the other man.

"Go," he mumbled, waving his hand in the direction of the window. He brought the left hand back to his lap then, staring at the mate ring's replica sadly. "It's okay, I understand, just go."

"He..." Derek stumbled, his voice clipped. "Your uncle said you need supervision."

Hearing the tone behind his words, Stiles knew the werewolf was just arguing with him for the sake of putting up a fight. He was actually quite eager to leave, but was probably considerate enough to ask for his permission.

"I'll be fine," the teen huffed out a bitter laugh, running his thumb over the dark line drawn around his ring finger, worried it might disappear any second now. But it remained there, laughing into his face.

"Just go, Derek," Stiles sighed, turning his face from him. He took a deep breath in, holding it inside his chest while he counted up to ten and then let it out, turning back to the window, seeing that the werewolf was gone.

The corners of his mouth turned all the way down, as he watched the opened window, bathed in the orange colour of the setting sun. He did not move a muscle, looking out of it, as if hoping that his mate would return and face the truth.

But was it still the truth, just because it happened in the future? It might have just been one of the many possibilities. Just the same as the things the Fates showed him in the nightmares. Maybe he was supposed to lose Derek and be with that woman, whose eyes glowed blue in the darkness. Maybe the whole future was just a dream. One of those, that would never come true.

He shouldn't have told him, Stiles thought, feeling regret wash over him in a rush tidal wave, slipping into his chest and crushing into his heart painfully. He was too reckless assuming Derek would be able to handle such information. It was just too easy to slip and take his mate for what he was yet to become. Were this his future Derek, he would have probably just nodded and told him he knew this all along. Content and happy.

The teen closed his eyes, letting his head fall down to his chest. He should have been more careful with the information, he knew, but given the fact, that he was never really made for subtle ways, he held the secret inside for a pretty long time, which would have been considered to be a huge achievement for him, but unfortunately none of it had any influence on the outcome itself – Derek was not ready for this. And he might never be.

And the fact that he kissed him earlier today at the lake? He probably thought, he was playing it safe, giving into the temptation of going after Stiles, because there was no way the teen would ever want him and decide to commit to him. He thought Stiles would refuse him, because of the mate, he was married to in the future. Little did he know, that he was the mate himself. And the whole thing suddenly became real and he didn't know, how to handle that.

Oh yes, Stiles was sure these were the thoughts cruising through his mate's head. And on one side it was great, that he knew what was going on inside Derek's mind, so he didn't have to worry about not knowing – he hated not knowing after all, but on the other hand...it was quite painful for him too. He couldn't help, but feel a little bit disappointed.

He sighed deeply, running his palm over his face in defeat. Stiles knew Derek would react this way, he knew he would bolt out of it as soon as he could, but the refusal still hurt. It stung inside his heart, as if somebody was squeezing the muscle tightly.

"Stiles?" he heard from the door and his head snapped up. His dad was standing in the threshold, drying his wet hair with a towel, clad in a fresh sheriff's uniform. "You alright, kiddo?"

Not exactly sure what to answer, the teen just shrugged silently, looking out of the window once again. Such an answer made John frown. He let go of the towel, letting it slide onto his shoulders, as he stepped inside the room and sat down on the bed next to his son.

"What's bothering you?" his dad asked calmly, patting him on the knee gently. "Is this about Lydia? We will find her, don't worry..."

"Dad, no, it's...," he took a few steadying breaths. "It's not that."

After that, Stiles remained silent though, because there was no way of explaining the situation to his father right then anyways. He did not know about the future, he didn't know anything at all and it needed to stay that way. Even though the teen would love to tell him everything and ask for his advice, he could not.

"You know you can tell me anything, right?" John wondered at that, his fingers enveloping Stiles' knee, giving it a firm squeeze.

"Yeah, it's just... I don't exactly... uh," his son stumbled, cringing at the way his tongue knotted around the words. He sighed, looking back at his dad, pulled his eyebrows higher and gestured in the direction of the sheriff's uniform. "Don't you have places to be?"

"This is the place I need to be at right now, so you might as well use the opportunity, you know," his dad shrugged, looking around the room, as if he was contemplating to stay there for the whole night, which actually made Stiles crack a little smile.

"Come on, kiddo, I know you wanna ask something," John grinned back, leaning back onto his arms. "No better time than now, is there?"

"It's a stupid question," Stiles admitted, rubbing his hand over the nape of his neck sheepishly, because the only way to explain his problem to his dad was through weird hypothetical situations, which would have normally sounded quite crazy to most people.

But he was willing to take the chance, because he needed to talk about it with somebody right now, judging by the tightness that was still squeezing around his heart, as if it was a lemon and his stormy feelings were trying to make a lemonade out of it. His fingertips tingled at that thought.

"A stupid question? Well then, you should expect an equally stupid answer, buddy," the sheriff informed him, lifting his eyebrows, as he waited for him to deliver the said question.

"Well hm," Stiles started, trying to ignore the twitch in his fingers, as he phrased the sentence. "If you... happened to travel back in time and ended up in Poland, when mom... when she still lived there and you would meet her, but she just...wouldn't be...ehm how would you...I mean what would you...? Uh, never mind, I don't really know, what I wanna ask, to be honest..."

John looked up in front of him, watching the wall, as he thought about it all and then turned back to his son, nodding in understanding. "Well, if I were to meet your mom before our time, then I guess she wouldn't exactly be ready for us yet, right? And I guess that would have been quite discouraging, but then again, I would get to see a side of her, that I've never had the chance of seeing. And maybe...maybe I could have helped her with the sadness of losing her family back in Poland, so...what I want to say with this: It's not like we would have to be romantically involved or anything, I would have been happy to just be around her and help her, until our time came."

"But what if it didn't...? Come, I mean," Stiles wondered, waving around in exasperation, the stinging inside his chest growing stronger with every minute. "What if she got freaked out by you and ran into...someone else's embrace and then you two would never..."

"Stiles," the sheriff shook his head, placing his hand on the teen's shoulder. "I would still treasure every minute I would get with her."

Seeing the sad look in his father's eyes made Stiles stop in his tracks and realize the man was right. His mission wasn't to make Derek fall in love with him, it was to keep him safe from the Fates and the Kanima and whoever is trying to hurt him and the future pack. There was no time for him to be upset, that his mate doesn't simply jump into his arms. He realized he was being quite selfish hoping for all those things.

"Is this about someone in particular?" his father wondered, cocking his head curiously to the side.

"No," Stiles denied immediately, rubbing his hand over his chest to soothe the pain inside. "I just...went to see mom today and ended up thinking weird stuff, sorry..."

He felt the sheriff's arms envelope him in a tight hug then, his face mushed against the teen's shoulder, as he leaned over from the side.

"I miss her too, you know," John mumbled, rubbing over Stiles' shoulder in a soothing manner. The teen patted his arm with a sad smile on his face, feeling the sadness over his mate combine with the sorrow over losing his mom, which made his heart throb with an ache, he didn't know how to stifle. He closed his eyes and scrunched his face for a few seconds, trying to catch his breath.

The sheriff let go of him then, standing up from his bed to face his son. He looked down at him and ran his hand over his short hair.

"Hang in there, Stiles," his dad said trying to encourage him. "I am sure, it will get better."

"Yeah, I hope so," the teen shrugged, pushing his palm against his sternum, taking in a few short breaths.

"Come on," the sheriff smiled, gesturing around the room vaguely, after he straightened his uniform.

"I know, I know," Stiles waved his hand, shaking his head with a slight smile, which formed on his lips right away. "It's just the teenage emo hormones invading my brain. It'll pass. I just need to fight them off, maybe launch some happy nuclear bombs in their direction or release the nitrous oxide....go to work, dad. Go save some lives or whatever it is you're doing."

“True, I should return to the volunteers, we need to scout the preserve,” his dad nodded, waving to him in a goodbye, but Stiles wasn't exactly listening, distracted by the uncomfortable feeling inside his chest.

He frowned, rubbing at his sternum over his shirt, taking a deep breath in. It didn't give any sense, that his heart still ached, as if he was about to cry. His dad helped him to calm down, he helped him to understand, that there was no point in being upset about this whole ordeal, but his heart obviously did not get the memo or something.

Stiles heard the front door close and waited for the cruiser's engine to reach his ears, taking in deep breaths, as he pushed his hand onto his chest. He concentrated only on that, clearing his mind, just as he did, when he wanted to avoid an impending panic attack.

The sound of the car's engine came in through the window and the teen focused on it solely. He closed his eyes and breathed in and out a few times, listening as the car drove out of the driveway and down the street, it's rumble comforting and gentle somehow.

But as the car got too far for him to hear, he couldn't help but scrunching his face at the stab of pain he felt in his heart. He keened over, putting his forehead onto his knees and groaned. That was definitely not normal, he thought, trying to catch his breath, which he suddenly ran short of.

His fingers twitched in discomfort, as his heart stung once more, his chest hurting as if somebody cut out his heart and scratched out all his insides, leaving him raw and opened.

“What the hell,” Stiles muttered in between the shallow breaths he was able to take. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to let his heart beat inside his chest, it hurt to even blink.

There was definitely something wrong, he realized, as he pushed himself up to his feet, but he didn't get very far, a quite vicious stab making his whole body twitch. The teen stumbled into the wall, trying to keep himself from breaking his nose at the impact and so he turned a little more to the side, hitting the wall with his shoulder. The pain, that flared from out of it was nothing compared to the stinging feeling inside his chest.

Stiles exhaled harshly, as he leaned heavily onto the wall, clutching at his chest, as if he was having a heart attack. It couldn't be though, could it? Fuck, of course it could be! Somebody was freaking bewitching him! Why didn't he realize that right at the beginning – those weirdly intense stabs inside his chest had nothing to do with Derek, it was somebody else trying to kill him through magic!

He groaned, sliding down the wall, until his butt hit the carpet. There was only one way to be sure, that this whole thing was caused by magic and that was checking for a rune connecting him to the voodoo doll, that was obviously being stabbed into it's chest repeatedly to cause him a heart attack.

Stiles scrambled on the floor, tearing the hem of his shirt all the way up to his neck to look down at the skin on his chest. And there it was, the burned out patch right over his sternum, in the shape of the said rune. Somebody was really trying to kill him with magic! What the actual fuck?

He curled up into a fetus position, lying on the carpet, as another stab hit his heart. This one hurt so much, that Stiles sobbed and whined, feeling tears prickle down his cheeks. He tried to access his Spark to fight against the magic, but he couldn't even rouse it from it's slumber no matter how hard he tried, so using it against this voodoo shit was out of question too.

He tried to think back on all the possible things to counter the magic in these types of situations, but his mind could not focus long enough to produce a logical answer.

Stiles choked on a sob, hitting the rune on his chest forcefully. That, of course, hadn't changed a thing, but at least he was able to refocus his mind and come up with a good solution. All he needed to do was crawl to his backpack and pull out that vial with the amber colored oil, he stole from Deaton all those days ago.

He did not have time to inspect it closer before, because Laura just left the hospital at that moment, but luckily his mind supplied the information right now. Obviously being in great danger motivated his brain to work harder. Now if he could just get to his bag and drink the vetiver oil from the vial inside it, the curse should be canceled. Vetiver was very powerful and efficient at protecting, cleansing and refocusing evil charms from the victim himself.

The teen looked around the room, frantically searching for his bag and then blanched, realizing he didn't actually take it with him from the car, when he arrived earlier today. Shit. Shit squared.

He cried out, when the next stab hit him, his fingers convulsing with the pain, but he tried to push himself off the floor nonetheless. And as he did so, he was hit with such a strong wave of nausea, that he collapsed back onto the floor almost immediately, his breath coming out in harsh puffs. Beads of sweat forming themselves all over his skin.

There was no way for him to get to the car, he concluded, as he tried to crawl, but failed. He whined in pain and curled up on himself, wondering if this was, how he was going to die. This was even worse than being swallowed by the time paradox, because this way, his younger self would die too. And that well...sucked pretty much.

But not as much as letting his dad discover his dead body. Or Derek, or possibly Tomasz... he couldn't do that to them, he thought outright crying now. Only a few more minutes... and then there was suddenly this urgent voice crying out his name from above him.

“Stiles?!” somebody exclaimed harshly, pulling onto his shoulder. And oh, Stiles knew that voice, he knew that voice way too well and this couldn't actually be happening, so he probably must have died already and went to heaven, but no, it was real and Derek was really there so maybe he didn't actually have to die just yet.

“Derr...,” he slurred, grabbing weakly onto his mate's kneeling body. “I thought you were....shiiit, hurts...”

Stiles keened over at that, dry-heaving onto the carpet, as he choked on his breath. And that's when he heard it. The chanting. Oh no, no, that was a horrible sign. Actually hearing the voices of the casters, even if it was just a soft humming in the background like now, meant that he was being connected to the voodoo doll even stronger that before, hearing stuff, that was happening in it's vicinity.

“Stiles, what...?” Derek asked, panic filling his voice, his eyes glowing red.

“Need...bag,” the teen wheezed, realizing there was no way he will let himself die right in front of his mate. That would scar the man for forever and ever and he is not gonna hurt Derek. That was simply not happening, he needed to fight this. He waved in the direction of the door. “Jeep...”

The werewolf reached over to pull his keys from the shorts he was wearing and bolted outside through the freaking window. The teen would have been impressed, weren't it for the horrible pain spreading through his chest.

He should have been dead the moment he heard the chanting, that much was true, but he was surprisingly still able to fight it. The pain was horrible, yes, as if somebody was stabbing him repeatedly between his ribs with a very sharp knife, but it didn't get any worse than that. And his heart was still beating, as if there was something protecting it from getting stabbed too deeply by the offensive magic.

Stiles didn't get the chance to contemplate on that miracle, because Derek was back, climbing through the window like an agile cat, the bag safely under his arm. He hurried to the teen's side then, depositing the bag next to his head and Stiles made an attempt to unzip it, but his fingers twitched and curled into a fist and he whimpered, feeling a particularly painful stab aiming at his heart.

“What do you need?” his mate demanded to know, as he unzipped the bag hurriedly, throwing everything out as fast as possible, which must have been hard for him, considering half of the things were covered in the remains of wolfsbane, that leaked from the broken vial. He didn't even seem to notice, how the skin on his hands turned angry red, blisters forming themselves here and there.

“Stiles!” Derek barked, when the teen failed to answer, crying on the carpet. “Which one, Stiles?”

The teen managed to open his eyes, spotting all the vials arranged in a neat row right next to him on the floor. He groaned, forcing his finger to point at the vial full of an amber liquid and Derek did not waste a second snatching it up, uncorking it with his teeth, while he used his other hand to grab Stiles' shirt and pull him in closer, so that his head would be propped onto the werewolf's thigh to make the swallowing easier.

Before he could even blink, the vial got nudged in between his lips and tipped over, the liquid spilling over his tongue and he swallowed eagerly, choking on the last few drops. Licking the last remains of the oil, he pulled up his shirt once again and noticed the rune over his sternum slowly fading away, the pain disappearing together with it.

Seeing that he sobbed in relief, turning onto his side, with his forehead mushed into Derek's thigh, trying to calm his breathing. He took a deep breath in, savoring the air in his lung and exhaled, repeating the process, until his hands stopped shaking so violently.

“Man, I thought I was a goner for sure this time,” he mumbled after a while, not lifting his head from his mate's thigh. Honestly, any reason was a good reason for physical contact to him so why not enjoy it while he could. Didn't he deserve that much at least? He almost died after all.

Derek did not answer, he only placed his hand on Stiles' head silently, not exactly stroking through his hair like his future version used to, but only keeping it there as a solid presence, which was okay with the teen.

“Thanks,” Stiles whispered then, rubbing his forehead onto his mate's thigh, sliding his head a bit higher up to prop himself with his cheek instead. His neck was killing him in that last position. With his cheek plastered to the thigh, he lifted his hand and put it next to his face, squeezing the muscle lightly and repeated. “Thanks, Derek.”

He looked up then, seeing his mate watching him with an unreadable expression. Stiles' eyes slid slowly over his features, following the line of skin down his neck and his shoulders, up to the hand, which was still nestled on his head. He frowned, noticing the red burns the wolfsbane left behind on Derek's skin.

“Der, you're hurt!” he exclaimed, snatching the hand in between his fingers and pulling it to his eyes to inspect the burns more closely.

“It's nothing,” his mate mumbled, pursing his lips, as Stiles ran his fingertip gently over the reddish skin on his palm.

“I wish I could heal you,” the teen said quietly, secretly surprised the werewolf didn't snatch his hand from him. He ran his fingertip over Derek's fingers, wishing sadly he could access his Spark and heal that reddened skin, knowing that it would take a day or two for the Alpha to heal his hands properly. It was apparently a strong kind of wolfsbane, that spilled inside his bag, but the teen should still be glad it wasn't the black one, since that one would have probably killed the werewolf right away.

“You're such a moron,” Stiles informed his mate, pulling his hand closer to his face and pressing a gentle kiss onto his palm without thinking, careful not to cause the man any pain. Once he'd realized, what he'd actually done, he looked up at the werewolf, opening his mouth to say something or even apologize, but he was suddenly interrupted by a dull vibration coming out of his mate's pocket.

Derek pulled his hand from Stiles' hold, avoiding his eyes, as he reached inside his pocket to bring out his phone. He glared at the screen and then slid his finger over it to accept the call.

“Peter,” he greeted, not bothering to push the phone to his ear.

“Put him on the speaker,” Stiles said, pushing himself up into a sitting position right next to his mate, who just nodded and tapped the screen with his thumb.

“What is going on, Stiles?” Peter demanded to know right away, his voice frantic with worry. “Tomasz suddenly collapsed, muttering something about someone attacking you with magic and scribbling all over my nice walls with a pencil.”

“Woodoo,” Tomasz' voice clarified tiredly from distance, as if he was still sitting on the floor, propped onto Peter's wall on which he was drawing before, while the werewolf paced around. “I am sorry bout wall, needed to rite fast.”

“Oh, I would have been long dead, if it weren't for you Tomasz,” Stiles grinned, realizing it must have been his uncle's efforts, that kept the magic from attacking his heart too directly. He would have been dead rigth after hearing the chanting, weren't it for Tom's help. “Thanks.”

“What did he do?” Derek frowned, looking at the teen, his eyes scanning his skin, as if he was expecting to spot a sigil or something similar glued onto it.

“He kept the voodoo spell at bay, before you could bring me the vial,” the teen explained, turning back to the phone to let the others know, what happened too. “I had some vetiver oil at hand, so it's all alright for now.”

“He can do that?” his mate wondered, continuing their conversation. He frowned, as if contemplating something and looked back at the phone in his hand.

“Yez,” Tomasz' voice reached them from the speaker. “I conekted, wenn I heal befor. Just in case.”

“Oh, good thinking,” Stiles praised, running his hand over his face, confused, why he didn't notice his uncle tying himself to him magically. “I did not feel anything that time, though.”

“Yor just tired,” his uncle reassured him, but the teen was not so sure that, that was actually the main reason of him being unable to notice the magic around him anymore. It happened with Peter's door too and now this connection, his uncle established only a few hours ago – it all seemed to be invisible to him, as if he was too drained to see it. Which of course was true, because his Spark was totally dead on him, but it still made him unsure, as if there was something more behind it.

“So back to the point,” Peter said, his serious tone bringing them all out of their thoughts. “Who is trying to kill you, Stiles?”

The tone, which he used to formulate the question in, was murderous, as if it was supposed to kill the culprits, who dared to attack the teen, although that was quite impossible to achieve with words only, unless Tomasz managed to teach him some fatal magic in the short time, they were all alone, which wouldn't really surprise Stiles that much, if truth be told.

“Must be whoever is keeping the oldest aspect of the Fates prisoner,” the teen reasoned, tapping his fingertips against his lower lip. “They must have discovered, that the Fates were trying to contact me through dreams and tried to intervene, before I could do something to free the Fates...but that is actually a good thing.”

“Because now we know our enemy is a coven?” Derek guessed, putting two and two together.

“It does seem so, who else would be able to use such a strong voodoo?” Peter mused from the other side of the line.

“Sure nott one lone magic,” Tomasz agreed with the werewolf.

“Plus,” Stiles added, rising the volume of his voice to get the wanted attention. “I heard them all chanting, so there is no doubt, that it's a coven.”

“Wonderful,” Peter stated, his voice full of sarcasm. “Now who do I have to kill to stop this charade?”

The teen snorted at that, a slight smile sneaking itself onto his lips, as he bumped his shoulder against Derek's in amusement, which made him notice how close to his mate he was actually sitting, their arms touching, the warmth seeping itself into Stiles' cold skin. It made him think of their time back at the preserve, which in turn made him realize something entirely different too.

“It's all about the Nemeton,” he breathed, when the clarity of the revelation hit him. “They want the power.”

“Wat iz dat?” Tomasz questioned, probably confused by the word, he did not understand.

“A cut down sacrificial tree back at the preserve,” Peter clarified, but judging by the sigh Tom made after hearing the explanation, he was still lost in the meaning of the words.

“A holy protection tree,” Stiles elaborated, thinking back on his time spent in Slovakia with his uncle one summer. He did learn a lot of useful magic during that time after all, so the memory of his stay there was luckily way too important to be deleted any time soon. He hoped so at least. “Like the oak tree in the mountains behind your hut,” he clarified.

“Dat iz the bad mojo I am feeling al time sinse arival?” Tomasz exclaimed incredulously, his voice muffled by the hand be obviously put over his mouth. “Iz like litehaus.”

“Yeah, the pull is a lot stronger in the preserve itself and I was wondering why, but taking it all in account now, I think the coven's magic being so close, it must have woken up the Nemeton, sensing them...trying to draw them in like a beacon,” the teen explained nodding along frantically.

“Any idea which coven it might be?” Peter questioned eagerly, as if he was ready to kill any and all of the members, after being given all the needed information.

“No idea whatsoever sadly,” Stiles grumbled, shaking his head. He tried to think of some coven, that they may have encountered in the future, but the list came out empty. Not because there were no covens, but because he couldn't remember at all, which was quite frustrating for him, if truth be told. “Even if I could remember some, they... they're probably hiding way too well for us to find them...uh, what about the one that...destroyed yours, Tomasz?”

“Nott possible, dey are still in Russia,” his uncle answered, not a trace of doubt in his voice.

“How can you be sure?” Derek wondered out of nowhere.

“He's burdened with the revenge oath,” Stiles explained quickly, being already fed up with the long call. They needed to start preparing for the ritual and save the Fates right away, in case the coven would undertake some countermeasures to stop them. They needed to act fast.

“Yez, I alwayz now where dey are,” Tomasz commented bitterly, probably scratching on the mark tattooed under his collar bone, that enabled him to become a magical GPS locator. “Once I have more magic...”

“Oh, the path of vendetta is a joyful one,” Peter remarked, his voice drifting further away from the speaker, as if he turned to the other man while talking. “I am sure I can be of assistance there...”

“Guys,” Stiles spoke up, taping his fingers over his knee nervously. “Don't take this wrong, I am glad you're bonding over the whole vendetta business and I will love to help you both to achieve all and any possible revenge plans in the future, but right now, we need to regroup and get on with the ritual to free the Fates. There is no time to lose.”

“No, yu need rest,” Tomasz ordered right away, his voice stern. “Wee vill in morning.”

“Come on, Tom, we need to...,” Stiles started, catching a sight of Derek shaking his head, which meant he silently agreed with his uncle and how dared they tell him what to do? He was the one with the knowledge of the future here, they were supposed to listen to him. He did not get to continue his sentence though, because Tomasz jumped into it promptly.

“So yu can wake yor iskra? Can yu?” he challenged, making Stiles close his mouth right away, because it was true, that he was still unable to access his Spark. “I can nott do ritual now, too tired from woodoo cancelling. Besidez, it iz always best to do at morning. Wenn sun rise, dat iz best time. I am sur yu now.”

The teen just pursed his lips, knowing full well, that his uncle was right, but he couldn't help but being stubborn about it. The sooner they save the Fates, the sooner they can save Jackson and help Lydia, and finally make things right. He could not waste the precious time, he had left resting. There was no way he could sleep right now anyways, so why bother.

“Paint wardz,” Tomasz continued. “I vill do same and connect to yors and we see yu at morning, alrite?”

“Okay,” the teen agreed, frowning through the whole monologue. He might not approve of the plan, but he is not stupid enough to argue about it further, when his uncle was right. They both needed to be at full strength at the time of the ritual and after canceling such strong voodoo charm, they were quite drained for sure.

“And Derek,” his uncle started, turning his attention to the werewolf sitting next to him. “Make sur he vill rest. It iz important.”

“I will,” the werewolf nodded and ended the call with a tap of his thumb.

 

~o~

 

“I'll draw the wards then,” Stiles decided, pushing himself up to his feet. It was quite hard and his arms quivered, as he gripped the edge of the bed for support, but he refused to give in to it.

The teen glanced around the floor, scanning the scattered content of his bag, looking for the syringes he was sure he had stashed in there as well. He spotted one of them peeking out from under the bag, that preserved the rope soaked in green wolfsbane he never got to use on Peter and walked over, nudging his foot against the bag to push it out of the way. He bend down to pick it up and handed it to his mate, who was just getting off the floor too.

“Would you mind?” Stiles inquired, looking around his room for the best places to draw the wards onto. Luckily warding didn't require magic, he just needed to paint the right sigils, so that Tomasz could bind them to himself as the warding master. His uncle would know about any disturbance to the wards then, even if he wasn't anywhere near them. Which was quite lucky, since Stiles' probably wouldn't be able to feel a thing, given his state of magic perception lately, if he were to bind the wards to his Spark.

“I don't think that's a good idea,” his mate stated, eying the shaking hand with the syringe for a while and then letting his eyes travel over Stiles' tired face. “I don't think you'd be able to handle any blood loss right now.”

“Well...we need the wards so,” the teen rolled his eyes, bringing the bag with the syringe up to his teeth to tear away the wrapping. He spit the little piece out onto the carpet and was just about to pull the syringe out, when a hand stopped him.

“Does that need to be your blood?” Derek asked, a worried frown on his face.

“Uh, well any blood would do, but...” Stiles answered automatically, his eyes widening, as the werewolf lifted his free hand, his claws lengthening out into sharp claws. He then bend his thumb and ran the long claw all the way up his forefinger, tearing the skin, which was already reddened by the wolfsbane.

Pulling the teen's hand with the syringe closer, he let the blood trickling down his finger fall down onto Stiles', who frowned disapprovingly.

“Dude, seriously?” he exclaimed, dropping the syringe as if it burned him, cupping his palm around the falling droplets of blood. “I hate when you do this you know.”

Derek just shrugged at that, deepening the wound, that was already halfways healed to spill more blood into the teen's waiting hand, watching with amusement, as Stiles' mouth twisted down in disgust.

“Ugh, you know, you actually use the syringes too in the future,” the teen muttered, looking up at him.

“No, I don't,” Derek responded calmly, probably deciding that he bled enough, as he jerked his hand up to his mouth and stuck out his tongue, licking a long strip up his finger in the most pornographic way possible – at least in Stiles' opinion that is. Derek himself didn't probably even think much of it, that bastard.

The teen grunted in annoyance, turning his back to the werewolf and dipping his finger into the blood collected in his palm, smearing it into the corner of his room in the shape of the needed sigil. He refused to look back at his mate, as he walked to the other corner, painting the same one right next to the wardrobe standing there.

“I seriously hate you sometimes,” he mumbled, after painting the second sigil and proceeded to walk around the bed without even a glance in Derek's direction, stirring his finger through the red liquid inside his palm while shaking his head.

“Hmmm, I see,” his mate answered sitting down onto his chair, judging by the creaking behind him. Stiles didn't want to do anything more, than punch him into his stupidly beautiful face, but he refrained himself, because Derek probably didn't realize that he was using the same teasing voice as he always did right before they would jump each other.

He was definitely not trying to turn him on or anything, the teen reminded himself, finishing the third sigil. He turned around, locking his teeth together, seeing, that his mate was indeed sitting in his chair, staring out of the window, as if he was listening in on something.

So Stiles just huffed, walking past him to reach over the table and paint the fourth sigil there. Once he was finished with them, they flashed briefly, ringing with resonance as they connected and latched themselves on Tomasz, who was probably already done with his own wards around Peter's apartment.

The teen sighed, checking every sigil, before snatching up a tissue from the box on the table and washing out the blood, as he walked back to the bed, sprawling over it tiredly.

They remained silent for a few minutes. Stiles blinking up at the ceiling, his breathing calm and relaxed and Derek sitting in the chair, frowning and watching who knows what from the window. Maybe there was a squirrel or some other rodent, that caught his attention.

“Sorry to make you babysit me,” the teen mumbled after a while, turning onto his side to watch the werewolf, while he talked. He put his arm under his head to get more comfortable and pulled his knees up to his chest. “It probably sucks that you gotta be locked inside here with me...”

“No,” his mate grunted, tearing his eyes from the window to look at the teen. “I just...am no good at this,” he admitted with an awkward wave of his hand.

“Boy, don't I know,” Stiles grinned, huffing out a silent laugh, as he thought of all the awkward moments they had to chew through to get to the point, when they finally felt totally comfortable around each other. “You'll get better at it, don't worry.”

The werewolf just watched him silently, shrugging instead of answering, as if he had no idea what to say to that.

“Uh, that is,” the teen spoke up, suddenly realizing how that sounded. “I meant...if you decide to get better at it, of course...not like you uh...”

Stiles turned away to lie on his back again and ran his hand over his face in frustration. “I am really no beginner, when it comes to mates, I do know how it works, don't worry. I know, that the thing you might feel around me is just the representation of our possible potential. It's just your instincts informing you, that we are compatible in the most of ways. Every person can feel that around the counterpart, but the wolves yeah...it's stronger for them alright. They would never mate with somebody without a potential for them, unlike humans tend to do sometimes for different reasons. But I also know you have a choice, it's not written in the stone, since there are more potential mates for you out there...granted not that many but...I mean, you don't have to feel pressured into any of this, you do have a choice.”

“But the future...,” Derek stated, looking out of the window, his fingers clutching onto Stiles' chair, as if he was trying to force himself to remain seated.

“Well...as you said,” the teen shrugged, lifting his left hand to watch the mate ring's replica. “That future...it's long gone by now so...no worries...you can sculpt your future however you like.”

Stiles knew it was the right thing to say, although it made some somehow sad. He reached over to rub his finger over the mate ring, that wasn't even the real thing, which made him feel even more sad. It's like he was just an impostor, faking a relationship where there was none.

He closed his eyes, trying to get rid of the negative feeling spreading through his mind and let his left hand fall down onto the bed again.

“It was actually what made Laura trust me, you know,” he said, suddenly reminded of that time in the alley. He cracked a sad smile at that memory. “She immediately demanded to know our mating vows...”

He could feel Derek's eyes on him, as he said it, hearing the creek of the chair, as the werewolf leaned in closer, eagerly waiting for him to continue and so Stiles did, losing himself in the memories he still treasured too much to forget.

“Oh that day was the worst, I was so nervous,” he admitted, smiling fondly. “So worried I would mess up somehow, even through I only had those few words to say. And so I stood there, opposite of you, fidgeting like a crack addict suffering trough withdrawal and I opened my mouth, saying: I am yours and you are mine...and then I freaking realized I reversed the lines and there was no way of making the vows rhyme now. But of course I tried to think of something...except all those people kept staring at me and you were standing there all gorgeous and waiting for me to finish, oh God, I could not think of anything normal. I mean, what normal word rhymes with 'mine'? Whine? Pine? Shine? Line? Even though our lives are on the line? Mafia vows hah...”

“Brine,” Derek suggested quietly and Stiles snorted at that, wondering how to rhyme that into the vows so it would sound all romantic and poetic.

“Until we both drown in the brine?” he quizzed thinking that's probably not as bad as his own attempts back at the altar.

“What did you say then?” the werewolf asked curiously.

“Nothing hah,” Stiles laughed, face-palming himself at the embarrassing memory. “I blanched and started to panic, but...before I could slip into a full blown panic attack, you....you took my hands and said the whole thing correctly from beginning, beaming like the freaking sun from Teletubbies.”

“I do not beam,” Derek countered, scowling at the comparison.

“Oh yeah you do, man,” the teen nodded, looking to his side to catch Derek's scowl deepening, evolving into a death glare, that he was so used to seeing on his mate. It made him laugh.

“Oh yeah, I got to choose the song for the first dance though, so I guess we were equally embarrassed that day,” Stiles added, his cheeks starting to hurt from the wide smile plastered on his face.

“I don't even want to know,” Derek stated, leaning back into the chair as he shook his head frantically.

“Oh no no, I bet you do,” the teen laughed, clutching onto his stomach, which made the werewolf shook his head once again and raise his eyebrow in a warning.

“Dude, you will love this, it was the...,” he started to say, rolling around the bed with laughter, but before he could reveal the name of the said song, he got interrupted.

“You uncle said you need to rest,” Derek barked, gesturing at the sheets that he somehow managed to wrap around himself. He wrestled them off him, looking at his mate innocently.

“I am resting, Der,” he said, pushing the sheets further up the bed. “I am lying in a bed after all.”

“I am pretty sure he actually meant sleep,” the werewolf grumbled, but froze, once he noticed the panicked look on Stiles' face. The teen pushed himself off the bed and sat up, because he was suddenly reminded, that lying in a bed was actually a foreplay for sleeping and he was not going to sleep ever again, if he could help it.

“I am not gonna sleep,” he informed Derek to reassure himself with the words spoken out loud. He would rather die of insomnia, that wake up not knowing who he really was once again.

“Because of the memories,” his mate guessed, watching him worriedly. Stiles did not feel like confirming anything so he remained silent, staring down onto his lap stubbornly and ignoring the world around him with all his strength.

“Hey,” Derek called out gently, getting up from the chair and walking over to him. “You do need to rest, your uncle was right, you look like you're about to fall over from exhaustion.”

“No, I'm fine,” Stiles bit off, turning his head away from the werewolf, who was now standing right in front of him, his fingers twitching, as they always did before he learned that it was okay to reach over and touch him whenever he felt like it.

“Stiles...,” the werewolf said and the teen looked up at him, determined to argue for as long as he had to right until he saw the expression on his mate's face.

“I will get you back, if you get lost again,” Derek said, his voice oddly reassuring and the teen could not help but believe, that he would do as he just promised. And so he just rolled his eyes and moved onto the right side of his bed, slumping onto his stomach as he always did when he wanted to fall asleep fast.

“It's not like I'll be able to fall asleep even if I tried,” he remarked bitterly, after grabbing his pillow and tucking it under his head, looking up at Derek with a pout on his lips.

The werewolf watched him for a second, as if thinking about something very hard and then lifted his eyes to look at the shelves full of books on the opposite wall. He sighed then, walking to the book shelf and scanned it for a few seconds, choosing an appropriate title.

He then walked back to the bed and nudged Stiles to roll over on the other side, so that he could sit down and lean against the bedpost of the right side.

“What did you pick?” Stiles asked, as he got comfortable on the other side, nestling his cheek onto his pillow.

“Sleep,” Derek ordered and the teen huffed out a laugh, closing his eyes and crossing his ankles, just as the last rays of sunshine disappeared behind the horizon.

He listened to his mate's breathing, to the rustle of the pages being turned, feeling himself sink into slumber, before Derek could even start reading. He heard his voice anyways, somewhere in the back of his mind, as he started to read: “The three presents of D'artagnan the elder...”

 

Chapter Text

There were gentle fingertips tracing the skin over his right shoulder, until the warm palm enveloped it and shook it a little. Stiles exhaled deeply deciding to ignore it and slipped back into sleep. He was way too tired to even try opening his eyes right now, but judging by the darkness behind his eyelids, it was still way too soon for anything important anyways, so it did not matter.

"Stiles," whispered his mate, his voice close and intimate, his hand still resting on the man's shoulder, shaking it lightly to wake him up, which helped Stiles to push the sleepiness away and open his eyes.

It was indeed dark in the room. Derek's silhouette was leaning over him, where he laid in the bed on his side, half of his face mushed into his pillow. He was so close, he could hear the werewolf breathe and somehow, that made him smile. Relief washed over him, as he realized he obviously did not lose his mate, no, not completely – he still lived on in his memories and he could dream about him just like now, any time he slept. Which might sound a bit creepy, but these memories were one of the most precious ones he had and still having them reassured him, that he was not dead just yet.

“I thought, I've lost you,” Stiles whispered softly, lifting his hand slowly to run his fingertip over Derek's jaw. He traced the familiar outline of the bone, feeling the short stubble underneath his finger, the warmth emitting from the body.

“Thought I wasn't able to dream about you anymore,” he admitted, filled with such a strong and raw emotion, that the only way to expel it right away was to actually do something about it.

And so he pressed his fingertip gently to the underside of Derek's chin, nudging at it a little to pull the werewolf in closer and then moved too, turning his head a little, so that they wouldn't bump their noses, because this wasn't the time for funny and awkward kisses after all.

He took a deep breath in and skimmed over his mate's cheek with the tip of his nose, opening his lips a little and then pushing them softly to his mate's, sliding them teasingly to the right to press a small kiss into the corner of his mouth too then.

He breathed out then, pursing his lips, which were still really close to Derek's and then pulled back to look at the werewolf, even though he knew he wouldn't be able to see much in the darkness. The corners of his mouth started to lift up in affection, until he noticed the red irises staring at him in the darkness.

“Oh...shit,” he cursed, dropping his hand from Derek's chin immediately, when he realized, what that meant. He slammed his palm to his face and rolled onto his back to avoid seeing those blazing red Alpha eyes, that his future mate wasn't supposed to have anymore.

“I'm so sorry, Der,” he groaned, rubbing his hand over his face harshly, as if that would somehow reverse the time and undo his reckless behavior from just a few seconds ago. “God, I am such a contradicting asshole. One minute I tell you it's okay to not...end up with me and in the next I force myself upon you...”

“Stiles...,” the werewolf muttered from beside him, but the teen did not pay any attention, lost in his own thoughts.

“No, I just thought...I kept having these memory dreams about you, Der, and I somehow assumed... it's not like...I mean I did want to, of course, but I didn't mean to...,” Stiles stammered, groaning even louder, as he turned onto his other side to press his face into the pillow, which did not exactly help to sniffle the groan itself, but it did help him come up with the idea of just smoldering himself right away, before he could mess up any further.

He remained like that for a few heartbeats, feeling suddenly very awkward and out of the place in his own body, but that was just it, wasn't it? This wasn't his body per se, it belonged to his younger self. And that could be said about his life right now too.

“I meant, what I said before, you know,” the teen grumbled, running his hand over his short hair in frustration to defuse those dangerous thoughts “You are free to choose. I didn't say it for the sake of using reverse psychology or anything like it, I swear I didn't.”

“I know you didn't,” Derek answered, his voice hoarse, as he sat up at the bed and reached for his phone, which was lying on the bookcase. “I...can tell a lie, remember?”

The alarm clock on his phone made the device vibrate, but before it could start to play the melody too he swiped his finger over the screen, silencing it.

Stiles sobered at that, realizing it's nearing the dawn and they should be heading for Peter's soon to conduct the ritual. He sighed, sitting up, turning on the lamp near his bed and looked up at Derek, who was still staring at his phone, a frown visible on his forehead, as it always was these times.

He wanted to reach over and smooth out that grumpy expression of his, he wanted to grab the front of his shirt and pull him into a second kiss, because he could still feel the tingle of their previous kiss on his lips. But instead, he just shook his head and buried those thoughts nineteen inches under the ground's surface. Far enough to not reach them for as long as he had his mission.

He needed to free the Fates, before they could be forced to cut off any more threads and he needed to stop the coven from hurting anybody else. And he needed to help his pack – cure Jackson of the mutated werewolf's genes, help Lydia find a way back home and adjust to her banshee heritage, comfort Erica, accompany Boyd, take Isaac away from his father...not to mention help Peter accomplish his vendetta.

There was really not time for him to disentangle the net between him and Derek, even if he did want to try. And oh, he did, of course he did. It would be a lie to say, that he didn't want his mate back too, but he had to focus on the important things. He had to. There was not much time left.

“I'm still sorry about it,” he repeated, getting up from the bed, missing they way his mate clenched his jaw and refused to look at him, fumbling with something on the phone.

He bend down to grab his phone from the ground, where it fell from the backpack just a few hours ago and checked the time. They had like a half hour to spare, before the sun would rise, so Stiles nodded to himself, deciding to ignore the desperate beating of his heart, which was trying to climb out of the grave he put it in just a few seconds ago.

More important things to deal with right now, he repeated to himself and snatched up his backpack, stuffing all the things, that Derek spilled from it in a wild search for the needed vial, back inside it. There was silence while he packed, throwing the vials into the inside pocket, folding the bag with the rope carefully inside together with the other tools, he bought before their trip to the preserve with Laura.

Granted using this wolfsbane infused backpack was a quite stupid idea, considering what it did to Derek's hands, which were still pretty burned – yes he did check up on that, right after he put the lamp back on, but there wasn't much he could do about it right now, so he just let it drop, hoping Tomasz might help, once they reach them. But back to the backpack – yes, the other one was still in the freaking jeep, so he could not use that one, so whatever.

“Dad came back?” he quizzed, pulling onto the zipper in annoyance as it refused to bulge.

“Yea,” the werewolf replied immediately, not even looking up from his phone. “Yes, after midnight.”

“Still sleeping?” Stiles inquired, finally succeeding at zipping up the bag. He put it on the chair and hurriedly made his way to the closet next to the bookcase.

Derek looked up at that, staring blankly into the wall, as he was listening in to the sounds of the house. His eyes glided from right to left, as they always did when he tried to hear something from far. He pursed his lips and nodded wordlessly.

“Great,” Stiles nodded back at him, pulling the dark shirt off over his head in one swift movement. “I'll just change fast and we can head to Peter's.”

He did not wait for his mate's approval and just opened his wardrobe, pulling out a pair of pants in a sea green color . The teen threw them behind himself, hoping they would land on the chair. He did the same with the shirt too, pulling off the shorts he borrowed from Derek before, rummaging through the drawer totally naked, while he looked for some boxers.

“Damn, wait a second, I need to draw the strengthening charms before that,” he muttered to himself, realizing he needed to draw onto his skin, before pulling on his clothes, unless he wanted to undress at Peter's before his ritual, which would be highly impractical.

He strode to his table and snatched the pen, lifting his left forearm to scribble the signs onto the skin right away, concentrating on the task at hand and not paying any attention to his mate, who was still sitting on his bed, trying to look anywhere but on him for some odd reason.

Stiles switched the pen into his left hand and started to write messily onto the other forearm, counting the strokes under his breath, his eyebrows furrowing in a slight frown. He surveyed the four columns, after he was done with them and deemed them fit for a ritual, although they were a bit shaky.

He then bent down a little to repeat the process and write out the same four columns along his thighs. People might wonder why those parts of his body were the best for the charms, or why couldn't he just use his upper arms too, or his calf or so...well the thing was, there could only be one limb attached to one strengthening charm. If there were more, it would pretty much burn off not only the skin, but also the flesh and the bones with it. But it did not matter where he drew the charms themselves, those parts of his body were just the most convenient for him so he got used to draw them always on the same place.

Stiles scanned his thighs, after finishing the charm on his left one with the last of the strokes. His eyes skipped from one onto the other, comparing them and yep, this was gonna do, he nodded to himself, only then realizing his dick was totally exposed between those thighs, that he kept looking at for the past two minutes.

He straightened up almost immediately, staring up at Derek with wide eyes not understanding, how he could have just promenaded around his mate all naked and not realize, what he was doing. He silently cursed his old brain for malfunctioning today and not warning him, that he was not supposed to be this relaxed around him anymore.

The werewolf's eyes snapped away at the moment he looked at him, a blush crawling up his cheeks, tinting his ears, once it reached them too.

“I am naked,” Stiles stated incredulously, as if he wasn't even able to wrap his head around this situation.

“Indeed,” the werewolf grumbled, staring intently at the bookcase to his right, his fingers tightening around the phone, he was still holding in his hand.

“Uh, right, umm...that's not supposed to be normal anymore,” the teen nodded, shrugging it off, because what's been done, can't be undone and who cares, that Derek saw him naked, he already did so a lot of times, even though that was in the future. He walked over to the pile of clothes thrown over the chair and started to pull them on.

It was kind of weird, he frowned, thinking about the whole thing once again. That was the second time he forgot himself since he's woken up. He should be sliding back into the younger version of himself, not feeling more like himself than he did, ever since he landed in the past.

“Weird,” he repeated aloud, his frown deepening, as he pulled on his boxers. “I didn't regress back to my old self at all this time either...”

“Good,” Derek commented, something akin to guilt seeping into the tone of his voice and Stiles zeroed in on that right away, looking up at the werewolf, after he pulled on his shirt.

“You did something, didn't you?” the teen wondered, knowing full well, what it meant, when his mate avoided his eyes like that. “What did you do?”

“Nothing I was just...,” the werewolf started, getting up from the bed, as if he was suddenly afraid he might get tied to it by some freaky magic. He looked out of the window and then back at the teen for a second, before he turned his eyes back to the window itself. “Just curious about the potential mate bond, is all...”

“Awwh,” Stiles cooed at that, his lips widening in a broad grin. “So you've basically held my hand and such the whole night? That's so sweet, Der!”

The werewolf just scoffed, rolling his eyes, as he stood there awkwardly, which only made the teen giggle even more. That must have been the reason Stiles felt like himself again. His mate dipped into the forming bond between them and by doing that, he strengthened the connection between the past, in which Stiles was living now and the future, that Stiles was supposed to have. His anchor became partly timeless and so stronger to resist the time paradox itself.

He smiled at his mate, after putting on his pants and nodded. “Thanks, it helped somehow.”

Derek just nodded at that, still refusing to look his way and the teen couldn't help but snicker, as he took his bag and headed out of his room.

 

~o~

 

“Dad?” he called out, cracking the door on his father's room just a little to stick his head inside. Derek already disappeared out through the window, which made Stiles kind of suspect he secretly loved that entrance already.

“Dad!” the teen repeated, his voice making the sheriff stir a little on the bed and then lift his head from his pillow to look over his shoulder sleepily.

“Stiles...?” he frowned, glancing at his bedside table to check the alarm clock. “It's still early...”

“I know, just wanted to let you know, I am heading out sooner today,” he informed his father to avoid him getting suspicious about his disappearance. “It's lacrosse.”

“But you didn't make first line?” his dad wondered, pushing himself up on his elbow and lifting his hand to rub against his sleepy eyes.

“Yes, but maybe I can still make up for it somehow, right?” the teen grinned, hefting the bag onto his shoulder to enunciate the point. “Go back to sleep, I just wanted to let you know.”

“Good, have fun,” John nodded and slumped back to the bed tiredly, waving his hand at the door. Stiles waved back even though his dad was probably already half asleep by the time he lifted his hand, and then closed the door and headed downstairs.

Except when he reached the stairs he felt a sudden urge to pee, so he turned on his heels and ran back to the bathroom to take care of that first. Luckily it did not take long, since peeing never really did, but it still left them less than fifteen minutes until the ac