It takes Stiles two minutes to find a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and then he's running out of the house, jumping in his dad's patrol car, breaking about a thousand different laws in the process, and pealing out of his driveway. He goes through his phone's contact list, trying, and failing to get ahold of anyone until Isaac finally answers.
"Where are you?" he asks, trying to sound nonchalant but not succeeding in the least.
"Fuck Derek, where are you?" He tries again.
"Isaac!" He hits the steering wheel, not even caring that it hurts. He has bigger shit to worry about. Although, now that he's concentrating on his hands, his bandages are all stinky and sweaty and come-covered, for fuck's sake. It's probably not that good for the burns. But he's in a hurry. And plus, a lot of him is come-covered.
He should still be in a post-orgasmic bliss right now, not speeding down a road in a stolen car. A stolen cop car. Stupid Derek. Stupid unicorn.
"They split up!" Isaac whines. "Derek is by the old house. Scott and Boyd are in the preserve. I think Erica and Jackson are somewhere east—"
"The Hale house? It's at the Hale house again?" Stiles takes a sharp right and steps on the gas. "Thanks. See you."
Then he hangs up, and he drives.
Fucking Derek, he thinks. This is already all screwed up. They weren't supposed to split up. Splitting up is never a good idea. Splitting up is what people in horror movies do. And they should avoid acting, at all times, like they are in a horror movie.
Then again, their lives are kind of like a horror movie.
…which is exactly why they shouldn't give in to the stereotype. By not splitting up. For fuck's sake. This is the same problem they had with the leprechauns, and look how that turned out.
Stiles takes a left to avoid a red light, keeping to the back roads until he has to turn on to the main road or miss the exit that leads to the Hale house. It takes ten minutes for him to get to the place where he was attacked (the second time), and he maybe speeds up, takes the turn fast enough that, for a second, he thinks he's gonna pop a wheelie.
He doesn't, which is a relief, but then he realizes that the unicorn could be anywhere. It could be watching him. Right now. Charging at him with it's glowing black eyes and that weird, out of place head connected to a body that doesn't seem like it should work, but it does.
He speeds up, his head hitting against the ceiling with every bump and swerve, and in another five minutes, he's in front of the Hale house.
It's still depressing out here. He hasn't been out since the leprechauns—actually, he doesn't think anyone but Derek has been here since the leprechauns—and the house itself seems to have gotten darker. More bent. Decrepit and ruined. Like something Tim Burton would love. Dark and foreboding and twisted. Of course, Tim Burton movies are whimsical and maybe (he's not sure) allegorical, and the Hale house is…not. It's definitely not. It's a horrible memorial to a horrible event, and it's never going to be anything other than a rotting testament to how monstrous people can be.
He turns the car off and jumps out, leaving the door unlocked and the keys in ignition just in case he needs to make a quick getaway. Shoving his phone in his pocket, he heads into the woods at a brisk jog.
It doesn't matter which way he goes, because he's pretty sure that the unicorn is going to hear him. He's not exactly being stealthy. He's not trying to be stealthy. He's the bait. He's what's going to keep the unicorn here, chasing something, concentrating on something, while the others move in and kill it.
There's a howl from somewhere—maybe a mile away—and he speeds up, crashing through the undergrowth and jumping over roots and downed trees, not really headed anywhere except deeper into the forest.
His plan is stupid. He knows it's stupid. Hell, most of Stiles' plans are stupid. But he also knows that the others aren't going to get near the unicorn unless it's distracted. And he's here to be a distraction.
So, it'll work. It has to work.
There's another sound, closer than the howl. It starts of like a whine. A low, constant thrum that he feels, more than hears. And then it gets louder, and it turns into a wail. A scream, really. It sounds like an animal in pain, mindless with rage and terror and instinct. It gets louder, deeper, and turns into a roar.
Stiles recognizes that roar.
He recognizes that roar because it's the same roar he heard in the forest with Lydia, and when he was trapped underneath his jeep.
He hears heavy hooves pounding over hard-packed dirt, hears a howl, farther away, that sounds like Derek. He's breathing hard, now, but he keeps going. Goes faster, actually. He runs and runs so that when the unicorn finally does appear—charging at him from the right—he's fast enough that he dodges it easily enough. He jumps, rolls, avoiding heavy elephant hooves and a wicked quick horn, sharp teeth out of a wide, foaming, deer mouth.
"Derek!" He yells, kicking out blindly and hitting at the unicorn's flank. He's pretty sure he breaks a toe. "Now would be a good time to play hero!"
Derek doesn't come, but he does hear a howl—it's close, maybe a fourth of a mile—so he scrambles back, falling over roots and rocks, pulling his legs back just before they're crushed by giant hooves. He keeps moving, crab-walking until his back hits a tree, and then rolling away just as the unicorn charges.
It's screaming now, its head moving restlessly from side to side, seeing him but not really seeing him. He dodges when it charges at him again, spinning to keep the tree in between them, edging along with his back to the wood as it circles, and then charges, then backs off, and charges again.
Maybe eons later—or a minute, who cares, it seems like eons—something black and furry leaps out of the trees from Stiles' left, snarling as it latches sharp, pearl-white teeth into the unicorn's jugular and tears.
There's blood everywhere, on Stiles and the trees and Derek's muzzle. On the unicorn too, as it rears up on it's hind legs, then starts jumping and bucking to try and shake Derek off. Stiles finds himself frozen, watching, part horrified, part fascinated, as the unicorn slams Derek into a tree until he lets go with a whine. It's all a blurr after that, really. Or well, for maybe five minutes. Stiles gets the impression that there's a lot of throwing and biting and general maiming, but he can't focus on anything, really, because they're both moving too fast. And then, something screams.
Stiles hears bones crack. It's a sickly noise, wet with blood and strangely loud. It echoes in his ears, and when the two stop fighting enough for him to see what happened, he gags. The unicorn has a hoof on Derek's chest, another on his leg, and he's twisted all wrong. He's whimpering, still in his alpha form, and his leg, where the unicorn has its weight, is flat and crushed, his chest concave and deformed. The unicorn has its horn at Derek's neck, but it can't get close enough to actually puncture skin.
It—the unicorn—is bleeding from a deep gash in its side. Deep enough that Stiles can see tissue and muscle past all the blood. There's a similar gash right underneath its horn, where the skin is flapping over to show bright red muscle, and it's favoring its right hind leg, which is bent backwards.
Stiles doesn't throw up. He doesn't have the time.
There's a branch in his hand, long and thick and heavy, something he picked up in a daze, and he lunges, swinging it fast and hard until he hears it connect with the unicorn's head with a satisfying crack. It doesn't kill the unicorn—of course not, that would be easy, and nothing about this is going to be easy—but it does get it to move off of Derek.
He grabs at Derek's fur with one hand, ignoring the growl that probably means something along the lines of 'I told you not to get involved you fucking idiot,' and starts pulling him.
Stiles can't talk, because he's out of breath, and is also about to vomit because there's so much blood, but if he could, he would be calling Derek an idiot too. A fucking idiot. A stupid he-man with a hero complex the size of the fucking moon. An asshole. He would also, probably, be crying a bit, because a lot of the blood on Derek is… Derek's. It's leaking from tears to his crushed chest and oozing past white bone over his crushed leg and it's terrifying. So, Stiles doesn't talk, but he pulls. He pulls until they're crouched behind a trio of relatively large boulders, set on a slight incline so the unicorn can't see them but they can see it.
He hears howls as he leans down to arrange Derek into a better position. He whimpers when Stiles gets him on his good (well, better) side, his features morphing like he's trying to change back.
"Stop, stop." Stiles keeps his voice low, because he can hear the unicorn snorting, following the blood trail straight to their boulder. The others need to get here fast, because Derek isn't going to heal before it finds them. "You suck at taking down unicorns, by the way. What was that? Were you trying to get injured?!" he hisses. He knows it's bad when Derek just whimpers again, instead of growling.
"Fuck," he says. Theoretically, Derek will live. He's going to take a while to heal, but he's going to live. But it's still…it's still bad. It's still his fault that Derek is in this much pain. In this much agony. It's still his fault that Derek is spitting up his own blood and that his chest is caved in from where the unicorn crushed his ribs, still his fault that Derek's leg looks like someone took a hammer to it and just kept hammering until there was nothing but pulverized flesh and bo—
There's a growl, and Derek nips, hard, at his hand, glaring at him with red, glowing eyes.
"I'm allowed to feel guilty, fuckface!" he hisses, his voice too watery for him to not be crying. Damn it. "Asshole. Doucheba-fuck."
He throws himself to the ground just as the unicorn lunges at him, rolls until he's far enough away from Derek that it won't see him, even if the idiot is snarling and trying to get up. He scrambles back as it stomps at where his leg had been before, jumping to his feet and running.
The unicorn is fast, but it's injured, and it hasn't healed enough to catch him. Not yet. It's also rogue, and blind with rage and whatever else that's making it do what it's doing, so Stiles runs. And, even with an ankle and knee that twinge with every movement, and hands that itch and sting underneath dirtied bandages, and a chest that aches every time he so much as turns his head, he gets away.
Or, well, he's not trying to get away. He's trying to get the unicorn away from Derek.
There's hot, stinky, iron-smelling breath at the back of his neck, and he swerves, flailing as he almost trips over a root, then turning to put a tree trunk in between the unicorn and him.
It stares at him, lunges to the right, and he fakes to the left. It lunges to the left, and he goes right.
And finally, finally, Erica's here. And so is Scott, and Jackson, and Boyd. Oh, and Isaac. They're all wolfed out, snarling as they surround the thing, slicing at the air with long, razor sharp claws and making the ground vibrate with their growls.
It's all very intimidating. Stiles kind of sinks back, letting the tree support his weig—only then the unicorn jumps, starts galloping (or, semi-galloping, it's really more of a canter, what with the deformed leg and all), and, and, and…and it's fucking sparkling?
This has to be the teleportation thing. The reason why they kept losing the unicorn's scent at random intervals. Fucking crap.
Stiles finds himself sprinting, and the unicorn is slow enough that he catches up before the others know what's happening. Actually, he catches up before even he knows what's happening. And then, being the stupid fucking idiot that he is, when he does catch up, just as the unicorn is turning translucent, he lunges at it, gets a handful of greasy, bloody mane, and then everything turns black.
When he can see again, he's alone, with the unicorn, in a completely different part of the forest. Hell, is it still the forest? The Hale forest? Or are they even still in Beacon Hills? Or they even in California?
This was not a good idea. Definitely not a good idea. Stiles remembers something about horror movies and splitting up and…yeah, he's an idiot. Someone needs to punch him.
He's on the ground, and the unicorn is staring down at him looking almost…confused. He doesn't move for a second, then it huffs out a breath of hot, blood-tainted air at him, and he scrambles away.
"Fuck," He croaks, looking for something—anything—to use as a weapon. There's nothing within reach except fucking leaves. He jumps to his feet, whimpering when the unicorn starts pawing at the ground, swaying its head from side to side, it's black beady eyes glowing at him. Those eyes prove him immobile for maybe a second, and then he's running again.
This part of the forest—whatever forest this is—is dense, thick with underbrush, and hilly. He has no idea where he's going, so really he's running to find something to either hide in, or use to kill the unicorn.
The terrain, even as hilly as it is, doesn't seem suited for caves. And there are no boulders to hide behind. Just underbrush that is thick enough to slow him down but low enough to not provide any shelter whatsoever. So, he runs. He runs, then runs faster when he hears the roar behind him, then the crackling of large hooves against leaves and the rushing noise of foliage being crushed.
Crushed like bone.
Ugh, Derek is going to kill him. He's going to kill him, and then he's going to ban him from ever touching him again. All because Stiles never thinks except when he shouldn't.
Damn it, they should've had sex last night. Or this morning.
He doesn't want to die because he's a virgin. That's even worse than just dying as a virgin.
Stiles yells when he feels hot breath against his neck, throws himself to the side—hitting his ribs up against a tree and maybe seeing stars for a split second—just as the unicorn charges past him, head bent low, horn glinting in the sun. He lays there for a bit, stunned, then pushes himself to his feet and starts running the opposite way.
Something vibrates in his pocket – his phone-and he really does want to answer it, but then he trips over a fallen branch, and face plants into the hard dirt. He either has a broken nose or a black eye. Or both. Either way, something hurts.
Well, a lot of things hurt, but now his face hurts too.
He twists himself to lie on his back, takes a good look at the branch he tripped over, and something like a plan starts forming.
The unicorn turns, starts charging at him again, and he doesn't think, just grabs the branch—it's thick and heavy and long and seems like it would make a good weapon—and starts running again. He plasters himself, maybe a minute later, maybe five, behind one of the thicker trees, branch held like a sword in both hands, eyes closed, trying to concentrate on the sound of hooves as they get closer.
He probably only has one chance at this. And it's not even guaranteed to work. It's just Plan A. Plan B is start running again and call someone. But then he'll have to keep running until they come and save him. And Stiles isn't sure he's going to be able to keep running. Not fast enough to outrun the unicorn. It's already healing; already galloping too fast for Stiles to have any hope if he has to keep running.
He should've realized he had his phone with him earlier. Then he could've at least dialed someone and hoped they tracked him fast enough.
This is why his teachers keep saying he needs to apply himself more. Because he just doesn't think things through.
Stiles isn't even sure he's strong enough to—
Fuck, the unicorn.
He swings the branch upwards at an angle, arms burning from the strain, eyes closed, holding his breath for—
The branch vibrates, painfully, as it connects with something hard. Stiles hears a horrible sound that he can't catalog, a mix between a scream and something stronger than bone breaking, and opens his eyes to see the unicorn careening into the tree right in front of him, blood pouring out of a horn that is now…only half of a horn.
He lets a little part of him thank luck, and his own awesome on-the-spot physics calculations (ha, yeah right, it was all just luck). He doesn't have time to really celebrate, though, because the unicorn, as bloody and hornless as it is, is still dangerous. And it's turning, flaring it's nostrils at him, gnashing it's teeth, and…yeah, it's pissed.
Wildly, he looks around for the horn, sees it glinting on the ground, black and bloody, ten feet away, and drops his branch (now broken in two, the parts held together by a flimsy strip of bark) as he scrambles towards it.
A lot of what happens next is blurry and confusing—even more so than what has already been happening—but he's suddenly on his back, horn in his hand, with the unicorn seconds away from trampling him.
He hears himself start cursing, and then his hand comes up, the one with the horn in it, and he watches as the sharp point stabs through skin and muscle and sinew. There's a sickening squelch, and something that sounds like suctioning, and the unicorn freezes. Stiles is pretty sure he hit the heart—he's pretty sure. Nothing happens for too long. The unicorn just…stays there. Frozen, black eyes locked on him in…disbelief? There's blood leaking from where the horn is lodged in its chest, dripping down to pool around Stiles' hand.
His breathing is harsh and shallow, wheezy, even, and there's a rushing in his ears that's not the start of a panic attack, but is definitely caused by some sort of anxiety. Someone moves—Stiles isn't sure if he lurches backwards or if the unicorn pulls away, but suddenly there's blood everywhere. More than when Derek had been injured. More than he's ever seen, and Stiles has seen a lot. He's covered in it, and it's dripping down his face and covering his skin.
The unicorn collapses against the tree opposite him, sliding to the ground in an unnatural tangle of limbs, soft, confused moans escaping its slack mouth. He stares at it; it stares back.
He's not sure what to do, except he… he feels guilty, suddenly. He guesses that's a good thing—means he still has a soul, or whatever. But it doesn't feel great, knowing that the thing dying in front of him is dying because of him.
Stiles stares for a bit, because he can't think of anything else to do. He's just kind of…frozen. In shock, maybe, a little. In pain…a lot. He's shivering, which must be from some sort of adrenaline high.
He knows he should stop looking. He knows he should go over there and give it a mercy blow, or something. Anything. Anything to stop those pitiful whines that are growing weaker as the unicorn loses more blood. But he… he can't.
Shit, he thought this was going to be a quick kill. Stab the thing in the heart; it explodes in, like, glitter and rainbows. But… it's not. It's horrible and wrong and bloody and slow.
Or maybe it's not, Stiles is pretty sure his grasp of time right now isn't the most objective. Maybe this is all taking seconds but his brain is high on survival and is making everything move slower than…nah, that's bull.
He gets up, his whole body shaking with the need to stay as far away as possible, but limps over anyway (because Stiles has gotten great at ignoring what his body wants him to do), to where the unicorn is lying, breathing heavy, on it's side, eyes wide and terrified, blood gushing out onto the forest floor with every heartbeat.
"Fuck," he says. Its eyes aren't as black anymore. They're… brown. Dark brown. And they're looking up at him with fucking intelligence. Shit. He falls to his knees, a little confused because he really feels like crying, all of a sudden.
Maybe he's just overwhelmed?
His hand comes out, trembling, and he flinches when the unicorn screams, scrambling to get away from him.
"I'm sorry," he says, and isn't too surprised that he means it. "So sorry, I just—fuck."
It's probably not normal to apologize to the enraged beast that wanted you dead mere minutes ago. But Stiles isn't normal. He's also pretty sure that the unicorn is staring back at him now with something that looks like understanding. Like it understands that he had to do what he had to do, even if it doesn't necessarily like that he had to do it.
He shouldn't be surprised, though—hadn't Danny said unicorns could speak about a thousand different languages? Maybe, now that it's dying, it's not rogue anymore.
Which is really horrible and unfair.
His hand comes out again, and he strokes at the unicorn's flank with trembling fingers.
"I'm sorry," he says again, and he doesn't imagine when it nods back at him, a hot breath of air hitting his knee. "I'll… I'll stay with you, I guess. If that's all right. Or, if you—"
It blinks up at him, eyes already half-mast, nods again, movements slow and lethargic.
He stays there, kneeling next to the unicorn's head, for what seems like eons. He stays there until it's not breathing anymore, until its eyes flutter closed and stay that way. He maybe breaks down and starts sobbing.
And then he's pretty sure he gets into kind of a daze, because he's suddenly on his back, staring up at the cloudless sky overhead, lying next to a dead unicorn, and his phone is buzzing in his pocket.
Numb, he fumbles with it until he can squint at the screen.
"Hey," he croaks out a greeting when he finally manages to make his fingers work and answers it. There's a sharp intake of breath from the other side, and then a lot of rustling and shouts and panicked growls. "I killed it."
There's silence, after that. Which is good. Stiles likes silence.
Or, wait, no he doesn't.
Crap, he's confused.
"I killed it," he says again, and this time his voice cracks. "And, uh, I don't… know where I am, Scott. And I'm pretty sure I stole my dad's cruiser, so could you get someone to return it to the house, for me? The keys are in the ignition… it's unlocked. And—"
"Stiles!" Derek snarls from the other side. Behind him, he can hear the others talking in high-pitched, panicked voices. "Where are you? Are you injured? We can't—you disappea—"
"I don't know." He glances over at the unicorn—still dead. "My phone has GPS, though."
"Stiles…" Derek sighs.
"I don't think I'm in Beacon Hills," he says. "The forest is different."
"We'll find you." Derek growls.
"Yeah, well, it's not like I'm going to be moving any time soon." Stiles sniffs, groans as he pulls himself to sit. "How are your—"
He can hear Derek moving, so he must have him on speaker phone.
"You're lying." He sighs. "Erica, he's lying, isn't he?"
"Ye—I mean, no, he's fine," Erica says.
"Fine as in walking around with a set of broken ribs and leg? Yeah, right. Sure."
"I was handling it before you came." Ouch. Derek's voice is cold and angry.
"Obviously, you weren't," Stiles can do cold and angry. He can do mean. He's a killer now, he can do anything, right? "because it took a human to kill it, you fucking asshead."
He hangs up, then, because he doesn't need to be on the phone for them to find him, and, really, right now he's not up to trading barbs. Not with anyone. Right now he just wants… silence.
And if silence means ignoring the buzzing of his phone every ten minutes, well, Stiles is nothing if not persistent when he wants to ignore something.
He slides himself backward until he's leaning up against a tree, maybe twenty feet away from the…body, and he just sits there. He's calm, surprisingly. No, that's not right. He's too calm. He's numb.
The kind of numb that means later, maybe hours, maybe days, maybe months, later, he's going to remember this, and he's going to panic. His throat is going to close up and his chest is going to hurt and his vision is going to…
Yeah, well, that's not going to happen. Not yet. At least for now, he's calm. Numb. Whatever.
He's pretty sure he blacks out again, because when he wakes up, it's late afternoon, there's the smell of death and rotting blood in the air, and something is crashing through the woods, headed straight towards him. No, not something. Some things.
He knows who it is before he sees them, and plasters a smile on his face, the kind that he hopes says hey guys, I'm great…nothing to see here. No need to worry, really. Except it probably doesn't, because when they stop, maybe ten feet away, all of them (well, Boyd, Isaac, Scott, and Derek are here, he doesn't know where the others are) just kind of…stare. At him. And then at the unicorn. And then back at him.
Then Scott's pulling him to his feet and crushing him in a hug.
"Holy shit, dude." Scott hits him over the head. "You're a badass. And an idiot."
Derek is looking at him all pinched-like. Stiles resists the temptation to stick his tongue out.
"Jackson drove it back," Boyd says, walking over to look down at the unicorn. His nose wrinkles. "It smells like death."
"You smell like death." Scott punches his arm, and Stiles raises his eyebrows at him.
"Scott, you take Stiles to the apartment. We'll take care of… this," Derek growls. Stiles glares at him. He doesn't know why they're angry at each other, but he's not missing the opportunity to show his anger. Even if he doesn't know why he's angry.
… it's the principle of the thing, really.
"I need Deaton." Stiles tries to move, winces at the pain. "Then I'm going home."
"Sti—" Scott grimaces, shakes his head at him. He ignores the looks Boyd and Isaac are giving him.
"Are you going to carry me or what?" he asks. "I don't think I can walk very well on my own. I probably re-sprained my ankle. Or broke it. Either way, hurts like hell."
"Take him, Scott," Derek growls.
Stiles does stick his tongue out this time, and lets Scott piggy-back him all the way back to the car.
Turns out they're three towns and a two hour's drive over from Beacon Hills.
Stiles decides not to think about what would've happened if he hadn't killed the unicorn. Instead, he rests his head on the leather seat, and stares up at the sky while Scott rambles.