The very first thing Stiles does when he finally gets back on his own two feet and has things more or less on track, can’t be defined as anything other than a form of self-torture.
He shouldn’t be doing this, he promised himself he wouldn’t. He was going to spy on the Argents and…
When he started two days ago, he tried to be at the very least a little bit inconspicuous when he spied his mother on her daily walks through the park. Now he’s just sitting on a wooden bench, dying a little more inside with each passing minute.
She’s beautiful and he didn’t know how much his memory of her was skewed by the lack of pictures and the ugliness that her sickness had brought, until he saw her for the first time two days ago. What’s even more heart wrenching, is that he can’t do a thing to help her. No matter how much magic and runes and rituals he has learned, when he skips town, he will be leaving her to pain and suffering and, eventually, to death.
“Everything all right there, son?” Stiles covers a minute flinch and sighs, because he should have expected this. He has been watching her like a weirdo stalker for three days now, after all, it was bound to be noticed.
“Just trying to figure some things out,” he answers quietly without turning to face his dad. He doesn’t think he can handle it, knowing that he won’t be able to call him that ever again.
(He reminds himself ruthlessly that, back in his own time, he couldn’t call him that anymore either.)
“And how is that going?”
Stiles doesn’t have to look at him to know he has adopted his classic cop pose, it transfers to his tone of voice quite clearly. His lips involuntarily twitch but the momentary mirth leaves a sour taste in his mouth too.
“Not so good… but not so bad either.”
Because the damn ritual worked, even if it left him naked and without everything he had prepared (money, clothes, provisions) besides the knowledge in his brain in the middle of a field in Kansas. Ah, and like ten years prior to when he intended to arrive. The last half year hadn't fun at all, but he managed somehow to start from zero.
“Could be worse then?”
“Definitely,” he snorts.
The ritual could have failed and he could be dead. Opposed to that, even having to skulk around Kansas stark naked in the dark, having to steal underwear and other necessities is better. He sighs.
There’s a beat of silence and he doesn’t need to look at his father to know he’s debating with himself about something. He knows his tells like the back of his hand, after all, and this younger John Stilinski, even untouched by grief over his wife’s death, isn’t that different in some aspects.
“Do you need help, son?" he finally asks, and Stiles wonders what his father is seeing in him, a complete stranger (and a very suspicious one at that, who has been stalking his wife for days), to ask that question with that level of concern. "That was a very dramatic sigh there.”
Even after everything, some childish part of Stiles that he has never managed to kill completely still sees his dad as some kind of superhero that can win against anything. He wants to turn around and ask him to fix this mess, to give him back his time, his life, to lift this responsibility to fix everything off his shoulders.
He closes his eyes tiredly and wets his lips. He forces himself to sit up, still not looking at the man. His mother laughs ahead. At this time, either they’re trying to get pregnant or he isn’t even an idea.
“Son?“ His father tense voice reaches him and he sighs again.
This is his reward, he tells himself. To have a new untainted memory of his mother and his father is priceless. So he can remember her smile and laughter without the ugliness of her sickness. So he can remember his warm expression without being tainted sour by their issues or broken and bloodied. It’s a reward and a blessing, he repeats to himself, so that he can, maybe, close his eyes and see that image instead.
He turns around.
Afterwards, he tracks the Nemeton to check on it. The Hales and Deaton must be doing the maintenance, because he doesn’t have to purify it like he feared. The Nogitsune is another thing entirely, though. Either they don’t know of its presence or they don’t know how to deal with it, but it doesn't matter which of those it really is, because both of them are equally bad. Part of Stiles wants to kill it and be done with it; another part of him recognizes that being undeservingly trapped for seventy years (sixty now) can twist anything and anyone.
He releases and cleanses it, performing the ritual to satiate its need for revenge and lets it go. The Nogitsune vanishes with a considering look, but doesn’t say a thing. Stiles places wards where he knows they won’t be found before leaving, so if anyone with ill intent comes near the Nemeton he will know instantly.
He stays in town for a couple more days, looking into the Argents. It’s almost disgustingly easy to lose his tail. He gives his father props for the tenacity, he supposes, but he’s been doing this since he was twelve.
After getting all the information he can (gotta love magic and detection runes, he could have been sitting in their dining room with them and they wouldn’t have noticed a thing), he debates with himself for a bit before he gives in. He buys one of those cheap one use cameras. The moment he finally takes a picture of them as a family, he skips town as fast as he can. In Yuba City, he waits until he’s back at his motel room to look at the printed picture and he breaks out crying.
He keeps the printed photograph in his ratty wallet and a memory stick with the scanned version on a chain around his neck, both of them with enough wards to make anyone who tries to steal them from him vaporize.
He crosses the entire Sacramento Valley until he reaches Redding. That night at a seedy bar on the outskirts of town, with a nearly untouched beer in his hand, he tries to figure out what to do now.
It was a simple enough plan, really. Fool proof, even. Get back in time, kill Gerard and Kate, stopping the Hale fire and the creation of the alpha pack in one neat move. Maybe stop the whole Paige debacle? Easy peasy.
No such luck.
For starters, he doesn’t even know where Gerard is. From what he has learned, at the moment he’s part of the Tribunal’s hunters and he has been sent who knows where. Kate is a bratty fifteen year old girl, not yet out of high school and still under the wing of Alexandrine, the current Argent Matriarch. Chris has already been working under another experienced Tribunal hunter for two years now and Stiles doesn't have the means to track him down.
It gets him wondering, when did things go south with them? He can’t know about Chris, because he hasn’t encountered him yet, but Kate looks like a normal bratty teenager. A little acerbic and sarcastic, yes, but there are no tells of psychopathic behavior at all, so he’s been thrown for a loop. He would bet all his money (which admittedly is not much at the moment) that grandpapa Argent (well, at the moment only papa because Allison hasn’t even been conceived yet) has something to do with that. Something must have happened to Alexandrine, leaving the path open to Gerard to manipulate Kate into the psychopath they all know and hate. Whatever happened, though, it’s in the near future and it probably didn’t touch Chris too much because he’s already out of the nest so to speak. Or that's what he guesses happened, in any case, because it's not like Chris was all unicorns and rainbows at first... or ever, really, even if he somewhat mellowed with time.
That is not to say that the current Argents are pro supernatural, but they seem more tolerant? He supposes there’s a very ample range of views but at least they seemingly adhere to the Code to the letter. Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent. The Matriarch is an iron fisted lady about it, as far as he could tell from the three conversations he spied on.
One of those conversations was with newly minted Alpha Talia Hale, so full of rigid politeness and very, very, veiled insults and diplomatic bullshit, that it could be almost considered a new form of art. Stiles was reluctantly impressed with the verbal ninja arts and almost sorry for Talia for the way Alexandrine dominated the conversation.
The other two were telephone conversations with hunters under her command about a wendigo up north that further cemented the fact that they followed the Code. The second of which, by the way, was an epic tongue lashing so sarcastic and dry that it nearly reduced him to tears from the laughter and he had to leave before he got caught towards the end of it.
His lips twitch remembering it and he snorts into the mouth of his beer bottle, making the sound reverberate weirdly.
But back to the situation at hand, he thinks, sobering. Bottom line, he doesn’t know what to do. Does he only kill Gerard? Because something doesn’t sit right with offing Kate, that’s for sure. Also, maybe Gerard isn’t a bad person and something happened that twisted him? Stiles groans. He can’t believe he’s contemplating saving that man, it’s even worse than leaving Kate be. It leaves an incredibly sour taste in his mouth.
Stiles takes a swig from the bottle and grimaces. Damn, he hates beer. He doesn’t even know why he ordered it in the first place. He sighs.
The whole debating and pondering is pointless without the information he needs. He can’t make a proper decision lacking in that department, so he has to investigate. And for that, he has to locate Gerard. He knows for a fact that, at this point in time, the Tribunal’s headquarters are located in Atlanta, so what better place to start than that?
He sits up from the bar stool and heads for the exit after a nod to the barman that goes largely ignored. He shrugs nonplussed and goes to the parking lot. He eyes the sky, full with heavy dark clouds, and tries to remember in which direction was the motel. He really needs to get a car, he thinks as he takes a moment to mourn for his Roscoe. He really wants to invest in one because not only does he hate hitchhiking, but he could use it to sleep. Even gas money would be cheaper than paying for a motel when he can’t sleep outside. However, right now his financial balance is so close to zero that even paying for a beer feels like splurging. Winter hasn’t been fun with limited resources, that’s for sure.
A movement at the edge of his vision has him turning. No attacks come, but for some reason he’s instantly alert. A woman emerges from the dark and his first reaction is to rush to her bloodied and abused form. He squashes it ruthlessly. Something’s wrong.
“Help,” she whispers brokenly, her hand reaching out to him.
Ah, damn, he remembers. That wendigo up north. He takes the toothpick from his mouth and pricks his finger on it. He pretends not to notice how she takes a deep breath at the slight smell of blood.
“What happened, miss?“ he slurs faking concern and a slight drunkenness (he can’t overdo it in case she has been observing him), but makes no move to approach her, seemingly looking around to locate the threat. “Who did this to you?”
“A man… a man,” she sobs. “Can you help me? I need a hospital.”
“Ah, damn, I have no car, sorry! Maybe someone at the bar, I'll go get…”
She must be starving, because she launches herself at him before he can even finish turning. He sidesteps her, her nails leaving a bloody imprint on his face, and twists her arm behind her. He drives the toothpick into the base of her skull in a one swift move and she instantly drops.
Applause rings in the silent parking lot.
“With a toothpick.”
Stiles covers a snort and the hunter in the room with him looks at him suspiciously, still aiming the shotgun at him covertly. The doctor looks up from the wendigo briefly and continues his examination. He keeps the surveillance rune tattoo activated and listens to Adam (apparently the same one mama Argent flailed for losing the wendigo in Crescent City) talk.
“Yes, madame,” he answers, not entirely able to keep the incredulity out of his voice. “Doc says that just a millimeter off in any direction and he would have failed.” Well, that was what his blood was for, after all. Perfect placement and an undetectable charged shot to the brain that killed instantly. “We knew he’s experienced from the moment he didn’t rush to it like a civvie or a rookie would, though… and when he didn’t overdo the drunken act.”
“No papers, madame.”
“And?” she prompts impatiently after a beat of silence.
”Did you, per chance, think to ask?“ Adam splutters and Stiles bites his cheek to cover a laugh. He actually likes this woman. That may or may not change when she fixes her attention and that cutting tongue on him, though. ”For the love of… Pass him the phone."
Adam enters the room again and with a dirty look hands him the phone. Stiles, just to be difficult, raises an eyebrow and makes no move to take it. The man scowls and he aims at him an unimpressed look.
“Madame wants to talk to you.” Adam finally relents with gritted teeth, and Stiles takes the phone, keeping his unfazed expression firmly on.
He’s been mentally preparing for battle since she told her minion to pass him the phone. He needs to set a good foundation for future interactions or she will swallow him whole, not leaving even the bones behind.
“Well, madame,“ he drawls, “tell me why should I care that you want to talk to me?”
I haven’t killed your people, yet, but if you push me that can change, he doesn’t say. She gets it anyway.
Stiles is on his way to Atlanta (he keeps getting waylaid, damn it, first with a flock of garudas that needed help with a witch in Reno, and then with a herd of centaurs in dispute with a local werewolf pack near Salt Lake City), going through Denver, when he gets pulled into an alley. He almost blows Adam’s brains out before he recognizes him and only his pale and terrified expression stops him from doing it anyway out of aggravation. Dammit, more trouble, he groans mentally. Happy Birthday to him, yay. Then the foul stench of a darach’s magics assaults his nose, and he almost gags with the thickness of it, driving the seriousness of the situation home quite effectively.
He follows the man to a hideout at Quivas Street, where another two hunters are waiting for Adam. They bring him up to speed in hushed whispers, with eyes that they can't keep from darting around themselves nervously. A week ago, a team was sent to investigate strange happenings in the area and they disappeared without a trace. Of the reinforcement team of eight hunters that arrived yesterday, only the three of them remain.
It doesn’t look good at all.
Stiles asks them to retell him everything that has happened, not leaving out a single detail at all, whether they think it important or not.
They don’t know anything about the first group but, of the five missing reinforcing hunters, two disappeared at 15th Street, another two on Water Street and the last one near the Mile High Stadium, just at the beginning of Platter Greenway. Every single one complained about persistent mosquitoes. He feigns studying the map as he makes them repeat everything one more time, and marks the places of the disappearances with red sharpie. Then he activates the rune in his hand. The nearer he gets to the locations where the intensity of the signature matching the one tainting the missing hunters is higher, the hotter his fingers grow.
Over Elitch Gardens he has to hide a wince at the burn.
They refuse to be left behind, so Stiles has to bring the three hunters with him. He gives them a special speech before going: they do as he says, when he says, no doubt or complaints. They seem a little peeved, but the moment Adam nods (he remembers the toothpick thing, thank you very much) they fall rapidly in line.
Turns out there’s a damn Nemeton in Elitch Gardens (which, how the hell is that even possible???) and the darach’s trying a ritual for world domination or something equally nefarious that Stiles doesn't have the time to stop to find out. They are lucky, though, because the darach hasn’t killed any of the hunters she captured, even if she’s been slowly bleeding them out like pigs if the amount of blood is anything to go by. In any case, it's obvious they probably don’t have much time.
Before he can do anything to take her by surprise, she notices them, and an entire flock of cranes descends on them. He smiles like a shark, welcoming the distraction, and goes after her.
Taking all the hunters to the hospital is a bitch; confounding and conning the hospital staff into treating them without calling the police is even worse. But, having to spend the following ten hours purifying the Nemeton? That's the worst thing ever.
After that, when he’s finally heading (almost crawling his way) to the motel to sleep for a day or two at least, Adam intercepts him, passing him a phone. He groans and the asshole smirks tiredly. Stiles barely resists the temptation of throwing it to his head and Adam's smirk only widens, as if he can read his mind.
Turns out that, in between those seven hunters, he just saved Alexander Argent, Alexandrine’s twin brother.
He has a bad feeling about the whole thing. It only intensifies when Adam, very pissed off, leaves without his phone.
Happy Birthday to him, indeed.
He continues to Atlanta, determined to not be waylaid again. He’s passing St. Louis when things go south.
The moment he sits in the passenger’s seat of the truck, he recognizes the driver for what it is. He curses his luck. A wendigo, again? Really? What the hell, he curses mentally.
He nearly dies when it tries to kill him with the truck still moving. Stiles bashes it’s head into the steering wheel repeatedly while he tries to actually steer the truck, but it still crashes. He wakes up who knows how long after, his face bloody and dizzy. The wendigo is dead, slumped heavily over the steering wheel and Stiles grimaces at the sight. He unfastens his seat belt and opens the door to vomit on the gravel. He tries to clear his head, breath harsh as his world spins around him at impossible speeds.
There’s a faint sound coming from the back of the truck and he curses. He heaves himself from the seat and helps himself using the walls to move tortuously slowly to the rear door. When he reaches it, it has a damn padlock and he curses again. The trek back to the cabin leaves him shaking, and it takes him three tries to open the damaged door and another three to heave himself up to search the body for the keys. Afterwards, he has to take a minute to breathe, his rolling stomach making him sway.
Eventually, he gets back to the rear. He takes another minute to breathe again before opening the door and he nearly gets his head bashed for his troubles. He’s actually saved because his legs give out on him.
He’s pretty dizzy, but lucid enough to recognize an experienced hunter when he sees one. “Argent?” he asks a bit slurred. He has a concussion for sure.
The man stops abruptly and Stiles wordlessly passes him his phone. He sits on the entrance and looks inside. There’s at least three half eaten bodies. Chris Argent is unconscious and still tied up in one corner, but thankfully not missing any body parts.
The other man passes him the phone back before going to untie Chris. It takes him a moment to note that the call is still connected and someone is calling his name.
“Well, hello mama Argent,“ he slurs. “You keep losing things, maybe you should look into that?”
“I thought we talked about this, mama Argent,” he drawls as he picks up the phone she gave him (Adam, actually) almost three months ago. It’s not like he was going to get rid of it, flat out broke as he was. “Still not one of yours.”
“And yet, you still pick up, Stiles,“ she drawls back and he rolls his eyes.
“Because if I don’t, you keep calling and it gets annoying.”
“I can always send someone, if you prefer that instead. I have some people in Modesto right now. I’m sure Adam will be thrilled to see you again.“
Stiles rolls his eyes again. It took him a while to get that she’s only very good at pretending to know where he is at all times, that it isn’t actually true. He has this mental picture of her minions calling her the moment they spot him anywhere and it shouldn't be this hilarious.
“Yeah, because that worked so well last time.” There’s an actual reason for Adam’s mild to moderate dislike besides having to give him his phone on the spot, pictorial blackmail included. “Let’s cut the chase, shall we? What do you want that I won’t actually give you?”
She snorts dismissively at his words and he pouts. He needs to start following them through.
“What do you know about the naga?“
“That you only find them in Laos, Thailand or Cambodia, which is nowhere near freaking Modesto?“ There’s a beat of silence. “Tell me it’s not in the Naraghi Lake, in full fucking view.”
“Stiles! Of course it’s not in the Naraghi Lake,” she tuts as if she’s dissappointed.
“Let me guess, it’s not in any of the reservoirs, is it?”
“You’re such a clever child when you want to be.“
“I’m fucking twenty-three, you old hag, and I refuse. Nope. Not doing it. I hate the sewers!”
”A little bird told me you went to Atlanta.“ Yeah, he did. It was a complete waste of time, after the pains he went through to get there. At some point the hunters must have had a better relationship with the supernatural world (or maybe they still have it at the present time), or at least the druids, because the headquarters were warded to kingdom come. And trying to contact the Tribunal the normal way without an endorser was futile. “Your help in exchange for my endorsement.”
Stiles sighs. “If it’s not a threat, I’m not killing it. How big is it anyway?”
“An estimated fifteen feet.“ Stiles splutters. ”And I don’t care, so long as none of you get killed and you get the same results as with the centaurs.“ Okay, now he is impressed. How does she know???
He meets with the group in Elmwood Avenue. He has worked with them before, and they know to do as he says without question (even Adam, for all he scowls). Good. It’s probably not a coincidence it’s them, either. Alexandrine can be terrifyingly good like that.
They take Needham Street until they reach Eisen Park. It’s almost midnight, but they take care to check if someone is looking before they open a manhole and slip in.
It takes them more than three miserable and excruciating hours to locate the naga and Stiles curses when he finds out she’s laid eggs. Fuck, he curses loudly. The men tense at the hostile movements of the humongous reptilian but obey his signal to stay put and non threatening. Before she can attack, he blurts out a peace shout, first in Thai, then in Cambodian and in Laotian, hands in the air in the universal sign of peace. He keeps a respectful distance and stays still, hoping she will get it despite his most likely horrible pronunciation.
She blurts something back and he sighs relieved. He asks which is her mother language. Laotian, she’s from Laos, but she speaks just the basics of English. It takes him a while, but he finally gets that she was smuggled with another from Laos almost a year ago, by some man called Jensen or Jansen. She killed the man and hid here after he murdered her mate. And now she’s stuck here with a clutch. She hates the sewers, she wants to go home.
He takes great pleasure in waking Alexandrine at four in the morning so she can reach out to her contacts in Laos. Almost three hours later, they have everything planned to extract Naa Rak and her clutch, and give her a safe passage back to Laos.
He separates from the rest of the group, who is going to keep investigating the man that had Naa Rak and see if there’s a smuggling ring and this situation will be repeated, or if it’s an isolated case. He doesn’t envy them, to be honest, but it serves them right for snickering when Naa Rak hugged him, pressing his face to her very naked breasts (scaly or not) and nearly suffocated him, because she heard that’s how humans express their gratefulness and affection. Ah, and that was right before she did the forked tongue thing so she could memorize his scent and transmit it to future generations because she and her line, quote, would be forever in his debt.
They left the damn room to laugh, the bastards.
“Tell your sister she’s a fucking bitch!” he shouts the moment the call connects.
A Kate! What have you done now? Are you two timing your boyfriend again? comes muffled, as if the receiver has been partially covered. A Not at the moment? is heard in response and Stiles splutters.
“Ah, sorry, I thought you were Alexander. You have very similar voices, through the phone, I mean,“ he stutters flustered.
”Are you calling my mother a bitch?“
“She’s being one?” he offers weakly.
“It’s her fault! She fucking adopted me without my consent!” he finally shouts frustrated.
There’s a beat of silence from the other end of the line, followed by a twin, male and female, MOM.
“You did keep calling me mama Argent, son.”
“I-you-It was mocking and you know it! Stop with the amused tone, dammit!“
“I did promise you endorsement, Stiles.”
“What does it have to do with this?!”
“To be accepted by the Tribunal, you have to be a member of a hunter family. There’s no in between. Either you marry into the main families or you get adopted. This is the only way I could give you what I promised.“ She makes a pause for effect. ”Unless you want to tell me something about you and Adam, Stiles? I'm sure I could arrange something if you want?”
Stiles hangs his phone after spluttering and eyes the identification papers dismayed. There’s a passport, a driving license and, of all things, a credit card, all to the name of Stiles Argent. Even the birth date is right. He recalls his bitching and the string of happy birthday to me from that day with the darach and Alexander so at least he can explain that. He groans. He would bet his life that they are official and complete legal.
The phone rings again and Stiles contemplates not picking it up, but reluctantly decides against it.
“You’re genuinely angry.“ She sounds so perplexed that Stiles contains his acidic response. “Most people normally throw themselves at the opportunity to become Argents. Until you hung up I thought you were being your usual dramatic self.”
“I wouldn’t-” he starts, only to stop himself abruptly. He would, because he enjoys ticking people off by being difficult. He sighs. “I dislike being strong armed into things.”
(Dislike doesn’t even begin to cover it.)
There’s a beat of silence before she speaks. “I apologize. I’ll have it undone by tomorrow morning. I’ll change the last name to anything you want, and you can keep the papers. I’ll also try to find another way to endorse you, though I’m going to be honest here and admit that I don’t have high hopes for that.”
Stiles doesn’t answer yet, choosing to analyze what has happened in the past few minutes and what Alexandrine has said. Is it possible that this was her way of thanking him for saving her brother? If it’s so well considered, she probably thought that in his current situation he’d jump at the chance. She has just opened a lot of doors for him, after all. But this taking him for granted rubs him the wrong way.
He sighs again. “Don’t, I just…”
“I should have asked you?”
“Do you want to be an Argent, Stiles?“ He snorts. ”I’m going to be honest here and admit that we would be gaining as much as you would.“
“I need to think about it.”
“Take all the time you need.”
He wanders for a while, going south but not leaving California. He goes through Porterville and Ridgecrest and even tries the Mojave Desert up to the Kelso Dunes, where he sits for a while.
He’s not a Stilinski anymore.
He feels as if he’s been sucker punched. He rubs his face tiredly and presses his palms into his eyes until spots dance in front of them, hoping to stave the anxiety attack off. He takes a deep breath. It’s not like he was officially a Stilinski before the whole adoption business anyway, he tells himself. Up until now, in this time he was a nobody. He chokes on his own saliva and gasps.
Stiles takes out the picture he took all those months ago and stares at it for the first time, feeling broken and jagged around the edges. He thought he had prepared himself mentally for this, for being a nobody, alone and without any ties whatsoever. It’s not like he was on speaking terms with his father, dammit! Before he watched him die, they hadn’t seen or talked to each other for nearly a year, this shouldn’t be so difficult! But it's obvious he wasn’t as indifferent to the whole familial situation as he made himself believe, after all, or he wouldn't be trying to control himself in the middle of nowhere. Maybe taking the picture wasn’t such a good idea, because it just serves as a reminder of what will never be, what is forever lost to him.
He takes another deep breath and starts timing himself. He reminds himself that, in his own time, he was also not a Stilinski anymore, despite what his official identification papers said. It takes him a while to calm down enough to start thinking clearly again.
He’s frustrated, and not only about Alexandrine’s faux pas. He’s already passed the half year mark since he came back to the past and what has he done? Because he hasn’t killed Kate and Gerard, he doesn’t even know where he is? And now he’s an Argent? Christ, he's now Chris and Kate’s bigger brother! What the hell is he doing?
He takes another deep breath. He needs to take control pronto. He knows that he has more than seven years before everything goes to hell, but if things follow the same dynamics as up until now… He’s going to end up running out of time.
A gentle breeze goes through his fingers and he looks up. He gapes at the sand sprites in front of him. The second they realize they have his attention, they start to beckon him.
Stiles hesitates for a moment but their urgency convinces him. Besides, from what he knows, sand sprites are normally peaceful unless their land or tribes are threatened. He arms himself just in case and follows cautiously but hurriedly. After a long while they pass what he assumes to be the ghost town of Kelso. They cross the railway, and a little further away, he gets what they are trying to show him.
Taking down the manticore, even with the help of the sprites, almost kills him. A centimeter to the left and it would have taken his head. He lets himself fall to lay on the ground, breathing harshly.
The sprites flutter nervously around him and he sits up frowning. Following them to where they’re pointing, he almost chokes on his own saliva from the shock, and has a brief moment in which he doesn’t know what to do. Then he reacts.
He sets out to save as many as he can, unloading everything from his bag and filling half of it with sand. He swiftly creates a safe space with rune arrays that will help them heal and starts helping the few survivors into the bag. There’s no sign of the ruling pair.
Before leaving, he eyes the rest of the desert fairy colony, his heart almost breaking. He tries to take as much as he can from it, but the manticore pretty much destroyed it. He thanks the sand sprites after they guide him to the nearest bus station.
He gets off at Ridgecrest and then heads to the Indian Wells Valley, following Eglantine and Aelfdene’s directions until he reaches pretty much the middle of the valley. He lets them down gently and waits for their return, meanwhile tending to the survivors. Not even five minutes after their departure, a swarm of fairies flies towards him, seemingly out of nowhere. He helps them unload the wounded and what little he could save from the actual physical colony, including the sand when they ask for it.
He leaves feeling pretty damn good about himself. He may not have achieved much from his initial goal, but he can’t say that what he has done today is nothing.
He backtracks to Ridgecrest and decides to take a week to recover from the ordeal. By the third day he’s so restless that he throws that plan out of the window.
He decides to go back to check on the fairies. He waits where he thinks the colony is until Eglantine and Aelfdene come out to meet him. His heart clenches when he learns that ten out of the thirty fairies have died in the past three days, and that five are still in critical condition. He offers his runic and ritualistic abilities and they decline. Their bodies are fine, they say, their minds are not. They’re fading due to heartbreak, and no rune or ritual will help them with that.
When they try to talk about rewards, he’s cold and stony. He didn’t come back for that and they helped him get mental tranquillity, he considers them in peace. Eglantine flies to his face and places a kiss on his forehead.
“Fairy luck for you, my friend,“ floats melodiously into his mind.
“Take care,” he mutters back softly, waving at them as he retreats, suddenly assaulted with the need to be elsewhere.
It isn’t until he’s nearly in Sacramento when he connects his restlessness to Eglantine’s words and recognizes the lucky boon she granted him for what it is. He immediately stops questioning it and follows his instincts to the Angelo Coast Range Reserve in Mendocino county.
He gets another sudden the urge that tells him to hide and he swiftly activates his misdirection runes as he approaches the entrance to the preserve. Even in the dark, he spots Alexandrine and Alexander ahead with a bunch of her minions, Adam included. More importantly, Gerard is there too.
(Beautiful, beautiful Eglantine.)
He follows after them at a prudent distance. Runes or not, he’s not going to risk it, because there’s being confident and there’s being arrogant. They go straight to a building next to McKinley Creek, Stiles still closely behind.
The moment he spots the party the hunters are meeting, he turns the scent suppression runes on. He thanks Eglantine mentally again. Even with his swift reaction, he can see some of the werewolves sniffing at the air suspiciously in his direction.
Something doesn’t feel right.
Instead of following them inside, he checks around the building. He pinpoints three of Alexandrine’s hunters guarding the entrance, and four betas doing the same. He ignores them and tries to comb through the surroundings in the dark. He goes around just in time to catch two intruders approaching the back of the building. There’s no sign of Alexandrine’s hunters and he doubts she left this part unguarded. Or that the pack did, for that matter.
He activates the tiny little runes on the palm of his hands and claps them at their backs. They immediately drop unconscious. He goes hunting again and manages to incapacitate two more.
He returns to the front and observes. Two of the hunters look shifty, trying to look inconspicuous as they eye around them more and more with each passing minute. He recognizes the third as Paul, one of the hunters that accompanied him on the field trip from hell to the sewers back at Modesto. He looks wary of the betas, but nothing out of the ordinary. Stiles curses the fact that he never bothered getting his phone number…
But he hasn’t deleted anything from Adam’s phone, has he? He grins shark-like when he finds his contact details and then shoots a text. Paul’s eyes widen in shock but he doesn’t react otherwise. Voices start to rise on the inside of the building and Stiles' feelings of urgency grow. He shoots another text.
After a couple of minutes, Paul turns as if he has heard something from the back of the building. The other two offer to go and check and he protests, but ultimately relents. When they are out of sight, Stiles takes them out.
After that, he doesn’t bother with subtlety.
“Tell me you’re fucking sure,” Paul pleads ignoring the wary betas.
“So fucking sure,” he answers as he pulls him towards the back of the building.
Turns out that what Gerard did to Deucalion was the perfected version of what he did to his wife in the original timeline. He takes great satisfaction in crushing the life out of him. He wonders if being glad that he wasn’t redeemable makes him a horrible person but a moment later he doesn’t fucking care. They have found the bodies of the missing hunters and betas. Adam was one of them.
He starts somberly helping the pack and the hunters alike, using some herbs he has in store to help them with the wolfsbane poisoning. He might as well go big or go home, he thinks, following another hunch and using runes with the worst cases, not even bothering with subterfuge.
Alpha Donovan eyes him calculating and then turns to Alexandrine. “My emissary is dead,“ he states, not very subtly. Stiles doesn’t like him very much, to be honest. For starters, it’s very crass to try to replace a dead member of your pack not even an hour after the event took place. Not to mention cold, and it gives the impression that he thinks of the members of his pack as tools. Alexandrine adopts a blank expression. “This was a breach of the Code and now two of my betas are dead too,” he growls and she narrows her eyes. “I demand a compensation.”
Stiles aims a saccharine sweet smile at Donovan and he takes an involuntary step back. Alexandrine’s lips twitch slightly. “Maybe you should check if he’s in shock, Stiles,“ she says in a deceptively soft tone. “I admit my medical knowledge is at best limited, but that’s the only reason I can think of for him to forget that we were here to get to the bottom of why two of his betas killed four of my hunters in the first place.”
“It sounds like a sure thing, mama,“ he answers mildly. “No one is stupid enough to think that forcing anyone into being your emissary is a good idea, after all.”
Donovan doesn’t stand a chance under their combined efforts. He leaves with his pack sanctioned and with a scowl.
Stiles’ a little bit surprised and wary of the lackluster reaction of the hunter party to his abilities (he’s feeling sort of collectively duh-ed?), but he’s still riding the fairy boon’s effects, so he remains to help move the injured and the bodies to the Argent’s vehicles. Alexandrine looks at him from the backseat of a SUV questioningly when they’re about to leave.
“Well?” she prompts impatiently. “Aren’t you going to get in? You did call me mama, after all. Or am I reading the situation wrong again? You’re so difficult to understand sometimes.”
“I expected something like…”
“Fire and damnation raining on you when you decided to stop hiding?”
“Yeah?“ he answers weakly.
“Don’t be ridiculous, child,” she tuts.
“Again, I’m twenty-three years old, you old hag!” he protests, indignant. A passing hunter (and the driver, actually) chokes and starts coughing, quickening his pace. “And I don’t think it’s that far off to believe your reaction would be," he inserts some manic hand movements that are supposed to represent hell on earth, “when you found out, taking into account what you do for a living.“
She blinks. “You seriously don’t believe I just found out, right?” Stiles flails. “You took care of a wendigo with a toothpick, Stiles, I knew right from the start.”
“That could totally happen!”
She ignores him. He pouts. “Obviating the fact that you’ve saved several members of the family already, well, you’ve seen the headquarters in Atlanta, haven’t you? It’s not the first time we've worked peacefully with a druid without having homicidal urges,” she says dryly and she can’t possibly know how much she’s rocking his world view. What the hell happened on the next six to seven years in the original timeline that changed the hunter world so much?
“Not a druid,” he grumbles as he starts to climb into the SUV.
He promptly trips and nearly eats the door. Yeah, seems like the fairy luck is gone.
During the very first week Stiles spent in the Argent household, Alexandrine convened a reunion to address Gerard’s conspiracy. Being his charming persona, Stiles managed to infuriate ten more conspirators into revealing themselves and to antagonize almost all of the rest of the attendees.
Including his now (future?) sister-in-law when she answered harshly and almost dismissively one of Kate’s questions about Gerard’s stand on werewolves, with a rant about mutts and how they should be locked up and, of course, eliminated when they lose control. Alexandrine and Alexander had left the room, but he would have said his piece with them present anyway.
"They are dangerous. All that strength and abilities…"
"Of course, you’re right! Just like with all the military personnel, we should lock them up,“ is his blase counter. He doesn’t lift his eyes from the magazine he’s browsing. “And all those pesky veterans with PTSD? Eliminate them, of course."
"Are you stupid? It’s obviously not the same!"
"Is that so? They are dangerous, with a lot more strength than the average civilian and trained to have a lot of deathly abilities. And if they snap…” He snaps his fingers. “Now that I think of it… we should do the same with law enforcers too. Maybe even with firefighters?"
"They are human, they don’t turn into monsters every full moon!"
"Of course, you’re right,“ he answers mildly. “Soldiers can snap any day, after all, like every human. Or more so, given the situations they are placed in almost daily in war zones."
"I can’t even” she splutters outraged. “You’re ridiculous!"
"And you’re incredibly ignorant,” he counters, still in a mild disinterested tone. “Do you even know what an omega is or why shifters can lose their minds when a pack member dies? And I’m not talking about them being killed, I’m saying plain dying, no matter the cause."
"No, of course, you don’t know,” he cuts in. “How can I explain it…” He fakes thinking about it.“ I think the most accurate analogy would be losing a limb. You lose a pack member and, it doesn’t matter if you liked them or not, you maybe even hated them, and suddenly it’s as if someone took a serrated knife and took their sweet time cutting your leg. And afterwards, you have no leg but it still keeps hurting. Kinda like when a human loses an actual limb but ten times worse.“ He licks the tips of his fingers and turns a page. No one says a word. “Now, imagine what happens when their whole pack dies."
"That doesn’t explain about newly turned omegas,” Victoria tries to counter weakly."
"It’s pretty simple, actually, if you think about it.” Victoria presses her lips at the jab. “One, born shifters train to control their abilities from childhood, whereas turned ones have to learn from scratch in a very short span of time.“ He purposely leaves the anchor detail out, he doesn’t trust them with anything else besides the obvious things he’s explaining now. “Two, there’s an instant pack bond between the alpha and the turned one. If the alpha dies or leaves, not only do they have to deal with instincts they don’t know how to control, but they also experience the aforementioned losing a limb consequence of the snapping pack bond. And if they have been bitten against their will? Add in trauma to all that shit."
"Are you saying that we should just let them be?"
"Of course not! Don’t be silly, sugar,“ he chides her saccharine sweet, before sobering and looking at her in the eye. “I’m all for killing an asshole that goes around purposely biting people against their will. Keyword: purposely, keep that in mind. And sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and a mercy killing is the best option. Because, don’t be mistaken, that’s what it is in most cases with omegas. Do you think they actually want to lose their minds and kill people? Don’t be stupid if you can help it, mmm?“ He makes a pause for effect, knowing he has the attention of the whole room. “I agree it’s impossible to force a pack bond on an omega, so it’s irreversible. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that every lone wolf is an omega.” Incredulous murmurs rise. “Silence,” he snaps. “Engrave this into your thick skulls: a pack doesn’t have to be formed by shifters only, they share those bonds with humans too. Or do you think that the humans in a familial pack are left apart? They feel the same loss with their human packmates. Also, the turning omega thing is not an immediate consequence. Bringing them to an established pack may stop the process completely.“ He suddenly returns to his placid smile. “Mmm, why am I bothering anyway? It’s not like you care about what I’m telling you, of course. They are just mutts after all, right? Just like they were just Jews. Save yourself the hassle of thinking and just murder them.” He closes the magazine. “Silly me. It’s obvious you dislike thinking and all that bothersome stuff, because anyone with half a brain would know treating your future boss as if she’s a retard is a little bit counterproductive, you know? I’m almost looking forward to that, if she’s half as vicious as mama you’re doomed. Thanks in advance for the future entertainment your stupidity will bring.” Stiles leaves the room throwing a peace sign at them.
“Twinkle, I need a ride to the cinema.“
And now, a month after that happened, he still can’t shake Kate off.
From what he has gathered, Victoria is a bitch to her, continuously judgmental about her choices, because she’s the next Argent matriarch and she should start acting like it. And every time they cross paths she’s silently condemning and Chris is almost always out with his mentor and doesn’t seem to notice the pattern when he’s here. What's even worse, it’s an attitude concerning her that seems to be spreading around the family, and the more that happens, the more rebellious and antagonizing Kate gets. It’s a little absurd that they treat her like a kid and at the same time expect her to act like an adult and Stiles finds it incredibly hypocritical, because they hide like children that know they're doing wrong, never doing it in front of Alexandrine.
Of course, Stiles didn’t know that when he confronted Victoria. To be honest, he only seized the opportunity to say his piece. And the last jab was more to call Victoria stupid to her face than to actually defend Kate…
“It’s spark, you runt, spark. I know your lone half neuron is overworked as it is, but make an effort to engrave that into your memory. If that’s too difficult, I don’t know, sharpie it to the back of your hand or something?”
“Are you sure antagonizing your future boss isn’t a little bit counterproductive, mmm?“ He aims at her a disgruntled glare and she smirks. She’s been milking that a lot. He kind of misses her wary persona from the first week.
“You know you like me,” she crows and he grunts.
The thing is that he does. This Kate is so like him that it’s almost scary. She’s a sarcastic little shit, almost too smart for her own good, and with the people she likes, she loses that acidic edge that makes her so grating and intimidating to others. He wonders when he entered that category and why, because they have just physically met not even two months ago and he doubts just defending her once grants it.
He eyes her and she shifts minutely. Tough cookie, she is. Just like him, covering his insecurities with a smartass remark. He sighs. He’s doomed all right. When did he get so soft?
“I do, oh, my bratty little sister.“ She covers a grin and, dammit, he shouldn’t find that so charmingly cute. “But that still doesn’t make me your chauffeur.”
“I’ll buy you an ice cream?”
“When you’re trying to bribe someone, make sure to learn beforehand what to bribe them with, runt.”
“Getting you curly fries would require you to drive me to the other part of town yourself, and the play station is broken, so no games. I don’t have access to the library either, so…“
He looks at her for a long moment before he snorts. “I’ll make the terrible sacrifice of driving there. But it’s not enough payment. Send Victoria to any sewer related missions in the future and I’ll even pick you up afterwards.”
“Done,“ she says, and after they shake on it she adds. “You don’t bargain very well do you? I was going to do that anyway.”
Stiles cracks up. Doomed, indeed.
He waves at her lightly as she goes to meet her friends. He decides against going back and goes to the park. He sits on the same wooden bench from half a year ago and turns his face towards the sun. Summer in California is hot as hell but the temperatures had gone back to bearable by now.
He’s a little bit lost, to be honest. In less than a week it will be the one year anniversary of his arrival and, in theory, he’s done what he set out to do? Gerard is gone and Alexandrine follows the Code to the letter, so the annihilation of Deucalion’s pack or the Hales shouldn’t happen. Maybe, since Gerard won’t kill Ennis’ packmate either, the whole Paige debacle won’t happen? He doesn’t know the details of what happened, so he’ll have to keep an eye on that.
But what does he do meanwhile? Because that won’t happen for… nine years? Derek’s six years old now, if he’s doing the math right. He has the sudden urge to check if even at this age he has the same impressive eyebrows.
Come to think of it, he hasn’t met the Hales still. His mood sours, remembering Cora, Derek and Peter.
“Still trying to figure things out, son?“ Comes lightly from behind.
Stiles jumps from his seat with a yelp. His left foot slips and he falls face first to the ground with a pained grunt.
Just his luck. He’s not been purposely avoiding his father, but he hasn’t been looking for him either. He still has the picture, but he hasn’t looked at it since he was at the Kelso Dunes. He made his choice of having a new start as an Argent and he has stuck to it, trying to be open-minded about the whole situation and to adapt, but it doesn’t make seeing him any easier.
“Yeah?” he grunts from the ground and he hears a snort before hands reach to help him up. “Hello again, Deputy Stilinski.”
“Hello, son. It’s been a while,“ he answers as he makes a hand motion to him. He passes him his identification papers wordlessly. “Argent?”
“Stiles,” he repeats. He can see a lot of questions in his eyes, but his father refrains and just gives the papers back. “How are you holding up?”
“You don’t sound very convinced.“
“The past year has been hectic, and I’ve been trying to complete a project, you know, full investment and all that, and now that I’ve sort of finished it… I don’t know what to do with my life?“ He answers self-deprecating and his father blinks, obviously not expecting the straightforwardness.
“Work, relax or go back to study? So long as you don’t go back to stalking people…" Stiles blushes slightly. His father starts turning to leave. “Stay out of trouble, son.”
He nearly cries at the familiar phrase.
When he calms down, he starts thinking. In his time, he was a year away from getting his PhD in criminal justice at Walden University. Here, he doesn’t have even a high school diploma. He calls Alexandrine.
“What would you say if I told you I was thinking of going back to study?”
She’s awesome and her contacts are terrifying. He takes his exams and has his high school diploma before the month is over. He’s accepted at Walden without a hitch. Inadvertently, he lets it slip he almost knows the whole curriculum and, he doesn’t know who she knows or blackmails or bribes there, but they let him take the exams to evaluate his level and he ends up again at his last year. There’s no point in wasting time, she tuts to a flabbergasted Stiles. The catch? Taking all those exams in the span of a month is a nightmare. It was the most stressful and horrible time of his life and he lost count of how many times Kate mocked him.
He vowed to get back at her and she laughed.
But she also brought food and coffee, and even managed to convince Alexander to drive her to buy curly fries and ice cream so maybe he can be slightly more merciful about the retaliation.
In January, at Walden, he debates with himself long and hard. He calls Alexandrine and tells her to keep an eye on threats on the Hales. He doesn’t explain about Wolf Moon and, even though she knows there’s something he’s not telling her, she agrees.
There’s no incident and Stiles breathes relieved.
“You asshole!” Kate shouts in his ear the moment he takes the call, making him separate the phone from his ear hastily.
He hangs up, earning his roommate's snickers at his face and he flips him off. He goes to his room as the phone starts ringing again and he smirks. Turns out Kate was born on February 29th. It’s priceless. This year is a leap year and she turns four years old. It’s too good of an opportunity to let it pass.
He told Kate he would get back at her, after all.
“Asshole!“ she shouts again. “You’re the worst brother ever, Twinkle!”
“You’re being such a naughty girl, Kathy.” She splutters outraged and curses. “What a mouth! I’m going to have to confiscate your present and put you in the naughty corner!”
She promptly tells him where to stick Radar, the two-way tutor and he cackles. He goads her for a while before taking pity on her and telling her where the actual real present is, because he also said he was going to be merciful.
“It better make it up to me, I opened the other one in front of my friends!“
Stiles cackles again and she hangs up. It really does make it up to her. She calls gushing (really gushing, and being how she is, Stiles is pretty proud of himself about that) half an hour and an awesome treasure hunt filled with smaller presents later.
Stiles officially meets the Hales at Spring break. In his defence, he’s cranky and exhausted and dirty and many things more. Which actually means that he has a concussion, his brain has turned into mush, he can't think clearly and he's past the point of being simply pissed off.
He gets off the plane in Sacramento expecting to have to get a taxi and endure the one hour drive to Beacon Hills. What he gets is ten times worse.
“Welcome home!” Alexander, honest to god, chirps from the entrance of the airport, arms wide as if expecting a hug. A silent Chris, who is at his side, waves shortly at him, rolling his eyes at his uncle. Stiles stops abruptly to give them a narrow-eyed stare.
“I’m not gonna like this, right?“
“Dear nephew…” Alexander starts.
“No,“ Chris deadpans. Stiles looks at the taxi line mournfully and sighs. Paul waves at him as he takes the small luggage case from his hands to put in the trunk. “Welcome home,” Chris adds belatedly in a dry tone.
Stiles snorts and bumps into him as he passes him to get to the SUV. Chris smirks. Alexander pouts at being ignored and Stiles rolls his eyes and gives him a one-armed hug that the man turns into a full blown one. He squeaks, he’s not proud of it.
“This is a hostage situation,“ he grumbles as he climbs in. He nods to Anthony, Clara and Meghan.
“I have coffee?” Paul offers handing him a still hot cup and Stiles grunts as he takes it.
“A COFFEE TOTALLY DOESN’T MAKE UP FOR THIS, YOU FUCKERS!“ Stiles screams as they run through Sacramento’s sewer system, a pack of twenty ghouls after them.
“AT LEAST IT WAS BLACK,“ Chris offers dryly, nearly out of breath. He ducks and shoots in the face of one ghoul. It falls and gets up almost immediately. “UNCLE ALEX WANTED TO GET YOU AN ALMOND AND PUMPKIN MONSTROSITY.” Stiles trips and Chris grabs his arm, righting him and pulling him to continue running. Anthony pushes them both from behind to help them recover speed.
“DON’T YOU HAVE ANY MOJO OF YOURS, STILES?!” Paul asks as he swipes with his machete at one. It gets stuck in its neck and he has to let it go.
“I ALWAYS HAVE MY MOJO!“ he cries almost indignantly. “WE HAVE TO START GOING IN CIRCLES!”
“WHAT?!” Meghan shouts incredulous.
“THE FUCK?!“ Clara ends.
“DON’T QUESTION THE MOJO!” All the men shout.
They start going in circles, Stiles is reminded somehow of that phone game, the snake, as they try to not catch the tail end of the ghoul pack and at the same time not be caught. He slaps his hand to the walls as he passes, placing runes (containment and fire, durability for the walls), directing some of them to the ceiling while some of them glow under his feet too. He desperately tries not to think about what his hand is touching and just concentrate on the runework. It takes him another twenty minutes even going as fast as he possibly can. And fast he works, because if he lets them, all the runes will drain him to an empty husk.
The contained fire is the most beautiful sight they all have seen in a long time. The ground trembles horribly and they have to fight to stay upright, but the walls hold and they don’t explode into kingdom come from the explosion that the fumes cause, so that’s definitely a plus.
They hightail the hell out of there.
“Well, fuck me sideways,“ Clara gasps as she helps her twin. “Don’t question the mojo?”
“Don’t question the mojo.” Meghan agrees, breath harsh.
“Never question the mojo,“ Stiles says. “Question what are we gonna do about the witch.” Everyone turns to look at him. “Seriously? You don’t really think that those ghouls sprang out of nowhere, right? Right? What the hell do they teach you at school these days?”
“Math?“ Paul answers weakly. Anthony groans.
“See?” Alexander crows. “I told you it was a good idea to bring him along.”
“I hate you all,“ Stiles whines.
They do find the witch, after two hours. They have to sneak into the hospital filthy and tired, and it’s a miracle they aren’t found. Their witch is an ancient looking man with Alzheimers (or that’s what his chart says) that probably doesn’t even remember creating them. No one knows what to do about it, because he’s almost catatonic and hooked up to a myriad of life support machines.
He doesn’t survive the night.
They leave town without even showering, which some part of Stiles relishes in, because it's Alexander's car and he keeps whining about how he's never going to manage to get the smell out of the upholstery. But it's not like they can do anything else, because policemen are roaming the streets after the earthquake (they all snort at that) so they can’t even have that luxury. The Welcome to Beacon Hills sign is a sight for sore eyes, though, petty revenge or not, even if Stiles' nose died about twenty minutes into the ride and he's been dozing off for the last ten, nearly asleep after all the energy he spent on those hundred and something runes.
And then they nearly run over someone that comes out of the woods and into the road, hands in the air frantically waving. Stiles’ head impacts harshly against the window as Alexander steps on the brakes violently and he curses loudly.
They all rush out of the SUV. Even dizzy, Stiles can pinpoint the exact moment Peter recognizes Alexander and Chris, and what he probably thought as his salvation turns into a nightmare. He covers a kid (Derek?) behind him and snarls, which obviously serves to identify them as hunters to their pursuers because four men come out of the woods, guns in hand and pointing to the werewolves.
“Thank god you got them!“ one of them exclaims.
“What the hell is happening here?” Alexander demands, his normally easy going countenance gone. Stiles is pretty proud of his group. They have their guns out but, even though they’re obviously wary of the werewolves, they aren’t actively pointing them at them.
“They broke the treaty and killed one of ours.“ Almost as one, they all turn to the snarling and trapped Peter.
“Question,” Stiles butts in even before Peter can say a thing, utterly fed up and wanting nothing more than to go home and shower and sleep. He isn’t very hopeful about the latter, because he’s almost sure that he has at least a mild concussion, which only makes his mood worse. “What the hell are you doing in the middle of the preserve, which is, by treaty, Hale territory, armed to your teeth? And, you’re obviously not Argents, which means this isn’t even your territory… so the explanation better be good.” He lets electricity crack around him. And, all right, normally he isn’t fond of making this kind of theatrical threatening move (especially since he’s rapidly approaching his last reserves after the Sacramento stint), but it gets the guns to point at him instead of a small kid, so he's satisfied.
“You are not pointing a gun at my brother,“ Chris growls menacing and, holy cow, Stiles is impressed. He thought that the effortless badassness was a thing he had gained with age and experience, but nope. He’s also a little touched by the brotherly protection, if he’s honest with himself, because for a very long time it’s been him who does the protective thing and not the other way round.
Stiles, always a fan of nipping the problem at the bud and all that, takes out his phone to call Alexandrine. “Mama!“ he sings happily to the other hunter party’s incredulity. His own (like every single one) either snorts or is vaguely amused. Peter has stopped snarling, still wary but waiting things out, and also, no doubt, still looking for a window to escape. “Yeah, just by the preserve. We’ve got a bit delayed, you know, finding four hunters breaking the Code and the treaty, pointing guns at us… nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t think they’re ours, can I blow their kneecaps off? They’re bullshitting us to kingdom come and it’s so irritating.”
“Very diplomatic,“ Chris snorts.
“Bring them back in one piece to interrogate them, Stiles.”
“I could have asked about blowing their brains out,“ he counters Chris before turning his attention back to the phone. “No? You can still interrogate them without their kneecaps.“ They start to turn, obviously to flee. Stiles lets go of the phone and claps his hands. Electricity flows. “What,” he snaps at Alexander’s dry look. “She didn’t say anything about electrocuting them unconscious.”
He sways as he's finishing talking and Meghan and Clara catch him before he falls. He’s vaguely aware of what happens on the next hour.
Alpha Hale and her entourage come first, making obvious that they were nearby by the response time. Alexandrine has yet to arrive, but Talia doesn't wait for her. When she tries to make them responsible for the hunter’s attack on her pack, Stiles has had enough and he tells her so.
“Sure,“ he says saccharine sweet from where he’s sitting on the floor (not a very intimidating position, he knows, but he doesn’t think he can get up without eating the floor… so the lesser of two evils), “make us responsible. But next time an omega or anything supernatural crosses the border and causes problems, we get to make you responsible, deal? No? I thought so.”
“I’ve heard about you,“ she says, disgust evident in her voice. “The Argent’s dog. A druid that works with those who hunt us.”
“Then, either you have to have that looked at," he motions vaguely to his own ear, “or your contacts are shitty, ma'am,“ he answers plainly and several hunters cough suspiciously. So unprofessional, he tisks. “For starters, I’m no druid. And, well, not to be offensive even when you have just been exactly that, but I’m not the dog here.“ You’re acting like a bitch, he doesn’t say, but her eyes narrow, so he doesn’t think he has to actually say it aloud. “Aaaand… seeing that we are in a clarifying and hashing out misunderstandings mood, we don’t hunt you, per se, or they would be dead," he motions to Peter and Derek, “and we wouldn’t have played white knight.” And, just like he did all that time ago with Alexandrine, he sets out for a good first impression. He gifts her his shark-like smile. “Believe me, if I wanted you dead, you would be.”
The sound of engines fills the air but they don’t stop staring at each other. When Alexandrine gets off one the SUVs, Deaton approaches Talia and murmurs something urgently to her. She frowns at Stiles, way more wary than before and he makes a show of blinking innocently at her, making Chris snort amused.
Alexandrine makes them leave and takes things from there. He waves mockingly to Talia, for once making a graceful exit and not falling to the floor, and smirks at Peter, terribly amused by his baby face and his still teenage attire.
When they enter the house exhausted, Kate is waiting for them. She makes to hug them but stops herself. “Ugh, you stink so bad. What the hell have you been doing? Roll in shit?”
“Remember your promise,“ he grunts at her as he flies to the bathroom. She blinks and then cackles.
He does have a concussion and has to be woken up every half hour the whole night. Joy.
On April 8th, he gets woken up at three in the morning by a dead weight falling on him. He flails and falls off the bed noisily, pulling Kate along with him. He looks at the clock and grunts, turning his back to her and pulling on the sheets to cover himself, preparing himself to fall asleep again right there for the other two hours he still has before taking a taxi to the airport.
“Seriously?” she says incredulous and Chris snorts from the doorway.
“Wha'u'doinere?” he grunts sleepily as Kate sits on him and starts wiggling and butt jumping on him. Chris has been living with Victoria for a month now.
“Happy birthday,” he says simply and leaves.
Stiles gapes, instantly rising. Kate falls with an ompf.
There’s birthday pancakes and presents and very yawny people. Alexandrine and Alexander go back to sleep, but Chris and Kate drive him to Sacramento airport.
He’s so stupidly grateful for everything that he almost cries.
If there’s one thing he knows about Chris, is that under all that hardened skin he’s a cinnamon roll. Which is why he slips into the bride’s room, to their outrage, and, not caring about the audience, he proceeds to threaten (promise) Victoria with what he’ll do to her if she hurts his brother. Alexandrine, who was just passing by to hand over something blue, is immensely amused.
He throws at her a peace sign along a wicked smile as he heads to the yard where the ceremony will take place. He waves at Chris and snickers at the almost green tint of his face. Alexander and several male family members share it and he’s sad he missed the bachelor party, because something must have happened. Alas, he had classes yesterday and he flew back just two hours ago, because he predictably forgot to book the flight in advance. He’s lucky he even found one in time.
Stiles shares a smirk with Kate as he passes her and a quick kiss. He goes up to Chris and hugs him. He can tell he’s bewildered, because as a rule none of them are very touchy-feely but he hugs him back. The runes take effect and he groans relieved, squeezing him a little more before letting go.
“Don’t question the mojo?“ he says amused and grateful, green tint gone.
“Don’t question the mojo,“ he agrees.
The ceremony is beautiful. And, really, what’s with the Argents? He knows she has just become one, but their crazy absurdity must be contagious because Victoria looks at him with some less frigid contempt in her eyes. What the? He has just promised her hell and damnation and eternal pain if she…
Well, huh. It seems that she loves Chris as much as he loves her, after all.
Stiles misses his own graduation.
On the very same day, Alexandrine has a meeting with the secondary Argent branch in Minnesota, but she promises to be on time for the ceremony. She takes Chris and Alexander with her, but sends Kate and Victoria in advance to meet Stiles. Victoria isn’t happy to be relegated to Kate’s guard just because she’s pregnant, but a look from Stiles silences her.
Their bickering draws looks but the last time someone frowned at them, well, their combined glares nearly made them flee and no one has dared again. It was very satisfying… and terrifying to actually coincide on something.
On their way to campus, someone tries to abduct Kate. Long story short, Victoria saves them both and gets taken instead. He breaks his wrist when he pulls a fast one to put a tracking rune on the fleeing van. He calls for the cavalry but doesn’t even wait for it. He wraps his wrist with the hair scarf thingie Kate is wearing and goes after them. She follows despite his protests.
They find Victoria rescuing herself, of course, dented lamp in hand and three attackers already dead.
There’s blood between her thighs.
No, not again. He won’t be responsible for her death again.
He comes to himself, covered in blood and other things, just as Victoria’s strength fails her. He catches her with the help of a pale and wide-eyed Kate, whose own hands are crimson. The pocket knife in her hands makes a deafening noise as it impacts with the ground.
He makes her lay down carefully and curses. Kate scrambles to take her phone out and it slips from her bloody hands and clatters on the ground. She’s shaking. Both of them are shaking. They don’t have time, he pulls Victoria’s shirt up harshly and places his hands on her stomach.
He doesn’t know what to do, but anything is better than nothing.
He wakes up at the hospital of Beacon Hills after a two month long coma, his broken wrist still in a cast. Victoria is in the room with him and, after a soft tap on his face and an empty snip about stupid heroics, hand on her swollen stomach and eyes silently grateful, she calls the nurses and the rest of the family.
“The not question the mojo thing, right?” she inquires dryly, eyebrow raised.
“Never question the mojo,“ he rasps back, lips twitching, and she snorts as she helps him take a sip of water.
Kate cries, Chris looks suspiciously moist eyed, Alexandrine hugs him and Alexander, is calm and subdued, which he never thought he would ever witness. And over the course of the day, a lot of hunters he has worked with come by to pay a visit. Of some of them he doesn’t even know the names because he didn’t bother.
He realizes that, even if he has somewhat warmed up to Chris, Kate, Alexandrine and Alexander, he has been subconsciously keeping everyone at arms length. Even though he made the decision months ago to give them a chance and to let go of the past, part of him has held back and tried to not make new ties and friendships.
He can’t say he’s too heartbroken about it.
On January 8th, Allison Claudia Argent is born at exactly four a.m. eleven minutes. Chris comes out and says Victoria is asking for Stiles to enter first without anyone else.
“How?“ Stiles asks, voice broken and silently crying. He’s never seen anything more beautiful than the baby in Victoria’s arms.
“Remember when I got you drunk on Christmas Eve?” Victoria deadpans tiredly from the bed.
She hands him the baby, who starts to whimper at being moved. She instantly calms in Stiles' arms. He presses a reverent kiss on her forehead.
“And what else did I say?”
After a moment, she starts speaking. “I didn’t pry beyond your parents names… but I know who they are. I also know you have somehow saved me. I knocked you out after you blurted that.“
Ah, that explains the killer headache from hell that very next day, when he normally doesn’t like to drink at all. And the bump in the head. And… He snorts.
“Is that why you’ve been randomly pulling me into shops for the past week? Because, I tell you, I didn’t buy the excuse about you deciding to build a handmade wooden crib for Allison at the very last minute.”
“That crib is perfect and way better than that plastic prefabricated thing we had before,” she sniffs and… Is that a red tint on her cheeks? His lips twitch.
“Yeah, because you made me build it and I warded it to Pluto and back.”
“You’re going to be the perfect godfather.“
Stiles cries again.
(That she won’t tell anyone goes without saying.)
Stiles is on babysitter duty when he meets Peter again. Chris is in Ontario and Victoria in Atlanta. He’s going to get it so bad when she comes back, because she found out about the pact between Kate and him about future sewer related missions and Alexandrine found it so funny that she sent her on one.
“Your mama is gonna kill me,“ he baby talks to Allison and she squeals. She’s almost impossibly cute in her summer dress with matching hair bow. He can’t resist the temptation and Eskimo kisses her. She squeals again.
Dammit. He’s so whipped.
A couple of women coo as they pass him and he blushes a little bit.
“You make me soft, yes, you do. And also talk like an idiot, my precious cinnamon roll, so your goddaddy needs a very black coffee to recover his masculinity and dark edge, yes, he does.“
“He really is an idiot,“ he hears a little girl’s mocking whisper followed by a man’s voice, also mocking. “Yes, he is.”
“He also hears very well,” he says dryly, and has the satisfaction of seeing both Laura and Derek jump guiltily. Peter smirks openly, obviously having known he would hear them.
“Uncle Peter,“ Derek whispers wide eyed, “isn’t he the one from that day?!”
“Yep, still can hear you, yes, I do,” he singsongs as Allison giggles and slaps with her tiny hand on his face. Gotta love runes and his paranoid nature, especially when he’s out with Allison. Derek blushes and hides shyly behind Peter. Stiles contains his cackles. “We meet again.“
Over the next four months, he sees Peter exactly ten times. Eight times still at Beacon Hills, during summer vacation, in which more or less both of them try to one up each other, and another two at New Haven, where they save each other’s life.
Figures Peter studied Law at Yale.
Stiles is working solo, which, admittedly he shouldn’t have been, but he was just on his way from Long Island to meet a bigger group in Shelton to take down a vampire coven that is kidnapping and turning kids from orphanages and foster homes from all around. He was on his way, that is, until he noticed something wrong at the East Rock Park and decided that a quick peek shouldn’t hurt.
And now he’s running across the park in the dark chased by a Cerberus. A fucking rabid three headed dog that is supposed to be extinct. And nothing he throws at it seems to be working. Wonderful.
(In case it isn't sufficiently obvious that he's being sarcastic.)
Cue in Peter and his very sharp claws and even sharper tongue.
“Well,” he says nonchalantly as he cleans his hands with a handkerchief, “so you do have a weak point, after all. Sister dearest has been most anxious to find one, having us, her poor subjects, search left and right for it. And here it lands in my lap. So convenient.”
“Good luck finding another Cerberus,“ he drawls back. “I was convinced they were extinct, but maybe you just killed the last one.”
“First, isn’t that an empowering thought?”
“You would think that.“ Stiles rolls his eyes as he pats his clothes to shake off the dirt.
Peter ignores him. “Second, she didn’t specify it had to be a useful weak point. But, I could be convinced to stay silent on the matter if…”
“I don’t really care if you do?“
“…you go out on a date with me.”
He’s too shocked to protest when Peter grabs his hand and writes his number on the back of it before sauntering out, but Paul’s frantic call makes him wake up and speed all the way to Shelton.
In the end it’s a coven in as much as a mad nearly three hundred years old female vampire with an obsession on creating the perfect offspring and eighty-three of her failed attempts can be.
It’s a sorry affair. Out of those eighty-three kids, they can't help killing ten when she sends them to attack while she tries to flee. Forty-two are completely out their minds and try to kill them or each other the moment their sire’s mind control is gone. Of the twenty-one remaining, eighteen are so fragile that they die immediately after so many bonds snap. Finally, the only three left are terrified out of their minds and so touch and go that they can’t be moved without risk of them dying.
Stiles tries the contacts he had in the future, hoping at least one works. After a lot of failures, the one in Pittsburgh works. It takes a lot of convincing but they agree to take them in. Before help arrives, though, one of the little girls dies and only the twins remain. He calls again to urge them. Finally, the help from the coven arrives. Stiles breathes relieved when she assures him they will be fine.
By the time everything is over, the phone number has long since faded from his skin, but he only wants to go back home and steal Allison away and snuggle her for days, his most important decision what he’s going to dress her in when Victoria is not looking (at the moment he really wants to see her in a spiderman onesie).
His phone rings.
What he really does is pick up Brandon and Madison, Anthony’s son and daughter respectively, from Beacon Falls, where they have gone all cocky, without the backup from a more experienced hunter and against their father’s orders, to take on a wendigo to prove they aren’t puppies but able hunters.
It’s difficult to tell if Anthony is proud of their success or furious at their irresponsible idiocy. Stiles’ bet is on a twenty-five slash seventy-five percentage respectively. When the man asks him for advice on how to deal with it (he has already lost his wife, he can’t lose them too, he says pained), he tells him to be honest with them about how he feels, the good and the bad.
(He doesn’t welcome the reminder of his father, to be truthful.)
It must have worked, though, because when the siblings emerge from the motel, they are a chastised pair. He drives them to New Haven, prepared to just drop them, leave the car at the nearest Argent branch garage and take a flight home. He’s not in the mood for anything else. Besides, he’s knackered and the darkness is making him sleepy.
He debates with himself, though. What are the odds of being brought back to New Haven after losing Peter’s number? Stiles normally doesn’t believe in these things but… ever since he came back to the past, even if nothing has gone according to plan, he’s pretty much moved on good luck spectrum of his bad luck… But if he goes and asks for his number, he’s going to be insufferable… He tries to decide how to proceed as he drives towards Yale. For starters, he needs to locate him, after all.
He needn’t have worried, because, just as he’s driving past East Rock Park, a scantily clad Peter crosses the street pursued by… what the hell is that?
Turns out the owner of the Cerberus has taken exception to her pet being killed.
Afterwards, Stiles can’t stop laughing and Peter’s disgruntled expression does not help. He lends him some clothes and buys him coffee, continuously making puns about cheeks or any part of his anatomy that he’s had revealed tonight. He also filches his phone to put his number in and send himself a message.
He’s feeling better, but he still steals Allison the moment he hits Beacon Hills and dresses her in the spiderman onesie. It becomes his phone’s wallpaper.
When Kate becomes eighteen she shanghais Stiles into becoming her mentor. He retaliates by leaving her tied in the sewers as her initiation.
Stiles hears her telling Chris that she expected the reaction, that it was fair enough. He cackles, irritation forgotten.
For the next two years, everything goes without a hitch. He takes missions, taking Kate with him whenever her college schedule allows or he’s feeling plain vindictive. He also keeps babysitting Allison, who has him wrapped around her little finger. Peter and him continue dancing around each other, to Talia’s chagrin. Alexandrine (or the rest of the family for that matter) isn’t exactly happy about it either, but they leave him be. Peter gets silently threatened a lot, though, but he seems to find it very funny.
Even after all this time, Stiles doesn’t like Talia at all. Peter has started acting as her left hand, even from Yale, which seems to be a sore spot between them. Apparently, she expected him to settle into position and sort of leave his studies or study from home or something. Which, not happening, because it’s a source of pride for Peter to have been accepted into Yale, and he’s not about to give that up like he always does when she demands something. He put his foot down on that one and she has had to accept it, but even so, she still tries to force his hand continuously. And Stiles doesn’t understand why, because at the same time she sort of silently boasts of not needing one, that the respect people have for her (which is based on the measly fact that she can perform a full change) is enough. Also, she always seems to condemn Peter whenever she has to use him and it drives Stiles nuts. And her behavior gets worse and worse as time passes.
Stiles is very sure his patience is going to end up snapping.
Cora disappears on a Sunday afternoon. Talia blames Peter, who wasn’t even in the house and was on a date with Stiles. Phillip, who doesn’t like Peter very much, but recognizes the absurdity of the situation, tries to calm her.
Stiles snaps so badly that he slaps her out of the panic. Hard. “Snap out of it, you bitch!” he shouts. Then, he looks at his hand surprised. An array of runes melts from her temple and she looks around as if she has just woken up. Before it finishes dispelling, he surges forward to get a taste of the magics. Phillip tries to stop what he thinks an attack and Peter covers Stiles.
He knows this signature like the back of his hand, but first, Cora.
He tracks her easily via runes, just playing un the woods outside the house. He doesn’t know why they can’t catch her scent… Jackpot. He finds the talisman and recognizes the signature immediately.
He knew it.
How many times did he tell Scott and he didn’t listen? How many? He knew there was always a hand behind the scenes, with every bad they faced. And then, they were being hunted like dogs and they didn’t know by whom. And he could always get a tiny taste of the culprit but never enough…
But, why? What was the game? What did he want? Because this didn’t happen in the original timeline, of that he was sure. At least about the Cora thing… But it’s true that Peter was always wary of him. Did he suspect? Or has Stiles presence this time forced his hand into acting sooner or into being more heavy handed?
“Where are Laura and Derek?”
"In their rooms... Why- Stiles?!“
They are gone.
Whatever it is that Deaton wants, it’s always been about the Hales.
How did Laura find out about what was happening back in Beacon Hills when nothing was published about it? Why did he never tell them about his sister being the emissary of the alpha pack? Or about the darach? Stiles has been doing this for a lot less time than Deaton had at the time, and he can recognize a darach’s doings from a mile away! He tricked them into sacrificing themselves, knowing that an untrained spark would be perfectly open to the nogitsune and don’t tell him he didn’t know he was there! And suddenly, when everything seems fine after all the shit, the doctors at the institution where his sister counsels turn out to be psychos? Which, of course, forces Derek and Cora back… And the beast…
And everything went to hell.
When did Deaton become their emissary? He was already their emissary when Talia’s mother was the alpha, which doesn’t make sense, because he’s pretty young at this point. Her mother passed down Deaton along with her powers. Where are they now? Their parents went traveling after she passed the baton to Talia. When was the last time they talked? They look at each other wide-eyed, they can’t remember. When did Talia start changing? When she turned alpha, but it really worsened abruptly about four years ago.
Stiles helped the nogitsune nearly four years ago.
He can’t, for the life of him, guess what he wants, but he doesn’t care right now, or he maybe never will. He’s going to get Laura and Derek back and kill the bastard. And he’s going to enjoy it, dammit.
He calls the cavalry and tells Talia to do the same. Deaton’s pretty good at blocking his magical tracking so they’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way. Hunters and supernaturals are extremely wary of working together, but Alexandrine takes a look at Stiles thunderous expression and gets things moving.
They comb the town and the preserve and nothing. They try the town’s surroundings and nothing. Talia even calls Deucalion to get Marin to talk. Marin says she has never had a brother, that she’s an only child. Stiles opens his mouth to call bullshit and then…
If Deaton is that good that he can even make a pretty powerful druid like Morrel be convinced that she has a brother that she doesn’t really have… his wards around the Nemeton are laughable. He just placed them to warn him about ill intent and Deaton has probably circumvented them a long time ago.
He tries his directioning runes just outside the preserve to track the Nemeton and they fall flat. He swears and everyone backs off at his livid expression. Peter doesn’t.
No, no and no. He’s not going to lose this time. Never again. He’s a spark, he just has to believe, and a measly druid’s rituals are not going to be more than his magics.
He enters the preserve and doesn’t notice that they immediately lose sight of him and that no one can follow him. He doesn’t hear Peter’s howl.
He faces Deaton at the Nemeton. He says Stiles has ruined everything. He has been the guardian of this land since the Nemeton sprouted here and has been keeping it healthy and…
Everything around him starts to blur.
Stiles’ pretty sure that if he ever has the chance to investigate, he will find out that every older generation of Hales (and thus, probably useless to protect the land in Deaton’s eyes) has always disappeared without a trace while their descendants thought them either traveling or away for whatever reason. The Hales have been rumored to have been always capable of a full shift up until Talia’s mother Esme, married a non werewolf, so this last generation, instead of having two powerful sacrifices, Deaton has only had one, and thus he was counting on the nogitsune’s energy to keep the Nemeton alive… and himself. And then Stiles went and freed him.
(And in the original timeline, even if the nogitsune wasn’t freed, Talia (the last known full shifter up until Derek managed it) and almost every Hale died in the fire.)
He tries to fight the drowsiness, hopelessly outmatched. It occurs to him, as he is slammed against the tree stump, that a trained spark is a pretty succulent sacrifice. Which is probably why Deaton has lured him here.
He’s going to die. And probably Deaton is going to wipe or change everyone’s memories and every sacrifice he’s made until now will be for nothing.
He fights. He’s a spark, he just has to believe. He’s stronger than this. He’s just outmatched because Deaton is siphoning from the Nemeton… from which he has been a part ever since his own sacrifice. No matter in which point of the timeline he is, that doesn’t change the mark or the connection it left on him.
He pulls from it and Deaton must notice immediately because he gives an outraged cry and goes for Stiles. Something slams into the man forcing him back and Stiles' mind clears. With a snarl he goes for the kill before Deaton can recover.
Later, breathing harshly and with a rolling stomach, he eyes his rescuer warily.
“We are in peace now,“ the nogitsune says, snout bloody. He licks his teeth lazily, eyeing his surroundings with distaste.
Nothing remains from Deaton.
Now he’ll never know the why of many of his manipulations (why change Talia, for example), but he finds that he doesn’t care so long as he’s dead and can never come back for a repeat performance.
All his suspicions are confirmed when he accesses the Nemeton's roots and finds dozens of mummified bodies, lined in pairs. He waits until he has Derek and Laura outside to wake them and hugs them tight as they cry.
Stiles runs across the preserve, breath harsh and exhausted after everything. He’s tackled from behind and he falls with a yell.
“Asshole,” he grunts fondly and Peter huffs amused. They stay like that for a couple of minutes, curled around each other, until a half wolfed Cora jumps on them followed by Derek. Laura laughs before doing the same. “Okay, people, I have to call it a night.”
“But it is Wolf Moon!“ Laura protests as Peter helps him up. He shivers and the kids huddle around him. Peter passes an arm over his shoulders with a big toothed smirk and Stiles rolls his eyes.
“Wolf Moon or not, I’m freezing and I hate the cold so chop chop.”
On his way to the car, he nods to a fully shifted Talia and several members of the pack. He immediately sneezes and throws a dirty look at them when they snicker. He kisses Peter deeply before leaving, to the kids' disgust.
Back at home, he’s tackled by a five year old Allison the moment he crosses the threshold. He Eskimo kisses her and she squeals. They all are staying at the family house for the holidays, even though Stiles and Peter’s flat is less than ten minutes away, and Victoria and Chris’ not even fifteen. But since Peter is staying at the Hale house too, it’s working out pretty well.
Victoria hands him a cookie filled plate and warm milk that he not so sneakily shares with Allison. His heart melts when she hands him the last cookie. She squeals again when he theatrically hugs her. He hears the tattletale sound of a picture being taken and he smiles at the camera.
Suddenly, he remembers the picture that he never looks at and his smile dims. Chris leans over his shoulder to kiss Allison, and, at the same time he squeezes the back of his neck. Stiles smiles softly.
The plan was very simple: go back in time, kill Kate, kill Gerard, never ever make contact with his parents, try to find a place within the Hale pack or not, but either way, live the rest of his life displaced and without the people he loves.
Out of those, he can cross out at least half, which is not that bad considering that right from the start, nothing has gone according to plan. He did go back in time, even though it wasn’t exactly when he wanted to arrive. He did not kill Kate, but he did off Gerard. The not making contact has been a total failure, because he’s made contact several times thanks to first his stupidity and later Allison’s park visits and play dates. He’s certainly found his place among the Hales as their emissary, even though he’s still a hunter, and more importantly, as Peter’s mate. About the last one, he’s not so sure, though, because he is displaced and without his loved ones, but, at the same time…
He’s found a new place and loved ones for himself.
Kate headslaps him as she goes to the kitchen. “Wake up, Twinkle!“ Allison giggles a chorus of delighted twinkletwinkletwinkle as she squirms on his lap. Stiles sniffs at Kate, to her amusement too tired for any kind of retaliation, and he tickles the toddler mercilessly. A wet and dirty rag slaps him on the back of his head with perfect accuracy and he narrows his eyes. He’s still on time to tick another thing from his list…
He calmly passes Allison to an amused Victoria and then he runs after Kate, disgusting rag in hand. He’s gonna strangle her, dammit.