Summary: Stiles is always there for Scott and Derek, but what can you do when everything you have done still isn't good enough.
I would like to give clarification to one of my reviewers on a good observation they made about Derek. He did say that lycanthropy was a gift, but I figure that when it comes down to his loved ones getting hurt because of it, it would become more of a curse. Nice catch! :) And as always, thank you to my beta VCCV. Again amazing as usual!
It always started and ended the same, a bright light, slowly consumed by a growing darkness. Everything held dear, taken away from me, slowly disappearing into the shadows, until I stood alone. It always scared me; the people I worked so hard to help, walking out on me when I needed them most.
"Mom?" She'd always look at me with a sad smile. Her lips would move, 'I love you', but no words ever came out. As she'd fade away into the darkness, my dad would run after her, leaving me behind as well.
"Scott?" I watched as he aged from a child until now. His smile never faded, that was, until the golden glow came into them. My best friend would give me a disgusted look, and lay the blame down on me. 'This is your fault,' he mouthed silently, soundlessly, as the darkness devoured everything but his eyes, accusing, angry. Then, they disappeared too.
"Derek?" He was always the last one standing. In the short amount of time I'd known him, my respect grew for him. I was still terrified of him, but I felt like I could understand him. We'd both felt loss; in the end, both of us really ended up alone. "Please don't leave me." He never acknowledged me; he just stood staring expressionlessly at me. Then, he would cast his eyes downwards before bringing them back to mine, 'I'm sorry'. Silence. He'd turn his back to me and walk straight into the darkness, leaving the last bit of light narrowed down to me.
Alone, that's always how it ended.
"Stiles?" The voice wavered, hesitant but familiar.
"Scott?" I looked around, but all I could see was the darkness closing in on me.
"Stiles!" A stronger voice, less hesitant but with a bit of panic to it
"Dad?" I blindly reached into the darkness, wordlessly begging someone to come back for me. That's when I felt the gentle grip on my hand.
I opened my eyes and was instantly blinded by the light. I blinked several times before my eyes opened all the way. Scott and Derek were who I saw, but neither of them were anywhere near my hand. I frowned in confusion and turned to see who had a hold of me.
"Stiles." My dad heaved a sigh and gave a tremulous smile.
Thing got even more confusing for me when I noted Derek and my dad were in the same room with one another. I was having a hard time remembering what happened. Pictures flashed through my mind: dark fur, red eyes, black leather and bloody bodies. I flinched and a nearly unbearable pain shot up my back. Everything slowly came back to me; the parking garage, the drive, tending to Derek and Scott and then passing out before I could clean my wound. I ran my fingers over the patch of gauze on my forehead. I remembered the dull pain as the darkness pulled me in.
"How do you feel, Stiles?" Scott asked, eagerly stepping forward.
"I feel like a rag doll." It hadn't been a pleasant night, all the running and carrying took a lot out of me. Trying to fight the Alpha off of my back also wasn't a walk in the park.
"He needs stitches, Sheriff." Derek spoke for the first time, drawing my attention back to him.
"Why the hell are you here with my dad?" I was confused, but worry won out. Derek had just come back from the dead; I didn't want my dad to put him behind bars.
"Scott and I told him the truth." Derek's gaze on me was soft.
"About everything?" I was dumbfounded.
"Yes," Derek answered, simply.
"We can talk about how much I know, after we get you to the hospital." My dad let go of my hand and stepped back, a very serious expression on his face.
"I don't need to go to the hospital, I'm fine." The pounding in my head and throbbing in my back said otherwise, but the hospital was the one place I didn't want to go.
The thought of being confined to a bed, IV in your arm and surrounded by constant death, wasn't how I planned the rest of my night to go. But that was only scratching the surface. The last time I was there was the worst moment of my life, and the reason I never wanted to go back. The reason I couldn't bear to go back.
I'll never forget that moment. The moment my mom died. It was like she knew it was her time. She told me to tell Dad she loved him. My grip on her hand tightened as I gave it a firm shake, and told her not to talk like that, everything was going to be fine. The last thing she said before the monitor flat lined was 'I love you, Stiles'. I screamed at the top of my lungs for help, but by the time anyone got there, it was too late. They couldn't save her. I remember they called my dad from work and pulled me out of the room to stand in the hall. When my dad arrived, all we could do was hold each other and cry.
"Stiles." My dad's voice held sadness.
"I don't want to go back there." My voice was barely above a whisper.
"You don't have a choice," he said gently. "And I know it'll always be harder for you, Stiles, but if we don't get you to the hospital there's no telling what could happen."
"Fine," I answered, defeat evident in my voice.
There was no use fighting with my dad. We'd both lost her, both went three years with out her and both of us will never forgive ourselves for her death. It'll always be hard for me, having watched her die right in front of me. A thirteen year-old boy watching his mother give up the fight, something no one should have to watch.
"Scott. Hale. You two are coming also. Get some clothes on." My dad motioned to the dresser, but took a second look at Derek. "I don't think Stiles' clothes will fit you. Go borrow some of mine."
Once Derek and Scott were dressed, and we were ready to head to the hospital, I kicked the blanket off. My body didn't respond well to the jerky movement. A whimper escaped, but before I knew it, Derek had picked me up in his arms and was following Scott and my dad to the police SUV.
"You know, I can walk on my own." I gave a small smile as the familiar scent of smoke drifted from Derek's leather jacket. I noticed that my growing dread was being replaced with that weird, happy, fluttery feeling from earlier. He easily opened the back door to the SUV and gently set me in the seat, a puzzled look on his face.
"What?" He asked, almost defensively.
"Nothing." I said the word a little too quickly for my liking and my heart skipped a beat. Yeah, there was no way he could possibly miss that. He gave me a strange look, then shut the door and headed around to the other side of the SUV. Scott was climbing into the passenger's seat, when my dad pulled him back out.
"Uh, uh. Hale, you're up front with me. Scott, get back with Stiles." My dad eyed Derek closely as he and Scott switched places. It was very clear that he still didn't trust Derek with me.
The ride there was possibly the most uncomfortable one I'd ever experienced. The silence that filled the air was rife with tension, distrust and for me, dread.
We came to a stop in front of the hospital. The place brought back my worst memories. I'd avoided it for the last three years, refused to go inside, even for a minute. I remember waiting out in my jeep one time, while Scott went in to get a new inhaler.
The other three men reached for their door handles. "Don't even think about it, Hale." My dad gave Derek a threatening look. "If you step out of this SUV and someone sees you, it not only will be bad for you, but it'll be bad for me, too. You know, aiding an alleged murderer."
Derek gave an irritated sigh, but slowly pulled his hand away from the door. "Then what the hell am I supposed to do?" He glared angrily between my father and me.
"You're going to help me patrol town. That way I can keep an eye on you." My dad smirked, obviously enjoying having ticked Derek off. Then he turned to Scott and me. "Scott, you'll be taking care of Stiles. Make sure he stays in bed, and keep him company until they release him. Call me and I'll come and get you."
"Yes, sir." Scott nodded so hard I thought we might be getting him checked for concussion damage when we got in there.
"Dad," I said softly. "Be careful out there." There was still the possibility of a pissed off Alpha. None of us were sure how forgiving he'd be, but I was betting not very.
"I will be. Now, you boys get inside."
Scott helped me out of the SUV and into the hospital. They had me swept away to a room as quickly as possible, and it took quite a while before I could see Scott again. I ended up with seven stitches on my forehead, and butterfly bandages holding the claw marks closed.
I watched the doctor walk out of sight before I stepped into Stiles' hospital room and closed the door. Everything outside the room was quiet and empty. The nurses were all clustered at their stations and, at this hour of the night, visitors weren't allowed.
"How are you doing?" I pulled a chair up to Stiles' side and sat down, resting my arm on the bed.
"I'm fine, just sore is all." He nodded shortly.
"That's not what I meant." I gave him a serious look
He sighed and shook his head. "It'll always be hard, Scott. This is where she…the good memories aren't here." I could smell the hurt, regret and pain washing over Stiles. I grabbed his hand and just held it. The action seemed like the right thing to do.
"Thanks." He gave me a half-hearted smile.
"You scared the crap out of me tonight, you know that right?" I still hadn't gotten over seeing Stiles lying in the floor covered in blood. All the time Derek and I were patching him up, I couldn't stop thinking about what I could have done to keep him safe. Asking him to come to that damn place was the first thing I would have changed.
"You and Derek gave me quite the scare, too," he replied. "The whole Alpha trying to eat me moments were the scariest though." He chuckled and grinned at me.
"I'm glad you're all right." I returned the smile; and realized it was the first real one I'd had since I'd woken up.
For the next hour or so, I found myself sitting on the bed with Stiles just having small talk. It was the first time in a long time that we just had a normal conversation, not involving werewolves or Allison. It was times like this that I missed having the most; that made me realize how badly I could have damaged our friendship had Stiles not been too stubborn to let me go, even at risk to his own life. Stiles had just launched into one of his rambling stories, when a small noise from outside the room caught my attention. It was so low that Stiles didn't even notice it. I cocked my head in that direction.
"What?" Stiles asked nervously. "Is someone out there?" He was still on edge from earlier events. I couldn't blame him. I was, too.
"I can't tell, hold on." I slid off the bed and walked to the door, sticking my head out. I looked left, right, straight and I couldn't see anything but I heard the sound of something metallic rolling across the floor just around the corner. Then the smell of blood hit me like a tsunami. It was strong and coming from the same direction as the sound. I knew blood wasn't all that surprising to smell in hospital, but this was fresh. The still warm kind of fresh. Emotions tended to linger in the bloodstream. I'm sure there was a medical name for it. I just knew that who ever had shed this blood was terrified.
"Scott?" The fear coming off Stiles was nearly as strong.
"Stay here," I ordered. "I'll be right back."
"Wait!" Stiles interjected, panicked. "You're just gonna leave me alone, in a creepy dim lit hospital room, to go investigate?" Stiles slid out of the bed and looked at me disbelievingly.
I sighed. I'd rather he stayed safely in his bed, but I knew that expecting Stiles to do what was best for him was nearly impossible. "Do you want to come with me?" Stiles mulled things over in his head, looking uneasily between the door and me. It looked like it hurt, but finally he shook his head 'no' vigorously.
"Stay here." I opened the door once again and stepped out into the hallway. The blood and fear had coated the air completely. I held my breath, but that didn't help, I could still taste it. I slowly made my way down the right corridor, in the direction of the check-in desk. As I rounded the corner, I found the source of the metallic noise. It was a can, used for holding pens. The pens were scattered all over the floor and no one was in sight. I moved closer to the desk and found the source of the blood. A young nurse lay sprawled on the floor; her eyes staring sightlessly and a pool of blood widening beneath her torn out throat. I didn't know who she was, but the sight made me sick.
There was another smell lingering around her body, it was familiar but I couldn't place my finger on it. It wasn't fear. It was more like…rage. Then I remembered where I knew the scent from: that night at the school and tonight at the parking garage.
I raced back to Stiles' room and slammed the door open. Stiles' eyes grew huge and he practically fell out of bed. "What?" He whispered. "What is it?" Is it the Alpha?"
I didn't think I could stand smelling that nurse's dying terror coming from Stiles. I wasn't going to make the same mistake I'd made earlier this evening. I pulled him upright and looked straight into his eyes.
"Stiles, you have to find somewhere to hide." I turned him and pushed him out the door, towards one of the other hallways. "Go!"
I watched him take off, glancing back at me all the way. As he turned the corner, I heard a bloodcurdling howl echo through the empty hallway. It did more than scare the shit out of me. It called to me, or rather, it called to my wolf. I tried to fight the pull, but I hadn't yet mastered my own purposeful shifts, much less one being drawn from me by an Alpha. My wolf was responding to the Alpha's will, and there was no way I could stop it. I'd lost all control within seconds.
I was able to see out of my own eyes, but my actions weren't my own anymore; they were the wolf's. They were the Alpha's. He was tracking. As the wolf caught Stiles' scent, I could feel the bloodlust rushing through him, through me. The wolf loped down the hall I'd just sent Stiles into. It stopped right in the middle of the hall before slowly making its way into one of the operating rooms.
"Scott?" Stiles called hesitantly. The wolf snapped our head in his direction and let out a blood-chilling snarl. "Okay…not Scott." Stiles squeaked out.
He darted from under the counter to put the operating table between us. The wolf slowly closed in on him. Stiles snatched up a metal tray, sending all the operating equipment clanging to the floor. He looked at the platter questionably, then shrugged as he sent it flying at us. My wolf didn't even bother to dodge; it bounced right off us. The sound coming from our mouth was growling, but I could hear the wolf laughing inside my head.
I screamed at the wolf, but he ignored me. He pounced on Stiles as though this were a game. Stiles managed to wiggle out of our grasp slightly. But, the wolf didn't let it stay that way for long. Stiles had managed to slide his body up, putting all of his vital organs out of reach; just not his legs. With a howl of victory inside my head, the wolf sank his teeth into Stiles' thigh.
"Scott!" Stiles shrieked my name out in pain.
Fucking stop it! You're hurting him!
I tried to gain control of my body back, but the wolf continued biting, sinking his teeth, further into Stiles' thigh.
"Fuck, Scott!" Stiles flailed weakly for a moment, then grabbed up the nearest of the operating instruments lying on the floor next to him. He sat up, and stabbed the scalpel into the wolf's back.
The pain sparked sharply in my shoulder, but the wolf didn't let go; his teeth nearly meeting through Stiles' flesh. Stiles couldn't fight off the wolf, the only thing he was able to do was scream in agony. I could sense that the wolf was getting tired of playing with his food, and any second, he was going to gut Stiles.
Stop! He's your friend! Look at him; he's terrified. How can you want to kill the only person who's willing to help you, no matter the risk! He's always there when you need him, when I need him. You can't kill him. Let him go!
I didn't really think I could reason with the beast, but hopefully the babbling would distract the wolf long enough for me to get control. The wolf suddenly released his bite on Stiles' thigh, but still wouldn't relinquish control. He just stared at Stiles, curiously; examining him; questioning why we should give mercy to something so weak. I took one last shot at control, bundling all my rage up in one final hard hit.
Leave him be!