Stiles watched the fight between the werewolves in mute horror. Derek crushed Scott's leg, threw him across the room. Stiles took a step toward his fallen friend. He kept his eyes on the monstrous wolf, tried to circle around. The Alpha caught Jackson's arm in its jaws, blood sprayed everywhere. Stiles thought he was going to be sick. The noise Jackson made was inhuman. Stiles had never seen so much red. It mixed with the water on the floor, spread slowly through the warehouse. It was like a horrifying tide controlled by the blood red moons that Derek's eyes had become.
"Stop!" Stiles yelled, but it didn't matter. His voice was nothing compared to the sounds of Scott and Jackson's bones snapping as they hit the wall.
Derek didn't even react to him, kept stalking towards his friends. They were his pack members, but Derek didn't seem to recognize them anymore. Stiles didn't know what to do. He couldn't fight Derek, couldn't beat him down or make him back off. It didn't matter what the score of their game was. Stiles was still just a person. Derek was something more. He couldn't babble Derek into submission.
The Alpha took a step towards Scott and Jackson's prone bodies.
Stiles saw Allison on the far side of the room. She looked like she was frozen in place, paralyzed by fear. It was one thing to fight with Derek in his human form, or to face Peter in his Alpha form when she had the security of her bow in her hands. It was quite another to be alone and unarmed. She wasn't watching Scott fight valiantly, overcoming a foe trying to protect her with the help of his friends. She was watching the person she loved get torn to pieces. It broke Stiles's heart.
The Alpha took another step, dropped down on all fours. It let out another thunderous howl.
He looked over at Lydia. She was paler than normal, her lips moved soundlessly. Derek had become the very thing that nearly tore Lydia to pieces. She was trembling. Stiles had no idea what she was whispering to herself, but it didn't matter. The look of raving mad fear in her eyes would never leave Stiles. He was going to live with it for the rest of his life. Lydia would be worse off—she was actually experiencing the terror—Stiles was only seeing it from the outside.
The Alpha got closer to the fallen werewolves. Time felt like it was slowing down.
Stiles looked at Jackson. His head lulled uselessly to the side. His left arm was grizzly, clearly dislocated. There were pieces of bone poking through the muscle where Derek's jaws had scythed through the flesh. Stiles hoped he wasn't conscious, wished for that small mercy. If Jackson had been awake he'd have been screaming in mindless agony.
The Alpha stopped his advanced, sniffed the air. He assessed the state of his victims. Derek was a much wiser Alpha than Peter had been. In a way it was more terrifying. Derek's calculating advance was more purposeful, more deliberate than Peter's consuming rage had been.
Stiles locked eyes with Scott. His best friend was clutching the leg the Alpha had mangled. Unlike Jackson the damage wasn't obvious, but it was only slightly less severe. Stiles had to do something. They looked at each other and time slowed down even further—it was like bullet time in movies—except it wasn't awesome. Stiles had never wanted to be in a moment like that.
Stiles tried to use special best friend telepathy, the connection that two people had sometimes where they could communicate things without voicing them. People who were really close like Scott and Stiles had it, because the bond they had surpassed silly things like words. There hadn't been words created to truly describe those moments where two people really got each other.
Stiles tried to use it to tell Scott to take care of his dad, to make sure that he ate right and that he didn't work too hard. He tried to tell Scott to put flowers on his mother's grave on her birthdays from now on without him. Stiles tried to make his best friend understand what he was going to do and why.
Scott's eyes got wide, wider than Stiles had ever seen them. Scott shook his head desperately, forced himself to his feet. He fell when his mangled leg gave out with a sickening crack. Stiles knew there was visible bone, even if he couldn't see it from where he stood. Scott didn't even make a noise. He stared at Stiles, eyes wide and desperate. Scott shook his head, pointed towards the door.
Scott wanted to protect him, wanted him to run. Stiles couldn't heal the way Scott could. He was just a human. Stiles shook his head. Scott couldn't protect everyone all the time. Stiles had told him that, now he had to prove it.
There were so many people that loved Scott. He had his mother, Allison, probably Jackson too, probably more the way Allison did than Scott's mom did. There were so many people who cared about him. There was his boss at the veterinary hospital, and everyone who cheered for him on the lacrosse team. Scott was special, more special than he realized himself.
Stiles only had his dad. His dad knew what it meant to sacrifice—to do things you needed to do—especially if it meant protecting the people you loved. It was Stiles's turn to be Batman.
Stiles loved Scott. He didn't want to see him in pain. He wanted to see Scott laugh, wanted to see him smile. Stiles wouldn't watch the Alpha tear Scott apart, he wasn't that kind of person. Stiles would never forgive himself if he didn't do everything he could to protect his friends.
Time went back to normal. Stiles did the only thing he could think to do. He ran right for the Alpha's back and leapt onto him. Merry and Pippin would have been so damn proud. Alpha Derek was so much scarier than a stupid cave troll. Stiles didn't even have a sword.
The Alpha reacted with predictable ferocity at the sudden impact. Stiles yelled out in pain. Claws dug into his side, yanked him off the wolf's back. Derek tossed him away. Stiles flew through the air in a nauseating spiral. He slammed into the ground only a few feet away, breath rushed out of his lungs at the impact.
Warm blood spread out from the wound in his side. It stained his white outfit red. It ran over the glowing blue paint on his clothes. He deliriously thought it made the paint turn purple, but then he remembered that there was already purple there.
The monstrous thing coming after him wasn't what Derek was supposed to be. Derek was supposed to scowl at them. He was supposed to yell and threaten and shake his fists. He was supposed to hold Stiles up against walls, snarl in his face, and frown at everything. He was supposed to tell Stiles to be quiet, to threaten him, to pull on his ear when he didn't listen.
Derek was supposed to break DVDs and hit people with wooden spoons. He was supposed to need Stiles to give him a hug at night when he was afraid. He was supposed to steal Stile's covers and not let him sleep in.
Derek wasn't supposed to really hurt people. He wasn't supposed to be a monster that tore Jackson and Scott to pieces. He wasn't supposed to make Allison and Lydia cry. Derek was supposed to hug Stiles, hold him, and listen to him when something was wrong. He was supposed to put Stiles's mom's picture by him and make sure that the sea shells he'd found were safe.
Derek wasn't supposed to dig his claws into Stiles. Wasn't supposed to stalk towards him, or look like he was going to rip Stiles's throat out. Derek was supposed to tell him to wear sun screen, to put it on when Stiles couldn't do it himself. Derek was supposed to do that because Derek was supposed to be watching out for them, not trying to hurt them. They were all supposed to be one group, one pack. There weren't supposed to be any token humans. That's what Derek had told him. Derek was supposed to believe that too.
The Alpha got closer. Stiles couldn't see Derek in the Alpha's crimson eyes. Stiles missed the blue, missed it so bad that the pain in his side was hollow and meaningless. It didn't compare to the emptiness crashing down on him.
Derek reared up on his hind legs. Stiles knew he wasn't going to make it. The monster that had taken over Derek—who'd stolen his mind—was going to kill him. He hoped the shock of it would knock Derek out of whatever the hell was wrong with him. He closed his eyes. He waited for the crushing pain to descend on him.
He heard splashing in the water. Someone had gotten between him and the Alpha. He shook his head. Stiles didn't want anyone else to get hurt. He wanted to get up, to knock them out of the way. He couldn't move. The floor of the warehouse was cold, soaked in water and blood. Stiles hated the cold. He wanted it to be warm. He wanted them all to be back at the beach house playing games. He didn't want most of his pack bleeding on the floor of a shady warehouse.
"Stop!" Lydia's voice rang clear and true through the empty warehouse.
Stiles opened his eyes. Lydia was standing between him and the Alpha. Her arms outstretched, she was using her body as a shield. She wasn't shaking with fear anymore. She locked gazes with the Alpha, stared right into its furious red eyes. She'd gone bat shit insane.
"You're supposed to take care of him!" Lydia screamed the words like an accusation, like she was trying to cut him with her voice. "You're hurting him!"
The Alpha went down on all fours again. He tilted his head as he looked at Lydia. Stiles's mouth fell open in shock. She was standing up to him. She was showing him that she wasn't afraid. Lydia was trying to take the place of Alpha female in the pack.
She was more brilliant than Stiles ever would have given her credit for. After what she'd gone through with Peter, he wouldn't have thought she'd ever stand face to face with another Alpha. She'd almost died, that experience had worked some sort of strange alchemy on who she was. She had faced the fury of an Alpha before. Not at the head a victorious force, but as its victim. She had suffered and survived. She knew that she was strong enough.
Stiles sucked a ragged breath into his lungs. The Alpha sniffed at her and then looked back at Stiles, glowing red eyes flickered. Their fury dimmed. The Alpha tried to step around her. Lydia moved in front of him again.
"You know he loved me first." Lydia kept her arms outstretched, kept her head high. She'd given countless commands through her life. She was used to being obeyed. It gave her a strength and confidence that none of the rest of the pack had. She was a force of nature all on her own.
The Alpha gazed at her, sniffed the air. Lydia didn't balk. She didn't waver. She stood her ground.
"If you are going to take him from me then you have to prove that you can take care of him," she said.
Stiles was terrified. He'd seen a different Alpha attack her, had watched her blood spill down her body. He couldn't watch it again. She gambled with her life. Stiles wasn't worth stakes like that.
"Derek, please don't do this," he whispered. "You're supposed to be the one who takes care of us, all of us. You said we were a pack."
The Alpha nodded at Lydia. Red eyes faded away. Derek acknowledged her, accepted her as the Alpha female. Stiles didn't know how he knew, but he was sure. For just a moment Stiles thought he saw a flicker of purple light in the giant wolf's eyes.
The giant beast vibrated in place, shrunk in on itself. The monstrous wolf's muzzle disappeared, left Derek's human face in it's place. Sharp claws were replaced by human fingernails. It seemed like it took forever for Derek to look human again, to look like he was supposed to. He looked at Stiles. Time seemed to freeze again, either that or Stiles was about to lose consciousness. He wasn't sure, couldn't think through the pain.
Derek rushed forward. He wrapped one arm under Stiles's body. He used his other hand to apply pressure to the wound in Stiles's side. It was the kind of thing Derek was supposed to do. Derek was acting how he was supposed to act. He held Stiles, warmed him with his body heat. The fact that Derek was naked and wet from the sprinklers pouring down on them wasn't half bad either. Stiles grinned for a moment before he passed out.