slide my finger down, hoping to see life
As he finished cleaning the kitchen, Stiles's phone buzzed again. It was, of course, from Scott, since Scott and his dad were pretty much the only people who evertexted him (well, Allison had a few times, and Danny a few times to collaborate for school projects, but that wasn't nearly as dramatic sounding). Scott had apparently moved on from the invasion of the veterinarian's territory, because the text was about something completely different.
drk fnd erka n boyd. pck me up?
be there in 5, he shot back quickly as he pulled on his shoes and hoodie and dug up his keys. The last time he had seen Boyd and Erica, it had been in Gerald's friendly family torture dungeon. Argent – the sane, but still creepy Argent – had let them go, but no one had seen them since. (Isaac had told Scott, who had eventually mentioned it to Stiles like he already knew, that Erica and Boyd were in the middle of running away when the Argents caught them, so it was entirely possible they had just continued running away, but that wasn't the impression Stiles was getting from Scott's badly-spelled text message. Unless he was implying that Derek had found them and was torturing them for trying to get away, but that didn't seem super likely anymore. Or, technically, ever, since Derek's character hadn't exactly changed, Stiles was just more aware of it now, but whatever.)
The drive to the vet's was thankfully short, because Stiles's ideas were chasing themselves in dizzying circles that he couldn't do anything about right then. Scott was waiting right next to the street, looking every last bit the anxious puppy waiting for his owner to come home. He jumped in the second Stiles stopped the Jeep, and Stiles turned in the direction of the warehouse without asking.
"So how'd you find out?" he asked, just to break the nervous tension in the vehicle.
"Isaac. He texted me right after that lady left." Scott looked uncertain for a second. "Dr. Deaton said it was fine, that she was only warning him, not threatening him."
"Pretty sure Deaton is the last person in this town I'd worry about taking care of himself," Stiles muttered.
Scott, of course, heard him (stupid werewolf ears). "But Stiles! She smelled dangerous, like- like death," he said, apparently coming to that conclusion right then. His eyes were impossibly wide, staring at Stiles with sudden pleading – Stiles saw all that out of the corner of his eye, and out of far too many memories. What was hesupposed to do about it? Even if she was the Grim Reaper itself, Stiles would still place good money on Deaton coming up even, at the very least.
But hey, they were at the warehouse, and despite all the personal growth and development Scott had been forced through, he still had problems keeping his mind on more than one thing at a time. Score one for Stiles, he thought as he turned off the Jeep and followed his wolfy friend into the dilapidated building.
"What are you two doing here?" Derek growled, Mildly Constipated Face #37 on display. Isaac shuffled a little guiltily off to the side, and Derek rolled his eyes. "Never mind. You still shouldn't be here."
"Calm down already," Stiles said, rolling his eyes as he brushed by the guard dogs. "Don't make me go all High School Musical on you." Oh, awesome, now he had gotten 'We're All in This Together' stuck in hishead. That karma sure was an A-class bitch.
Erica and Boyd were laying in the middle of the warehouse floor, because apparently god forbid Derek drag them to the mattress in the subway car (yeah, he'd been in the subway car before, mostly just that once when Boyd had been shot with wolfsbane bullets at the rave, because Derek had been too busy with saving Scott to care for the rest of his pups, so Stiles got the unenviable job of cramming wolfsbane ash into Boyd's wounds).
They looked bad. Really bad. In fact, Stiles was pretty sure he was never going to be able to look at raw hamburger meat the same way ever again. "What happened to them?" Scott asked, sounding just as shocked by the sight as Stiles felt.
"Oh, didn't my dear nephew tell you?" And hey, this day was just getting better, because lurking in the shadows was Peter Hale. Derek had to get his creeping from somewhere, Stiles supposed. Made sense that it was genetic.
"Nice to see you again, Creepy Uncle Peter," Stiles said, not able to stop himself. Stress-induced snarking, it was a legitimate medical condition, look it up. He was pretty sure it'd be on WebMD at least.
"Mr. Stilinski," Peter responded politely, with a disturbing little smile on his face (possibly just his normal smile, since Stiles hadn't seen any other kind from him), before turning back to the group at large (well, mostly Scott). "The alpha pack left them as a warning," he explained.
"The alphas did this?" Scott asked, sounding very distressed from where he was kneeling next to the two bodies, seeing what he could do with his vet assistant skills. Bodies, notcorpses, because even Stiles could hear the wet, hissing breaths escaping the prone forms. And wait.
"Alpha pack?" He put aside his annoyance (and yeah, okay, hurt too) at Isaac apparently sharing information with Scott that Scott didn't feel necessary to pass on to him. "As in, a pack made up of alphas, or a pack that is in charge of all the other packs?" Oh English, you wacky language you.
"Mostly the first," Peter said with a shrug. "A little of the second, according to them at least."
What a world, where he could rely on the slightly pedo zombie wolf over his best friend when it came to telling him things.
Scott froze in the middle of his examination before throwing his head up, eyes glowing. Out of the corner of his eye, Stiles saw Isaac and Derek do the same thing (Peter was still just leaning against the wall, smirk firmly in place, like he was too cool to be alert or something; some part of Stiles's mind imagined him in a polo shirt with popped collar and snickered to itself). Stiles barely resisted from going into baby-talk tones and demanding, "Who is it boy? Is it Timmy? Is Timmy down the well?"
"Someone's here," Scott hissed, completely unnecessarily. No, really? Stiles totally thought they heard a tornado coming down the street instead (although, hey, he'd read something about animals noticing earthquakes before the shaking actually started, he wondered if werewolves could do the same…). As Scott spoke, Derek launched himself into the shadows, moving almost too fast for the human eye to track.
"I wouldn't, if I were you," a voice Stiles had never heard before spoke up from the shadows, completely calm. Derek had frozen mid-leap (okay, not exactly, as he then would've crashed to the floor like a Bugs Bunny cartoon), and stayed still as the owner of the voice sauntered into view, a gun pointed directly at Derek, and another pointed at the rest of the group (it was probably the second one that made Derek pause, since he never seemed to blink at getting shot before, but there was a squishy human and two mostly dead wolves at the end of the other gun).
Stiles saw Scott stiffen out of the corner of his eye, and glanced over at him with a quick eyebrow raise meaning, "Is this the scary lady from Deaton's?" Scott, for all his slight shittiness as a friend lately, could still read Stiles's expressions as well as he ever could, and he dipped his head in a quick, tense nod.
Their little exchange caught the look of the dangerous redhead (which was possibly repetitive; every redhead Stiles had come across was at least dangerous, if not outright deadly), and she shifted her focus. The implied threat to his already wounded pack (plus Scott and Stiles, but again, Stiles was pretty sure that didn't really come into his calculations) made Derek start to lunge forward again, protectively.
He was brought up short by a low whistling sound that Stiles only figured out was an arrow when it buried itself, quivering, in the support column next to Derek. It had come close enough to cut a narrow slice into Derek's jacket, but there wasn't any blood.
Isaac whirled around with his own snarl, because the angle of the shot meant the archer was behind them and they had been too caught up with the other threat to notice.
Stiles, meanwhile, was having a miniature epiphany – a miniphany, he liked to call them. Surprise!uncle who happened to be Hawkeye + arrow + suspiciously familiar redhead dressed like a superspy… "What the hell, why are the Avengers trying to kill us?!"
"What are you talking about?" Scott tried to ask, but he was interrupted by a snort from the direction of the archer.
So, Clint had stumbled, slightly shell-shocked, into the hotel room he was sharing with Natasha who had already returned from her own errand. The Black Widow quirked an eyebrow in a questioning manner, and rather than anything he'd thought he'd say, Clint blurted out, "I have a nephew." Both of her eyebrows rose at that, and Clint was glad he wasn't the only one being surprised (raising both her eyebrows was as close as Natasha Romanoff usually got to shock). But she didn't say anything, because she was the best friend-slash-partner-slash-fellow master assassin a man could ask for.
"I saw my brother earlier," he added by way of explanation as to where he'd been, and why he'd just blurted that out. "Anyway, how did it go with the good doctor?"
She let the extremely abrupt subject change go, probably because she was already figuring out horrible ways to make him spill without meaning to. "Alan Deaton is uncooperative." Natasha looked distinctly annoyed (her nostrils were very veryminutely flared; Clint and Coulson were probably the only ones who would have been able to tell that her expression had, in fact, changed at all, let alone been able to figure out what it meant). "He has a teenager working for him, so I had to stay subtle." She sounded displeased, which just cemented Clint's suspicion that ever since getting to shoot down hundreds of aliens, she'd been a little bored with run-of-the-mill spying. "I'll get him alone later, when the child's gone home."
"So, step two?" Clint asked, deciding not to mention that the child in question was apparently friends with his apparent nephew. Beacon Hills was a relatively small town; coincidences did occasionallyhappen, after all.
Step two was to do their own nice, in-depth reconnaissance. A quick overview of some crime maps had pointed to something strange definitely happening in the warehouse district. Whether it was their kind of strange or not was yet to be seen.
It didn't take long for the two master assassins to find the warehouse they were looking for – blood trails were always rather helpful in that regard. A few quick hand gestures, and they took up opposite corners of the building, finding entrances easily (the warehouse wasn't in that great of shape). Clint entered through the fire escape for the second floor, easily finding a place to survey the main floor of the building, where it appeared everyone was gathered.
There were two dead or dying teenagers on the floor, with three other teenagers nearby – one kneeling next to the bodies, apparently inspecting them, and two others with their backs to Clint. There was a slightly older guy a few feet away from the main group, watching them with a glare and furrowed eyebrows, and against the wall was an older man, watching everyone else with a smirk. Clint carefully shifted his position, because if the older man bothered glancing up and to the left just a little, Clint would be directly in his eye line.
"–the first. A little of the second, according to them at least," the older guy was saying as Clint took up position and carefully kept Tall, Dark, and Broody in his sights. Not that he was underestimating teenagers (he vaguely remembered being one, after all), but the twenty-something in the room was giving off the biggest threatening vibes.
At that moment, Broody, the teen leaning over the bodies, and one of the others seemed to freeze, heads whipping to the position Clint knew Natasha had taken up. How they knew someone was there was an entirely separate question – Clint would not have been shocked to find out that Natasha was the Norse Goddess of Stealth, except in that she was Russian and not Scandinavian. No oneever caught Natasha when she didn't want to be found.
Broody charged the shadows, only to be brought up short by Natasha. The tableau froze for a moment, before she glanced at the teenagers and the other one she was holding at gunpoint thought that was a good sign to attack.
So giving up his element of surprise probably wasn't an amazing idea, but he could see everyone in the building (unless they had even better skills than Natasha at staying undetected, anyway), and he'd be able to put an arrow through any of them before they got close enough to do damage to him. Plus, he'd rather not aerate teenagers, so a show of intimidation was the best shot at that working out.
One of the teenagers turned around to face him, and – well, glowing eyes had never been a sign of anything goodbefore, although Clint calmed down a little when he noticed the tone was gold, not blue.
The other standing teenager didn't turn all the way around, trying to keep at the least the corner of his eye on both of them… and then he shouted. "What the hell, why are the Avengers trying to kill us?!"
Well, there went Clint's vague hopes that his brother had actually reformed. He snorted over the question by the kid still by the bodies. "How about, what the hell, why is my nephew standing next to two dead bodies in an abandoned warehouse?" he couldn't stop himself from retorting.
If the situation hadn't been what it was, the gobsmacked expressions and body language on pretty much everyone would've been hysterical.
"You have an uncle?" the kid next to the bodies demanded at the exact same time Dark and Broody scoffed, "He'syour uncle?"
"Oh my god," his nephew yelled, throwing his hands in the air dramatically. "First," he rounded vaguely on Clint's position, squinting in an attempt to see him – the lighting of abandoned warehouses, surprisingly not great. "They're not dead. Second," he turned to the boy next to him, "As of about an hour ago, apparently. And finally," now his finger was out and pointing at the vaguely surprised, vaguely constipated-looking guy still at the end of Natasha's gun, "Youdon't get to talk about uncles." He paused. "No offense, Creepy Uncle Peter."
The man still leaning against the wall, looking for all the world like the only thing that could improve his life was a bucket of popcorn and possibly a recliner, waved his hand dismissively. "None taken."
"So now we're back to: why are the Avengers – including my uncle– trying to kill us?"
"And we're also back to: why are you standing next to dead-" ("They're not dead!" half-shouted his nephew, who he just realized he'd never actually gotten introduced to) "-fine, dyingteenagers?" Clint snarked back, holding tightly to his bow. "Last time I saw my brother, he faked his death to escape the mafia and the FBI, so I'm not full of confidence about this situation."
"Wait," the curly haired boy asked, sounding a little lost. "The Sheriff was on the run from the FBI?"
Most of the room seemed equally unbelieving. Damn, his brother was good at burying the past – anyone from the circus wouldn't have blinked at the idea of Barney Barton being on the wrong side of the FBI or the mafia.
"Also, the glowing eyes. Explanation for that would be nice," Clint said, over the silence of disbelief.
"You're not hunters?" the non-curly haired and non-his nephew boy asked, confused.
"Hunters of what?"
Okay, well, that definitely counted as a slight relief. His uncle was just crazy and liked to shoot at teenagers with arrows, not actually a hunter. (What was his life, seriously?!) "Hunters? Oh, you know, deer and stuff. Isn't it bow hunting season?" Stiles shot a shutupshutupshutup look at Isaac (who looked a little insulted, and he should be, because Scott was pretty much the only person who'd ever received that look before; feel the shame, Isaac, feelit).
From the looks of, oh, everyone, that excuse was being bought by approximately zero percent of the room. What the hell, at least hewas trying! "And who doesn't like those nifty new contacts?" he tried, quarter-heartedly (that's about half of the half-hearted he had sported the previous sentence, for those keeping track at home).
"Bow hunting and contacts, huh? Sticking with that story?" And okay, wow, that was disturbing on so very many levels. Hawkeye had the exact same expression as his dad would've in any situation vaguely similar. It was his copyrighted Buuuuuullshitlook.
"Werewolves," was the contribution of Black Widow, whose arm hadn't twitched from their position of pointing at his face(and one at Derek, but whatever, Derek would heal).
"Werewolves?" Hawkeye asked in disbelief, before pausing, considering (remembering all the insanity that went hand-in-hand with Loki, not that Stiles knew that). "Well, okay. But are you sure?"
"I've met a few," Black Widow said vaguely, holstering the gun she had pointed at Derek. But not the one pointed at Stiles, which was just a pure jerk move, really. "Shooting him won't do anything," she added, probably to a look Hawkeye gave her. There still wasn't the slightest bit of fear in posture (or her scent, but again, Stiles had no way of knowing that).
Stiles was getting fed up. "Can we maybe talk without both of the guns? I'm getting seriously tired of being held at gun point! Thisis the kind of thing that makes people turn into psychotic spree killers, okay?" He paused. "Again, no offense, Creepy Uncle Peter."
Peter rolled his eyes at that one. "Technically not a spree killer. That definition foregoes pauses between kills," he said nonchalantly, inspecting his nails. The sassy sonuvabitch was apparently going along with Stiles's vague plan to shift attention of the death kind away from himself – Stiles gave him some points grudgingly, bringing Peter's total up to -10982. Even after the recent everything, the dead-nurse-in-a-box (well, trunk) still popped up in Stiles's nightmares sometimes.
The gun stayed trained on Stiles, but Black Widow's attention did shift to Peter. "I don't think we've had the pleasure of being introduced," he said silkily. "Peter Hale. That's my nephew, Derek," he said, nodding his head at said nephew, whose eyes had gone all nice and alpha-red since the werewolf revelation, and who looked a second from going completely furry. "Whose pack you might want to stop threatening," Peter added as an afterthought.
"There's still the problem of the dead-" ("OH MY GOD, THEY'RE NOT DEAD, WILL YOU STOP THAT?!") "-dying teenagers in the middle of your floor," Clint had to redirect everyone's attention.
"I didn't think superheroes were supposed to be assholes," came a voice very welcome to Stiles's ears. Erica had apparently come around enough to figure out what was going on, although there was still bloody foam around her mouth. He dropped down to help her sit up – Boyd was still out, but even in the short time they'd been having this bizarre stand-off, he looked a little better. Probably something weird and mystical to do with being near their alpha, Stiles figured. Or hoped. Because he knew that wounds made by an alpha didn't heal nearly as fast, and he'd reallyrather they not be in agonizing pain for a few weeks.
"You can put the bow down, Katniss, we didn't do this to them," Stiles added, supporting most of Erica's weight. "We're not thisrough on our allies." Sometimes it was a close thing, and he probably shouldn't mention Derek's 'Let's all kill Lydia!' crusade, but they didn't legitimately want each other dead anymore.
"Good to see you, Batman," Erica muttered, lifting her hand and running a finger over the vestiges of Stiles's Psycho Grandpa-induced injuries.
"You should see the other guy," he joked, getting a little smirk out of her.
Black Widow made a considering sound, and then glanced up at Hawkeye. They did some eye-contact-telepathy or something, and just like that, they disappeared. Actually disappeared, Stiles was pretty sure, because even the werewolves looked startled and confused by the sudden exit.
"Freakin' superhero ninjas," Stiles muttered.
Random note time!
- The reason they were able to notice super-ninja!Natasha was that she happened to pick the side that was directly upwind of the others, so her smell went right to them.
- Clint has never run into werewolves before, and Natasha is aware of them, but doesn't actually deal with them - "Magic and monsters, and nothing we were ever trained for", remember?
- I'm horrible at romance, so don't expect anything more than vague background canon couples, unless I get ambitious and go crazy. (In which case: Clint/anyone-but-Natasha is a possibility, because I love them as maybe-once-lovers turned total bros. I also may be talking myself into putting in a side of Isaac/Danny and Stiles/Darcy, but that's because I am a total spaz.)
- Scott's texting is going to break my spellcheck.