Tentatively, Stiles shifted and pain bloomed anew. God, it hurt so much he could feel bile rising into his throat as tears swelled in his eyes. Stiles needed to man the hell up and move. He was no help to anyone just laying there.
Taking a deep breath, Stiles gagged. It smelled so bad wherever the hell he was. Something thick and pungent clung to the air, a heavy fog of rot and decay. That was not something he wanted to think about too much. Rotting, decaying things were usually alive once. Instead he focused on the pain.
His shoulder was dislocated. Stiles had seen enough action movies, even researched it once when he was bored; he could probably force it back into place. Rolling onto his back, Stiles tried to breathe past the pain. The longer he waited, the more it hurt and he was starting to slip in and out of focus.
Reaching out, he folded his arm across his chest at a ninety degree angle. He gripped his wrist tightly, dreading the next part. It will be so much better when it's over. That was all the reassurance he needed before pushing his arm up, rotating it back into the socket. Vaguely he recognized the taste of blood in his mouth as he bit back a scream.
It hurt so much he thought the burning pain was going to consume him like fire. He felt his entire skeleton catch flame, his bones searing his flesh from the inside out and he clenched his eyes shut. He didn't stop pushing, knew he couldn't, but he was struggling to breathe around the hot pain filling his lungs. Just as he screamed, no longer able to hold back, his joint cracked. The soothing flood of relief washed over him instantly and he let out a long, uneasy exhale.
That was all the time he gave himself to recover, he would have plenty of time later when that creepy janitor was taken care of, when Derek was not walking into a trap looking for him and he was not locked in a freaky room under the supply closet.
It was pitch black. But he already knew that. He also knew that if he wanted to have even the slightest chance of escape he would need to remedy the darkness. A shaky breath to steady himself and Stiles moved to feel around the floor blindly. Although later he would never admit it, Stiles shrieked when both hands found two very different things at once.
One was hard, plastic or metal, and cylindrical. His flashlight, which had no doubt been knocked in with him when he fell. The other was sticky, almost wet, but more...gooey. And, yeah, Stiles did not like that at all. He jerked back, spastic and horrified, hurriedly turning his flashlight on with too jittery of hands.
The light was a reprieve that was short lived. Stiles quickly shone it down at the stickiness and frowned. It was red, dark, and browning and as he followed the puddle upwards Stiles nearly puked. Everywhere. Really, he was surprised he managed to choke back the contents of his stomach at the sight.
Hanging, limp and mutilated, on thick hooks protruding from the wall was a werewolf. Stiles knew that because underneath the caking, drying, rotting blood he could see his ears, and fangs, and his dead shells that were once sharp, aggressive eyes. He could see the twisted look of agony still reminiscent of the face, still frozen in a scream. Stiles felt a cold wave of utter terror swallow him.
That's what had drawn Derek to the school. The noises they had heard in the closet. He had been alive while Derek and Stiles were right above him. They could have saved him, but the chemicals masked his scent, and Stiles had-had seduced Derek so his focus wasn't at its peak. This is what Peers wanted to reduce Derek to.
That's not fucking happening. Stiles decided, unwaveringly and he steeled himself. Now was not the time to freak out. Later. He assured himself again before looking away and standing on surprisingly steady legs.
He panned the light across the small enclosure. It was a tight room, and if Stiles remembered the blue prints correctly it was connected to the basement by a small crawl space. Originally the room was for holding dangerous chemicals or ones the students would get their hands on and huff.
There had been a similar room built under the nurse's office and the library. Although, that one didn't really make sense. They were a stupid precaution that the school had completely forgotten about. He was pretty sure they had carpeted over the one in the library, actually.
But, the crawlspace was nothing more than basement that they never bothered to finish. Not that Stiles cared, because any way out was an amazing way out. He just had to search the walls closely until he saw...there! A slab of wood amongst heavy cement, haphazardly working as a make shift door.
Stiles ran to it, so eager to be out. Shoving the flashlight between his teeth, Stiles hauled the wood out of his way, ignoring the tight pain that shot down from his shoulder. Think about it later. A loud clang echoed when he dropped it unceremoniously to the floor, but Stiles was unfazed, ducking into the tight place and practically crawling through the cobwebs and dirt.
Stiles felt scratches being torn into his bare chest and scrapes being rubbed up and down his arms, but he forced the pain away. Into that reclusive part of his mind where he kept his darkest thoughts and painful memories. That's what all of this will be eventually. A distant memory to be tucked away.
When the boiler room came into view, Stiles sighed in relief and picked up the pace. He hadn't been in locked in that room for long. There was still a chance that he could make it to Derek on time and foil the bad guy's plan. No, not a chance—a guarantee. Stiles was going to make it.
Running past the heaters, steaming pipes littering the walls and were they supposed to be doing that? Stiles charged full speed up the stairs and out the staff entrance doors. Barreling into the crisp morning air without second thought. Now what? He was free, but he had no keys and no phone.
"Stilinski!" Stiles jumped when he heard Coach Finstock's voice; "What the hell are you doing?" Okay, I can work with that.
"Coach!" Stiles ran at the other man, so happy to see a familiar face free of malicious intent. Before he could stop himself, Stiles was hugging the man and, yeah, it was weird for both of them.
"This is awkward," Finstock grumbled, body tense and pulling away; "What drugs are you on now?" Stiles stepped back, still holding the coaches shoulders.
"What? No drugs just—Hey! Can I use your phone?" Stiles wasn't coming across as a very convincing sober person, but really, he was lucky he wasn't just knocking the coach over the head and stealing his car. Actually...
"Fine," Finstock reached in his pocket and pulled out his cell; "Do you need to go to the hospital or something Stilinski? 'cause you look like shit." He handed the phone to the younger man and Stiles almost cried he was so happy.
"No I was..." Stiles squinted, thinking; "going for a morning jog."
Finstock frowned. "Half-naked? In the basement of the school?"
"I didn't say I do it often," Stiles shrugged, dialing Scott's number. He cursed himself for not bothering to learn all the numbers in his contact list, including Derek's. It rang once and Stiles was becoming restless, twice and he was jittery, three times and he was ready to strangle Scott, but then he answered.
"...hello?" Scott sounded just as confused as ever.
"Scott!" Stiles shouted; "Where's Derek? Have you heard from him? Are you with him now?"
"Stiles?" Scott sounded absolutely flabbergasted, and Stiles knew he could be slow sometimes, but this was ridiculous.
"Yes. Scott, it's Stiles," Stiles rolled his eyes, "Where is Derek?"
"We-we all separated. We were looking for you and there were different scent trails. I, uh, I found your shirt. Derek said you were texting him that you were in trouble," Scott explained quickly; "Where are you?"
"The school. Look, Scott, you have to find Derek," Stiles ran a hand through his short hair; "I was never the target. It was always him. I'll explain everything. But find Derek first. He's the priority. Okay?"
"...okay," Stiles hated Scott's uneasy voice. It was almost like he didn't trust Stiles and that infuriated him to no end.
"Good. Now I have to go," Stiles' eyes flicked to Finstock, taking in his scrutinizing, confused stare and gaping mouth; "Meet me at the Hale house in a bit." With that said, Stiles cut Scott off, ending the call. He tossed the phone back to the older man. "Thanks, Coach," he said grinning before hurrying away.
Behind him he heard a bewildered Finstock mutter, "Uh, yeah. No problem, I guess."
By the time he reached his jeep, Stiles was panting but he paid it no mind. Reaching above his tire, he fished around until he found his spare key. He was so going to thank his dad later for making him get it. There were only so many times Sheriff Stilinski could handle being called away from work because Stiles had locked his keys in his car. Again.
Pulling on a red hoodie he had tossed in the back a few days ago, Stiles slid into the driver's seat. As he started his car, the familiar rumble of his engine was calming, somehow. He found himself relaxing forward, resting his forehead against the steering wheel.
His mind was turning a mile a minute, everything churning together in a rabble only he could possibly understand. Then the last word in the riddle, the final piece of the puzzle, fell into place; shifted like he knew just where it should have been the whole time, and really he should have. Cursing under his breath, Stiles sighed deeply and forced himself to sit up. Why hadn't he seen it sooner?
He had just solved the mystery. The alpha had fallen for the trap. They all had. Stiles knew Scott and Isaac wouldn't find Derek.
But he was going to.