Too High a Price by Dreaming of a Bright Sky
Second in the Magic's Call series
Stiles finds that helping the supernatural community makes him and his pack a target.
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Wolf or any of it's characters!
Chapter 1 of 10
Stiles stared at the gun being held to Derek's head. Two men grabbed the young man and began dragging him to a van. He watched as the gunman lowered his hand slightly, and he shot Derek in the chest with a smile on his face. Agonizing pain spiked through Stiles and he screamed. The doors of vehicle shut, blocking his view of his mate, but he could feel Derek's pain. He could feel the wolfsbane spreading.
He gasped out to the men holding him, "If you wanted me to do magic for you, you just destroyed any chance of that."
One of the men sneered at him. Actually sneered. How cliche was that? "What? We kill your werewolf boyfriend and you think you'll hold out on us in retaliation? We have ways of making you cooperate."
Stiles clutched his chest. "Maybe you do, but you won't get a chance to use them." He sent power down the line to Derek, feeling it enhance his mate's healing and stave off the wolfsbane, despite how near to his heart it was. The van had just started moving when they heard a roar.
Suddenly the vehicle was hit hard and it rocked over sideways. Stiles had been flung down, and the kidnappers were struggling to get upright when the doors were ripped off. Derek was wolfed out, blood dripping down his chest. The gunman lay on the parking lot behind them. Before either of the men could react, Derek threw one out and bashed the other one in the head.
Stiles scrambled to his mate. "Ohmygod, Derek!" He fumbled around through Derek's pocket until he found the lighter. He was still pumping energy through the line, but he could feel the wolfsbane getting closer to his mate's heart. Derek was human already, barely holding himself upright. By the time that Stiles pulled a bullet out of the gun and ran back, Derek was laying pale on the asphalt. "You'll be fine you'll be fine, you'll be fine."
He struggled with opening the bullet. "Open, damn it!" It popped open and Stiles hastily scraped it into a pile and lit it. He didn't care that it was still hot and burned his hand when he scraped up what he could and pushed it into Derek's wound. "You'll be fine, you'll be fine, you'll be fine!" He kept saying it over and over.
With a small puff of smoke the ash entered the wound and Stiles saw the poisonous black lines retract from Derek's flesh. Derek whimpered, then worked up to full screams as he convulsed. The ash counteracted the wolfsbane in his chest and with one last shudder, he lay still. Stiles threw himself at his mate and started touching his face, "Derek? Derek! Come on. Come on, Derek!"
The alpha's hand shakily reached up and touched his wrist. "Stiles. Shut up." Derek's voice was weak but he let out a breath in relief. The adrenaline was still pumping through Stiles' body and he could feel himself shaking. Derek pulled his mate on top of himself and held him. "Calm down."
They laid there like that until they heard sirens in the distance. Stiles rolled away and held his hand out. "We need to go." He pulled Derek up and they took off.
Stiles had been expecting it, and wasn't surprised to see his dad's patrol car pull into their driveway an hour later. The man's face was grim and he didn't even knock. As soon as he spotted Stiles, some color came back to his face. He looked around. "Derek?"
"He's okay. Resting. They shot him with wolfsbane. Point blank to the chest, dad. It was inches from his heart."
His dad pulled him into a hug."I'm glad that you're both okay. This has been happening too much lately."
Stiles sighed. "Yeah." He fidgeted. "I didn't realize how badly people would want me once they figured out what I can do. Derek's talking about having at least two wolves with me at all times. How am I supposed to finish school like this? I can't walk around with body guards all the time. They can't spend their time babysitting me!"
"You've only got six weeks left. You've tried so hard to get your degree and have some normalcy. It would be a waste to quit now."
"Dad, it's a degree I won't even be able to use except to teach, and I'd be putting kids at risk if I were teaching. We can't count on these jerks not coming after me, even in a school."
"You should still finish, Stiles."
"He's right." Derek came down the stairs of their new house. "Finish your degree."
"If you want two wolves with me at any time, how are we going to do this? You're finishing up your classes and have certifications to deal with, and everybody else has jobs except for Isaac." The curly haired wolf had finished classes the previous semester, but hadn't found a job yet. In part, it was because he spent so much of his time playing wolfy bodyguard for Stiles. He was staying at the new house and they were covering his food, but Stiles still felt bad. Isaac deserved a life of his own.
"With all of us pitching in, we can make it work. You're reasonably safe here, so it's only for when you're at school and working with Dr. Morrell."
The Sheriff thought that Stiles should quit working for the doctor and said as much. Maybe this would all go away then. Stiles shook his head. "No. They already realize what I can do. The damage is already done. All I can do now is try to keep everybody around me from getting killed."
Derek looked at the Sheriff. "I think it might be safer if you stayed here for a while."
"Yeah, okay." The older man looked at his watch. "I have to get back. The guys we picked up aren't talking, but we have them on illegal weapons charges. I'll be by after work."
Stiles called out to him as he was leaving. "Dad, come here before going to your place. Let Isaac or Derek go with you to get your stuff."
The Sheriff nodded, waved, and got in the cruiser.
A week later, Stiles noticed a young girl hanging around outside the college from the classroom window. At first, he didn't think anything of it, guessing that it was somebody's little sister. When she was still there when class ended, he was curious.
Isaac and Scott had escorted him to class. When he came out it was Isaac and Derek. The girl spotted him, looked at a slip of paper that she held in her hand, and approached him. Derek and Isaac blocked her access. Stiles asked, "Human?"
"She's got a weird smell."
The child's voice was high and clear. "Healer Stiles?"
"I'm Stiles, but I'm not really a healer."
In the space between the two werewolves, he could see the girl shuffle nervously and tug at her skirt. "I've heard... I've heard that you help people."
Stiles touched Derek's shoulder. The alpha slid over enough to let Stiles through. The young man stepped through the space and knelt in front of the girl. Derek stayed right next to him. He spoke softly to the girl. "Are you hurt?"
She shook her head. "It's my mama. She's hurt. Can you help her?"
"I work with a doctor who does the healing. I just help."
The child looked up, tears in her eyes. "Please, Healer Stiles! I've heard that you help people. Please help my mama."
Stiles' heart broke at the pain in her big brown eyes. "I'll tell you what. We can go look at your mom and if I can help her, I will. If I can't, I'll call my friend who is a doctor." He looked at Derek and Isaac. "You guys good with this?"
Isaac smiled but Derek grumbled, "You've already agreed, so why ask us for approval now?" The little girl turned her teary eyes on the alpha and he just huffed. "Fine."
"Softy." Stiles stood up and kissed his mate, then he turned to the girl. "What's your name?"
"Ok, Tamoko. Take us to your mom."
The child came up close to them and in a blink, they were somewhere else. For a split second, Stiles thought he saw a phantom tail on the girl and then the image was gone. They were now standing in front of an old building, and Stiles would swear that it looked like a Japanese temple. Derek was stiff and growling low in his throat. Even Isaac was looking tense. Tamoko just glanced at them and walked up the steps. "Healer Stiles, my mama is inside. Will you come?"
Derek blocked his way. "She teleported us. I'm not sure where we are."
Tamoko stood waiting, eyes still fixed on Stiles. He looked at his mate. "We're here now. We might as well go in."
Derek waited agonizingly long moments, and then he relented. He went in first, following the child. Isaac was behind Stiles, looking around warily. Inside there was a woman who was laying in an open expanse of room. Tamoko ran to her and spoke in a language that Stiles thought was Asian. Japanese. Fitting that with what the child had done, the answer snapped into his brain. "She's a Kitsune."
As he approached, he was almost surprised to find that the woman wasn't wearing a kimono. But then, he supposed they had to fit in with modern society, and Tamoko was dressed like a normal little girl. Bloody gashes snaked along the woman's stomach and side, and a nasty wound was laid open on her arm. Derek knelt down next to him and they both acknowledged the woman. Her dark eyes watched them, but she didn't speak.
The alpha inspected the wounds. "I'm not smelling poison in the wounds, or infection. I think she just needs to be stitched up." He looked around at the bare room. "I'd need a suture kit."
Tamoko nodded at the alpha and was gone in the next instant. This time Stiles was sure that he saw a fox tail. While they waited for her return, Stiles spoke to the woman.
"Hi! I'm Stiles. This is Derek, and that's Isaac. Do you speak English? I'm sorry, but I don't speak Japanese."
"Yes. I speak English. You may call me Akari."
"Akari. Ok. What caused these wounds? Is there something that I need to know? I normally work with a doctor and he would be doing this. I'm not familiar with kitsune. You are a kitsune, right? But yeah, not familiar with that. Do you heal fast like werewolves, or human slow?"
"Stiles, you might want to slow down and let her answer one question before you launch into more." Isaac was clearly amused.
"Right. Sorry." Stiles grinned at Akari. He could see Derek frowning at his cell phone from the corner of his eye. He pulled out his own, and saw that he had no reception. He turned his attention back to Akari.
The kitsune gave a small twist of her lips upwards. "I am a kitsune. You have deduced correctly. We heal much faster than humans, but perhaps not as fast as the garou." The beautiful woman turned her head and watched her daughter pop back into view. "I encountered a dark yokai. In your terms, a demon."
"Demon?! Holy God, they actually exist?"
Derek looked at him incredulously. "You've spent all this time with Dr. Morrell and didn't know that?"
Stiles pouted a little. "No. I guess I'll have to remedy that."
Derek took the suture kit from Tomoko and approached her mother. "I don't have anesthesia, so this will hurt." At her nod, he started pulling things out and he spoke to Stiles. "While I'm stitching, do can your thing."
With Derek stitching up the kitsune and occasionally drawing away her pain, Stiles concentrated on believing that she would heal quickly and well. By the time they were done, the wounds looked days old, rather than fresh. The relief on her face was palpable. "How may I repay you?"
Stiles, Derek, and Isaac looked at each other. The alpha spoke, "We need to have Tamoko take us back."
"I do not wish to owe you a debt." The woman gestured at her daughter, and the child helped her sit up. She pulled out a small bundle from within the flowing cloth of her skirt and unwrapped it. She selected three items from within. She held them in her hand and they began to glow softly to Stiles eyes. When she was done, she held them out. "I know that you are hunted, young mortal. This will protect you from evil magic. It will not protect from physical harm, so do not rely on it for that. By giving you these, all debt is clear. Are we agreed?"
"Yes, thank you." The charms were carved stone, with cords running through holes cut into the center. They felt warm in his hand. He handed one each to Derek and to Isaac.
Isaac thanked Akari. She responded, "No. This is payment. Kitsune do not like to owe debts, nor would you want to owe a debt to one of us. Remember that in the future." She stood and bowed. "Please allow my daughter to see you safely back."
Before Stiles could respond, they were standing back in from of the college. It was dark now, and all three of their phones started beeping with messages. Tamoko apologized. "I'm sorry. Your cell phones could not operate where I took you, and I am unable to take you back to the time when we left. I am only half kitsune and I am young, so I can only move you from place to place. I cannot affect time. Thank you for helping mama." Then she was gone.
They texted their now frantic pack to assure them that they were fine. Stiles had the feeling that they were going to be ambushed as soon as they got home, and he was right. Cars were lining the driveway, making it difficult for the Camaro to pull all the way in. "See Derek, I told you we needed a small parking lot!" The alpha glared at him.
The pack was all standing on the porch, waiting for them. Scott was already leaping down and trotting towards them, and the car hadn't fully stopped when he was pulling Stiles' door open. "What the hell? Why didn't you call us? What happened?"
Derek reached across Stiles and grabbed Scott. "Don't do that again!"
"Woah! Back off!"
Stiles shoved the two apart. "Chill!" Having the benefit of a bond to his mate, he knew what had upset Derek. "Scott, don't open the door before the car stops." He patted his friend's arm. "We couldn't call you because a kitsune transported us somewhere that our cell phones didn't have reception."
Scott made a face at Derek. "It's not like you were going fast, and Stiles was still buckled in. Even if he wasn't, we're both werewolves, dude. We'd have caught him!" His brain caught up with him, "Wait! What? Kitsune...what the hell is that?"
"Back up and let me out, and we can explain this to everyone, okay?" He said quietly to Scott, even though he knew that Derek could hear him. "You know that he gets twitchy when weird stuff happens. Give him some space."
Scott looked at his friend and glanced at Derek. He shrugged but went back to the house. After pushing everybody to go in, they relayed the tale. All the wolves sniffed at the amulets, and Lydia pulled out her laptop. "The kid wasn't kidding about the space and time thing. Evidently, it has no meaning to them."
She looked at the amulet that Stiles was wearing. "You know this is a pretty big deal, right? Did she mention it needing to be recharged yearly at a temple?" At Stiles' negative, she continued, "Most of the Japanese protection amulets that I'm seeing need to be re-blessed each year. I wonder if these things are permanently charged? I would almost bet they are."
Danny had a funny look on his face. "Kitsune aren't like people or werewolves. They're supernatural on a whole other level. The Japanese call them yokai, but they aren't demons. It just means that they have a lot of power. The Japanese have shrines for them."
Stiles thought that over. "So they worship them?"
"In some ways, yes. You met what amounts to a Japanese demi-God."
Sheriff Stilinski sat down with a thump. "Only you, Stiles, only you."