Too High a Price by Dreaming of a Bright Sky
Second in the Magic's Call series
Note from the author: Thank you very much for the reviews and feedback!
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Wolf or any of its characters!
Chapter 10 of 10
One second Stiles was being dragged towards the woods, the next Isaac was tackling the hunter. The young beta knocked the hunter away from Stiles and got between them. Calders stood up and laughed. "You think you can take me, kid? I've been at this longer than you've been alive."
The hunter started circling them, and Isaac kept himself between Calders and Stiles. It was a dizzying view from the ground, so Stiles dusted himself off and stood. Without looking, Isaac grabbed him and pulled him behind him. Stiles opened the link to Derek and the pack, and he filled Isaac with power where he was touching him. When the hunter lunged, the beta swiveled, managing to pull Stiles with him.
The knife went past them, and Isaac slammed his elbow down on the man's forearm. With a crunch, he broke Calders' arm. The hunter merely grunted and pulled back. He still held the knife and switched it to the other hand. He made as if to move in, but then threw the knife instead. As Isaac dodged, the hunter reached into his pocket. Stiles didn't know what it was, but Calders had a smile on his face that Stiles didn't like.
In a bid to keep them safe, Stiles directed a lot of energy at Isaac. He touched the beta's neck and shoved the power into him. For a brief moment Isaac arced back as if he'd been hit, and then he was moving in a blur. Faster than Stiles could see, the beta slammed the hunter, never giving him a chance to pull his weapon out. Calders slammed ten feet back into a tree and Isaac followed him in. He broke the man's other arm and then slammed his head into the tree trunk. Calders slid to the ground in a heap.
Isaac stood there for a few moments, back to Stiles. When he turned, Stiles could see that the beta's eyes were glowing so golden that they looked like they had their own light. He looked feral. "Isaac?"
The wolf stood there, claws still extended. He didn't answer or move towards Stiles. Not wanting to startle his friend, or trigger his instincts, Stiles stood still and waited. He saw movement at the corner of his eye and watched as Isaac reacted instantly. The beta was still moving very fast and he was just there. Isaac crouched between his human pack mate and whatever threat was coming. Then his brain registered that it was his alpha that approached.
Derek stepped in, touching his beta's shoulder. Isaac slumped, going completely human. The alpha's eyes glowed red as he looked up at his mate. "Sending that much power into a beta is dangerous. You're lucky he has great control."
"At the time, my only thought was keeping Calders from killing us."
Derek gave a tight smile. "I suppose that might have been important." He pulled his mate in, holding him tight and breathing in his scent.
"Where were you, anyway? We had a big party while you were gone."
"Dealing with the others. I'm not sure who the guys were with Allison, but these were Calders real group." Derek stepped back, but kept an arm around Stiles' shoulders. "We need to find your dad."
They briefly left Isaac guarding the unconscious hunter while they found an officer to arrest him. All of the attackers were taken away. There were plenty of witnesses saying that these men showed up and just opened fire. Some of Stiles' patients, instead of fleeing, had helped protect the humans shopping at the boutique.
At some point, Stiles found himself being shuffled off to an ambulance by his father, where he was bandaged up and sent in for stitches. Evidently, t-shirts were not proof against rolling around in glass. Who knew? Of course when he vocalized that thought, his dad rolled his eyes and pushed him along faster.
Since Derek and Isaac had to stay behind for questioning, Scott met him at the hospital. They were busy and Stiles was a low priority; so they sat and waited. And waited. Stiles got twitchy and almost jumped out of his skin when they finally called his name.
Mrs. McCall pulled some strings and arranged to be his nurse. None of the cuts were all that bad, but they stitched up the worst of them. Stiles thought he looked vaguely like Frankenstein, with the stitches and cuts making a patchwork on his arms and chest. He left the ER with his arms held out front, legs stiff, making cheesy monster noises. People stared at him like he was nuts and Scott just laughed at him.
The friends drove back to the store to see how things were going. It was starting to wrap up. Stiles spotted his dad and went over. "Hey, dad."
"Son. How'd it go at the hospital?"
Stiles hadn't put back on his shredded and bloody t-shirt. He was wearing a hospital scrub top that he promised to send back with Mrs. McCall. "I'm stylin. All I need is some bling!"
The Sheriff rolled his eyes. "Seriously, Stiles. What's the damage this time?"
"Just a few stitches. Nothing big. They didn't even send me home with pain killers! Told me to take Tylenol. Cheapskates!"
"Good for them." He moved them out of the way. "I'm glad that you're not badly hurt." He pulled his son in for a careful hug.
Stiles looked around. "Where's Derek?"
" He's helping the EMT's. One of the shooters is being unruly, but needs medical attention. Since Derek worked with some of this crew last year, they asked him to give them a hand."
"How about Isaac and Erica? I don't see them either."
Scott interrupted, "Chris and Allison are here." He pointed, and Stiles could see Chris' SUV pull in. He couldn't see Allison, but if Scott said she was here, then she was. The beta tilted his head to the side slightly, listening. "She's staying in the car. Chris didn't want to leave her home unprotected."
Chris hopped out and Scott waved. The older man met up with them. He looked at Stiles, almost apologetically. "I know that she shouldn't be here, but she's still recovering. I don't want to leave her alone in case Calders has anybody else out there."
"I'm ok with it." Stiles guessed that Derek was listening, and tried to sense what Derek was feeling through the bond. "I think Derek's is too." He turned to Scott. "Go ahead. I'm pretty sure that Derek will consider my safety covered with Dad and Chris here."
With a big grin, Scott set off to spend time with Allison. Chris shook his head. "My sister once referred to them as a Romeo and Juliet story, and she wasn't far off."
"I'm trying to keep it from being a tragedy, Chris. He's my best friend, and I don't want to see him hurt more than he already is."
Stiles dad got called away to handle something, so Stiles and Chris stood silently, watching people start to trickle out. Erica and Boyd exited the store, Lydia talking behind them. "Well, it's not a total disaster. I'm not sure if anybody will want to come to the boutique anymore, though. They may not feel safe."
Boyd shrugged. "Maybe it would be a good time to switch to an online store? That would reduce the number of humans caught in the crossfire if something else goes wrong."
Erica looked pained. "I was enjoying the store. I really liked it."
Lydia tapped her lips. "Well, then we keep the store. It would be a target anyways. Everybody knows that we own it. We'll just have to be creative!"
Stiles still hadn't seen Danny and Isaac. "Where are the others? Is Danny still at work?"
Lydia flipped her phone open. "He was here and left. He was dealing with the insurance company. They were arguing with him about covering the damages, but we specifically bought a policy that covered this sort of event. He's picking up his copy of the paperwork to prove it." Typing in text and then hitting send, she waited. Within seconds she had a response. "Isaac is on his way. I sent him for coffees."
Derek made his way over, the ambulance finally pulling away with their recalcitrant patient. Stiles looked him over. "You good?"
"Yeah." Derek tugged a little on Stiles' scrub top. "You?"
"Yup. I look like Frankenstein, though." He started doing his imitation, sound effects and all.
His dad chose that moment to come back. "Do I want to know? Strike that. I don't want to know."
He addressed them as a group. "Here's the situation. Most of the force is still trying to figure out why four gunmen would start shooting your business. I looks suspicious, but there was no sign of illegal activity. It is, however, the second time that your group has taken out gunmen and walked away. The saving grace here is that Calders was already implicated in Allison's kidnapping and we're going to charge him with attempted murder in her case. Given that Chris has been seen working at the store, we can probably pass this off as being aimed at him."
Chris spoke. "One of the men here today was involved in Stiles' shooting."
The Sheriff's face hardened. "Are any of the other hunters that shot my son associated with Calders?"
"Not that I'm aware of. It's common for unaffiliated hunters to team up with other groups. When my family was active, we had hired people working for us."
The Sheriff turned to his son. "I want you to head home. Stay put for a few days. Let this die down, and make sure that no more hunters are out there. I'll be by later once I've gotten this wrapped up."
"I'm fine, dad."
Stiles' dad didn't look or sound appeased. "Go home, Stiles."
"We have to board the place up and secure it. We don't want people walking away with Lydia's stock."
"Stiles, sweetie, nobody is going to want to buy it anyway. It's full of bullet holes and glass." Stiles looked like he was going to protest and Lydia held up her hand. "I'm sure that somebody can get the place secured if it's going to bother you that much."
Boyd raised a hand. "I'll do it. Erica wants to clean up and see what's salvageable anyway."
The Sheriff nodded at Boyd. "Thank you. Now you", he turned to his son, "get out of here. No more excuses."
"Fine, fine. I'm going." He dug in his pocket and pulled out his keys.
Derek promptly snatched them away. "I'm driving."
"Because I'm not leaving the Camaro here."
"But my baby! She can't stay here all alone! What if somebody vandalizes her?"
Derek tossed the keys to Erica. "Give them to Isaac when he gets back. He came in with Stiles this morning anyway." Derek began towing his mate away.
"Tell Isaac not to scratch my jeep!"
"Your jeep will be fine, Stiles. Come on."
"Pfftt. Shows what you know. She's easily traumatized. Isaac could scar her for life!"
"If anybody's traumatized that vehicle, it's you. Isaac knows better than to hurt the jeep. Relax."
Derek had Stiles almost to the car when the young man yelled to the group, "Make sure he doesn't stay out too late with her. He has to have her back by curfew!"
Stiles was no sooner in the door of their home when Derek was peeling of the scrub top. "Hey! Easy there."
"It smells like hospital." The alpha inspected the cuts, as if he didn't trust the doctor to have properly treated him.
"They're mostly superficial, Derek." His mate ignored him.
"I should have stayed with you."
"I had Isaac, and you needed to make sure that Erica was safe. It's ok. Isaac did great!"
The older man dropped his forehead onto Stiles' shoulder. Neither of them spoke, Stiles just letting Derek have this moment of quiet. He wrapped his arms around his mate, and let the bond lay open. He felt Derek's concern for him, his fear, his love, and pride in how well the pack had handled this. Stiles emotions mirrored Derek's, and he let his power flow through the link, soothing the jagged edges.
They showered afterward, Derek carefully peeling off the bandages. His mate hissed a little when the hot water hit his wounds, and the alpha drew away his pain. He wanted the smell of the day washed from Stiles' pale skin. He didn't want to smell wolfsbane smoke, hospital antiseptic, or anybody else on his mate. He dried him and re-bandaged the deeper cuts, making sure to cover each with antibiotic ointment.
Derek had always known how fragile human life could be, but training as a paramedic had driven that home. The tiniest things could cause harm; a small cut left to get infected could spiral into septicemia and system shut down. He'd seen it. He was feeling off balance and protective. He didn't want to take any chances. With the dust washed away, he checked over every square inch of exposed skin. He rubbed ointment onto skinned knees, along a scratch left on Stiles' back from shattering glass, and ran his fingers over his mate's scalp checking for wounds.
Stiles was standing as still as he was able during the process. He knew that Derek cared deeply about all of them; he just wasn't good at showing it. He was still terrified of losing it all, and of losing his mate. This was him reassuring himself that Stiles was still here, still whole. His whole world had been lost to hunters once, and he'd never really get over that.
Finally reassured, Derek drew Stiles in close. He breathed him in; the smell of water and soap, and of Stiles. His mate. He ran hands down the firm planes of Stiles back, rubbing at knots of tension. As his mate relaxed, he relaxed with him. The tension of the day eased away, letting them concentrate only on each other.
The jeep came home just fine. Isaac along with it. With him came updates. Danny had faxed copies of the insurance paperwork to a lawyer and to the insurance company. The company promised that an adjuster would be out the next day.
Erica had saved a lot of the merchandise, Boyd has boarded up the windows, and both of them had cleaned up the broken glass.
Most importantly, nobody had been seriously hurt. One customer had been cut by breaking glass, and another had sustained a twisted ankle while trying to run on in high heels. Other than that, it was just Stiles' few cuts and Isaac; who showed no lingering symptoms from the smoke bomb.
His dad came by later, looking tired. The police had confirmed Calders' connection to Allsion's shooting. They'd also positively identified the man involved in Stiles' shooting. All of the men had rap sheets in various states around the country. One was even wanted overseas for a murder.
One by one, the pack trickled in. They lounged on the oversized couch, piling on top of each other. Not much was said; it was more that they were simply sharing in each other's presence. Somebody had bought a case of water and empty bottles littered the table. Occasionally somebody would go into the kitchen; calls for food following behind them.
The world kept throwing things at them: a kanima, alphas, hunters, and more. Yet here they were. That's what a pack is, thought Derek; stronger together.