She places two fingers on Harris' jugular and waits for a pulse. Yep, the guy is still alive, unfortunately. Her hand slips into the man's belt loop and blindly reaches for air and pant-fabric until her hand catches on a loop of keys. "Bingo," she crows to an empty hall.
Before running off to tail the hunters, Derek had ordered her to "stay in this room till I come back. I need to find out who the Alpha is and maintaining that form takes a lot of energy. He'll have to revert to human form soon. Meanwhile, don't do anything stupid. For God's sake, Stiles, do as I say or I will rip your throat out with my teeth." And here Stiles was, in the advance chemistry lab, flicking the Bunsen burners on and off simply because she can and grabbing a couple glass flasks and stuffing cleaning clothes down their openings. She spends a minute staring at a medium size container for gasoline before deciding to take that too as well as a small spray bottle of ethanol.
She backs out into the hallway, with the sound of sneakers padding on the floors as she tries to make her way back to the original classroom. No hunters – awesome. She rounds a corner.
And walks into a wall.
No wait, that's a person. Stiles steps back.
The man has on pants and… that's it, no shoes, no socks, no shirt. He looks like the better looking, less psychotic twin of Harvey Two-Face Dent. After a preliminary eye scan going down and up, to which she finds herself still not relaxing and still pulled like a taut string, she hesitantly offers a neutral, "Hi."
His face offers half of an amused smile with no teeth causing any prey-like, nomadic, cave people instinct that still remains after generations of time kicks in like never before and she wants to run or hide or play dead or something to lessen the pressure around her shoulders. As if smelling her fear, he purrs, low baritone that causes her ribs to resonate around her heart, "Hello, I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting your acquaintance." He graciously offers a hand to shake; he holds himself as if he's wearing a million dollar tux, "My name is Peter Hale. Derek might have mentioned me."
Derek has not, considering that he's the type that trying to get three sentences out of him on a daily basis is nothing but a miracle; but Stiles had read her dad's investigation reports years ago. The Peter Hale from the investigation papers six years ago? The Peter Hale that's listed as one of the three survivors of the Hale fire? The Peter Hale that's supposed to be comatose and never expected to wake up? Except he's here, standing, conscious. Stiles takes another step back, "Oh my god." Peter Hale's smile widens and his eyes flash red as though he could sense the exact moment to the exact nano-second of when Stiles comes to the two revelations that Peter Hale is the Alpha and Stiles is fucked. "I am going to die," she notes faintly, standing before the man that had killed his own niece and had turned her best friend into a dangerous wereboy.
Peter inclines his head, "Perhaps," he replies as if agreeing to her nonchalant opinion of the weather, "It seems that we have a clever one here, at least, one who thinks that she is clever." His face flashes through distinctive wolf features that makes Stiles cringe back, suppressing the motions of a fight-flight response. Peter cocks his head to the left, facial expression open enough to tell her that apparently he likes what he's seeing, "You are intriguing on the difficulty alone of reading your heartbeat and scent. Everything is," he pauses to find the correct word, "chaotic about you, Miss."
"I guess my ADHD is not enough to not kill me," Stiles says, turning a deaf ear to the social cue that asked for her name.
He sighs regretfully, "If it had been a different time and place, I would love to have gotten to know you better. Unfortunately, I am short on time…" His features morph again into a wolf monster, bones creaking against the strain as his massive body grows upwards and out in the span of seconds. Fingers extend into sharp, curved points and arms grow hair and turn into rippling muscles that keep extending up and over until he's looming over her small stature, emphasizing the difference in their height. His red (earned with so much spilled blood) eyes are still trained upon her.
She hits him with the gasoline can.
She's not really sure what part of her decided that this was a great idea, what part of Derek's speech of "-don't do anything stupid" that she had happily, willfully ignored (answer is: all of it). It's her versus half a foot long claws and fangs carved from adamantium. The gas can doesn't even give way, not like Kate's SUV to her jeep, there's not even a dent, in fact, the can just sort of pitifully knocks against the wolf-esque maw. Peter's fur must be made out of steel cables. His body is a mixture of granite, marble, and heavy bronze. She's wouldn't be surprised if his werewolf saliva was acid rain. Still, her actions does grant her some seconds of leeway, simply because were-Peter seemed stunned not at how much her attack hurts but its sheer stupidity (clever isn't she?). With that to her advantage, she peels off into the halls with her bag of stolen chemistry equipment and a can of gasoline with two barks and a long howl snapping at her heels as if letting loose the dogs of war.
"Stiles!" Stiles turns so fast that she gets whiplash and screams loudly into Derek's ears, not even trying to hold back, nerves on end. "Why are you here? Why are you carrying gasoline? What are you doing?!" Derek demands after the cursory once-over, grabbing her shoulders as she begins to sink. "You idiot!"
At the same time, Stiles is gasping, "Derek. Dude. Oh my god. You're still alive. That's good. It'll be bad if you died, you know. You have the best timing ever. How in the world did you even find me? Did you hear that? Your uncle…" Her knees buckle; pain from her ankle laced up to her knee. "shiiiiit…"
The Alpha howls again, low enough to make the windows vibrate. Blood drains from Stiles' face and she curls inwardly as if bracing against heavy rain. Derek lets loose a string of curses and scoops (that's really the only word that can describe how easy he made it look) Stiles up into a fireman carrying position and runs down to the entrance doors. Later, when she thinks about it, Stiles will guess that the only reason why Peter Hale didn't immediately pounce on them was some alpha wolf prerogative of calling for his pack before going in for the kill, an instinct that was beneficial to the two of them as they (mostly Derek) sprint towards the front entrance at such a blinding speed that her vision tunnels and focuses solely on the exit. Stiles takes a peek back and sees the monster, cut sharp and dangerous: in the darkness lies a darker figure.
Derek curses again.
After the briefest hesitation, he opens the door to a wall of cars and sirens. As if the wall of noise has enough kinetic force, the dark figure blends more into the darkness. Turning back around, Stiles squints into the flashing lights and manages to pick her dad out from the crowd and his face that lights up in recognition and all but demands why is she being treated like a sack of potatoes by a wanted man almost six years her senior and why is she holding a tank of gasoline and other flammable materials and, oh god, is she trying to make weapons and that she is grounded until she graduates college -to which she replies, well yeah, but it's honestly not what it looks like.
The wall on the far side is covered with scum that could be scraped off by a fingernail. The wall that she's leaning back on is fairly clean and smells of continued washes with bleach. All of her belongings, her chemistry gear, even the phone that she had left in her jeep, were at the front desk of the station in the top drawer. Derek is sitting on one end of the bench with his elbows resting on his knees, mulling in his own little black world full of sadness and angst. Stiles is sitting on the other end careful not to look over, wallowing in her own humiliation and shame: that her dad won't even look at her anymore, not even when he was presiding over her own statement. What conclusions must he had gone when faced with this huge cluster-fuck? He always fears the worst and then he uses his guilty-face that makes her want to shrivel up in a corner because she's a sad excuse for a daughter that a Sheriff could be proud of.
The interrogation was stop short with reports of an explosion in the chemistry labs that required more men on the site come streaming into the police department, as word of mouth permeates air, encouraging everyone to move out. "Witnesses report a couple of masked men and a woman, blonde hair, late twenties, carrying multiple unconcealed arms…" Her dad had given her one last look that she doesn't even try to decipher and then he's gone and someone else is taking her out the other door. "Woman identified as Katherine Argent. Would not respond to police orders to vacate the building. …Requesting backup." And that leaves her sitting on a bench in a little room, staring off into the distance.
Running a nervous hand through her hair, she contemplates on the metaphorical snowball that she had let go down the face of the Swiss Alps. Closing her eyes, she tries to imagine sitting in her bath tub with hot water opening up her pores to let the pain go away – the effect lasts for only a few blissful seconds before the coldness from the wall and the bench loudly makes itself known again. It's like The Giver but with none of Jonas's power of memory. "Miss Argent is arrested on attempted murder of Mr. Adrian Harris." Stiles bends forwards to rest her elbows on her knees; her right one wouldn't stop twitching. "Deputy Barnes, I want Mr. Harris's record cross-referenced with the criminal records of the recent victims. Keep an eye out for arson and see where Miss Argent fits into this whole convoluted plot."
"Including the Hale fire, sir?"
"Including the Hale fire."
And time passes by the small prison cell, not through the cell but past the doors. All the action is happening beyond the bars. Despite the lack of talk between them, both Derek and Stiles know that the only thing they have here is the wait until they reach the right time to break out. It doesn't need to be stated that they have to- sometime before the night is over because of reasons. "Harris is recovering in the ICU but the paramedics have reported that his description of either of his attackers does not match Derek Hale." But the waiting is what gets to her seeing that she missed her time slot to take her Adderall so her skin is thrumming softly and the buzzing in the back of her head isn't letting up and she feels like she can jump out of her skin if she's not careful. "So our wanted man is innocent?" There's a moment to pounce but its Derek's call and he's still as readable as a rock. "Possibly." The way he's sitting is still, way too still, like the leopards in the Discovery Channel that sit in trees and watching as the zebras prance by before knocking them down.
"Not to mention that his alibi for today's murder of the lawyer was that he was with Stiles the entire day… Did you know what my daughter said when I asked her about it. She assured me that he didn't do anything, couldn't do anything because he was 'indisposed the entire afternoon.' What am I supposed to think about that?"
The prey in question is a faceless guard, too new for Stiles to recognize or be recognized in turn. The guard was like the security type that one churns out from factories that make the poster child for security officers, guys beefed up on Krispy Kreme donuts and McDonalds' coffee with a single thin belt depicting their fast growing waistline – Bart the Mall Cop but blonder. The guard rolls by on his cushioned chair once every twenty minutes to check up on their status, to stare with his beady little eyes and flick with the volume on his radio, not that it stops her from hearing nearly everything that's being transmitted through. When Derek finally breaks though the confinement and launches himself at the guard, there is a fifty-fifty chance that he'll bounce right off, the other fifty is that he'll get swallowed up by the sheer amount of blubber surrounding the guy. And won't that be a sight.
Discomfort hits her like a dull throb. She does not want to be here. She wants a hot tub. She wants Tylenol. She wants the ache between her thighs to go away. But if she closes her eyes and shuts out the world, she sees the red and blue flashes of sirens reminiscence to something akin to a seizure.
She wakes up to a hand suddenly gripping her shoulder, feeling some of the throbbing fainting with the touch. She turns and sees Derek's eyes flash blue. As if on cue, she hears multiple footsteps running in and it's Kate Argent and the school all over again and nothing ever goes according to plan – not even plans that were never spoken aloud. She adopts a posture of Mr. Danny Ocean waiting for the cell doors to open to release him back when he still had the neck beard. She is prepared for anything – she's prepared for the return of Kate Argent, she's prepared to face her dad head on with a bucket of lies and excuses, she was even prepared for Peter in all of his furry glory.
She is not prepared for Chris Argent and his own group of men to come in with their hand guns and semi-automatics, dragging in Bart who is dead to the world with a nasty bump on the head that looks like it's going to stay there for at least another month. She's also not prepared for a part of her conscious commenting with Lydia's slyness, 'What. A. DILF.' Derek growls and his grip on her shoulder tightens. The men stop in front of their door in some strategic triangle formation. Chris Argent hits the bars with his weapon, rattling Stiles' own sensitive ears, and demands, "Where is my sister?"
"Mr. Argent." Stiles raises a hand, "Hi," she offers in the same neutral tone that she gave to Peter.
"Answer my question."
Stiles blinks. "Do you really listen to Allison's phone calls? Do you know how creepy that is? And I know creeper, dude, creeper wolf abounds and that's only the Alpha." She winces and shrugs, "Mind letting up the pressure, Derek? I can't feel my right arm anymore and I think you're going to be leaving imprints of claws."
Chris Argent closes his eyes and forcefully calms down by massaging the bridge of his nose, up and down, up and down, as if realizing that maybe he approached the situation in a not so reasonable way. Allison might have mentioned some girl named Stiles over the dinner table at some point or another, mentioned how much of a character this Stiles is, as opposed to Lydia Martin who asks, 'What's a Stiles?' Derek's growl has gone so low that she could feel it in her ribs, different from Peter's, more comforting, though she would rather pull out her wisdom teeth without Novocain before ever admitting it out loud. "You're the last person who has seen her. Where is Kate?"
"Miss Argent isn't here." Stiles breezily replies, raising a brow up at the usually taciturn man grinding his teeth.
"Don't try to be smart," a man, cradling a large rifle in his hand, snaps back.
"I see that, you little thief. I see this," Chris's gestures encompasses the entirety of the fucked situation with its bleak prison walls and bars, from the artificial lighting to the guard unconscious at his feet, "But the fact that she was searching for two people matching you and your wolf's description means that the monster, that Alpha, prevented her from getting to you and there are few things that can stop her. I want answers. Don't try to stall for time, it won't work."
"She might still be hunting at the school, the police radio might give you a better clue." Stiles visibly perks up, "Did you think she was hunting for Derek? Because she thought that he was the Alpha even though he's not." She tugs on a strand of hair and glares at her split ends, "You know that Derek isn't guilty of the murders, just like the police know that he isn't guilty, but if Miss Argent was still going to hunt him, would you have stopped her?" She asks curiously, not judging him for the answer but in that honest-to-god I-just-want-to-know sort of way. Everyone's eyes are steel; probably not Derek's, his must be like blue beacons in light. Her lips twitch; this might not be the appropriate situation to crack a smile. "If one of your hunters wanted to shoot Derek right now, would you stop them?"
Everyone watches as the man questioned shows a noticeable tick in his jaw, fighting back cutting words that were on the wrong side of brash. "Chris, don't listen to her. For God's sake, she's younger than your daughter." A man says in the back, palming his gun and his short chain of ammo at his belt.
"Yeah, Chris," Stiles parrots into a higher pitch, twisting the strand around her finger, "Where's your moral honor? Isn't there a code for people like you, because people like you can't control yourself?"
"Watch your mouth. My ancestors were one of the first supporters of the Code and we have followed it for more generations than you have been alive in years," he hissed.
"You're letting her get to you," another man remarks with a warning tone, a hand curls around Chris's arm and tugs back. "Control your wolf, girl" Derek's other arm wraps around her left shoulder and his fingers curl into her shirt fabric by her collar. Stiles smiles blandly and hums, pleasantly surprised that she's yet to be shot at for her deliberate taunting.
With the survival instincts of a suicidal lemming, Stiles keeps poking, "I saw a plaque on your door when Allison invited me over a week ago. It was engraved in French, right? Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent." She claps her hands together, "It's so short and simple: enough to be open to all the interpretations in the world but blunt enough to make a point. Now what I want to know is whether the Code goes the other way."
"What do you mean?" Chris Argent's voice lowers to something positively deadly, a short fuse where the slightest combination of intonation and words can set off something destructive. Stiles guesses that it's an Argent trait. Dissatisfied murmurs erupt behind him.
"Who watches the watchmen? It's better in Latin. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? It flows better. The way that a foreign language phrases something is just so exotic, isn't it? No? So how do you control your sister? Because you can't- because it's just that the Argent woman – those Argent woman are the ones in charge and you don't do shit." Stiles stretches her lips into a smile that doesn't reach her eyes, "Couple years back, she did something. I know what it is and I bet you recently learned what it is. And the Sheriff is figuring it all out. Get me?" Derek makes a noise that sounds more wolf than human, a sort of tortured whine as he also begins to put together different puzzle pieces. Derek's not stupid – she understands that too.
Mr. Argent's right-hand man rubs his own forehead, sensing a change in atmosphere: perceptive – these hunters. "Chris," he starts out, "What did your sister do?" Someone in the back uncomfortably changes weight on his feet. "Was she behind the Hale Tragedy? Do you know what will happen if the truth got out about how an entire legacy was decimated in one night? Every pack from here to New York and even some overseas will be after her, after you and your family. They can take equal retribution of lives in your family: ten people if they don't count Peter Hale. Every supernatural creature that has a hand in the Council will never trust your name again or the title of a hunter."
"Drop your guns," Chris Argent announces after a heavy silence, taking a step back. The men behind them exchange glances before aiming theirs towards the ground and await further instruction.
"There's not only arson," Stiles flicks a wrist, "but murder conspiracy, first degree, attempted murder, statutory rape, and child pornography. What type of woman is Kate, Mr. Argent?"
"Stiles, he wasn't there." Derek whispers behind her.
"He's here." Stiles protests.
"I didn't know at the time." Mr. Argent ages five years before her eyes, "I learned yesterday, reopened the case after Laura Hale's death and saw the pendant and Harris's statement with the Sheriff and the list of recent murderers. It wasn't hard to connect the lines. She's proud of her accomplishments."
"Jesus Christ," someone murmured. "I know that Gerard had radical leanings but this..."
"The Hales were two-thirds werewolves, one-third human. It was a large family: including extended family, there were six children, fifteen adults. Ten died." Chris slowly exhales, "The police ruled it as an electrical malfunction."
Stiles chews on her bottom lip, "There's proof saying otherwise that came to light," she states deliberately after some seconds of silence. "Statute of Limitations goes for two years, but not murder."
"Chris knows," someone defensively replies, "We're not disagreeing with you. But you should know that the consequences of Kate Argent's actions, should this blow up, there's a possibility of the entire secrecy of the supernatural literally falling into view of the public. This is a non-threatening statement, we're not going to try to silence you. Kate is out there acting as a loose cannon and if word gets out-"
"Buddy, you think you can cover it up?" Stiles incredulously laughs, "You got another thing coming. Wake up and taste reality, it tastes like ash-"
"I think that's enough," Derek interrupts with a voice that's more hoarse than normal, "You're not going to find her here. Stiles is right: Kate's out hunting and we don't know where." He lifts his head as if scenting the air; it's a gesture that Chris's men seem to be familiar with as suddenly all of them have fingers on the trigger of their guns, "Also…" He furrows his brow, deciding how much information he was willing to part with, "You," he looks at Chris directly in the eye, "should leave." The howl, which can be mistaken for wind blowing through a crack in the wall, makes everyone cringe.
There was sound of a gun being loaded. "What do you think?" Chris asks grimly, "The Alpha?"
"It wants those responsible," Stiles declares, rubbing thoughtfully at her non-existent facial hair, "Kate for setting the fire. Mr. Harris for giving the information. Those two arsonists for surrounding the perimeter. The insurance man turn bus driver for accepting bribes. I don't know why he would want you – is it because you didn't do anything? Action and inaction being the same?" Stiles offers as Derek snarls and pulls her into a far corner downwind of any air ventilation, just as the men face the direction of the roar, just as something large comes barreling the path leaving destruction in its wake. "Jesus Christ, Derek, lay off the manhandling… OK, I'm quiet."
Standing next to Peter is another smaller werewolf. 'A beta,' her mind supplies. The second werewolf has darker, wavier hair, uneven jaw line, familiar stature, familiar face despite the raised bridge and the mouth opened and skin drawn back, unable to accommodate the fangs.
Huh. Maybe Scott was right to be paranoid about Alphas and mind-control.
Before Stiles closes her eyes against the ensuing gore and terror, she stares Chris Argent in the eye and silently mouths out the words "Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent. And then she buries her head into Derek's shirt and clenches at the fabric. She listens to the sounds and looses herself in them, growling, screams, rendering, tearing, movement, until silence once again falls over her and Derek. She opens her eyes.
"Are you afraid of blood?" The man slowly rises to his feet, once again humanized into his little grumpy self. Stiles opens her eyes and blinks wearily, not even trying to question why the Alpha never directed his attention to them. She takes in her surroundings, notes the destroyed walls and new exits and entrances, the puddles of red, the fallen men. She spots Chris Argent slumped against the half clawed bars, bleeding profusely from his temple though all head wounds are always bloody; he looks to be fine and stirring. So was it one of Argent's men that also participated in Kate's madness? Stiles sighed at the amount of skeletons in closets in what she used to think was hometown suburbia. Quite possibly, hometown suburbia never existed.
She shoots back a scathing look, "No, but maybe the sight of torn limbs without bodies is enough to do me in." She kneels down in front of Chris Argent, giving him a surveying look ("What. A. DILF. Still, it's unfortunate that he's alive – not as unfortunate as Harris being alive.") before slipping the holster off of his belt, checking the full magazine and making a pleased sound at the back of her throat.
"Stiles," Derek reminds her, "We have to leave. I hear cars."
"Right, right," she replies absentmindedly, cradling the gun in her hands, "Let me get my stuff and we'll be out of this place before you can say Hale."
Allison answers her phone on the third ring, "Stiles? What happened?"
"Dude," Stiles cheerfully replies, "Your dad." Chris Argent's gun is still a dead weight against her hip and her fingers are aching from the weight of the gasoline container. The sound of glass hitting glass in the bag she has thrown over one shoulder makes her feel unsafe and vulnerable as she walks down empty streets, enforced by curfew. The single clichéd flickering streetlight mocks her.
"Now I know why Lydia likes him so much," she crows over the indignant cries across the wire, "Alright, alright, wanted to tell you that I... err... bumped into him half an hour ago when I was in a holding cell. He's down for the count so if he comes back to your house bleeding. It's not my fault. No… No no! He's fine, absolutely fine." She drawls out the last word with a clear double entendre, "Leadership qualities and all that are desirable in single women. But still, that whole phone bugging? Not cool, tell him that I said that - useful though. I hope your mom isn't listening," she added as an afterthought.
"Then why are you calling me now?"
"You're the only one left." Allison, Stiles hates to admit, has actually grown close to someone that could be called a friend, something more than Scott's bitch and Stiles' replacement. "And it's not that your dad is a bad person, he's just weird," she said with all the finesse of teenage eloquence. "Also, I want you to do me a favor."
"You were just buttering me up," Allison accuses and then relents, "shoot."
"Ask Lydia how to make Molotov Cocktails."
The reactions she inspires… She stops walking, as though concentrating all her efforts into her persuasion. There are no morbid howls in the night but the wind itself is enough to make her shiver. To her horror, she finds herself missing Derek's presence, his dark, angsty, soulful, wolfy, sympathizing presence. "We're going to make them. I have enough stuff to make two but I'm missing some ingredients so if you know where to get some motor oil and alcohol."
"What? We?" Allison's voice took up another octave.
Stiles was about to shush the phone before realizing what a dumb action that was. She rubbed the back of her neck nervously, as she looked around at the shadows. After getting out of the Beacon County Sheriff Station, Derek and Stiles had parted ways. Derek had been planning on trying to break the Alpha-to-Scott mind control bond seeing how the whole non-consent element makes it weak and brittle – which kind of makes it sound like rape but hey. ("Go home, or at least away from here," Derek had told her, "I can't tell you not to do anything stupid because I know that you will, you dumbass, but I want you to promise me at least to not run straight into death.") Stiles had looked pointedly at her little bag of equipment and chemicals and he gave a half-hearted sigh. She hefts her chemistry load again and adjusts her grip, "That'll be great. Also, your boyfriend needs you. He's gone around the bend."
Allison pauses and is probably doing her pacing-madly-in-a-little-circle routine, "Is Scott with you? Oh my god, did the murderer get him? Did Derek-"
"Derek's trying to help. Look. It's kind of complicated but we're trying to get Scott out of this sort of Mafioso Godfather gang thing going on and its definitely a thing."
"Stiles." Exasperation coats every letter of that word.
"Like saying its kind of complicated is like saying the Statue of Liberty of kind of tall… or that Lydia Martin is kind of royalty." Stiles tugs on her bangs and hummed as she rounds a corner to a nice middle class neighborhood block, "This isn't sketch at all," she murmurs to herself as she looks at the outcrop of trees and hanging branches and notes all the places mad hunters and madder Alphas can lie in wait.
"Is this why Scott was acting strange at school?"
"You're going to have to elaborate: Scott has always been acting strange."
"Ok," Allison concedes the point, "But more than usual. At first, I thought that I was just imagining it, time of the month and hormones and PMS." Stiles makes the appropriate noise of empathy. "Then I thought it was some jealousy over the Jackson drama but then he gets sort of possessive- it kind of reminds me of a puppy. I like it; I like it with him. He's scared of himself, I can tell. He's too gentle." Stiles nervously looks over a shoulder, biting her lip as she tries to decide whether she was imagining or actually hearing the rustling noise behind her. "He hates my perfume."
"A key ingredient in perfume is Ambergris, whale puke, used for a fixative," Stiles offers as she turns around and starts walking backwards.
"Whale puke?" Allison's voice reaches a new high in incredulity, "That… That doesn't even… Whatever. Look, I just texted Lydia asking about the Molotovs- she's asking me why."
Stiles huffs a laugh as she cranes her neck to look up at the lone street light on the corner. "Just give her something vague and intriguing; set yourself up to be the femme fatale, she won't be able to refuse you." She flicks her wrist carelessly at nothing in particular and knocks her knuckles against the metal. "Use your female powers you little minx," she cajoles, "Lydia's straight and all but the Kinsey scale is pretty slippery. She'll make it slippery for you at least," she mourns, "not for me."
"Thank you," Allison deadpans, "It's been my life dream to be the sexiest… Hold on, someone's at my door." There is a shuffling noise of someone getting off the bed, of feet pattering down stairs, "Ahh, he looks familiar… It's that guy that fell in the parking lot today. Jackson said that he saw Scott with him."
"You saw that?" Stiles then smacks herself over the head, "Repeat that, who is it?"
"Didn't everyone?" Allison replies flippantly, "He got into your… This is coming together now, everything makes sense. …Oh. My. God. That's Derek Hale?"
Her mind goes into overdrive. "What the hell? Why is he there? What's he doing at your door? Are you sure that's him? Positive?"
"Sure I'm sure; it's the same guy that got into your jeep this afternoon, unless the guy that got into your jeep isn't Derek Hale. I saw it from a distance but not that far away." Allison's breathing slows and Stiles can imagine her taking another peak past the window, "Why was he at the parking lot? Was he waiting for you? Oh god, were you on some booty call? Did Scott give you over to him to repay the Mafia?!"
"What? Where in the world are you getting these ideas?" Stiles groans as her face heats up, "If you're thinking that, does that mean that the whole school is thinking that? Lydia…"
"Only it's not just Lydia and Danny anymore, is it?" Allison says with mild hysteria, "Is this because you got rejected too many times? You're sixteen. Sixteen. The age of consent in California is eighteen. Stiles, I know that he's older and built like a…"
"No, shut up." Stiles cuts her off, "You're making things worse. He can probably hear you and he's probably hearing right now."
"I'm in the living room, Stiles, and he's outside."
"Walls have nothing on wolfy ears," she mumbles dejectedly to herself and then says more loudly, "Just open the door. If he kills you, I'll give you my permission to haunt my ass till the end of time."
"I'm holding you to that," Allison warns her, "I really am. Hi, can I help… Oh my god, Scott?"
"Scott?" Stiles parrots, then her thoughts momentarily freeze when she heard familiar sounds of a low rumble and growling. Allison screams. "Wait, Allison. What's going on? Dude, stay back, if Scott's turning a bit fuzzy around the chin, try not to panic, seriously. Derek, why did you bring Scott there?! Derek, I know you can hear me with your were-ears! Allison, whatever is going on, do not panic, do not run, it's only worse if you run and… Oh my god is Scott howling? What the fuck, man? Allison, what-." It takes her a moment to realize that she is talking to a dial tone. She stares at her phone and the little note that says Call Time: 12minutes 43seconds and wipes a hand over her face. "Allison…"
"Allison?" Stiles' heart jumps three feet into the air. Kate Argent stands across the road with her arms crossed, lips pursed in a rueful manner, "Allison Argent?" Stiles turns fully towards the older woman, her eyes already adjusted towards the darkness and able to see the older woman's blonde hair, charred at the ends and tousled in that way that looks like she just escaped with her life, guessing from the amount of blood on her body. Stiles breathes in and then out, imagining that she's exhaling all of her frustrations in one go. Of course in the middle of night, it's fucking Kate who finds her and happens to hear everything. Her non-existent luck cannot possibly make this any worse, but no… it's just that Stiles has been running on adrenaline and oxygen for the entire day and she wants a fucking break, damn it.
"What business does my favorite niece have with a Red?"
Stiles defaults back to her original sarcasm, "Well, we do go to the same school and are in the same grade so it might be that we share the same classes and that she's been to my house to study for chemistry a couple of times because Harris is a complete asshole. But you know Harris better than me so I don't even need to tell you that." Maybe, once upon a time, Kate Argent was like Allison, sweet and funny and the genuine girl-next-door stereotype and not the old cougar that eats people. (Sometimes, Stiles wonders what stereotype she fits in and it takes her a couple weeks before she finally decided on the "manic-pixie-dream-girl" only without the dream part.) "Niece is it? I have the worse time imagining that you're related to her or her dad, who, by the way, is looking for you. He's a bit worried."
"My dear brother has always tried to get Allison away from our family traditions. Father was never happy about it but Chris always said that it was too dangerous. He tried to back out after the Hale fire: but with a daughter, he should have known that it was impossible." Kate artfully tossed her hair back and scoffed, making Stiles painfully aware of her own layered style that was messed up from her rough night, "We Argent women breath danger, it's always been in the nature as a hunter." Stiles resisted the laughter bubbling up in her throat at the thought of Allison, who shares the same love for abandoned strays as Scott, hunting with Kate's shotgun.
"I'm sure." Stiles raises a shoulder and rolls it back, "A true profession for the women. Look at the mortality rate amongst your men: what is it?" She gestures at the empty space, "I don't see them with you; did they run away or did the Alpha get them? Death rate must be guaranteed one hundred percent. But hey, you're alive." She bares her teeth, "unfortunately. At least Mr. Argent has some smarts to keep away from the family business, you know, for reasons like life and living and all the nice things associated with it. Allison, at least, has her sanity," She stuffs a hand into her pocket, "unlike you."
Kate snarls and her hand reaches towards her belt. With similar speed, Stiles whips out her stolen gun from the makeshift holster and suddenly the stakes of the pissing game rose exponentially with the continued silence drawn out between them. Stiles stares down towards the opposing barrel, Kate raises an eyebrow, Stiles flicks her thumb and loads the gun, a bit heavy in her hand but still stable. You really want to see how well I aim? She tries to convey through some telepathic message. I can get at least five rounds before you get one from that shotgun. The hunter lightly remarks, "Mortality rate for those who run with wolves are about as high if not more."
Stiles barely catches herself from rolling her eyes, "That doesn't even make sense. I'm not one who runs with wolves, I'm one who tries not to get killed by wolves," then she corrects herself, "I'm a personal were-trainer," she pauses, "like were-therapist," she pauses again, "were-shrink." And she adds, "It's not really like I signed up for it willingly." It's not really like she had expected all of this to happen when she called Scott in the dead of night and excitedly coaxed him into joining her on an adventure to find the other half of a dead body.
"The dogs do need to be trained, don't they? It's funny how much effort they have to go through to merely function in society," Suddenly the atmosphere shifts again and throws Stiles into a confused infinity loop. As if Kate wants an actual girl-talk, heart to heart; Stiles is waiting for the other shoe to drop in which the shoe is going to be a steel-toe, five inch high, leather boot. "How did you do?"
"Well," Stiles winces at the memories and tries not to think of the shirts that she had to throw out, ruined by Scott's claws and the whole killer instinct directed at her when Scott was so much as annoyed with his first world problems, "Liberal uses of chains and lacrosse sticks and a healthy sixth sense to know when to run at the first sign of danger. Wolfy behavior," she shrugs, the action made awkward with the amount of crap that she's holding, "You know, it's pretty complicated and unpredictable."
"The hard work is worth it. They grow up so handsome and muscular." Kate absently muses, "If I had seen that coming…"
"I think being a werewolf does that: some saliva-bite injection of a super steroid, giving them more vitality than the average, puny human." Stiles replies, still on edge, "It fills them out kind of ridiculously. And then there's that sort of new magnetic, animal attraction – I think it has to do with belonging to the category of Homo Supernatural."
"Has he let you touch those abs? It makes me wish that I haven't given him up so early, if only to get a taste of him now." Stiles' mouth dropped open. Kate has bad-touched Scott? The woman makes a moue and blows a kiss in her direction. "When I had first seen him, he was entirely willing for anything that I wanted. It made getting his scent easier. He was an absolute animal in bed, doggie style and cowgirl were the best with a man like him: control wanes with increasing pleasure, just a warning if you haven't gotten to that stage yet. The claws pop out."
What. The. Fuck. Do Argent women share their men? Is this an Amazonian tradition of reverse gender roles? Has she dropped through some rabbit hole sometime in the past hour without realizing? "Uhh… no? Because that'll be weird." Stiles enunciates carefully, "Allison would kill me I tried." If Scott were any other douchebag, he would be ecstatic at the invitation to a threesome but this is Scott and Scott's sole fixation are long, dark curls and a smile that he claimed would melt the harshest of hearts (except for Derek's, but that guy is a piece of work).
Again, another paradigm shift occurs: Kate's face unexpectedly contorts into a snarl and the air crackles with the sudden influx in tension, "When did Derek meet Allison?"
If Stiles' mind was her car, she would be metaphorically running over a cliff and exploding in a Michael Bay-esque ball of fire. She's still trying to grasp the fact that Kate was informing her of her family's sexual kinks, a fact that she never ever wanted to be privy of, and now they're talking about "Derek?" She chokes out, still reeling from the abrupt turn of topics, "Since when were we talking about…" Oh. Oh. Well. Because Kate has no idea who Scott is – of course, that's why when Derek collapsed in front of her car, the solution was to push Scott to have dinner with the potential girlfriend's family and get the damn magical bullet, because nobody would suspect you… Stilinski, you idiot. "I think," she says slowly, readjusting her grip on Chris's gun, "we're having two different conversations."
Stiles abruptly turns her gun towards the small grove of trees that extends from the park; Kate does the same except that she also pulls the trigger. The Alpha, in its terrible glory, moves at a speed that human eyes could barely follow and falls upon the woman with a hunger of a starving monster, living off of hate and oxygen. The Alpha tosses its head back and howls. Another round of bullets hit the far field, ricocheting off the metal of the swings. Stiles scrambles back against the fence and dives as Kate shoots yet another round of bullets which all hit nothing, perpetuating the mythical belief that bad guys (and the LAPD) hit everything but their targets.
A large figure throws Stiles to the ground, the impact jarring her head and causing all sorts of high frequency sounds in her brain to start wailing their displeasure. Stiles twists left and right, seeing dual pinpricks of yellow light situated above two rows of glowing teeth. A hot drop of saliva lands on her cheek. Scott, she thinks, no… another wolf. There is another wolf. There is always another wolf. She's probably yelling something about her attacker's mother sexual tastes and questionable legitimacy of birth but she can't hear herself over the ringing bouncing in her ears.
Dude. What is this? Is this seriously her life? Seriously? Stiles crooks her gun, still in her hand, up and shoots through the underside of the jaw.
The contact throws the Beta off of Stiles, landing in a heap two feet away, dead before it… (the wolf changed back to its human form in mid-air, twisting into its own spray of blood) she… even hits the ground, head cracking against the pavement. Stiles looks down and pulls at the fabric barely covering the naked woman as the last remnants of her fur disappear into her skin. The woman wolfed out in a nurse outfit: was she one of Mrs. McCall's coworkers? On the other side of the lawn, Kate checks her rifle before flinging it aside; she's out of bullets.
The older woman suddenly pivots, fixating her mad gaze on Stiles' gun… Chris's gun…. Kate lunges over, dodging a blow from Peter, one hand outstretched, the other holding a small dagger. Stiles aims her gun up again but her world is spinning and tilting and going fuzzy from the center and spreading out. How does one stop a homicidal huntress? There's a blur here and there's another blur there and these blurs are moving really, really fast like… like smoke. She puts fingers to her temple and pushes and squints at the space above her as the figure that she guesses is Kate is met by another in the air, matching blow for blow, even better.
Get out. Her body urges with the power of common sense. Get out or die. Move before anybody notices that you're here. Anywhere but here. Stiles blearily wonders why the ground is moving beneath her feet as she stumbles to the right, holding onto the fence for support. Anywhere but here. She lets out a breath and flicks off pieces of were-brain from her face. She wants to puke but the last thing she ate was an apple and a shit ton of curly fries for lunch which had all been burned by the adrenaline. She sneaks a look back.
If Kate fights like a dancer, Derek fights like a berserker with the right combination of animal and human, claws extended with the intension to slash and pierce; swipes wide but controlled. Peter fights like a monster: it works for him somehow since he manages to land a blow that catches Kate in the back. Still, Stiles doesn't trust her eyes, as her vision is slightly impaired and off balance. Kate yells out some profanities and pointed insults that are too high on the pitch register to tolerate. Pain lashes across the back of Stiles' head to the tune of her own heartbeat.
Everything is moving too fast. Still, with great difficulty, Stiles manages to pull herself to her feet.
God damn everything.
She limps down four blocks and doesn't look backuntil she could hear people yelling her name. Allison and Scott are sitting in the backseat of a Camaro parked on the side with the window down making frantic 'come here' movements. She doesn't even hesitate to wretch open the passenger door, throw in her bag of chemistry warfare, scramble into the front seat and turn the keys that were still in the ignition, listening to the car purr. Her head is about to explode; she can't find the energy to be exhausted much less be surprised. "Stiles, Derek-," Scott starts.
The world is spinning.
"I know. I know," Stiles says with gritted teeth, running her hands over the steering wheel because, holy shit, she's about to drive a Camaro (this car embodies all those "I can have sex in this car" quotes) and if she was in any better shape, she'd be crowing. She guns the pedal and makes a U-turn that burns rubber. (She's barely in any condition to drive anything, including her lawn mower.) She manages two blocks before spotting Derek sprinting over, a bloodied mess of torn leather and muscle. She flips on and off the high beam. Derek's claws ruin the Camaro's paint job as he yanks the door open and slides inside. Stiles pulls away before the doors properly close. Everyone is yelling, everyone is trying to talk over one another but they're muted in a sense that her mind is too heavy to contain any more information, pertinent or not.
Get out. Stiles breathes.
Stiles glances over at the hand touching her arm and all the black veins extending from her skin onto Derek's and does a double-take. "You know, as much as I appreciate our time together, I would rather not go back to Allison's house to steal another bullet," she says, trying to shrug off the offending appendage. "Haven't we agreed that amputation is a bad thing and should only be limited to zombie apocalypses?"
Derek huffs as his grip tighten though not enough to bruise, "It's not wolfsbane. I'm taking away your pain. You look like you need it." More veins angrily pop up; as Derek inhales, they fade back into his skin. Stiles raises an eyebrow and lets out a whistle of appreciation, sinking into the feeling of not-pain everywhere in her body, making her aware of how much pain she had been in, collected over the entirety of this shit-fest: like a frog cooked slowly in the stew for which gradual heat was too subtle. It was better than Morphine which had caused her to fall asleep mid-sentence in the hospital bed to her dad as she was raving about stairs and squirrels. But that's another story.
Stiles' eyebrows furrows as she points out, "Won't this hurt you?"
"Less than it'll hurt you." Stiles nods as though she gets it. She doesn't but she recognizes the tone of a conversation finished.
"Well, thank you for the painkillers without the pills." She worries her bottom lip, "Is this another extension of your wolf thing? Can Scott do the same thing?" Stiles checks the review mirror and at Scott and Allison in the back trying their best to pour flammable liquids into Erlenmeyer flasks while also giving each other shy smiles, "Because that'll mean not having to deal with back pains over the weekend every time Jackson gets in a snit with Lydia."
"If you would stop hitting on Lydia and Danny all the time, maybe Jackson wouldn't feel the need to throw you against the lockers," Scott unhelpfully points out and grins bashfully at Allison when she giggles.
"It's part of my ten year plan: something has got to give within then," Stiles muttered as her hands tighten on the wheel, "and it's not going to be me." She side-glances at Derek again, "Do werewolves have any other powers? Is there anything useful besides the heightened senses, crazy athletic abilities, and the fast regeneration? Fire-bender abilities like Avatar?"
"Our saliva has a numbing effect and encourages faster healing." Derek offers, restlessly tapping his fingers against the dashboard. "Those apply to all Beta wolves. Alphas have a greater extension of skills that depend on the number and characteristics of his or her Betas."
"Lovely, so Peter's wildcard is dependent on Scott. That is completely reassuring," she adds, ignoring Scott's protests, "Also, thank you for not licking me. I'm starting to think that you guys are more lovers than fighters," Stiles sighs, kneading the skin between her eyes.
"Eyes on the road, Stiles," Allison reminds her, peaking her head over to her right shoulder.
Stiles rolls her eyes. "Sorry Juliet."
"Stiles." Allison groans, "I'm trying to concentrate here and not wonder how you got your license."
"It was on my own merit, you're welcome." Stiles snipes back, changing lanes and making a right turn, "Give me a break, alright? It's not every day that I hear that teenage true love conquers all and quells the beast within the man. Tell me that this isn't the fairytale you all dreamed of." Her hand drifts towards the volume knob in front of her but stilled at the glare from Derek, daring her to start the Top 40 hits. "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief." She stops only because she can't hear herself over Scott's groans.
"Not Shakespeare. Didn't everyone die in the end?"
"From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, whose misadventured piteous overthrows. Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. O, I am fortune's fool! …Then I defy you, stars." Stiles relents and drops back to her normal voice, "This was my extra credit for AP English Lit: a complete quiz grade – totally worth it. You can call me Mercutio, Scott." She throws an inquiring look behind her, "How's the Molotov cocktails progress going?"
"It's coming along." Allison remarks as she holds up her creation to inspect its contents. "We got one finished." She swirls it around, listening to the sounds of liquid splashing against glass, "You never told me why you're so fixated upon the whole 'kill it with fire.'"
"You need to soak the cloth in the ethanol to make it work and don't let it evaporate off too much. That's what the internet says," Stiles says, tapping nervously on the wheel, "Can you guys hurry up, it would be a lot safer if I know that you won't be spilling all over the place. What if everything spontaneously combusts? We already broke so many rules of Science."
"You're avoiding the question," Scott points out.
"Great job, genius," Stiles puts on a faux-impressed look, "Of course, I'm trying not to answer the question. This definitely wasn't my most smooth changing the subject routine." Then she winces and shoots a look full of morose and regret over to the passenger side, "Sorry Derek, it was the only thing the school offered."
Derek growled low in his throat, "I'm not broken."
In the review mirror, Scott mouths out the word 'what?' She hastily backtracks and tries to find a muddled path of secrets and codes in her words, "I'm not saying you are but this sort of thing still hits hard and I'm betting that it'll hit your uncle equally hard." It's a pity she can't communicate through eyebrows like Derek. "And honestly, we need any advantage even if it's…" She trails off and swallows. Even if it's morally reprehensible to bring up a six-year old trauma and fling it to your face again, I'm just trying to warn you that I'm planning on stopping Peter with fire, Peter Hale, who just emerged from a coma after surviving an arson attack – can you tell the different degrees of wrongness in my head?
Derek sinks back into his seat, "It's fine," he grunts out, "You don't need to worry."
"I think I have all the right to be worried, seeing how I'm driving all of us to the biggest boss fight ever," Stiles dryly remarks, patting the dashboard for emphasis.
"Worry about yourself," he huffs, "I'm a werewolf, Scott is a werewolf, Allison is a hunter, you are…"
"One hundred and four pounds of mean bone and muscle that will tear your throat out if you finish that sentence in even a mildly insulting way," Stiles mutters, "One hundred and six pounds if I gorge myself for a few days on curly fries and steaks. Anyways," she continues, pulling onto another road with trees that covered the stars, "chillax. I'm not going to die."
"Do you really think that this is a game? Because I have a feeling that you still, despite everything that has happened, are not taking this seriously," he retorts, fraying even more at the edges, "Let me give you this life-affirming fact, you could have died and you will die if you realize that you're putting yourself on the line." Stiles winces, refusing to glance over; Scott growls; Allison wisely stays silent. "I'll keep you alive," Derek deflates from his initial anger.
Stiles grimly smiles, "I know you will." She blows her bangs out of her eyes, "I am aware of everything, you know, being a teenager doesn't mean that I have no survival instincts. I know; I know what this is; but it's too much to take at times. Sometimes," she shrugs, "It's best to step back in that out-of-body experience and look at it like Supernatural minus all the homo-erotic subtexts and queer-baiting."
Derek runs a hand through his hair, "Sorry."
"Don't be such a sourwolf." She laughs hysterically for three seconds and then immediately calms, wincing at the sudden pang above her temple, "I know too much." Whenever Stiles stops talking and hears silence, she hears Kate's voice detailing how sex is with Derek and then starts imagining the sounds of a woman taking advantage of a teenage boy and it makes her sick.
The plan had formed when Derek dragged a half-willing, half-feral Scott over to the Argent's place and watching the final confirmation that a hunter's daughter, with the bloodline going back hundreds of years back into France that boasts of strong women and insane women that are not one bit mutually exclusive, is Scott's anchor. As he waited out the lovers and their unfolding drama, he had overheard Victoria Argent on the phone with Kate, suggesting the old Hale House as a potential stakeout and a possible Alpha den. At least, that's what Derek said. It was a very small string, possibly with a hook and bait at the end, a trap, but it was the only lead that they had and to be truthful, there was nowhere else to go.
There were people already surrounding the Hale House, police and their cop cars with flaring sirens and the familiar Argent jeeps with their inconspicuous black paint jobs. The Sheriff and a couple deputies were making a quick perimeter around the house. Chris Argent, looking like someone has done a number on him, was talking to the Sheriff and making a violent point by punching repeatedly into his own open palm. "So apparently," Stiles says, breaking the stunned silence in the Camaro, "four separate plot twists have been happening without my knowledge." She squints past the red and blue, "Allison, what is my dad doing with your dad?"
The three teenagers hastily piled out of the car and followed Derek to the sources of the sounds of gunfire. They squint past the search lights and flares to see the silhouette of the Alpha throwing Chris Argent against the small heard of police cars, body landing against the hood of a particular jeep. Allison screams in terror.
And just like that, every single person's eye was trained upon them in complete bemusement. At this point, multiple things happen at once. Her scream gives Derek a chance to leap over all the able-bodied men and to throw himself at the monster's front, managing to wrestle two other deputies from its claws. Allison rushes over to her dad's side on the other side of the circle by the windows of the burnt Hale House, leaving her right side open for attack, a vulnerability that Peter did not hesitate to take advantage of. Peter's eyes flash one moment and Stiles suddenly finds herself trying to restrain a brainwashed-beta from rushing towards his Alpha, yelling into Scott's furry, pointed ears to get a hold of himself and think of Allison, concentrate on Allison. So yeah, true love has an inverse relationship with physical distance. Stiles' dad starts yelling and nobody can hear him.
"You know it was the only way for a cure, my dear nephew," Peter manages to bite out as he takes a large swipe at Derek, dropping Kate Argent's prone form from his claws, "An Alpha's power through my veins, do you understand the rush? Of course you wouldn't, it never passed through you, that power, hot as blood from the body of my niece."
"You'd kill your own blood?" Derek grits out through his extended fangs.
"It was to allow closure and rest for the dead. You weren't here for these six years but I was, in a coma, listening to all the angry spirits on Hale territory demanding for revenge, a task and duty that Laura refused to fulfill, though she knew who it was, I knew who it was," Peter levels a steady gaze at the younger man, "I think you do too. Isn't that right, Kate?" The Alpha looks down at the woman sprawled at his feet and kicks her in the ribs.
"Allison," Chris Argent groans, reaching out to his daughter, "Allison… the Code… What your aunt did, what your grandfather did… do not…" He lost the strength to continue but was still conscious.
"An Alpha's duties are tied to an Alpha's power. Reject the responsibility and you reject the power," Peter muses, "Tell me, Derek, how did Laura view you? Did she blame you? Did you forgive you? Did she look after you? Did you ever wonder why it was so easy for me, a werewolf that was bedridden for six years, to find her and to take the Hale Alpha power? The land and blood was angry at her. She ran away and she took you with her." The silence was answer enough.
"Mr. Argent, I want you to stay awake, keep your eyes open," the Sheriff ordered, shining a light into the other man's eyes and checking over his superficial wounds. Allison takes point with her father's crossbow, aiming with shaking arms, taking deep breaths to calm and still…
But the night isn't very young and I still have miles to go," Peter Hale muses with his blood soaked claws stroking Kate's temple as she groans in pain. "Miss Argent? I think that you have a confession to make."
"God damn it, he's still moving. Get his shoulders; he's going to use his arms!" Stiles yells, struggling with a couple other hunters and deputies to hold one beta still, "Scott! If you're in there, listen to me! This isn't you…" She screams when the beta makes an attempt onto his elbows, arching his back, snarling and snapping at fingers too close to his furred face, and she buries her fingers into his back as he buckles violently, "No! His shoulders, you dumbasses, where the joints are! Don't let him swin-"
"Do you still refuse to answer?" Peter asks. "Maybe I should talk for you, put words in your mouth."
Scott breaks free and everything goes to hell faster than one can howl. Looking back on it, Stiles cannot recall the moment between sheer terror and the swipe of claws against her shirt to being bodily thrown into the wall of the Hale House where she crumbles. Her head is throbbing hard and whatever werewolf voodoo that Derek had done to her in the car is long gone. She touches her forehead and pulls away, rubbing the blood between her fingers, grimacing at it stings when it enters her eyes. She slowly stands, feeling the thousand bruises and other injuries that she rather not dwell upon, walking slowly with a hand braced against the rotten wood.
She trips over Derek's prone body.
A crack rips across the air. Both of Kate's arms are hanging at odd angles as though she has two elbows. "Miss Argent," Peter licks his lips, "Did you go to Mr. Adrian Harris to ask him how to commit arson and make it seem accidental? Did he give you an answer?" Scott stands to the right and behind his Alpha, holding onto Kate by her limp wrist.
A heavy silence permeates the air filled with the anticipation of listeners, "Yes."
Peter smiles, "Did you with your band of men go to the Hale House six years ago and set a perimeter around the house? Did you pump the vents with powdered wolfsbane to ensure that no one could escape? Did you set fire to a house of eleven inhabitants?"
Scott pulls; Kate whines. "Yes."
Stiles drags her legs on until she collapse again underneath a window ledge, leaning back and letting her head fall forward, breathing deeply. Her fingers brush against something metal and cold. She manages to catch Allison's eye and furiously mouth two words over and over again until she understands. There are whispers in the air, secretive and undistinguished; they drift to Peter from the house.
"Did you kill eight people?" Peter takes Kate's jaw and turns it, looking for something on her face, humming contently, "Did you listen to their screams? As fingers and claws scrap at the windows? Did you laugh?"
"Do you feel remorse?"
Peter straightens up and pulls at the edges of his leather trench coat; he throws his arms out in a dramatic show towards his audience, and then turns around the face the house. His red, bloodshot eyes are half-lidded and his smile reveals canines that were on the wrong side of human, "Verdict?" He enunciated clearly to the invisible spirits still residing in the Hale House.
Immediately, eight streams of cloud, like steam or wisps of smoke emerged from the ground. The single red will-o-wisp hit Kate across the chest; two make their way to Chris and Allison, four made their way east to Beacon Hills and one headed north. Kate clutched her head and started screaming behind Scott's clawed hand. Guilty. The air seemed to whisper. Guilty. Guilty. Peter reaches down; Stiles closes her eyes, Kate cries out in the immediate aftermath of another clear snap sound of breaking bone echoed and bounced off the trees. Kate started sobbing.
Slowly, a final red light emerges from a grave made from a ring of wolfsbane, slowly the tendrils crawl across the grass and lick up the edges of his jacket. "Stiles!" Allison is running back from the Camaro with two lit Molotov cocktails in her hands. She lobs one of them to her general direction. Peter spins around and deftly catches the first one. Stiles shoots it with Chris's gun and then throws her arms above her head, anticipating the explosion.
It doesn't disappoint her.
The heat wave scorches and licks across her expose skin, her arms, her nape, the back of her hands, second and third degree burns all over that will make sleeping a complete bitch, but the agonized scream that follows allows her to breathe a sigh of relief. Burns, after all, is better than death. She counts slowly to twenty and then back down to zero, listening to the body next to her standing up and walking slowly away, to the small murmurs of conversation, maybe a confrontation that should she be in a movie, she wouldn't want to miss, but this is real life and all she want to do is be an ostrich, head in the sand, with the mindset that if she can't see it, it doesn't exist.
Then she hears a 'shhk' sound, wet and sharp, like something spilling out of a leak expect a bit more… Stiles looks up and then promptly begins to gag at the smell of burnt flesh (smells more like roasted meat and, oh my god, this smell is the strongest argument to go vegetarian).
Derek stands over the fallen body of his uncle, claws dripping with blood, chest heaving from exertion, skin shining with a mixture of sweat and ash, some ash might be parts of his uncle. Peter is dead: dead as a doornail. Stiles gags on nothing before she shakily pulls herself together and up. She stumbles over at the ensuing carnage. The entire area was full of different types of stunned silence: stunned horror, stunned disbelief, stunned nothingness. Lying next to Peter, sprawled out on the grass with a myriad of broken limbs was Kate, drenching the ground with the scent of iron and red, her once brilliant, sadistic glory gone like the vengeful spirits that released their weight of anger of six years from the Hale House.
Barely conscious and nearly delirious, Kate deliberately meets her eye and whispers, "kill me."
Cocking her head to the left, Stiles stares back, furrowing her eyebrows and the novelty of having such a woman, for there are not many words that can accurately describe the horrors of her, begging to die painlessly (because there's no way she's going to try to consulate and lie about the justice and trials and recovery, that thing isn't available to people like her). Instead, Stiles looks up towards the east where the road leads back to Beacon Hills. The sun is beginning to rise. Stiles blows out her bangs.
She hears Derek collapse and turns towards him and falls to her knees as he kneels on the ground, hands flickering between claws and fingers. She huffs out a laugh; Derek's head snaps up at her, eyes glowing faintly red. Stiles grins, wincing at the pull of skin across new scratches, "Oh Alpha my Alpha, your fearful fight is done. We have weathered every wreck for you…" She pauses in her proclamation, "the prize you sought is won?" Derek rolls his eyes and then collapse towards the ground at Stiles' feet, rolling over to face the sky, dawn, purple and pinks and reds.
Stiles looks over the entire premise at the separate groups of people surrounding them: her dad and his officers were talking to Chris's men; Allison and Scott were tending towards Chris Argent, movements not so frantic when they realize that he wasn't on the brink of death. She sits back onto the grass, uncaring as the blood stains her jeans, and pokes Derek in the side, avoiding the recovering wounds, "You don't look too hot, dude."
A beat. "Shut up, Stiles."
"No seriously," Stiles continues heedlessly, "How are you?"
Derek's eyes flicker away and upward towards the clouds, "Right now, I'm fine," he says.
Stiles nods in satisfaction and grins, "Good," she chirps, "Very good."