Title: Triquetra -Chapter Two
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski (main), Derek Hale/Kate Argent (past), Jackson Whittemore/Lydia Martin, Scott McCall/Allison Argent, Boyd/Erica Reyes, Chris Argent/Victoria Argent, Danny Mahealani/OMC
Rating: Eventual NC-17
Warnings/Triggers/Enticements: Canon Typical Violence, Child abuse, OC and canon character death, Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Mating trope, possible knotting, possessive behavior, mild dub-con depending on your POV, Magical!Stiles, AU
Word Count: ~7500
Summary: With the death of Aleksander Stilinski, Gerald Argent and his Purist regime rose to power in the little village of Beacon Hills, forcing Aleksander's son Stiles to live in near exile in the family's home on the outskirts of the forest. Stiles hones his skills and dispenses his magical gifts in secret under the constant threat of discovery and extermination by the Purists. When Stiles stumbles upon Katherine Argent and Adrian Harris trying to do away with a small child in the woods near his home, he immediately takes in the abandoned babe. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Aleksander had oft warned Stiles that his impulsive nature would do him in some day, and shortly after taking him in Stiles finds that he's gotten much more than he bargained for when the boy he rescued turns out to be a child of the Were and Stiles is forced to seek out the boy's clan in order to keep them both safe. Derek Hale, the clan's Alpha, offers sanctuary-but at a price that Stiles isn't sure he's willing to pay and Stiles finds himself drawn into the deadly war between the Purists and the Were that exposes secrets of the past and threatens all of their futures.
Spoilers: Anything up to S2, Episode 24 may be mentioned
Disclaimer: Unfortunately I do not own Teen Wolf, Tyler Hoechlin or Dylan O'Brien (weeps at the unfairness of it all)
A/N: This is my first foray into the Teen Wolf fandom and my first time writing Sterek. This is an AU inspired by the novel Highland Blood that features human but magically gifted!Stiles, Alpha Derek and the "hunters" are referred to "Purists". I'm purposely vague on the timeline but it's set around the 1700's.
read here on AO3
read here on LJ: Chapter One
Perhaps beast was a bit of an exaggeration but Stiles thought that under the circumstances he could be forgiven a bit of hyperbole. After all, it wasn’t every day-or night as the case may be-that a curly haired cherub of a child transformed themselves into an animal. And not just any animal, a wolf of all things.
The boy Isaac had been mere moments before had been replaced by a small wolf. He obviously wasn’t fully grown but he was larger than the wolves Stiles was used to seeing. His fur was a thick silver-grey, with patches of black along his back, neck and paws. His eyes however, remained the same breathtaking blue that Isaac possessed when in human form.
“Oh sweet merciful gods you are one of the Were!” Stiles yelped as he stumbled backwards, seeking to put some distance between himself and the wolf that now inhabited his living room.
“Now you listen here, Isaac,” Stiles said as he inched towards the front door, “You be a nice Were and I shall just be opening the front door and you will be just as free you please to go cavort in the forest with the rest of the wildlife. Bunnies and deer and and…oh gods don’t eat me!” Stiles squeaked as Isaac made one short leap across the room and pinned him to the floor. “Wouldn’t you prefer a delicious bunny rabbit or perhaps a bit o’ deer? Venison is good meat, eh? Course I doubt you will be taking the time to cook it over an open flame but I am sure it is quite tasty…au naturale. And besides, the forest is just full to burstin with prey and all manner of fun things for wildlife such as you to amuse yourself with. Wouldn’t you prefer the wild, wild woods to this boring old cottage? Nothing to do and nothing to eat here but skin and bones Stiles. Hardly a meal for a growing..ah…wolf such as you.” Stiles’ voice went sharp as Isaac whined sadly and licked a long line up the side of his face before shoving his muzzle into the side of Stiles’ neck and licking him there.
After several moments Stiles realized that he was not, in fact, being made into a meal by the Were he had inadvertently taken in and began to relax. “Well, here goes nothing,” he said to himself as he slowly lifted his hand from the floor and began to gently sift his fingers through Isaac’s fur. “Nice Were, good were, do not eat the Stiles, Stiles was good to you so you be good Stiles” he mumbled as he cautiously petted Isaac. A low rumble sounded through Isaac’s chest and Stiles stopped instantly. The little wolf whined and butted his head under Stiles’ chin and Stiles promptly resumed his stroking.
“Do not be thinking this means you are in charge,” Stiles grumbled as he relaxed a bit. “I am still the king of this castle, you know. Now you be a good boy and let me up, Isaac.”
Isaac immediately reared back, allowing just enough room for Stiles to slip from underneath him but then the cub immediately plastered himself to Stiles’ side and attempted to herd the human to the front door.
“Aight, Aight enough of your shoving, there Isaac,” Stiles gently admonished. Isaac dropped his head and whined, going to the door and waiting for Stiles. “Well that answers the question of whether or not you can still understand me,” Stiles murmured. “You want to go out, huh? Fine then, you can go out and…frolic or oh dear gods-hunt or whatever manner of Were type business you shall be getting up to tonight,” Stiles said as he opened the door and stood back.
Isaac promptly dropped his bottom onto the floor of the cottage and looked up at Stiles expectantly. “What? You wanted out, so there is out. Go on, uh…out?” Stiles said making shooing motions with his hands.
Isaac didn’t move.
“Oh for gods sake,” Stiles muttered. “This is in,” he said making a wide circle with his hands indicating the cottage. “And this,” he said stepping over the threshold of the door, “is out.”
As soon as Stiles stepped outside Isaac vaulted up from the floor and bolted through the door behind him. The wolf made a wide circle in the yard, scratching at the earth and then raised his hind leg.
“Oh come on!” Stiles yelled, wrinkling his nose. “Is that really necessary? My yard is not your personal outhouse!”
“He’s marking his territory,” a voice from the edge of the yard said, startling Stiles.
Isaac immediately leapt in front of Stiles his fur bristled and canines bared as he growled at the intruder.
“Calm down little one I mean neither you nor Stiles any harm,” the man said softly but made no move to advance forward.
“Deaton? By gods man you took ten years off of my life! What are you doing skulking about my door in the dead of night?” Stiles demanded as he recognized his visitor. “Isaac? Isaac, tis okay. That is our friend Deaton. Remember he came to see you the other day? He won’t harm you, I promise.” Isaac relaxed slightly at the words, letting his lip drop back down to cover his canines but his posture remained stiff and he made no move to vacate his spot in front of Stiles.
“After your visit the other day I had a feeling that you and the little one here might require some assistance tonight,” Deaton answered smoothly. “And he is not worried about me harming him,” the man pointed out to Stiles.
“What? Then why is he so…oh, oh oh,” Stiles said as he realized that Isaac was protecting him from what he perceived to be a threat. “Hey now, what did I say about me being the one in charge, eh? I do the protecting around these parts and I promise that Deaton here is friend not foe. Stand down now, Isaac.”
Isaac whined softly and pawed at the earth in front of Stiles, before gently butting his head into the human’s leg and moving slightly over to the side.
“Interesting,” Deaton said, stepping forward cautiously. “He has remarkable control for one so young and untrained.”
“Untrained?” Stiles asked, looking from Deaton to Isaac. “Untrained in what?”
“Controlling his instincts, mastering his wolf, shifting, defending himself…I rather doubt that Kate and Gerard Argent cared to teach him anything about being Were, other than their own narrow minded assertion that he was cursed and a legion of the damned,” Deaton said as he made his way to Stiles, stopping short when Isaac’s fur began to bristle again.
“You knew he was Were?” Stiles asked trying to make sense of Deaton’s unexpected presence and the conversation. “When I asked you to come check him, make certain he was not injured…you saw something or felt something or…I do not know how you knew but you knew! Didn’t you?” Stiles accused.
Deaton nodded. “Aye, tis not hard to spot one of the Were when one knows what to look for.”
“How did know? And why didn’t you say anything? You did not think that I would like to know I had taken in one of them,” Stiles questioned.
“This child…he’s special. And I while I was confident in my suspicions I could not really be sure until the moon. Not all half breeds possess the gifts of the Were, most don’t.”
“Aye, the child of a human and a Were, like your Isaac here. Most half breeds are humans-fully human-with very few exceptions. Come Stiles, tell your little one answer the moon’s call. He shall be safe. I have made…provisions to ensure that he will not go far and that no Purist will stumble upon him this night.”
“Provisions? What type of provisions and what do you mean answer the call of the moon? And why would he be needing my permission to do such a thing?”
“He won’t leave your side unless he knows you are safe,” Deaton explained patiently. “He needs you to let him know that there is no threat. And the moon is calling him and this probably the first time he has ever had the opportunity to answer. He needs to run and you, my dear boy, need to listen. I have much to teach you and you have much to learn.”
Stiles swallowed down the million questions on the tip of his tongue and asked the one that was troubling him the most. “If I just let him loose…if he is one of the Were…Isaac will not…he is not dangerous?”
“There are many stories about the Were,” Deaton began. “Some are true, some are not. You tell me, Stiles: Is your Isaac a danger? Is he a demon, a devil, a cursed beast ready to rend men in half and flay the flesh from their bones?”
Stiles looked down at the wolf by his side and saw the brilliant blue of Isaac’s eyes staring back at him. “No,” he whispered, gently stroking over Isaac’s fur. “Whatever else he may be he is my own and mine is no demon nor devil. He is not…whatever else he may be he is no danger.”
Deaton smiled briefly. “Then let him go and come inside with me. We have much to discuss.”
Stiles nodded and bent down and buried his face into Isaac’s neck. “Go on my own. I shall be here when you return,” he whispered.
Isaac whimpered softly and licked at Stiles’ face before turning suspicious eyes on Deaton. “Tis fine,” Stiles hummed into Isaac’s ear. “Tis fine. Go, go on. The moon is calling and ‘twould be rather rude of you not to answer.”
Isaac gave one last whine before turning and scampering off into the woods. Stiles listened until he could no longer hear Isaac making his way through the underbrush before standing and facing Deaton.
“Everything,” Stiles demanded. “You tell me everything.”
“T’was the plan,” Deaton replied amenably as he stepped past Stiles and made his way into the cottage.
A long, melodic howl pierced the quiet of the night. Stiles looked back towards the woods, squared his shoulders and followed Deaton inside.
Stiles had no choice but to admit defeat. Despite his best efforts he was coming up woefully short in his attempts to keep Isaac from harm and keep them both safe from the ever widening net cast by the Purists.
The last two years had been fraught with tension. After draining Deaton dry of all the knowledge the man possessed-or at least all the knowledge he was willing to share as Stiles had his suspicions Deaton never actually shared all that he knew about anything with anyone-Stiles had gone about trying to make the woods surrounding his cottage safe for Isaac. He had cast a protection spell, set up traps to warn them of any incoming hunting parties, routinely marked the woods with a barrier of mountain ash to keep Isaac from wandering too far and drilled into his little boy the importance of remaining hidden from sight when villagers from town came to call. Despite it all rumors of a beast that roamed the woods had spread, bolstered by evidence of Isaac’s hunting and the sounds of his howling during full moons. Hunts for the Demon of Beacon Hills had grown more frequent and Purists from neighboring villages, those without compunction or compassion, had answered Gerard’s call for assistance.
Stiles had been forced to keep Isaac inside the last two moons, confined to the cellar and drugged into a deep sleep to keep him from howling. It pained Stiles to do so but the last time he had let Isaac out the little boy had somehow gotten past the ring of mountain ash Stiles had lain forth and wound up caught in a hunter’s trap. It had only been sheer luck that Stiles had heard his howl and reached him before the hunters returned to check their trap. The hunting parties were becoming more frequent and coming ever closer to his home. The last group had actually made it to the edge of the yard before they were greeted by an armed Stiles demanding they turn back, leave his land and leave him be. Kate Argent had been among them and things had swiftly become unpleasant.
“We simply wish to inspect your quarters and make certain that you are not harboring the demon we seek, child. We mean you no harm. Surely you can’t object to that,” Kate said, stepping forward.
“I can and I do,” Stiles declared, leveling his father’s old Blunderbuss at Kate halting her advance. “This is my land and this is my home. You shan’t be inspecting anything and the first one of you to try will be banging on your Lord and Savior’s pearly gates a whole lot sooner than you intended.”
“My my,” Kate tutted as her eyes narrowed into slits. “And here I was thinking you to be a harmless child. Such a passionate response…almost makes me think you have something to hide.”
“Tis often those that have skeletons rattling about in their own closets that claim to hear bones banging in the houses of others,” Stiles fired back. “I thought you were hunting demons but if this be a group confessional by all means Miss Katherine…you have the floor. Unburden yourself of your deepest darkest and then perhaps I will be inspired to do the same.”
“Just what are you insinuating boy?” Kate hissed.
“Me? Not a thing. You were the one who started rambling on about hiding things and such. I just walked down the path you lead me on, my lady. As you said, Miss Katherine, I am just a harmless child. Almost defenseless in fact. I am sure I have no reason to fear you, surely a fine woman such as you could never harm a child.”
Adrian Harris paled next to Kate and her face contorted in rage before her features blanked out into a grotesque parody of reassurance and maternal concern. “Of course I couldn’t dear boy. I also could not live with my conscience if I left a child to fend for themselves with a demon on the loose.”
“I am sure if you tried hard enough you could find a way,” Stiles replied snidely. “I am truly touched by your concern for my well being but I have been taking care of myself for years now and I will continue to do so without any interference from the likes of you.”
“Listen here boy-”, Kate snarled, abandoning her façade of matronly concern and turning on Stiles with barely concealed fury. “You will stand aside and-”
“Katherine, enough!” Chris Argent called out, stepping forward. “We know that Stiles is not the beast we seek and he has every right to refuse us entry into his home and request us to remove ourselves from his land,” Chris’ eyes drifted towards Stiles. “That does not mean that the hunt is over and that does not mean that if we fail to find the beast this night that we will not return.”
Stiles nodded stiffly. “I suppose I ought to wish you happy hunting then.”
“I suppose so,” Chris said, signaling for the hunting party to disperse.
“You would be wise to watch your back boy,” Kate spat as she gave Stiles a look of pure malice. “These woods can be a dangerous place and ‘twould be a shame for the last of the Stilinski’s to fall.”
“Your concern is touching,” Stiles returned coolly. “But you needn’t worry. I can protect my own just fine.”
“Stifle thyself Christopher, I’m on me way!” Kate yelled, turning her back on Stiles and making her way into the woods.
Stiles kept his weapon aimed at her back the entire time and wondered if Chris Argent knew that the only demon in the woods that night was his very own sister.
Stiles shook away the memory and resumed bathing away the dirt from Isaac’s body. As a sort of consolation for being kept in on the full moon Stiles had taken to allowing the boy to run free in the woods near their home. While the little boy couldn’t change to his full wolf form unless the moon was in the sky, Isaac could manage a sort of human-wolf hybrid at times and would often return with small game he’d hunted down during these shifts.
They’d had a close call with a hunting party of out of town Purists earlier. Stiles had thought it would be safe to allow Isaac out into the woods since the moon was nearly a week away and he had to make his way to a client’s house to deliver a sleeping potion for her ailing husband. Stiles had been following behind the Isaac, marking the trees in preparation for expanding the protection barrier when he’d heard Isaac’s distressed howl. Isaac had strayed from the agreed upon path and Purists had somehow snuck up on the child and had him surrounded. One had shot the little boy with a crossbow and the arrow protruded from Isaac’s thigh.
Stiles fought the urge to rush into the fray and instead reached inside his cloak and removed a small vial of glittering pink powder.
“Tis nap time for the wee little hunters,” Stiles whispered as he shook loose some of the powder into the palm of his hand. “Forgive me Mrs. Leclerc but your Jimmy shall have to go another night or two without rest,” he whispered before covering his mouth and nose with his cloak and releasing the powder into the wind.
For several tense moments nothing happened and then one by one the hunters began to stumble about as if drunk and then dropped like stones to the forest floor, fast asleep.
Isaac’s eyes widened as he took in the sight and then he cried out in joy as he saw Stiles make his way to him. “I’m sorry. I was chasing a rabbit and I wasn’t paying attention and-”
“Tis not your fault. Now can you be brave whilst I remove that arrow?”
Isaac nodded and Stiles got to work. “Thank the gods it didn’t go clean through,” Stiles muttered. He made quick work of removing the arrow, letting out a sigh of relief when Isaac’s wound began closing. “Okay, now here be the tricky part. I need you to go over yonder to the trees and wait for me.”
“Why can’t we just go home?” Isaac asked, his eyes wide and fearful.
“Because my own, they saw you. And if we leave now as soon as they wake they will be going to town to spread the tale. We cannot have that.”
“What can we do?”
“We cannot do anything,” Stiles said sharply. “You are going to go over yonder to the trees and wait for me and I am going to make sure these men can do you no harm.”
“By gods my father always said he hoped I would be saddled with a child whose curiosity matched my own and blast it all if that is not exactly what has happened,” Stiles muttered. “I am going to do what I do best,” he answered Isaac.
“But you cannot talk to them now that they are asleep,” Isaac pointed out innocently.
“I was not planning to talk to-get over yonder to the trees,” Stiles snapped. “I will be having none of your sass this day.”
Isaac snickered and shrugged then limped over to the group of trees Stiles had pointed to. “Now to make our Purists a little less pure,” Stiles murmured as he went to a thicket of brambles, gently parted the thorny branches and made his way inside. He returned a few moments later, scratched and scraped but carrying a small handful of pink blossoms. He quickly broke a few branches from a nearby tree and started a small fire, throwing the blossoms in.
“Goddess Lethe I pray to thee
To cleanse them of their memory
Secrets revealed forgotten shall be
By my will
By your grace
So shall it be.”
Stiles blew out the fire and a light, lavender colored smoke filled the air and then dispersed.
“Hells bells that better work,” Stiles mumbled to himself as he made his way back over to Isaac. “Aight then, let’s get a move on.”
By the time they’d made it back to the cottage Isaac had been fully healed and Stiles had been coming down from his adrenaline rush. He’d mechanically made dinner for the two of them and then prepared Isaac’s bath but as he helped the little boy towel off reality came crashing down on Stiles and his hands began to shake.
They couldn’t stay in Beacon Hills any longer. They’d gotten lucky in the past but Stiles knew that type of luck wouldn’t hold. Nothing short of Isaac’s death would satisfy the Purists and now that he’d foolishly put himself on Kate Argent’s radar his own hide was at risk at well.
Stiles quickly dressed the boy in his pajamas and then pulled the child into his lap, burying his nose in Isaac’s golden curls.
Isaac turned his crystalline blue eyes on Stiles and smiled. “You do not have to be sad anymore.”
Stiles put a bright smile upon his face. “I am not sad,” he denied quickly.
“You are so,” Isaac refuted with a small smirk. “I can smell it on you. But you do not need to be. I’m all better now, Stiles,” Isaac announced softly. “It does not even ache anymore.”
“I have told you repeatedly to keep your nose out of my emotions,” Stiles grumbled, then softened. “Oh child,” Stiles sighed, pulling him closer. “It should not ever ache at all. These close calls can’t go on. The Purists are circling like vultures over a freshly made carcass and sooner or later they will be landing to feast. It is not safe any longer. We must leave.”
“Where will we go?” Isaac asked in a small voice.
Stiles took a steadying breath. “We shall go to your kin…your pack.”
Isaac looked up at Stiles and pouted. “You are my pack. I haven’t any other.”
“That is not true, my own. According to Deaton you be of Hale blood. I am not sure who is your sire but I suppose we’ll be finding out.”
“I do not want a sire and I do not want a new pack. You be my pack. I want you,” Isaac insisted stubbornly.
“And you shall have me always,” Stiles replied gently, “but I cannot keep you safe anymore. We must go high into the hills and seek out your pack, ask for sanctuary and hope that they will be merciful enough to grant it.”
“What if they say no?”
“Pshh,” Stiles scoffed, “Who could say no to the pair of us, eh? You be an angel, more precious than any cherub decorating a church wall and I am naturally charismatic and loveable. Between the two of us your pack will be wrapped around our pinkies and begging us to stay. We might even find ourselves a nice little Were lady to be my beloved and your new mother,” Stiles joked but his heart wasn’t in it.
“You don’t want a nice little Were lady,” Isaac grumbled. “And I do not want a new mother. I want you. What if my sire is mean? What if…what if h-he’s like K-kate?” Isaac stuttered, fear making his claws come out a bit and dig into Stiles’ thigh.
“If he be like that wretched woman and dare lay a hand upon your head I will make it my mission to make him rue the day he was born,” Stiles declared fiercely, holding Isaac tight to him. “I am not your sire but I am yours and you be mine and woe to any who try to harm you, be they Purist or Hale pack.”
Isaac calmed slightly and looked wistfully about the cottage. “I like it here,” he whispered. “I like our home.”
“As do I but we cannot stay, Isaac.”
“I will stay closer to the house and I will not complain anymore about being locked in on the moon.”
“Spending your moons in an Aconitum induced sleep tis neither healthy nor fair,” Stiles sighed. “This was inevitable. You cannot hide forever and neither can I. We should have left last year when Deaton disappeared. Those who remember my father and were loyal to him are dwindling in numbers and Gerard is rising in power, spreading his hate and hysteria to all who will listen. Tis only a matter of time before he and his ilk disturb my peace here. For both of our sakes we must be leaving.”
“If it keeps you safe then I will go,” Isaac said, squaring his tiny shoulders. “But you be my pack and no sire nor kinsman can tell me different.”
“Yes, yes, I’m your pack and you are my own and now we must rest so that we can rise early on the morn and gather our things. The sooner we leave the better. Those hunters may not remember what happened today but they’ll be back and they’ll be more of them when they come. It’s best we be gone when they get here.”
The morning came far too quickly for Stiles and his heart broke a hundred times over as he and Isaac picked their most prized possessions from the contents of their home. Stiles couldn’t help the stab of bitterness that flowed through him as he stared at the small assortment of bags that were all he’d have to show for the life he’d lived with his parents and built with Isaac. If he could have bundled up the entire cottage and taken it with him he would have. It was a physical ache to leave anything behind. Every book held the memory of his mother’s voice. Every tool invoked the phantom touch of his father’s hand. Every corner of the little cottage had been touched by joy and marked with love, every stone in the wall told the story of his family and Stiles was loathe for this chapter in the tale to end.
Isaac slipped his small hand into Stiles’ palm. “Shh, Stiles. I promise it will be okay,” he whispered.
“I did not say anything,” Stiles replied giving Isaac’s hand a gentle squeeze.
“The sound of your sorrow is very loud. Your heartbeat is heavy and your breath is labored and you smell salty and sharp,” Isaac stated quietly.
“Tis cheating you are doing,” Stiles chided gently. “Here I was being the strong, silent type with a stiff upper lip and all that and you be over there hearing and smelling everything I am trying to hide from you. I am going to plug that nose of yours up one day if you cannot keep it on your face and out of my feelings.”
“Keep your feelings out of my nose,” Isaac sassed back, sticking out his tongue for good measure.
Stiles gave Isaac a playful flick to his nose and then turned back to saddle the horse. “Well, that’s everything. We best be on our way.” Stiles grabbed Isaac and swung him up onto his horse before climbing on behind him. With one last longing look farewell he bid his childhood home goodbye and started off on his journey to find Isaac’s –and hopefully his-sanctuary.
The night air was chilly and the stars were bright in the sky by the time Stiles and Isaac finally stopped to make camp. Isaac could have kept going but Stiles was reluctant to ride at night when his vision was impaired and potential threats could hide under the cover of darkness.
Stiles quickly made their camp and built a fire while Isaac attended the horses, giving them food and water and making certain they were settled for the night.
“How much farther must we ride, Stiles?” Isaac asked as he settled next to Stiles and tore into his dinner.
“I’m not quite sure,” Stiles confessed. “Deaton just said that the Hale pack’s territory was high in the northern hills. I figure we keep going that way we’ll either come upon them or they’ll see us coming and sent out someone to meet us.”
“Or kill us,” Isaac said sagely.
Stiles choked on his dinner. “Gods child, why would you even think such a thing?”
“Everyone tries to kill me,” Isaac shrugged. “Everyone except you and Deaton.”
“These be your kinsmen, Isaac-”
“So is Gerard,” Isaac said in a low growl. Stiles was taken aback because Isaac was a sweet, gentle child who hardly ever showed his temper. He also rarely spoke of his years with the Argents except to say that he wished he could forget them. “It did not stop him from hurting me. Kate is my mother and she hurt me every day that I can remember being with her and then when she did not want me anymore she cut me and she left me for wild beasts to feed upon,” Isaac spat. “I never met Chris but I heard him out in the yard that night, he had come to hunt me. Why should these Hales be any different?”
“Isaac,” Stiles sighed, reaching for the boy and tugging him close. “I know the Argents harmed you. I know that they were a poor example of kinsmen for you. But you must understand the Argents are not like your other kin. They harmed you because they feared you. They feared you because you are different, and the things that make you different are things they cannot fathom nor control so they seek to destroy rather try to understand.”
“They feared me because they said I am a demon.”
“You are a bit of a rascal but you are no demon,” Stiles replied, tweaking one of Isaac’s curls.
“The Were are not demons? They are not killers cursed by the Prince of Hell and placed upon the earth to feed upon the blood of the-”
“My gods child that’s enough of that!” Stiles called out in alarm. “Where on earth did you ever hear such horrible-,” Stiles bit off the end of his sentence as he realized exactly where Isaac would have heard such things. “The Were are…like any of the rest of us, I believe. Just like humans; some are wicked and others are not. Some are kind and others are cruel. And yes, some are probably killers but so are some men. Evil tis not a curse, tis a choice. I refuse to believe that being Were makes one evil or damned or cursed any more than being a Purist makes one good, or favored or blessed.”
“Do you think the Hales are…do you think they are evil?”
“I do not know but I suppose we’re going to find out, eh?”
“Will they be…like them? Will they-”
“No,” Stiles said strongly. “You shan’t be mistreated again. I will not allow it.”
“Then we will leave. Find our own sanctuary. Get out of Argent territory and settle somewhere safe. Whatever happens, I promise to keep you safe.”
“Will they like me? Will they…will they want me?”
“They’d be touched not to,” Stiles declared with a wide smile. “They should fall upon their feet and thank me for returning such a good, strong boy as you to their pack.”
Stiles sent up a silent prayer to the goddess Soteria that he was speaking the truth. He had never met any of the Hales, they’d retreated far up into the hills when he had been a boy younger than Isaac. Deaton had assured him however that they were a strong pack and their Alpha, Laura, was fair and compassionate. Stiles was certain he’d be able to make her see reason and understand the danger of Isaac being left alone without protection. Whether or not they’d allow Stiles to stay was another matter entirely but he would cross that bridge when he came to it. The important thing was that Isaac be safe and cared for and if they had to be separated in order for that to happen then so be it. Deaton had said the Hale compound was virtually impenetrable and that was precisely the type of protection that Isaac needed.
Not that Stiles would turn his nose up at the opportunity to live in a veritable fortress, safe from Purists like the Argents and possibly free to practice his magic without the burden of secrecy or the finger of suspicion being firmly pointed in his direction by frightened villagers every time there was an outbreak of sickness, an early frost, or the year’s harvest wasn’t up to snuff. Ever since he’d lost his father Stiles had been a virtual outcast, sought out only in secret when someone needed to make use of his gifts but always one careless whisper away from being branded a witch and dragged off by overzealous Purists. He hoped with everything he had that the Hales would show him a small mercy and allow him to stay with their pack, to stay with Isaac, even though they were not honor bound to do so.
Security had eluded Stiles since Aleksander’s death and with Deaton’s disappearance and Isaac’s close calls Stiles’ nerves were beginning to fray around the edges.
He simply wanted for himself and Isaac to be safe.
When they had finished eating, Stiles made them a small pallet upon the ground on which to sleep, resolutely ignoring Isaac’s mutinous glare and grumbled complaints about sleeping on the hard ground. Stiles settled down next to Isaac and drew the blankets about them and let the sounds of the forest lull him into an uneasy sleep.
Isaac springing up out of his grasp and shaking him pulled Stiles out of his rough slumber.
“Wha-”, Stiles began but swallowed the sound when he saw that Isaac had partially shifted and realized the child was trying desperately to drag Stiles up from their bed.
The sound of branches snapping under heavy boots had Stiles scrambling up and pulling his pistol from beneath the blankets just as four men came out of the woods and advanced upon their campground.
“Go Isaac, go now,” Stiles ordered, pushing the little boy behind him and trying to shove him off in the direction of the woods behind them.
Isaac refused to run and instead took up position next to Stiles, growling lowly, his fangs and claws fully extended.
Stiles stared at the men, unsure whether they were Purists or just bandits, but knowing that he was outnumbered and outgunned and even with Isaac refusing to leave his side they were in deep trouble.
Derek Hale rode hard along the forest path sure that he would reach his destination before nightfall. He has set out from Brackenwood, the Hale stronghold, at a frenetic pace driven by blind rage and an overwhelming need to claim what was his.
He had lost Jackson and Boyd somewhere back along the trail, the two beta’s unable to keep pace with their furious Alpha. He could feel the exhaustion of his beta’s but still he pushed forward, anxious to reach Beacon Hills, do his business and be heading back towards Brackenwood before word of his arrival spread among the Purists.
Derek felt his fangs elongate and he closed his eyes, willing them to retreat. He struggled to get control of his spiraling emotions and slowly his fangs receded. Derek was on edge, dangerously so, but returning so close to the scene of his betrayal always had a negative effect on him.
Returning so close to Katherine had a negative effect on him.
Derek felt his fangs snap free and forced all thoughts of the Argent woman from his mind, focusing instead on the task at hand. Derek’s goal was simple: go to Beacon Hills, take what was his and return to Brackenwood.
The sound of a muted growl, barely louder than the rumble of an angry pup, pulled Derek from his angry thoughts. He yanked on the reins of his horse and stopped short, scenting the wind and listening intently to determine where the noise had come from.
“Go Isaac, go now.”
The desperation and fear that Derek heard in that voice had him dismounting from his steed and withdrawing his sword. Derek silently crept towards the voices he heard, surprised when Boyd and Jackson silently appeared beside him, following his lead without question.
The three Were made their way deeper along the trail and came upon a small campsite. There were four men surrounding a child and a young man who appeared barely out of his teens. The young man was attempting to shield the child from the others, holding them off for the moment with a pistol.
“Come now boy, unless you be wanting to end up gutted on the end of my knife stand down. This be God’s will you be interfering with. Hand over the demon or we’ll be taking him from you, Stilinski.”
“The only thing you will be taking is an arse kicking if you come any nearer,” the boy-Stilinski replied. His voice sounded steady and strong but Derek could hear his heart beating at a rabbit’s pace and could see the sheen of sweat of his forehead and the slight shake in his hand that held the pistol. Derek would lay odds that the boy had never spilt the blood of another.
And that led Derek to question why four grown men would attack a youngster and a child, particularly speaking about God’s will and demons. He caught the scent of burnt cinnamon and slid his eyes over to his right to see that Boyd had partially shifted and was vibrating with the effort of restraining himself until given an order by his Alpha. He placed a calming hand on the dark skinned beta’s forearm and looked back towards the scene.
The young man was tall and lean, not overly muscular but not scrawny either. His skin was pale and dotted here and there with smattering of beauty marks that Derek found oddly endearing. His eyes were the color of cognac, framed by lush lashes and his lips weren’t overly full but seemed soft, as if it would only take a little bit of pressure to get them to yield…
As Derek’s thoughts were taking a turn the little boy stepped out from behind his protector and growled at the men in front of them. Derek’s eyes widened in shock as he took in the child’s features: golden curls, brilliant blue eyes…and fangs.
The child was Were.
That meant the men accosting them were Purist and this close to Beacon Hills chances were that they were of Argent’s number. Derek didn’t believe in coincidences and the odds that a child of the Were being hunted by the Argents and the child that Deaton had finally saw fit to tell him existed the evening prior being two different boys were exceedingly low.
As the little boy howled, Derek’s chest tightened in recognition of the sound of pack and Jackson and Boyd whined low in response.
Derek’s fangs sprang forth, his claws snapped out and his eyes bled an angry red. The child was not only Were, he was the reason Derek had set out for Beacon Hills in the first place.
And hell hath fury like an angry Alpha.
Derek’s eyes swept the scene again. The young man had absolutely no chance of holding off the Purists yet he seemed determine to try. It was also just as evident that the child had no intention of leaving the young man’s side despite being entreated to do so. Derek felt a stab of pride at the young Were’s bravery and a grudging respect for his protector’s courage before being drowned by a wave of almost overwhelming fury when the Purists fanned out and surrounded the pair on all sides.
Derek read the intent in the eyes of the Purists and decided things had gone on long enough. The young man didn’t have it in him to draw first blood but the Purists appeared determined not retreat until the child was dead and possibly his protector along with him.
Derek was equally determined not to let that happen.
The fact that his determination and desire to defend extended past the child he knew to be pack and included his protector as well was something for Derek to analyze at a later date.
With a nod to Jackson and Boyd he made no attempt to shift his features back to fully human before he stepped out from the cover of the trees, his betas on his heels.
Derek smiled wickedly at the Purists, enjoying the quickening of their heartbeats and the tangy scent of their fear filling the air as they took in the sight of the trio of Were emerging from the woods. Derek’s fangs ached with the urge to taste their blood and his palms itched with the desire to slash away the flesh from their bones.
“If you start running now, me and mine might just let you live,” Derek remarked quietly.
“Come to claim Lucifer’s bastard eh,” the leader spat at Derek.
“You are the only bastard in these woods,” Stiles volleyed back in defense of Isaac before Derek could reply.
“Don’t you besmirch my sainted mother’s reputation-”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “Your ‘sainted mother’ was as virtuous as a Covent Garden nun,” he replied snidely.
“I’m going to cut your tongue out and shove it back down your gullet you little-”
“How brave you are, the four of you against this mere slip of a boy and a small child. What are you planning to do for an encore, go find a newly born pup to kick?” Derek drawled, bringing the man’s attention back to him.
“He is a witch, just like his cursed mother and he has been housing and hiding that demon. Neither he, nor you and your legion of the damned are going to stand in the way of us doing our duty.”
“Your duty?” Derek repeated. “Tis the duty of four grown men to threaten a youngster with death and dismemberment? Tis your duty to threaten to take the life of a child?”
“Aye, and after we’ve done with them we will be taking yours as well,” the man spat at Derek.
“How about you try your luck with me first, eh?” Derek challenged.
“You will be the one in need of luck, demon!”
Stiles stood watching the trio of men that had materialized out of the shadows of the trees and listened as the one who appeared to be their leader challenged the Purists that had surrounded him and Isaac. The man was only a little taller than Stiles but he was broader and seemed to be made out of a wall of solid muscle. He had dark hair and…
He had fangs.
And oh merciful gods his eyes were a burning red that Stiles didn’t even know existed until that very moment.
Stiles let his gaze flicker to each of the men at his side and yes…there were more fangs. And claws, oh yes those were definitely claws. Stiles noticed that where their leader’s eyes were red, the man to his left had eyes that glowed a bright blue reminiscent of Isaac’s and the man standing on his right had eyes that were an amber color.
These men were obviously Were.
Stiles and Isaac were literally in the middle of a standoff between Were and Purists.
Realizing that no one’s attention was upon them, Stiles slowly reached a hand out and grabbed hold of Isaac. He tugged gently and began herding him back away from the men, taking care not to lower his pistol or move too quickly lest he draw attention to their retreat.
He felt a small twinge of guilt for leaving the three Were alone to face four Purists but his first priority had to be getting Isaac to safety. Stiles had almost made it to the relative shelter of the tree line when the Purists attacked.
It proved to be a fatal mistake.
The three Were moved so quickly that Stiles could scarcely track them with his eyes. Unfortunately Isaac seemed to have no such trouble and gasped aloud at the sight of the Purists being turned into little more than piles of broken bones and scraps of flesh. Stiles cringed at the sound of flesh being torn from bone and the pain filled cries of the Purists as they fell before the trio of Were.
Stiles drew Isaac to him, intending to pick up the boy and make a break for it but his feet were rooted to the ground. Even though his brain was screaming at him to flee he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the carnage before him. When there were none left save the leader of the Purists, Stiles contemplated returning to his campsite and offering his thanks, perhaps even asking the men if they knew of the Hale pack or exactly how to reach the compound when the Were’s leader leapt forward, grabbed the Purist by the hair, jerked his head back, sank his teeth into the man’s throat and tore it out.
Stiles scooped Isaac up and ran.