August 6, 2014

Never Know What Hit You 4/8

Title: Never Know What Hit You
Authors: Sxymami0909 & Xtremeroswelia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Timeline: Set after 3.18 'Riddled' AU from there.
Rating: R - for extreme violence
Pairings: Stiles/Lydia, Scott/Kira, Allison/Isaac, Eventual Sheriff Stilinski/Melissa, Derek Hale, Aiden, Ethan, Alan Deaton, Chris Argent
Summary: Stiles is in a race against time to figure out the latest mystery in Beacon Hills before he can no longer remember his friends and family. But when Stiles heads down a dark path, Scott and Lydia have to work with the pack to find a way to save their friend and save Beacon Hills. But are both possible? Or will they have to choose? Does one life outweigh the many? Or will a sacrifice be made to protect what's left of the town? Friendships will be tested, bonds broken, and lines drawn. And when all is said and done, nothing will ever be the same again.
Parts: 4/8
Previous Chapters: | One | Two | Three |

Chapter 4

The Nogitsune had waited for so long to be free from where he was trapped in the other world, not alone, but not powerful either. He had longed for the day when the door back into the actual world would be opened once more and he could emerge from his forced exile. And then it had. Opened by three young, naive teenagers in a ridiculous self-sacrificing ritual, and he had been freed, only to be trapped once more in the body of one of them -- the most useless of the group, really. He would have preferred to inhabit the body of the alpha, but the alpha didn’t hold as many deep-rooted insecurities and fears as the boy. He hadn’t been able to slip in.

Much to his own surprise, taking control of Stiles Stilinski hadn’t been as easy as he’d believed. What the boy lacked in actual physical strength and ability, he made up for in other ways -- fierce determination to protect the people he loved the most. It was sickening. The only time he’d been able to take any kind of control of Stiles was when the boy slept, because his nightmares were so twisted that he literally couldn’t tell the difference between dream and reality. The Nogitsune pointed Barrow in the direction of Kira Yukimera while Stiles sleep walked his way into his jeep and then into the chemistry lab one night. Stiles still hadn’t figured that one out yet.

Fortunately for the Nogitsune, the foxfire had allowed him to take temporary control when the boy wasn’t sleeping. His hold on Stiles had become stronger, even if the child was fighting him harder than the Nogitsune had ever anticipated. His resistance was strong, but it wasn’t stronger than the Nogitsune himself. He worsened the nightmares in the boy’s head, breaking him apart a little more at a time, every single night, forcing him to see terrible things that no child should witness. Images of his father bloodied and broken, of his best friend cut in half, of his beloved Lydia with her throat slashed, eyes frozen open in horror.

Little by little, Stiles’ mind began to fracture, enough that Nogitsune could convince him to sleep walk at will, to drive him toward the literal edge of his sanity and threaten to let him fall over. The beauty of it all was that Stiles literally remembered none of his subconscious’ battle with him.

He’d grown almost fond of the boy’s wit and determination despite how weakened it was becoming. He knew that eventually he’d have to find another host body. Eventually his presence would wear through Stiles’ entirely. Until the Nogitsune was powerful enough to manifest in his own physical form, he would have to do what he could, though he didn’t relish the idea of starting all over. Perhaps if he proceeded quickly enough, if he took the right combination of lives he would be able to maintain himself in the teenager’s body before it killed him.

The alpha would be a wonderful starting place for that. Particularly since he was a true alpha. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, really, which was why he stood on the front porch of the McCall’s house shortly before five that evening. Of course Scott was going to show, and of course he was already aware that Stiles was no longer Stiles, but Scott loved the boy deeply and the Nogitsune was going to use that against him in every way possible.

He reached out and rang the doorbell, cold smile on his face.

Melissa glanced at her bedroom door at the sound of the bell. She hesitated in her doorway before stepping out into the hallway and making her way slowly down the steps. There weren’t many people who would be ringing her bell at the moment, not with what was going on. She still couldn’t believe that there was a demon inside of Stiles, as if things weren’t bad enough recently.

Scott had called after school filling her in quickly and telling her he would explain more once he was home. Melissa stepped off the last stair and reached for the door, unlocking it and pulling it open. The sight in front of her literally made her heart throb in her chest. “Stiles,” she said her voice light, “I thought you and Scott were meeting up at five,” she said keeping the door open wide as she smiled at the thing on her porch. Anyone who knew Stiles would clearly be able to see that was not him. Whatever it was held himself differently, and the smile on his face was anything but nice.

“I didn’t figure you’d mind me stopping by a little early,” The Nogitsune told her, gaze trailing to the ground where a line of mountain ash prevented him from simply walking inside. Clearly he’d underestimated Scott a little and his lips twisted in a grimace as he heard Stiles’ voice inside his head. You thought it was going to be that easy? Scott isn’t stupid.

He would simply have to try other tactics. He looked up at Melissa again. “If you think that a little bit of dust is going to keep any of you safe, none of you have thought this through very well,” he told her with a smirk. “After all, it didn’t keep the Oni out for long, did it?” He cocked his head, studying Melissa with interest. “You might as well let me in. I will get in one way or another. The other option will simply cause a little more damage to this body.” He could hear Stiles again, yelling for her to ignore him, not to listen to what the Nogitsune was saying.

Melissa studied the thing in Stiles body for a minute before crossing her arms over her chest. “You didn’t think it would be that easy did you?” She asked with an arched eyebrow as she gripped onto the door her voice calm despite how disturbing it was to see Stiles like this. “That boy you’re inside of has a lot of people who love him. So I hope you aren’t getting too comfortable. You won’t be in there long.” She told him with an air of confidence.

The Nogitsune grinned, toothy and wide. She really had no idea. “I’ve been here a lot longer than you even realize,” he informed her. “Learning everything about all of you. Everything I need to know. Your son, the true alpha. Isaac his loyal beta. Stiles really has an issue with that one. So jealous, afraid he’s lost the only real friend he’s ever had. It got worse when Isaac moved into your house, you know. He’s always thought of you as a second mother and he knows he’s been replaced.” His voice was casual and he smirked when Stiles tried to shut him up. “It was so easy to take him.”

Melissa swallowed hard and took a step closer to him, making sure not to cross the barrier. “There isn’t a damn thing in this world that could replace Stiles. He is one of a kind and I love him like a son. Scott and Stiles are my world and I will do anything to protect either one of them. So, you could have been here for years and it wouldn’t matter.” She told it her voice hard.

“If you’ve been here for so long watching, then you should know my kids are terribly underestimated all the time and you’re making the same mistake. But you don’t have to believe me. You’ll see in the end.” Her chest was tight, but she knew Stiles had to be in there somewhere or he wouldn’t have fought so hard before.

Melissa held his gaze. “Don’t give up.” She said directly to his face, but she wasn’t talking to thing looking at her, she was talking to Stiles wherever he was. “You’re family needs you and we love you.” She said putting all of her heart into the words knowing that deep down Stiles would hear her.

The Nogitsune narrowed his eyes at her. “You really think that’s going to --” His words cut off mid-sentence and for a moment the expression on Stiles’ face was completely blank. And then it contorted in fear. “Don’t let Scott come after me,” he said urgently, eyes welling with tears. “It wants to kill him! It wants his power.” He backed away, stumbling backwards and falling back down the porch stairs. He winced. “Please, don’t let him come after me!”

Melissa’s eyes widened, “Stiles,” she stepped over the barrier and moved down the stairs reaching out for him. “It’s going to be okay, do you hear me? We’re going to fix this. Everyone is out there working together to find a way to get him out. You just need to hold on.” She said as she cupped his cheek hating the fear she saw on his face.

Tears careened down his face and he shook his head, knowing he didn’t have much time. He was so tired, so drained. He had to get away from here, away from Scott’s mother, away from his house before Scott came back. “I have to go.” He scrambled backwards, away from her, struggling to his feet and running for the jeep. “Don’t let him come after me!” he said again, distraught as he slammed the driver’s side door shut, shifting the vehicle into gear and putting his foot on the gas pedal.

“Stiles! Be careful...You know Scott isn’t going to listen to me and I’m not going to make him. We love you. We aren’t going to let this thing win; you’ve just got to hold on for as long as you can...please.” She called back to him knowing he didn’t want to hurt anyone. But they couldn’t just leave him like this, they loved him too much.


Allison had been staring at the computer screen for so long that her eyes were starting to water and her head was starting to pound. She wasn’t having any luck so far as she combed through her family’s bestiary and after another hour had crawled by with no word from anyone, she looked at Isaac, who’d dozed off in the chair beside her. Involuntarily she smiled, shaking her head slightly and reaching out to gently brush some hair off his forehead. She hesitated a moment, then kissed his temple, closing her eyes. When she pulled back she realized he had opened his eyes and she blushed, ducking her head shyly and moving away. Her relationship with Isaac was odd. It often wavered back and forth between a kind of shy awkwardness and a bold desire that made her do things like pull her shirt off after declaring she had no desire to kiss him.

It never quite made sense to her, but she was trying not to analyze it too much. She liked Isaac, cared for him more deeply than she really wanted to admit. She looked back at the computer, sighing softly. “I’m not having any luck. I haven’t heard from any of the others either. It’s been hours. What do you think is happening?”

Isaac sat up, his head still warm from her kiss. He ran a hand through his hair ruffling it slightly as he stretched out his back. “Honestly, I have no clue. But at least we know everyone is safe.” He commented, which was something. “Maybe Kira will have better luck than us,” he figured since this whole thing sort of started with her the information from her family would probably be the most helpful.

“Yeah, I hope so.” She was quiet for a moment, letting her eyes close. “I like Kira. She seems sweet.” She didn’t really understand exactly what a kitsune was if it wasn’t the evil kind and she definitely didn’t seem to be evil. Then again she never would have guessed that Stiles was possessed by some kind of spirit, either.

Isaac stood up, his shirt rumpled from the way he’d been laying. He walked over to Allison, stopping behind her and placing his hands on her shoulders, pressing down gently as he glanced at the computer screen. “Are you worried?” he asked quietly. He was. Isaac knew how close Scott and Stiles were and he wasn’t entirely sure how his friend was taking things.

She leaned back into him, exhaling. “Yeah, I am. Because even my dad doesn’t have any idea how to get the Nogitsune out of Stiles without killing him.” She pursed her lips. “Do you think he’s the one who burned down the asylum?” Her voice was hushed.

Isaac was silent for a minute. “I do,” he said his voice low. “He’s got a connection to that place. It’s where Lydia thought he was the night he went missing and I’m starting think maybe she was right at the time.” He said letting his hands rub her shoulders slowly. “This is crazy,” he shook his head, “I kinda feel like this is one big nightmare.” Isaac was quiet for several minutes before finally breaking the silence in the room. “What if we can’t find a way to get it out of him?” He asked quietly voicing the fear he’d had since they’d realized what was going on.

She didn’t want to think about what would happen if they couldn’t find a way to get the Nogitsune out of Stiles’ body. She leaned her head against his arm. “Katashi said there wasn’t a way to save the host,” she whispered. She hadn’t dared utter that in front of Scott or Lydia. She wanted to believe that Katashi was wrong. That there was another option. “I just...I’m hoping that he was wrong because I don’t think that…” Her voice trailed off. “I don’t think that Scott or Lydia would recover from that,” she admitted, voice growing more quiet. “And I’m not sure that Stiles’ dad would either.”

Isaac sighed. “I don’t like to be pessimistic, but...I feel like this isn’t going to end up going our way. While we’re looking for a way to save Stiles, we also need to look for something to help us if we can’t.” He hated to say it because even though he and Stiles hadn’t been getting along lately he didn’t dislike him. He was a good guy. Stiles helped when needed and he was Scott’s best friend. End of story.

“Maybe this thing isn’t as evil as everyone thinks and we’ll have some time to search deeper into things. I still think our best shot is Kira.” He admitted.

He wasn’t wrong. If they couldn’t get the Nogitsune out of Stiles, they still had to stop it from killing people. One person was already dead. She couldn’t imagine how Stiles was going to feel even if they did end up saving him and he knew he’d been used to do something like that. “He wouldn’t want to hurt people,” she whispered. “He’d want us to stop him. The same way I would. He’d want us to have a Plan B.”

Isaac nodded. He slid his hands down until he was gripping the armrests of the chair. He spun the chair around until Allison was facing him. “He would. I’m pretty sure Stiles is the kind of guy who’d rather hurt himself than his friends,” he said stiffly. Isaac was silent for a minute, “Are we really talking about this?” He asked, his voice so quiet that it barely sounded around them. It was a frightening thought, talking about fighting someone they knew and cared about.

Tears prickled at her eyes and she blinked rapidly to keep them from falling. “I don’t want to be talking about this. I don’t even want to be thinking about this.” She swallowed hard, her chest tight. “But I’m not sure we have a choice. Scott and Lydia aren’t going to even consider this and if he’s out there killing people…” God, how was this their lives? They were seventeen years old. They were supposed to be worrying about things like dances and parties and getting grounded, not stopping one of their possessed friends from killing people.

Isaac squatted in front of Allison so they were about eye level. He reached up and slid his hand over her skin cupping her cheek. “A last resort.” He said his voice hushed. “We won’t talk about it anymore, not until there’s no other way, okay?” He asked. Isaac didn’t like seeing her so upset and he wanted to be there for her anyway he could.

Allison leaned into his touch, meeting his eyes and nodding in agreement. “Last resort,” she whispered, reaching out and cupping his cheek, too.

“I’m not interrupting anything am I?”

She jerked her head up, startled to see Stiles standing in the doorway, leaned against it casually like he was there just for a chat. She quickly rose to her feet, grabbing Isaac’s arm. “What are you doing here? What do you want?”

“Well, I want a lot of things. Right now I just need a little more energy. Mine -- well, his really…” He looked down at himself. “It’s wearing a little thin.” His eyes focused on Isaac.

Isaac stood slowly putting himself between Allison and Stiles. “Well then maybe you should give Stiles a rest and go back to wherever it is you came from.” Isaac could feel himself tense, his body preparing for a fight. His nails grew longer, eyes flashing a golden yellow.

A smirk spread across Stiles’ face and he pushed himself away from the doorframe. “Afraid I can’t do that, little beta. Such a good lapdog. Not my first choice, but...guess we don’t always get what we want.” He moved forward and Allison found herself morbidly fascinated by how not Stiles like his movements were.

Isaac hunkered over slightly a growl leaving his throat as he felt himself shift at the threat, his instincts kicking in. He was coming way too close to Allison. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said as he took a few steps in front of Allison blocking her from view despite the fact that he knew she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. “But it doesn’t mean I won’t,” Isaac said his senses on high alert as he waited for the Nogitsune to make its move.

A deep chuckle escaped their friend’s throat. “You can certainly try. I think I’m going to enjoy this.” He reached out; grabbing Isaac by the throat before Isaac even had the chance to react. His eyes were dark and narrowed as he lifted him up in there with one hand, tightening his grip.

“Isaac!” Allison cried, moving and grabbing the letter opener off the desk.

The sound of his daughter’s cry sounded through the house and Chris was off the bed, crossbow in hand in seconds. He rushed the door slamming it open, his booted feet hitting the ground in hard thuds as he rushed to his office where the two teenagers were researching. Chris came to a halt in the doorway, weapon raised, but when he got close enough to see what was going on he hesitated for the briefest of seconds.

“Put the wolf down,” he said his voice hard. “I know what you are...we’ve met before.” He said, his aim never wavering. As he saw the horror on his daughter’s face and Isaac’s feet hanging a couple of inches off the ground.

The Nogitsune turned to look at him, smirking but not letting go of Isaac. He tightened his hold on Isaac’s neck. “You were much younger then, weren’t you?” He arched an eyebrow.

“Dad, he can’t breathe!” The despair in Allison’s voice was obvious, tears in her eyes as she approached the pair from the other side.

“Do not move Allison,” He heard Isaac struggle for breath and he glared at the thing in Stiles body. “You should have headed my first warning. I only give them once.” Chris took aim, his fingers tightening on the trigger and squeezing off one arrow. It sailed through the air and imbedded itself into the arm that was holding Isaac’s neck.

Chris quickly loaded another one, “This next one isn’t going to be as strategically located,” he warned.

The Nogitsune scowled, letting go of Isaac involuntarily because of the injury. He glared at Chris, reaching out and yanking the arrow from his shoulder and discarding it on the ground. “I won’t be bested so easily, Argent. All you’ve done is damage to the boy.” He smirked again, heading for the window and leaping out of it, right through the glass, and disappearing into the night.

Isaac coughed loudly when air hit his lungs, the burning sensation in his chest fading as his wolf receded. He sucked in a sharp breath his hand lifting to his neck as the dizziness faded. “Jesus,” he wheezed, a deep bruise already forming on his neck.

Chris walked over to them setting the cross bow down and pausing by Isaac, “You okay?” He asked quietly.

Allison knelt down beside him, as well, looking at his neck with worry and then looking at her dad fearfully. “Why was it after Isaac?” she asked, shaking her head.

Isaac nodded at Chris and then reached up gripping her arm gently, “You’re okay?” he asked his voice hoarse as he let his eye roam over Allison.

“Isaac, I’m fine.” She reached down, grasping his hand in hers and daring her dad to say anything about it.

Christ watched them for a minute before speaking, “The Nogitsune needs power to keep him strong. He needs to absorb that power. Stiles is only human, eventually his body will give out and the Nogitsune will have to find a new host.” He explained.

She swallowed hard as she listened to her father’s words. “And he absorbs power by killing or causing pain and chaos? So he went after Isaac because he has more power than a regular human.” She looked back at Isaac. “We need to warn Scott and Derek.”

Isaac nodded, “Let’s call them now,” he said as he sat up wincing slightly. His gaze shifted to Allison’s dad, “Thanks for that.” he said with half a smile.

Chris nodded, as well, his expression not changing as he got to his feet, offering his hand to help both teens up, as well. He didn’t like that he’d had to shoot Stiles, but if that was what it was going to take to stop him, he’d do what he had to do.

Outside the apartment Scott lifted his hand and knocked on Allison’s door. He had just come from home where his mom told him that Stiles was able to break through the Nogitsune’s control for a little bit. It was the first piece of good news they had since all this happened. He glanced to his left at Lydia who seemed to be slightly better since the news from his mom. “We’ll let them know what my mom said and maybe we can figure out another way to bring Stiles forward.”

Derek nodded, “It’s worth a try,” he said pausing. His head tilted to the side, “Do you smell that?” He asked with a frown.

Lydia arched an eyebrow, “I don’t smell anything.”

Scott looked at the door. “I do,” he was quiet, “Blood.” He felt adrenaline rush through his body. His foot jerked out slamming into the door making it fly open. Scott rushed inside. “Allison! Isaac!” He called out while rushing into the apartment followed by Lydia and Derek bringing up the rear.

Allison had barely gotten to her feet when she heard Scott’s voice yelling for them. “We’re back here,” she called, shooting a worried look at Isaac and then her dad. She moved toward the door, eyes wide. “Did you see him out there? Are you all okay?”

Isaac followed her to the door, glancing at Chris worriedly. A quick glance at Scott and Lydia, then at Derek and he felt confident they were all unharmed. “He was just here.”

Scott frowned, “Stiles?” he asked with a frown.

Derek surveyed the mess his gaze traveling between Allison, Isaac, and Chris. He tensed beside Scott when he didn’t see any blood on them.

Lydia stepped out from between Scott and Derek her gaze drawn to the broken window. “Did he jump out of there?” She asked eyes wide.

Scott inhaled deeply, “We smelled blood...but none of you are hurt.” he said as he caught Allison’s gaze. “What happened?” His voice was low, quiet and not entirely pleasant.

She shut her eyes. “He was trying to kill Isaac,” she whispered. “He picked him up with one hand and he was choking him.”

Chris folded his arms across his chest. “I shot him with an arrow,” he informed them, not the least bit intimidated by the werewolves in the room. “It was either that or let Isaac die.”

Isaac rubbed his neck, swallowing hard as his gaze flickered from Scott to Lydia, not sure if even he could hold back the two of them if he needed to.

“You shot him?” Lydia’s voice was shrill, “Stiles is still in there!” Worry crossed her face and she turned to Scott, “You need to track him you need to find him…” Her words cut off and Derek reached out tugging her gently away from Scott. He watched the younger wolf very aware of the struggle going on inside of him.

“Take a deep breath Scott.” Derek’s voice was calm, “Let it out slowly and push the anger out. You control it, it doesn't control you, remember?”

Scott let out a heavy breath. He needed to be rational. He needed to focus. He didn’t want any of his friends to get hurt or worse die. “You could have knocked him out,” Scott said finally before glancing at Isaac, “Are you alright?”

Chris’s gaze flickered to Scott, keeping his eyes trained on him.

“Yeah.” The bruises were already fading from around his throat. “But there for a minute…” He looked down, then over at Allison. “I thought I was a goner.”

“We need to have a serious discussion about what we’re dealing with here,” Chris said, voice quiet but firm. “This isn’t like dealing with a werewolf. It isn’t even like dealing with a kanima.” His gaze shifted momentarily to Lydia. “This is something none of you have experience with. I’ve seen firsthand the kind of damage the Nogitsune can do. How quickly.”

Derek pursed his lips and held his hands behind his back. “Stiles is fighting the Nogitsune,” he said as he glanced around the room.

Lydia nodded. “He went to Scott’s house earlier and something Mrs. McCall said brought Stiles back out. She said he had control enough to get in his jeep and leave. He’s trying...but he needs to know where fighting for him.” She told them not able to help the glare she sent in Allison’s father’s direction.

“Well he definitely isn’t in control anymore.” Isaac said as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Scott stayed silent, the pensive look on his face as he processed what everyone was saying trying to keep himself calm as he thought about his best friend out there bleeding in the middle of nowhere all alone, even if he wasn’t technically his best friend at the moment.

“That may be true,” Chris agreed, gazing at Derek evenly. “But like Isaac said, he isn’t in control now.” He shifted his gaze to Lydia. “We have to face the fact that we may have to stop the Nogitsune however we have to, as terrible as it’s going to be.”

Isaac flinched at that, folding his arms across his chest and staring down at the floor.

“I don’t like it, but we can’t let this thing run loose hurting people and worse.” He looked at Scott.

Scott met Chris’s gaze and held it for a minute before speaking. “I understand what you’re saying,” he paused, “And a part of me probably understands your point of view. But if you hurt Stiles again, we’re going to have a problem.” He said his fists clenching at his sides as he focused on keeping his anger under control. Everyone was scared, people were getting hurt and emotions ran high when things like that happened.

If Scott was going to be a leader he needed to keep his head on straight.

Derek crossed his arms over his chest. “Scott’s right. We are not killing Stiles. That’s out of the question.” He said his voice hard.

Lydia shook her head, “I can’t even believe any of you would suggest it.” She turned her gaze on Allison’s father. “Stiles helped save your life.” She could feel her eyes burning as she struggled to keep her emotions in check.

“It isn’t like that, Lydia,” Allison whispered. “None of us wants to see Stiles hurt, let alone…” She couldn’t bring herself to say the words. “But Stiles would hate himself if he was hurting people. And he’d hate us if we just let him do it. We can’t just ignore the possibility.” Tears burned in her eyes, too.

Isaac reached out and put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it gently but remaining silent, a deeply troubled look on his face.

“I think we may be at an impasse here,” Chris said calmly, resolve in his voice.

“We’re more than at an impasse,” Said Derek.

Scott glanced at Allison and Isaac before his gaze traveled to Derek. He sighed and shook his head turning away from them. “Let’s go,” he said to Lydia and Derek. He paused and glanced back over his shoulder at Isaac, “I’m glad you’re okay. Call when you’re coming home, the house is surrounded by mountain ash and we need to break the line so you can get in.” He said before heading for the door.

Lydia sent one last look in their direction a single tear sliding down her cheek as Derek urged her to turn and follow Scott out the door.


Michael stood in the McCall kitchen reaching into one of the cabinets for glasses. It had been two days since the explosion at the sheriff’s station and things in town had just gotten worse since then. He hadn’t seen his son in days and knowing that Stiles was the one causing all this grief killed him a little inside.

Michael put the glasses down and glanced at Melissa. He had been staying with Melissa and Scott since the explosion. The house seemed to be protected for the moment and outside of researching and searching for Stiles, Scott, Lydia and surprisingly Derek Hale were constantly at the house.

Michael didn’t know where Allison and Isaac were, but from what he’d gathered from the three inside there was some kind of disagreement. “Is there enough food there? Should I order something?” He asked leaning against the counter in his civilian clothes.

Melissa glanced around at all the food they’d made, and shook her head. “I think we’re okay.” She reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. “Really. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll finish getting things ready?” Her eyes were full of worry. She was also tired. Needless to say with everything that had been happening, she hadn’t been getting much sleep.

She was too worried about her son, about Stiles being out there, alone, trapped inside himself. God, he’d been so lost when she’d last seen him two days ago that it hurt to think about. If she hurt as much as she did, she could only imagine what Michael Stilinski was feeling.

He sent Melissa a grateful look, “I need to keep myself busy,” he admitted honestly. All he could do was think of Stiles and what was going on. “And thank you for letting me stay here...I just wish I knew where he was.” He said quietly as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Melissa nodded in understanding, her heart hurting for him, too. She looked toward the living room where Scott, Lydia and Derek were watching the news. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you need to, of course. I wish I knew where he was, too, Michael,” she murmured.

Michael turned to face her noticing that she looked just as tired as he felt. He walked over to where she was standing and placed a hand on her back. “I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much everything you’ve done for Stiles over the year’s means to me. My son loves you so much and it means a lot to know there’s someone else out there looking out for him.” He swallowed hard. “We’re going to get him back.” He said trying to reassure her and himself at the same time.

She met his eyes and laid a hand on his arm. “I love Stiles. And I feel the same way about you, with Scott. Those two…” She looked down for a moment. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Most actual siblings aren’t even as close as they are. I haven’t talked to my sister in six weeks. I can’t imagine them going that long without seeing each other, much less without speaking.” Melissa nodded. “We will get him back. I know we will.” There was no other option in her mind, period.

Michael could feel moisture gather in his eyes as he nodded. “I haven’t either. Those two...I’ve never seen anyone fight for each other the way they do. Always. I was so happy when they met.” He admitted. Michael’s gaze shifted to the living room. He could see Scott sitting on the couch, a hand resting low on Lydia’s back as she stared at the television. It looked like she was trying not to cry.

And Derek, he stood to the side of both of them like some kind of body guard, his face a mask of calm that he couldn’t possibly be. “I’m worried about them,” he motioned towards the living room. “Has Scott spoken to you? How’s he doing?”

She squeezed his arm again, following his gaze to the living room to where the other teens and Derek were. She wasn’t sure what was going on with Isaac, but he’d called to let her know he was staying with the Argents temporarily. She knew he had feelings for Allison, which had of course, complicated the relationship between him and Scott, but she’d thought they were closer to resolving that. Scott, for his part, seemed to have grown an interest in a new young lady she’d yet to meet.

“He isn’t talking much,” she admitted. It scared her. How solemn Scott had become the last two days. She understood, of course, because it was Stiles, whom had always been his rock. The one he depended on as much as he depended on her, and she knew it worked the opposite way just as much. “I’m so frustrated that our children are caught up in all of this.” Her voice was strained for a moment and she picked up the knife she’d been using to chop vegetables and began doing that once more, an effort to focus on something other than her fears and frustrations. She felt so helpless, though, to actually do anything about it.

Michael nodded, “Believe me, I share the sentiments,” he said blowing out a breath. “I wish they could just be normal kids...have normal problems.” He pinched the bridge of his. “They deserve better than this,” he said quietly.

There was a soft clearing of a throat and the sheriff glanced up spotting Lydia in the doorway. She sent them an apologetic look. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you, I was, my mom is out of town again and I was wondering if maybe you wouldn’t mind me staying just for the night.” Lydia hadn’t been sleeping well and the bad feelings that came in wave after wave were constants lately.

She didn’t feel like being home alone. Really all she wanted was to be back in Stiles room with him studying or playing with strings. God, she missed him more than she thought possible and the only time it wasn’t tearing her apart was when she was with Scott because he knew exactly what she was feeling without her having to say it.

Melissa turned her attention to the young woman, sadness in her eyes as she moved over to stand in front of Lydia. She knew how much Stiles cared for Lydia, and had for a very long time. She could even remember how when he was much younger, he and Scott would be talking about girls and the only girl he ever talked about was Lydia. She reached up and cupped Lydia’s cheek in her hand. “Sweetheart, you can stay here as long as you need. You’re always welcome,” she said sincerely.

Lydia felt her eyes tear up and she nodded doing her best to keep them at bay. She hated being constantly emotional. It wasn’t her. But with everything going on lately and whatever was inside of her making her feel things so much more strongly, it was hard not to be. “Thank you,” She swallowed hard, “I’m just going to go back inside. I’ll see if...the guys are hungry.” Lydia blinked a few times before turning and heading back into the living room.

Michael pursed his lips. “Seeing her always chokes me up a bit,” he admitted gruffly. “I’ve watched them spend time together...she reminds me a lot of Stiles Mom,” he said quietly, “Before she got sick.”

Melissa watched her go, feeling heavy-hearted as she turned back to Michael. She rarely ever heard either of the Stilinski’s talk about Claudia, though Michael had mentioned her several times recently for obvious reasons. She didn’t want to think about the fact that even when they got Stiles back, he was facing a dark path. It really just wasn’t fair. “She’s not at all what I’d expected when he first talked about her,” she confessed.

Michael chuckled, “She is an enigma. That girl surprises me every time I see her. She can be ruthless at times and others I’ve seen her be one of the most selfless. I think they’ve all grown in their own ways.” He told Melissa before clearing his throat, “Now come on, there’s got to be something here you need my help with.” He said while rolling up his sleeves.

She watched him for a moment, smiling faintly. “All right, Mr. Stilinski. You can work on chopping the rest of the vegetables.” She patted him on the back fondly, eyes full of warmth as she moved to check on the food that was cooking in the oven already.

One advantage to being a werewolf was the ability to pay attention to what was happening in multiple places at the same time. For example, he was both focused on the local news on TV in front of him, and he was also listening to his mom and Stiles’ dad talking quietly in the kitchen. Talking about him and talking about Stiles. He stared ahead at the television screen, eyes burning with unshed tears.

Never in a million years had he thought something like this could happen. Not even when he’d been bitten by Peter Hale. Stiles had always been right there at his side, through all of it. Christ, the guy had stepped into a pool of gasoline while Scott had been out of his mind and holding a lit flare in his hand. He drew in a breath and let it out slowly, his jaw tightening as Lydia vanished from the room long enough to ask permission to stay there for the night. He smiled faintly at his mother’s response, not surprised by it in the least.

Stiles was out there somewhere, and the thing that had taken over his body was forcing him to do terrible things if the news was any indication. Not only that, but he was injured thanks to Chris Argent. And Chris and Allison and Isaac were on Team Stop Stiles However Necessary and he was not okay with that. He did understand Chris’s thinking but this was Stiles. And none of them had the kind of connection to Stiles the way that he and Lydia did. He felt hurt, betrayed by Allison’s decision to stick by her dad for this.

They had to find him first. They’d been looking, of course, and researching, in increments. So far Scott felt like they were far away from any kind of solution and every time another idea fell through it killed him a little inside. He listened closely as the news reporter on the screen talked about the explosion at the sheriff’s station two days ago, about the fire at the asylum, and speculated whether the two were connected in any way. And his dad.

No, his gene donor had to be eating this up. Relishing in how much easier his job had suddenly become due to all the chaos in Beacon Hills that was going down. He wanted to hit something. He took another slow breath, darting a glance at Derek, who looked far too calm for what was happening.

“I can feel you looking at me,” Derek said his voice calm as he watched the news. It had taken him years to perfect the kind of outward composure that he was exhibiting at the moment. Derek was used to the pain, used the guilt and suffering, but what he wasn’t used to was caring so much. He wanted to help Scott. It was clear that he was not okay and no one least of all, Derek expected him to be okay. And Lydia...he had the oddest urge to pull the girl into his arms and hug her. The thought alone made him shiver. Derek was not a hugger.

But most of all he wanted to find Stiles and bring him home. He didn’t understand where the protective urge came from. It wasn’t like he and Stiles were great friends. But as much as he picked on the human, Stiles was a loyal friend and Derek respected the hell out of that. Stiles had saved his life several times, he’d helped his sister when she was sick and he was there when Boyd was murdered offering Derek comfort though he didn’t deserve it.

That entitled him to Derek’s help. “What’s going through you head?” He asked quietly.

“We have to find him first,” he said very quietly. “There are no other options. If we can find him, do you know of any place where we can contain him until we figure out how to get the Nogitsune out of him?” He didn’t even like the thought of locking his best friend up, and the thought that they wouldn’t get there first was too terrible to contemplate.

Derek finally met Scott’s gaze, “We will get to Stiles first. I’ve been thinking about that. While you guys are at school tomorrow I’m going to check and see how the place beneath my old house is holding up, the one that Kate had me in remember?” He asked, “If it’s in good condition maybe I can fortify it and we can keep him there until we figure out how to get rid of the demon.” He said rolling his neck.

He shifted and walked over to the couch sitting on the arm of it. “Have you talked to Deaton about all of this?” He asked casually.

Scott rubbed a hand over his face. It was actually kind of unbelievable that despite everything that was happening he still had to worry about going to school. He couldn’t care less about school. Not when his best friend was out there needing his help. “He’s out of town at a veterinarian's conference until Wednesday. I left a message on his voicemail, but I don’t know how often he checks it.”

Derek nodded, “He knows a lot about things like this, so he might be able to help us with a solution,” he explained. “What about Kira? Have you heard anything from her on the mythology of the Nogitsune? Anything about its weaknesses or vulnerabilities?” Derek’s brows drew together. He knew he was asking a lot of questions, but by the look of things going on around town, they were running out of time.

“She texted earlier to say she thought she may have found something but she wasn’t specific. She said she needed to do some more research and she’d call as soon as she found what she was looking for.” He looked at Lydia, who was staring blankly at the TV screen and rested his hand on her back again. The two of them had never been particularly close, but he felt close to her now, because she was as upset as he was about everything that was happening.

Derek nodded, “That’s good,” he said as his gaze followed Scott’s to Lydia.

Lydia had been listening to them talk since she got back in her seat, but half of her thoughts were on Stiles. She couldn’t help wondering where he was, if he was okay, and what that damn Nogitsune was doing to him. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, Scott’s hand on her back mildly comforting. They weren’t like Stiles’ hands though. When he touched her, even just a light brush it was like he’d somehow make everything better.

He made all the confusion go away and now he was gone and her best friend was trying to hunt him down. Lydia’s heartbeat picked up speed as she thought about how stupid she’d been lately and how she never appreciated Stiles enough because she always just thought he’d be there. And now people in town were getting hurt, buildings were blowing up and all Lydia wanted was to see Stiles’ stupid grin or watch him awkwardly flail around his chair at school. She felt her chest tighten, another wave of something clenching in her stomach as her heartbeat continued thumping rapidly in her chest.

“We’re going to find him, Lydia,” Scott whispered. “I swear to you, we’re going to find him. And we’re going to get this thing out of him and he’s gonna be fine.” He swallowed hard, looking at Derek once more, his gaze intense. The problem was, this thing, this monster inhabiting his best friend’s body likely had access to all of Stiles’ thoughts. His memories. Everything. And Stiles was smart. He was brilliant, really, and if anyone could get by with the things the Nogitsune was making him do, it was going to be Stiles. It made the situation all the more terrifying, and he was sure he wasn’t the only one who realized those same facts. He rose to his feet.

“I’m going out to start looking again.”

Lydia reached out gripping his arm, “Don’t...not right now. I-” she paused, “I have a bad feeling,” she whispered, “Let’s wait until it passes and then we’ll go.” She told him.

Derek pressed his lips together, “Maybe you should stay here Lydia, get some rest. Scott and I will probably be quicker alone.” He said gently.

Lydia frowned, “I want to help.”

Scott held his breath, remembering what Stiles had said in the jeep before this thing had taken over. That she was going to need someone to reassure her. That she didn’t have confidence in herself when it came to her abilities. He looked down at her hand on his arm, reaching up to cover it with his other hand. “If you have bad feeling, then we’ll wait,” he said quietly.

“We’ll eat dinner, and we’ll wait until your feeling passes. Okay?” He smiled, but it was faint and didn’t reach his eyes.

Surprise crossed Lydia’s face as she glanced between Scott and Derek, “Really?” She asked uncertain.

Derek looked at Scott and then back to Lydia, “I watched you save the Sheriff a couple of days ago with one of your feelings,” he commented, “You don’t have to convince us to trust you Lydia. Stiles has always trusted you, that’s good enough for me.” He said with a shrug.

Lydia glanced at Scott when Derek was done speaking trying to gauge his reaction to the other man’s words.

Scott nodded slightly, squeezing her hand gently. “Come on. I think my mom made lasagna, and it’s some of the best lasagna you’ll ever have,” he told her, holding his hand out to her to help her off the sofa. “We need to keep doing things like eating, too. It’ll keep us going.” And as an alpha, he had to make sure that everyone in his pack was taken care of. His chest tightened at the thought of Allison and Isaac out there, cut off from the rest of them, hunting another member of the pack.

Lydia looked at Scott’s hand and again she couldn’t help but think of Stiles. But Scott was right if they were going to go out looking for him tonight they needed to keep their energy up. Lots of carbs, it was cold out. Lydia took his hand and let him help her off the couch. She glanced over at Derek, “You too, come on you need to eat. You’ve been standing there like a Paladin all night long. We need you to take care of yourself too, not just us.” Lydia told with half a smile.

Her words warmed him. Derek sighed as if her insistence was annoying and followed them into the kitchen.

They would do this. They would eat dinner, and then they’d go back out there and work on tracking Stiles down.

There was nothing else they could do. And Scott wasn’t going to give up on Stiles. He knew that Lydia and Derek weren’t either. Because Stiles had never given up on any of them. And they were going to return that favor by finding him, getting the Nogitsune out of him somehow, and making sure nothing ever hurt him again.

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