Scott stumbled through the dilapidated threshold, soaking wet and shivering. He fell to his knees and retched black goo again.
“Here at last, are you?” came a voice from the shadows.
“Peter,” he gasped, rising clumsily from the floor.
“Yes, yes, it’s me,” he drawled; he had the audacity to sound bored. “Honestly I’m surprised you lasted this long. I thought you’d snap weeks ago.”
Scott groaned as the world spun around him and muttered through clenched teeth, “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Still haven’t figured it out, have you Scott? Ah, well,” Peter sneered, “you were never the brains, were you? Best to leave that part to Stiles.”
“Don’t you talk about him!” Scott spat.
Peter walked slowly toward him, “Yes, that was unfortunate what happened with Stiles, and Derek as well. Especially since they’d just found the happiness they both so deserve. I never meant for them to be involved, although it did make getting to you so much easier.”
“W-what do you want with me?”
“Oh Scott, isn’t it obvious?” Peter chuckled, “I want to kill you.”
Scott doubled over again, heaving and shaking; it finally clicked, “You poisoned me.”
“There it is,” Peter taunted, circling around him, “I pumped you so full of wolfsbane I’m surprised you can even talk.” He laughed as Scott struggled to his feet. “After I killed that bitch Jennifer I went to her house to see what kinds of goodies a Darach has stashed away.” Peter had reached Scott by now, “You won’t believe-” he wrenched Scott up by his hair “-what I found.”
“Wolfsbane,” Scott choked out.
“Not just any wolfsbane,” Peter sang, “untraceable wolfsbane. A strain so undetectable, it has no scent, no taste, and it is so potent that all I had to do was leave a little in the air duct in your room and the rest took care of itself.”
“Ugh, you were in his room? You really are a fucking creep.”
Peter whirled around and came face to face with the barrel of a gun. Stiles stood slumped against the crumbling livingroom door frame with a gun aimed straight at Peter.
“Stiles,” Scott groaned from the floor.
“I’ve got you bud,” Stiles assured him, not taking his eyes off Peter, “Just need to take care of Uncle McCreepington first.”
Peter’s shock was quickly replaced with an cool and easy smile. “Nice of you to join us Stiles; I’m surprised to see you up and about.”
“Shut up,” Stiles panted and cocked the gun, “Don’t think I don’t know how to use this.”
“Oh I don’t doubt that. Unlike most, I never underestimated you Stiles,” Peter now had his back to Scott, “I just don’t see how you plan to use it. Bullets won’t kill me, you know that.”
“Guess again.” Stiles fired.
Peter ducked just in time so the bullet only clipped his shoulder.
“You’re not the only one who’s been borrowing from friends; look at the shiny wolfsbane bullets I found on my way over here. Wasn’t sure how useful they’d be, but at least they’re pretty. What do you know, I found a use for them after all.”
“You’re dead,” Peter roared, lunging at him.
“What’s the matter,” Stiles fired another shot that just narrowly missed its mark and forced Peter to veer off course, “Big Bad Beta not tough enough to handle little old me? Maybe if you were an Alpha-”
Peter tackled him, knocking the gun from his hands and pinning him to the floor, “I AM THE ALPHA!”
“No,” Scott wrenched the older wolf off of Stiles with the last of his strength, “I am.”
Peter flew into the opposite wall and Scott pulled his friend up, “Stiles, run!” But the Beta was on him before he could say more. Stiles scrambled out of the way as the wolves tore at each other. Where was his gun?! He fumbled in the dark as snarls and growls rattled his already frenzied brain. Come on, come on, come on, he thought. Finally his hand closed around the cool metal.
“Peter!” he screamed and aimed.
The Beta was quick to respond, pulling Scott in front of him. “What are you going to do now Stiles?” Peter panted, “Can’t shoot me without shooting your best friend.”
“Stiles, just do it!” Scott pleaded.
Stiles’s hand shook, but he didn’t lower the gun. He couldn’t make the shot. Despite countless hours spent at the shooting range with his dad, he was still mediocre at best, and right now he felt like he was going to pass out. Black dots clouded his vision but he remained still.
“I thought so,” Peter smirked, “You don’t have it in you.” And he sunk his claws deep into Scott’s stomach.
“No!” Stiles screamed and he fired.
Peter and Scott crumpled to the ground. Stiles raced to his friend’s side. “Scott, oh my god,” he cradled his broken form. “Come on, buddy, talk to me.”
“Is he dead?”
Stiles looked at the Beta. The bullet had pierced him in the chest. “Yeah, he’s dead.”
“Get him off of me,” Scott rasped. He cried out when Stiles forcibly wrenched Peter’s claws from his body.
“Fuck,” Stile swore as blood flowed warm and slick over his trembling hands. “Why aren’t you healing? He’s not an Alpha…”
“The wolfsbane,” Scott whispered, “It’s too much. I can’t heal.”
“No. No, no, no, I’m not letting you die.”
“Shut up,” Stiles panicked; he felt hot tears on his face, “Just stop talking. We have to get you out of here.”
“No, Stiles listen, I have to get this out. I’m s-sorry-”
Stiles pressed his hands against Scott’s wounds, “You’re not going to die!”
“I’m so sorry for what I did. thought you were dead, I th-thought I k-killed you. You shouldn’t have come, Stiles. How did you even get here?”
He didn’t look up, “I stole Allison’s car.”
Scott chuckled but it turned into a cough, “You sh-should’ve stayed far away from me.” His eyes fluttered closed, “At least I know you won’t be alone. You have Derek now. He’ll-he’ll take c-care of you…”
“I don’t care about Derek right now, I just care about…” his mind raced, “...Derek...” Stiles reluctantly released his grip on Scott and threw himself across the room to where he’d dropped the gun. Stiles emptied the clip and dumped the bullets into his hand. He dropped back down next to Scott.
“Scott. Scott!” he shook his friend, “Do you have a lighter?”
“...A w-what?” Scott asked groggily; he was fading fast.
“A lighter!” Stiles searched his friend’s pockets. When they yielded nothing he turned to his only other option: the slowly stiffening body of Peter Hale. He gingerly searched the wolf, knowing his best friend’s life depended on it. “Thank god,” he said when his hand closed around a small plastic lighter.
“Scott?” Stiles looked over and saw that he’d passed out. He worked quickly, flicking the lighter to life and oh-so-slowly melting the wolfsbane bullets. He dripped the molten metal over Scott’s wounds, praying the wolfsbane in the bullets would draw out the wolfsbane Peter had poisoned Scott with and allow his friend to heal.
Isaac, Allison, and her father found the boys passed out and curled up into each other, Stiles still cradling Scott, in the corner of the house that was furthest from Peter’s body. It took all three of them to carry Scott to the car. Allison and Chris took him straight to the clinic, while Isaac doubled back to help a now conscious Stiles out of the house and back to Allison’s stolen car. Stiles slumped against the window and either Isaac bought his feigned snoring or he had the grace to let him pretend to be asleep.
They were barely through the door when Derek enveloped Stiles in a bone-crushing hug. "You're such an idiot," he growled in Stiles’s ear.
“It worked didn't it?" Stiles whimpered in pain but didn’t let go.
“Derek you’re crushing him,” Isaac warned.
Derek moved away, but Stiles pulled him back. “Not yet,” he murmured and buried his face in Derek’s neck.
Isaac cleared his throat, “I’m going to call your dad and let him know you’re here.”
“Thanks Isaac,” Stiles said from Derek’s arms.
After several minutes, Derek pulled away and Stiles let him. Derek hissed, “Fuck, you’re bleeding.” Stiles glanced down at his chest. Patches of red had appeared on his bandages. He felt light-headed. “Come on, let’s sit down,” and Derek led him over to the sofas in the clinic’s waiting room.
Stiles melted into the wolf as Derek slowly stroked his hair and trailed his fingers up and down his back. “How’s Scott doing?” he exhaled.
“He’s...recovering. Deaton said what you did saved his life. That was a pretty neat trick with the bullets. Where’d you learn that?”
Stiles smiled, “Some guy who wanted me to cut his arm off.”
“Sounds like a jerk,” Derek chuckled and Stiles felt it rumble through his chest. Stiles tilted his head up and pressed a kiss to Derek’s lips. After everything that had happened, it felt so good to be safe in Derek arms. Derek smiled into the kiss.
“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispered when they broke apart.
“It’s okay,” he mumbled, still drunk on their kiss, “Just don’t do it again.”
Stiles pulled away in earnest, “Kill your uncle?”
“Oh, is that what you were apologizing for? Forget it, he was a maniac. I thought you meant you were sorry for running off and deliberately putting yourself in danger.”
“I will never apologize for that,” Stiles made to stand up, but Derek forced him back down, “Scott’s my brother and no one else was doing a damn thing to help him. What other choice did I have? Just sit there and let him die because I got hurt?”
“He nearly killed you!” Derek protested. “You can’t do things like this anymore! There are people who care about you-”
“Like you?” Stiles interrupted.
“Like your Dad and Scott and Isaac and-”
“And you.” It was not a question. “Say it.”
“And me,” Derek whispered.
“I will never hesitate to put myself in harm’s way for the people I love,” Stiles said steadily, “And if you haven’t realized that by now then I don’t know where you’ve been for the last couple of years.”
“I know, but you can’t keep doing that. You’re not strong like the rest of us and I can’t always be there to protect you!”
Silence fell and Derek’s words hung heavy in the air.
“Stiles,” Derek began, “I didn’t mean-”
“If I remember correctly it’s been me constantly saving your ass over the past few years,” Stiles’s words were ice. “My mistake.”
Isaac reentered the room. “Your dad’s outside,” he said softly, obviously sensing the tension between Stiles and Derek.
Stiles struggled to his feet. “Here, let me help you,” Derek put a hand on the small of Stiles’s back.
“Don’t touch me,” Stiles snapped and he staggered out to the parking lot. Isaac shot Derek a questioning look, but Derek just scowled and stalked out the other way.
“Whoa, whoa, Derek!” Isaac caught him by the arm. “You can’t just walk away from this!”
“Watch me,” Derek snarled.
“No I won’t,” he spun around so he was facing Derek, hands braced on his forearms. Isaac ignored the warning growl that escaped Derek’s lips, “You care about Stiles. I can see it. Hell, I can practically smell it whenever you two are around each other. So you’re not going to storm off and go sit and brood alone in the dark. You’re going to go to Stiles’s house and fix this.” Derek didn’t move. “Now.”
Derek groaned, but he knew Isaac was right. He looked his former Beta in the eye and said, “I wasn’t wrong when I turned you, was I?”
Isaac grinned, “Best decision you ever made.”