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The Long Journey Home

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Stiles would never be sure why his father was the one to answer the call. Some poor bastard was attacked by an animal, after having had the misfortune of having their car breakdown at the edge of the woods in the middle of the night. Maybe he had been closest to the scene at the time, or as Stiles liked to think he was just that damn lucky. The Sheriff wasn't even supposed to be on duty that night. It was a full moon and ever since werewolves had been proven to be rather vicious on their best days but particularly so on that one night, every month Stiles had made sure his father was home until way after the sun had risen in the sky, signaling a new day.

A ringing startled Stiles out of sleep, and without bothering to check the caller ID he answered with a groggy, “Hullo.”.

The last person he expected to hear was the hesitant voice of Mrs. McCall, “Stiles, you need to come down to the hospital honey.”.

Bolting upright in his bed, panic overwhelmed the want to sleep. “Why? What happened? Is it Scott?” Stiles scrambled to pull on both a pair of pants and a shirt which may or may not have been clean, waiting for some sort of explanation for his three o'clock wake up call.

“No, no it's not Scott. Stiles it's your dad, he was attacked. The doctors are doing their best, but he's in really bad shape.” His phone fell to the floor with a thunk as Stiles ran out of his room skidding to a halt at the sight of his father's empty room.

“No, no, no.” His dad had been asleep before Stiles had gone to bed. He had been safe. All but falling down the stairs in his hurry Stiles snatched his keys from the table before shoving his feet into a pair of sneakers leaving the front door wide open as his jeep pulled out of the driveway.

Stiles couldn't remember how he had gotten to the hospital, or where he had left his jeep, though he knew he didn't have the keys with him as he burst through the emergency room doors.

Without bothering to slow his pace Stiles rushed past Scott's mom, just barely able to understand the room number she yelled to him over the pounding of his own heart. Stiles briefly thought to give thanks to Coach Finstock for making him run all those suicides, as he ran full tilt up stairs and through hallways, stopping short at the sight waiting for him just outside the room his father was in.

Derek Hale and Chris Argent stood toe-to-toe, each with a snarl on their face, confirming what Stiles had already suspected. This was no animal attack, it was werewolves. After a moment both men turned towards the panic stricken boy, and while Derek's expression remained as unreadable as ever, Chris Argent's expression fell causing Stiles heart to lurch with dread.

It wasn't until he tried to rush past them into the room that Stiles noticed the two men weren't alone. The pack, including Scott, stood behind Derek; while a handful of armed hunters, including Allison, stood behind Mr. Argent. Strong arms wrapped around him, stopping him from reaching the door. Fighting against the hold as best as he could, Stiles could feel fresh tears running down his face at the realization that crashed down on him. Nobody wanted him to see his dad because he wasn't just injured, he was dead.

A soft voice was calling his name and he could feel a pair of hands cradling his face. Opening his eyes, that he hadn't remembered closing, Stiles came face-to-face with Lydia whose lips were moving, but his brain refused to believe what she was telling him. “It was an Alpha, Stiles. Another pack has been sniffing around, but we thought they were just passing through. We tried to keep a close eye on them, we really did. As soon as Derek found your dad he brought him straight here, but there was too much damage.” Shaking his head, Stiles didn't want to hear any more, but with sad eyes Lydia continued regardless. “His body couldn't take it and his heart gave out. The doctors said he kept asking them to tell you how sorry he was he didn't stay home tonight, like he promised.”

Stiles let out a choked sob and stopped fighting the hold of who he now knew to be Jackson. Once it seemed as though Stiles wasn't going to go for the room again, Jackson let go before stepping away slowly. Pulling his face roughly from her grasp Stiles went to move past her, when Lydia's hand darted out to grab his wrist. As he turned to her snarling, surprise could be seen in her eyes. “Don't fucking touch me!”

Everybody was shocked, they had all assumed Lydia - the girl he swore to have been in love with since third grade - would have been able to get through to him. Nobody expected him to lash out at her.

Cry in her arms, yes. But not telling her to back off with a look that said the next person to try to stop him would regret it, werewolf or not. Surprisingly it was Allison's dad who backed him up with a pistol - no doubt filled with wolfsbane bullets - at his side. “The boy has a right to see his father one last time, to be able to say goodbye. I won't let you take that away from him, so I suggest you all just let him through.” Stiles looked up at the older man and gave a nod of appreciation before opening the door to the room, this time unhindered for which he was thankful.

Closing the door quietly behind him, Stiles flinched at the thought that there was no reason to be quiet, his dad wouldn't be waking up ever again. The white sheet was splotched red and brown where blood had been able to soak through and dry, and while Stiles moved closer, prepared to remove the barrier between him and what was left of his father; he knew he didn't want to see the broken body of the only family he had left. No, he didn't want, to but he needed to. He would face the consequences of his actions. All of his lies had led to this. He thought he was protecting his dad, keeping him safe by keeping the secrets that weren't his to share.

Trembling hands pulled back the sheet, unaware and uncaring as to the events taking place just outside the door. Chris Argent knew that none of the wolves standing before him were directly responsible for their friend's loss, but he refused to ignore the carelessness in the situation. “You should have come to me as soon as you discovered not just other wolves, but an Alpha trespassing on your territory.” Derek's eyes flashed to red as he released a rumbling growl at the older man who seemed completely unfazed by the action, though the other hunters trained their weapons without hesitation, causing growls of warning to erupt from the betas.

 

Derek ignored the guilt tangling up with all his anger and self loathing, “If I had known his pack was larger than the four wolves with him I would have, but it had seemed unnecessary to involve hunters.”

Sneering with obvious hatred, Mr. Argent's response struck a chord with everyone. “And your decision cost not just one, but two human lives tonight, their blood is on your hands.” Whimpers of distress rang through the pack in response. A member of their pack was hurting, and if he was honest with himself, Derek had no idea how to provide comfort; not when, as an Alpha, he had failed to keep them all safe.

Having delivered their message loud and clear, the hunters left. Derek knew what was to come next, and he also knew he would have to deny the boy his pleas for revenge, for the good of the pack. It surprised him how steady both Stiles breathing and heart rate were, especially when he had been on the verge of a panic attack when he had first arrived. Ignoring curious looks from his pack, Derek entered the room of the once great Sheriff Stilinski.

Blood was smeared across his face and hands, as Stiles knelt by his fathers side praying for forgiveness. “Forgive me. Please forgive me for failing you as a son. I really did want you to be proud of me, but I know you wouldn't approve of what I'm going to do. Whoever did this to you will pay, and it will bring me peace knowing not another person will suffer at their hands. But they will suffer at mine.” His words were spoken so softly had Derek not already been in the room listening he wouldn't have heard it. Kissing his fathers hand a final time, Stiles rose to his full height before walking right past the Alpha and out the door, ignoring those who were calling after him.

Erica was the first to stop her Alpha, managing to look both angry and lost. “What does he need us to do Alpha? He smells of sorrow and need, so tell us what it is and we will do it. We will give our pack what it needs.”

Derek looked down at the girl, expression softening, he understood the want to fix the hurt of one of your pack. If the death had been natural causes, then the pack would have come together to comfort the one in need, refusing to let them be alone in their grief. When one is lost in a way such as this, the Alpha and the pack member who suffered the loss, would challenge not only the Wolf who had committed the crime but also their Alpha.

“We cannot give him what he wants Erica. We cannot give him revenge.” If Stiles had been a wolf, or if the offending pack had been smaller, he would have gladly walked into battle with him.

Instead he had to think of the needs of the pack as a whole. So he sacrificed the need of one with the notion he would be able to better protect his pack.