"I can't help you in there."
"And I can't hurt you."
His life before this place was a blur. Sometimes he remembered it, sometimes he didn't. Sometimes his every memory of his life was so excruciatingly vivid that it hurt. Honestly, he wasn't even sure he wanted to remember his life before now. He didn't want to remember who we was. Who he was. No, we... No, he. He was a he.
He didn't know how long he had been here. Sometimes it felt like he had been here forever. It had been all he knew for a long time now. Every day, every moment was just a blur to him. He never really knew what was going on. Most of the time he did. He usually... Did something. He didn't know what. He lived. He did what he was told and he didn't. He ate and didn't. Sometimes he was force-fed. He hated moments like those. It was the times he had to fight two fights at once. It was overwhelming but he got through it. He didn't always make it through. He didn't know much, really.
There was one thing he knew for sure. Only one. Just that one thing. He was fighting. Constantly. It was a constant, endless fight. Sometimes, he didn't have to fight. Sometimes they just talked. It was a truce of some sorts, when the other was tired of fighting all day. Those were the moments he was most conscious. He was barely awake. He had long ago stopped trying to determine whether he was awake or asleep. It didn't matter anymore anyway. Awake or asleep, there was no stopping it anymore.
He often stared up at the ceiling, watching the white paint with interest and uninterest. Honestly, he didn't even know what he was doing. Who he was. What he was supposed to be doing. Sometimes he wasn't sure he was even supposed to be fighting but for some reason, it was the only lucid thought that ever passed his broken mind. Fight. Fight against him. Don't let him in. Don't let him win. He didn't know what it meant. So he stopped doing everything. Moving, eating, sleeping. He didn't allow himself to do any of it until he couldn't take it anymore. Until he had to do something. Until his body passed out from exhaustion. Until his hunger got the best of him. Until the nurses forced him to eat or sleep. He rarely left his room. Sometimes he did leave it though. He couldn't remember much of outside this room though. His entire life was here, in this room. All of it. All he ever was. All he ever is. He doesn't know what any of it is. Just that it is.
People visit him sometimes. He doesn't know who they are. Some say they're nurses. Others are other patients. But sometimes, it's more confusing than that. Sometimes, the nurses take him somewhere, outside of his prison cell - his room. It's not a prison cell. He knows it's not. But for him, it's where he stays, where he fights his battles. He knows its all in his mind though. Every fight is in his mind, fighting against... He doesn't remember what he's fighting against. He sees it sometimes though. The thing he's fighting against, standing in the corner of his room, staring at him. Drawing on the wall. The drawings never stay. He isn't entirely sure there were drawings there to begin with.
"Hey, Stiles," A man whispered, sitting across the table from him. He has messy, short, light brown hair and tired hazel eyes. There are deep bags underneath his eyes, standing out against his slightly tanned skin. He doesn't know who he is. Who's he looking at. But the man before him just looks at him tiredly, eyes filled with sadness. He doesn't know why. In the back of his mind, he's still fighting. He's only half paying attention to the man before him. He keeps fighting, even as the man before him speaks to him.
"Scott, uh... Scott says hey... He's finally at college, you know? I'm, uh... I'm proud of him. It's... weird not having him around for once. He finally got to go to college after all that happened. There are new hunters out there but... He's managing. Liam is doing pretty well though. He's handling it all the best he can. He still relies on Scott quite a bit of course, but all things considered, he's doing pretty good," The man rambles. Honestly, he doesn't have the slightest idea what this man is saying. What he means. He has no idea who Stiles, Scott or Liam are. Or who the man is. He doesn't know what any of this means. Why is the man telling him this? Is he supposed to know what it means?
"But that's enough of that. Um... How are you?" The man looks at him, hopeful and pained and sad all the same. He waits patiently and it takes him a few moments to realise that the man is waiting for a response. He doesn't remember the last time he talked. At least, verbally talked. While awake. For another moment, he wonders how he is. He doesn't know. He just knows he's still fighting. He's in pain and aching all over. His stomach is empty and he feels like he's going to vomit constantly. Everything feels so wrong. He feels so cold and out of place. Everything is so unfamiliar. He wants to go back to his room and continue fighting in peace.
The man sighs, rubbing at his eyes and looks away. After a few seconds, he looks back to him, his eyes still pained. He feels like he should respond. Something tugs at him, telling him to never speak. To never tell anyone. They can't know. About everything. About the Supernatural. He has to keep himself quiet at all times to stop himself from saying something he shouldn't. It's a rule he ingrained in himself a long time ago. He is to never break the rule. Never speak. He speaks regardless.
"I'm still fighting," is the only thing he manages to say. And that's how he is. It's all he ever is. Fighting. Always. Constantly. His voice is scratchy and uneven and he doesn't recognise it at all. He's never heard the voice he speaks with before but he's fairly certain for once that it had been him talking, so it had to be his voice... Right?
The man looks surprised at his answer as if he couldn't believe that he had spoken. Then the man huffs out a laugh, quickly looks around, a smile on his face. He looks hopeful again and happy. "Stiles?" He breathes, his face still stretched out in a grin. He doesn't know who that is.
"Who?" He asks. The man freezes, the smile dimming slightly. He nods, looking away again and breaths. He nods to himself. He mutters a word to himself. He thinks that the man said 'right' but he isn't sure. He's too busy fighting to pay full attention. He keeps going. Fighting. Always. Fighting the dark presence in his mind.
"Promise me. Make sure I never get out."
The man is looking at him again, searching his face for something. Is it his face? He assumes so but he's not entirely sure. It could be someone else's. The man nods slowly as if agreeing to something but he isn't sure what. Maybe he zoned out again. The man crosses his arms, leaning onto the table. He watches him. "I miss you, son," The man says softly and all he does is stare at him. Not understanding, not comprehending, he just continues to fight. He doesn't stop. He watches the man, still paying some attention, but of course, never once letting his guard down enough to let it slip in. To let it take over. He has to fight and he can never stop. He doesn't know why. He lost his mind somewhere in the fight, with the only ever occurring thought being 'never stop fighting'. So that's what he did.
Fight. Fight. Fight.
He notices that the man is still here. He doesn't know how long it's been. He thinks it's been a while. The room is different, he thinks. It's missing some things. He guesses some time has passed.
"Can I get you anything? Anything to make you more comfortable?" The man asks, sad as he always is. He thinks, never letting himself be distracted enough to stop fighting, but thinks regardless. Oddly enough, he knows something he wants. Two things, actually.
"A break," he responds. He wants to stop constantly fighting for once. To breathe. To be able to exist and not fight every single moment. To sleep and not have to fight then too. To not fight while he's awake and to not fight while he's asleep. Distantly, he takes notice of his - is it his? - voice. It sounds completely broken, so thick with emotion that it barely gets past his lips. His throat hurts from how much he struggles to get the words out. There's a lump in his throat that won't go away. He doesn't know what it is. Despite his stomach being empty, he guesses that he must have eaten something wrong and it got lodged in his throat because it's suffocating him. He can't get it out. Maybe it'll get out on its own. He feels like he can't breathe or speak through it.
The man somehow manages to look even more sad, looking somehow broken and desperate. He shakes his head. "I'm sorry, I-... I can't... There's nothing that I can do... We've tried everything, son. I'm so sorry. We don't know how to get rid of the Nogitsune, I'm so sorry, Stiles," The man breathes. Stiles Stilinski. He didn't know who or what it was. But he remembers hearing it sometimes. He didn't remember when or where. He just knew he heard it sometimes. Like now. He didn't know what it was. He doesn't know what a 'Stiles Stilinski' is. He doubted he ever would. He couldn't really spare much thought to figure out what it was. His brain was always so clouded, so occupied and distant. So constantly busy. Constantly fighting. When he could find a moment to spare, he found that he had other things to think about, things he deemed more confusing or important. He's not really sure what's more important and what isn't, but he lets his thoughts take him wherever really.
He's not even surprised the man can't give him a break. He already knew he couldn't. Nothing can. He's trapped like this forever, doomed to forever fight in his mind. Fight in his little room. To never stop. To always continue, always fight, always push back but never actually win.
"One more," he manages to get out. The man hasn't looked away, still waiting. He seems patient but then again, he's really not sure how much time has passed or how time even moves. He's not sure what's faster. Minutes or months. They're just words and sometimes he really can't make out what they mean. He never has the time. He just fights.
"What is it?" The man doesn't have much hope when he speaks. He looks ready to give up. A part of him wants to give up too. But he never does. Never allows himself. Above all, he knows that no matter what happens to him, no matter how much it hurt, no matter how long it continues, he must never stop. He must never give up. It is his purpose. To fight. It has been all he's ever known and will likely be all he ever knows.
"Mischief," He doesn't know what it means. He wants it or remembers it, he's not actually sure. But the word turns up in his mind. He doesn't know what it means but maybe this man does. Maybe he'll know what it means. Maybe it's a name, a message, a concept. He's unsure. Even if the man does know what it means, he's not entirely sure he can spare enough attention to actually listen for what it means. He can only fight. He has turned the word over in his head so many times. Whenever he has the energy, whenever he can spare a second or two from the fighting, he thinks about it. He doesn't know what it means. Just the word. He doesn't even know if it's important. He just knows that the word won't leave him.
Mischief. He wonders what it means.
The tired man in front of him breaks. He sobs slightly. "Oh god, Stiles..." He whispers, sniffing and covering his mouth with his hand. He watches him slightly. Did it mean something to him? Did it mean something to someone? The man cries, his eyes filled with tears that just keep streaming down his face. He can't remember the last time he cried. Hell, he can't remember crying ever. He's always been so numb. He's never had any reason to cry. Just to fight. To fight and never stop.
The man cries - sobs, really. He looks so upset, so broken, so lost.
He can't bring himself to care - he has other things to deal with, after all. They're more pressing than a man he doesn't even know crying in front of him.
He has to fight and he can never stop, regardless of what happens around him.
He's awake. He's lucid. He's aware.
His memory is still so fuzzy and he has trouble remembering but he thinks he has the gist of what he needs to remember. He's sitting on his bed in his room in Eichen House. The Nogitsune is sitting in the corner, drawing on the wall with a piece of chalk. Stiles doesn't know where he got it from, but he knows that this isn't really real, anyway. He looks down to his hands, counts his fingers. He has 12 fingers.
So, he's sleeping. He's not surprised. Of course, his moment of finally being aware is when he's stuck in a damn dream with the stupid Nogitsune. He's awake but he's not actually awake. Great.
He shifts through his memories, trying to figure out how long it's been. How long he's been fighting and how long he's been here. Two years. He's been at Eichen for two years. Scott had finally gone to College (he remembers a conversation with his Dad, remembers how he was barely paying attention, how his Dad tried to get through to him time and time again and failed, how he still visited regularly, despite knowing it would never work but not giving up on him). He remembers Lydia visiting several times. She still came by but not as frequent. He could see her fear in his memories - or at least, the ones he could make out. He could see how uncomfortable she was. She hated Eichen and it showed. Honestly, Stiles didn't blame her. He hated it too. But at least he was somewhat lucky enough to never actually remember how he was treated until he was lucid again. It was incredibly rare, but it happened sometimes. When the Nogitsune decided to stop trying to force itself in for a while. To try to find another way, to convince him. Even after all this time, Stiles was incredibly stubborn. He would never stop. He would never let the monster in. He wouldn't let himself hurt more people. Never let himself hurt Scott again, or Lydia. Or anyone, really.
He remembers the visits he's gotten. It's mostly his Dad, visiting weekly if his memory served him correctly - it probably didn't but it was good enough for now - Scott visiting whenever he came back from college and had the time. Lydia too. Scott had brought someone named Liam in a few times. Liam looked at him curiously, pitying and confused. Liam even came by himself once or twice, bringing someone named Mason with him. He didn't know them. He wasn't sure if he had just forgotten or if it was something else entirely, but he didn't rule it out. He knew that Liam was Scott's Beta, remembered the introduction Scott had given, how he had explained what was wrong with him, why he was here, how strong he was and just overall being Scott, all while looking at him sadly. He explained how he couldn't help, how he was still trying to find a way. They hadn't found the scroll yet. It was either lost or destroyed. Scott had told Liam that he would never stop searching for it, for a way to save his best friend. Stiles, in all his awareness, appreciated him. It was an interesting development though. Scott having an actual Beta. It was almost cute. It was like Scott had his own little son or brother. If Stiles were to ever be free of this fight, he would want to know Liam better. See what he was made of beyond the rumours and what everyone said about him - know him for himself. There was still a possibility that he actually already knew Liam but since he couldn't remember it, he just settled with the thought that if he ever got out, he'd make some memories with the kid - get to know him properly.
Malia came too. She came once every two weeks or so. Sometimes less due to whatever Supernatural she and the pack were up against. She had gone to Paris for college recently though, so he hadn't seen her for a while. She visited in her breaks.
"I'd never leave you behind."
He recalls a time Malia got herself checked back in to stay with him. Despite her best efforts, she wasn't able to stay. She came frequently, growling and glaring at everyone and everything. For what it's worth, Stiles appreciated every one of his friends. They never forgot him. Never left him behind. They were aware of what he was going through and supported him the best they could, even after all this time. He felt guilty, though. He didn't want them to hold back on their lives because of him. He didn't want them to be haunted by him. This was his battle and his alone. He was so glad when his Dad managed to convince the pack to continue with their lives the best they could, knowing it would be what he wanted and it was.
He was happy for them. He wished he could join them but he knew he wasn't getting out of this anytime soon. The Nogitsune would likely never stop and because of that, neither would Stiles. It would be a fight for control until the damned day that Stiles Stilinski was physically and mentally dead to the world. So unless the Nogitsune somehow left him, he wasn't going to get out of this. For what it was worth, he trusted Scott. He really did. But he knew that there would be no end to this. No way to save him. This fight would be eternal and as long as he still had a say in it, he wasn't going to be losing. Scott couldn't help him. Stiles didn't have any hope of Scott saving him, regardless of his promise. He loved Scott with all his heart, loved his brother in everything but blood, trusted him with everything he has or will ever have, and would die a thousand deaths for him, but Stiles knew there was no saving him. He was going to be trapped here forever, fighting against the Nogitsune and at the very least, he wanted Scott to live his life to the fullest, not be tied here. Not to be trapped with the memories of the past and haunted by Stiles' shadow. He never wanted that for Scott. For his brother. He didn't want it for anyone. He wanted him to move on. To just leave him behind and continue forward. He knew Scott wasn't going to do that, but it's what Stiles wanted. He didn't want to drag anyone else down with him. Especially not his Dad, who he could see was so clearly struggling every day and trying to remain strong. He didn't want that for him.
Hell, Stiles even remembered Derek making a stop here. Even though all the Sourwolf did was sit there and stare at him for about twenty minutes straight before leaving, his only word being Stiles' name said in acknowledgement. Then a staring contest before he just got up and left. Despite their ever awkward relationship, Stiles appreciated that the werewolf had even come to visit at all. Stiles' didn't expect the Hale to visit, ever, but for whatever reason, he had visited anyway. They weren't exactly friends, but they were far from enemies, so Stiles appreciated the sentiment. If he ever got the chance to return to his life, Stiles would be hanging that little visit over his head for the rest of his life, even if the wolf hadn't done much other than turn up. But hey, that in itself had to mean something, right? Derek was never the emotional type - at least, not anymore - to begin with, so a visit in itself had to mean a thousand words to Derek, even if words never actually left his mouth. His actions spoke thousands of words alone.
"Let me in," The Nogitsune rasped. Stiles snapped out of his thoughts and lifted his head up to look at the Nogitsune, still wrapped up in its dirty bandages, its razor-sharp teeth the only feature on the spirit's face Stiles could see. Stiles stared at it, noticing that the spirit had turned around to face him.
"Never," Stiles replied, staring steadily at the damned thing. He had stopped being afraid of it. Or at least, of its appearance. Beyond the nightmares where Stiles honestly felt as though he was being tortured, there was nothing that the Nogitsune could do to him. Just nightmares of being tortured over and over, only to awake in his room, disorientated and confused and lost and scared. Stiles had become accustomed to it - at least, the most one can become accustomed to being mentally tortured every night. It was physical too but considering that it all happened in his dreams and the pain was fake, it wasn't exactly physical as much as it was mental. Regardless of what type of torture it was, Stiles would never give in. Perhaps the Nogitsune made a mistake by overwhelming his mind so much to the point where he couldn't even remember the nightmares, the long nights of being tortured in his own mind, the visits and grief filled faces. Maybe if he could actually remember it all, he'd be close to breaking. Even now, he was chipping away every day. A little piece of him was lost. Another smudge on his happiness. A part of his personality fading away in the battle. Another part of his ever smart brain being lost to insanity. Another attack on his tattered mind. His innocence lost as his mind was ripped away, piece by piece, instead filled with bloody images of mutilated bodies and cold, lifeless eyes.
But he still wasn't going to be breaking.
He was done with it all, wanted nothing more than for it to all just end and be over, but above all; Stiles was a stubborn bitch until the very end. So, despite just wanting to give up and finally get some damn sleep for once, he continued to fight. Honestly, he was broken beneath it all. Like a mirror, shattered into a thousand pieces, with no help of being put back together completely. Everyone was broken in some way, it was just a matter of how much and how far they were willing to go to fix themselves but he knew, Stiles knew, that there was no saving him from what was happening to him. He was a lost cause. The Nogitsune had taken everything from him. Who he was, his mind, his freedom, everything. He had hurt his friends. He had killed innocents that had nothing to do with it. He had gone out and slaughtered people just for the hell of it. He had twisted a sword stuck in his best friend's chest for crying out loud! He had killed his best friend's first love and there was no damn recovering from that. He was torturing his Dad, day by day, night by night, leaving him alone in a home too big, too quiet and cold. Left with no one to take care of him, no one to make sure he ate properly and healthily, to make sure he actually got a good night's damn rest, didn't drown himself in work or push himself too far. Stiles had left him alone and was just hurting him all the damn time. He wasn't blind. He had seen what he had done to his father. He had seen what the only word he could ever remember when lost in his mind had done to him.
Mischief. He wasn't able to pronounce his own name as a kid. It was the closest he could get and it had become a nickname that his mother called him. It was just a word, just a nickname, but the meaning it held was important to him and his Dad and hearing him say the word - remember the word and not know anything else... His Dad was a mess. More so than Stiles at this point. At least Stiles had the bliss of not remembering the day before, of remembering the nurse's rough treatment and scathing words. But his Dad had to remember it all. Had to pay the bills. Had to work. Had to watch. He was drowning himself. Suffering. He wasn't taking care of himself and it showed.
All because of Stiles and the damn Nogitsune.
"Let me in!" The Nogitsune roared and Stiles could swear the room was shaking from the force. Stiles held his gaze steady, not even flinching. He wasn't scared of this damn thing. It could go to hell. If Stiles died with this thing, then he was going to drag its dumbass down to hell with him.
"Fuck off," Stiles spat, glaring at the creature. He wasn't scared of it and he would make sure that it knew that. He had been stuck with it for too long. For a few minutes, it was silent as the two glared (or at least, Stiles assumed it was glaring at him, he couldn't really tell through the bandages but he could feel its anger) at each other. The room began to shake and then the Nogitsune attacked, the temporary peace lost once more. As the Nogitsune swarmed his mind, Stiles felt himself slip away, losing his mind in the process as the endless battle continued.
"Look... I, uh, don't really know if you can hear me. But if you can, I need your help," A teenager with honey-blonde hair was speaking to him. He blinked, only just noticing. He wasn't even aware he had left his room. There was another teenager with dark skin with him. The boy with blonde hair looked hopeless and slightly lost. The teenager was looking at him, hopeless and hopeful all at the same time, an unsure expression painted on his face. He looked like he was beginning to regret something but still wasn't entirely sure. There was another teenager next to him, this one with dark skin. Whereas the blonde boy looked at least somewhat hopeful, he looked as if he wasn't expecting anything helpful. He didn't know them - either of them. They were completely unfamiliar to him.
"Uh... Liam? Are you sure about this? I mean... He doesn't exactly seem like he can... Y'know, help," The other boy muttered, looking at him unsurely and with vague curiosity. He only stared back, not really acknowledging them but knowing they were there.
"You got a better idea, Mason?" The blonde snapped, glaring at the other boy present. He looked frustrated. He glared at his friend for a moment before sighing and looking away. He watched him as the teen stared at the wall off to the side in silence for a few seconds before he sighed and looked back to his friend. "Look, if you've got any better ideas, then I'm all ears. But until then... This is the only idea I've got," The blonde explained, looking at his friend sternly and somehow desperately. He didn't understand what was going on and didn't attempt to either. It seemed like a matter between them and not him. It was none of his business. So, he did what he always did; he resumed the fight in his mind, continuing to defend and defend and defend and attack until the other finally gave up. It wouldn't give up but he would always keep trying.
"Hey, I'm out of ideas too. But still... What makes you think he'll be able to help?" The dark-haired boy still looked uncertain, analysing him as he sat there and fought the everlasting battle in his mind. He paid him no attention. It didn't matter. The boy didn't matter.
"Because... Because of Scott. Scott introduced me to him. He said that... That Stiles is his best friend and has been since childhood. That he was always so smart and helped Scott through becoming a werewolf. He was really sarcastic and clumsy, but he was always there for Scott when he needed him, was always there to help him. His brother in everything but blood. He may not... Look like much, but... Scott spoke highly of him. He may be fighting off a Nogitsune or whatever it's called right now, but Scott said he's still in there somewhere. He has to be," The blonde teen explained, his face a canvas of emotions as he moved his hands around as if demonstrating his point. He didn't have the slightest clue who this boy was, what he wanted or what he was actually saying, but he had said something that instantly caught his attention. He had mentioned his fight with the Nogitsune. His face twisted into a frown, the expression feeling foreign and surreal on his face - the first sign of emotion he had shown in a very long time. The two teens before him didn't notice it, however, too focused on talking to each other.
He finally paid attention to them, taking in their features properly, not once letting his guard down. His scanned them but still, they were completely unfamiliar and he just didn't recognise them.
"I mean... It's not exactly hard to gain Scott's approval. He trusts everyone, Liam. And I mean; everyone," 'Mason' empathized, still not looking convinced. 'Liam' immediately turned to glare at his friend, who held his hands up in surrender. "Hey! I'm just saying!" He quickly said, as if trying to calm his friend down before he was attacked. 'Liam' sighed and looked away again before returning his gaze to 'Mason'.
"Whatever," he grumbled, running a hand through his hair. "This... This is different. Scott... This is his best friend, his brother, his childhood friend, the guy that helped him get through being a werewolf. That means something. Really means something," 'Liam' turned to look at him, staring directly into his unfocused, bored eyes. "If... If you can hear me, Stiles, I need your help. We're having a bit of a... Kanima problem. I don't want to ask Scott for help because he needs to focus on his studies and the last thing I want to do is distract him. So... If you know anything about how to beat a Kanima... Well, actually, I know how to do that, it's just not easy. Uh, if you know how to find the person, like, controlling the Kanima, that would be great, thanks," 'Liam' explained. For once, Stiles actually listened. Kanima? Was that related to the Nogitsune? He thought about it. Kanima... It sounded like something he would have to fight. No, he knew it was something he had to fight. It was different to the Nogitsune, however. It felt important regardless, so he thought about it. Something came to mind. A weakness, maybe? He wasn't sure, but it was the only thing that actually came to mind so hopefully, it was useful.
"Yellow Wolfsbane," He offered the only thing that seemed to make sense in his head. His voice was still raspy and hoarse. He ignored it. The sound of his voice. It didn't feel like his anyway. He continued his fight in the back of his mind but spared as much energy as he could to think of it. He wasn't entirely sure if it was helpful, but it felt like the right answer.
The teens startled and the dark-haired teen looked at him in both amazement and surprise. "Woah... I thought that he was-," he waved his hands frantically, looking like he didn't actually know what to say. "Y'know, like... Like, unresponsive, or something?" He looked to his friend in confusion, who was staring at him in just as much surprise and confusion. He didn't respond to them, those few seconds he had taken to think about his answer had left a bit of an opening for the monster in his head and he had to push it back. He focused on pushing the monster back to its cage, away from his mind, out of his mind and away.
"He is," 'Liam' breathed. "The few times that I came here with Scott, he didn't say anything. Like, at all. This is the first time I've heard him speak. Scott will want to know about this." He was ignoring them, everything turning hazy as the attack on his mind grew more aggressive. It was getting harder to fight. He had let his guard down for too long and it was taking full advantage of it.
"Wait, hold on," 'Mason' started, looking to him again, "Yellow Wolfsbane? A Kanima is weak to that? I thought that Wolfsbane didn't affect them?" He looked to his friend, probably hoping for an answer. He continued to ignore them, using the last of his strength to finally push the dark spirit out of his mind. It had almost managed to force itself in. He couldn't let that happen. He shoved it away, using everything he had to fight against it.
"They're immune to normal Wolfsbane. But I guess not Yellow Wolfsbane? I think Scott might have mentioned it, now that I think about it..." Liam trailed off, looking like he was losing himself to his thoughts. The attack on his mind was brutal, ruthless and for the first time, he feared he might actually be close to losing. A fire lit within him, a burning determination to not lose to this thing, to not let it in, and he used that fire to burn the Nogitsune and shove it away further, deeper into his darkness and far away from his mind. For the next few moments, his mind was completely blank. Silent. He couldn't form a single thought in his mind. He was empty.
Then his mind exploded in a burst of scattered and broken thoughts and he felt. Awareness flooded back into him as he woke up. Lucid. His mind started to work again, thoughts forming far faster than he could truly comprehend and he was so awake and aware that it shocked him. What had just happened? He blinked several times, physically coming into awareness as well. Before he could really acknowledge how great it was to finally be awake and active, his stomach sunk in dread. The Nogitsune. What had just happened? He quickly searched himself, searching for the Dark Kitsune that he swore would never take over him. To his great relief, he found the Nogitsune, temporarily trapped within him. It wouldn't last and his moments of being lucid wouldn't last long before the Nogitsune broke free from his confinement and attacked him again.
Stiles jolted forward with a start, gasping. He startled the two teens who yelled in surprise. Stiles gasped for breath, overwhelmed by it all, the sudden rush of feeling and being alive, the emotions that blossomed into place, the thoughts that sped through his head, the feeling of having his body his to control and not just being permanently autopilot, his heart beating frantically in his chest. He was lucid and actually awake, physically awake. Not trapped in a dream where he was still stuck with the Nogitsune who wouldn't let him out, but actually awake, awake.
"Oh God!" Liam cried in surprise, jumping in shock. Stiles' eyes jumped up to look him in the eyes, his mind actually acknowledging who was before him. His mind was still a broken mess but he pushed it into overdrive to recognise what was going on. Liam and Mason. Scott's Beta and his best friend. His Stiles. They needed help finding who was controlling a Kanima.
"Liam," Stiles gasped and Liam stared at him in pure shock, as if he didn't believe his own ears. "Call Scott. Now," He needed to speak to his best friend and he needed to do it now. He didn't know how long this would last. He needed to speak to his Dad too but he doubted that Liam would have the Sheriff on speed dial. He would definitely have his Alpha on speed dial though so Stiles would take what he could get. He needed to tell them. At the very least, he had to let them know there were moments he could remember them and be himself and in those moments, he was screaming at them, trying to respond to them the best he could.
"You-what- What's going on? What just happened?" Liam breathed, staring at him in shock. The Nogitsune was still out of action but Stiles wasn't willing to test how long it would stay that way. It had been two and a half years since he had been able to actually speak to someone other than the damned thing inside of him and he wasn't going to waste this opportunity.
"Call Scott," He ordered, his voice firm. He cleared his throat multiple times, trying to get rid of the rasp that clung to his voice. He noticed his body was aching all over, a dull throb literally everywhere, he had a pounding headache that honestly felt like he was being smacked by a goddamn jackhammer and his stomach growling in anger. He ignored it all, pushing past it to get what he needed done. He thought quickly, his mind racing. He had spent plenty of damn time with the Nogitsune, perhaps there was something that he had learnt through this that could help him break free of the damn thing. He searched his memories and was surprised to find that his own memories had been mixed with the Nogitsunes. He had some of the Nogitsune's memories.
Liam fumbled for his phone, quickly pulling it out and typing rapidly while Mason looked at him in amazement, speechless. Stiles searched through the fragments of memories that he had from the Nogitsune, hoping desperately that there would be something there that would help him.
"Scott? Uh... We're at Eichen and-," Liam lifted the phone to his ear to speak to Scott and Stiles didn't wait before reaching over and ripping the phone away from him, pressing it against his own ear instead. His heart was racing, too fast and too painful for his own liking but he ignored it, still sifting through all the horrifying, bloody images that made up the Nogitsune's memories. He pushed deeper, racing through hundreds of years worth of fragmented memories.
"Scott?" He breathed, hopeful and desperate all the same. He wanted, needed to speak to the people he cared about. After being trapped in his head for so long, hearing them desperately calling out for him to wake up all this time, watching them break before him, their patience turning into impatience, their hope turning to hopelessness, and all he could ever do is just watch and remember while trapped in his room, in his mind, at night when no one else was around to hear him finally respond to them, he needed to speak to them. There was so much he wanted to say, so much he needed to and not nearly enough time to do it all in.
"Wha- Stiles?" Scott's voice was full of disbelief and Stiles didn't blame his brother at all. Stiles could hardly believe this was real either. For all he knew, this could be another one of the Nogitsune's tricks - a nightmare, a trick to get him to crack, an illusion, who knew? Whether it was real or not, Stiles wasn't willing to risk it. He had to do something if this was actually real.
"Hey, Scotty. Uh... Thanks for visiting so much, um..." He trailed off, his mind silencing. He had no idea what to say. No, he knew what to say. He just didn't know where to begin. There was just so much to say. Two and a half years worth of words and he would only have a few minutes at best. "I'm sorry," He blurted out instead. "For everything." For the suffering he had caused, the pain and the fear, the hopelessness, for keeping them trapped here, for keeping them tied to him, for haunting them all the time, for all of it.
"Stiles, what... How- Are you- You?" Scott asked, his voice rising in volume, his sentences stopping multiple times as if he didn't know what to say either. Stiles continued to rush through the Nogitsune's memories, going as deep as he could, hoping against all hope that he would find something. He could feel the Nogitsune stir as he did so and he cursed. He would only have a minute or three before the Nogitsune attacked his mind again.
Then, like a lightning bolt, he found it. Found what he needed. Found what the Shugendo Scroll had said. The Scroll that had been destroyed by the Nogitsune himself. Found the way to beat the Nogitsune, at long last. And maybe, just maybe, a way to save him too. It wasn't likely but he didn't care - as long as the damn thing was gone.
"Change the host," Stiles breathed, his eyes locking with Liam's who was quietly staring at him, with Mason doing the same. "That's how. You can't be a fox and a wolf," He felt his body freeze, his eyes widening as he felt the Nogitsune snap awake, tearing away from its temporary sleep and cell and bursting out. Stiles let out a choked gasp, tears burning his eyes. The Nogitsune attacked his mind, furious like never before and launched itself at him.
The hand that held Liam's phone to his ear fell away, falling back down to his side. The phone clattered to the ground, skidding away. He could feel hot tears slowly making their way down his face as everything blacked out, as he struggled to fight against the Nogitsune. He lost himself in the fight once more.
He wasn't sure what happened after that.
He was sitting on something soft. A couch, perhaps? He wasn't sure. It wasn't his room. At least, he didn't think so. He spent most of his time in his room but honestly, he barely even remembered what his room looked like unless he was in it. The only thing he really knew about the place he stayed was that there was a lot of white. The walls and ground were usually white. However, this place wasn't white at all. Somehow, it felt different. It was homey and filled with stuff he wasn't entirely sure he had seen before. There were so many colours, it made his head spin. He wanted to go back to the whites of his room and the black of his mind.
"Are you sure about this?" A man with dark skin asked. A tanned teenager with black hair nodded at him, looking incredibly serious and hopeful for some reason. He didn't recognise them as always and so he didn't mind them. He didn't know how or when he got here but he didn't care. Instead, he just focused on the relentless war in his head which had gotten so much worse for some reason. He hated it. It was taking more energy to keep it out, to keep it away from him.
"I'm positive. I mean, you can't be a Fox and a Wolf, right? So... This should get rid of the Nogitsune," The teen sounded full of hope. He almost wanted to ask why, curious despite himself, wanting to why this person looked so excited and happy. Why this teen that honestly looked more like a puppy than he did a human looked so excited and hopeful.
"Scott..." There was another man there, looking incredibly tired, stressed but somehow hopeful. He looked as though he hadn't slept in a long time. He wore a badge. Was he a doctor? He decided that it really didn't matter either way. They could do whatever, he really didn't care. "It's been two and a half years. What makes you so sure that this is going to work?" He could hear the hopelessness in the man's voice, the broken edge that signified he was close to breaking. He couldn't help but relate - he was at his breaking point too. The dark presence in his mind was so angry recently, so much more aggressive than usual, it was so overwhelming. Still, he did what he had to do and what he had always done; he fought against it with everything he had and shoved it away from his consciousness, refused its possession and remained himself as much as he could with his broken mind.
"Because Stiles said so, Sheriff. It was the first thing he's said about the Nogitsune and it has to mean something, right?" The puppy-teen replied, determined and desperate all the same. They were all so emotional. He didn't care though. None of them was familiar. Not even the strawberry blonde, sitting quietly in the corner, observing but ever so quiet. Nor was the boy with dark skin and the boy with honey-blonde hair. They were all quiet, just as he was, but he guessed they were paying more attention than he was.
"We don't even know if he was talking about the Nogitsune, let alone if it'll work. I just... I don't want to get my hopes up, Scott. Just for them to come crashing down," The man sounded absolutely exhausted. He didn't have any hope like the puppy-teen did. He wondered why. The crashing against his mind got stronger, more violent and everything blacked out. He gasped, his body burning in agony. He could feel his limbs shaking, but other than that and the gasp, he remained perfectly still. The fight was, after all, all in his head. None of it was physical. It was and always will be; a war of the mind. A never-ending war for the possession of what was always rightfully his - his mind and body. He wouldn't let it steal it away from him.
He couldn't hear nor see what was happening around him anymore and frankly, he didn't care. He didn't care what they did to him, even if it killed him. Because if it killed him, then it would mean he was in possession of his mind and body until his last breath and it would have meant that he had won. That's what he wanted, more than anything. To win this everlasting war.
To his utter shock, he felt physical pain in his arm as something bit into him, sinking right through his flesh. For a horrifying second, the Nogitsune launched the strongest attack he'd ever felt, the most amount of pain he had ever felt coursing through him, misery and fear blooming within him, not just from himself but from the fox too and then, he was throwing up as something clawed its way from his throat.
All that came out was a fly.
It buzzed away from him and he found himself watching it buzz away as he felt his body practically go to war with itself. Someone caught the fly, locking it within a box of some kind. The remaining tie to the Nogitsune was suddenly tethered, erased from his mind. For the first time in who even knows how long, he was free. Free. The Nogitsune was gone from his mind. His mind was empty of the dark spirit.
He had won.
But then the hunger striked, the dizziness and tiredness like never before attacking his senses. He was awake and alive like he was years ago, he had awoken for the first time in years and it was all so simply overwhelming to be himself again. Unable to comprehend fully being himself again, Stiles blacked out.
"You're my brother, Scott. So, if you're doing this... Then so am I."
"Please. Anyone but him. Anyone but my Dad."
"This is an improvement, I swear. Wait, Mal-Malia! Malia! No! We don't attack people because they look at us weird! Malia!"
"Only a broken arm? That's definitely an improvement. I mean, the alternative is... Dead. So, yeah. An improvement. Way to go, Malia!"
"The ten-year plan to get Lydia to fall in love with me just changed to fifteen. But it's still happening."
"You think you can scare me?"
"I eat what you feel. And I'm insatiable."
"I AM A THOUSAND YEARS OLD! YOU CAN'T KILL ME!"
His body was stiff. Everything hurt. It was so overwhelming in a way Stiles couldn't even describe. It was like he was being exposed to life after well, death. Because that's what he felt like. Death. He attempted to move his body, trying to assess how bad it was. He managed to twitch his finger and that was all. Holy crap, everything seriously hurt. He wasn't sure what was worse - the hunger in his stomach like he hadn't eaten in days, weeks even, the sharp pain in his arm from who even knows what, his mind feeling as though someone had battered it with a hammer that had fricking nails in it, the scratchy throat like he hadn't used it in a while - speaking and drinking alike, or the way everything was just too much. His senses were too much. He had spent years being indifferent to the world, not truly acknowledging what was in front of him, dull in every sense of the work. But now, he felt and he didn't like it. He could feel the temperature of the room - he was actually a bit cold and he hated it. The last time he had been cold was when the Nogitsune was torturing him in his mind, slowly freezing him to death until he awoke from the dream in bed, just for it to repeat over and over again for days on end. The never-ending cold and pain. The chains that stretched forwards, always holding him in place as he was hurt repeatedly. Always holding steady and never breaking. Not even budging.
Even with his eyes closed, the light burned through his eyelids. Which made no sense because he knows he's had his eyes open despite not being in control of himself. Maybe it was because he didn't actually process things before? He wasn't sure but whatever it was, it hurt. There wasn't really any sounds to listen to but it still hurt his ears. Everything was too loud. He could hear the sound of cars going past the window and the sound of birds tweeting outside. He's never had an urge to hit a bird before, but he sure has the urge now.
He groaned. Everything was just too much. Too overwhelming. Too painful. But perhaps what was the most painful, or rather, the least painful, was the lack of the Nogitsune in the back of his mind. The fight was over. The Nogitsune wasn't there anymore and his head was just empty. Deafeningly empty and silent. No attacks, no bribes, no riddles, no vivid daydreams, no thoughts coming to haunt him and traumatise him. Just... empty. And somehow, that was the loudest and most painful of all.
It was overwhelming and underwhelming all the same. It was..whelming? Silent but screaming and reaching every part of him. Painless in the sense there was nothing there but painful in the sense that something was supposed to be there and it wasn't. It terrified Stiles in a way he didn't even want to think about. The Nogitsune was gone and that terrified him more than it should. He was awake and everything made sense and he had clarity. Awareness. It absolutely terrified him. Because if the Nogitsune isn't in his head anymore, then where the fuck is it?
Determined and scared out of his mind, Stiles jolted up, ignoring the pain everywhere in his body. He had to find it. He had to find the Nogitsune. He couldn't let it win. He couldn't let anyone else get hurt because of him. He couldn't let anyone else die because of him.
When he opened his eyes, staring at his lap and breathing heavily, everything was suddenly...silent. It was quiet. Then he found himself falling right back down, the blood pumping in his head blocking everything else out. He felt nauseous.
"Stiles!" A voice, an oh-so-painfully-familiar voice cried and hands began to touch him, lifting him up and supporting him. He groaned again, dizzy. He was going to throw up but he knew he didn't actually have anything in his stomach to throw up. He briefly wondered when the last thing he ate was. He forced his eyes open, forcing himself to adjust. He couldn't slow down because he was uncomfortable or not feeling well. He had to find the Nogitsune before it was too late.
Surveying the area, he realised he was on a sofa. So, the first thing he did, Stiles being Stiles, was throw himself right off of it. Right onto the floor. He landed with a thud and a lot of regrets. "Oh, that so didn't go the way I planned," He wheezing, groaned again as he clutched his stomach in pain. Everything hurt. More than it already did. Oh crap, that was such a mistake. He wasn't going to be doing that again anytime soon.
"Stiles!" His voice was called again, the owner of said voice sounding extremely happy and also a bit worried. Which made sense considering Stiles just uselessly flopped off the sofa. Then it clicked. The voice was familiar - it had been familiar earlier but he immediately forgot. Eyes widening, he quickly looked around. Everything was fuzzy but he easily found the face of the person now picking him up. He looked at them in shock, not believing his eyes. There was no way this was real. This had to be another one of the Nogitsune's tricks - another one of its forced nightmares made only with the intention to hurt him.
His Dad was staring down at him, full of shock and happiness and Stiles didn't, not even for a half a second, consider this was real. The Nogitsune must be upping its game. It was using all of its tricks now. Well, it certainly wasn't the first time his Dad had been used against him, hell; it wasn't even the first time that he was supposedly free of the Nogitsune! It was just a damn trick the Nogitsune pulled to fuck with his head. Make him think he was free and then wake him up. Then he'd be back in Eichen. The dreams could last for days sometimes. His body was always on autopilot, so sometimes he was actually awake while he was still trapped in his dreams. It would go on and on until he finally, finally believed he was really free, given an extra day or two to let it really sink in, and then boom. He was awake.
And it broke him every fucking time. He hated these dreams the most. Whereas the torture was all physical pain, blood and chains, these dreams... These dreams gave him what he wanted. Then it was all ruthlessly torn away and burnt before his very eyes. Where the chains and blood caused scars and trauma, these dreams made him torture himself, made him wish so desperately for something he couldn't have, made him want to give up. If it was all over, he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. But he knew. He knew that if he gave up, countless others would suffer and die in his place. So he bared it to the best of his ability.
But that didn't mean it didn't still hurt. To Stiles, there was nothing more a broken heart that just kept getting shattered into smaller pieces until there was barely anything left.
"No," He whispered, voice already thick with grief and pain. His Dad looked confused and Stiles cursed the Nogitsune for putting him through this again. "No, you're not real," he pushed himself out of his Dad's hands, scrambling backwards until his back hit the coffee table. None of this was real and he couldn't let himself fall for it again. He didn't know how to make this quicker. How to make this easier. It would keep going until he truly believed he was safe and home again. He could never let himself believe and maybe live like this forever but he knew that was a small, non-existent chance. He was stuck here until he let it all play out. Until he believed again. Until it cut him like an array of damn knives again.
"Stiles, I-I'm," His Dad gasped, looking at him in amazement and with so much happiness in his eyes that it physically pained Stiles to even look at him. Not wanting to look more than he had to, he curled up into a ball, resting his back against the coffee table. He hated this. He hated this so much. He didn't want to be here. Trapped here, in this house, in his mind, with the ghosts of people he cared about. With the images and memories. His heart bled every time. He has always cared too much, it was always his fatal flaw and the Nogitsune always preyed on it, always savoured his pain and he just hated it. Stiles himself wasn't a murderer and he wouldn't wish death on anybody, but holy crap did he want to kill the Nogitsune. The only creature, the one spirit, the one thing he truly wanted to kill and would not regret doing so. He wanted it dead so badly but he knew it wasn't possible. How do you kill a spirit? Stiles was certain that killing himself wouldn't kill the Nogitsune. It would just release the spirit and it'd go elsewhere to possess someone else. At least this way he could keep it trapped within him and buy people some time. Time for what, he wasn't sure. Time to live some more, maybe? Perhaps for someone to find a way to kill it? For a hunter who knew their way around spirits and how to kill them? He wasn't sure, but he would gladly bide time for either of those options. The chances were small, but god, all he had was hope now.
"I'm real, i-it's me, you-you're back from Eichen and... And Scott, he... He got rid of the Nogitsune and...You're back. Son, you're back," His Dad just sounded so relieved and happy and crap it hurt. He was crying and smiling and laughing like today is the happiest day of his life. It shouldn't still hurt. The pain wasn't as raw as it used to be but goddamn it still hurt every time. Stiles bleeding-heart Stilinski still cared for his family and pack, even when he had lost his own mind. And honestly, if that didn't tell you how loyal he was, then what would?
Stiles shook his head and began to tune him out - he had gotten so good at that over the years. Not listening, not seeing, not doing anything. Just... being. Simply being and ignoring the world as he fought an endless battle. He took a shuddering breath to calm the nerves and anxiety of going through this again. "You're not real," He breathed, reminding himself and then closed his eyes, willing for the darkness to take him and drag him back to Eichen where that goddamned dick of a Head Orderly, Brunski, was most probably waiting to torment him again. Brunski could never compare to the Nogitsune.
"Stiles, it's me, I swear," His Dad wrapped his arms around him, squashing him in a hug. His grip was firm and tight and Stiles began to suffocate a bit but he ignored it - it was hardly anything compared to what the Nogitsune was going to do later. "I'm so glad to have you back, son," His Dad continued and Stiles sighed, closing his eyes. He wouldn't let himself fall for this. Not again. Once his Dad left go of him, Stiles picked himself up and perched himself on the sofa, throwing his head back to look at the ceiling. If he was going to be stuck here, he might as well be comfy. It wasn't like he frequently had the chance to make himself comfortable so he might as well take advantage of it.
He could hear soft sobbing - it sounded so much like Lydia's - the sound of soft murmuring, two males talking to each and a familiar voice - Deaton - talking to his Dad. Stiles ignored it all, ignored the familiarity of it all. He just wanted this to stop. He wasn't going to fall for it so the Nogitsune could go fuck itself. He willed himself to sleep, letting all the energy just drain from his body. It wasn't hard considering he was absolutely exhausted. He soon fell asleep, the voices around him fading away completely.
It was foreign waking up comfortable. Even in dreams, the Nogitsune liked to make him as uncomfortable as possible. All beds, even his own, was lumpy or too hard, or sometimes it felt as though the bed was slowly sucking him in, making him feel suffocated. But as he woke up this time, he was... comfortable. Genuinely comfortable. He tried to remember the last time he had felt comfortable but came up short. It took him longer than it should have to realise that he was still scattered. The fight with the Nogitsune had certainly taken its toll.
His mind was scattered - broken and frayed. It was like his brain had been shattered and there were pieces floating about. He had been able to grab pieces here and there, but not all of them. Some were still drifting and he had no idea what they were and if they were important or not. He couldn't form a timeline for his memories at all, even the ones where he knew he was a child because he could have sworn that it had only happened like, two years ago and not ten years ago. But he had been, what? 7 at the time, maybe? So that shouldn't be possible... But he was so certain that only a little while ago... But he knew it couldn't have been. It had been a long time and his memory just wasn't working with him. His thoughts were slow and he was disorientated. He couldn't make sense of the words in his head, he had forgotten some things, forgotten how to do things, what part of him did what... His mind was broken. He was broken.
He couldn't even be concerned about it because he didn't even understand it.
His once sharp brain had become... mush. Just mush. Stiles opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling above him blankly for a few seconds. Then, he blinked and began to look around. He was on a double bed, under the covers. There was someone beside him, their body on the floor and arms and head on the bed. He had his eyes closed so Stiles assumed he was asleep... Stiles, he realised... What a weird name.
He was pretty sure that was his name, anyway.
Stiles looked at the person again, taking notice of the black hair and familiar features. He knew this person... He was sure he did. He thought for a few long moments before remembering who it was. Scott. Scott Mccall, his best friend and brother since childhood. They were inseparable and... Scott liked animals. Right? Yeah, that felt right...
Wait, no. Well, yes. He worked at a vet's office and he was a Werewolf. It sounded like an interesting sitcom or something. Stiles stared at the ceiling blankly, trying to gather his thoughts. He was Stiles Stilinski and for the past... few years? He had been in Eichen House because he was fighting the Nogitsune in his mind and he couldn't discern dreams from reality and he was in a constant state of panic. He also wanted to be locked away in case the Nogitsune got control - that way, there was at least a chance they would be safe from him. They... They, meaning the pack, right? His pack? The pack he had back then... Before this all started...
Scott, Lydia, Malia, Allison, Derek... Yes, he remembered those people. They were important to them. He wanted to protect them, even if they didn't need protecting. He wanted to help them even though they didn't need him. He wanted to finally do something, to do something meaningful, even if it didn't amount to much in the long run. He was human while his friends were Supernatural. His Dad was human and he was the sheriff of the town. While he wasn't a Supernatural creature himself, he kept finding himself in the middle of everything that happened. Stiles wanted him to be safe, to be alive.
And then, under the control of the Nogitsune, he had blown up the Sheriff station. He had injured several of the people that had been in his life for years. The people that helped his Dad, that helped others, that had saved people. That swore themselves to this town. That helped him with homework or just listened to his troubles. That kept him company while he waited for his Dad. He had killed them and then fed off the pain for his own benefit - for the Nogitsune to grow stronger. He hadn't been in control, hadn't been truly aware of what was happening, but it had been his hands that put the bomb together, his body that housed the Nogitsune, his voice spouting those lies and pretending to help, only to maim and hurt people. It had been him, him, him, him and the damned Nogitsune that was ever present in his head-.
Where the fuck was the Nogitsune? His head was empty, it was just him. Fear jolted through Stiles for two reasons and he bolted up. The Nogitsune was supposed to be in his head, fighting against him for control and Stiles was supposed to keep it there and if it wasn't there, then it was likely somewhere else, causing chaos and hurting people and he couldn't allow it and more importantly, he wouldn't be able to stop it. The second reason was that Stiles had become so accustomed to having the fox in his head that he wasn't used to being alone anymore. He wasn't used to having his head completely his, completely empty with only his own thoughts and he was so empty, so void, so vacant, that he didn't like it and didn't know what to do.
The boy resting besides him shot up with a start, eyes frantically darting around before landing on him. "Stiles!" He cried, a massive grin appearing on his puppy face and Stiles felt a pang in his head as he remembered, truly remembered, what the fox did to him. Of the dreams and nightmares, the freedom and the chains, the happiness and the misery. All of it fake but all of it so real to him. So vivid yet he couldn't even remember it all. The scars that remained in his skin and the ones that washed away when he woke up.
This was a dream. Another trick. He couldn't fall for this again. He couldn't let the fox take everything from him again. But, if there was even a slight chance that this was real - it never was - then he had to find the fox. Even in his dreams, he sought out the fox because out of everything that was real and fake, out of what the fox made up, there was only one thing that was truly there, truly still present - the fox. The fox was real and it was never gone, just hiding where he couldn't see or feel it.
The Nogitsune was the only real and true thing in this mess of nightmares.
"Where are you, Nogi?" Stiles demanded, voice hoarse with tiredness and anger. His voice sounded broken to his own ears but he couldn't care less. Pride meant nothing to him. Maybe it once did but not anymore. All that mattered was the Nogitsune. It had ruined everything but it was the only constant in his miserable life - the only thing he could seek out to ground him to ensure that something was real. He had long since stopped counting his fingers or trying to read. He had stopped trying to tell if he was awake or asleep. It never mattered in the long run. The only thing that did was Nogi, the little shit. The puppy - Scott gaped at him.
"Stiles?" Scott gasped, lifting himself up. He watched Stiles carefully but Stiles couldn't care less - he needed to find Nogi. That damn little shit. He looked around the room, knowing it was his bedroom in the house he grew up in, but also knowing that this wasn't real and this was as far from reality as it could be. It was fake, all so fake. Another trick, another deception. Nogi knew that Stiles didn't truly believe these were real anymore but knew that it still hurt him anyway and honestly, it was all just a punch to the gut. It was as Nogi said; 'there's a reason why the oldest tricks still work'. He could literally hear his own voice saying it, his own lips allowing the words, his face staring back at him. Sometimes Nogi pretended to be him. It was the worst. Stiles couldn't look in a mirror anymore and he had long since seen his face as his own. It was basically the Nogitsune's now.
Go fuck yourself, Nogi.
"Stop it with your damn tricks, Nogi. I'm not in the mood for your bullshit," Stiles hissed, glaring around the room. Sometimes Nogi would actually listen to him and stop the entire illusion, knowing that Stiles wouldn't believe it anymore. That usually resulted in the fox abandoning these dreams and replacing them with nightmares of blood and chains, of whips and tortures, of darkness and fear. He wasn't sure which was worse, really.
"Stiles-," Scott tried to speak but Stiles waved his hand, interrupting whatever he was going to say. Stiles loved Scott, he truly did. Even with his mind broken and memories fractured, he remembered enough of him to know that he cared for him more than he cared for his own life (not that that said much, Stiles would kill himself if it meant he'd finally get a good night's rest, so). But most importantly, he knew that this wasn't real and he was just being used against him to hurt him. So, Scott could go fuck himself.
"Shut up Scotty, I'm busy. Go back to not existing, yeah?" Stiles snapped and Scott reeled back, as if Stiles had just slapped him with a steel bat coated in Wolfsbane. Stiles would absolutely love to hit Nogi with a bat covered in fox poison. The satisfaction would be amazing. Scott looked to be a mixture of shocked and hurt but once again, Stiles ignored him, this time in favour of looking around the room. It was a bit messy, probably exactly as he left it, but it was somewhat clean. As in, not covered in dust. Well, that made this a bit more bearable. Nogi liked playing with dust and making it into objects - usually an animal that it could pretend kill. The murderous fox demon spirit making an animal out of dust - only to kill it, however. It was oddly cute in a sickening way.
Stiles looked around the room, hoping for a telltale sign that the fox was present. Usually there would be a drawing on the wall that gave the fox away, or the shadows in the room would seem more prominent, ready to sweep him up and suck him into the void. Or the bed and his body would be covered in blood, as if Stiles had murdered someone and hadn't bothered to take a shower - that was one of the fox's favourite ones. Probably because it knew that killing people really kept Stiles up at night - not that he slept, but you get the point intended, right?
Stiles searched the room for any of the usual signs but came out empty. Sunlight streamed through the curtains, bathing the room in light. There were little shadows. He couldn't spot any drawings - although, Nogi had gotten better at hiding them throughout the years or sometimes just not bothered if he really wanted to trick him. Stiles' mind was getting foggy again, making it harder to think. He knew what he needed to do and he could feel himself going slightly onto autopilot.
But everything was so... hard. He's used to the constant presence in his head and for the life of him, he just can't feel the Nogitsune. He's so...empty. It's like he's only half of himself despite the fact he's more himself now than he's been in years.
He's shutting down, he realises slowly. His eyes are closing. He vaguely notices that Scott catches him before he falls back, instead lowering him back down to the bed. Stiles blinks, uncomprehending. His own thoughts echo back like screams. Why is his head so empty again? Right, he needs to fight...
He returns to the fight, to the bloody battlefield he's become so accustomed to over the years, only to find there's nothing there. Just more emptiness. Stiles slips into a restless sleep, that feels far too hollow to be true.
So, I've had this in the works for months. I got it done within like, 2 weeks? Honestly probably less. But I kinda gave up at the last scene. But I put so much effort into it, I don't want to just abandon it so I gave it a bit of an ending so I could publish it. Also, sorry for the lack of editing. I just wanted this over with.
This fic can just be an open ending. Stiles is really free from the Nogitsune now and I guess over time, he starts to learn that it's real. I may or may not write a follow up to this fic one day, but please don't get your hopes up, because I generally don't think I will. If I do, it'll probably only be another one shot, making this a tWo shot.
Things to clear up:
- The pack couldn't defeat the Nogitsune since they didn't know how. Stiles, through pure willpower, manages to keep the fox trapped within him and doesn't let it take over. The fox low-key chooses to stay until he can take him over. He's like, 1000 years old, 2 years is nothing to him.
- Stiles has been in Eichen House for 3 years (at the end of the fic, anyway). So, this is based after the series. Stiles wouldn't have appeared after season 3. so, all the other seasons continued without him.
- Liam is just a desperate boi, lmao. At that point, I think he just wanted someone to talk to that Scott trusts.
- Theo did originally go after Stiles and briefly take him but it wasn't mentioned. (Will probably be if a second part is added.) Stiles has some physical scars from that.
- Quite a bit of Stile's torture was actually real due to the abuse he received at Eichen and someone being influenced/mini possessed (or whatever Nogi did to Oliver) and actually physically tortured Stiles. His Dad doesn't know because Stiles shows so sign of anything.
- Stiles hasn't spoken in 2 1/2 years until he spoke to his Dad just then.
Pretty sure that sums up everything just in case y'all were confused. Have fun and stay awesome.