chapter twenty-six {part three}

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okay but season seven criminal minds is god tier

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get ready...warning i'm a bitch and there's a teeny cliffhanger

friday, august 8 [7:01 pm]
beacon hills, california
third person pov

Stiles hated the silent battles. The loud, horrible clash of weapons mixed with the anger, passion-ridden shouts, those battles were the ones he could handle. Silence meant issues. Silence meant death.

Even worse were the battles that fell silent from their previous tumult.

The last enemy died without a sound of pain or protest as Stiles jerked his arm so the blade slid from the creature's eye before it collapsed. The luminescent black pod had no more foot soldiers to give and with a shudder that echoed across the field, the thing that they'd been fighting against shuddered and died, leaving nine figures behind in its wake.

It was quiet.

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thursday, august 7 [9:47 pm]
several hours earlier....
third person pov

Bruce shoved a dingy-looking cup of water into Stiles' hands and stepped back so Stiles had a clear view of Tony gesturing wildly as his mouth flew through whatever he had to say. Stiles shook his head to clear the ringing that still lingered in his ears from his short moment of bond with Thomas, glancing down at his murky reflection in the water. His head ached and he blinked slowly, eyes falling shut for a moment.

If only he had a moment of quiet, if only the ringing and distant shouting of his teammates would stop, then he could close his eyes and pretend that this mess wasn't fucking real.

A hand gripped his shoulder, dragging him back to the makeshift campfire and the deafened frustration as Steve and Tony continued to hash it out across the circle. Nat sat beside him, her hand dropping away before she spoke lowly, "Your ears still ringing?"

It sounded like a garbled mess and Stiles suddenly wished he hadn't learned how to read lips. He grimaced, "I'm fine. I wish you all would stop worrying about me and focus on finding..." he swallowed, stopping himself for a moment before finishing with a steady voice, "an end to this disaster."

Nat nodded quietly, eyes falling over his face shortly before scanning over the rest of their team. Bruce was still slumped on the grass, fiddling with a series of test tubes. Thor was playing with his hammer, a back and forth throwing that reminded Stiles of those ping pong paddles with the attached ball. Clint had wandered off, probably to double check the perimeter while Steve and Tony settled whatever dispute they had found in the past ten minutes.

Nat gripped his hand, drawing his attention back to her as the hesitance disappeared from her eyes and she spoke slowly for him to understand, "Clint found a trail. He's tracking it from a distance to see what it leads to."

Stiles' heart hammered to a stop before dropping to his feet, "A trail?" He hadn't meant to shout it, in fact he thought he had whispered it, but his fucked hearing had knocked up the volume enough that Tony and Steve fell silent and stared at them, more specifically at Nat.

Tony glowered, "You told him?"

"You weren't going to," Nat defended, crossing her arms, "He's a senior agent, not a child that needs protecting."

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