Derek couldn’t stop his fingers from tapping against the wheel while he waited for Stiles to arrive. It was hard enough for him letting Stiles out of his sight but now he was late coming to meet him and he could feel that old familiar panic starting to crawl up the back of his throat. Something was wrong, he just knew that something had happened to Stiles. Again.
Jumping out of the car he stormed into the school letting his nose lead him around the building following the scent of his lover, discarding the older trails until he found one leading away from the school and towards the fields in the back of the building and beyond. Stiles would not have followed just anyone away from him, this had to be the work of someone he trusted. Taking a deep breath he filled his lungs with the scent, his inner rage calming slightly at the tangible proof that Stiles was nearby, and began to parse out all the other scents surrounding his.
There were older trails circling around and around the field, the tang of old sweat and pain filled his mouth and made him grimace in distaste. A few headed in the same direction that Stiles had gone, but those were also older and in a large group each one blending seamlessly with the others. The only other scent that could not be explained away by the location was of a wolf. This came from someone older than any of the students here, but younger than the teachers. He could practically feel the fur brushing against his face as he began to hunt towards the forest.
He would find Stiles and this time he would protect him.
“Hold on my love, I’m coming for you.”
Laura could feel her head begin to pound as Scott kept talking and talking and talking. She had been certain he would run himself down eventually but it seemed like he was just picking up steam the longer he ran on.
“We can’t just do this. It’s Stiles!”
Scott didn’t seem to understand that he was going to lose Stiles either way, this way the rest of them at least had a chance of surviving this mess. They weren’t the ones who took Stiles away from Derek in the first place. They weren’t the ones who kept him away from the guy. They had nothing at all to do with this, but they were still set to pay for it with their lives and that just wasn’t fair. She was trying to even the playing field a bit.
Derek might have their lives in his hands, but now she had his.
“I know it’s Stiles Scott, I love him as much as you do, but this has to happen like this.”
“Why?” Laura whipped around quickly, she was so focused on Scott she had forgotten about Stiles. She had tied him to a tree and immediately been distracted by Scott and his whining. She could smell small drops of his blood, his wrists already rubbed raw and rough from his instinctive twisting and turning. Now he was calm though, his voice the same curious lilting timber he always seemed to have when he asked a question. He just really wanted to understand anything and everything in the world around him. He seemed to think that everything in the world was simply common place information and all he had to do was ask enough questions and then he would understand it all. The concept of privacy was simply lost on him.
“Because if we don’t Derek will run roughshod over all of us until there’s nothing left, as long as we have you we have leverage.” They could use Stiles to get rid of Derek, she knew they could, she just knew it.
“Why would Derek care enough about me to do anything? Sure the sex is good and the conversation is even better, don’t tell him I said that, but we just met like a week ago. I haven’t been around long enough to be leveraged.”
“You don’t understand.” She wished her mother had at least tried to explain things to Stiles before. If he’d already had a working base knowledge of the situation this entire operation would have run a hell of a lot smoother. If she tried to tell him now, alone in the woods, he would simply think she’d gone crazy. How do you explain an entire forgotten life without sounding like you should be committed to help contain the voices in your head.
“Of course I don’t understand, you won’t explain.” He sounded so put out by not getting a straight answer to his questions it made her laugh, which if the look on his face was anything to go by made her look even crazier in his eyes. Great.
“Because you wouldn’t believe me!”
“You’re a werewolf, my belief bar is fairly high. Why don’t you try me.”
“No, this isn’t the time for a lecture or a story or whatever this would turn out to be. Now is the time for action not words.” They needed to move Stiles and soon, she wasn’t sure exactly what Derek was capable of but he had to at least be able to track as well as they did. If Derek found them before they could make their first offer everything would be ruined.
“Actions without words are usually mistakes.”
“Not this time.”
“Every time.” He sounded so certain it made her entire being pause, her mind stopped racing for the first time since she came up with this plan and she just stood still. This couldn’t be a mistake, it just couldn’t be, if this was a mistake then everything would get worse not better and they couldn’t do worse. She couldn’t do worse, and she shouldn’t have to. They had nothing to do with this!
“Stiles you don’t get it. This is the only way. We aren’t going to hurt you, you know that, you know us. What we are going to do though is hide you away for a while. Just until he agrees to our terms. Which he will.”
“If you’re so sure he’ll agree with you, why do you sound so scared?”
“Shut up Stiles.”
Derek made his way towards the Hale house, he hadn’t been able to find Stiles in the woods and so he moved on to plan B. He set his most loyal servants to scouring the area while he went to the only wolves who would dare to stand against him. He would explain their options and their response would help to decide their fate.
He had been willing to let them go relatively unharmed. While what Stiles had said to him hadn’t really lessened their culpability in his eyes it had at least reminded him that his lover was a man of mercy and restraint. He could show mercy in his name, a gift to welcome back the ways of old. Then that mercy instead of being recognized and respected was spat on and snubbed. He would not offer the same thing twice. There would be no more mercy.
Nothing and no one would stay his hand now.
He found Talia, the alpha of this pitiful gathering of wolves and men, standing in her front lawn much the way she had been the first time he’d set eyes on her. Her back was straight and her eyes were wary, she knew his rage could likely smell it enveloping her with every step he took towards her home, but there was also confusion buried deep in her eyes. She knew he was angry, she even knew he was angry with her, but didn’t know why. If she had been involved in this plan to take Stiles from him there would be no confusion to be found, she would have been prepared for his rage. Especially with Deaton whispering old fables into her ear at every turn.
Perhaps there was room for mercy after all.
“One of your wolves has taken Stiles. While I can not place them I have smelled them here on this property before. This wolf is female and only a few years older than the children she tried to mask her scent with at the school. You will find her and find Stiles and return them both to me. If you fail to abide by this order I will move forward with my plans to eradicate your entire pack leaving nothing behind but smoldering embers. Do I make myself clear?”
Turning away from the woman he made his way out of the preserve and towards town. He would need to find Deaton next, if the mage had anything to do with this latest attack he would see him skinned and his body displayed as a warning. No one would ever come at him through Stiles again.
Talia re-entered her home where she had ordered the rest of her pack to shelter when she’d sensed Derek approaching. They hadn’t found a way to turn back the curse on Stiles yet and she had feared that their grace period had run short. She had been prepared to offer herself as sacrifice for the safety of the children of the pack. The others above the age of twenty-five had all agreed to serve in reserve should her lone life not be enough to appease him.
In the end their brave sacrifice had been unnecessary. Derek had not come for blood, at least not yet. It was clear that he would hunt them, and soon, but not today. Today they had another reprieve and she was terrified that it had been Laura and her strong headed belief in her own invincibility that had granted them that stay of execution.
She knew her daughter meant well, but she also knew that her little girl would never see reason, she would see their continued survival as proof that she was right to take this action. She would overlook that fact that she hadn’t delayed anything at all, but sped everything up. While it was true that Derek was a threat that would eventually become a true problem for them as long as Stiles had been by his side and served as their advocate they had time to find a more peaceful solution to their problems. Now they were targeted and the only thing staying that monster’s hand was the need to find Stiles first.
“We need to find Laura.” Looking into her dear younger brothers too knowing eyes she knew a hard choice was coming. In the end a sacrifice would be required, Derek was too old and too powerful to be able be placated by anything other than blood, but it would seem a specific sacrifice had been chosen and she didn’t know what she could do to stop it.
“Yes we do.” It would likely wound her soul to make this choice, but as the alpha it was her responsibility to make it regardless.
Stiles wasn’t sure what was going on, but he knew that whatever it was it had to have a supernatural influence to it. There was no way that Scott, his best friend practically a long lost brother Scott would do something like this of his own free will. Laura must have lost her mind or something, her incoming alpha-ness fried her brain and now she was a pod person. That was the only explanation he could find.
He watched the two of them argue from across the clearing and tried to calm himself down and think of a plan that might actually get him out of this. They had tied him to the tree with rope and the knot was almost navy recruit grade leaving no way to really untie himself easily and anything he did was bound to draw attention to him and that was the last thing he wanted or needed with Laura being so out of it.
He had tried every out he could think of already and all he had managed to do was tear up his own skin and nearly soak the ropes in blood. He was about to start talking again hoping that his gift of gab would finally start working for him rather than against him when he noticed movement just behind the still arguing pair. It was his dad, coming to the rescue as always. While he didn’t want Scott or Laura hurt there was no way on this earth he would ever pass up a rescue from such mind numbing boredom, they had tied him to a tree like an errant puppy and then just left him there. Rude wasn’t a strong enough word to describe what he thought of that particular aspect of the plan.
Watching his dad creep closer he was stunned that neither wolf had busted him yet. While his father was generally stealthy by human standards in the world of super hearing and superior sniffer he should have been caught before he ever got out of the car. This was just another in a long line of reasons why he was sure that something weird was going on there.
He almost called out to them on instinct when he saw the tranquilizer gun go up, but he figured a good nap might do the two of them good and help them walk back from the balcony of crazy. Seeing them both thud against the packed dirt floor he knew himself to be a petty, petty man. There was no other reason why the sight of them slumped against each other on the forest floor would fill him with such glee.
Seeing his dad’s determined face as he strode towards him to cut him loose filled him with both pride and joy, he was safe and would be home and back to Derek soon. He couldn’t help but feel this small well of disquiet deep within himself though, and it was growing with every step his father took. There was something wrong here. Just like with Laura and her behavior something wasn’t adding up here and if there was one thing Stiles hated when it came to his dad it was puzzles. He could feel his eyes moving rapidly around their sockets while he searched his dad’s face looking for some kind of hint or clue of what was wrong, or even if there was something wrong at all and found nothing.
It wasn’t until his dad was on the other side of the tree untying him that it hit him how odd that was. His father was an expressive person, heck at times it seemed like he was overly expressive but he had seen no emotion at all on his dad’’s face when he moved behind him. No relief, no anger, no stress, nothing but blank nearly dead looking eyes. Whatever had taken over Laura had obviously done a number on his dad too and that was a violation he would never let just slip by.
“Dad, what’s up?” Hopefully if he could get him talking he could figure this out. He hadn’t tried that, or at least hadn’t pushed too hard for it when it was Scott and Laura because not only was he outnumbered but while he trusted Scott completely Laura was more of a wild card. A wild card he didn’t not want to set off if he could help it, but this was different. This was his dad.
“We’re leaving.” Still no inflection. That couldn’t be a good sign.
“We are leaving Beacon Hills, you’re not safe here anymore.” Not safe? What was this? Had his dad found out about wolves and this was his reaction? It would explain why his father was walking around with a tranquilizer gun in his holster.
He didn’t want to leave Beacon Hills, not now when he finally had a friend, and a pack, and a Derek. It wasn’t fair but at the same time he remembered the epic freak out that followed the revelation for him and he figured his dad deserved his own reaction, no matter how extreme or one-sided it might be. If his dad wanted to get out of town for a few days to feel safe again, then they could do that. It wasn’t like they wouldn’t come back, Beacon Hills was their home where else would they go?