derek & stiles, stiles/heather| pre-slash | like a comet pulled from orbit (ao3)
Scott is still half raging at Derek. Has been at it for a while. Because what the hell, a pack of freakin’ Alphas?! He’s only known about that threat for barely a week—not through Derek, of course, sharing information of his own accord is still too much to ask for from the guy—and they’re already being poked with sticks, as if they’re an entertainment for this Alpha pack, an experiment. The worst yet, is that they’re attacking humans; innocent, unassuming humans. Indiscriminately.
And okay, maybe he’s blowing it out of proportion a little, but Danny got hurt. Scott hates it when any of his friends and people he likes get hurt. And he really likes Danny. Danny smells really good. Almost as much as Allison.
Technically, he knows it isn’t Derek’s fault—at least not this time—but Scott can never really let go of how Derek played him at the beginning. How he manipulated him into helping out with the Crazed Alpha Peter and then blew Scott’s chance at a cure just to become the Alpha; all of that for power. How Derek lectured him about his relationship with Allison, how he bit three of Scott’s classmates and then wanted to kill Lydia and Jackson and—
He’s also sore from being manhandled like a ragdoll by that really, really big Alpha dressed as a nurse at the hospital. He didn’t get any open gashes and what few bruises he’d gotten from being throw around had healed a long ago, but just worrying about his mom being on the same floor, defenseless, just a few rooms ahead of them… made him more than a little touchy.
She’d still been checking Danny over, probably. Danny’s new boyfriend had stayed by his side, too. And Scott wants Danny to be happy because this guy—Evan, he thinks?—actually looks alright. Danny is a great guy but he has horrible taste in men, be it boyfriends (some jerk that’s broken his heart) or crushes (Matt; stalker, psycho, kanima master, kanima Matt) or best friends (Jackson).
For once Danny seems to have struck the jackpot and Scott’s ready to do whatever it takes to keep it on the right track. On the rainbow road. Metaphor—meteorologically? Yeah. Scott remembers Stiles always using that word.
Suddenly, Derek jerks his head back and it’s as if there’s a zing coursing through his entire being.
“Isaac,” he whispers, eyes glazing. Then, just as suddenly, he takes off like a star athlete. Seriously, now that Jackson’s gone Scott is the fastest runner in the cross-country team (Isaac is right behind him and Boyd’s the one with better resistance) but Derek’s just ridiculous. He’s like, a rocket launcher, dude!
Scott gapes, jaw askew. “Derek, what the hell?!” he yells. He isn’t done yet!
“Isaac, Scott,” he throws back, hissing. “Isaac’s in danger!” Derek’s tone is harsh, as if he’s angry Scott can’t just tell what’s going on and has to even ask and—uh. Maybe he really is.
Scott has never seen Derek sound and look so worried, ever. And then it kick in: Stiles telling him how desperate Derek always looked whenever Scott got into trouble; how Scott had scoffed and not believed it, not really.
He feels a little bad and feels his face pulling his sheepish expression; the one he that never fails to make his mom or Stiles or Mr. Stilinski groan and cover their eyes and say they won’t fall for it. The one that makes Allison giggle—that used to make Allison giggle openly.
Scott pushes the guilty heaviness down. Derek still pisses him off the most; no matter what. And right now his—Derek’s—their priority in common is getting to Isaac and making sure he’s safe.
Scott shifts and rushes after Derek on all-fours.
It’s madness until they burst through the animal clinic’s doors, Scott calling out for Dr. Deaton as he and Derek carry Isaac, weight distributed between the two of them. They had found him already having been rescued by some motorcycle-riding hot chick and Scott had spat a river of ‘thank you’s as Derek hoisted Isaac to the backseat of the Camaro. Turns out she’s Deaton’s daughter.
A car screeches right in front of the entrance and Stiles is speeding and slamming ahead of them into the room where Deaton awaits their arrival.
Scott feels instantly better just knowing his best friend is there. They need all the help they can get and though Isaac comes first it doesn’t hurt that supernatural crap is a great distraction for Stiles. It takes his brain completely out of other stuff. Scott has noticed, that Stiles has been losing himself in his own mind a lot, more than usual; trying to work out things with his dad, putting his obsession with Lydia at the bottom of his list, the recent ‘started really fucking good, ended really embarrassingly uncool’ tryst with Heather…
Between all those things and running around town fighting for their lives it’s obvious what’s most important.
Derek divests himself of his leather jacket right away. Then he’s striping Isaac of all of his clothes as Deaton observes Isaac’s eyeballs, reactions, pulse. Meanwhile, Scott and Stiles maneuver the steel table around and get water into the tub as Deaton instructs them to.
“What’s wrong with him?” Derek demands. “He feels… he’s giving out a confused vibe,” he says, sounding confused himself.
“Yes, he’s clearly very disoriented. The wounds are closing at a very slow rate, as expected, but what is really worrying me are the perforations by the sides of his skull.”
Scott looks over in alarm and Derek is looking more enraged by the second.
“I’m afraid so. They must have tampered with his mind quite a bit, moved things around. We can only hope nothing’s been erased, just disarranged. We’ll bring him back to us through shock by hopefully triggering his most primal survival instinct” Deaton says, nodding his chin in Stiles and the tub’s direction. Next he’s boring into Derek. “Then it all depends on you, Derek.”
Swallowing, Derek closes his fists and lays them over his legs. Scott doesn’t believe his jaw can possibly clench tighter. “I can’t,” Derek says. Scott’s about to rise from the chair and punch his infuriating face in, how dare he—
“I can’t do it, I… I don’t know how.” Derek sounds lost and Scott deflates. He gets it now, and how much it’s costing Derek that he can’t help Isaac. Derek jerks his chin up, determined. “We need Peter. Isaac needs Peter.”
The bag of ice falls to the floor. Feeling conflicted, Scott stands there, amid being against the bad, terrible idea or… embracing it, as the only way—the only solution they have.
“That’s decided then,” Stiles pipes, strained. “Now let’s get this show on the road, dudes! Doggy needs a flea bath, c’mon!”
Scott chokes on a laugh and passes Stiles the ice, which he promptly dumps into the water-filled tub. Hands free, Scott reaches for a now naked Isaac. He gently puts him inside the tub and steps back. Stiles fumbles with his sleeves, dragging them up the length of his arms. He puts a hand on one of Isaac’s shoulders, thumb by his collarbone.
“Let’s do this thing,” he says locking eyes with Derek as the other covers the juncture of Isaac’s neck with his palm. Derek nods and Scott watches, impressed, as the two of them remain perfectly synchronized as they submerge Isaac into the tub, water flooding out and onto the floor, ice cubes bumping into each other.
Silence rules the space as time goes by. Stiles starts to move restlessly after only a few seconds, thumping a beat with his foot.
Derek huffs. “Stop that.”
Stiles pokes the inside of his cheek with his tongue and looks at Derek disdainfully. “This is a very stressing situation, y’know, just ‘cause you’re insensitive and able to remain—“He gestures at the entirety of Derek’s form enthusiastically. “—statuesque—statue-like, I mean, and cold-stone still, doesn’t mean real boys of flesh and bone are the same.”
“If you’re jealous I can make it so you won’t move a limb anymore. Ever again.”
“Oh, ha ha, good going, funny guy. Had you just broken some bones we wouldn’t have to be drowning you dear Beta like it’s a perfectly normal rescue method!”
“Don’t be stupid,” Derek grits out. “This is different; that wouldn’t do anything. His body would just have more to heal. And with our friggin’ luck it would end up—”
It’s pretty much impossible to come between them when they set their love/hate deal, whatever it is, in motion so Scott focuses on the bubbles floating to the surface of the water and trusts Isaac’s gonna be fine. They’ve got to be optimistic.
Getting impatient, Scott looks at his boss. He’s frowning. “Dr. Deaton…”
“It’s been two minutes now,” the vet informs after checking his wristwatch. “Let’s wait a bit more.”
“Are you sure? Because—”
Isaac lurches up, water splashing out, his eyes a toasty yellow, fangs stretching from his gums.
“Oh my God!” Stiles falters but doesn’t let go of Isaac, keeping him in touch with someone familiar, keeping him grounded. Derek is doing the same.
Moving his free hand and gripping Isaac’s nape, Derek speaks slowly, “Isaac? Can you hear me?” At that, Isaac’s head snaps to Derek and he snarls. The hand Derek has on the back of Isaac’s neck gives it a squeeze but the volume of the snarl intensifies.
Stiles goes “Oh-oh…” eyes widening but refuses to wield and stands his ground.
Hazel goes red in a blink. Derek presses his fingers deeper. “Isaac,” he calls again. And Isaac listens and sees and changes back.
“Derek,” he rasps. “Wha’ happened? Everything’s… fuzzy.” He coughs a bit, droplets of water dribbling down his chin. Scott approaches the tub, his stomach feeling less like it took a beating with a lacrosse stick drenched in wolfsbane. He’s only a feet away when Isaac looks at him funny. Turning to Derek he asks, “Where’s my dad, s’he gonna take long?”
Scott’s stomach drops.
Derek schools his face. He tugs Isaac up by holding him under the arms and moves him so that Stiles can easily slide a towel over Isaac’s wet shoulders. “Don’t worry about that, you’re gonna be fine. Rest,” Derek says, his last word an order.
Isaac only hums, his eyelids too heavy for him to keep them up.
Peter has just freed his claws and now presses them feather-light to Isaac’s temporal lobes. “This might hurt.”
Looking briefly at Derek, who’s looming at the corner, Isaac waits. Waits for Derek’s head to dip before directing at Peter a swift, “Just do it.”
Screams and ragged whimpers rip into the air and Derek forces himself not to run to Isaac and stop whatever it is that’s making him suffer as an Alpha should for a member of his pack.
Before he can avoid it he’s reliving Peter’s speech about the power of human love and sneering at it. The power of human love? What, like Isaac’s dad, who abused him for years, tortured him, locked him away for hours, and starved him? Like Kate, who used Derek’s youth and naivety against him and torched his family to ashes? Like Allison’s mother, who made her choice to commit suicide and leave her husband, her daughter? Or maybe like Allison herself, who loves Scott so fiercely and yet almost killed him, maybe really would have had he stood in her path for revenge? Like—
Like Aunt Veronica, who was so strong and so human and so full of love for Peter and their kids. Like… like Silas and Skylar, born one after the other, boy before girl, Skylar the perfect copy of Peter in a human girl’s body. Like Great Aunt Marianne who would always be there for Laura and Cora and Derek after the fire, every time the loneliness hit them too hard to bear with only the three of them.
All goes quiet and Derek flickers his eyes open. Peter is crouching next to a shivering Isaac who’s cradling his face in his hands. It’s clear as the day that Scott wants to get closer. Derek puts distance between the brick wall and his back. When he crouches in front Isaac he asks, stoic, “Your dad?”
Derek’s brows are still furrowed as he raises his hand and ruffles Isaac’s still humid curls but Scott can tell how relieved he is. Isaac bit his lower lip and give him a small smile, his shivers calming down.
Scott can’t stop his own dopey grin from surfacing.
The morning sun is shining through glass, raining the desk with brighter stripes. Derek is working out, doing push-ups by the windows when Peter enters, a second set of footsteps following.
“Look what I found,” Peters speaks up, exceedingly amused. Hidden behind that is true contentment though. Derek is thorn between being scared shitless or maybe hopeful for some good news. “A stray.”
It doesn’t help him to look up. Actually, it makes it worse.
“Cora. I told to stay put—oof.” His sermon is cut short by an armful of teenage female werewolf. Why is his life so damn difficult, why can’t Derek have a little peace, why does it always get a hundred times worse 5 minutes after it looks like it’ll get better?
Derek breathes out heavily and embraces her with a tight squeeze. She mumbles into his chest; he can’t pick up one real word out of it and tells her so. Cora squirms out of his embrace and punches him on the arm as strongly as she’s hugged him. He oofs again, caught off-guard.
“You—” She pokes her finger harshly into his chest, eyes ablaze. “—are an ass, Derek. Do you know how worried I’ve been? You told me to stay with Great Aunt Marianne when you came after Laura and said you didn’t want to leave me alone in New York and I stayed. You told me to stay well out of Beacon Hills when you called telling about Laura being gone and I, I stayed, Derek, I did. But do you how freaking hard that was for me? Do you?!”
“I couldn’t risk losing you too.”
“Screw you! But it’s okay for me to lose you? Screw you!”
“Now, now, let’s not user improper language. Where’s the decorum, Coral—”
Cora swirls like a hurricane. “And screw you too, Uncle Peter! What the hell, how could you? Laura loved you! She loved you so much!”
Peter’s mask cracks and for that fleeting moment he looks as cut open has Kate had left Laura. “And I loved her just as much, Cora. That was never put in question,” he says. Derek is impressed and furious by the control he exercises to not let his voice break. “It would never occur to me to even ask for forgiveness, not of Derek, not of you. I will never be able to forgive myself for it. No matter how many times I rationalize it: that is was because of the trauma of the fire, because of the hunger for vengeance, because of my agonizingly torturous sickness…
“The pain of having lost so many loved one was already unbearable and I still killed one of the few survivors with my own hands. My family. My niece. My Alpha. The fact that I wasn’t in full control of my mental capacities—it does absolutely nothing to appease the regret and guilt and I make sure to remember myself every day that there is no pardon possible.” His eyes had wandered outside, looking through the window, as he spoke. Peter then jerks, imperceptibly to the human eye, as he feels both Derek’s and Cora’s eyes boring into him. Swiftly gathering himself, Peter smirks; but Derek can tell with certainty he’s not putting all of himself in it.
“Uncle Peter…” Biting the inside of her cheek, Cora closes her fists and takes a step in Peter’s direction. He brushes her hair and tucks the wild strand fleeing her ponytail behind her ear.
Derek drags a chair and drops down on it, legs splaying and hands scrubbing at random sweat drops that cling to his forehead before he’s digging into his thighs with his nails. “They’re dead. They’re all dead now and there’s nothing we can do change that.” Derek inhales. “They killed our family; you killed them. You killed Laura; I killed you.” He looks up, finds Peter’s eyes with his. “You came back. We can’t bring everyone back, it’s impossible, but you, you were able to come back. And you’re here now, with us. And you’re here to stay.”
Peter narrows his eyes. “I’m here to stay,” he assures and for once he doesn’t sound like he’s on an ego trip.
“Just as I have no right to beg for forgiveness I also have no right to tell you you can trust me, so I won’t. So I’m just going to say I’m here for you. And that I’ll have your back. And, whatever else I may get up to, I won’t stab it ever again.”
Derek doesn’t say anything, just acknowledges the information with a stiff nod. And he can do nothing else but wait for his decisions to not come and bite him in the ass. Again.
“I believe Coraline should be acquainted with the rest of the pack. Don’t you agree, Derek?”
Cora jolts. “Uncle.” She pauses. “Don’t call me that,” she says stoically, with that clear-cut underlying hazard she’s always had, and in that moment Derek is transported in time and place; he’s at the preserve, at home—in their former house. Peter is quizzing a 10-year-old Cora after helping her with her Math homework and baiting her by calling her by her full name each time she gets an answer wrong. She rarely ever failed but once was enough for her blue eyes to start flashing in warning and for Peter to start laughing, delighted as he ran out of the house into the woods, a protesting little Cora fast on his tail.
It’s a burning feeling—remembering.
Narrowing his eyes, Derek tries to read Peter’s intentions. That he’s planning something is empirical but still Derek would like to know what to be prepared for. It’s best to test the waters first, so he plays a safe card. “…I’ll call Isaac.”
Peter nods agreeably which makes Derek squint harder. “And?”
Ah. So this is where this is going. “And?” he echoes.
Raising an elegant brow, his uncle lets him know how not impressed he is. “Really? Don’t deliberately pretend to be overly obtuse, Derek. Now let’s try that again.”
Derek grits his teeth. “And nothing,” he emphasizes.
Peter sighs. “Scott and—”
“Scott has made it perfectly clear he’s not interested in being a part of this pack.”
“Yes, well. Such a stubborn child that one. Not that it matters what he says, really. At the end of the day it’s all the same. Enemy of my enemy is my friend, we all fight for the same side, bla, bla, bla. Boring.” Leaning against one of the pillars, Peter crosses his ankles, his hands finding the inside of his pockets. ”Should we just ring Stiles up then, and let the puppy be dealt with by the expert?”
Derek presses his lips, seething. “Peter, if you don’t shut up—”
“Stiles?” Cora inquires, looking at Peter. Then she slowly turns to Derek, mouth stretching in a teasing grin. “That your girlfriend, cous’?”
“No,” Derek says, body stiff. “No, Stiles isn’t by boyfriend, much less my girlfriend. What he is is an idiot who shouldn’t be involved in any of this mess in the first place.”
“Please, Derek,” Peter scoffs. “That kid is more of a wolf than that Jackson boy will ever be—if he lives long enough to even get ahold of his anchor, that is. Even you have to know that.”
“We’re not pulling humans into the middle of bloodshed again and that’s final. And Stiles… it’s beside the point; he stands wherever Scott does, so it would only be a waste of time.”
“Ah. So that is the real reason. Having a momentary strife of self-confidence, are you, dear nephew?” Peter taunts. Derek’s glare is something else, would probably be capable of bringing men to their knees, but Peter just looks entirely too pleased with himself. Even if that part of him wobbled the wolf would still hold it up.
His phone beeps and Derek’s eyes dismiss his uncle in favor of looking at the screen. Meanwhile, Peter resumes, undeterred. “I can’t, however, not point out how unsure you sounded as you—”
Derek spins on his feet. “Isaac’s on his way.” He broods over it before adding, “He was still at Deaton’s with Scott. He’s coming with.” And Derek isn’t glad about it at all. Nothing good will come out of getting his hopes up.
“Wonderful,” Peter says with a smile. “I dropped by the train depot to see how Boys was doing after you did a number on him. He’s out cold, snoring. Definitely not calmer, however, going by the level of destruction inside the car. I tightened his chains and collar.” Derek keeps on ice-glaring Peter and hoping he freezes over.
“Now that just leaves us missing one last but no less important member. And before you start throwing me against the furniture into submission let me get this out there: if you don’t let everyone’s favorite spastic boy in the loop, I will.”
Derek walks to Peter and puts a hand on his shoulder. “Do whatever you want. Just be warned I’m gonna let him dig through your laptop which both you and I know he’s been dying to get his hands on.” He grins, all sharp teeth. “And he’ll be thorough.”
Peter rolls his eyes, does it like he’s got a PhD on it. He struts out of the loft, most likely to come back in half an hour, dragging a sputtering Stiles by the elbow.
It’s one, two, three minutes later and Derek is still being ripped a new one by Cora when the alarm goes off.
And that’s when the Alphas barge in.
Isaac scurries next to him, dropping heavily to his knees. “Derek,” he says. “Derek you okay? Derek.” His voice sounds frantic and there are trembling fingertips brushing over the hole Kali plowed into his stomach.
Blood is pouring out of it like lava being expelled from a volcano but it’s closing at a regular rate. Thank fuck she’d used the damn pipe there and not her claws. His back though…
After a moment of hesitation Isaac has worked himself up to it and puts pressure into the wound, stalling the blood breakout. His arms go black-veined and Derek grabs his hand loosely.
“You don’need to do that,” he pants. Isaac eyes him like he’s crazy and then softens. His smile is small but genuine.
“I know,” he says. “But I want to. Just let me, Derek, okay?” Derek searches Isaac’s face before letting go. He’s a bit tired.
“Just a little,” Derek slurs, resigned. By ducking his head Isaac tries to hide but Derek knows he’s beaming.
“Sure, you’re the boss.”