In case you were wondering, this is how to tear things apart even more.
The note in the middle of Derek's kitchen counter reads:
I'm sorry I couldn't stay. Beacon Hills is no place for someone like me. You're welcome to use the cabin as much as you want – I won't be needing it anymore. The door's unlocked.
He leaves when it's still dark, with nothing but the clothes on his back and a well of memories in his heart. He doesn't look back.
Time is relative. Seven years with their son felt like the blink of an eye to Melissa and John, and the four weeks they've spent without him have felt like an eternity.
"Here," John says, handing her the last pair of Ryan's pants.
She tucks them into the box, seals it with masking tape, and sighs.
"I can drop it off tomorrow," John offers.
Melissa shakes her head, staring at the box. She'd dragged it up from the basement, where it's been since they moved here two years ago; Ryan, then aged five, had insisted on writing his own name on the box which was to carry his most prized possessions – his collection of dinosaur toys. He hadn't quite mastered the art of writing yet, so the a in his name is backwards and the R is so wobbly it looks more like a B.
"We can do it together," Melissa says, brushing her fingers along the name, imagining she can feel Ryan's hand against hers, his voice in her ear, his hair tickling her noise.
John pulls her to her feet and they leave his room, letting the door swing closed behind them.
"You should go to sleep," Melissa says to her husband, realizing how tired he looks.
He glances at the clock, stifling a groan when he sees that it's after three am. After the loss of their child time seemed to lose all meaning; sleeping habits fell out the window; everything else got put on hold.
"Six hours until the real estate agent is here for the final check," Melissa says wearily as they head into the kitchen.
"This time next week we'll be in a town two hours away," John reminds her, starting to boil water so he can make them both tea – or coffee, given that they'll have to be up in a few hours anyway.
"I can't believe we're leaving this town," Melissa muses, sinking into the chair at the kitchen table and resting her head in her hands. "It feels like we've been here for a lifetime."
"We have," John says, giving her a tired smile.
And maybe that's the point; they've been here for a lifetime, and they need to start their new life somewhere else. It won't be a clean break or a fresh start, but it's the best they can hope for.
At exactly 3.23, just when they're both considering going to bed, something happens. John, his cup halfway to his mouth, suddenly freezes; Melissa, holding onto Ryan's stuffed wolf, Peter, stiffens. They share a look, some unspoken understanding of the disaster that's befallen them. It shoots through Melissa's veins and stabs John in the heart, and without a word they embrace each other, knowing that they only have each other left now.
There's a quiet knock on Malia's door and she considers feigning sleep, but before she can make up her mind the door opens and someone walks in. Without even opening her eyes she knows who it is, and she slides over in the bed to make room for him. Isaac curls up beside her, a routine they've fallen into over the past couple of days, and for a few beats there's silence.
"You okay?" Malia mumbles after a while, and she feels Isaac stiffen, just slightly.
"The fact that I'm here," he says, running a lazy hand through her hair, "should be enough of an answer to that question."
Malia sighs, turning to face him. His eyes are dull, missing the spark she'd come to know so well, and even his words are lifeless, like he's just going through the motions.
"There's something I've been meaning to ask you," she says cautiously, and Isaac's expression becomes guarded but he doesn't stop her. "You knew Liam was training to become a full wolf, didn't you?"
"Yeah," Isaac says, his words still soft, now with a hint of something close to pain. He remembers helping Scott dig Liam's grave, remembers the pack gathering around to say their goodbyes. He remembers it all, and he needs a way to forget.
"Do you think there's a way we could do that?" Malia asks, her voice thick with sleep even though her eyes are bright. "Learn how to control it?"
"There's an instructor at Scott's facility," Isaac says slowly, "the guy who taught Liam. He says it's hard, but it's not impossible. So," he shrugs, "maybe we could."
Malia closes her eyes, listening to his heartbeat, his steady breathing, and she imagines what it would be like to be a coyote again. "I wouldn't come back," she says, and by the way Isaac's eyes soften she knows he understands.
"Maybe I wouldn't either." He adjust his position so that he's lying on his back, hands behind his head, starting at the ceiling. Malia rests her head against his chest, comforted by the gentle rise and fall. "I've got a question for you now."
She looks up at him. "Yeah?"
"Scott told me that Deaton found a cure," he says, "for being a werewolf."
When he doesn't continue, Malia states the obvious. "That's not a question."
Isaac chuckles, his hand drifting up to tangle in her hair again. "My question is: would you ever take it?"
Malia doesn't answer right away; she runs through all the possibilities in her mind, the ins and outs of being a werecoyote – the promise of something better, tainted by the chance of something so much worse.
"Maybe," she says at last, the only honest answer she can give. "What about you?"
She feels Isaac's heart skip a beat – just one – and then he takes a deep breath. "I already did."
Somehow this isn't surprising, and Malia opens her mouth to reply but then cuts herself off, feeling something like horror clenching around her heart. She looks at the clock; 3.23 am.
"Do you feel that?" she asks, suddenly terrified.
Isaac's hand stills, and then he keeps stroking her hair. "No," he admits quietly into the night, "I don't feel anything."
The zip on the suitcase closes with the finality of a coffin lid, and Lydia stares at the bag for a full minute before she can force herself to grab the handle. The wheels are a muffled whisper on the carpet as she drags it down the hallway, careful not to bump into anything lest she wake anyone up. She pauses outside the girls' room, but she can't bring herself to look in there; she can't change her mind. She thinks of the note she left on her side of the bed, of what Stiles will think when he reads it.
And then she thinks it doesn't matter, because Stiles is standing in front of the door with hurt and accusation shining in his eyes.
"You're leaving?" he says, his eyes falling onto her suitcase.
Lydia's heart catches in her throat and she struggles for a response; they've had the same argument a thousand times before, every possible variation of it, and there's nothing new to say. The only thing left is to act. "I'm sorry," she says, but it comes out less of an apology and more like a plea, like some part of her still thinks they can fix this.
"Don't go." His eyes are wide and pleading, and Lydia tears her gaze away, unable to bear the thought of causing him so much pain. "Please, Lyds, don't go."
"I have to." Her grip on the suitcase handle tightens. "Stiles, you saw what happened in Beacon Hills. We've tried so hard to keep the girls out of the supernatural, but we can't."
"We can keep trying," he pleads. "We don't need to go back to Beacon Hills. We can stay here and rebuild our life, away from anything supernatural -"
"No," Lydia says, her voice shaky but her eyes firm, "we can't. I'm supernatural. Remember? I can't hide that part of myself, and I can't let the girls find out. I can't keep them safe, Stiles."
"You've done a pretty good job so far," he says, with a smile that falls just short of reassuring.
Lydia lets go of the suitcase, brushing a hand against Stiles' cheek, trying not to cry. "I have to do this," she says. "I love you, Stiles, and I always will. And I love our daughters more than anything else in the world. But I can't put them in danger like that. I'm a banshee; death literally follows me everywhere I go. And I am not going to invite death into our house."
Stiles opens his mouth to protest, but at that moment there's the sound of gentle footsteps from the hall and both Stiles and Lydia turn to see their children coming toward them. Berry is rubbing sleep from her eyes, and Allie is clutching a teddy bear.
"Girls," Lydia says, hurriedly wiping away a tear that had managed to slip down her cheeks, "you shouldn't be up. Go back to sleep."
The twins look at their parents, and Lydia has the horrible feeling they know something is wrong.
"It's okay, girls," Stiles says, gesturing for them to go back to their room. "Your mom and I are just having a little talk."
"About what?" Allie asks, while Berry yawns.
Without missing a beat, Stiles responds, "About what we should do with little girls who don't stay in their beds like they're told."
Berry giggles and Allie rolls her eyes, and this time when Lydia suggests they go back to bed they heed her advice.
"Night, Mom," Berry says over her shoulder, "night, Dad."
"See you in the morning," Allie adds.
Lydia's heart snaps, and her first instinct is to go to Stiles, to let him comfort her. But she can't. "You'll take care of them, won't you?" she asks.
Instead of trying to argue with her, he just nods, his shoulders slumping in defeat. "You know I will." He swallows, glances down the hall, and then asks, "When will you be back?"
It feels like there's a weight on Lydia's shoulders, pressing down on her, pinning her to the spot. "I don't know," she says, picking up her suitcase again. "Maybe soon."
"Maybe never," he says, filling in her thoughts.
She doesn't respond, just kisses him lightly on the cheek and slips past him to the door. She's halfway through it when panic seizes her, gripping her heart like ice. She turns back to her husband, who looks as horrified as she is.
"Stiles -" she chokes out.
"I know," he says, already reaching for her. She tumbles into his arms and buries her face in his chest, and they stay that way for a long time.
The clock reads 3.23.
At exactly that moment, Allie's eyes fly open and she stares at her sister in the darkness. Berry is staring back, still awake because she's trying to eavesdrop on their parents. What is it? she mouths.
Allie sits up slowly, holding her teddy to her chest. "I had a bad dream," she says, and Berry cuddles up to her, wrapping her sister up in her arms.
"What was it about?" Berry murmurs, her voice soothing, seeming to chase away the shadows that twist around in the corners of the room.
Allie sniffles. "I had a dream that Uncle Scott died."
As soon as Kira wakes up to an empty bed, she knows where Scott is. It's only a five minute drive to the cemetery, but it's after three am and she can hardly keep her eyes open. She can navigate the rows of tombstones in her sleep, so it doesn't take long to find the right one. Scott is leaning against Allison's headstone, his eyes half-closed and his breathing shallow. He starts when he hears Kira, and then he relaxes when he realizes who it is.
"I thought I'd find you here," Kira says, kneeling down beside him and placing a hand on his shoulder. He's cold to the touch, which is especially unusual for a werewolf.
He shrugs her hand off, running his fingers along the name engraved in stone.
Something inside Kira breaks, something she's been trying to keep hidden, and if she can't say things like this in a graveyard at three am then she knows she'll never find another time. "You'll never love me like you loved her," she says quietly.
Scott doesn't protest, doesn't even flinch. "I know," he murmurs, and it doesn't hurt as much as Kira had thought it would.
"But I love you," she says, reaching for his hand. It's ice cold. "And I'm not going to let you destroy yourself. Come on, let's just go home."
She tries to pull him to his feet, but he resists; and even though she's fully in control of her powers now, and they've grown considerably over the last ten years, she's still no match for a werewolf.
"Scott, come on," she urges, tugging at his arm this time but he still doesn't move. She stands up, and her foot brushes up against a small glass jar. She reaches for it, but Scott grabs it first.
"Is that the cure?" she asks numbly; Deaton's been working on it for years, and he's finally perfected it. She's only seen it once, and she hadn't thought much of it. She hadn't thought Scott, of all people, would want to be cured of his lycanthropy. He wouldn't do that to his pack.
Without responding, and before Kira can do a thing, he pulls he cork out and swallows all of the golden-colored liquid inside. A startled cry dies in her throat and she drops to her knees again, suddenly terrified. This time he doesn't shy away from her touch, doesn't try to shrug her off.
"Scott," she murmurs, holding him to her, noticing how frail he is, how much he's shaking, "oh, Scott."
With a start she realizes he's crying into her shoulder, and she kisses the top of his head. And then she sees the jar, the now empty jar that he'd said had contained the cure.
"Scott," she says in alarm, pushing him away so she can look him in the eyes. "Scott, look at me." He does, but only because she cups his chin in her hands and tilts his head up to face her. "Scott, that wasn't the cure. That was concentrated wolfsbane."
He hesitates just a second, his eyes already glazing over and his shaking turning into convulsions. "I know," he says, and Kira's heart stops. She wonders if it will ever start again.
This time she manages to half-drag him to his feet, but then he becomes dead weight and drags her back down to the ground. "Scott," she whimpers, pleading now, begging him to look at her, to tell her that there's something she doesn't know, "please, if we don't get you to Deaton you're going to die -"
"I know that, too," he says, his words slurring. With the last of his strength he reaches forward, shoving Kira so that she loses her balance and topples backward, hitting her head against the tombstone. The second before she passes out she thinks she hears him whisper, "I was never meant to be an alpha."
Her watch freezes at 3.23.
Scattered across the country are the remains of the McCall pack. After Liam's, Ryan's, and Scott's deaths (which happened in the space of a month and left a trail of broken hearts halfway across the country) they went their separate ways again, overseas and across the country, as far from each other as they could get. Some of them haven't seen each other in years; some of them haven't even spoken to each other since then.
But there's one thing that time and distance will never change: without Scott to call them home, they'll always be running.
So thank you to everyone who read, favorited, and especially reviewed. Sorry for, you know, destroying the entire McCall pack. My bad. As always I'm working on other projects, mostly short fics and one-shots, so keep an eye out if you like my writing. I swear they won't ALL be as dark as this.
See you around, wolflets, and thanks for your support.