Title: Live Hard
Summary: He may not even be considered much of a person anymore but the moon does things that bring out what he used to be, there's a reason the doctor has him on a sedative and there's one unlucky nurse's name on the bottom of the incident report following the bite.
Warnings: Language, violence, sexual content
Spoilers: There are some but they are few and far between for the most part, this story works around the main storyline while incorporating it at key points.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf
A/N: This chapter just wanted to go way over 10,000 words for some reason; I don't know what it was.
She wasn't always the type to gloat but on certain occasions it felt all too appropriate to let her big headedness show, and she all but strut down the aisles of the drug store while humming as she perused the store brand supply of razors and hair products with the knowledge that she would be able to tell Derek Hale that she had told him so within the hour.
To avoid due recourse she decided it best to make a goodie bag of vital necessities for his convalescence at the local motel while under police enforced seclusion as they tied up the loose ends of the Beacon Hills' animal attack case. The Sheriff had called early in the morning with the job opportunity and she hoped she hadn't sounded too smug on the phone during their brief conversation.
She got carded for buying cigarettes but it made her mood all the more vibrant, she all but skipped through the parking lot with the thought that she was indeed a brat on the inside making her cheeks apple and her eyes squint from the involuntary smile.
Driving to the motel she decided that, depending on his mood, she was going to pick at him with the insistence of actually paying her since she was technically going to be his nurse, but only if he was up to listening to her constant needling. She was a brat but she wasn't cruel.
A police officer sitting in a plain brown sedan honked at her as she walked across the parking lot of the motel to get her attention, she waved and walked over.
"Hi," she waved a loose hand and looked over the contents of the sedan, there was nothing too exciting about the beige leather interior beyond the empty coffee cups and convenience store snacks wrappers of a makeshift breakfast on the floor of the passenger foot space.
"I'm Lucette Bramble."
"Officer Taglioni," he reached out the window and shook her hand firmly before she stepped away and he stepped out.
"Nice to meet you, should I just go in or what?" Pointing with her thumb to the hotel rooms she adjusted her grip on the plastic bag as she raised it with her hand.
"The Sheriff said you could go right in, you're early though and he was grumpy when I went in at the beginning of my shift to make sure he was still there."
"I'd be grumpy to I guess, you know?"
He looked back at the closed car door behind him and considered the content of his cup holders as he leaned in for the second cup with some difficulty and held it out to her, "Yeah. I got coffee, didn't know how you took it."
"Thanks, I appreciate it."
"Let's go then," he handed off the coffee to her and walked across the parking lot to the room marked four seventeen.
The room was nice, big and with a kitchen. There was a couch and a chair and a television with the bedroom behind another door. It was dark as they stepped in with the glow from the stove light the only illumination besides the rectangular void filtering in from behind them and casting their shadows as dark lunges across the furniture and opposite wall.
With the light flicked on she strode forward and dropped her messenger bag onto the couch, keeping the plastic shopping one in hand before turning to the officer who followed on her heels as she crossed the room to the bedroom door.
"You'll have to wait out here," she told him curtly while listening to the harsh keel of the heartbeat belonging to the one person she couldn't see, it even out in what she decided to herself as relief after she spoke. "Why?"
With one hip cocked and her tone professional she explained the situation as it was to the police officer, "He's my patient and unless he tells me you can be in the room then you can't be in the room while I do my job. HIPPA. Privacy stuff for nurses and doctors, liability issue."
The words sunk in and with a small nod the older man seemed to come to the decision that he liked the arrangement she had set into place, it appeared he wasn't excited with going with her to greet Derek Hale in the first place and was glad to have a reason not to, "Oh. You okay by yourself?"
Lucette waved a hand and rolled her eyes happily with a small grin, "I've have patients a lot worse than grumpy, I'll be alright. Thanks." She waited until the officer had settled onto the couch and asked if she minded if he turned the news on before giving him to go ahead to do as he pleased and turning the doorknob to the bedroom.
She shut the door behind her and put the plastic bag down at her feet trying to be quiet because it was dark and she'd always been a quiet speaker if the lights were turned off, "Awake?"
He was but he declined to answer beyond rolling in some way on the bed that gave her no clue as to how he lay because in the dark he was only an anamorphous blob of space on the bed. She went over and sat down on the floor next to the side of the bed and prodded him in the deltoid with a finger.
She pressed harder into the firm mound of muscle before a hand shot out and wrapped it inside the tight circle of his fingers. "Alive then, I see," she reached to turn the knob of the small lamp sitting on the nightstand when he released her finger and shuffled amongst the bed linens.
His face was twisted by a scowl as he squinted in the dim and unwelcome light casting a grimy yellow halo of light across the nightstand and the half of the bed where he lay. She wanted to tell him he looked like shit but refrained, "Sore?"
His squinted eyes looked at her warily from his smashed faced posture on the thin pillow cradled on top of his forearms and under his cheek. There were livid shadows of bruising across the back of his arms and above his shoulders from where the baseball bat had landed in hard lines. It almost made her feel bad about the entire plan but not enough to give an unnecessary and unfelt apology.
"I told you he'd call," she grinned with a shit eating smile that was too smug by half.
His expression was inscrutable and it confused her, "I brought presents," she offered at a loss as to how to get him to join the conversation.
With an irritated sigh she leaned back on her arms and sunk her palms into the unsurprisingly hard carpeting of the floor, "You going to say anything?" She cocked her head and gave him an expression that clearly told him she didn't really think that it was the time to be so mum.
"Anything," he ground out in a low grumble, his lips barely moving.
"Lame attempt at humor," she informed him before standing and shaking her head. "Sit up," she commanded with crossed arms and her nurse posturing taking over as she looked down at him.
"I have a fever," he told her while rolling up and around to sit, the sheets pooling into his lap and the flat elastic waistband of his utilitarian black briefs peeking out. He looked ruffled and petulant and not at all in the mood to be talked to or do any talking himself.
"It's not infected. You're just dehydrated so you're temp is up," she explained leaning down and lifting the edges of the bandaging on his abdomen and sniffing the air to try and pick up the scent of purulence from the drainage on the padded dressing, there was none and she was relieved.
"You hit like a seven year old kicked off the little league team."
She smiled stupidly before answering, "Broke your arm."
"Semantics," she sing-songed.
"What's in the bag?"
"House warming stuff, shampoo, shaving cream, toothbrush, things like that. Did you need me to go out and get something for you?"
"No," he rubbed at his hair and it stuck up between his fingers in a roguish cowlick that would not be encouraged to lie flat against his scalp despite his ministrations.
"Alright. You can lay down for a second. Relax. I've done a dressing change before," she chastised when he gave her a look that asked if she knew what she was doing as she retrieved supplies from the plastic bag still sitting by the door. "You're beside manner sucks," he informed her as she tore away the tape sticking to his skin without warning.
She smiled a little at the notion and sat down at the edge of the bed pulling away the padded bandages, "I'm sorry. Did you want me to croon a little ditty for your listening pleasure?" He snorted as she pressed at the edges of the half healed wound, examining for tender areas or pockets of fluid.
"You sing off key."
"Sinatra only sang three notes," she commented tearing opening packaging and extracting gauze from the plastic pocket of it. "You're no Sinatra," he answered sinking further into the pillows propped up behind him.
"And Noel Coward couldn't even sing," she pointed out tipping a bottle of sterile water over onto the square of meshed fibers in her palm, pulling at the sheets for access to the lower edges of the large open gouge torn into his abdomen. "Don't know who that is," he admitted when she paused to remove a towel from the bathroom and throw it across his lap to avoid dampening the sheets.
"Of course you don't," she cleaned the edges of the injury before throwing the soiled gauze onto the floor on top of the used bandaging, "You know what's strange?" She asked before unscrewing the cap on a tube of wound gel.
"No," his eyes flinted behind closed lids as if he was watching something move in his own half-involved thoughts.
"That there's another couch in here," Lucette looked across the room at said couch.
"Why is that strange?" He seemed to shrug further into the headboard as she squeezed the clear gel into a gloved hand and let it warm in her palm before applying it with gentle fingers. His muscles tensed and didn't relax even after she had finished and discarded her turned out gloves onto the floor.
"Because a couch is a living room type of furniture and there is already a couch in the living room area of this, so why put another one in here?"
"Ask the building manager."
"I should, it bothers me."
She pressed an abdominal pad into place and unrolled a length of gauze with nimble fingers across the bed sheets. With a hand curved on his shoulder she pulled him forward, he shifted and sat up fully, opening his eyes and looking at her face instead of what her hands were doing.
Wrapping his wound as carefully as she could from her perch on the edge of the bed she tried to be quick and keep the dressing firm but not too tight. Her fingers spread across the expanse of his back and along the edge of his briefs as she wound the gauze around his other side.
"You should cut your nails."
"I like them long."
"You just scratched me."
She taped the gauze and repeated the process with an elastic bandage to keep everything where it should be.
"Is there really a law that keeps him out of the room when you do this?"
"Yeah. There is actually," she attached the edge of the elastic to another part of it with metal clips and eyed her work, "…," he ran his fingers over the bulk of the bandaging and considered it before letting his hand fall back onto the bed. "I don't lie about everything," she sighed and picked off the butterfly closure strip on his forehead.
"You just scratched me again," he looked at her as if she had done it on purpose.
"Sorry. I need to polish them, their chipping," looking at them she decided that they really needed some maintenance.
"Can you focus on what you're doing instead of what color to paint your nails?"
The twist of his lips into something akin to a sneer was all he got to give her before a knock resounded in the room; she tossed her head back and looked at the door.
"I'm going back to the patrol car, if you need me just come get me."
She turned back to him smashing his pillows into a more rotund lump behind him, "Think you can manage to keep them out of the room?" Frowning with a roll of her eyes she sniffed once, "That's not how you ask for things, you know."
"Just keep them the fuck out. They get annoying." Derek Hale twisted himself and started shoving his pillows down between the mattress and the headboard to wedge himself up on them.
His eyes half lidded and puffy from lack of sleep closed and in the harsh lightening his eye sockets looked bruised and his complexion sallow, "I wouldn't be able to sleep either if people kept coming in and out all the time," she told him staring off and taking in the room.
"I'm sleeping fine," he informed her tartly.
For a moment all she did was smirk at the scowl he wore without opening his eyes, she kicked her heels against the bed and sighed heavily.
"Surprised you didn't lock the door."
"They know to stay out of this room."
"They're scared of facing your wrath."
"You need to shave."
"I'm not getting up."
"I can do it."
"Did you just offer to shave my face?"
"No, I stated my intention to shave your face. You look homeless."
She cringed at his silence and her choice of words.
"That wasn't a joke, it was a statement."
"It takes you a long time to shave a face."
She snorted, "You would know."
"You shaved my uncle's face, I was there, so I do know."
"It'd probably take you a long time to shave a girl's legs."
His eyes opened as if he had to look at her for the full effect of his confusion to hit her, "I can shave my legs in like three minutes, a dude trying it would probably take a half an hour."
"Then by that logic it should take you less than a minute to shave someone's face."
She was already up and running a washcloth under hot water and filling the ice bucket from the facet, "I don't do it often enough to be that fast."
"You know old ladies get beards, I had to shave one once," she told him pressing the washcloth to his cheeks and holding it until his hands came up and took over as she lapsed in sanity and started putting on gloves before picking up the shaving cream and razor. He seemed amused that she was so used to the process of gloving up that it was so fully ingrained. She ignored the look he gave her and put the gloves down.
"It was weird. Can I ask you a question?"
"Can you talk and shave at the same time," he raised an eyebrow and watched as she filled her palm with shaving cream.
"Haha," she deadpanned. "If you're house is burnt down where do you eat and stuff."
"I go out and buy food and eat it," he told her before shutting his mouth as she lathered his cheeks and chin and under his nose, he blew hard through his nostrils at the stray mounds threatening to crawl into his nasal cavity.
"And…," she pressed hoping he understood her question.
"Well," she uncapped the razor and waved it, "you know, where do you shower?"
"Around like under waterfalls in the woods or around like you break into houses."
His lack of answer made her pause mid-stroke down his cheek and pin him with a stare, "Have you been using my shower?" He shrugged as if the answer was obvious and not strange at all, "Yeah."
"Uncool, dude," she shook her head and tapped out the razor.
"Don't just invite yourself over to take a shower, that's creeper behavior."
"Or at the kid's house when no one's home."
"What's the kid's name?"
She rolled the razor over his chin in short quick strokes.
"Why does it matter?"
"Are you really not going to tell me?"
"Why should I?"
"Because I asked."
"And that means what exactly?"
"Fine, be that way."
"What was the point of you asking me why it mattered if you were just going to tell me?"
"What's the point of you asking that?"
"You're annoying," she told him brandishing the razor before going on to the next cheek and then down his throat. He swallowed and she wondered if he was nervous about the sharp metal so close to vital arteries. He tilted his head back and bared his throat when he realized what she was wondering, she wondered herself if she'd been so obvious with her thoughts and if he was unnerved or unconcerned.
Something stretched sumptuously on the edges of her thoughts and she considered the lather on his throat with animal curiosity that came from what was coming to the surface. It seemed strange to her that for an alpha he showed no wariness, that he considered himself so far up on the predator scale that he had nothing to give him pause about the situation.
It irked her.
"You just nicked me," he shifted his eyes with an impatient sigh.
Automatically reining in the holds on the subtle urge to press a little harder with the razor for curiosity's sake she replied uneasily and threw up an uncaring front, "Put toothpaste on it."
She wondered if he had an inclination that she'd just, for a fleeting almost not there moment had thought about injuring him horribly.
"You've never heard of putting toothpaste on razor nicks?"
"Guess it's a girl thing."
The verbal volley was easy but her mind was muddled with the sediment of a nature that was new making her unsure of things. Things like whether holding sharp instruments was a good idea, she wondered if it was the moon and it's growing fullness that was doing it or if her dislike for Derek Hale was more pronounced by the closer proximity.
It was odd and she wanted to ask but she didn't want to ask him. She finished the other side of his throat and handed him the cooling washcloth to wipe his face, he could do that much on his own she decided shifting away down the side of the bed.
"It's the moon."
"You're more sensitive to smells."
"What about it?"
He pointed at his eyes and she closed hers not knowing that they were the lupine yellow until he'd pointed them out, "Isn't it against wolf code to go around letting other wolves around your neck?" Her tone is chiding and acidic and she catches the lilt of his lips in the most condescending half-smile she's ever seen, "Like I'd give you a real opportunity to tear it out."
"Confident," she grounds out, her eyes, she knows are that sick yellow cast for the barest moment, but he doesn't see it because she keeps her head facing forward and her sight hard on the wall.
His arms cross over his chest and his head hits the wall with a dull, muted sound and his throat is tight and corded and she looks because there is suddenly an opening and an opportunity to tear it out and even then her teeth stay in a nice even white line of enamel and her jaw does little more than clench in childish and petty agitation.
"I'm not a rabbit."
Lucette snaps her eyes away and gets up to cross the room.
"Don't worry you're just a beta."
He's amused and somewhere in her own mess of emotional tag-ends she is too because their conversation is just skirting the edge of stupid and is shaded by just enough strange and tired bleary eyed sentiments that for awhile they're just two people talking and there are no motives and there are no opinions to share. "So were you until you killed your uncle."
"That was rude," she acknowledges.
"Do all alphas look like that?"
"No. Some are wolves."
"Why wasn't he? Why aren't you?"
"It's a progression, most times. You grow into it."
"But to be an alpha you just have to kill an alpha?"
"It's a progression thing too, then?"
"Depending on the person."
"So some people just become alphas?"
"It's happened before. There're factors that go into it."
"Mindset, instinct, ambition. There are werewolves without packs that can turn into real wolves but it doesn't make them alphas."
"Because without a pack there's no such thing as an alpha rank or a beta rank."
"Yeah, it is."
Sitting heavily and sagging into the couch she sighs and contemplates the ceiling as she leans back and crosses her arms, legs stretched out and toes pointing up from hard heels and lock-kneed shins.
"Werewolves and wolves aren't exactly the same," he tells her looking over but not moving his head more than a few inches.
Squinting at the space above her head she answers without really knowing if he means for her to respond, "It's the big similarities not the little differences that count, regardless of what most people think."
"The similarities only happen when you've shifted, mostly."
"Like the throat thing, dominance displays."
"So werewolf dudes can be trusted around chicks with high heels on, gotcha."
She can already tell he won't immediately understand what the comment means, and she only says it because she misses being witty and having jokes that take awhile for another person to understand.
"Where's that coming from?"
"Women wearing high heels emulate a vaguely lordotic posture."
"So they look taller?"
Her grin is instantaneous because he is so wrong and it's funny and she can't help it, "High heels raise the foot's arch which causes a curve of the lower back outward."
"Do you get it or are you just saying 'oh,' to not have to admit you don't get it?"
"I get it."
"Good because I don't really want to have to explain that further."
When she looks at him she takes his expression to mean that he's trying very hard to puzzle something out. She doesn't dwell on it because she doesn't care to ask what he's thinking about because she doesn't care, she's much to content with the easy amiable silence to keep talking.
His posture straightened hard and jerked fully upright and still, "Someone's here."
"No," his posture relaxed and she took it to mean it wasn't a werewolf assassin about to knock on the door.
"I'll send them away."
She answered the door marginally and looked out on the boy standing shifting his weight from foot to foot furtively. He ran a hand over his head and the scant ruff of shaved hair and considered her with a once over that was more for sizing up than attraction.
"Is Derek Hale here?"
She made no move to shut the door and he made no move to take her answer and leave.
"…who are you?"
Lucette leaned heavier into the doorframe and took up all the space the opening of the door gave, effectively blocking the small view of the motel living room, "Kid, you knocked on my door." She raised her eyebrows in challenge.
"Stiles Stilinski," he pointed to himself with a thumb and seemed to think over the idea of offering her a hand to shake, he reconsidered mid-extension and pointed at the numbers on the door, "This is four seventeen," he looked back to her as if for confirmation. She nodded. "All prime numbers," the kid told her as if it was a ground breaking revelation, "Derek Hale is supposed to be here."
"Uh-huh," crossing her arms she hummed at the information.
"I know he's here," the kid crossed his arms and stared obstinately back at her with a hip cocked and a scowl that kept reappearing and fading.
"…," she waited.
"You're a nurse."
Her expression went blank for a moment and she chastised herself for giving him the brief opening, "Do I look like a nurse?" She questioned trying to move past the incredulous look he gave her.
"Not really," he confirmed dryly.
"Then how do you know I'm a nurse?"
"Because Derek Hale is here and he has a nurse taking care of him."
She pondered the presence of Stiles Stilinski and raised her eyebrows with a whistle, "Stilinski? As in the Sheriff." A grin grew on the teenager's face against his own volition and stuck for a small moment before he looked sheepish, "Uh, yeah. That's my dad. He's the Sheriff, and I'm his son."
"You going to let me see Derek?"
"See ya kid."
She made to close the door.
"Hey! Wait!" A foot appeared in the door jamb stopping the door's closure.
"Come on, please it's important."
His tone took on an edge of desperation that made her open the door the tiniest increments further, "Your dad know you're here, Stiles Stilinski?"
"Because I didn't tell him."
"Should I call and tell him you're here?" She challenged with a small malicious grin to let him know he was pushing his luck. "No, okay. I'll just leave, I wasn't here." He motioned to go and turned without removing his foot from the door. "Okay, bye."
Pressing the door against his foot he whipped around, "Okay, wait. Can I see Derek Hale…, please?"
"You know there's a cop in that car over there, right?" She pointed out the Sedan.
"I could yell, if that would help wake him up."
"No, please don't. Just…" He pressed his shoulder heavily into the door and she scowled moving her body into a stance of coiled readiness, moving one leg forward and tensing her leg, "Don't make me knee you."
She jerked fast and he stumbled out of the door frame, a hand coming down defensively over his groin as if she was really going to go for his goods with a hard patella, "Alright, fine! Just tell him I was here, okay? Even though he's 'not here,' can you do that?"
He was turning red in the face with indignation and she found in unbearably cute, like she was babysitting a spoiled child who didn't get to do what they wanted, "If I knew what you were talking about sure, I could. I guess. If I remember," she grinned at the caveat.
"Come on, please. It's important. I went through a lot of trouble to get here."
"How much trouble?"
He frowned sourly at the idea of her joking around so quizzically, without any real interest, it only spurred her on, "Snooping on your dad is bad, kid."
"Listen lady I'm not a little kid, I can do what I want and snoop where I like," he pointed a finger and wedged his foot over the metal strip at the bottom of the door. She looked down at it and pushed the door against it, he barely winced. 'Tough kid,' she thought with an edge of grim satisfaction, "Move your foot, or lose it," she warned him all the same.
He moved it and slammed a hand against the door as she closed it.
"Can I please see him?"
His shoulder butt up against the door with the force of his weight and he smiled as if superior to her and had succeeded at something only he understood, "He's here then."
"If I knew who 'he' was then maybe I could answer that but since I don't know who he is or who you are I guess I can't answer that, now can I?"
"Huh? Listen, look,"
"I'm listening, and looking and regretting opening the do-…"
A voice cut in, "Let him in. He'll just try to go through a window otherwise." She stepped aside and toed the door fully open, sweeping her arms in a grand gesture as the teenager walked in.
"Thanks," he told Derek Hale who looked sullen and pissed off.
"You need something Stilinski?"
The kid looked at her and cocked his head, pursing his lips and seeming to take pleasure in telling her off, "…Uh, privacy?"
"…," he eyes widened and her hip jutted out jauntily in disdain, she waited. Derek Hale rolled his eyes.
Looking towards the sloppily dressed and sleepy eyed Derek Hale she told him, "I'm going to have a cigarette." Outside the room she leaned casually next to the door and lit a cigarette.
The conversation was just as clear outside the room as it was when she'd been standing inside it; she smirked and closed her eyes as she blew out the first drag.
"Go on, Stiles."
She laughed at the tone he used.
"What happened to you?"
"Are you a nurse?"
"Then mind your business."
She laughed again and wondered when exactly Derek Hale had gotten so damn funny. Putting a hand in her pocket she jingled the change she found and looked to her right at the Motel office two rooms down and the vending machine placed next to the glass door.
She wondered if she'd still hear the conversation if she walked down for a soda.
"Not my problem."
There was no problem as she passed the first room after the one they spoke in.
"Actually it kind of is, since you, you know, ruined his life and everything."
The voices softened a bit but she barely had to strain to keep listening.
"I hardly ruined his life."
"And Lydia's in the hospital and me and Scott went to check on her and she hasn't healed yet and Jackson wasn't in school."
"Shouldn't you be in school, Stiles?"
She slipped her seventy-five cents in quarters into the slot and followed with the remaining required coinage; she pursed her lips and tapped a long nail over the beverage options, listening to the conversation with some active strain finally starting to build on her concentration.
"I skipped after third period to come here."
If he'd said anything after the pause she missed it between the sound of drawing smoke into her lungs and the clattering bang of the can dropping down into the cradle of the machine, waiting for her to reach in and take it.
"So what now?"
"What, what now?"
She walked slowly, a meandering stroll back to her abandoned post outside the motel room door with her soda and her smoke.
"Well um how about the what now where Lydia is in the hospital after being attacked and she isn't healing."
"Is she dying?"
"Not at the moment."
"Then she's fine."
"So she's not going to be a werewolf?"
Lydia, she rolled the name over her tongue without giving it a vocalization. 'Helpless victim, damsel in distress' she snorted into the opening of the soda can and took a piggish, unladylike gulp.
"On if she survives?"
"And if it takes."
"If what takes?"
"It might not take?"
"What happens then?"
'Death,' she intoned sarcastically in her mind with a morbid hand gesture of death claws.
"It's not something to worry about right now."
"I think it's exactly what we need to be worrying about now."
"Is she still unconscious?"
"Don't worry about it."
"Thanks for the support man, what about Jackson?"
"He'll show up."
"He wants you to bite him."
Jackson, she pondered that name too, 'wannabe werewolf,' she smirked and shook her head at the notion and wondered if he was the boy with the killer silver ride from the previous night.
"But you won't."
"You won't right? You can't."
"I can do whatever I want Stilinski."
"Actually you can't, Scott and me aren't about to let you go sink your freakin' fangs into Jackson, do you have any idea of what that would do? Do you care?"
"I think you're under the impression that I answer to you and Scott, Stiles."
"I don't. Remember that."
"Hard to forget you're an asshole, Derek."
The door opened with a bang against the inside wall of the room, the teenager turned quick and unaware of her standing sentry outside it. She stepped back and pulled her cigarette out of his path, not wanting to accidentally catch him in the arm with it.
"Have a nice chat?" She smiled and took a drag, blowing it out to the side and trying to look as innocent and unassuming as possible, despite the toothy grin she couldn't stop from blooming on her lips.
He marched passed and she made a collection of sounds someone would make for a child who thought they were tough. He raised a one-finger salute and disappeared down the alley between the motel room buildings without a glance back.
"Little shit," she scoffed and kicked her heel out, dragging in across the cracked cement walkway.
"He just flipped me off."
"Heh," he took the cigarette from her outstretched waving hand and breathed in the nicotine he'd been missing for the past day and a half.
"You eavesdrop now too?"
"Haven't really gotten the hang of this enhanced hearing yet."
"Doesn't concern you, not really."
"So then Lydia wouldn't concern me either?"
"Alright," she took back her cigarette with quick fingers and stole the last drag, grinding the lit butt out with her toes. "Go lay down, before you open something and ruin the work I just did."
She crowded his space in a way that made him get the message to reenter the room, "What are you going to do?"
"Lounge," she shrugged.
"I'm going to sleep."
"Want me to wake you up later?"
"No, I don't need to get up to do anything."
"Alright, do you want me to hang out here or what?"
"Stay until the cop leaves."
She sat down on the coach and watched him struggled with lifting the shirt he'd put on, eventually he gave up with trying to get it off and walked into the bedroom, working at the button on his jeans.
The door didn't close and she wondered if he was making some sort of statement with it, that he was so much the alpha that he didn't need to close and lock a door behind him while he slept. For a second she wished she was a werewolf assassin just for the opportunity to kill him in his sleep and laugh at his stupid pride.
It wasn't a very funny joke but it was her type of humor. She turned on the television and vegetated.
The phone rang and she picked it up and without preamble the voice on the line told her exactly how things were going to be a moment after she gave her standard greeting of hello as she parked her truck, "So I'm coming to visit you Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so you don't have to drive here."
"What?" She floundered.
With a businesslike tone and a tongue click her friend continued, "Friday, Saturday, Sunday. That three day weekend you told me about, I'll be coming to you instead of you coming to me."
"Oh shit, Molly," Lucette groaned. She wondered if she would be able to take a three day weekend with the other woman on the heels of the full moon.
"What? You are not ditching." It was a statement not a question. "Do we have to?"
"What do you mean 'do we have to'?"
"Sorry, it's just I'm really busy."
"Bullshit, you make yourself busy. You need to take a break. I'm coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And we are hanging out."
"But I really do have a lot of work Molls."
"Fuck that. You can relax sometimes."
"Okay fine. You break up with Bubba?"
"Thanks. I'll see you Friday bitch. I gotta go and get ready for work."
"Alright, Friday. What time?"
"Okay, see you then."
"Fuck," she banged her head against the steering wheel. Twice. Then she lit a cigarette and trudged up to the motel room.
"Yo," she waved a hand half-heartedly at the man sitting on the couch with his legs thrown sloppily over the arm and his hands behind his head as he lay back across the length of the cheap and ugly upholstered furniture focal point.
"The cops aren't here anymore."
"They close the case?"
"From what I hear."
"That's good," she announced putting her bag down next to the arm chair she sat down in, legs splayed and rubber soles banging against each other as she rolled her head across the back of the chair.
"How long do you need me to stick around here? In town."
"For as long as it takes."
"As long as what takes," she put a cigarette in her mouth and struck a match across the emery board strip on the packet in came from.
"I don't need to concern myself with it, right?"
He watched her wave the match out and lick her fingers to press against the glowing orange of its tip, it sizzled and she flicked the wet charred blackened bits onto the carpet.
"So how long roughly?"
"A year probably."
"A year!" She caught the cigarette as it fell off her lip and onto her jeans, wiping at the barely there singe it left.
"That's what I said."
"Why the hell would I stick around for a year?"
"Because I'm the one thing keeping you from killing people. That's enough of a reason."
"No. It's not."
"Not for what you're asking."
"And what is it that I'm asking?"
"I'm your back-up. Don't you think the rewards are meager compared to what back-up entails?"
"What exactly do you want? Me to pay you or something?"
She thought and leaned back in her chair, "Yeah, actually. I would."
"Fine, how much?"
Momentarily she was stunned by the fact that he remained unmoving and lazy on the couch.
"Well?" He pressed arching back his head and opening his eyes.
"One, zero, zero, zero, zero, zero," she rattled off.
"A hundred thousand?"
"Nice even six digit number."
"In how many payments."
"Okay?" The situation and the conversation seemed unreal.
"You have a hundred thousand dollars to just give me," she was incredulous of the idea but she was hopeful all the same.
"Yeah, I do."
"You a bad guy Derek?"
"Depends on who you ask by the end of the year, is that a problem?"
"Good." He let his head fall back flat onto the couch and disappear behind the arm of it.
"As long as you do your own dirty work then I don't care."
"Even if I am a bad guy there are certain things I wouldn't involve you in."
"Because I don't want you in my pack."
"I wouldn't be in your pack if you begged me."
"No one's going to go begging for you to join their pack."
"Ouch, that hurts."
"Besides, you can't leave."
"You need to learn how to tell who's a wolf, how to handle certain things."
"Things like what?"
"Other wolves trying to recruit. Some packs aren't picky."
"And you're going to teach me how to be a tough girl?" She mocked with a snort.
"Not what I meant."
"So there are packs that just roam around looking for other werewolves?"
"Yes. But even if you know who's a werewolf and who's not things happen."
"Mortal combat," she suggested earnestly excited at the idea.
"Sometimes," he confirmed.
"Are you being serious?"
"Why would I joke?"
"I don't know, so what then?"
"Packs have identifiers."
"Werewolf coat of arms."
"Is that what your tattoo is?"
The question made him pause and it felt nice to surprise him with an unobvious inquiry, "I don't have a complete pack so it doesn't matter."
"But that's like a werewolf tattoo?"
"So that's going to be your pack identifier?"
"It could be. But that isn't something to worry about now."
"Matters for another time."
She let the matter settle itself in the silence of the room. He made a gesture for a cigarette and she tossed him her pack.
It occurred to her that Derek Hale was not a very fun person to watch movies with, not that she had wanted to watch a movie with him but he had shown up and sat down while she was sitting down and watching a movie so the situation came to be that she was watching a horribly dated horror movie with Derek Hale who was completely lackluster about the whole movie watching experience.
"Would you have gone out in the woods?" She asked watching the way he watched the movie, as if completely uninterested in the cult classic. She couldn't fault him; she was equally unenthralled by it.
"That's like asking someone if they'd walk across a hundred miles of desert in a parka for a hundred million dollars."
"Depends on the time of day."
For a moment he watched the movie play as if not quite understanding what was going on even though he knew exactly what was going on but didn't want to actually know that it was going on. She smirked when he turned his head away and looked down at her dog to have something else to look at.
His discomfort made her darkly amused, she watched the scene and said nothing when he tentatively looked back after it was finished, she wanted to say something about how she should have been the one to cover her eyes but it seemed superfluous to mock him and his obvious issue with watching a helpless girl stumble through a grove of horny demon trees with an obvious end result.
"Noon," he supplied succinctly.
"Of course," she smiled shifting in the chair and throwing her legs over the arm and her shoulders across the other to tip her head back to look at him.
"Your sense of humor is astounding."
"Look up what a desert is," she rolled her head back up and watched the movie.
Her phone tapping and shaking across the surface of her coffee table made her less aware of his lack of answer. The display brightened and the message was unexpected.
"It's barren land," she informed him while scrolling down in the text message to the picture accompanying it. "Doesn't have to be hot for it to be barren, there are arctic deserts so your analogy lacks merit," she locked the keypad of the small device and shoved it down into her pocket with a lift of her hips.
"But I know what you meant and I understand your analogy in your small minded association of a hot desert and this situation and the futility of trying to ride it out, got it. But they have arctic deserts so you just got learned."
"I just got learned?"
"Yup," she hefted herself up and went up the stairs.
"Where are you going?"
"I need a pen and a big piece of paper."
"Battle tactic practice," she called down the staircase, ignoring his obvious confusion or lack of interest because she was saying nonsensical things.
She sat on the floor and spread out a sheet of design paper and made neat, precise lines with the edge of a magazine sitting on the coffee table. "What are you drawing?"
She wrote in letters on the squares based on the picture from her phone and brought her knees to her chest, resting her chin on top and leaning forward tapping her lips with the pencil's eraser.
"You're missing pieces."
"So is He. We've been playing for awhile."
With her teeth sunk into the small pink nub of the eraser she swung the pencil up and down with her lips and looked over the drawing.
"My dad," she told him tilting her head to look up at him from where he'd moved to stand over her shoulder. "We've been playing this since before I left to come here to work."
"It takes you that long to finish a chess game?"
"We text our moves to each other, so it's sporadic."
"Who usually wins?"
"Are you any good?"
"Of course I am; I have half his genes."
"But you aren't winning."
"I'd beat you."
"I don't know how to play."
"Is it easy to learn?"
"Yeah but it's not a chance game, it's strategy…logic, and if you play enough it's like habits."
"I'd know I was playing against my dad even if I didn't actually know. It's a style."
"So are you going to lose?"
"Of course I'm going to lose."
Admitting that she was going to lose was easy, she'd come to terms with the idea that she was going to lose against her father. It was ingrained in her to know that the chances of her losing far outweighed her winning on any day and on any occasion.
"Why? You said it's a habit, right? If it's a habit it's predictable."
"His habit is winning."
"Why isn't it yours?"
"My dad's had over fifty years to learn how to hide his next move, I've had about half that amount of time, and he can read me better. He knows what moves I'll make."
"Because he raised you?"
"Because I'm easier to read than he is. But most people are when compared to him. It's good practice."
"Are you close?"
"Eh, not really. Not in a grander sense of things, me and him and my sister have the dynamic of people who just live together, we're all very different."
"Not one to speak of, they figured out on their own that they didn't like each other very much. So they got a divorce."
"So she's alive."
"Of course she's alive, did you think she was dead?"
"Oh. How come?"
His questions made her wary of his motives, she wanted to ask him questions and see how he enjoyed it. Lucette wondered if that was his idea.
"Because you've only mentioned your dad."
"Have I? Well, logical conclusion," she wiggled the pencil between her fingers so fast that its image blurred, "No, she's not dead. What's it like growing up with fifteen people in a house?"
"I was kidding about the fifteen people."
"That's a lot of people."
"Who did you grow up to be like?" She questioned absentmindedly when he squat down at her level to look at the large square of paper.
"What?" He looked at her. She looked back, "Most people grow up like someone they grew up with, or they try at least."
"Who are you like?"
"You learn from the best," she grinned.
"Mostly. Little things I'm like other people about or in, things that don't pop up much but I know they would. And If I'm being honest I guess part of certain things has to do with a best friend I had growing up."
"But you're not like them?"
"No, not at all. She was much…kinder and nicer and she was always that little bit smarter and I learned how to be smarter than other people because she was the one who always got that point above me and it made me so mad and every time I'd do better I'd be such a brat about it."
"So you learned how to be smarter?"
She laughed without any real humor, "No, you can't learn that. I learned how to handle brats who every once in awhile were smarter on paper than you by being ingratiatingly accommodating, that sounded pompous, heh."
"So you learned how to be nicer."
"No, meaner. Her being humble always made me angrier even when I got a better grade. After we went off to do our own things I realized she had an inner bitch because she knew her being humble made me mad but she did it anyway. Kind of made me appreciate her more."
She traced the shapes of the squares on the drawn board in the air above with the pencil, idly, eyes flicking over each empty space, each remaining piece.
"You going to make a decision anytime soon?"
"I'm considering the variables, the combos, it can take awhile. Why are you here anyway, did you need something?"
She didn't give him a look but the tone made it clear that she could have.
"I said I'd be showing up."
"Nothing on television at the hotel? Need somebody to talk shit with? Do you find my personality and conversation skills dazzling?"
"I had things to drop off."
"How nice, I love gifts."
"…," he raised an eyebrow and didn't bare even a hint of a smile, despite her own.
"Oh pooh don't give me that look," she pouted.
"Yup. Not like pooh bear but," she shrugged, "I don't know, I like the sound."
"So what'd you bring me?"
"That," he pointed to the black duffel bag on the coffee table blocking the view of the couch.
"What is it?"
"For the full moon."
She lifted her weight onto her feet and turned with her knees pointed out, she didn't bother to stand and just shuffled like a squat gargoyle to the table, banging her knees down when the bag was in reach, and ending her strange waddling walk.
Unzipping it and looking inside she pulled out a length of heavy silver links, they chimed as they ran over her palm and back on top of the spiraled pile of what was left in the bag, "Damn."
"Don't say whatever it is that you're thinking of saying, it's not as funny as you think it is," he warned. She gave him a smirk that wasn't returned.
"I'm not that cliché. So for the full moon am I going to have to figure out how I'm going to get myself into these things or what?"
"I'll do it. It's a precaution."
"Understandable. Have you had to do this before?"
"Is that your attempt at humor?"
"No, why? Oh, no I didn't mean it like that, just like have you had to chain that kid up?"
"Didn't have to."
"Ah, he has a partner in crime aware of his lycanthropic state."
"So who's going to chain you up?"
"Don't worry about it."
"Not worried, curious."
"Satisfaction brought it back."
"Curiosity assuaged therefore satisfied, dead cat resurrection. Pet cemetery, full circle."
"Yes, hmmm indeed Mister Hale."
The to and fro was fun but half of her wasn't sure he always got her brand of humor.
"Back to Mister Hale?"
"No it wasn't.
"Sure. You ever actually chain someone up before?"
"I've seen it done."
The adolescent urge to giggle and throw an innuendo floated to the surface but she reminded herself that some things were only appropriate with best friends, and Derek Hale was not exactly B. F. F. material.
"Oh? In your basement?"
"Why bring those here then if that's where I'll be going?"
"You won't be there, you'll be here. You have your own basement."
"What exactly am I being chained to?"
"I have a book on the topic."
"Tying people up. You ever tie someone to a chair before?"
She waddled back to her picture representation spread out across the wood floor of her living room next to the television where a demon possessed teen was being hacked into pieces.
"Not a hard thing to do, I can figure it out."
"I can't have any spot to build momentum from; it's more complicated than most people think. If you do it wrong and I wolf out and want to go out and kill something I'll break something that I wouldn't want to break in half, like my spine. I'm fond of my spine."
"You've been tied to a chair before?"
"I read the book on it; actually experiencing it firsthand hasn't come up until now."
"Like escapes and magic tricks?"
"Like the art of bondage."
The grin was instantaneous as his discomfort flared brightly.
"I don't only read nursing textbooks. Besides it was on sale for two bucks at the store. How do you not buy a book like that?"
"That makes so much sense."
"Well, I mean besides a book where would you find out things like that? Do you have a dominatrix or magician in your social circle? I don't. See my point?"
"You want to read the book?"
"Scared it has pictures?"
"I'm just fuckin' with ya."
"But to be serious it's just a pattern to follow, nice guideline and all. I'll flip through and find something appropriate that will work, I'd hate to get out and eat someone."
"I did not need a response to that statement."
"Is this what you do all day?"
"Depends on 'what' it is you're referring to."
"Sit around all day."
"I'm a solitary and lethargic creature."
"Do you always talk like that?"
"Like I'm a Webster dictionary?"
"Thanks. My friends find it endearing."
"Speaking of which after the full moon, don't come over for a few days."
"I'll have a guest over, may look strange to have a dude sitting on my couch."
"Why would that be strange?"
"Because Dee Jay isn't a real person and I doubt you want to play that persona, no wait I don't want you to play that persona, I don't want you to play any persona. Just don't show up and I won't have to make an awkward excuse."
"Now is not the time to have guests."
"So then don't invite people over."
"I didn't invite her; she's invited herself because she's a nosy twat with no one to bother since her bubba has become lackluster."
"Who are you talking about?"
"My friend Molly and her need to bother me when she has no one else to bother even though she hates the way I act. Don't know why she's my best friend, it just kind of happened."
"You don't like your best friend?"
"The complexity of interpersonal relationships is not a light topic. I'd prefer to think about chess right now."
"Would you stop talking like that?"
She erased two of her own pieces positions on the board and switched them.
"Why did you rearrange two of your own pieces?"
"That's my move. Castling. I haven't moved my King or either Rook and my Queen is already moved. See?" She pointed and he nodded looking at where her finger had moved. "He thought I was going to Castling on this side," she waved a hand over the left side of the grid, "but last turn when I moved my Knight, the one that sits over here, he didn't know I wanted him to capture it."
"But you didn't put your King over there."
"No. Because that's what I wanted him to think I was doing."
"So you moved where he thought you wouldn't."
"Yes. But it doesn't matter."
"Because he's planned for both ways, regardless. He'll take my bishop next, this one," she pressed a finger to a square. "Not next move but it's what he'll capture and I've already lost. I'll get his Queen though."
"Why do you play if you know you'll lose?"
"Strategy. I need more information to make a plan. Only way to get that information is to play until I lose and then play again and lose some more."
"Doesn't sound like fun."
"It's not everyone's cup of tea," she shrugged agreeing, staring at him.
"What?" He seemed confused by the amused look she gave him.
"Chess is about more than fun," she explained.
"It's a game."
"Not all games are fun; do you think just because it's fun?"
"No. And that's a bad comparison"
"Well Chess is a lot like that. It's about thinking and patterns. You can tell a lot about a person by how they play chess."
"How they move you mean?"
"What does it say about you?"
"Learn how to play then tell me."
"You don't know what you play like?"
"Don't start; I'm in a good mood."
"How do you play?"
"I play because my dad is much better than me at it."
"I don't get it because that was a 'why' answer instead of a 'how' answer."
"Did you mean how I myself play or how in general does the game work in order to play it?"
"How you play it."
"I feel like I've already answered the question," she admitted, texting off her move to her father and then turning to watch the television.
"Okay," she raised her shoulder and let her gaze go glassy from the bright orange shade of blood spray from the movie.
"People are like chess pieces," she mused not looking away from the screen.
"Uh-huh. Relationships are too."
"Association wise not romantic notions wise," she explained as he sat down on the couch.
"When you only say half of what it is the thought was it's hard to follow your meaning," he responded after considering the statement.
"Sorry," she mumbled no longer interested with clarifying beyond what she'd already said.
"What piece is you?"
"Which do you think?"
"I know which one you think you are."
"Heh, you're funny. I know which one you think I think I am but you're wrong."
She turned and leaned an elbow onto the edge of the coffee table, looking at him from around the black duffel, "I'm not the Queen."
"I'm a Knight. Figure that analogy out," she challenged with a toss of her hair.
"Wouldn't be the same as yours."
"Yes, highly doubtful," she agreed.
"What am I?"
"If you can't figure out my analogies then there'd be no point since I don't want to explain it and you'd come up with the wrong reasoning."
"Would you tell me if I was right?"
"I'd tell you if you were wrong."
"So, tell me then."
"If you don't die by silver bullet you'll be a Rook, one day."
"But that's just people as pieces."
"Association wise, you and me, we're a castling, as a move, not as separate pieces mind you, King Derek," she smiled widely.
"Old crow," he countered.
"Now that was funny. Now who's a Webster dictionary?"
"Rook and crow are monosyllabic words."
"Monosyllabic, how wordy of you," she whistled.
"Shut up." It was too late, she caught the close eyed silent laugh he gave after she had spoke.
"Did you know a group of crows is called a murder?"
"Because their ugly birds that eat dead things?"
"Fine. Why is it appropriate?"
"You ever seen a group of crows, Mister Hale?"
"No, are you going to tell me or not?"
"Sometimes crows, in a group, surround a single crow and for awhile all they do is squawk and this goes on for awhile until one of two things happens."
"And what are the two things that could happen?"
His patience for a long conversation was growing thin.
"Either they all fly away or they peck the one in the middle to death."
"It means they didn't like the story."
She turned back to face the television as his eyes opened, not expecting the answer she gave and turning his head only to see that back of her head.
"The story the one in the middle tells them all."
"…are you serious?"
"You're a tough crowd, Mister Hale."
A/N: The high heels thing is, for anyone that didn't understand, a remark on how woman who wear high heels are more attractive to men on an instinctual level because their sacral spine is pushed out, like female cats when they're in heat or like any other non-human female mammal that is in heat. It's the universal "Let's get it on" posture of the animal kingdom. Stiles flipping Lucette off, really to me seems like something any normal person may do when they're already pissed off and then some random person just tries to get a dig in, so someone may not agree with that but Stile's is a little spitfire sometimes, he's not always nice. The movie Lucette and Derek are watching is Evil Dead, and the scene he's squeamish about is the iconic tree rape. The thing about crows is true, they are called a murder in a group, the story telling explanation is a Neil Gaiman reference. Somewhere in the chapter after the hotel scene Derek goes back to the house and Jackson shows up. Derek has already spoken to Chris Argent by this point and the police have already talked to him, the newspaper scene with Chris Argent and his wife talking about Kate has already happened somewhere in the timing of this chapter, just so everyone is clear on the timeline, the exact conversation Derek has with Chris Argent will be brought up later for anyone that's curious. This one was fun to write because for a little while Lucette and Derek are on neutral ground and after the last chapter of fighting this is kind of like the weird fallout where for a few days they have nothing to argue about. Not gonna last.