Main pairing: Stiles/Derek
Other pairings: Jackson/Isaac, Scott/Allison
Summary: Once they manage to track down and capture Jackson, Derek makes the decision for the pack to leave town and try tutor him in the wilderness. Naturally; Stiles tags along.
A/N: This is set somewhere around 2x07 or 2x08, when Jackson is out of control. However, I chose to remove Boyd from the story, for a very simple reason: I don't know enough about him to write him as a believable character. Writing the remaining characters is hard enough. Jeff Davis should seriously get an award.
- Chapter One -
Break me out, come and find me in the dark now
It was past midnight by the time Stiles pulled up his Jeep on the driveway, finding all lights inside of the house being put out, meaning his dad must have made Scott the main suspect for his kidnapping, and gone to bed. It was a weekend's night anyway. Normal teenagers – whose best friend wasn't a werewolf that was incapable of doing his own research and needed your expertise in order to survive the day – were probably getting drunk on some party which didn't end before sunrise.
Stiles? He'd chained up two werewolves in an abandoned train station.
Shutting off the engine made the world fall in dead silence, and he pulled a face when the door whined as he climbed out, more than convinced he'd woken up the entire neighbourhood. No one came running to put a bullet in his head, however, and that was always something.
He tilted his head back, offering the starry sky a proper glance. The moon stared back down at him, and he realized he'd been afraid to look at it all night. Its round and full shape was of course a good reason to look elsewhere, but he'd never admit it to Scott. Or Jackson. Or Derek.
Thankfully, he hadn't really been the one to chain up Erica and Isaac in the werewolves' new lair underground. Derek had done it himself as soon as the youngsters had come back from school. This was a wise choice, as Stiles vividly remembered Scott's behaviour his second fullmoon, involving making out with Lydia, role-playing a serial killer, and just acting freaking weird. He'd never admit to it; but he was pretty sure Derek was better at handling odd Beta behaviour than he did. Which was why he was more than grateful to skip the dirty work involving chains or claws.
But he'd dropped by just to check on them and make sure the chains were still intact and Erica was doing okay. Ever since the 'detention scandal' in the library where Jackson had caused her to have a seizure, she'd been weaker. Maybe she had just simply calmed down her otherwise bitchy behaviour that apparently came with the bite – because Isaac had it too – but no matter the reason; she'd been different. Derek was still worried for her health, as well as Isaac's safety, and had asked Stiles to check on his puppies sometime during the night.
Erica had been next to sleeping; chained up against the wall in a seated position with her eyes closed. Stiles was pretty sure she was fighting either pain or the urge to rip his head off, so he'd kept his distance. Isaac, on the other hand, was not much different from last fullmoon when he would have made a sandwich out of Stiles if it hadn't been for Derek and his Alpha growl. Stiles was alone this time, with no backup to save his sorry ass if the chains would prove to be nothing but spaghetti for the wolves' bloodlust.
But who would know just how strong chains that would be needed, if not Derek Hale?
The Alpha probably would've wished to stay in his hiding place this fullmoon, to watch over his pack and do whatever he could to help them, but he was on a mission with Scott. They had been trying to track down Jackson for over a week now, and had finally picked up his alien scent this afternoon. To judge by the time they'd been gone they could be either dead or halfway to Mexico.
His pocket started to vibrate, and he hauled up his muted cell phone. It was thick and clumsy in his hands, as he was still used to his Smartphone. After dropping it in the pool, however, he'd been forced to dig up his old Nokia from the bottom of his drawer. Even if he somehow could come up with a story how he lost the most precious thing he'd ever owned – apart from the Jeep, obviously – he didn't have the heart to ask his dad to buy a new phone. Those things were bloody expensive.
"We found him," Scott announced as soon as Stiles brought the thing to his ear. He sounded slightly out of breath, but relief reached every corner of his voice.
"Yeah. We've been chasing him for hours, all the way into the hills." There was a pause when Stiles could hear him catch his breath. "We fought him off in a clearing. Whenever he gets too wounded, he turns back to human form. He's still unconscious."
Stiles breathed out, running a hand through his short hair.
"So what do we do now?" He asked, because until this point they had only planned as far as finding the poor bastard – nothing of how to keep him in harmless kitten form.
"Can you bring your Jeep up here?"
"I thought you wolves were supposed to be stronger in packs?" Stiles asked, confused. "Not that I usually check out Jackson's abs in the showers, but the guy can't be that heavy."
"What? Isn't he healing?"
"The venom, Stiles," Scott barked. "Jackson slit his throat with his claws."
Suddenly Stiles realized why there had been no impatient Derek muttering in the background.
He sighed, squeezing the car keys in his hand.
"Where are you?"
Scott's glowing eyes was what gave away the shifters' location in the dark, making it possible for Stiles to hit the break before driving over Jackson who was lying motionless on the ground. There was nothing but darkness around the clearing, and Stiles thanked whatever higher power that had made him remember to bring a flashlight.
Jackson's skin was bruised, dusty and revealed a series of open wounds. Some of them were healing, while some kept flooding blood – difference between the strikes of a Beta and an Alpha.
"Get him into the car," Scott urged, stepping up to grab Jackson's arms and shoulders.
Stiles first now realized that his friend was his more furry self, with eyes shining in bright yellow and fangs enlarged. While he was impressed and just a little proud that Scott now was able to control his bloodlust during fullmoons, the power over the physical shift obviously needed a few more lessons. At least he wasn't trying to kill him, and Stiles appreciated that. A lot.
He helped Scott to carry Jackson's – believe it or not – heavy body into the Jeep's backseat, where Scott covered him up in a blanket. There was little they could do for his bleeding wounds at this place, but he still tried to at least stop the major bleeding. Working at the animal clinic had surely taught him how to treat cats and dogs as well as snakes, and Stiles had to bite his lip not to make a very inappropriate comment about that.
"Where's Derek?" He asked instead, circling in place with the flashlight held high, but didn't see anything that could be the shape of Derek Hale.
Scott raised a hand and pointed with one of his claws towards the darkness to Stiles' left. Walking a few steps in that direction, the flashlight's beam eventually fell on a big boulder at the edge of the clearing. The light also revealed a boot attached to a leg on the other side of the rock, and Stiles hurried up his steps to walk closer. Because he knew that boot. Several times it had crapped dirt on the passenger seat of his Jeep.
And in his bedroom.
Derek was sprawled out on the ground with his back against the boulder in a seated position. Scott must have moved him, for there was a trail of blood disappearing into the surrounding darkness that most likely came from the open cut in the man's throat. His eyes flashed red when Stiles crouched down in front of him, and their gazes locked. Other than that he didn't move a muscle.
"Well," Stiles said with a sigh. " You look like shit."
As suspected; the werewolf was unable to snap back a reply. His face was pale, much like a ghost's in the white light. Unlike Scott, he wasn't wolfed out. The fact that he'd left his precious leather jacket at home also spoke for that he'd fought against Jackson in his full wolf form. The thin fabric of the shirt he wore was ripped by long claw marks across the chest. Though those wounds didn't bleed, they were still open and surely very painful. The Kanima's venom obviously slowed down the whole healing process.
It wasn't the first time he'd seen Derek injured, or close to death, but the sight still terrified him. Not because he was afraid of the werewolf himself, or the fact that he could easily rip his throat out (with his teeth) if he wanted to, but because nothing and no one should be able to hurt Derek Hale.
Derek was strong, fast, and had the ability to hear and smell things no humans could. He had claws, fangs, and a skeleton which instantly repaired itself. He could be shot, stabbed or have someone cut off his arm – and he would still survive.
Knowing even a death machine like Derek could be hurt made Stiles fear for the survival of mankind.
Scott was suddenly at his side, jerking him back to the present issue with a paralyzed werewolf to somehow get back to Beacon Hills. The Beta didn't hesitate to walk over to the Alpha's side, lifting him from the ground like he wasn't heavier than a lacrosse stick.
"Hold his head," Scott ordered, in a voice somewhat too dark for him, and Stiles obeyed without blinking. "Make sure he can breathe."
Walking back to the Jeep, Stiles steadied the back of Derek's neck with the flashlight in his mouth. It was impossible to see more than three feet ahead, and he tripped more than once. Somehow he managed to keep Derek from choking on his own blood, even if the man certainly would've snarled at his clumsiness if his throat hadn't been sliced open.
"Now what?" He wondered as they reached the Jeep. "We put him in the backseat with the snake?"
Paralyzed or not; Derek's eyes still flashed towards Stiles at that suggestion, making his disapproval very clear. Stiles sighed dramatically. The guy was never easy.
"He'll take the passenger seat," Scott decided. "I'll be with Jackson in the back."
"What if he wakes up and transforms and kill you?"
Somehow he managed to open the door while still supporting the weight of Derek's head in his hand. His skin was cold after so many hours in the chilly air, and was a great contrast to Stiles' warm palm.
"Not any time soon," Scott said when lifting the man's immobile body onto the seat, and Stiles let go.
"But he is healing, right?"
"Yes." Scott turned back to him, and Stiles felt just a little bit of fear run through him when he suddenly had the werewolf's full attention. "But last time it took until dawn for him to heal properly, and then it was only one strike from Derek." He scoffed lightly. "He got a lot more this time."
Stiles felt the corners of his lips pull up in a weak smirk.
"Keep being this badass and you'll soon have your own Padawan," he said, before climbing into the driver's seat of the Jeep; now locked and loaded with three shifters and a slightly troubled teen, wishing he really was Yoda, a Jedi master, so he could just use The Force to get them all 10 miles from here; back to Beacon Hills.
If the ride back felt a lot longer than the ride there, it probably had something to do with Stiles acknowledging every second of what was going on inside the car. Every shaky breath that left Derek's lips, every painful groan Jackson made in his sleep, or every time Scott shifted in his seat. There was a tension filling the car and its thickness was about to strangle him. They'd been driving for half an hour, and not a single word had been spoken.
Stiles couldn't stand silence. It made his skin itch. End of story.
The Jeep suddenly hit a bump on the road, and the shaking made everyone slide slightly to the left. Stiles and Scott had the doors of the car to catch their weight, and Jackson had his head safely in Scott's lap, but Derek – unable to steady himself or strain a muscle – tipped to the side. He would have fallen right on the steering wheel, had not Stiles reached over and grasped the man's shoulder with his right hand; breaking the fall and holding him in place.
An impressed snort came from the backseat.
"Nice catch," Scott commented.
"Hey, I play lacrosse too, you know," he replied, keeping his eyes on the road, but his pride reached out to his words. "And I do it without any wolf-mojo."
Once the road was somewhat more plane, he dared a glance in Derek's direction. He wasn't prepared to find the werewolf already looking at him, meeting his gaze with a firm gaze. The paralysation must've started to wear off because he'd turned his head in order to give Stiles the proper monster-stare. The cut in his throat had healed up some during the ride. This only made Stiles fear for the speed of Jackson's healing process, however, and didn't calm him down one bit.
"How..." Derek tried to speak, sounding as if he was still gargling blood. He swallowed, and Stiles watched the skin around the wound move. "Isaac. Erica."
"They're fine," Stiles assured, going back to watch the road. "I had just left them when Scott called."
Derek dipped his head in a short nod. If Stiles had been able to sniff out peoples' feelings, the Alpha would most likely have a scent of something similar to gratefulness. He wasn't expecting a thanks though. If there was one thing Stiles had learned over the last elapsing months, running with werewolves, it was that Derek Hale wasn't a man of many words. He preferred snarling.
When Scott leaned forward to stick his head between the two front seats, Stiles thought about withdrawing his hand. But what if he let go, and Derek dropped all his unknown-numbers-of-pounds on the dashboard, and the Jeep got out of his control? So he let it remain on Derek's shoulder – fingers grasping the torn out shirt – while keeping the other steady on the wheel.
"Where should we take him?" Scott asked, directing the question to Derek, for which Stiles was very thankful. His only plan would be another police van, and that hadn't worked well last time.
"The lair," Derek breathed, and Stiles could practically feel the effort it took for him to speak, vibrating under his skin, and under Stiles' fingers.
"Not to be negative or anything, but the other night we locked him up pretty nicely in handcuffs and chains, and that was no match for him. Unless you have some kind of super chains..."
In the corner of his eye Stiles saw Derek look sharply at him, and he chose to just shut up.
"You think you could keep him there?" Scott asked, sounding sceptical, clearly being on Stiles' side.
"I don't know." Derek turned his focus on the Beta instead. "I don't know his condition. I..." He pulled a face, clearly fighting off pain. "I missed the finale of the match."
"He's still unconscious. My strike for his ribs was what turned him back."
"Okay," Stiles cut across. "How do we know he'll be our Jackson when he wakes up? And not just a freaking zombie being controlled like a puppet?"
Derek's voice was ringing of frustration, and Stiles was wise enough to not proceed. Scott retreated to the backseat, and Derek gazed through the window on the bypassing darkness.
"Awesome," Stiles mumbled to himself, just as he thought he felt Derek's muscles tense beneath his palm. He spent a moment rethinking the withdraw-thing, but decided not to. For the safety of his Jeep, obviously.
Silence reigned the rest of the ride, and Stiles' tapping on the wheel was what kept him from going insane. The two werewolves appeared to be deep in thought, and he was all for that. As sooner they came up with a solution, the sooner he could go home before needing to confront his dad about being gone all night. How he was gonna dodge the fact that Jackson was kidnapped again was another problem.
When they reached the outskirts of Beacon Hills, about an hour after their cheerful conversation had ended, Stiles finally let go of Derek's. His skin was not as cold anymore, and he managed to stay on his side of the car when Stiles no longer supported his weight. The Alpha kept his eyes on the road, barely seeming to notice the change.
As soon as the car slowed down outside the deserted train station, Derek ripped the door open and reeled towards the entrance. Scott was right behind him, even before Stiles had done a proper parking. Once he had, both wolves were already gone. Being alone with Jackson in the car wasn't exactly Stiles' idea of a good time, but since he couldn't just leave the monster, he was doomed to keep watch.
Nearly ten minutes passed before either of the wolves came back up. Stiles thought he even heard Derek growl more than once during that time, obviously bossing the Betas around. When the door to the racked building opened, not only Derek and Scott appeared, but the whole pack.
Isaac was wolfed out, and his golden eyes instantly fixed themselves on Stiles' surprised face. Derek, now appearing a lot stronger than earlier, snarled lightly and pushed the boy further to his left, and Isaac took his eyes off Stiles. Erica and Scott walked side by side, appearing to be a lot calmer than their 'brother'. From the state she'd been in earlier tonight, Stiles was a little surprised to see Erica on her feet. Scott kept giving her the eye, however, and Stiles suspected Derek had asked him to help her if it became necessary.
Jackson got carried from the Jeep down to the lair by the new wolves, while Derek and Scott remained with Stiles; who finally dared climb out of the driver's seat.
"What are you gonna do with him?" He asked bluntly. "Kill him?"
"No." Derek offered a glance in Scott's direction, and Stiles' figured he must have been persuaded. "We'll lock him up for tonight. But it won't last. He's too strong to keep safely in a place like this."
"So what are you saying?"
Derek let his eyes wander over the surroundings of their hiding place. They were just outside the city, when the landscape transformed into miles of woods and wilderness. Here they were safe from prying eyes and snoopy neighbours. Here they were safe from tripwires and other traps set up by the Argents who'd known the Hale house to be Beacon Hills' Headquarter for werewolves. As long as nothing traces them here, this was the only place they could feel safe.
"We must leave town," he finally answered, voice low and bitter. "Take him into the wilds."
"What?" Scott snorted. "Why? What good would that do?"
"You think werewolves were first invented on the 21-century?" Derek snapped. "They've walked this earth for as long as humans and wolves have. How do you think they lived in the medieval times? Or stone age? Why do you think my family lived in a house so distant from the rest of town, surrounded by forest? We need wilderness. It's in our nature."
"Jackson's not like us," Scott remarked.
"Wasn't you the one who translated the text?" He said, raising an eyebrow. "You should know more about the Kanima than I do at this point. It's supposed to be a werewolf, remember? Just whatever happened to it in the past made the bite of an Alpha it to turn into something else. And before we've figured out how to either help him solve this, or found a way for him to control himself, we should keep him somewhere where he can't hurt more people."
There was a pause. Stiles thought about joining the conversation, as he felt incredibly useless and stupid just standing there muted.
"You're taking them with you?" Scott asked, supposedly referring to Isaac and Erica.
"You're coming too," Derek said in response. "I need the entire pack for this. I know it's my fault, my responsibility, and I got no right to demand more help from you. I know you got a life to deal with." He sighed, dropping his gaze to the ground for a bit before looking back up. "But I need your help."
Stiles looked over to his friend whose face was unreadable. For the longest time he just kept his now human eyes steady on Derek, before absently nodding.
Scott's simple reply was the complete opposite to what Stiles had expected, and it had him thrown off for a while. Wasn't this the part where Scott wouldn't stop go on about Allison and how he couldn't leave her behind, or that if Derek needed him then they had to take her with them, and that Derek was not the boss of him?
And maybe that's what it was all about. Because these days; he really was the boss of Scott. Yet it just didn't seem right. Just because Scott had given in and joined up with the Sour Wolf Pack, he didn't exactly roll on his back and cower to please his Alpha. Whatever this was about, Stiles made a mental note to bring it up at another time.
"Great," he said instead. "I'll be the chauffeur for Snakeboy in the morning then."
"Dude," Scott said, looking at him. "You're not coming."
"He's right," Derek agreed, looking firmly at Stiles. "You're the son of the Sheriff. There will be a crossfire of questions."
"Exactly!" Exclaimed Stiles. "Do you have any idea of how many times I've lied to him right in the face? I've lost count. Just for how long do you think I could keep that up? You think I could actually come up with a story of how my best friend and a bunch of freaks – which I happen to have spent a lot of time around lately – just disappears, and I had nothing to do with it?"
"Also," he went on before either of them had the time to interrupt. "Your precious Camaro got too much grace to take on the terrain, and there's no way I'm gonna lend out my Jeep to a bunch of wolves who's gonna babysit a venomous monster who'll use just about anything for chew toy."
"He's got a point," Scott said, sounding amused, looking at Derek.
"Alright, fine," Derek sighed in defeat. "But you're responsible for him," he clarified, pointing at Scott. "I got enough puppies to look after."
"Hey, I'm the one going camping with four dogs and a snake," Stiles pointed out.
Later that night when he finally got home, finding his dad sleeping over the desk in his office with an empty bottle of Whiskey standing on the top of a pile of recent murders-files; Stiles would feel bad about it. He would feel bad about leaving his father and responsibility behind, and run away with the truth which his dad fought so hard to discover. He would feel bad about not saying goodbye before leaving early the following morning. About not even leaving a note or any reassurance of where he'd gone to. He would have.
If only he'd known what to say.