Word Count: 964

Prompt: First Couples Fight

Pairing: Derica

"Erica," Derek says, stunned, because the alphas told him she was dead and Boyd had confirmed it. "You're alive," he starts to say, but she cuts him off viciously.

"You told us about the hunters and we figured out the kanima pretty fast, but you never said anything about this," she gestures broadly to herself as she says this, and he nods, taking in her bleeding form with horror. "Want to clue in the pack to the fact that the alphas are after you and don't care who they break to get to you?"

"What did you tell them?" he demands, because the alphas can't find out anything, but her face closes off and he knows it was the wrong thing to say.

"Nothing," she answers, and backs away from him. "I thought you might have cared more about me being hurt than me being broken, but obviously that's not how it's going to play out."

"Erica," he tries, reaching out to her. "You have to understand, it's not in my control—"

"No," she snaps. She tries to shift, but instead shudders and sags a little. Her injuries are obviously taking a toll on her, and the anger isn't helping.

He decides he can't worry about the alpha pack right now, or what information Erica might have given about him, because the truth is, she doesn't know that much. He crosses the room quickly, before she can draw away, and curls his arms around her. "Let me take care of you," he mumbles, drawing as much pain out of her body as he can. "Please."

He tries to remind himself that they were never actually a couple and besides that one kiss they shared (albeit under strange circumstances) there's no indication that he ever felt anything for her besides vague contempt. It's not true of course, but he can't blame her for leaving with Boyd.

This feels like her blaming him for not loving her enough, and he guesses that's true.

He can start now. He can't heal the alphas wounds any faster than she can, but he can make the process easier.

She let's him pull the pain away, doesn't stop him from taking her into the bathroom to shower. He holds her hand on the other side of the curtain to take a least some pain away while he can't hold her.

The healing process takes three agonizing days, and the time Derek isn't sapping the pain away, he's sleeping and having Isaac, Boyd, and Peter run patrol around his loft.

When she's finally physically healed, she still can't look at Derek and trembles with barely concealed rage when Boyd is near. Isaac is the only one she can stand to be around, until one night, she comes out of Derek's bedroom (he's been sleeping on the couch, feeling like a husband in the doghouse) and sits next to where he's sprawled on the couch, on the floor.

"I'm still mad at you," she tells him quietly. "But I can let you stop worrying. I didn't tell them anything."

Derek reaches out and brushes a hand over her hair without really thinking about it, and offers her a smile. "I should have known," he offers. "You really are the one who can take the most pain."

She ducks her head. "Duh," she mumbles. "Why did they keep me instead of Boyd?" she asks.

He shrugs, because it's not like they knew the way he felt about Erica was different than the way he felt about Isaac or Boyd. "I don't know," he offers, when the shrug doesn't placate her. "But I'm glad you're back."

"Yeah," she says with a sigh. "I guess you're not such a shitty alpha."

"Yeah I was," he says honestly.

"You didn't…not like them," she says quietly.

"You're not in their pack," he points out. "You're still mine." And that came out wrong, but also didn't, because Erica is his, even if it's not technically legal yet, even if she doesn't know it.

"I don't belong to you," she says, and her grin is razor sharp. "But I belong with you, don't I?"

"Yeah," he says quietly. He can hear her heart skip over that, and he thinks she's picking up on what he's really trying to say. It's never been about pack, although it gutted him when she tried to leave. What he feels for her has always been more than pack, more than an alpha to a beta.

"Why'd you push me away? Before," she whispers, leaning closer to him. Their faces are mere inches apart, and she rests her chin on the edge of the couch. "Because I'm a beta?"

"You've never been just a beta," he tells her instead of answering her real question, because it brings up a slew of memories that all go back to Kate, even though Erica is angry in a different way and a thousand times more beautiful and precious. Stronger, too, because Kate had never been at the bottom of the totem pole, and Erica had been. Erica knows how to ascend, and he wants nothing more than to watch her do it.

Erica closes her eyes. She probably wants more of an answer, but she doesn't push. When she opens her eyes again, they glow gold and she reaches out to stroke his left eyebrow. "Can you…sleep in your room tonight?" she asks. "I appreciate the space, but the alphas can still follow a scent, you know."

He nods, because he hears what she's not saying. Thoughts like, You're a dumbass but I like you anyway. I'm still mad but you can have some privileges back. I'm scared they'll find me again.

But mostly, he thinks he hears, You were never just an alpha. And that's good.

A/N: This one is my favorite okay T_T

I'm not uploading anything else tonight, but you can read more at neverendingpaintrain on tumblr. :) Anyway, got a paper to write. Lates.