Prompt: Derica; when Derek saves Erica and Boyd from the Argents' basement.

Pairing: Pre-Derica (Derek/underage character is a squick for me; sorry)

Word count: 1689

Notes: Erica speaks in fragments and repeats herself a little because she's essentially undergoing torture the entire time. A whole lot of stream of consciousness. Title from The Adventure by Angels and Airwaves.

For a long time, there's nothing but pain.




When Allison filled Boyd with arrows, Erica screamed at her to stop. Allison had this look on her face, like she was angry and needed this to happen. She needed the control.

Erica understands, she really does. Being a werewolf gave her control, but when Derek bit Allison's mother to save Scott, Allison had any semblance of control taken away. Capturing werewolves, joining the family business to spite her father? That's control. Allison needs it.

Erica understands.

Werewolves are good but they're also bad. It depends on perspective.

"Allison, stop," she pleads, because Allison needs to understand that she gets it.

Allison doesn't stop.

Erica seizes while she's strung up in the Argent's basement, electricity running all the way from her hands to her feet. She tastes the blood and for a minute thinks it's nothing, just more pain, but then—she blacks out.

When she comes back to herself Boyd is crying.

It's the first time but not the last.

The Argents started with arrows, continued with electricity, and peaked the torture with Stiles.

Gerard brings him down to the basement and Stiles tries to free them, even as they try to warn them away with their eyes. He gets shocked anyway, and then Gerard reappears.

Erica can't watch.

She has to watch.

She knows, objectively, that she herself has hurt Stiles. She knocked him out and threw him in a Dumpster. But that had been…one quick blow. He hadn't even woken up with a concussion. Sure, she'd messed up his Jeep, but it hadn't been like this.

Gerard slams his fists into Stiles repeatedly, until Stiles is crying out. For whatever reason he doesn't fight back—maybe it's the electricity or general fear or something else altogether.

Gerard drags him out once he's finished.

That's the second time Boyd cries.

There's no doubt in her mind that all of Allison's fury and grief are being directed by Gerard. There's a desperation in his eyes that sinks into calmness when she appears in the basement.

Her wrath calms him. She's a pawn and she doesn't know it. She thinks she's the queen.

Or maybe she is the queen, but Gerard is the one calling the moves.

Sure, she's the one who makes the final calls, but Gerard directs her that way. They discuss their plans to kill Derek and Gerard makes suggestions and statements that make her believe there's only one option.

Chris Argent is no where to be seen, and through a haze of pain she wonders if that means he doesn't condone this. He'd been a little wary of Allison's methods for catching them. He didn't seem to think they deserved to be captured at all.

And they don't, right? She never

she never

killed anyone

Gerard saunters over to them and turns up the electricity.

Erica blacks out and wishes she could howl a warning.

She doesn't want Derek to die.

She's not his biggest fan, but she likes him and his death wouldn't help anyone. And he was trying for…something. She could never figure out what. Derek didn't share things about himself, and his endgame for all of this was no clearer now than it had been in the beginning.

All she knows is that Derek needs to protect something.

She doesn't know what.

The next time she wakes up, Stiles is slumped against the wall and Derek is standing in front of Boyd. "Like this?" he's saying, and Stiles nods.

"That's the knob Gerard was messing with."

Was he watching, waiting for the opportune moment to get Derek and pull them out? She feels a sudden surge of gratitude for Stiles, which is novel enough in itself because for the last…she doesn't know how long…she's felt nothing but pain.

Stiles limps over to her and pulls away the duct tape gently, like ripping it off fast might be the thing that pushes her over the edge.

When she's free she chokes out a gasp and tries to say, "Thank you," but nothing comes out.

Stiles gets it though. He just nods and switches spots with Derek so he can pull the tape off of Boyd's mouth, too.

Derk steps in front of her and reaches up to untie her hands from the wires. As soon as she's free, he has to catch her before she crumples to the floor. "I'm so sorry," he says. "I'm so sorry."

She tries to mumble out a response, but even if she was capable of speaking, she thinks it would get lost because her mouth is pressed to his shoulder. She's not sure what she'd say, anyway. It's not okay. But she can't blame him.

She doesn't know.

Stiles wraps an arm around her waist and takes her weight on his good leg. "Shh," he says gently, running a hand through her hair. "We're going to take you home."

Erica manages to make a noise this time, but it's just a small whine.

"Why aren't they healing?" Stiles asks as he carries Erica up the stairs. Derek is behind him, carrying Boyd.

"Sustained exposure," Derek answers grimly. "The only solution I have is to break an arm to kickstart the healing process, but in this case I'm not sure it would actually work."

"Don't do that," Stiles says. He stumbles a little on the next step and Erica flinches into his chest.

"Careful," Derek says.

Stiles rights himself and says nothing about why he's limping. Erica wonders if Derek knows or if this is a secret to be left in the Argent basement.

In the car, Erica ends up sprawled out in the backseat next to Boyd. The Camaro is small and they end up as a tangle of limbs, but nothing can be done to fix that, because the two of them are still too weak to move.

Stiles looks back over the seat and stares at them. He holds Erica's eyes the longest, like he's looking for something.

She's too woozy to know if he finds it.

Finally, just as they're reaching the train depot, she feels Boyd curl an arm around her and ground her. The human contact with someone who was their, who felt the exact same things she did is enough to make her cry again.

She can count how many times Boyd cried.

She hasn't counted her own tears in years.

Isaac is waiting in the depot and he grabs Boyd without a word, leaving Erica for Derek.

Stiles reaches out and touches her hand briefly before he gets into his Jeep and drives away.

Derek picks her up and cradles her. He hip checks the Camaro shut, and says it again. "I'm so sorry."

Her mouth finds his shoulder and she mouths a reply there. "I'm here."

She can't say anything else.

Healing from the torture is better than the torture itself, but that's mostly because Derek is there, chest pressed to her back, hushing her when she cries out at a particularly large bundle of nerves repairing themselves.

At the end, Erica feels warm and sleepy, and finally her voice is working well enough to say, "I'm here."

Derek runs a hand down her arm in response. It's enough.

Erica wakes up afraid and alone. For a long second, she worries that the rescue was a dream and that an Argent will come down the stairs and turn up the electricity.

But she opens her eyes again and sees where she is—in Derek's bed, surrounded by rumpled sheets, in a train car.

She sits up slowly and croaks out, "Derek?"

Derek walks into the car. "I heard you waking up," he says, and hands her a glass of water. Grimly, he adds, "You need to rest up and heal. Something bigger is coming."

Her heart starts racing and she sips the water slowly, trying to calm herself down. "Boyd?" she asks.

"He's fine," Derek says, resting a hand on her shoulder. "He's still asleep, though."

There's an unasked question in his eyes. "Are you going to leave?"

She doesn't know.

"What could be bigger than a murder-lizard?" she asks, starting to tremble, because she knows that answer firsthand. Gerard.

"It's called an Alpha pack," Derek grits out, like the idea of sharing this information is the worst part of the situation.

She tries not to resent him for it. "A pack of alphas," she tries. "As powerful as you?"

"Yes and no," he says. "Think about how the Justice League argued over plans and who would be in charge. It's like that. But physically…yes, they're as strong."

"You like Justice League?" she asks quietly, wrapping her arms around her knees.

He smiles the way he did when they first met, like he's not so dangerous and she shouldn't worry. It doesn't work this time, either, even though it feels more genuine. "Yeah," he says.

She let's herself smile back. "What do they want?"

"Me," Derek says.

"Oh," is all she can offer. And then, "Can we stop them?"

He looks up, and the question is gone from his eyes, like he heard her answer. She's not going. He knows it. She knows it (now). He doesn't mention it though. "We can try," he says.

She nods. "Okay." Carefully she reaches out and presses a hand onto his shoulder. "Thank you."

"For doing what I should have been doing all along?" he asks bitterly.

"For getting us out of the basement," Erica says. "For telling me the truth. For helping me heal."

He deflates. "I should have…always done that. And I'm sorry."

"I'm here," she says again, insistently. She needs him to understand what she means. It's not okay. But it's not your fault. I'm here.

"Yeah," Derek says, and takes her hand from his shoulder. He laces his fingers through hers. "You're here."

She thinks he understands. She lifts their entwined hands and presses her mouth to his fingers. "I'm not going."

"No," he agrees, watching her lips brush over his fingers. "Not again."

She smiles. He understands.

A/N: To clarify the timeline—Erica and Boyd get taken before the lacrosse game, Stiles gets beat up after the lacrosse game, Gerard dumps him back at the lacrosse field and returns home to discuss plans with Allison, but Stiles follows them (with his Jeep this time) and watches to see when they leave so he can figure out how to get them out. After which, he goes home so his Dad will stop worrying, Lydia comes over and the two of them crash the fight, and instead of checking on his Jeep, Stiles tells Derek about Erica and Boyd. The two of them break them out while Chris is upstairs with Allison, unaware of their presence. Because they are stealth masters. TADA!

Also did you know that Dumpster is a brand name and should always be capitalized?