Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize. Song belongs to Marina&The Diamonds.
A/N: I needed like two episodes to get my plot bunnies in order but I'm super sorry for any lateness. I immediately started writing after the first episode aired, but I really wasn't into it at all. Something was missing and I felt like everything was flat. Then, a very awesome reviewer named Sandra made the suggestion that the alphas also take Paige. I literally couldn't get that idea out of my head and finally I sat down and everything poured out and it all felt right. Thank you so much for the plot bunny! It was literally just what I needed.
And so begins the sequel! Hope you all like it and thank you for reading!
Big Ugly Lofts
You're too proud to say that you've made a mistake
You're a coward to the end
I don't wanna admit that we're not gonna fit
No, I'm not the type that you like
Why don't we just pretend?
There was still a lot of controversy between the two about whether taking that extra wall down had actually been a good idea or not. For example, Paige had been convinced it should stay. Definitely. There was more than enough space. Derek was less convinced. He claimed that they would need a large space to train the pack.
At the time, Paige had glanced around at the completely empty loft and demanded, "What pack?"
Derek had retreated into himself at the reminder that he had failed as an alpha and hadn't talked to her at all for the rest of the night. The next morning, Isaac had made a point to visit and that put the alpha into better spirits.
Absently glancing around the place as she tried to motivate herself into picking up her GED book, she decided that all in all, it wasn't a bad place to honestly, it beat the railway station and the Hale house. Though there were aspects that definitely left her wanting, this was their home together. The home of her and her mate. Maybe she secretly hated that demolished wall, it didn't matter. Derek had created a space for them to be together and they would happily exist there.
"Until the alphas make their presence known," she reminded herself, mentally.
Things had been quiet. Maybe too quiet. Especially when she considered that the summer was supposed to show a general spike in crime rates - something about everyone being outside and the heat aggravating issues. But Beacon Hills was stable for once. Paige knew it was an act. The longer it took for suspicious activity to arise, the more time the alpha pack had to integrate themselves into daily activity and fuck things up more severely when they finally revealed themselves.
Paige closed her eyes as her thoughts and worries got the best of her. Her heartbeat spiked nastily and she took a deep breath.
"Everything okay?" Derek asked from his desk. She had no idea what he was doing, probably shuffling some paper around. He must have heard the spike in her heartbeat, she realized.
"Just worried about passing this test," she dismissed his concerned. Even she heard the slight jump in her heart that screamed at him that she was lying. But he didn't push it.
They had both been doing a lot of lying to each other recently.
"Peter called about a lead earlier today," Derek commented lightly in her ear, later that day. They had settled in for the night rather early, but Paige didn't mind. It wasn't ideal for her to look for a job and her GED test was bright and early tomorrow morning. She had only bought that book and studied for a bit because she just didn't want to be too surprised by the kinds of questions she would get on the test. For the most part she understood the content just fine - after all, she had been an honors student about to graduate before dropping out to stay with the pack. She was certain she would do just fine.
So, they decided on an early night... and not that kind of early night.
It seemed all the stress of the alpha pack, combined with the stress of losing Boyd and Erica and left their love life a little dry. But honestly, it was times like this when they didn't really need a stress reliever, so much as a source of comfort. After the last two months being a constant source of worry, it helped to simply let go and relax in the presence of one of the few people either of them could trust.
In particular, she worried about Derek. After what had happened with Scott - the boy's words that night in the warehouse with Gerard... Scott didn't trust Derek not to fuck things up - and fucking things up was exactly what Derek most feared doing. And the longer Erica and Boyd were missing, the more Derek felt like he had irrevocably fucked things up. And on top of that, everything was falling apart: Isaac had slowly begun to hang out more and more with Scott, leaving the pack to merely consist of Paige and Derek. Peter popped in and out to make his presence known and sooner or later that would come back to bite them in the ass. At least Paige had established that Derek didn't trust Peter - not that that was much consolation because Derek didn't trust anyone.
Slowly, darker and darker bags had developed under his eyes. He walked with a slight stoop, like he wasn't looking at the world around him, just the few steps in front of him. And he was distracted all the time. Just that morning he had put orange juice in his cereal bowl.
The worst part was that Paige could do nothing.
No, actually, the worst part was the Paige also felt like shit but had to keep everything together for the sake of her mate. If she was the last person Derek could rely on, she wasn't going to let him down. She just often wished he would take his head out of his own problems for a moment to realize she needed some attention too.
So, this was the closest her wish came to coming true: the two of them lying, entangled in their spacious bed, neither asleep nor awake, listening to the urban part of town below them absently.
"What kind of lead?" Paige asked, nuzzling herself closer into his collarbone.
"He's not really sure," Derek was forced to admit. "But right now we have nothing."
"We always have nothing," she absently replied. When he tensed, she knew she had said something a bit too pessimistic for his fragile psyche.
"I'm going to check it out tomorrow," he said. "I'll probably be gone before you wake up to take your test."
"Okay," she murmured. Actually, it kind of wasn't okay - she had been hoping for a quiet breakfast with her mate before having to sit at a desk and think for a few hours. But, she kept her mouth shut.
"Okay," he echoed.
She knew he was expecting to her to ask him where he was going - push for what exactly kind of lead this was. But honestly, she was so tired. So worn out. They had nothing. They always had nothing. If Erica and Boyd had been taken by the alpha pack, they were probably dead. And she knew that and she hated it and maybe she was completely disillusioned.
When she had chosen to stay in Beacon Hills - to completely give up her mother, father, and brother - she had done so thinking that Erica and Boyd were still on the run from the Argents - that Scott would be there to help and everyone would work together and be good friends. Scott had dropped off the face of the planet except for the times she heard second hand stories from Isaac. And yeah, the kanima had been violent and terrifying, but they had survived. They had all survived and killed Gerard (as far as they knew) and had come out victorious. It hadn't been until a few months into summer that the reality was truly hitting Paige: they were in over their heads. These alphas were out of their league and any teenage misconceptions about invincibility had swiftly flown out the window along with her peace of mind. Everything was hitting her hard, in the gut so deep that she could constantly feel the stomach acid in her throat.
Paige closed her eyes and willed sleep to take her swiftly.
Derek had made good on his promise that he wouldn't be there when she had to get up. She had heard him rustling around while it was still dark. His lips had briefly glanced over her forehead before she heard the apartment door close. Within an hour, her own alarm went off - but she had already been awake since he had left.
Pulling herself from the bed, she chose not to fix the sheets and instead headed into the kitchen for a small bowl of cereal. After her usual morning routine, she grabbed the necessary documentation, a pencil, and an extra eraser and stuffed it all into her purse, before heading to Beacon Hills high school, where the test was being held.
True, the Camaro was still a very active part of Derek's life. However, Derek and Paige didn't always travel together and as a result, the two had invested in a rental car. Paige had insisted on something fuel-efficient and had persuaded Derek into renting a Prius. Of course, the alpha refused to ever drive it but the car was entirely for Paige's benefit, so that didn't matter. She liked her little Prius. Originally, she had thought to ask Derek whether they should just buy the goddamned car, before she remembered that neither of them might live long enough to make the first car payment.
She made a sharp turn into the parking lot and just let the car idle there for a moment as she collected her purse. This parking lot had all kinds of memories attached to it, she realized. Picking up her brother from school - while she was still human. Facing down a psychotic alpha - after she had been made into a shewolf. Paige sighed and ran a hand through her hair. It got caught and she made a mental note to cut it - she hadn't actually had a haircut since coming to Beacon Hills.
One last glance around the parking lot told her that she was probably rather early - as was her habit - or the only person taking the GED today. Fine, she could use some solitude. And truly, she had stopped enjoying the company of most humans at this point.
Werewolves were very nonverbal - the tilt of their heads, the deeper intake of breath. It all meant something. She had been forced to be in Peter's presence more than she would have liked, but seeing the way Peter and Derek communicated had made an impact on the way even she communicated with the pack. Both of them were born werewolves; they had both grown up in the same pack, interacting like wolf-human hybrids. Everything was very subtle, very physical. Even Isaac had begun to understand a little bit, though he rarely used this new knowledge while talking to his alpha. Only Paige had adapted into the language of the wolf. But now, Paige was so used to communicating without saying too much, that when humans became involved, everything became so much more complicated.
As Paige opened her car door, she took in a nice big whiff of morning air - she preferred night air more but morning air still smelled a bit like night air.
Suddenly, she caught an unfamiliar scent lingering in the small breeze passing by her nose. It was sharp and dangerous - like grey-streaked blotch of black invading her senses.
Instantly, she tensed. Get back in the car? She'd be trapped. This wasn't a human. This was a creature, like she was a creature now and she had to deal with this like the non-human she was. Tossing her purse aside, she squared her shoulders and spun to face whatever it was that had decided to sneak up on her - a man. He was much taller than her, encased in dark denim and leather. His claws were already out and prepared to rip apart flesh and his eyes glowed red. Of course. An alpha.
Paige remembered the way sometimes Derek's eyes lit up when they were having sex - that deep red that glowed like burning charcoal. This red was more like the way Peter's eyes had glowed: a kind of supernatural beacon of evil.
Either way, Paige pushed aside any thoughts and swiftly transformed. Better not to be caught unawares.
"I'm not here to hurt you," the man spoke.
"I really don't believe that," she growled back at him.
"I just want to talk," he tried again.
"If you really want to talk, then tell me where you've locked up my packmates," she demanded. At the man's continued deadpan, she repeated, "You have my packmates: Erica and Boyd. And you've hidden them somewhere. If you want to talk so badly, tell me where they are,"
"We'll take you to them," the man suggested.
There was a sudden sharp pain at the back of her neck, the kind that pinched sharply in one spot and then bled out down her limbs. The word "we" bounced around inside her head as she went limp. The ground rose up to meet her and she got the briefest glance at her attackers.
"We" - two of them. Look so much alike - twins. Twin scents. She couldn't smell the other one because it was the same. Behind her, and now on ground and now Derek will be all alone - all alone again and all the blame and all the everything and...
"Paige," someone was whispering in her ear, so intimately. "Paige, wake up."
That certainly wasn't Derek's voice, so something was terribly wrong. There were so many questions in her head right now and she tried to sort them but the one she managed to mumble was, "Why are you whispering?"
"I'm not," the voice responded, still so soft. "Jesus, Paige, I'm nearly shouting in your face."
"It's a side effect," another voice explained – a female voice. "They probably removed any memory she had of getting here or they took a look at her memories. Either way, she's going to be out of it for a while."
"I'm fine," Paige tried to say. But even in her own cluttered ears, she didn't sound convincing. And already, she was beginning to realize that she could barely see. There were shapes, blotches, but nothing she could actually use in order to make any sense of anything. And even moving her eyes was a chore. It was like there were little weights attached to every cell in her body that just kept weighing her down. Moving anything seemed impossible.
"She should rest for a little while longer," the other voice suggested. It was female - that much Paige could understand, could confirm.
"Erica?" The name sprung from her mouth as slowly she began to grasp that the alphas had told her that they would take her to her packmates. If that was Erica, then the other voice was, "Boyd?"
"I'm here, Paige," he responded. Something heavy landed on her arm and she knew he had placed his big paw on her skin to truly reinforce his presence.
"Oh my God," Paige breathed. With an enormous amount of energy, she moved her head slightly to catch a glimpse of Boyd. It was like moving her head through a tub of dense sand. But it was worth it. In the dark shadows of wherever they were being kept, she found the whites of his eyes and saw the way they crinkled as he smiled down on her. "I thought, oh God, I thought you two were dead. Derek never gave up hope, of course - you know how he is but I'm so sorry I ever doubted that you two were still... oh, thank God. We never stopped looking and see, you guys are alive."
And suddenly, those little white beacons of hope disappeared as he shut his eyes.
"Paige..." he began. His voice broke sharply. "Erica is dead."
She sat very still - not that she had a choice. Suddenly, the weights in her stomach grew by a few pounds and she let out a harsh breath. No, that didn't make any sense. She had just heard Erica speaking - telling Boyd she should be resting.
Summoning all of her energy, Paige slowly swiveled her head to the other side. Before her vision went black again, she saw sleek dark hair caressing a pale face - not the halo of blonde curls she had been looking for.
"Derek, you need to slow down," Peter's voice was anything but soothing and for a moment Derek wondered why he had bothered to call him. Oh right, because there was no one else left to call.
"The alphas have Paige," Derek repeated, forcing his heartbeat to slow at least a little bit. Even now, it was thundering in his own ears so loudly, he knew he was probably shouting in the phone just so that he could hear what exactly he was saying.
"How do you know?"
He took another deep breath and explained, "After our cold trail, I came back to the apartment. Paige should have been done with her test by then but she wasn't home. I called her and didn't get an answer, so I drove to the high school. The Prius was still there - and her purse was on the ground. They have her."
"Maybe she just left it there?" Peter suggested. "Maybe she was able to run away and is just biding her time before it's completely safe to come out of hiding?"
"Peter, their symbol is etched into the leather of her purse," he finally revealed with a heavy heart.
There was silence on the other end.
"Say something," Derek finally demanded.
"They have Paige," Peter responded.
Hearing those words aloud, out of someone else's mouth, was devastating. Derek clenched the phone so hard he knew he was only a few bits of pressure before it crumbled in his hand. The only thing that stopped him was the knowledge that this was the only cell phone he owned - it was the only number Paige would be able to contact him on. He had to preserve it incase she got loose and needed him.
"Where's Isaac?" Peter immediately asked.
"Already called him," Derek gave himself another second to calm down. "He's on his way over."
"I'm coming, too."
Within ten minutes, they were all gathered in the loft. Derek looked at what his pack had become: a boy who would rather follow some teenage omega and his psychotic uncle. He had lost everyone else: the spunky shewolf who could outfight any of the guys, the tall and strong and brooding but kindhearted beta, and his mate. He had lost his mate. He hadn't protected her like he should have protected her and now she was being held hostage by a bunch of vicious killers.
"She was in the middle of the parking lot," Isaac said, disbelief written all over his face. "It was that easy?"
"I'm assuming she got there early," Derek explained. "She always goes places early. They probably knew that. Used that to their advantage."
"You need to calm down," Peter advised. "You look like you're about to pull something."
It was true. Derek stood in the middle of his loft, arms tensely crossed over each other, his hands gripping the opposite bicep. But even though the stance was certainly tightly-wound, Derek knew why Peter had commented: in his frustration and fear, Derek had let his claws grow long enough to dig into the flesh of his muscular arms. Peter's well-trained nose picked up the scent of blood. Derek let his claws pop out of his flesh and allowed his arms to hang near his sides.
"What now?" Isaac asked, glancing between the two men.
"We continue to do what we've been doing," Peter suggested. Derek glowered at him but Peter's only response was to explain, "Derek, there is nothing we can do. You said you sniffed around and found nothing - not a scent, not a clue. I'll stop by the high school and see if I pick up on anything, but don't be surprised when I don't. We continue what we've been doing: looking for Boyd and Erica because I promise you that Paige will be with them. We find the betas, we find your mate."
For a long few moments, Derek stared hard at Peter. Then he spun around and stalked to the huge windows overlooking the urban sprawl. His natural instinct was to tear down every single building in Beacon Hills looking for her - looking for them. But there was still Isaac to protect. And while he'd sacrifice himself in a heartbeat to save Paige, he knew she would never forgive him if he neglected Isaac and the kid got hurt. Fine. He would keep looking for them and he would find them.
Before it was too late.
Paige had been awake for five hours. She had left her little shell of comfortable sleep and unwillingly faced the truth. The alphas had kidnapped her. Erica was dead. Boyd was much sharper around the edges than he had once been. And she was sharing a room with Derek's supposedly dead sister, Cora.
"You're my brother's mate," she said very matter-of-factly a few hours after Paige had finally regained full control of her senses and after she had cried for a half an hour. The unfamiliar girl was leaning up against the wall of what seemed to be a giant vault. Paige sat opposite her and blinked.
It took Paige a full half a minute to let that register. "I'm Derek Hale's mate," she clarified.
"I'm Cora Hale," she said.
Paige glanced up at Boyd, who had taken to pacing around the vault. It seemed he didn't like being reminded of Erica's death any more than Paige had liked being informed of it. Still, she didn't know how her friend had perished - she didn't want to know the specifics and Boyd didn't seem to want to share. What did it matter now, anyways? Erica was dead; they had been too late in finding them.
Boyd caught her looking and shrugged, "She told me the same thing. Derek told me all his family had been killed by the Argents."
"They were," Paige responded. "And I've only ever heard of a Laura Hale." Paige turned back to the girl for explanation.
"My older sister," Cora nodded. "Did you know her?"
Paige frowned. Who was this girl? A trick by the alphas? Someone in here to throw them off their game? To fuck with their brains?
She ignored the question and turned to Boyd again. "She been in here with you the whole time?" she asked.
All Boyd did was shrug and then pace to the other side of the vault.
"He's been very quiet," Cora commented. "I think he's grieving."
"Erica was our packmate, our friend - my best friend," Paige snapped. Her eyes glossed over and she was scared she was going to cry again.
Cora glanced down at her interlace hands in her lap and didn't say anything else.
Paige allowed the silence and leaned her head back against the vault wall. God, Derek was going to be so upset. He would somehow find a way to blame himself and then he'd beat himself up about it. And, in the very likely event that she was going to die, he would be even more heartbroken. What would he do? And even if she didn't die - the fact that Erica had perished before they could get to her, save her...
Gently, she let her head drop forward and let a few more tears escape.
But that was it, she decided. Wiping the tear residue from her face, harshly, she stood up. Nope, this was not the time to be sitting around and crying. Yeah, she wasn't an alpha - not at all. But she was the mate of an alpha and Derek wasn't here right now. So, she needed to get the surviving beta out of here and figure out who the hell this girl was who was claiming to be Derek's sister. It was time to be the shewolf that she had grown to be.
Fierce and brave.
Shifting her eyesight was much more difficult than it usually was. Maybe a continued side effect of... whatever those alpha twins had done to her? She made a mental note to ask the supposed Hale about what exactly had happened.
She moved around the perimeter, slowly letting her eyes glide over every crack, every inch of stone. Boyd stopped his pacing to watch her. Cora stood as well.
"We've already checked," she told Paige.
"Look at her eyes," Boyd told Cora. When Paige glanced up at him, she realized he was frowning at her. "She shifted her eyes..."
"She still has some residual power," Cora explained calmly. "It won't last after this full moon."
Paige blinked and let the yellow drain from her eyes. "What are you talking about?"
"I don't know why," Cora began. "I don't know how the pack is doing it, but something has been preventing us from shifting. There has been two full moons we should have shifted - we didn't. We didn't even have the urge to shift. And the longer we are here, the harder it is to even get in touch with our werewolf senses."
"What could cause that?" Paige asked, glancing between the two.
"We don't know," Cora shrugged. "But it's dangerous. The next time we do shift, we will be... out of control."
Paige peered back over her shoulder at the vault wall. "Werewolf senses..." she repeated. "That's why you guys couldn't get out... whatever is blocking your shifting is also inhibiting your strength. You couldn't punch through any of these walls."
An idea occurred to her and she turned around completely. Cocking one arm back, she slammed it forward into the stony wall. A deep indent appeared under her knuckles, and little spider web cracks zoomed out of the dent. Normally, Paige would have been fine after a punch like that - she had helped Derek make the huge hole in their loft. This time, pain radiated up from her knuckles, into her wrist and then into her elbow. The skin had split and was taking its sweet time in closing. Paige gingerly licked at her wounds.
"I forgot how much it sucks being human," she commented dryly.
"I was never human," Cora joked. "Think about how I feel."
Against her will, a small smile spread across her face. It was quickly dropped however when she remembered something, "How did you know I'm Derek's mate?" She pointed to Boyd. "He didn't even know that."
"I can smell him on you," Cora explained.
Oh. Yes. That little bit of Derek-scent that lingered amongst her own natural scent. She knew he also had a bit of her laced into himself as well. But his scent had become such a part of her that unless she concentrated, she often forgot it was there. Taking a deep breath, she tried to catch a whiff of it but it seemed as though she had wasted what little werewolf powers she had left on that punch. She couldn't smell anything except the rank sweat scent that infested the vault.
"Right," Paige nodded.
"Do you trust me now?"
Paige looked at her sideways and finally replied, "I don't trust anyone."
Boyd snorted off in his corner. "You sound like Derek," he commented.
She just rolled her eyes and walked back to the other side of the vault. Gently, she sat back down and cradled her hurt hand.
How much longer till Derek found her?
You only ever touch me in the dark
Only if we're drinking can you see my spark
And only in the evening could you give yourself to me
Cause the night is your woman, and she'll set you free