The first thing Stiles registered was a dull, throbbing ache in his head. He opened his eyes and groaned loudly. The movement and the light caused the pain to be sharp and biting. After a minute, Stiles opened his eyes again. It still hurt, but Stiles was prepared for the pain this time. So that made it at least a little more bearable.
He was hit with an undeniable sense of déjà vu. He was in what appeared to be the burned remains of a home. But even with the recovered memories, Stiles couldn’t understand why the place seemed familiar. If he was to be completely honest, it was as if he was visiting a place someone had told him about before. But something inside him felt partially connected to this place, like it was important to someone important to him. That thought made even less sense to Stiles and he let out a sigh. Now what had he gotten himself in to?
“Something’s wrong,” Derek muttered to himself. His wolf was thrashing in his veins, snarling viciously. He didn’t know what, but Derek knew that something was off. Just as he was thinking this, the door to the dungeons was thrown open. It banged loudly against the stone wall and drowned out the sound of footsteps for a moment. Derek looked up, a bored and passive expression on his face. Who was it now?
A boy maybe nineteen years of age exited the staircase. Following closely behind him was a girl the same age. The boy had a messy head of short curls and reminded Derek of Isaac for a second.
“Are you sure about this?” The girl asked, her hair falling in large, dark curls around her face.
“He can help us,” the boy replied as he dug for something in his pockets, “I just know it,”
“Allison,” Scott hissed, “We don’t have time for this right now. I’m sorry, but just trust me on this all right?”
She regarded him for a moment before nodding. Scott let out a breath and began to push the key in to the lock on the cell. It clicked open and soon Scott was working on the locks on Derek’s cuffs. Derek dropped to his feet and he rubbed at his wrists. He turned his gaze on to Scott who had taken a step back.
Scott held his hands up in front of him, “No time to explain—we need to get moving,”
“Why?” Derek asked gruffly.
Scott paused for a moment, his gaze darkening. His lips formed the words with quick and succinct motions.
“Stiles is missing,”
Derek felt his body turn cold and his wolf howled angrily in his blood.
Stiles pulled at the ropes that his hands were tied with. He winced when he felt the twine bite in to the thin skin of his wrists. He tried to pull the ropes around his ankles, but didn’t have much luck there either. His body was sore from being tied in the position and he couldn’t get any strength in to his limbs.
“Hello?” Coughs shook his body. His throat was so dry. He swallowed hard and tried again.
“Hello? Is anybody there?” He called, trying to clear his throat.
“Even if you scream,” came a voice, “No one will hear you,”
Stiles looked up and squinted in to the darkness.
“Kate?” He fought the tickle in his throat that was threatening to make him cough again.
She came in to the room and Stiles knew for sure that it was her.
“Oh good,” he breathed, “I was worried for a second there. Now hurry and untie me before my captor comes back,”
“I don’t think you’ll really need to worry about that too much,” Kate said.
Stiles looked back at Kate, “What do you mean? Did you already dispatch them?”
She shook her head and knelt down in front of him, “I am your captor,”
“What?” Stiles frowned, “This isn’t the time to be joking—“
Kate let out an exasperated sigh, “Really. I thought you were smarter than this, Stiles,”
“I don’t understand,” he whispered. He felt fear starting to wrap around his heart. What was she talking about?
“Oh,” she waved her hand dismissively at him, “You’ll find out soon enough. But for now, be a good little pup and wait, okay?” She patted his head and stood, exiting the room.
Stiles knew that this was bad—very, very bad.
“What?” Derek hissed. He moved to tower over Scott and glared down at him, his eyes flashing red.
“What do you mean Stiles is missing?”
Scott flinched only slightly. His throat bobbed as he swallowed.
“I mean exactly that,” he started, “No one has seen Stiles for hours now—“
Derek felt a growl escape from his throat, “How many hours has Stiles been gone?”
“Uh,” Scott thought for a moment, “Six,”
Derek cursed under his breath. He moved away from Scott and began to go up the stairs, “It’s Kate—it has to be her,”
“What about my aunt?” said Allison. She and Scott were quickly following behind Derek.
Derek snorted to himself, “Where should I start? The fact that she’s a psychotic bitch who decimated my family? Or the part where now she plans on killing the heir apparent just because he’s—“ Derek’s lip rose in a sneer, “Never mind.”
Allison’s face scrunched in a deep frown, “What?”
“We don’t have time for that now!” Derek roared as he turned on the two teenagers. They flinched as he glared down at them.
“All you need to know is that Stiles is in danger,” Derek’s voice softened, but still had a razor sharp edge to it, “And that we need to find him as quickly as possible,”
Allison and Scott shared a worried look. But Scott nodded and looked straight at Derek.
“How can we help?”
Stiles was tired, cold, hungry, and thirsty. His entire body ached and his head hurt from trying to see in the darkness. He eventually just closed his eyes and let himself lie on his side. The wooden floor was anything but comfortable. His wrists were rubbed raw from trying to get loose from the ropes. He felt shivers begin to shake his body as the cold descended on the night. When he opened his eyes, the only source of light that shone in to the burnt out husk of the home was from the pale moonlight. Sometimes, if he listened closely, Stiles thought he heard the sounds of wolves howling in the distance. They sounded angry, worried, maybe even a little—sad? But that was a crazy thought. How could animals express such emotion through sound? Then again, what if they weren’t simply animals?
“Derek,” Stiles whispered before he began to cough again. The cold had set in to his bones and made a rattling sound in his breaths. Could illness set in so quickly? Just how long had he been tied up in the cold? Stiles felt the exhaustion setting in to his bones. Once more he heard the howls of wolves. Were they getting closer? No, that just had to be wishful thinking on his part. Besides, Derek was still chained up in the dungeons below Beacon.
Even with sleep quickly trying to take him, Stiles’ brain kept turning. What reason would Kate kidnap Stiles? Had she realized that he had been with Derek and the other Shifters this entire time? But still, that was no reason to kidnap him. Unless there was some other reason for her actions against him—wait. Suddenly Stiles knew exactly where he was. He remembered the talk with Derek in the clearing with the three boulders. Stiles was in the old Hale family home—the place where Kate had burned alive every member of the Hale family. A shudder tore through Stiles’ body and he felt fear grip him. His eyes flew open as he tried to see around him. He felt the ghosts of the family creeping around. The sound of bare feet pattering against wooden floors; casual banter in the kitchen as the family gathered for meals; the collective sounds of wolves howling and calling out to the pack.
Tears sprung to Stiles eyes. This was the place where Derek had grown up—the place where everything had been ripped from him. Kate had tried to rid the earth of the evil she saw in Derek’s blood. But she hadn’t succeeded. Now was her turn to finish everything.
And she was using Stiles as bait.
Stiles swallowed shakily and squeezed his eyes shut. He curled in on himself as he lay on his side. Please, he thought, don’t come here. Derek don’t come here, he pleaded.
Stiles was awoken with a harsh kick to his stomach. His eyes opened and pained coughs shook his body. He wheezed dryly and looked up at his assailant. Kate Argent looked down at him with cold, unfeeling eyes.
“Sorry,” she said, “Did I wake you up from a dream?”
“What the hell,” Stiles choked out from between dry and cracked lips.
Kate pouted, “It’s already been eight hours since I spirited you away,”
Stiles felt his heart sink. Eight hours? Had no one noticed he was missing?
“I would think that Derek would have been here by now to save you,” Kate continued.
“Honestly,” she muttered, “I’m disappointed in him. The great alpha Derek Hale—the last of the Hale Clan. One would think he would take better care of his mate,”
Stiles felt his cheeks flush despite the cold, “How did you know—“
“Honey, please,” She scoffed, “If I didn’t even know that much I would be ashamed of myself. Besides, with the way you two interacted in the dungeons during your little visit—well, let’s just say there was very little left to the imagination,”
“Now,” Kate mumbled. She squatted down in front of Stiles once again. Stiles shifted, trying to get away from her.
She looked at him with a sadistic quirk of her lips, “What do you think would draw him more? The sounds of your screams? Or the smell of your blood?”
Stiles’ eyes widened, “You’re crazy,” he whispered.
She smiled brightly at him, “I agree—why not try both?”
Stiles barely heard the sound of a knife being brandished over the sound of his beating heart. He had to escape—but how? Kate caressed the side of Stiles’ face with the broadside of the knife.
“It really is a shame,” she said to herself, “You would have been such a handsome king,” Then, with a flick of her wrist, the knife bit in to Stiles’ skin.
He hissed, but bit fiercely down on his lip to keep from crying out. He wouldn’t call Derek to this place—to his death.
“How valiant of you,” Kate mused, “But really, just how long do you think you can hold out?” There was a sick note of challenge in her voice. The knife was removed from Stiles’ face and he let out a small breath. But before he could relish in the relief, he felt the blade cut in to his already sore wrist. It wasn’t enough to make him bleed to death, but he could feel the warmth of his blood on his skin. Then Kate pressed something in to the wound. It felt like a powder of some sort. Suddenly Stiles’ skin was on fire. His body stiffened and he whimpered. The heat intensified and Stiles thought his body was going to be pulled apart. Against his will, his mouth opened and a dry scream forced its way out of his throat.
Kate laughed openly under the sounds of Stiles’ pained screams.
Derek pulled harshly on the reins to his horse and stopped quickly. He looked up and tilted his head to the side. There was no mistaking that sound—it was Stiles.
“Derek!” Yelled Scott from behind. He and Allison stopped just behind Derek on their own horses.
“What is it? Did you hear something?” Scott asked.
Derek didn’t look at them, “We need to hurry,” He yelled as he kicked his horse hard in the flanks. The mount reared on to its hind legs before dropping in to a canter that quickly became a gallop. Derek didn’t listen for the sound of hooves swiftly following behind. He had all his senses trained on the screams that were causing dread to pool in his belly. The sharp, coppery smell of blood and fear began to hang heavy in the air. He heard the sounds of his pack near him, converging on the place that seemed to be the origin of Stiles’ cries. He couldn’t call out to them, but they knew that their alpha was distressed.
Derek could hear Stiles in his head. It was near the full moon again and all of Derek’s Shifter instincts were intensified tenfold.
Don’t come, Stiles whimpered, Derek don’t come here!
Derek gritted his teeth and spurred his horse to go even faster. He couldn’t listen to Stiles—not this time. He needed to protect Stiles. Hehad to.
The screams stopped abruptly but Derek didn’t need them anymore. They had arrived at their destination. Derek looked up at the ashen remains of his childhood home.
“Where are we?” Scott asked as he pulled his horse up next to Derek’s.
“The old Hale family house,” Allison answered, her voice seeming unfocused.
“Hale?” Scott repeated, “But isn’t that—oh,” he looked over sheepishly at Derek.
“It doesn’t matter,” Derek replied gruffly, swinging himself from his mount. Allison and Scott followed suit.
“We go in, get Stiles and get out,” Derek ordered as he began to move towards what was left of the front door of the house.
“What if there’s trouble?” Scott said, trailing along behind Derek.
“I’ll handle it,” Derek growled.
“Sure, but what—“
“I said I will handle it!” Derek hissed as he turned to glare at Scott in the moonlight. He inhaled deeply and looked back at the front steps, “You just focus on getting Stiles out of there,”
After a second, Scott nodded and didn’t say anything else.
They entered the house quietly, a board creaking here and there.
“Be careful,” Derek whispered, “The foundation could crumble at any minute,”
“Oh great,” Scott muttered. He was acting tough, but Derek could smell the fear coming from the boy.
They worked their way through the house. Derek tried to keep his emotions in check, but they were all over the place. There were so many memories that he had of this home. He ignored the ghosts of family members he saw in the hallways. He didn’t turn to see what had moved in his peripheral vision. He knew there was no longer anyone here for him in this house. He was there for one person—and that person was still alive.
Derek was there for Stiles.
The smell of blood was so thick in the air that it was impossible for Derek to pinpoint it to one location. Just how much had Stiles bled? Or for how long? The thought made Derek nauseous. They walked in to the room that used to serve as Derek’s father’s study. The scent of the river made a chill go through Derek. He focused his gaze in the darkness and was able to make out the faint outlines of someone on the floor.
“Stiles!” Derek yelled. He hurried over to where Stiles lay on the floor. Derek scooped him up in to his arms. Stiles was cold and shivering.
“Derek?” He whispered, his voice hoarse. “You shouldn’t have come here,”
“I couldn’t leave you,” Derek murmured in to Stiles’ hair. He nuzzled his face in to Stiles’ neck and held him close.
Stiles swallowed hard, “I-I was so scared,” he choked out.
“I know, hey,” Derek shushed Stiles softly, “It’s okay—everything is all right now,”
Derek used his claws to cut the ropes that bound Stiles’ ankles and wrists. Immediately once he was freed, Stiles threw his arms around Derek and burrowed close in to the man’s chest. Stiles’ emotions welled up and spilled over. He shook as he cried in to Derek’s chest. Derek held him firmly, but not enough to hurt him. Derek didn’t even know what kind of injuries Stiles might have.
“Stiles,” Derek said softly, “We need to get you back home,”
Stiles nodded slightly but didn’t speak. He clung to Derek as the man stood, taking Stiles with him. At first, putting weight on his legs was impossible for Stiles. His legs had long since fallen asleep and it was like walking on pins and needles.
“Scott,” Derek called. Stiles barely registered the name before he was being supported from both sides.
“Hey there,” Scott whispered, “We’ve got you buddy,”
A board creaked behind them. At first Derek ignored it—Allison, he thought. But then the scent of perfume washed over him. He let go of Stiles, forcing the male to lean on Scott.
“Derek?” Stiles mumbled. Exhaustion was taking its toll again and Stiles would soon succumb to it.
“Get Stiles out of here Scott,” Derek ordered. A cloud passed and moonlight filled the room from a large hole in the ceiling.
“Okay,” Scott nodded. He supported Stiles, his arm underneath Stiles’ and wrapped around the prince’s upper torso.
Another board creaked—this time closer.
“Scott, go now!” Derek hissed.
Stiles blinked hard, “No, wait, Derek,” he protested. He turned to tell Derek that he wasn’t leaving without him. There was the ringing of metal and then a sickening squelch of a sound. Stiles couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Derek coughed weakly and blood poured from his mouth. He turned his eyes down slowly and saw the end of a blade protruding from his stomach. He felt hot breath on his neck as Kate Argent leaned forward.
“How does it feel?” She whispered, “This blade was forged by the Druids themselves, infused with pure silver and the rarest of wolfsbane. Be sure to give your family my best regards,”
Derek gasped as the blade was twisted in his stomach and then removed just as quickly. He fell to his knees as blood coated his mouth and ran down his front. Kate stood over him, looking like a cat with crème. Derek looked up at Stiles. The boy was screaming, but his body was too weak for action. Tears ran like lines of silver down his cheeks. Derek exhaled shakily and fell forward, his body making a dull thud as it hit the floor.
So this was how it ended, huh? Killed in his own home right before his mate. His mate who Kate would probably kill anyway. Along with Scott and now probably even Allison. Maybe, Derek thought as his vision darkened, it would have been better if he had died with his family all those years ago.
“Derek!” Stiles yelled, his throat burning with the effort, “Derek no!”
“Stiles, we have to get out of here!” Scott hissed, trying to drag Stiles away.
“We can’t just leave him here!” Stiles insisted.
“Aw, isn’t that just the sweetest thing?”
Scott and Stiles both looked up as Kate spoke. She was advancing towards them, her blade dark with Derek’s blood.
She made an apologetic face, “Sorry boys,” she said, “But you’ve seen too much. You didn’t think I would just let you go, now did you?”
“Y-You mean,” Scott stammered, “You’re going to kill us?”
“But of course,” Kate blinked, “Haven’t you ever heard that three can keep a secret, so long as two of them are dead?”
“You can’t be serious,” Scott breathed. He was beginning to tremble with fear.
“Oh dearie,” she shook her head, “You never were the brightest, were you?” She smiled at them as she raised the sword over her head. She gripped the hilt with both hands, the makings of a devastating downwards blow.
“Don’t worry Stiles,” she whispered sweetly, “You’ll be together again very soon,”
The muscles in her arms flexed as she was about to bring down the sword. The sound of something cutting through the air flew in to the room. There was a wet gurgling sound and then the clanging of metal against wood. Stiles and Scott both looked up. Kate stood there, frozen. Her eyes were wide in the moonlight. She tipped over and thudded against the floor. A crossbow bolt stuck out of the middle of her throat.
Scott turned to the origin of the bolt.
“Allison?” He asked.
The girl stepped in to the room, the crossbow in her hands. Tears streamed down her face.
“I couldn’t let her kill you,” she whispered. Scott hurried to her and quickly took her in to his arms. He smoothed her hair and held her close.
“You saved us,” he cooed gently.
She shook her head, “Not everyone,” She and Scott both looked in to the room.
Stiles had sunk to his knees where Derek now lay.
“Derek, hey Derek,” Stiles said. He pulled Derek up in to his lap.
“C’mon, Derek wake up,” Stiles pleaded, “Shifters are supposed to heal, aren’t they?”
Derek didn’t respond. Blood pooled around Stiles, soaking in to his clothing. His hands were shaking as he held Derek in his arms.
“Why aren’t you healing?” Stiles whimpered, “Derek, please, you have to wake up! I can’t lose you again!” Stiles’ voice broke and he felt a fresh wave of tears fall from his eyes.
Someone placed a hand gently on Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles flinched, pulling Derek’s body closer to his chest. He turned to look who was touching him.
“Boyd,” he whispered.
Boyd stared hard in to Stiles’ eyes. Behind him were Erica and Isaac. Boyd opened his mouth as if to speak, but closed it and shook his head. He bent down and slowly pulled Derek’s body from Stiles’ grasp. Boyd stood, the man limp in his arms. He turned and began to walk out. Stiles reached out, as if to grab Derek back.
“No,” he whispered, “Wait, don’t go,”
Erica knelt down in front of Stiles. Even in the nighttime darkness, Stiles could see the tears that cascaded down Erica’s cheeks. She reached forward and enveloped Stiles in to a tight hug.
“I’m sorry Stiles,” she whispered, her voice cracking with sobs, “I’m so sorry,”