Nothing. He was completely unresponsive, and I felt a sense of panic start to take over.
We were just walking around in the forest when I saw a flicker of movement to my left. When Derek didn’t say anything, I trusted his nose and dismissed it as nothing. Then he stopped moving entirely. That was two minutes ago.
“D-Derek?” My stutter came back slightly and I lightly touched the back of his hand. His eyes were unfocused but his whole body was tensed. Then he blinked. He seemed to shake himself out of it.
I breathed a sigh of relief and slid my hand into his warm large one. He seemed to notice me there, as though I hadn’t been there for the past hour.
A sly smirk stretched his lips. It wasn’t his genuine smile that sent butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. It wasn’t any expression that I had ever seen before on him. It looked almost… wicked.
“Oh Chloe,” he grinned, his while teeth flashing in the darkness. He rolled my name around as though it were his favourite candy. I shivered. This was unlike him. The Derek I knew was shy and sweet. The guy standing before me seemed way too confident, almost arrogant. I looked into his eyes and froze.
This wasn’t Derek.
His eyes were a dark brown, none of the green coming through.
I made to move my hand out of his, but he tightened his fist around my fingers. I felt a sharp pain in my fingers. Whoever this was, didn’t know his own strength. Or maybe he did, and didn’t care.
”Wh-Who are you?” I whispered, my breath strained from holding back a gasp of pain.
He smirked, “Why? You don’t think your sweet Derek would be capable of this?” His words were taunting, and I struggled to free myself from his grasp.
In one smooth move, Not-Derek knocked my feet out from under me, causing me to fall onto the hard, cold forest floor, and settled on top of me. He grabbed both of my wrists and pinned them above my head, holding them in one large hand with ease.
His breath was hot against my skin, and he slid his free hand all around my torso. I whimpered and tried in vain to scramble from under him. He wouldn’t have any of that, and merely tightened his grip on my wrists. Any more pressure around my wrists, and they’d snap. I stopped struggling, but a strangled sob forced its way out of my throat.
Not-Derek growled lowly, a warning, “Shut up, little necro.” My eyes went wide. I knew that nickname.
He chuckled darkly, “I think this body is quite the improvement from the old fuck I took over a few weeks ago. Wolf-boy has quite the genes.” He flexed his muscles slightly, cackling when I winced in pain. “I think I might keep his body for a while. And it’s all the better to fuck you with.” His voice became quiet and soft, but still so menacing.
“Royce,” I could barely speak past all of the terror. I shivered in fear. Derek had told me to always keep the amulet on, but I had left it in my room that night. He shoved his face in the space between my neck and shoulders and inhaled deeply. “Oh yes, you do smell heavenly. Too bad I’m not an angel.” A snarl ripped from his throat and he bit down hard. Thank God he didn’t have his fangs out, but even as I thought that, I saw his fangs slide out slowly as he pulled away.
His hand caressed me all over, sometimes gently, other times rough. “Your heart is pounding. Is that for me, little necro? Or is it wolf-boy’s body? I could make you feel so good with this body.”
I shuddered and my legs trembled before I brought a knee up hard between his legs. He howled in pain, and at the same time, I felt immense pain in my wrists and heard a sickening crack from my left wrist. Royce let go of me and I scrambled away from him as best as I could. I only looked up when my back met the hard trunk of a tree, my body curling around my broken wrist as I cradled it in my lap.
He was on all fours, hunched over some distance away from me. I could see the muscles under his shirt bunching and rippling. He was changing. My eyes widened. Royce was a cold-blooded killer. If he was able to control Derek’s body as a wolf… My thoughts trailed off and I shivered.
I frowned and panic threatened to overwhelm me. Think, Chloe. His body was shaking, and snarls were ripping out of his chest. A few whimpers bubbled up from his throat, and it sounded so much like Derek.
“D-D-Derek please,” I spoke softly. His dark brown eyes shot up to mine, and his lips pulled themselves into a cruel sneer even as I could hear the bones rearranging. “Wolf-boy’s not in, sweetie,” he spoke in a guttural tone before letting out a feral growl of pain, “But when I finish Changing here, I’ll be sure to have my fun with you.”
“Derek please, I know you’re in there somewhere. Please don’t let him take over. Please.” My whispers were barely audible, but I knew that he could hear it with his enhanced hearing.
He whimpered as his back rose higher to accommodate the last part of the Change. His eyes met mine, and I could see that it was alternating between dark brown and green. I could see the conflicting spirits in his body, and even as he leapt on me, pinning me to the ground with his 200 pound wolf form, I concentrated to push Royce’s spirit out.
One last shove, and it was only Derek left. He was panting heavily, his bright green eyes drooping before he realized what had happened. He shot off me before I could react, nostrils flaring and eyes on the ground. He let loose a whimper, as though he couldn’t bear to look at me.
I took a step towards him before he growled. Don’t. I blinked and stepped back. His eyes held a sort of panic in them, an emotion I didn’t understand at that moment.
He snarled in discomfort and forced himself to Change back. Before I knew it, he was a man again, sweat covering his naked body.
“Derek?” I forced myself not to stutter again. He wouldn’t look at me. In the moonlight, I could see that he was shaking, his hands trembling on the dirt floor. I took a few steps towards him, ignoring his warnings growls of protest.
“Don’t. Stay away from me. I’m dangerous. I’ll hurt you again.” He cut me off, his voice low and strained.
I frowned, and knelt down next to him, laying my right hand gently on his shoulder. He tensed up automatically. It was as though he was forcing himself to stop moving entirely.
“Derek, don’t. It wasn’t you. You would never hurt me,” I sad gently.
He snorted in disdain, “I already have.” I bit my lip, “That wasn’t you. That was Royce.” He growled at the mention of Royce.
“Please Derek, don’t do this to me. I… I can’t- Please Derek. That wasn’t you. You wouldn’t ever do that to me.”
He chuckled without amusement, “You think too highly of me, Chloe.” But he relaxed just a little under my hand. Just my name coming out of his mouth was enough to make me want to cry in relief.
“Derek look at me,” I said gently. He hesitated for a few seconds before slowly turning to meet my eyes. His eyes were a bright green again, slightly wet with… were those tears? I moved my hand to cup his face, my thumb stroking his cheek. I smiled a little and leaned closer to place a soft kiss on his lips.
His eyes showed confusion. I cocked my head to the side, “What?” He frowned a little, “You aren’t afraid.” It was a statement, but spoken so hesitantly that it seemed like more of a question. “People are always so afraid of me… I thought… After I hurt you, you’d be-“
“Scared of you?” I raised my eyebrow, “I told you, Derek, that wasn’t you. I know you’d never hurt me.” I smiled and kissed his cheek. “I trust you.”
A small smile crossed his face. It was a smile that made my insides flip-flop and I blushed in the dark. Maybe he couldn’t see it, but he could definitely smell the heat from my cheeks, and the thought was embarrassing.
His gaze drifted towards my left hand, and his fingers barely brushed against the back of my hand. Slowly and gently, so gently that I barely felt anything, Derek held my hand up for inspection. A frown crossed his face, but he knew that I would reprimand him if he blamed himself out loud.
“It’s broken, definitely,” there was anguish in his voice, and he ran his fingers lightly along my wrist, so gently that it didn’t hurt at all.
I watched his face, taking in how tender he had become in the months that I knew him. From the guy who supposedly didn’t care about anyone but Simon, Derek had come a long way in the past months that I knew him. The emotions flickering through his face were a stark contrast to the blank emotionless mask he had put on in the beginning.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured, “I didn’t mean it.” Before I could even scold him though, he spoke again, “Let’s get you back to the house, and I’ll fix you up.” He turned away from me and Changed back into his wolf form again. It would’ve been quite a sight, him walking back to the house completely naked, with me tagging along with a broken wrist.
I waited until a black wolf with striking emerald eyes had turned back towards me. “I know you didn’t, Derek. You didn’t have a choice.” The wolf huffed and nudged my back to get me to stand up. I didn’t stand, just turned to face him. He lowered his head, but I used my right hand to tilt his face back up so that I could see his eyes. They still held his anguish and pain at hurting me. I sighed. “I know that if you were in your right mind, you would’ve never hurt me. I never thought you were a monster, and I will never think that of you. Derek, I love you.”
He stared at me for a long moment before licking the side of my neck, where Royce had bitten me. His eyes still held a bit of guilt in them, but the anguish and pain was fading. He huffed again and nudged my back harder. I laughed and ran my hand through his soft fur, smiling when a purr rumbled through his chest.
He seemed to shake himself out of it, and started walking ahead, turning back to make sure I was following him. I rolled my eyes and stood, making my way over to his side. Derek waited until I was back by his side before starting to lope towards the house again.
I chuckled softly and shook my head. He could be such a child sometimes. But when that happened, he was my child. Mine to comfort, and mine to love.