Nick pulled me behind him as he jumped from the shaking stairs. Another bang went off and he wrapped his arms around me to shield me from any debris that fell.
“Nick, go!” I pulled myself from his arms. “You have to help them get out.” He instantly shook his head.
“No, Emma, I won’t leave you.” I pushed him away from me.
“You have to. Nick, you saved my life countless times, let me save yours.”
“Emma—” I grabbed his dirt-covered shirt and pulled him into a deep kiss.
“I’ll be okay, Nick. I’ll meet you by the willow tree.” He shook his head again, but I didn’t give him an option to not follow my orders. I pushed him back from me and jumped into the hole, following Derek to the lower level.
I landed on the ground but promptly fell to my side as another explosion went off above me. I had to find Derek and get us both out before the bunker collapsed. His scent was masked by the blood, dirt and debris that surrounded us.
“Derek!” I called out to him, hoping he would think straight and surrender. “Derek, please! Let me help you!” I stepped over fallen wood that looked to be supporting beams for the bunker. This place wasn’t going to last, especially with the random bombs Jackson planted.
“We’re beyond that, Em.” Derek’s voice echoed through the hallway, but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
“We’re not, Derek.” I disagreed. “I can help you.”
“You’ll take me back to the pack for what?” He chuckled. “To be Nick’s prisoner for the crimes I’ve committed against the pack?” I needed him to keep talking so I could find him.
“Even if you’re imprisoned, you’ll be alive.” I countered.
“I’d rather be dead.” I turned a corner and faced him. He was standing in an open cell block. Hell, it might have even been the same cell he kept me in not that long ago.
“That’s not what I want.” I froze as I stared at him. How did we get to this point in our lives?
“What do you want, Em?” He stepped closer to me and I felt the tiniest bit of fear I had for him vanish.
“I don’t want my best friend to die.” I admitted.
“Are you still calling me that after everything I’ve done?”
“Jackson manipulated you, that’s not who you are.” I shook my head, trying to hold my emotions back. Another explosion above knocked us both to the ground. “Derek please!” I screamed. “We have to go! This bunker won’t hold for much longer!” For a moment I thought Derek was actually going to listen to me as he stood to his feet and pulled me to mine, but his grip tightened, and he threw me into the cell. He followed behind and slammed the door shut, locking us in. “No! Derek, what are you doing?” I ran to the door and pushed on it, but it was locked from the outside.
“I love you, Emma.” He grabbed my shoulders and turned me around to face him. “I love you.” He had tears in his eyes as he spoke. “I won’t let you go back to that life.”
“Derek, we’ll die in here.”
“I know.” I pushed him off me and went back to the door, kicking it as hard as I could. “You’ll only make this bunker collapse faster.” I knew he was right, but how else would I get out of here? How else would I be able to meet Nick and the rest of our pack by the willow tree?
“What have you done?” I whispered, the realization hitting me that I made a mistake. I made a fatal mistake. I thought that I could save Derek, I thought that keeping him alive would be better than living with the fact that my mate killed him. And now I won’t have to live with anything at all.
“I love you, Emma.” He repeated. I turned towards him, letting my anger show.
“If you can’t have me, no one can!? Is that how this works?”
“Do you remember when we met?” There was no use in arguing with him, he was clearly insane. “In your father’s bar?”
“Yeah, was that a set up too?” I asked.
“Not at all. I was lonely, looking for a female to spend the night with.” I rolled my eyes at him. “I had no idea a pretty little bartender would be so hard to get.”
“Where are you going with this?”
“I meant what I said to you before we got blown up by my crazy father.” He stepped toward me, and I stepped back away from him. I hit my back on the bars of the cell, but he kept coming toward me. “You’re a female worth fighting for.” He brushed his fingers over my cheek, and I closed my eyes, trying to picture him during a different time. A time where I trusted my life with him, and not a time where he was the one threatening it. Why did he have this hold on me? After everything he’s done, I still had feelings for him in my heart.
“Then fight for me, Derek.” I whispered. “Don’t let us die in here.” He leaned his forehead against mine and I sucked in a breath, my body quivering under him. He pressed his body against mine and I bit my lip as his lips pressed gently against mine. He pulled something from his pocket and leaned into me again, but this time he reached behind me and pressed a key into the door. With a creaking scream, the door pushed open and he stepped back from me.
“Go.” He said, dipping his head to the ground. I shook my head, looking from the open door and back to Derek.
“I can’t leave you here to die.” Suddenly, his body slammed into mine violently. I gasped as I hit the bars of the cell wall. He wrapped his fingers around my throat. I gripped his hand, trying to pull him off me as I gasped for air.
“Don’t you understand, Emma?” He leaned into me, his face less than an inch from mine. “I will stop at nothing to kill the wolf who stole you from me. I will go to my father for help and Nick will be begging for a merciful death by the time I’m done with him.” I pushed on his chest, trying desperately to break free, but he wasn’t letting me go. Tears began to stream down my cheeks as I gasped for air to reach my lungs. Derek picked me up by the throat and threw me to the ground of cell. I wheezed as air finally reached my body, but Derek left no time for me to recover. He threw his body on top of me and gripped my arms tight as he picked me up off the ground and slammed me into the opposing wall. I cried out in pain, but he didn’t loosen his grip on me.
“Please, stop.” I begged as the tears flowed down my face. His face softened and his arms dropped, and just like that he pulled me into a tight hug. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Derek I knew was back to me. His body shook as he cried into my shoulder, my own tears wetting his shirt. Stefan was always known as a devil, and Derek was his son. He fled at a young age, trying to better himself so he wouldn’t turn out to be like his father, but he found Jackson. Jackson molded Derek into a monster. His revenger-fueled war against Nick was toxic and Derek couldn’t escape. He had good in him, I knew that from the years I spent with him, but the evil inside him still clawed its way out like a trapped demon. Derek would never be the same wolf as I once knew and loved. He’s killed wolves in my pack, good wolves. I thought I could save him by taking him back to the pack and letting him live out his life in a cell. But there was no saving him, and that realization hurt me more than the physical pain he inflicted on me. “I’m sorry.” I sobbed into his chest and he held me tighter. “I’m so sorry.” I pulled my right arm back as far as it would go and then I pushed it forward with as much strength as I could muster. My fist plunged into his chest, I could feel the skin and muscles separating against my hand. Derek gasped in pain and pulled back as much as he could with my hand in his chest. I met his eyes as I gripped his heart in my hand.
“Emma?” He breathed as I ripped his heart from his chest. He fell to the ground and I dropped his heart. I crashed into the floor on my knees and let the pain wash over me. I leaned my head against his body and sobbed. Derek was gone.