He won’t leave Laura.
That is the thought that sustains him those first six months in New York. It’s cold here and nothing smells like Pack [nothing ever will]. He takes online courses for the spring semester and works on cars. Laura waitresses and takes college courses. They fall into a routine. Laura snaps at him, apologizes, and then they eat Hot Pockets together and call it dinner.
The isolation eats at him.
He can’t go back to school yet. He doesn’t have a handle on his wolf, can’t find an anchor. Little things set him off. Coffee from the shop downstairs, on the mornings they make Chocolate Hazelnut (Mom’s favourite). The first daffodils growing in their windowsill (Dad’s smile and happy exhale for Spring). damnit, derek! Laura screams it so much he starts filling it in as his name on job applications.
The temptation grows the harder Laura works. She works and works and works and he can’t do a single goddamn thing right. She’d be better without me. The thought twines around his thoughts as he shuffles through melting slush, a vacuum sealed vial of wolfsbane in his pocket. It’s my fault anyway.
He’s had the wolfsbane since February. snow moon. hunger moon. He never intended to be here for April. He had been on the roof, syringe in hand the night before the full, when Laura had come home from work. Derek listened to her shuffle around in the kitchen for fifteen minutes, singing along to the radio. Hadn’t Laura come home to enough dead bodies?
He left the needle on the roof.
The vial though, became a touchstone; became a twisted comfort for him [another Kate]. It’s cylindrical smoothness between his fingertips reminded him that he could leave it to chance. If this new existence, this anger, this lack of control - if he became a world’s burden, well, he still had options.
He planted the vial in July. It had just stormed and the ground was soft and pliable. Derek owed something to the Earth, a great debt. He was angry [always so angry] but it had grounded him. He had buried his hurt and growled around his other feelings, but he had emerged from his watery non-existence, had stopped breathing in smoke from the fire. Derek had solidity, found comfort in the regularity of Nature. His family was gone but the grass still grew green, the flowers came again in May.
winter gave way to spring and spring to summer.
So in July, he curled the vial into a nest of roots of a newly planted tree in the park. Derek had reclaimed his body, a body he once would happily given to the Earth, and instead gave it his fear. He didn’t mark the tree, didn’t know it from any of the others.
He went to school, went to work, and smiled for Laura only. If it hurt, if he felt like he was drowning he would walk around flower shops and bring home a vase full of daisies [Laura favourite]. They would sit on the kitchen table and by the time they died, he would once again feel grounded.
just a quiet reminder, winter always gives way to spring.