After three states and eight towns in four months, Derek is tired. The Argents are probably still back in California; the Child Services doesn't have the resources to come looking for them. Derek tells Laura that he wants to stay a while in this town. He likes it here. They could get a place at the edge of town, be safe, catch their breaths. Laura disagrees, so they fight about it, long and hard. Derek goes as far to reach for his backpack lying on the dresser: he has been living out of the thing ever since they left Beacon Hill, and Laura knocks him down.
When he tries to get back up on his feet, she knocks him down again, and when he gets up and reaches for his backpack, she grabs him by the back of the neck, shoves him face-down on the bed, and holds him there. She doesn't need to twist his arm up; she doesn't put her knee against his back. She doesn't even need to pull the claws out. It's a reminder of who the alpha in the room is, and Derek goes very, very still: he makes his breathing slow. He closes his eyes.
After all, he didn't miss out on the massacre just because of school.
In fact, he'd cut school. He was back at Kate's apartment. He had a key to the place; he was sitting around, doing some homework, watching some TV. They'd made an arrangement for him to skip out after lunch, then meet her back here, and when Kate comes back, she smells -- kinda gross, if he's honest, like fire and something else he can't pin down, but she says that some asshole was burning trash along the road and she was stuck in a traffic jam. Her throat is sore from all the smoke, her voice is all scratchy sounding. Derek is sixteen. He thinks her voice sounds really hot.
She gets a glass of water for herself, comes over to him, holds the glass out. He takes a sip, but is mostly staring at her rack.
He drops like a sack of rocks: she'd dipped the edge of the glass in wolfsbane extract mixed with a few other pharmacological specialties, and she rolls him over, so that he is facing upwards. In fact, Kate decides to give herself one last treat before putting him under, might as well, since he can't move anyways.
Kate knows Derek. She knows his body. She puts on some music. She takes off her shirt and walks around in her bra. She tells Derek, in detail, what he smelled on her, what she did to his family, and when the first dose starts to wear off and he tries to stand, she cuts him just above the elbow with a knife dipped in the same solution. His body goes numb again: this time much more quickly, more intensely. Direct into the bloodstream, Kate says. Derek feels his cheeks flush; even if he can't look down, he knows when Kate unbuttons his jeans. He knows when she slides a hand into his boxers to check how hard he is. Not enough, she says and bends down to put her mouth on him.
How long afterwards does Laura come smashing through the sliding glass door from the balcony in full alpha form and knock Kate clear across the room?
They fight; Kate is dangerous and armed and in her home territory, but she is alone, and Laura is an alpha werewolf in a killing rage, murderous and grieving and bloody and standing on four legs over her only living brother. There is red on her muzzle and an Argent arrow buried on her left haunch. Derek is no help. In fact, Derek can't move; Derek can barely keep his mind together. While Kate and Laura fight, Derek lies on the floor, mostly naked, feeling the damp spots on his lips and face and hands and dick cool. He can't do more than swallow and breathe.
Still, it leaves an impression. He remembers fear. He remembers self-loathing. He remembers blood pounding in his ears and not being able to move more than his fingertips. Even if Kate doesn't have an exact body count, even if he can only see Laura as a blur, he can smell her clearly. He knows what it means if Laura can slide into the form of a full-blown alpha, what has occurred if she is going to risk it in broad daylight. When Kate draws blood, he smells the wolfbane and hears Laura snarl; when Laura slams Kate through the drywall, it sounds like half the apartment comes down around all of their ears.
Derek still can't quite get his legs underneath him, but by the end of the fight, he struggles into sitting position and throws his arms around Laura. Kate Argent is lying on her side, a pool of blood spreading around her midsection. She is trying to get her feet under her to come at them again; Derek sees her expression in his dreams for years, but Laura leaps off the balcony with Derek clinging to her back. She crashes through a tree and slams into a car roof and then leaps into the woods.
Then, Laura shifts back. She half-drags, half-supports Derek deep into the trees, until her broken leg rights itself, until he has enough motor control to wrench the arrow out of her other leg. Then, in silence, they limp back to the school parking lot and pretend she has just given him the news. What is the blood from? No, neither of them are hurt. Derek had a nosebleed. He gets them when he is upset. Yes, it's a lot of blood. Yes, Derek is upset. No, he doesn't want to talk.
Fast forward four months, three states, eight towns, and they're still on the run from the Argents, from the world, from memory, from the town taking Derek away from his sister and alpha. The carpet is indeterminate brown; the walls were last painted in the first Clinton administration, and the lefthand bedside lamp doesn't work. The Interstate is a two hundred yards away, and they can hear prostitutes talking to potential johns in the parking lot.
Derek is face down on a mattress in the third state in four months, and Laura is leaning over him with the top half of her body shifted into alpha form, but the back half still human. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see the red eyes; hot in his ear, he can feel her breath. She is snarling; he can feel it vibrating up his spine. Derek is shaking. He can taste blood in his mouth, and he can feel the blood pounding in his ears: someone drives out of the parking lot quickly, with a great deal of speed, and there is a lot of shouting. It sounds like somebody has shortchanged someone else; it sounds like somebody had to leave in a hurry, and with a moan, Derek gets hard. Laura slides her claws out against his neck, and Derek pushes his hips flat against the motel mattress.