Derek felt drained, barely able to stand without Deaton’s help. “What happened?”
“You aren’t an alpha anymore,” Deaton answered.
Derek stumbled backwards again, and again Deaton caught his arms to steady him. “What?”
“Peter,” was Deaton’s only reply. It was enough.
Derek stared down at his hands, flexing them into fists and letting the claws come out. They cut into his palms, but the pain was reassuring. He may not be the alpha, but he was still a wolf—still whole. “Where?”
“You’re too weak to go after him now.” Deaton stepped back and crossed his arms. “You can’t do it alone anyway.”
Derek snorted, bitterly amused. “Who else is there? Isaac, Boyd, Erica…they’re his now and Scott always was his. Hell, so am I.”
“You’ve never been anybody’s,” Deaton said. “Not even Laura’s. You don’t know how to submit, not really, which is why you weren’t a good alpha. For all you have that tattoo on your back, you don’t really pay attention to it.”
That was like a slap in the face, but Derek couldn’t deny it. If he’d given himself fully over to Laura after the fire she never would’ve been in Beacon Hills alone. He’d been her pack, but hadn’t really listened. Same with his parents before the fire—hell, that’s why the fire happened.
“Peter can’t be the alpha,” Derek said, frustrated.
“No he can’t,” Deaton agreed. “But you’re going to have to bide your time and you need help.”
“Scott,” Derek said. He hated to acknowledge it, but Scott was a fairly capable wolf these days and his moral compass was much better than Derek’s.
“Yes,” Deaton agreed. “And right now he’s with the Stilinksi boy and they need you.”
Derek didn’t stay to continue chatting, rushing to the station to attempt to help—and promptly being paralyzed because his life sucks.
“The big bad alpha gets paralyzed again,” Stiles muttered, once Matt left them alone.
“Not an alpha,” Derek growled. “Not anymore.”
He hadn’t intended to tell Stiles that, but the boy got under his skin in the most frustrating ways, making him react.
“Oh…well, that’s not good.” Stiles cut his eyes over to meet Derek’s. “So why are you still alive then?”
Derek bared his teeth.
“Hey, nothing personal.” Stiles didn’t even smell of fear, which was annoying. Derek liked it better when Stiles was afraid of him. “I just thought that’s how it works.”
“There are a lot of ways to skin a deer.”
“Dude, I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be cat, and either way—gross.” Stiles rolled his eyes. “So who?”
Stiles’ eyes flashed. “I’m not even going to ask how, but he has to die--again. We have to kill him.”
The toxin had worn off enough that Derek could incline his head slightly in agreement. Stiles had said “we” and Derek didn’t know why, but that made him feel less alone. It wasn’t ideal, but he’d beaten Peter with only the help of a ragtag bunch of teenagers once before. Why not again?