It was disturbing to be afraid of such a young man, no older than fourteen, standing with a blade propped on his shoulder. He was accompanied by two men and a woman, they were teaching him how to hunt, how to kill. One man, he thinks the boy called that one 'dad', steps behind him and reaches around him to assist in aiming his weapon. He had been caught, strung up like the wild animal they believed him to be.
Derek's legs are snared in a rope, dangling from a tree upside down. He'd not stepped into a trap, no, he wasn't stupid or sloppy enough to do that. He'd been ambushed, taken a bullet to his side and after a few bright lights and sound grenades, he'd been bashed in the head while incapacitated. Waking up to a little boy tapping a sword to his waist made his heart stop, the boy looked so concentrated, like he was simply learning to swing a bat.
"You have to cut all the way through, but it's okay if you don't make it with the first swing. He's tied up good, take a few whacks at it." The man tells him with a small smile, Derek is speechless. Shocked into silence at the utter terrifying notion that they would teach a child so young about the art of killing, and the fact that somehow, the kid felt no remorse about it.
Derek's vision is blurry, he can feel blood soaking through his shirt from a bullet wound in his side, slowly crawling downwards along with the blood rushing to his head. It's hard to breathe, all he can smell is wolfsbane.
And the worst part is, he's alone. Derek is utterly alone, no pack, no family, nobody. Boyd and Erica were dead, Isaac was in France, and Cora was in South America. He wonders what Scott and Stiles are doing, probably out with their girlfriends... They tended to do that quite often, Derek had taken to observing them from time to time when his loft got too quiet. But now, they're all he can think of. The only thing close to family he had nowadays.
"Where should I start?" The boy's voice pulls him from his thoughts, and his dry mouth releases a hoarse noise. Everyone pauses and looks at him, the boy seems more interested than afraid, while the others just appear angry and disdainful.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" Derek asks quietly, voice a croak.
"Stop talking." The woman demands, and Derek jerks himself a little, his body swinging and turning. Pain flares up in his side, and with a soft cry, he falls still.
"I had lots of brothers and sisters when I was your age. Hunters took them from me, some of them were even human." He continues when he gains his bearings again. "I had a family, I was surrounded with people who loved me. Can you imagine that being taken away from you?" He asks, licking his dry lips.
"I said stop-" The woman pulls a bat out and with a hard swing it knocks him in the side of the face, blood splatters through the leaves, the entire left half of his face erupting in agony. "-talking." She finishes, prodding his bullet wound with the handle. He feels tears well in his eyes, squeezes them shut.
"Lower him down a bit so he can reach it." Another man says, and his body jerks, Derek's fingertips graze the forest floor. "Okay now boy, right here." His shirt has pooled down near his chest, so the cold blade touches his side and he hisses quietly. "Give it your all."
Derek closes his eyes, tries to breathe evenly, this was it. He wondered if anyone would miss him, besides Cora. Then again, he wasn't the kindest of people, so maybe he deserved to be forgotten. Tears escape his clenched eyelids, dripping down his temples and into his hair. He can hear his heart racing, blood rushing, turns his head away from them.
"PUT YOUR HANDS UP!" There's silence for a moment, and Derek blinks open one eye, recognizing the voice. "Drop your weapons, drop them now." He's staring at the hunters, the adults are glaring behind him, the boy is white as a sheet.
"You've stepping into something you shouldn't have, officer. You don't know what you're getting into." The woman tells the voice, and Derek's heart throbs in anxious excitement, hope.
"Put your weapons down." There are two guns aimed somewhere behind him, and he's sure now, he recognizes that voice. The Sheriff, Stiles' dad. Stiles' dad had somehow found him, he'd never been so happy to hear a police man's voice in his life. His heart stops when a gun goes off, followed by two more shots, he flinches and two of the hunters fall to the ground. One of them ceases moving, his heart stopping, the woman clutches at her shoulder where she sits on the ground, blood oozing from between her fingers.
The boy lets go of his sword, bursts into tears and drops to the floor.
A hand touches his side, and he's slowly turned until he can see the upside down face of John Stilinski.
"You're okay, kid. I'm gonna get you down from here." He starts moving over to where the rope is tied off, and the injured hunter reaches into his belt to grab something.
"Sheriff, look out!" He shouts, the man turns and maneuvers to the side, receiving a cut to his arm from a knife that tears through his jacket, blood is sharp in the air. Derek struggles with his bonds, panicked, but another shot rings out and the hunter falls over. Another heart beat ceases, the Sheriff hisses as he holds his arm, glaring at the group of people.
Derek topples to the ground without grace, crying out when the jar to his body results in multiple pains all over him. His vision doubles and blurs, but then focuses slightly on the trees above him. He hears the Sheriff shout at the boy and the woman to leave. They retreat without another word, the boy still crying.
"Come on, Derek. Can you stand?" He's assisted to his feet, and the older man's hand is at the back of his neck, the other holding his wrist and observing him. "You need medical attention?" He asks, eyes shining with worry.
"How did you know I was here?" He asks quietly, a little in awe that the man would risk his life for him.
"There was a noise complaint, high pitched noises, gunfire. I called up Scott and Stiles, they were safe, there's only other person it could be." He shrugs, smiling lightly. He had still come, even after he knew his son and pseudo son were safe, came specifically to help Derek.
"Dad! Derek!" Derek turns his head to find Stiles racing into view, Scott running behind him. "Jesus, are you okay?" He demands, and Derek feels immensely guilty. The most important person in Stiles' life just had to risk his life to save someone like Derek.
"Stiles, I'm sorry." He blurts out, and Stiles looks at him for a moment, eyes intense and mouth a thin line. He's ready to be torn into, yelled at, pushed away.
"Shut up, Derek." He says softly, voice shaky and not holding any heat. Derek's eyes widen in shock when he's pulled into a firm hug, Stiles' arms gentle and careful around him. He hugs him back hesitantly, Stiles' breath is warm against his neck, and it's the first real hug he's had since Laura. "I'm so glad you're okay..." He leans back, and nods at his dad. "Both of you."
"But your dad risked his life, for me." He takes in the father and son duo, both observing him with bright eyes that hold the same concern and worry. John's hand grabs his shoulder and squeezes lightly, he smiles. "Why would you do that?" He asks, stomach churning in a mix of uneasy confusion and warm embers of honor underneath.
"You've been through enough, Derek. Besides, my son has lost too much. We don't need another death in this town." John says quietly, before turning and walking away with Scott, leaving Stiles and Derek standing together.
"Come on, we need to get you to Deaton." Stiles' hand wraps around his wrist, so big that it can close with ease around it. He's shaking a little, but then again, so is Derek. He stares down at where they meet, in awe that he had missed the fact that Stiles cared for him. That somehow, he had overlooked all those times they had saved each other, or rather the many times Stiles had saved him.
"Derek, you okay?" Stiles' voice snaps him out of it, and he looks up at the young man, who's stare is intense with concern.
"Y-Yeah." His voice cracks in the slightest, he clears his throat. "Yeah, I'm just... I'm glad to see you." He says quietly, Stiles grins at him.
"Come on then, you can ride with me." Stiles leads him from the woods by his wrist, grip strong and grounding.
For the first time in a long time, Derek doesn't feel alone, not at all.