Lydia stood in front of him expectantly, Boyd by her side. Erica and Scott were looking back and forth between their brooding Alpha and the other person in the room that was currently looking curiously at on of the pictures Isaac had painted, now framed in the hallway.
“So,” Allison said slowly, “you’re back.”
He nodded, not too sure what to say after the long explanation he had just given them about the situation at hand.
“And...” Scott led on.
Before Derek could repeat himself again , Lydia spoke, “You brought a creature back from Hell with you.”
“Hey!” the boy cried indignantly, turning to face the rest of them.
He came to stand behind Derek, peering from behind him at the others.
“Derek,” he asked, “who are these people?”
“They’re my pack,” he answered in a soft voice.
Lydia shared a look with Allison at the sudden gentleness of their Alpha, but it was shifted from each other to the door as it swung open violently.
After an entire two months in Hell with the boy, he had grown accustomed to him.
His ever fidgeting body, his endless questions, his streak of humor, his long winded ramblings, his clever mind, his broken ways.
They had been together for 58 out of the 62 days. He had made it more...bearable.
They were familiar now. They had seen each other break and each other fight.
They had held each other through the nights and the dreams.
They had cried together, laughed together, hoped together.
He had been there longer than Derek, an entire three months before. However, he had been smiling when Derek found him. He had never stopped believing that they would make it out of there. And that was the only reason Derek was alive and home now. And whenever he did stop believing, Derek would be there to remind him .
They became each other’s anchors. Their reminder of hope. They were each other’s reason to keep going. To live.
Derek had risen on a Sunday.
He refused to read into the symbolism of it all.
He opened his eyes as the sun peaked over the horizon, seeing that he was in a dried field. The grass looked dead and yellow, but it was flourished with this dead grass.
He had been too tired to feel any emotion, but an overcoming of feeling of sadness rushed him as his thoughts immediately fell to the one he had left down there.
His throat clenched and his stomach dropped.
Tears stung in his eyes and he felt the beginning of a pathetic quivering of his lip.
He closed his eyes and thought of him.
Of his bright eyes and cunning smile.
He had to get out of here.
Find out where he was.
He at least owed that to the boy.
Derek couldn’t let it all be in vain.
He let out a breath despite his sore muscles and bloodied state. After a moment, he went to roll over, only to find that he couldn’t.
Something was holding him. Pinning him there.
He cursed, believing it was all just another mind game, another delusion.
But this time he would have to get through it alone.
He wasn’t sure if he could do it.
Not without him.
Derek finally looked down at himself. And what he saw was almost too much.
The boy was wrapped tightly in his arms as he has been last night.
He was bloodied and torn apart, much like Derek was.
But he was there.
The relief had come all at once.
He openly sobbed, holding the boy tighter to him, letting out sour notes of despair and joy.
He felt a shaky hand come up to hold his jaw, the comforting gesture Derek had come to familiarize with “Why are you crying? It’s okay. I’m here.”
But Derek only shook his head and sat up, ignoring the tearing at his flesh.
He pulled the other boy into his lap, gazing into the confused brown eyes below him.
“Look,” he had said, “Look. We’re out.”
It was the boys turn to cry. He let out a keening wail and flung himself at Derek.
His arms around his neck and his face buried in what was left of a t-shirt.
“We’re out,” was all he said, tears streaming down his face freely and loosely.
He had peppered Derek’s face with kisses, making the werewolf laugh with glee, holding him even tighter than before, “We’re out.”
They'd be okay now.
After sometime, Derek was fully healed and insisting on heading somewhere to find a phone.
He dragged the boy a few miles until they made their way into a small town, discovering that they were somewhere in the midsts of Kansas.
Derek had stashed the boy in an alley before sprinting to row of pay phones and making a call to Deaton.
The Vet insisted that they lay low and that he'd be in touch with the local pack.
Not an hour later were they being ushered into a car and driven to the outskirts of the city.
They would not separate.
They never parted, knees knocking together, hands tangled, something.
Derek had almost clawed one of the betas when they were forcibly separated to be washed until heard the familiar soft voice, teary and panicked from rooms away, his own anxiety from being seperated coming through, telling him that it was all okay now and that he was safe.
When they were freshly clothed and clean, they were allowed to see each other once more.
They gravitated back to each other like magnets immediately, ignoring the curious glances of the stranger pack.
He could see the boys light brown hair clearly now.
His pale pale skin that had been constantly covered in soot and blood was dotted happily with moles and he was already gaining some color back to him.
Derek ran a hand down his face, smiling.
They were okay.
They were out.
They were out.
The pack took careful care of them.
It seemed that the Hale name still held some weight to it.
The next day they had tried to feed them.
Both he and the boy had only caught the smell of it before he was leaning into the garbage can to retch.
Derek, along with the others in the room, had stood quickly only to be met with a watery smile, “We’re going to need so much therapy.”
Derek had snorted while one of the others let out a surprised laugh.
They stayed with the pack for two weeks before Deaton contacted them.
He let them know that he was on the way with Chris to pick up Derek and would be there in two days, no later.
It was then when Derek realized that they would have to be separated.
They both had families and people who had missed them.
He kept these feelings to himself, however, until he had woken himself up in the early hours of the morning with a panic attack.
He was there, though, sitting in front of Derek, holding his face and breathing slow shallow breaths, urging him to follow.
It had normally been the other way around, the boy getting the panic attacks and Derek waking in the middle of the night or whatever strange reality they had been set in, coaxing him out of his own mind and holding him until they both fell back to sleep.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do this without you,” Derek had muttered once calm enough.
“What...what do you mean?” He was still getting used to having and relearning the powers he’d been born with--hearing, seeing, healing, smelling --but the scent of fear and panic was coming off the boy in waves now. It was clear. “Do you not want me to...I thought I was going with you, Derek. Unless...”
“No. No. Of course you’re coming with me. Of course you are.”
He was too relieved, too happy to think about the hypocritical content that had just gone on. With that, the worry and dark cloud vanished and he slept better than he had in his entire life.
Chris and Deaton showed up the next day, leading he and the boy both to the car without a word of question.
Emma and Logan, the Alpha and her second, bid them a farewell with a promise to drop by Beacon Hills in a few months to check in with them.
The car ride was quiet and slow and Derek spent the most of it drifting in and out of sleep, listening to the soft hum of the classic rock station in the background.
And the gentle beating of the boy's heart.
They got home on a Monday and it was now a Saturday.
The demon they had been fighting, that had zapped Derek into whatever part of Hell for two months, had been killed, he learned. And Scott had taken over in his position as Second.
Deaton had warned them off of their Alpha for a while, but Derek was dying to see his pack again.
They all entered the house around noon, taking care to tactically touch Derek, welcoming him back into his home and pointedly ignoring the other presence in the room until their Alpha decided to breach it.
Isaac sauntered in, drinking the scene in front of him in.
Derek was crouched in a defensive position, the rest of the pack, on the other side of the room, cautiously watching him. Isaac squinted his eyes but approached Derek, giving him a strong hug.
“I’m glad you’re back. Living with Scott’s nice and all, but Allison’s over a lot and they don’t really keep it PG.”
Derek snorted and hugged him back, ignoring the blushing couple. After a moment, Isaac stood back again, looking between the two groups.
"What's going on?"
Derek seemed to preen with sudden pride before nodding behind him, "This is Stiles."
"What's a Stiles?"
"Me!" The boy said, the same time Lydia hissed from behind Jackson, "A demon."
The boy stands a little bit straighter, now standing more next to Derek than behind him.
“I’m not a demon! What the hell Derek. Your pack is a bunch of psychos. I'm not Hellboy.”
"He's not a demon," Derek said, voice calm and careful.
"I...I don't understand," Isaac frowned.
The Alpha’s eyes narrowed at his pack in question before turning back to Stiles. He had a look of disbelief on his face, but fear was wafting off of him. When Derek’s green eyes met gold, they were filled with betrayal and panic. He reached out and put a comforting hand on Stiles’ back and the boy seemed to deflate.
“Derek," Scott beckoned, "get away from him."
"What are you talking about?" Isaac snapped now, looking how placid his Alpha was.
Isaac looked at his pack, then.
They were ready to attack the threat.
They had just gotten their Alpha back and a demon had already latched itself on to him, planning to take him back down there--away from them--again.
“He isn’t a demon,” Derek finalized.
"Derek, listen," Allison began, "I know everything is hard right now. I know it’s confusing and wrong , but trust us. Trust your pack. Please. Come here.”
“Allison. He’s not a demon.”
"Okay," She said, "Okay. It's...he's not a demon. But you trust us. Right?"
"Good. Now, leave him--"
"Stiles," Derek reminded.
"Right. Now leave Stiles there for a minute and just...come here."
"Why? You're not going to hurt him? You can't hurt him!"
He growled at the realization that his pack wanted Stiles gone.
He couldn't help his claws from digging out or his eyes from burning red.
The words "protect, protect. mate, mate" spun around his head.
"It's okay," Stiles soothed behind him.
Derek turned his head to the boy. His eyes were wet and his smile was small yet understanding.
"Stiles," his voice broke but his eyes stayed focused on him, like he'd up and disappear if he wasn't watching him.
"Go to them," he urged, "Go to your pack."
Derek shook his head, about to say something but was cut off by a heavy body slamming into him. Once he regained his balance, he began to fight back, struggling in the arms of Jackson, Boyd and Scott.
"Let me go," he demanded.
"Look!" Scott cried, "Derek look!"
"Let. Me. Go!"
He eventually got free and started over to where Stiles was, ready to pick him up and leave Beacon Hills. For good this time.
"He's not real!" It was Lydia's voice who made him stop. Who shattered his world.
"What are you talking about?"
"He's not real, Derek. Look!"
He clammed his eyes shut. He sorted through his memories to make sure he was lying. Months of torture had made this skill accessible.
Finding Stiles curled up by a rock, Derek coaxing him towards him, happy to finally have someone to talk to.
Finding Stiles right after he was forced to relive the fire.
He had been inside that time.
Watching his parents grasp at each other, scrambling to get to Cora.
Peter holding his dead family in his arms, waiting for the flames to take him next.
His cousins crying out.
Holding Stiles through the quiet periods between their torture.
Being dropped into endless loops of reality or cruel alternate universes.
Places where Laura had been in the house.
Places where Derek had been the one to actually light the fire.
Places where everyone was still alive and blamed Derek for the fire.
A blame that was rightfully deserved, but hearing those hateful words spew from his mother's mouth only freshened the wound.
Being relieved when he'd wake up to find Stiles still in his arms.
Being woken by the scent of salt from tears.
Being nearly driven mad, only the thoughts of Stiles waiting for him keeping him going.
Waking up in the field together.
Being taken in by Emma and Logan.
Driving back in the car with Chris and Deaton.
Holding Stiles' hand in his as they gathered themselves, slowly.
Falling into bed together, not out of need but out of want.
Out of desire.
Out of knowing that no one else would be able to understand their broken souls but each other.
Whispering sweet nothings into his hair.
Telling him that he loved him.
He jumped when he felt a hand on his forearm, "Look Derek," urged Lydia's soft broken voice, "Please."
So, he looked.
And there was no one there.