There is pain flooding through him so intensely that he can barely see through the spots in his vision, let alone tell where he’s running to. His ribs feel like they’re contracting and contracting and contracting and not expanding at all, starving him for the oxygen he so desperately needs to keep himself going. He thinks, passingly, that if he was healthier, he’d be twice the distance he is now. That maybe, if he weighed a little more, if you couldn’t count the nobs of his spine through his shirt, that they’d be further behind him. They wouldn’t be gaining so quickly. Maybe, if he’d managed to get his collar off before his escape, he’d be faster.
Then suddenly they’re not following him anymore. His pursuers had just stopped, like they’d run into a wall that he’d by some miracle been able to pass through. He kept running though, because he didn’t know if it was a fluke or not and he couldn’t afford to stop on a fluke. For all he knew, they were just planning the best way to cut him off, or-
Or he’d managed to cross the territory line. He slowed down, the fatigue catching up with him all at once, slamming into him with a force that would’ve knocked him off his feet if he hadn’t been actually knocked off his feet so many times before. He was vaguely aware of the pain in his arm, bleeding and twisted in a way that was nowhere close to normal, but he couldn’t focus on it. The electric shocks being shot through his body from the collar around his neck were keeping him from healing, but he couldn’t focus on that, either.
There were a pair of red eyes in front of him, a beast coming toward him on two legs. It was barely a yard away when it threw back its head and howled, loud and long and with the promise of violence. His claws were dripping in something that had to be blood, and the brown fur covering his almost-wolf-almost-human body was caked with mud.
He’d run straight from the talons of one Alpha into the jaws of another. He knew which territories had surrounded the one he’d come from, and as soon as he saw the creature, he knew whose territory he was trespassing on.
It wasn’t until the Alpha’s lupine face was inches from his that he found out he was crying. Despite everything, he didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to be just another Omega found in the gutter, someone no one would mourn because he’d disappeared- he’d been taken- years ago.
He crumbled to his knees in front of the Alpha, stared at the ground. “Please.” He found himself whimpering through the pain; even though he wasn’t sure how his throat could be working with the way it was burning. “Please, I don’t want to die.” He begged, squeezed his eyes closed.
He knew the rumors. ‘More wolf than man,’ they whispered, ‘Feral.’ He’d stolen the title of Alpha when he killed the man who killed his father and turned his friend. He’d taken territory with a ruthlessness that hadn’t been seen since anyone had been able to change into an actual wolf. Rumors said he could do that, too, and some of them claimed he was never human to begin with- a wolf parading as a man.
When he opened his eyes, there were human feet in front of him, and a clawed hand was tilting his chin up to force him to look into red eyes.
“You can’t just bring him here,” Someone was growling.
“I can do whatever I want,” Whoever replied was snarling; he could feel it as it vibrated through their chest- whoever it was, they were carrying him.
“He’s not yours!” The other voice argued, getting decidedly more irate.
“You are mine,” The one carrying him reminded the other, the words bitten out around fangs, coming out with more than a little wolf behind them. He heard a whimper in return, and then faded back into unconsciousness.
He woke up with a jolt, hands coming up to the collar still locked around his neck, gasping for breath. Someone stronger jerked them back from it, holding him by the wrists so he couldn’t go for it again. Through his bleariness, he could make out two glowing eyes. Red. He stopped resisting with a whine. “Good boy.” The Alpha praised with as little inflection as possible, before he dropped his wrists.
“Can you talk?” The Alpha asked. He nodded in reply, but did not, in fact, talk. “Name.” The Alpha grunted, not even a question.
“Derek.” He answered, swallowing.
“Derek, do you know what class your collar is?”
“Yes Alpha,” A pause. “Class five.”
The snarl took him by surprise so much that he flinched back, curled in on himself with a whine, inwardly hating himself for being so weak the entire time. “Stop that,” Alpha said, pulling him until he was lying flat again. “Do not move.” The Alpha said it very clearly, as if Derek wouldn’t comprehend him. Derek didn’t move.
He watched with a sort of abject horror as the Alpha- Stilinski- transformed into what he’d seen in the forest when he’d first crossed the territory line. Derek didn’t whine when the fangs closed around his neck, but he wanted to. He wanted to beg for his life and apologize for whatever he’d done wrong and plead forgiveness, and he hated himself for it, but he didn’t whine.
For a second, the jaws around his neck closed so tightly that he couldn’t breathe, and then there was a terrifying, sickening crunch, and then nothing.
For one blissful, horrifying moment, Derek was sure he was dead.
“You should heal now,” Stilinski said tonelessly; already back in his human form and picking up the pieces of the collar that were littered on and around Derek. Derek nodded.
“Your arm is broken, you’re emaciated, your ankle is fucked to hell, and you’re littered with cuts and bruises that show signs of prolonged abuse,” He went on, voice still as emotionless as ever. “I’ve stitched your arm and given you a makeshift casts to keep everything set until it heals properly, and the rest of your injuries are minor. Sleep.”
He wasn’t asking, and Derek couldn’t really cling to consciousness any longer anyway; he was happy to follow the order, even if he had no idea why the Alpha was bothering with him at all.
When he next woke up, he felt better than he had in months. By the way the sun was filtering in through the blinds; it was probably just past noon. Last he could remember, it’d been night time. He glanced around the room- it was empty, unexpectedly. One inhale had him choking on how strongly it smelled of the Alpha- wild and earthy and uncontrolled enough that it sent a tingle of fear straight up his spine. Derek tried to get out of the bed, but whined as soon as he did; even the slightest bit of pressure on his ankle had him about to double over in pain.
He sat on the edge of the bed, glowering at his injured ankle like that would make it heal faster, then sighed and took stock of the rest of his body. He’d been stripped at some point, which didn’t surprise him; he was wearing a pair of boxers that didn’t belong to him, and that was it. The stitches the Alpha had told him about were gone now, scar tissue left where the wound on his arm had been. It still hurt to move it, a bit, but the bone had healed enough that he could lift it to almost above shoulder level without much difficulty. Most of the smaller cuts were gone, and nearly all the bruises were faded or gone. He could see his ribcage and the edges of his hip bones, but he tried not to think about that. His body couldn’t heal starvation.
As if on cue, Stilinski walked in holding a tray of what smelled like soup. Derek stared at him like a deer in the headlights, and for a second, Derek looked into his red eyes without knowing what else to do. Then his sense of self-preservation came back to him, and he averted his eyes to the floor. Stilinski snorted, and the noise sounded almost amused- but Derek had no idea. It wasn’t like he was an expert on Alpha Mannerisms.
“Here,” He grunted, sitting down beside Derek and shoving the tray into his lap. Derek looked at it like it was a foreign concept to him. “What?” Stilinski asked, raising a brow. “Is there a specific way I should be feeding you? Have you never used utensils before?”
“I- I know the mechanics of a spoon,” Derek said before his brain-to-mouth filter had time to work. His mouth snapped shut with a click, and he glanced nervously over at the Alpha next to him. He was unfazed; looking at Derek in a way that seemed to say ‘Prove it.’
Just to prove he could, Derek ate a spoonful of the soup, resisting the urge to moan at the way it tasted and how it soothed his throat. He hadn’t even realized how dry it was until it just wasn’t anymore. A glance at the Alpha said that he hadn’t fooled him, he knew exactly how pleased Derek was, and he was smirking smugly about it.
“How’s your ankle?” He asked after Derek had eaten half the bowl of far-too-good soup. Derek glanced at the ankle in question.
“Better?” He hadn’t meant for that to come out as a question.
“You tell me.”
“I don’t know.” Derek tried. “I don’t remember what it felt like before a few minutes ago.”
“And how is that?” Stilinski didn’t even miss a beat.
“It hurts too much to walk on,” He answered honestly, knowing the Alpha would hear if he lied.
“I see.” He replied, and the next thing Derek knew, he had an Alpha on his knees in front of him. He was halfway to attempting to crawl away when Stilinski pinned him with a red-eyed glare. He stopped moving, but he couldn’t force the way his mind screamed no no no no no no please god no. The Alpha paused, looking up at him with his brows knit in confusion. “Your heartbeat is going insane,” He prompted. Derek said nothing, just kept looking at him with what he could only imagine was terror in his eyes. “You smell like prey,” Stilinski growled, teeth going pointed. Derek whimpered. “Keep eating,” The Alpha said unexpectedly, hands locking around Derek’s ankle and making him whine. As suddenly as the pain had come, it was gone, and Derek risked cracking his eyes back open to see that all the Alpha was doing was sitting in concentration, black veins crawling up his arms as he leeched away the pain from Derek’s ankle.
After a tense minute where he waited for something else to happen, Derek started eating again. When his bowl was empty, the Alpha stood back up, looking distinctly more like a wolf than he did an actual person, red eyes glowing brightly. “Here,” He grunted, snatching something up from the bedside table that Derek hadn’t even noticed until that second. “This will speed your healing.” There were two pills in his outstretched palm, and a glass of water in his other hand. Derek took them, only flinching a little bit when he made contact with the Alpha. “That’s the bathroom. You can clean up there, if you want, but don’t leave this room otherwise. You can wear my clothes. Do whatever you want on the laptop and watch what you like on the TV- in fact, I really don’t care what the hell you do; as long as you stay in this room.”
He left Derek to contemplate that as he spun around and exited the room, door clicking closed with finality. He stares at it for several minutes, then takes the pills and drinks the entire glass of water greedily. He doesn’t feel full, because it was a bowl of soup and a glass of water, not a full meal, but he feels better than he did before he ate it, so he counts it as a win. He slides the tray over onto the bed, and tries to see if he can walk now.
Thankfully, the Alpha’s touch seemed to having some lasting effects, because while the pain is still there, it’s much more bearable. He manages to limp his way to the bathroom, relieve himself, and slip out of his borrowed boxers and into the shower without too much effort on his part.
The shower is amazing. He obviously hadn’t been washed down before, if the way the water runs dirt-brown and swirls down the drain is any indication, and the water pressure is just enough that it doesn’t abuse his sore muscles but does the job at getting him clean. He only hesitates a bit before using the Alpha’s hygiene products- convincing himself to do it by the logic that smelling more like him probably wouldn’t hurt, since he was, apparently, being kept.
He found with relief that nothing was strong-scented, most of it just intended to clean and nothing more. His nose had always been sort of sensitive, so he was thankful that there was nothing overpowering that would give him a headache.
By the time he got out of the shower, the water had run cold, but he felt infinitely better for having taken it. He dried himself off with the towel hanging from the bar beside the shower, then wrapped it around his hips when he remembered he didn’t have any clothes to wear. The thought of being around the Alpha naked made his skin crawl, but he’d been told he could wear his clothes, so with a quiet breath of determination, he left the bathroom to search for some.
There were clothes laid out on the bed when he got out there- a long-sleeved, well-worn white shirt, a pair of plain black boxers, and faded-black-checkered pajama bottoms. He limped his way over, displeased to find that the Alpha’s touch was starting to wear off, but happy enough at the clothes he was given. They were soft, smelled like Stilinski, and covered him as completely as possible. In a word, they were perfect.
He crawled back on the bed once he was dressed, hair mussed and towel-dried, and pulled his knees up to his chest as he leaned against the headboard. The sun was setting, and the house was silent, from what he could hear. He couldn’t even tell if there were any other heartbeats but his own in it, but, when he thought about it, the room could just be enchanted to be soundproof. That or his hearing wasn’t as great as he’d thought.
He glanced at the TV that was sitting atop a dresser directly across from the bed, then at the desk with the laptop, then at the rest of the room. There wasn’t much- another dresser, the door that the Alpha had taken to leave, and another door that Derek guessed led to a closet. He sank a little further down the bed; let his head fall back to his knees, arms wrapped around his legs.
This place was better than where he’d been before, but really? Anywhere was better than there. That said, he didn’t even know Stilinski’s intentions. He’d snatched him out of the forest, bloody and broken, and then brought him here- wherever here was- and then patched him up and gotten rid of the collar and fed him and clothed him. That was all nice on the surface, but… Why? Derek couldn’t figure out his motives.
Most of the rumors he could remember described the man as less than that; as someone to be feared. Alpha Stilinski wasn’t nice, he wasn’t known for niceness. He was known for the time he’d literally stuck his hand through another Alpha’s chest when they took his Beta. He was known for patrolling his borders so well that even other Alphas were wary to cross them unannounced. He was known for carnage. For being wild; an animal.
A thought crossed Derek then- what if he wanted him for animalistic reasons? It would fit the rumors, but… The thought made Derek whimper. He was an Omega, and the relationship Alpha had with their Omegas was clearly defined, one of dominance and submission and sex-
The Alpha was suddenly there, in his space, touching him everywhere, murmuring soft, uncharacteristically gentle things. “Shh, shh, you’re alright,” Alpha whispered, running his hands along his neck and shoulders and face. “Don’t cry, shh, breathe, you’re okay, Derek, shh,” Derek hadn’t even realized he was crying, or not breathing, or that he was in the midst of a full blown panic attack until that moment. He couldn’t really do much about it even then, though.
“Shh, come here, you’re okay, breathe with me,” Derek let the Alpha arrange them so that they were plastered together, back-to-chest. He closed his eyes, tried to focus on the way he could feel Stilinski inhale and exhale, on the soothing timbre of his voice as he murmured things that Derek couldn’t even make out right in his ear.
Eventually, Derek managed to match his breathing to the Alpha’s, even though they were shaky and sounded like sobs even to his own ears. Minutes or hours after that he was just exhausted, no longer running off adrenaline to keep him hyperventilating.
“Are you okay, now?” He heard the Alpha rumble from behind him, still running his hand up and down Derek’s back.
Derek just nodded; he didn’t want to hear how wrecked his voice sounded.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Was his next question. Derek shook his head- it wasn’t like he was about to voice his concerns about getting raped to the very person he was worried about getting raped by. If it wasn’t a thought already, Derek wasn’t about to be the one to plant the suggestion.
“Okay, that’s okay,” Derek wasn’t sure if the Alpha was trying to convince him or himself, “Do you want to sleep it off? I’ll leave you alone if it’ll help,” He offered, and Derek wasn’t sure what to say. Yes, he did want to sleep it off, yes, he did want the man to leave, but no, he didn’t want to lose the comforting feel of a body next to his that seemed to have no intention of hurting him. He hadn’t been allowed to just sleep beside someone for- for longer than he wanted to think about.
“If- If you stay,” He was right; his voice was wrecked. It hurt to talk a little, too. “Will you just make me sleep?” He hated that he sounded so weak, but he was weak. He was skinny and frail and injured, and if the Alpha wanted more, he wasn’t even sure he had the motivation to fight him off.
“Yes,” The Alpha said, sounding slightly hurt- no, Derek was probably imagining that- and tired. “Yes, if you want me to stay, we’ll sleep. Just sleep. I’m…” He paused, took a deep breath, and then sighed. “I’m a lot of things, Derek. A rapist is not one of them. If I wanted to have sex, I’d find someone healthy and consenting. You’re not either of those things, and I’m not going to touch you.” Derek felt some of the tenseness ease from his shoulders as the Alpha talked, because he didn’t hear a single lie through the whole conversation. Then he pulled away from him, leaning back out of his space. Derek was still settled between his legs, but the Alpha’s hands were now lying on the bed, and he wasn’t bent over Derek to talk into his ear anymore. They were really only touching now where the curve of Derek’s spine met Stilinski’s stomach, and Derek hated himself for it a little, but he missed the contact.
It’d been so long since someone touched him without the intent of hurting him. Even longer than that since he’d had an Alpha that just wanted to be an Alpha to him.
“I- Thank you,” Derek managed to stutter out, whining a little as he jostled his ankle on the way to get out of the V of the Alpha’s legs and scramble to sit beside him instead. “For that, I just. I haven’t had a choice about it in a long time.”
Derek was probably imagining the whimper he thought he heard the Alpha let out, because when he looked over, the Alpha was glaring at the window, pointedly not looking at him. Derek could feel that he was mad, so he inched a little further away from him, earning a look. It was a wilting look, going from mad to nothing to something almost comforting all in a few seconds. “Go to sleep,” Stilinski said, then looked back toward the window. He looked for a few more seconds before slipping under the covers, back turned toward Derek. He let out an exhale and slid as carefully as he could under the covers too, trying not to jostle his still-healing ankle in his post-panic-attack exhaustion.
He lay awake for a long time, simply staring at the wall in his line of vision until the last of the evening sun went down and the room went dark. The sheets rustled next to him as the Alpha rolled over, talking to the back of Derek’s head. “Can I scent you?”
Derek hadn’t been expecting that. “Um.”
“I won’t touch you beyond what’s appropriate, and if you tell me you’re uncomfortable, I’ll back off,” He elaborated, and then stopped talking, waiting for an answer.
“I- Yeah, okay.” He answered after what felt like too long, deciding that it couldn’t hurt, and if it made the Alpha feel better, then it was to his benefit too.
The Alpha moved forward and closed the few inches between them then, pressing his chest up against Derek’s back and his nose into the nape of Derek’s neck and sliding his arm around his waist. Derek tensed at first, but then relaxed when the Alpha didn’t move after that.
After a bit, something rumbled against Derek’s back that he could only really interpret as a purr. “Y’smell like me,” Stilinski hummed, voice heavy with sleep, nuzzling into the back of Derek’s head. “M’sorry you were scared before,” He went on, trailing off, sounding blissed-out and ready to pass out at any second. “Don’ worry though, m’gonna keep you safe f’r’now on.”
Then his breathing evened out, and Derek was left wondering what the fuck that meant, and feeling begrudgingly pleased about it. Part of him protested that he didn’t need any protecting, thank you very much, but the other, more sensible part, was happy for the gentle warmth of another wolf, and for the promise of finally being able to sleep without worry.
So, true to his sensible side, sleep he did.