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The Calming Grounds

Chapter Text

With a hand towel, Stiles wipes a clear swathe across the fogged-up mirror.

   His wild hair is still damp from his shower, a few droplets beading on his shoulders amongst the scattering of dark moles. A washed-out, finger-shaped bruise sticks out just above the towel around his waist, wrapped around the just of one sharp hipbone. He carries only one permanent scar – two large crescent-shaped marks at the juncture of his neck and shoulder.

   The towel is pulled from his waist and dropped over the edge of the tub. He lifts his flaccid cock to the side and with one hand to rub two fingers down the pale scar where his balls used to be.

   A deep breath later, he brings his focus back to the black anal plug set next to the basin. It’s not near Derek’s girth - his fingertips touch at a stretch – but it’s enough to be prepped for when the wolf decides to hold him down (or up) against the nearest surface without warning.

   He grabs the bottle of lube next to the plug and squirts a generous dollop over the tip of the plug. He drops his towel, then with jaw set, hikes one foot onto the edge of the vanity and leans forward until his knee press against his chest. He holds the slick point of the plug against his hole, flinching a bit at the coldness. He twirls it around the tight little drawstring of muscle, applying pressure in small increments until he has relaxed sufficiently enough to work in the bulbous head until the flared handle press snug against the fleshy ring. He sets his foot down again and flinches a bit at the pressure, clenching his inner muscles around the foreign weight and girth.

   Slightly bow-legged with the first few steps, he walks out the en-suite into the bedroom, the bare concrete cool beneath his feet.

   Shoved against one bare brick wall, a king-sized mattress rests on a bunch of pallets, dark grey comforter and pillows all over the place. Next to it a large ornate chest of drawers and simple metal coat rack stuffed with clothes is pushed up against the wall. There are no blinds or curtains in front of the three eight-foot high industrial windows. Dusk paints the sky a purple-blue, with the fiery orange horizon glimpsed in the gaps between the surrounding buildings. It casts a soft hue around the room, with only one bedside lamp, balanced on a bunch of books on top of a crate adding to the light. The other side of the bed holds a small table with a stack of several comic books, a leather collar and a weekly pill organiser.

   At the foot of the bed, discarded in a heap, lies a pair of sweat pants. Stiles slips them on. The waist is bunched up in both hands lest it just falls off, while the elastic hems droop over his feet. Traces of male musk waft up from inside them. It has a shiver race up his spine. He recalls how low the waistband sits around the sharp muscled ridges of the owner’s hips, how the elastic of the hem only reaches down to well above his ankles.

   He slips them off again. From the chest of drawers, he pulls out his pyjamas: soft flannel Batman pants and an old t-shirt of Derek’s – the smallest the wolf could find for him. It still falls to his thighs and bare both clavicles.

   He is just about to leave the bedroom when he skids to a stop. He hurries back to his side of the bed where he pops the little pill dispenser open and swallow a pill down with a few gulps of water.


   The bag of popcorn is already set out on the massive butcher’s block / kitchen island, the rest of the cavernous loft thrown in shadow but for a few lamps on here and there. The same dusk-and-cityscape backdrop continue outside the row of windows that line one side of the living area, just as in the bedroom.

   Stiles throws the popcorn bag in the microwave, opens the fridge and pulls out a bottle of soda and several bags of chips. It all gets dumped on the military chest-turned coffee table around which a corner couch and several mismatched chairs are arranged. He turns the gigantic flat screen fixed to the brick wall on with one remote, then takes another to turn to an all-movie satellite channel, several flicks already lined up.

   The microwave pings and he runs back. The popcorn is emptied into a bowl, shoving handfuls into his mouth on his way back. He plops down on the sofa and yelps at once, hips curling up. Shaking his head, he shifts to a more comfortable position that doesn’t put any extra pressure on the plug, then starts the first movie.


“Lemme guess,” Boyd smirks, “Someone planted all those parts in your locker. Am I right?”

   The human curls his shoulders even further in, swollen eye and split lip turned away from the wolf towering a whole head over him.  “N-no sir, I-I swear,” the thick collar around his throat bobs. “I h-have no idea how it-”

   “Stop. Lyin’,” Boyd stalks around him. “Useless fuckin’ grass eaters. Can’t trust any of you. Jesus, we feed you, clothe you, and this is how you repay us?”

   “I-I swear…”

   “Know what I’m gonna do with you? I’m gonna take off all of ‘em thievin’ fingers before I go an’ drop you in the middle of the Grounds myself.”

   “No!” the human’s one good eye snap up. “No, p-please, sir!”

   “Boyd,” Derek says from behind his desk, scratching at some scuffmark on his boot where one ankle is draped over his knee.

   “What?” Boyd shrugs, eyebrows raised. “I’ll give him a headstart.”

   “P-please Mister Hale Sir,” the human turns to Derek, “I-I swear on my c-child’s grave, it wasn’t me.”

   “I said stop fuckin’ lyin’!” Boyd smacks him across the head, making him stumble and fall to his knees.

   “Enough,” Derek flashes his eyes at him, who flashes his own, but backs off with a grumble and folds his arms, shirtsleeves stretching.

   Derek opens a drawer. From it he retrieves a small handheld scanner with a small touchscreen on the back. He stands up and rounds his desk, eyebrows as tight together as his lips while he presses a few buttons on the back of the device.

   The human curls tighter into a ball as Derek looms closer.

   “Get up,” Derek says.

   The man whimpers, hands slow to move.

   Boyd swears under his breath. He grabs him by the scruff and yanks him, one handed, clear off the floor to the distinct sound of ripping seams, before he drops him back on his feet.

   The man cries out softly, but regains his footing after a stumble.

   Derek’s fingers curl around the human’s forearm, lost within his overlapping grip, turns it around and holds the scanner against the raised barcode pattern that stretches across the inside of his wrist. The scanner bleeps and the screen flashes red. Next Derek takes hold of the collar and snips it off between two claws like a piece of sun-softened toffee.

   “Go clear out your locker and get off my property.”  

   “Thank you. Thank you, Sir,” he grabs Derek’s hand and holds it to his face.

   “Yeah, okay,” Derek pulls his hand free and wipe it against his pants.

   The human shies away from Boyd before he shuffles out of the office.

   Boyd’s head swivels between Derek, the door, and back again. “That's it?”

   “What do you want me to do,” Derek drops the scanner and broken collar on his desk.

   “Cane him, at least!”

   “A collarless human out on the street with a red ID; what do you think’s gonna happen to him?”

   “Yeah, well,” Boyd crosses his arms again, “I still wanna cane him.”

   “Then maybe you should go to the Grounds,” Derek walks over to the glass wall overlooking the warehouse floor below. He rubs a temple, eyes closed. “Work off some of that energy.”

   “Probably not a bad idea,” Boyd rolls his shoulder. He looks at Derek. “You wanna come with?”

   “I’m good,” Derek glances at his watch. He swears under his breath and turns back to his desk.

   “Uh huh. Come on, man, it’ll be like old times.”

   Derek grabs his leather jacket, car keys and phone. “I need to get going. See you tomorrow.”

   “You can’t stay away forever!” Boyd calls after him.


Stiles looks at the empty popcorn bowl on the floor next to the couch, bits of un-popped kernels peppered amidst a fine white dusting of salt at the bottom. He glances at the time displayed in one corner of the flat screen. He rubs over the raised barcode strips on his inner wrist before he stands up and kicks at the bowl in passing.

   In the bathroom mirror his nose wrinkles as he works the plug out before dropping it in the sink.

   Five minutes later, with a blanket, pillow, pack of comics and a flashlight clutched to his chest, he plods back past the living area and head for one of the now darkened windows. He sets everything down to swivel the metal frame out and open. It reminds him of how Derek only needs one hand, usually trying to mess up his hair with the other while doing it.

   Tongue stuck out he slowly climbs up the fire escape ladder to the roof, accompanied by sirens and car horns that drift up from the street, the hot, greasy city smell mixed with the faint, briny tang of the Gulf. He clambers over the low parapet wall and drops down onto the bitumen surface - still warm from the day’s sun. A dozen or so feet away another set of metal stairs takes him up onto the concrete slab that is the roof of the elevator housing.  

   The edge of the harbour is a solid but wavy line of bright, twinkling lights, the ocean beyond pitch black save for the scattering of ships coming and going.

   He folds the blanket in half and lies down with his head on the pillow. The night sky is dissected by the Milky Way, bright even against the glare of the city lights.

   After a few minutes, he rolls around onto his stomach, clicks the flashlight and flips open the first comic.


Derek slides up the door of the service elevator and step into the loft. “Stiles?” he calls. He tilts his head, listening. He sniffs the air at the same time as he spots the open window, a magazine waving in the night time breeze. With a sigh, he rubs two fingers over his temple, the dull ache starting up again.


Stiles doesn’t look up when the metal ladder creak under Derek’s bulk. His heavy boots crunch across the dirt of the concrete.



   Derek takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry I missed movie night.”

   Stiles flips the page of the comic.

   Derek crouches down. “Look, I know you’re pissed at me, but I couldn’t get away earlier. I'm sorry, okay?” he combs through his hair but Stiles ducks out from under his touch. Derek pulls his hands back and sighs. “Did you take your pills?”


   “Okay. Well,” Derek stands up again, “it’s late, you should go to bed.”

   Stiles rolls around and sits up. “Can we watch one movie, at least?”

   “No, you need to go to bed. You have school tomorrow.”

   “It’s Thursday! Miss Blake only comes in after lunch!”


   “Please?” big amber eyes implore.


   “Come on! You can’t just-”

   “I said no!”

   Stiles rears back at Derek’s growl and flash of red eyes. He drops his chin and scramble to gather his stuff.

   “Wait,” Derek sighs. “Stiles, I’m sorry,” he watches him scurry down the ladder, arms laden, until he disappears over the parapet wall.

   Staring out over the city lights, Derek wipes a hand over his face. The headache swings a tire iron against the inside of his skull.


   Derek eye’s the black anal plug at the bottom of the sink before he crouches down and reaches under it to the back. With a soft ripping sound he tears off the small Ziploc bag that is taped there, looking over his shoulder as he does.

   He shakes out the last pill into his palm – a charcoal grey capsule. He pops it into his mouth and swallows it with a mouthful of water straight from the faucet. The empty bag goes into the wastebasket. 

   He waits for the tremors in his hands to subside and for his eyes to no longer flash like a broken fluorescent tube, before he grabs his toothbrush.


Stiles is still awake when a faucet is opened in the bathroom, when he can hear Derek brush his teeth, when a thick stream of piss splashes in the toilet. He lies as still as possible through the thud of heavy boots hitting the floor and the rustling of clothes being dropped; when the mattress dents behind him and he slides back against a wide and hairy knee. He slides back even further when the wolf lies down and tucks him in tight, chin atop his head, solid, hairy thighs pushed up between his own to settle broad hairy bridges against the soles of his feet.

   Through all this he lays perfectly still, save for his heart that beats so fast it makes his whole body vibrate.

   “I’m sorry I snapped at you,” Derek eventually says, his breath minty fresh over the side of his face, arm heavy across his middle. “And I’m really sorry I missed movie night.”

   Stiles remains silent, drinking in Derek’s lycan scent that deepens with his radiating body heat trapped under the covers.

   “Please don’t be mad at me?”

   Stiles swallows. “You’ve never spoken to me like that.”

   “I know, baby, I’m so sorry. I… I just had a shit day at work.”

   “Are you getting tired of me?”

   “Stiles, no,” Derek pulls him in tighter, “Don’t ever think that, okay? Ever.”

   Stiles plays with the thick hair on Derek’s forearm.

   “Hey. Feel this?” Derek runs his lips over the crescent-shaped scars on neck. “That’s my promise to you, remember?”

   “Wolf promise?”

   Derek smiles softly. “Wolf promise.”

   Stiles twists around in his hold. Their eyes meet, then their lips. It’s a few, soft pecks at first, with Derek cradling the back of his head while they gently taste each other. Derek’s tongue, though, seeks out more, and soon Stiles can feel how the wolf fills and lengthens where he is wedged against him from hip to belly.

   “Am I forgiven?” Derek asks against his lips, his breath hot and quick.

   Stiles smiles and press up against his erection. “And if I say no?”

   “I’ll report you for animal cruelty.”

   Stiles gasps and Derek is on him, kissing his giggles away.

   Derek doesn’t break the kiss as he pulls and finally kick his own underwear off, even when he starts to tug Stiles out of his pyjamas. He let go when he wrestles Stiles’ shirt over his head, but dive right back once he’s completely naked, urging him onto his stomach with hot rough hands that so easily circle his waist. Stiles chase his mouth for a last kiss before he settles his head down, the air leaving his lungs in a drawn out grown as Derek’s solid weight push him into the mattress.

   “Baby boy,” Derek kisses the back of his neck. His hairy torso scrapes against the soft skin of Stiles’ back, his erection a heavy column of flesh that burns a wide path along his bum and thigh. He reaches down between them, fingers curling in between those plump little cheeks to rub over his empty little pucker.

   “I, uhm… I took it out when I thought you weren’t coming home.”

   “I know. I saw.”

   “’m sorry?”

   “’s okay, baby. I love to get you ready myself, you know that.”

   Stiles breathes out and sinks back into the sheets. His next exhale turns into a shiver at the prickly trail Derek’s scruff leaves down the bumps of his spine. From there it only takes a few seconds and a sharp intake of breath before he’s clutching at the sheets.

   Derek’s stubble burns the smooth, tender flesh of his perineum with the rhythmic flex of his chin. By the time his slurping competes with Stiles’ moaning his knuckles have turned white. He bucks when two thick fingers slide their way in, soft kisses up his spine to soothe their path. When the kisses reach his neck and turn into little nips, a third is added. A fourth has Stiles dig his toes against the mattress, at which Derek lightly but firmly close his teeth around the juncture of his neck and shoulder, holding him in place while his fingers churn his own saliva. By the time he pulls them out and rolls Stiles onto his back, the little human is breathless and trembling.

   “So beautiful,” Derek coos, “Ready for me, pup?” he asks and holds the back of Stiles’ knees to his chest with one hand while the other shoves a pillow under his lower back.

   “Slow, please,” Stiles answers.

   Derek smiles softly. He slots the head of his erection against Stiles’ sopping entrance and bears forward. Both their lips part in unison. Stiles’ fingers grab at thick, hairy thighs. He tries to focus on his breathing: in through the nose, out through his mouth as Derek carries on pushing in, and in, and in, until the first scratch of his thick and wiry pubic hair tickles his skin.

   “There we go,” Derek smiles, looking down at where the wild bush of dark curls press flat against Stiles’ flesh. He folds Stiles’ legs around his waist, lean down and frame his head with his forearms. “So perfect, just for me,” he murmurs while he licks away the moisture that has collected in the corner of each eye.

   The first roll of his hips pulls a startled whimper from Stiles, his inner walls trying to accommodate Derek’s solid girth, slender fingers digging into his thighs.

   Derek burrow his arms under and around Stiles, his laving turning into soft wet kisses as his tongue play with the shell of Stiles’ ear. “Never lettin’ you go,” he breathes, pushing in, then out. “You’re mine. My pup. You belong to me,” - in, out- “and I will always protect you,” -in, out- “and keep you safe.” 

   With Derek’s bulk just about hiding him from view, Stiles’ breathy groans count out every measured heave of the muscled weight thrusting into him, fingers clamped around steely triceps, toes curled in the air while his feet jostle about to the pace Derek sets.


Hands behind her back Jennifer leans over Stiles. “Correct. Next one.”

   Stiles sweeps his finger across the pad to the next equation. With a grimace he shifts around in his seat.

   “Concentrate,” she taps the edge of the screen.

   “Yes, ma’am.”

   “What is wrong with you today? Where you disciplined?”


   “Did your Master take his belt to you?”

   Stiles’ mouth falls open. “No! He never-” he catches himself and bites off the rest of the sentence.

   She looks down her nose at him, her lips pursed. “He used you for his pleasure, then.”

   Stiles’ cheeks colour and he drops his chin. “Ah… yeah. Yes,” and rubs over his barcode.

   She catches the movement. Stiles quickly hides his hand under the table and leans forward, tapping at the screen again.

   Jennifer walks around the table and sits down opposite him. She leans back, chin tilted up. “You do know how lucky you are to have a Master like Derek, don’t you?”

    Stiles keeps his eyes glued to the screen when he nods.


   “Yes, ma’am, I’m very lucky.”

   “And don’t for one second forget that he will always be a wolf, and you will always be a human. Got that?”

   “Yes, ma’am.”

   “Good,” she sits forward. A muscle twitches in the corner of one eye just as they glow for a second. “Back to work.”


“Erica’s insistin’ on lettin’ Isaac sleep in our bed now after we’ve fucked him.”

   Derek glances up from his bloody steak, mouth full. “Wha?”

   “I mean, Jesus, what’s next? Let him eat off the table?”

   “Uh,” Derek swallows. “Okay. Why?”

   Boyd hacks into his own steak. “She says he suffers from separation anxiety or some such bullshit,” and stuffs the piece of meat into his mouth.

   “Sounds crowded.”

   “Yeah tell me about it. And,” he looks around at the other patrons before leaning closer, still chewing. “I’m not allowed to use my belt on him anymore. I can only use my hands.”

   Derek looks at where the steak knife disappears in his huge mitt. “Really?”

   Boyd scowls at his potato wedges and stabs one. “She says it’s too much. I mean, I get how fragile grass-eaters are. And my hand works just fine, but it’s the only way they listen. Am I right?”

   “Uh huh,” Derek nods, though his eyes are trained on his food.

   “Man, I remember when you first got Stiles,” Boyd’s scowl turns into a grin. “Hidin’ under furniture whenever someone came around, pissin’ himself if you just looked in his direction. You sure set him straight.”

   Derek still doesn’t quite meet his eyes when he smiles. “I sure did.”


Stiles looks away from his videogame when he hears the ding of the elevator. He pauses the game and set his controller down on the carpet before ambling closer.

   Derek has his back turned to him, tugging the metal cage door down. He shrugs out of his jacket before turning around, a smile softening his features when he spots Stiles. “Hey, pup.”

   “Hey,” Stiles leans against a metal column, one foot tucked up behind the other.

   Derek drops jacket and keys on the dining table, then hold out a hand to Stiles.

   Stiles hurries over and stand completely still while Derek rubs along his neck, up into his hair, then down across his nape.

   “Assignments done?”

   Stiles nods. “And I took my pills.”

   “Good boy,” Derek says and squeeze his neck. His eyes flick over his face. “Everything okay?”


   Derek regards him for a few seconds longer before he pulls him by his nape and tuck him against his chest. “Wanna take a bubble bath with me?”


Steam billows around the room, the candles slicing flickering beams of light through it as it swirls in the air. Stiles lies between Derek’s legs, the lycan-sized tub big enough for even Derek to stretch out in. His head is tucked under Derek’s chin, the soles of his feet braced atop his broad, hairy bridges, with only their toes sticking out from the mountains of foam.

   Stiles tries to sandwich Derek’s spread hand between his own, the wolf’s fingers and palm overlapping all around. Derek runs his other hand up Stiles’ thigh, over a sharp hipbone then across to his groin. He dips two thick fingers down to where he’s been neutered, his flaccid cock caught in the V of his thumb and forefinger.

   “You gonna tell me what’s wrong now?”                  

   Stiles links his fingers with Derek’s. “Nothing’s wrong.”

   “Stiles,” Derek brings his hand up to spread it across Stiles’ ribcage, little whirlpools trailing in the wake of his forearm along the water’s soapy surface. “You’ve barely finished a sentence since I came home.”

   Stiles’ gaze remains intent on where his slender digits disappear between Derek’s thick and hairy ones.

   “Tell me, please?”

   Stiles exhales through his nose. “You know… you know that I’m grateful… for everything. For… for all that you do for me. Right?”

   Derek frowns with a smile. “Where did that come from?”

   “I’m serious. You know that, right?”

   “Baby, that’s not the point. I love you. More than you can know. You don’t have to be grateful for anything.”

   "I love you too." Stiles turns their linked hands this way and that, watching the steam rise from their wet skin. “But I should be grateful. I am.”

   “Hey,” Derek frees his hand and loop both arms clear around Stiles’ slender frame, his knees rising from the foam like two hairy islands, “What’s going on?”

   Stiles takes hold of the thick forearms crossed over his chest. “Miss Blake thinks you’re too good to me.”

   “She said that?”

   “She said I shouldn’t forget my place.”

   “Tell miss Blake to stick to her lesson plan or I’ll stick my foot up her place.”

   Stiles snorts. He pulls up little tufts of wet hair from Derek’s forearm. “I just… I mean… I know how things work. I’m not stupid, and there are other wolves out there who would-”

   “Shhh,” Derek hugs him with his arms and legs. “You’re not out there anymore. You’re here, with me. And this wolf doesn’t care what other wolves think. Never has. Never will. You’re mine, and that’s all that matters.”

   Stiles takes a few breaths, laboured against the solid weight of his arms.


   Stiles nods. “Okay.”

   “Good,” he plants a long kiss to the side of his head. “Now let’s get out before both of us turn into prunes.”

   With his hands firmly around Stiles’ waist, they stand up, foamy water sluicing down both glistening bodies in the candle light – one pale and mostly hairless, the other hirsute, wide and towering.

   “Out you go,” Derek lifts Stiles out of the tub. He grabs a fluffy bath towel and dumps it over his head before he takes one for himself.

   Pulling his own towel off his head, hair sticking every which way, he finds Stiles already gone. He folds the towel around his waist, turns off the light and walks out. Stiles is sitting crossed legged on the bed, already dressed in his pyjama bottoms and old t-shirt, paging through a comic.

   “Heads up!” Derek yells and jumps on the bed.

   Stiles bounces and yelps, then breaks out in laughter when Derek just crawls over him and pin him to the bed with his bulk and put-on growls.

   “Dude you’re squashing me!”

   “Don’t call me dude,” Derek growls and blows a raspberry on the side of his throat.

   “Okay! Okay! I’m sorry,” Stiles giggles. “Fido.”

   “That’s it,” Derek pins his wrists above his head with one hand, ruck up his shirt and lay in with more raspberries down his ribcage.

   “No! No, Derek, please!”

   Derek suddenly stops. “Heyyouknowwhat? We haven’t had a movie night yet,” he muses, oblivious to the little fists pummelling his chest.

   Stiles seizes his struggles at once, face red and out of breath. “Wha?”

   Derek rolls onto his side. “We’re gonna need some popcorn. Dude.”

   Stiles is off the bed like an arrow from a bow.

   Derek is still busy pulling his wifebeater over his head when he walks into the living area a few minutes later, his sweats clinging to his thighs. A bowl of popcorn stands on the military chest, as well as two bottles of beer, condensation beading down the dark glass.

   Stiles skids around the kitchen island, arms laden with more loot.

   Derek sits down on the couch and pick up both beers by the neck. “Really?”

   “Come on!” Stiles dumps the rest of the snacks on the chest

   “Why are we even having this conversation?”

   “I’ve seen humans drink lycan beer, Derek.”

   “Oh yeah? Where?” Derek grins.

   Stiles crosses his arms. “Youtube.”

   “Riiight. And did you see the part where their stomach linings ended up on the floor?”

   Stiles push his bottom lip out. “Fine,” he plonks down next to Derek. “But I get to choose tonight. All of ‘em,” and grabs the remote and a bag of chips.

   Smiling, Derek shuffles over to the corner to straighten one leg across the couch, the other hiked up against the back cushion. He leans over, grip Stiles around his hips – who doesn’t look away from the giant flatscreen – and deposit him between his spread legs. He twists one beer open, watching as Stiles navigate through the menu.

   Stiles eventually finds a movie and snuggles back against Derek, his head tucked under his chin, bag of chips in his lap.

   Derek curls an arm around him and kiss the top of his head.


Someone is trying to wake him up – a constant thump against his chest and kicking against his shins. Upper lip quivering, Derek growls, eyes still shut. But it carries on, and the consistency of it has him finally crack an eyelid.

   He is still on the couch, back to the cushions with Stiles against his chest as the little spoon, caught half beneath him, convulsions jerking his whole frame. A flood of ice shoots down his spine and he is awake instantly.  

   “Stiles? Stiles!” Derek rolls off, sits up and pull Stiles’ thrashing frame into his lap.  

   “Nnnno-no-no-no,” Stiles claws at Derek’s hands.

   “It’s okay, baby, it’s me, you’re safe. Come on, breathe for me, breathe.”

   “T-they-they-they gonna-g-gonna c-catch me-“

   “No, baby, no one’s gonna catch you,” Derek holds him tight against his chest, “I’ve got you, you’re safe, come back to me, pup, come one.”

   The narrow bars of Stiles’ ribcage swell and contract under his t-shirt, his brow cool and moist.

   “That’s it, c’mon baby, come back to me,” Derek rubs down his lean torso.

   Stiles’ panting slows down. His lashes flutter against his cheeks until both eyes are open but still unfocused. He twists around and blinks up at Derek, who tries to smile with the furrow in his brow still bunching his thick eyebrows together.

   “There you are,” Derek cups his face and caress one cheek bone with his thumb. “Been a while since we’ve had one of those, huh?”

   Stiles’ whole face crumbles. He pulls his knees up and mushes his face against Derek’s chest, his whole frame wracked with stuttering sobs.

   “Hey, hey, it’s okay, shh, I’ve got you,” Derek coos, wrapping both arms around him while he nuzzles his hair.

   Stiles’ tears soak through his wifebeater.

   “Shh, shhh, it’s okay.”

   A sob dissolves into a shiver. “T-they caught me…”

   Derek combs through his sweat-matted hair. “It was just a stupid nightmare, sweetheart. No one can touch you,” he rains soft kisses to the side of his face, “You’re here with me, safe and sound.”

Chapter Text

“Derek?” his secretary leans around the door.

   Derek doesn’t look up from his laptop. “Yeah?”

   “Your uncle’s here.”

   Derek sighs and swivel his chair just as Peter saunters in past his secretary, V-neck bulging under his tailored jacket. “Nephew,” he drawls and shuts the door in her face.

   “Uncle,” Derek sits back. He turns his attention to the young human trundling behind him, dressed in skin-tight jeans and a simple crew neck sweater, a thick collar clasped around his throat. He looks younger than Stiles’, not quite as scrawny but as with most humans still only coming up to Peter’s shoulder. From behind his wavy brown hair, startlingly clear blue eyes take in the office.

   “Another one?”                         

   “Got him last week,” Peter grins. The boy is still gawking at the office when Peter takes hold of the back of his neck. “Liam. Say hello to Derek.”

   Liam starts and immediately drop his eyes. “Good day, Sir.”

   “Hello, Liam. How are you?”

   Liam peers up at Peter as much as the big hand clasped around his neck allows him to. “Go on. Don’t be shy, now.”

   “I’m… very well, thank you, Sir.”

   “Ain’t he a peach?” Peter combs the bangs off his forehead. “They wanted to breed with him so he’s intact. Cost me a chunk o’ change, mind you. But they’re too docile for my likin’ when they’re neutered anyway," Peter takes hold of his chin, "So it’s all good.”

   “That’s wonderful. Did you come all the way to show me your new toy or was there something else?”

   “Do I need a reason to visit my only livin’ kin?” Peter sits down in one of the visitor’s chairs. He gets comfortable, then pull Liam down to kneel between his spread legs. He cups the back of his neck, hand wide and fingers curled all the way around to press his face to his crotch. He glances up. “What? I’m just gettin’ him used to my scent.”

   “You know it doesn’t work like that with humans, right?”

   “Well there’s no harm in tryin’, is there?” Peter leers. “Oh unsaddle that high horse, nephew dear. I remember when you had a different human in here every week.”

   “Yeah, well,” Derek shifts in his seat, ears slightly pink, “I have Stiles, now,”

   “Speakin’ of which. Is it true you got him a college tutor?”

   Derek takes a steadying breath. “Who told you that?”

   “Never mind who told me. Why on God’s green earth would you go an’ waste perfectly good money on that? As if it’s not enough of a waste payin’ for all that medicine when he should be on the Grou-”

   “Not that it’s any of your business, but I want him to have a basic education.”

   “Yes, basic! Readin’ and writin’ if they can handle it. And besides, he’s much too old for anythin’ more than that,” he squeezes the back of Liam’s neck.

   Derek interlocks his fingers. “Peter, I sincerely hope you are not here to lecture me on how I should or should not treat my property.”

   “Wouldn’t dream of it. I just hope you spoilin’ him so ain’t some misguided attempt to try an’ redirect your energy,” he scratches up Liam’s nape.

   “What the hell are you talking about?”

   “Don’t play dumb with me, Derek. You’re not the first wolf to get infatuated with a human, and you won’t be the last.”

   “Peter, I don’t have time for your riddles.”

   “You used to go to the Grounds almost every week. Then that broken little grass-eater spreads his legs and now he’s all you can think about.”

   Derek’s knuckles turn white. “He is mine to do with as I deem fit.”

   “No one’s debatin’ that. I’m just concerned. It’s not healthy supressin’ your nature like this.”

   “I’m not supressing anything.”

   “Really? There’s a reason our society was on the brink of collapse. Modern wolves like you, thinkin’ they don’t need an outlet, poppin’ tranqs like it’s M&M’s. Next thing you know you’re poppin’ an artery and…” his eyes grow big. “Oh Lord in heaven, please tell me you’re not takin’ that poison?”

   “Of course not,” Derek meets his gaze, his jaw tight.

   “Well, thank God for small mercies.” He presses down on Liam’s head, who utters a small whine. “You know, I blame my sister – God rest her soul – for sendin’ you up north to that boardin’ school. Somethin’ got stuck in your mind just like that God-awful Yankee accent,” he shivers.

   The whines become louder, the small body between his legs struggling.



   Liam’s hands are tiny where they push against Peter’s broad, solid thighs.  

   “He’s gonna piss himself and then my office will reek. Get him used to your scent in your own time.”

    With a roll of his eyes Peter lift his hand and Liam comes up with a huge gulp, followed by a volley of wet, hacking coughs. Peter tuts and pulls a handkerchief from his pocket. “I’m sorry, baby,” he wipes Liam’s face, those big blue eyes red rimmed now, “but my nephew's bein’ a big ol’ sourwolf. Time for us to skedaddle,” he stands up, pulling Liam with him by the scruff. Liam sways a bit, face still blotchy.  

   “Remember what I said, Derek. We’re at the top of the food chain after all.”

   Derek’s jaw muscles thrum. 

   “Well, then,” Peter smiles brightly, “we must do this more often.” He walks away, pulling Liam with him. “Y’all take care now,” he calls over his shoulder.

   Derek waits for the sound of his uncles’ heartbeat to fade from the building before he grabs his jacket and keys.

   “See you tomorrow,” he says as he walks past his secretary’s desk, her baffled expression following him out the door. 


Thumbs drumming on the steering wheel, Derek waits for the light to turn. His fingers go up to massage his temple just as it goes from red to green. The Camaro growls across the intersection. Another block, thumbs back to tapping out his frustration, Derek checks his rear-view mirror before he flips the indicator and makes a U-turn in the middle of the road, the tires squealing a bit.

   A few miles later he finds a parking space on a busy street lined with big shiny vehicles, display windows behind the manicured tree-lined sidewalk filled with wealth.

   He crosses the street and step onto the wide sidewalk, the other wolves scenting the air but mostly ignoring him, while the collared humans trying to keep up with their master’s longer strides gape up before quickly looking back down at their feet.

   The bell jingles when he enters one of the stores, carved display cases placed around the interior on a sea of Persian carpets. A piano concerto soothes in the background until it is disturbed by the muffled clack of stilettos coming closer. A young woman appears from the back, the pale silk cheongsam that hugs her every curve shimmering in the warm lamp light. She folds one arm across her waist to support her elbow, a glass of amber liquid held aloft with a mint leaf twisted up between the clinking ice cubes. Red lips curl into a sultry smile as she leans against a table, her red curls piled on her head. “Well,” she eyes him up and down, “Isn’t this a delectable surprise.”


   “And to what do I owe the pleasure?”

   “I need more tranqs.”

   “Ah,” she walks closer, shiny red lips curling into a pout. “Run out already?”

   “Yes,” Derek smiles without his eyes.

   “Well aren’t you a hungry boy,” she sashays past him to the front door and flips the sign to ‘closed’. “Care for some ice tea?”

   “No, thank you.”

   “Suit yourself,” she walks to a small writing desk in a corner, a Tiffany lamp and laptop the only items populating its surface. “Same as last time?” she gestures to a chair as she sits down.

   Derek takes the offered seat. “How much you got?”

   With one thinly plucked eyebrow raised Lydia takes a sip of her drink, then sets it down on a coaster, a waxy red crescent left behind on the rim. Perfectly French-manicured nails curl out to him.

   Derek digs his wallet out of his pocket, pulling out a wad of cash and handing it over.

   “Much obliged,” Lydia takes the money by the tips of two fingers. She deftly counts it, then taps the stack against the table into a neat pile when she’s done. “Don’t go anywhere,” she smiles, and stands up to glide away.

   The memory of Liam’s brown locks buried in his uncle’s crotch flits back into Derek’s mind. It warms a path down to his own groin and he flexes his hips a bit, knees inching wider apart.

   Lydia is back in less than a minute, her approaching stiletto’s tightening something in Derek’s stomach.

   “There you go,” she drops two small Ziploc bags on the table in front of him.

   Derek picks them up. “That’s it?”

   “It’s called inflation, handsome,” Lydia says as she takes her seat.

   “Are you serious?”

   “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

   “Jesus,” Derek mutters and rolls the bag around in his broad palm.

   Lydia picks up her drink. “Much cheaper to just fuck him, you know.”

   “What do you think I do?” Derek scowls at the pills.

   “I mean really fuck him, Derek. Like a wolf is supposed to fuck his human. God, you probably ask for his permission first.”

   “Yeah, I’m funny like that,” Derek pockets the bags in his jacket.

   “Indeed you are,” she sighs. “Jackson’s so sweet,” she seamlessly changes direction and smile at the memory. “I pierced his little cock just last week? Did it myself, you know. Got little chains attached all the way to his nipples. So pretty. Hmm hmm hmm. Really calms me when I can’t get to the Grounds. You should try it.” She leans forward. “Why, I can just imagine your boy’s pale skin decorated with bits of glint all over.”

   “Yeah, I don’t think so. Stiles doesn’t do well with pain.”

   “None of them do, darlin’,” she sits back, tongue running over her teeth. “It’s why we love them so.”


The Camaro’s door has barely slammed shut before Derek rips open one of the packets and shakes out a pill in his trembling palm. He squints at the dark capsule and press his fingers against his temple. He shakes out another one and pop both into his mouth. With a grimace he swallows them dry.

   Fingers back at his temple he grabs his cell with his other hand and swipe across the screen until he comes to a folder titled Baby Boy. Stiles smiles up at him from each photo. He taps on another folder labelled Mine. He scrolls down to the one where Stiles is nestled between his spread legs, the smooth, pale naked skin of his bony shoulders a shock against the dark hairy thighs caging them in. Both hands are wrapped around his veined erection, jaw and lips stretched wide while those big amber eyes look up at him through his lashes.

   Never before has he been so grateful for tinted windows as he pulls his zipper down. 


Stiles only looks up from his workbook when he spots Derek in his periphery walking closer to the dining table. He pulls out both earphones. “Hey! You’re home early.”

   Derek just hums, shrugging out of his leather jacket. He drops it and his keys on the dining table, then walk around to Stiles’ side.

   Stiles follows him until Derek comes to stand behind him. He leans over Stiles, one hand on the table, the other settled around the back of his neck. “What’re you busy with?” he asks while he rubs down his neck and up past his hairline.

   Stiles glances up to see a scowl pulling those thick eyebrows together.  “Ah, cal… calculus.”  

   Derek hums again. He slides his hand away and leans down to nose Stiles’ head to the side. He buries his face against his throat and takes a few deep inhales, his hand sliding down further and curling around his waist.

   Stiles’ eyes flutter. “Is… is everything okay?”   

   “Fine. Take your pills?”

   “Yeah. I-I’m about to run out, though.”

   “We’ll get you more. You need to go for a checkup in any case.”


   Derek’s breath is hot and moist over Stiles’ nape. “Do you still have a lot to do?”

   “Ah, just this. I’m almost done. W-why?”

   Derek tightens his grip around Stiles’ waist and drag his nose back up to the junction of his jaw and ear.


   “Hmm,” Derek’s hum rolls into a chest-deep rumble as he pulls Stiles out of the chair and onto his feet. “Want you,” he growls and crush Stiles to him, grabbing his ass and his nape to hike him up onto his toes.

   Stiles softly gasps when his crotch gets wedged under the wolf’s much heavier, bulging crotch.

   “Feel that?” Derek growls hot and breathy in his ear. “Feel what you do to me?” he gropes Stiles’ ass to grind him back against him.

   Hands splayed across Derek’s chest, Stiles opens his mouth to answer but instead gets a tongue stuck almost to the back of his throat, his head held steady. He sucks in a breath when Derek pulls away and grabs his hand.    

   He tows Stiles away towards the living area where he lowers his bulk down on the couch, drop a scatter cushion between his feet and lean back, letting his knees fall apart. He holds his hand out to Stiles again, his jaw tight and eyes cutting.

   “Are you… okay?”

   Derek huffs through his nose . “’m fine, baby, I just missed you,” he ends with a quick smile and beckons him closer with his fingers.

   Bottom lip caught between his teeth Stiles takes his hand and sinks down onto the cushion. He braces both hands on Derek’s thighs and look up at him, at how the scruff covering his throat ride the roll of his Adam’s apple. Derek gently cups the back of his head. Red swirls for just a moment around his irises.

   Fingers trembling slightly, Stiles pulls at his heavy belt buckle, the creases that radiate to his crotch stretched smooth over the mountainous bulge. His fingers slip a few times to get the top button undone, popping it open after the third try and tugging the zipper down to reveal his packed briefs. Hooking his fingers into the waistband he leans forward and press his face against the ridged column that curves toward to his hip.

   Derek groans. He shifts down and widens his knees further, tightening his grip on Stiles’ hair.  

   Stiles drags his nose and lips along the veined girth, Derek’s musk much riper than normal. He pulls the waistband down until his semi curl out and slap across his cheek.

   “Whoops,” Derek grins down at him, eyes hooded.

   Stiles’ shoulders finally relax and he grins back. With one hand braced atop a solid thigh, he takes hold of Derek’s cock and start to suckle at the wet folds of his foreskin. He tries not to grimace at the pungent saltiness.

   “I had to rub one out on the way here just thinkin’ ‘bout you.”

   “Really missed me, huh?” Stiles grins, pumping him with both hands before he leans down again and push the thick folds of Derek’s foreskin back with his lips and tongue.

   “Fuck, baby,” Derek rumbles above him, fingers tightening in his hair. Stiles stretches his jaw to pump his hands and bob his head in unison. “So good,” Derek sighs above him, and he looks up to see the wolf’s throat stretch taught over his Adam’s apple where his head has fallen back, his impossibly broad chest straining the buttons of his shirt.

   With his tongue pressed flat Stiles suckles him deeper with his cheeks, concentrating on breathing though his nose. He still has a handful plus inches to go when the fat head drags along his soft palate and he gags.

   Derek tightens his grip for a second, his gums tingling, before tugs on Stiles' hair, his other hand stroking up his shoulder to settle around his throat.

   Stiles pulls off with a gulp, a dribble of spit spilling over his chin and looks up at Derek while he pumps him. 

   “Beautiful,” Derek smiles down at him, rubbing his thumb over the moles along his jaw.

   Stiles peer up at him through his lashes, pumping with both hands, his cheeks flushed and lips raw. He is about to dive back down again when Derek stops him with a hand around his jaw.

   “No. Ride me.”

   Stiles nods even as he grabs the hem of his t-shirt.

   There’s a flurry of limbs as Derek toes his boots off while Stiles pull his shirt over his head. He watches Derek’s fleshy, hair-covered chest reveal itself one button at a time while he wriggles out of his sweats. Derek almost pokes him in the face with his bobbing erection when he lifts his hips and pull his jeans and briefs down. Stiles is still helping when Derek lifts him clear off the floor by the waist and deposit him in his lap, kicking his jeans off the rest of the way.

   Stiles is barely an inch taller than him like this and he doesn’t have to stoop when they kiss, his hand back to cupping Stiles’ head. His other hand slip around and down his back, thick fingers diving down his cleft. He hums in approval when he finds the plug.

   Stiles hiss when Derek uncorks it with a wet slurp. The heavy silicon makes a soft thump when it gets dropped next to the couch before Derek curls both hands around Stiles’ waist, fingertips just a few inches apart around his lower back

   Hand braced on a wide, fleshy pec, Stiles reaches behind him to position Derek’s erection at his hole. The spit-soaked head catches on his slick, stretched ring and he sinks down slowly until, with a slight gasp, it slips in. He sets his hand down next to the other one braced on Derek’s chest, and, lips parted, sink down the rest of the way.

   The plug helps, though he still pulls at Derek’s chest hair with every thick inch that always feels like it pushes his guts up into his chest cavity. As always, he reaches his limit with the first traces of Derek’s bushy pubes against his skin.

   “Okay?” Derek asks calmly, big hands spanning his chest and belly and around to his waist.

   “Y-yeah,” Stiles pants a bit.

   With a drawn-out exhale, Stiles sinks down the rest of the way. He reaches behind him to prod where Derek stretches him wide, over the veined girth still unsheathed and down the full hairy sack as it falls between the wolf’s thighs and pool on the couch.  

   “Remember how tight you were in the beginning?” Derek coos, rubbing one hand up his narrow chest to thumb at a nipple. “Now look at you. You take me so perfectly. My baby boy.”

   Stiles nods and is about to move when Derek sits up and curl his arms around his thin frame. “So perfect, God you’re so perfect,” he lays whisper-soft kisses over his face and lips. He takes his flaccid little cock and starts rolling it between his fingers.

   The arm still curled around his back urges him on, and Stiles begins to move his hips, Derek’s other hand quickly bringing his cock back to life. While Stiles bounces away, Derek lowers his head to suckle at his tiny nipples. Stiles moans and arches his back.

   Soon, the sheen of sweat that covers Stiles’ skin highlights the flex of his lean thighs with each roll of his hips. His fingers dig into the thick pelt of damp fur on Derek’s chest while Derek continues to strip his human cock with his fingertips.  

   “’m close,” Stiles whines.

   “Look at me, pup, don’t close your eyes, look at me.”

   Mouth open to his panting, Stiles’ heavy eyelids struggle to stay up. “Derek,” he whines.

   “Not yet,” Derek takes over the pace when Stiles begins to slow down.

   “Derek please.”

   “Not. Yet,” Derek grinds out through clenched teeth. He pulls Stiles off his cock – Stiles hissing, trying to grab hold of bulging biceps as Derek effortlessly manhandles him onto his elbows and knees on the couch next to him. One foot on the floor, he fists his wet cock to jab the head into Stiles’ red and gaping hole.

   Stiles cries out, his back bowing as Derek plunges back in and jackhammers away at once. He leans over to clamp his hand around Stiles’ neck, the side of his face pressed against the couch seat. Grabbing hold of a slender waist, his muscled glutes clench with each bone-rattling trust, sharp canines peeking from parted lips. He can feel his heavy sack smacking against Stiles’ perineum, imagining the skin around his castration scar turning red.

   “Wish I could knock you up,” Derek growls. “Fill you with pup after pup, fuck you while you’re all swollen with my litter.”

   “Oh-fu-uh-uck…” Stiles’ squeeze his eyes shut, hair plastered to his temples and nape, fingers digging into the seat cushion.

   “Wouldn’t let you out of my sight. Kill every wolf who just sniffs in your direction.”


   He looks down to where Stiles’ smooth, pale ass wobbles every time the dark and hairy breadth of his groin slams against him. “Think you’ll be able to carry all of them, baby? This tiny little waist, so small-”

   With a strangled mewl Stiles’ vertebrae stretch his skin and he squirts a single thin, watery stripe across the upholstery beneath him.

   “Christ…” Derek grunts at the flutter-clutch of Stiles’ hot, velvet channel gripping his piston cock. His hips begin to stutter, until, with a bear-growl, he shoots.

   The rhythm of his hips tumble over into grinding heaves, the tips of his claws pricking Stiles’ waist and neck through his vice-like grip while liquid heat floods around his cockhead in thick pulses. He rams into that tight heat, thrust through his own seed until he finally collapses on top of Stiles, crushing him to the cushions.

   He digs his arms under and around him to cup his ribs on either side while his hips continue to grind, bitten-off groans puffing through Stiles damp hair with every contraction. When the first wet squelch sounds up, his hips finally slow down.

   Stiles tries to shift beneath him and without thinking Derek sets his teeth to Stiles’ neck, growling softly.

   “Yur… squashin’… me…” Stiles gets out, his lips puckered against the seat cushion, arms caught beneath him.

   “Sorry,” Derek grunts and slides off and onto his side, his wet cock slipping out in the process, leaving a slimy pink smear up one butt cheek and over Stiles’ hip.

   Taking a moment to catch his breath, Derek throws one leg over Stiles, hikes both his feet with his heel to slot them in between his calves before he pulls him in close. He shifts his other arm and Stiles lifts his head to drop it back down on his thick bicep. He then buries his face in Stiles’ sweat-mussed hair. Stiles’ heart is a rabbit-fast bouncing over the slow base of his own beat where the notches of his vertebrae dig against his chest.

   Derek tightens his hold, then ducks his head and lick-kiss at the pinpricks of blood he left behind on Stiles’ neck and shoulders, eyes shut against the bruises he can do nothing about.


With his neck wedged between Derek’s fists, Stiles’ gaze trail up along the thickly veined columns of muscle that is his arms, to his bulging shoulders and beyond to the concrete ceiling of their bedroom. His hands grapple at the solid, sweaty muscle as he tries to concentrate on his breathing.

   Derek’s cockhead will jab intermittently at his prostate, the spark of pleasure and dull pain from his unrelenting thrusts constantly at war with each other.

   “Slo-slower-“ Stiles shakes out between Derek pounding the breath out of him, his legs draped limply around Derek’s waist.

   Derek does, but only to adjust Stiles’ legs, lean down and gather him in a hot, sweaty embrace before he carries on fucking him with the same brutal intensity.

   "Mine. My pup," Derek growls close to his ear between thrusts. 


The city lights still glow through the tall windows when Derek comes awake, though the constant noise has died down somewhat. The absence of Stiles’ heartbeat next to him has him rolling around to paw at the empty space he already knew would greet him. He sticks his nose to Stiles’ pillow. As always, the scent of Stiles’ spilled fluids are gentle in comparison to the overpowering fecund musk of his own seed. But it’s not enough to hide the coppery undertone of blood, and Derek finds himself inhaling even deeper. His cock, still a bit tacky from their previous rounds, plumps up at once and he grinds his hips against the mattress.

   Taking one last snorting inhale, he rolls back. Ears pricked for the whereabouts of his little human, he eventually sits up with his chin raised to scent the air. It takes him only a second to pinpoint the fresh (if laced with city smog) air wafting from an open window on the other side of the loft.

   His wifebeater goes back over his head, and some boxer briefs under his sweats to try and contain his persistent hunger. He pads from the bedroom, the cool concrete under his feet sobering him up a bit, to find the loft completely dark. His stomach gives a quick twist when he spots the open window and the fire escape beyond. His mind wanders back to earlier, to all those times with Stiles beneath him, eyes clamped shut and little breathy whimpers pulled from his throat as he pounded into him. And then, of course, the traces of blood he can still smell.

   He drops his head. His hands fist at his sides, skin pulled tight over his knuckles before he looks up again. He breathes in and takes the last few steps to the open window.

   The city lights do little to dim the starry night sky, the slight breeze moist but cool enough. He jumps over the parapet wall and makes his way over to the elevator housing. The metal stairs squeak and groan as he climbs up.

   Stiles has his head on a pillow, bunched-up blankets under and around him, eyes trained on the night sky.  

   “Any werewolves allowed?” Derek asks.

   Stiles rolls his head toward Derek. After a few beats, he grins lightly, “Nope. This is a werewolf-free zone tonight.”

   “Good. They’re just a bunch of smelly horndogs anyway.”

   Stiles gives him a tired smile.

   “Are you okay?”

   A few seconds tick. “Guess I’m not used to you being so rough anymore.”

   Derek looks down at the rungs of the ladder. “I know, I…” and looks back up, “I’m sorry, baby. I’m sorry I hurt you. I… I hope you’re not too angry with me.

   “It’s okay.”

   “I promise I’ll be better.”

   “It’s fine, Derek. I get it.”

   “Sure? You’re not gonna run away from away?”

   “Nah. You wouldn’t survive without me.”

   Derek taps the metal handrail with his thumb. “You have no idea,” he says softly.

   Stiles looks at him, teeth worrying over his lip.

   “Okay, well, don’t stay too long, all right? There’s a smelly horndog down there that’s pining for you like crazy.”


   Derek gives him a last smile and starts his descent.


   He stops and looks back up. “Yes?”

   “I love you.”

   Derek’s smile transforms his whole face. “I love you more, baby boy. So much.”

Chapter Text

Walls of green streak past outside. The elevated interstate cuts through swampland and thick forest in alternating stretches of curved blacktop and concrete bridges. The sun glints off passing cars while the air conditioning keeps the Camaro’s interior fresh and cool.

   Derek glances at Stiles from behind his aviators. He keeps one hand on the steering wheel and reach out to cover his thigh. “How you doing?”

   “Fine,” he gives Derek a quick smile, then goes back to staring out the window, his socked feet tucked up on the seat. He turns his leather collar around and around in his right hand, the name tag catching the sun on every upturn.

   Derek watch as he rubs his thumb over his barcode.

   “I hear there’s a new Thor movie out,” Derek says.  

   “Yeah it looks really good,” Stiles tells the scenery.

   “We should go see it, then.”  

   “If they’ll let me in,” Stiles glances at him, then returns to the outside world speeding by.

   “Of course they will. You’ll be with me.”

   Stiles remains silent. Derek looks him over before he curls a hand around the back of his neck, rubbing over one of the several moles dotted along his soft skin with his thumb.

   Mangroves and swamps gradually shrink back as the miles roll by, replaced by clumps of underbrush and grassy fields. The cluster of buildings appear with now warning: government-issue blocks of various height and size, dropped into the green landscape with faux brick facades and a huge HWS sign at the entrance to the parking lot.

   Stiles shrinks back until only the top of his head is visible through the window.

   Derek finds a space as close to the larger of the buildings as possible. He switches off the engine, slips off his sunglasses and gives the back of Stiles’ neck a lingering squeeze again. “Ready?”

   With a deep breath Stiles turns to him and nods. He frowns deeply while he fits the collar around his throat and fastens the clasp at the back, the name tag at rest just over the ribbing of his t-shirt collar. He wipes his hands on his jeans and look up at Derek.

   Derek takes one of his hands. His mouth twists as he tries not grin. “Now remember: no chasing the other wolves, and no peeing on the fire hydrants, okay?” 

   “Whatever,” Stiles’ smile flicker back with an eye-roll. It flits away just as quickly when he looks out the window again.


“And we’re done,” Doctor Deaton smiles at Stiles. He peels off his glistening latex gloves and rolls his chair out of the way.

   Stiles just about rips his feet out of the stirrups and scramble off the steel examination table, the paper cover crinkling under his naked bum. He grabs his clothes, clutching it to his front and disappears behind the changing screen in the corner of the room.

   Deaton swivels around and lifts his tablet from his desk. “He’s fine,” he glances at Derek.

   “Give it to me straight, doc,” Derek smirks from where he fills out the visitor’s chair, sleeves stretched over his crossed arms, Stiles’ collar caught between his fingers.

   The corner of Deaton’s mouth twitches while he taps away on his tablet. “He’s fine. His epilepsy is stable. The episode as you explained to me must have been brought on by excessive amounts of stress.” He hikes up an eyebrow. “You know how susceptible humans are to external emotional factors.”

   “Yeah,” Derek glances down at Stiles’ collar.

   “You mentioned you’ve run out of medication?”

   Derek nods.

   Deaton rolls his chair to a cabinet. He pulls out an unmarked plastic bottle, rolls closer to Derek and hands it to him. “Up the dosage to one and a half a day. See how it goes.”

   “Thanks, doc.”      

   Stiles reappears around the divider, fully clothed, eyes trained on the floor. Derek smiles warmly at him and holds out his hand. Stiles hurries to him and take the empty chair at his side, Derek’s arm stretched out behind him.

   “All good?” Deaton asks.

   Stiles nods. He leans closer to Derek who curls his fingers around his upper arm and rub over his shoulder with his thumb.

   “Great. Let’s update your info quick.”

   He attaches a handheld electronic scanner to the tablet with a USB cable, then taps on the tablet screen. The scanner emits a small beep, a light on top flashing green. He rolls closer to Stiles, who holds out his wrist. Deaton holds the scanner to the barcode, and it bleeps again.

   On the little screen on the back of the scanner a mugshot of Stiles appears - a few years younger, hair buzz-cut, amber eyes wide and glazed over. Stiles-0826912500 it reads below, and below that, Owner: Derek Hale with his contact information.

   “Good for another six months,” Deaton smiles. 

   Stiles looks up at Derek, who winks at him.

   “Stiles, could you please go wait outside for a sec? I need to speak to Derek.”

   Again, Stiles looks up at Derek.

   “It’s okay. I’ll be right here.”

   Stiles looks between him and the doctor, then rises. With a final glance between them over his shoulder, he unlocks the door and slips out.

   “What’s up?” Derek frowns once the door has clicked shut again.

   Deaton sets the tablet and scanner back on his desk, then swivel to face Derek, hands folded in his lap.

   “The bruises,” Deaton sighs.

   Derek blinks a few times, then roll his eyes and tip his head back. “Jesus, Alan, really?” He sits back and folds his arms again. “He’s a human. And a small one at that.”

   “Yes, I know,” Deaton holds up a hand. “But there are a lot more than last time. And, I’ve noticed increased anal tearing.”

   Derek is up and out of his seat, eyes blazing. “What the fuck are you insinuating?”

   “Derek, sit down, please,” Deaton calmly urges.

   Nose flaring, Derek glares at the doctor for a few seconds more, before he lowers his frame back into his seat, the chair groaning.

   “Look at you. You’re hanging on by the tips of your claws.”

   “What the hell are you on about?”

   “You. Channelling your suppression through Stiles.” He holds up a hand when Derek rears forward again. “I know you would never hurt him intentionally. But you need another outlet, or you will.”

   “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m fine.”

   “No, you are not. And don’t think you can fool him either,” he jerks his chin to the door. “He’s sharp. Even for a human.”

   “Alan. Stiles is everything to me,” Derek spells it out. “When I found him on the Grounds that day, I…” he shakes his head, “I’d sooner rip off my own arm than harm him.”

   “I know that. But it’s not the point.”

   “Then make one!”

   Deaton takes a breath. “You need to get back to the Grounds. If not for yourself, then for his sake.”

   An incredulous smile grows across Derek’s face. “For his sake?”

   “Yes! Like you said, he is a human, and you are a wolf. And it’s only a matter of time before you slip.”

   “I’m not. Gonna. Slip.”

   “Derek, please listen to me. I’ve seen this happen time and time again. Yours is not a unique situation. It is in our nature to fixate on that which we have claimed. More so when it used to be prey.”

   Derek shakes his head and looks to the side.

   “He doesn’t need to find out. You can-”

   “I take tranqs, okay? I’m good.”

   Deaton sits back. The creak of his chair is loud in the heavy silence. “Since when?”

   Derek looks down at the floor. “Just after I got Stiles.”


   “Some,” he swallows and drop his hands to his lap.

   Deaton shakes his head. “And tell me, what do you think is going to become of Stiles when you drop dead of an aneurism? Hmm? Where do you think he will end up? Again?”

   Derek looks off to the side.

   “Derek,” Deaton sighs, “There is no shame in going to the Gr-“

   Both wolves’ snap to the door.

   “Was that…?” Deaton frowns.

   “Yes it was,” Derek answers, already out of his seat, both hands clenched into fists - which is when he becomes aware of Stiles’ collar still clutched between his fingers.    


Stiles has his feet up on the plastic chair, hands around his knees. He looks around the room. There are two other wolves paging through magazines, and one human who sits next to her master, eyes trained on her folded hands in her lap. The bare walls of the waiting area have been painted some faded grey, the only colour in the room a poster behind the receptionist’s counter of a group of wolves towering over their humans, holding them close by a hand on their neck or head. Keeping them healthy makes you stronger. Support your local Calming Grounds it reads below.

   Stiles’ throat clicks when he tries to swallow. He slides off the chair, his chin just about stuck to his chest, and leaves the room.

   A hallway with numerous doors on each side, walls painted the same grey, leads him away from the waiting room down to a wider corridor. Several wolves pass him by, none sparing him a second glance. He spots the water cooler he saw when they came in. He hurries over, takes a paper cup and fills it.

   His eyes fall shut as the cool water soothes his throat. He fills it again and is about to tip it to his mouth when the squeak of heavy boots on the scuffed linoleum makes him pause. A heartbeat later a large, heavy hand clamps down on his shoulder and spin him around, making him spill the water all over himself.

   “Wolves only, boy,” the owner of voice barks.

   Stiles shrinks back. The wolf is as tall as Derek but not quite as broad. He sports a silver crewcut and icy blue eyes that bore right through him. He is dressed in standard guardsman black combat gear from head to toe, the HWS insignia emblazoned on his chest. A handgun is holstered to his hip and a mic attached to his shoulder.

   “I… I d-didn’t… I-”

   “There’s a water fountain outside, by the entrance. Get.”

   Stiles is about to run when that large hand grab his arm and spin him back.

   “Where’s your collar?”

   His free hand go up to his throat. His mouth falls open and he looks up at the wolf. “N-no… no… I was with the doctor…I-”

   The man sneers and twists his wrist. Stiles cries out in pain. From his belt, the guardsman unclips a scanner similar to the one Deaton used, and holds it to the barcode.

   “Sir, p-please, I just forgot-”

   “Quiet,” the man says, scowling at the small screen. The scanner bleeps. His scowl deepens. “Stiles? Your owner gave you that name?”

   “No, my-“

   “Will ya look at that,” the guardsman’s eyebrow shoot up, still staring at the little screen, “We got ourselves a little rescue,” he leers at Stiles. He drops his wrist and grabs his chin, jerking his head up. “You know I never could understand why someone would choose cattle over a perfectly healthy grass-eater.” He turns Stiles head to the side. “Mind you, you are a pretty lil’ thing,” and back to the other side. He sticks his nose to his throat. “Hmm, very pretty.” He looks up along the corridor, back over his shoulder, then turns his leer back on Stiles, his canines a little bit sharper now. “Let’s see if you’re worth the trouble, shall we?”

   “What?” Stiles’ eyes, already glistening, grow even wider.

   With the most evil of sneers the guardsman lets go of his chin and clamp his hand around Stiles’ throat. He turns to a closed door and drags Stiles with him who frantically grab at the wolf’s forearm through his choking. A quick swipe of a security badge and the door clicks open. The guardsman shoves him inside. “Derek!” Stiles manages to scream when the pressure leaves his airway before the guardsman kicks the door closed behind him.

   In the dim light of the supply closet, the wolf’s eyes glow fiery red. The smell of bleach and floor polish floods Stiles' nose. “P-please sir, I need to get back to my owner.”

   “Oh I think not. See, you’re on HWS property now. And pretty lil’ grass-eaters who traipse around on HWS property without a collar, needs to be punished. Your owner’ll understand.”

   The sound of a zipper in the confined space rips across Stiles’ chest. He backs away until the sharp edges of steel shelves dig into his back. His heart bounces against his sternum, lungs sucking in air. He begins to wheeze. He can smell putrid mulch now, the slight sulphuric burn of swamp and forest. He looks up, but there are no stars, the canopy of the forest too thick, as black as a well. The red eyes float closer until thick fingers grab his hair and force him down to his knees.

   “Open wide,” the wolf growls. The rancid musk of his cock makes Stiles gag a second before the sticky head gets shoved against his lips, hot and bulbous.

   Wet warmth floods his crotch and down the inseam of his pants.

   “Jesus,” the wolf snarls, letting go of his hair like he’s been burned. “Fucking filthy grass-eater.”

   “I’m s-sorry. P-please,” Stiles whimpers, tears and snot streaming over his mouth as the stink of his own urine hits his nose. “Please don’t h-”

   “Quiet!” a calloused palm slams into the side of Stiles’ face. He hits the ground, stars blinking in his vision. The same hand grabs his hair and he is hauled back up to his knees. He cries out, tries to hold on to the thick wrist.

   “You gone be a good boy now, stop pissin’ yurself?” the wolf growls and yank his head back.

   Stiles shivers. He blinks through his tears, red eyes swimming in his vision. He nods shakily.

   “Good. Now open up. Show me what a good boy you are.”

   He is big, like all wolves, and when he shoves his cock past Stiles’ lips there is no room to breathe, not enough give in his jaw. But the hot, pulsing column of flesh just keeps going and going, until Stiles’ is limply banging against solid thighs, his throat constricting. With his oxygen cut off a second time, the pounding in his head from the blow he received pushes at his eyeballs and eardrums.

   “Fuck… you were made for this, boy,” the guardsman growls. He pulls halfway out, making Stiles gag, then rams right back in again.

   Stiles’ whole body convulses. His vision goes darker. The strength in his knees seep away until the pull in his hair becomes a sharp pain from his sagging body.

   He can hear the heavy thrum of other wolves running closer through the forest, coming to join in the feast. Something cracks and splinters (Branches? A tree trunk?) and they’re both cast in a sudden sharp light that makes him squint, the blackness around the edge of his sight fuzzy.

   The guardsman’s cock gets ripped from his throat, spit and blood spilling over his chin. There’s the squeak of many shoes on linoleum, snarling and shouting. Someone yells. Stiles collapses to the floor. It’s cold against his cheek. He can see the guardsman’s boots scrabbling across the dull vinyl as he is dragged away, a thick, hairy arm clamped around his throat. He twists in the other man’s grip and gets tossed back and through the air, smashing into the opposite wall and leaving a sizable, cracked dent in the plaster. The other wolf is on him in a second, fingers sharpened into claws, shoulders as wide as a mountain bunching as they slash through the air. Vicious snarling mixes with screams of pain.

   Stiles tries to swallow through the burn. The inside of his mouth is warm and coppery. Across the hallway splatters of red begin to paint the wall. He wonders if it tastes the same as human blood.

   He must have drifted off, because suddenly the wolf is back. Large hands wrap around his upper body. He tries to move away but his feet slip in his own urine.

   “Stiles, baby, it’s me, it’s okay, you’re safe now, I got you,” Derek lifts him off the ground and cradle him to his chest. The hand under his legs press against the piss-soaked fabric and Stiles hides his burning face – just to jerk back from the torn and blood-soaked shirt. He looks up, blinking rapidly at the smears of red streaked over Derek’s mouth and cheeks, clumping in his beard.

   No words seem to want to leave his throat. He swallows around a thousand needles.

   “What the fuck?!” someone yells. There’s the squeak of more shoes running closer. “Jesus H Christ,” someone else mutters.

   “Take him to my exam room,” Stiles recognises the doctor’s voice, his soft-spoken tone now harsh and clipped.

   The fluorescent lights of the hallway begin to slip past. They hurt his eyes.        


The bare cinder-block walls of the cell are stained in patches, scuffed and grimy closer to the floor. The buzz of the fluorescent light is loud even to Stiles’ ears. He curls tighter into Derek’s lap, the injection doctor Deaton gave him pulling at his eyelids. The starched hospital gown is scratchy against his skin – just like the clean shirt the doctor gave Derek to wear.

   Derek cleaned them both as best he could with some wet-wipes and discarded Stiles’ reeking clothes, not so much because of the urine stench, he explained, but because that guardsman’s stink is all over it. Only Derek’s leather jacket, currently wrapped around him, gives some familial comfort, the wolf’s masculine scent ingrained in the lining.

   Stiles peeks out from behind the heavy leather at the two huge, emotionless black-clad guardsmen on the other side of the metal table, flanking the door behind which angry voices rise and fall. Stiles sighs and lays his head back again, counting Derek’s pulse through his ear pressed to the radiating warmth of his chest.

   “Everything okay down there?” Derek asks softly, dragging his nose through Stiles’ hair.

   “Are they gonna take me away from you?”

   “Never in a million years,” Derek answers and shifts his knees to cradle Stiles deeper in his lap. “And even if they tried they’d all end up like that other piece of shit.”

   One guardsman’s gaze fall on Derek.

   “It’s my fault.”

   “No, it’s not. You didn’t do anything wrong, okay?” Derek hugs him closer.

   “But it is,” Stiles says with a ghost of a smile, his eyes glistening. “Miss Blake was right. I’ve forgotten my place and got you into trouble.”

   “Stop,” Derek crushes him to his chest, one large hand covering the back of his head, meeting the guardsman’s eyes.

   The guardsman slowly turn his gaze back to the opposite wall.


Stiles has dozed off for the most part by the time the door swings open.

   Alan walks in, hands stuffed in his lab coat and forehead creased. Another wolf follows close behind. The stranger’s sleeves are rolled up past his elbows, his tie loosened. Streaks of silver colour his short dark hair along his temples, matching the salt and pepper of his beard.

   “Derek,” Alan begins, “this is State HWS Director Chris Argent.”

   “Mister Hale,” the man nods.

   Derek levels a gaze as sharp as his claws at the wolf. “I have the right to protect my property.”

   “And no one’s debatin’ that,” the director takes a metal chair. Palms together and fingers pointed at Derek, he heaves a big sigh. “But you did kill a man. And doctor Deaton has informed me that you’ve stopped going to the Grounds.”

   Derek pins Alan with the same deathly glare.

   “But, he also vouches for you, and I trust the Doc more than anyone else. So,” Chris press the tips of his fingers together, “Here’s how this is gonna play out.”

   Derek opens his mouth.

   Deaton shakes his head, lips pressed to a thin line.

   Derek shuts his mouth again.


Cradling Stiles in one arm, with his head drooped on his shoulder, Derek opens the door to the Camaro with his other hand. With a hand supporting the back of his neck, he gently settles him in the passenger seat before he pulls his safety belt over him. He catches Stiles’ eyes on him - red-rimmed and dull – and looks away to clip the latch into its buckle.

   Shadows stretch across the surface of the cracked parking lot. Something clench in Derek’s chest at how much time has passed, when it feels like they’ve only been here for a few minutes.

   He walks around the car and has just opened his door when someone calls his name. He looks up to see Deaton jogging closer. Derek has to will his hand away from where he grips the roof of the car else he leaves finger-shaped dents in the shiny metal. He throws one last murderous look Deaton’s way, then climbs in.

   “Derek wait!” Alan yells.

   The Camaro rumbles to life. Seconds later the tires squeal and the car fishtails out of the parking lot. He thinks he can hear Deaton yell It’s out of my hands! but he’s not sure.

   When they’re back on the interstate, a dozen or so miles between them and the Department, Derek looks over to Stiles.

   He is gazing out the window, his cheeks wet.


Stiles gasps awake with the phantom smell of bleach and detergent so strong he can taste it. A few deep breaths and the familiar scents of the loft slowly calm his heart. He grimaces when he tries to swallow around the scratchy pain in his throat. The dark shapes around slowly come into focus, the large windows that cast stretched rectangles of soft light on the bare concrete ceiling enough to see by. He is alone in bed, the linen on Derek’s side rumpled and kicked down to the foot end.

   He slides out of bed and pull his (Derek’s) old tee over his head, tugging the wide collar up his shoulders.

   In the living area, Derek has dragged one of the scuffed club chairs to a window. Across the dark expanse of the loft Stiles can make out the top of his head, hair all sleep-spiky, large feet propped up on the sill and a hand clutching a beer bottle draped over the armrest. Stiles remains where he is around the corner, leaning against the bare brick.

   Derek turns his head to the side.

   “Do you want to be alone?”

   “Not when I can have you, pup,” Derek says and holds out his free hand.

   Stiles walks closer until he takes Derek’s hand and he helps him clamber up into his lap. Legs thrown over the armrest, he tucks his head under Derek’s chin, the warmth of his bare chest pulling a satisfied hum from his throat.

   Derek runs his fingers through Stiles’ sleep-mussed hair. “You need a haircut, young man.”

   Stiles forms his hand to the deep groove in between Derek’s pectorals. “It’s not that long.”  

   “Long enough,” Derek digs his hands under the t-shirt and trail a finger along his hip and thigh. The beer sloshes, his throat working against the top of Stiles head.

   With the constant low buzz of the city as background a motorcycle growls past, followed by a siren somewhere. 

   Stiles snuggles in tighter against Derek and start to pick at the hair gathered in the divot where his clavicles meet.

   “You don’t… you don’t really think of me as just property, do you?”

   “Course not. I just said it because it’s all those idiots will understand. You know that.”

   Stiles traces the flow of hair across the broad planes of Derek’s chest, then over the curve of a fleshy pectoral. He looks up then, his eyes flicking across Derek’s face. His chin trembles when he sucks in a shuddering breath. “I had a best friend.”  


   “Well, best friends for a day,” he looks down at his lap. “We met at the county depot the day before… before they released us into the Grounds.”

   Derek inhales deeply.

   “He had asthma and he couldn’t work as fast anymore and his owners didn’t want to pay for medicine, just like mine, and ah,” he sniffs, “When he saw me in the holding cell he came over and put his arm around me and said everything was going to be okay.”

   Derek can’t look away, his beer forgotten, dangling from his fingertips

   “They got him that same day. There were three wolves chasing us, and he couldn’t run as fast as me with his bad lungs so he told me to go ahead while he distracted them, and I-I did, I crossed this stream and hid in some thick bushes on the other side, and I-I just left him-” his voice breaks.

   Derek sets the beer down on the window sill and shifts his knees up to cradle Stiles in deeper. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” he folds both arms around him.  

   “Those w-wolves… t-they… p-played with him… forever… and I-I was there the w-whole time,” Stiles sobs, shoulders shaking inside Derek’s hold.

   “Shhh, shhh, it’s okay,” Derek gently rocks him.

   Broken sobs wrack through Stiles, Derek holding him as tight as he dares.

   “Promise me that… that you won’t be… like that.”

   “Baby, don’t.”

   Stiles pushes out of his hold and sits up. He drags a hand over his eyes and nose. “Promise me,” he sniffs, looking Derek in the eyes. “Promise you wo-won’t let them s-suffer like Scott did.”

   “Stiles, you know I would never-”

   “Promise me, Derek! Please!”

   Derek nods. He cups Stiles’ cheek. “Wolf promise.”

   Stiles looks down again. He unfurls a particularly thick whorl of thatch from around a wide, dark nipple. “When you come back, and you feel different about me-”

   “Not gonna happen,” Derek immediately envelopes him in his arms and crush him against his chest. “Not gonna happen.”  


The bag of tranqs is freed from its hiding place. Derek stares numbly as a rainfall of little pills stream into the toilet bowl. The second bag goes the same route.

   He walks out and pauses next to the bed.

   Curled up in the middle, Stiles’ eyelashes look even darker where they fan out across his pale skin, the sharp edges of his shoulders and elbows softened by the covers. His head his tilted back a bit, displaying the column of his mole-dotted pale throat. Derek zooms in on the slight pulse of his skin over his carotid.

   He turns away and takes deep, measured breaths. He waits for the burn in his gums to subside, for the threat of his claws to break the skin to lessen before he pads over to the dresser and grab some gym clothes. 


Department of Human Wellness and Safety - the headlights of the Camaro flash over the sign upon entry to the packed parking lot. Beyond the twenty-foot high electrified fence Spanish moss trail from the gnarled trees, the rest of the forest a gradual wall of black beyond the floodlights that surround the compound.

   Derek climbs out to a chorus of crickets and frogs, the humid air laden with the sulphur tang of swamp. He walks to a white-painted cinder-block building squatting at the end of the lot with Gate 14 painted in full height black letters next to its entrance. As he walks up to the glass door, the wolf manning the reception desk – dressed in black combat gear - looks up and reaches underneath the counter he sits behind. Derek wonders if it’s a standard issue handgun or one with tranq darts when the door buzzes open and he is pulled from his thoughts.

   Once inside the guardsman swivels a touch screen around to face Derek.

   “Welcome to the county fourteen Calming Grounds. Thumbprint and signature, please,” he instructs, eyes trained on his computer screen the whole time.

   Derek press his thumb down before he signs on the screen.

   “Hale, Derek,” the man reads, then lifts an eyebrow, giving Derek a quick once-over. He swivels the screen back, types on his keyboard, then clears his throat. “Mister Hale, as part of your parole agreement, you are required at least two visits a month to the Calming Grounds of your choosing, failure of which will result in your immediate incarceration. Do you understand these conditions as I’ve read them to you?”

   Derek nods, his eyes locked on his running shoes.

   “I need a verbal answer, sir.”

   “Yes,” Derek looks up, jaw clenched.

   “Thank you.” He types again. “Are you familiar with the procedures?”


   The guardsman nods to a door to the side. “Good huntin’.”

   Derek press his thumb to the scanner next to the door, and the heavy steel slides open. A long passage lit by fluorescent lights leads into a small lobby, the harsh lights shining off the tiled walls and floors. He finds an empty locker and starts by toeing of his running shoes. Clothes locked safely way and completely naked, he walks past rows of showers to another door at the opposite end. He glances at one of the stalls where a wolf dips his head under the spray, the water running red down his muscled back. Further along two woman sit next to each other on a bench and chat, hair wet and towels fastened around them. One of them is busy picking at her teeth with a claw-sprouted finger.

   Another door comes up and he again scans his thumb. It opens to a long and narrow room with a thick glass window stretching down its length. Behind it, a wolf dressed in the same black combat gear looks up when Derek enters. Behind him several high-powered rifles with scopes are lined up against a gunrack.

   "Good huntin’,” the guardsman/s voice come over an intercom. Bolts slide open and the heavy door at the end of the room swing outward. The smell of coppery Wet earth fills Derek’s nose. He tries to breathe through his mouth but his gums start to tingle, his fingertips burning. His cock twitches against his thigh.

   He steps into a fenced-in courtyard, several wolves making use of hosepipes to wash the worst away before they go back into the building to take a proper shower. Derek walks to the end where an electrified gate slides open. A short concrete path gives way to dirt, the dark forest looming over him. He shuts his eyes.

   Pale skin, dotted with moles. Big amber eyes and mouth wide open as he laughs, head thrown back, trying to bat his hands away.

   The image cracks and fall to pieces as a swarm of ropes pull taught in chest, then snap one after the other in a cloud of dust with each bone that breaks and knit back together. Hair sprout into thick fur. Fangs pierce his gums and claws break through his nail beds.

   He drops, great chest heaving, and sprints off into the dark forest on all fours.

   He scents the first human ten minutes later.

   The prey scrambles when he sees Derek, its fear a thick cloud of pheromones in his wake. Derek lets him run until he is out of sight.

   He crouches, then takes off again.

   The scent trail of his prey is as clear as a path lined with torches in the dark. Derek runs full tilt, filling his lungs with moist, fresh air, revelling in the pull and stretch of his muscles. Something loosens, then dissolves in his chest, leaving behind a calm better than a thousand tranquilliser pills.

   He spots his prey scrambling over a fallen tree. A short grunt gets punched from the human when Derek tackles him clear off the log. The human rolls around. His scream is cut off with a wet crunch.

   Derek raises his head, face shiny with red. His nose flares at the coppery sweetness of his fresh kill. He stands up, lifts his chin, fur-covered barrel chest heaving, and howls.

   It echoes through the dark forest and across the swamps. Answering howls sound up seconds later.

   Derek grins through his blood-coated fangs.


The end.