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Challenges, Perceptions, and Evolution

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“We need to talk about Allison, Scott!”

Rolling his eyes, Derek manages not to sigh. Of course, Kate would show up at the worst possible time.

Any promises he made as a stupid kid (“I’ll never let anyone hurt you while you’re here.”) were wiped out when she killed more than half of his family. He should have attacked her when she invaded his burnt house. He should have finished her off when he fully became the wolf his mother once was.

Letting her be turned to stone- Gerard declared war when his human daughter was killed, but in this time of war, he might have been the one to send the werejaguar calling herself an Argent into this situation.

In the end, he’s going to kill Gerard, and it might be best Kate’s nothing but a piece of stone when this happens.

“She thought I was a monster before I became this, but I wasn’t the one who-”

She’s too-loud, her voice is carrying, and at this rate, she’s going to alert the whole town to their presence.

He’s just about to step out to say something when he realises-

He closes his eyes.

Her grating, sickening, objectively beautiful laugh fills the air. “You used to be smarter than this, Hale.”

If he’d ever been smart, he would have heeded the warnings about the Argents. He’ll give her this one thing: She never lied about who she was. She made him believe she cared about him, loved him, even, but she never hid either her name or who she truly was as a person. He just chose to see something, someone, different, and she encouraged this but never crossed the line into active deception.

Anger fills him, and he takes a calming breath.

Even now, she keeps taking. She’s not even here, and she’s still taking everything important. She’s still ruining everything.

A gangly, spazzy kid with jumbled chemo signals and the ability some humans have of being able to talk so fast without taking regular breaths followed around a newly bitten beta, and he knew the kid was bad news. Worse, he was a potential, though active, threat, and this was established before he got him arrested and, later, forced him to display himself in order to avoid being arrested again.

The last thing he’d ever do is trust this kid, except, the kid became a man, and as much as he can, he trusts Stiles.

Some part of him never can fully. Cora’s safely in South America, but he worries about the fact Stiles knows this, and even worse, Stiles has her email and phone numbers. She has Stiles’s.

This isn’t fair. Even if Stiles someday turns against him, Stiles truly, fully loves Scott, and for all his insistence he’ll only prioritise innocents when convenient, the truth is, he’d die for them with only a touch of exasperated regret. Stiles, he knows, understands not everything supernatural is monstrous.

“Hey, Derek,” and she’s so close he can smell her, “every wonder why I spared you?”

“You just weren’t done playing with your prey,” he answers.

No, he’s never given much thought to him being spared, but he has genuinely wondered about Laura and Peter. Was Laura a simple miscalculation on her part? He can’t imagine she went out of her way to actively spare her. Did Chris or someone else have eyes on Peter, and since they saw him as a currently neutralised threat, she decided not to risk going after him?

“Maybe. The truth is, I’ve never loved anyone. You weren’t special in that instance, kid. But for all you didn’t see me, you saw me more accurately than anyone ever did, and you still loved me.”

“Maybe you can’t understand human love, but Kate Argent loved her niece, Allison.”

He wishes he’d added, ‘And I never truly loved you,’ but he’s afraid, for all this creature doesn’t understand love, it will be able to convince him otherwise.

“She was the future, Derek. My future. My blood ran through her, and if she, only seventeen, was struck down by your uncle, if he turned her, bye-bye the Argent line.” She makes a displeased sound. “Which, hey, considering how it all went down, I should have tried harder. I didn’t realise I was dying for nothing. Human me could have still had a kid. I could have done better.”

Slapping a hand over his eyes, he concentrates on memories of him and Stiles discussing various strategies.

“No. I was wrong about a lot of things, but I know you, I know Kate loved Allison more than anything or anyone. I don’t know if that would have stopped her from killing her someday, but her love for her niece was true, sincere, the realest, purest thing about her. Coming back as a werejaguar isn’t what made part of her die. It was Allison’s death.”

The sharp memory of cold-eyed Allison wielding Chinese ring daggers as she approached him bursts out, and he remembers that, mixed in with the resignation, was sadness and grief. He didn’t know if Kate would have been proud or not, but he mourned the child, the teenage girl, she loved so dearly.

“I’m on a schedule, Derek. Let me simplify this: You understand this is a process, but some part of you hopes there’s some end. There’s not. You’re going to struggle with your thoughts and feelings towards me, towards Stiles, towards everyone who becomes important to you for the rest of your life. You’re going to carry around what I did for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how much you evolve. Evolving just means you’ve changed how you handle and process it to the point you’re a little more functional.”

“Then, how are you going to get me to open my eyes?”

“Your eyes are already opened,” she points out. “You’re turned towards me. I just need you to lower your hand. But,” and God, he could swear Kate was really here, “I’ll ask you a question and give you a choice.”

Sarcasm floats through him, but she’s not worth it.

“Do you believe Stiles can save everyone? Save you? If so, let him. If not, I’ll let you talk to him.”

The threat makes him stumble away, but of course, she follows.

“C’mon, Hale. I’m helping, aren’t I? If you don’t think you’re ever going to see him again, why not take this opportunity? And if you do think you will, let’s stop wasting time. Or is it that you believe he’ll save everyone else, but you’re not sure if you’ll be one of them?”

In what might be irony, Kate always challenged him to think, to critically examine other people, and to seriously analyse himself.

Does he believe Stiles can and will save the town, including his uncle and the others?

Yes. He knows Stiles.

Does it matter if he’s one of the ones saved?

No, not really.

Does he want his last moments to involve seeing Stiles?

The real Stiles, not some carefully constructed supernatural mirage, yes. Otherwise-

Straightening, he takes a deep breath, and ignoring the shaking, he lowers his hand.

She’s just as beautiful and horrifying as ever.