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In the Basement

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It´s cold and pitch black in the basement.

 

Well, Stiles thinks it’s a basement. It could be an underground storage facility or even just an interior room or an exterior room with no fucking windows or maybe windows that have been sealed up, but wouldn’t that make the neighbors suspicious? Or maybe the building doesn’t have neighbors—

 

Stiles cuts off his brain. Now is not the time to remember that awful episode of Criminal Minds with the abandoned factory made into an impossible maze and the girl that dies—

 

Stiles cries out and punches a wall.

 

“if you’re gonna leave me in here, can’t you at least give me my Focalin?” He yells.

 

As usual, there is no response. Stiles isn’t even sure that the hunters can hear him.

 

He’s extremely grateful that he isn’t on Adderall anymore. The short release amphetamines weren’t doing shit for the increasing executive dysfunction lately. And Adderall’s got quicker withdrawal too. Focalin’s an extended release—it’ll take a day or two for it to fully leave his system.

 

That wasn’t to say that his ADHD wasn’t driving him insane, though.

 

He’s already been in the room for what has to be six hours. His meds wore off around 5 o’clock, usually. It had been around 1 o’clock when he was taken. He knew someone would tell him what was going on eventually, but the waiting was turning his brain into pop rocks.

 

He paces the length of the room, again. He’s done it enough times that he doesn’t have to keep his arms out in front of himself anymore.

 

And of course, now that he’s jinxed himself, a loud bang makes him jump and smack his face into the wall.

 

The door opens, letting in—well, actually, not that much light. It must be later than Stiles thought, or maybe they are underground after all. But there’s enough light to see Derek, being shoved in by the hunters.

 

Stiles immediately tries to run to Derek, but the nearest hunter grabs him and nearly snaps his arm in two with the force.

 

Derek makes his own lunge, snarling.

 

“Ah, ah, ah, puppy,” says a voice from the other side of the door. Derek is shoved forward again—Stiles just now realizes that Derek’s been handcuffed—and a man steps into Stiles’ line of sight.

 

“Oh for fuck's sake,” Stiles says. “At least come up with something better than dog jokes, that’s just pathetic.”

 

“Shut up, Stiles,” Derek hisses. They both get hits to the ribs for their efforts. Derek’s eyes flash blue as Stiles doubles over.

 

“Oh, Mieczyslaw, that’s quite a mouth you’ve got,” the man practically purrs. Stiles goes cold. No one knows his real name except him, his dad, and a few government documents locked in his dad’s safe. How did this jerk get ahold of information like that?

 

“I’d love to see what else that mouth can do for me, but it seems you’ve been tainted. Personally, I’m not a fan of cross-contamination, but you keep talking and maybe I’ll get over it.”

 

Derek tries to lunge at the man, in full beta shift, no less. “Don’t you even think of touching him, you goddamn—”

 

The man produces an electric saber (like the one Kate had, Stiles notes) and jabs Derek in the chest. Derek falls to the ground, barely holding in a whimper as his muscles spasm.

 

“You’ll soon learn, Derek,” the man spits, “that I can and will do whatever I like to Stiles and even you.”

 

He gives Stiles a salacious look and then backs out of the room. The hunters follow before either captive can even react, and they’re in the dark again before Stiles can protest.

 

As soon as the motion registers, Stiles flings himself over to Derek.

 

“What the hell are you okay who are these guys?” Stiles gets out, all in one breath.

 

Derek grunts, then Stiles hears him sit up.

 

“Jesus, take a breath,” Derek jokes. “I’m okay, and as far as I can tell, they’re just hunters.” Somehow, he was able to understand Stiles’ word vomit. Then he leans over and smacks Stiles on the back of the head.

 

“The fuck, what was that for?” Stiles whines.

 

“For being stupid and getting kidnapped. What the hell did you do to piss them off enough to make them consider dealing with you even longer?” Stiles could smellDerek’s eyebrows doing The Thing – wait, smell?? Stiles don’t be such a freak—

 

“I refused to tell them where you were,” he blurts out, if only to cut himself off from that train of thought.

 

“So I’m guessing it wasn’t you that texted me that you needed me to come over?” Derek asks. “But I appreciate the thought, even though it didn’t take them much to get me anyway.”

 

“Yeah, what’s up with that, sourwolf?” Stiles smirks. “In any case, I don’t know what else they could want me for so it’s equally likely that I’m just here for your benefit or maybe they’ll just kill me the next time they come down—”

 

“No one’s going to kill you, Stiles,” Derek interrupts. “I’ve reserved that right,” He amends, trying to avoid the actual emotions that follow the thought of Stiles dying.

 

Stiles shrugs, then his scent shifts slightly. Derek can’t quite identify the emotion he’s smelling, and then it’s gone.

 

Stiles does something weird with his body then—Derek can sense the movement.

 

He’s flailing his hands and chewing on his lower lip. Derek decides to address the less provocative action.

 

“What are you doing with your hands?”

 

“Wha—can you see?” Stiles asks. His hands stop abruptly and he shoves them under his arms.

 

“No, well, yes but not actually seeing—more like sensing, I guess. But that doesn’t answer the question.”

 

The two of them are sitting up against the wall opposite the door. Stiles cringes away from Derek, putting an extra foot of space between them. Derek pretends it doesn’t sting.

 

“I didn’t say you had to stop, I just—” Derek sighs. “I was just curious.”

 

“It’s—there’s just not a lot of stimulation happening in this room right now and it’s driving me a bit insane so the – the flapping is just – adding stimulus, I guess? They emptied my pockets so I don’t have my tangle to mess with anymore. Supposed to have quiet hands anyway…” He trails off.

 

Derek can smell embarrassment and frustration coming off Stiles in waves.

 

“You don’t have to have quiet hands with me, you know. I don’t care if you stim, do what you gotta do.” Derek wishes he hadn’t said anything. Stiles was having a hard enough time without Derek dragging up bad memories on top of it.

 

“How did you—I – it’s just, I’m sorry, it’s fucking weird, I’m such a fucking spaz—” but at least he’s moving again, tugging at his fingers, linking and unlinking them.

 

“My, my cousin, he used to stim a lot. We used to keep hundreds of those stupid plastic bead necklaces around the house so he could fiddle with them. There’s still some in my car even.”

 

Stiles scent shifts into something calmer.

 

“That’s the longest sentence, paragraph, I’ve ever heard you say. Is this a hallucination?” His scent turns panicked again and he starts desperately trying to count his fingers in the dark.

 

“Hey, it’s alright, see… 8,9,10. No more, no less. I’m real, you’re real. Unfortunately, this whole situation is real. Just figured I’d make some conversation.”

 

Derek soothes Stiles’ shaking hands with his own. He’s not above lying to himself about how he’s definitely not enjoying the feeling of Stiles’ hands in his.

 

“This is gonna be a long fucking night, assuming they leave us alone that long,” Stiles laughs bitterly. “Did they even say what they want?”

 

Derek shakes his head, then realizes Stiles wouldn’t be able to see it. “No.”

 

They spend the next few hours like that, talking quietly, Stiles fiddling with both his hands and Derek’s. Stiles tries to ignore how hungry he’s getting, and how much he wishes he could see Derek’s face. Derek tries to ignore the growing urge to kiss the boy next to him.

 

He figures Stiles wouldn’t appreciate his timing.

 


 

 

Neither of them realizes they’ve fallen asleep until they’re awoken by rough hands dragging them to opposite corners. Derek shifts into his beta form and tries to fight, but a few hits with the stunner has him on the ground yet again. He can smell the hunter’s anger, the leader’s sadistic glee, and Stiles’ growing unease.

 

The man from last night is back. He doesn’t hesitate to walk over to Stiles and grab him by the crotch.

 

Stiles instantly spazzes, letting out a shout and backing himself even further into the corner. The man just lets go and winks before motioning to his lackeys.

 

Almost immediately, Stiles finds himself dangling from his handcuffed wrists on a previously unseen hook in the ceiling. He’s not even sure when the cuffs came out.

 

He looks over and sees Derek in the same position, but Derek’s cuffs seem reinforced. Great.

 

“What the fuck, asshole?” Derek spits.

 

The man smiles. “Call me… Noah.”

 

Stiles flinches and Derek can hear his heart skip a beat or two. “Fuck you.”

 


 

 

An hour later finds Stiles desperately on his toes, trying to stay upright and not further dislocate his left shoulder. He’s pretty sure at least two ribs are broken, as is his nose. Noah hits him again. “Tell me about the nogitsune! How did you get that power?” He roars.

 

Stiles just lets out a small sob, shaking his head.

 

Derek hasn’t stopped yelling this whole time. The man hasn’t touched him—only Stiles. Derek’s wolf is going mad; he needs to protect this boy. He is pack, and Derek won’t lose pack this time. He’d rather die than fail like that again.

 

“I didn’t summon it—it wasn’t my fault! I’m not the one you’re looking for!” Stiles nearly shrieks as he takes another blow to the gut and puts more pressure on his shoulder.

 

“Then who summoned it? Where did it come from?” The man grabs Stiles between the legs.

 

Stiles just lets out another sob. The scent of shame, defeat, and the acrid tang of pure terror permeate the air, along with the salty smell of tears. He’s beyond feeling ashamed of his crying.

 

Derek snaps his fangs and roars.

 

“Get your fucking hands off him!”

 

Noah smiles, then pops the button on Stiles’ jeans. The smell of unadulterated fear becomes somehow stronger than before. Stiles tries to move away, but it jostles his arm and he lets out a whimper, giving up.

 

“STOP IT!” Derek is nearly hoarse by now, his wrists are ripped to shreds as he fights the cuffs. His whole body aches from his efforts to break free.

 

The man laughs and tugs Stiles’ jeans down to his knees. He passes his hands over the front of Stiles’ blue plaid boxers.

 

“I’ll stop if you tell me what I want to know.” He looks Derek right is the eyes.

 

“Don’t you dare make them a target, Derek! I’ll never forgive you!” Stiles pleads. Don’t make all of this be for nothing. Let this mean something.

 

Derek presses his lips together. The urge to just send them after Kira and her family and save Stiles is so strong he fears he might actually do it.

 

The man has his hands down the boy’s boxers now and Stiles is openly crying now, head hanging in shame. “Please, please don’t make him watch this,” he begs. He stinks of humiliation and Derek wants to get him down and just hold him.

 

The man just laughs and then pulls out a knife. Derek can’t help but let out a whimper. “Don’t!”

 

Noah grins and uses the knife to completely strip Stiles of all his clothes, leaving him naked and shivering. Then he grabs Stiles by the balls. Stiles screams at the pressure.

 

“I’ll be back in a few hours. I suggest you both decide how much this friend is really worth.”

 

One of the hunters unlocks Derek’s cuffs, and they all file out while Derek is getting his legs underneath him.

 

He flies to Stiles as soon as he trusts his balance. He carefully lifts Stiles up to unhook the cuffs from the ceiling. Stiles chokes out a few sobs as his shoulder moves. Derek snaps the links between the cuffs as gently as he can before sinking to the floor. Stiles moves with him.

 

Stiles hasn’t said a word, but his face screws up as Derek shifts his body. Derek immediately reaches for Stiles and starts draining the pain. He grimaces at the ache, but nothing will stop him from trying to make up for what he just let happen.

 

“I’m going to have to put it back in place,” he murmurs. “I’ll keep draining the pain, but you need to sit up.”

 

They quickly do so, Derek taking all the pain away as promised, making it easy.

 

“I’m sorry,” Stiles rasps. Derek’s heart lurches.

 

“What the fuck?” he says, harsher than he means to. Stiles flinches, but Derek shushes him. “No, no, hey, I just can’t—what are you possibly sorry for?”

 

“Getting us into this. Not being strong enough to fight him off. Making you see, making you see how weak I am, useless, worthless,” Stiles sniffs, and tears drip onto Derek’s pants. The boy is resting on Derek’s lap, practically, but he starts to curl away from him. Derek just eases them into a more comfortable position, Stiles under his arm as they basically spoon.

 

“None of this is your fault. You’ve been so strong, Stiles. I think I’m the weak one. I’ve had to sit here and watch you get the shit taken out of your hide. But then, I’ve always been good at letting my loved ones get hurt.”

 

Stiles turns his head so he’s hopefully looking up at Derek’s face. He can’t see a thing. “Loved ones?” he asks softly.

 

Derek’s hands shake where they rest on Stiles’ bare skin.

 

“I love you,” he breathes. “I’m sorry.”

 

Stiles disentangles himself from Derek completely and sits up.

 

“You love me? Wait, what, why… You’re sorry?” he fumbles. He brings his arms to cover himself, even though neither one of them can actually see anything. Derek takes off his shirt and hands it to Stiles, who startles as the contact. He quickly realizes what it is and shrugs on the shirt. It’s big enough on him that it covers his lap, and he relaxes slightly.

 

“Stiles. I’ve been in love with you for a long time. I know this is shitty of me to put all this on you now, what with everything else you’ve been dealing with the last few hours. But the last time part of my pack died, I didn’t get to say ‘goodbye’ or ‘I love you.’ So in case something happens, I needed to say this. You don’t have to – I don’t expect anything in return, you deserve so much better than me—”

 

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Derek flinches at the loud tone, and he wishes he could sense more than general motion right now. He hates not being able to judge Stiles expressions. Stiles wishes he couldn’t tell that Derek is hunched over himself, as if preparing to be hit.

 

“We could have been making out all this time?! Dude, why didn’t you say something?” Stiles’ heart is soaring. Derek actually likes me back?? This is more than he could have ever hoped for.

 

“Derek, I’ve had a pathetically hopeless crush on you since I first laid eyes on you.”

 

Derek leans into Stiles’ space. “I’d kiss you right now, but I was hoping we could have our first kiss somewhere slightly more romantic.”

 

The next thing he knows, he has an armful of hyperactive teenage boy. Stiles is hugging him—and not exactly shyly. Derek wraps him up and shoves his face in the crook of Stiles’ neck, scenting him. He can smell the contentedness coming off Stiles in waves.

 

“Kind of typical it would take getting kidnapped and practically molested for us to have this conversation,” Stiles jokes softly.

 

Derek just growls and moves them back to the floor, still wrapped around each other. They fall asleep, each silently praying for rescue, unaware that it would not be coming any time soon.

 


 

 

Derek is pretty sure that the room must be sound-proofed. That’s the only thing that could explain why he can’t hear the hunters until they’re already entering the room. The door opening jolts Stiles awake.

 

Three men grab Derek, using stunners and the fact that Derek hasn’t eaten in—wait, how long has it been? – in any case, he’s not exactly at peak performance, and the men corner him. It seems the two other lackeys have restrained Stiles, and Noah gleefully rips the shirt off Stiles’ shaking body.

 

“It’s been nearly 24 hours and your friends still haven’t found you, Mieczyslaw. Still sure they’re even looking? I doubt anyone’s even noticed that you’re gone.” Noah reeks of smug pride and – ugh, that’s disgusting – lust.

 

Stiles, on the other hand, smells of simple hunger and rage. The hunters have turned on the lights; bare bulbs that are set into the ceiling, dim enough so that it’s disorientating but bright enough for each prisoner to see each other clearly. Stiles has huge bruises covering his torso and the side of his face. From the way he’s standing, Derek can tell that his “pain-sucking-mojo” has worn off. At least they reset Stiles’ arm so that he can use it, now.

 

“Your stupid mind games aren’t going to work. I’m never going to tell you who brought the nogitsune; I’m never going to set you on my friends to punish like that. You’ll have to kill me!”

 

Derek’s heart finds its way to his stomach, and there’s a physical ache from his chest to his toes at the thought of watching these men kill Stiles. He can’t let that happen.

 

“That can be arranged, little one,” the man condescends. “but not until after I get to play a little.”

 

Derek snarls. Noah just smirks and then winks at one of the men restraining Derek. The man pulls out a syringe and holds the needle to Derek’s neck.

 

“No!” shouts Stiles. The whole room smells like fear and anger.

 

“Do you know what’s in that needle, little one?” Noah asks.

 

“Wolfsbane, I’m guessing,” Derek interrupts.

 

“Well, look at that. The beast’s smarter than I thought. It is indeed wolfsbane, and if we inject it right there,” He pauses dramatically. Stiles fights the urge to roll his eyes. “it’ll reach his heart in a matter of minutes. Bye, bye, Wolfie.” He snickers at his own joke.

 

“No please!” Stiles is desperate. “Stop! I’ll – what do you want?”

 

“I want the names of every supernatural creature that was involved in this nogitsune mess. Someone has to be held responsible for all those deaths, and I certainly won’t be stopping at just you two.”

 

Stiles is crying now. He just got Derek – he can’t lose him now! But he can’t give up Kira and her parents, Malia and Peter, or Deaton and Morrell. He refuses to be the cause of his friends’ pain and death ever again. But now Derek’s life is on the line…

 

“I can’t.” His voice breaks. Derek lets out a breath and closes his eyes, waiting for the needle to pierce the skin. The cold metal touches his neck, right over the jugular.

 

“No! Please don’t, you can’t! I’ll do anything! Anything else, please.” Stiles is sobbing, tears and snot everywhere.

 

“Anything else I want?” Noah arches an eyebrow, and Stiles can’t help but notice that the expression isn’t nearly as strong as when Derek does it.

 

“I—please, I’m begging you.”

 

“Kneel.” Derek is confused for a minute, thinking the order was meant for him. He’s the one getting executed, isn’t he? But he sees Stiles slowly sinking to his knees. Noah reeks of lust and Derek can hardly contain his wolf’s need to rip the man’s throat out with his teeth. But the hunter is holding the needle so close to Derek’s neck that Derek fears even speaking would cause it to puncture him.

 

Noah starts unzipping his pants. The two captives are at such an angle that Derek is about to have a perfect shot of what Noah is about to do.

 

Stiles knows it. He can’t even look at Derek, and the room stinks of disgust and self-loathing. Derek wishes he could tell Stiles that he is not the one who should be ashamed here. He also wishes he could tell Stiles that Derek isn’t worth this. He isn’t worth a sacrifice this big, this costly. Stiles would be better off letting Noah kill Derek.

 

Stiles manages to look at Derek for a few seconds. It’s clear from the look in his eye that he doesn’t want Derek to see this.

 

But the hunters dig the needle in threateningly when Derek closes his eyes, so he has no choice but to watch his beautiful boy submit to this monster.

 

Noah isn’t gentle. He grabs Stiles’ hair and thrusts with no concern towards the boy below him. Stiles chokes, his face permanently red. Both he and Derek are crying within minutes.

 

The whole time Noah is taunting Stiles. Slut and whore get tossed out, but it is the other remarks that do more damage.

 

“Oh, yes, you’re such a little slut for me, aren’t you? Daddy’s little boy, making Noah so proud. I bet your daddy thinks about doing this all the time. God knows you talk too fucking much. He has to have thought of some spectacular ways of shutting you up.

 

“Does it make you angry knowing that I’m your first, Stiles? All that time spent saving yourself for someone special. No one will want to touch you now. Why would anyone want a dirty, used-up whore like you?

 

“God, look at how you take me, Mieczyslaw. So, so pretty. This is all you were ever meant for, just a hole to warm my cock. That’s all you’ll ever be, just a convenient fuck.”

 

The worst, though, is once he is done. Stiles desperately fights the urge to spit out everything he just swallowed (Noah threatened to make him clean it up with his tongue if he dared to throw up). Noah leans over him and whispers, “you deserved every second of this. You killed all those people, it’s all your fault. This is what you deserve.”

 

Then he spins around and faster than anyone can react, he injects Derek with the contents of the syringe. Derek doesn’t even have time to think before the men drop him.

 

“NO!” Stiles screams.

 

Noah just laughs. “Oh, you stupid child. It’s not wolfsbane; it’s just saline solution. But I’m impressed by your cock-slut attitude, anyway.”

 

And with that, they leave the room, this time choosing to leave the light on so Stiles can’t even hide himself. He curls himself as far into the corner as he can manage, shaking like a leaf.

 

Derek makes his way over slowly, not wanting to spook the terrified boy in front of him. Stiles’ face is red and covered with snot and tears and –  

 

Derek grabs the ripped remains of his shirt and tentatively holds it out to Stiles. He gently rests his other hand on Stiles’ knee, draining the pain from his body and trying to comfort him.

 

Stiles lets out a sob. Derek shushes him and wraps himself around the boy, rocking them back and forth as Stiles cries himself out.

 

“Shhhh, you’re alright. It’s over. Everyone’s okay. We’re gonna be just fine.” Derek hums as he uses the cloth to clean off Stiles’ face, and then the two just sit there until Stiles can bring himself to speak.

 

“I’m sorry,” he finally says.

 

“What on earth have you got to be sorry for?” Derek asks, getting a strong sense of Déjà vu.

 

“I didn’t want you to see me like that. I’m dirty now. I’m sorry. You probably won’t want me anymore,” his voice cracks and he won’t look Derek in the eye.

 

“Stiles, nothing he could do to you would make me stop loving you. You have done nothing wrong.” Derek hates the smell of shame, hates that it’s coming from Stiles. Stiles should never have to feel like that, especially not with Derek. Derek knows all too well about having your body used in ways you don’t consent to, the humiliation of rape, but he has never been subject to one as violent as this has been.

 

Even Kate knew where to draw the line with teenage boys.

 

“I just want to go to sleep and forget all this happened,” Stiles admits. He feels weak and stupid, but he physically cannot stay in this situation right now. “I was hungry before – before, but now I think I’d upchuck anything I tried to eat.”

 

“I’m sorry. Sleep, Stiles. I’ll protect you, promise.”

 

“Even from the nightmares?”

 

“Of course.” Derek smiles.

 

“Can you talk to me? I can’t sleep in silence.”

 

So Derek talks. He talks about his family before the fire, about Cora and Laura and Uncle Peter before he went crazy. He talks about his mom and his dad, his cousins, his aunts. He talks about moving to New York and selling art, and how Laura used to video him painting and put them up on youtube.

 

He talks about following Laura’s trail back to Beacon Hills, about meeting a beautiful boy walking through the woods with his dumbass friend. He talks about being gone for him right then and there.

 

He talks about all the things he wants to do with Stiles in the future. He talks about wanting to wait until Stiles is 18 to do anything physical, because not only is he afraid of what the sheriff would do to him, but he also doesn’t want to turn into Kate. (He can’t even look at Stiles while he says this; his stomach churns at the thought that he could be taking advantage of this whole situation. He’s desperately afraid that Stiles is only allowing his touch because of some twisted-up Stockholm type situation.) He tells Stiles that if after all this he never wants to do something physical again, that’s okay too. Derek just wants Stiles to be happy.

 

He talks long after Stiles is asleep. And when Stiles wakes from his nightmares, Derek just pulls him impossibly closer and Stiles falls back asleep to the sound of Derek’s voice soothing him.

 

Both of them know that forming a relationship under these circumstances is setting them up for some awful codependency later. Neither of them cares. (That’s a lie; Derek cares so much. But the ugly, bad side of him allows him to cling onto this relationship with Stiles for as long as he possibly can, before Stiles comes to his senses and dumps him.)

 

Stiles is too stubborn to let something like torture stop him.

 

Derek would do anything to protect his boy.

 


 

 

They wake up on their own this time. Stiles thinks he could get used to waking up next to Derek.

 

Derek thinks the same of Stiles.

 

Today, neither of them can ignore their hunger.

 

“How long do you think it’s been?” Stiles asks.

 

Derek frowns. “he said, what, about 24 hours when he came down. I’m guessing it’s been about eight since then, so maybe, 32? Somewhere close to a day and a half.”

 

“God. That means I haven’t eaten in like 38 hours. No wonder I feel like I could devour a bear and not even feel bad about it.”

 

“If they want to keep us here any longer, they’re going to have to feed us at some point,” Derek says grimly.

 

Stiles hums in acknowledgment. He shifts slightly, then hisses. Derek immediately reaches out and takes the pain. Stiles watches the black crawl up Derek’s veins. His head is pounding. He’s going to need water soon, at the very least.

 

“Do you think they’re looking for us? My dad and the pack, I mean?’ Stiles asks. His hands are doing odd things again. Derek can’t imagine living with constant feelings of over- and under- stimulation. A situation like this is bad enough on its own without having to deal with that on top of it. Derek wishes the hunters had thought to kidnap Stiles’ meds too. He’s never seen Stiles’ hands shake and jerk quite like this before.

 

“Stiles, I have no doubts in my mind that your dad is currently knocking on every door in California right now. They will find us.” Derek wishes he was half as confident as he sounds. He’s immediately grateful that Stiles can’t smell his fear.

 

Stiles sniffs, and he tries to subtly wipe a tear off of his face. He doesn’t want Derek to see just how weak he is. He’s terrified that they’re going to die down there. I mean, the hunters have shown their faces, he thinks, it’s not like they’re just going to let them go. That means rescue or escape is their only options. Derek can’t touch the door (it’s coated in wolfsbane, in such high quantities that it would be lethal to Stiles as well if he had to touch it long enough to jam it open), and the two of them are pretty sure the windows are lined with by mountain ash. Derek can’t get his hands anywhere near the glass, so it’s a safe bet. It’s also a safe bet that the whole fucking building is lined with the shit, which pisses both of the off very much. Stiles was shocked to discover there were windows at all, but seeing the way they are heavily boarded up from the outside makes sense why there was no light coming from them. Based on their position on the wall, Stiles can finally confirm that the room is underground. Why not knowing was driving him insane, Stiles isn’t sure.

 

“You’re thinking about escaping again, aren’t you?” Derek says. It’s not quite a question.

 

“Yes. Well, sort of,” Stiles admits. “I’m thinking about how much it sucks that it’s not really an option.”

 

“it is an option,” Derek insists.

 

“I’m not leaving you.”

 

“Stiles, it may be your only choice.”

 

“Leaving you to die is not a choice I will make. Ever.” Stiles looks Derek straight in the eyes. He can’t believe they’re having this argument again. (He can’t help but notice that if the roles were reversed he’d want Derek to escape. Oh, the irony.)

 

Derek is going to end up needing heart surgery if Stiles keeps putting his heart through the ringer like this.

 

At least Derek can be certain that the hunters will kill him first. He’s a monster, Stiles is a human. No matter what they think Stiles has done, they will kill Derek first.

 

Small miracles. He wouldn’t survive watching Stiles die.

 

Neither of them jumps this time when the door opens. In a way, they were waiting for it.

 

The men swarm in, and neither prisoner is strong enough to fight them off. It’s easier to give in, anyway; it hurts less.

 

Noah sneers at the two of them. “I’m sure it’s come to your attention that it’s probably time for some food.” He gestures to a small sack one of the hunters has left by the door.

 

Stiles' stomach gurgles audibly, but he doesn’t have the energy to be embarrassed.

 

The man reaches into the bag and tosses Stiles a sandwich and a bottle of water. Stiles practically pounces on it, but he pauses when he realizes that Noah hasn’t made a move to take anything else out for Derek.

 

“Where’s his food,” he asks, still clutching his as if afraid that it would be taken away for asking.

 

“The wolf can go much longer without food. I might feed him in a few days,” Noah says casually. “Now eat. I won’t have you die before I’m done with you.”

 

Stiles makes probably the hardest decision he’s ever made in his life. He puts the sandwich down. “I won’t eat until he gets food too,” he protests.

 

“Stiles. Eat. It’s not, I’m not worth that,” Derek encourages. He knows starvation will affect his wolf more psychologically than it will Stiles, but physically, Stiles needs the food more.

 

“I will give Derek food, but only if it’s earned,” Noah says slyly, a grin creeping onto his face as he figures something out in his head. One of the men has brought him a chair, and he sits back in it leisurely, as if the fate of these two boys isn’t sitting in his hands.

 

“What do you mean, earned?” Stiles is getting more and more afraid with each passing second.

 

“I mean, Stiles, that I’ll let him eat if you do a good enough job convincing me.” At that, he unzips his pants and spreads his legs wide.

 

Stiles swallows hard around the rock that suddenly found its way into his throat. “Not while he’s watching, please. I don’t want—“

 

“He will watch. He should see what a pathetic slut he’s dealing with.”

 

Stiles is shaking like a leaf, and Derek can smell the despair Stiles is practically screaming out.

 

“Don’t, Stiles, please. Not for me. I don’t deserve this. Let it go,” Derek is yearning to reach out to him, to offer him some small comfort. Stiles doesn’t look him in the eye.

 

He gets down on his knees.

 

Derek hates every second of it. He shuts his eyes for as long as he dares before the men notice—this time, they’re all too busy staring at Stiles.

 

When goon number three finally realizes that Derek isn’t watching, he growls out a threat. Derek reluctantly opens his eyes. But he still can’t force himself to truly watch.

 

Instead, he stares at the bones in Stiles’ back, each delicately outlined against his back. Derek comes to the unpleasant conclusion that he can’t have been at a healthy weight when they took him, for him to look like this now. His heart hurts at the thought of Stiles starving like this. The nogitsune took a lot from all of them, but none more so than Stiles. He might have survived, but he will always live with those memories.

 

He tries to block out Noah’s awful encouragements to Stiles and all the abuses he is throwing out. Derek doubts Stiles will ever be able to hear his own father be called by his given name, again. Derek won’t be able to, and he’s not even the focus of this particular torment. He’s almost 100% sure that this man’s name is not Noah, and that he just chose that moniker to fuck with Stiles’ head even more.

 

When Noah is finally finished, and Stiles is trying not to throw up, Derek finally makes himself come back to the present. Noah gets up, pants still undone, and gets into Derek’s space.

 

“Look what that slut just did for you, monster,” Noah whispers, so Stiles can’t quite hear. “Look what you’ve forced him into. What he just did? Your fault.”

 

Derek growls but makes no attempt to fight Noah physically. He’s too weak, and he doesn’t want to throw away the sacrifice that Stiles just made. 

 

Noah just sighs, then winks at Stiles.

 

The men toss a sandwich to Derek, along with another water bottle, and then they leave the room.

 

Stiles still won’t look Derek in the face. “I had to do it. I couldn’t sit here and let you starve,” He mumbles. “I don’t care if you think it was stupid, I just couldn’t do it.”

 

“I would have done the same thing,” Derek admits. “But that doesn’t mean I approve, Stiles. I don’t deserve that kind of sacrifice. You are worth more than that.”

 

“NO, I’m NOT!” Stiles bursts out. “I don’t know why you think I’m this great person who deserves such great treatment, but I don’t! I deserve this, okay? I deserve to hurt, I deserve to be punished, for all that I did with the nogitsune! I killed people. I almost killed my dad so many times. I killed Allison. And you know what? I deserved every second of the pain that the nogitsune left me with, and I deserve this. So, sorry if you don’t think that I should at least be helpful in my suffering, but it’s just what the universe gave me, alright?”

 

He heaves angry breaths, but at least he’s looking at Derek now.

 

“Stiles,” Derek’s voice breaks. “Stiles, none of that was your fault. The nogitsune could have possessed anyone. You don’t deserve this. And what do you mean, all the pain it left you?”

 

“When I, I dunno, birthed from the floor of bandages, I could feel every little bit of pain that the nogitsune had caused in other people. The arrow in Coach’s chest, the wounds from the explosion, the electrocution, the sword through Scott’s stomach… I could feel it all for months. I still feel it in my dreams.”

 

“Jesus, Stiles. Why didn’t you tell anyone? We could have helped.”

 

Abandoning the sandwiches, Derek pulls Stiles into a giant bear hug.

 

Stiles just gives a broken laugh, then disentangles himself after a few beats.

 

“Come on, sourwolf. Let’s eat this before they come back.”

 


 

 

Stiles is screaming. Derek jolts awake, ready to attack whatever threat is occurring, but it’s quickly apparent that Stiles is having a nightmare.

 

Derek starts stroking Stiles’ hair, shushing him gently. The boy calms down, before waking and blinking his eyes up at Derek.

 

“Wha..?” Stiles manages, blearily. Derek just chuckles a low sound that rumbles and seems to amuse Stiles. The teenager stretches like a cat, before his body reminds him of the damage.

 

Stiles flinches.

 

“Damage assessment?” Derek suggests.

 

Stiles hums in agreement. He shuts his eyes, and Derek can see him tense and relax each and every muscle, making note of the areas that seem to cause the worst pain.

 

“Bruised, maybe cracked ribs for certain. Shoulder is still sore but hasn’t popped out again. Bruises on the stomach might be a cause for eventual concern. Nose is definitely not in peak condition. My, um.” Stiles looks away from Derek, face heating up. “My throat is pretty raw.”

 

Derek frowns. “There’s really nothing we can do about your ribs, unfortunately. The rest, I can take the pain.”

 

Stiles frowns back. “I can deal with the pain, I don’t need you taking it.”

 

“I didn’t mean to suggest that you can’t, Stiles,” Derek says calmly. “I just meant that I’d like to help where I can.”

 

Stiles cringes. “Sorry, I didn’t mean… I’m a bit twitchy and have zero concept of a filter right now, sorry.”

 

“You don’t have to apologize for the things you can’t control. You can’t help having ADHD any more than I can help being a werewolf.”

 

Stiles looks at Derek funny, almost as if he’s about to cry. Then he lunges forward and hugs Derek as hard as he can without taxing his ribs.

 

“Oh my god thankyousomuch no one’s ever said anything like that to me before Jesus Christ I love you,” he exhales all in one breath.

 

Derek laughs, returns the sentiment, then hesitates for a second. “Surely your dad tells you these things?” he asks cautiously.

 

Stiles just shrugs. “Dude, my mom died when I was eight. After that, my dad had a very rough time. Especially with Jim Beam, if you know what I mean. Hey, that kinda rhymed!” He laughed. “Anyway, his method of helping was sticking me in as many behavioral therapies as he could. I would do my best to get kicked out at first, but by the time ABA--that’s adaptive behavior analytics, training kids to get rid of stims in order to be normal, or at least that’s what my ABA counselors did--rolled around I had figured out that the more normal I became the less my dad drank. So I did my best to not be such the hyperactive bastard that I was. Quiet hands, and all that. Clearly, it didn’t work out like anyone hoped, but boy, did it get me right on track for some major issues as an adult! But my dad eventually got clean, and he realized what ABA was doing to me. He pulled me out, shut down the Beacon Hills ABA offices, and I entered seventh grade on top of the world. But that kind of stuff sticks with you.”

 

“Jesus Christ, Stiles.” Derek takes a few slow breaths. He reminds himself that the Sherriff deserves just as much understanding about his alcohol addiction as any other mental health disorder, but Derek seriously wants to punch the man. “I’m sorry you had to go through all that.”

 

He decides he will never, ever get annoyed at Stiles for his spasms, quirks, and other hyperactive episodes.

 

“Derek, not to change the subject, but I’m going to anyway,” Stiles has a shit-eating grin now, and Derek wants to kiss it off his face. “Why don’t we ever have conversations like this? I mean, like before? Why did it take us so long?”

 

Derek simply shrugs. He yawns. The past 43ish hours have been extremely taxing.

 

“Derek?”

 

Derek looks down at where Stiles is practically curled into his lap. The boy has gone very tense all of the sudden, and Derek is sure he’s not going to like whatever comes out of Stiles’ mouth.

 

“Do you- am I- is- Do you think I’m a slut?”

 

“Are you fucking serious?” What is with them and having the same conversations over and over again? It’s getting kind of concerning, the amount they have to reassure each other.

 

Stiles goes rigid and flinches out of Derek’s reach, looking for all the world like he’s expecting Derek to slap him or shove him away. It breaks Derek's heart to think that Stiles believes himself to be so unworthy of unconditional love and support. 

 

“Stiles, you haven’t done one thing that he hasn’t forced you to do, and even if you had, I still wouldn’t think that you’re a slut.”

 

Stiles slumps over, suddenly boneless. Derek can smell the relief.

 

It doesn’t last long.

 

“Up against the wall, boys!” Noah’s voice yells as he slams open the door. The two hurry to obey, wisely picking their battles as much as possible. This is not a man they want to antagonize unnecessarily.

 

Noah leers at Stiles, coming close enough to graze a hand down the boy’s front. Derek barely curbs the need to deck the man and lets loose a snarl.

 

Noah grins. “Today, Stiles, I shall give you a choice. One of you is going to get hurt. The other won’t. Stiles, why don’t you decide which is which for us?”

 

Derek doesn’t give him a chance to say a word. “Hurt me, please. Let him hurt me, Stiles, you’ve been through enough. Please, hurt me, leave him alone.” He’s desperate, practically on his knees already, needing Stiles to protect himself for once. This is his chance to protect this precious boy, this is his chance to make up for killing his family. It won't reset his karma, but it will help him sleep at night to know that he won't make the same mistakes twice. No one else will get hurt because of him. 

 

Stiles shakes. “I can’t,” he whimpers, with the same despair that didn’t allow him to give up the Yakimuras earlier.

 

 "Please, Stiles, you can. Please, let me do this. I can't watch him do this anymore. Please!" He stares into Stiles' eyes, not even caring that these hunters are hearing him beg. He'll beg Noah if he has to. 

 

“Hurt me,” Stiles says quietly. He’s already steeled himself for whatever sexual humiliation this man will be putting him through. Better him than Derek. Derek doesn’t deserve to get dirtied by this hunter, not like this. Stiles is already filthy, from all he did with the nogitsune and from what Noah has already done to him. He can take it. He has to.

 

“Stiles, please. Noah, I'll take it, leave him alone. Let me take this,” Derek looks back and forth from Stiles to Noah. His skin is crawling and his wolf is howling with his need to take the chance to protect what's his. But Stiles just silently shakes his head, trying not to let the tears fall.

 

“Good choice,” Noah says gleefully. Then he starts issuing commands.

 

“Stiles, on your hands and knees, please.” Stiles numbly complies. Derek lets out a high-pitched whine.

 

“Good boy. Now, Derek, I want you by his head. Be a dear and support his upper-body.”

 

Derek sits criss-cross in front of his- boyfriend? Lover? Person-he-got-kidnapped-with-and-who-he-loves-and-whom-might-even-love-him-back? Jeez, Derek, so not the point right now. Stiles finds himself in the awkward and uncomfortable position of being on his knees, with his elbows braced on Derek’s knees; Derek’s hands loosely secure Stiles’ on his hips. Their foreheads rest on one another.

 

Then, Noah takes off his belt and Derek nearly loses any control over himself.

 

“Let’s begin.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Stiles screams with every lash. Derek cries with him. His hands grip Stiles’ biceps, holding the boy upright, keeping him from smashing his face into Derek’s when the belt hits his back.

 

Noah is making Derek count, threatening more and more lashes with each missed number. The first 20 or so weren’t so awful, Stiles mostly able to keep his sounds of pain muffled, and Derek was able to subtly leech the pain from him. But now each strike crosses old ones, lighting fire up Stiles’ back and ripping up the skin. The man had switched to hitting Stiles with the buckle side of the belt.

 

“Tell me who brought the nogitsune!!” Noah roars, a swipe with the belt punctuating every word. Stiles just shakes his head, crying out when the buckle hits a particularly large cut.

 

It seems to go on for hours. The pain Stiles is feeling has reached levels that not even Derek’s werewolf mojo can touch. It’s eating at Derek’s soul. Never has he felt so utterly weak, useless, and dirty. He hated himself when Noah was raping Stiles; there’s nothing but utter self-loathing now. What use is he if he can’t stop this senseless abuse?

 

Stiles can barely see from the pain. He knows that Derek is crying, voice cracking each time he counts. He hates Noah for making Derek count, for making him participate, however unwillingly, in this kind of violence. He knows that with every strike, missed count, and scream, Derek is sinking lower and lower. Stiles hates Noah with every fiber of his being. How dare he make Derek feel even tangentially at fault for Stiles’ pain? How dare he act like anything Derek has done is to blame for this?

 

A strike tears an already burning cut wide open, nearly making Stiles’ vision white out. Stiles can feel blood oozing from his back, can hear it spatter on his surroundings—on Derek. His throat is hoarse from screaming; he’s not sure it’ll last much longer. He’s not sure he’ll last much longer, either.

 

Derek manages to get the count right at the last second. Noah laughs. Stiles tries to brace for the next blow, but it doesn’t come.

 

“No, don’t!” he hears Derek try to yell, and then his back is on fire. Something is dragging down his back—is that Noah’s tongue? Jesus that can’t be sanitary—and then five pressure points, feeling like barbed wire catching and ripping him open, drag down his back—and everything goes black.

 


 

 

Derek tries to stop Noah as he comes closer to his broken boy, but Noah gestures menacingly at the belt, and Derek has no choice but to let the man lean down over them. He yells out as Noah licks Stiles’ back, right over the nastiest wound. Then Noah drags his fingernails through the carnage and Stiles passes out. Derek is so concerned with making sure Stiles doesn’t hit his head on the way down that he doesn’t even see Noah leave. But when he looks up, the room is empty.

 

Derek looks down at Stiles, seeing his back from a new angle. He’d just barely been able to see Stiles’ back over the boy’s shoulder, but now he can see the damage clearly. Well, clearly as one can when there’s blood everywhere. Derek looks around the room hopelessly and notices that someone has left a few bottles of water. Probably not Noah, but perhaps one of the other hunters. Derek is going to bet that this is the only help he will be getting.

 

He quickly grabs two of the four bottles, giving them a quick sniff to make sure there’s nothing funky about them. Once he’s satisfied, he starts cleaning the blood off of Stiles’ shredded back. He doesn’t have any cloths; in fact, the only cloth in the whole room is his own filthy denim jeans. He does his best, though, to gently wash off the worst of the blood and dirt. He wishes he had proper materials—this isn’t something he can just slap a band-aid on and hope it heals.

 

He tries to get Stiles all cleaned up before he comes to, but he’s out of luck. Stiles wakes up as he’s pouring water on one of the more irritated areas.

 


 

 

Stiles wakes up feeling something drip down his back. He flinches away, but the movement burns across his back. He’s reduced into a whimpering mess, trying to figure out what’s happening. He doesn’t think he’s ever been in this much pain.

 

“Shh, shh,” he hears. “It’s alright, Stiles, it’s just me. I’m just trying to clean you off, baby. It’s alright.”

 

Derek. That’s Derek. Stiles calms down immediately, trusting Derek’s soothing voice. He manages to open his eyes, blinking past tear-swollen eyelids. Derek’s face is streaked with tearstains, his eyes red and irritated, but there’s nothing but gentleness in them. He slumps onto Derek’s lap and lets Derek finish cleaning his back. He tries to contain his sounds. He doesn’t need Derek feeling responsible for any more pain.

 

When Derek is done, he lies on his back, guiding Stiles to lay on his stomach, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder. Derek runs his fingers through Stiles’ hair gently. Stiles lets a few tears leak out before finding his voice.

 

“This isn’t your fault,” he says. “He would have hurt me no matter what. There’s nothing either of us could have done to stop him.”

 

“You could have told him to hurt me,” Derek snaps. Stiles flinches instinctively at the tone, and Derek winces. “No, I’m sorry, I’m not mad—well, I am mad, but I don’t blame you. I just wish you would have let him hurt me for once.”

 

“I couldn’t! I couldn’t do it,” Stiles cries. Then he drops his voice again, mindful of his aching throat. “I couldn’t stand there and watch him do gods knows what to you, Derek. I just couldn’t.”

 

“I know, Stiles. You aren’t capable of watching people you care about get hurt. You never have been. It’s part of why I love you.” Derek’s voice is sad, but he’s not crying anymore.

 

“I love you too,” Stiles murmurs. Derek smiles softly, and traces Stiles’ arm with the hand not occupied by the boy’s hair, black veins running up Derek’s wrist. Stiles sighs as he feels the pain ebb slightly.

 

They both just lay there, trying to soak in the relative peace. Stiles’ back is burning, and he’s worried about infection. But there’s nothing to be done about that now.

 

Derek knows that someone is out there looking for them. They’ve been gone for at least four days. The Sheriff’s got to be mounting a full-fledged manhunt at this point.

 

They just have to survive long enough for the pack to find them.

 

They can do this.

 


 

 

They manage to fall asleep in each other’s arms. Stiles’ weight is comforting, and for a few hours, Derek can pretend that everything is fine.

 

Stiles wakes up burning. He’s pretty sure that thousands of fire ants have made their way onto his back. He flails, trying to figure out where he is and how all those ants got on him.

 

This is a mistake.

 

The movement makes everything so much worse. He presses his forehead into the ground, trying not to vomit from the pain. He can vaguely sense Derek moving behind him, but he can’t hear him over the awful keening noise—which is apparently coming from his own mouth. He loses the battle and retches, throwing up stomach acid—bile being the only thing left to come up. The heaving makes the skin on his back move in ways that make passing out look like a great idea.

 

Derek is saying something. His hands are on Stiles’ back, undoubtedly trying to leech the pain, but it’s not even making a dent. There’s just so much raw agony that Stiles thinks not even morphine would help. He tries to even out his breathing and listens to what Derek is saying.

 

“It’s alright, Stiles. It’s gonna be okay. You’re okay. You have to be o—”

 

“I don’t think I was this not okay even when the nogitsune had me,” Stiles interrupts. Not even the pain of the sword in Scott’s stomach had felt this bad. “Help me sit up?” he asks, mainly to distract Derek by giving him a task to focus on.

 

Derek immediately complies, helping Stiles off his hands and knees and into some semblance of an upright position. Stiles is panting the whole way through, trying not to let the tears escape his eyes.

 

“I think my back is infected,” he admits. He needs to be frank with Derek; sugarcoating things won’t help anyone.

 

Derek swallows hard, fear immediately twisting his gut. The chances of Stiles getting through this without intense nerve damage and heavy scarring was already zero percent; an infection was the last thing he needed.

 

“We’ll have to ask Noah for help. He has to know—” Derek hesitates. He hates the idea of asking Noah for anything, hates the idea of what might happen without help. “He has to know you’ll need something to help heal your back.”

 

“You mean I’ll need something to stop me from dying,” Stiles says bluntly.

 

Derek flinches. He doesn’t want to even think about Stiles dying. It’s not something he could survive. Stiles has somehow become his whole world. And he’d be lost without him.

 

“You are not going to die,” he says firmly. “I won’t let you.”

 

Stiles just gives him a small smile. There’s no use harping on the topic. If Derek still sees them both getting out of there alive, Stiles isn’t going to ruin that vision now. He wishes he could still believe in that.

 

Now, he’s pretty sure he’ll die before he sees the light of day again.

 


 

Derek’s heart is breaking. Stiles had just about torn his back wide open again throwing up, and fresh blood was leaking down to the floor. He stinks of fear, dread, and depression. And, well, body odor, but it’s been over four days and Derek’s feeling ripe as well. Stiles no longer has any trace of chemicals in his scent, signaling that his medication has completely cycled out of his system.

 

Stiles’ smile breaks something inside him. It’s obvious Stiles doesn’t believe he’s going to get out of this alive. Derek doesn’t know how to fix that, how to make this better. He’s never been good at emotions.

 

But he tries to make the best of it. Reveling in the time without Noah, he engages Stiles in a game of 20 questions. It’s the perfect game for Stiles’ non-existent attention span, allowing him to focus on one short answer at a time, and allowing him to blurt out whatever he likes.

 

“What’s your favorite color?” Derek asks.

 

“Yellow. Or red. Yours?”

 

“Blue.” But really, Derek thinks, his favorite color is the color of Stiles’ eyes, amber and honey and gold. But that’s way too cliché to admit out loud.

 

They continue exchanging questions and answers until all the boring, regular things are out of the way. Then they move on to more serious questions. Things like hopes and dreams, favorite childhood memories.

 

“What’s your biggest fear?” Derek asks. Stiles cringes away from the question. “You don’t have to answer.”

 

“No, it’s okay. It’s just—do you know what frontotemporal dementia is?”

 

Derek shakes his head.

 

“It’s the only type of dementia that can affect teenagers, and it’s 100% fatal. It targets the centers for memory and logic. You forget who you are, who your family is. You become paranoid, irrational, lashing out at people, hurting yourself in some cases. You lose all sense of yourself, and by the time you die, everyone around you is a stranger. That’s my worst fear.”

 

“But… Stiles, that’s got to be incredibly rare. What are the chances of you having that?”

 

“My mom—that’s what my mom had.” Stiles shrinks visibly.

 

“I’m so sorry, Stiles. I want you to know—if there are ever any signs—we’d bite you if you wanted.”

 

Stiles laughs dryly. “Scott said the same thing, pretty much, when the nogitsune had us all convinced that that was what was going on with me.” He’s done talking about this. Stiles doesn’t need to ask what Derek’s biggest fear is.

 

“What’s your biggest regret?” He asks instead.

 

Derek takes a breath. “Kate,” he says succinctly. He’s not sure whether or not he hopes that Stiles has already figured out his history with the woman. He’s not sure that Stiles would ever love him if he knew about it.

 

“Kate? Kate Argent? Why would—why would she—” Stiles breaks off in confusion. Derek swallows hard, gearing himself up for the explanation.

 

“She—I—"  He breathes slowly, deliberately. Counts to ten. Stiles waits patiently and silently, understanding that Derek needs to take his time with whatever he’s about to say. Well, as silently as a teenage boy with some badly unmedicated ADHD can wait, so with lots of fidgeting and the occasional hand flapping.

 

“When I was 14—When I was 14, I met Kate. She was 22, and I didn’t turn 15 until 3 months after we met. I had a huge crush on her from the moment I saw her, and she used that.” Derek speaks quickly and directs his gaze towards the wall. He needs to get this out, but he doesn’t think he can look at Stiles while he talks about this.

 

“She got me to trust her, and I pretty much fell in love with her, the way teenage boys always fall in love—hard, messy, and convinced it’s meant to be. She would—I mean, I—We—We would have sex, you know? And I didn’t really like it—she was too—well, it never felt like I was meant to enjoy it—it wasn’t nice. It hurt, sometimes, the things she would do. But I was so desperate for her approval that I went along with anything she would say.

 

“She’d constantly make comments about how I wasn’t good enough, how it was stupid that she’d fallen for me. I did everything she wanted. I never—I never questioned how she knew about werewolves, never thought twice about her comments about how much of an animal I was, a brute, a monster. I didn’t understand why she refused to meet my family. She would always say that she’d be the laughingstock of the town if anyone ever found out she was with someone like me. I hated myself, did whatever I could to make myself into something that she could love.

 

“And then she used that to get me to give her a key to the house. Said she’d need it to have easier access to me. I mean, if I was going to insist on staying in school all day, the least I could do is give her a way to get to me at night. And then she used that, and the mask of my scent, to sneak through my house and burn my family alive.”

 

Derek won’t meet Stiles’ eyes. He can’t bear to see the disgust, the accusation on Stiles’ face. He knows he didn’t deserve Stiles, and now Stiles is going to realize that too. He’s going to lose this – this wonderful thing before he ever really had it.

 

Stiles isn’t ashamed to admit that he’s crying. He’ll blame the burning lashes on his back if he has to, but Derek’s voice, the way he’s managed to shrink his 6-foot-something frame into a small heap, reminiscent of a child hiding behind a couch, it’s tearing at Stiles’ soul.

 

“I’m so sorry, Derek,” he finally says. “I can’t believe she would do something like that, manipulating and abusing a 15-year-old boy.”

 

“It’s not like I ever really said no, or actually tried to fight back,” Derek says. Stiles has to fight back the image of an even younger 14-year-old Derek, trying to say no to an uncaring Kate Argent, and only getting ridiculed or even hurt because of it. Derek continues, “I was completely complicit. I let her do whatever she wanted. I was so desperate for approval, for attention, that I got my family killed.”

 

“No,” Stiles says firmly, and he puts his hand on Derek’s knee. “You are not at fault here—she raped and abused you, and it is not your fault. You are not to blame for her actions. You were a victim, Derek, not a perpetrator.”

 

Derek looks at Stiles, amazed. How can Stiles say those things, believe those things? How can he not blame Derek for killing his family, for being disgusting and damaged?

 

Stiles leans into Derek’s space, giving him the strongest hug he can manage without shredding his back. Derek melts into his embrace, feeling years of tension slide off his shoulders. He’s not anywhere close to stopping blaming himself, but maybe he can eventually get there with Stiles.

 

“What’s your biggest regret?” he asks softly, wanting the attention off of himself.

 

“Hopefully not this,” Stiles replies. Before Derek can ask what he means, Stiles is in his space and he’s –

 

He kisses Derek, softly, slowly, surely. It’s the safest—the warmest—sensation Derek’s felt in a long time.

 

It’s the last time either of them will feel any sense of peace.

 

 

Stiles falls asleep again, and Derek tells himself that sleep is a sign of healing, not of sickness. But he can’t ignore how Stiles’ little body is steadily heating up, reaching fever levels within an hour. Stiles’s sleep becomes more and more restless.

 

Derek doesn’t know how to survive without Stiles. When the nogitsune had taken over, Derek had felt ruined. Each moment he had to look at not!Stiles burned into him. He’d sent a prayer to just about every deity he knew of, begging for his boy back, hoping to God it wasn’t too late.

 

He’d honestly been prepared to kill himself if Stiles had died.

 

He doesn’t try to convince himself that this situation will go any better. If Stiles dies in this basement, so will he. It just might take his body a little longer to catch up with his soul.

 

Stiles starts muttering, but Derek can’t quite make out what he is saying. He tries to listen closer, but the door slamming open interrupts him. Stiles jerks up at the noise, letting out a small whimper at the sudden movement.

 

“Rise and shine, boys,” Noah yells. Derek glares at him and places himself between Noah and Stiles. Noah just chuckles at this.

 

“You know, I am getting really tired of not getting the answers I want from you, Stiles,” Noah says, ignoring Derek’s attempts to block his view of the teen in question.

 

“I’m getting pretty tired of getting asked the same damn questions all the time,” Stiles snaps back. He’s tired, in pain, and there’s approximately negative 32% of a chance that he doesn’t have a fever. He has earned the right to be bitter about it.

 

The hunter laughs, and as usual, Derek finds himself being pulled away from Stiles, at the mercy of the lackeys. Stiles is clearly having a much harder time controlling his emotions—and mouth—because it is obvious to everyone that he is much more afraid now that Derek is not in front of him.

 

“What are you going to do, rape me again?” he taunts. “We both know that I am not going to say anything about the nogitsune, so you might as well just do whatever you want to me and then find some other useless brat to torment. I’m done.” The confidence of his words is somewhat undermined by the fact that he’s sweating and swaying slightly on his feet.

 

He regrets letting his mouth run immediately. Instead of coming at him, as he expected, Noah turns to Derek and jerks his head at the goons. Derek isn’t really sure what’s happening until a knee slams into his stomach and he doubles over. A kick to the rib follows, and soon all he can focus on is taking each hit and rolling with it.

 

“Stop! Stop!” Stiles shrieks. “He didn’t do anything! Stop it!” He lunges forward and tries to grab at the men brutalizing Derek.  Noah rams into him first, pushing him up against the wall. The rough concrete scraped against the lashes, making him scream despite his best efforts not to.

 

Derek hears this amongst the clamor and manages to twist around to look at Stiles. Noah has him wedged up against the wall, and the position of his hands would never make the cut in a PG movie. Derek growls low in his throat and starts fighting the hunters more than ever. He manages to slam one man’s head against the ground, knocking him out. The other man tries to do the same to Derek, but the wolf just drives his fist into his temple, putting him out of commission.

 

Noah, distracted by the allure of a non-consenting teenager, hasn’t realized Derek has the upper hand. Stiles’s eyes widen when he sees Derek stand up, eyes glowing red. He yanks Noah off of Stiles, practically throwing him across the room. Noah tries to fight back, but Derek’s half feral eyes catch sight of Noah’s unbuckled pants—which Stiles hadn’t even registered until now—and he’s back on top of him.

 

Derek lays into Noah, burning out all of the anger and fear that he’d caused in the last few days.

 

“You’re never touching him again, you sick fuck,” Derek pants, accentuating each word with a hit. “He’s not yours. He doesn’t owe you anything. You’re the one who’s fucked up, who deserves pain, not him.” All Derek can see is red, red, red.

 

Red eyes. Alpha red eyes, burning into his skull. 

Red blood. Stiles’ blood splattering across the floor.

Red. Stiles’ cheeks when he’s upset, his eyes after crying, his sweatshirt.

 

Red red red red—

 

His internal—and external—tirades are cut off by Stiles choked voice.

 

Derek.”

 

He turns, and his stomach drops out. One of the hunters must not have been knocked totally unconscious. He’s got Stiles in a headlock, and it’s clear that he doesn’t particularly care if he’s cutting off Stiles’s oxygen supply.

 

Derek puts his hands up, and he can hear Noah start to get up behind him. “Don’t—he can’t breathe—”

 

Noah puts a hand on Derek’s shoulder. Stiles’s face is starting to turn purple, his hands scrabbling fruitlessly at the man’s arms.

 

“I think this was a great demonstration of the monster you truly are,” Noah starts. Derek can barely hear him, too focused on Stiles. Noah sighs.

 

“Let him go, Alex. I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson.” The man, or Alex, apparently, throws Stiles down. He hits the floor with an awful thud and lets out a bit off cry. Derek hears the bones in his wrist snap, and he can hardly restrain himself from lunging to Stiles’s side. That’s what got them in this mess in the first place.

 

Noah pauses, obviously enjoying this new development. He seems oddly unbothered by the blood decorating his own face, and Derek is surprised and scared by the fact that he hasn’t been hindered—Derek knows he landed at least a few damaging blows.

 

“Well, they’ll learn their lesson soon enough. Bind them.”

 

With that, he turns and leaves the room. A few men fill into the room in his wake. Derek gets a sour taste in his mouth and muffles some very choice curses. Even if they got past Noah, there was no way they would have been able to make it outside; not in the condition that Stiles was in.

 

He doesn’t have much time to think about this. The men grab Stiles, confident that Derek won't try anything while they have his boy. They’re right.

 

They drag Stiles over to the corner, being deliberately uncaring about his back and wrist. They handcuff him, then grab a chain from where it’s anchored in the wall and attach that to the cuffs. Then one of the men walks between the two captives, and Derek can no longer see what they are doing.

 

Another man comes in through the door with one of those electric staffs and waves it menacingly at Derek. Derek, not a fan of the electricity, but even less of a fan of obeying hunters, grudgingly complies with the man’s orders. He ends up much like he’d been the first day or so, hanging from the ceiling by reinforced cuffs around his wrists. It’s only after this is complete that the men allow their prisoners to regain line of sight.

 

“Oh my god—Stiles” Derek manages. His shoulders already hurt from the pressure of holding up his body weight, but Stiles, Stiles is…

 

Stiles’s wrists and ankles have been restrained, and he’s got a collar on. His arms and legs have been chained in such a way that he can’t really cover himself up, so he’s completely on display.  But the worst, the worst is definitely the gag. It’s basically a metal rod shoved as far back as his teeth allow, held in place by a tight band around the back of his head. It’s humiliating, but also must hurt his jaw and mouth like hell.

 

Derek starts to protest but the men just gesture crudely at the position Stiles is in, and Derek can’t ignore the fear in Stiles’s eyes. He shuts up and lets the men leave with no further argument.

 

 


 

 

After about twenty minutes have passed, Stiles starts to squirm. He thought at first that this was just a scare tactic- that they would leave him like this for a few minutes then come back down once they were bored. But apparently this is part of their long game now; maybe it always was.

 

He twists, trying to ignore the pain in his back and his wrist. It’s definitely broken. They’ve anchored his hands behind him, but his feet have somehow been secured to the floor in front of him, which means that he can’t do much in terms of maintaining privacy.

 

He twists a bit too far and red-hot pain lances through his arm. He can feel the bones grind together.

 

“Stiles, stop,” Derek says from the opposite corner. It’s the first thing he’s said since the men left the room. Stiles can understand why Derek is upset at him. If he had just been able to fight off—Alec? Aaron? Alex?—they might have been able to escape. But no, of course, Stiles had to fuck it up, and now Derek’s strung up, and who knows what Noah’s cooking up to punish them.

Stiles lets his body go still. Fighting the bonds hurt. He leans his shoulders against the corner and allows his head to rest on the wall. His teeth hurt from the men forcing the stupid metal rod in between them. He can’t quite close his mouth, either, so he knows he’s undoubtedly going to start drooling sooner or later.

 

It takes him a minute to realize that he’s crying.

 

“Stiles,” Derek repeats. The human just shakes his head a bit, not even looking at the wolf. He doesn’t want to hear a lecture right now. He just wants this to be over. And if he has to die for that to happen, well, he’s not exactly opposed to that.

 

“Stiles,” Derek says a third time, and then sighs. “Stiles, please don’t be mad at me. I—”

 

“ag a ou? Hy oul I e ag a ou?” Stiles tries to ask, before remembering that speech isn’t really an option right now. He huffs, trying to figure out what to do about this.

 

Derek flinches at the tone and the rough, guttural sounds Stiles is producing. He knows Stiles is mad at him. If he hadn’t lost his shit on Noah, Stiles wouldn’t be in his current position.

 

“I know you’re upset, I know I shouldn’t have lost it. I—he was hurting you, Stiles, and I…” He trails off, watching fresh tears course down Stiles’s face.

 

This won’t do.

 

Stiles tries again, slower this time. “I aw ag a ou.” Fuck. This isn’t working.

 

“Stiles, I’m sorry, I just don’t know what you are saying. I’m sorry I fucked it all up. I fuck everything up, and I’ll never forgive myself for this. I’m so sorry, Mischief.”

 

Stiles blinks. He didn’t think Derek would have made that connection. He’d mentioned in passing that he’d been known as “Little mischief” in his younger years, but he didn’t think Derek would have realized why. But the way he said it, the way he let an accent take it a little sharper, clearly showed that Derek knew it was his Name, or at least partly.

 

He nods, unable to do anything else that won’t make Derek feel any worse.

 

 


 

 

Stiles is almost glad when Noah comes back through the door. Sitting here in silence is driving him nuts, and the pain itself is enough to drag him into insanity. Add in the ADHD and the inability to stim and you’ve got a hot mess, to say the least.

 

“Please, please let me help his wrist,” Derek blurts out as soon as he sees Noah. “It’s broken, and he needs to set it—”

 

“Shut up, Derek,” Noah snaps. “I don’t want to hear a sound from you. I’m here for Stiles.”

 

Stiles pales slightly at this, although it wasn’t anything he didn’t expect. He starts to ask Noah what he wants before remembering his predicament.

 

“OOOh, I do love this,” Noah gloats. “Look at you, unable to say a word. This is a good look for you, Mieczyslaw, I must say. Almost as good as watching you choke down my cock. But we can do that again later.”

 

Derek growls but otherwise stays quiet.

 

“No, I have better things for now. I mean, look at you, all stretched out, showing off for me.” Noah squats down next to the boy and trails his hands across his body. Stiles lets out an involuntary whimper. Noah grins at the noise. His hands wander closer and closer to Stiles’s crotch.

 

“Stop—” Derek chokes out.

 

“Derek, if you say one more word, I will shoot Stiles and then I will do these same things to his dead body until it is too rotted to be enjoyable anymore.”

 

Derek does not utter another word. Stiles starts crying harder now, letting out little sobs at increasing intervals.

 

Noah wraps his hand around Stiles. The boy tries to squirm away, but Noah just tightens his grip and he’s forced to stay still. He begins to stroke Stiles, and soon he manages to coax an erection out of the boy. Stiles has begun crying in earnest now, letting out huge, ugly gasps while snot drips down his face.

 

Derek doesn’t look. He can’t watch this. Stiles is worth too much for him. He won’t watch this, won’t watch this man humiliate him. It reminds him too much of Kate, as well.

 

Soon Stiles is flushed red, and it’s taking all he has to not come all over Noah’s hand. He’s hoping the man will leave him before that point.

 

Noah reaches up with one hand and removes the gag.

 

“Please please please please—” Stiles bursts out. “Please stop, Please, I don’t want to do this, I don’t like this, please, I don’t want this, please Noah—”

 

It’s the first time Stiles has actually used that name for this man. It’s taking everything for Derek to not lean over and puke his guts out. Everything Stiles just said, they’re the same things Derek would say to Kate. And while Kate never chained Derek up, she never exactly gave him any choice about these things either.

 

Noah just picks up the pace. He’s started muttering things to Stiles.

 

“Please don’t—I don’t—NO—please!”

 

“You’re such a fucking slut. Look at this. Your body knows what you want. You can protest all you want, but we all know you secretly love this. You can’t wait for me to let you come.”

 

“No I don’t—I don’t want this, I swear. Please!”

 

“—gonna be such a good slut for daddy, aren’t you, Mieczyslaw? Gonna take this so nice, and then you’re gonna get down on your knees. Gonna take me all the way down your throat, until you can’t possibly take more. Gonna swallow me down and beg for more, aren’t you, you fucking whore. God, you just live for this, don’t you? Bet you get down on your knees for the wolf over there. Bet he does this to you too. Bet he can’t wait for me to leave, so he can have his turn. Bet he’ll take you right here on the floor, just hold you down and fuck you until you can’t breathe. You know that’s what I’ve been waiting for, don’t you, Stiles?”

 

“No he wouldn’t---ahhhh—he wouldn’t do that—he loves me—I’m not—I’m not a toy,” Stiles can barely string two words together. He’s trying so hard to make this go away. He won’t give Noah the satisfaction of having his body betray him.

 

“Oh, but you are a toy, aren’t you? A pretty, pretty doll. I bet you’re gonna scream so nice for me when I fuck you. Bet you’ll make the nicest noises, even better than these. You’ll beg for more, ‘deeper, harder, please daddy,’ won’t you, baby?”

 

He speeds up, and Stiles knows he is going to lose this battle. Noah grins triumphantly, and with a few last long pulls, Stiles lets out a gasp and—

 

He comes, all over Noah’s hand and his own stomach. He’s sobbing, begging, praying for this to be over.

 

Noah wipes his hand off on Stiles’s hair, completing the humiliation. Then he stands up and exits the room.

 

He leaves Stiles covered in his own humiliation, still chained up and helpless, unable to even clean himself off.

 


 

 

Derek throws up soon after Stiles comes. He can’t help it. Watching that, hearing that, it was just too much. His entire body tried to revolt, leaving his stomach in knots even Alexander the Great couldn’t cut through.

 

There’s nothing in his stomach but bile, and the acid burns on the way out.

 

Stiles is sobbing harder than Derek has ever seen. Each sob is followed by a painful inhale, and then an awful whine as the movement stretches his back.

 

Stiles is saying something and it takes Derek a moment to register it.

 

I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry imsorryimsorryimsorry

 

“Stiles, it’s okay,” Derek tries to speak over the incoherent stream. “It’s not your fault, baby. It’s okay. Just breathe please.”

 

Stiles manages to take a few deep breaths, but Derek isn’t sure that it was entirely intentional. He’s not sure how much of Stiles is aware of what’s going on right now.

 

“Please, I’m sorry. I didn’t—I didn’t want that!” Stiles’s voice cracks, and Derek almost throws up again.

 

“Stiles, please look at me,” he says gently.

 

The boy manages to tilt his face toward Derek. He’s got his eyes squeezed shut as if remaining blind will prevent this from being real. The collar has left big red chafing all down Stiles’s neck, and Derek winces just looking at it.

 

“Eyes on me, Stiles, okay? Can you do that?”

 

It takes a few heart-stopping moments until Stiles succeeds. He looks at Derek and then sees the evidence of his throwing up. His face gets impossibly paler.

 

“I’m sorry, Derek. I’m so sorry, please—” he cuts himself off.

 

“There’s nothing to forgive, baby. I’m not mad. This wasn’t your fault.”

 

“If I was just, just a little stronger I could have fought him off. We could have escaped.”

 

Derek takes a minute to put words together.

 

“Stiles, I want you to listen to me. You do not have to apologize for a single thing. Nothing that has happened has been your fault. Nothing. You are the victim here, just like I am. Nothing has changed between us. Okay?”

 

“How can you—how can you still—I’m dirty, used, worthless. You saw what I—you know I’m – how can you still want me?”

 

“How can you still want me, after Kate? Stiles. this. isn’t. your. fault.”

 

Stiles considers this. He nods shakily. Derek sighs in relief. He thought for a moment Stiles was going to shut him out.

 

Stiles’s face is still flushed bright red, and Derek is starting to blame the inevitable fever rather than the tears. Then Stiles starts coughing. It’s an ugly, painful sound, deep in his chest. Derek can smell the start of infection in the open wounds.

 

“Derek, I think my back is infected,” Stiles confirms.

 

“Fuck.”

 

 

A few hours pass with no sign of the hunters. Stiles’s fever has climbed, making him drowsy and borderline delirious. He’s asked Derek about six different times why his back is on fire, and why no one has put it out yet. Derek prays for the first time since the nogitsune.

 

Please, please. Don’t take him. He’s survived so much, let him get through this.

 

It’s not working, or maybe no one’s even listening.

 

It’s during ask #7 that Noah makes his entrance.

 

“I see we’re still a little tied up, aren’t we boys?” he mocks. “Derek, you look upset. What’s the matter? Are the accommodations not to your liking?”

 

Derek spits at his feet. He has no patience for games right now.

 

“Stiles needs help, or he is going to die. His back is infected—”

 

“tsk tsk tsk, wolfie. I would have thought you’d have realized this by now: I. Don’t. Care. He can die right there, as long as he makes it worth my while.”

 

“I’m not dead yet, you bastard,” Stiles mutters, but Derek isn’t sure that he’s realized he’s said that out loud.

 

“No, you are not. Which means I can still have some fun.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Derek refuses to look at what’s happening. He can’t, or he might actually lose his mind. There is no part of him that would be able to maintain sanity in the face of that image. The sounds are bad enough.

Stiles is screaming. Even including the events of the last few days, Derek has never heard such a gut-wrenching, soul-tugging sound. It’s raw anguish, agony, and terror. Derek is convinced that hell must sound like this.

Beneath and overlapping with the screams are Noah’s grunts and moans. When he had first positioned himself between Stiles’s legs, he had spouted off his usual vitriol. Derek had yelled, thrashed, and begged.

“Please, Noah, please. He can’t take it. He can’t- please Noah let me take it, I can make it good for you, please—“

But Noah warned Derek not to make another sound, and Derek didn’t need Noah to spell it out in order to understand that Stiles would suffer for every word Derek said.
Stiles had done his fair share of begging, but he was barely coherent.

Derek could taste Stiles’s fear, acrid and bitter. He refused to name the other, thicker scent in the room.

Derek’s face is soaked with tears, and he’s bitten down into his own arms to hold back the sounds he wants to make.

Derek’s so focused on blocking out what’s happening that it takes him a minute to realize the screams have stopped, and Noah has gone quiet. He carefully opens his eyes and looks over. Noah has gone still, and he’s just hovering over Stiles. Stiles is also silent, which scares the shit out of Derek. The only comfort he can take is that he can hear Stiles’s heart beat--fast and erratic, but there.

Noah just starts laughing. “Finally noticed that your wolf can’t take your screams, have you?”

Derek curses himself for not being stronger. Stiles shouldn’t have to do anything for him.

Stiles manages a soft whisper, his voice hoarse and brittle from the screaming. “Please— please stop” is all he gets out before he’s overtaken by a coughing fit.

Derek flinches. That’s got to be hell on his back, not to mention his wrist and all his other injuries.

Noah just snorts in reply. He gets up, winking at Derek as he pulls his jeans back up. Derek growls softly.

Noah rolls his eyes, then leans over and starts unchaining Stiles. The boy hardly reacts, except for rolling over into his side— facing away from Noah—as soon as he has enough leeway. Noah then walks over to Derek, and it takes everything the Wolf has and more to not snap his teeth at the man’s hands as he unlocks the handcuffs.

“I have a feeling I won’t be needing you after tonight. All the same, I don’t want you suffocating to death before I’m done playing.”

Derek is wary to trust Noah, but he takes the words at face value and doesn’t fight. He watches Noah’s calm retreat from the room. As soon as the door is shut, he throws himself to Stiles’s side.
______________________________________________________________

All Stiles can feel is pain. Everything hurts. His back is on fire, his wrist feels like nails are being driven through it—and there’s a roaring fire in between his legs, accompanied by wet that Stiles isn’t sure if it’s blood or —

And then the white-hot stabbing stops, recedes to a raw ache that turns Stiles’s stomach.

He’s not really aware of anything around him. All he feels is hurt—primal, unadulterated. He’s not sure when his wrists and legs were freed, but as soon as he feels the restraints go slack, he’s turning onto his side, curling around his injured wrist and hiding himself away.

A gentle weight rests on his shoulder for mere seconds before he is arching away, letting out a whimper. “No, no more.”

“It’s just me, Mischief,” the voice says. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

Stiles recognizes the voice, but the cloud in his head is stopping him from thinking straight. “Dad?”

The hand returns to his shoulder, but if the voice says anything more, Stiles can’t make it out.

“Dad, I’m sorry,” Stiles continues. “I didn’t— I didn’t want this. I—I want to go home. I’m sorry, Dad, please let me go home.”

The hand rubs small circles, and Stiles realizes that the pain is fading from wherever the hands touch. “You have nothing to be sorry for, Stiles.”

“Where’s Derek?” Stiles asks.

He hears shifting, and then, “I’m here, baby. I’m here.”

“Good. That’s good. I don’t want to—I don’t want to be alone. I feel—so alone. I—“

“You’re not alone. Never.”

Stiles tries to respond, but he’s so tired and he hurts so much. He just wants to sleep.

He shakes his head, certain that there was something else he wanted to say.

“You won’t leave me, right? I don’t want to die alone. I stayed with mom. I want—I want—I don’t want to die alone, Derek. I—I don’t feel good. I’m so tired.”

He hears a muffled noise—a cough, maybe? He’s not sure. He hurts so bad, and he wants to sleep. He’s not sure he’ll wake up. He’s not sure he wants to wake up.

“You’re— you’re not alone, Stiles. You’re with me. I’ll always be with you. I —“ the voice breaks off, and there’s a hiccupping noise. “I won’t leave you, Stiles. You can sleep now. You’ve done so well.”

“I did good? Do you think dad would be proud? I just want to make him proud. And you.”

Another weird noise. “I— of course you did good, Stiles. You’ve always done so good. You are so good, the best person I’ve ever met. Your dad— your dad is proud of you. I’m proud of you.”

“I hope so. I’m tired, Derek. Talk me to sleep?”
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Derek is crying as he pulls the pain from Stiles. There’s so much pain, and yet there’s not enough. He knows Stiles’s body is shutting down, trying to conserve energy.

He sobs as he listens to Stiles’s weak voice. He doesn’t know what to do when Stiles thinks his dad is there, so he just goes with it, following the boy’s lead. Derek knows his voice is cracking and he probably sounds wrecked, but he has to make sure Stiles knows how good he is.

And so when Stiles asks Derek to talk to him as he falls asleep, Derek pulls himself together as best he can, aware that this will probably be the last thing Stiles ever asks for.

He talks about how much he loves Stiles. About how much Stiles’s dad loves Stiles. He talks about the pack, about family. He talks until his voice wears thin, but the whole time he’s listening to Stiles’s heart. The beat is quiet and unsteady, and much too slow by the time Derek’s voice is gone.

Stiles is dying, right here in front of Derek, and there’s nothing he can do.

He lays down next to Stiles’s unconscious form, and wraps his arms around him, pulling Stiles’s back against his chest. He lays there, humming softly in Stiles’s ear, songs that Laura and his mom would hum when Derek was sick. He hums, and he hears Stiles’s heart stutter, each beat further from the next, each beat threatening to be the last.

Derek breaks, sobbing into Stiles’s hair, clutching him as tight as he dares.

 

Beat.

 

 

Beat.

 

 

 

Beat.

 

 

 

 

 

Beat—

 

 

The next beat never comes. Derek chokes out a sob.

 

The sound of a broken, mournful howl splits the night air for miles.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Noah never comes back downstairs. Derek just lays there, broken; Stiles’s body still in his arms. He’s still warm—Derek’s body heat is probably part of that, but Derek can’t make himself let go.

He wishes that Noah would have killed him that first time he threatened to, wishes that the needle had been filled with wolfsbane. He’d be better off dead. Better off never having been born in the first place, more like.

Stiles’s life would have been so much better if he had never met Derek.

Derek is still in this cycle of vicious self-hatred when the door bursts open. He hardly reacts, beyond shielding Stiles’s even further. Noah is not getting Stiles’s body.

“Stiles? Derek?”

It’s Scott. He sounds—afraid. Derek can’t bring himself to do anything more than just whine at the sound of Stiles’s name. He hears lots of thudding and shouting coming from various parts of the house. He wonders if Noah is up there fighting, or if he ran at the first sign of trouble.

Scott is now at his side, trying to figure out why Derek isn’t moving. Then the yelling—apparently Scott had been doing a lot of the yelling—abruptly stops, and Derek knows Scott can see what’s happened. Scott turns away, and then there’s more yelling.

“Chris! Chris! Get the sheriff out of the house, now! Get him out!”

There’s a lot more noise, and then the sounds of a fight. Then it goes quiet again.

Suddenly Derek is being pulled off of Stiles. He struggles, trying to stay by his boy’s side, but Scott won’t let him. Derek snarls, but Scott gets right back into his face, making Derek flinch.

It’s then that Derek finally takes a proper look at what’s going on.

Chris Argent is leaning over Stiles, checking for a pulse that they all know isn’t there. Lydia is in the doorway, face white, her eyes unfocused and vacant. Derek can hear the sheriff upstairs, shouting for his son. Derek looks back at Scott, who has tears running down his face.

Chris speaks softly, confirming the lack of pulse. Scott howls.

Derek blacks out.

Chapter Text

Derek comes to in the back of an ambulance. He’s wrapped in a blanket and has an IV sticking out of his arm. Lydia is sitting near him, holding his hand, softly rubbing his hand with her thumb.

 

“Scott’s with the sheriff,” she says. “They’re on their way to—the coroner has to rule this a homicide and the sheriff has to officially ID his body in order to charge that man with murder.”

 

Derek nods.

 

“The medics are finishing up with you. They’re in the know, so they’re not gonna make you go to the hospital. Jordan says you’ll be taken to the station to give your statement as soon as you’re awake, so I suppose we should go find him.”

 

Derek nods again, and then gets up, pulling the needle out of his arm. He follows Lydia over to the squad car. Lydia speaks softly with the officer, and then she’s guiding Derek into the back seat before climbing in with him.

 

They’re quiet for the first few minutes, until Lydia begins to speak.

 

“I screamed, you know? If you’re wondering, that’s how we found you.”

 

Derek nods silently, not trusting himself to speak without crying again. Lydia’s tears run free down her face, and she acts like she can’t even feel them.

 

“We—We looked everywhere. We couldn’t figure out why you two had gone missing hours apart from each other, and since you were kidnapped second, we figured you were the target. We thought—We thought Stiles was bait.”

 

Derek nods again, and watches the trees blur outside the window. It feels like it’s been years since he’s seen the sun.

 

“I—I’m not—” Lydia takes a breath. “I’m not going to lie to you, Derek. I hoped that my scream was for you, not for him. The sheriff and Scott… they… I’m sorry, Derek. The whole pack was ready to find your body, not his.”

 

“I wish it had been me, Lydia,” Derek finally says. “I wanted it to be me. I—I never—this isn’t how it was supposed to be. He didn’t deserve this. Not like—” Me; the word is left unspoken, hanging in the air.

 

Lydia is saved from trying to respond to that by the car pulling into the station parking lot. Derek is escorted inside into an interview room, where a plainclothes officer is waiting for him.

 

“Hello, Mr. Hale,” he says softly. “I’m Detective Williams. I know this is going to be hard, but we need to know what happened.”

 

Derek gives a small humming noise and sits hesitantly on the couch. His whole body is intensely sore, and he’s overwhelmed by a sense of total exhaustion.

 

“I take it that Noah got away?” Derek asks.

 

“Noah? Do you mean the Sheriff? Was he involved?” The man looks like the carpet has been pulled out from under him.

 

“No—no! The man—” Derek swallows hard. “He called himself Noah.”

 

The detective lets out a soft sigh, and then picks up a tablet. He flicks through a few things before holding it out. Derek takes one look at the screen and shoves it away violently.

 

“That’s—that’s him. He—he hurt Stiles.”

 

Williams takes the tablet back, turning the screen off. “That man is Michael Turner.”

 

Derek shuts his eyes. He knew that the chances of the man’s name actually being Noah were slim, but Derek is still sick over the needless torment of using the sheriff’s name to torture Stiles.

 

“Can you tell me about what happened?” Williams asks tentatively.

 

Derek nods, and then takes a breath. He opens his eyes and stares at a crack in the wall.

 

“I—I’m not sure how he took Stiles,” Derek starts. “He got me by texting me off Stiles’s phone. Asked to meet me in the preserve late that evening—I’m not sure what day it was, I’m not sure—”

 

“It’s been about six days,” Williams says. “Both you and Stiles went missing on the same day, Monday. It’s Sunday.”

 

“Oh,” Derek says. He is struggling to process that. The whole thing felt like it took weeks to go down. “Okay. Monday. He—well, Noah—texted me Monday evening to meet.”

 

“And you did?”

 

“Yeah—we—he doesn’t ask to meet that often, usually he just shows up. So I thought it was something important. When I got there, the area was empty. I was trying to call him when I got knocked out from behind.” He didn’t technically get knocked out; they injected him with a horse tranquilizer.

“What happened next?”

 

“They brought me to Stiles. He was in the basement—we were in the basement where you found us. Noah--Michael—He threatened Stiles, and then he left us in there for the night.”

 

“Did Stiles say how ‘Noah’ managed to take him?” Williams is jotting down notes as Derek speaks.

 

“No, he just said that they took him. He didn’t look hurt at that point, and he didn’t smell—he didn’t seem like he’d been drugged, so I’m guessing they threatened to kill his dad or something in order to take him.”

 

“You said Noah left you alone for the night. What happened the next morning?”

 

Derek goes over the events of the last six days step by step. He leaves out the stuff about the nogitsune, and just makes it seem like Noah had a vague grudge against Stiles for something Derek wasn’t aware of. He tries to gloss over the things Noah said to Stiles while he was assaulting him, but the detective hounds him for every detail. Derek has to retch into the trash bin in the middle of telling Williams about the last day.

 

“He—Stiles was in so much pain. He didn’t—he didn’t really know what was happening at the end. He just—hurt. And I tried to make it stop. I really tried. I did everything I could to try to protect him—but the men, there were too many of them and I wasn’t—I wasn’t strong enough. I let him down.” Derek has engaged the floor in a staring contest. Williams leans down and catches Derek’s eyes.

 

“You are a victim, just as much as Stiles. There is nothing you could have done that you didn’t try to do. You helped him. He didn’t die alone, and he didn’t die in vain. He was protecting you as you tried to protect him.”

 

Derek chokes on a sob.

 

Lydia enters the room quietly. “Can I take him home now? I think this has been enough. It’s pretty clear that he’s not going to be able to help you find Noah. Noah never even told Derek why he took the two of them in the first place.”

 

Williams finishes writing something down on his notepad. “Yes, yes. We are done here.” He gestures Derek over to the door. “We will be in touch later. You’ll be the first to know when we find him. Will you be willing to testify against Noah if it comes to that?”

 

Derek nods. “I’ll do anything to get justice for Stiles.”

 

Lydia takes Derek’s hand and guides him out through the station. “Let’s get you home, and let’s get you cleaned up.”

 

They reach the parking lot, and Derek lifts his head to see what car Lydia is in. He sees Stiles’s jeep, and he freezes.

 

Lydia swears under her breath. “I know—I know this is hard. I took the jeep because my car was at home and the sheriff didn’t want to waste any time.”

 

Derek reaches out and strokes the side of the car. His hands are shaking and he’s crying again. He looks up to Lydia. He sees the sheriff over her shoulder, and he stops dead. The sheriff turns and sees Derek, and he walks over.

 

“Sheriff, I—” Derek starts.

 

“Don’t. Don’t you dare. I can’t even—I don’t want you anywhere near me. Lydia is going to bring you and I to her house, so that I can take the jeep back. I don’t want you to even look at me. This is all your fault.”

 

Derek lets out a few more tears and gets into the backseat.

 

“Sheriff—” Lydia starts.

 

“It’s alright, Lydia. Let it go.” Derek says softly.

 


 

By the time Lydia gets Derek to the loft, it’s dark outside. Lydia has tried to tell Derek that the sheriff was wrong, but Derek isn’t hearing her. He knows everything is his fault.

 

Lydia guides him into the bathroom and instructs him to undress. Derek robotically obeys her commands. He stands under the stream of water and lets Lydia slowly get rid of the blood, sweat, and dirt that is caked all over Derek’s body.

 

Once he’s clean, Lydia pushes him into his bed, and lies next to him. “I know you don’t want to dream, Derek, but your body needs sleep. I’ll wake you up if you have a nightmare.”

 

Derek just rolls over and closes his eyes.

 

He’s so drained that he’s asleep in seconds.

 


 

The next few days go by in a terrible, miserable blur. Derek misses Stiles so much it hurts, the grief and guilt a raw, aching pit in the bottom of his stomach. He can barely eat. Lydia periodically goes home to see her parents for an hour or two and to grab more clothes or whatever else she needs, but for the most part she stays with Derek. On Wednesday, she shows up with a plastic bag, which she shoves at Derek.

 

“I touched it as little as possible, so hopefully it still smells like him,” she says.

 

Derek pulls it out, and his heart skips a beat. It’s Stiles’s red hoodie, the one he loved so much that he wore it practically every day. Derek’s knees buckle and he sits on the floor hard. He shoves the sweatshirt into his face and inhales. It smells faintly of Scott, Lydia, and the plastic bag, but the strongest scent is pure Stiles. Honey and cinnamon and warmth and the slightest trace of chemicals from his medication. Pen ink and laundry detergent, his jeep.

 

Derek goes into his room and falls into bed, still clutching the hoodie to his chest. He sobs himself to sleep.

 


 

The funeral is hard. Derek hangs in the shadows of the graveyard, not daring to fully make himself known. The pack knows he’s there, and Isaac is standing with him. Derek squeezes Isaac’s hand when they lower the casket. Mrs. McCall places the first flower down on the grave, and the rest of the pack follows one by one. Scott leads the sheriff up to the grave. The sheriff is clearly very drunk, but no one says a word.

 

The man has lost his whole family. First, his wife to a terrible disease, forced to watch her fade away in front of his eyes. Then his son, taken from him, sodomized and beaten to death. He has every right to drown himself in alcohol. Derek envies him for the ability to get drunk. He can’t; the werewolf healing prevents him from getting intoxicated.

 

Isaac walks with Derek up to the grave, and Derek gently traces Stiles’s name on the headstone.

 

“I’m sorry,” he tells the stone. “I’m so sorry. I—”

 

“I thought I told you to stay away,” Mr. Stilinski is slurring, but the anger is clear. “He’s dead because of you! You—You pulled him into all this! You took him from me! You killed him!”

“I didn’t- I tried to—” Derek is cut off by the older man taking a swing at him. Isaac grabs the sheriff’s hand before it can connect but flinches away when the man starts yelling again.

 

“You tried to what? What? To protect him? To save him? You did a hell of a job, Hale. He’s dead. He was—that man – brutalized my son, and you did nothing. There’s not a mark on you. He died in pain, in agony, terrified—and—and---” The man breaks off into sobs, and lurches forward. Derek quickly grabs him and slows his fall, stopping him from hitting his head on the ground. The sheriff is crying in earnest now, and he clutches at Derek’s shirt.

 

“I couldn’t—I couldn’t find him. I couldn’t help him. It was too late. I failed him. The most important thing in my life, and I failed.”

 

“You did everything you could,” Derek tells him. He’s crying too, just holding the sheriff’s arms.

 

“It wasn’t—it isn’t fair. He didn’t deserve this. I can’t—I told his mother I would keep him safe. That I would be the best father I could be, so that he would—he would grow up to be a great man. Now he’ll never—he’ll never have another birthday. He's never going to get to be a man. He was gonna-- he was going to grow up, and now he never will. He never even got to do any of the things he wanted to do in life. I failed him."

 

“No, no you didn’t fail. He loved you more than anything, sir,” Derek says. Isaac is hovering over the two of them silently, tensed. He isn’t sure if the sheriff is going to start trying to hit Derek again.

 

“He—He talked about you,” Derek says. The two men are now seated awkwardly in the grass next to the grave, and Derek’s back is pushed up against the stone. “He—He wanted you to be proud of him. He wanted you to know that he loved you.”

 

“I’ve always been proud of him. I hope he knew that I’d never be disappointed with him. He is – he was—the best part of my whole life.”

 

“He knew,” Derek says. “He knew you loved him like he was the only one in the whole world. He always knew.”

 

The sheriff sobs. Isaac helps him stand up and offers to bring him home. The sheriff jerks his head over at Scott and Melissa, who have been waiting at the edge of the grass. “They’ve got me. I’m staying with them.” He walks off towards the cars, and Isaac and Derek watch the three drive off.

 

“You okay?” Isaac asks.

 

Derek gives a hollow laugh. “I don’t think I’ll ever be okay again. Take me home?”

 


 

Derek goes through the motions each day, but his heart is gone. Lydia stays with him, gently prompting him to do basic things, like shower and eat. The hoodie stays in Derek’s bed, along with a dozen or so other items of Stiles’s favorite clothes that Lydia has managed to grab from Stiles’s room when she visits the sheriff.

 

Four weeks pass without a word about ‘Noah’. Then Chris shows up at Derek’s door with a rifle bag and a steely expression.

 

“I found him,” he says without preamble. Lydia brings him inside and offers a drink. Chris hangs his bag on the doorknob and sits on the couch heavily. He takes a sip of the water Lydia brings him and then turns to Derek, who is sitting on Stiles’s favorite armchair.

 

“Isaac and I tracked down his scent, and Scott blackmailed Danny into hacking his security system. I shot him in the head in his kitchen. He didn’t have the chance to say a word.”

 

Derek nods, and then walks into his own kitchen to throw up in the sink.

 

Chris looks to Lydia.

 

“He’s—he’s not okay. I think this will help, but,” she says.

 

“But grief is destructive for a very long time,” Chris finishes. Lydia nods. She looks towards the door, and sees Derek looking in Chris’s bag. Maybe trying to see if he can smell ‘Noah’ on any of Chris’s things.

 

“Thanks,” Derek says as he walks back in the room. “It’s good to know that he’s not out there destroying more people.”

 

Chris nods. “I’m about to go tell the sheriff,” he says. “I wanted to bring him the man’s head, but the way it went down makes it look like a suicide, and a missing head would throw a wrench into that plan. I don’t want to raise any more suspicion than necessary. Wouldn’t want the sheriff to get accused of arranging a hit.”

 

With that, Chris leaves.

  


 

A month goes by. Derek doesn’t leave his house. Lydia arranged a memorial of sorts for the pack. Derek let her do it at the loft. They sit for a solid 5 hours just talking about Stiles, remembering all of the stupid shit Stiles did. Scott tells a bunch of stories from when they were little. The others reminisce on all the stunts he pulled trying to take down the bad guy. Lydia makes them all laugh at how Stiles’s giant present had actually just been a set of books that Lydia had talked about wanting during English one time, and the box was that huge because Stiles just wanted it to get as much attention as possible.

 

Derek talks about Stiles’s bravery, and he somberly gives a brief account of what really happened in the basement. They all cry, and then Scott breaks into another set of howls.

 

They listen to Stiles’s favorite music and eat his favorite food and watch his favorite movies, and they all fall asleep in a giant pile.

 


 

Another month goes by, and then another. The sheriff got himself sober again, saying that Stiles would hate for the sheriff to drink again for his sake. He packs up Stiles’s room, explaining that he couldn’t bear to look at the room every day.

 

The sheriff keeps some of the more personal things from Stiles’s room. Derek, Scott, and Lydia divvy up the rest of Stiles’s stuff. Lydia takes all his books and DVDs. Scott takes the video games, the laptop, and the gifts he had given Stiles over the years. Derek takes his hoodies, and his little knick-knacks. He takes his baseball bat, and he takes the small revolver Stiles had taped to the underside of his bedframe.

 


 

It’s been exactly three months, one week, and two days since Stiles’s heart stopped beating when Lydia walks in on Derek holding a gun to his head.

 

“Derek Hale, you put that down this instant,” She commands.

 

“Get out.” His voice is flat, but it rises as he gets andrier and angrier. “GET OUT. GET OUT OF MY APARTMENT! LEAVE ME ALONE!”

 

Lydia walks into the room, but doesn’t try to go near Derek. She reaches a hand out for the gun, and takes a deep breath.

 

“I’m not going to let you kill yourself, Derek. Stiles’s would never forgive you for this. He’d never want this to be your end.”

 

“Stiles is dead, Lydia. He’s dead, and it’s all my fault. He’d never have gotten hurt if I’d just stayed away from him from the very beginning. This is all my fault.”

 

“No, Derek, it’s not. It’s nobody’s fault except Michael Turner and his lackeys—lackeys that we haven’t caught yet.”

 

“I don’t care. I don’t. I have nothing left, Lydia. Nothing. Do you understand? My parents are dead, Laura is dead, Peter is gone, Cora hates me for killing our family, and—and Stiles is dead. He died in my arms. He’s never—He’s never coming back.”

 

“You have the pack. You have me. Let us help you. You are young, Derek. You still have a chance to find happiness in your life. We can help you. This—this is the coward’s way out and you know it. Don’t make us lose another pack member, Derek.”

 

“You don’t understand, Lydia. You lost me the minute Stiles stopped breathing. I died as soon as he did.”

 

He pulls the trigger, and the whole town can hear Lydia’s scream.

 

Chapter Text

Don't get too excited, this isn't a new chapter. 

 

I just want to clear the air about the tags. 

 

When I started writing this fic, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to kill Stiles, Derek, both, or neither. Therefore, I didn't add the MCD tag when I first started uploading chapters. It wasn't until the last two updates that I made my decision. Because the fic had been up for so long without the MCD tag, I decided that it would be okay to only add the MCD tag once I uploaded the final chapter, as the events of the previous three were not definitive, irreversible fatalities. 

 

Unfortunately, I am a dumb bastard with a boatload of ADHD. So when I uploaded the final chapter, I was so focused on making sure everything copied over correctly from Microsoft word and that the formatting hadn't gotten fucked up. I totally forgot to update the tags in my exhaustion, because I just wanted to make sure that the chapter uploaded. 

 

Thanks to you guys commenting, I realized my mistake and added the MCD tag as quickly as I could. I had hoped to get it up before too many people read the fic without the warnings, but based on the comments, I think some people got a pretty nasty surprise due to my fuck up. 

 

I'm so sorry! I never meant to trigger anyone, and I always try to give fair warnings for any content that I think would be triggering. I feel super sick about this because I know suicide (and homicide) can be huge triggers for people. I just want you guys to know that I wasn't trying to deceive people, or trick people into reading this, or anything like that. It was a stupid mistake, and I promise I'll always double and triple check my tags before uploading anything!

 

Thank you guys for being such wonderful readers! I look forward to our next literary journey together!!