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In the Dark, I'll Hold You

Chapter Text

The day had started out as any other school day for Derek with the exception of being sent home early. Bullying was something he was learning happened more frequently and more ruthlessly in public schools than what his big sister Laura warned him about. Sure, they didn't always set their sights on him, but this time he had had enough. Instead of letting them push him into the lockers, he pushed back.

The jock had stumbled in shock before getting in Derek's face. Watching his strength, Derek gave as good as he would have gotten had he actually been human. Teachers came running and pulled them apart, sending both of them to the principle who sent them both home after a stern lecture.

Which leads to now, him walking home through the woods alone. His mother, his alpha, had been called, but she couldn't come down to the school because his younger, human sister, Mandy, was violently sick with the flu. His father was out of town for the rest of the week on pack business. His mother had requested that the school send him straight home where she would give him a firm lecture. Being an upstanding family in the community, the school agreed and let him go.

Derek sighed, shifting his backpack higher up on his shoulder. His mother had not sounded happy on the phone. Still, he hadn't deviated off the path home.

He was almost all the way home, could smell the familiar scents wafting from the close circle around his house when he heard a noise. Curious to find out what, he turned right towards a familiar face.

"Kate," he said with a small laugh, "What are you doing here?"

She smiled and his heart skipped a beat as it always did in her presence. "Oh, baby, I was coming to surprise you on your way home." Stepping closer, she ran a finger down his cheek. "I was missing you." Kate paused. "But school doesn't end for a little while yet. What are you doing out so early?"

Derek sighed, turning away in shame. "I got into a fight at school and they sent us both home early."

"Do you think you could go put your stuff away and then come hang out with me for a bit tonight?" Kate carded her fingers through his hair.

Shaking his head, Derek replied with a groan, "I can't. As soon as I go in there, mom will ground me for at least a week if not longer."

Kate pouted, "Then I guess we won't be able to hang out after school then. Well, I gotta head back home. I might be subbing this next week, so we might be able to have some quiet time together, huh?"

The thought brightened Derek's day up. "Yea, I'll be looking forward to that!"

Nodding and stepping back, Kate smirked. "Text me if you need help... on school work of course." She winked as he blushed.

Derek turned to start heading back to the house when something caught his attention. "Kate, do you smell that?"

"Hm? What's that, dear?"

He took a deep breath. "It smells like... gasoline..." He turned to look where the scent was coming from. Just through the foliage, he could make out at least three large red containers. "What the..."

Kate sighed. "Oh dear. You weren't supposed to find those."

Derek turned towards her. Her face was no longer smirking like he remembered. There was a sharpness that he had never seen there before. "I don't under-..."

Movement behind him had him spinning around to see three hunters surrounding him, holding bags of black ash. His eyes widened as he realized what that ash was.

"Don't worry about it, sweetie." Kate's usual voice was sickly sweet in his ears. "You're just going to have to be the first to go."

He looked for a way out of their closing ranks, but they each threw the mountain ash, surrounding him. Trapping him. He lifted his face and howled as loudly as he could for his alpha. Liquid cascaded over his shoulders. The strong pungent smell of gasoline filled his nose, choking off his call.

"Hurry, before the bitch and the brood come running!"

Somewhere, someone lit a match. It felt as if an eternity passed between his mind recognizing the strike of a match and the feeling of fire licking up his body. His howl this time was no longer one of scared, trapped, fear. This time, it was filled with agony, pain, and helplessness. An answering call went up, but it was too late. He could already feel the fire eating through his clothes and into his skin. Training with his pack kicked in and he tried to drop and roll on the ground to smother the flames. He writhed against the wall of mountain ash, unable to roll to quench the flames.

Over the roaring of flames and his screams, he could just make the sounds of fighting. His mind recognized for a fleeting moment that his pack was here. Sharp lightning bolts of pain shot through his whole body. He couldn't string his thoughts together through the agony. A howl echoed through his mind, filled with bone aching pain and loss. He distantly wondered what could cause such a call from his mother.

****

The alpha roar turned into a howl of pain and loss. She had no one with her to break the barrier around him. She cried out in hopelessness.

A young boy who had been walking through the forest had come to their calls. He was but the age of nine or ten, a backpack that was almost too big for his shoulders to carry comfortably slung carelessly over one shoulder. The wolves begged him to break the black ash keeping them from their loved one. He quickly did as requested, dropping his bag where he stood before stepping forward and carving a finger through dirt and ash. As they were waiting for that signal, the wolves jumped forward as soon as they were given freedom to do so.

They rolled Derek, throwing what clothes they still had intact against him to help put out the flames. As the last flame died, they prayed they were not too late. One of the other wolves had run off earlier to go fetch Deaton, their family 'doctor' and bring him to the house. The wolves still at the site of carnage carefully were divided into sections per terse instructions from the alpha. Most were set with the cleanup and disposal of the bodies as per their custom when dealing with hunters. The few remaining were mostly sent ahead to prepare the house for the arrival of wolves injured in the fight and Derek. The remaining few would help take Derek's pain as the alpha carried him down to the house.

It was a slow going process for the small group around Derek. The pain he was in required the two wolves taking pain to constantly switch off, one taking pain, the other shaking off what was just taken. It was a never ending process. The alpha walked slowly to try to minimize the pain Derek was in from just moving slightly enough to breathe. It wasn't until the wounds started cooling that they finally caught the scent under the burning flesh, monkshood. A poison that, while burning powdered monkshood would help battle what was in the system, the cooling monkshood on Derek's body was sinking into the skin and slowly poisoning him. They sped up their journey home.

At the house, the look that came over Deaton's face as he finally got a firsthand look was not a good sign in the least. "We'll need plastic that won't stick to his wounds. As well as the powdered strand of monkshood in his blood. A lighter, fire proof bowl, and a bowl of warm water. " A couple of the wolves broke off to get what he had requested. Deaton turned to Talia with a serious and grave face. "This will be very painful for him. I suggest the alpha and those who can help hold him down should be the only ones in the room. It will get ugly."

Talia nodded and turned to start giving commands out to her family. She was stopped by the sight of the young boy standing in her home, large backpack slung over one shoulder. His face looked sad and something else that she just couldn't put her finger on.

"Oh, honey, go with Uncle Peter. Have him get you something to eat and call your parents, ok?" She gently pushed him to her younger brother. "There's nothing more that you can do right now. I promise to talk to you as soon as I can, but Peter will be able to help you more, ok?"

The boy nodded his head and walked towards the blue eyed man staring at Derek in the middle of the room. Peter had a frightened, but far off look in his eyes, as if this was all a dream to him and he was desperately trying to get himself to believe that. The boy reached out a small hand and slipped it through the man's lacks ones. He tugs Peter out of the room, away from the awful scene. The wall appearing between Peter and Derek's form is enough to break him out of his daze. Peter looks at his hand, then at the boy holding his hand, and then towards the wall, as if he could see through it. With a heavy sigh, he turns away and walks down the hall, away from the blood and gore.

They go into what looks like a study. Books line most of the walls, the exception is the wall of windows behind the behemoth of a desk. Peter sighs, but goes towards the arm chairs sitting with books strewn around them. Dropping down into one, Peter rubs his face. He looks at the boy and studies him for a moment.

"So, I'm guessing I'm to call your parents, huh?"

The boy looks down, shuffling a foot along the rug.

"What's your name, son?" Peter asks softly.

Yet the boy doesn't say anything, turning his gaze towards the windows and the trees beyond.

Peter sighes. "Will you put up a fight if I call the police?"

The boy doesn't move, doesn't even act as though he had heard.

Peter studies the child. Though, if he is honest with himself, the boy's stature was more of a younger man. His back was straight like someone had put him against a yard stick and taught him to stand proper. Even though his shoulders were back and proud even under the straps of his backpack, there seemed to be an invisible weight on them, as if they were carrying the weight of the world. Peter got up and moved to the chair behind the desk. When Peter picked up the phone, brown eyes the color of melted chocolate snapped to his hands. Peter halted his movements and those eyes traveled up to meet his. For just a brief moment, Peter would have sworn those eyes faded black for just a moment before melting once again and flicking away back to the window pane.

Shaking off the whole thing, Peter punched in the sheriff office's number. It wasn't long before he was talking to the operator.

"Beacon Hill's sheriff's office, what's your emergency?" A young woman's voice asked promptly.

"This is Peter Hale, calling about finding a young man's parents if possible."

"Can you give me a description please?"

"Nine to ten years old, brown eyes, brown buzz cut, wandering the woods. He's about..."

"Please hold on just a moment, Mr. Hale." She interrupted.

Peter heard the click of being put on hold. He pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it a moment. He hoped that they would not put him on the phone with the parents if they were already at the station.

The phone clicked again and a male voice came on the line. "Mr. Hale?"

"This is he."

"I hear you've found my son?"

Oh gods, the parents. "If this young gentleman is your son..."

"Upturned nose, freckles, black Batman backpack? Goes by the name of Stiles?"

Peter looked up. "Stiles?"

The boy nodded once, never leaving his spot by the window.

The man on the other end of the line sighed fondly. "Don't ask."

"I do believe that this is your son then."

"Good, I'll send a car around to pick him up."

"I'm sorry?"

The man coughed. "Sorry, my name is John Stilinski, the new sheriff."

"Well, sheriff, take your time. There is no rush picking Stiles up. He saved my nephew's life today. He's more than welcome to stay as long as he wishes." Peter looked up to see the young man in question looking at him with a strange expression. It seemed to be deeper and wiser than any a young man aught to have. As if coming to a decision, he nodded and looked out the window again. Peter went back to hearing the older man on the other end of the line shuffle papers around.

"Thank you, Mr. Hale. I'm sure you'll see him around even if I say something." The sheriff laughed. "He has a knack of wandering where he wishes." There was a slight pause before John continued, "Your nephew, is he going to be alright? You said his life was in danger?"

"Ah, yes. He should be fine. We've got our personal doctor out here looking him over. I'm sure everything will be fine given some time."

"Good, I'm glad to hear. I'll send someone out there when someone is free. If he does becomes a nuisance, call the office again and just ask for the car for Stiles to come around. They'll get someone out there asap."

They said their pleasantries and hung up the phone after a polite goodbye.

Peter looked up and watched the young man for a moment before speaking. "You're welcome here no matter what or when." Stiles turned to him and watched him. "You helped my nephew. Even if he doesn't..." Shaking his head, Peter looked down at his shaking hands.

Smaller hands covered his, sending a shock through his body. He hadn't heard the boy move, but there he was, standing just on the other side of the desk. They locked eyes, blue electric with deep brown. It could have been minutes or hours that they stayed like that, staring into each other's eyes. No words were spoken and neither of them moved until the study doors opened. Talia walked through, her head held high though tears streaked her cheeks.

"He'll be fine," she said with a sniffle that she tried to hide. "It might take years for him to fully recover, but he will survive."

Peter sighed in relief, his body sagging back into his chair as a weight lifted off his shoulders. "Can we visit?"

Talia nodded. "Just be careful. Deaton is still working so don't get too close."

Peter left the room quickly, heading deeper into the house. Before he was too far, he heard his sister reiterate the same offer to Stiles, inviting him over whenever he wanted. They were indebted to him. He was too deep in the house to hear if the young man replied, but he was passed the point of caring. He had a nephew to visit and keep vigil over.

Chapter Text

Over the years after the accident, the Hale family got used to spotting the doe-eyed human meandering through the woods. They would sometimes go up to him in human form and invite him to play their games and enjoy a meal sometimes. He was always courteous and over time, began to show smiles around them. They learned of his mother's passing just a week before the accident with Derek. The funeral had been the day after their meeting. After that little tidbit, none of the Hales turned him away. They accepted him with open arms and warm smiles.

Stiles would rarely ask to go up to visit Derek. More often than naught, he would sneak up after a few hours hanging with whichever Hale family members had dragged him inside in the first place. They let him have his peace after checking up on him the first few times. After the humans had burned Derek, they were at first skeptical about the new human almost being accepted into the family. It wasn't until after the sixth time coming and doing nothing but sit in the window seat that they started relaxing. They would never relax all the way, but it was a start.

And a start that would come to mean so much to the family, though none of them would realize it.

****

It's dark.

So dark.

No light is seen.

No matter how hard one looks.

He holds up a hand and instantly knows he's holding it up in front of his face, but there's no way to tell.

No shadows.

No light.

He's kneeling on rocky ground.

Or, at least, it feels like hard rock, though he couldn't be sure.

He brushes his fingers around him, feeling the roughness of the ground beneath his knees.

Something wet brushes his fingertips.

It smells suspiciously like blood when he brings his fingers up to his nose.

It gets smeared on his nose and the smell invades his senses.

He tries to wipe it off, but more keeps smearing all around and all over his skin and it just won't stop.

He's drowning.

He's drowning in the smell of blood and it won't go away.

The more he wipes at his skin, the wetter it gets.

It clings to his skin and drips off in a slow melody.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

He wipes his hands on his pants, but they are also soaked.

It feels as if the blood is filling up the room.

Slowly trying to drown him.

More drips from somewhere in the dark.

Or is it dripping off of him?

There's so many drips echoing in the cold darkness that it's so hard to tell.

It's cold.

Oh so cold.

The thick syrupy goop of blood swirling around him sometimes has the feel of having a bodily warmness to it, but it quickly fades into the cold blackness of the room.

A shiver racks his body sending droplets flying from his hair and elbows to go flinging into the inky nothingness around him.

Suddenly.

Oh so suddenly.

Everything stops.

There's no more dripping.

No more stench of coppery blood.

No more cold.

The wetness of his skin is suddenly dry.

Oh so suddenly.

He holds his breath.

Is there something out there?

Or is there nothing out there and this is the end?

Important questions and unimportant thoughts rush through his mind. Though some sluggishly meander by rather than hurry along.

Anyone there?

That single thought is louder than the rest. As if he spoke it out loud. But he knew that couldn't be true as he had never opened his mouth.

If he had a mouth at all.

Echoes, as if in a grand cavern, come at him from all sides. He listens hard and long before he can identify them. He would say they sounded like wings, but that couldn't be right. He had no wings. Only bats and birds had wings. And neither bat nor bird was there.

He thought.

Listening for a while longer, he confirmed that, yes, there must be something with wings somewhere around him.

Hello?

Still, no sounds came out of him. All that was heard was the steady beat of wings and the rustle of feathers on the winds.

Winds?

No. There was no wind. No whistling through the cavern. Or the trees. Or wherever 'here' was. He was kind of worried to find out where 'here' was. What if he didn't like 'here'. What if 'here' wasn't 'here' at all? What if-

He feels like he's been here for so long, but there's nothing to tell time 'here'.

He's all alone in this dark place.

A gust of wind came out of nowhere, blasting into his face. It curled around him and tugged at his hair. It was a mix of warm, summer air, as if it had just been baked in the sun and was now pushed at him, and cool, stale air, as if from some crypt that has rarely been opened.

Something rubs along his arms and gently caresses his back.

He shivers at the touches.

Hands.

On his neck.

His own hands come up and circle around thin wrist bones.

They feel breakable yet at the same time unbreakable.

They grip and tilt his head one way and then the other, finally tilting it back far enough that it almost cuts off his breath.

But here, he doesn't need to breath.

Here, he floats and is warmed by something that wraps around him like a blanket.

Little one…

A voice in the darkness caresses his face with a gentle sigh.

Who's there?

It is I, little one…

I'm not a little one. Show yourself!

The voice laughs.

It echoes as if in a giant cavern, yet sounds muddled like under water.

He likes the soft laugh.

That laugh tugs at something deep inside him. He wants more of that laugh.

Ah, my little wolf… The voice sounds wistful to Derek's ears. You need to choose, wolf.

Choose?

The fingers around his neck spasm before dragging softly along his skin. If he didn't know better, Derek would think that the hands were scenting him.

Yes, choose. Choose to live, or choose to sleep forever.

I don't… know…. Why must I choose?

That is the only way to get out of here.

Here…. What is…. 'here'…..

You are still confused, not yet fully aware nor healed. Sleep. I will give you time.

Time….

If he was more aware, he would have sworn that the body in front of him was smiling.

Sleep.