“Want me to walk him out?”
Derek runs a hand over Isaac’s curls. “No, pup. I’ll do it. You stay here.”
Isaac nods, his eyes closing as he leans into Derek’s touch. Stiles gives Isaac a smile and a wave, affection for the beta flooding him as Isaac beams back.
When they reach his Jeep, Stiles turns, standing awkwardly with his hands in his pockets. It’s been just the three of them for a while now, but Stiles still isn’t quite sure what to do with his nerves when it’s just him and Derek.
He doesn’t know how to keep his hands from straying, when Derek stands this close to him, so close he can feel the Alpha’s warmth emanating from his powerful body.
He doesn’t know how to hold himself back, when all he wants to do is press his body to Derek’s, feel Derek wrap around him so tightly that the entire world falls away.
The buzzing energy between them is too much, the silence too significant. “Thanks for dinner,” Stiles manages.
Derek’s gaze roots him to the spot as he takes a step closer.
Stiles moves with him, his back hitting the door of his Jeep. Derek ducks his head, his nose and mouth running along Stiles’ skin, just below his ear. “You’re welcome.”
Stiles unabashedly lets Derek scent him. He can’t help it, wants to feel more of Derek, wants to let Derek feel more of him-
“Stiles.” Derek’s breath whispers across his skin.
He tips his head back, baring his neck, knowing what that means to a wolf, to an Alpha.
“Fuck, Stiles…” Derek’s lips skim his throat.
“Yes,” Stiles chokes out. He reaches out for Derek’s jacket, feeling bold enough to maybe slide a hand inside it, to run his palm over that strong chest…
Ohhhh, woahhhh, sweet child of mine!
Derek makes a chuffing sound, and Stiles blinks multiple times before dropping his hand to grapple for his cell phone. “Yo, Dad,” he answers, hoping his voice sounds steadier than he feels.
“Hey kiddo. Just checking on you. It’s ten minutes after your curfew, and I’m going to assume you aren’t even in your car yet, because I know you’re not stupid enough to talk and drive.”
“Nope, not in my car.” And yeah, Stiles knows he just busted himself for being over curfew. “Isaac had a rough night,” he lies. “I’m headed out. Derek is just walking me to my Jeep now.” He gives Derek a rueful smile and climbs into the driver’s seat. He turns the ignition, so his dad can hear the truth. “See?”
“Mmm hmm. Drive careful, son.”
“I will. Bye, Dad.” Stiles hangs up and tosses his phone on the passenger seat. He’s almost too nervous to find Derek’s gaze again, but somehow, he does. “Uh…”
Derek’s mouth curves upward, and he fills Stiles’ car doorway. “Text me when you get home.”
Stiles nods. “I will.”
Derek closes his door for him, and Stiles drives away before he does something stupid like call his Dad back with a flimsy excuse about Issac before begging Derek to let him spend the night.
Hot water flows over Derek’s body, soothing his muscles, though it does nothing to assuage the heat left behind from his almost kiss with Stiles.
He won’t fool himself, doesn’t bother denying it. He was about to take Stiles’ mouth right up against his damn Jeep, only the interruption of the sheriff’s call stopping him from pressing his body to Stiles’ to wrap the boy up so completely he’d never find his way out from Derek.
Mine. Protect. Possess.
One of his hands drifts downward as he thinks of the way Stiles had licked his lips after Derek had scented him, the boy smelling deliciously of nerves and arousal and need.
“Derek!” Isaac’s scream pierces his fantasy, so abruptly that the water may as well have run cold.
Derek’s eyes fly open. His beta’s voice is laced with fear as he runs into the bathroom. “Derek!” Issac cries.
Derek vaults out of the shower, hastily wrapping a towel around his waist. “What? What’s wrong?”
“St-…it’s…they…took him, they-“
“Issac!” Derek curls strong fingers around his beta’s biceps. “Breathe, pup. Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Stiles,” Isaac blurts. “They took Stiles.”
Derek’s eyes flash red, and he keeps his claws in by sheer force of will so as not to harm his beta. “Who? Who took him??”
Isaac shakes his head, tears streaming down his face. “I think…I think Gerard. Allison just called me, saying she heard her dad…maybe I’m wrong, but she-“
“Tell me what she said!”
“She called me while her dad was on the phone with someone else. She was worried, said she swore she heard Stiles’ name, and that her dad sounded…scared. Then through the phone I heard Chris say he hasn’t seen his dad-dad in law-dad-I don’t know! in a while, and that whatever it is was ‘over the top, even for him’.” Isaac looks up at him then, eyes wide. “Derek, he seemed, I mean, not worried, but more…he sounded disturbed. Concerned. Like-“
“Like he’s less worried about Gerard, and more worried about what he’s capable of.” Derek retracts his fangs, calms his eyes. “Get my jacket,” he tells Isaac, already whipping off the towel to throw on a pair of jeans. “And call Allison back. Find out any and every possible place her grandfather could hide someone.”
“St-Stiles, he can’t be…they can’t-“
“Go!” Derek roars.
John claps him on the back. “Am I glad to see you. Here.” He holds out his phone for Derek to read. The text message onscreen is from half an hour ago, shortly after Stiles had left his place.
And the words were so very unlike Stiles.
Hello father! Derek’s taking me west to watch the sunset. Romantic, right? Now I can finally be like all the other couples. Probably won’t be home tonight. Treat yourself to some Wendy’s or something and try not to miss me too much. Oh, and tell Scott I love him!
“Who the hell wrote that?” Derek asks.
“Exactly.” John looks grimly at his phone. “This text is so not Stiles, it’s like…”
“Like he’s doing everything he can to tell you something isn’t right.”
John nods, the lines around his mouth pulled tight. “My kid is a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He’s trying to tell us something.”
“Dammit.” Derek asks the question before he can stop himself. “Why didn’t he text me?” He tries not to squirm under the look John gives him, because Alphas don’t squirm.
“Probably because he knew I have the entire sheriff’s department at my disposal, and I’d also rope you in to help me,” John says wryly. “Whereas you’d go shooting off into the woods alone like the maverick Alpha you are.”
He wasn’t wrong, so Derek didn’t bother denying it. “Isaac told me Allison called him.” Derek relayed what Isaac had told him. “He’s following up on her lead now.” He knows his earlier outburst had done nothing to comfort his beta, but Isaac had still done as he’d been told, and even amongst the fear for Stiles coiling in his gut, Derek had felt a shot of pride for his beta as well.
After the situation Derek had rescued him from, Isaac had become loyal to a fault; not only to him, but to anyone who showed the slightest interest in taking care of him…like Stiles. Stiles, their constant. Their strength.
Derek refocuses. Stiles was a nurturer, always threading a calming hand through Isaac’s hair, or cuddling him on the couch, murmuring a litany of safety that fell easily from his -oh, so pretty- lips, words that didn’t come as easily to Derek.
And the sheriff, well. He’d stepped in more times than not, keeping Isaac overnight to keep him out of the abusive hands of his father, letting him have endless sleepovers with Stiles for the same reason. Derek had even seen the sheriff with bloody knuckles on the same day Isaac’s father had happened to be sporting a particularly colorful jaw. John Stilinski was a protector, a fighter, and Derek respected the hell out of him.
Derek hoped that someday he’d have the guts to prove his feelings for Stiles, and then maybe the sheriff would feel the same way towards him.
“Every sentence in this message stands out,” John is saying, and Derek tunes back in. “He never would address me as father, there is no way you’d take him on a romantic date to watch the sunset…” He looks at Derek and lifts one eyebrow.
Derek swallows. “Obviously not.” Because obviously. Not.
“Mm hmm. I’m certain he threw your name in there so I’d reach out to you. And he sure as hell wouldn’t encourage me to eat fast food. That kid watches my diet like a mama watches her baby ducklings.” The sheriff’s voice is steady, but Derek can see the slight tremor in his hands. It’s admirable, almost unbelievable, the extent to which the man can keep himself under control, while his child is missing. “As for Scott…”
“They haven’t talked in almost a year,” Derek fills in, trying not to think of the pained expression that appears on Stiles’ face whenever someone mentions his former best friend.
“Right.” John looks back down his phone. “The question is, what the hell is he trying to tell us?”
“Please, sir, may I have another?” Stiles smirks at his captor through eyes he’s grateful aren’t yet swollen shut. “I didn’t quite feel that last one.”
Gerard backhands him across the face, his ring splitting Stiles’ cheek. “You do have some fire in you, don’t you, boy?”
“Well it’s either that, or heartburn.” Stiles’ head jerks back under the force of another blow. “Ah, yeah. That one felt good.”
“Tell me where he is, Stiles, and I will let you go.”
“Okay. Okay.” Stiles spits out what he’s afraid might be blood. “He lives on Drury Lane.” He levels a look at Gerard. “With the muffin man.”
Gerard twitches with rage, but then he smirks, which Stiles knows can mean nothing good. The hunter rises up from his crouch, and when his back is turned Stiles sucks in a deep breath. Mouthing off is a great cover for the anxiety, but fuck, his face hurts. His head is throbbing, blood is trailing down his cheek into the corner of his mouth, and he can feel swelling beneath his left eye.
Stiles tries not to flinch when he sees Gerard pull on a pair of black gloves. He succeeds in keeping steady, until he sees the sharp blade in Gerard’s hand glint from the only light in the dark, damp, basement. He tugs again, futilely, at the scratchy ropes holding his hands bound behind the chair.
“Tell me something, Stiles.” Gerard strides towards him, casually, like he has all the time in the world. “How long does it take for a werewolf to heal from a cut? Say, oh, maybe one like this?”
Stiles grits his teeth as Gerard scrapes the blade across his chest, blood seeping from the three-inch cut. He looks up into the old man’s evil eyes, his jaw set tight.
“Hmm.” Gerard nods, as if Stiles had said something. “What about a human?” He slices the knife through Stiles’ skin a second time, across the thin skin of his rib cage.
Stiles hides his pained shout behind his next words. “Tell you what,” he says, sucking air between his teeth “Let me go, and when they’re healed, I’ll send you a postcard.”
The next slice, into the flesh of his forearm, hurts the most. It’s long, deep, and Stiles screams as he watches his skin split apart.
Gerard twirls the now bloodied knife. “How about you tell me what I want to know, and I won’t send you back to your father looking like a block of swiss cheese?”
“How about you give…me my own knife, and we make….this a fair fight?” Panic is clawing at him now, working its way up Stiles’ throat, and he bites back the lump of bile, tries to blink away his tears. The pain is getting to him, fogging up his brain and sapping his energy.
Gerard, however, looks like he could last for days. “Tell. Me. What I want to know.”
“No, thank you. I think I’ll -aughh!” Stiles can’t help the wrangled sound he makes from the next cut.
“Tell me!” Slice.
“Where is he?” Carve.
“Go…to Hell.” Slice.
Spit forms at the corners of Gerard’s mouth as he dips his head towards Stiles, the tendons in his neck standing out in anger. “You’d do well to end this now, boy. Give…me…the…Alpha!” Gerard glares at him with crazed eyes, glittering with rage.
Stiles purses his lips to hold in a sob, then takes a long, shuddering breath. “No,” he says, quiet but resolute. “I don’t care what you do to me. I’m never gonna give you Derek Hale.”
Stiles’ scream wrenches through Derek’s heart, piercing his eardrums and enflaming his soul with rage. His eyes flash red, his body crouched in its full wolf shift as he maneuvers the narrow tunnels beneath the Argent’s home.
He bursts into the dark, damp room, the smell of blood and fear and pain invading his nostrils. The scent of his Stiles is there, beneath it all, and Derek latches onto it like an anchor, letting it center him enough that he can focus on the tormentor standing between him and his mate.
“Well,” Gerard Argent drawls. “Here I was trying to force this puny boy to lead me to you, when it turns out that very action is what drew you to my door."
Derek stands on his hindquarters and roars, fangs bared, eyes glinting.
“Der…Derek, move!” Stiles’ warning registers just in time, and Derek crouches low, low enough to dodge the wolfsbane-laced dagger Gerard throws in his direction.
“You think I’d be so ill-prepared, boy?” Gerard rages at him, pulling a pistol from his side.
“Derek! The lights!”
Derek swipes a claw at the cord powering the only lamp in the room, plunging the chamber into darkness.
Darkness in which he can see, and Gerard cannot. Derek darts forward, slashing the ropes that bind Stiles -mate, protect, heal- and forces himself to circle back behind his mate’s captor, even though all he wants to do is pull Stiles close and never let him go.
The sound of spurting blood sends smug satisfaction coursing through Derek’s veins. Gerard’s body slumps lifelessly at his feet, and it’s only Stiles’ whimper that brings him back to his human form, out of his murderous high.
Derek shuts his eyes when he hears footsteps in the hallway, scenting the sheriff as well as his beta. Pride fills him at the actions of his pack, the sheriff flicking on emergency lights while Isaac stands watch over Gerard’s motionless corpse. He rushes over to Stiles, tearing the ropes from his mate’s wrists, wrists rubbed raw and bleeding, then he gathers Stiles gently into his arms, murmuring into his ear.
“You’re safe, Stiles. I’ve got you. Hold on, baby, okay? You’re okay, it’ll be alright.”
Long arms wrap around his neck. “Hurts.”
“I know, baby. I know. Gonna get you fixed up.” He catches the sheriff’s eye, tamps his wolf down enough to let the man hug his son, still enveloped in Derek’s arms. “Gonna make sure no one ever touches you again.” He jerks his head, and his beta obediently falls in line behind them, leaving the sheriff’s deputies to clean up the mess.
“Stiles.” John’s voice is broken, haunted, and Derek once again controls his instincts, the ones that tell him not to let anyone, anyone, touch his mate. John Stilinski would have been- no, he is- an Alpha in his own right, and Derek has no desire to create any animosity between them.
It’s almost as if the sheriff knows, as if he picks up on Derek’s thoughts. “I have to…fuck,” he bites out, and Derek is sure he’s never heard the sheriff swear like that before. “I have to stay. At least until my second gets here.” Derek nods. He gets it, and he hopes his look of gratitude towards the sheriff is enough to convey his thanks for the man’s willingness to keep their supernatural secrets. “Take him to Melissa,” John commands. “I don’t trust anyone else to look after him.”
Derek can’t help the growl that forms in his throat, but it recedes when John clarifies, “No one else medically. I trust you won’t leave his side.”
Derek recognizes the statement for the directive that it is. He nods, hitching a now passed out Stiles up higher in his arms. “No one will touch him. I swear on my life.”
“And mine,” Isaac chimes in. Derek’s heart swells once more.
The sheriff nods. “Go. Now.”
Derek tightens his grip on Stiles, and does as he’s told.