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The silent path

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Derek had never been a very talkative guy if you asked his pack's opinion. Quite the contrary. Scott was the first to point out the fact whenever Deek decided to show up to one of their pack meetings, standing in the shadow (Stiles called it lurking), almost brooding. The rest of the little company were always eager to approve their young alpha, encouraging the big bad wolf to participate a little more, to express his opinion, and to use his words, because Stiles didn't think growling was a real way to communicate. Derek never condescended to answer. Sometimes he would join them on the sofa, other times he would stay leaning of the wall, rolling his eyes and ignoring the infuriating puppies. On some rare occasions, he had just left when they had been a little too pushing, bringing incomprehension and exasperation among them.

What the young wolves didn't realised was that Derek had been mute for almost seven years before meeting them. His oral communication was rusty and he still had real struggles forcing himself into talking. The reason of this problem was not a big mystery : like all of the things fucked up in his life, the fire and Kate were the grim knot, the never-ending source of traumas, nighmares, issues, and guilt. The fire had not only destroyed his family, his pack, his home, but it had killed him in a way. The young and lively boy have been imolated, replaced by a shadow, a wan man, tortured by his guilt and his memories.

The Day was still vivid, like it had happened yesterday. The way his mother kissed his hair before he left for school, the aprehension he felt because of this math test, Jordan moking him in the cafeteria, and the harsh, bright and sudden pain rushing through his body and mind, right in the middle of his sport class, leaving him breathless and curved around himself, worried voices and grabbing hands surrounding him. He couldn't remember how he succeed in pushing back the pain, and find the strengh to get up, but the moment after he was running, without even worrying about the all wereworlf secret, throwing himself toward his home, and his dying pack.

When he finally arrived, his clothes torned by brambles and branches, firemen were already there, running and shouting. He had stopped dead in his track, contempling with bare horror the flammes , listening to the horrid cries of his traped familly, feeling them disapear from his mind. The burning smell was aggressive, but despite of it, he could smell a familiar scent. Kate had been there. Kate, who he had trusted, Kate who was not like all hunters. Kate who had betrayed him.

And he had loose it, completely. He couldn't remember, and he was so thankful for that, but he had read on the police report later that they had to contain him, preventing him from entering the fire, four men barely being enough, while he teared his throat shouting and crying. In the end, it was Laura who calmed him, holding him down, and ordering him to stop, to stay put. He had obeyed. After all, she was the alpha now.

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When he regained conscious, he was in a hospital bed. A soft morning light was coming through the window, announcing an early spring. The usual medication smells were floating all around, agressing his nose, mixted with a familiar one, Laura' scent. All of that stained by a burning smell.

He din't stir, while all the memory of the events came back to him. He coudn't figure out how he end up here, but he knew why. In his mind, in the place where all his pack members had had been there was now a raw hole. He could only feel the strong presence of Laura, and a weak one, hardly there. They were dead. And it was his fault. He trusted Kate, gave her informations and the opportunity to strike. And she took it. Derek felt the burning tears in his eyes, falling slowly on his cheeks. His throat was so tightened it was hurting. He felt so helpless and miserable that he didn't hear the door when it opened. He realized he was not alone when a hand fell on his shoulder, making him jump in surprise. His sister was standing near the bed, with a grim face, her eyes red from crying. She didn't talk at first, starring at him. He looked away, unable to bear her gaze, the shame nibling his mind.

Finally, the thick silence was broked by her soft voice.

“How are you Derek ? I was really worried when you didn't wake up right away.”

How was he ? He couldn't believe she even bothered asking. What kind of answer did she think she would obtain ? A spark of anger emerged in the blurred cloud of his sorrow. Of course he was not okay, and he didn't even know if he could be one day.

He shrugged, not feeling enough in control to answer verbally. Laura sighed, visibly tired, not knowing what to read in the gesture. The silence settled once again, incomfortable. It seems she was willing to talk with him, to clarify things, to plan. It was her role now to cary all this burden. But in Derek's eyes, it seems like she was unsured how to do it, how to be both the Alpha and his sister, how to be strong and firm while being also comforting and maternal with him. It was a thing Talia, their mother and Alpha, had always been able to do. And now Laura had to do it. Derek was not sure he could bear it, seeing his mum's shadow in Laura.

He was pushed back in the present by his sister's voice, more maintain than before.

“We have to talk” she declared, looking at him with serious eyes. He nodded, feeling his stomash dropped with anxiety. She knew what he have done and she was going to kick him out of the pack. His fear must have shown on his face, and she softened her expression, while passing a hand through his hair.

“Calm down, puppy, everything is gonna be alright. Eventually. We just have a long road in front of us, and we can't let the grief stepping in. It is a matter of survival. Okay ?”

Again he nodded, feeling slightly relieved.

“Good” she started again “To begin, Uncle Peter is still alive.” At this word, Derek felt a wave of joy invade him, but it was fast crushed by what Laura had still to say.

“He is in a deep coma, with most of his body badly burned. Doctors don't think he will be able to wake up. Hell, Deaton don't think he will heal. His flesh is way too damaged.”

A soft whine escaped Derek's mouth. Again, she gently rubbed his hair, in an attempt to comfort him.

“I know sweety, I know” she whispered him. She waited a little, before continuing.

“Now, I want you to be very careful with what I am going to say. The fire was not an accident. It was provoked. It means only one thing : hunters. And I think it was the Argents.”

Derek stiffed, waiting for the fall.

“We have to be carefull. They will try to finish the job once they realise we are still alive.”

Not a word about Kate. Laura din't know about his role in the fire, about his betrayal. He was beginning to feel sick. She din't know, she was not going to reject him. And he was culprit. She was considerate, nice with him, and he didn't deserve any of it. He clenched his fists around the sheets, his claws slowly piercing his palms, while anger and anguish rushed on him.

“Calm down Derek ! I will never let them hurt you ! I promize !”

Laura was cradling him in her arms, slowly roking him, in an attempt to appease him. She mistaked the guilt and selfhate for fear realized Derek, a little stunned by his reaction. He let her hold him, taking comfort in the heat her body emited, in her steady heart beat, in the feeling of her, alive. They stayed interlaced for some minutes, before she let him go.

“Alright ? “ she asked him. He gave her a weak smile to which she answer.

“Okay. Now, here what is going to happen. You are not an adult, and I am barely one, even if I am legal. So the government is not going to entrust me with you right away. For now, you are going in a foster familly, while I take care of all the details to keep you with me, and also of all the papers about our family. Our lawyer doesn't think it will take a lot of time. So we just have to be patient and all will be fine. Do you understand ?”

Derek was a little taken aback. He had never though it would be a possibility to be separate from his family, and now that he had lost the majority of it, it was even harder to accept. But Laura was looking at him with this glint in her eyes, showing him how much she needed him to understand she couldn't do more, that she was barely containing her own pain to be able to take care of him, of them, and he had to do everything he could to help her, even being apart from her.
Slowly, he nodded, and she let out a sight, relieved.

“The doctor is going to examine you, and you will be discharged. The foster family is going to be here soon, and you will go with them.”

She stopped talking, looking at him with sad eyes. Derek examined her with attention, noticing that she looked very tired. He noticed she was wearing the same clothes that the day before. And she had a french braid, the exact way her mother liked to do her hair, the way Laura had always abhored, complaining it gave her a funny head. It was a sad detail decided Derek, with detachment. She raised an interogative eyebrow, maybe noticing his examination. He shaked his head in answer, not willing to speak about what he saw in her right now. She seems to accept it and she looked at her watch, before talking again.

“I am sorry but I have to go now. I have a meeting with our lawyer and a judge. I promess I will try to come by as soon as I can.” She lean down to kiss him on the cheek.

“Try to be a cute and nice boy with the foster familly, okay little monkey ?” She added with a taunting smile, while she gently tickled his ribs, at the huge outrage of the so called monkey. He responded with a grumpy growl, which made her laugh. It was strange to be able to joke around with the currend situation, realized Derek, while Laura left the room, waving her hand.
It was also at this moment he realized he had not talked once during all the conversation, and that he was not even sure he was able to do so. Slowly, he bend his head, looking at his intertwined hands. He was so fucked up.

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At first, nobody really realized he had stopped talking, not even the foster family, not even Laura. They were not expecting from a traumatized teenager he started sharing and babling just after an such awful event. Instead, they let him be, giving him time and space. The family which welcomed him was composed of three members : the parents, Dalya and Neil, and their 3 years old son, Andrew. Derek liked them, and it was a shame they met in those circumstances. He had his own bedroom, a all new set of clothes, and even, at his great shame, a cudly toy, in a wolf shape under the suggestion of a laughing Laura, that Dalya had bought for him. She did'nt seem to understand that a 16 year old teenager didn't need such comfort. Or maybe she though it was cute ? Or hilarious ?

All in all, the situation was settling down, and it could have been worse, like Laura reminded him quite often. She was making progress with the papers to take back Derek with her, and also with those for the heritage. Peter was stable, and Derek went to see him twice, despite the heavy sadness it always caused to him.

But days passed and Derek wasn't talking. And eventually, people started to confront him about it. His foster parents were trying to make him talk, engaging converstaion and asking questions. It led nowhere. Derek could hear them talking when he was in his bedroom, worring and considering the help of a therapist. The young wolf was not really happy about the idea, and made it quite clear when they started to explain to him he had to go. He simply refused to go out his room the entire day, not even looking at them when they tried to convince him. Finally, they gave up, Dalya thinking he needed more time, and Neil agreeing.

In the end, he was forced to go, his sister not accepting a no from him.
She had also tried to make him speak when she had realized the problem. She had used the same methods, talking, questioning. But she had not the same patience. She had started to plead, obviously upset by his mutism. And then came the anger. She shouted at him, menaced him, cried, and menaced again. Eventually she did the only thing he could not ignore. In a burst of anger, she used her Alpha status, her eyes glowing red, her face shifting and a menacing growl escaping her.

“Talk !” she shouted, sending an impulse through their link. It reached him violently, the order squeezing him into obedience. He opened his mouth, on the verge of talking. He could feel the words jostling, forming in the back of his throat. And then the nausea striked him, making him bend, his breath fasted and laborious. His knees hit the floor and, eased by the loud noise of his blood resounding in his ears, he could hear the worried voice of Laura, already hugging him, telling him that he could stay silent, and that she was sorry. It was the last time she succumbed to her anger and ordered him to talk. But instead, she asked him to go to the therapist, and he did not find the strengh to refuse when she was on the verge of tears.

It didn't go wrong. But it din't go well either. He spent two months going to daily sessions. At first he really tried. But he didn't like the way the doctor talked to him, with a paternalistic and all knowing expression, asking for too much. His foster familly and his sister eventually accepted his decision to not going back.

It was not always easy to communicate but Derek managed. He was nodding and making faces, which cause the hilarity of the young son of his foster parents. Derek din't know why but it made him happy to see him giggling and so he created a large repertory of expression just for him. He was really found of the little demon, spending all his days with him, since he didn't go to school anymore. He also started to leave writing notes to people, illustrating them with funny drawings, that never failed to ravish Laura. It was of course an attempt to ease her worry, to show her he was fine despite his incapacity to verbally communicate.

 

He was slowly settling down in his new life when Laura finally got the right to have Derek with her, about five months after the fire. And she decided righ away to move to New-York. To say Derek was upset was en euphemism. After the fire, he had a really hard time to ajust to the situation, to his guilt, to the burning emptiness in his mind where his familly had had been. He had been suffering a lot but Dalya, Neil and the little Andrew had been somehow able to help him though this. They were so different from his own familly but also so loving and warm that they had succeed in coming through his armor, and help him. They accepted him, accepted his sister, encouraging her to bring Derek out, which was quite handy during full moons. He was learning to love them.

Now Laura wanted him to leave them behind, and he could felt his heart shattered the moment she announced him they were going to New York. She had been on a trip for two weeks and had just returned. He was so happy to see her and she was obviously feeling the same, a bright smile illuminating her face when she saw him in the kitchen where he was making hot chocolate for Andrew and he. She had launch herself to hug him, barely sparing the hot mug he was holding. He returned the hug, leaning in it with happiness.

“I missed you little monkey !” she said fondly, while ruffling his hair. He respond with a brigh smile, clapping her hand off his head. Then he proceed to ask her where the hell she had been, writing impatiently on his notebook. When she read it, her smile faltered, slowly replaced by a serious expression. Derek knew right away he was not going to like the answer. She took a profound inspiration, before announcing bluntly what she had in mind.

“I was in New-York, preparing our move there. We are leaving in two days”.

Shocked, he felt the air leaving his lungs. He was a little dizzy. Leaving Beacon Hill ? He grew up here. His family's ashes were here. Peter was here. Dalya, Neil and Andrew were here. It was not possible. He started to frantically shake his head, anger and distress rising. Laura rose her hands, to calm him down.

“I am sorry Derek. You have to understand me ! We don't have a choice. If we stay here, we are going to die ! They are going to kill us ! They could burn down this house like they did to ours !”

Those last words froze Derek. He looked at her with raw horror. They were a danger, they had to leave. A awful image of three huddled up bodies, burned to bones appeared in his head, making him sick and shivering. Her sister came closer to him, and tentatively she started rubbing his arms, trying to repel his tremor. He looked right in her eyes, his iris flashing a bright blue, before he nods gravely. She stared at him, so strong and sad. They understood each others, and words were useless.

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Leaving was hard, and not only for him. Dalya had red eyes, Andrew was crying and Neal was barely holding it together. They were all assembled around the camaro Laura had just bought. Dalya had spent the morning helping Derek with his luggages, giving him gifts. He particulary loved the photography, where the fourth of them were. Neil had took it one morning, in the kitchen, while they were taking their breakfast. They were smiling, laughing at little Andrew failling to eat cleanly his porridge, putting more of it on his clothes than in his mouth. A quiet and happy morning, far far away from the mood they were now.

They exchanged long hugs, promesses to keep in touch, and then they had to leave. When Laura started the car, a sound on the window lured their attention. Dalya was at Derek's side, holding the wolf's cuddly toy. Derek openned the window and took it, giving a sad smile to the woman.

He fell asleep two hours later, lulled by the music Laura had put, craddling the wolf against his chest.