By the time he was well within the trees, he had torn through the singlet and shorts, his body thickening and lengthening, fur covering his body as he sprinted away. No longer bipedal, claws digging into the ground for purchase as he sped away, desperate for space.
Had he chosen so badly? Was he so in need of Pack that he had inadvertently chosen a potential mate that was a traitor?
The scarlet-haired bitch would die – he would make sure of that. As would all of them that had been involved in his incarceration.
But – Stiles. How could he find out if what he thought was right? Surely there should have been a sign, something he saw or sensed that told him?
Was Stiles the kind of dark and ugly that could kill his father? That thought brought him to a halt, panting heavily for breath. He looked around, checking where he was and realised that he had come across a site that he had read about as his human self but never found.
He padded towards the giant tree stump in the middle of the clearing, sniffing the air for intruders, before coming to a halt next to it. It smelled a little of decay, moss and mud all over its trunk, but it also felt welcoming, as if it had been waiting for him. He climbed on top of it, turning in a few circles before coming to a comfortable lying position. Burrowing his muzzle beneath his tail, he closed his eyes and tried to think.
Stiles was not a traitor.
Panic had made him run without question, but he was not that wrong. Everything about the young man told him that family meant far too much to him to have committed such an atrocity as patricide. The Argents, yes, but not Stiles. Perhaps he should take a step back from him, although everything within him said that he needed to keep Stiles close – that he should solidify their bond. This needed more thought, more reasoning than he was capable of in this state – as he was, he acted completely by instinct. Some space would be good.
He had begun to allow himself to consider revealing this side to Stiles – to himself – but the words hurled at him by the Argents whirled through his mind. Monster. Creature. Demon. What if his pack rejected him? Could he take such a risk? But better to know sooner than to give more of himself over and then see a look of horror on Stiles’ face. Have Derek and Cora pull away from him.
The whisper came from nowhere and he lifted his head, looking around the clearing but sensing nothing dangerous.
Beside his paws, a green shoot appeared from the top of the stump, brushing almost delicately against him. Another, this one with tiny, razor-sharp thorns, shuddered into existence. Trusting to instinct, he allowed the thorn to prick him, the soft tendril to sip at the tiny wound.