“I heard something out there,” Cora announces, flopping down on the couch. “I’m not in the mood to chase something down, especially if it turns out to just be a deer, but there was definitely something in the woods.”
“How far out were you?” Derek sighs. Frankly, he’s not in the mood for a deer-chase either.
“Not far,” Cora says. “This thing was pretty deep into our territory. I couldn’t smell it from where I was, but something was crashing through the trees about half a mile off, and it sounded like it was in a hurry.”
“Maybe it was an omega,” Isaac offers, not bothering to pull his eyes from the TV screen.
“You think an omega would come onto our land?” Derek asks. “They’d know better than that, wouldn’t they?”
“Maybe he’s not from around here,” Cora suggests, and Derek can tell she’s quickly becoming absorbed in whatever show Isaac has on. Meaning, of course, that this woodland whatever-it-is is about to become Derek’s problem.
“So you think I should check it out?” he asks, already standing.
“And I’m guessing neither of you wants to give me a hand?”
“I’m sure Boyd or Erica would be happy to help.”
“Actually, fair warning. You probably don’t wanna disturb those two right now,” Isaac says, smirking.
Derek makes a face, and mutters, “Fine. But if it’s just a deer or something, you guys are gonna be the ones doing dishes tonight.”
Cora flicks a hand at him, as if to say whatever, just go, and with a roll of his eyes he does, heading out the front door and into the woods.
Normally, Derek loves a run in the woods. It’s a good way to clear his head, and to give himself some alone time. Occasions like this, though, are always just annoying. So far, every time it’s either been some type of animal, a visitor from a neighboring pack, and one time even a lost human whose car had broken down. Never once has there been a threat on their territory. Not since Kate, who, unfortunately, they had invited willingly. But after her, they’d learned to be wary of any potential threats, and so they check things like this out. Or more specifically, Derek does.
He gets about a quarter mile out before he stops to sniff. There’s nothing in the air, no indication that anyone’s been here recently except Cora. That means they’re probably running away from the house, not towards it, and that Derek can probably just let them go. He won’t though, just to be safe.
He slows down a little, more at a jog, and tries to enjoy being outside. He’s been having a long week, and it’s probably good for him to get out anyway. He takes a deep breath, enjoying the scent of the trees and fresh air as it fills his nose.
Then he hears it.
Faint and faraway, but clearly there. Something is indeed running through the woods, apparently caring much more about speed than stealth. That once again increases the chance that it’s not running towards the Hale house, but away from it, or away from something, though Derek doesn’t know what. He himself is probably the scariest thing on the property, and no matter how much Cora likes to tease him about it, he’s really not a terribly scary guy.
Derek tries to listen for something it could be running from, but he doesn’t hear anything else. He changes course to curve around and hopefully cut off whatever’s so desperate to get away.
As he nears, his senses are assaulted. The acrid stench of fear in the air is overwhelming, and it’s accompanied by blood. The thing’s heartbeat is racing, and it’s a wonder it hasn’t given itself a heart attack by now.
Either an extremely perseverant animal had been attacked, or Derek’s going to need to call the cops soon.
Not that the ones around here are any help. This land is under your jurisdiction, Alpha Hale. You’re free to deal with infractions however you see fit. What idiots.
If it is a person, he figures he should probably help, or at least see what the hell they’re running across his territory and bleeding for.
“Hello?” he calls.
Maybe someone in one of the neighboring territories had gotten in a fight. Shouldn’t their alpha be out here too, then? Unless it is an alpha? But that seems unlikely, unless something’s gone very, very wrong.
“Who’s out here?” he tries again.
The fervent breaking of branches comes to a crashing halt. Apparently they heard him, this time. If they had missed him the call of an alpha the first time, either it’s not a werewolf, or they’re even more desperate than Derek thought.
“Come out,” Derek continues loudly. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m alpha of-“
He cuts off as the creature starts running again, even more fiercely than before. He sighs, and decides he’s tired of the chase. He picks up the pace, dodging through the trees in the direction of the noise, ready to head it off.
He hears it coming around a bend and steps out from behind a tree. The thing—a man, he notes, and not a werewolf—collides with Derek’s chest.
Derek stumbles back a little, not having expected to be hit with such force, while the man crashes to the ground on his back, where he quickly scrambles to prop himself up on his elbows.
Derek regains his footing and stands over the man, who can’t be more than twenty. He has brown hair and what might be moles, but it’s hard to tell past the layer of blood and grime he’s covered in. At the very least, Derek’s sure they’ve never met before.
He looks up at Derek with wide eyes, his entire body trembling.
“I’m Derek Hale,” Derek begins again, letting his eyes bleed red to make his point. “Alpha of the-”
The man cuts him off once more, this time by passing out. From the looks of him, it’s a wonder it didn’t happen sooner.
Derek frowns and stoops to pick him up; even a trespasser deserves to have his wounds looked at, and this guy seems to have a multitude of them.
Well, Derek thinks as he starts trekking back towards the house. At least it wasn’t a deer.