“Isaac should have been happy for Derek, for the whole Hale family in fact. Everyone around him seemed to be, as they prepared every little detail for the big day. Even Cora didn’t stop smiling as she and Laura had what must’ve been the 5th fitting for their bridesmaid dresses. Usually Cora hated to wear dresses and would rather turn up in sweatpants to an official event. But not this time.
Derek Hale was getting married to Kate Argent in less than a week and even though the marriage was nothing but an arrangement to strengthen their alliance, both families seemed to have convinced themselves that this was the fairytale marriage of the century. It was almost surreal for Isaac to watch Talia and Victoria speak about such trivial things as the table decorations or the seating arrangements when they were usually in charge of their families’ survival.
To Isaac it all just seemed bizarre and he couldn’t shake off the feeling that his tie would eventually suffocate him. But he kept still throughout his fitting, even as he was repeatedly pricked by needles. The slight physical pain at least distracted him from his heartache for a short moment. Ever since the night Derek had told him about the marriage and asked for Isaac to be his best man he just couldn’t overcome that sickening feeling in his chest.
But how could he have said no to his best friend who was asking for support in such a life changing moment? And still, Isaac couldn’t stop thinking that he should have refused, should have told Derek to call the wedding off and not to give his life away for a political alliance. Even if that alliance was meant to bring together the two biggest families in the supernatural world and keep up their facade of peace. But in that moment he just couldn’t do it. Isaac had barely been able to utter the words ‘Yes, of course.’ as he had felt his blood run cold and his stomach tie itself up in knots.
“You’re awfully pale, Isaac. Sure you’re alright?”
Laura's voice ripped Isaac out of his memory and forced him to focus his eyes on the room again, before zoning in on her face. She seemed genuinely concerned but Isaac hoped to just shake her off with a roll of his eyes and his usual wit.
“I’m just sweating all the way through my jacket, that’s all.”
Even while he was speaking he could tell that Laura didn’t buy it. And it wasn’t really a surprise that lies didn’t work in a house full of werewolves, but he had just hoped that Laura was too distracted by the preparations to really care.
Instead of backing off she crossed her arms in front of her chest and gave him that scowl that never failed to remind him of Talia. There was no doubt she would take her mother's place as the Hale Alpha one day. So maybe it also shouldn’t be a surprise that she already had enough influence over the betas to get her way with them, when she really set her mind to it, just like she did now with Isaac.
Isaac hesitated for a moment, but finally gave in and said: “Let’s take a walk after we’re done here.”
Laura just nodded and walked back to her tailor after giving Isaac one last long look. Isaac squirmed under it and couldn’t help but shoot Peter a quick glance, just to notice that he seemed to have watched that whole scene. But as usual he didn’t say a word and his expression didn’t give away the smallest clue to what he was thinking, so Isaac just went back to staring out of the large window ahead of him, wondering what he would tell Laura later.
Once the tailor finally let Isaac get out of his suit and back into normal clothes that didn’t feel like they were made to constrain him, he fled the room in a desperate need for some space and fresh air.
Laura later found him sitting on the small wooden jetty at the pond behind their house. Isaac was leaning against a wooden pole with one of his legs hanging down the side of the jetty as he was staring out over the water. His foot was only inches away from the surface as it slowly dangled back and forth. Even though he had been able to hear Laura's steps ever since she had set foot into the backyard, he only turned his head to look at her as she sat down in front of him.
Neither of them spoke for a while and Isaac could have honestly spent the whole afternoon like that. He preferred silent company over spilling out his heart. But with the Hales that usually wasn't an option, unless it was Derek. So it was only a matter of time before Laura spoke up.
“You're not happy that Derek is marrying,” she stated matter-of-factly and there was really no point in denying it.
“She's an Argent. And he deserves better.”
As Isaac answered he thought he saw a small nod, but wasn't entirely sure if it wasn't just his mind playing tricks on him, because he just wanted someone to agree with him. But then Laura confirmed it a moment later.
“I don't trust her either. Nothing good has ever happened at the hands of Kate Argent. But it's hard to argue with mother. And Derek wouldn't dare to question her. At least not without a good reason.”
Laura’s eyes were suddenly piercing into his, as if she knew all about the feelings Isaac was so desperately trying to keep hidden. But there was just no point in making himself vulnerable without any hope for it to be worth it and so Isaac decided to ignore her look and the feeling of being caught red-handed.
“Derek won't believe me any more than he'd believe you. In fact, he'll most likely think I'm paranoid if I tell him his bride might actually just be in it to kill us all.”
For a moment it seemed like Laura was just going to drop the topic right there. But Isaac really should have expected what came next.
“He might change his mind if he knows you love him,” she said with a tone that was just a bit too casual.
Isaac wanted to ask how she knew, why she thought it would change anything for Derek and if she knew something about her brother’s feelings that Isaac didn't. But none of those questions left his lips. Isaac had sworn himself not to get his hopes up in regards to his feelings for Derek. He was the only male heir of the Hale Pack after all, and while it didn't mean as much to the female-led pack itself, it still mattered in regards to their politics. Derek could marry another pack’s Alpha - or like in this case the next in line to lead the Argents. Isaac and his feelings meant nothing in the big scheme of things.
So all Isaac could do was to get away from the glimmer of hope that Laura was hinting at. And the only way to get away was to push himself up and leave. But Laura seemed to have expected exactly that from him and swiftly grabbed his wrist to stop him.
“Let go of me, Laura.”
There was a growl underlying Isaacs words and he tried to pull his hand back but Laura was simply stronger than him. Even when she stood up as Isaac was still trying to pull away, she never loosened her grip
“Isaac, just listen to us. We've got... well, not proof, but something close enough to it.”
Isaac frowned at her use of the word ‘us’ and already opened his mouth to ask what she meant, when suddenly Cora stepped out from behind him. Her arms were crossed in front of her chest and her look was unusually serious. Isaac couldn’t help but take a step back from the two Hale sisters, wondering when Cora had joined them and also dreading whatever he was about to learn from them.
“What do you mean?”, he asked anyway, sensing that he wouldn’t forgive himself if he just ran away now.
The sisters exchanged a quick look and after Laura gave an encouraging nod, Cora answered him.
“I spoke to Allison Argent. Please don’t ask me why. She doesn’t know the whole plan, but enough to be sure that Gerard is planning to kill us all and that’s all the wedding is for. But we can’t just go to Mom with it. Allison already went through enough danger to warn me. And after what happened with the last wedding, she wouldn’t trust us anyway.”
The whole time she spoke, Cora had looked Isaac directly in the eyes, showing him that she didn’t have anything to hide. And while he was still training to identify when people were lying, he just knew that she wasn’t. Not that he’d truly believe either of them would lie about something so serious.
Of course Isaac remembered what had happened the last time one of the Hales was supposed to marry and there was no doubt that it would influence Talia’s trust. It had been two years ago, when Laura had been meant to marry for an alliance with Deucalion’s pack. From the get go Laura had protested and done everything to sabotage the future marriage. And Cora was always at her side, fearing that she’d someday face the same fate. Ultimately the girls succeeded, Laura's wedding was blown off and as a result they had almost ended up at war with Deucalion. In all that, Derek had desperately tried to stay neutral, not wanting to defy his mother and alpha, but also understanding his sisters.
Maybe that was why Derek hadn’t tried for a second to get out of his own arrangement, hoping he could at least save his sisters from such a marriage, if he just sacrificed himself.
The thought alone made Isaac sick and he realized that he had already been convinced. Isaac had never believed that the Argents could be anything but deceitful and vile. To plot a mass murder in a church sounded exactly like something Gerard Argent would do.
The sisters were obviously waiting for some kind of reaction from Isaac, ready to keep talking in case he wasn’t believing them yet. But Isaac just sighed and then asked:
“So what do you expect me to do now?”
Laura's shoulders relaxed noticeably when she realized Isaac didn’t need anymore convincing and Cora just gave her a look that said ‘told you so’.
“Just talk to Derek. If he’ll listen to anyone, it’ll be you. And he’s with the Argents all the time now. Maybe he noticed something already or he can find out what they are planning,” Laura explained, the concern for her brother unmistakable in her voice.
“Yeah, or maybe he at least comes to his senses and realizes he’s literally about to marry Satan,” Cora said much more bluntly but Isaac knew that she was just as worried. “And you know, if he is in love with someone else, mom might even consider that.”
Isaac felt a stab in his chest at that last statement. He was aware that both of them had now implied that Derek could possibly love him, but Isaac still refused to get his hopes up. And what mattered right now was to save Derek and their pack. Not Isaac’s unrequited feelings. So he agreed to talk to Derek as soon as possible but also made it clear to not just rely on his unlikely success.
“We’re working on it, Isaac, I promise. But we have to get solid proof, that neither mother nor the Argents can deny,” Laura said, stepping forward and grabbing Isaac’s hand to give it a firm squeeze. “We just need more time.”
But time was another thing they did not have. The wedding was happening just a few days from now and it sure was no coincidence that Derek seemed to be constantly busy. He was running from one appointment to the next, always with Peter or some Argent right at his heels, like a mean little watchdog that would bark at anything suspicious.
So for Isaac there was really only one opportunity to speak to Derek without having an unwanted audience. And that was two nights after his conversation with Laura and Cora, when Derek was finally sleeping at home again and Isaac could sneak out of his own room and into Derek's.
The room was dark except for the dim moonlight shining through a gap in the curtains, but Isaac didn’t have a problem to make out Derek's face and the way he silently lifted the covers to signal Isaac that he was welcome. So Isaac didn’t hesitate to cross the room and get a hold of the covers as he slid beneath them to lay down right next to Derek's warm body.
As kids they had shared their beds more often than either of them cared to admit, so their initial silence was comfortable. But that didn’t mean Derek couldn’t sense that Isaac was here for a reason and so eventually he extended his arm again and gently placed it on Isaac's chest to get his attention.
Reflexively Isaac laid his own hand onto Derek's and averted his gaze from the high ceiling to look Derek in the eyes for the first time in days. It was hard to read the emotions behind those green irises, but Isaac just knew that Derek wasn’t as fine with this marriage as he kept on pretending.
“I’m worried,” Isaac finally spoke up, “about you and our pack. The Argents always mean trouble. I don’t know how you can trust them, Derek.”
Derek huffed softly and his fingers twitched, slightly gripping Isaacs shirt before he replied: “I don’t. But I trust my mother. And sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good.”
A deep frown appeared on Isaac's face and his grip on Derek's hand tightened.
“Sacrifices? Greater good? Do you really believe that crap, Derek? I don’t get what’s the hurry anyway. Why don’t we take time to find out what they really want? You’re not just a thing to give away to the highest bidder. You deserve to be with someone who truly loves you.”
With each sentence Isaac's voice grew louder and at the end he turned onto his side to face Derek directly. But that brought them together so closely that Isaac lost his train of thoughts and he abruptly fell silent. He was sure that Derek could feel his heart hammer away underneath his hand and was scared it would give him away. That Derek would realize Isaac didn’t just mean someone, but himself.
Derek however either didn’t understand or he didn’t let it show, his expression still as hard and unreadable as before. He didn’t give Isaac a single answer, but instead moved his hand out of Isaac’s grip to place it on his neck and pull him in closer. As their foreheads touched Derek closed his eyes and his fingers dug even deeper into Isaac’s short curls.
Every touch was hot on Isaac's skin and he wished so desperately for Derek to hold him tight and make him forget about their grim reality. But deep down Isaac realized that Derek must have felt just as helpless about this situation as the rest of them. If Derek had seen any way out, he would have taken it by now.
In that moment Isaac remembered Cora’s words, how she thought loving someone might save Derek. But there was no way for them to get away with a fake relationship. Even if Derek would agree to pretend to love Isaac, Talia would never buy it. Not so shortly before the wedding and with the ability to detect any lie they’d tell her. So Isaac kept his mouth shut, deciding not to further burden Derek.
All Isaac could do that night was to pull Derek closer, wrap his arms around him and give him the comfort that Isaac needed as well.
When Isaac woke the next morning he found himself alone in Derek’s large bed. The empty space next to him was cold and he had to burrow his face in the pillows to smell Derek's scent as intensely as if he was still lying next to him. While he was lying there, letting the time pass by, the realization that he had failed finally sunk in. Derek was still getting married. He hadn’t bought them any time at all. And since there were less than 48 hours left until the wedding he was unlikely to get another chance to talk to Derek.
Eventually Isaac couldn’t put the day off any longer though. As the best man he had responsibilities, a speech to present to Talia and a final rehearsal to attend. And as much as Isaac wanted to run from this farce and refuse to take any part of it, he just didn’t have a choice. Talia had expectations for him; he had to support the pack and its decisions if he wanted to be a part of it.
And after all, Derek still needed him there.
Before he snuck out of Derek’s room, Isaac walked over to the chair that Derek had tossed a used shirt on. He hesitated only for a moment, before pulling the fabric over his head and taking a deep breath of the familiar scent. It would help him stay calm and get through this day.
To his own relief Isaac made his way back to his room unnoticed by anyone else. Once the door fell shut behind him he let out a breath that he hadn’t been aware of holding and closed his eyes as he leaned back against the door. But the moment of relief was cut short as soon as he took a deep breath. Isaac instantly realized something was off. There was a scent in the air that almost made him gag. It was a mixture of gunpowder and mountain ash. And Argent.
Kate Argent, to be precise.
A low growl escaped his throat at the thought that she had been sneaking around in his room and god knows where else.
“I’ll rip her head off,” he swore under his breath as he pushed himself off the door.
But Isaac didn’t get very far before the door to his ensuite swung open and the devil herself stepped out of it. A predatory smirk lay on Kate’s lips as she swiftly made her way across the room, never once taking her eyes off Isaac.
“I’d like to see you try, little mutt,” Kate scoffed.
This time Isaac’s growl was deeper, more aggressive, and his eyes were glowing bright golden as he felt his fangs extend. But he stayed put nevertheless. Isaac knew better than to openly attack an Argent. They had too many dirty tricks up their sleeves. And the fact that Kate looked almost disappointed at his display of self-control just confirmed that.
“What are you doing here, Argent?” Isaac demanded to know.
But of course Kate didn’t just cooperate and instead countered: “Isn’t the question rather what you’ve been up to in my fiancé’s bedroom all night? And why you’re wearing his shirt?”
The question took Isaac by surprise. He didn’t understand how Kate could even know this, unless she had been here even before Derek woke up. It wasn’t like she could come into and leave the Hale Manor just as she pleased. And it was impossible for any human to sneak into a pack’s home unnoticed. That only left one option: She had someone on the inside that gave her information.
“A gentleman never tells, huh?” she said mockingly and took a few steps towards him. “Look, I don’t really care if Derek has a bitch on the side. That is, unless said bitch starts to make things unnecessarily complicated. Do you understand me, Isaac?”
Now it was Isaac's time to scoff at her and he couldn’t help but raise one hand to show off his claws and let her know that he wasn’t intimidated by her.
“Oh I understand. You don’t want me to stop you from killing everyone in this house.”
Kate answered with a shrill laugh, resembling that of a hyena. A cold shiver ran down Isaac’s spine as he got a glance of her insanity. But he didn’t back down, didn’t give her the satisfaction of scaring him.
Kate stepped closer anyway and this time she pushed him back against the wall with one hand on his chest, while also digging the nails of her other hand into the inside of his forearm.
“I’ll have an eye on you, Isaac,” her voice was low and the pressure of her nails was so strong that it made Isaac wince, “and if you give me even the slightest reason I will make sure you go through hell before I kill you.”
With those words she stepped back, but not without leaving four deep scratch marks on Isaac's arm. He didn’t move until Kate finally closed the door behind herself but once Isaac could let his guard down he gripped his own arm with a groan and looked at the burning, red streaks. It was faint, but he could still smell the remnants of wolfsbane that had been under her nails and were now burning his skin.
Isaac had been able to hide the scratches from everyone but Laura. She noticed him rubbing the inside of his arm as they were talking about his conversation with Derek. And while at first she got furious when Isaac pulled up his sleeve and presented the still visible scratches, it also seemed to give her more determination again. Laura wanted to know every little detail about Isaac's encounter with Kate.
“That bitch,” Laura said angrily as Isaac had told her everything.
But when he asked for news on her and Cora’s plan she actually refused to give him any details. Laura convinced him eventually that it would be best if Isaac wasn’t involved in it and they didn’t meet again before the wedding either. That way Kate wouldn’t get suspicious of the sisters as well and Isaac diverting her attention was giving them an advantage.
And while Isaac hated to be condemned to waiting and hoping for the best, there was nothing he could do about it. Instead he did what he was expected to. He managed to finish his speech about Derek without making it a confession of his love and he picked up the wedding rings from the jeweler, who had restored the heirlooms. He didn’t even give in to the urge to throw the rings into the river as he drove by it.
Isaac also turned up on time to help Derek into his suit on the morning of the wedding. There was nothing celebratory about it though, no anticipation or happiness. Barely a word was spoken all morning and even Derek's parents didn’t feign their happiness about this wedding for once. It felt like they were all preparing for a funeral. Their own funeral.
Derek and Isaac only had one last moment alone, right before the ceremony began. Isaac stood in front of Derek, eyes fixed on the bow-tie he was trying to straighten, as Derek placed his hands on Isaac’s waist, successfully catching his attention.
“Whatever happens from today on, you have to know that I love you, Isaac –”
Isaac thought for a moment that he was imagining this and was simply too stunned to react. He only stared at Derek, eyes wide and mouth slack.
Until Derek finished what he meant to say: “You’re like my brother.”
Instantly a wry grin appeared on Isaac’s lips and he quickly lowered his gaze, not wanting to let Derek see the pain in his eyes.
“Stop being so overdramatic, man,” Isaac did his best to sound lighthearted but Derek’s look told him that he hadn’t succeeded when he looked up again.
Isaac never got any response to it though, since a sharp knock on the door made both of them jump and turn, just to be greeted by Peter’s wide grin.
And as much as they both dreaded it, there was no way to get out of this anymore.
As they entered the church, which was filled to the brim with people from both families, Isaac kept scanning the first few rows for Laura and Cora. But neither of the girls was there, and suddenly he wished he had paid more attention during the planning of the wedding. Were they supposed to walk in with Kate as the bridesmaids? Or was there still a reason to hold on to hope?
There was no way for Isaac to find out right now, so all he could do was walk along the aisle by Derek’s side and take his place right next to him as the organ began to play. The crowd instantly fell silent and many heads turned just in time to see the huge doors at the back of the church swing open and give way to the little procession that entered. In the front was a dark haired girl about Isaac’s age and he just knew it had to be Allison Argent. Right behind her was a beautiful redhead whose grave look didn’t fit the occasion at all. Then again, Isaac himself wasn’t looking any better.
And finally he saw Kate. Objectively she was a beautiful bride. She wore a well fitted gown with beautiful beading and a long train, the veil falling softly over her long, curled hair. But Isaac couldn’t be the only one that thought she looked more like an angel of death who was descending on them. As she was walking down the aisle on Gerard’s arm, Isaac could feel his blood run cold. He clenched his jaw and balled his hands in order to suppress his shift, and a quick glance at Derek showed that he didn’t seem to be faring any better.
Still, there was nothing they could do but watch as Kate finally took her spot right in front of Derek.
There was a moment where both of them just stared at each other. And while Isaac couldn’t see Derek’s expression, he could see Kate all the better and the way she was eying Derek as if he was prey and she was about to snap his neck any second now.
But nothing like that happened. Instead the minister caught their attention with a small cough and as soon as they had both turned towards him, he began the ceremony. Isaac couldn’t listen to a word he was saying. He just kept turning his head, desperately searching for a sign of Derek’s sisters. But with every minute that passed by, Isaac lost more of his hope. The girls must have been caught. Maybe killed. And soon they wouldn’t be the only ones.
“If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak or forever hold his peace.”
It were those words of the minister that finally caught Isaac’s attention again and the brief second of hope they gave him were enough to let him speak up.
“I love you,” Isaac said firmly into the silence of the church. He could hear his own voice echo from the walls as he took a step forward to take hold of Derek’s hand. “I’m completely and utterly in love with you. Please don’t get married.”
The silence held for all but two seconds. It was like a storm broke loose after that and Isaac could hear Gerard’s furious shouting and Talia hissing his name on top of all the murmurs and whispers. He didn’t need to see his alpha to feel the pull of her red, glowing eyes. But all Isaac focused on was Derek and the way he looked at him, the way his heartbeat sped up and he suddenly squeezed his hand painfully hard.
“You do?” Derek’s voice was barely more than a whisper but Isaac didn’t hesitate to answer it with a determined “Yes.”
The next thing Isaac felt were sharp claws digging into his neck and forcing him onto his knees. Peter was standing right behind him, cold blue eyes drilling into Isaac’s as he forced him to bare his throat.
Derek had instantly shifted and roared at Peter, obviously ready to fight him, but before he could do anything Talia stepped behind Isaac and stopped her son in his tracks. The moment she was sure Derek would stay put, she placed her hand on Peter's and pulled it off Isaac’s neck. With a hiss Isaac fell forward, just to be caught by Derek’s arms and pulled back up on his legs in one swift motion. Derek didn’t let go of Isaac’s waist though and neither of them made any move to step away from each other as they faced their Alpha.
Talia’s eyes were still glowing red and it was evident that she was furious. Isaac could vividly see himself becoming an omega, if they even made it out of this church alive, that was. But just as Talia took a deep breath to speak, the doors of the church were thrown open with a loud bang and all heads shot to the person responsible.
It was Laura.
And she wasn’t alone. Well technically. Because with one hand she was dragging an unconscious body behind her. Her once beautiful, peach gown was ripped and bloody in places and as she walked down the aisle Isaac realized she was barefoot as well. Isaac would have almost laughed, hadn’t he still been terrified and overwhelmed by the drastic turn of events in these past few moments.
All eyes followed Laura until she finally came to a stand in front of her mother and let the limp body sink to the ground at Talia's feet.
“He just finished drawing a circle of mountain ash around this church so we could all burn down in it,” Laura said loud enough for everyone to hear. Instantly the room was filled with voices again, and some growling as well this time. It was evident that the Argents were suddenly very uncomfortable in their seats, and all that kept the werewolves from attacking was Talia's unwavering calmness. They wouldn’t attack unless their alpha told them to.
When Kate quickly stepped away from the altar and thus the Hales, Talia's eyes finally found Gerard.
“So this was your plan all along?”
The alpha said this with a calmness that was unsettling considering the circumstances. Gerard’s face on the other hand had taken on a dangerously red colour and his hand had moved behind his back, obviously holding onto a weapon. But it was clear that Gerard wouldn’t dare to step any closer to Talia. His plan had been to trap the werewolves, not to have an open fight.
“You beasts didn’t truly believe I would let my own flesh and blood be bound to your family, did you?” he spat out, voice shaking with hatred.
But before Talia could answer, her second daughter finally entered the church. She wasn’t alone either. Together with a man Cora was dragging in a third person, who was obviously struggling to stay upright even with their help. Isaac could hear another murmur go through the crowd and when he properly looked at the struggling figure, he realized why. Half his body was covered in greenish-grey scales and part of his face was deformed, his mouth full of deadly fangs and one eye glowing yellow whenever he could hold it open.
It was the ginger girl’s voice which cut through the room, before she dove right between Gerard and Talia and towards the half-conscious man. Quickly a few werewolves on the bench next to them made space and together all three of them put Jackson down, the girl sitting down next to him and holding him up as she tried to get any kind of reaction out of him.
Cora and the other guy - who Isaac finally recognized as Stiles, their emissary in training - quickly walked up to the altar, stopping right next to Talia. While Cora just crossed her arms in front of her chest and grinned smugly at Kate, Stiles pulled something out of his pocket. As he held it up Isaac instantly recognized the two golden rings and reached for his own pocket. But the small box was still there and as he took it out and opened it, the rings were as well.
“But... I picked these up myself.”
Isaac’s confusion was obvious and he finally stepped away from Derek to take a closer look at the pair of rings that Stiles was holding up. They were absolutely identical, or so he thought until Stiles started to explain:
“They payed the jeweler to recreate the Hale family's rings and use a special kind of gem. One that would transfer Derek's powers to Kate. Most likely so she could gain access to the vault and finally figure out how to create a kanima.” Turning towards Kate he added: “Didn’t have much luck with your previous experiments, huh?”
Isaac glanced over to Jackson again, who now seemed to be more conscious than before, but still looked like he was stuck in between shifts. A part of him wanted to know what had happened to him and what on earth a kanima was, but he knew he was probably better off without details. What the Argents had done to him must have been nothing short of torture.
Speaking of the Argents, they all had been suspiciously quiet ever since Gerard’s first outburst. He looked even more furious than before, face still flushed bright red, jaw clenched tightly, and a large, angry vein standing out at his temple. His eyes kept flickering from Talia to Jackson and back again. And when Isaac heard a soft “Jackson, what’s wrong?” and saw that the scales were now spreading across Jackson's body, he suddenly realized what Gerard was trying to do.
Cora seemed to be aware of the new threat as well and she took on a defensive stance, ready to shield her mother from an attack of the kanima. Before either Cora or the kanima could make a move, though, Peter lashed out at Cora, leaving deep cuts on her shoulder as he threw her to the ground. Laura reacted instantly and jumped at Peter in return, landing a hard punch in his face.
For the first time in his life Isaac saw Talia hesitate. It took her a moment to wrap her head around what had just happened, and that seemed to be just enough time for Gerard to finally gain control of Jackson.
“Kill her!” he shouted at the now fully turned kanima.
But instead of facing the suddenly very agile creature, Talia went for Gerard. Her hand wrapped around Gerard’s throat before he could even take one step backwards and her claws dug deep into the side of his neck. Gerard however just started laughing.
And that was when all hell broke loose. Both hunters and werewolves began either fighting or fleeing the church. The air was filled with gunshots, screams, and howling and the first bodies had already dropped when some people finally pushed open the side doors to escape.
As Isaac took in the chaos, Derek suddenly moved past him. Isaac turned just in time to see Derek block Kate from stabbing Talia in the back with a long dagger. And when he turned, Isaac also noticed another movement to his right. It was Jackson, now fully turned into a monstrous lizard with sharp talons and a long tail. He was crouching on one of the benches in the second row and readied himself to leap at Talia.
Isaac reacted just in time to throw himself at the kanima and catch it mid air, sending them both crashing into a bench. At first Isaac was still on top of Jackson, pinning him down to the ground and roaring at him in an attempt to make him submit. But it was clear pretty quickly that this didn’t work on a kanima. Way too easily Jackson pushed himself off the ground with Isaac still on top, until he simply threw him off.
As quickly as Isaac had fallen, he jumped back up again but just as he prepared himself to attack the kanima a second time, he felt a shiver run through his body. In a matter of seconds Isaac's fingers went numb; his limbs started to shake and he couldn’t take more than a few steps forward, before his legs gave out under him. Isaac fell hard this time, unable to catch his weight since his whole body was paralyzed by the time he hit the floor.
So all Isaac could do was yell out a warning at Derek. But Derek was still fighting against Kate and his distraction gave her a perfect opening to ram her dagger into his side. Isaac watched horrified as Derek screamed in pain and Kate laughed triumphantly, obviously ready to finish what she had started.
Isaac couldn’t see what happened next, because suddenly the kanima was blocking his view as it hauled itself at Talia and threw her to the ground.
Panic welled up in Isaac, since he couldn’t move, nevermind fight back and protect his pack. He was going to see his family be murdered right in front of his eyes.
For a moment his eyes caught sight of Laura and Cora, who had at least managed to pin down Peter in a joined effort. But before either of them could come to their mother’s aid, the kanima suddenly turned his back on her and faced Gerard instead.
Even from where Isaac was lying he could see the fear on Gerard’s face and the way he reached for his gun. But the hunter never got to it. Just like Talia before, the kanima wrapped its hand around Gerard’s throat, pulling him closer to its face. For a moment they were only staring into each other's eyes, a low hiss coming from the shapeshifter. But the kanima didn’t lose any more time than that. Isaac could shut his eyes just in time to only hear Gerard's throat being ripped out and his body sacking to the floor as he choked on his own blood.
Against all expectations, the first thing Isaac caught sight of when he dared to open his eyes again was Talia. She was alive, eyes still burning bright red. And right behind her, Derek got back to his feet just a second later. He was clutching his side and there was blood dripping from between his fingers, but Derek was alive. Without hesitation he pushed past Talia and ran over to where Isaac was lying motionless on the ground. As he sank to his knees and pulled Isaac into his arms, frantically asking if he was alright, Isaac finally got a look at Kate again.
She was dangling in the air with the tail of the kanima tightly wound around her throat. Kate tried to claw at the tail and get free but it was obvious that her strength was quickly fading and the kanima would not let go as long as her heart was still beating.
Even before Kate’s lifeless body hit the marble floor, the fighting stopped. Gerard and Kate’s deaths had decided the battle.
Isaac hated the feeling of helplessness and vulnerability that being paralyzed brought with it. And since the feeling only very slowly crept back into his body, it would have been easy to assume that the rest of the day would be as awful as its beginning. But there was actually an upside to it.
As soon as the Argents had retreated, Derek had lifted Isaac into his arms and carried him out of the church bridal style. And since then Derek had not left his side for more than a few minutes. Of course he needed to change out of his blood drenched suit and check on his parents and sisters once they returned home. But since they were in full control of the situation again, Derek eventually allowed himself to just lie down next to Isaac in his bed and feel the relief of surviving this day.
As by a wonder no one but Kate and Gerard had lost their lives today. Of course there were injuries on both sides and the Hales would have to deal with new negotiations with Chris Argent, once both sides had recovered from this fight. There was also Peter, who was currently locked up in his room with mountain ash for his betrayal, and Jackson and Lydia, who hoped to find a cure against the kanima with the help of the Hale pack. But just for now their relief outweighed their worries.
It wasn’t until Derek and Isaac had eaten their dinner in bed, due to Isaac still being unable to stand up on his own, that Derek brought up what had happened in the church.
“Isaac,” Derek said seriously, sitting up a bit straighter and turning his whole upper body towards him, “when you said you were ‘completely and utterly in love with me’, it didn’t sound like a lie at all.”
Abruptly Isaac turned his head away from the TV and looked at Derek with wide blue eyes, color rising in his cheeks. But he wasn’t sure what Derek was trying to get at, if he should brace himself to be let down gently or could maybe hope for something far better. Derek was obviously waiting for an answer though, not continuing until Isaac either denied or confirmed his assumption.
And so Isaac swallowed hard, pushed himself up into a sitting position and finally admitted: “It’s true. I love you, Derek.”
At first Derek just didn’t react and over his own racing heartbeat Isaac couldn’t make out Derek’s. But then Derek let out a huff of relief, and he began smiling and gently shook his head with his eyes closed. Derek’s whole body seemed to tremble as he leaned forward, holding himself up with just one arm and confusing Isaac entirely.
But then finally Derek looked up at him, still smiling widely and lifting one hand up to cup Isaac’s still heated cheek. And there was a laugh in Derek's voice that calmed Isaacs nerves.
“So you’re saying I could’ve kissed you all this time and we were both just too oblivious to do something about it?” Derek asked and Isaac could swear Derek was moving in closer.
“I suppose so,” Isaac replied with a grin and he dared to lean in as well, until their faces were only inches apart. “Are you going to put an end to that tragedy?”
And with that simple word Derek closed the gap between them and their lips caught in a slow and gentle kiss. Soon Derek’s hand moved from Isaac’s cheek into his neck, so he could pull him even closer as they deepened the kiss. Isaac shifted his weight, so he could wrap one arm around Derek’s neck and grab the fabric on his shoulder with the other hand. For the second time today Isaac’s whole body began to tingle and there was a weird fluttery feeling in his stomach, but this time he could live with that sensation for the rest of his life.